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Happy New Year, a'bdy!

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Wed 17 Dec 2014

Happy New Year, a'bdy!

This month we're delighted to be screening Christopher Nolan's whatever-way-you-look-at-it astonishing Interstellar on 70mm (the non-IMAX 70mm print has played exclusively in London’s West End since the release, so these screenings are the first outside of Leicester Square!), which has made me think of the screening of the film I attended back in November at a local multiplex - which in turn brings me back round to one of my favourite subjects, or perhaps my least favourite subject, that of people behaving badly in cinemas. I must admit, I nearly turned back when I noticed, ahead of me in the queue, that a group of six teenage lads were buying tickets for the same screening as me, but they seemed reasonably polite, so I pulled myself together and forced myself to accept that, unfortunately, I can't always have the auditorium to myself (particularly as it would have meant trying to convince the friends I was with to go home or see another film). So, the film began, and said lads, sitting near the front, proceeded to talk fairly incessantly. By the time they had decided that moving around the cinema taking up different seats would be a hilarious game, I'd decided I had to deal with it and was considering my options when a deep, sonorous voice rang out with two simple, beautiful, magical words, "Shut Up!" I'd been thinking more of a quiet word in their shell-likes; an appeal to their better nature. But that these two words did the trick was not likely to be disputed by anyone there, for not one peep was heard from them for the next two hours. It's a thorny issue though, how best to deal with such occurrences. There's always the worry that complaining might go wrong, like when I walked down to the front row in a screening of, of all things, Mel Gibson's The Passion of the Christ to politely ask a gentleman there would he mind not talking, and was only saved a pasting by his less aggressive, one assumes, wife. (I still insist I could have taken him, mind...) Asking around, as I have, a consensus seems to be emerging that a short, sharp, as geographically indistinct as you can make it "shh" is the way to go, given that most people don't actually want to be annoying to their fellow viewers, they're just not as quiet whisperers as they think they are. On your own head be it, mind you!

Well, well, it's awards season again, and we kick off the month with a film very likely to be figuring large therein, The Theory of Everything, which features an astonishing central performance by young Eddie Redmayne, playing the world's most famous theoretical physicist, Stephen Hawking, in a film adapted from the memoir of the great man's first wife, Jane Wilde Hawking. Vera Brittain’s heart-rending WWI memoir, Testament of Youth, is given the (very timely) full feature film treatment to immensely powerful effect, and fast-rising US director JC Chandor (Margin Call, All is Lost) confirms his early promise with the richly atmospheric, morally complex, slow burn crime/corruption 80s New York-set thriller, A Most Violent Year. And finishing the month off is Stephen Daldry’s infectiously energetic and lively ‘Brazilian Slumdog Millionaire’, Trash.

Because we hate you to miss anything great, we’ve put together a top ten [plus two, you cheat - Ed.] from the films released in 2014; there’s also a very short season concerning bicycles and cycling; and we are delighted to be screening a handful of brand new digital versions (and some older 35mm prints) of the best of the Marx Brothers, kicking off with their putative masterpiece, Duck Soup.

“Hail, hail Freedonia...!”

Rod White, Head of Filmhouse

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