The Beasts From The City Spread The Word, And The Word Is HORROR!

Out from the vaults of the City: the undead; the hags; the sharp-toothed, forked-tongued, poison-spitting, flesh-eating, carrion-picking ghouls step out. You’re thinking: just another night with the regular staff at Video City. But, wait! For one night only, the teeth are extra sharp! The poison reaches the heart that little bit faster and the flesh is devoured with greater frenzy. From their fetid feast a few VC beasts look your way, their gleaming eyes meet yours – will they sink their pointy teeth into your veins? No, they wish only to share their horrid knowledge (thank Beezlebub for that):

Tom Moore says:

Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde (1932)

This is pre-code; this is Hollywood before the original censors lock down in all it’s depraved and grizzly glory. A classic tale dealing with surprisingly contemporary themes of  identity, repressed appetites  drugs and lust. Loaded with sexual menace, the  intensely aggressive performance of the lead Fredric March will shock and startle. The chaos and terror that lurks swirling and ominous beneath any smooth exterior has rarely been depicted with such frightening clarity. Gothic and nightmarish photography is matched by some of the most psychedelic and affecting special cinematography found from the far side of the 1960’s underground.

Some other recommended classics:

Freaks (1932) – Carnival uprising

Night of the Living Dead (1968) – The birth of the modern zombie

The Cabinet of Dr Caligari (1920) – Expressionist and oh so stylish

The Innocents (1961) – Atmospheric British ghost tale

The Haunting (1963) – Nail biting creep house spectacular

Dead Man’s Shoes (2004)

Not your traditional horror movie, more a revenge thriller, but it still made me twitchy long after the credits rolled.
Paddy Considine stars as Richard an ex-soldier returning to his home town. What starts out as a knockabout drama with Shane Meadows trademark humour quickly spirals into a tale of retribution driven by Considine’s charismatic performance and the brilliant support of Toby Kebbell as his brother.

The moral of this story? – Don’t mess with Paddy, he’ll give you nightmares.

Another favourite:
Peeping Tom (1960) – Michael Powell’s perverse love letter to the all-consuming power of cinema.
The Descent (2005)
Given that going caving already sounds horrific, The Descent is a winner from the word go. A group of friends clamber down into the bowels of the earth, squeezing themselves through impossible spaces only to become stuck when the ceiling caves in. The trouble is, THEY’RE NOT ALONE (cue heavy organ).  Even though the theme music to Jaws sends me flying behind the sofa, this is – even by the standards of those with bowels of steel – one to watch with a spare pair of drawers to hand… A claustrophobic, nerve-wracking monster movie with a pretty good twist at the end.
Also reccommended:
The Descent 2 (2009): a perfectly decent follow-up where a sole survivor must return to the bowels of the earth to help authorities discover what happened to her missing friends.
Switchblade Romance (2003): Freaky French Psycho-horror with Cecile De France
Wolf Creek (2005): Based on true events of a group of friends stuck in the Australian outback – mental note: never visit the Australian outback

****NEW SHOP OPENING HOURS: Take Note!!****

Adjust your DVD-return alert now. From this week onwards we will be closing at 10pm EVERY NIGHT. Just to be clear, that’s:

which is not to be confused with:

or even:

but very definitely:

There is a sign on the door to help remind you of this for when you have a mental block due to the pressing nature of all the more important things in life that must be remembered. Although, really, really, what could possibly be more important???

COMING SOON: November Releases

HIGHLIGHTS:

5/11:

Mad Men Season 5

DOWNTON ABBEY SEASON 3

MEN IN BLACK 3

KILLER JOE

SEEKING A FRIEND FOR THE END OF THE WORLD

12/11:

COSMOPOLIS

MARGIN CALL

FRIENDS WITH KIDS

WOMEN ON THE 6TH FLOOR

19/11:

THE LORAX

26/11:

AMAZING SPIDERMAN

MAGIC MIKE

DIARY OF A WIMPY KID 3

NEW RELEASES: 29th OCTOBER

YOUR SISTER’S SISTER:

American comedy-drama revolving around best-friends Jack and Iris. When Iris sends Jack off to stay in her family’s cabin he encounters Iris’ sister, Hannah, and the two fall for each other. However, Iris who is actually in love with Jack, turns up unannounced and three spend a revealing few days together… Starring Emily Blunt (Sunshine Cleaning), Rosmarie DeWitt (Rachel Getting Married) and Mark Duplass (Hannah Takes the Stairs, Puffy Chair, Greenberg). Directed by Lynn Shelton (Humpday). Cert. 15

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THE HUNTER:

Intense Australian thriller, starring Willem Dafoe (Antichrist) as Martin, a former mercenary sent from Europe to track down the legendary Tasmanian Tiger for a biotech company that seeks its precious DNA. Martin, posing as an environmental scientist, finds himself in amongst a small community here tension bristles… Also starring Sam Neill (The Piano). Cert. 15

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LONDON – THE MODERN BABYLON:

A fantastic, if somewhat incomplete, portrait of our crazy, beautiful, sometimes-troubled and always inspiring city. The ever-changing face of London since the turn of the 20th century is brought to life through a collage of archive footage and interviews, capturing well the dizzy vibrancy of a city that exists in a perpetual state of self-renewal. Directed by Julian Temple (Filth and the Fury, Great Rock n Roll Swindle). Cert. E

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ROYAL AFFAIR:

18th Century period drama, based on the true story of English princess Caroline Mathilda who married the mad King Christian VII of Denmark. Her passionate affair with the King’s physician brought the country to the brink of revolution. Cert. 15 Danish with English subs.

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7 DAYS IN HAVANA:

A portrait of Cuba seen over seven days in seven short films by seven directors, including Gasper Noe (Irreversible), Julio Medem (Sex and Lucia) and the directorial debut of Beicio Del Toro). Cert. 15 English and Spanish with English subs.

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ALSO OUT THIS WEEK:

RED TAILS:

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FIVE YEAR ENGAGEMENT:

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SMASH SEASON 1:

Just like Glee.

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BORGIAS – SEASON 2:

Tv drama series. More lust and corruption in period dress. Starring Jeremy Irons. Cert. 15

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Film Fanatics: Exhibitions to Ease Your Appetite

Do you have a 5-a-day habit? Do you get the shakes when you hit the Off button? Do your hands get clammy; do you develop a stutter; does your mind drift when people begin to speak of Other Things when all you can think about is whether or not Turin Horse really will be Bela Tar’s last film or wonder whose idea  it was to cast Scarlet Johannsen as Janet Leigh in the upcoming Hitchcock biopic (or Kate Beckinsale as Ava Gardner in the Aviator for that matter – I mean, WHAT??!!) and wonder whether the sequel to Prometheus will actually just be another prequel and, if so, will the aliens actually be upon us in reality before the franchise sheds any light on who they are in film??? Well, if you just can’t get enough, try coming in more frequently. Otherwise, for a (brief) change of scene, how about sauntering down to your local high-brow culture-house to peruse the following:

NOW AT THE V&A:

The Victoria and Albert Museum’s current exhibition is all about the movies that you love and, in particular, the costumes that made them. From Superman to Some Like It Hot, Wizard of Oz to The Matrix, the incredible (and often over-looked/thankless) skills of the world’s finest costume-makers are on display here.

For an idea of what exactly costume work entails, read the following interviews with some of the top designers in the industry:

Sandy Powell (The Young Victoria):


Amy Westcott (Black Swan):


John Dunn (Boardwalk Empire):


NOW ON AT THE NATIONAL PORTRAIT GALLERY:

For every Marilyn fanatic (isn’t that just everyone?), the National Portrait Gallery’s new exhibition, Marilyn Monroe: A British Love Affair, is a must see. It centres around British photographers and personalities who, along with the rest of the world, found in her an endlessly fascinating subject – sexy, vulnerable, childish and troubled. Amongst others, the exhibition includes photos by Cecil Beaton (see above).

Favourite Scenes: Johnny Boy’s Entrance in Mean Streets (1973)

Written by Rob Munday

Take yourself back to a time when De Niro and Scorsese were fresh and dangerous in this classic moment from Mean Streets.
De Niro is Johnny Boy, no gangster but a Little Italy live-wire, a chancer with the mod-style later aped by the similarly swaggering Liam Gallagher.
Johnny Boy enters the bar… He’s joking about accompanied by two young ladies “from the village” – then things go up a gear. A concerned Charlie (Keitel) clocks him, the Stones kick in with Jumpin’ Jack Flash and Johnny Boy approaches in slow motion bathed in Michael Powell red from the bar lights.

“I was born on a crossfire hurricane”

Johnny’s in trouble but he doesn’t know it – he’s lost in his own world, excited by the prospect of things to come.

New Releases: 22nd October

WHAT TO EXPECT WHEN YOU’RE EXPECTING:

The title pretty much says it all – a comedy about five couples who are on the cusp of parenthood. Based on the best-selling book. Starring Cameron Diaz (There’s Something About Mary), Jennifer Lopez (from the block) and Chris Rock (2 Days in New York). Directed by Kirk Jones (Nanny McPhee). Cert. 12

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BELOVED:

 

French romantic MUSICAL drama starring real-life mother and daughter, Catherine Deneuve (Potiche, Belle du Jour, Indochine) and Chiara Mastroianni. Directed by Christophe Honore (Dans Paris, Ma Mere). French with English subs. Cert. 12

HOUSE: SEASON 8:

More from the antisocial Doctor…

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AMBRAHAM LINCOLN – VAMPIRE HUNTER:

When it is discovered that vampires are planning on taking over the United States, Abraham Lincoln sets out to stop them. Will this film be complete genius, or the most ill-conceived (5 minutes to come up with an idea or you’re fired) venture of the month??  Although, it is directed by Timur Bekmambetov who directed Nightwatch and Daywatch, so there’s definately hope for it. Plus it avoids the dreaded 12 rating, so if it is fluff, at least it’s fluff for near-grown-ups – gory fluff? We shall see… Starring Benjamin Walker, Dominic Cooper and Rufus Sewell. Cert. 15

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RED LIGHTS:

Sigourney Weaver and Cillian Murphy investigate “fake paranormal stuff” but are running out of interesting quacks until they decide to investigate Silver (played by Robert DeNiro), a high-profile psychic whose biggest critic mysteriously disappeared years ago… Cert. 15

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SOUL OF FLIES:

Two brothers who have never previously met journey together to the funeral of their father, whom neither knew. Spanish with English subs. Cert. 15

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Happy Birthday, Monty

One of the greatest actors of his generation, Montgomery Clift – beautiful and broken, the mould of the leading actor would never look the same again:

Before James Dean and (just) before Brando hit the screens, Monty was already smoldering away at the edges of conventional depictions of masculinity with his deeply affecting portrayals delivered in a style of quiet intensity that would visibly shake him and bring out beads of sweat from both his and the viewers brow… (see the scene in A Place in the Sun where the effort, the painful, painful effort of kissing Elizabeth Taylor makes for visible perspiration):


After a horrific car crash (leaving a party at Elizabeth Taylor’s house) that left him disfigured, Monty became increasingly dependent on alcohol and prescription drugs – a condition that spelled ruin for his career when, in 1962, a disgruntled John Huston effectively ended Clift’s career after his unreliable on-set behaviour became too much for Huston to bear. Following Huston’s Freud, Monty never found an insurance company that would be willing to cover him for a film again. He died in 1966, aged just 45.

Recommended viewing:

A Place In The Sun (1951) – directed by George Stevens (East of Eden, Shane), co-starring Elizabeth Taylor and Shelly Winters (Lolita). Clift was nominated for an Oscar for Best Actor in a Leading Role.

Confessions of an American Wife (1953) – directed by Vittorio de Sica (Bicycle Thieves), co-starring Jennifer Jones (Duel in the Sun).

From Here To Eternity (1953) – directed by Fred Zinnemann (High Noon), co-starring Burt Lancaster, Deborah Kerr but Frank Sinatra. Clift was nominated for an Oscar for Best Actor in a Leading Role.

Suddenly Last Summer (1959) – directed by Joseph L. Mankiewicz (All About Eve, Guys and Dolls), co-starring Elizabeth Taylor and Katherine Hepburn. Based on the play by Tennessee Williams.

The Misfits (1961) – directed by John Huston, co-starring Marilyn Monroe, Clark Gable and Thelma Ritter. This was to be both Marilyn and Clark Gable’s final film.

Judgement at Nuremberg (1961) – directed by Stanley Kramer (Inherit the Wind, Defiant Ones) – co-starring Burt Lancaster, Judy Garland, Spencer Tracy, Richard Widmark and Maximilian Schell. Clift was nominated for an Oscar for Best Supporting Actor.

Freud (1962)  – directed by John Huston. This was to be Clift’s last film in America – he made only one film after this, before dying in 1966, black-listed by Huston; unable to find an insurance company willing to cover him.

Last Few Days of the BFI London Film Festival…!

If you haven’t done so already, you still have until the end of the week to get yourself to one of the London film events of the year. With new films from the likes of Michael Haneke, Francois Ozon, Sally Potter, Michael Winterbottom and scores of others, it’s well worth grabbing a ticket – especially for the chance to see some of the more independent films which are less likely to hit our screens anytime soon-after…

Check out the films in Official Competition here.

Favourite Scenes: Chaplin and Keaton in Limelight (1952)

When Charlie Chaplin finished directing Limelight he had no way of knowing it was to be his last film made on American shores. In fact, when he went across to England for the film’s British premier, he had no idea that the country that had been his home for so many years would refuse him re-entry, supposedly for his ‘communist’ sympathies. The film is a fitting farewell – Chaplin plays an ageing and alcoholic music-hall comic, Calvero, once famous for his character of the Tramp, but now almost forgotten and unable to find work. Chaplin plays Calvero as something of a humanist philosopher, infected by what he calls a ‘sad dignity’ which, as he explains, is clearly fatal for a comic; the desire, as one gets older, to ‘live deeply’; to feel the profound expanses of the heart and soul – into which small laughs drop with deafening echoes.

Into his care comes a young, troubled ballerina, Thereza (played by Claire Bloom – Look Back in Anger) intent on ending her own life, but Calvero raises her spirits, encouraging her with great conviction that she must fight for her happiness and, in turn, as she regains her strength and her position as a dancer, she attempts to return the favour by finding Calvero work. Towards the end of the film, a benefit concert is staged for Calvero who entertains the audience with the following piece of pure comic genius – the one truly hilarious scene in what is otherwise a fairly sober (and, at times, overly sentimental) film. Calvero’s partner in the scene is played by Buster Keaton who need hardly do anything at all to make you fall right off your chair with uncontrollable mirth:


Trivia: As Chaplin fell victim to the McCarthy era communist witch-hunts which swept through Hollywood, Limelight was hardly shown in America until the 1970s, when it – and Chaplin – finally got some of the recognition it deserved. Chaplin won an Oscar for the score which, as usual, he composed himself.

The assistant director on Limelight was Robert Aldrich, who went on to direct Whatever Happened to Baby Jane and the Dirty Dozen.

New Releases: 15th October

DARK SHADOWS:

Johnny Depp (you know who) and Eva Green (Cracks) go head to head as ancient arch-enemies in Tim Burton’s new gothic comedy. Cert.12

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WRATH OF THE TITANS:

Epic blockbuster sequel to the epic blockbuster, Wrath of the Titans. Starring Liam Neeson (Taken), Ralph Fiennes (Corilolanus), Rosamund Pike and Bill Nighy. Cert 12

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ALCATRAZ SEASON 1:

New US TV series starring Sam Neill (The Piano) set on the supposedly defunct iconic prison-island of Alcatraz. Special agents must recapture the recently resurfaced prisoners that mysteriously disappeared from the prison in the 1960s. Cert. 15

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WHERE DO WE GO NOW?:

From the director of the fantastic ‘Caramel’. A village in Lebanon, where Muslims and Christians have been peacefully co-existing, finds itself disrupted by the arrival of a television set which shows them the extent of religious hatred in the surrounding world. Not unlike The Source, the women of the village take matters into their own hands to teach the men the error of their new-found ways… Cert.12 Arabic with English subs.

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SARAH PALIN – YOUBETCHA:

Nick Broomfield’s most recent expose. Scary scary Sarah Palin is given the full Broomfield shakedown (try to count how many guns spill out of her pockets). Cert. E

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ALSO OUT THIS WEEK:

 

WOODY ALLEN: A DOCUMENTARY:

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TOP CAT – MOVIE:

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ELECTRICK CHILDREN:

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CHARLIE CASANOVA:

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AMERICAN HORROR STORY – SEASON ONE:

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Current Top 10 Rentals…

As usual, in no particular order, and with only silent cries of  ‘why oh why?’…

THE DICTATOR: WHY OH WHY (so I lied)


2 DAYS IN NEW YORK:


DARK HORSE:


SALMON FISHING IN THE YEMEN:


PROMETHEUS:


SNOW WHITE AND THE HUNTSMAN:


THIS MUST BE THE PLACE:


CAFE DE FLORE:


CABIN IN THE WOODS:


AVENGERS: ASSEMBLE:

New Releases: 8th October

PROMETHEUS:

Blockbuster sci-fi prequel to the Alien films. Scientists travel to another planet in hopes of discovering the origins of the human race, which they suspect to be alien… Not to be overly scrutinised lest one find the inevitable plot flaws, but vastly enjoyable as an epic suspension of disbelief. Directed by Ridley Scott (Bladerunner), starring Noomi Rapace (Girl With the Dragon Tattoo), Charlize Theron (Monster), Michael Fassbender (Shame), Idris Elba (The Wire) and Guy Pearce (L.A. Confidential). Cert 15

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AI WEIWEI – NEVER SORRY:

Chinese dissident artist and human rights activist, Ai Weiwei, has long been using his art, as well as the internet and social media sites, as a platform for cultural criticism and in turn has been much critised – as well as threatened, subjected to various character attacks and arrested – by the Chinese authorities. This documentary examines the artist’s deep concern for his country,as well as the concern that his family, friends and supporters have for his personal safety. Cert 15

Interview with Ai Weiwei for The Guardian

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POLISSE:

French police thriller/drama. A photographer is sent to cover the child protection unit of the Paris police. Cert. 15 French with English subs.

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ILL MANORS:

English rapper, singer-songwriter, actor and now director, Ben Drew (AKA Plan B), directs this crime drama set in London which revolves around the lives of eight main characters. Cert. 18

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ROCK OF AGES:

Massive cast. Massive flop. Musical comedy set in the late ’80s: a young woman leaves her small home town to go to L.A. with dreams of becoming a famous singer. She finds herself working in a club that is being threatened with closure. Can the good ol’ love of rock ‘n’ roll keep the place alive? Apparently the film is ‘nothin but a good time’, but I have suspicions… Directed by Adam Shankman (Hairspray remake), starring Tom Cruise, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Russell Brand, Paul Giamatti and Alec Baldwin. Cert. 12

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ALSO OUT THIS WEEK:

THE FAIRY:

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KOTOKO:

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IN THE DARK HALF:

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HART OF DIXIE SEASON 1:

SONS OF ANARCHY SEASON 4:

MENTALIST SEASON 4:

PETTY ROMANCE:

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New Addition: NIAGARA (1953)

Where love blooms and blazes, and eventually grows bitter and murderous… (Great Package Deals Available – Why Not Book Now?)

Niagara (1953) – directed by Henry Hathaway (True Grit), starring Marilyn Monroe and Joseph Cotton.

George (Cotton) is trying to save his marriage after an apparent infidelity on the part of his beautiful and much younger wife, Rose (Monroe), but grows increasingly jealous as he begins to suspect that his rival may not be as far off as he thought. A taut and tense psychological thriller with excellent central performances from Cotton and Monroe as well as from Jean Peters who plays one half of a couple who, along with everyone else around, are in thrall of the seductive Rose and then bear witness as the drama unfolds.

The screenplay was written by Charles Brackett, who also wrote:

Sunset Boulevard (1950)  – directed by Billy Wilder, starring William Holden and Gloria Swanson. If you haven’t seen this film, then you should stop what you’re doing and get on it – one of the greatest films about Hollywood that Hollywood ever made… Gloria Swanson is astounding as the deluded ex-movie star, Norma Desmond, who used to be big (“I am big; it’s the movies that got small”)