Monday, December 15, 2014

Unforgiven - Sunday 21st December 5pm

Our film this week is ‘Yurusarezaru mono (Unforgiven)’. Many of the Westerns of the Clint Eastwood era were based on Samurai films from Japan; this one is the Samurai film from Japan based on the Clint Eastwood western ‘Unforgiven’. For those of you who loved the original, this will be enough to bring you along to see what the Japanese have done with it (the plot is the same, the politics are Japanese, the widescreen vistas are superb). For those of you who didn’t like it (why not?!), maybe Charlotte O’Sullivan (This is London) can convince you – ‘Clint Eastwood's 1992 western is adored by just about every critic in the world. Except me. Weirdly, I found Sang-il Lee's reverent remake gripping’.

If even that doesn't get your interest up, maybe Tom Huddleston (Time Out) can: ‘the plot is just a framework on which director Lee Sang-il and his scriptwriters hang many fascinating ideas: about the country's treatment of its indigenous Ainu people, about the shift from feudalism to ‘freedom’, and of course – as with any great western – about the rules and ramifications of violence. Unexpectedly brilliant’. Interested yet? We do hope so!

Monday, December 08, 2014

Ida - Sunday 14th December 5pm

Our film this week is going to be one of the highlights of the season. Ida has received some incredible reviews and this is taken from Brian Martin’s piece on UTV:

Maybe a black and white Polish road movie set fifty years ago does not promise a fun night at the flicks. But you would be wrong. Ida is truly extraordinary experience.

This poignant and powerfully told drama set in 1960s Poland is about a young novice nun who, on the verge of taking her vows, makes a shocking discovery about her past. Director Pawel Pawlikowski returns to his native Poland for the first time to illuminate the shadowy history of his birthplace.

Newcomer Agata Trzebuchowska plays 18 year old Anna, a sheltered orphan raised in a convent, who is preparing for a cloistered life. Then her Mother Superior instructs her to seek out her sole living relative Aunt Wanda, "You should visit her before you take your vows".

Ida is set is 1962, but looks like it was made in 1962. Pawlikowski's boldness to shoot static shots in stark black and white is gloriously refreshing. Three of the most memorable (recent) movies were in splendid black and white, Frances Ha, A Field In England and Nebraska. Maybe in the age of computer graphics, the absence of colour is simply more real.

Agata Trzebuchowska is sensational in the title role. Her angelic face beautifully framed by the darkening events around her - powerfully written and eloquently shot, Ida is a masterly evocation of a time, a dilemma, and a defining historical moment. This is European cinema at its very best - beautiful, beguiling and profound. Do not miss it.

Monday, December 01, 2014

Dallas Buyers Club - Sunday 7th December 5:30pm

Dallas Buyers Club (note the 5.30pm start time due to the late finish the 2.00pm screening of the Old Vic production of The Crucible) should be a treat for us this week; the winner of 76 awards -  3 Oscars, including 2 for best actor (Matthew McConaughey) and best supporting actor (Jared Leto) – this is a film to look forward to.

The film is based on the true story of Ron Woodruff who refused to accept his fate when given 30 days to live in 1986 when he was diagnosed with AIDS. Ron was anything but the normal gay victim here; a very happy-go-lucky guy who didn't believe he could have the ‘homo disease’. He set out to find his own cure and in doing so saved the lives of many. How he did this is the story of the film.

McConaughey has turned his career round with the film, going from a jobbing actor with a poor reputation to one of the highest respected actors in the USA.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Miss Violence - Sunday 30th November 5pm

Our film this Sunday is one that will make for challenging viewing, exploring themes that some may find disturbing. Miss Violence (18) is one of the new wave of films from Greece and begins with the suicide of a young girl during her 11th birthday party.

Rich Cline’s review ( said:

Even fans of chillingly oblique new Greek cinema (see Dogtooth and Alps) will find this pitch-black drama utterly terrifying simply because it doesn't look like a horror movie. But it is. With subtle observation and fiercely clever acting and filmmaking, everything about this movie worms its way under the skin, leaving us shaken by both what we see and how it makes us feel about the world around us.

Superficially, this looks like a happy, normal family grappling with a personal tragedy. But there's much more going on here, and as the tension builds the film becomes increasingly alarming in its implications. This is a fiercely inventive exploration of dark human urges most people resist and almost no one is willing to discuss. And as it closes in around us, we're too busy being horrified to notice that it's the combination of strikingly clever writing, directing and acting that makes it work so well.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Of Horses And Men - Sunday 23rd November 5pm

This week we have what might win the "most unusual film of the year" award; as a starter, "Of Horses and Men" comes from Iceland which makes it pretty rare; as Kate Muir says in the Times "Of Horses and Men is the best Icelandic noir equine comedy I have ever seen. OK, it's also the only one, but I urge you to seek out this unexpected movie".

Set in a wild, beautiful, remote valley where their horses are an all important part of their lives, the few inhabitants get up to some very strange goings-on, watched as closely by the horses as by their neighbours...The film is a series of vignettes observing these events – love, violence, absurdity – resulting in what Peter Bradshaw in the Guardian says "is a hugely enjoyable film from the wild side of the wild side...and it really resembles nothing else around".