S U N D A Y    M A T I N E E S

THE ASPHALT JUNGLESun 17 Dec • Double bill

THE ASPHALT JUNGLE (PG) 1.00

(US 1950) Dir. John Huston 112m.
Sterling Hayden, Louis Calhern, Jean Hagen, James Whitmore, Sam Jaffe and Marilyn Monroe.

Possibly the best heist thriller ever made, revived in a new print. THE ASPHALT JUNGLE has inspired countless imitations and was especially admired by the master of the French gangster thriller, Jean-Pierre Melville. One of the first films to depict a heist in authentic-looking detail, it contains the unforgettable line: 'After all, crime is only a left-handed form of human endeavour', and gave a first memorable role to Marilyn Monroe.

+ THE DEPARTED (18) 3.10

(US 2006) Dir. Martin Scorsese 151m.
Leonardo DiCaprio, Matt Damon, Jack Nicholson, Martin Sheen, Vera Farmiga, Mark Wahlberg, Anthony Anderson, Ray Winstone, Alec Baldwin.

Two infiltrators on opposite sides of the law play a dangerous game of cat and mouse in Scorsese's eagerly awaited return to the gangster genre, inspired by Hong Kong thriller Infernal Affairs, transposed to Boston's Irish-American fraternity. Relentlessly escalating tension through a series of palm-sweating set-pieces, intercut with bursts of visceral violence and muscular dialogue that positively fizzes with wit and menace, Scorsese is clearly in his element. The real pleasure, though, is watching everyone else raise their game to match him.

BREAKING AND ENTERINGSun 7 Jan • Double bill

BREAKING AND ENTERING (15) 1.00

(UK/US 2006) dir.Anthony Minghella 119m.
Jude Law, Juliette Binoche, Robin Wright Penn, Martin Freeman, Ray Winstone, Rafi Gavron.

Jude Law plays an architect whose relationship with his partner and his stepdaughter is stagnating, and his trendy new premises are repeatedly being burgled. In trying to catch the teenage thief he instead becomes involved with the boy's mother (Juliette Binoche), a Bosnian Muslim refugee. Complex and ambitious, an intelligently conceived and good looking film.

THE QUEEN+ THE QUEEN (12A) 3.45

(UK/France/Italy 2006) dir.Stephen Frears 103m.
Helen Mirren, Michael Sheen, James Cromwell, Sylvia Syms, Alex Jennings.

THE QUEEN takes us back nine years to the death of Princess Diana and the ascension of Tony Blair. As much about the New Labour project as the ways Blair persuaded the Queen to acknowledge the overwhelming public response to Diana's death, it's a film of delicious performances and great wit. Helen Mirren – supported by a terrifying hair-do – leads an impressive cast, and Frears draws wry humour from the relationship between the Queen and the PM.

MARIE ANTOINETTESun 14 Jan • Double bill

MARIE ANTOINETTE (12A) 1.00

(Japan / France / USA) dir. Sofia Coppola 123m.
Kirsten Dunst, Marianne Faithfull, Steve Coogan, Jason Schwartzman, Rip Torn.

Sofia Coppola's gorgeous anachro-period drama, loosely based on Antonia Fraser's biography. This is a sympathetic, courtier's-eye-view of Marie Antoinette: the mob appear only at the end, and the guillotine is absent. Playfully mixing authentic 18th-century costumes with a 20th-century punk soundtrack, this dreamy evocation of Versailles leans heavily on the superficial. It's carried off with tremendous visual and dramatic style: a movie that shimmers like a beguiling mirage.

THE DEVIL WEARS PRADA+ THE DEVIL WEARS PRADA (PG) 3.25

(US 2006) dir. David Frankel 109m.
Meryl Streep, Anne Hathaway, Emily Blunt, Stanley Tucci.

An intelligent but unfashionable college girl, Andy (Anne Hathaway) lands a job at a high fashion magazine, assisting its fearsome editor Miranda Priestly (Streep). Can Andy transform herself into a fashionista and survive the scorn of her terrifying boss? Anchored by a wonderfully diabolical performance by Meryl Streep, this lively comedy makes the most of its fluffy plot.

LONDON TO BRIGHTONSun 21 Jan • Double bill

LONDON TO BRIGHTON (18) 1.15

(UK 2006) dir. Paul Andrew Williams 86m.
Lorraine Stanley, Georgia Groome, Sam Spruell, Nathan Constance.

A gripping and dark look at 24 hours in the life of a prostitute and a young runaway, fleeing to Brighton in a desperate attempt to save their own lives. As a first feature, made on a shoe-string budget, and cast with relative unknowns, it demonstrates just what British cinema is capable of when it refuses to play safe.

RED ROAD+ RED ROAD (18) 3.00

(UK 2006) dir. Andrea Arnold 114m.
Kate Dickie, Tony Curran, Martin Compston, Nathalie Press, Andrew Armour.

Jackie works as a CCTV operator whose cameras cover a tough Glasgow housing estate. One day a man appears on her monitors: a man from her past that she thought she would never see again.

Arnold has created a tough and intelligent thriller, with real and believable characters brought to life by excellent actors. The view of life in Britain's inner-city areas is bracingly honest, and the final tonal shift to something more hopeful is a crucial part of the warmth and humanity of the film.

THE PAGE TURNERSun 28 Jan • Double bill

THE PAGE TURNER (15) 1.30

(France 2006) dir. Denis Dercourt 85m. Subtitles.
Déborah François, Catherine Frot, Pascal Greggory, Antoine Martynciow, Jacques Bonnaffé, Christine Citti.

Tension and innuendo swirl through this French drama. Mélanie is a promising 10-year-old pianist whose dreams are dashed by the thoughtless behaviour of celebrity musician Ariane at her big final exam. A decade later, the two women meet again. Dercourt toys brilliantly with our expectations and Déborah François gives an astonishingly cool performance.

GABRIELLE+ GABRIELLE (15) 3.20

(France/Germany/Italy 2005) dir.Patrice Chéreau 90m. Subtitles.
Isabelle Huppert, Pascal Greggory, Claudia Coli, Thierry Haneisse.

Adapted from Joseph Conrad, a Parisian marriage in 1912 is both held together and torn apart by the claustrophobic conventions of the times. Huppert and Greggory give exquisitely bitter performances as the couple under pressure, handling excellently the contrast between the formal and the intimate. Chéreau has given satisfyingly equal measure to dialogue, photography and music: a chilling orchestral score slips in and out, and some classic, sweeping camerawork uses the labyrinthine house and its chorus of servants to stress the social fallout of the relationship breakdown.


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