FILM: Brixton Blog’s Thursday round-up

Channing Tatum. With a pole between his legs. Yesterday. (Magic Mike)

By Ashley Clark

Strippers, mysterious pregnancies, and an obese Marlon Brando lurking in the shadows. It’s a fresh new week at the Ritzy (aka South London’s best cinema). You know what’s up.

Killer Joe star Matthew McConaughey’s career renaissance continues in Magic Mike, though he’s not the main attraction in this engaging stripper-themed drama from the versatile Steven Soderbergh. Instead, that honour goes to Channing Tatum, who plays the eponymous character looking for a way out of the old clothes-taking-off game (is there another word for ‘stripping’?). It’s warm, funny, insightful, and – trust me – not just 4 da laydeez. Interestingly, it’s based on Tatum’s own experiences as a younger man.

Another particularly intriguing film opening at the Ritzy this week is coming-of-age tale Electrick Children [sic], which has been touted (relatively accurately) as Almost Famous meets Witness. The film follows young Mormon virgin Rachel (Julia Garner), who wakes up one day to find herself mysteriously pregnant after secretly listening to a forbidden tape of ‘Hanging on the Telephone’. Electrick Children is intelligent, esoteric, and slightly vague filmmaking. Do check it out if you’re up for something different.

There are a handful of other new films dotted around the week’s release schedule including gripping performance art doc Marina Abramovic: The Artist is Present, sketchy Cuban portmanteau Seven Days In Havana (featuring segments directed by characters as varied as Gaspar Noe and actor Benicio del Toro), and a touching OAP ping pong doc, yes that’s a touching OAP ping pong doc named, erm, Ping Pong.

Films continuing their runs this week include William Friedkin’s superb black comedy/noir Killer Joe, haunting existential tiger drama (it’s a new genre guys) The Hunter starring Willem Dafoe, moving ’68 Olympics documentary Salute, STILL Moonrise Kingdom (surely you’ll have seen it by now if you wanted to!), kiddie fare Ice Age: Continental Drift, and slightly unnecessary blockbuster re-boot The Amazing Spider-Man, which is distinguished by good turns from Andrew Garfield and Emma Stone.

In terms of repertory this week, the Ritzy 101: American Masters season kicks off with unmissable screenings of Sidney Lumet’s sizzling 70s New York drama Dog Day Afternoon, and Francis Ford Coppola’s legendary Vietnam clusterfuck Apocalypse Now. The horror! etc… Changing tack entirely, if you’re about on Tuesday lunchtime, you can catch Tony Richardson’s 60s Brit classic The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner, starring Tom Courtenay as a rebellious teenager who refuses to follow his dying father into a factory job. Following a burst of low-level criminality, he’s sent to borstal where he discovers a talent for cross-country running. See it.

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.