All the movies worth catching in the capital, from a hotel-set drama in Mexico City to a doc about the LGBT movement...
Out and about this week? Fancy a film but can’t make your mind up what to see? Look no further: we’ve assembled the best of what’s on in London and gathered them here to make choosing a great movie as easy as possible. Whether it’s a documentary about the mysterious relationship shared between musician and muse, or the bloody debut film from one of cinema’s biggest provocateurs, WeLoveCinema has you well and truly covered…
Marianne & Leonard: Words of Love
Nick Broomfield, who has had a successful career making documentaries about everyone from Sarah Palin to Whitney Houston, offers up an intimate portrait of singer/songwriter Leonard Cohen’s long-standing affair with Marianne Ihlen, a Norwegian he met on a Greek island in the ’60s who later became his “muse.” Interestingly, Ihlen – at around the same time – met Broomfield and became his friend (and later lover), which injects this look at Cohen and his mysterious relationship with Ihlen with a unique, insider’s perspective. The result is a tender documentary that’s immensely watchable and highly evocative of the swinging ’60s.
Ron Howard channels his inner documentarian for this portrait of the late, great Pavarotti, who became a famous opera tenor of such earth-shattering proportions only the surname was necessary. The no-fuss approach here is very typical of Howard, who has made a career from light, accessible blockbusters that charm in the moment; he doesn’t attempt to dissect Pavarotti as much as he sets out to celebrate him. You won’t come away feeling like you’ve been exposed to anything particular insightful, nor does the film play around with the form like the works of, say, Asif Kapadia. But if you’re unfamiliar with the story behind the Italian legend’s rise to fame, Pavarotti will prove an entertaining chronicle of an extraordinary life.
Get Pavarotti showtimes in London.
Varda By Agnès
When Agnès Varda died earlier this year, she left a huge hole in the pantheon of iconic filmmakers. But of course she had one last surprise left for us in the form of Varda by Agnès – not a perfume range, but an autobiographical documentary helmed by the great woman herself, a kind of introspective analysis of her approach to film. Complied mostly of footage of the French filmmaker speaking at various events and discussing her films – her best known, perhaps, is 1962 masterpiece Cleo From 5 to 7 – it is an intimate pleasure to be able to listen to Varda as she celebrate her career highs and laugh at her lows. If you haven’t seen any of her films, this oddly works as a brilliant intro: you’ll want to get stuck in right away.
Writer/director Lila Avilés offers up an intimate portrait of a maid in this slice of near realism, set in a 5-star hotel in Mexico City. Destined to bear endless comparisons to Alfonso Cuaron’s masterpiece, Roma, which dealt with a similar subject, The Chambermaid is ultimately a less romantic affair, but certain to invoke empathy for unseen heroes like the film’s lead, Eve, as she goes about her daily business. The hotel of the film is her entire world (all she wants to do is be in charge of the 42nd floor), and the film pulls no punches in depicting the obstacles and incidents that stand in her way. Maid in Manhattan this ain’t.
Get The Chambermaid showtimes in London.
TV director William McGregor makes his feature film debut with Gwen, a dark folk story set in 18th century Wales, featuring a star-making performance from Eleanor Worthington Cox. Stunningly beautiful, though just about the darkest film since David Fincher gave us Se7en (honestly: it’s really hard to see), Gwen manages to be both a gripping tale of a girl’s struggle to survive a harsh world and an eerie mood piece. Channeling Wuthering Heights and Thomas Hardy, with a fantastic supporting turn from the always fantastic Maxine Peake, few films dare to be as grim as this one. Thankfully McGregor makes this candle-lit drama an intoxicating one – even if you’re sure to breath a sigh of relief when the lights go up.
Get Gwen showtimes in London.
The new film from Harry Wootliff strives to find the realism in the wake of that truly classic rom-com trope: the meet cute. After Elena (Laia Costa) and Jake (Josh O’Connor) end up sharing a taxi together on New Years’ Eve, their night of passion soon blossoms into love. Whereas this might have resulted in zany antics in another rom-com, however, there’s a lot more nuance to Only You. The result is a portrait of a romance that feels a lot like truth: brilliant and heart-breaking in equal measure, it captures the highs and lows of being in love by way of two actors who share a raw and glorious chemistry. If you come away from this one without feeling some inner sense of recognition, then you are likely dead already.
Get Only You showtimes in London.
Are You Proud?
Well, are you? This timely and essential documentary chronicles fifty years of the LGBT movement in the United Kingdom, and covers everything from the AIDs crisis to the Thatcher years, all the way to the present day. Obviously it would be impossible for a singular film to cover all the important moments and events inherent to such a movement (and this one’s only 90 minutes), but director Ashley Joiner does an excellent job creating something that feels stepped in history but effortlessly contemporary. Built from archive footage and interviews, Are You Proud? acknowledges how far we’ve come – and how far we’ve still got to go – with likeable ease.
Get Are Your Proud? showtimes in London.
Back in our highlights to celebrate to the launch of WeLoveCinema (we have lift-off!), Apollo 11 – assembled entirely from gloriously-resorted archive footage (and fifty years in the making) – is proof that docs needn’t be overly stylised or padded out with endless talking heads: it succeeds entirely on the sole brilliance of the mostly unseen, awe-inspiring footage gathered here, resulting in what now feels like the definitive account of the landmark mission. Gripping and refreshing in its simplicity, Apollo 11 is required viewing for anyone with even a passing interest in space travel – and that goes doubly for any landing conspiracy theorists out there.
Get Apollo 11 showtimes in London.
With Quentin Tarantino’s latest (and possibly last?) movie, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, tittering on the horizon, now is a good time to return to his audacious debut, Reservoir Dogs – arguably the greatest and most influential debut film of the last three decades. With Dogs, Tarantino set the template for a QT film right off the bat: slick characters obsessed with pop culture, a effortlessly cool soundtrack (have we listened to “Little Green Bag” the same since?), and heaps of ultra-violence. With standout turns from Harvey Keitel, Michael Madsen, and Tim Roth, this deconstruction of a heist gone wrong is a perfect 99 minutes.
Get Reservoir Dogs showtimes in London.
This post was categorised in Archive.