There are worse things I could do…

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ELVIS, ELVIS LET ME BE

KEEP THAT PELVIS FAR FROM ME

 – Rizzo, Grease (1978)

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, STOCKARD CHANNING (one-time member of Video City)!

Check her out in Six Degrees of Separation (1993) – playwrite John Guare refused to make the film unless Channing played the role of Ouisa, and her incredible performance pretty much makes the film:

Also, watch her in Practical Magic (1998), Paul Auster’s Smoke (1995) and West Wing

posted by Dixie Turner

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New Releases: 10th February

CAPTAIN PHILLIPS:

captain_phillips_ver2_xlrgTom Hanks stars in the excitingly titled, Captain Phillips (!) Fast-paced true story from director Paul Greengrass (Bourne Supremacy/Ultimatum). Hanks plays the captain of a cargo ship hijacked by Somali pirates. No doubt fun and thrilling, but I’m finding it increasingly hard to suspend my disbelief these days in the face of another Hollywood A-lister playing yet another hero part in a yet another blockbuster. Tom Hanks, Tom Cruise, Brad Pitt, George Clooney etc etc, all perfectly watchable in their big roles but somehow (despite a different haircut, glasses or a tie) always still Tom Hanks, Tom Cruise, Brad Pitt and George Clooney, super-sized, flexing and re-flexing jaw and muscle. Perhaps this (long felt) gripe springs back to mind now because of the loss of such talent as Philip Seymour-Hoffman, an actor with the ability to give superbly nuanced performances and who was able to embody real characters (not just characters perhaps based on real people), people of great complexity, people with many faces, not just  box-office heroes with a face for the billboard… Thinking about this  (remember Seymour-Hoffman’s mumbling monotone fantasy confession on the psychiatrist’s couch in Happiness) all this hero stuff seems a bit tired… But still, Captain Phillips: no doubt fun and thrilling, even if just a popcorn rollercoaster. Cert. 12

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LE WEEKEND:

le_weekend_ver2_xlgJim Broadbent and Lindsay Duncan play a middle-aged couple who, after many years of marriage and seeing their children grown, return to Paris to rekindle romance. Sounds like a bit of a re-hashed premise (and why does it HAVE to be Paris always?), but a good cast (including the brilliant Jeff Goldblum) and a screenplay by Hanif Kureishi (My Beautiful Launderette, Intimacy) may be enough to bring spark to this comedy-drama, directed by Roger Michell (Changing Lanes, Enduring Love and Notting Hill (!)) Cert. 15

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ENOUGH SAID:

Enough-Said-PosterJames Gandolfini’s penultimate feature before his tragic death last year, Enough Said looks like a decent, gentle romantic comedy. Julia Louis-Dreyfus plays Eva, a divorcee who falls for James Gandolfini only to find that he is her new best friend’s ex-husband. Great supporting cast in the shape of Catherine Keener and Toni Collette. Directed by Nicole Holofcener (Parks and Recreation, Please Give, Friends with Money). Cert. 12

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GLORIA:

gloria_ver3_xlgChilean romantic comedy about mid-life self-discovery. A middle-aged woman finds herself single again and rediscovers her passion for life by being open to all it has to offer – including new love. Cert. 15. Spanish with English subs.

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AIN’T THEM BODIES SAINTS:

aint_them_bodies_saints_xlrgAn imprisoned man dreams of seeing his wife and child again only to discover, on his release, that she’s moved on… Starring Casey Affleck, Rooney Mara and Ben Foster. Directed by David Lowery, editor of the problematic Upstream Colour (2013)… Cert. 15

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IN THE NAME OF:

InTheNameOf_poster_finalPolish drama about a priest struggling with his sexuality in the face of a strong attraction to a troubled young man from the local rural community. Directed by Malgorzata Szumowska who directed the – in my opinion – under-appreciated Elles (2011), starring Juliette Binoche. Cert. 15. Polish with English subs.

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Also out this week:

PRINCE AVALANCHE:

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THE NUN:

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FILTH:

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MUSCLE SHOALS:

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HOW I LIVE NOW:

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TURBO:

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DEATH COMES TO PEMBERLEY:

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DRACULA SEASON 1:

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Posted by Dixie Turner

Recent Additions (Films We Should Have Had Before, But Didn’t)

936full-memphis-belle-posterMEMPHIS BELLE (1990) – dir. Michael Caton-Jones (Rob Roy, This Boy’s Life).

Surprisingly affecting WWII drama, with especially good aerial combat scenes that give a pretty good idea of the psychological strength required by pilots flying missions. Good all round cast including Matthew Modine, Eric Stoltz, Billy Zane and John Lithgow. Great little family film.

***

All-The-Right-Moves-Poster-2ALL THE RIGHT MOVES (1983) – dir. Michael Chapman (director of photography, Raging Bull, Taxi Driver, Last Waltz)

***

8fb4183b_1991RocketeerPosterTHE ROCKETEER (1991) – dir. Joe Johnston (Honey, I Shrunk the Kids, Jumanji, Jurassic Park 3, Captain America).

Fantastic family fun about a young aviator who happens upon a jet-pack prototype that (after a few bumpy landings) turns him into a fully-fledged art deco super-hero. Starring Jennifer Connelly, Alan Arkin and Billy Campbell.

posted by Dixie Turner

William’s (little late) 2013 roundup, plus 2014 tips and things

The ten best films and videos of last year, in no order:

 
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Blue is the Warmest Colour (Abdellatif Kechiche)
***
 
Full of Fire (Marit Östberg)
***
 
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Gingers (Antonio da Silva, 2013)
***
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Jonathan Hertzberg’s Dirty Old New York videos (particularly Burt Goes to Whole Foods and Dirty Old New York Subway)
***
 
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JG (Tacita Dean, 2013)
***
 
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Mr. Angel (Dan Hunt)
***
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66 Episode Three, Helen of T (Lewis Klahr)
***
 
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Stoker (Park Chan-wook)
***
 
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Teenage (Matt Wolf)
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2014…
Best film I’ve seen so far this year that I hadn’t seen before is The Bitter Tears of Petra von Kant (Rainer Werner Fassbinder, 1972). Why in the sweet name of Petra had I not seen it sooner? Definitely better than the dreck you’ve probably been watching :)
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Thing I’m most excited about so far this year is LookingAndrew Haigh’s (Greek Pete, Weekend) new HBO series. The first three episodes rule.
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Best screening(ish) I’ve been to so far this year is Lewis Klahr’s Sixty Six at Anthony Reynolds Gallery. This is a great show – lush stills for films and three new videos on a loop – so great that 66 Episode Three, Helen of T snuck on to my best of 2013 list above. It’s also avant-garde filmmaker Klahr’s first solo gallery presentation, so get in on the ground floor, cynics. Expect a dedicated post about Klahr on the blog soon.
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And here’s some festivals, exhibitions and screenings to get worked up about…
Annnd, PSEUDOFRUIT  – This is a queer film club I’m part of. Our first screening was a stomper. Video City’s own Tom Moore kindly drew the below for it <3
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There will more PSEUDOFRUIT events later this year.
By William Goodey

Film of the Day: Passion of Joan of Arc (1928) – P.S. Happy Birthday Carl Th. Dreyer

f

ONE LIFE IS ALL WE HAVE

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AND WE LIVE IT AS WE BELIEVE IN LIVING IT.

Passion-of-Jeanne-DArc-Falconetti

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BUT TO SACRIFICE WHAT YOU ARE

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AND TO LIVE WITHOUT BELIEF,

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THAT IS A FATE MORE TERRIBLE THAN DYING.

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POSTED BY DIXIE TURNER

Philip Seymour Hoffman

Actor Philip Seymour Hoffman-1527808We at Video City have long been fans of the extraordinary talent of Philip Seymour Hoffman (a fact evidenced by our long-standing ‘Philip See-More Hoffman’ shelf) and are deeply saddened to hear of his passing. There is rarely a week that goes by when one of his films, be it the gently poignant Jack Goes Boating (Hoffman’s directorial debut), A Late Quartet or Happiness, doesn’t grace our Staff Picks shelf.

A beautiful actor who could at once show great vulnerability, troubled confidence, frustrated desire and an anger bubbling beneath the surface that could leap out in dangerous, burning flashes – it made him wonderful to watch.

Jack Goes Boating (2010)

A Late Quartet (2012)

Capote (2005)

posted by Dixie Turner

New Releases: 3rd February

WADJDA:

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A big hit on the festival circuit and the first film made in Saudi Arabia Wadjda is about a 10-year-old girl who signs up for her school Koran recital competition in order to buy a bicycle. Arabic with English subs. Cert. PG

TRAILER

PRISONERS:

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It seems like every ‘serious’ drama nowadays has to involve the disappearance of a child and Prisoners follows that trend with Hugh Jackman the distraught father of a missing daughter. Jackman sans Wolverine blades or song and dance numbers is a worrying presence but this film is shot by the brilliant Roger Deakins and who better to play a snivelling nutbag than Paul Dano?
Cert. 15

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RUNNER RUNNER:

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I don’t remember this coming out at the cinema but here it is. Runner Runner is a thriller where Ben Affleck faces off against Justin Timberlake in a designer stubble competition (my money’s on Ben, his jaw’s double the size).
Cert. 15

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ABOUT TIME:

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About time. About time a certain somebody stopped making films. Oh, he is stopping, is he? Oh what terribly, jolly excellent news! That’s pretty much all the enthusiasm I can muster for this film (although it has got Bill Nighy in it and we all love Bill Nighy).
Cert. 12

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AUSTENLAND:

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Recently described by a customer as an ‘airplane movie’.
Cert. 12

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42:

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Baseball, Harrison Ford, and someone called Chadwick. No, me neither.
Cert. 12

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ROMEO AND JULIET:

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God knows we’ve all been crying out for another Shakespeare adaptation. Here Julian Fellowes pens the screenplay to add some Downton Abbey edge to proceedings.
Cert. PG

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ODD THOMAS:

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Big meets Drag me to Hell (+ Willem Dafoe).
Cert. 15

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Also out this week:

THE BRIDGE SEASON 2:

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GIRL MOST LIKELY:

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JUSTIN AND THE KNIGHTS OF VALOUR:

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THANKS FOR SHARING:

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BATES MOTEL SEASON 1:

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THE VIKINGS SERIES 1:

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INSPECTOR MONTALBANO SEASON 6:

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Scorsese’s Top 12 Favourite Films of All Time

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2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY - dir. Stanley Kubrick (1968)

H.A.L.: “JUST WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU’RE DOING, DAVE?”

A couple of astronauts with a weird and worrying smart computer go on a mission to explore signs of intelligent life buried beneath the surface of the moon. That music. That space. that computer.

***

large_8_5_blu-ray1x8 1/2 – dir. Federico Fellini (1963)

GUIDO: “ACCEPT ME AS I AM. ONLY THEN CAN WE DISCOVER ONE ANOTHER.”

Memories and dreams interweave with reality in the mind of a director suffering from a creative block whilst working on his new film. It’s interesting to note that the actors worked on the film without any set dialogue, often delivering random sentences, the sound being recorded after and dubbed over. The film’s title is a reference to the number of films Fellini had made up to that point.

***

ashesanddiamondsASHES AND DIAMONDS – dir. Andrzej Wajda (1958)

On the first day that Germany officially surrender in WWII, diverse factions who had lived in peace with one another during the occupation of a small Polish town now begin to fight one another.

***

93456-050-5BB33DA5CITIZEN KANE – dir. Orson Welles (1941)

“ROSEBUD…”

Generally considered to be the greatest film ever made, until recently knocked off that position by Sight & Sound controversially nominating Vertigo for that spot. Made by Orson Welles when he was just 20 years old, the film’s central character is allegedly based on William Randolph Hearst – in fact, similarities between the two created a feud between the Hearst family and Welles that lasted 71 years. Innovative cinematography and lighting are just a couple of the reasons why this film is so lauded. Watch it again.

sadsledtVideo City T-Shirt #1

£12

***

leopardTHE LEOPARD – dir. Luchino Visconti (1963)

“IF WE WANT THINGS TO STAY AS THEY ARE, THINGS WILL HAVE TO CHANGE.”

Based on the novel by Lampedusa. An epic telling the story of the social upheavals which took place in Sicily in the mid 19th century and starring an international cast, including Burt Lancaster, Alain Delon and Claudia Cardinale.Winner of the 1963 Palme d’Or.

***

293183.1020.APAISA – dir. Roberto Rosellini (1946)

Made up of six vignettes that follow the Allied invasion during WWII and cover the length of Italy.

***

THE RED SHOESTHE RED SHOES – dir. Powell&Pressburger (1948)

“… A GREAT IMPRESSION OF SIMPLICITY CAN ONLY BE ACHIEVED THROUGH GREAT AGONY OF BODY AND SPIRIT.”

A dancer torn between her passion for dancing and the man she loves. Innovative, beautiful, magical, startling. See it now.

***

the-river-ritualTHE RIVER – dir. Jean Renoir (1951)

Three women, growing up in Bengal, fall for the same American soldier. A beautifully shot, Technicolor wonder, this film has been important for directors as diverse as Satyajit Ray who met his future cinematographer, Subrata Mitra, on set, to Wes Anderson whom it inspired to make The Darjeeling Ltd.

***

Editors-Pick-Salvatore-GiulianoSALVATORE GIULIANO – dir. Francesco Rosi (1962)

A young outlaw becomes entangled in the political – and corrupt – forces that shape modern-day Sicily.

***

searchers_19THE SEARCHERS – dir. John Ford (1956)

Two men go in search of a girl abducted during a Comanche raid. One of the most beautifully shot westerns of all time, all rolling expanse and dramatic colour. John Wayne’s staggering/lurching walk has never been framed so well.

***

05UGETSU MONOGATARI – dir. Mizoguchi Kinji (1953)

Set in 16th century Japan, Ugetsu is one of the great masterpieces of Japanese cinema and is often credited, along with Roshomon, as being one of the films that brought Japanese cinema to the attention of the rest of the world. Based on a couple of Japanese ghost stories, Ugetsu is a tale of personal ambition, love and war and is famed for Mizoguchi’s use of long, poetic takes and its meticulous attention to period detail.

Roger Ebert’s review.

***

vertigo-2VERTIGO – dir. Alfred Hitchcock (1958)

Recently rated by Sight & Sound as the greatest film of all time – highly debatable, but still a fantastically tense (and occasionally trippy) watch, starring James Stewart and Kim Novak.

***

(List first published in Sight & Sound magazine)

posted by Dixie Turner

New Releases: 27th JANUARY

SELFISH GIANT:

The-Selfish-Giant-Poster

A highlight of last year, Clio Barnard’s brilliant follow-up to The Arbor transposes Oscar Wilde’s short story to modern day Bradford. Fantastic performances from the two young leads along with a lyrical approach full of heart makes this vital viewing.
Cert. 15

TRAILER

RUSH:

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Still trying to flog Formula One to the yanks Ron Howard (Splash) directs this biopic following the rivalry between racing drivers James Hunt and Niki Lauda. All looks pretty cheesey from the trailer but the word has been good with Daniel Bruhl (Goodbye Lenin) and cameraman Anthony Dod Mantle (127 Hours, Antichrist) there to add some class to proceedings.
Cert. 15

TRAILER

SUNSHINE ON LEITH:

Sunshine-on-Leith

Just when you feared they’d never be a musical based on the songs of The Proclaimers your prayers are answered. Former child actor Dexter Fletcher follows Wild Bill with this story of a pair of ex-soldiers learning to embrace life on the civvy streets of Edinburgh after serving in Afghanistan. A quality cast includes Peter Mullan, Jane Horrocks and Jason Flemyng.
Cert. PG

TRAILER

THE CALL:

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Dull title, Halle Berry, disappeared at the cinema – on the face of it this is trash. But it’s directed by Brad Anderson who made the scariest film you’ve never seen (Session 9) and The Machinist so I’d expect this thriller to be a cut above (it’s also been endorsed by distinguished critic John Patterson).
Cert. 15

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HANNAH ARENDT:

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Drama that looks at the life of philosopher and political theorist Hannah Arendt, who reported for The New Yorker on the war crimes trial of the Nazi Adolf Eichmann.
German with English subs. Cert. 12

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CUTIE AND THE BOXER:

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Oscar-nominated doc explores the chaotic 40-year marriage of famed boxing painter Ushio Shinohara and his wife, Noriko.

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Also out this week

FREE FALL:

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MORTAL INSTRUMENT: CITY OF BONES:

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SHERLOCK SEASON 3:

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Posted by Rob Munday

HAPPY (warped and weirdly-angled) BIRTHDAY , DAVID LYNCH! (YPPAH YADHTRIB)

img-david-lynch-01-_184117216071David Lynch, Prince of the bone-bendingly dark and scratchy places you otherwise try to keep free in the corners of your mind, those beautifully uncomfortable pointy places that point in at you and then yawn in boredom at how conventional and drab your subconscious turns out to be. David Lynch sneaks into these spots like a Dickensian squatter, armed with mysterious and alluring incantations and ancient hymns of invocation of mutant children and log-stroking one-eyed women.

BEHOLD!

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Eraserhead-BottomERASERHEAD (1977)

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494BLUE VELVET (1986)

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front11MULHOLLAND DRIVE (2001)

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duran_duran_unstaged_2011DURAN DURAN: UNSTAGED (2011)

Well, why not?

***

**

*

Rentalution

***

sadsledt

VC CITIZEN KANE T-SHIRTS

HAND-SCREEN PRINTED

VARIOUS SIZES

£12

Posted by Dixie Turner

The Eyes Have It: Otto Heller

If you look up cameraman Otto Heller on imdb.com you will find 235 credits. Like many film crew during the silent era Heller shot many films each year (in 1921 alone he has 10 listed credits). Czech by birth Heller worked around Europe before settling in England in 1940. And it is his work on British film that is still vital 50 years on.

Perhaps the huge experience in silent cinema contributed to his bold approach, for Heller is notable for his striking imagery, unusual angles and use of high contrast in both black and white and colour photography. The viewpoint is fresh but never gimmicky, with each shot only adding to the characters, the story, and the feeling. These are visuals that remind you what cinema can be…

The Ladykillers:

Ladykillers_BD_cap05Peeping Tom:

peeping-tom-112The Ipcress File:

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posted by Rob Munday

New Releases: 20th January

IN A WORLD:

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Latest American indie multi-hyphenate Lake Bell (yes that is her real name) writes/directs/acts in this comedy about a wannabe voice-over artist. Also features veteran character actor Fred Melamed (A Serious Man, Hannah and Her Sisters).
Cert. 15

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STUART HALL PROJECT:

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Not to be confused with Stuart Hall of It’s A Knockout and operation Yewtree fame this documentary instead looks at one of the most influential and esteemed cultural theorists of his generation. Using a wealth of archive footage director John Akomfrah creates an absorbing account of cultural changes in Britain during Hall’s life with the man himself providing commentary.
Cert. 12

TRAILER

WHITE HOUSE DOWN:

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Not to be confused with Olympus Has Fallen, though rest assured the White House will get blown up. Expect lots of CGI, overcooked action, and clocks counting down to zero.
Cert. 12

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R.I.P.D.:

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Not to be confused with P.A.P.P. or T.U.R.D. or Men in Black, this blockbusting flop is about a cop who gets shot only to become a part of the Rest In Peace Department created to protect the world from the undead. Hmmm.
Cert. 12

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HOW TO MAKE MONEY SELLING DRUGS:

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Tongue in cheek documentary looking how to make a fast buck by pursuing the modern American dream. Featuring various rappers in talking head mode.
Cert. 15

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Also out this week

A BELFAST STORY:

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GOATS:

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Poster of the Day: BOOM! (1968)

Polish PosterPolish poster from 1970 by Maciej Hibner.

“I NEED MYSELF A LOVER”

Directed by Joseph Losey (The Servant, Don Giovanni), starring Elizabeth Taylor, Richard Burton and Noel Coward and based on a play by Tennessee Williams – could the camp value be any higher and could the potential for disaster, fantastic, diamonte encrusted disaster, be any stronger? Probably not. Joseph Losey said he hated the film and Tennessee Williams was delighted, saying it was the best film adaptation of any of his plays, and when you consider what some of the other films are – Streetcar Named Desire, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, Night of the Iguana etc etc – that’s a pretty strong statement. Of course the film flopped at the box office and is indeed a mess in many ways – but it’s such a fantastic mess that it really is worth it.

DON’T REACH FOR A SMOKE! WAIT UNTIL I OFFER YOU ONE!”

POSTED BY DIXIE TURNER

Tarantino’s Top 10 of 2013

The Kill Bill director’s favourite films from last year… Behold his broad and varied taste! (Not a single foreign film listed.) Pffft.

1. Afternoon Delight (Jill Soloway)

Afternoon+Delight+Movie
2. Before Midnight (Richard Linklater)

BEFORE-MIDNIGHT-stillsThe third and, frankly, thankfully the last, in the ‘Before’ trilogy. Perhaps it was because Hawke and Delpy were young, perhaps it was simply because it was the ’90s, but the original two films featuring the diatribes and existential banter of these two were decidedly more charming than this. Half way through the film you find yourself wishing that a space lab would fall out of the sky (see Delpy’s Le Skylab) and squash both of them just so they would shut up about EVERYTHING. Navel gazing and nauseating, cringy and irritating. Whywhywhy??? Out on DVD so you can decide for yourselves. Answers on a postcard.

3. Blue Jasmine (Woody Allen)

blue_jasmine_ver2Woody Allen’s latest and the winner of a Golden Globe for Cate Blanchett’s performance as a troubled socialite who turns up on her sister’s doorstep.

4. The Conjuring (James Wan)

the-conjuring-movie-poster-imageOut on DVD.

5. Drinking Buddies (Joe Swanberg)

drinking-buddies-posterComing on DVD next week.

6. Frances Ha (Noah Baumbach)

frances_ha_ver2Baumbach and Gerwig follow on from Greenberg with this Woody Allen-esque comedy-drama about a would-be dancer, Frances, a dreamer at a difficult point in her life. Out on DVD.

7. Gravity (Alfonso Cuarón)

gravity-posterWinner of best director for Alfonso Cuaron at the Golden Globes this year. Tense story of a scientist’s battle with her will to survive in the most mind-bending of circumstances. Visually stunning, but suffers from annoyingly predictable gender roles. It would’ve been more interesting perhaps to see George Clooney play the inexperienced, nerdy scientist who had recently lost a child and who then relies upon the upbeat and encouraging voice of Sandra Bullock to pull him through.  Oh well.

8. Kick Ass 2 (Jeff Wadlow)movies-kick-ass-2-international-posterFun follow-up to the fun 1. Out on DVD.

9. The Lone Ranger (Gore Verbinski)

01~15Pirates of the Carribean with cowboys. Out on DVD.

10. This Is The End (Seth Rogen, Evan Goldberg)

this_is_the_end_xlgIt looks like it. Out on DVD.

***

For an alternative list of the top films of 2013, check out our very own Rob Munday’s guide.

***

VIDEO CITY/FORGOTTEN TITLE

CITIZEN KANE T-SHIRT

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HAND-PRINTED BY STAFF MEMBER DIXIE TURNER

£12

VARIOUS SIZES

posted by Dixie Turner

Short and Sweet

Feeling tired and bloated from never-ending self important TV series? Now is the time to re-invigorate your filmic taste buds with a blast of fresh short films.

The London Short Film Festival kicks off tonight and has a massive range of programmes to tickle your fancy with screenings across the city.


Video City staff are also involved with Will Goodey curating Pseudofruit on Saturady 18 Jan and Rob Munday contributing to Exquisite Corpses in the Lo-Budget Mayhem programme tonight and directing Lady.Moving.Train.Man showing in Celluloid Traces on Sunday 19 Jan

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Posted by Rob Munday

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