Personal Shopper

At almost 2 hours long, Personal Shopper is an absorbing film, but very odd. Its star, Kristen Stewart, is barely off-screen and gives a fine performance in a confusing ghost story. I would recommend the film, for some.

It’s been a while since I last went to the cinema! There were just 6 film-goers in the Wimbledon HMVCurzon cinema, which is about par for a lunchtime viewing. I can’t remember the last time I sat in a cinema that was crowded. I don’t think I would like the noise from, and proximity to, so many people!

Victoria

VictoriaThe really notable thing to know about the film Victoria is that it was shot in a single, unbroken, unedited, continuous take of 2¼ hours duration.

Before seeing the film all I knew was that it has been described as a heist movie set in Berlin. I found the first hour somewhat slow, wondering where it was going, but gradually a story developed and reached a satisfactory conclusion.

An interesting and technically impressive film, overall I can say I enjoyed it and can recommend. Some may find it overlong. [Warning: At the beginning, the nightclub scene has extreme flashing and very loud music!]

There’s a short Wiki listing the few films that have been shot in a single take.

Anomalisa


Anomalisa is a very weird animated stop-motion film. I’ve no idea what to make of it, but I’m glad my wife decided not to come with me!
With a 90 minute running time, it seemed longer. I guess the guy was struggling with life – was he having a mental breakdown? There’s a pretty explicit [animated] sex scene in it!

So I turn to some reviews for help, but I’m not much the wiser. There’s apparently a clue in the name of the hotel (Fregoli). There’s a medical condition, the Fregoli Delusion, where someone believes different people in their lives are actually the same person in disguise – [see http://glennmillermd.com/the-fregoli-delusion/]. A curiosity of a film – technically brilliant, but puzzling.

Room

Room is a wonderfully moving film, with tremendous performances from the two main characters, the mother who was abducted, and the child who was born in captivity. It’s an emotional and sometimes traumatic film – take your hankies – and is very highly recommended.

(I can’t believe it’s 14 months since I last went to the cinema – far too long!)

Room

The Fear of 13

Fearof13The Fear of 13 is a truly, truly astonishing documentary about a prisoner on death row. What an amazing guy.

Seek it out – the 90 minutes whiz by – but do try to avoid finding out anything about it before watching!

Currently showing on BBC iPlayer but also available on DVD etc.

The film reminds me of the equally amazing 1988 documentary The Thin Blue Line. Seek this one out also!

The Hitch-Hiker (B & W movie from 1953)

Hitch-Hiker-movie-1953I randomly picked The Hitch-Hiker, a 1953 b&w movie from the Internet Archive. It turned out to be a tense and highly watchable thriller and, at a mere 70 minutes, well worth watching. It was the first film noir by a female director (Ida Lupino).

The Internet Archive is “a non-profit digital library offering free universal access to books, movies & music, as well as 435 billion[wow!] archived web pages”, and looks as if it could be an interesting place to explore.

Oscar Restaurant & Bar, Charlotte Street, London

CaptureOscar is a lively and attractive restaurant which is part of the Charlotte Street Hotel. For £35 per person we enjoyed a three-course late-lunch, followed by a film (Gone Girl) in the private cinema.

One of the cheaper bottles of wine at £27, plus coffees and a service charge of 12.5% bumped it up to £200 for the four of us, but we did have a very nice time and I would thoroughly recommend Oscar.

The film was pretty good, too, though the front couple of rows in the comfortable and small cinema are pretty close to the screen! The film Gone Girl is a curiosity. It’s a thriller, with several twists, that holds your attention for well over two hours. I was disappointed midway through the film when the the basic mystery was revealed. And I think many people were left stunned by the ending (“No way!”). But overall it was a pretty good movie.

The Imitation Game

the-imitation-game-poster-ukThe Imitation Game is a terrific film about the mathematician Alan Turing. Finely constructed and beautifully acted, particularly by its star, Benedict Cumberbatch, it is very highly recommended. Based on the book Alan Turing: The Enigma, by Andrew Hodges, the film inspires one to want to know more about Turing and his code-breaking work during WW2. I shall be hoping for a copy of the book in my Christmas stocking. [UPDATE 25.12.2014: Thank you, Santa!]

We watched the film at the new Curzon cinema in Victoria (London). It was our first visit and we liked the very comfortable and roomy seats. The cinema is ultra modern, more like a modern bar or club [not that we would know!). At the late-morning showing it was extremely quiet so probably not the best time to judge the design and atmosphere.

Cold in July

imageCold in July is a rubbish film. Slow and plodding, disjointed and lacking in tension and with a poorly executed violent ending, it’s deeply unsatisfying. This sort of thing was done so much better in the magnificent Blood Simple and A History of Violence.

The Soho Curzon is undergoing refurbishment and is a mess. Fingers crossed it will be as good as it was.

Dallas Buyers Club

We enjoyed the film Dallas Buyers Club. Set in the 1980s, it tells the story of Ron Woodruff who, on being told he has HIV and has 30 days to live, sets out to find alternative treatments and to make a bit of money. A terrific performance from Matthew McConaughey in the lead role.

There’s an interesting alternative view of the film in this Guardian review.

Gravity 3D

My first 3D film and the special effects are pretty damn good. Other than that, it’s a load of hokum!  See it for the effects but for no other reason.

[Is it just me, but are the staff at Wimbledon hmvcurzon always miserable?]