Friday, December 23, 2016

Dec 22nd  
Carry On At Your Convenience*   
(GB 1971)    

Sub-titles: Down the Spout, Ladies Please Be Seated, Up the Workers, Labour Relations are the People Who Love to See You When You're Having a Baby

The staff at W.C. Boggs and Son struggle to cope with new bidet production and constant strikes.
Surprisingly endearing semi-satirical series of toilet jokes from the Carry On team, which are actually more amusing than the familiar blue jokes, with the regulars giving their usual value for money and some pleasant interludes such as the psychic budgerigar and the outing to Brighton.

Written by: Talbot Rothwell.
Producer: Peter Rogers.
Director: Gerald Thomas.
Starring: Sidney James, Kenneth Williams, Kenneth Cope, Bernard Bresslaw, Richard O'Callaghan, Jacki Piper, Joan Sims, Hattie Jacques, Charles Hawtrey, Patsy Rowlands, Renee Houston, Bill Maynard.
Photography: Ernest Steward.
Music: Eric Rogers.

Friday, December 16, 2016

Dec 15th  
Rogue One** (12A)      
(Odeon Leicester Square)                                  

(US/GB 2016)

The daughter of an Imperial scientist leads a rebel force to steal the plans to the Death Star.
A poignant and powerful immediate precursor to Star Wars, rather more gritty and character-driven than its original, with some excellent ensemble performances, and cleverly but not always easily integrated into the fabric of the George Lucas film (including even some of the 1977 cast), but compelling as a general assault on the senses, with Disney throwing its additional weight and expertise away from the director's original vision, at the expense of some of the human element.

Written by: Chris Weitz, Tony Gilroy, from a story by John Knoll, Gary Whitta.
Producers: Kathleen Kennedy, Allison Shearmur, Simon Emanuel.
Director: Gareth Edwards (and Tony Gilroy).
Starring: Felicity Jones, Diego Luna, Forest Whitaker, Mads Mikkelsen, Ben Mendelsohn, Peter Cushing (re-digitized, with the assistance of Guy Henry), Riz Ahmed, Donnie Yen, Wen Yiang, Alan Tudyk (voice of K-2SO), Genevieve O'Reilly, Jimmy Smits, James Earl Jones (voice of Darth Vader), Valerie Kane, and others.
Photography: Greig Fraser.
Music: Michael Giacchino.
Production Design: Doug Chiang, Neil Lamont.
Editing: Jabez Olssen, Stuart Baird.

ROGUE ONE. A galactic Seven Samurai of sorts to take on the mighty Empire, with its element of homage to Kurosawa as well as George Lucas. From left: Riz Ahmed, Diego Luna, the feisty Felicity Jones, Donnie Yen, Jiang Wen, and (unseen) Alan Tudyk as scene-stealing robot K-2SO.

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Dec 12th  
Bulldog Drummond**      

(US 1929)                                

A bored ex-soldier advertises for adventure and answers a call from a girl in distress whose uncle is held by a gang of crooks.
The first of a series of Drummonds for the new Sound medium, displaying a fair amount of slickness with some quirks (there are a couple of song interludes for no good reason), together with settings and performances that are also sometimes stilted but rise above the slender nature of the material.

Written by: Sidney Howard, Wallace Smith, based on the stories by "Sapper" (Herman C. MacNeile).
Producer: Samuel Goldwyn.
Director: F. Richard Jones, Leslie Pearce.
Starring: Ronald Colman, Joan Bennett, Claud Allister, Montagu Love Lawrence Grant, Lilyan Tashman, Wilson Benge.
Photography: George Barnes, Gregg Toland.
Musical Direction: Hugh Riesenfeld.
Production Design: William Cameron Menzies.

+ see also Deadlier Than the Male, from the other end of the Drummond film chronology

Preceded by:
Tom and Jerry in
Tee for Two**
(US 1945. 7m.; d: William Hanna, Joseph Barbera; p: Fred Quimby.)

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.