Capital Celluloid 2015 - Day 197: Thu Jul 16

Society (Yuzna, 1989): BFI Southbank, NFT2, 8.30pm

This film screens in the Cult strand at BFI Southbank and can also be seen on 19th July. You can find all the details here.

Time Out review of Society:
'A bizarre fable that starts like a TV soap but soon darkens into a disturbing thriller about an idyllic Beverly Hills community where something is subtly skewed. Handsome teenager Bill (Billy Warlock) feels uncomfortable with his affluent peers. But the usual teen insecurities take on a more sinister aspect when his sister's ex-boyfriend Blanchard plays him a clandestine recording of her 'coming out' party which suggests perverse, incestuous sexual initiation; but when Bill's shrink later plays the tape back to him, he hears only innocuous conversation. How does this connect with rich kid Ted's exclusive teen clique, or Blanchard's death in a road accident? Is there a dark conspiracy, or is Bill losing his marbles? First-time director Yuzna is happier with the sly humour and clever plot shifts than with the appropriately iconic but sometimes dramatically unconvincing cast. He nevertheless generates a compelling sense of paranoid unease, and shifts into F/X overdrive for an unforgettable horror finale. Suffice it to say that the 'surrealistic make-up designs' by Screaming Mad George (who did the cockroach sequence in Nightmare on Elm Street 4) will stretch even the most inelastic mind.'

Capital Celluloid 2015 - Day 196: Wed Jul 15

Macbeth (Welles, 1948): BFI Southbank, NFT2, 8.40pm

This film is part of the Orson Welles season at BFI Southbank. The movie also screens on 18th July and you can find full details here.

Chicago Reader review:
Orson Welles's 1948 production, made on a short schedule and a tiny budget for Republic Pictures. (Some 20 minutes of footage and the original Scottish-accented sound track were replaced in the 80s in a UCLA Film Archive restoration, though it's still the least of Welles's Shakespearean adaptations.) Welles makes no serious attempt to present the language of the play; instead, this one is all atmosphere and movement, filmed on forthrightly stagy sets with a restlessly tracking camera. Welles's Macbeth is no more than adequate, though his rise and fall follows the personal, punitive patterns of all Welles films, and Jeanette Nolan's Lady M is a near disaster. Still, there is force in this rough, hasty rendering; the sheer speed of the pacing gives it a quality of crushing delirium.
Dave Kehr

Here (and above) is the opening to the film.

Capital Celluloid 2015 - Day 195: Tue Jul 14

Touch of Evil (Welles, 1958): BFI Southbank, NFT1 6.30 & 8.45pm

This classic noir is on an extended run at BFI Southbank as part of the Orson Welles season. Here are full details of all the screenings.

Chicago Reader review:
After seeing the work print of his last Hollywood feature, Orson Welles wrote a lengthy memo requesting several changes in editing and sound—work that was carried out in 1998 by producer Rick Schmidlin and editor Walter Murch with myself as consultant. About the original 95-minute 1958 release (superseded since the mid-70s by a 108-minute preview version), Dave Kehr wrote, "Eternal damnation to the wretch at Universal who printed the opening titles over the most brilliant establishing shot in film history—a shot that establishes not only place and main characters in its continuous movement over several city blocks, but also the film's theme (crossing boundaries), spatial metaphors, and peculiar bolero rhythm." These titles now appear at the film's end—yielding a final running time of 111 minutes—and in the opening shot Henry Mancini's music comes exclusively from speakers in front of the nightclubs and from a car radio. Other changes involve different sound and editing patterns and a few deletions, all of which add up to a narrative that's easier to follow, but there's no new or restored footage. To quote Kehr again, "Welles stars as the sheriff of a corrupt border town who finds his nemesis in visiting Mexican narcotics agent Charlton Heston; the witnesses to this weirdly gargantuan struggle include Janet Leigh, Marlene Dietrich, Akim Tamiroff, and Joseph Calleia, who holds the film's moral center with sublime uncertainty."
Jonathan Rosenbaum

Here (and above) is the new BFI trailer.

Capital Celluloid 2015 - Day 194: Mon Jul 13

Charley Varrick (Siegel, 1973): Prince Charles Cinema, 8.45pm

This is part of the Universal Archives season at the Prince Charles. Full details here.

Chicago Reader review:
Don Siegel wants to turn the tables on the paranoid fantasies that have animated some of his best films (Invasion of the Body Snatchers, Madigan, Dirty Harry), but he never lets this get in the way of his impressive sense of humor and undisputed mastery at constructing an action film. Walter Matthau stars as a small-timer who unwittingly rips off a Mafia bank in a routine, low-budget heist and spends the rest of the film outwitting hit man Joe Don Baker and Mafia lieutenant John Vernon. This 1973 feature is one of the finest examples of action montage from its period, a dynamite piece of work.
Don Druker

Here (and above) is the trailer.

Capital Celluloid 2015 - Day 193: Sun Jul 12

Love Streams (Cassavetes, 1984): Close-Up Film Centre, 8pm

This is showing as part of the John Cassavetes season at Close-Up. There are a number of screenings of the film until 2nd August and you can find the full details here.

Chicago Reader review:
John Cassavetes's career of risk taking comes to a climax in this rich, original, emotionally magnificent 1984 film about a brother who is unable to love (Cassavetes) and a sister who loves too much (Gena Rowlands). For half its length the film follows their separate experiences—he as a celebrated novelist living a life of desperate dissolution in Los Angeles; she as a wife and mother undergoing a painful divorce in Chicago—and then brings them together for a rocky reunion. At the climax they trade roles, and each is alone again in a new way. Cassavetes follows his vision to the limit, a course that takes him through extravagance, indulgence, and hysteria—yet for all of his apparent disdain for classical construction, there isn't a moment in the film that doesn't find its place in a grand design. With Seymour Cassel and Diahnne Abbott.
Dave Kehr

Here (and above) is the trailer.

Capital Celluloid 2015 - Day 192: Sat Jul 11

The Killing of a Chinese Bookie (Cassavetes, 1976): Close-Up Cinema, 5pm

This is showing as part of the John Cassavetes season at Close-Up. There are a number of screenings of the film until 31st July and you can find the full details here.

Chicago Reader review:
John Cassavetes's first crime thriller, a postnoir masterpiece, failed miserably at the box office when first released in 1976, and a recut, shorter version released two years later didn't fare much better. This is the first, longer, and in some ways better of the two versions; it's easier to follow, despite reports that—or maybe because—Cassavetes had less to do with the editing (though he certainly approved it). A personal, deeply felt character study rather than a routine action picture, it follows Cosmo Vitelli (Ben Gazzara at his very best), the charismatic owner of an LA strip joint—simultaneously an asshole and a saint—who recklessly gambles his way into debt and has to bump off a Chinese bookie to settle his accounts. In many respects the film serves as a personal testament; what makes the tragicomic character of Cosmo so moving is its alter-ego relation to the filmmaker—the proud impresario and father figure of a tattered showbiz collective (read Cassavetes's actors and filmmaking crew) who must compromise his ethics to keep his little family afloat (read Cassavetes's career as a Hollywood actor). Peter Bogdanovich used Gazzara in a similar part in Saint Jack (1979), but as good as that film is, it doesn't catch the exquisite warmth and delicacy of feeling of Cassavetes's doom-ridden comedy-drama. With fine performances by Timothy Agoglia Carey, Seymour Cassel, Azizi Johari, Meade Roberts, and Alice Friedland. 135 min.
Jonathan Rosenbaum

Here (and above) is the trailer.

Capital Celluloid 2015 - Day 191: Fri Jul 10

Crumbs (Llanso, 2015): Hackney Picturehouse, 9pm

This film is part of the East End Film Festival. You can find the full listings here.

East End Film Festival introduction:
The story is set against the background of spectacular post-apocalyptic Ethiopian landscapes, where our diminutive superhero Gagano – on the one hand gripped by daydreams and on the other by constant fears – has had enough of collecting the valuable crumbs of decayed civilisation, the valuable high points of which are merchandise from Michael Jackson and Michael Jordan. When a spaceship that has been hovering high in the sky for years starts showing signs of activity, Gagano has to overcome his fears – but also a witch, Santa Claus and second-generation Nazis – to find out that things aren’t quite the way he thought.

Here (and above) is the trailer.

Capital Celluloid 2015 - Day 190: Thu Jul 9

Shadows (Cassavetes, 1959): Close-Up Cinema, 6.45pm

Close-Up Cinema in East London reopens with a John Cassavetes season running through till early August. Shadows shows throughout the season and you can find full details of the screenings here.

Chicago Reader review:
John Cassavetes's first feature (1959), shot in 16-millimeter, centers on three siblings living together in Manhattan; the oldest, a third-rate nightclub singer (Hugh Hurd), is visibly black, while the other two (Ben Carruthers and Lelia Goldoni) are sufficiently light skinned to pass for white. This is the only Cassavetes film made without a full script (it grew out of acting improvs), and rarely has so much warmth, delicacy, and raw feeling emerged so naturally and beautifully from performances in an American film. It's contemporaneous with early masterpieces of the French New Wave and deserves to be ranked alongside them for the freshness and freedom of its vision; in its portrait of a now-vanished Manhattan during the beat period, it also serves as a poignant time capsule. With Tony Ray (son of director Nicholas Ray), Rupert Crosse, Dennis Sallas, Tom Allen, and Davey Jones—all very fine—and a wonderful jazz score by Charles Mingus. It's conceivable that Cassavetes made greater films, but this is the one I cherish the most.
Jonathan Rosenbaum

Here (and above) is the trailer.

Capital Celluloid 2015 - Day 189: Wed Jul 8

Magician: The Astonishing Life and Work Of Orson Welles (Workman, 2014):
BFI Southbank, Studio, 8.50pm

A new documentary, screening in an extended run at BFI Southbank, to coincide with the Orson Welles season at the cinema.

BFI Southbank introduction:
A wonderfully entertaining, illuminating and very touching portrait of Orson Welles. A child prodigy who went on to make extraordinary, often game-changing contributions to whatever medium he chose to be involved in – radio, theatre, film and TV – Welles quickly came to be regarded as a ‘genius’: a double-edged acclamation, with its hints of profligacy and arrogance. The truth was more complex, as shown by Workman’s use of clips from works both familiar and unreleased; testimonies from family, friends and fans, collaborators and critics (from Simon Callow to Steven Spielberg); and, best of all, anecdotes, admissions and insights galore from the great man himself. As Peter Brook says, we shall never see his like again.

Here (and above) is the trailer.

Capital Celluloid 2015 - Day 188: Tue Jul 7

The Stranger (Welles, 1946): BFI Southbank, NFT3, 6.10pm

This film screens as part of the Orson Welles season at BFI Southbank. It ia also being shown on 11th July. Full details here.

Chicago Reader review:
Orson Welles's 1946 film reproduces his personal themes of self-scrutiny and self-destruction only in outline, though it is an inventive, highly enjoyable thriller. FBI investigator Edward G. Robinson tracks a Nazi war criminal (Welles) to his lair, a small town in Connecticut where he lives with his unknowing American wife (Loretta Young) and teaches at a prep school. Welles rolls out all his technical thunder for the chase finale, but the most impressive scenes in the film may be those that depict daily life in the village; wrapped in snow, the setting has the magic hush of The Magnificent Ambersons. Welles has said that he made the film to prove he could shoot a conventional Hollywood feature; the proof is there but it did him no good. With Billy House; John Huston contributed, anonymously, to the script.
Dave Kehr

Here (and above) is the trailer. 

Capital Celluloid 2015 - Day 187: Mon Jul 6

Once Upon a Time in America (Leone, 1984): Prince Charles Cinema, 6.30pm

Here's another chance to see the  restored version of Sergio Leone's final movie. This release includes an added 20 minutes to versions of the film seen here previously.

Chicago Reader review:
Like Once Upon a Time in the West, Sergio Leone's 3-hour-and-47-minute gangster epic (1984) is a foundation myth, though the quality of the myth is very different: the focus here is individual rather than collective, and the form is cyclical and subjective rather than linear and expansive. The relationship of Robert De Niro and James Woods—the brothers who betray—is an amalgam of Roman mythology, Christian parable, and Hollywood cliche; though the intricate flashback structure follows the memories of one man, the film also represents a kind of cultural recall—the fiction remembering itself. Every gesture is immediate, and every gesture seems eternal. Leone accomplishes all of this within the framework of a superb popular entertainment: it's a funny, rousing, brilliant piece of work. With Elizabeth McGovern, Joe Pesci, Burt Young, Tuesday Weld, and Treat Williams; the score, of course, is by Ennio Morricone.
Dave Kehr

Here (and above) is the trailer.

Capital Celluloid 2015 - Day 186: Sun Jul 5

The Better Angels (Edwards, 2014): Hackney Picturehouse, 8.40pm

This film, directed by Terrence Malick collaborator A.J. Edwards, screens as part of the east End Film Festival. Full programme here.

East End Film Festival introduction:
Terrence Malick collaborator A.J. Edwards’ stunning debut dramatizes Abraham Lincoln’s formative experiences, refracted through visions of nature and history familiar to fans of The Tree of Life or The New World. Set in wild Indiana woodland, it charts a turbulent upbringing, foregrounding two women – played by Diane Kruger and Brit Marling – who shaped the young Lincoln’s outlook.

Here (and above) is the trailer.

Capital Celluloid 2015 - Day 185: Sat Jul 4

The Case of the Scorpion's Tail (Martino, 1971):
Masonic Temple, Andaz Liverpool St Hotel, 4pm

This screening, part of the East End Film Festival, is hosted by Josh Saco of the Cigarette Burns film club. Here is his introduction to this event, highlighting the 1970s Italian Giallo classic:

This deliciously macabre setting paired with a lustrous 16mm projection makes this a rare opportunity to samole this devilishly entertaining 70s thriller as a millionaire dies in a mysterious freak accident leaving his wiodow set to enjoy the rich spoils.

Here (and above) is the trailer.

Capital Celluloid 2015 - Day 184: Fri Jul 3

The Magnificent Ambersons (Welles, 1942): BFI Southbank, NFT1, 8.40pm

We are into personal top ten territory here, a magnificent film which is screening as part of the Orson Welles season at BFI Soutbank and can also be seen on 5th July. Full details here.

Chicago Reader review:
Orson Welles's second feature (1942, 88 min.) is in many ways his most personal and most impressive, but of his Hollywood films it's also the one most damaged by insensitive reediting (like the sublime and personal Don Quixote is among his independent features); in his absence RKO cut the movie by almost 45 minutes and tacked on a few lamentable new scenes (including the last one). For the most part, this is a very close adaptation of Booth Tarkington's underrated novel about the relentless decline of a wealthy midwestern family through the rise of industrialization, though Welles makes the story even more powerful through his extraordinary mise-en-scene and some of the finest acting to be found in American movies (Agnes Moorehead is a standout). The emotional sense of America in the late 19th and early 20th centuries is so palpable you can taste it. With Joseph Cotten, Dolores Costello, Anne Baxter, Tim Holt, Ray Collins, and Richard Bennett.
Jonathan Rosenbaum

Here (and above) is the trailer.

Capital Celluloid 2015 - Day 183: Thu Jul 2

Amy (Kapadia, 2015): Rio Cinema, 8pm

This screens as part of the East End London Film Festival and will be accompanied by a Q&A with director Asif Kapadia.

Rio Cinema introduction:
An outstandingly compiled chronicle which brilliantly brings into focus the talent, the triumph and the tragedy which made up the short life of Amy Winehouse. Despite just two albums to her name she has become one of the biggest music icons in British musical history. With a voice often described as a combination of Billy Holiday, Dinah Washington and Sarah Vaughan, Amy Winehouse was a pop star with soul; a once in a generation musical talent whose appeal crossed cultural and demographic boundaries. But while her music made her a star, it was her chaotic personal life which made the headlines. Asif Kapadia records the highs and lows but never loses sight of the human being behind the mythology. In fact, AMY is as compelling and mesmerising as the subject herself.

Here (and above) is the trailer.

Capital Celluloid 2015 - Day 182: Wed Jul 1

The Falls (Greenaway, 1980): Horse Hospital, 7pm

This is a fund-raising event for the Horse Hospital, a rare screening of one of Peter Greenaway's fascinating earlier films.

Chicago Reader review:
The Falls, finished in 1978 and released in 1980, might be considered Greenaway's longest short rather than his first feature. The incident it describes, known as the Violent Unknown Event, can also be seen as the turning point in Greenaway's career; after the Event he abandoned the documentary style and started making films that could more comfortably be called narrative. It stands as a fulcrum between the two styles. 

We learn from the film that the Event (or VUE), about which little is understood except that it may have been caused by birds, has claimed 19 million victims, most of whom appear to be turning into birds. The names and characteristics of all of the victims have been compiled in a vast encyclopedia, and the film consists of short biographies of 92 of these people. Using both original and found footage--and footage shot for earlier projects--Greenaway creates a wholly convincing vision of an alternate reality. Vintage clips of people trying to fly with synthetic wings illustrate "Potagium Fallitus," or the affliction of turning into a bird. Some victims are played by actors, others are identified by found photos--including one of famous bird victim Tippi Hedren. A photo of the Brothers Quay, the real-life experimental filmmakers, introduces the biography of "Ipson and Pulat Fallari," victims suffering from high blood pressure and synchronized blackouts. Others fear darkened cinemas or drive compulsively in circles. 

It's a documentary but it's not. And the revision of the form makes us adjust our expectations about how we get to know characters. Whether or not a particular character knows the writings of a famous ornithologist, or if he or she has become allergic to speeds over ten miles per hour, is far more important than his or her age or occupation. 
Eric Levy

Here (and above) is an extract.

Capital Celluloid 2015 - Day 181: Tue Jun 30

Slap Shot (Hill, 1977): Prince Charles Cinema, 8.45pm

This film screens as part of the 'From the Universal Archives' season at the Prince Charles. Full details of the excellent programme can be found here.

Chicago Reader review:
George Roy Hill's usual spit-and-polish direction makes a fairly funny film out of the story of a bankrupt minor-league hockey team saved from the brink when the coach (Paul Newman) discovers the drawing power of unbridled violence. The film strains a bit, getting some of its biggest laughs out of the savagery it's trying to condemn, but Nancy Dowd's script embodies the best (worst?) of jock talk, and the supporting cast contributes some fine caricatures (1977).
Dave Kehr

Here (and above) is the trailer.

Capital Celluloid 2015 - Day 180: Mon Jun 29

Vampyros Lesbos (Franco, 1971): Prince Charles Cinema, 8.30pm

To celebrate Stephen Thrower & Julian Grainger’s long awaited Jess Franco book, Murderous Passions Cigarette Burns have organised for Stephen Thrower to introduce Severin Films acclaimed new remaster of Franco’s screaming classic VAMPYROS LESBOS, at the Prince Charles Cinema, on 29th June.

Thrower will be on hand to guide the audience into the Franco ether, as once again Cigarette Burns enter into the luscious and hazy world of the director. Linda Westinghouse, troubled by bizarre erotic dreams, haunted by a mysterious, amorous vampire, but when she heads off to a to an island to claim her inheritance, she comes face to face with the woman of her dreams ...

Here (and above) is the trailer.

Capital Celluloid 2015 - Day 179: Sun Jun 28

Madame Bovary (Chabrol, 1991): Cine Lumiere, 2pm

This is part of the Sunday French Classics season at the Cine Lumiere. Details here.

Chicago Reader review:
In Claude Chabrol's otherwise faithful 1991 adaptation of Flaubert's novel, Isabelle Huppert is good at conveying Bovary's boredom but not her passions, and as often happens in adaptations, the film is more a series of episodes than a convincing narrative. Yet it soars in its presentation of the milieu, from colorful period detail to the sound of a speech outdoors during a love scene to a lively town market that envelops a character who walks through it. Objects and colors have a sensuous continuity that outlasts the tragic protagonists, an odd reflection of the way individual will in the story seems powerless against the social context.
Fred Camper

Here (and above) is the trailer.

Capital Celluloid 2015 - Day 178: Sat Jun 27

The Fabulous World of Jules Verne (Zeman, 1968): Horse Hospital, 7.30pm

Horse Hospital preview:
The latest live rescore from top musicians The McCarricks sees them tackle The Fabulous World of Jules Verne (Karel Zeman 1956), a classic sci-fi adventure film featuring a one legged pirate, giant octopus with a taste for human flesh, underwater bicycles, amazing flying machines, duck powered submarines and camels on roller skates…  But an evil millionaire is planning to use a super-explosive device to conquer the world from his headquarters inside an enormous volcano – can he be stopped?!
Watch the original trailer here

“Why do I make movies? I’m looking for terra incognita, a land on which no filmmaker has yet set foot, a planet where no director has planted his flag of conquest, a world that exists only in fairy tales.” Karel Zeman

The McCarricks are the husband and wife band of Martin McCarrick on cello and Kimberlee McCarrick on violin.  They have collaborated widely, including Kristin Hersh, Sinéad O’Connor, Gary Numan, Marianne Faithfull and Patti Smith’s Meltdown concerts at the Royal Festival Hall in London.  Their solo performances are in front of silent films produced specially for their performances and recently included Der Letzte Mann by F.W Murnau

Here is the trailer.

Capital Celluloid 2015 - Day 177: Fri Jun 26

The Third Man (Reed, 1949): BFI Southbank, NFT1, 6.20 & 8.45pm

This 4K restoration of the classic Carol Reed film starts an extended run at BFI Southbank, ahead of the Orson Welles season at the cinema in July and August. Full details here.

Time Out review:
‘The Third Man’ continued Carol Reed’s collaboration with Graham Greene and, like ‘The Fallen Idol’, it’s about secrets, lies and the tension between naiveté and loyalty. The location, however, has shifted from London. Summoned to occupied post-war Vienna by his schoolfriend Harry Lime, brash American pulp writer Holly Martins (Joseph Cotten) arrives to find his old chum being widely mourned, especially by the actress Anna (Alida Valli), though less so by British Major Calloway (Trevor Howard). In this quartered, ruined, double-talking city, however, it’s as well to take nothing at face value… 

A considerably more harmonious collaborative effort than Allied powersharing, ‘The Third Man’ remains among the most consummate of British thrillers: Reed and Greene’s sardonic vision of smiling corruption is deliciously realised with superb location work, a roster of seasoned Viennese performers and the raised eyebrow of Anton Karas’ jaunty zither score. Although his screen time is famously scanty, Orson Welles’ Harry haunts each scene: everywhere and invisible, he’s a smirking Cheshire cat of a villain, a superb case study in shameless charisma as poisonous contagion. Audiences, like many of the characters, have tended to fall for his charms, fondly recalling the privilege of being taken into his confidence rather than the rotten core it conceals. 

The film, however, is less charitable, pursuing the performer backstage into the sewers, sick bowels of the city he lords it over. Playing American heroics against British pragmatism, elements of noir against horror (the empty grave, the burning torches), ‘The Third Man’ is suffused with irony yet ultimately serious-minded: without personal responsibility, it says, there is no hope for civilisation – however charming the smirk.
Ben Walters

Here (and above) is the new trailer.

Capital Celluloid 2015 - Day 176: Thu Jun 25

The Birth of a Nation (Griffith, 1915): BFI Southbank, NFT1, 7.30pm

This film is being shown as part of the DW Griffith season. The Thurday 25th June screening will be introduced by author and UCL film historian Melvyn Stokes. The Sunday 28the June screening will be introduced by Kunle Olulode, Director, Voice4Change. Details here.

As a conference is held at UCL marking the centenary of the film highly regarded keynote speakers will be at BFI Southbank at 6pm for a roundtable discussion to share their thoughts on this controversial film. Chair Melvyn Stokes (UCL) will be joined by Jane Gaines (Columbia University), Robert Lang (University of Hartford), Paul McEwan (Muhlenberg College), Cedric Robinson (University of California, Santa Barbara), Jacqueline Stewart (University of Chicago) and Linda Williams (University of California, Berkeley). Details here.

Chicago Reader review:
It might as well be titled “The Birth of the Movies.” D.W. Griffith's 1915 Civil War epic was the first commercially successful feature-length film. Seen today, it is an odd combination of the most delicate sentiment and, in its racism, the most brutal insensibility. Griffith's later films are unquestionably superior. But here, in a very real sense, is where the movies began, both as an art and as a business.
Dave Kehr

Here (and above) is the trailer.

Capital Celluloid 2015 - Day 175: Wed Jun 24

Intolerance (Griffith, 1916): BFI Southbank, NFT1, 7.50pm

This is part of the DW Griffith season at BFI Southbank and also screens on 27th June. You can find all the details here.

Chicago Reader review:
Made in 1916 and still ahead of the times, D.W. Griffith's magnificent epic intercuts four stories set in four different historical periods—an experiment with cinematic time and space that even the avant-garde has only recently begun to absorb. Griffith conceived the film as four rivers that "seem to flow together in one common flood of humanity." One of the great breakthroughs—the Ulysses of the cinema—and a powerful, moving experience in its own right.
Dave Kehr

Here (and above) is the trailer.

Capital Celluloid 2015 - Day 174: Tue Jun 23

The Crimson Kimono (Fuller, 1959): Regent Street Cinema, 6.30pm

This film screens in a double-bill with the recently released documentary on director Sam Fuller, A Fuller Life. You can read about the latter movie here.

Time Out review:
Sam Fuller developing his theme of urban alienation: landscape, culture and sexual confusion are all juxtaposed, forcing the Japanese-born detective (who, along with his buddy, is on the hunt for a burlesque queen murderer) into a nightmare of isolation and jealousy. Some fine set pieces - like the disciplined Kendo fight that degenerates into sadistic anarchy - and thoughtful camera-work serve to illustrate Fuller's gift for weaving a poetic nihilism out of his journalistic vision of urban crime. 

Here (and above) is the opening to the film.

Capital Celluloid 2015 - Day 173: Mon Jun 22

Le Cercle Rouge (Melville, 1970): Regent Street Cinema, 6pm

This film screens in a double-bill with new French crime movie The Connection.

Chicago Reader review:
Jean-Pierre Melville's austere heist film, made in 1970, was his next to last; it opens with a Buddhist aphorism about fate binding two men to meet again, and ends with a police chief pronouncing all men ultimately guilty. Two prisoners return to society—Corey (Alain Delon) has served his sentence and is released, while Vogel (Gian Maria Volonte) escapes from a speeding train. They team up with a sharpshooting ex-cop to mount an exquisite jewel theft. Melville renders the taciturn crooks and corrupt inspectors with the nocturnal blue palette that is his signature. Key action points are edited with finesse, but the denouement, with its dutiful hail of gunfire, is heartless and mechanical. With Yves Montand, Andre Bourvil, and Francoise Perier.
Bill Stamets

Here (and above) is the trailer.

Capital Celluloid 2015 - Day 172: Sun Jun 21

Dance With a Stranger (Newell, 1985): ArtHouse Cinema, Crouch End, 2.30pm

This screening will be followed by a Q&A with director Mike Newell.

Time Out review:
Newcomer Miranda Richardson is Ruth Ellis, peroxided 'hostess' in a Soho drinking club and the last woman to be hanged in Britain for the murder of her upper middle class lover. Not so much star-crossed as class-crossed, the affair has all the charm of fingernails on a blackboard, and it's filmed with a merciless eye for the sort of bad behaviour that Fassbinder made his own. But what the movie captures perfectly is the seedy mood of repression, so characteristic of austerity Britain in the '50s. Richardson gives full rein to the two things that British cinema has hardly ever had the guts to face: sexual obsession and bad manners. And, since this is England, it's the latter that finally sends her to the scaffold. It's shot, designed and acted with an imaginative grasp that puts it straight into the international class.
Chris Peachment

Here (and above) is the trailer.

Capital Celluloid 2015 - Day 171: Sat Jun 20

Jaws (Spielberg, 1975): Genesis Cinema, 6.15pm

To celebrate the 40th anniversary of Steven Spielberg’s original summer blockbuster,  Jaws will return to the big screen at the Genesis Cinema.

Time Out review:
'Is there such a thing as a perfect film? One that knows what it wants to achieve and does it, flawlessly, artfully and intelligently? If so, then ‘Jaws’ is as good a candidate as any. Thirty-seven years on (and reissued in a new HD print), this tale of an island community terrorised by a killer shark still feels timeless and terrifying. The characterisation is precise and acutely observed (it’s one of the great guys-on-a-mission flicks), the dialogue is witty and wise, and the plot fits together like a finely crafted watch. The performances – not just leads, but the kids, townsfolk and the grief-stricken mother too – are impeccable. Best of all is Steven Spielberg’s direction: the camera moves like a predatory animal, gliding eerily across the surface of the vast Atlantic, creating sequences of almost unbearable suspense (never mind that the scariest scene was shot in a swimming pool). It’s no wonder a generation of holidaymakers still thinks twice before stepping into the water.'
Tom Huddleston

Here (and above) is the trailer.

Capital Celluloid 2015 - Day 170: Fri Jun 19

The Long Good Friday (Mackenzie, 1981): BFI Southbank, NFT1, 6pm

As a precursor to the BFI Southbank's major 'London on Film season' (from July to October), the cinema have programmed an extended season featuring the restoration of this iconic and influential London gangland thriller. Full details of all the screenings here.

Tonight in NFT1 there's a special premiere screening plus a discussion with the film’s cinematographer Phil Méheux and writer Barrie Keeffe.

Chicago Reader review:
By the early 80s the British film industry was profitably turning away from the David Lean-Carol Reed “tradition of quality” to find new life in grittier styles and subjects. This transposition of an American gangster tragedy (complete with Christological references) to London's West End doesn't quite have an American drive and assurance, yet the film is fascinating for the culture gaps it opens. Bob Hoskins gives a growly, charismatic performance as the kingpin brought low by phantom forces over the course of an Easter weekend, and there's a political theme that asserts itself with nicely rising force. With Helen Mirren and Dave King; directed by John Mackenzie (1980).
Dave Kehr

Here (and above) is the trailer.

Capital Celluloid 2015 - Day 169: Thu Jun 18

River of No Return (Preminger, 1954): BFI Southbank, NFT3, 6.10pm

This typically excellent Otto Preminger film screens as part of the Marilyn Monroe season at BFI Southbank. The movie also screens on 15 June. Full details here.

Chicago Reader review:
Marilyn Monroe and Robert Mitchum search for her missing husband in this excellent 1954 western by Otto Preminger, one of the first films to discover the potential of CinemaScope and a fine example of Preminger's rational approach to the mysteries of personal morality.
Dave Kehr

Here (and above) is the trailer.

Capital Celluloid 2015 - Day 168: Wed Jun 17

Actress (Greene, 2014): ICA Cinema, 6.30pm

Here is the ICA introduction for this highly praised documentary:
Brandy Burre had a recurring role on HBO’s The Wire when she gave up her career to start a family in upstate New York. When she decides to reclaim her life as an actor, the domestic world she’s carefully created crumbles around her.
Using elements of melodrama and cinema verité, Actress is both a present-tense portrait of a dying relationship and an exploration of a complicated woman, performing the role of herself, in a complex-yet-familiar story. It’s a film about starring in the movie of your life.

Chicago Reader review:
Brandy Burre, best known for a recurring role on HBO's The Wire, retired from acting in 2006 to start a family in Beacon, New York, but by the time Robert Greene started shooting this cinema verite documentary, she'd made up her mind to attempt a comeback. The plot thickens when Burre reveals that the father of her two children is moving out because of the affair she's been having, though this aspect of the story is strictly controlled and, rather than pursue it, Greene settles for a sort of rhetorical gloss comparing her roles as a mother and domestic partner to her acting roles. At one point her agent tells her she needs a demo reel to get work in LA; watching her drop tears for the camera as her home life disintegrates, I had to wonder whether this was it.
JR Jones

Here (and above) is the trailer.

Capital Celluloid 2015 - Day 167: Tue Jun 16

Liquid Sky (Tsukerman, 1982): ICA Cinema, 6.30pm

This rarely seen independent cult classic screens as part of the excellent ICA Cinematheque: Eye on I season. You can find the full details here.

Time Out review:
Film-maker Slava Tsukerman's personal comment on, er, the State of Western Man, magnified through a thoroughly unpleasant bunch of New York junkies, poseurs and twits. Claiming to subvert a host of Hollywood verities, Tsukerman unleashes a parasitic alien being on the New York smack'n'sex demi-monde. Junkies and sex fiends start dropping like flies, and not even the Bruno Ganz-alike scientist can stop the voracious bug. Tsukerman stops short of his original intention of offing the whole cast, allowing for an extraordinary fairy-tale ascension at the end, but his aim of highlighting social malaise gets happily mislaid in a bizarre, often hilarious melee of weird drugs, weird sex and off-the-wall camp SF. Close Encounters for acid casualties.

Here (and above) is the trailer.

Capital Celluloid 2015 - Day 166: Mon Jun 15

Sons of the Desert (Seiter, 1933) & County Hospital (Parrott, 1932):
Vue Cinema Piccadilly, 8.15pm

Laurel and Hardy are returning to the big screen this summer to mark the 125th anniversary of Stan Laurel's birth. Cinemas across the UK and in Ireland will be showing a double bill of their classic 1933 feature length film Sons of the Desert and the short movie County Hospital in events organised by The Laurel and Hardy Roadshow and Showcase Cinemas. Full details here.

Chicago Reader review of Sons of the Desert:
The shapeliest of Laurel and Hardy's features, this 1934 comedy fills out their accustomed two-reel format, not with dissociated bits and romantic subplots, but with some relaxed and creative character work. Stan and Ollie want to run off to Chicago for their annual frat convention, but they have to tell the wives that they're going to Hawaii to treat a rare tropical disease Ollie has come down with. With Mae Busch, Charley Chase, and Dorothy Christy; William A. Seiter directed. 69 min.
Dave Kehr

Here (and above) is an extract.