Recent Articles

Friday, May 31, 2013

'Insider Gallery' Launch at Curious Duke Gallery, 30th May 2013

Friday, May 31, 2013 - by londoncitynights · - 0 Comments

I reckon if you live in London, you have a duty to force-feed yourself as much culture as you can possibly stomach.  This can involve venturing to the mysterious outer ends of the Tube network, but occasionally it's as simple a task as walking five minutes down the street from your front door.  I live in Whitecross Street and I love it.  By day there's a famous world food market, by night there's a great fish and chip shop as well as some great Chinese, Turkish, Italian and Japanese restaurants.  To top it off there's two nice pubs, an achingly cool coffee shop, a well stocked Waitrose and a 24 hour off-licence.  At the end of the street is the Barbican Arts Centre! It's a brilliant place to live!

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Thursday, May 30, 2013

'The Moth Diaries' (2011) directed by Mary Harron

Thursday, May 30, 2013 - by londoncitynights · - 0 Comments

The teen lesbian schoolgirl vampire genre isn't the most fruitful of pastures if you want a high minded night of culture.  But if you're in the mood for a boatload of camp, terrible acting, women in their early thirties playing schoolgirls and buckets of discount fake blood you're usually in luck.  It just depends what kind of mood you're in; some nights you want cinematic filet mignon, some nights you want a kebab.  Unfortunately The Moth Diaries is neither  haute cuisine nor fast food, it's more like chewing through polystyrene: flavourless, difficult to digest and ultimately pretty bad for you.

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Wednesday, May 29, 2013

'Behind the Candelabra' (2013) directed by Steven Soderbergh

Wednesday, May 29, 2013 - by londoncitynights · - 0 Comments

It's darkly ironic that the part of Liberace's life that he desperately tried to keep secret has come to define him.  His career has been all but obliterated from popular culture, we're never likely to ever see a Best of Liberace album top the charts.  This is despite his enormous fame - for two decades he was the highest-paid entertainer in the world.  Yet as I sat down to watch Behind the Candelabra  the only things I knew about Liberace were that he played the piano, that he dressed extravagantly on stage and that he was astonishingly, obviously, colossally gay and his fans were just too plain dumb to realise.

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Tuesday, May 28, 2013

'Paradise: Love' (2012) directed by Ulrich Seidl

Tuesday, May 28, 2013 - by londoncitynights · - 0 Comments

Midway through Paradise: Love we see a man dangling a ragged hunk of meat over a crocodile pond. The reptiles hiss and snap their jaws, swarming over one another in an attempt to satisfy their hunger.  This is Paradise: Love in microcosm: the voracious desire for flesh intertwined with exploited African exoticism.  

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Monday, May 27, 2013

'Matilda' at the Cambridge Theatre, 25th May 2013

Monday, May 27, 2013 - by londoncitynights · - 0 Comments

Matilda is practically perfect in every way. It's been a long time since I saw the 1996 film, and longer since I read Roald Dahl's book.  It only took about 10 minutes before the memories came flooding back. What I realised this time is that Matilda is basically Stephen King's Carrie for kids. Both stories feature precocious schoolgirls being ground down by authority figures, treated monstrously by their parents and repeatedly publicly humiliated. This intense pressure awakens latent psychic superpowers and the girls go on a roaring rampage of revenge against those that have wronged them.

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Friday, May 24, 2013

‘The Hangover Part III’ (2013) directed by Todd Phillips

Friday, May 24, 2013 - by londoncitynights · - 0 Comments


Chaos reigns. The detritus of BRADLEY COOPER's life is scattered everywhere.  Broken glass fills the hall, the broken light fittings spark.  Embedded in the wall is a gigantic, gently smoking golden cross.  ED HELMS is lying on his back on the parquet flooring.  His body is spattered in a neon blue liquid and we see two enormous barbed insectile mandibles have been grafted to his jaw.  Rapper CHRIS BROWN is splayed naked on the sofa, his fists covered in blood and glittering sequins.  ZACH GALIFIANAKIS is spasmodically jerking on the floor. We see that he’s clutching a wheezing, suffocating, yet still gently chittering bottlenose dolphin tightly in his arms.  THE BORING ONE, DOUG OR SOMETHING I DUNNO is nowhere to be seen.  Finally we see BRADLEY COOPER face down on an enormous four poster bed covered in sticky black viscera of indeterminate origin.  An Oscar statuette reading “Best Actor 2013 Academy Awards: Daniel Day Lewis” protrudes from his anus, the head and shoulders enveloped within him.  Slowly, red-eyed and blinking, he comes to.

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Tuesday, May 21, 2013

‘I Am Breathing’ (2013) directed by Emma Davie and Morag McKinnon

Tuesday, May 21, 2013 - by londoncitynights · - 0 Comments

I Am Breathing is a horror film. It shows a human body in rebellion, the flesh turning against the mind, bodily functions systematically being replaced by crude machinery which creeps over the body like a tide. This is body horror in the vein of David Cronenberg’s The Fly and Videodrome and Shin’ya Tsukamoto’s Tetsuo, the Iron Man. But this film surpasses even Cronenberg in the mood of dread, terror and revulsion it inspires. How? Because I Am Breathing is a documentary. This is stark reality.

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Monday, May 20, 2013

'The Big Wedding' (2013) directed by Justin Zackham

Monday, May 20, 2013 - by londoncitynights · - 1 Comment

I wasn't exactly looking forward to seeing The Big Wedding.  It currently sits at a near rock-bottom 8% on the Rotten Tomatometer, with critics variously describing it as "bland", "vulgar", "witless", "tired" and "dated".  This, coupled with the fact that the screening I was booked to attend meant I had to be up 9am on Sunday morning, a time when I'd really rather be eating toast and reading the paper.  Then there's my long-held dislike of wedding films.  The same tired old jokes, the boring caricatures, the plot locked on rails and the cute kids/dogs - it makes me so tired.  What happens in The Big Wedding is such a tired old jumble of cliches and crappy sitcom contrivances that it's honestly not worth outlining.  There's a wedding and some things go wrong, you know the deal.  

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Saturday, May 18, 2013

'LUPA 19' behind James Campbell House, 17th May 2013

Saturday, May 18, 2013 - by londoncitynights · - 0 Comments

Boy this was a weird one.  You should know that objectivity has officially taken a tumble over the cliff and lies in mangled pieces on the rocks below.  This is going to take some explaining.  So, I've been going to LUPA for over a year now and I usually head home afterwards with a brain brimming over new images, ideas and just plain enthusiasm.  My friends get it in the neck; hearing me excitedly babble about rubber mermaid ladies, or a person with a big clay face, or guys maniacally dancing to Justice.  This was the final LUPA in this form (there's a final fete on June 15th), so I finally convinced them to come with me. I wanted them to see what I've been doing with my Friday nights.

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Friday, May 17, 2013

43rd Open Arts Cafe, ‘High Wire’ at the West London Synagogue, 16th May 2013

Friday, May 17, 2013 - by londoncitynights · - 0 Comments

I’m beginning to think my sense of what’s weird and what’s normal is getting a bit skewed.   Last night I was chatting away during the interval of ‘High Wire’, an evening of storytelling and performance art.  Someone said to me; “isn't this so weird?!”.  This sounded instantly ludicrous to me, my concept of performance art being generally along the lines of butt-naked guys beating each other up in car parks, a woman theatrically urinating on stage and, just last Friday, someone slicing her arm open with a scalpel.  For people to consider what so far had been a relatively sedate and low-key night as "weird" made me a bit worried.

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Wednesday, May 15, 2013

‘Come as You Are’ (2011) directed by Geoffrey Enthoven

Wednesday, May 15, 2013 - by londoncitynights · - 0 Comments

How about this for a pitch? Three horny young guys sneak away from their parents to go on a road trip.  Their destination?  A mythical heavenly bordello where they hope to all lose their virginities. The twist? Philip (Robrecht Vanden Thoren) is paralysed from the neck down, Jozef (Tom Audanaert) is almost entirely blind and Lars (Gilles De Schryver) is dying of an inoperable brain tumour and is confined to a wheelchair.  It's a pretty compelling spin on the coming-of-age road movie template.

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Sunday, May 12, 2013

'Epic' (2013) directed by Chris Wedge

Sunday, May 12, 2013 - by londoncitynights · - 0 Comments

How do you judge the success of a children's film?  I saw it with a cinema full of kids who laughed (though not uproariously) at the jokes, shut up for the emotional parts and I didn't see any particularly miserable children on the way out.  There's certainly a convincing argument to be made that if a film aimed at children succeeds in entertaining them then it's a success.  So what separates, say, Finding Nemo and Shark Tale?  What's the quality that makes Kung-Fu Panda so much fun to watch and Bee Movie so dire?  To young children the difference is intangible, but even so, deep down they must sense the difference in quality.  Why else would films like Wall-E be so beloved and Robots (by the same director as Epic) be so forgotten?

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Saturday, May 11, 2013

BY NOW EACH OF US ARE SEVERAL at the Bruno Glint Gallery, 10th May 2013

Saturday, May 11, 2013 - by londoncitynights · - 0 Comments

My bus gets to the end of the line in Clapton, and here, at the top of a flight of black wrought-iron stairs, nestled in the decomposing carcass of a former tram depot is the Bruno Glint Gallery.  Rusted industrial machinery lies in pieces in courtyard, the walls are plastered with signs strictly telling me that it's illegal to smoke here.  I find myself wondering why they care so much.  Are they making explosives here?  Is the whole place about to go boom if I toss a fag end in the wrong barrel?  Ah well, there are worse ways to go out than exploding at an art gallery.

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Friday, May 10, 2013

‘The Iceman’ (2012) directed by Ariel Vromen

Friday, May 10, 2013 - by londoncitynights · - 0 Comments

The Iceman is a monster story told from the point of view of the monster.  Richard ‘The Iceman’ Kuklinski was one of the most prolific known hitmen in US history, who claimed to have killed between 100 and 250 people both at the behest of his mob employers and simply because he had an innate compulsion to kill.  The name ‘Iceman’ was applied by the press in reference to his tactic of freezing the bodies of his victims, then thawing them out at a later date so the police couldn’t estimate a time of death.  Kuklinski was as sinister a human being as its possible to imagine; a killer taking pride in his work and experimenting with the best ways to kill, using, variously, guns, knives, explosives, tire irons, poison, garottes - even beating people to death with his bare hands “just for the exercise”. 

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Wednesday, May 8, 2013

‘Star Trek Into Darkness’ (2013) directed by J. J. Abrams

Wednesday, May 8, 2013 - by londoncitynights · - 2 Comments

I’ve always detected a faint whiff of fascism in Star Trek that makes me wary.  To some extent it’s the militaristic uniforms, but mainly it's the weird paternal, imperialist overtones of the whole thing.  Fair enough, Star Trek presents a scientific utopia that’s free of class, racial and sexual discrimination, but then so does Paul Verhoeven’s Starship Troopers.  I always find  a disconnection between the  mission to "explore strange new worlds, to seek out new life and new civilizations" and the overtly militaristic, naval overtones of Star Trek.

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Sunday, May 5, 2013

'Dragon' / 'Wu Xia' (2011) directed by Peter Chan

Sunday, May 5, 2013 - by londoncitynights · - 0 Comments

Dragon has taken a torturous route to British cinemas.  It seems like it's been out everywhere else in the world already, finally winding up about two years after its initial  Chinese release in a limited run in London.  Along the way it's changed names; from the elegant Wu Xia to the more prosaic Swordsmen and finally to the almost entirely nondescript Dragon.  Now, when a film has been dragged around the world a few times it loses some lustre.  This is a pity, because Dragon is a stylish, exciting, beautiful and well-acted piece of cinema.

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Saturday, May 4, 2013

'Homer's Odyssey' (1911) directed by Francesco Bertolini, Adolfo Padovan and Giuseppe de Liguoro

Saturday, May 4, 2013 - by londoncitynights · - 0 Comments

It's a strange experience watching a film that's 102 years old.  Every single person involved in the production is long dead, and so for that matter is everyone that went to see it in the cinema.  It's a historical epic that depicts scenes from Odysseus's journey, but by 2013 the film itself has become a relic of a distant past.  But, though this film was intended for an audience whose mindset is alien to us, there is still much that's familiar about this adaptation of Homer's Odyssey, which at the time was grandly billed as marking "a new epoch in the history of the motion picture as an actor in education."

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Thursday, May 2, 2013

‘I’m So Excited!’ (2013) directed by Pedro Almodóvar

Thursday, May 2, 2013 - by londoncitynights · - 0 Comments

I’m So Excited! is a pretty damn apt title. Everything and everyone is ‘excited’, in the most salacious possible way.  The (paper-thin) plot concerns a jet with a landing gear malfunction seeking a runway to land on.  With the economy class drugged into unconsciousness, the majority of the action takes place in business class, the steward’s kitchen and the cockpit.  As the passengers sit contemplating their impending fiery death, three air stewards try their best to take their minds off their situation.

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Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Robert DeLong at the Hoxton Square Bar & Kitchen, 30th April 2013

Wednesday, May 1, 2013 - by londoncitynights · - 0 Comments

The one man band exists in a strange musical category.  The first image it brings to mind is a Mary Poppins style oom-pah guy in the park with castanets between his knees and a bass drum on his back.  Perhaps because of images like these there’s always been a strong focus on the performative and physical aspect of this type of artist - it's almost like a circus act - keeping a stage full of spinning plates upright.  

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