Tuesday, 28 May 2013
More interesting were two smaller thrillers: Blood, starring Paul Bettany and Stephen Graham, and Black Rock, with Katie Aselton, Kate Bosworth and Lake Bell - both are effectively unsettling (the girls' film is actually scary). And further afield, we caught up with Studio Ghibli's From Up on Poppy Hill, another beautifully mature animated drama; the arty and involving French odyssey Atomic Age; and a pristine rerelease of John Schlesinger's 1972 forgotten gem The King of Marvin Gardens, with marvellous against-type turns from Jack Nicholson, Ellen Burstyn and recent Cannes-winner Bruce Dern.
Monday, 20 May 2013
Further off the beaten path we had the fragmented British romance/drama/romp Spike Island, a choppy story about teen Stone Roses fans in 1990; the topical and deeply involving low-budget German drama The Visitor; and a 50th anniversary restoration of John Schlesinger's timeless British comedy Billy Liar, starring the fabulous Tom Courtenay and Julie Christie. It's simply wonderful - get your hands on a copy.
Thursday, 16 May 2013
Tuesday, 14 May 2013
From off the beaten path came the Austrian fable The Wall, a kind of female Robinson Crusoe in the mountains story that is too literary for its own good. Blackfish and We're Not Broke are two extremely well-made docs that get our blood boiling about psychological cruelty to animals and corporate collusion with politicians, respectively. And Pasolini's 1968 masterpiece Theorem is a challenging, surreal exploration of class and culture starring a strikingly young and seductive Terence Stamp.
Coming this week is a very late press screening of Baz Luhrmann's The Great Gatsby (it's timed to coincide with the opening night screening at Cannes), Emma Watson in The Bling Ring, Seth Rogen and James Franco in This Is the End, Robert Redford's political drama The Company You Keep and the comedy A Haunted House.
And no, I'm not going to Cannes, staying in rainy London instead...
Sunday, 12 May 2013
Tuesday, 7 May 2013
Also last week, we had Paul Walker in the rather implausible but involving Johannesburg road thriller Vehicle 19, Tim Roth and Jack O'Connell in the darkly comical British crime thriller The Liability, Alexey Balabanov's violent and pointed black comedy The Stoker, and the Belgian-Turkish culture clash drama-romance Mixed Kebab. I also planned a Madeline Kahn marathon over the long weekend with friends who had never seen her best work. We thoroughly enjoyed the genius of What's Up Doc and Young Frankenstein, but the warm sunshine tempted us to put off Blazing Saddles for another day. Frankly, those are three films I could happily watch on a loop.
Wednesday, 1 May 2013
We also had a double dose of unsettling nastiness in The Seasoning House, a dark dramatic thriller about a rather too-grubby brothel in the 1990s Balkans, and the gimmicky 26-part The ABCs of Death, a mixed bag of good, merely ok, bad and utterly pointless shorts. The most original film of the week was the gentle Italian drama Shun Li and the Poet, about a lovely friendship between two immigrants in a fishing village near Venice.
I saw rather a lot more films this past week as part of the Sundance London Music and Film Festival - scroll down for comments on all of those.