Each week, we round up the most exciting film events happening in London over the coming week, from pop-ups and one-offs to regular film clubs, outdoor screenings and festivals. Here’s this week’s top five…
‘Groundhog Day’ on Groundhog Day
Assuming that Punxsutawney Phil isn’t prevented from making climate predictions by the incoming US administration, this Thursday we’ll know whether or not there’s going to be six more weeks of winter. Even better, we’ll also be able to sit down to the Prince Charles’s annual screening of one of the very best modern comedies. It’s been more than 20 years since Bill Murray starred as the cynical weatherman trapped in a time loop, but ‘Groundhog Day’ hasn’t aged a bit. What makes it stick? Maybe it’s because under that dark humour are a few home truths: life is full of repetition, but a little kindness and love go a long way.
Prince Charles Cinema, 7 Leicester Place, WC2H 7BP. Thu Feb 2, 8.45pm. £7.50.
‘The Bourne Ultimatum’ + Paul Greengrass Q&A
The director of ‘United 93’ and ‘Captain Philips’ introduces the best of the Bourne series. Matt Damon’s third outing in the role sees Bourne still on the run, gradually remembering how US security forces reshaped him as a super-assassin while trying to avoid their continued efforts to neutralise him. The plot roves across the globe but the standout set piece takes place in our own Waterloo station, making an exhilarating rat-run of a packed concourse that will have you peering uneasily at CCTV cameras and advertising hoardings on your next commute.
Tricycle Cinema, 269 Kilburn High Rd, NW6 7JR. Sun Feb 5, 5pm. £25.
Universal Monsters: ‘Frankenstein’
A stark, stylish take on Mary Shelley’s tale. Boris Karloff gives one of the great performances of all time as the monster whose mutation from candour to chill savagery is mirrored only through his limpid eyes. The 1931 film’s great imaginative coup is to show the monster ‘growing up’ in all too human terms. First he is the innocent baby, reaching up to grasp the sunlight that filters through the skylight. Then the joyous child, playing at throwing flowers into the lake with a little girl. And finally, as he finds himself progressively misjudged by the society that created him, the savage killer as whom he has been typecast.
Regent Street Cinema, 309 Regent St, W15B 2UW. Sun Feb 5, 2pm. £12, £11 concs.
Cinema Matters: ‘Sullivan’s Travels’
Another in the Barbican’s month of films about filmmaking. Preston Sturges’s Hollywood satire is perhaps best known today as being the movie that ‘inspired’ the Coen brothers’ ‘O Brother, Where Art Thou?’, but this meaning-of-life masterpiece deserves so much more. At once witty, wacky, wholesome, devious and devastatingly smart, it showcases a director at the absolute pinnacle of his game, offering up not just a wildly entertaining romp but a razor-sharp (and explosively political) examination of why comedy matters at all.
Barbican Centre, Silk St, EC2Y 8DS. Sun Feb 5, 3pm. £9.50, £8.50 concs.
Classic Cinema Club: ‘Cape Fear’
A Scorsese favourite (he remade it in 1991), this supremely nasty thriller boasts great credentials: Robert Mitchum as the sadistic villain, Gregory Peck as the wholesome family man, seedy locations in the Southern bayou and whooping music by Bernard Herrmann. Director J Lee Thompson gives the story plenty of class, while the relentlessness of the story and Mitchum’s tangibly sordid presence guarantee the viewer’s quivering attention.
Ealing Town Hall, New Broadway, W5 2BY.
Fri Feb 3, 7.30pm. £7, £6 concs.