Thursday, December 14, 2017

Dec 13th    
Film Stars Don't Die in Liverpool** (15)       
(HMV Curzon Wimbledon)

(GB 2017)             

The true story of Gloria Grahame's affair towards the end of her life with English actor Peter Turner, a slightly rosy-tinted portrait of the late 1970s, playing out as a real-life Sunset Boulevard scenario with stock footage of the real Ms. Grahame that threatens to upstage the central performance, but Benin's sensitive rendering of the character (particularly in the down-to-earth Liverpool setting) still engages and compels.

p: Barbara Broccoli, Colin Vaines
d: Paul McGuigan
s: Annette Bening, Jamie Bell, Julie Walters, Kenneth Cranham, Vanessa Redgrave, Frances Barber

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Dec 12th  
Thelma and Louise**       

(US 1991)             

A repressed housewife escapes her priggish husband to spend a weekend with her best friend, that soon turns into something much more dangerous...
Landmark female road thriller, which despite its refreshing gender twist on the usual male preserve, slightly sags into one long chase, with a memorable conclusion. Its success didn't lead to a trend for all-female action films, but it does bear hallmarks of the later Tarantino genre.

Written by: Callie Khouri.
Producers: Ridley Scott, Mimi Polk Gitlin.
Director: Ridley Scott.
Starring: Susan Sarandon, Geena Davis, Harvey Keitel, Michael Madsen, Brad Pitt, Christopher McDonald, Stephen Tobolowsky, Timothy Carhart.
Photography: Adrian Biddle.
Music: Hans Zimmer.

Preceded by:
Schools Out*
(US 1930.  20m. bw; The Little Rascals mistake their favourite teacher's brother for being her prospective fiancee.; w: H.M. Walker; d: Robert F. McGowan; s: June Marlowe, Jackie Cooper, Creighton Hale.)


Wednesday, December 06, 2017

Dec 5th    
Jupiter Ascending*          

(US/Australia 2015)                                                   

A girl born under the stars aligned with Jupiter is the genetic heir to its kingdom, from which a power struggle ensues.
Imaginative but semi-coherent fantasy, with the film makers once again getting too carried away with their world, rushing along with the narrative before the audience has a chance to take it in and before the characters have become sympathetic enough. In other hands it might have been a notable addition to the sci-fi cycle; as it is, just another cult item.

Written and Directed by: Lana Wachowski, Andy Wachowski.
Producer: Grant Hill, Lana Wachowski, Andy Wachowski.
Starring: Mila Kunis, Channing Tatum, Sean Bean, Eddie Redmayne, Douglas Booth, Tuppence Middleton, Jeremy Swift, Doona Bae, Tim Pigott-Smith, Maria Doyle Kennedy, James Darcy, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Terry Gilliam.
Photography: John Toll.
Music: Michael Giacchino.
Production Design: Hugh Bateup.

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Nov 20th  
Pandora's Box**          

(Ger 1929)                                   

 A seductress lures men to their doom but meets her ultimate demise at the hands of Jack the Ripper.
One of the most iconic of 1920s films, a ponderous but stylish sexual German melodrama benefiting greatly from the "outside" presence of its American star, whose look became a fashion style.

Written by: G.W. Pabst, Ladislaus Vajdu, based on the "Lulu" plays by Frank Wedekind.
Producer: Seymour Nebenzal.
Director: G.W. Pabst.
Starring: Louise Brooks, Fritz Kortner, Francis Lederer, Carl Goetz, Alice Roberts, Daisy D'ora, Gustav Diessl (as Jack the Ripper).
Photography: Gunther Krampf.

+ Marlene Dietrich was considered for the role of Lulu, but only after Brooks was initially unavailable for release from her Hollywood contract with Paramount

Sunday, November 19, 2017

Nov 18th
Paddington 2* (PG)                   
(Century Clacton)                                     

(GB 2017)

Sentimental follow-up to 2014's family hit (qv), with the seemingly impossible to hate bear now foiling a dastardly actor trying to steal a fortune, with those from the first outing present and correct, and sticking within its crowd-pleasing formula.

d: Paul King
s: Hugh Grant, Ben Whishaw (voice only), Hugh Bonneville, Brendan Gleeson, Sally Hawkins, Julie Walters, Jim Broadbent, Peter Capaldi, Sanjeev Bhaskar, Tom Conti

Tuesday, November 07, 2017

Nov 5th  
Murder on the Orient Express* (12A) 
(Scala Cinema, Prestatyn)                                                                         

(US/GB/NZ 2017)

Absurdly fanciful remake with unnecessary action sequences and over-elaborated locations, but some good moments of acting. Complete banishment of memories of the 1974 original is required.

w: Michael Green, based on the novel
d: Kenneth Branagh
s: Kenneth Branagh, Daisy Ridley, Johnny Depp, Michelle Pfeiffer, Derek Jacobi, Judi Dench, Willem Dafoe, Penelope Cruz, Olivia Colman

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Oct 29th  
What We Do in the Shadows*                    

(NZ 2014)

Mockumentary following three Wellington vampires sharing a house and struggling to get their nightly feed.
Wryly amusing and mildly satirical spoof although it goes nowhere plotwise but quirkily entertains.

Written and Directed by: Jermaine Clement, Taika Waititi.
Producers: Taika Waititi, Chelsea Winstanley, Emanuel Michael.
Starring: Taika Waititi, Jermaine Clement, Jonathan Brugh, Jackie Van Beek, Ben Fransham, Elena Stejko, Karen O'Leary, Mike Minogue.
Photography: Richard Bluck, D.J. Stipsen.
Music: Plan 9, and others.