FILM: Brixton Blog’s Thursday round-up

Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry

By Ashley Clark

Dissident artists, ripped action heroes, clueless crims, and flame-haired Scottish children; if it sounds like another week at South London’s best cinema, it’s because it indubitably is, folks…

The best new film out at the Ritzy this week is documentary Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry, a revealing study of the controversial Chinese artist. Winner of the Special Jury Prize at the 2012 Sundance Film Festival, …Never Sorry is the end result of New York filmmaker Alison Klayman’s unrestricted access to the artist from 2008 through to his eventual 2011 arrest by Chinese authorities on the grounds of dissident activity.  Moving, politically enlightening, and surprising, it’s a definite must-see.

Meanwhile, franchise re-boot The Bourne Legacy continues the modern trend for bizarre release dates, hitting the Ritzy from Monday (!) onward. This new film, directed by Tony Gilroy (screenwriter of the first three), is an expansion of the universe from Robert Ludlum’s novels, and focuses on a new hero (The Hurt Locker’s Jeremy Renner) whose part in the story is triggered by the twisty-turny events of the previous, Matt Damon-centric trilogy. Trailers suggest plenty of scenes of peril (mild and otherwise), lots of running and shouting, and a healthy dose of Rachel Weisz looking scared, albeit in quite a sexy way. I’ll report back with more substance when I’ve seen it.

Also out this week is Jo Nesbo novel adaptation Jackpot, in which four hapless Norwegian ex-hoods win millions in a football pool, then – predictably – get into all kinds of bother when it comes to dividing their winnings evenly. (Again), I haven’t seen Jackpot yet, but if Headhunters (the last Nesbo adaptation to hit screens) is anything to go by, it’s going to be slick, exceptionally violent, and pretty damn funny in places.

Screening in the daytime from Monday onwards is new Pixar extravaganza Brave, which follows the travails of a young princess (and tasty archer) named Merida as she embarks on a journey of self-discovery. Set in the Scottish highlands, it’s top fairytale stuff for all the family, and features a heavyweight cast of voice actors including Julie Walters, Billy Connolly and Robbie “Cracker” Coltrane. Och aye.

Films continuing their runs this week include Malik Bedjelloul’s excellent music doc, Searching for Sugarman; puerile, pseudo-bestial bromance Ted, the debut feature film from Family Guy creator Seth McFarlane; Christopher Nolan’s portentous Batman trilogy closer The Dark Knight Rises; standard kiddie fare Ice Age: Continental Drift; and dodgy Dr. Seuss adaptation The Lorax, featuring the gruff murmurings of Danny DeVito. There’s also a special Discover Tuesdays screening of Patricio Guzman’s beguiling, beautifully shot doc Nostalgia For The Light, which examines Chile’s troubled past through the dual prism of astronomy and archaeology.

In terms of rep cinema, you would be literally certifiable if you turned down the opportunity to immerse yourself in Paul Thomas Anderson’s insanely cinematic There Will Be Blood, which screens as part of the ongoing American Masters strand on Sunday afternoon. Friday and Saturday nights also see late night screenings of David Fincher’s bright and breezy, fun-filled serial killer thriller Sevenhey Brad Pitt, you’ve got a present – what’s in the box?  As part of a Marilyn Monroe season, you can – and should – also catch a rare 35mm print of John Huston’s classic heist movie The Asphalt Jungle.

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