The screening of Strangers on a Train was a real pleasure and scored a very good 9/10 in the exit poll.
There are many of books and films about the master these days, but back in the early 60's he was regarded as little more than a maker of slight entertainments. It took the vision of the French New Wave film makers to rescue his reputation as a great auteur, particularly the renowned director Francois Truffaut, who wrote a book on his film making after meeting him over a few days in a room at Universal Studios.
Do track down this terrific documentary about the meetings between Truffaut and Hitchcock and the subsequent book, which became essential reading for a generation of film makers. It is fascinating and enlightening, as well as being engaging and witty. It can tell you more about the films of Hitchcock in 80 minutes than any number of dry texts.
Ruth Wilson, star of Luther and The Affair, plays the lead role in Hedda Gabler.
Here she talks about the role and working with the visionary director Ivo van Hove
We broadcast it live on Thursday 9 March.
We are really delighted to have kept our 100% record in picking up award recognition at the annual Cinema for All National Conference and Film Society of the Year Awards.
This is the fifth award ceremony we have attended since we launched, and every year we manage to get a pat on the back. The awards are judged by an independent panel of industry professionals and, given the number and quality of fellow hard working community cinemas there are and the high standards that are set, even being shortlisted for an award is a significant achievement.
We hope this continued success continues for many years to come.
American Splendor scored a great 8/10 in our Audience Poll and all returns were positive.
Here are a couple of other films you might be interested in if you enjoyed American Splendor.
Terry Zwigoff has brought off one of the funniest, most lugubrious, and saddest films around. This is the movie version of Daniel Clowes' graphic novel about Enid and Rebecca, with terrific performances from Thora Birch and Scarlett Johansson. They are two high school graduates who airily refuse the college option and strive to keep the hothouse flower of their friendship alive in the cold outside world of finding apartments and low-paying jobs in giant malls.
It is co-written by Clowes and Zwigoff, who have subtly toned down both the humidly sexy parts of the original cartoon and the fraught, close-knit relationship of the young women themselves, in favour of Enid's odd, touching love affair with an older man: Steve Buscemi, a snaggle-toothed, introverted loser with a passion for arcane Americana and jazz 78s. He is clearly a composite of the Clowes cameo in the original and the R.Crumb disclosed in the Zwigoff documentary: but Buscemi avoids typecasting with a gentle, and moving characterisation of a man who, with fatherly tact, declines to take sexual advantage of Enid's infatuation with him but then succumbs, causing broken hearts all round.
It is an engaging account of the raw pain of adolescence: the fear of being trapped in a grown-up future and choosing the wrong grown-up identity, and of course the pain of love, which we all learn to anaesthetise with jobs and mundane worries. It is more muted and languid than Sam Mendes' American Beauty, the movie in which Thora Birch made her name, but it has engaging charm and creates its own weightless universe of dreamy suburban ennui.
Filmmaker Terry Zwigoff was able to make Crumb because of his friendship with the subject, but the film is definitely not hagiography.
Because much of the artist's work is so personal, any study of Robert Crumb must take into account his prickly and decidedly randy personality. Zwigoff also had a great sense of timing, catching Crumb in a bit of a mid-life crisis, as he decamps from his longtime home in California to the south of France.
The energy of the 1960s which fueled some of Crumb's most celebrated art has long ago dissipated, and when Crumb convincingly disavows being identified with that tumultuous time (he hates rock music, preferring to listen to his collection of blues music on original 78 rpm vinyl), you sense that he's a man who has been out of step all his life.
Rather than merely depict the symptoms of Crumb's worried mind, Zwigoff includes enormously effective interview material with two of Robert's brothers (one of whom died after film was completed). Few filmmakers are allowed that kind of privileged look into their subjects' upbringing, and the brothers' recollections of their childhood and ruminations on their blighted lives suggest that art provided Robert with a reasonably effective way of dealing with past traumas.
If you have Netflix, do watch this powerful and important documentary. Highly polemical but highly persuasive.
This is a fascinating little film about Cinema and what it can mean over and above pure entertainment.
Director: Julian Saulnier
Release Year: 2014
Blue Ruin scored 8.2/10 in our Audience poll after the screening, with the majority of votes split between 5 and 4 stars, a smattering of 3 stars and a few 2 star returns.
The film works well as a gripping genre piece, but adds more. Where in most revenge thrillers, the avenger becomes a cold eyed and efficient killer and the violence is glamourised, Blue Ruin shows that, even when you are driven by justified rage, it isn't easy to exact the revenge and if you do, the law of unexpected consequences kicks in.
The bone dry humour adds even more!
Jeremy Saulnier followed up Blue Ruin earlier this year, with a thriller of even even higher tension and with more bracing violence, Green Room. Not for the faint hearted!
If you enjoyed the slow building tension of Blue Ruin, try the Australian film Mystery Road.
Mystery Road (15)
An Aboriginal Australian detective returns to his home town in the Outback to investigate the murder of a teenager. He finds himself treated as an outsider by the local police, but also ostracised by his own community - including the daughter he left behind.
In this slow burning and brooding Australian thriller the all-star Aussie cast is headed by Aaron Pedersen, who plays an indigenous detective just returned to the small Queensland town where he grew up and whose investigation into the murder of a teenage Aboriginal girl causes waves in a redneck community divided by race.
Hugo Weaving, all laconic menace, is the narcotics cop Pedersen believes knows more about the murder than he is telling, while other familiar Australian faces include True Blood's Ryan Kwanten, Jack Thompson, Zoe Carides and David Field. Writer/director Ivan Sen makes some telling points about the despair and poverty of these ghetto-like indigenous communities.
Green Room (18)
Writer/director Jeremy Saulnier follows his mesmerising revenge tale Blue Ruin with another pulsating and riveting thriller.
Young punk band the Ain't Rights end up in the wrong place at the wrong time when they play a gig in the backwoods of Oregon. The fact the audience is made up of snarling neo-Nazi skinheads barely registers with these rockers, who proceed to provoke with gusto. However when they return to the green room and find a dead body, the quartet and local girl Amber (Imogen Poots) are soon besieged by vicious thugs with no qualms about using dogs and knives to eliminate the unwanted witnesses. After all, merciless head Nazi Patrick Stewart (all mellifluous menace) wants no proof of gunplay, just victims of canine attack.
Cue lashings of savage violence as the frantic five try to escape the secluded club. However, like the vagrant avenger of Blue Ruin, the heroes prove just as amateurish and shambolic in their attempts to survive. The contrast between the pastoral setting and shocking blood-letting creates lots of breathless tension, putting Green Room in good company with down-and-dirty siege flicks like Assault on Precinct 13 and especially Straw Dogs.