Horror, Thriller Distributor:
Entertainment One Screened:
2015 Glasgow Film Festival DVD Release Date:
2nd March 2015 (UK) Director:
Jaume Balagueró Cast:
Manuela Velasco, Ismael Fritschi, Paco Manzanedo, Héctor Colomé,
Buy:Rec: Apocalypse [DVD]
Considering how impressive the [Rec] franchise has been so far, [Rec] 4: Apocalypse comes as an unfortunate disappointment. Ditching the found footage origins of the franchise (for the second time), Apocalypse finds it difficult to create an experience as terrifying as the first two, or as peculiar as the third.
Picking up exactly where [Rec] 2 left off, Angela Vidal (the superb Manuela Velascoe) is rescued from the doomed apartment where it all began. Waking on board a tanker ship in the middle of the ocean, Vidal comes to terms with just how dangerous the unknown virus is.
The ship is a great set, but proves less iconic than the infamous stairwell of the apartment. The tight claustrophobic corridors of the tanker’s insides should be ample ground for a few good scares but they all seem to be relegated to the tiny monitor of a surveillance cam or, worse, off-screen. Velascoe kicks into gear as action horror heroin, but it comes too little too late. A shame because her performance has been a key component in the success of the franchise. Special mention goes to the late great Hector Colome for a charismatic turn as Dr. Ricarte, easily one of the most enjoyable parts of the “final” [Rec] film.
Choosing to ditch Angela’s turn to the dark side at the climax of [Rec 2], Apocalypse seems unsure of where to go next. Paco Plaza’s Army of Darkness style adventure Genesis was the perfect solution to the heavy horror of the first two, but proves a hard act to follow for Jaume’s return. But maybe that’s the essence of the horror franchise: fourth instalments are rarely great, and usually mark the point where money and fan desire over-ride solid storytelling.
[Rec]’s bizarre mythology has been drip-fed to us thus far, each film playing around with the tone and scope of the infection, yet Apocalypse feels like a step backwards. The scares are bafflingly lacking, when a return to more intimate surrounds should have been a sure-fire way to ramp up the terror. Jaume’s return marks the apparent end of the franchise, though its silly final scenes hint at the kind of ludicrous behaviour I would have sooner lauded than this relatively safe affair.
[Rec] 4: Apocalypse is pretty dull, all things considered. An action element proves poor substitute for the genuine chills and thrills presented thus far in the franchise.
Matchbox Films DVD Release Date:
9th March 2015 (UK) Rating: 15 Director:
Amardeep Kaleka Cast:
Thomas Jane, Jack Auman, Corrado Balducci
Buy:Sirius [DVD] Sirius is indeed a hefty piece of work, just not in terms of the type of extra-terrestrial involvement you’re probably looking for. But as an extensive essay on late capitalist society, it’s pretty conclusive and fairly upsetting to be honest. Steven Greer and Emmy award winning filmmaker Amardeep Kaleka, strip back years of deceit to unearth heaps of alarming info on mindboggling cover-ups.
Sirius, the name given to a six-inch skeleton of unknown origin, is really just the starting point for Greer and his colleagues. Anyone who’s holding out for conclusive info may be somewhat upset by the fact the mini-mystery only bookends this epic portrait of human development- or lack of it. The main point of Sirius is to systematically present evidence and conjecture around governmental cover-ups and attempts to hide the true treasure of extra-terrestrial visitation: the science it would take to achieve space travel.
Yes, its mechanics not biology we’re really interested in here, especially when you go back and start combining religious scripture, atom bombing, and the pyramids. It’s a conspiracy fan’s wet dream and it’s executed with startling clarity, even if it wanders off topic, things usually pull together succinctly.
Sirius is perhaps too big for its boots, gnawing on the oversized bone of American political inadequacies in a kind of roundabout, all-inclusive, history lesson/economics case study. And all this starts with a tiny little, potentially extra-terrestrial, skeleton. It may be hard to remember that though, once the, sometimes whimsical, left-wing call-to-arms presents itself.
Painstakingly, and scientifically, put together, Sirius is an impressive documentary, but its meandering interest curve may prove too much for people simply interested in the origins of a baffling body.
Fantasy, Musical Distributor:
StudioCanal UK BD Release Date:
23rd March 2015 (UK) Rating: U Director:
Powell, Emeric Pressburger Cast:
Moira Shearer, Robert Rounseville, Ludmilla Tchérinam
Buy:Tales Of Hoffmann - Special Edition * Digitally Restored [Blu-ray] 
Michael Powell and his cohort Emeric Pressburger were cinematic painters; every shot in their best films has the texture and skill of the master artists. The Tales of Hoffmann comes at a transitional period for Powell and Pressburger, as they were forced into make a couple films they didn’t want to make. It’s also the last one that really has the same splendour their many wonderful films of the ‘40s had, they would make a few more films but the magic just wasn’t there.
The Tales of Hoffmann plays out as this surrealistic proto-psychedelic phantasmagoria opera. It’s based on the opera, The Tales of Hoffmann, which itself is based on the stories of the real E. T. A. Hoffmann. The film is indeed an opera and I have to admit for the majority of the running time, I had the subtitles to clarify what was being sung in case I missed a key plot point. It’s an early example of an anthology film; it’s 3 stories are fantastical in nature, all of which have their own title card.
The stories are all as strange as the psychedelic madness of the set and costume design. The first story is about a robot woman! It ends with one quite fittingly, about a woman who is forced to sign so much it kills her. It’s pure gothic storytelling with liberal amounts of fantasy, it’s no wonder horror maestro George A. Romero has said numerous times it was the film that made him want to make films. It’s all bookended by a drunken Hoffman telling the stories in a tavern.
The real wonder of the film is the work by cinematographer Christopher Challis, along with production design by Hein Heckroth, and art direction from Arthur Lawson. Powell and Pressburger had been making steps towards a film that had visuals that matched operatic music before like their masterwork The Red Shoes, but it comes into full formation here. The design work is almost reminiscent of German expressionism but in colour, each story even has it’s own colour palette. The imaginative design work is simply mind boggling at times, as Thelma Schoonmaker points out in the interview on the disc, it looks like made wigs out of celluloid.
When it came out in 1951 the world wasn’t ready for a film with such imagination on show. Over the years it’s stature has grown and it’s influence can be seen from the aforementioned work of Romero, to the fantasy of Terry Gilliam, to the use of red in Martin Scorsese’s films, to the operatic violence of Brian De Palma. We have to thank Martin Scorsese spearheading the restoration process on this, along with many other key works of Powell and Pressburger. I’ve seen a handful of the new restorations of their work and they are simply breathtakingly gorgeous, every single one.
Drama, Comedy Distributor:
Second Run Release Date:
23rd March 2015 Rating: 18 Director:
Věra Chytilová Cast:
Lenka Vychodilová, Lucie Vackárová, Tomás Hanák Buy: Traps - [DVD]
Věra Chytilová is often considered a feminist filmmaker even though she would always reject being labelled and called herself an “individualist”. Given the fact the Czechoslovakian communist government oppressed her for years, it’s understandable to see her desire to reject Western labels. Chytilová is best known to Western audiences for her psychedelic masterpiece Daisies, which annoyed the powers so much she could only made one film, Fruits of Paradise, in the next 9 years. In the late ‘70s her blacklisting was lifted and she resumed making films.
Second Run, after releasing Daisies (which I assumed is one of their best selling titles), have made it their goal to release more films from Věra Chytilová. The first one to come out is Traps, which is one of her later films, it came out in 1998. It has a decidedly mixed response on release and it’s not hard to see why. It’s a pitch black comedy about a young vet who is picked up by two men and raped, she later gets her revenge on them by cutting off their testicles.
It’s certainly not a subtle statement on the abuse of power; one of the men is a politician for example and the film starts with some pigs getting their balls cut off. It’s also a brilliant statement on male chauvinism banter; before they pick the woman up they talk about how easy it is to just pick a woman etc. The film pulls a near impossible balancing act when it comes to the depiction of the rapists, obviously you don’t, nor should you, feel sympathy for them, but you can feel their pain of losing their manhood. The two men are portrayed as bourgeois fools, which shows the influence of Luis Buñuel who was a massive influence on almost all Czech New Wave filmmakers.
It’s an angry rallying call to sterilize the ruling class of Czechoslovakia; the government may have changed from communist to capitalist, but their intent hasn’t. Traps also plays like an absurdist comedy, with even elements of populist slapstick comedy which may have troubled some viewers at the time. It completely subverts the genres it’s playing with, like the revenge genre and populist comedy, and remains such a startling film.
Eureka Entertainment Release Date:
23rd March 2015 (UK) Rating: 12 Director:
Anthony Mann Cast:
Gary Cooper, Lee J. Cobb, Julie London Buy: Man of the West - [Blu-ray]
Anthony Mann is considered by many to be one of the masters of American Cinema to come out of the studio age. He was one of those old time directors who had a crack at pretty much every genre under the sun, but he is best known for his historical epics and most famously his westerns. Man of the West was the second to last western he would direct, and it’s often cited as his finest along with the earlier The Furies.
Man of the West is one of the most startling westerns I’ve seen from the “classic” era of the genre. Around this time (1958) around 20% of films made were westerns -this was before the revisionist westerns of the 60s and onwards. Gary Cooper plays former outlaw Link Jones who has saved some money to help a schoolteacher, but the train he was on gets held up by outlaws. He is stuck with two others passengers and ends up finding his old uncle Dock Tobin (Lee J. Cobb), who he lost contact with after he attempted to go straight, and just happens to be leading the gang of outlaws who hold up the train.
Gary Cooper was as dignified an actor as you can get, he perfectly captures the conflict the role requires. Cooper also has the right level of darkness needed for the film’s sense of dread that runs through it, until the film’s final shootout, which is darker than almost any western of the classic era. Lee J. Cobb’s performance is the kind you sometimes find in westerns where you can almost just smell the liquor on them. The lounge singer Julie London also appears and for a kick check out her version of The Doors’ Light My Fire, you won’t be disappointed.
The late 50s were a period where studio films were becoming darker because of a more sophisticated audience and the initial advent of foreign language films. Man of the West came out in 1958 the same year as two of the darkest film noirs of the era, Vertigo and Touch of Evil. Film noir and the western are two of the most closely linked genres due to their similar themes of violence, masculinity etc. and that’s sometimes forgotten. Man of the West and the earlier Gary Cooper film High Noon are both films influenced by what was happening in film noir, so they have a darker bent to the proceedings. It’s also no surprise Mann, in between his famous westerns, also directed a handful of noirs as well.
Masters of Cinema release includes a new HD transfer which looks gorgeous in all its Technicolour glory. The two features on the disc are a commentary by Glenn Kenny and Farran Nehme, and a video interview with Douglas Pye. This is finished with a booklet that includes writing by Jean-Luc Godard who was enamoured with the film saying “I have seen nothing so completely new since — why not? — Griffith… With Anthony Mann, one rediscovers the western, as one discovers arithmetic in an elementary maths class. Which is to say that Man of the West is the most intelligent of films, and at the same time the most simple.” Which is very high praise indeed.
Drama, Satire Distributor:
Arrow Academy Release Date:
23rd March 2015 (UK) Rating: 15 Director:
Sidney Lumet Cast:
Faye Dunaway, William Holden, Peter Finch, Beatrice Straight, Robert Duvall Buy: Network - [Blu-ray]
Sidney Lumet is the link between old Hollywood and New Hollywood. He got his start doing live television like his contemporary John Frankenheimer. He made a splash in the late 50s with his debut film 12 Angry Men, and throughout the 60s made gems like The Pawnbroker, The Fugitive Kind, and The Hill. He is best known however, for a handful of extraordinary films he made in the 1970s, with films like the experimental police drama The Offence with Sean Connery, the taboo busting Dog Day Afternoon, Serpico, and finally the prophetic Network, which with each passing year becomes more relevant.
Network is a satire about cynical television executives who exploit a mentally unstable man Howard Beale (Peter Finch) to get higher ratings, after he states he will commit suicide on air and the ratings raise considerably. The crazed conspiracy right-wing nut job Glenn Beck recently admitted live on air that he suffered from a neurological illness that “made him look crazy”. The right-wing grassroots US movement The Tea Party incorporated the famous "I'm as mad as hell and I'm not going to take this any more!" speech by Howard Beale which is funny considering the film’s cynical leftist message is as far away from their beliefs as it can get.
Despite being a film that predicted aspects of reality television, 24-hour news and the Glenn Becks of the world; Network was actually inspired by the story of Christine Chubbuck who committed suicide live on-air. This put a seed in the mind of writer Paddy Chayefsky who wrote the screenplay (he won the Oscar for the script), and is considered one of the finest writers of his generation, both on film and on stage, however, sadly he died of cancer at a young age.
Sometimes Network is considered to be a writer’s film more so than a director’s film, which I find completely unfair to Sidney Lumet’s work. Lumet always put performance and story above everything else but in Network it’s one of his most visually inventive films, especially during the film’s last half - the “explosive” final. The performances as expected from Lumet are all brilliant. The actors completely inhabit their characters so it’s no wonder Finch won the first posthumous Oscar and Faye Dunaway and Beatrice Straight also collected Oscars for their performances as well. It’s often reported that Tim Robbins is an assassin in the film but the guy just bares an uncanny resemblance, it’s not Robbins he was still a senior in high school during the shoot.
In a decade that in retrospective is now considered by many to be the second Golden age of Hollywood, Network stills remains a high water mark. It’s shocking to think Rocky beat it for Best Picture but Americans always love a sentimental underdog story after all. Network was in good company - Taxi Driver and All the President’s Men also lost, and all stand the test of time more so than the winner.
The package from Arrow, I have to admit, falls below their normal average when it comes to special features. It has two lengthy, but overall disappointing special features; the first one is Sidney Lumet episode of The Directors series, I’m not a fan of the series because I consider them little more than puff pieces. The other, meatier, feature is a visual essay by Dave Itzkoff, the author of Mad as Hell: The Making of Network, that is more insightful and the better of two features. It’s shame due to rights issues it couldn’t use the impressive features on the US WB disc which includes a feature length documentary along with other documentaries.
Documentary, Horror Distributor:
Altitude Film Distribution Rating:15 DVD Release Date:
30th March 2015(UK) Running Time:
81 mins Director:
Alexandre O. Philippe
Buy:Doc Of The Dead [DVD]
The zombie has become the monster of the 21st century, encompassing all our foetid woes of death, infection, geo-politics, economy issues, even anxieties around gender, sexuality, and pets. Alexandre Phillip, the man who brought us The People vs. George Lucas, peels back years of zombie history to poke around at the inner-workings of a lucrative and mind-boggling global craze in Doc of the Dead.
Doc of the Dead spends a lot of time covering ground most horror fans will have considered for themselves or heard elsewhere, but its still an enjoyable watch, including fantastic clips and comparative case study. Even though it dodges the nitty-gritty around a flourishing industry/community, it does manage to conjure some interesting ideas about the walking dead’s lingering appeal. The zombie is able to absorb multiple political discourses because it is the monster most like us. A pity then that the worldwide appeal and reincarnation of the zombie is somewhat abandoned with very few non-British or American films discussed. Zombie culture has burst the banks of cult following and successfully navigated the blockbuster environment, but it relied on worldwide saturation of the form rarely explored here.
Phillipe is quite clearly a zombie fan and often lets his boyish enthusiasm parade on screen. Short sketches of zombie reportage and survivalist upset the balance of a well-cultivated series of interviews and observations. Phillipe’s overexcitement in the presence of zombie icons is appreciable but hardly keeps the discussion as concise as it could have been. Featuring interviews with the likes of Tom Savini, George A.Romero, Simon Pegg, and Max Brooks, Doc of the Dead pulls it out the bag when it comes to a star-studded genre cross-section. It could have done more though. Phillipe seems more interested here in examining the evolution of the zombie through artists’ work, which is interesting, but leaves you hungry. More exploration of the zombie’s reactionary function would have been enough to put more bite in this pleasant, often-hilarious, but meandering examination.
The definitive zombie culture documentary has perhaps not quite arrived, but Doc of the Dead is a great look at the development of the western zombie. A terrific selection of well-edited interviews and clips is at the forefront of this eclectic exploration.
The Peoples Movies & Cinehouse Blogs
18:5122 March 20150
The weekend has arrived it's time for 2 days of relaxation, chill out the hard slog of the week is now over and refuel your brain with sophistication and MUBI Selects.
In our second weekly 'Mubi Selects' we've teamed with MUBI the purveyors of great cinema online curating a great selection of cult, classic, independent, and award-winning movies. It's an international community discovering wonderful intelligent thought provoking films MUBI is your passport to those great films.
MUBI unleash great new films every week and in our MUBI Selects we've picked a selection of those great movies help you enjoy that lazy weekend you desire...
The Gang Of Four (1989)| Jacques Rivette
If your thriving for strong exciting women you can go no wrong with , a simple story with duality however when it's a Rivette nothing is straightforward!The Gang Of Four is a story of film students under the wing of Constance Dumas, a renowned film instructor.When one of the female students is attacked she is saved by a stranger. Mysterious and 'riveting' pick your space on you favourite sofa this is a long film and let Rivette immerse you in his world.
Peppermint Candy (1999)| Lee Chang Dong Park Chan-Wook, Bong Joon-Ho maybe the big hitters in South Korea Lee Chang-Dong is a director that deserves the same limelight.Peppermint Candy may have one of the most delicious names in film but it's a film full of rich drama.Beautifully shot and if you love the reverse chronological film seen in the likes of memento and a story of mans life in 5 phases ending with his suicide, this movie might be for you.
Eggshells (1969)| Tobe Hooper
He'll always be known as the director of Texas Chainsaw Massacre but before then there was another film the one that kicked everything off, a free-wheeling psychedelic comedy. “an American Freak Illumination Time & Space Fantasy”, Eggshells is a surreal head-trip, experimental Americana that captures the era.
Beast (2011)| Christoffer Boe
If Fifty Shades Of Grey left you disappointed Boe's Beast will make it look like Mills & Boon novel. This sexually charged psychodrama dark, sinister, disturbing that dives into the darker side of love.A man love his wife so much however he's slowly going through transformation however his wife has found someone else, step forward more changes.
Walkabout (1971)| Nicholas Roeg
Before the Man Who Fell To Earth he took us on a 'Walkabout' in the Australian outback hypnotic, hallucinatory Walkabout from Nicolas Roeg. Regarded as many as Australia's greatest film by some critics, a film full mystery, the cinema speaks for itself, a film of a young sister and brother abandoned in the outback facing a harsh reality to adapt and learn to survive in their new natural surroundings.Perfect Lazy Sunday afternoon viewing
For a price of a coffee from one of those chains what better way to enjoy the weekend and every day great films at MUBI? click below to get more info on the other fantastic films on offer...
The Peoples Movies & Cinehouse Blogs
18:3320 March 20150
Arrow Films Release Date:
23rd March 2015 (UK) Rating: 15 Director:
Norman Jewison Cast:
James Caan, John Houseman, Maud Adams, John Beck, Moses Gunn Buy: Rollerball - [Blu-ray] Rollerball falls smack into the middle of the 1970s. It’s remained one of the most revered, dystopian science fictions to come out in that decade. Over the passing years it seems to become increasingly prophetic, with it’s tale of corporate control run amok in a not so distant future, even though 40 years later, the future just looks like the film’s release year, 1975.
The film’s concept comes from the short story The Rollerball Murders by William Harrison, that first appeared in an issue of Esquire. He would eventually be hired to write the film’s screenplay. In Rollerball, violence has been eradicated from society and in it’s place corporations are running everything. In order to satisfy humanity’s urge for violence, the corporations have designed a game that is a mixture of roller derby and the gladiator games of Ancient Rome.
James Caan, hot off the heels of the enormous success of his role in The Godfather, plays the game’s star player, Jonathan E. The corporate executives however, want him to retire due to their desire to not have individuality on show. Caan has done some very momentous work through the ‘70s, which culminates, in many peoples’ eyes, in his most striking performance in Thief in 1981. Despite saying once in an interview that he "couldn't do much with the character" in regards to his character in Rollerball, he does embody the conflicted Jonathan E with characteristic virtuosity.
One of the film’s many intriguing aspects is the choice of Norman Jewison as director of the film. He is mostly well known for In the Heat of the Night, which is one of the few winners of the Best Film Oscar that still packs a punch. The other films he is mostly widely known for are as far field from the dystopian mayhem of Rollerball as you can get - they are the extremely early ‘70s musicals Fiddler on the Roof and Jesus Christ Superstar. However, despite the difference in story, his work in the musicals has gave him a discipline over the dazzlingly shot scenes of the Rollerball game.
The film is not devoid of flaws; the largest problem it faces is a poor pacing that should have been tightened in the editing room. The film runs at 125 minutes but it lacks the focused editing of Jewison’s previous editor Hal Ashby, who had already started making the many tremendous films he directed throughout the 1970s. Jewison relied on Anthony Gibbs who was a British editor who edited many of the early British “New Wave” films. In these films, Gibbs did some pioneering work in the editing room, and was inspired by the cut-up method created by writers William S. Burroughs and Brion Gysin for Nicolas Roeg on Performance and Walkabout. He takes a much more traditional route here and it suffers as a result.
It might not quite have the political gravitas of something like Richard Fleischer's Soylent Green, which holds up better than any other dystopian films that came out in ‘70s such as, The Omega Man or Logan’s Run (though I happen to enjoy both of those films very much). Rollerball has a powerful message on corporate greed and enough genre thrills to satisfy both the action-genre needs of some viewers, and the more intellectual needs of other viewers.
The new blu-ray is the most definitive package available in either the US or UK at the moment, and I don’t see that altering in the future. Commentary tracks by both Jewison and the writer, William Harrison are included. Arrow not only commissioned a newly filmed interview with James Caan, who reflects with fond memories on the film’s production, but also made a new featurette following some of the crew revisiting the film’s locations in Germany. Rollerball was one of, if not the first film to properly credit it’s stunt team which is reflected in the interview with the stuntman Craig B. Baxley. There is also an old documentary on the film, which was included in the old MGM Special Edition release, along with a vintage making of that was made at the time. This is all rounded off by trailers, TV spots, and a booklet with new writing on the film.
Eureka Entertainment to release PAPER MOON, the 1973 American comedy-drama starring Ryan and Tatum O’Neal,on Blu-ray in a Dual Format edition as part of The Masters of Cinema Series on 18 May 2015.
Eureka! Entertainment have announced the release ofPAPER MOON,one of the biggest successes in the career of Peter Bogdanovich (The Last Picture Show, What’s Up, Doc?, Mask) starring Ryan O’Neal (Love Story, Barry Lyndon) and his daughter Tatum O’Neal, the youngest ever Academy Award recipient for her performance in the film. Shot with stunning monochromatic film, the release will include a slew of extras and a 36-page booklet. Available in a Dual Format edition as part of Eureka’s award winning TheMasters of Cinema Series, from 18 May 2015.
Continuing a run of Seventies smash-hits for director Peter Bogdanovich after the enormous success of his The Last Picture Show and What’s Up, Doc?, Paper Moonsaw the filmmaker sustaining his collaboration with actorRyan O’Neal, and introduced the world to the precocious talent of the future Barry Lyndon star's daughter Tatum, then 10, who for her performance was the youngest-ever actress to be awarded an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress.
After meeting a newly orphaned girl named Addie Loggins (Tatum O’Neal), con man Moses Pray (Ryan O’Neal), who may or may not be Addie’s father, is enlisted to deliver the newly orphaned Addie to her aunt in Missouri. Shortly after however, the two realise that together they make an efficient scam-artist duo. Adventure ensues as the pair blaze through the American Midwest, stealing, swindling, and selling the moon…
With its stunning black-and-white cinematography shot by the great László Kovács and its superb evocation of Depression-era locales, Paper Moon endures as one of the key American comedies of the 1970s. The Masters of Cinema Series is proud to present the film in its UK home viewing premiere in a new Dual-Format edition.
SPECIAL FEATURES featuring:
• Glorious new 1080p transfer of the film
• Optional English subtitles for the deaf and hard-of-hearing
• Full-length audio commentary with director Peter Bogdanovich
• A group of documentaries about the making of the film
• 36-PAGE BOOKLET featuring a new essay on the film by Mike Sutton, rare production stills, and more!
“Tatum O'Neal makes a sensational screen debut” - Variety
“A charming mixture of Hawksian comedy and Fordian lyricism” – Time Out
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