Video City Staff A-Z of Film: C is For…(pt.1)


C is for A Canterbury Tale

This is Powell & Pressburger’s modern riff on Chaucer’s medieval stories. In one brilliant cut we’re transported from a time of men in skirts on horseback to present day men in uniform driving tanks. Meanwhile women do their jobs amongst the blackouts and boredom of a country at war.

The plot is pure hokum of the Ealing variety. A man in a soldier’s uniform has been terrorising a small village by pouring glue into the hair of local young ladies. Our three leads Alison (Sheila Sim), Peter (Dennis Price), and Bob (John Sweet) set out to solve the mystery. The real story here is the deep sorrow buried within these three and the hope that their wishes may come true in a modern-day pilgrimage to Canterbury. It’s a great film about life during wartime, about the beauty of the English countryside and rural existence. Above all it shows Powell & Pressburger’s deep love for their characters. This may be a propaganda film but there is a genuine sweetness devoid of any Hollywood cheese.

You come to expect wit and invention from Powell & Pressburger but here you also get a large dollop of unusual poetic romance and a very English cheery resilience against adversity.

See also: A Matter of Life and Death, Life and Death of Colonel Blimp


C is for Coach Carter – (2005) directed by Thomas Carter

This film is based on a story about a High School basketball coach that tries to teach his players that there is more to life then being “ghetto hoop stars”!

Despite most of the parents, other teachers and all the players thinking his methods are a bit extreme, coach Ken Carter (Samuel L. Jackson) continues to employ his teaching methods and the players soon learn that it’s the coaches way or they’re off the team!
A combination of sports, a true life story with a powerful message and a good cast, enough to make this one of my top choices!

C is for Come and See
Elem Klimov’s 1985 Come and See tells the story of a young mans coming of age in the midst of Nazi-occupied Belarus. From the outset, the film displaces its audience mixing almost farcical scenes of partisan recruitment officers with a scene of the protagonist, Florya and his friend (who sounds like he’s talking with the aid of an electrolarynx) sifting through a sandy beach searching for a discarded rifle.

As the film progresses, this initial displacement acts to unsettle us, and as we continue, and the subject matter intensifies the difficulty we’ve had in placing the film’s genre or position only unsettles us further. Coupled with the film’s intense and intricate aural and visual design – which is constantly pulling itself apart and re-intertwining – drags the audience with Florya into the madness and disorientation that enshrouds him.

Although not a graphically violent film by todays standards (only rated 15), Come and See is certainly not for the faint-hearted (for example, there’s an extremely difficult scene, where Florya and a girl he has met wade through a swamp, whilst the soundtrack bears down on us oppressively. Seemingly pushing downwards from above). This said, I have watched the film numerous times, and maybe it’s just the masochist in me, but I’ll certainly be watching it again and sharing it with all my loved ones.

Interesting review here:

New Releases: 19/03/12


One of this week’s must see films, this much-anticipated Australian crime-thriller is based on the true story of Australia’s most notorious murders. A teenage boy is introduced to his mother’s new boyfriend and the two form a friendship which leads to a spree of violence and death. Hailed by critics around the globe as a hard-hitting and brilliant piece of work – reserve your copy now. Cert. 18



Steven Spielberg AND Peter Jackson? So, presumably it’s going to be a dainty affair. Our well-coiffed hero has hit the big screens, but does anyone else feel cheated that this was made as an animated feature? The original cartoons were so good and the books are COMICS, so it would’ve been nice if they could have just done something different. It would be great to actually see Andy Serkis play Captain Haddock. However, Spielberg felt that a live-action film would’ve required actors in prosthetics and masses of make-up, making the over-all project “super stylised”, which was not the sort of film he wanted to make. Personally, I would love to see a massively camped-up Tintin project. Maybe a musical. Didn’t Herge write Tintin at the Cabaret? Haddock finds a washed-up Tintin in drag, waitressing at the Moulin Rouge, a drunk Snowy on a uni-cycle… Perhaps that’ll be the sequel. Anyway, this one looks fun enough. Featuring the voices of Jamie Bell (Dear Wendy), Andy Serkis (Sex & Drugs & Rock & Roll), Simon Pegg (Hot Fuzz), Daniel Craig (The Mother) and Toby Jones (Infamous). Cert. PG



Dogs in hats. Just what your kids need.



A festival favourite, and one of the most highly acclaimed British films of the year, Weekend follows the story of Glen and Russell who have met in a club and fallen in love. However, their romance is threatened after just two days by the announcement that one of them is leaving the country for two years. Love, heartache, issues of identity and how to find your place in the world… Directed by Andrew Haigh (Greek Pete) and introducing Tom Cullen and Chris New. Cert. 18



A sports drama, nominated for 6 Oscars, Moneyball (named after the Oscar’s after-party?) is based on the true story of the manager of baseball team the Oakland A’s as he tries to put together a decent team on a tiny budget: “There are rich teams and there are poor teams. Then there’s 50 feet of crap, then there’s us.” Oscar-worthy screenplay? Apparently not. Anyway, the manager, played by Brad (Seven) Pitt learns to think outside the box and assemble a dream-team by using the wonders of the latest in computer technology: pie-charts and graphs. Also starring Jonah Hill (Cyrus), Philip Seymour Hoffman (Jack Goes Boating,) and Robin Wright (State of Play). Directed by Bennet Miller (Capote). Cert. 12



Somewhat incredibly, this is actually based on the true story of Sam Childers, who started out as an armed guard for drug dealers. He married a stripper who had found Jesus, and then he found Jesus. Arriving in southern Sudan with his construction business, Sam had a message from God: Thou Shalt Build an Orphanage. So he did. This is the real Sam, messenger of God:

Good, clean livin'.

Starring Gerard Butler (300). Directed by Marc Forster (Kite Runner, Monster’s Ball). Cert. 15



An action-comedy about revenge. Ben Stiller (Zoolander), Casey Affleck (Assassination of Jesse James) and Mathew Broderick (Ferris Bueller) are good, honest, hard-working guys. Their millionaire boss, played by Alan Alda (MASH) rips them off, so they decide to enlist the help of ex-con Eddie Murphy (Raw), to rip him off. Directed by Brett Ratner (Red Dragon). Cert. 12



Wealthy couple Nicholas Cage (Adaptation) and Nicole Kidman (The Hours), are taken hostage by a group of bossy goons who want all their money. A crime thriller directed by Joel Schumacher (The Lost Boys). Cert. 15



Believing that an apocalyptic storm is coming, a husband and father (Michael Shannon – Boardwalk Empire, Carnivale) becomes obsessed with building a tornado shelter to protect his family. However, with a mother who was diagnosed with Schizophrenia in her 30s, he – and those around him – begin to question his judgement and sanity. Michael Shannon is excellent at playing these apocalyptic/religious visionaries, full of outer determination and inner struggle with a hint of something dark and disturbing lurking beneath the surface of a stoney exterior. Cert. 15



A thriller set against the backdrop of the second world war in a small Welsh village. The country is under German occupation. One morning the women awake to find all the men have gone missing… Starring Michael Sheen (Frost/Nixon) and Andrea Riseborough (W.E.). Cert. 15



American indy horror-thriller about a woman trying to start a new life after escaping the clutches of her troubled ex-boyfriend… who of course is out to track her down. Hopefully a better film than the title suggests. Cert.18



Another baseball-related true story. Starring Ed Harris (Pollock). Cert. 12