R$N’s Late Night Flix Pix #3
Thursday: 'Cat on a Hot Tin Roof' (Hackney Picturehouse, 13:00)
The film's of Tennesse Williams' work are always infused with a tinge of disappointment. Williams found fame in the New York theatre for fearlessly depicting taboo subject matter such as homo-sexuality, mental illness and rape. However, it was never done for affect as the stories and characters were always so vivid, so strong, that no one could accuse him of exploitation. The disappointment comes, therefore, from Cinema Censorship's lagging behind at this approach to risky material, as this film (as well as the great 'Streetcar Named Desire') shows. However, whilst the explicitness of the text has been pared down, this is still a very strong film, with great performances from Paul Newman and Elizabeth Taylor. Worth going for it's resemblance to the source material and still a very faithful adaptation
Friday:'Blue Velvet' (The Ritzy, Brixton, 23:25)
It's been mentioned in this feature before how well Lynch suits the late night format but, whilst more has been made of the harnessing of the 'midnight movie' angle to promote his debut, 'Eraserhead', 'Blue Velvet' may be the definitive late night film. Nowhere else is the duality between the stagnant joy of suburbia and the horrifying underbelly of night time in the wrong side of town displayed with such confidence and clarity of vision. Lynch's awareness and ability to toy with this well known contrast is what makes 'Blue Velvet' so sharp and vital as a piece of cinema. When watching it, you feel like Kyle Machlaclin in the closet, transfixed by something you don't quite understand and can't comprehend, but unable to look away.
Saturday: 'Little Shop of Horrors' (Prince Charles, 21:00)
If you are one of them many cinema curators who I'm sure read this page, then consider this week's listings a challenge, a call to arms, a rally cry. Every week, the listings of every cinema in London are scoured to give the public this vital timetable of nocturnal activities. And every week, the best place to be on almost every night is the Prince Charles. So, to the people of this cinema, we salute you. To everyone else: STEP UP. Otherwise this page simply hurtles closer and closer towards just being a link to the Prince Charles home page. Case in point: this Saturday they're showing 'Little Shop of Horrors', furthering their commitment to showing some of the more overlooked children's classics from decades of old, a wonderful commitment to make. Cinemas of London: You have been told.
Sunday: 'Last Tango In Paris' (The Ritzy, 15:40)
Is there a more handsome man, a shinier beacon of untamed, raw sexuality in cinema than Marlon Brando in 'A Streetcar Named Desire'? Probably not. But, as is often the case, these looks did not stay. By the early 70s, Brando didn't look bad per se, but he was on the way. Which makes this meandering, sadly very dated essay on love and sex all the more bewildering for modern audiences. It's unclear what the point of this film is, especially with minimal knowledge of early 70s European Cinema, which means, taken away from the time of its conception, it seems absolutely fucking mental. It's literally just a bit weird. It's probably about stuff but I'm really not sure what. I usually like films like this but I really had no idea what was going on. And all the blase, irreverent dialogue is interspersed with really long sex scenes, one famously involving improvised usage of some butter. If you like being thoroughly disorientated whilst looking at sumptuous Parisian photography, then this may very well be the film for you.
Monday: 'Romy & Michelle's High School Reunion/Grosse Point Blank Double Bill' (Prince Charles, 18:55)
Prince Charles' double bill season continues on in dazzling form, bringing back to the silver screen Grosse Point Blank, a film not quite big enough to have been a blockbuster, not quite indie enough to become a firm cult favourite and not quite remember enough to be mentioned that often in film discourse, so awkward it's place in history seems. It's a shame because it's a very light, enjoyable film. Even though it focuses on Hit men, it never becomes too violent to exclude more squeamish viewers and never becomes to explosion-happy to exclude more stuck up viewers. It's a great choice for this week's High School Reunion theme as, much like Lynch's approach mentioned earlier, the film shows an awareness of the emerging cliche's of the genre; the unresolved love affairs, the losers who have descended into further pits of loser-dom, the unsubtle references to emerging drug habit's. It's all here and handled with a very dry and pleasing tone.