New Releases: 30th December

UPSTREAM COLOUR:

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Shane Carruth’s long-awaited follow up to his no-budget time-travel puzzler Primer. Upstream Color is another singular work that is either a beautiful mind-bending meditation on synchronicity or a humourless pile of tosh depending on your viewpoint (just don’t ask me to explain the plot).
Cert. 15

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THE VICIOUS KIND:

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American indie Comedy/Drama about two brothers, their dad, and the woman who makes everything get complicated. Looks like it might have some of the acerbic edge of Exec Producer Neil LaBute’s early work (In the Company of MenYour Friends & Neighbors).
Cert. 15

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ALL THAT I LOVE:

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Set in the 1980s this Polish Comedy/Drama is about four friends who form a punk band in the midst of political unrest.
Cert. 15

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VIDEO CITY T-SHIRT: #1 CITIZEN KANE – NOW IN STOCK.

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Hand screen-printed and designed especially for Video City by staff-member, Dixie, this Forgotten Title t-shirt is intended to be the first in a series of tongue-in-cheek designs based around the idea of film descriptions when you can’t remember the title – and sometimes misremember the film…!

Order through the blog, by email, by phone  – or in person!

ON SALE IN THE SHOP TODAY – VARIOUS SIZES.

£12 EACH.

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The Eyes Have It: Roger Deakins

Roger Deakins is perhaps the greatest cameraman alive.

His visuals for Sid & Nancy beautifully capture the necessary grit of the punk scene while revealing a magical realism that adds to the doomed romance. He started out shooting documentaries where he learnt how to use minimal lighting and adapt to filming on location.
With Barton Fink he started his productive partnership with the Coen Brothers. His input seems to have added heart and realism into their stylised world with the sparse simplicity of his work on the snowbound Fargo particularly impressive.

He also shot 1984, Dead Man Walking and Kundun and has been nominated for an Oscar ten times without ever winning.
Deakins knows how to create images that are utterly true but never run of the mill. This is the world in your head, the seen and the felt, perfectly combined.

Sid & Nancy:

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Assassination of Jesse James:

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True Grit:

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A Serious Man:

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posted by Rob Munday

Top Ten of 2013

Rob’s pick of his 10 favourite films of 2013 (all titles in bold available to buy or rent)

10. Shell

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9. Nebraska

8. A Field in England

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7. Act of Killing

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6. Silver Linings Playbook

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5. Epic of Everest

4. Made of Stone

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3. No

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2. The Selfish Giant

* 1. Spring Breakers *

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New Releases: 23rd December

ELYSIUM:

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Sci-fi blockbuster from the director of District 9. The world is spilt between the haves who live on a space station while the have-nots fester on the ruined Earth. Expect impressive robots and Matt Damon taking the bold decision to act without the aid of hair.
Cert. 15

TRAILER

THE WAY WAY BACK:

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Coming-of-age comedy about shy 14-year-old called Duncan who while on a family holiday finds an unexpected friend in Owen (Sam Rockwell) manager of the Water Wizz water park. Rockwell could play a turd and still be entertaining so this may be a good antidote to those winter blues. Also stars Steve Carell, Toni Collette and Alison Janney.
Cert. 12

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LOVELACE:

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Biopic of infamous star of Deep Throat the pornographic film that became a smash-hit. Directed by Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman (Howl) this looks to show both sides of the Linda Lovelace story (just don’t mention Boogie Nights).
Cert. 18

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Also out this week

WOLF CHILDREN:

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ELEMENTARY SEASON 1:

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PAIN AND GAIN:

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BUY YOUR FILMS HERE

– well, in our shop.

WE HAVE THOUSANDS OF FILMS TO BUY IN STORE – AND WE CAN GET YOU ANY OTHER FILM AVAILABLE WITHIN A COUPLE OF DAYS.

PLUS, IF YOU NEED ADVICE – GUESS WHAT? – REAL PEOPLE WHO HAVE ACTUALLY WATCHED FILMS ARE ON HAND TO ADVISE YOU!

OutPastPosterBajaWE HAVE

breaking-bad-poster-1379598641THE FILMS AND BOXSETS

madmen-matt-needleTO MEET YOUR

tumblr_m2qneyoTXE1qjt493o1_1280NEEDS.

EXCEPT, MAYBE, THOSE NEEDS… IT’S A FAMILY STORE…

MERRY CHRISTMAS.

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POSTED BY DIXIE TURNER

Joan Fontaine (1917 – 2013)

joan_fontaine__131216020527One of the last of the golden era Hollywood stars and younger sister (and bitter rival of) Olivia de Havilland, Joan Fontaine often played roles that required a certain kind of nervous reserve or well-mannered repression, a fragility or instability and a general sense of self-doubt. Of course, these qualities were often precisely what would then come to be challenged in the story with Joan, our unlikely heroine (as heroines so often were in those days), fighting her corner and overcoming her (sometimes imagined) adversary.

She was nominated for 3 Oscars, winning once for her role in Suspicion (1941).

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Joan Fontaine with Cary Grant in SuspicionIn Suspicion (1941), her second Hitchcock film in 2 years, Fontaine plays a young wife who begins to suspect that her penniless husband (played by the ever-charming Cary Grant) is working towards killing her off in order to secure her fortune.

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rebecca-de-winters-danversAs the new Mrs. de Winter in Hitchcock’s electric adaptation of Daphne du Maurier’s Rebecca (1940).

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JANE EYRE 1944

JaneEyre1944_07Opposite Orson Welles in Bronte’s Jane Eyre (1943).

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letter-from-an-unknown-woman-movie-poster-1948-1010700923As the long-forgotten Lisa Berndle in Max Ophuls’ Letter From an Unknown Woman (1948).

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Joan discussing sister Olivia in 1979.

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posted by Dixie Turner

A Face In The Crowd: Nigel Green

There has been many incarnations of Hercules on screen. Most of the time he is played by some anonymous slab of shaved meat, a massive lunk with more pecs than personality (see Arnold Schwarzenegger in Hercules in New York).

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There is however one example that is very different. The definitive Hercules appears in the Ray Harryhausen classic Jason and the Argonauts. Older than you’d expect and much, much hairier, this is Nigel Green. His Hercules seems truly a man of legend – charismatic, imposing and with a barrel chest that suggests real strength rather than gym-honed curves. He steals the film from the lead actor (although to be fair to Todd Armstrong it’s not easy playing a man called Jason).

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Nigel Green was a remarkable actor who lent gravitas and wit to a whole range of roles. Before Hercules he was brilliant as a loose-cannon soldier alongside the youthful Christopher Lee and Richard Burton in Nicholas Ray’s ‘war-what-is-it-good-for’ movie Bitter Victory. This was followed by Joseph Losey’s underrated and underseen film The Criminal and the more successful Zulu. He starred with Caine once again in the iconic The Ipcress File. He is Dalby, a Secret Service suit that Green plays with such a stillness and exactitude you don’t know whether to laugh or crap yourself.

One of the unsung heroes of British movies Nigel Green was great with a tache and without and remains the only Hercules you should ever trust.

Posted by Rob Munday

Poster of the Day: The Seven Year Itch (1955)

sevenyearRWest German, 1964 re-issue of the Billy Wilder comedy, starring Marilyn Monroe. The film is most famous for the street scene where an amused Tom Ewell looks on as Marilyn enjoys a gush of air from a happy subway grate:

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Half the men of Manhattan turned up to watch this scene being shot – a fact that Marilyn found amusing. Her husband, Joe Di Maggio, who was also on set, however, did not… their marriage ended during this shoot.

Marilyn Monroe Filming

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seven-year-itch-1For Marilyn fans, the documentary ‘Love, Marilyn’ is worth a watch. Not fantastic as a film, but gives a real insight into just how seriously she took her acting, for instance when she ended her contract with Fox and moved to New York to join the Actors Studio – a fact that many actors at the studio ridiculed her for.

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posted by Dixie Turner

A Face In The Crowd: Timothy Carey

“Every time a policeman gets a look at me I can see the wheels starting to turn in his head. He’s positive that I’m on his “wanted” list for at least three major crimes” – Timothy Carey

MV5BMTUxMTgyMzk1Nl5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwOTkwNDQzMQ@@._V1_SX640_SY720_That long face, those droopy eyes – Timothy Carey is unmistakable, unpredictable, and electrifying with those lizard features that became both a blessing and a curse.

He appeared briefly in The Wild One alongside Lee Marvin and Marlon Brando – three heavyweights in a hokey B-movie. But is was Kubrick that first unleashed his potential. In The Killing he’s Nikki Arcane the sniper with the snarl and in Paths of Glory he is one of the court-martialled men. His looks have meant a career playing villains but here he is heartbreaking as the soldier bearing the emotional brunt from the generals supreme abuse of power.

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A true maverick known for improvising and getting fired he’s worked with Roger Corman, Coppola, and Cassavetes including a memorable turn as a mafia heavy in The Killing of a Chinese Bookie (we know just from the look in Carey’s eyes that Ben Gazzara is in deep, deep shit).

Carey is an actor to get excited about, like Bruce Dern there’s a manic energy inside him, a screw loose combined with a fearless realism. He often didn’t seem like an actor at all, more like a wonderfully intuitive amateur dragged out of a skid row bar and slid in front of the camera.

Nic Cage wishes he was Timothy Carey, but Carey didn’t have things easy…

“I can’t even take a stroll through a park. As soon as women see my face they start gathering up their children and running for home.” – Timothy Carey

Posted by Rob Munday

New Releases: 16th December

WE’RE THE MILLERS:

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New Jennifer Aniston comedy where she plays a stripper (who says there’s no good parts for women?) who teams up with a pot dealer for one big score down Mexico way. This involves them forming a fake all-American family with a local delinquent and nerd taking the roles of their kids.
Cert. 15

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BORGEN SEASON 3:

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The acclaimed drama takes its final bow. Get your fix of Scandi noir while you can.
Danish with English subs. Cert. 15

CHILD’S POSE:

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Winner of the highly coveted Golden Bear at this years Berlin Film Festival this Romanian drama is about a controlling mother who tries to help her adult son after he’s accused of manslaughter.
Romanian with English subs. Cert. 15

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ONE DIRECTION: THIS IS US

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If The Act of Killing didn’t float your boat why not try this documentary following the rapid rise of this massively popular pop combo bizarrely directed by Morgan Spurlock (Super Size Me).
Cert. PG 

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11.6:

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French thriller based on a true story about a security guard who stole 11.6 million Euros.
French with English subs. Cert. 15

Poster of the Day: ANDREI RUBLEV (1966)

AndreiRublev_Czech_MPOTWCzechoslovakian poster for Andrei Tarkovsky’s Andrei Rublev which chronicles the life and times of the medieval painter of icons.

posted by Dixie Turner

Luis Buñuel: A Statement (1960)

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1. In none of the traditional arts is there such a wide gap between possibilities and facts as in the cinema. Motion pictures act directly upon the spectator; they offer him concrete persons and things; they isolate him, through silence and darkness, from the usual psychological atmosphere. Because of all this, the cinema is capable of stirring the spectator as perhaps no other art. But as no other art, it is also capable of stupefying him. Unfortunately, the great majority of today’s films seem to have exactly that purpose; they glory in an intellectual and moral vacuum. In this vacuum, movies seem to prosper.

2. Mystery is a basic element of all works of art. It is generally lacking on the screen. Writers, directors and producers take good care in avoiding anything that may upset us. They keep the marvelous window on the liberating world of poetry shut. They prefer stories which seem to continue our ordinary lives, which repeat for the umpteenth time the same drama, which help us forget the hard hours of our daily work. And all this, of course, carefully watched over by traditional morals, government and international censorship, religion, good taste, white humour and other flat dicteria of reality.

3. The screen is a dangerous and wonderful instrument, if a free spirit uses it. It is the superior way of expressing the world of dreams, emotions and instinct. The cinema seems to have been invented for the expression of the subconscious, so profoundly is it rooted in poetry. Nevertheless, it almost never pursues these ends.

4. We rarely see good cinema in the mammoth productions, or in the works that have received the praise of critics and audience. The particular story, the private drama of an individual, cannot interest – I believe – anyone worthy of living in our time. If a man in the audience shares the joys and sorrows of a character on the screen, it should be because that character reflects the joys and sorrows of all society and so the personal feelings of that man in the audience. Unemployment, insecurity, the fear of war, social injustice, etc., affect all men of our time, and thus, they also affect the individual spectator. But when the screen tells me that Mr. X is not happy at home and finds amusement with a girl-friend whom he finally abandons to reunite himself with his faithful wife, I find it all very moral and edifying, but it leaves me completely indifferent.

5. Octavio Paz has said: “But that a man in chains should shut his eyes, the world would explode.” And I could say: But that the white eye-lid of the screen reflect its proper light, the Universe would go up in flames. But for the moment we can sleep in peace: the light of the cinema is conveniently dosified and shackled.

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Film Culture, No.21, 1960

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Thanks to UbuWeb (in partnership with Anthology Film Archives) for posting this and for the rest of their indispensable work. If you don’t know their site, JUMP ON IT!

posted by Dixie Turner

Film of the Day: YOJIMBO (1961)

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Yojimbo (1961), directed by Akira Kurosawa.

Another film that stumped nearly everyone at our film quiz last Monday was the samurai classic, Yojimbo. The question was in relation to the fact that Sergio Leone’s classic spaghetti western is an unofficial remake of this film – a fact that no-one seemed to know.

A-fistful-of-yojimboWide and low-angle shots showing just the head and torso of the protagonist – the famous Man With No Name – is just the beginning of all the possible points of comparison, not least of all being the plot. The Man With No Name (so-called, not necessarily because he remains nameless, so much as because he enters the site of action as an outsider, unrecognised and mistrusted; his past and origins a mystery; his intentions unknown), a ronin called Sanjuro (in Dollars called Joe) enters a town divided by, and in the clutches of, two rival gangs.

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He quickly assesses the situation and decides the town would be better off if both gangs were wiped out.

yojimTo this end he hires himself out as a master swordsman, first to the leader of one gang and then, later, to the other, all the while manipulating both and causing fatalities on both sides until, ultimately, he is the last one standing, leaving the town free.

zatoichi-meets-yojimbo_05pBeautiful cinematography, music and mise-en-scene mark this as one of Kurosawa’s finest achievements and amongst his most influential films. But it is also not surprising that it led to the fantastic homage that is A Fistful of Dollars. In fact, Kurosawa himself was much influenced by American cinema and was particularly taken with westerns as a genre, a fact that is obvious in Yojimbo. So really, Sergio Leone just brings the whole thing full circle from western gunslinger to Japanese ronin to western gunslinger: Hamburger western to udon western to spaghetti western.

Slurp!

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posted by Dixie Turner

Poster of the Day: Sherlock Jr.

sherlock-jr-movie-poster-1924-1020143174Russian Sherlock. Jr poster, 1924

This poster stumped pretty much everyone in our recent film quiz – perhaps because of its tricky graphics, or perhaps because the film is not as well-known amongst contemporary film-lovers as it should be! With his trademark stoney face, Buster Keaton makes for an earnest hero, battling the wrong-doings of a rival over the affections of a beautiful girl.

For those used to the more pointed, polished and faster-paced humour of Chaplin, Sherlock Jr can come across as a little slow at points and the excellent visual comedy has a much more naturalistic feel, delivering something of a rawer result. But there are fantastic examples of his comic and film-making genius here. The movie is one of the first examples of a film-within-a-film, when Keaton’s character – a lowly projectionist at a local theatre – falls asleep and imagines himself leaping into the film being screened, creating quite a surreal scene and perfectly illustrating Keaton’s ability to think outside the usual slapstick comedy box. In this new, meta-storyline, Keaton’s character becomes a great detective whose objective is to show the true nature of his rival’s character.

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And, of course, there are also plenty of slapstick moments, including the famous ‘shadowing scene’:

sherlock-jr-4Other visual gags abound, but amongst them are stunts that make the jaw drop; stunts that clearly must have been carried out with extreme precision but which are, none the less, delivered in Keaton’s characteristic loose and raw style, making them appear utterly haphazard.

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And, of course, there’s the sublime pool-playing scene, where Keaton’s character manages to pot every ball whilst avoiding hitting the booby-trapped ball – all in the most nonchalant, off-hand manner imaginable. Yep. Sublime.

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posted by Dixie Turner