Capital Celluloid 2018 - Day 40: Fri Feb 9

Memoirs of a Murderer (Irie, 2017): ICA Cinema, 8.40pm

This film is part of the 'Japan Foundation Touring Film Programme 2018: (Un)true Colours – Secrets and Lies in Japanese Cinema' season at the ICA (full details here). 

ICA Cinema introduction:
When a legal loophole allows a string of unsolved brutal murders to pass the statute of limitations, a fame-hungry killer known as the Tokyo Strangler (Tatsuya Fujiwara) suddenly emerges in the public spotlight, announcing the release of his tell-all book confessing to the unsolved brutal murders committed decades ago. Watching the media frenzy unfold is detective Makimura (Hideaki Ito), wracked by his failure to crack the case years ago. A series of lingering questions leads Makimura to delve deeper in search of closure. Yu Irie adapts Jung Byoung-Gil's gripping thriller Confession of Murder in this murder mystery, featuring more twisted turns than the original. A huge domestic box office hit, this thriller packs a punch and features an all-star cast.

Capital Celluloid 2018 - Day 39: Thu Feb 8

The Mole Song: Undercover Agent Reiji (Miike, 2013): ICA Cinema, 8.30pm

This film is part of the 'Japan Foundation Touring Film Programme 2018: (Un)true Colours – Secrets and Lies in Japanese Cinema' season at the ICA (full details here). This movie can also be seen on February 10th (details here).

ICA introduction:
Reiji Kikukawa (Toma Ikuta) is an inept rookie cop with a strong sense of justice. Fired for trying to arrest a city councillor caught molesting a teenage girl, he is secretly re-hired as an undercover agent and sent on a mission to infiltrate Sukiya-kai, Japan's most notorious Yakuza clan. Suffering various hardships along the way, Reiji fights to survive the ruthless Yakuza world by becoming a sworn brother to the senior member, Crazy Papillon (Shinichi Tsutsumi), all the while acting as an informer to the police. Coinciding with the celebration of the release of his hundredth film, this hilarious and energetic manga adaption by cult classic director Takashi Miike is not to be missed. 

Capital Celluloid 2018 - Day 38: Wed Feb 7

Code Unknown (Haneke, 2000): Close-Up Cinema, 7.30pm

This 35mm screening is part of the Close-Up Cinema Michael Haneke season (full details here). You can also see this film on February 3rd and 18th. Details here.

Code Unknown is one of the richest achievements of modern European art cinema. Director Michael Haneke places his typically forensic gaze on modern western society and finds it wanting but the way he does so is cinematically innovative. Implicating the audience and challenging the expectations of the viewer is the aim here and the director succeeds, leaving mysteries which will have filmgoers arguing long after they have left the cinema.

Chicago Reader review:
'Aptly subtitled “Incomplete Tales of Several Journeys,” the best feature to date by Austrian director Michael Haneke (2000, 117 min.) is a procession of long virtuoso takes that typically begin and end in the middle of actions or sentences, constituting not only an interactive jigsaw puzzle but a thrilling narrative experiment. The second episode is a nine-minute street scene involving an altercation between an actress (Juliette Binoche), her boyfriend's younger brother, an African music teacher who works with deaf-mute students, and a woman beggar from Romania; the other episodes effect a kind of narrative dispersal of these characters and some of their relatives across time and space. I couldn't always get what was happening, but I was never bored, and the questions raised reflect the mysteries of everyday life. The title refers to the pass codes used to enter houses in Paris—a metaphor for codes that might crack certain global and ethical issues.' 
Jonathan Rosenbaum

Here (and above) is the trailer.

Capital Celluloid 2018 - Day 37: Tue Feb 6

No1: Night Tide (Harrington, 1961): Royal Academy, 7pm

Royal Academy introduction:
We are excited to present EXPRESSWAY, an evening curated by the Academicians’ Room and cult film director Nicolas Winding Refn that will take over the Keeper’s House with films, live music, and poetry. The first event in the series is EXPRESSWAY, an evening of films, live music, and poetry co-curated by the Academicians’ Room and by NWR from cult film director Nicolas Winding Refn that will take over the Keeper’s House. We will be presenting the first UK screening of the newly restored Night Tide (1961). This thriller features a young Dennis Hopper in his very first starring role, as a man who falls in love with a woman who may or may not be a real mermaid, and who is connected to some mysterious deaths. Night Tide will be followed by a screening of Santo contra Hombres Infernales (Santo Versus the Infernal Men), which was filmed in Cuba just as the Cuban Revolution gained steam. It’s rumoured that the crew had to flee Cuba, faking the death of a crew member so that the footage could be smuggled out in a coffin. The Academicians’ Room will play host to DJs Annabel Fraser, Ivan Smagghe and Nathan Gregory Wilkins, as well as in-conversations with journalist Jimmy McDonough and Ben Cobb from Another Man magazine. In the Shenkman Bar and Keeper’s House you’ll find eclectic music and poetry. Acclaimed film composer Julian Winding will take over the bar, while three of the UK’s best young poets, Caleb Femi, Bridget Minamore and James Massiah, turn the restaurant into a room of words.

Chicago Reader Night Tide review:
Dennis Hopper had his first starring role in this odd and arresting black-and-white mood piece about a young sailor who falls in love with a carnival worker who may be a mermaid. Made in 1960 but not released until 1963, it was the first feature of Curtis Harrington. A poetic, low-budget independent effort, it can't be called an unqualified success but certainly deserves to be seen. At moments it evokes some of the early magic of Jacques Demy, and as with Demy's first feature, 
Lola, it's questionable whether Harrington ever topped it in his subsequent, more commercial efforts.
Jonathan Rosenbaum

Here (and above) is the trailer. 


No2: Phantom Thread (Anderson, 2017): Picturehouse Central, 1pm, 3.30pm, 6.40pm, 9.30pm

A rare foray into the new-release arena for Paul Thomas Anderson's latest film, which is being screened from 70mm at Picturehouse Central from Friday February 2nd. Full details here.

Picturehouse Central introduction:
This tale of obsession and self-doubt features what Daniel Day-Lewis has claimed will be his final film appearance. Celebrated couturier Reynolds Woodcock (Day-Lewis) and his sister Cyril (Manville) are at the centre of the 1950s London fashion world, dressing royalty, film stars, heiresses and debutants with the distinct style of the House of Woodcock. But despite the many women in his life Woodcock remains a confirmed bachelor, seeking only companionship and inspiration for his work, and all under the protective eye of Cyril. That’s until he meets hotel waitress Alma (Krieps) who, young and determined, will turn his carefully tailored life upside down. In his second collaboration with Day-Lewis, director Paul Thomas Anderson paints an illuminating portrait both of an artist on a creative journey and the women who keep his world running.

Here (and above) is the trailer.

Capital Celluloid 2018 - Day 36: Mon Feb 5

The Gold Diggers (Potter, 1983): BFI Southbank, NFT3, 6.20pm

This film is part of the Experimenta strand at BFI Southbank. Full details here.

Chicago Reader review:
Sally Potter's surrealistic and metaphorical epic about women, gold, and cinema—shot in ravishing black and white by Babette Mangolte on location in Iceland—is a good deal wittier and more fun than its checkered career would lead you to expect. Starring Julie Christie and Colette Laffont, this feminist fantasy-musical, set in the past and the future, was financed by the British Film Institute in 1983 and has a relatively lavish budget for an experimental feature. What keeps it alive—apart from the arresting music and uncanny, haunting images—is Potter's imaginative grasp of film history: odd references to Chaplin's The Gold Rush and Kuleshov's By the Law are recalled in the mise en scene, but the ambience may also remind you a little bit of The 5,000 Fingers of Dr. T. Not a film for everyone, but if you like it, chances are you'll like it a lot.
Jonathan Rosenbaum

Here is an extract from the film.

Capital Celluloid 2018 - Day 35: Sun Feb 4

Society (Yuzna, 1989): Waterloo Vaults, 3pm

Waterloo Vaults introduction:
This very special Enthusiasms double-bill – moving from its regular disreputable home at the cinematic sex dungeon Curzon Soho to the dank and sordid underbelly of the Waterloo tunnels – packs a horrific one-two punch of exposure and exploitation: honey-traps, hallucinogens, CIA conspiracy-theories, slithering body-horror and Republican cannibalistic-orgies are the order of the day in the dark pulsating heart of Trump’s America. Part one of the double-bill is
the short film I AM THE DEVIL (Mike Harris, 2017). Based on the true story of Operation Midnight Climax, a secret CIA program in which unsuspecting johns were lured by prostitutes and then subjected to non-consensual LSD testing, as well as psychological and physical torture in an effort to perfect mind control against the Soviets. Set in 1959, a few years into the program, I AM THE DEVIL tells the story of one such hapless test subject looking for a good time on a business trip in San Francisco, and the ensuing nightmare.

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 Brian 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 2018 - Day 34: Sat Feb 3

Rebecca (Hitchcock, 1940): ICA Cinema, 12.45pm

An adaptation of Daphne du Maurier's 1938 novel, Rebecca was Alfred Hitchcock’s first foray into Hollywood filmmaking and an inspiration for Paul Thomas Anderson's latest film Phantom Thread. The film is being screened from February 2nd to 4th at the ICA, ahead of the screenings od Phantom Thread at the cinema.

Chicago Reader review:
'There are too many conflicting levels of authorship—between Alfred Hitchcock, Daphne du Maurier, and David O. Selznick—for this 1940 film to be a complete success, but through its first two-thirds it is as perfect a myth of adolescence as any of the Disney films, documenting the childlike, nameless heroine's initiation into the adult mysteries of sex, death, and identity, and the impossibility of reconciling these forces with family strictures. As a Hitchcock film, it is, with the closely related Suspicion, one of his rare studies from a female point of view, and it is surprisingly tender and compassionate; the same issues, treated from a male viewpoint, would return in Vertigo and Marnie (Laurence Olivier's Maxim becoming the Sean Connery character of the latter film).'
Dave Kehr 

Here (and above) is the trailer.


Capital Celluloid 2018 - Day 33: Fri Feb 2

Groundhog Day (Ramis, 1993): Prince Charles Cinema, 1.30, 3.50 & 6.10pm

It's the 25th anniversary of the movie Groundhog Day so what better way to celebrate than attending one of these 35mm screenings of Groundhog Day.

New Statesman film critic, Ryan Gilbey, has written a BFI Modern Classics monograph on Groundhog Day which I can highly recommend. Here is an extract from a feature he wrote for the Observer on the film:

'[Groundhog Day] has emerged as one of the most influential films in modern cinema - and not only on other movies. Tony Blair did not refer to Jurassic Park in his sombre speech about the Northern Ireland peace process. Dispatches during the search for weapons of mass distraction made no mention of Mrs Doubtfire . And the Archbishop of Canterbury neglected to name-check Indecent Proposal when delivering the 2002 Richard Dimbleby Lecture. But Groundhog Day was invoked on each of these occasions.

The title has become a way of encapsulating those feelings of futility, repetition and boredom that are a routine part of our lives. When Groundhog Day is referred to, it is not the 2 February celebration that comes to mind, but the story of a cynical TV weatherman, Phil Connors, played by Bill Murray, who pitches up in Punxsutawney to cover the festivities. Next morning, he wakes to discover it's not the next morning at all: he is trapped in Groundhog Day. No matter what crimes he commits or how definitively he annihilates himself, he will be returned to his dismal bed-and-breakfast each morning at 5.59am ...'

Here all the Ned Ryerson scenes, here are all the Ned Ryerson scenes, here are all the Ned Ryerson scenes ...

Capital Celluloid 2018 - Day 32: Thu Feb 1

Inherent Vice (Anderson, 2014): Prince Charles Cinema, 8.30pm

This screening is part of the 'Paul Thomas Anderson 35mm tour' and you can read the full details of the season at the Prince Charles Cinema here.

Chicago Reader review:
Inherent Vice would be a landmark in movie history even if it weren't good. More than just an adaptation of Thomas Pynchon's 2009 novel—indeed the first official Pynchon adaptation, period—the film engages with the author's literature on the whole, attempting a filmic analogue to his virtuosic prose. Arguably the James Joyce of postmodern American fiction, Pynchon created a new kind of epic novel with V. (1963) and Gravity's Rainbow (1973), combining literary references high and low, probing considerations of postwar history, goofy counterculture humor (frequently about drugs and sex), and flights of formal experimentation. His books can be overwhelming on a first read, as they feature dozens (sometimes even hundreds) of characters and interweave multiple conspiracy plots, some of which touch on real historic events. How could one make a movie that conveys the depth of Pynchon's literature, to say nothing of his polyphonous language?
Ben Sachs ... continue reading the review here ...

Here (and above) is the trailer. 

Capital Celluloid 2018 - Day 31: Wed Jan 31

Gun Crazy (Lewis, 1949): Rio Cinema, 6.10pm

The late Peggy Cummins is celebrated by the Rio Cinema with a three-night run (from January 30th to February 1st) in their new Screen Two of Joseph H Lewis's superb B movie, Gun Crazy.

Chicago Reader review:
One of the most distinguished works of art to emerge from the B movie swamp, Joseph H. Lewis's 1949 film is a proto-Bonnie and Clyde
 tale of an outlaw couple on the run. Lewis's long takes and sure command of film noir staples (shadows, fog, rain-soaked streets) make this a stunning technical achievement, but it's something more--a gangster film that explores the limits of the form with feeling and responsibility. With Peggy Cummins and John Dall.
Dave Kehr

Here (and above) is an extract.

Capital Celluloid 2018 - Day 30: Tue Jan 30

The Goalie's Anxiety at the Penalty Kick (Wenders, 1972): Picturehouse Central, 6.45pm

Having remained unavailable for three decades, the film (formerly released as The Goalkeeper's Fear of the Penalty) returns to UK cinemas in January 2018, restored and remastered in stunning 4K, commissioned by the Wim Wenders Foundation under the direct supervision of Wenders himself.

Time Out review:
The Goalkeeper's Fear of the Penalty
 outdoes even Wenders' subsequent Alice in the Cities in its sense that everything shown is at once subjective and objective. German goalie Bloch (Brauss) walks out of a game in Vienna, hangs around, commits an arbitrary murder, and then takes a coach to the Austrian border to look up an old flame. It's the journey of a man who's getting too old for his job, living off his nerves, sustained by his taste for Americana, movies and rock (everything from Hitchcock to 'Wimaway'). Brauss' engagingly hangdog face anchors it all in recognisable human feelings, while avoiding the least hint of 'psychological' explanation. More than in his later movies, Wenders' style here has a remarkably charged quality: every frame haunts you for goddam weeks.
Tony Rayns

Here (and above) is an extract.

Capital Celluloid 2018 - Day 29: Mon Jan 29

Chimes At Midnight (Welles, 1966): Close-Up Cinema, 7.30pm

This screening is part of the Orson Welles season at Close-Up Cinema from January 15th to 30th. You can find all the details here. This film is also being ashown on January 19th. Details here.

Chicago Reader review:
Orson Welles's 1966 version of the Falstaff story, assembled from Shakespearean bits and pieces, is the one Welles film that deserves to be called lovely; there is also a rising tide of opinion that proclaims it his masterpiece. Restrained and even serene (down to its memorably muddy battle scene), it shows Welles working largely without his technical flourishes—and for those who have never seen beyond his surface flash, it is ample proof of how sensitive and subtle an artist he was. With Keith Baxter, John Gielgud, Margaret Rutherford, and Jeanne Moreau.
Dave Kehr

Here (and above) is the trailer.

Capital Celluloid 2018 - Day 28: Sun Jan 28

Death Line (Sherman, 1972): Waterloo Vaults, 3pm

Misc Films introduction:
First released in 1972, Death Line (retitled Raw Meat in the States) was truly ahead of its time in its mixture of grisly thrills, gallows humour and sharp social commentary. Now, it is rightly heralded as a British horror classic, and is a favourite of such genre aficionados as Edgar Wright, Guillermo del Toro and Mark Gatiss. Don’t miss this rare big-screen outing, presented by Misc. Films in the VAULT’s suitably shadowy, subterranean setting underneath Waterloo station.

Time Out review:
One of the great British horror films, Death Line is a classic example of what Hellraiser director Clive Barker calls 'embracing the monstrous'. The film's basic premise is a gruesome one: following a cave-in during the construction of an underground tunnel in 1892, successive generations of plague-ridden cannibals have survived and developed their own subterranean culture. Forced out of hiding by the death of his wife, the sole surviving cannibal begins abducting passengers from Russell Square tube station. The disgust provoked by the corpse-filled underground world inhabited by the cannibal is offset by the tenderness with which he treats his dying wife, and by the unutterable sadness of his lonely plight. The film's great achievement is in eliciting sympathy for a creature whose residual capacity for human feeling amid such terrible degradation is ultimately more moving than horrifying.
Nigel Floyd

Capital Celluloid 2018 - Day 27: Sat Jan 27

The Trial (Welles, 1962): Close Up Cinema, 7.30pm

This screening is part of the Orson Welles season at Close-Up Cinema from January 15th to 30th. You can find all the details here.

Chicago Reader review:
Though debatable as an adaptation of the Franz Kafka novel, Orson Welles's nightmarish, labyrinthine comedy of 1962—shot mainly in Paris's abandoned Gare d'Orsay and various locations in Zagreb and Rome after he had to abandon his plan to use sets—remains his creepiest and most disturbing work; it's also a lot more influential than people usually admit (e.g., 
After Hours, the costume store sequences in Eyes Wide Shut). Anthony Perkins gives an adolescent temper to Joseph K, a bureaucrat mysteriously brought to court for an unspecified crime. Among the predatory females who pursue him are Jeanne Moreau, Romy Schneider, and Elsa Martinelli; Welles himself plays the hero's tyrannical lawyer, and Akim Tamiroff is one of his oldest clients. Welles adroitly captures the experience of an unsettling and slightly hysterical dream throughout. Given the impact of screen size on what he's doing, you can't claim to have seen this if you've watched it only on video.
Jonathan Rosenbaum

Here (and above) is the trailer.