Tag Archives: Film

Free screening of Electrick Children at Gate Cinema, Notting Hill

Summer holidays are here (or a nearing) and….well, we’re spending it indoors. Bloody rain. But I guess there’s a silver lining: Gate Cinema is offering us broke students shelter and a free movie!

Electrick Children follows the tale of mormon virgin Rachel who finds herself pregnant after listening to a forbidden tape recording of The Nerves’ Hanging On the Telephone. Rachel flees to Las Vegas after she is unable to confront the shame and forced marriage and goes off on a search to find the man behind the song.

 

To get yourself a free ticket as well as an E4 Slacker’s Card pop down to Gate Cinema at any time with a NUS card or college/university ID. With your new clubcard, you can visit any Picturehouse cinema to watch the month’s free feature films – in this case, it is Electrick Children. You would have to be…well, not a student to miss it. That or you have bottomless funds. Or a job.

For more information and additional viewing times and dates of Electrick Children, visit the Gate Cinema website.

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The Slacker’s Club is a collaborative scheme by E4 & Picturehouse Cinemas to showcase the latest independent/ alternative film.

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Gate Cinema
87 Notting Hill
W11 3JZ
London

Book by phone: 0871 902 5731 (10p a minute from BT landline)
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Documentary Season at Gate Cinema, Notting Hill

In case you didn’t hear, Gate Cinema hit the ripe age of 101 last week so happy birthday to them. Here’s hoping for another successful 101 years!

Greetings aside, April has been quite a busy – and wet – month with the Easter holidays arriving early. So what does May have in store for Gate Cinema? Probing questions, sneak-peaks behind the scenes, peering into history and, of course, an depth look at the lives of extraordinary people – yup, Gate Cinema will be screening a fantastic variety of documentaries to unravel the mysteries and worlds of, well, see for yourself!

Revenge of the Electric Car

A quick look at the title and you might mistake it for a parody of the Transformers movies (terrible franchise by the way). Thankfully it’s not. This documentary takes a look at the companies that killed off their brand of electric cars. But now, in 2012, their cars have come back fighting. Here we look at their latest line of electric cars to take to the roads, ready to race into the hearts of motorists after years of stuttering starts in the industry.

Director Chris Paine says: “Tesla CEO Elon Musk puts his personal fortune on the line. Bob Lutz, GM’s Vice Chair, stakes the entire brand on the very technology it once tried to kill. Nissan’s CEO, Carlos Ghosn, bets the farm on a car almost no one believes can happen. And my neighbor, Greg ‘Gadget’ Abbott, like thousands of other car converters around the world, sets out to prove you can do it yourself. The challenges they face are as tough as capitalism can be cagey.

“But the prize if they succeed is really for all of us: the reinvention of the car without gasoline, and potentially without fossil fuel at all.”

Book here | IMdB

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Town of Runners + Q&A with director Jerry Rothwell at Gate Cinema

With the London Marathon already across the finishing line and London 2012 warming up for the next race, Town of Runners is the perfect documentary to keep your running fix topped up. Director Jerry Rothwell heads to Ethiopia, where some of the world’s best runners are bred and born despite the poverty the usually dominate the headlines.

For three years, cameras follow the lives of aspiring runners all hoping to get a chance to get on the world stage and achieve the same success as their heroes.

Book here | IMdB

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Being Elmo

‘Elmo would like to know, who plays Elmo?!’ It’s a question that has been circling in my head since I was a little kid.

Oh hello, documentary that answers that very question!This docu is a great follow up for those who were tickled and chortled at the latest Muppets movie shown at Gate Cinema. Being Elmo follows Kevin Clash, otherwise known as the man behind Sesame Street’s favourite red muppet, Elmo. Ever since he was a teenager, Clash aspired to be a puppeteer and his dreams finally came true after joining Jim Henson’s and his legendary team.

This heart warming story won the Special Jury Prize at the Sundance Film Festival in 2011.

Book here | IMdB

For a full list of films, visit the Gate Cinema website.

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All films supported by Dogwoof:

Dogwoof is the UK’s leading independent documentary film distributor, responsible for the highly successful distribution of films such as THE AGE OF STUPID, THE END OF THE LINE, BURMA VJ, RESTREPO, and most recently DREAMS OF A LIFE. Dogwoof is a great supporter of independent, innovative filmmaking that challenges audiences and brings important stories into the public eye. For further information, visit www.dogwoof.com

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Easter Films at Gate Cinema, Notting Hill

So it’s finally Easter and I’m guessing many of you are procrastinating to escape from exams and assessments, ‘revising’, finished uni like I have or well, procrastinating some more. Nevertheless, it is still a good idea to take a breather from academic or work life and refresh your head.

For me, trips to the cinema is an obvious move. A good ol’ Hollywood blockbuster or mainstream British film can do the job in getting our movie fixes. However, sometimes we need to step back from the bombast and dive into the world of independent films. Gate Cinema is just one of many independent cinemas in London.  Its facade and interior feels as if you stepped back in time to watch a play, offering a refreshing feel to those used to the modern venues (and wallet busting prices) such as Vue and Odeon.

As for the films they’re showing this Easter, they’ve got a variety of genres that’ll attract film goers of all ages:

 

A Cat In Paris

The French animated  A Cat In Paris follows Dino, a mischievous  cat who leaves his house and owner, Zoé, during the night to help and carry out daring burglaries with a burglar named Nico.  Of course, Zoé begins to notice Dino’s nightly exploits and soon tails her beloved pet to unveil a shocking discovery.

Book here | IMdB

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Damsels In Distress

Don’t be fooled by the title. This comedy stars three woman hoping to help students at a local college who are on the brink of suicide and swimming in depression through dance and healthy living. Of course, not everything goes as planned as romances spring that threatens their friendship. As an added bonus, director Whit Stillman will be at Gate Cinema for a Q&A session so it’ll be definitely worth booking for!

Book here | IMdB

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This Must the Place

We turn things up to 11 with drama This Must Be the Place,  tells the story of a down-and-out rock star forced to hunt down a Nazi after an unexpected turn of events. Rock ‘n’ roll trainspotters will notice the references embedded in the film and even co-stars Bono’s (U2) daughter, Eve Hewson.

Book here | IMdB

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FILM REVIEW: COLOMBIANA

 SEYI ODUSANYA  –  19 years old, studies Film Studies at Anglia Ruskin University, UK and obviously, a film connoisseur. This week, he delivers his verdict on latest action film, Colombiana.

Vengeance certainly is beautiful, but in this case, it’s pretty stupid too. This action film, directed by Olivier Megaton and written and produced by French filmmaker Luc Besson, stars Zoe Saldana as a woman out to kill the men who killed her parents before her very eyes when she was just a little girl (well sort of, she was upstairs when it happened). Now Luc Besson is well known for his action and revenge films; his body of work includes Nikita, Leon, The Fifth Element, Taken and the Transporter film series. I’m familiar with his work so I knew what to expect walking in, but man was I surprised at what I witnessed, but first the good. Zoe Saldana gives an okay performance as the main character Cataleya; she is cold and very determined in her quest for vengeance, but sadly Saldana’s character never develops in the film, the film never seems to care about who she kills or why.

The film seems more concerned with her looking good and sexy when she does it (there is a sequence where she’s evading SWAT in her underwear and a little top on) and the other characters are very weak too in terms of story and dialogue. We first see Cataleya as a young girl whom after the death of her family takes refuge with her uncle Emilio played by Cliff Curtis, who always gives a great performance in any role he’s given (not to mention he can probably play any ethnicity you can think of) he teaches her the skills she’ll need to carry out her vengeance.

Now while the audience is told of how Cataleya was trained by her uncle, we never get to see any of it, the film just glosses over that part of her life completely which seriously hurts this film because we never see her develop from a scared little girl into a cold-hearted killer. Her quest for vengeance doesn’t seem that urgent or tense because of the villains; Marco (Jordi Mollà) and drug lord Don Luis (Beto Benites) never really seem like a threat, we don’t see them commit any criminal activity (apart from chase a young Cataleya across the city) we don’t actually see them kill Cataleya’s parents either so they don’t seem dangerous at all.

Speaking of chases, how is it that a little girl who looks no older than 10 years old can outrun grown men, a motorcycle and a car and do parkour? I know for action films some suspension of disbelief is required, but there are too many plot holes and gaps in logic for that to occur. In an early scene Cataleya begs her uncle to teach her how to kill whilst outside her new school in broad daylight, but he tells her she’s too young and reckless. In a major disconnect, he then shoots at a random car, causes a car crash and has probably killed the driver too, and he stills lectures her about her recklessness in the middle of dozens of witnesses and to top it off he just casually walks away as the police arrive! Are you serious?!


In another gap of logic, the lead FBI agent Ross (Lennie James) who is investigating Cataleya’s killings dismisses the possibility of the killer being a woman. No joke. He actually says ‘A woman, that’s impossible!’ Why is it impossible to believe? Why is this guy in charge? But that’s not all, Cataleya’s kills seem too perfect, and since we never see the planning process of her assassinations it all seems very contrived. Normally I wouldn’t mind this (True Lies is awesome because it’s absurd) but this film takes itself too seriously that these moments of absurdity become too hard to ignore and to be honest had me laughing out loud while I was watching this in a cinema (hey I couldn’t help it okay). I wouldn’t recommend this to anybody; it’s just not worth paying to see on the big screen.

Verdict: A rental at best.

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GUEST POST: the pointless war between mainstream & indie films

 SEYI ODUSANYA  –  19 years old, studies Film Studies at Anglia Ruskin University, UK and obviously, a film connoisseur. This week, he dives, peers and questions the war between the mainstream blockbusters and the indie films.

Is it that time for an article again? Damn I was just about to get some Frosties, oh well. Okay so this week I’ve decided to take a look at the rather pointless debate between mainstream films and anti-mainstream films, or Hollywood cinema and indie cinema, or conventional cinema and avant garde cinema or… look you get the point. If you’re a bit of a film buff or interested in learning about films in some way, you’ll notice there seems to be some sort of battle going on about which type of cinema is better. In fact if you’re a film student like me, you’ll be hearing someone state why conventional cinema is a dead horse with the same ideas being rehashed over and over again and why indie cinema is so great; trust me this will happen. Frequently.

Also if you’re like me you’ll feel like you’ll have to pick a side; I was weighing the pros and cons of each type of cinema to see which one is good and which one isn’t.

But you know what, after a while I realised that this is rather pointless. Why should one side be better than the other? Can’t they both be good? Can’t they both be bad? Well they really are. There really isn’t a superior amongst the two at all. Both sides have their merits and faults. So why the hell does this battle exist in the first place? Well to truly answer that I’d have to delve into man’s need for conflict and that’d be a bit much, so I’ll just state my reasons why people should stop arguing and chill out.

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The Smug Art House Extremist

All right I can say without a doubt you will meet people like this, be they your teachers or your peers. These are the people who believe that their love of art house films makes them intellectually superior to those who don’t. These aren’t the ‘’I prefer indie films’’ kind of people, these are the ‘indie films are better because it’s art and if you don’t appreciate that, you’re an idiot’’ kind of people. These people are eager to dismiss your opinions because it goes against their own and it’s pointless. Don’t look down on me because I didn’t fall in love with Gerry and don’t tell me that I didn’t get it. I got it and it was boring, nothing but Matt Damon and Casey Affleck walking in a desert for two hours!

These people like indie films because they get a sense of credibility from it. It makes them feel like they’re special and what they say matters more than you. It’s this kind of snobbery that really irks me and it gives art house cinema a bad name. But this smug git isn’t the sole reason why this mainstream vs. indie debate is silly.


Not all art is good.
There I said it! Art can be cool, or it can be really stupid. Like conventional cinema, films outside the mainstream do indeed have their hits and misses. There are some truly wonderful films like Persepolis, an animated film that tells the story of an Iranian girl growing up during pre and post revolution Iran.

The film looks at how this period of change affected the lives of the Iranians, but at its core, it is a pretty cool coming of age story about a girl coming to terms with who she is and her national identity. Nice stuff. I really like this film because not only is it well animated and has a nice visual style to it, but more importantly because it has a good story and interesting characters that I care about, which is really all I want from a film. It is a really good film and that’s what should matter, mainstream or not. But like all types of cinema, there’s good stuff, and there’s the really bad stuff.

Gerry. Bloody GERRY! I bring this up again because really this sums up my case. This film is about two guys who get lost in the desert. That is all. Nothing happens, for two hours. This film has got no characters; they aren’t developed at all. They call themselves Gerry, okay that’s fine. Is there anything about these characters that I should know, maybe some back story or something? Nope. Is stuff revealed about them during the dialogue? Nope, these dudes hardly say a word. Is it somewhat interesting in anyway? No; not in the least.

This film is literally two hours of Matt Damon and Casey Affleck walking in the desert, they don’t talk so we never get to know them, and nothing really ever happens. Well that’s not true, Casey Affleck gets stuck on top of a rock at some point and we get 10 minutes of Casey trying to get down. For people in a potentially dangerous situation there is no tension, no drama; nothing. Just two hours of pure boredom.

You can say that this film has deeper meanings; why are both characters called Gerry? Is that their real names? Is it real? Are both characters actually real? Is Casey Affleck’s Gerry the feminine side of Matt’s Gerry? Are they two personality of one person called Gerry? All these possible questions about this films hidden meaning can be asked. Well you know what? I do not care. I don’t care if it has interesting themes or hidden meanings. I don’t care if the director set out to provide a realistic experience of getting lost in the desert, I don’t care if I’m supposed to feel a sense of dread because that’s what the characters feel. This does not make for an interesting film, art or not.

Don’t mention Michael Bay though….

I guess all I have left to say is that there really isn’t any reason to pick one over the other because really one isn’t better than the other. Yes people are very jaded when it comes to Hollywood films (with good reason) but that doesn’t mean you should dismiss everything that it makes as explosions ,explosions and explosions (unless it’s a Michael Bay film of course). There is no reason to make such generalisations about these types of films just because they adhere to certain conventions. It doesn’t ultimately determine a films quality.

There are a lot of films out there – old and new – that follow pre-established conventions such as superhero films. Okay you can pretty much guess what kind of events will take place or what archetypes will be present does it make it poor quality? Captain America, X-men, Iron Man follow very standard conventions of the superhero genre (hero, villain, love interest, big fight scene etc) and these films are still really good and enjoyable.

I won’t say that everything in conventional cinema is a masterpiece (we all know this) and the same goes for unconventional films as well. Just being unconventional shouldn’t give a film a pass for not being a good film. If it’s not good, it’s not good, art or otherwise.

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Watch the latest movies at Notting Hill

Originally posted on nottinghillgate.co.uk – posted on 31 July

Why pay £7-8+ to watch a summer blockbuster when you can watch it for as little as £3.50 at the Coronet Cinema in Notting Hill? The other question is ‘why didn’t anyone tell me about this in the first place?’

And if you’re into indie movies, the Gate Cinema has a lot to offer.

Here’s an excerpt:

The last installment and the second part of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows continues its run at the Coronet

[The Electric Cinema, Porobello Road] they’re also showing sci-fi movie Super 8. This mysterious adventure takes place in Ohio, where a group of films attempt to make an amatuer zombie film using a super 8 camera.

Another acclaimed Anime coming to you [to the Gate Cinema] from Japan; Hiromasa Yonebayashi, the director who brought you Spirited Away and Princess Mononoke, directs Arreitty.

Read the rest on nottinghillgate.co.uk.

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