Summer’s done, the festivals are coming - blockbuster season is well and truly over, for now.
It seems safe to say that even here at Walloh Towers, things have got just that little bit more melancholy. But those post-holiday blues can’t last for long – the LFF is just around the corner, and the lead-up to awards-season means there’s a whole bunch of exciting new stuff coming our way, from some of our (and the world’s) favourite working filmmakers. Starting just this week in fact…
Mother! (across London from Friday 15th September)
It’s been a little while since we’ve had a Darren Aronofsky movie that wasn’t a tarted-up re-telling of Noah’s Ark with rock monsters. The man behind the Oscar-tipped likes of Black Swan, The Wrestler and Requiem For A Dream finally races back into the artier, more divisive side of the mainstream this week, with the Jennifer Lawrence/Javier Bardem double-hander Mother! (exclamation mark not optional). Even after several trailers and a heavy-helping of 5 star reviews we’re still not entirely sure what it’s about, but with two of the finest working actors in Hollywood as his leads, and back-up from tinseltown legends Ed Harris and Michelle Pfeiffer, we’re counting on big things. But much like Aronofsky’s movies before it, you’ll be sure to either love it, or loathe it.
Belle de Jour (BFI Southbank from Monday 11th September)
Luis Bunuel’s infamous 60s erotica continues its reign back on the big screen this week, at the BFI and a few other cinemas around the city. Lead by French starlet Catherine Deneuve as the eponymous housewife-turned-prostitute, it still stands as arguably one of the most talked-about European films ever, breaking just about every taboo in the book upon its original release. Nowadays, it’s probably not quite as shocking as censors and audiences hailed it as back in 1967, but between Deneuve’s stand-out performance and Bunuel’s legacy, it’s still well worth catching.
Chasing Amy (Prince Charles Cinema on Wednesday 13th September, 6:15pm)
Somehow, this dirty-minded little love-letter from gonzo indie king Kevin Smith is 20 years old, and to celebrate, the kind folks at the PCC are throwing it back up on the big screen for one night only. Much like the best of Smith’s work, Chasing Amy was made for next to nothing in the mid-90s, with his friends Ben Affleck and Jason Lee standing in for the leads – two comic-book artists who bicker over a sudden romance with lesbian writer Joey Lauren Adams. Of the weird little universe that sprouted out of Smith’s slacker hit Clerks, this one’s easily got the best script, and seeing a young pre-Hollywood-era Ben Affleck (not to mention little cameos from Matt Damon and recent Oscar-winner Casey Affleck) is well worth the price of admission alone.
Close Encounters of the Third Kind (Picturehouse Central on Friday 15th September, 9pm)
One of Spielberg’s all-time greatest hits, the 70s sci-fi mystery has been given a very special upgrade for its 40th anniversary. Tuned up with a brand new 4K restoration (that’s like, ultra, ultra-HD for those not in the know), Close Encounters quite literally begs to be seen on the biggest screen possible. Luckily for us, Picturehouse Central are pulling out all the stops, showing this new updated version of the Director’s Cut in the highest-definition cinema resolution possible, with an exclusive new behind-the-scenes short too. I think it’s safe to say that all film fans should jump on this ASAP.
The Villainess (BFI Southbank on Monday 11th September, then everywhere from Friday 15th September)
Already pegged as the action movie of the year (sorry John Wick 2 and Atomic Blonde), we actually already managed to see this bonkers South Korean cavalcade of insane fights/stunts, thanks to its premiere at FrightFest a few weekends back. And we can confirm, it’s as crazed and hardcore as you’d hope. Effortlessly blending together the likes of Kill Bill, The Raid and Luc Besson’s legendary Nikita, The Villainess is a female-lead espionage thriller powered by enough adrenaline to take down even Schwarzenegger. Featuring some of the most mind-meltingly complex action scenes of any year, let alone just 2017 (honestly, how the hell director Byung-gil Jung actually managed to make this we’ll never know), this is an essential big-screen watch.
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