Cinema Roundup 3rd October

The KillingYou’ll recall last week I mentioned the opening of the Lighthouse Cinema’s Stanley Kubrick season with a screening of his awful debut Fear and Desire. Well this week the real meat of Kubrick arrives, with the Lighthouse serving up five of his movies, all of which are highly recommended.

On Saturday, you have a chance to see Kubrick’s two flirtations with the Film Noir genre – Killer’s Kiss (1955) and The Killing (1956).

Killer’s Kiss features a struggling boxer who falls for his neighbour, a taxi-dancer at a sleazy Times Square club. Trouble is her boss is obsessed with her and doesn’t take too kindly to another man showing interest. It’s a bit rough around the edges but the film contains some nerve wrackingly tense sequences and features great location shooting on the streets of Manhattan, something rarely seen at the time.

The Killing is one of the director’s best films, and arguably cinema’s greatest heist movie. Told in a non-linear fashion, the movie was highly influential, notably inspiring Quentin Tarantino’s debut, Reservoir Dogs. Brilliantly plotted with a memorable climax, this is one of the landmarks of the crime genre.

On Sunday, Kubrick’s brilliant 1962 adaptation of novelist Vladimir Nabokov’s Lolita (scripted by the author himself) screens. Still c0ntroversial today, it’s one of the most hilarious black comedies you’ll see, and features a career best turn from James Mason. Tackling a range of issues – the gap between the pre and post war generations, high art vs popular culture, and American values versus European – Lolita is as fresh today as it was over 50 years ago.

On Wednesday, the Lighthouse plays host to another pair of must see Kubrick classics.

1957’s Paths of Glory is one of two war movies Kubrick helmed, and deals with the aftermath of a group of WWI French soldiers’ refusal to embark on a suicide mission. Gripping drama, with one of the most moving final scenes you’ll ever witness.

1960’s Spartacus sees Kubrick try his hand at the epic genre. Famed for its “I’m Spartacus!” scene, this is one of epic cinema’s greatest moments. While Kubrick’s name is attached, the contribution of director Anthony Mann – who began work on the film only to leave after disagreements with the studio – shouldn’t be overlooked.

The bedsit classic Withnail and I (1987) is playing all week at the Irish Film Institute. If you were ever a student, then no doubt you’ve seen it, but you’ll likely want to relive it once more. If you’re unaware of its dubious charms, it’s a hilarious piece of 80s British cinema, featuring a career defining performance from Richard E Grant.

Now that it’s October, you’re probably beginning to embrace the Halloween spirit. If so, the IFI’s Lunchtime Archive program is giving you the chance to see two classic Irish ghost story shorts for free, on Saturday, Monday and Wednesday afternoons. Return to Glennascaul (1951) features no less a talent than Orson Welles among its cast, and is a staple of Irish Halloween viewing. (You can read more about it on NewsFour here.) From Time to Time (1954) stars Maureen Cusack as a woman haunted by the ghost of a War of Independence victim.

The IFI’s Kinofest, a festival of German cinema, also kicks off next Thursday.

There’s also a cracking new release this week in the form of David Fincher’s Gone Girl. Based on the bestselling novel, it’s a gripping thriller that’s packed with twists and turns yet never gets too complex for its own good. Expect this to feature heavily at the Oscars.

Life After Beth is the latest movie to mix the horror and comedy genres. A tale of a young girl who returns from the undead, much to her boyfriend’s bemusement, this is highly derivative and takes itself far too seriously for its quirky premise.

Dracula Untold reboots Bram Stoker’s famed creation as a superhero by focusing on Vlad the Impaler, the real life inspiration for the character. There’s little in the way of bloodsucking on show here, with Drac turned into the sort of tortured hero that’s become such a cliche in the post Dark Knight world. Awful.

Violette is a biopic of controversial French writer Violette Leduc, and it’s a serious slog, focusing on her inner demons rather than celebrating her taboo breaking work.

By Eric Hillis

Image: Movie of the Week, The Killing

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