By Ashley Clark
Muted French revolutions, all-American ass-hattery, and classic Japanese animations are just some of the flavours on offer at South London’s best cinema this week.
Versatile veteran French director Olivier Assayas (Cold Water, Carlos) returns this week with Something In The Air, a semi-autobiographical drama about a group of friends living in a suburb outside Paris in the early 1970s, and trying to keep the fire of the May 1968 revolutionary spirit alive. Never anything less than watchable, well performed by a promising young cast, and mercifully free of glossy nostalgia, the film nevertheless feels curiously flat and lacking in dramatic impact. Top soundtrack, though.
Also new this week is The Hangover Part III, the final instalment of Todd Phillips’ bawdy trilogy. I haven’t seen it, and won’t be seeing it (because the casual racism and unceasing crassness of the last one was enough for me, and life’s too short), but nothing I’ve heard from other critics suggests it’ll be anything other than more of the same. The third of this week’s new releases is animated ecological adventure Epic (playing in both 2D and 3D). It doesn’t quite attain the status hinted at by its title, but is an enjoyable watch nonetheless, and certainly recommended for younger ones.
Animation of a more distinguished stripe comes in the form of a pair of re-releases from Studio Ghibli, the legendary Japanese studio. Both My Neighbour Totoro and Grave Of The Fireflies are celebrating their 25th anniversary this year, and while they couldn’t be more different in tone (the former is magically uplifting, the latter crushingly sad), they are both pretty much unmissable. They’re on all week, so you’ve got no excuse.
Films continuing their runs include Baz Luhrmann’s divisive – and characteristically gaudy – The Great Gatsby; the latest instalment of Matthew McConaughey’s astonishing career revival, Jeff Nichols’ beguling adventure Mud; J.J. Abrams’ expansive blockbuster Star Trek Into Darkness; and Derek Cianfrance’s ludicrous, maudlin, macho self-importance fest The Place Beyond The Pines, which can only really be recommended for Bradley Cooper’s sensitive performance, and Sean Bobbitt’s lovely cinematography.
Other than the Ghibli pair (see above), the Ritzy’s a little thin on the ground in terms of repertory this week, though there are a pair of weekend late shows of Wes Anderson’s Moonrise Kingdom, should you have missed it when it was out a little while back. Meanwhile, the Picturehouses’ ongoing Discover Tuesdays strand showcasing arthouse and indie fare continues with Italian director Matteo Garrone’s colourful cultural satire Reality.
All films showing at the Ritzy Cinema, Brixton Oval. Book tickets here.