Saturday, December 03, 2016

Dec 2nd  
The Impossible**    

(Spa/US 2012)                            

A family holidaying in Thailand battle to find each other after the Boxing Day 2004 tsunami.
The one film of note to have captured the horror of this famous storm most effectively; a quintessential old fashioned disaster movie but with the benefit of real life experience, vividly filmed in places, although a simple enough plot in itself with no real dimensions - beyond the simple drama of the characters searching for each other like needles in an apocalyptic haystack.

Written by: Sergio G. Sanchez, based on the memoir by Maria Belon.
Producers: Alvaro Augustin, Belen Atienza, Enrique Lopez Lavigne.
Director: Juan Antonio Bayona.
Starring: Naomi Watts, Ewan McGregor, Tom Holland, Samuel Joslin, Oaklee Pendergast, Johan Sundberg, Geraldine Chaplin.
Photography: Oscar Faura.
Music: Fernando Velazquez.
Editing: Elena Ruiz, Bernat Vilaplana.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Nov 29th   
The Circus**       

(US 1928)

The Tramp stumbles into a struggling circus and helps the ringmaster's daughter to romance a tightrope walker, at cost to his own prospects.                
Uneven mixture of Chaplin slapstick and sentiment  - the latter powerful but confusing the story - but gagwise he is on some of his best form.

Written, Produced and Directed by: Charles Chaplin.
Starring: Charlie Chaplin, Merna Kennedy, Al Garcia, Harry Crocker, George Davis, Henry Bergman, Tiny Sandford.
Photography: Ernest Totheroh.

Music (1967): Charles Chaplin.

Preceded by:
Why Girls Love Sailors*
(US 1927. 20m. bw. silent; An entertainer gets his fiancee back from a roguish sea captain by posing as a woman and distracting the crew. An oddity from the pre-teaming Laurel and Hardy days, with elements of their later work gradually coming to the fore.; w: H.M. Walker; d: Fred Guiol; s: Stan Laurel, Malcolm Waite, Oliver Hardy, Viola Richard, Anita Garvin.)

THE CIRCUS (1928). The Tramp watches the circus leave town, Chaplin's own sly admission perhaps, that he knew that silents' days were numbered too.

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Nov 27th  
A United Kingdom* (12A)      
(Cineworld Haymarket)                                      

(GB/Fra 2016)

In 1947 a London typist falls in love with an African who also happens to be the heir to his kingdom, that causes international tension.
Inspirational true story, that should be more moving than it is, perhaps because the courtship is rather rushed through and the English colonials are often comically villainous, despite the best that performances can do, which are generally quite strong.

Written by: Guy Hibbert, based on the book "Colour" Bar by Susan Williams.
Producers: Rick McCallum, David Oyelowo, Peter Heslop, Brunson Green, Judith Moore-Levy, Charlie Mason.
Director: Amma Asante.
Starring: David Oyelowo, Rosaumund Pike, Jack Davenport, Tom Felton, Laura Carmichael, Terry Pheto, Jessica Oyelowo, Nicholas Lyndhurst.
Photography: Sam McCurdy.
Music: Patrick Doyle.
Production design: Simon Bowles.

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Nov 25th  
Le Week-End**               

(GB/Fra 2013)                        

An aging couple travel to Paris to rekindle their flagging marriage, and uncover a whole more home truths in the process.
Maturely scripted, and likewise exemplary in its performances, this twilight romantic comedy with an edge also captures the eternally Bohemian image of autumnal Paris (as well as Don't Look Now captured autumnal Venice), although the story and its setting still inevitably veer towards sentiment.

Written by: Hanif Kureishi.
Producer: Kevin Loader.
Director: Roger Michell.
Starring: Jim Broadbent, Lindsay Duncan, Jeff Goldblum, Judith Davis, Olly Alexander.
Photography: Nathalie Durand.
Music: Jeremy Sams.

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Nov 22nd   
The Nightcomers*      

(GB 1972)              

Two children at a remote country house come under the influence of the amoral gardener who is having a sadomasochistic affair with their nanny.
Intriguing but murderously slow going and torrid prequel to Henry James's The Turn of the Screw, where instead of the implied terror of The Innocents, practically everything here is shown in lurid fashion, basically replacing suspense with sex and violence; indulgent enough in itself, were it not also for Brando's complacent performance, as the rest of the cast try to work round him as best they can.

Written by: Michael Hastings.
Producer/Director: Michael Winner.
Starring: Marlon Brando, Stephanie Beacham, Thora Hird, Verna Harvey, Christopher Ellis, Harry Andrews, Anna Palk.
Photography: Robert Paynter.
Music: Jerry Fielding.

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Nov 18th - double bill!
The Great White Hope*

(US 1970)                                    

In early 20th century America a black man becomes world boxing champion, and the largely all-white establishment looks to discredit him through his relationship with a white woman and to find the white man who will win "back" the title.
Vivid if deeply troubling portrait of the era, based on the controversial Jack Johnson, here renamed Jefferson to give the story an Othello-style tint of tragedy. Uncomfortable viewing at times (with the sort of negro denigration that would not be allowed on screen nowadays), but also compelling with a central performance of undeniable power.

Written by: Howard Sackler, from his play.
Producer: Lawrence Turman.
Director: Martin Ritt.
Starring: James Earl Jones, Jane Alexander, Lou Gilbert, Chester Morris, R.G. Armstrong, Robert Webber, Hal Holbrook, Beah Richards.
Photography: Burnett Guffey.
Music Supervision: Lionel Newman.

The Ring**

(GB 1927)

A fairground boxer rises to the top, but his wife has fallen for the rival who gave him his big break.
Concluding the boxing double bill in more palatably entertaining fashion with this visually innovative boxing melodrama, with Hitchcock's enthusiasm for the occasion and some characteristic touches compensating for the uneven plot structure.

Written and Directed by: Alfred Hitchcock.
Producer: John Maxwell.
Starring: Ian Hunter, Lillian Hall-Davis, Carl Brisson, Gordon Harker, Forrester Harvey.
Photography: Jack Cox.

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Nov 15th  
Sister Act**       

(US 1992)                                

A Las Vegas nightclub singer witnesses a mob murder and takes refuge and spruces up a San Francisco convent choir.
Entertaining if a little predictable comedy of opposites, playing on familiar stereotypes, with some nifty if trashy numbers, and just occasionally a hint of an edge, with performances and direction holding the attention pretty well.

Written by: Joseph Howard (Paul Rudrick, and others including Carrie Fisher, Robert Harling, Nancy Meyers).
Producers: Scott Rudin, Teri Schwartz.
Director: Emile Ardolino.
Starring: Whoopi Goldberg, Maggie Smith, Harvey Keitel, Bill Nunn, Kathy Najimy, Mary Wickes, Wendy Makkena, Joseph Maher.
Photography: Adam Greenberg.
Music: Marc Shaiman.
Production Design: Jackson De Govia.

Preceded by:
Crazy Like a Fox**
(US 1926. Pathe. 24m. bw. silent(with music track).; A betrothed feigns madness so that he can get out of an arranged marriage to the girl that he actually loves.; w: H.M. Walker, Charley Chase; d: Leo McCarey; s: Charley Chase, Martha Sleeper, William Mong, William Blaisdell, Oliver Hardy.)