There are plenty of reasons why boxing is the most commonly featured sport in the history of the movies: the violence, the confined, cinematic nature of the ring, and the sheer, bloody mano e mano nature of the violence have made it a natural subject for movie makers.
Boxing has been a favourite of film-makers and movie-goers from the 19th century when world title fights were first filmed, with Thomas Edison producing, through Charlie Chaplin’s use of the ring for silent comedy, to the films noir of the 1950s with Somebody Up There Likes Me and Marlon Brando On The Waterfront complaining that “I coulda been a contender”, to later, acclaimed epics, such as Scorsese’s Raging Bull and Eastwood’s Million Dollar Baby.
And then there’s Rocky.
With former “Governator” Arnold Schwarzenegger having recently made his screen comeback as the Terminator, it is probably right and proper that Sly Stallone, the better actor and, let us not forget, the creator of one of the greatest franchises in film history, should also revive his character in Creed, some 40 years after Rocky Balboa first jogged his way around the streets of Philadelphia, with the old fighter now in someone else’s corner, that of Michael B Jordan.
You’ll have a chance to assess whether Creed deserves its place among the great boxing movies, or is just a Tyson Fury of a film, at the David Lean Cinema in the Croydon Clocktower next month, when it forms part of the latest programme, tickets for which are now on sale.
Two years on from being re-opened by a doughty band of campaigners and enthusiasts, and April 2016 represents the busiest monthly programme yet, full of new Oscar-winners and contenders, such as Bridge of Spies and Room, Mad Max: Fury Road (like Creed, another old franchise revisited) and Spotlight.
And Creed is not the only sporting title on the David Lean schedule for April, sort of. There’s also Eddie The Eagle…
The month also marks the 25th anniversary of the death of Croydon Oscar-winner Sir David Lean, which the Campaign is commemorating with a special 35mm screening of the director’s Oliver Twist, together with a talk by biographer Kevin Brownlow.
So jam-packed is the April David Lean Cinema programme that some films get just the single screening, rather than the usual afternoon and evening performances, so the 65-seater arthouse venue is sure to book-up quickly. So don’t delay in making your bookings now.
To be added to the Campaign’s membership list, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
- 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 April 2016
All films are at 2.30 and 7.30pm unless stated
Sat Apr 2 ROOM (15) (2.30pm)
2015 Ireland/Canada/UK/USA 118min. Director: Lenny Abrahamson
Stars: Brie Larson, Jacob Tremblay, Joan Allen, Sean Bridgers
Room tells the story of Ma (Academy Award-winner Larson) and her son Jack (Tremblay). Unbeknown to the five-year-old child, the pair are prisoners, held captive by Ma’s abductor Old Nick in the squalor of a garden shed. This world is all Jack knows until escape brings new experiences and, for Ma, new pressures. Room tempers its bleak premise with hope, serving as an endearing love story between mother and child, and delving into the psychological and emotional journey of its characters with powerful yet understated performances.
Tue Apr 5 CREED (12A) (7.30pm)
2015 US 132mins. Director: Ryan Coogler
Stars: Michael B Jordan, Sylvester Stallone, Tessa Thompson, Phylicia Rashad
Sylvester Stallone returns as Rocky Balboa in this reinvention of the renowned franchise. Retired fighter Rocky reluctantly trains Adonis Johnson (Jordan), the son of his former rival, Apollo Creed. The film follows Adonis as he attempts to redefine himself by pursuing his boxing ambitions – striving under Rocky’s mentoring and guidance to win the heavyweight title once held by the father he never knew. Creed pays homage to the original story with bracing and skilfully crafted fight sequences, while Stallone and Jordan are both exceptional.
Thu April 7 BRIDGE OF SPIES (12A) (2.30pm)
2015 USA 141min. Director: Steven Spielberg.
Stars: Tom Hanks, Mark Rylance, Amy Ryan, Alan Alda
After the Soviet Union shot down U-2 pilot Gary Powers in 1960, American insurance lawyer James Donovan (Hanks) was enlisted to negotiate his release in a swap for captive KGB spy Rudolf Abel (Rylance). With a script co-written by the Coen brothers, Spielberg adeptly stages the tense East Berlin exchanges that led to Powers’ return. Based on true events, Bridge of Spies is deeply atmospheric, with brilliant performances from Hanks and Academy Award-winner Rylance, bringing back memories of the height of the Cold War and echoing dramas such as Thirteen Days and The Spy Who Came in from the Cold.
Thu Apr 7 MAD MAX: FURY ROAD (15) (7.30pm)
2015 Australia/USA 120min. Director: George Miller
Stars Charlize Theron, Tom Hardy, Nicholas Hoult, Zoe Kravitz
In a future desert wasteland where fuel and water are scarce commodities, a group of women led by Furiosa (Theron) ally with prisoner Max (Hardy) in their escape from a tyrannical warlord. Many critics’ choice for the best film of 2015, and indeed lauded as an all-time action great, the thrilling Fury Road stands out for its strong female presence on both sides of the camera, with editor Margaret Sixel and British costume designer Jenny Beavan among its six Academy Award winners.
Sat Apr 9 SPOTLIGHT (15) (2.30pm)
2015 USA 129min. Director: Tom McCarthy
Stars: Rachael McAdams, Liev Schreiber, Mark Ruffalo, Michael Keaton
The Spotlight team of reporters undertakes special investigations for The Boston Globe newspaper. When in 2002 they followed up rumours that a paedophile priest had been sheltered by the Catholic church, it was soon apparent that this was only the tip of the iceberg. The excellent ensemble cast – with Ruffalo and McAdams sharing Oscar nominations with McCarthy – reveal the determination and skill with which Spotlight exposed a systematic cover-up, leading to a national scandal and a Pulitzer Prize.
Tue April 12 A BIGGER SPLASH (15) (7.30pm)
2015 Italy/France 124min. Director: Luca Guadagnino
Stars: Tilda Swinton, Ralph Fiennes, Matthias Schoenaerts, Dakota Johnson
Marianne Lane (Swinton), a famous rock star, and her filmmaker boyfriend, Paul (Schoenaerts), find their holiday on the Italian island of Pantelleria disturbed by the arrival of Marianne’s old flame (Fiennes) and his coquettish daughter (Johnson). After this, their restful sojourn develops into an ordeal of jealousy, passion and, ultimately, danger. Inspired by the 1969 French film La Piscine, A Bigger Splash is a tense, sensuous and comic thriller. Fiennes dominates the film with a standout performance as the wildly energetic and entertaining former lover.
Thu Apr 14 HAIL, CAESAR! (12A) (11am and 7.30pm)
2016 UK/USA 116min. Director: Ethan Coen, Joel Coen.
Stars: Josh Brolin, George Clooney, Ralph Fiennes, Scarlett Johansson
This ode to classic Hollywood cinema stars Brolin as Eddie Mannix, a film studio executive and problem solver, who faces his greatest challenge when dim-witted movie star Baird Whitlock (Clooney) is kidnapped while in costume for a swords-and-sandals epic. As well as being tasked with finding Whitlock, his latest assignments include a disgruntled director (Fiennes), a beautiful swimmer (Johansson) and a handsome dancer (Tatum). Hail, Caesar! boasts magnificent 1950s-style visuals and a plethora of comedic talent, with Alden Ehrenreich’s singing cowboy taking the cake.
Sat Apr 16 OLIVER TWIST (PG) (2.30pm)
1948 UK 116min. Director: David Lean.
Stars: Alec Guinness, Robert Newton, Kay Walsh, John Howard Davies
Presented on 35mm. Marking 25 years since Sir David Lean’s death, his biographer Kevin Brownlow joins us to introduce a favourite Lean film. This adaptation expertly retells Dickens’ enormous novel in little under two hours, and gave Lean another box office hit after the huge success of Great Expectations. In Lean’s hands, the tale of a young boy’s progress from the workhouse to London’s criminal underworld is, “A superb piece of motion picture art… One of the finest screen translations of a literary classic ever made” (New York Times).
Tue Apr 19 ANOMALISA (15) (7.30pm)
2015 USA 90min. Director: Charlie Kaufman, Duke Johnson
Stars: David Thewlis, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Tom Noonan
Motivational speaker Michael (voiced by Thewlis) struggles so much to connect with other people that they’ve all started to sound the same (Noonan), until he meets Lisa (Leigh) and forges a connection. Can these two insecure souls form a lasting relationship? And how do you tell a story like this through the medium of stop-motion animation? Expertly, it seems, as this is another innovative gem from Kaufman, writer of Adaptation and Eternal Sunshine…, “Anomalisa has more heart, soul and pathos than 99.9 per cent of live-action movies” (Empire Magazine).
Thu Apr 21 RAMS (12A)
2015 Iceland/Denmark/Norway/Poland 93min. Director: Grímur Hákonarson
Stars: Sigurður Sigurjónsson, Theodór Júlíusson, Charlotte Bøving
Gummi and Kiddi are brothers, neighbours and rivals, farming sheep in a remote Icelandic valley. They haven’t spoken in 40 years, communicating only through a sheepdog messenger, but must cope with radically changed times when scrapie is found in Gummi’s flock. With its “intensity and deadpan humour”, this tragicomedy, set on the very edge of human civilisation, is a “wonderfully idiosyncratic and moving Cain and Abel-style saga”” (The Independent).
Tue Apr 26 THE WITCH (15) (7.30pm)
2015 USA/UK/Canada/Brazil 93min. Director: Robert Eggers.
Stars: Anya Taylor-Joy, Ralph Ineson, Kate Dickie
New England, 1630. On a humble, isolated farm by a dense forest, a devout Puritan family strives to achieve self-sufficiency. The mysterious disappearance of their youngest child causes despair and escalating hysteria, as fears that dark forces are at work take hold. Shot in Canada, a talented British cast and “an exquisite sense of historical detail” cast “a highly atmospheric spell” (Variety). Eggers displays exceptional promise, and his visionary and unsettling film has received Sundance (Directing) and London Film Festival (First Feature) awards.
Thu April 28 EDDIE THE EAGLE (PG)
2016 UK/USA/Germany 105min. Director: Dexter Fletcher
Stars: Taron Egerton, Hugh Jackman, Christopher Walken, Jo Hartley
“Eddie” Edwards became an unlikely hero of British sport when he tried to compete as a ski jumper in the Calgary Winter Olympics of 1988, despite little experience of this terrifying and demanding event. Fletcher adapts his life story into an engaging and uplifting comedy-drama, as the underdog (Egerton) finds a coach (Jackman) with a similar outsider spirit, to together prove the doubters wrong and fulfil Eddie’s Olympic dream. “A solid gold winner” (Empire Magazine).*The 2.30pm screening will be subtitled for those with hearing loss.
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