“Why would Jennifer Lawrence – the world’s highest paid actress – take the role of a divorced mother who invented a miracle mop?”
That may be a question, posed by the programme-makers at the David Lean Cinema, to which their customers who go along to view Joy on February 25, still won’t know the answer even after viewing director David O Russell’s latest offering.
The core material seems unpromising for a Hollywood movie star vehicle: the life story of a hard-working woman realising her destiny on the QVC shopping channel. With a mop.
Reviewers have been less-than-kind, despite a cast that also includes Robert de Niro in cantankerous patriarch mode and Bradley Cooper. The Guardian described the film as “bafflingly uneven in tone”.
They said, “With its mix of goofy one-liners, can-do cliche and greetings card piety, it’s hard to determine whether Joy is satirising TV shopping’s paper-thin glitz, or out to redeem the medium as genuinely glamorous, even a secular fount of hope.”
But if that doesn’t grab you, then there ought to be other offerings in Croydon’s art house cinema in the Clocktower in February which seem more likely to please, such as another screening of Carol, with Cate Blanchett, Eddie Redmayne in The Danish Girl, there is an intriguing documentary Bolshoi Babylon and a powerful offering from Korea, Girl At My Door.
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- Tickets for all screenings are £8. Concessions (Freedom Pass-holders, full-time students, claimants and disabled) £6.50.
- Bookings can be made via TicketSource
David Lean Cinema programme February 2016
All films are at 2.30 and 7.30pm unless stated
Tue Feb 2 THE LOBSTER (15) (7.30pm)
2015 Ireland/UK/Greece/France 118min (partially subtitled). Director: Yorgos Lanthimos
Stars: Colin Farrell, Rachel Weisz, Olivia Colman, Lea Seydoux, John C Reilly, Ben Whishaw
In an alternate world – or perhaps our own near-future – single adults are sent to a country hotel where they must find a partner within 45 days or be turned into an animal of their choice. Their stay can be extended if they successfully hunt down renegade singles living in the woods. Farrell leads an all-star cast as a new arrival who struggles to find a partner, in Lanthimos’s highly original and bleakly funny satire of society’s obsession with romance and courtship.
Thu Feb 4 GRANDMA (15)
2015 USA 79min. Director: Paul Weitz
Stars: Lily Tomlin, Julia Garner, Marcia Gay Harden
LGBT History Month screening. A fine comedy-drama from the director of About a Boy, with an outstanding performance from Lily Tomlin as Elle, a lesbian poet and academic who makes the most of life on her own terms. Visited by her granddaughter who urgently needs money for an abortion, Elle doesn’t have the cash, although she’s determined to get it. Approaches to past friends and acquaintances bring out her acerbic nature – but the clock is ticking…
Tue Feb 9 A GIRL AT MY DOOR (18) (7.30pm)
2014 South Korea 119min (subtitled). Director: July Jung
Stars: Doona Bae, Sae-ron Kim, Sae-byeok Song
LGBT History Month screening. Police chief Lee Youngnam is exiled from Seoul to a seaside village, having been outed as a lesbian. She soon meets Dohee, a young girl who is beaten by her alcoholic stepfather Yongha. Youngnam shelters the girl despite her own drinking problem, but a visit from her ex gives Yongha the pretext for a vicious slur that the police hierarchy are ready to believe. Bae is exceptional as the flawed heroine, as is Kim as the traumatised Dohee, and Jung’s screenplay takes their troubles seriously while providing plenty of small-town humour. “This small but powerful film retains its gentleness and compassion in the face of the bleakest of subjects” (Little White Lies).
Thu Feb 11 BOLSHOI BABYLON (PG)
2015 UK 86min. Directors: Nick Read, Mark Franchetti
Featuring: Maria Alexandrova, Maria Allash, Sergei Filin
The Bolshoi Ballet has been in the headlines recently for all the wrong reasons: intrigue, personal attacks and management changes. The theatre directors therefore allowed a film crew access backstage to record the 2013-2014 season as a unique cinematic experience. The epic themes and historical dramas on stage are contrasted with the personal stories of agony and ecstasy that lie behind every performance. Bolshoi Babylon pays tribute to the dancers’ extraordinary artistic and athletic talents, their abiding fear of injury, and the ruthless ambition needed to survive in one of the world’s most famous ballet companies.
Tue Feb 16 RADIATOR (15) (7.30pm)
2014 UK 93min. Director: Tom Browne
Stars: Daniel Cerqueira, Gemma Jones , Richard Johnson
Daniel, a lonely middle-aged teacher in London, receives a desperate telephone call from his mother, Maria. His cantankerous and impossible father, Leonard, is lying on the downstairs couch and can’t or won’t get up. Daniel finds their Lake District cottage in a chaotic state, and tries to find a way forward for Maria and Leonard, and perhaps understand their marriage and his own situation. “An intimate drama which is absorbing, subtle and outstandingly acted… tremendously intelligent, personal work” (The Guardian).
Tue Feb 16 THE DANISH GIRL (15) (2.30pm)
2015 UK/USA 120min. Director: Tom Hooper
Stars: Eddie Redmayne, Alicia Vikander, Matthias Schoenaerts, Ben Whishaw
LGBT History Month screening. In 1920s Copenhagen, portraitist Gerda Wegener (Vikander) asks her husband Einar (Redmayne) to stand in for a female model – unmasking Einar’s lifelong desire to identify as a woman, Lili Elbe. With Gerda’s support, a gradual transition to Lili takes place, and the couple relocate to Paris. Ultimately, Lili undergoes pioneering sex reassignment surgery. Adapted from a novel based on the historical Lili’s story, The Danish Girl has been widely praised for the excellent performances of Redmayne (The Theory of Everything) and Vikander (Testament of Youth). *This screening is subtitled for those with hearing loss.
Thu Feb 18 THE DANISH GIRL (15) (11am and 7.30pm)
Tue Feb 23 THE SHOW OF SHOWS (12A) (7.30pm)
2015 Iceland/UK 76min. Director: Benedikt Erlingsson
An enthralling montage created from hundreds of old films, The Show of Shows recreates the old-time circus. We see death-defying stunts, the seedy glamour of the sideshows, performing animals, boxing rings, parades of elephants, clowns, acrobats and highwire spectaculars – and the audiences who lapped it all up. Sometimes exuberant and sometimes shocking, this is a fascinating look back at what has become a lost world, played out to an atmospheric score by members of Icelandic ambient rock group Sigur Rós.
Thu Feb 25 JOY (12A)
2015 USA 124min. Director: David O Russell
Stars: Jennifer Lawrence, Robert De Niro, Bradley Cooper, Isabella Rossellini
Why would Jennifer Lawrence – the world’s highest paid actress – take the role of a divorced mother who invented a miracle mop? Because, in the hands of Russell (her director in Silver Linings Playbook and American Hustle) and his fine cast, Joy Magnano’s story becomes the springboard for a compelling fairy tale for grownups, in which an ingenious and determined woman overcomes a complex, fractious family life and corporate scepticism to achieve the American Dream. Lawrence gives an inspirational performance as the real-life heroine of a larger-than-life story, even as Russell raids his box of cinematic tricks to dizzying and, yes, joyous effect.
Sat Feb 27 CAROL (15) (2.30pm)
2015 UK/USA 118min. Director: Todd Haynes
Stars: Cate Blanchett, Rooney Mara, Sarah Paulson, Kyle Chandler
LGBT History Month screening. Cinema at its most romantic, Carol is a remarkable love story about two women who courageously defy the conformities of their time: aspiring photographer and store worker Therese (Mara) and older housewife Carol (Blanchett), who is going through a difficult divorce. Adapted from a Patricia Highsmith novel, and continuing Haynes’ examination of 1950s America following Far From Heaven, this honest, eloquent, and immaculately dressed and designed film is “subtle, moving… brilliantly played” (The Independent), and is already winning major awards.
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