FILM: Brixton Blog’s Thursday round-up

James Bond, yesterday

By Ashley Clark

Bond’s back, but don’t turn a blind eye to some compelling shenanigans at a Swiss ski resort or some nutty horror conspiracy theories either. 

This week at the Ritzy it’s all about new James Bond film Skyfall, which, though still not a great title, is a million times better than “Quantum of Solace. Directed by Sam Mendes (who appears to have been taking action-movie tips from Christopher Nolan) it’s been widely hailed as the best Bond in ages, making a virtue out of Daniel Craig’s surliness, and bolstered by a fright-wigged Javier Bardem as creepy villain Silva. Though there are loads of extra screenings booked in, to ensure a seat make sure you book in advance.

Also new this week is Ursula Meier’s enigmatic Sister, which impressed recently at the BFI London Film Festival. A coming-of-age tale set in the Swiss Alps, it focuses on a young boy who helps to support his sister by stealing from wealthy guests at a ski resort. It’s haunting stuff, featuring an eclectic cast which includes Lea Seydoux, Gillian Anderson, and promising Scot Martin Compston.

If you’re a fan of Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining and/or borderline insane conspiracy theories, then Rodney Ascher’s Room 237 – an examination of five “hidden meanings” within the 1980 psychological horror-thriller – is a must see. There are no talking heads or reenactments here, though; it’s assembled as a collage of scenes from The Shining, other notable films by Kubrick, and a handful of other films which reflect the cinematic investigation. It’s often fun, sometimes maddening and, like its source material, a bit terrifying!

Other films continuing their runs this week include Tim Burton’s return-to-form animation Frankenweenie (3D); original and energetic (if overrated) indie hit Beasts of the Southern Wild; astonishing Palestine-Israel doc Five Broken Cameras;. Walter Salles pretty adaptation of beatnik bromance On The Road; Rian Johnson’s enjoyable, unpredictable sci-fi mindbender Looper; and solid kiddie fare Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted. Christian Petzold’s astonishing Barbara, meanwhile, has become something of a sleeper hit, and carries on this week. It tells the understatedly moving story of an emotionally and politically conflicted doctor (the amazing Nina Hoss) in early 80’s East Germany;

In terms of repertory cinema, there’s a great Saturday Halloween double bill of Friday the 13th and Nightmare on Elm Street, and a Wednesday preview of the previously unreleased US cut of Kubrick’s The Shining, which you may want to double with Room 237 (above). The Picturehouse’s ‘Discover Tuesdays’ strand continues with Robert Guédiguian’s absorbing French drama Snows of Kilimanjaro, starring cinema’s only genetic splice between Iain Duncan-Smith and Billy Bob Thornton: Jean-Pierre Daroussin.

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.