Film: Brixton Blog’s Thursday round-up

By Ashley Clark

An octogenarian hipster; long, dark, Turkish nights of the soul; hapless cops, and Emilio Estevez. What else could it possibly all mean but another cracking week at the best cinema in south London…

Octogenarian New York Times snapper Bill Cunningham

Pick of the new releases opening this week at the Ritzy is Bill Cunningham New York, an amazing, uplifting documentary which focuses on the eponymous living legend, an eightysomething street photographer for the New York Times who’s been flying around the city for years on his bike snapping the extravagant dress of the locals. Cunningham is the perfect subject: forthcoming, warm and passionate, yet still enigmatic and tantalisingly unknowable. The likes of Vogue editor Anna Wintour are among the list of big names keen to pay tribute to the man.

Sure to be the biggest crowdpleaser is buddy comedy 21 Jump Street, which stars Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum as two cops who go undercover in a high school with the intention of busting a drug ring. Though it arrived on these shores with little anticipation, it’s gone down a storm with the critics and it’s easy to see why. It’s sprightly, rude, funny and surprisingly gripping as a thriller, harking back to the very best of the genre like Midnight Run and 48 Hours. As film remakes of late 80s TV shows starring Johnny Depp updated to the modern day go, it’s right up there.

Also out this week – and perhaps one for the cineastes among you – is Once Upon A Time In Anatolia, the exceptionally gifted Turkish director Nuri Bilge Ceylan’s mesmerising follow-up to 2009’s Three Monkeys. It’s a particular, peculiar type of thriller (bore-core, anyone?) which focuses on a group of men solemnly hunting for a dead body secreted somewhere in the rural environs of the Anatolian steppe. It’s long, visually rich, long, totally compelling, disturbing, fascinating and long. It’s also quite long. Don’t miss.

The Ritzy continues its excellent run of repertory cinema this week with a super-rare screening of Alex Cox’s 1984 cult oddity Repo Man on Tuesday (in cosy screen 5). It stars a pre-Mighty Ducks Emilio Estevez as feckless punk Otto opposite Harry Dean Stanton’s Bud, the grizzled auto repo man of the title, and represents a bizarre mash-up of genres (sci-fi, thriller, comedy, rock musical) with nothing really like it seen before or since. Other than the insanely underrated Highway Patrolman, it’s my favourite Cox picture (leave puns in the comments section below – it’s on a plate for you folks).

Look out too for four bonus screenings of Nicolas Winding Refn’s Drive. One of last year’s most highly-regarded films, Drive is an intermittently enjoyable ride; slick, often unbearably tense and extremely stylish. It’s also, on occasion, hilariously pretentious, and a distinct case of sheen over substance, but deliberately so, and to criticise the film on these terms would be like taking Michael Bay to task for being bombastic (as opposed to simply a terrible filmmaker). If you haven’t already seen it, do take a look. But don’t be tempted to buy a replica Ryan Gosling scorpion jacket afterwards – you don’t want to end up looking like one of these guys.

All films showing at the Ritzy Cinema, Brixton Oval. Book tickets here.

Ashley Clark runs the film blog Permanent Plastic Helmet. You can follow it on Twitter @PPlasticHelmet and/or him @_ash_clark.