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Monty Python, The Beatles, the Mona Lisa and more great film events happening this week

Posted at 2:15 pm, July 14, 2014 in Arts & Entertainment, Top 5
monty python screen shot

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. Last Night of the Pythons

The Monty Python gang’s run of reunion shows at the O2 seem to have turned out much as everyone predicted: enthusiastic and enjoyable, if hardly groundbreaking. As masterminded by the most mainstream Python, Eric Idle, the show is a grand-scale musical extravaganza peppered with some of the team’s finest sketches, from the obvious – that dead parrot does rear its beak – to a few obscure surprises, like Anne Elk’s theory on Brontosauruses (which has passed into scientific lore). This live broadcast will take place at cinemas up and down the country, and will probably be the last chance most of us will have to see (almost) the whole gang performing these sketches for a paying, and doubtless baying, audience. Various venues, times and prices, see www.timeout.com/film. Sat Jul 20.

2. Marketa Lazarova

An epic medieval Czech meditation. Acting out the intrigue, suspicion and bloodlust of thirteenth-century tribal rivalry, the plot is wilfully wayward and close to impenetrable. As ‘pure cinema’, though, it’s stark, daring and often astoundingly dynamic. Black and white cinemascope camerawork surveys a cruel, desolate landscape of plains, castles and forests populated by scavenging strays, strugglers, tyrants and wolf-men, while an eerily evocative sound design gives the picture a near hallucinatory quality. It’s not so much a drama as an ancient litany – mystical and feral rather than spiritual or religious. Riverside Studios, Crisp Rd, W6 9RL. 7pm, Wed Jul 16. £9.50, £8.50 concs.

3. Catch Us If You Can

This musical featuring the Dave Clark Five may have been envisaged as a cash-in on the Beatles films, but the result is something far more unusual and impressive. Director John Boorman (‘Deliverance’) and playwright Peter Nichols were given a free hand, so long as the group and songs were interwoven into a ‘musical’. Taking a landscape Boorman knew from his BBC documentary days – Bath and the west – he was able, in his first feature, to create a cockeyed vision of Britain through the attempt of angry young Clark to escape the fake world of advertising. Boorman’s passionate eye and his circumscribing of the band’s evident lack of acting talent remain impressive. Hollywood Spring, 6 Well St, E9 7PX. 7pm, Sat Jul 19. £7.

4. Power of Summer: ‘The Good, the Bad and the Ugly’

Another strong week of screenings at this outdoor cinema nestled in the spectacular bosom of Battersea Power Station, with everything from ‘Toy Story’ to ‘Priscilla, Queen of the Desert’ on the bill. But for an epic movie experience, nothing beats Clint Eastwood’s finest hour. One of the monumental achievements in narrative filmmaking, Sergio Leone’s grandiose 1966 western is nothing less than a masterclass in movie storytelling, a testament to the sheer, invigorating uniqueness of cinema. Clint Eastwood and Lee Van Cleef are their usual taciturn selves as rival gunslingers pursuing a cache of lost gold. So it’s left to the much-missed Eli Wallach to steal the show, the archetypal pitiable, self-deluded villain, the rotten heart of Leone’s colossal canvas. Battersea Power Station, SW8 4NN. 1.15pm, Sun Jul 20. £10-£25.

5. Mona Lisa + The Long Good Friday

Pay tribute to the late, great Bob Hoskins with two of his finest films. ‘Mona Lisa’ is an assured London-set thriller about the need to love. Plotting a slow descent towards hell, the film deliberately invites comparison with ‘Taxi Driver’, though Hoskins, unlike Scorsese’s solipsistic avenger, is an utterly ordinary hero, a romantic lost among the pimps and hoods, at ease only when listening to old Nat King Cole numbers. ‘The Long Good Friday’, meanwhile, manages to create a convincing and relevant London underworld, and there’s no denying the charismatic quality of Hoskins’s furious Cockney hood. Rio, 107 Kingsland High St, E8 2PB. 12.15pm, Sun Jul 20. £10, £8 concs.

Find more fantastic film events in the capital this week here.

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