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Now showing at BFI Southbank Belvedere Road,South Bank,London,London SE1 8XT 020 7928 3232

  • Blue Velvet
  • Election
  • Election 2 (Hak Se Wui Yi Wo Wai Kwai)
  • Fruitvale Station
  • Scarface (1932 Version)
  • The Banquet
  • The Lady From Shanghai
  • Venus In Fur
  • Visitors

Blue Velvet 4 stars

Jeffrey Beaumont yearns for a little excitement in his life. He is granted his wish when he discovers a severed human ear in a field, and joins forces with a police detective's daughter to locate the owner. Jeffrey's investigation leads him to mysterious nightclub singer Dorothy Vallens who is involved with violent and perverse hoodlum.

  • GenreClassic, Thriller
  • CastKyle MacLachlan, Isabella Rossellini, Dennis Hopper, Laura Dern.
  • DirectorDavid Lynch.
  • CountryUS
  • Duration120 mins
  • Official site
  • Release14/12/2001 (selected cinemas)

Widely regarded to be one of David Lynch's finest works, Blue Velvet is a slick and decidedly kinky thriller, forged from the twin metals of observational comedy and film noir. Like much of the writer-director's big screen concoctions, the film burrow into the subconscious and permeates the memory. It's difficult to shake some of the pic's surreal and disturbing imagery, particularly the masochistic encounters between Isabella Rossellini's chanteuse and Dennis Hopper's psychotic gangster, which depict sex as cold, mechanical and extremely brutal. The film's linchpin is hen-pecked everyman Jeffrey Beaumont (Kyle MacLachlan) who yearns for a little excitement in his life. Jeffrey is granted his wish when he discovers a severed human ear in a field, and joins forces with a police detective's daughter (Laura Dern), to locate the owner. The investigation leads Jeffrey to mysterious nightclub singer Dorothy Vallens (Rossellini) who is involved with violent and perverse hoodlum Frank (Hopper). Jeffrey becomes involved with the battered and bruised Dorothy, whose husband and son are being held hostage by her demented lover. Lynch is at his most provocative, shocking then titillating the audience, often within the same scene, thereby forcing us to consider whether we should really be laughing at the characters' distress. His depiction of the Rossellini-Hopper relationship (if such a word should apply to their frenzied couplings) is unflinching. In the film's searing centre-piece, Jeffrey watches helplessly from the closet as Frank first beats and abuses Dorothy (taking long deep breaths of oxygen through a mask between each venomous outburst) before raping her. When poor Dorothy discovers Jeffrey's hiding place, she pulls a knife and performs a sex act of her own on him. Blue Velvet is a work of twisted genius, which needs to be seen to be believed.

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Thursday 31st July 2014

Election 3 stars

As laid down by centuries of tradition, every two years, members of Hong Kong's oldest Triad, The Wo Shing Society, must elect a new chairman to lead the brotherhood boldly into the future. This year, there are two eligible contenders: Lok, who is well respected by the Uncles for consistently helping those in need, and ambitious Big D, who thinks bribery and intimidation will win him the crucial vote. Tensions within the society escalate, threatening to tear Wo Shing in two. When the brotherhood's ancient symbol of leadership, the Dragon's Head Baton, vanishes, Lok and Big D realize control of the Triads lies with the man who can retrieve the artefact.

  • GenreDrama, Thriller
  • CastSimon Yam, Tony Leung Ka-Fai, Louis Koo.
  • DirectorJohnnie To.
  • CountryHong Kong
  • Duration99 mins
  • Official site
  • Release09/06/2006 (selected cinemas)

As laid down by centuries of tradition, every two years, members of Hong Kong's oldest Triad, The Wo Shing Society, must elect a new chairman to lead the brotherhood boldly into the future. This year, there are two eligible contenders: Lok (Simon Lam), who is well respected by the Uncles for consistently helping those in need, and ambitious Big D (Tony Leung Ka-Fai), who thinks bribery and intimidation will win him the crucial vote. Tensions within the society escalate, threatening to tear Wo Shing in two. When the brotherhood's ancient symbol of leadership, the Dragon's Head Baton, vanishes, Lok and Big D realize control of the Triads lies with the man who can retrieve the artefact. Surrounded by loyal henchmen, the candidates use every resource at their disposal to seize control of Wo Shing, even if it means literally killing off the competition.

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Wednesday 30th July 2014

Election 2 (Hak Se Wui Yi Wo Wai Kwai) 3 stars

  • GenreDrama
  • DirectorJohnny To.
  • CountryHong Kong
  • Duration92 mins
  • Official site

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Thursday 31st July 2014

Fruitvale Station 4 stars

movie title

At approximately 9.15am on January 1, 2009, 22-year-old Oscar Grant III died on the operating table of Highland Hospital in Oakland, California. Several hours earlier, the young black man and his friends were detained by police at Fruitvale Station. During chaotic scenes on the platform, one of the officers shot Grant in the back as he was being restrained face down on the ground. This drama relives Grant's final 24 hours before his life was cut short, sparking protests across San Francisco.

  • GenreBiography, Drama, Romance
  • CastOctavia Spencer, Melonie Diaz, Michael B Jordan, Ariana Neal, Ahna O'Reilly.
  • DirectorRyan Coogler.
  • WriterRyan Coogler.
  • CountryUS
  • Duration85 mins
  • Official sitewww.facebook.com/FruitvaleStationMovieUK
  • Release06/06/2014 (selected cinemas)

At approximately 9.15am on January 1, 2009, 22-year-old Oscar Grant III died on the operating table of Highland Hospital in Oakland, California. Several hours earlier, the young black man and his friends were detained by police at Fruitvale Station on the Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) system that serves San Francisco.

During chaotic scenes on the platform, one of the officers shot Grant in the back as he was being restrained face down on the ground. Footage captured by witnesses on mobile phones and cameras sparked protests across the city.

Fruitvale Station dramatises the final 24 hours in the life of Grant (Michael B Jordan), recounted in chronological order except for a single emotionally devastating flashback in which the young man recalls a visit from his mother Wanda (Octavia Spencer) to San Quentin Correctional Facility to hammer home the damage he is doing to his young daughter Tatiana (Ariana Neal).

On December 31, 2008, Oscar takes Tatiana to school then drops off his girlfriend Sophina (Melonie Diaz) at work. He heads to the grocery store to pick up two crabs from the fish counter for his mother's birthday and helps a customer (Ahna O'Reilly) with a cooking dilemma by putting her in touch with his Grandma (Marjorie Shears).

He also collars store manager Emi (Victor Toman) and we learn that Oscar lost his job two weeks ago and hasn't told Sophina. "For me to hire you back, that means I have to let someone else go.

Someone who's never showed up late once. I like you man, but I can't do that," explains Emi. Bristling with frustration, Oscar stops briefly at a petrol station, where he witnesses a stray pitbull being knocked down. "Help!" screams Oscar as he cradles the dying animal. No one answers, foreshadowing the senseless loss of precious life in the film's closing moments.

Fruitvale Station is a gripping portrait of a flawed man, who struggles to rebuild bridges and atone for his sins but always seems to be dragged back into the mire. Like the train that carried Oscar and his friends home from the New Year's Eve fireworks, Cooger's film has a relentless sense of momentum and won't be deviated from its tragic course, no matter how hard we will it.

Jordan is terrific in the lead role - charming and volatile, cocksure yet desperately unsure how he will pay next month's rent. Diaz is luminous and Oscar winner Spencer is mesmerising, staring at her boy's lifeless body and sobbing, "I told him to catch the BART. I didn't know they were gonna hurt him."

Cooger opens with footage of the actual shooting and he retains the gritty realism in acutely observed scenes of family life. His script speaks from the heart and touches and rends ours with every word.

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Wednesday 30th July 2014
Thursday 31st July 2014

Scarface (1932 Version) 3 stars

  • GenreBiography, Classic, Drama
  • CastPaul Muni, Ann Dvorak, George Raft.
  • DirectorHoward Hawks.
  • CountryUS
  • Duration170 mins
  • Official site

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Thursday 31st July 2014

The Banquet 3 stars

Visually stunning costume epic, with shades of Shakespeare's Hamlet. Li seizes the throne by murdering his brother, the Emperor, with the intention of taking his sibling's beautiful and young wife Wan as his bride too. Unfortunately, her heart belongs to her stepbrother, Wu Luan, so Li orders his death. Escaping the assassins, Wu Luan returns to the court to exact revenge on his uncle, who has now married Wan and must be punished for his heinous crime.

  • GenreAction, Adaptation, Drama, Romance
  • CastZhang Ziyi, Ge You, Daniel Wu, Zhou Xun.
  • DirectorFeng Xiaogang.
  • WriterQiu Gangjian, Sheng Heyu.
  • CountryChi/Hong K
  • Duration130 mins
  • Official site
  • Release11/04/2008 (London Apollo West End)

Feng Xiaogang's visually stunning costume epic, with shades of Shakespeare's Hamlet, is almost two years old now and finally secures a limited theatrical release in London. Li (Ge You) seizes the throne by murdering his brother, the Emperor, with the intention of taking his sibling's beautiful and young wife Wan (Zhang Ziyi) as his bride too. Unfortunately, her heart belongs to her stepbrother, Wu Luan (Daniel Wu), so Li orders his death. Escaping the assassins, Wu Luan returns to the court to exact revenge on his uncle, who has now married Wan and must be punished for his heinous crime.

Showtimes (Click time to book tickets)

Wednesday 30th July 2014
Thursday 31st July 2014

The Lady From Shanghai 3 stars

During a stroll through Central Park, Irish sailor Michael O'Hara rescues blonde stranger Elsa from three ruffians. She thanks him profusely and reveals that she and her husband, criminal defense attorney Arthur Bannister, are heading to San Francisco via the Panama Canal. Michael is attracted to Elsa and he signs on for duty aboard Bannister's yacht, where Bannister's partner, George Grisby, approaches the sailor with an incredible offer: to help him fake his own death in exchange for 5,000 dollars.

  • GenreAdaptation, Drama, Romance, Thriller
  • CastRita Hayworth, Orson Welles, Everett Sloane, Glenn Anders.
  • DirectorOrson Welles.
  • WriterOrson Welles.
  • CountryUS
  • Duration91 mins
  • Official site
  • Release25/07/2014 (selected cinemas)

Based on Sherwood King's 1938 novel If I Die Before I Wake, Orson Welles' 1947 thriller pairs the filmmaker with screen siren Rita Hayworth for a murderous battle of the sexes. During a stroll through Central Park, Irish sailor Michael O'Hara (Welles) rescues blonde stranger Elsa (Hayworth) from three ruffians. She thanks him profusely and reveals that she and her husband, criminal defense attorney Arthur Bannister (Everett Sloane), are heading to San Francisco via the Panama Canal. Michael is attracted to Elsa and he signs on for duty aboard Bannister's yacht. Bannister's partner, George Grisby (Glenn Anders), approaches the sailor with an incredible offer: to help him fake his own death in exchange for 5,000 dollars. Grisby promises Michael that he will not be convicted of murder since there will be no body. The sailor eventually agrees, unaware that Grisby intends to murder Bannister and frame Michael, or that private investigator Sydney Broome (Ted de Corsia) is on Grisby's trail.

Showtimes (Click time to book tickets)

Wednesday 30th July 2014
Thursday 31st July 2014

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Venus In Fur 3 stars

movie title

Writer-director Thomas Novachek has spent the entire day auditioning actresses for his new play to no avail. Out of the blue, the theatre doors open and rain-sodden, bedraggled Vanda Jordan staggers into the stalls to audition. She doesn't appear to be on the call sheet but after some begging and pleading, Thomas allows Vanda to read the role of Wanda while he plays the part of Severin von Kushemski.

  • GenreAdaptation, Drama, Romance
  • CastMathieu Amalric, Emmanuelle Seigner.
  • DirectorRoman Polanski.
  • WriterDavid Ives, Roman Polanski.
  • CountryFr/Pol
  • Duration96 mins
  • Official site
  • Release30/05/2014 (selected cinemas)

The battle of the sexes unfolds on a Parisian theatre stage in Roman Polanski's playful interpretation of the acclaimed stage play by David Ives, which opened off-Broadway in 2010. Writer-director Thomas Novachek (Mathieu Amalric) has spent the entire day auditioning actresses for his new play, adapted from the 1870 novel Venus In Furs by Austrian author Leopold von Sacher-Masoch. Outside, it's raining and Thomas is on the telephone to a friend, lamenting the poor quality of the actresses who read for the lead character. Out of the blue, the theatre doors open and rain-sodden, bedraggled Vanda Jordan (Emmanuelle Seigner) staggers into the stalls to audition. She doesn't appear to be on the call sheet but after some begging and pleading, Thomas allows Vanda to read the role of Wanda while he plays the part of Severin von Kushemski. As the audition unfolds, Vanda demonstrates startling insights into her character and shockingly, art imitates life as the balance of power shifts between the director and the actress.

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Thursday 31st July 2014

Visitors 3 stars

  • GenreDrama
  • CastNicola Pagett, Michael Brandon, John Standing.
  • DirectorPiers Haggard.
  • CountryUK
  • Duration90 mins
  • Official site

Showtimes (Click time to book tickets)

Wednesday 30th July 2014
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