Art & Culture

Thursday: 'Fight Club' (20:00, Stratford East Picturehouse)
'Fight Club' is always worth revisiting. Sometimes you watch it and come away feeling you've watched something overly narcissistic, or overly graphic visually. Sometimes, you watch it in a vitriolic mood and find yourself taking it all to seriously. What makes it so accessible is that all these interpretations fit the text perfectly. The tone bends comfortably into many different readings. This isn't to say that the film isn't memorable, but it's a completely different experience whenever you watch it. Because it's such a sprawling manifesto on everything, you can't help having some sort of reaction to it, be it positive or negative, inspired or appalled. This screening, like an revisit to 'Fight Club' is an opportunity not to be missed.

Friday: 'Drive' (23:30, Ritzy Picturehouse, Brixton)
When 'Drive' was released towards the end of last year, it was that most curious of things: an instant cult classic. It's not that it was promoted more than other films of the time, or featured a more attention grabbing cast than other releases of that moment, but somehow it became a film you had to see. People who go to the cinema 3 or 4 times a year were telling me that I had to see it. And so the fact that it's back in cinemas again, and being shown in a late night format, whilst being ever so slightly surprising, is completely understandable. The films success and the affect it has had on the career of Ryan Gosling is particularly satisfying for fans of his earlier film, 'Half Nelson', which proved he was a serious acting talent rather than 'the guy from The Notebook' or 'the former Mousketeer' (if you have a spare quarter of an hour, type in 'Ryan Gosling Mickey Mouse Club on youtube, you won't regret it.)

Saturday: 'The Big Lebowski' (23:30, Screen on the Green, Angel), 'Inland Empire' (23:30, Rio, Dalston)
It's finally happened. Some weeks this page really has to be scraped together as London occasionaly doesn't cater quite well enough for it's late-night-screening-enthusiasts. But here we have it: a double booking. This Saturday, you can either see The Coen Brothers weed-soaked bowling epic or David Lynch's 3 hour 'Woman in Trouble' opus. Neither are to everyone's taste; some find 'The Big Lebowski's' irreverent structure and befuddled dialogue a put-off, especially as, when first watching the film, there is such a pressure to enjoy it due to the film's truly enormous cult following. As for 'Inland Empire', it may actually be Lynch's most incoherent film to date, and yet every bit as unsettling as the rest of his work. And it's marathon running time must surely seel the deal for people with little or no patience for the director as well. But for those that 'get' either film, both events are real treats. If anything, rejoice that you live in a place were both films are being screened at once at the same time on the same night.

Sunday: 'Singin' In The Rain' (22:15, Curzon, Chelsea)
It will not be often that musicals will be recommended on this page. That is a firm promise. They are probably the most dismissed of all films and for good reason. There is something really really aggravating about that transition from dialogue into song. It just doesn't work. However, 'Singin' In The Rain' is an exception. The plot displays the hazards that befell cinema upon the introduction of sound recording in a playful and very clever way and the performances, especially from Gene Kelly, are unavoidably charming. Also, there's this dream sequence in the middle that goes on for like 15 minutes and everything goes a bit '2001'. I don't know why that bit isn't spoken of more, I think more people would check the film out if they knew that that was coming.

Monday: 'Silent Running'/'2001: A Space Odyssey' (18:45, Prince Charles Cinema)
Before you read any further, please be aware: only half of this double bill is being recommended to you. Kubrick's '2001…' remains one of cinema's true classics. Though some find the film's messages slightly oblique and the pace hard to stick with, no one can argue with the breadth of ambition on display or the wealth of artistic vision. And, though I've never seen it in the cinema, I can only imagine how impressive the films closing sequences are on the big screen. These two films have probably been paired together as they are both mentioned regularly in lists of classic/cult sci fi films. However, whilst '2001…' has held up remarkably well considering the advances in technology since it's release, 'Silent Running' is one of the most horribly dated films still available to watch. It's like watching really bad, forgettable telly. And the central performance of Bruce Dern is so over acted, so hammy, so irritating, it makes it impossible for the audience to sympathise with his ridiculous mission to save plants or whatever it is. Mercifully, the Prince Charles has provided the option to only buy tickets to one of the films and, fortunately, it's the later of the two that is worth your time and admission fee. '2001…' cannot come recommended enough.

Tuesday: 'The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford' (20:10, Prince Charles Cinema) 'Repo Man' (Various Picturehouses)
Twice in one week. In any other week, both of these films would be the undoubted highlight. The torture we have to live with is that not only have they fallen in the same week but on the same night. Midway through the last decade, a curious thing happened in which westerns went back in vogue. But, whilst 'There Will Be Blood' and 'No Country For Old Men' walked off with much of the awards glory, 'The Assassination…' was equally if not more noteworthy for a number of reasons. Even with all his more recent 'grown up' performances ('…Benjamin Button', 'Tree Of Life', 'Moneyball') this really feels like Pitt's finest hour; an unforced performance that plays with his public media persona with a very well observed wit. The film was also Casey Affleck's first real opportunity to real explore a character and enjoy a lot of screen time and he steps up to this added responsibility fantastically. And yet, on the same night, one of the best films of the eighties is screened in various cinemas across London. 'Repo Man' captures the nihilism and DIY spirit of the early 80s LA punk scene wonderfully and with great authenticity. The film does not take any aspect of itself seriously at all and is all the more enjoyable as a result, moments of comedy more fun for their irreverence and lack of reference to anything going on in the (incredibly loose) plot. And Harry Dean Stanton's ability to understand the tone of such a film and deliver  completely contrasting performances in 'Paris Texas' and 'Pretty In Pink' around the same time make him the unsung hero of eighties cinema. There is simply no way to choose between the two so I'm afraid you'll either have to toss a coin or go to whichever's closer.

By Laurence Turner