Friday, 30 June 2017

Capital Celluloid 2017 - Day 195: Sun Jul 16

American Graffiti (Lucas, 1973) + Two-Lane Blacktop (Hellman, 1971): Rio Cinema, 2pm


Chicago Reader review of American Graffiti:
'By now, George Lucas's film about the summer of '62 is almost beyond criticism. A brilliant work of popular art, it redefined nostalgia as a marketable commodity and established a new narrative style, with locale replacing plot, that has since been imitated to the point of ineffectiveness. The various heresies perpetrated in its name (everything from Cooley High to
FM) are forgivable, but the truly frightening thing about the film is that it's almost become nostalgia itself. Where were you in '73?'
Dave Kehr

Here (and above) is the trailer: 'Where were you in 62?'

*********************

Chicago Reader review of Two-Lane Blacktop:
This exciting existentialist road movie by Monte Hellman, with a swell script by Rudolph Wurlitzer and Will Corry and my favorite Warren Oates performance, looks even better now than it did in 1971, although it was pretty interesting back then as well. James Taylor and Dennis Wilson are the drivers of a supercharged '55 Chevy, and Oates is the owner of a new GTO (these nameless characters are in fact identified only by the cars they drive); they meet and agree to race from New Mexico to the east coast, though an assortment of side interests periodically distracts them, including various hitchhikers (among them Laurie Bird). (GTO hilariously assumes a new persona every time he picks up a new passenger, rather like the amorphous narrator in Wurlitzer's novel 
Nog.) The movie starts off as a narrative but gradually grows into something much more abstract—it's unsettling but also beautiful.
Jonathan Rosenbaum

Here (and above) is the trailer.


+ at 4.15pm

THE CAR'S THE STAR with Professor Peter Stevens
To talk about this afternoon's classic double and bring the role of the car in the movies into wider focus, the Rio have invited Peter Stevens, one of the UK's best-known vehicle designers. Until recently visiting Professor for the Royal College of Art Vehicle Design department, his award-winning work includes the creation of road and race cars for McLaren, Lamborghini, BMW, Lotus, MG Rover and Prodrive. He is currently involved in the design and application of hybrid technology, including a high performance electric race car, and innovative, energy efficient public transportation solutions.

Capital Celluloid 2017 - Day 194: Sat Jul 15

The Hitch-Hiker (Lupino, 1953): Close-Up Cinema, 7.30pm


This 35mm screening is part of Close-Up Cinema's 'On the Road' season. You can find all the details of the season here.

Time Out review:
Although made in the same year as Ida Lupino's impressive weepie The Bigamist, this inhabits a totally different universe. Two men on a fishing trip pick up a mass-murdering hitcher (William Talman), and are forced at gunpoint to drive him through Mexico until the fatal moment when he no longer needs them. Absolutely assured in her creation of the bleak, noir atmosphere - whether in the claustrophobic confines of the car, or lost in the arid expanses of the desert - Lupino never relaxes the tension for one moment. Yet her emotional sensitivity is also upfront: charting the changes in the menaced men's relationship as they bicker about how to deal with their captor, stressing that only through friendship can they survive. Taut, tough, and entirely without macho-glorification, it's a gem, with first-class performances from its three protagonists, deftly characterised without resort to cliché.
Geoff Andrew

Here (and above) is an extract.

Thursday, 29 June 2017

Capital Celluloid 2017 - Day 193: Fri Jul 14

Stroszek (Herzog, 1977): Close-Up Cinema, 7.30pm


This film, which is also being shown on July 24th, is part of Close-Up Cinema's 'On the Road' season. You can find all the details here.

Time Out review:
Werner Herzog seems to have run for cover after Heart of Glass, a supposedly 'difficult' film beneath whose seemingly impenetrable surface lay a simple reconstruction of key elements from horror films. And Stroszek has been labelled unfairly as a travelogue comedy featuring Bruno S from The Enigma of Kaspar Hauser. Bruno (S for Superstar? He struts like some remedial cousin of Jack Nicholson) and oddball entourage - including the excellent Eva Mattes as prostitute girlfriend - leave modern Berlin for the golden opportunities of America; in reality, the despair of Railroad Flats, Wisconsin. Although relatively indulgent for Herzog, the film's comedy works well enough, because Herzog's idiosyncratic imagination finds an ideal counterpoint in the bleak flatlands of poor white America. His view of that country is the most askance since the films of Monte Hellman. For all the supposed lightness, it is the film's core of despair which in the end devours everything.
Chris Peachment

Here (and above) is the trailer. 

Capital Celluloid 2017 - Day 192: Thu Jul 13

Straight Time (Grosbard, 1978): Prince Charles Cinema, 8.45pm


This 35mm presentation is part of the 'Celebrating Dustin Hoffman' season at the Prince Charles Cinema. You can find the full details here.

Chicago Reader review:
Despite some signs of muddle and uncertainty (Ulu Grosbard replaced Dustin Hoffman as director during the shooting), this is a surprisingly strong picture about a convict (Hoffman) on parole in LA learning what the supposedly “normal” world is all about. Based on Edward Bunker's novel No Beast So Fierce and adapted by several hands, this gains one's respect largely through its secondary cast—Theresa Russell, Gary Busey, Harry Dean Stanton, M. Emmet Walsh, and Rita Taggart—although Hoffman has his moments as well.
Jonathan Rosenbaum

Here (and above) is the trailer.

Capital Celluloid 2017 - Day 191: Wed Jul 12

The Children's Hour (Wyler, 1961): Regent Street Cinema, 2pm


Here's a rare chance to see a 35mm screening of this William Wyler film.

Variety review:
Lillian Hellman’s study of the devastating effect of malicious slander and implied guilt comes to the screen for the second time in this crackling production of The Children’s Hour. William Wyler, who directed the 1936 production (These Three), which veered away from the touchier, more sensational aspects of Hellman’s Broadway play, this time has chosen to remain faithful to the original source.
Audrey Hepburn and Shirley MacLaine, in the leading roles, beautifully complement each other. Hepburn’s soft sensitivity, marvelous projection and emotional understatement result in a memorable portrayal. MacLaine’s enactment is almost equally rich in depth and substance. James Garner is effective as Hepburn’s betrothed, and Fay Bainter comes through with an outstanding portrayal of the impressionable grandmother who falls under the evil influence of the wicked child.


Here (and above) is the trailer.

Wednesday, 28 June 2017

Capital Celluloid 2017 - Day 190: Tue Jul 11

The Incredible Shrinking Man (Arnold, 1957): Barbican Cinema, 6.30pm


This film is part of the 'Cinema Matters: Bigger Than Life' season. To draw out the philosophical implications of the film, the Barbican welcome Sarah Bakewell, author of At the Existentialist Café (Chatto & Windus, 2016) who counts The Incredible Shrinking Man among her all-time favourites.

Time Out review:
Not merely the best of Arnold's classic sci-fi movies of the '50s, but one of the finest films ever made in that genre. It's a simple enough story: after being contaminated by what may or may not be nuclear waste, Grant Williams finds himself slowly but steadily shedding the pounds and inches until he reaches truly minuscule proportions. But it is what Richard Matheson's script (adapted from his own novel) does with this basic material that makes the film so gripping and intelligent. At first, Williams is merely worried about his mysterious illness, but soon, towered over by his wife, he begins to feel humiliated, expressing his shame and impotence through cruel anger. And then his entire relationship with the universe changes, with cats, spiders and drops of water representing lethal threats in the surreal and endless landscape that is, in fact, his house's cellar. And finally, to the strains of Joseph Gershenson's impressive score, we arrive at the film's philosophical core: a moving, strangely pantheist assertion of what it really means to be alive. A pulp masterpiece.
Geoff Andrew

Here (and above) is the trailer.

Capital Celluloid 2017 - Day 189: Mon Jul 10

The Killing of a Chinese Bookie (Cassavetes, 1976): Close-Up Cinema, 7.30pm


This 35mm presentation is part of a John Cassavetes season at Close-Up Cinema. The film is also being shown on July 21st. Full details here.

Time Out review:
John Cassavetes doesn't believe in gangsters, as soon becomes clear in this waywardly plotted account of how a bunch of them try to distract Ben Gazzara from his loyalty to his barely solvent but chichi LA strip joint, the Crazy Horse West. Or rather Cassavetes doesn't believe in the kind of demands they make on a film, enforcing clichés of action and behaviour in return for a few cheap thrills. On the other hand, there's something about the ethnicity of the Mob - family closeness and family tyranny - which appeals to him, which is largely what his films are about, and which says something about the way he works with actors. The result is that his two gangster films - this one and the later Gloria - easily rate as his best work crisscrossed as they are by all sorts of contradictory impulses, with the hero/heroine being reluctantly propelled through the plot, trying to stay far enough ahead of the game to prevent his/her own act/movie being closed down. It's rather like a shaggy dog story operating inside a chase movie. Chinese Bookie is the more insouciant, involuted and unfathomable of the two; the curdled charm of Gazzara's lopsided grin has never been more to the point. (After its initial release, Cassavetes re-edited the film, adding sequences previously deleted but reducing the overall running time from 133 minutes.
Martyn Auty

Here (and above) is the trailer.

Tuesday, 27 June 2017

Capital Celluloid 2017 - Day 188: Sun Jul 9

A Nos Amours (Pialat, 1983): Cine Lumiere, 2pm


This 35mm screening is part of the 'Bold Women of French Cinema' season at Cine Lumiere. You can find all the details here.

If you've seen the film before you might want to read critic Nick Pinkerton's take on this troubling movie here from the Reverse Shot website here.

Chicago Reader review:
A 15-year-old French girl (Sandrine Bonnaire, extraordinary) finds refuge from her troubled family in a series of casual sexual encounters. The subject invites a certain social-worker condescension (it's the stuff of TV movies), yet Maurice Pialat's mise-en-scene allows us no comforting distance from the characters. His ragged long takes plunge us straight into the action and hold us there, as if we, too, were combatants in this family war. His unorthodox dramatic construction rejects the symmetry of classical plotting, and the narrative has a quirky, self-propelling quality that allows for some astonishing things to happen. Pialat himself plays the father, whose disappearance sets the action in motion and whose reappearance makes it explode.
Dave Kehr

Here (and above) is the trailer.

Capital Celluloid 2017 - Day 187: Sat Jul 8

Tokyo Story (Ozu, 1953): Prince Charles Cinema, 12.30pm


This 35mm presentation is part of the Classic Film season at the Prince Charles. Details here.

Chicago Reader review:
The film that introduced Yasujiro Ozu, one of Japan's greatest filmmakers, to American audiences (1953). The camera remains stationary throughout this delicate study of conflicting generations in a modern Japanese family, save for one heartbreaking moment when Ozu tracks around a corner to discover the grandparents, alone and forgotten. A masterpiece, minimalist cinema at its finest and most complex.
Dave Kehr

Here (and above) is the trailer.

Sunday, 25 June 2017

Capital Celluloid 2017 - Day 186: Fri Jul 7

Song to Song (Malick, 2017): Prince Charles Cinema, 1pm & 6.15pm


A rare foray into new release territory for Terrence Malick's latest movie, which starts its run at the Prince Charles tonight and will get a limited run in theatres here in the UK. Don't miss. You can find full details here.

Little White Lies review:
There is nothing in cinema that currently compares to the radical five-film symphonic suite made by Terrence Malick between 2012’s The Tree of Life and 2017’s Song to Song. Not Marvel. Not Fast and the Furious. Not Saw. Not anything. Sure, these films aren’t for all tastes, and they’re not at all meant to be. And they do require the viewer to put conventional critical faculties on standby, like you would close your eyes and mouth and hold your nose as a giant wave crashed over your head. They are euphoric, active experiences that demand a small adjustment of perspective. But what is it that makes them so extraordinary? The French director Bruno Dumont once said that he values feelings that don’t correspond to obvious screen drama – tedium, listlessness, confusion, depression. In a similar way, Malick’s late work adopts this counterintuitive approach to almost every aspect of the filmmaking process. He foregrounds difficult emotions, and realises them in bold, unconventional ways. Song to Song exemplifies his unique and ultra-sensual mode of montage-based storytelling, where human characters are constantly submerged in an endless, glowing stream of consciousness. Here, the eyes are not the only the window to the soul – the twitch of the hand, a twist of the neck, the accelerated breathing pattern can also offer vital signs of life. The eyes are less important that what those eyes are looking at, and who’s looking back. The film is a deconstructed musical that’s loaded with all the rhapsodic highs and lows associated with the genre. The actors work hard to make their characters inscrutable but empathetic, especially the sad-eyed Rooney Mara and stone-faced Ryan Gosling. Malick is looking to answer the big questions by focusing on the smallest of nuances. He gets at things and makes breakthroughs without ever really pushing. It’s a majestic and profound film in which human beings waltz with one another and occasionally swap partners.
David Jenkins (full review here)

Here (and above) is the trailer.

Capital Celluloid 2017 - Day 185: Thu Jul 6

Boy (Waititi, 2010): Prince Charles Cinema, 8.45pm


Misc. Films is a London-based programming collective dedicated to showcasing unreleased, under-screened or under-appreciated films. This is their latest screening.

Chicago Reader review:
Eagle Vs Shark
(2007), the first feature by New Zealand comedian Taika Waititi, struck me as a fairly obvious knockoff of Napoleon Dynamite, the reigning cult comedy of the day. For this second feature, Waititi has reached into his past for a story that belongs to him alone. The protagonist is an 11-year-old Maori boy (James Rolleston) living in a small coastal village, and because the year is 1984, he’s obsessed with Michael Jackson’s Thriller. The boy’s mother died giving birth to his six-year-old brother, and their hapless father (Waititi) has been doing time in jail; suddenly he reappears in their lives, willing to play the attentive parent long enough to find some loot he buried in the backyard. Waittiti’s comic vocabulary hasn’t changed much—there’s a lot of voice-over narration illustrated with ludicrous, cartoonish tableaux—yet the kids’ genuine longing for their no-good dad elevates this above simple deadpan humor.
J R Jones 


Here (and above) is the trailer. 

Friday, 23 June 2017

Capital Celluloid 2017 - Day 184: Wed Jul 5

Paper Moon (Bogdanovich, 1973): Close-Up Cinema, 7.30pm


This 35mm presentation is part of the Close-Up Cinema 'On The Road' season. You can find the full details here. This film is also being screened on July 1st. Details here,

Chicago Reader review:Peter Bogdanovich seems to have chosen John Ford's underrated Will Rogers vehicles of the 30s (Judge Priest, Steamboat 'Round the Bend) as the models for this 1973 Depression comedy; the images (by Laszlo Kovacs) have a lovely dusty openness—a realistic view of the midwestern flatlands fading into a romantic memory. Ryan O'Neal is a con man and Tatum O'Neal is the foundling who may or may not be his daughter. Though their relationship is conventionally drawn, it has a heart that Bogdanovich hasn't been able to recapture.
Dave Kehr

Here (and above ) is the trailer.

Capital Celluloid 2017 - Day 183: Tue Jul 4

Cathy Come Home (Loach, 1965): Genesis Cinema, 6.30pm


Here is the Genesis Cinema introduction to this special free screening:
We'll be welcoming author and activist Glyn Robbins to Genesis on Independence Day to discuss his new book on the US and UK housing crisis 'There's No Place: The American Housing Crisis and What It Means to the UK' alongside a film screening of Ken Loach's classic 'Cathy Come Home'. Glyn will also be reading from his new book and signing and selling copies following the reading & screening.

Time Out review:
Ken Loach’s history-making 1966 television drama about homelessness. Shot in doc-style, ‘Cathy Come Home’ is the story of a family forced out of their flat when the husband loses his job as a driver after an accident. Suddenly their bright and hopeful future vanishes when they’re evicted. As drama, this was so powerful it led to discussions in Parliament and new legislation to tackle homelessness in Britain. It was also fundamental in the launch of the homeless charity Shelter.

Cath Clarke

Monday, 19 June 2017

Capital Celluloid 2017 - Day 182: Mon Jul 3

Double Indemnity (Wilder, 1944): Prince Charles Cinema, 6.20pm


This 35mm presentation is part of the Classic Film Season at the Prince Charles Cinema. You can find all the details here.

Chicago Reader review:
James M. Cain's pulp classic (1944), as adapted by Raymond Chandler and directed by Billy Wilder. Barbara Stanwyck is perfectly cast as a Los Angeles dragon lady burdened with too much time, too much money, and a dull husband. Fred MacMurray (less effectively) is the fly-by-night insurance salesman who hopes to relieve her of all three. Wilder trades Cain's sun-rot imagery for conventional film noir stylings, but the atmosphere of sexual entrapment survives.
Dave Kehr

Here (and above) is the trailer.

Capital Celluloid 2017 - Day 181: Sun Jul 2

Kramer vs Kramer (Benton, 1979): BFI Southbank, NFT, 5.50pm


This 35mm presentation screens in the Dustin Hoffman season at BFI Southbank and is also being shown on July 4th. Full details here.

Time Out review:
A high class modern weepie. While Dustin Hoffman and Meryl Streep come to terms with divorce and battle over who gets the brat, Robert Benton forsakes the eccentric and original delights of his earlier films (Bad Company, The Late Show) and turns in a very solid and professional domestic melodrama, helped no end by some very fine naturalistic performances. As sensitive and as unremarkable as your average Truffaut film, and as ambivalent in its sexual politics.
Geoff Andrew

Here (and above) is the trailer.

Sunday, 18 June 2017

Capital Celluloid 2017 - Day 180: Sat Jul 1

Foreign Correspondent (Hitchcock, 1940): BFI Southbank, NFT1, 3.20pm


This 35mm screening (also being shown on July 22nd) is part of the Christopher Nolan Presents ... season at BFI Southbank, dedicated to showing movies from prints. You can find all the details about the season here.

Time Out review:
Despite the now rather embarrassing propagandistic finale, with McCrea urging an increase in the war effort against the Nazis, Hitchcock's espionage thriller is a thoroughly enjoyable affair, complete with some of his most memorable set pieces. Joel McCrea and Laraine Day are the lovers searching out Nazi agents in London and Holland after the disappearance of a peace-seeking diplomat, while George Sanders, Edmund Gwenn and the normally wooden Herbert Marshall lend fine support. Something of a predecessor of the picaresque chase thrillers like Saboteur and North by Northwest, its main source of suspense comes from the fact that little is what it seems to be: a camera hides an assassin's gun, sails of a windmill conceal a sinister secret, and the sanctuary of Westminster Cathedral provides an opportunity for murder. Not one of the director's greatest - there's little of his characteristic cruelty or moral pessimism - but still eminently watchable.
Geoff Andrew

Here (and above) is the trailer.

Capital Celluloid 2017 - Day 179: Fri Jun 30

Paris, Texas (Wenders, 1984): Close-Up Cinema, 7.30pm


This 35mm presentation is part of the Close-Up Cinema 'On The Road' season. You can find the full details here. This film, along with the Larry Gottheim short Harmonica (details here), is also being screened at Close-Up on July 19th.

Time Out review: 
A man in a red baseball cap comes stumbling over the Mexican border and into the Texan desert, mute, bowed but driven by an obsessive quest. When his brother (Dean Stockwell) drives him (Harry Dean Stanton) home to LA, the shards of his broken life are painfully pieced together in fits and starts of talk. Four years ago he 'lost' his family; now he has returned to find them. Reunited with his 7-year-old son, he travels to Houston, where he finds his wife (Natassja Kinski) working in a peep-show. Wim Wenders once more finds himself on the borders of experience, finally achieving an unprecedented declaration of the heart, even if man and wife can only perceive each other through a glass darkly. Wenders' collaboration with writer Sam Shepard is a master-stroke, wholly beneficial to both talents; if Wenders' previous film, The State of Things, was on the very limits of possibility, this one, through its final scenes, pushes the frontier three steps forward into new and sublime territory.
Chris Peachment

Here (and above) is the trailer

Saturday, 17 June 2017

Capital Celluloid 2017 - Day 178: Thu Jun 29

The Graduate (Nichols, 1967): BFI Southbank, NFT3, 6.15pm


The Graduate re-release is the highlight of the Dustin Hoffman season at the BFI Southbank. The film is on an extended run at the cinema until July 6th. Full details here.

Time Out review:
Modish, calculated, but hugely popular film which, with the help of an irrelevant but diverting Simon and Garfunkel soundtrack, proved one of the biggest hits of the '60s. Dustin Hoffman, looking for the most part like a startled rabbit, got caught between the rapacious Mrs Robinson and her daughter, and suggested a vulnerability that was sufficiently novel to turn him into as big a movie star as all the he-men like McQueen and Newman. The film itself is very broken-backed, partly because Anne Bancroft's performance as the mother carries so much more weight than Katharine Ross' as the daughter, partly because Nichols couldn't decide whether he was making a social satire or a farce. As a comment on sex in the West Coast stockbroker belt, the film falls a long way short of Clint Eastwood's later Breezy, which makes much more of a lot less promising material.
Chris Peachment

Here (and above) is the trailer.


Friday, 16 June 2017

Capital Celluloid 2017 - Day 177: Wed Jun 28

The Passion of Remembrance (Blackwood/Julien, 1986): BFI Southbank, NFT2, 8.40pm


This 16mm screening is part of the 'Visions of the Black Feminine' season at BFI Southbank. You can find the full details of the season here. This film will also be shown on June 24th. Full details here.

Time Out review:
This montage of documentary footage and representational dramatic episodes from London's Sankofa Collective offers a series of individual reflections, each bearing a potential for further development. The focal point is the confrontation between a young man and woman, attempting to rationalise the gap which has separated them as they stand before a barren landscape. 'Man' is accused of forsaking 'Woman' in his struggle to raise the consciousness of the black community. Over-extended in scope and tied down by its own rhetoric, the film nevertheless succeeds as it catches the conflicts of gender and generation within the community itself, with visions of a 'black experience' giving way to the more nominal insights of black experiences.

Wednesday, 14 June 2017

Capital Celluloid 2017 - Day 176: Tue Jun 27

Nocturama (Bonello, 2016): Cine Lumiere, 8.40pm


One of the hits of last autumn's London Film Festival, this tense, complex, surprising and thought-provoking film is screening as part of the La Fete du Cinema season at Cine Lumiere. You can find all the details of the season here.

London Film Festival review:
A group of young people from diverse social backgrounds move through Paris, crossing paths, heading with determination towards a common purpose – to set the city alight. After accomplishing their terrible mission, they hide out overnight in a department store, where – surrounded by the glamorous signifiers of 21st-century materialism – they await their fate. Bertrand Bonello has established himself as one of French cinema’s most elusive and thoughtful provocateurs, exploring different aspects of outsider culture in films such as The Pornographer and House of Tolerance. His latest film will certainly be his most controversial. Conceived before the recent spate of terrorist attacks in Paris and elsewhere, Nocturama unapologetically addresses a topic that many will find disturbing, while the film’s compelling thriller-style detachment and supremely elegant execution may strike some as a questionable exercise in radical chic. But Bonello undoubtedly has something urgent to say, not just about terrorism, but about violence, consumerism and the decay of idealism in Europe, and he says it in a way that echoes – among others - JG Ballard, Bret Easton Ellis and Alan Clarke’s Elephant. No matter how you react to it, Nocturama is undeniably extraordinary filmmaking, and a work very directly tuned to the current, increasingly troubled European psyche.
Jonathan Romney

Here (and above) is the trailer.

Capital Celluloid 2017 - Day 175: Mon Jun 26

Heat (Mann, 1995): Picturehouse Central, 8pm


Edgar Wright presents a 4K screening of Michael Mann's masterpiece.

Time Out review:
Investigating a bold armed robbery which has left three security guards dead, LA cop Vincent Hanna (Al Pacino), whose devotion to work is threatening his third marriage, follows a trail that leads him to suspect a gang of thieves headed by Neil McCauley (Robert De Niro). Trouble is, McCauley's cunning is at least equal to Hanna's, and that makes him a hard man to nail. Still, unknown to Hanna, McCauley's gang have their own troubles: one of their number is a volatile psychopath, while the businessman whose bonds they've stolen is not above some rough stuff himself. Such a synopsis barely scratches the surface of Mann's masterly crime epic. Painstakingly detailed, with enough characters, subplots and telling nuances to fill out half a dozen conventional thrillers, this is simply the best American crime movie - and indeed, one of the finest movies, period - in over a decade. The action scenes are better than anything produced by John Woo or Quentin Tarantino; the characterisation has a depth most American film-makers only dream of; the use of location, decor and music is inspired; Dante Spinotti's camerawork is superb; and the large, imaginatively chosen cast gives terrific support to the two leads, both back on glorious form.
Geoff Andrew

Here (and above) is the trailer.

Tuesday, 13 June 2017

Capital Celluloid 2017 - Day 174: Sun Jun 25

The Holy Girl (Martel, 2004): Barbican Cinema, 6pm


This 35mm screening, which will be introduced by academic and theorist Sophie Mayer of Club des Femmes, is part of the Barbican's Being Ruby Rich season, dedicated to the critic and thinker B Ruby Rich. You can find full details of the season here.

Chicago Reader review:
Argentinean filmmaker Lucrecia Martel follows up her distinctive debut feature, La cienaga (2001), with another tale (2004) whose feeling of lassitude conceals a subtle but deadly family dysfunction. It's set in a specifically Catholic milieu, hovering around a medical convention at a small-town hotel, and once again a swimming pool serves as a kind of center for floating libidos. As Martel points out, the movie is about the “difficulties” and “dangers” of “differentiating good from evil,” and it requires as well as rewards a fair amount of alertness from the viewer. A theremin plays a prominent role in the story.
Jonathan Rosenbaum

Here (and above) is the trailer.

Monday, 12 June 2017

Capital Celluloid 2017 - Day 173: Sat Jun 24

Double Blind [No Sex Last Night] (Calle/Shephard, 1992): Close-Up Cinema, 7.30pm


This screening is part of a two-month programme exploring the road as a state of mind within late 20th Century American and European independent cinema at Close-Up. You can find details of all the movies being screened here.

Close-Up Cinema introduction:
"We hadn't been living together for more than a year, but our relationship had worsened to such an extent that we had stopped talking to one another altogether. I dreamed of marrying him. He dreamed of making movies. To get him to travel across America with me, I suggested that we make a film during the trip. He agreed. Our absence of communication gave us the idea of equipping ourselves with separate cameras, making them the sole confidantes of our respective frustrations and secretly telling them all the things we were unable to say to each other. Having established the rules, on January 3, 1992 we left New York in his silver Cadillac and Headed for California." – Sophie Calle


Here (and above) is an extract.

Capital Celluloid 2017 - Day 172: Fri Jun 23

Scott Pilgrim vs The World (Wright, 2010): Prince Charles Cinema, 8.45pm


This 35mm presentation is part of the 'Celebrating Edgar Wright' season at the Prince Charles. You can find the full details here.

Chicago Reader review:
Michael Cera elevates deadpan to an art, starring as a slacker turned action hero in this wildly inventive comedy (2010) that's one of the most vivid and spirited adaptations of a comic book since Spider-Man—;and one of the hippest since Ghost World. When he's not playing bass with his Toronto garage band or video games with a smitten high schooler (Ellen Wong), he sponges off his gay roommate (Kieran Culkin). But then his little life is upended as he falls for a rollerblading American (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) and incurs the wrath of her superpowered seven evil exes. Director Edgar Wright (Shaun of the Dead) understands the anarchy and insane hopes of youth, and amplifies the cinema-ready devices of Bryan Lee O'Malley's graphic novels by using split screens as mobile panels and CGI to animate words (love floats like smoke across the screen) and demonize one of the exes (a very funny Brandon Routh, of Superman Returns). With Anna Kendrick, Chris Evans, and Jason Schwartzman.
Andrea Gronvall


Here (and above) is the trailer.

Sunday, 11 June 2017

Capital Celluloid 2017 - Day 171: Thu Jun 22

One Way or Another (Gomez, 1974): Barbican Cinema, 6.15pm


Here is the Barbican introduction to this special 35mm screening:
‘Combining humor with documentary-like exposé… De cierta manera… is the first “post-revolutionary” Cuban film,’ writes critic B Ruby Rich of the first feature directed by an Afro-Cuban woman. Sara Gómez gets to the heart of things, as teacher Yolanda and factory worker Mario confront machismo, racism and the over-development of Miraflores, finding ‘one way or another’ to survive. We are thrilled to have B Ruby Rich introduce the screening with a keynote speech, while after the screening, Rich is in conversation with Michele Aaron (Editor, New Queer Cinema: A Critical Reader).

Chicago Reader review:
This extraordinary film, the first Cuban feature by a woman, has been celebrated as feminist by some critics, partly for its story but also for its narrative style. It follows the relationship between schoolteacher Yolanda (Yolanda Cuellar) and factory worker Mario (Mario Balmaseda), but instead of imposing a patriarchal authorial voice, director Sara Gomez provocatively combines fiction sequences with documentary footage, and her playful use of form is both startling and purposeful. The film begins abruptly, as if in midscene, with a documentarylike record of a workers' meeting; the credits are followed by an actual documentary segment on housing development in the early 60s, complete with didactic voice-over. Sections that seem to be dramatic are later revealed to be documentary, while other apparently dramatic scenes are interrupted by discursive sequences. The film's form questions itself, as do the characters: Mario, torn between machismo and his growing revolutionary commitment, turns a malingering worker in to the group, but then worries that doing so was “womanly.” Most importantly, the editing encourages an active viewing process—when the lovers meet a man named Guillermo, a title asks “Who is Guillermo?” and the film then cuts to a slightly closer shot of the same title—just as the overall film encourages us to seek wider interpretations. Sadly, Gomez died in 1974 while the film was being edited, and it wasn't completed until three years later.
Fred Camper

Here (and above) is an extract.

Capital Celluloid 2017 - Day 170: Wed Jun 21

The Beguiled (Siegel, 1971): Prince Charles Cinema, 6.25pm


Don't miss this 35mm presentation of Don Siegel's excellent 1971 film ahead of Sofia Coppola's remake which is released nationally on June 23rd.

Chicago Reader review:
Don Siegel and Clint Eastwood took time out from their popular series of Universal programmers for this very personal exercise in American gothic (1971)—one that should have played the art houses rather than the drive-ins. Eastwood is a wounded Union soldier stranded in Confederate territory, who finds refuge of a sort in a girls' school run by Geraldine Page. The film is hushed and evocative, full of menace and barely suppressed hysteria.
Dave Kehr 

Here (and above) is the trailer.

Saturday, 10 June 2017

Capital Celluloid 2017 - Day 169: Tue Jun 20

Vanishing Point (Sarafian, 1971): BFI Southbank, NFT1, 8.50pm


This film is part of the Edgar Wright 'Car Car Land' season at Picturehouse Central. You can find all the details here.

Chicago Reader review of Vanishing Point:
After driving nonstop from San Francisco to Denver, a silent macho type (Barry Newman) accepts a bet that he can make it back again in 15 hours; a blind DJ named Super Soul (Cleavon Little) cheers him on while the cops doggedly chase him. While Richard Sarafian's direction of this action thriller and drive-in favorite isn't especially distinguished, the script by Cuban author Guillermo Cabrera Infante (writing here under the pseudonym he adopted as a film critic, G. Cain) takes full advantage of the subject's existential and mythical undertones without being pretentious, and you certainly get a run for your money, along with a lot of rock music. With Dean Jagger and Victoria Medlin.
Jonathan Rosenbaum

Here (and above) is the trailer. 

Capital Celluloid 2017 - Day 169: Mon Jun 19

The Driver (Hill, 1978): BFI Southbank, NFT1, 9.10pm


This screening is part of the Edgar Wright 'Car Car Land' season at BFI Southbank. You can find all the details here.

Chicago Reader review:
'An audacious, skillful film noir (1978) by Walter Hill, so highly stylized that it's guaranteed to alienate 90 percent of its audience. There's no realism, no psychology, and very little plot in Hill's story of a deadly game between a professional getaway driver (Ryan O'Neal) and a detective obsessed with catching him (Bruce Dern). There is, however, a great deal of technically sophisticated and very imaginative filmmaking. The cross-references here are Howard Hawks, Robert Bresson, and Jean-Pierre Melville: a strange, heady, and quite effective range of influences.'
Dave Kehr

Here (and above) is the trailer.

Capital Celluloid 2017 - Day 168: Sun Jun 18

The New World (Malick, 2005): Picturehouse Central, 1pm


Picturehouse introduction:
2017 sees the 400th year anniversary of the death of Pocahontas, who died in Gravesend in 1617. To mark this anniversary, Border Crossings’ ORIGINS Festival screens one of the greatest films of the 21st Century – Terrence Malick’s THE NEW WORLD. It is a film of astounding elemental beauty, which re-imagines the meeting between Captain John Smith (Colin Farrell) and Powhatan princess Pocahontas (in a revelatory performance by Q’orianka Kilcher,) as a romantic idyll between spiritual equals. The action then follows Pocahontas as she marries John Rolfe (Christian Bale) and travels to England. Followed by a Q&A with Dakota Sioux historian Stephanie Pratt.

The film is being screened in 35mm.

Here is the Guardian's John Patterson who hailed the film the best of the last decade – and by some way. This is his article from December in full and here is an extract:
'It may seem like an exaggeration, but with The New World cinema has reached its culmination, its apotheosis. It is both ancient and modern, cinema at its purest and most organic, its simplest and most refined, made with much the same tools as were available in the infancy of the form a century ago to the Lumières, to Griffith and Murnau. Barring a few adjustments for modernity – colour, sound, developments in editing, a hyper-cine-literate audience – it could conceivably have been made 80 years ago (like Murnau and Flaherty's Tabu). This is why, I believe, when all the middlebrow  Oscar-dross of our time has eroded away to its constituent molecules of celluloid, The New World will stand tall, isolated and magnificent, like Kubrick's black monolith.'

Here is the opening.

Thursday, 8 June 2017

Capital Celluloid 2017 - Day 167: Sat Jun 17

Eve's Bayou (Lemmons, 1997): BFI Southbank, NFT2, 8.30pm


This 35mm presentation is part of the 'Unbound: Visions of the Black Feminine' season. You can find all the details here. The film is also being shown on June 21st. More information here.

Chicago Reader review:
Unlike most stories that allude to incest, this intriguingly fractured 1997 narrative acknowledges the complexity of the faddish topic. Samuel L. Jackson plays the roguish father of ten-year-old Eve (Jurnee Smollett), whose mother and aunt seem to tolerate his extramarital affairs. Subplots are woven stealthily into the story, taking the pressure off the central drama, allowing it to be affecting rather than melodramatic, and heightening the atmosphere of the lush Louisiana setting. Aunt Mozelle (Debbi Morgan), who's both clairvoyant and practical, is intimidated by the idea of fate and delivers some of the movie's edgiest dialogue when she worries that she may be cursed because the men she marries keep dying.
Lisa Alspector


Here (and above) is the trailer.

Wednesday, 7 June 2017

Capital Celluloid 2017 - Day 166: Fri Jun 16

Streets Of Fire (Hill, 1984): Prince Charles Cinema, 9pm


This is part of the 35mm presentations at the Prince Charles. Full details here.

Time Out film review:
Continuing his love affair with movies that go bang in the night, Walter Hill here gives us a futuristic rock fantasy which is, at heart, a Western. An itinerant soldier (Michael Paré) returns to his home to discover that his former girlfriend, the local girl who's made it big in the rockbiz (Diane Lane), has been kidnapped by a villainous street-gang. Cue for fisticuffs and fireworks as Paré, aided by a tough-talking female sidekick (Amy Madigan), hikes over to the bad part of town and unlocks Ms Lane from the bed to which she's been handcuffed. Result? Showdown. Streets of Fire is fast and loud, with music from Ry Cooder and, perhaps misguidedly, Jim Steinman; it is also violent, though its violence lies not in the depiction of blood and entrails, but in the sheer energy and speed with which the dark and brooding images rush after one another. The message is that there is no message; if this isn't action cinema in its purest form, then it's pretty close.
Richard Rayner

Here (and above) is the trailer.