Posted by videocitylondon on June 20, 2013
HAPPY BIRTHDAY, GENA ROWLANDS: it’s such a pleasure watching you just scrape off a plate…
by Dixie Turner
Posted by videocitylondon on June 19, 2013
For when you just can’t make it into the store to hear it from the man himself, here you will find his weekly recommendations as transcribed by a mere pleb…
Outstanding film from Australian director Cate Shortland (Somersault, 2004) showing the immediate after-effects of the war but from the lesser-seen angle of the losing side.
The Nazi parents of five children return to the family home to pack up their valuables and go into hiding following the death of Hitler. The children are left alone to fend for themselves and ultimately, under the leadership of the eldest, Lore, to attempt to find sanctuary in a Germany now under allied occupation where Nazi’s were being hunted out.
On the road they meet a young Jewish man who helps them to survive, leading Lore to explore and ultimately question her prejudices and face the horrors of what her parents had done.
Also by Cate Shortland:
by Dixie Turner
Posted by videocitylondon on June 18, 2013
Much anticipated Oscar-nominated new feature from Pablo Larrain, the Chilean director of Post Mortem and Tony Manero starring Gael Garcia Bernal as an ad-man who comes up with a campaign to defeat Pinochet’s 1988 referendum. The success of the famous ‘No’ campaign was driven by Chile’s artistic community whose creative style and elan was new to Chilean politics and totally bewildered opponents. Spanish with English subs. Cert. 15
The second of this year’s films about the stout chap with the cigar, not to be confused with Winston Churchill (but did anyone ever see them in the same room at the same time…?) focusing on his relationship with his wife during the filming of Psycho. Directed by Sacha Gervasi (director of music documentary, Anvil) and starring Anthony Hopkins as the big guy and Helen Mirren as his wife. Also starring Scarlet Johansson as Janet Leigh, Jessica Biel and Toni Collette. Cert. 12
TO THE WONDER:
Terrence Malick’s latest. After ‘Tree of Life’ (which won at Cannes, but was largely derided in the UK) will anyone care to watch it? I will. Despite Ben Affleck. I mean, it has Javier Bardem so how bad can it be (trying really hard not to remember Skyfall..)? ‘To The Wonder’ is a really naff title, though… Way too ‘Malick’ and a bit Fried Green Tomatoes, too. He may just as well call it ‘Touching God’, which seems to be what he’s attempting in that way that artists had during the Romanticism when the Sublime was all the rage. And what’s so wrong with that? Somehow, the romantic sublime became self-indulgent (well, it always was) and pretentious (the 20th Century grounded the sublime in the dirt and earth of human endeavour for obvious reasons. But, surely, there’s still something valid in the desire to shoot your heart (and your questions and doubts) out into space…? Not aiming at God, just aiming at.. space.
May work. May not.
Well-received British TV psychological thriller series, starring Gillian Anderson (X-Files, Bleak House), focusing on the lives of two hunters – one a serial killer, the other the detective charged with searching him out… Cert. 15
Really enjoying itself with all the ‘he’s dead hot’ and ‘he loved her for her brains’ jokes, this teen-horror-romance is the first of this week’s films to style itself on the Twilight saga’s unearthly-romeo+juliet-style love story. Cert. 12
*ALSO OUT THIS WEEK:*
Horror starring Jessica Chastain (Take Shelter, Tree of Life). 2 young girls were left alone for 5 years in the woods…. or were they???????????????????? Yes they were. Or were they?????????????????? Freaky. Cert. 15
Teen romance with a Twilight (?) twist. Or more likely, just a teen romance with a fantasy twist that has therefore got caught up in inevitable comparisons.. Anyway. Witchcraft is the name of this game, so cast aside those doubts (get it? ‘Cast’ aside.. eh eh) and get stuck in for some swoonsome, ethereal post-pubescent affections. Cert. 12
PARKS AND RECREATION SEASON 2:
Season 2 of the super funny US show.
by Dixie Turner
Posted by videocitylondon on June 15, 2013
Daniel Day-Lewis’ Oscar winning portrayal of American president, Abraham Lincoln, as directed by blockbuster king, Steven Spielberg. Set during the civil war whilst the president struggled with public opinion over the continuing battles and his decision to emancipate the slaves of the land. Co-starring Tommy Lee Jones, Sally Field, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, James Spader and John Hawkes. Cert. 12
ZERO DARK THIRTY:
Review by Ben.
Zero Dark Thirty – or the military term for half past midnight – was the go time for Seal Team Six to execute the operation to kill or capture Osama bin Laden. After over ten years of investigation and intelligence gathering, the film follows the work under taken by the CIA to locate one of the most wanted men in history. Written by Mark Boal and directed by Kathryn Bigelow (Hurt Locker) it has many of the same Oscar-winning attributes that Hurt Locker (2008) had during its wide critical acclaim in 2008.
With a solid script, it’s well acted (if occasionally a little flat in places) and at a decent, but not too over-loading, 2 hours 30 minutes it feels like a cross between a first series episode of Homeland and the West Wing. It should be noted that if you’re expecting an out ‘n’ out action thriller this is NOT it. Its 90% drama with the final few minutes being action. If younger audiences are expecting a gun shooting thriller about American special forces then they may be / probably will be disappointed. All in all, I’d say it’s definitely worth a watch if only for the understanding of how the most wanted and hated man in the world eventually met his demise.***
GOOD DAY TO DIE HARD:
Yipee Ki Yay Mother Russia. Yes indeed. Forget the recent resurrections of California’s muscled mascot, the Governator, and Sly Stallone’s stoney face, for here is everyone’s favourite action hero reprising his most famous role: that guy. And this time he has a son and together they bond over bombs and heavy artillery… Heartwarming. Cert. 15
BEYOND THE HILLS:
Romanian true story following the emotional reunion of two best friends who, having grown up in an orphanage together, find themselves staying in a nunnery where the tensions caused by their relationship and sexuality resulted in an act that sent shock waves through the church. From Cristian Mungiu, director of 4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days – winner of the Palme d’Or – Beyond the Hills won Best Actress and Best Screenplay at last years Cannes festival. Romanian with English subs. Cert. 12
HOUSE OF CARDS SEASON 1:
***RE Zero Dark Thirty – there is considerable dispute over the accuracy of the depiction of this operation so a healthy amount of scepticism is recommended.
by Dixie Turner
Posted by videocitylondon on June 9, 2013
D is for… Don’t Look Now (1973)
“Nothing is what it seems”, says Donald Sutherland early on, warning us to keep our guard up in Nicolas Roeg’s masterpiece of creeping horror.
Based on the short story by Daphne Du Maurier, Don’t Look Now understands that real fear comes from knowing that your fate awaits around the next corner.
This is the story of a married couple haunted by the death of their daughter. Venice is a lead character: a city submerged, a maze of alleyways and dead-ends.
Roeg brilliantly weaves together the past and the present, the seen and the imagined, into a tapestry of grief and hope.
There is a casual realism here that makes Sutherland and Julie Christie an utterly believable couple and sets the film closer in tone to the Exorcist than any Hammer Horror schlock fest.
What else? – the famous sex scene (copied by Soderbergh in Out of Sight), the iconic red coat (ripped off by Spielberg in Schindler’s List), and not forgetting Donald Sutherland’s magnificent moustache (replicated by Donald Sutherland in Invasion of the Body Snatchers). Accept no imitations and ignore the plea of that title – do look, it doesn’t have to be now but soon would be good.
“See also: Genova – Michael Winterbottom’s modern horror clearly doffs it’s cap to Don’t Look Now and features an excellent performance by Colin Firth (before he became royalty)”
“D” is for…. hmmm well, I have 4 main choices that spring to mind.
Firstly, and one of my personal favourites, I would say Donnie Brasco from 1997 starring Johnny Depp, Al Pacino and Michael Madsen. Based on the best-selling book, the film depicts the unbelievable true story of a FBI undercover agent, Joseph Pistone, who was sent to infiltrate the New York Mafia throughout the 1970′s. What originally started out as an experiment to see if it could be done with a ‘shelf life’ of only a few weeks, ended up lasting several years and in turn becoming one of the most intense and high-profile investigations ever undertaken into the Mafia. To this day and because of his actions, Joseph Pistone now lives with a new undisclosed identity and a several million dollar bounty on his head… Great tense drama and thriller rolled into one, highly recommend it!
My next option would be Tarantino’s Django Unchained (2012) starring Leonardo DiCaprio, Jamie Foxx and Christopher Waltz. I won’t bore you with the details of the story as I’m sure most of you have seen this film whether at the cinema or from coming in to the store. For those of you who have not seen it…Watch it! With slick lines, great action sequences and every Hollywood star on great form, its one not to be missed…
Another one not to miss is Shane Meadows’ Dead Man’s Shoes (2004) starring Paddy Considine. The film follows Considine’s character Richard who lives in a rural part of Britain where there is little to do but get drunk, get high and torment the locals. Whilst away on military deployment, Richards younger mentally handicapped brother Anthony, played by Toby Kebbell, is left to the torment and bullying of the local low lives. Upon Richards return, he learns of the horrible acts done to his younger brother and vows to exact revenge on those who hurt Anthony. Filled with dark torment, violence and the rare moments of black humour this film is not for the everyday viewer. But with fantastic performances and simple but effective dialogue, this revenge style film is one to watch.
Lastly and purely for stupidity to counter act the darker films I’ve suggested, Dumb and Dumber (1994) starring Jim Carey and Jeff Daniels. It’s simply Jim Carey at his “best” playing the moronic idiot alongside his partner in stupidity Jeff Daniels. With no money, no jobs and owning only a dog van and a briefcase (which isn’t there’s) they decide to embark on a journey to re unite the briefcase and it’s owner. With a great 90′s sound track its a fun road movie meets ridiculous love story. It’ll make you laugh and cry for all the wrong reasons, but for those reasons exactly is why it should be watched! Enjoy!
D is for Down by Law
Such cool. Here Jarmusch gets the fundamental reciprocity between being cool and admiring cool. He pretty much hinges the film on it. “I scream you scream we all scream for ice cream”. Really really cool film.
Posted by videocitylondon on June 7, 2013
D is for Despicable Me (2010)
Despicable Me is a fun-filled family tale by Pixar (Up, Wall-e, Toy Story) about a super-villain, Gru (Steve Carell) who is finding life tough when a new villain comes on the scene! Gru decides to hatch a new plan involving adopting three orphans who he will use to pinch his rivals new gadgets. But then, inevitably, he finds himself becoming attached to his little kids, and wonders whether fatherhood is more his style after all.
A good documentary is unbeatable, and this is one you should invest two hours of your life on.
A prison comedy that walks at its own pace, ‘Down by Law’ which stars Tom waits, John Lurie and Roberto Benigni is Jim Jarmusch’s break through film.
The plot is relatively simple as films go, but DBL is not so much about what happens to some characters but about who these people are and what is learnt about them through their enforced interaction with each other. The simplicity of the story allows room for the characters’ development and Robby Müller’s beautiful cinematography, which together, create a powerful comic beat-noir atmosphere.
A fairly consistent theme of Down By Law is the dispelling of preconceptions, from the type casting of the three stars to the projection of their characters’ relationships with each other. Before Waits and Lurie starred in this film both were, for American audiences at least, already cult names predominantly in the music world. Their contribution to the film would have initially been a pull for these audiences, but through the film we understand a little more of the people themselves over the stage characters already projected.
The collaborative nature of this film heavily contributes to its charm. The soundtrack was provided by both Lurie and Waits, while certain lines and monologues were improvised both accidentally and intentionally by Benigni. The line ‘It is a sad and beautiful world,’ was the happy result of a misunderstanding due to language difficulties (DBL was the Italian actors’ first visit to the USA), whilst the rabbit monologue was taken straight out of Benigni’s childhood memories of his mother.
Posted by videocitylondon on June 4, 2013
Reviewed by Rob Munday
For Ellen follows Joby Taylor an itinerant rock star lost in a snowbound small town America. He’s there to sign divorce papers with his estranged wife but signing will also mean forfeiting all custody of his six-year-old daughter Ellen – and there’s the rub.
In the role of Joby is Paul Dano and this film belongs to him. With his skinny jeans and leather jacket he is ill-suited to these frosty conditions. We see him slip around like a puppy learning to walk. Joby tries to find his feet and get his head around a situation that he has long ignored. He’s palpably scared of the responsibility of fatherhood but also drawn to it.
This is a character study clearly influenced by 1970s cinema and in particular Bob Rafelson’s Five Easy Pieces. There we observed Jack Nicholson’s Robert Dupea – another talented man adrift, forced to confront a family he feels isolated from but determined to remain unknowable. Writer/director SoYong Kim hones in on Joby using a shallow depth of field to isolate him and letting shots linger as if to allow us a chance to work him out.
In sharp contrast to Joby is his solicitor Fred Butler. We witness the suffocating comfort of Fred’s domestic life with his mum and he seems to be the polar opposite of Joby: all thick jumper and sensible hair. But Jon Heder’s subtle performance conveys a man equally at sea. You feel there is more to explore here but the film (like Joby) shies away from relationships.
There is a refreshing honesty in the way SoYong Kim embraces awkward reality but at times you yearn for stronger interactions to lift Joby from his stupor. Despite this For Ellen has a real feel for atmosphere and while Joby may slip from our grasp there is no doubt that Dano and Kim are worth keeping track of.
From Robert Zemeckis, director of such joyous cinematic treats as the Back to the Future Trilogy and Who Framed Roger Rabbit, as well as Forrest Gump. The ever-watchable Denzel Washington (could actually watch him play a statue in an otherwise empty museum) plays a commercial airline pilot who, after successfully saving his passengers from a malfunctioning plane, is lauded as a hero. But an investigation into the incident turns up some unexpected and troubling details… Co-starring John Goodman (Emperor’s New Groove). Cert. 15
WRECK IT RALPH:
Disney’s latest epic, featuring characters taken from iconic computer games including Sonic the Hedgehog etc and set within an arcade game world. Featuring the voices of John C. Reilly (Carnage) and Sarah Silverman (Take this Waltz). Cert. PG
I GIVE IT A YEAR:
British comedy marketed as the GB Bridesmaids.. (?!) Perfectly happy newly weds encounter their first obstacle in the form of mutual temptations. Starring Rose Byrne (Damages, Bridesmaids) and Ralph Spall (Anonymous). Cert. 15
BULLET TO THE HEAD:
First Arnie, now Sly – the muscles are back. Looks like atrocious fun. And directed by Walter Hill, who made both the Long Riders and 48hrs… Hmmm. Cert. 18
A young couple who have always bonded over their love of alcohol try to clean themselves up. Winner of the Special Jury Prize at Sundance. Starring Mary Elizabeth Winstead (Scott Pilgrim) and Aaron Paul (Breaking Bad). Cert.15
Also out this week:
BREAKING BAD SEASON 5:
VEEP SEASON 1:
DEXTER SEASON 7:
by Dixie Turner
Posted by videocitylondon on June 3, 2013
It has come to our attention – after about 35 years – that some of our dearly beloved customers find our ‘credit system’ baffling. When trying to explain, we are often met with a look as though we were trying to explain fractals, nuclear physics or the moral principles behind bankers bonuses:
Sometimes we are met with a look reminiscent of one given by a person whose brain is about to be sucked out of their nose by a little green man:
So, let us explain with the help of the following simple diagram:
This is not to be confused with:
… although it has been noted that some of the findings are surprisingly similar.
However, for those less academically inclined, here is a more straight forward explanation:
Instead of paying £3 for every DVD as you take them out, if you give us a set amount upfront we give you a bit more in credit that sits on your account and comes off as you rent films.
If you give us £10 up front, we’ll put £12 on your account.
£20 gets you £25.
£50 gets you £65 etc…
THIS BASICALLY GIVES YOU FREE DVDS!!!!!
IT IS NOT A TRICK; IT LASTS FOR AS LONG AS IT TAKES FOR YOU TO USE IT UP AND IT IS NOT, I REPEAT, NOT ROCKET SCIENCE.
As one of our recent studies show, the benefits of keeping yourself in credit extends further than the mere financial benefits, and is considered to be good for your health:
PLEASE NOTE: IT’S NOT AS PAINFUL AS IT LOOKS
AND DOES NOT LEAD TO:
IN FACT 9 OUT OF 10 HOUSEWIVES RECOMMEND IT – THINK OF ALL THE EXTRA WASHING-UP LIQUID YOU COULD BUY
*VIDEO CITY: HERE TO HELP*
by Dixie Turner
Posted by videocitylondon on June 2, 2013
NEWS FLASH: SUBTERRANEAN VOID CONTAINS PIRATE GOLD, THE HOLY GRAIL AND LAST REMAINING DINOSAUR – oh, and P.S., regardless of these wonders, WE’RE STILL OPEN
When first hearing of the ‘subterranean void’ that has been discovered by engineers working to fix Thames Water pipes in Notting Hill, the cynic in me immediately thought: only in Britain could engineers, after weeks of digging, be surprised to find a hole. Or rather, only in Britain and in the city of Springfield where the entire town, at the end of an especially memorable Simpsons episode, find themselves at the bottom of a hole having dug in search of buried treasure. When one towns person enquires how they’re going to get out, a genius – Chief Wiggum maybe? – makes the delightful suggestion that they must “dig up”. It’s been about 5 years and I still haven’t stopped laughing.
After I got over my initial cynicism, my mind jumped to the next logical conclusion: that the engineers had found a wonderous underground cavern filled with stalactites, bats and a giant pile of pirate gold that shimmered in the eerie green light falling from a single shaft, oh so magically, onto the deck of a Spanish galleon that had been swept up centuries before as it crept down the Thames.
I mean, clearly:
Indiana Jones, The Goonies and Jurassic Park are all being enacted under the bourgeois treadmill of Notting Hill. Right under one of the 11 oh-so-essential Starbuck’s, a pterodactyl’s wing is slowly unfolding.
Right under your extra-hot, extra-wet skinny mochachino, the ghost of Blue Beard and a drawing of Red Rackham are about to do battle over a piece of eight…
Somewhere behind you, someone with a small keyboard is playing that eerie/magical music you only get in Steven Spielberg films when the Ark of the Covenant has just been discovered. Listen..
Ok, so that sounds totally rubbish, but you know the music I mean. Oh, and your lifelong dream is about to come true: any second now, someone is going to call you ‘Dr. Jones’. Unless you’re a GP called Fred Jones, in which case, someone is going to call you ‘Indy’…. As you raise that ‘coffee’ to your lips you can feel the power of the Grail coursing through your veins…
Anyway. To cut a long story short, there are a bunch of road works going on in Notting Hill, and despite outward appearances, WE’RE STILL OPEN.
LOVE AND CUTLASSES,
by Dixie Turner
Posted by videocitylondon on May 28, 2013
HYDE PARK ON HUDSON:
THE YEAR DOLLY PARTON WAS MY MUM:
ERNEST AND CELESTINE:
by Dixie Turner
Posted by videocitylondon on May 27, 2013
“I UNDERSTAND THAT THE MOST IMPORTANT ENCOUNTER IN LIFE IS THE ENCOUNTER WITH ONESELF.” – Yves Saint Laurent. Film of the Day: L’amour fou.
Pierre Thorreton’s remarkable documentary on the life and love of Yves Saint Laurent and Pierre Berge, L’amour fou (2010), begins when Saint Laurent announced at a press conference on January 8th 2002 that he was retiring. He did so with the style and grace characteristic of one who had dominated the fashion world for nearly 50 years. He thanked Christian Dior; he thanked Coco Chanel. He credited Catherine Deneuve with being a lifelong muse. He spoke of his demons; the private battles of one both passionate and driven and shy and reclusive; he spoke with the humility seemingly characteristic of his nature.
“I’ve known fear and terrible solitude,” he said. “Tranquilizers and drugs, those phony friends. The prison of depression and hospitals. I’ve emerged from all this, dazzled but sober.”
Did he speak of Pierre Berge? Perhaps.
But the conference clip ends with a statement of dedication to selfhood; a statement which echoes through the film as you watch a life and love unfold; a statement which echoes through the viewer long after they have stopped watching. A statement, also, that perhaps seared the heart of Berge, but a statement whose truth, for all the love in the world, cannot be denied. Indeed, no love can truly flourish without it:
“I UNDERSTAND THAT THE MOST IMPORTANT ENCOUNTER IN LIFE IS THE ENCOUNTER WITH ONESELF.”
After decades of work, encouraged, managed and partly driven by Berge, the Socratic injunction ‘Take care of yourself’ was clearly not lost on Saint Laurent.
Saint Laurent and Berge co-founded Yves Saint Laurent Couture House and became lovers in 1961. They separated amicably in 1976 but remained lifelong friends and business partners until, a few days before Saint Laurent’s death from cancer in 2008, the two were united in a Pacte civil de solidarite (same-sex civil union).
In his eulogy to Saint Laurent, Berge reflected on their life together:
“I remember your first collection under your name and the tears at the end. Then the years passed. Oh, how they passed quickly. The divorce was inevitable but the love never stopped.”
by Dixie Turner
Posted by videocitylondon on May 25, 2013
Hal Hartley’s fantastically perverse cult classic tale of misassociation, Amateur (1994), in which an ex-nun-turned-porn writer meets an amnesiac hustler who is in search of his estranged, prostitute, wife.
The film takes its title from the root meaning of the word: ‘one who loves’ – in an interview about this film, Hartley recites a brilliant anecdote about Hitchcock once dismissively calling Charles Laughton an ‘amateur’ (could this have been a response to Laughton’s amazing though patchy noir, Night of the Hunter?), to which Laughton replied: “Well, I love my work…”
Anyway, starring Isabelle Hupert (of course – I mean who else would you cast?) as the ex-nun and Martin Donovan (Weeds).
A bit of a film-history curiosity in that it was commissioned in 1941 by the Third Reich’s propaganda minister, Joseph Goebbels, and has the rather dubious kudos of being generally considered to be Nazi cinema’s greatest fictional achievement… Incredibly impressive special effects, even by today’s standards, and starring Hans Albers – the most popular German actor of his generation, Munchhausen tells the story of the Baron Munchhausen who rode on a cannonball and lived on the moon. If you’ve seen the Terry Gilliam 1988 version, then it’s still worth checking this one out for comparison.
by Dixie Turner
Posted by videocitylondon on May 23, 2013
Another pulp fandango from Tarantino. Waltz steals the show, DiCaprio is surprising good, unfortunately the director tries his hand at acting again with excruciating results…. Cert. 18
TRUE BLOOD Season 5:
True story of poet-journalist Mark O’Brien, a 38 year-old man who has been paralysed and on an iron lung since childhood, who now wishes to overcome one more obstacle – losing his virginity… To this end he hires a sex therapist, played by Helen Hunt (As Good As it Gets) and the two embark on a series of ‘adventures’… Cert. 15
TROUBLE WITH THE CURVE:
‘Heartwarming’, feel-good sports drama about an aging baseball scout whose expertise are put to the test by the management of the Atlanta Braces who believe he’s too old for the business. Starring Clint Eastwood, Amy Adams (Sunshine Cleaning) and Justin Timberlake. Cert. 12
Poignant Oscar-nominated Belgian drama about a cattle farmer who, traumatised by events in his youth, finds himself having to cope with the effects of this whilst simultaneously dealing with the dark side of his business. Flemish and Dutch with English subs. Cert. 15
PLAYING FOR KEEPS:
Rom-com about a former football star who now coaches his son’s team in an attempt to become a better man/father etc (yawn) etc… Starring Gerard Butler, Uma Thurman and Catherine Zeta-Jones. Directed by Gabriele Muccino (Pursuit of Happyness). Cert. 12
WEST OF MEMPHIS:
Critically acclaimed documentary about the West Memphis Three who, when only teenagers, were arrested and convicted for the murder of three 8 year-olds. After serving 18 years, they were finally cleared – the film examines the miscarriage of justice they suffered and follows on from three previous films made about the case, the first being Paradise Lost, also in rental, should you be sufficiently enthralled..
ALSO OUT THIS WEEK:
FRIDAY NIGHT LIGHTS S4:
by Dixie Turner
Posted by videocitylondon on May 20, 2013
**YOU’LL NEVER BE A FIRST CLASS HUMAN BEING OR A FIRST CLASS WOMAN UNTIL YOU’VE LEARNED TO HAVE SOME REGARD FOR HUMAN FRAILTY.**
Tracy Lord: Mike…
Macaulay Connor: What can I say to you? Tell me darling.
Tracy Lord: Not anything – don’t say anything. And especially not “darling.”
Tracy Lord: The time to make up your mind about people is never.
by Dixie Turner
Posted by videocitylondon on May 20, 2013