Also… some shameless advertising and self-promotion:

HAS THE NEWS OF THE CLOSURE OF VIDEO CITY LEFT YOU FEELING A LITTLE:

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WELL.

We’re still here in person. And we’re also here, online. PLUS Facebook, Twitter, Instagram AND TUMBLR, so you can keep getting your VC fix.

 

Video City’s Tumblr account has changed its name/address. You can now follow us in our film-love mayhem at videocityldn.tumblr.com

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sadsledtALSO, GET YOUR VERY OWN LIMITED EDITION, HAND-SILK SCREENED, VIDEO CITY CITIZEN KANE T-SHIRT – MADE BY STAFF MEMBER, AND BLOG TYRANT, DIXIE. ASK IN STORE (WHILST YOU CAN).

posted by Dixie

Update On Our Situation Part 2: Closure, Thanks and Merriment

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Since having announced our impending closure a little over four weeks ago we have been completely taken aback, not only by the extraordinary response locally, but also from the avalanche of emails and texts we have received from customers and friends past and present.
As I have mentioned before we have so enjoyed sharing our passion for film with all of you and it is genuinely heart-warming to realise it has been such a pleasure for so many of you too.
A number of people came forward with extremely generous offers of support and put a huge amount of effort into publicising our plight. I would like to take this opportunity to sincerely thank those individuals (particularly Amanda!) for their incredible generosity and for giving up so much time on our behalf. Unfortunately, after much consideration I feel that even with the offers of assistance we would only be giving ourselves a temporary stay of execution and as a result, we will still be closing our doors on June 24th.
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From June 1st there will be a multitude of sale bargains on offer and I would like to encourage all of you to come and support us in our final weeks.
On an up note, we intend to close early on Wednesday 3rd June as we will all be in the Uxbridge Arms (directly behind us) from 8pm, enjoying a shandy/Jagerbomb. We would love as many of you as possible to come and join us for a celebration of the thirty years we have shared with you in this amazing neighbourhood!
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Once again thank you for all your incredible support, love and friendship.
Simon Brzeskwinski

The Duke of Burgundy

Cinema Axis

Duke of Burgundy

Writer/director Peter Strickland turns his eye to sexualityin the follow-up to his celebratedBerberian Sound Studio. The Duke of Burgundy chronicles the relationship between Cynthia (Sidse Babbett Knudsen) and Evelyn (Chiara D’Anna), lovers and entomologists who specialize in butterflies (of which the titular Duke is in fact a European species), a relationship with a strong BDSM dimension.

Strickland’s affinity for exploitation cinema of the 1970s is clear, with parallels being drawn betweenDuke and the work of Jean Rollin and Jess Franco, along with the era’s softcore strain in general. But Strickland seems less interested in the erotic than the trappings of the erotic. Which isn’t to say the film isn’tkinky: a minor plot point revolves around a device whose very function I’d prefer not to think about. There’s alsoalmost no nudity here, but plenty of high-heeled boots, false eyelashes, and elaborate lingerie. (It speaks volumes that, in…

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Overturning Patriarchy in the Post-apocalyptic World: Mad Max: Fury Road – A Film Review

Independent Ethos

MM-Main-PosterMad Max: Fury Roadis a thrilling ride set in a post-apocalyptic world where the main ruler has centralized all resources. The new world is a top-down patriarchy where water, plants and even women and men are resources controlled and owned by a ruthless authoritarian version of Methuselah called Immortan Joe (Hugh Keays-Byrne), who has also propelled himself by conveying a myth of eternal existence to his followers. Indeed, the regime at the Citadel is a strange combination of religious fanaticism, top-down control, private ownership of natural resources, and a cult-like militarized core of supporters who are mostly male.

The population at the Citadel also embody extremes; Immortan Joe’s army and the main inhabitants of the Citadel are pale white mutant warriors who need blood transfusions to function and exist as devout cannon fodder for their ruler/father figure. They run the Citadel through violence and manage a host of…

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The Lady from Shanghai (1947): More Than Luck

Nitrate Diva

lady“A director is someone who presides over accidents.” —Orson Welles

“You are made from nothing but this, from these contingent manifestations, from these little discontinuities.” —Jacques Lacan

See this movie before you die.

It sounds glib, doesn’t it? Appealing to your fear of the ultimate deadline to add weight to my recommendation. Certainly it would be rather difficult to see the movie afterwards.

Strange thing, though… Once I got talking to a brilliant man who was lecturing at my college, a full-time cosmologist, no less, and a part-time cinephile. He’d somehow neglected to see The Lady From Shanghai, my all-time favorite film, so I told him that he simply had to.

He emailed me a few weeks afterwards to tell me that he’d watched it: “I loved the editing, the close-ups, the movement, the characters talking over each other. There was really no part where I was not totally engaged…

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New Releases: 18th May, 2015

FOXCATCHER:

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One of last year’s baitiest Oscar flicks, I for one was more than a little surprised at the lack of a Best Picture nod for this one, mostly due to it’s being rather brilliant. Make no mistake, this is a thriller-drama that takes its sweet time doing its thing. For some people that near-inertia will sound the klaxon of boredom, but if your tastes are similar to mine I would recommend sticking it out. The tension becomes almost unbearable as the three towering central performances wrestle against one another. Although Carell (and his prosthetic nose) stole most of the limelight, it’s really Channing Tatum who surprises with serious dramatic range and it’s Mark Ruffalo who owns every scene he’s in as Tatum’s older, more talented brother. Darker, heavier and more formally rigorous than either of director Bennett Miller’s previous efforts, Capote and Moneyball (the latter of which is a damn classic I tell you!), this is heady stuff, and when it’s all over and you begin to look into the twisted true story, that’s when the brilliance of this film and its disturbing monotone really hits.

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A MOST VIOLENT YEAR:

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The cinema community lost Sidney Lumet nearly a decade ago, but his spirit is alive and well in this brilliant 80s-New York crime saga of just the sort Mr. Lumet was so suited to. This is the story of Abel Morales, a young immigrant making his way up the ladder of shady big business one rung at a time. Oscar Isaac is one of the most in-demand actors in Hollywood at the moment, and as far as yours truly is concerned he can do no wrong. He certainly does no wrong here and is matched every riveting step by another of the finest actors in cinema, Jessica Chastain and an understated supporting turn from Albert Brooks. As marriage drama, crime thriller or snapshot of a specific place and time, this is evocative and hefty stuff from J.C. Chandor (Margin Call, All is Lost) who is getting better with every effort.

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INTO THE WOODS:

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There’s really very little reason for me to review this one. If you think you’re going to enjoy this colourful, classical and costumed musical from that master of the stage Stephen Sondheim, then you probably will. A stellar cast has a lot of fun and sing-talks its way through a narrative sewn together from the best bits of various fairytales like Frankenstein’s Monster at a kid’s birthday party. Meryl Streep deservedly gets most of the attention for her scene-stealing work here, as she once again makes us all ask the question: who do other actors even bother? This is fun stuff, especially if you can ignore the fact that from the two-thirds mark this one entirely loses its way in the woods of plot coherence and never quite gets back on track. Definitely recommended for light, easy, brain-melting watching, even if it’s getting harder to ignore the fact that it’s been 13 years since Chicago (come on Rob Marshall!).

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Poster of the Day: Beggars of Life (1928)

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The wonderfully titled, Beggars of Life (1928) – directed by Wallace A. Wellman (Public Enemy, A Star is Born) – starring Wallace Beery as a young hobo, opposite Louise Brooks’ dragged-up girl-on-the-run in what was Paramount’s first talking picture. Can the desperate pair reach Canada before the police catch them? Who knows, because we’re closing before it’ll ever be issued on DVD.

19 Jun 1928 --- Actress Louise Brooks plays Nancy in the 1928 film . --- Image by © John Springer Collection/CORBIS

“And if there’s a gal in my the gang, she’s my gal.”

posted by Dixie Turner

Update on our situation

Since announcing our closure only one week ago, we have been dumbfounded by the response and support you have all given us. It is a testament to what an exceptional community it has been our privilege to have been a part of for the last 30 years.

I would personally like to thank each and every one of you that has contacted us and to those I have not yet managed to reply to I apologise but it has been a rather extraordinary week. There has been a whole raft of suggestions put forward to enable us to remain and a number of you have gone forward with exceptionally generous rescue plans.

I would like to take this opportunity to firstly thank those customers who have pledged their financial support but also to assure them that in the event of our viability not being maintained the cheques will be returned.

Many of you have been wondering why we are closing. To set the record straight, we have a good landlord with whom we have had a fantastic relationship for all these years. The real issue is not the rent, but other spiralling costs (primarily exorbitant business rates) and rapidly declining revenues. As much as we would love to remain here with you, it can only be if a LONG-TERM solution is found and not a short-term one.

As always, if any of you have any questions, please contact me in the store or by phone/email.

We will be having an informal gathering somewhere locally and invite any of you who would like to ask questions/share ideas, chat or hand us a cheque for a million pounds etc, to come along and join us. Details to follow – keep an eye on the blog.

It is hard to put into words our gratitude for all your incredible support and kindness. We thank you enormously.

Simon.

 

Thought of the Day: Life goes on…

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We’re still here; the wind still blows. Sometimes there’s even sun. Come in and visit us some time (before 24th June).

posted by Dixie Turner

Thought of the Day: How can I vote for a tax on tyranny?

WHO SETS THE BUSINESS RATES THAT CRIPPLE SMALL BUSINESSES? GOVERNMENT OR LOCAL COUNCIL? LET’S SPEND YEARS GOING BACK AND FORTH BETWEEN THE TWO WHILST THEY POINT AT ONE ANOTHER AND NEITHER ACCEPT RESPONSIBILITY.

WHO BUYS PROPERTIES AND SELLS THEM TO INVESTORS WHO THEN IN TURN LEAVE THEM EMPTY? LET’S SEE AS OUR CHILDREN GROW UP TO HAVE NOWHERE TO LIVE AND OUR LOCAL COMMUNITIES WITHER TO NOTHING.

WHO SELLS PRODUCTS THAT UNDERCUT ALL LOCAL COMPETITORS AND THEN REFUSE TO PAY THEIR TAXES? AND WHO GOES INTO A LOCAL SHOP AND SAYS (LOUDLY): “OH, BUT IT’S SO MUCH CHEAPER ONLINE!?” (Is it a degree in economics you have?) LET’S SEE AS OUR LOCAL BUSINESSES DISAPPEAR. (By the way, who wants to bet on VC being turned into another estate agent?)

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“[…] tyranny leaves the body free and directs its attack at the soul. The ruler no longer says: You must think as I do or die. He says: You are free not to think as I do; your life, your property, everything shall remain yours, but from this day on you are a stranger among us.” – Alexis de Tocqueville, De la Démocratie en Amérique, Vol. 2

posted by Dixie Turner

 – if you have anything to say to help explain any of the above, come and find me.

New Releases: 4th May

BIRDMAN:

“WITHOUT ME, ALL THAT’S LEFT IS YOU.”

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“HOW DID WE END UP HERE? THIS PLACE IS HORRIBLE.”

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ALSO OUT:

 

UNBROKEN:

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ME, MYSELF AND MUM:

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End of an Era

Some of you will already know by now that Video City is to close its doors (in its physical presence!) for the last time on Wednesday 24th June, after 30 years in Notting Hill.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank all of you for supporting us so magnificently over the years and for making it such a hugely enjoyable experience in recommending and discussing a wealth of cinema from all over the world.

Due to ever changing technology it has become apparent that the physical sale and rental of DVD’s is becoming difficult to maintain, but our belief is that a knowledge and love of film should enable us, in the not too distant future, to offer an expertly curated choice of film through a digital delivery system. It won’t happen overnight but I would urge you all, if you are interested, to leave us your email address so that we can hopefully renew our relationship with you in a new medium.

We will carry on renting and selling films in the remaining weeks and we hope that you will continue to support us in that time period. We will be offering plenty of bargains (new and ex-rental), so why not take this opportunity to start or add to your personal collections.

I can only reiterate what an absolute privilege it has been for myself and all of my colleagues to have shared our passion for films with you over the many years we have been in Notting Hill. We hope to be seeing some, if not all of you, again at a later date

Simon Brzeskwinski

Send your email address to info@videocitylondon.com

Hot Docs 2015: Kurt Cobain: Montage of Heck

Cinema Axis

Kurt Cobain Montage of Heck

Kurt Cobain: Montage of Heck tells the story of a musician who, early on in his career, was hailed as the voice of a generation and struggled to cope with such a weighty designation. Utilizing a mixture of homemade movies, animation, archival footage and current day interviews, the film provides a vivid and intimate portrait of Kurt Cobain’s turbulent life.

Director Brett Morgen begins his examination by interviewing Cobain’s parents. They detail how their divorce had a profound impact on Cobain, who was only 9 years old at the time. The first true glimpse into the troubled side of the young artist comes from journal excerpts outlining his first real suicide attempt in high school. Through the use of animation, which the film frequently employs to visualize key events, Morgen is able to recreate a stirring image of Cobain calmly sitting on railway tracks in the dark of night as…

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Video City is on Instagram

Follow us @videocityldn for hot shop goss and local scandal!

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The Homesman (France-US 2014)

The Case for Global Film

Tommy Lee Jones and Hilary Swank on the trail (the three women are sleeping under the blankets). Tommy Lee Jones and Hilary Swank on the trail (the three women are sleeping under the blankets).

I missed this on release so I was pleased to catch a showing by my local film club in Keighley’s Picture House. I love Westerns and this is a good one. It is another of the current crop of ‘international’ productions and it did seem odd to see ‘Luc Besson’ in the credits as producer for his Europa company. The French connection helped the film to get a place in the Cannes Palme d’Or line-up in 2014 but it doesn’t seem to have gone down too well in the US. This is a surprise since Tommy Lee Jones is a major figure in American cinema and his previous (modern) Western directorial credit for The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada (2005) was very well received.

The Homesman has a good pedigree, being an adaptation…

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