|S U N D A Y M A T I N E E S
Sun 4 Feb • Double bill
CLERKS 2 (15) 2.00
(US 2006) dir. Kevin Smith 101m.
Brian O’Halloran, Jeff Anderson, Jason Lee, Kevin Smith, Jason Mewes, Ben Affleck, Rosario Dawson.
Kevin Smith revisits the characters from his 1994 classic, and the result is both sharply entertaining and surprisingly meaningful. After the Quickstop burns down, Dante and Randal find new jobs at Mooby's burger joint, whilst Jay and Silent Bob offer their usual running commentary. Silly and often downright obscene, with a depth of character that makes it well worth seeing.
+ BORAT: CULTURAL LEARNINGS OF AMERICA FOR MAKE BENEFIT GLORIOUS NATION OF KAZAKSTAN (15) 4.00
(US 2006) dir. Larry Charles 83m.
Sacha Baron Cohen, Ken Davitian, Luenell, Pamela Anderson.
It would be meaningless hype to describe BORAT as the funniest film ever made, so instead let’s say: BORAT is the funniest film imaginable right now. A perfect storm of comedy, it sucks real people into its hurricane of slapstick, obscenity, wit, explicit nudity and, most shocking of all, racism, before landing on these shores as a devastating cultural event. Genius stuff from Baron Cohen and director Larry Charles.
|Sun 11 Feb • Double bill
LITTLE MISS SUNSHINE (15) 2.15
(US 2006) dirs. Jonathan Dayton & Valerie Faris 102m.
Greg Kinnear, Steve Carell, Toni Collette, Alan Arkin, Abigail Breslin, Paul Dano.
A dysfunctional family embarks on a road trip to take 7 year old chubby, bespectacled Olive to a beauty pageant. A suicidal uncle, drug-using grandfather, Nietzche-obsessed brother and ropey VW van ensure the trip is filled with hilarious setbacks. A flawless cast, a gentle spirit of rebellion and a smart script mark this comedy out as a must-see.
+ A PRAIRIE HOME COMPANION (PG) 4.15
(US 2006) dir. Robert Altman 106m.
Woody Harrelson, Meryl Streep, Tommy Lee Jones, Kevin Kline, Lily Tomlin, Virginia Madsen, Lindsay Lohan.
It's the final night of Garrison Keillor's live radio variety programme. Sisters Yolanda and Rhonda sing homespun folksongs; Dusty and Rusty perform their ribald country and western act; and Yolanda's daughter Lola might make her debut. Meanwhile backstage, a detective is following a mysterious woman in white…This ode to a bygone style of entertainment is a fitting swan song for Altman – expertly directed and acted, with sharp observational humour and a movingly introspective undertone.
Sun 18 Feb • Double bill
IT’S WINTER (Zemestan) (12A) 2.30
(Iran 2006) dir. Rafi Pitts 82m. Subtitles.
Mitra Hadjar, Ali Nicsolat, Saeed Orkani, Ashem Abdi, Zahra Jafari.
A small town in winter, and as one man leaves his wife and young daughter behind to look for work abroad, another arrives. Before long the charismatic newcomer falls for the other man’s wife. This is one of the most quietly subversive Iranian films made since the Revolution – and one of the most visually superb: its scenes of landscapes shrouded in snow, and its painterly sense of lighting and composition, make this tale of forbidden passion both stirring and unforgettable.
+ GHOSTS (15) 4.10
(UK 2006) dir. Nick Broomfield 100m.
Ai Qin Lin, Zan Yu, Zhe Wei, Man Qin Wei, Shaun Gallagher.
In February 2004, 21 Chinese workers drowned while picking cockles in Morecambe Bay. The tragedy is investigated in this docu-drama, a provocative insight into the illegal labour market. Ai Qin Lin gives an extraordinary performance, as we follow her journey from Chinese poverty, through various exploitative jobs in Britain to the Morecambe sands. Expect to be distressed and moved.
Sun 25 Feb • Guillermo del Toro double bill
THE DEVIL’S BACKBONE (15) 1.30
(Spain/Mexico 2001) dir. Guillermo del Toro 108m. Subtitles
Eduardo Noriega, Marisa Paredes, Federico Luppi.
Set in a haunted, isolated school for orphans of the Spanish Civil War, this superb thriller grabs hold and never lets go. The action is shown through the eyes of the boys who know the school is haunted, but it’s up to new student Carlos to uncover the mystery of the ghost. Full of rich and creative metaphors and never succumbing to the easy answers in the shadows, THE DEVIL'S BACKBONE is scary, complex and ultimately memorable.
+ PAN’S LABYRINTH (15) 3.45
(Spain/Mexico 2006) dir. Guillermo del Toro 120m. Subtitles.
Sergi Lopez, Maribel Verdu, Ivana Baquero, Doug Jones, Ariadne Gil.
1944, the Spanish Civil War has just ended and Carmen moves with her daughter Ofélia into the home of her new husband, a captain in Franco’s army hunting the remaining guerrilla fighters in the woods. Ofélia is left lonely and frustrated by her new life and soon discovers a mysterious labyrinth next to her new home. Del Toro and his effects crew have crafted an exquisite fairytale world – an unmissable celebration of cinema's capacity to enthrall.
Sun 4 Mar • Carol Reed/Graham Greene double bill
THE THIRD MAN (PG) 2.00
(UK 1949) dir. Carol Reed 104m.
Joseph Cotten, Trevor Howard, Alida Valli, Orson Welles, Bernard Lee.
American Holly Martins (Cotten) comes to postwar Vienna in search of his old friend Harry Lime (Welles), but discovers things about him that he'd rather not have known. An undisputed masterpiece, this thriller is classic film noir from the golden age of British cinema, benefiting from Graham Greene's writing, Reed's direction, and stellar cast with Orson Welles at his scariest.
+ THE FALLEN IDOL (PG) 4.05
(UK 1948) dir. Carol Reed 95m.
Ralph Richardson, Michele Morgan, Bobby Henrey, Sonia Dresdel, Jack Hawkins, Dora Bryan.
The young son of a foreign ambassador becomes convinced that his best friend, the family butler, has murdered his wife, and unsuccessfully tries to protect him from the police. Based on a short story by Graham Greene, this is a tale of quintessentially British restraint. A fine sensitive story, a brilliant child star and a polished cast, combine to make THE FALLEN IDOL an impressive piece of intelligent entertainment.
|Sun 11 Mar • Double bill
MISS POTTER (PG) 12.00
(UK/US 2006) dir. Chris Noonan 93m.
Renée Zellweger, Ewan McGregor, Emily Watson, Barbara Flynn, Bill Paterson.
Beatrix Potter lived a life marked by struggle against her restrictive upper-class background. The crux of this biopic is her ongoing quest to be taken seriously, and Renee Zellweger’s characteristic pluck sees her shine in the title role, where burgeoning romance with her publisher Norman Warne (Ewan McGregor, delightfully gallant) helps her self-confidence blossom. Sweet but not cloying, it’s a heartening portrait of goodness surmounting the odds.
+ THE QUEEN (12A) 1.50
(UK/France/Italy 2006) dir. Stephen Frears 103m.
Helen Mirren, Michael Sheen, James Cromwell, Sylvia Syms.
Set nine years ago during the aftermath of the death of the Princess of Wales and the rise of Tony Blair, THE QUEEN looks at how Her Majesty dealt with 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 the relationship between the Queen and Blair is painted with wry humour.
Sun 18 Mar • Single film
INTO GREAT SILENCE (Die Große Stille) (U) 12.45
(France/Switzerland/Germany 2005) dir. Philip Gröning 164m. Subtitles.
We are invited to share the silent world of the monastic Carthusian Order in this award-winning contemplative documentary. Instead of words we get images: wizened old monks mending clothes, tending vegetable patches, doing the monastery's accounts on a laptop, or – in a comic moment – sledging down a bank of snow. Filmmaker Philip Gröning waited sixteen years to gain access to the monastery and he achieves his goal with remarkable skill, taking us on – as the title suggests – an epic journey into the sound of silence.
Sun 25 Mar • Luis Buñuel double bill
VIRIDIANA (15) 2.00
(Mexico/Spain 1961) dir. Luis Buñuel 91m. Subtitles.
Silvia Pinal, Francisco Rabal, Fernando Rey, Margarita Lozano, Victoria Zinny, Teresa Rabal.
Luis Buñuel's tirade against religion and Spain under Franco is one of the director's most political and least surrealistic films. Viridiana is a nun about to take her vows when she's told that her uncle is nearing death and that she must go to visit him. The events that follow test her faith to the limit. This extraordinary film – incredibly Spanish and yet incredibly offensive to conservative Spaniards – shows Buñuel as a master film-maker, telling a story that is simultaneously simple and sophisticated.
+ BELLE DE JOUR (18) 3.50
(France/Italy 1967) dir. Luis Buñuel 100m. Subtitles.
Catherine Deneuve, Jean Sorel, Michel Piccoli, Geneviève Page, Pierre Clémenti, Francisco Rabal.
As effective and erotic as it was when it was first released over 30 years ago, BELLE DE JOUR tells the story of Severine (the stunning Catherine Deneuve), a young wife who remains virginal with her husband while secretly enjoying a rich fantasy life in which she imagines being forced to have sex. A stunning psychological drama, featuring a career-best performance from Catherine Deneuve.
|Sun 1 Apr • Double bill
STRANGER THAN FICTION (12A) 1.00
(US 2006) dir. Marc Forster 113m.
Will Ferrell, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Dustin Hoffman, Queen Latifah, Emma Thompson.
Tax auditor Harold Crick suddenly finds himself the subject of narration only he can hear: narration that begins to affect his entire life, from his work, to his love-interest, to his death. With a sharply clever script, witty direction and terrific performances across the board, the film blurs the line between comedy and tragedy and is a powerful yet understated exploration of how important it is to seize the day.
+ PERFUME (15) 3.10
(Germany/France/Spain 2006) dir. Tom Twyker 147m.
Ben Whishaw, Dustin Hoffman, Alan Rickman, Rachel Hurd-Wood.
Jean-Baptiste Grenouille grows up in a filthy, squalid orphanage in 1740s Paris. He has a special talent: an amazingly developed sense of smell. He uses this skill to create brilliant perfumes, but his obsession to create the world's most powerful fragrance takes a deadly turn. Whishaw plays the sociopath beautifully, with a sense of naivety and yearning with which we easily identify. Tykwer tells the story sumptuously: we can actually smell it. An honourable adaptation of the novel by Patrick Süskind, and magical filmmaking.
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