New Releases: 1st October

SNOW WHITE AND THE HUNTSMAN:
The second of this year’s takes on the classic fairytale (Mirror Mirror with Julia Roberts being the other). This version is considerably darker; less twee Disney magic, more swords, axes, epic battles and just a bit more Grimm. Starring Kristen Stewart (Twilight) and Charlize Theron (Monster).
MOONRISE KINGDOM:
Latest offering from Wes Anderson, director of Life Aquatic, Royal Tenenbaums etc. Set during the 1960s at a Scout’s summer camp, two young lovers run away together, camping and hiding out whilst their romance blooms. Starring Bill Murray (Lost in Translation), Frances McDormand (Fargo), Bruce Willis (you know, the bald one), Edward Norton (Fight Club) and Tilda Swinton (I Am Love).
2 DAYS IN NEW YORK:
Follow-up to Julie Delpy’s 2 Days in Paris. This time in New York. This time her family comes to visit them. Oh, and her boyfriend is different. Starring (and directed by) Julie Delpy (Before Sunrise) and Chris Rock (Death at a Funeral).
CASA DE MI PADRE:
No more need to spend all your nights dubbing your Will Ferrell collection into Spanish – this one comes that way.
MONSIEUR LAZHAR:
Oscar-nominated for Best Film in a Foreign Language. A teacher in a Montreal school commits suicide and Monsieur Lazhar, an Algerian immigrant, is swiftly brought in to replace her and help the students with their grief whilst simultaneously struggling to overcome a personal tragedy of his own. French with English subs.
ALSO RELEASED THIS WEEK:
BREAKING BAD SEASON 4:
MODERN FAMILY SEASON 3:
HOLLOW CROWN:
HARSH LIGHT OF DAY:
TWENTY8K:
PARADE’S END:
SPARTACUS – VENGEANCE:
THE PACT:

Homeland Cleans Up At The Emmys

American TV series Homeland won the top awards at the Emmy’s last night, taking home Best Drama series, Best Actor and Actress in a Drama Series and Best Writing for a Drama Series. The show beat Mad Men, Boardwalk Empire and Downton Abbey in all of its nominated categories. If you haven’t watched it yet, don’t be left behind.

Damian Lewis Before Clean Up: Not an appropriate look for the red carpet

Damian Lewis After Clean Up: Recipient of the coveted Golden Ball of Planetary Orbits, handed over by the angels themselves. Or perhaps its the prize that gives you wings (Red Bull prize for astrophysics?) Anyway, the golden globular thing that’s not a Golden Globe but an Emmy (Best Actor in a Drama Series).

Claire Danes as Carrie Mathison: I see his face everywhere; in post-its, crochet and knitwear.

Guardian TV Review

Hefty Week for New Releases: 24th September (Count Out Your Pennies Now)

THIS IS NOT A FILM:

Persian film-maker and pro-democracy activist, Jafar Panahi (The Circle, White Balloon), was sentenced in 2010 to 6 years house arrest and a 20 year ban on film-making. Apparently his activities were seen by the Iranian government as a ‘threat to national security’. As well as a ban on film-making he was instructed not to contact the press or leave the country. However, in early May 2011, This is Not a Film was shown at the Cannes Film Festival. The film, showing a day in his life whilst under house arrest, was made by Panahi on his DV camera and iPhone and was smuggled out of the country hidden in a cake…

If this doesn’t spark your curiosity, then surely nothing will. Persian with English subs. Cert. 15

Trailer

http://www.guardian.co.uk/film/2012/mar/29/this-is-not-a-film-review

DICTATOR:
Sacha Baron Cohen’s latest effort to extend mirth/repugnance/offence/indifference beyond Ali G. A man with a beard comes from the middle east (surprise) to act the fool in the land of fools (America, surprise). Cert. 15
CIRCUMSTANCE:
Persian romantic drama about two teenage girls who have little interest in being the traditional good, Muslim, Persian girls they’re expected to be but rather just want to be, well, girls… A courageous exploration of sexuality in a country where homosexuality is punishable by imprisonment, corporal and even capital punishment, Circumstance has been a festival favourite and has, amongst other awards, won the Audience Award for Best Drama at the Sundance Film Festival. Persian with English subs. Cert. 15
ANGEL’S SHARE:
British comedy directed by Ken Loach. A group of  irresponsible young Scots vow to turn over a new leaf by going in to the high-end whiskey trade. If this film hasn’t been made before, most of the gags in the trailer certainly have….”… as valuable as the Mona Lisa”, “The Mona who?” Still, lots have liked it, so perhaps a Sunday film to watch with ‘gran and the boys’… Cert. 15

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DARK HORSE:
New comedy-drama by director Todd Solondz (Happiness, Palindromes), master of dark social satire that explores the grim and often well-hid aspects of suburban middle-class family life. A thirty-something guy, living at home and working for his dad in a dead-end office job, meets a woman, falls in love and has a mid-life ‘awakening’ in which he discovers the mendacious and oppressive nature of his family life.
With a bit of luck, none of the songs that feature in the trailer will actually feature in the film. Starring Selma Blair (!) (Hellboy, Legally Blonde) and Christopher Walken (True Romance, Batman Returns). Cert. 15

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EL BULLI:
Documentary  about the most influential (and reputedly, the best) restaurant in the world which, for six months of the year, closes down in order to create the dishes for the following season (hopefully their fridge is equally top-end). The film follows this process, providing an insight into the working methods of the most exiting and innovative chefs in the world. Spanish with English subs. Cert. E

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DESPERATE HOUSEWIVES SEASON 8:
Final season of the iconic American TV comedy series. Starring Terri Hatcher and Felicity Huffman. Cert. 15
EAMES ARCHITECT + PAINTER:
Documentary on the famous American design duo who were so instrumental in shaping the look and, well, the shape of 20th Century America. Cert. E

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Also Out This Week:
HOW I SPENT MY SUMMER VACATION:

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RAID:
ANGEL + TONY:
LATE SEPTEMBER:
MY BROTHERS:

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CABIN IN THE WOODS:
COMMUNITY SEASON 2:
FREE MEN:
ALL IN GOOD TIME:

Viva La Diva! Sophia Loren: Yesterday. Today. Tomorrow?

 

Sophia Loren, Italian actress, beauty icon and Neapolitan fashionista is 78 today.  Recipient of many awards, including an Academy Award for de Sica’s Two Women, Loren avoided being pigeonholed by Hollywood, managing an image that was both sexy and classy in a time when Audrey Hepburn was the ideal and curves were deemed trashy. She was at ease playing the lusty peasant girl or the arrogant heiress, the raped mother or the devout wife. And, of course, she has those sultry feline eyes, that toothy grin and that figure…

 

***Recommended Filmography:***

 

The Millionairess (1960)

– Directed by Anthony Asquith (Pygmalion, Importance of Being Earnest, Winslow Boy), co-starring Peter Sellers and Alastair Sim.

Doctor, I’m in trouble. (Well, goodness gracious me).

British romantic comedy about an Indian doctor (Sellers) who meets an arrogant millionairess (Loren). Memorable supporting performances from Alastair Sim and the great Italian director, Vittorio de Sica, as the proprietor of a pasta production sweatshop.

El Cid (1961)

– Directed by Anthony Mann (Winchester ’73, El Cid), co-starring Mr. Cold-Dead-Hands (Charlton Heston)

One of the all-time classic Hollywood epics, set in eleventh century Spain, tells the story of the legendary Spanish hero, Rodrigo Diaz de Bivar (known as El Cid – he who is courageous and merciful, by his followers) who swears to see his country at peace and free from invaders. Sophia Loren plays the noble knight’s nunnery bound wife, Chimene.

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Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow (1963)

– Directed by Vittorio de Sica (Bicycle Thieves), co-starring Marcello Mastroianni

Classic Italian battle-of-the-sexes comedy about three very different couples in different parts of Italy. Directed by one of the biggest names in Italian cinema, it won the Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film in 1964.

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Marriage Italian Style (1964)

– Directed by Vittorio de Sica, co-starring Marcello Mastroianni

A successful businessman has an on-off relationship with a young, naive country girl who works as a prostitute in Neapolitan brothel. The affair continues for years until he eventually agrees to live with her if he looks after his ailing mother. After some time, feigning life-threatening illness, she tricks him into marrying her…

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Fall Of The Roman Empire (1964)

– Directed by Anthony Mann, co-starring Alec Guinness, James Mason, Mel Ferrer, Omar Sharif and Christopher Plummer

Another Anthony Mann classic epic, this time chronicling a family saga that results in the fall of Rome. Despite being a financial failure at the box-office, this is a treat for any epic film-lover with all its swords n sandals glory and vast sets (the reconstruction of the Roman Forum still holds the record for the biggest indoor film set ever constructed. Thanks Wikipedia).

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New Releases: 17th September

AVENGERS ASSEMBLE:

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JEFF WHO LIVES AT HOME:
 GLEE SEASON 3:
SILENT HOUSE:
ANTON COBIJN – INSIDE OUT:
CAFE DE FLORE:
TORTOISE IN LOVE:

New Additions (Old Films We Should Have Had Before, But Didn’t):

RO.GO.PA.G.(Let’s Wash Our Brains):

RO.sselliniGO.dardPA.soliniG.regoretti. Four short films, written and directed by four of the greatest directors of their (or any) generation. The programme, entitled Laviamoci il cervello (Let’s Wash Our Brains) presents a shared dissatisfaction with modernity on the part of the directors and, more specifically, a concern about the impact of various social factors and trends – which they perceived as disturbing or dangerous – on the modern mind and character.

It is worth noting that the film caused a scandal on its released (though not in Britain, as it was not distributed here), for its portrayal of Christ crucified (and the Virgin Mary strip-tease) in the Pasolini segment, La Ricotta. La Ricotta portrays a destitute man who has been enlisted to play Christ by a Marxist film director (played by Orson Welles). The actor, poor and hungry, gives his food rations to his family and continues to starve until, finally, he gets his hands on a large quantity of ricotta on which he gorges himself before finally dying of indigestion on the cross… On the film’s release, Pasolini was arrested and spent four months in jail. Wash your brains on that.

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New Releases: 10th September

TURIN HORSE:

When celebrated Hungarian director, Bela Tarr, announced that this was to be his last film, cinema audiences around the committed mass suicide in despair. Well, not really, but still. There were definitely tears. Certainly sorrowful sounds. Bela Tarr has made some of the finest films to come out of Europe in the last 30 or so years – Damnation, Satantango, Werkmeister Harmonies, Man From London. Sight and Sound said of this film that, whilst it wasn’t his best, it was still heads and shoulders above anything else out there. So there.

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GOODBYE, FIRST LOVE:

The joys and pains of first love are explored in this French drama by Mia Hansen-Love, director of Father of My Children.

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HOMELAND:

Winner of the Golden Globe for best TV drama Series and Best Actress in a Drama Series for Claire Danes. Brilliant but troubled CIA agent Carrie Mathison suspects that the recently recovered American POW may not be quite what he seems….

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AMERICAN PIE REUNION:

Just when you thought pie was no longer on the menu, they heave up another slice. Thanks for that.

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SAFE:

Low-key period drama, starring Jason Statham (Transporter). Or is it a high-octane action thriller? I forget.

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PIRATES:

Animation from the makers of Wallace and Gromit. No doubt fun, though the trailer makes the jokes seem a little more worn than we’re used to seeing from this team…

ALSO OUT THIS WEEK :

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COLD LIGHT OF DAY:

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BREATHING:

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CORPO CELESTE:

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NOSTALGIA FOR THE LIGHT:

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FOUR MORE YEARS:

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Current Top 10 Rentals:

In no particular order, and with no guarantee of quality, here are the current top 10 most popular rentals:

MARLEY:

Musical Genius.

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HEADHUNTERS:

Scandinavian Thriller: Genius?

Thriller

THIS MUST BE THE PLACE:

Robert Smith Look-a-Like: Genius.

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LE HAVRE:

Foreign Genius.

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BATTLESHIP:

No Comment.

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THE SOURCE:

Sex-For-Water: Genius.

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ONCE UPON A TIME IN ANATOLIA:

Anatolian Murder Investigation: Criminal Genius.

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RAMPART:

Corrupt Genius.

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BEST EXOTIC MARIGOLD HOTEL:

Casting Genius.

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BREAKING BAD:

Tragic Naughty Genius.

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Portobello Film Festival + Scala Beyond (Don’t Miss)

Saunter, skip or run down to your local film festival for long-lost classics, cult curiosities and independent, low-budget beauties – and horrors (I am talking about films… just to be clear).

 

PORTOBELLO FILM FESTIVAL:

VENUES

POP UP CINEMA
3 ACKLAM ROAD, W10 5TY

WESTBOURNE STUDIOS
242 ACKLAM ROAD, W10 5JJ

GREAT WESTERN STUDIOS
65 ALFRED ROAD, W2 5EU

 

SCALA BEYOND:

Various Venues

Pasolini, Peck, Powell and Pressburger

New to our shelves:

Porcile (Pigsty) –  directed by Pier Paolo Pasolini (1969)

“After having properly interrogated our conscience, we have decided to devour you on account of your disobedience.”

Pasolini’s enigmatic politico-poetic film juxtaposes two civilisations: one ancient, bleak and arid in which a young man wanders the volcanic desert in search of food; the other modern, bourgeois and equally bleak and arid in which two patriarchs of industry discuss the problem of a son who is neither obedient nor disobedient. Ultimately, both civilisations are shown to be cannibalistic, in which sons who are anything other than obedient are devoured.

Uccellacci e Uccellini (Hawkes and Sparrows) –  directed by Pier Paolo Pasolini (1966)

A father and a son are joined on their travels around the outskirts of Rome by a talking, leftist intellectual crow.

Ill Met By Moonlight – directed by Powell and Pressburger (1957)

Powell and Pressburger’s last film together is set during World War 2 in Nazi-occupied Crete. British officers have to kidnap a Nazi commander and escape across the hostile Cretan landscape… Starring Dirk Bogarde (The Servant). Cert. U

Duel in the Sun – directed by King Vidor (1946)

Glorious, dizzy all-star Technicolor western. Branded as ‘lust in the dust’ at the time of release, the film is part tumultuous love story, part tumultuous family saga. Starring Jennifer Jones (Indiscretion of an American Wife), Gregory Peck (Moby Dick) and Joseph Cotton (Citizen Kane). Also starring Lionel Barrymore (You Can’t Take It With You) and Lillian Gish (Night of the Hunter). Cert PG.

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