Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Oct 14th 
Boyhood** (15)        
Odeon Colchester          

(US 2014)

The growing up of a Texas boy from childhood to his graduation.
A fascinating and quite affecting experiment filmed from 2002 onwards, though constructed much like a conventional teenage coming-of-age drama, except that the actual child grows before our very eyes (although his age is never made clear throughout the narrative), and there are only occasional indications from some of the period history in between (Iraq, Obama's election, etc.) Belongs on a par with Before Sunrise and some the director's other best "Slacker" films.

Written and Directed by: Richard Linklater.
Producers: Richard Linklater, Cathleen Sutherland, Jonathan Sehrigg, John Sloss.
Starring: Ellar Coltrane, Patricia Arquette, Ethan Hawke, Lorelei Linklater, Libby Villari, Marco Perella, Brad Hawkins, Zoe Graham.
Photography: Lee Daniel, Shane F, Kelly.
Music: Various.

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Oct 10th  
O Lucky Man!**      

(GB 1973)                                  
Warner Bros/Memorial/Sam. 178m.

The odyssey of a coffee salesman who climbs the social ladder but just as quickly topples from it.
Epic satirical statement on the state of Britain in the 70s, indulging even more in the energetic semi-surreal style of If... with added Brechtian touches including musical commentary and actors in multiple roles (perhaps the closest film has ever come to replicating ensemble theatre.) The film and its various messages wear out their welcome (especially in a film so long), but it still entertains through its sheer quirkiness, with traces of homage to Griffith, Ford, Fellini and others.

Written by: David Sherwin, based on an idea by Malcolm McDowell.
Producers: Michael Medwin, Lindsay Anderson.
Director: Lindsay Anderson.
Starring: Malcolm McDowell, Ralph Richardson, Arthur Lowe, Helen Mirren, Rachel Roberts, Peter Jeffrey, Mona Washbourne, Dandy Nichols, Philip Stone, Mary Macleod, Graham Crowden, Bill Owen, Jeremy Bulloch.
Photography: Miroslav Ondricek.
Music: Alan Price.

Preceded by:
Convict 13**
(US 1920. 20m. bw. silent; An inept golfer is mistaken for an escaped convict about to be hanged, but with the help of his girl averts a prison riot.; w,d: Buster Keaton, Eddie Cline; s: Buster Keaton, Sybil Seeley, Joe Roberts.)

Thursday, October 09, 2014

Oct 8th  
Gone Girl* (18)  
Cineworld Ipswich                    

(US 2014)

A former media executive in Missouri finds his wife has disappeared on their wedding anniversary, and he is engineered to be the chief murder suspect.
Long and complex missing person thriller that Hitchcock would've had more fun with - and given the central character much more paranoia towards the police investigating him. As most of the characters are fairly unpleasant anyway, the unfolding of the plot's resolution (replacing the novel's subjective double narrative with the wife's account in semi-flashback) is the only chief point of interest, after the first hour leading up to the implausible twists.

Written by: Gillian Flynn, from her novel.
Producers: Leslie Dixon, Bruna Papandrea, Reese Witherspoon, Cean Chaffin.
Director: David Fincher.
Starring: Ben Affleck, Rosamund Pike, Carrie Coon, Kim Dickens, Patrick Fugit, Neil Patrick Harris, Tyler Perry, Casey Wilson, Emily Ratajkowski, Missi Pyle, Sela Ward.
Photography: Jeff Cronenweth.
Music: Trent Reznor, Atticus Ross.

Wednesday, October 08, 2014

Oct 7th  
The Rise and Rise of Michael Rimmer    

(GB 1970)

An efficiency expert skilfully manoeuvres his way to the top of the British political system and then makes himself dictator once the public tires of his idea of total democracy.
Superficial satire from noted talents of the time, pointed but often painfully unfunny and somehow ineffective as entertainment, maybe because the main star is such a bland presence as an actor.

Written by: Peter Cook, John Cleese, Kevin Billington, Graham Chapman.
Producer: Harry Fine.
Director: Kevin Billington.
Starring: Peter Cook, Denholm Elliott, Arthur Lowe, Dennis Price, Ronald Fraser, Vanessa Howard, Valerie Leon, John Cleese, James Cossins, George A. Cooper, Richard Pearson, Harold Pinter, Julian Glover, Ronnie Corbett, and others.
Photography: Alex Thomson.
Music: John Cameron.

Friday, October 03, 2014

Oct 2nd  
The Lion in Winter**     

(GB 1968)                      

King Henry II tries to resolve his kingdom with his three sons, as well as his imprisoned wife Eleanor of Aquitaine.
An onslaught of acting from two titans of the British and American stage/screen (with equally notable support from some future famous faces), a melodramatic romp that takes a potted version of that period in Mediaeval history and crams its emotions into one moody Christmas weekend with the Plantagenets, made in suitably dark, brooding style.

Written by: James Goldman, from his play.
Producer: Martin Poll.
Director: Anthony Harvey.
Starring: Peter O'Toole (Henry II), Katharine Hepburn (Eleanor), Anthony Hopkins (Richard the Lionheart), Jane Merrow (Lady Alais), John Castle (Prince Geoffrey), Nigel Terry (Prince John), Timothy Dalton (Philip of France), Nigel Stock (Sir William Marshal).
Photography: Douglas Slocombe.
Music: John Barry.

THE LION IN WINTER. Present and future stars team up with a Hollywood legend for a nice Christmas game of Unhappy Families. Clockwise from left: Timothy Dalton, Peter O'Toole, Anthony Hopkins, Katharine Hepburn, John Castle, Jane Merrow, Nigel Terry.

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Sep 30th  
The Giver* (12A)            
(Odeon Colchester)

(US/South Africa 2014)

In a controlled society of the future, a youngster is given the responsibility to learn wisdom and knowledge of the world's troubled past, but uses it to rebel.
Reminiscent of Logan's Run and many other futuristic dramas, and like most of them, the society itself looks superficial and doesn't convince, but some of the images of the past are moving and powerful, the graduation of colour into the bland futuristic world is clever, and the veteran stars lend weight to what would otherwise be just another teenage fantasy franchise.

Written by: Michael Mitnick, Rober B. Weide, from the novel by Lois Lory.
Producers: Nikki Silver, Jeff Bridges, Neil Koenigsberg.
Director: Phillip Noyce.
Starring: Brenton Thwaites, Odeya Rush, Jeff Bridges, Meryl Streep, Katie Holmes, Alexander Skarsgaard, Cameron Monaghan, Taylor Swift.
Photography: Ross Emery.
Music: Marco Beltrami.
Production Design: Ed Verraux.

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Sep 26th  
Robin and Marian*     

(GB 1976)

An ageing Robin Hood returns from the Crusades to find Maid Marian is a nun, but takes on the threat of the Sheriff of Nottingham one last time.
Revisionist version of the legend with good sense of period history and an excellent cast, both of which are used in rather routine fashion by the director, beyond some characteristic bloodthirsty combat scenes.

Written by: James Goldman.
Producer: Denis O'Dell.
Director: Richard Lester.
Starring: Sean Connery, Audrey Hepburn, Robert Shaw, Richard Harris (as King Richard), Nicol Williamson, Denholm Elliott, Ronnie Barker, Kenneth Haigh, Ian Holm (as King John), Esmond Knight.
Photography: David Watkin.
Music: John Barry.