Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Jun 22nd   
The Chess Players**   
(Shatraj Ke Khilari)

(India 1977)                            

The 19th century colonial India, two aristocrats are more interested in playing chess than matters, whilst around them the province is being taken over by the British.
Interesting slow burner with rather primitive sound and amateurish cutting, but performances and the quirky subject make for steady but absorbing viewing.

Written, Directed and Music by: Satyajit Ray, based on a short story by Munshi Premchand.
Producer: Suresh Jindal.
Starring: Sanjeev Kumar, Saeed Jaffrey, Amjad Khan, Richard Attenborough, Shabana Azmi, Victor Banerjee, Tom Alter.
Narrator: Amitabh Bachchan.
Photography: Sourendu Roy.

Monday, June 22, 2015

Jun 21st   
Far from the Madding Crowd** (12A)
(Odeon Covent Garden)                

(GB 2015)

The emancipated Bathsheba Everdene inherits a farm and struggles to run it as she also copes with various contrasting male suitors.
Well made, slightly more sober and truer to the period adaptation of Thomas Hardy's novel than the 1967 John Schlesinger version (to which this is a semi-tribute), with the story told mainly from the perspective of Gabriel Oak. This also undercuts some of the contributions of the other characters.

d: Thomas Vinterburg
s: Carey Mulligan, Matthias Schoenaerts, Michael Sheen, Tom Sturridge, Juno Temple, Rowan Hedley

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Jun 19th  
Devil Girl from Mars   

(GB 1954)                    

A lethal Martian arrives in a spaceship and terrorizes a remote Scottish inn.
An enjoyable oddity from the 50s, a fourth division War of the Worlds with a respectable cast and director, but the clunky script barely adapts from its stage origins, and the inevitable tackiness makes it resemble a more polished Plan 9 from Outer Space.

Written by: John C. Mather, James Eastwood, from his play.
Producers: Edward J. Danzinger, Harry Lee Danzinger.
Director: David MacDonald.
Starring: Patricia Laffan, Hugh McDermott, Joseph Tomelty, Peter Reynolds, Hazel Court, John Laurie, Sophie Stewart, Adrienne Corri.
Photography: Jack Cox.
Music: Edwin Astley.

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Jun 10th      
An Affair to Remember**              

(US 1957)                      

A soon-to-be married international playboy meets a girl on his Trans Atlantic cruise home, and romance blossoms but also tragedy later as well.
Luxuriant 50s remake of McCarey's own Love Affair, with accessible stars who 'suffer' for their love but barely break out of make-up! Despite the indulgences and the frankly improbable plot, performances and emotional power sees it through.

Written by: Delmer Davies, Leo McCarey.
Producer/Director: Leo McCarey.
Starring: Cary Grant, Deborah Kerr, Richard Denning, Neva Patterson, Cathleen Nesbitt, Charles Watts, Fortunio Bonanova, Robert Q. Lewis.
Photography: Milton Krasner.
Music: Hugo Friedhofer (title song sung by Vic Damone).

Monday, June 08, 2015

Jun 7th  
Super 8**                              

(US 2011)

Youngsters making their own amateur film on Super8 suspect they have witnessed an alien attempting to escape Earth.
Quite an expert pastiche of Spielberg (E.T. and Close Encounters in particular), very authentic in style and atmosphere, with only the alien sub-plot looking a little rushed and out of place.

Written and Directed by: J.J. Abrams.
Producers: Steven Spielberg, J.J. Abrams, Bryan Burk.
Starring: Joel Courtney, Elle Fanning, Kyle Chandler, Riley Griffiths, Ron Eldard, Glynn Turmar, Noah Emmerich.
Photography: Larry Fong.
Music: Micheal Giacchino.
Visual Effects: Dennis Muren, Kim Libieri, Paul Kavanagh, Russell Earl, and others.

SUPER 8 (2011). With a J.J. Abrams tribute to George Lucas on the way, an apposite time to check out his tribute to Spielberg, with the great man himself involved.

Sunday, June 07, 2015

Jun 6th
Spy (15)  
(Vue Romford)                          

A deskbound CIA operative goes into the field when her partner is shot in pursuit of a nuclear warhead.
Initially enjoyable female spy spoof using the same talents and indelicate sensibilities as Bridesmaids, and getting carried away with them too. But funny still, with its moments.

w,d: Paul Feig
s: Melissa McCarthy, Jude Law, Rose Byrne, Jason Statham, Miranda Hart, Peter Serafinowicz, Allison Janney, Bobby Cannavale, 50 Cent.

Friday, June 05, 2015

Jun 4th   
Tomorrowland: A World Beyond* (12A)              

(Odeon Colchester)                          

At the New York World's Fair in 1964, a young boy is given the chance of visiting the other-dimensional Utopia named Tomorrowland, but as an adult he and other young hopefuls struggle to find it again before it is too late.
Imaginative but indecipherable Disney sci-fi where not so much everything as too much is possible (a problem with most CGI blockbusters these days). Some nice ideas but too many of them, and not clearly enough told.

Written by: Damon Lindelhof, Brad Bird.
Producers: Brad Bird, Damon Lindelhof, Jeffrey Chernov.
Director: Brad Bird.
Starring: George Clooney, Britt Robertson, Raffey Cassidy, Hugh Laurie, Tim McGraw.
Music: Michael Giacchino.
Photography: Claudio Miranda.
Editing: Walter Murch, Craig Wood.
Production Design: Scott Chambliss.