Each week, we round up the most exciting film events happening in London over the coming week, from pop-ups and one-offs to regular film clubs, outdoor screenings and festivals. Here’s this week’s top five…
1. Dennis Hopper: ‘The Trip’
He may have made some dubious movies (not to mention some dubious life choices), but Dennis Hopper remains one of cinema’s great countercultural icons. This month-long BFI season focuses on Hopper’s directorial works like ‘Easy Rider’, ‘The Last Movie’ and ‘Out of the Blue’, chucking in a handful of his finest starring roles for good measure. ‘The Trip’ is the definitive commercial for acid, as scripted by Jack Nicholson. Its advertising director hero, played by Peter Fonda, takes a trip with no retribution at all: no death, no disillusionment, but much bikinied girls on sea shores, swirling psychedelia, and mumbling of ‘Wow!’ by Hopper in the land of a thousand visual clichés. Directed with hedonistic panache by Roger Corman, it’s rich pickings for the student of ’60s lifestyles. BFI Southbank, Belvedere Rd, SE1 8XT. 8.30pm, Sun Jul 6. £8.15-£11.50.
2. West Side Story + live orchestra
See one of the great screen musicals, with a live score provided by the Royal Philharmonic Concert Orchestra. Re-heating ‘Romeo and Juliet’ in the distressed, red-brick pressure cooker of late-’50s New York City, cine-chameleon Robert Wise and choreographer Jerome Robbins made a fine fist of transplanting the Leonard Bernstein/Stephen Sondheim Broadway behemoth to the screen. Set in a world populated by finger-clicking, stoop-dwelling greasers, a senseless turf war between rival gangs, the Sharks and the Jets, complicates a star-crossed romance. It’s impossible to fault the euphoric dance sequences and ultra-melodic tunes. Royal Albert Hall, Kensington Gore, SW7 2AP. Fri Jul 4 to Sun Jul 6. £15-£55.
3. Classic Cinema Club: ‘Ugetsu Monogatari’
Japanese director Kenji Mizoguchi’s best-known work was one of a handful of Japanese films to sweep up awards at European festivals in the early ’50s. Its reputation as one of Mizoguchi’s finest works and a landmark of the Japanese ‘art’ cinema has remained undented ever since. The director’s unique establishment of atmosphere by means of sublimely graceful and unobtrusive camera movement is everywhere evident in his treatment of the legend of a potter who leaves his family to market his wares during the ravages of a civil war, and is taken in and seduced by a ghost princess. A ravishingly composed, evocatively beautiful film. Ealing Town Hall, New Broadway, W5 2BY. 7.30pm. Fri Jul 4. £6, £5 concs.
4. House of Wax 3D
The first in a month-long celebration of old-fashioned stereoscopic 3D cinema at the Barbican. ‘House of Wax’ is generally accepted as one of the finest ‘50s 3D features, handsomely mounted and directed with great care. Set in the fantasy world of gaslight, ground fogs and opera cloaks, and starring Vincent Price as a crippled sculptor who wreaks revenge on those who burned him alive. This was the film that typed Price as a horror star, and the fire in the waxworks is a gruesome thrill. Director Andre de Toth brings off one classic sequence with Phyllis Kirk fleeing through the gaslit streets pursued by a shadowy figure in a billowing cloak. Barbican Centre, Silk St, EC2Y 8DS. 4pm, Fri Jul 5. £9.50, £8.50 concs.
5. ‘Mad Max’ & ‘Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior’
Look forward to the impending release of ‘Mad Max: Fury Road’ with the definitive double bill of pedal-to-the-metal Aussie thrills (the final film in the original trilogy, ‘Beyond Thunderdome’, isn’t that great anyway). Director George Miller’s first movie is an outrageous exploiter drawing intelligently on everything from ‘Death Race 2000’ to ‘Straw Dogs’ for its JG Ballard-ish story of a future where cops and Hell’s Angels stage protracted guerrilla warfare around what’s left of a hapless civilian population. The sequel is even better – Miller’s choreography of his innumerable vehicles is so extraordinary that it makes ‘Raiders of the Lost Ark’ look like a kid fooling with Dinky Toys. Various Picturehouse cinemas.Various times, Sat Jul 5.