Tag Archives: Prince Charles Cinema

The Raid (2012) or livewithfilm takes his eye off the ball only to receive a fist to the chops…

14 Jun

The Euro’s doesn’t lend itself to off the cuff film reviewing. Nevertheless, with Irelandtaking a good drubbing in the background, livewithfilm feels duty bound to return to the much maligned blog. It is rather fitting that today’s film choice sees an unrelenting assault of breathtaking brutality. Unfortunately for the sake of this strained sporting comparison, none of The Raid’s furious cast were dressed in Spanish red or Irish green. However, quite a few were soaked in crimson by the final credits.

Bidding his heavily pregnant wife farewell, SWAT policeman Rama (Iko Uwais) travels with his team towards the heart ofJakarta. Their mission: to take a thirty story apartment block floor by floor and rid the city of its most violent crime boss. Once their number begins to fall, the team must battle their way out, facing increasingly brutal opponents.

A refreshingly simple plot allows The Raid to remain an unrelentingly exhilarating action film. While simple twists serve to remind the audience that a plot remains somewhere beneath the bruises, martial arts action remains the film’s most arresting element. Testing the brain cells through trauma rather than contemplation, The Raid uses fluid camera work to capture some of the most brutal on-screen violence livewithfilm has witnessed. Surprising choreography and flair demonstrate the musical rhythm Welsh director Gareth Evans lent to The Raid’s combat sequences; the director constructs a superb action film but The Raid truly belongs to choreographers Uwais and Yaya Ruhian. Boasting the first mid-film round of applause from the audience that livewithfilm has witnessed, The Raid is a visceral, groan-inducing stunner.

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Braindead (1992) or livewithfilm sources the perfect film for a midnight showing but is swiftly put off its minstrels

7 May

Another day, another superb midnight screening from the haven of the horrible, the sanctuary of the sickening: the PrinceCharlesCinema. Acting as a clarion call for all genre fans, these witching-hour shows exemplify both the joys and tribulations of the horror devotee. Frowned upon by the snobbish filmic establishment, livewithfilm and its fellow fans were forced to congregate under the cover of darkness to enjoy the nastiest scenes that cinema had to offer. Fortunately enough, livewithfilm cannot think of a film to suit such a setting more than the gore-caked Braindead. Having shared groans and wails, the movie audience left the cinema unified in a state of awe.

Terrified into servitude by his overbearing mother, meek Lionel (Timothy Balme) is delighted when local girl Paquita (Diana Penalver) begins to take an interest in him. However, his romantic plans collapse once a bite from a Sumatran Rat Monkey transforms the matriarch into a swiftly decaying zombie. Attempting to hide his decomposing family member from the inquisitive townsfolk, Lionel is forced to contain and ultimately battle a slowly increasing horde of flesh-eaters.

Even with livewithfilm’s extensive experience of the darker side of cinema, this blogger was taken aback by the waves of gore that spewed from Peter Jackson’s film. Officially the bloodiest movie ever made (300 litres of the red-stuff was used in the final scene alone), livewithfilm was forced to put down its nibbles almost immediately as its stomach took a turn for the worse. Yet clearly inspired by Raimi’s The Evil Dead (1981), Jackson offsets this tidal wave of body matter with a razor sharp wit. Never pertaining to any high-brow state, Braindead gleefully revels in its own absurdity and subsequently pulls off scenes of progressive lunacy. Sporting Kung fu priests (‘I kick arse for the Lord!’), man-eating internal organs and zombie offspring, Braindead has everything a grindhouse fan yearns for. Just steer clear of the custard…

Night of the Living Dead (1968), Dawn of the Dead (1978), Day of the Dead (1985) or livewithfilm fights the bug to attend triple bill no.1

27 Apr

As any self respecting horror fan can attest, there was going to be no way that livewithfilm could miss a midnight trilogy of its favourite gore-soaked trio. Manned with energy drinks and its own bodyweight in sweet and salted popcorn (don’t knock it before you’ve tried it), livewithfilm gave itself every support needed to last the night through. Rather bizarrely, the blood drenched triple bill had been a source of motivation for livewithfilm’s recovery: a living dead health goal. And livewithfilm was not even the keenest fan there… To those who were decked out in zombie face paint, t-shirts and themed outfits, livewithfilm salutes you with a rotting hand.

‘They’re coming to get you Barbara’ mocks an understandably sceptical ‘heroic’ figure at the start of George A. Romero’s Night of the Living Dead. Such reassuringly recognisable genre elements are swiftly ended once Johnny is dashed to pieces against the nearest grave stone. Despite its age and wit, Night of the Living Dead stills shocks, subverting what is expected of it with great glee. Following Barbra (Judith O’Dea) as she flees an unexplained wave of pursuing homicidal figures, Romero’s film sees her find shelter in a seemingly abandoned house. Joined by fellow fugitive Ben (Duane Jones), the pair is forced to contend with both the amassing zombie force outside and an aggressively defensive family in the cellar. Building slowly to an unrelenting pace for the final act, Night of the Living Dead is consistently entertaining and humorously subversive. Superbly grisly in black and white to boot.

Once the grim finale of Night of the Living Dead had flickered from the screen, the instantaneously blood-drenched opening of Dawn of the Dead left livewithfilm gawping. Without respite in between, the visual disparity between Night and Dawn added to the stunning violence of Romero’s 70s outing. Society is falling apart following an onslaught of zombie attackers. Keen to escape, four companions helicopter their way to a shopping mall, setting up camp in what they believe is an impregnable fortress. Neatly expanding the world of Night, Dawn develops the zombie vision on all fronts, amping up the monsters, blood and laughs into a heady mix of scares. Never as cuttingly satirical as Night, the film points its accusing finger at American consumerism: mindless zombies recreating the shuffling shoppers. Romero clearly isn’t satisfied with his nation’s culture.

Starting in the early hours, the unrelentingly grim Day of the Dead finished the night with the most complete (satisfying is the wrong word as the film is truly anything but) vision of an apocalyptic zombie nightmare. Working from a small bunker, a group of small survivors attempt to find any surviving remnant of humanity. Overseen by a tyrannical military commander, this band of scientists also continues their research into a cure that can save the world. Yet surrounded by the living dead, the claustrophobic atmosphere proves too much for the inhabitants. Day of the Dead is a tough watch even after six hours of gore. Yet superbly, it does boast Bub – the first sympathetic zombie. Livewithfilm did not expect to end the night rooting for a walking corpse…

Silent Running (1972) & 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968) – livewithfilm double bill no.1

20 Mar

After yesterday’s preamble, livewithfilm was greatly excited to commence its science fiction double bill at the Prince Charles Cinema (a movie house highly favoured by this blogger). Signifying a respectable film marathon, livewithfilm entered the cinema with the sun high in the sky, only to emerge five hours later as nocturnal creatures were creeping through Leicester Square. Preparation felt vital before such a milestone viewing. Crucially the combination of sweet and salted popcorn, served in a towering receptacle, provided satisfying pick me ups throughout the screening; like a long distance runner rationing out carbohydrate boosts, livewithfilm had to time its consumption of the fluffy treat to perfection. Whilst so far appearing like a dimly lit feast, the pairing left this blogger awestruck, amazed and appalled in equal measure. Livewithfilm urges you to see Silent Running and (especially) 2001 at the big screen. Space was especially deep and robots particularly monstrous when looming over this blogger, amplifying the dread that pervades both movies.

Douglas Trumbull’s Silent Running envisions a future for earth where all vegetation has been destroyed, only replicated and maintained in stellar greenhouses. Devoted astronaut Lowell (Bruce Dern) refuses to accept the loss of his plants once orders come to destroy these sanctuaries. The gardener is forced to defend his vegetation by any means possible, ultimately plunging himself into deep space accompanied only by a trio of amiable robotic companions. Thus the tone was set for a bleak approaching dystopia, Trumbull deftly opposing militant human warmth with the oblivion of dark space. Occasionally faltering into a dated vision of 60s folk music, Silent Running permitted the audience their first laughter of the night: the emergence ofLowell, accompanied by golden eagle, set to the wails of Joan Baez. Nevertheless,Trumbull’s film managed to convey an impressively timeless message and left the watching crowds weeping in the isles.

Leaving no time to dab away the tears, Stanley Kubrick’s near impenetrable 2001: A Space Odyssey swiftly followed. Moving through the dawn of man (depressingly enough when apes learned to bludgeon each other to death) to space travel and exploration, Kubrick’s expansive vision of evolution is undoubtedly memorable. After a mysterious discovery on the moon, 2001 leaps through time to witness the outcomes of a technologically advanced mission to Jupiter. Accompanying scientists Dave (Keir Dullea) and Frank (Gary Lockwood) is the HAL 9000, a computer which can mimic human emotions. But once a misjudgement by HAL leads the crew to question whether the computer should be shut down, the Jupiter mission becomes increasingly treacherous. Despite its lengthy running time (the cinema did provide a pleasant three minute interval mid way through), 2001 was an utterly riveting piece of filmmaking. Filled with impossible special affects that kept livewithfilm guessing, Kubrick’s film is visually spectacular. Even after four hours of star studded skyline, the dreadful expanses of space remained deeply ominous and uncomfortable. A far darker vision of the impenetrability of space than Silent Running, 2001 was an unrelenting watch. Pushing midnight, the final colourful montage and ensuing surrealism left livewithfilm somewhat baffled (continuance of evolution? the possibilities of unknown space?) but transfixed. Bring on another double bill! But not before an early night…