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. Classic Cinema Club: ‘An Actor’s Revenge’
Yukinojo, a female impersonator in a Kabuki theatre troupe, takes revenge on the three nobles who forced his parents to commit suicide. Maintaining his female role offstage, he pursues his vendetta by playing out a false courtship, and by turning his enemies against each other. This 1963 drama from Japanese master Kon Ichikawa is a phenomenal accomplishment, with daringly stylised visuals. Nothing is more astonishing than the twin performances of Kazuo Hasegawa as both Yukinojo and the thief who befriends him.
Ealing Town Hall, New Broadway, W5 2BY. Fri Mar 13, 7.30pm. £7, £6 concs.
2. Best in Show
Comedy writer Kayleigh Llewellyn introduces this classic pooch-com. A mockumentary tracking half-a-dozen contestants as they prepare for the annual Mayflower Dog Show in Philadelphia, Christopher Guest’s film combines flea-on-the-wall observation with direct-to-camera interviews. The similarities with ‘Spinal Tap’ are plain, although most of the gags here are more of a smile than laugh-out-loud. Largely improvised, this caricatures a broad cross-section of social archetypes, from the gay couple with their shih tzu, to the neurotic yuppies with their weimaraner, to the backwoods cajun with his bloodhound.
JW3, 341-351 Finchley Rd, NW3 6ET. Mon Mar 16, 8pm. £10, £5 concs.
3. Cocktails & Movies: ‘Cocktail’
Enjoy a weekend of boozy movies with themed cocktails at the plush 20th Century Theatre. Alongside the likes of ‘The Big Lebowski’ and ‘Anchorman’ (plus, oddly, ‘The Goonies’) we find this guiltily entertaining Tom Cruise vehicle. Freshly demobbed, Brian Flanagan takes a Greyhound to NYC, hell-bent on self-improvement. He enlists in business school, but concludes that ‘notta goddam thing those professors say makes any difference on the streets’. Brian opts instead to imbibe wisdom (and vast quantities of alcohol) at the feet of grizzled bartender Doug, a guru of the in vino veritas school.
20th Century Theatre, 291 Westbourne Grove, London W11 2QA. Sat Mar 14, 9pm. £14, £22 with drinks.
4. Dressed to Kill
Beginning and ending with a pair of shower frissons, Brian DePalma’s brazen reworking of ‘Psycho’ is most striking for its sheer audacity. It’s an outrageously over-the-top thriller blending Hitchcockian psychodrama with Italian slasher-movie style, as a young prostitute witnesses a murder and becomes the target of a marauding psychopath. Michael Caine was rarely better (or weirder) as the psychiatrist who may be hiding a dark secret.
Prince Charles Cinema, 7 Leicester Place, WC2H 7BP. Mon Mar 16, 8.45pm. £7.50, £5 concs.
5. Drive-In Film Club: ‘Back to the Future’
If you missed the epic Secret Cinema event last year, catch up with the adventures of Marty McFly at this new vehicular pop-up from the folks behind the Rooftop Film Club. The lineup is the usual selection of popular classics and recent hits – ‘Dirty Dancing’, ‘Grease’, ‘The Grand Budapest Hotel’ – but that’s no bad thing. ‘Back to the Future’ is, of course, the tale of high-schooler Marty who travels back in time to 1955, the year his parents met in high school. Zemeckis takes obvious pleasure in solving not just the technical but also the emotional problems of time travel: how to avoid incest, how to unite your parents in order that you will be born, and above all how to avoid tampering with history.
Alexandra Palace, Alexandra Palace Way, N22 7AY. Wed Mar 11, 7.30pm. £22 per car.
For the full list, go to Time Out’s film events page.