By Ashley Clark
Superheroes and Shakespeare dominate in another great week at south London’s best cinema.
The big new film at the Ritzy this week is Superman reboot Man Of Steel, starring lantern-jawed Brit Henry Cavill as the eponymous superhero. It’s directed by Zack Snyder, the ‘visionary’ (if there’s one term that needs to be taken out of the promotional lexicon, this is it) behind such violently bombastic fare as 300, Sucker Punch and Watchmen. Snyder’s capacity as a visual stylist has never been in question, and this new effort certainly looks like it will be a feast for the eyes (I’ve yet to see it). Reports seem to confirm that Snyder has opted for the dont-laugh-this-is-deadly-serious-and-important-guys approach to the superhero narrative – that’s not a surprise; Christopher Nolan’s co-written it. If you can hack the idea of Superman being all tortured and lugubrious, then this might be the one for you. Also tempting is a supporting cast including Michael Shannon, Russell Crowe and the long-dormant Kevin Costner.
The second major release is Joss Whedon’s monochrome, low-key and witty modern-day revamp of William Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing, starring Alexis Denisov and Amy Acker. It’s well worth a watch. Now into its second week is Steven Soderbergh’s excellent Behind The Candelabra, an account of the strained, nine-year relationship between Liberace (Michael Douglas) and his significantly younger lover Scott Thorson (Matt Damon). You can also still catch: Ariel Vroman’s decent, Goodfellas-aping thriller The Iceman, in which the colossal Michael Shannon gets a meaty leading role; Shane Meadows’ enjoyable Stone Roses documentary Made of Stone; Regis Poinsard’s slick ‘50s-set typing romcom (yep, that’s a genre now) Populaire; and Baz Luhrmann’s handsomely mounted The Great Gatsby. Watch out too for a couple of screenings of Sodebergh’s big-pharma thriller Side Effects.
There’s plenty of exciting rep cinema to sink your teeth into. In anticipation of Richard Linklater’s upcoming Before Midnight, there’s an unmissable Wednesday evening double-bill (in 35mm, I believe) of the director’s lovely Before Sunrise and Before Sunset, the first films to track the burgeoning relationship between Celine (Julie Delpy) and Jesse (Ethan Hawke). Alternatively, you could scare yourself silly with weekend late shows of George A. Romero’s classic zombie flick Dawn of the Dead, expose yourself to the raw emotion of John Schlesinger’s Midnight Cowboy (Monday afternoon), or reminisce with William Wyler’s classic The Best Years of Our Lives (Tuesday afternoon).
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.