A vampire western, Paul Thomas Anderson’s back catalogue, ‘Starship Troopers’ and more film fun happening this week
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. The Anderson Tapes: ‘Magnolia’
This weekend, the ICA and film magazine Little White Lies are screening the entire back catalogue of the world’s greatest living filmmaker (yep, we went there), Paul Thomas Anderson. Every one of Anderson’s films – with the arguable exception of his debut, ‘Hard Eight’ – is a solid-gold masterpiece, but our particular favourite has to be this sprawling, star-studded LA portmanteau piece from 1999. This intimate epic charts the various fortunes, over a day or so, of various individuals whose paths cross by design, destiny, chance or coincidence. For all the humour, it’s a dark portrait of loss, lovelessness and fear of failure in contemporary America.
ICA, Nash House, The Mall, SW1Y 5AH. Sat Feb 21, 2.50pm. £11, £7 concs.
2. Sci-fi Theatre: ‘Starship Troopers’
London’s one and only sci-fi film club returns with this bug-blasting classic. In a future world where everyone is beautiful and only ‘citizens’ get to vote, Paul Verhoeven imagines a war against an alien race whose hideous appearance makes them a perfect target for human aggression. The attacks against American imperialism and Hollywood shallowness come thick and fast, culminating in one of the most striking images in all of sci-fi as Neil Patrick Harris, in full Gestapo dress, prepares to send a platoon of terrified teenage boys into battle.
The Duke Of Wellington, 119 Balls Pond Rd, N1 4BL. Wed Feb 18, 8pm. £5.
3. Tufnell Park Film Club: ‘A Matter of Life and Death’
This is one of Powell and Pressburger’s most imaginative and thoroughly enjoyable films. But it’s also one of Britain’s most substantial fantasy films, in that for all its visual invention, wit, romantic flair and sense of fun, it is most definitely about something. Actually, of course, it’s about a number of things: the improbable love affair between a British pilot and an American girl; the tricky ‘special relationship’ between Britain and the US; and the uneasy relations between the practitioners of Britain’s realist tradition and those of the rather more flamboyantly ‘arty’ strand of filmmaking as perpetrated by Powell.
The Lord Palmerston, 33 Dartmouth Park Hill, NW5 1HU. Tue Feb 17, 8pm. £15 m’ship.
4. FREE Alibi Film Club: ‘Near Dark’
The Alibi’s 1987 month comes to a close with this full-blooded vampire movie, which gives the well-worn mythology a much-needed transfusion by stripping away the Gothic trappings and concentrating instead on a pack of nocturnal nomads who roam the sun-parched farmlands of the modern Midwest. Western iconography, noir-ish lighting, and visceral horror are fused with an affecting love story in this stylish ‘Vampire Western’, which is driven forward at a scorching pace, a subtle study in the seductiveness of evil and a terrifying ride to the edge of darkness.
The Alibi, 91 Kingsland High St, E8 2PB. Mon Feb 23, 8pm. FREE.
5. Deep Red + live score by Goblin
Italian horror king Dario Argento’s regular collaborators Goblin (or at least their current incarnation, headed up by original composer and keyboardist Dario Simonetti) return to score arguably his greatest film. Combining propulsive narrative intrigue with a series of kill scenes more elaborate and expressionistic than anything the director had yet attempted, ‘Deep Red’ is also Argento’s most breezily enjoyable film, chucking in a fistful of witty, satirical attacks on Italian masculinity and some of the finest prog-fusion freakouts ever recorded.
Barbican Centre, Silk St, EC2Y 8DS. Sat Feb 21, 7.30pm. £35.