The Week In Screenings Part XXXV

Tuesday, November 22 2011
The Week In Screenings Part XXXV

Our regular screening correspondent Alex Kidd has been on a revival kick this week, seeing one 1980s blockbuster and one lesser known flick from the same era, as well as seeing the biggest opening film of this week. Here’s his thoughts in his latest missive from the screening rooms and multiplexes…

I had a bit of a retro films week this time around, kicking off with the one day only re-release of that essential 80s classic: Ghostbusters. I’d been really looking forward to this one for a while, though I’ve seen the film in cinemas several time before, including upon its original release, I loved the idea of it getting a national re-issue. Classic re-issues are something I’ve talked about in the past and I really enjoy seeing vintage films back at mainstream cinemas, I always feel it’s like somehow these films have managed to escape the vaults and make it back into the place where they belong. I’d much rather see a re-issue than yet another remake, plus seeing films on the big screen is giving them the best shot possible, if you’ve only seen films like these at home then catching them on the big screen can sometimes be quite a revelation.

So how was Ghostbusters? Great as always, it’s such an original and inventive film, just the premise itself is fun mix in the note perfect cast and you’re onto a winner, one that still seems fresh, funny and inventive even today. Everyone in the film simply seems to be having a ball with their parts, particularly Bill Murray who’s essential the lead, his Venkman is cavalier, comic and carries just the right amount of swagger to come across as the perfect anti-establishment hero. He’s balanced out by the Dan Aykroyd and Harold Ramis as Stantz and Spengler, the two straitlaced and obsessive scientists who are the brains behind the operation, throw in the always brilliant Ernie Hudson as Zeddmore, who’s really Mr Exposition, and you’ve got a perfect team of comic actors leading you through one of the most memorable comedies from the 1980s.

I followed up one 80s supernatural adventure with another: The Monster Squad. Now this was screening at my favourite cinema in London, The Prince Charles in Leicester Square, but what I didn’t realise was that it had taken them nearly a year to get this very rare screening together. First off no-one knew who actually owned the screening rights to the film, secondly they were trying to track down a very elusive 35mm print that was rumoured to exist in a UK archive. Hearing this long and funny story relayed before the sold-out screening really added to the atmosphere of the night, as we all knew were watching something very special indeed. Again I’ll come back to a point I’ve talked about before but there’s something very special about seeing a vintage film on 35mm, you’re seeing the film in a way you can’t experience at home. Yes, there’s going to be imperfections with a vintage print, but that’s all part of the fun, you’re seeing a living breathing image, warts and all. Digital projection can look astounding, I can remember seeing the digital restored version of Blade Runner and feeling like I was watching it for the first time, so each format has its plusses and minuses, but I will always enjoy watching 35mm.

And tonight The Monster Squad looked fantastic on this long lost and forgotten print, this super fun tale a group of teen friends taking on every single famous monster you can think of is simply so much fun, and the audience were so into. No hipster laughing tonight, this was a crowd that were there for love and discovery, people cheered, clapped, laughed and just enjoyed the hell out of this cinematic treat that the Prince Charles had gone to so much trouble to bring us. This really was a very special night.

So now it’s time for the penultimate film in the Twilight saga: Breaking Dawn Part 1, a film I was looking forward to seeing as what I heard about the story made it sound like the series really took a left turn into some very strange territory, though things turned out to be not as radical as I’d thought they’d be. One thing that I have enjoyed about all the Twilight films is that they actually offer quite a unique view, where as seemingly every other fantasy/horror film is aimed at boys, it’s intriguing to watch a film that’s squarely aimed at the female side of the market and for this I’ll always say the Twilight films are original. What’s interesting about Breaking Dawn is that it starts where most films would end: the two leads fulfilling their wishes and getting married, we then get to see something that we would only guess about, what happens next? Normally the curtains would close after the wedding, but here we get to go down the rabbit hole and see exactly where the story goes from there. Leaving us on a cliffhanger and hinting at more dangers to come, Breaking Dawn Part 1 will be a hit with the series fans again one it hits home entertainment, then it’s down to waiting for the final part of the series, not due out until the end of 2012.