FILM: Brixton Blog’s Thursday round-up

Kevin Federline, yesterday. Or James Franco in Spring Breakers. I'm not sure.
Kevin Federline, yesterday. Or James Franco in Spring Breakers. I’m not sure.

By Ashley Clark

Why y’all actin ‘spicious? Day-glo ASBOs and musical dramas are the order of the week at south London’s best cinema.

Fresh from its somewhat surprising box office success Stateside, Harmony Korine’s Spring Breakers arrives to assail hardy Brixtonians with its raucous combination of day-glo visuals, ecstatic violence, former kiddie stars (Vanessa Hudgens, Selena Gomez) going wild, and the sight of a gun-toting James Franco with gold teeth and cornrows. Is it bleeding-edge satire or cynical, weirdly conservative hack-work of the highest order? It’s well worth seeing to decide where you stand on the matter.

Also new this week – and far more respectable – is A Late Quartet, Yaron Zilberman’s upscale, New York-set drama about the travails of a world-renowned string quartet. Beautifully shot by Frederick Elmes (The Elephant Man, Synecdoche New York) and boasting a terrific cast (Philip Seymour Hoffman, Christopher Walker, Catherine Keener) on top form, this should appeal to fans of elegant, grown-up, character-based fare.

Still on a musical tip, you can check out Good Vibrations, an affectionate and enjoyable account of record shop owner Terri Hooley’s near-singlehanded founding of Northern Ireland’s punk scene – a movement which spawned the likes of The Undertones and Stiff Little Fingers. It’s no classic, but certainly diverting, and a must for fans of music of the era.

If none of the above tickle your fancy, or you’re just hungry for more, films continuing their runs include: Danny Boyle’s nasty and shallow – but rather enjoyable – neo-noir Trance (incidentally, perhaps the most explicit 15 I’ve ever seen); Ben Affleck’s enjoyable beards n’ jingoism Oscar-gobbler Argo; Francois Ozon’s witty, meta chamber comedy-drama In The House; fun caveman family animation The Croods (in 3D); Ken Loach’s rousing (if simplistic) socialist doc The Spirit of ’45; mad as a box of frogs, multi-character epic Cloud Atlas; Steven Soderbergh’s slick and sleazy swansong Side Effects; and finally Sam Raimi’s colourful – if ultimately unsatisfying – Oz The Great and the Powerful, in both 2D and 3D iterations.

It’s a little quiet on the rep front this week, but there are two chances (Friday and Saturday late) to catch David Fincher’s excellent cult psychodrama Fight Club, which is now almost 15 years old! Meanwhile, the Picturehouses’ ongoing Discover Tuesdays strand showcasing arthouse and indie fare continues with For Ellen, So Yong Kim’s wintry study of a feckless, solipsistic rocker (Paul Dano) and his relationship with his young daughter.

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.


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