The death of Stanley Donen, one of the greatest exponents of the big screen musical, was announced today. He started his career as a dancer, then moved into directing in the theatre and in the movies where he choreographed a run of minor musicals until he teamed with star Gene Kelly for On the Town, which was groundbreaking in its use of real locations. After joining Fred Astaire for Royal Wedding, Singin' in the Rain was his most famous success, again with Kelly, demonstrating a joyous ability to translate the power of music and dance into pure entertainment, and remains the most celebrated of the classic musicals. He went on to Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, the undervalued cult musical It's Always Fair Weather, Funny Face with Astaire and Audrey Hepburn, The Pajama Game with Doris Day, Kiss Them for Me with Jayne Mansfield, and Indiscreet with Ingrid Bergman.
The sixties saw Donen's style of musical fall out of favour, but he didn't rest on his laurels, working with Cary Grant again for The Grass is Greener, reteaming with Hepburn for Hitchcock-style thriller Charade, Arabesque with Sophia Loren, Two for the Road with Hepburn again, and one of the key cult comedies of the decade when he worked with Peter Cook and Dudley Moore for Bedazzled. After that, though he continued to work, his successes were fewer, and his films included Staircase, The Little Prince, Lucky Lady, Movie Movie, Saturn 3 and Blame It on Rio. He made Lionel Richie's Dancing on the Ceiling video (which echoed the showstopper from Royal Wedding) and staged a number for wacky detective show Moonlighting. His last was the TV movie Love Letters, with Laura Linney. Donen's abundance of talent made Hollywood's Golden Age as coruscating as you wish to remember it, and he made some memorable cult flicks too.
[23 Feb 2019 at 15:55]
Anna and the Apocalypse on DVD and digital
Going down swinging
Described as 'Shaun of the Dead meets La La Land' this is a brilliantly bonkers, Bafta-nominated zom-com musical, from the creator of the internet smash Ryan Gosling Won't Eat His Cereal.
When a zombie apocalypse threatens the sleepy town of Little Haven, Anna and her friends must fight, slash and sing their way to survival, facing hellish snowmen, an undead Santa and bloodthirsty elves in a desperate race to reach their loved ones hiding out at their local high school.
Ryan McHenry, the brains behind the internet Vine smash hit 'Ryan Gosling won't eat his cereal, won a Bafta for his 2010 short Zombie Musical - but sadly, didn't get to see it turned into a full-length feature film. After McHenry died in 2015, his friends, including co-writer Alan McDonald, took up the mantle to honour his vision.
The result is Glee soaked in gore, as a school is under siege from zombie hordes, in an unstoppable, smile-inducing hour and half of song, dance, blood, guts and chuckles, with some cheeky nods towards Justin Bieber and (naturally) Ryan Gosling along the way.
On Digital HD on 22nd March and on DVD 8th April 2019 from Vertigo Releasing.
From gifted filmmaker Josephine Decker, the transcendent and breathtakingly unique MADELINE'S MADELINE is released in UK cinemas on 10 May 2019 and available to stream exclusively on MUBI the same day.
Following on from its UK premiere at the 2018 BFI London Film Festival, the film stars Molly Parker (House of Cards), Miranda July (You And Me And Everyone We Know) and introduces audiences to remarkable new performer Helena Howard - already hailed as one of the most intriguing new faces to watch out for.
Madeline (Helena Howard) has become an integral part of a prestigious physical theatre troupe. When the workshop's ambitious director (Molly Parker) pushes the teenager to weave her rich interior world and troubled history with her mother (Miranda July) into their collective art, the lines between performance and reality begin to blur. The resulting battle between imagination and appropriation rips out of the rehearsal space and through all three women's lives.
Eureka Entertainment have announced the theatrical release of Ukrainian pitch-black political comedy, Donbass, from director Sergei Loznitsa (A Gentle Creature), winner of the Cannes 'Un Certain Regard' Prize for Best Director at the 2018 festival. Donbass will be released in cinemas nationwide (UK & Ireland) and On Demand from 26 April 2019.
In the Donbass, a region of Eastern Ukraine, a hybrid war takes place, involving an open armed conflict alongside killings and robberies on a mass scale perpetrated by separatist gangs.
In the Donbass, war is called peace, propaganda is uttered as truth and hatred is declared to be love.
A journey through the Donbass unfolds as a chain of curious adventures, where the grotesque and drama are as intertwined as life and death. This is not a tale of one region, one country or one political system. It is about a world, lost in post-truth and fake identities. It is about each and every one of us.
Constructed from 13 episodes, Loznitsa's engrossing drama Donbass provides a unique take on one of the most disturbing and threatening of contemporary conflicts. After watching amateur videos posted on the internet, Loznitsa constructed his own screenplay, referencing the format of TV reports and the frequent construction of fake news. Donbass is enthusiastically acted, sometimes deliberately theatrical and something of a grotesque tour de force. It's all brilliantly, if harrowingly, imagined with stunning imagery courtesy of expert cinematographer Oleg Mutu. Try the trailer at the link.
Orange Is The New Black's Taylor Schilling makes her horror debut facing a mother's worst nightmare to save her family from the evil within. From horror rising stars Nicholas McCarthy (The Pact), Jeff Buhler (Pet Sematary), and the producer of The Exorcism of Emily Rose, brace yourself for one of the scariest films of the year!
In her much-anticipated foray into the horror-thriller genre, Golden Globe and Emmy nominee Taylor Schilling stars in The Prodigy as Sarah, a mother whose young son Miles' disturbing behaviour signals that an evil, possibly supernatural force has overtaken him.
Fearing for her family's safety, Sarah must choose between her maternal instinct to love and protect Miles and a desperate need to investigate what or who is causing his dark turn. She is forced to look for answers in the past, taking the audience on a wild ride; one where the line between perception and reality becomes frighteningly blurry.
THE PRODIGY releases in UK cinemas 15th March 2019. Try the UK trailer at the link.
TONY CONRAD: COMPLETELY IN THE PRESENT / 5 March
Lush Presents ongoing partnership with cinema continues with a look at one of the most influential underground musical artists of the last 50 years, Tony Conrad.
GLOBAL FEMINISM: ENDING VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN / 13 March
A new series of films inspired by the Annie Lennox campaign to promote Global Feminism, encouraging everyone to further understand the inequality around the world for the most disempowered and marginalised women and girls.
HUMAN RIGHTS WATCH FILM FESTIVAL / 18 – 21 March
The Human Rights Watch Film Festival brings to life human rights abuses through storytelling in a way that challenges each individual to empathize and demand justice for all people.
SOUNDSCREEN FILM FESTIVAL / 23 – 25 March
Bringing together the excitement of live gigs alongside some of the best new music documentaries from around the world and a host of director and artist Q&As too with films looking at Joe Strummer, Marianne Faithful, Killing Joke, Van Duren and the history of Tim Pan Alley.
PLUS screenings of the incendiary SAUVAGE, Oscar-nominated CAPERNAUM and a double-bill of SUNFLOWER (1970) and MARRIAGE, ITALIAN STYLE (1964) along with the UK Premiere of UK urban drama ACCEPTABLE DAMAGE.
AND regular partners Heavenly Films return with SLADE IN FLAME (1975) and Soul Jazz screen THE HARDER THE COME (1972) starring Jimmy Cliff. Along with events from CinemaItaliaUK and to celebrate St Patrick's Day.
An evening with a living, breathing, not-undead zombie director
To celebrate the upcoming release of Redcon-1 - on Blu-ray, DVD & VOD 25th February - the BFI are hosting a special screening and talk with director Chee Keong Cheung on 24th February as part of their Future Film Festival. The event will will cover screenwriting, raising finance, casting, production, post production, and distribution.
Tickets available to book at the link above.
Chee Keong Cheung's Redcon-1 is a horror thriller driven through with genuine relentless fight action and bristling with real military hardware, as a crack team of soldiers must battle through a zombie filled Britain in a race against time to find a cure.
Painted Creek Productions' presents the action packed trailer for their much anticipated sci-fi action thriller Abeyance. Multi award-winning filmmaker and actor Harley Wallen (Betrayed, Moving Parts) wrote, produced and directed this film and it stars Scout Taylor Compton (Rob Zombie's Halloween 1 and 2), Richard Tyson (Kindergarten Cop, There's Something About Mary), Billy Wirth (The Lost Boys), Mel Novak (Quentin Tarantino favorite Game of Death) and Vida Ghaffari (FOX's The Mindy Project).
After helping to create a revolutionary invention with great implications Bridget (Erika Hoveland), finds a character flaw in the company they've partnered with to develop the prototype that could be the fountain of youth. When she pulls the plug and ties to step away from their original deal, she immediately realizes they will stop at nothing to get it back. After her family gets kidnapped to sway a favorable vote, their hopes rely on their teen daughter Miranda (Angelina Cama) and her unlikely allies, Corey (Damien Chinappi), a suicidal military veteran and Stephanie, (Kaiti Wallen), a prostitute. Harley Wallen also stars in the film in the role of Sam. Calhoun Koenig (NBC's Law & Order: Special Victims Unit) and Yan Birch (Wes Craven's The People Under the Stairs) round out the ensemble cast. Check out the trailer above.