Based in November 2019, Ridley Scott’s Blade Runner (1982) remains one of the most iconic sci-fi movies ever made. As a piece of visual design its impact is still being felt, whilst the story it tells is remains a point of debate amongst fans.
It’s also a film that splits opinion.
On it’s release in 1982 it wasn’t well received by critics and there are plenty of criticisms that are hard to shake; it’s a detective film without much detecting, its sexual politics were old hat when it was released, and one has to wonder where the film would sit if it hadn’t been revised and re-released in different forms (my set contains five versions!)…
…and yet the film endures and, thirty seven years after it was originally screened at The Gaumont Cinema, we are bringing the original theatrical cut (the ‘European Theatrical Cut’ to be precise) back to the big screen in Guernsey.
The screening takes place at Beau Cinema at 7.30pm on Wednesday 27 November.
Our Lords of Chaos episode is now available for listening and downloading on Soundcloud, ITunes and other podcast apps.
The episode features Wynter Tyson, Lizze Loveridge and Mat Walters plus an interview with local musician Brett Stewart. In the ‘Afterword’ section we discuss the explosion of popcorn that is Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs and Shaw.
Clameur Du Cinema’s January screening is Aleksey Germain’s Khrustalyov, My Car! (1998).
Originally released in 1998 and presented here in a newly restored 4k scan, Khrustalyov, My Car! focuses on military doctor General Klenski who is arrested in Stalin’s Russia in 1953 during an anti–Semitic political campaign and accused of being a participant in a so-called “doctors plot”. It is regarded as an inspiration behind Armando Ianucci’s The Death Of Stalin (2017), and remains one of Aleksey German’s most enduring and satirical films amongst his exclusive body of work with includes the unforgettable Hard to Be a God (2013).
“Khrustalyov, My Car! is relentless and overpowering, yet the film is often poetic in its blend of pathos, freneticism, surrealism and matter of factness” – Time Out
“In this snowbound fever dream, beauty and anarchic humour co-exist with horror” – The Wall Street Journal
All pre-bookers will be entered into a draw for a copy of The Master and Margarita by Mikhail Bulgakov and The Death of Stalin by Fabien Nury and Thierry Robin, the comic that inspired the movie.
Suitable for ages 18+
The screening takes place at 7.30pm on Wednesday 30 January 2019.
Written and directed by Chloé Zhao, The Rider, based on the real experiences of it’s main cast, tells the story of a young cowboy’s search for new identity and what it means to be a man in the heartland of America after a traumatic head injury.
“Movies that blend real life and fiction usually foreground the docu-style realism, using the poetry as grace notes or punctuation. Zhao privileges both, and in so doing creates a work of heartbreaking beauty.” – Bilge Ebiri, Village Voice
I’ve seen Dune more times than I really should have. I’ve gone through phases with it and in 2013 I wrote the following…
“Although not perfect (what film is?) it’s a great big, weird and ballsy piece of sci-fi. What really feels right is the savage nature of the world in which it’s set both in terms of the political / societal set up and hardness of the dessert planet Arrakis. Everything in this film is life and death. Highly Recommended.”
Having finally seen it with an audience, on a screen larger than my TV, I’ve got to admit that it’s a bad movie. I’ve ended up here because my mind connected a shot of Alia, the young sister of the main character, with Lawrence of Arabia (1962).
It’s hard to believe that the reference isn’t intentional, that Lynch isn’t invoking Lean. Both stories feature outsiders leading desert warriors in military campaigns that are linked to larger political games. The Middle Eastern influences in Dune are front and centre and so is the importance of a precious natural resource. When O’Toole’s Lawrence dances, it’s because he’s infatuated with his robes and his shadow is his partner, he can’t help but check his reflection in his dagger. Alia is similarly lost in herself and that’s why the shot is so striking, it’s the one moment in Dune in which a character isn’t pushing the plot forward or saddled with overly obvious inner monologue. The two texts touch for one moment. The big difference is that Lawrence… has subtext (voiced perfectly in that scene) and is alive, Dune is dead because it has none.
Their Finest is now available to buy / rent and I’d solidly recommend it. It tells the story of a young woman (Gemma Arterton) who is employed to write realistic women’s dialogue (‘slop’ as it’s called in the film) in WWII propaganda reels and starts writing a feature film, based on the experience of two young women, about the evacuation of Dunkirk.
What I liked about the film was that, and this is no claim of documentary realism, it feels like the behind the scenes view of a Powell and Pressburger film… or at least as one would dream it to be. And that’s the key, the heart and the message are in the right place. It’s a film that knows the importance of myth and hope. It’s funny and heartbreaking, there’s love, a bit with a dog and Bill Nighy is on top form doing his best Bill Nighy impression.
Watching Atomic Blonde I suddenly notice that I’m following the shot rather than the action. The shot, a prolonged single(ish)-take fight scene, is impressively staged but I’ve lost the drama within it because it isn’t captivating. The problem is that the central MacGuffin, a list (sigh), is duplicated in function and form with no real sense of priority, deadline or consequence. No amount of 80’s pop music, neon, face smashing or ‘and Toby Jones’ can hide that.
On a positive note, Charlize Theron outclasses the film she’s in and McAvoy hints at a more interesting Heart of Darkness tale buried under the surface. Also, the opening ten minutes have a great comic book feel but, alas, the film is intent on not being its own thing and jettisons this in favour of uncomfortably sitting somewhere between John and Jason, unable to mesh the two together.
I walked out of Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets grinning from ear to ear and giggling like a child. Luc Besson’s adaptation of the Valerian and Laureline comic books is a breath of fresh air after what seems like an eternity of drab fantasy comic book cinema. This doesn’t feel recycled or ponderous, it feels like a comic book brought to life with tonnes of imagination and wit.
It sometimes feels a bit too much, it’s so packed with ideas that I’m wondering what I missed and I think watching it in 3D was maybe one layer too many. There’s also a problem with length (a regular gripe this summer) and the charm of witnessing a comic serial unfold is lessened slightly by one long segment that side-tracks proceedings and ‘damsels’ Laureline just once too often. Which is a real pity because the central pairing of Dane DeHaan and Cara Delevingne brings a weird offbeat energy to proceedings that feels much more equitable than similar films.
Slight misgivings aside, it’s still a wonderful film. It’s brash and fun in the same way as Besson’s The Fifth Element. I can fully see why other people might dislike or even actively hate it, it’s ‘peak Besson’ and that’s a dangerous place for film makers (Mann and Malick both need to step back from the edge) but, for me, it hit all the right notes.