Could this week’s new Pixar film be the greatest element-based pop culture moment since Earth, Wind & Fire released their 1978 disco smash September?
Well, they’ve certainly gone one up on the Chicago funk-poppers by managing to include water in the line-up of their new culture-clash comedy Elemental, which sees fire and water falling in love in the bustling metropolis of Element City.
Things are bound to get steamy! (Well, hopefully not, it’s PG rated…) Elsewhere, the Lambert clan confront their demons one last time in Insidious: The Red Door, one man sets out on a green global odyssey in Race for the Future, and it’s ding-ding, round two for Gerwig vs. Nolan…
From the scream factory in Monsters, Inc. to Inside Out’s anthropomorphised emotions, Pixar are well known for finding a new way to explore a familiar concept – and so it is with their latest release, which imagines a budding cross-cultural romance in a world where the four main elements – fire, water, earth and air – live together in (slightly uneasy) harmony.
The story sees tough, quick-witted fire-lady Ember (Leah Lewis) all set to take over her family’s business when a chance meeting with open-hearted, easy-going water-boy Wade (Mamadou Athie) sparks a friendship which has her rethinking her place in the world.
So the scene is set for a Pixar spin on the culture-clash romcom, as the pair set out to discover if fire and water can mix after all…
Insidious: The Red Door
The Lambert family discover that they have unfinished business in this horror sequel, which picks up the saga ten years on from the events of Insidious: Chapter 2.
Young Dalton (Ty Simpkins) is now all grown up and heading off to college – but when he’s attacked by visions of the demons that plagued his childhood, he and father Josh (Patrick Wilson) realise they must return to the terrifying realm known as The Further to end their family’s nightmare once and for all.
Wilson steps behind the camera to make his directorial debut for this closing chapter, while Rose Byrne also returns as Renai Lambert and series mainstay Lin Shaye reprises her role as paranormal investigator Elise Rainier.
Green Screen: Race for the Future + director and panel discussion
The latest offering in City Screen’s regular environmentally-themed strand sees one man embark on a thrilling global odyssey to highlight the climate change emergency.
The film follows adventurer and filmmaker James Levelle on his mission to make a fossil-free journey across the globe to get to the ill-fated UN Climate Conference in Chile and deliver messages from the world’s youth he has collected on the way.
Utilising green transportation methods from cycling and sailing to hiking and horse riding, Levelle is undaunted in his quest – even when the conference itself is cancelled…
Levelle will be present for a live panel discussion with local experts after the screening.
Fancy meeting some fellow film buffs and flexing your movie trivia muscles? Then head down to South Bank Community Cinema this Friday as they host their members’ social.
Non-members are also welcome at the event, which will have drinks and nibbles followed by a quick quiz and a screening of a short film – you’ll also have a chance to have your say on what you’d like to see from the cinema in the future.
Non-member tickets are £4 and doors open at Clement’s Hall, South Bank at 7:30pm on Friday 7th – RSVP to [email protected].
Other new releases
Adventurous cinemagoers should make their way to Cineworld or Vue on Sat 8th, when both cinemas are running their latest secret screenings, where you turn up and don’t know what you’re seeing until the lights go down.
The only clue we have to go on is that the films in question are rated 15 and around the 90 minute mark – which at least rules out Christopher Nolan’s Oppenheimer, which, like seemingly all prestige blockbusters these days, will be clocking in at a bum-numbing three hours…
Over at City Screen, My Imaginary Country is this week’s selection in their regular Discover strand – showing on Tues 11th, this new film by celebrated Chilean documentary-maker Patricio Guzmán spotlights the massive popular protest that took place in Santiago in 2019, as citizens took to the streets in the name of equality and democracy.
On Weds 12th, Vue’s latest BFI Presents screening is the highly acclaimed British drama Pretty Red Dress, starring Natey Jones as a music entrepreneur newly released from prison and X-Factor alumna Alexandra Burke as his girlfriend, a singer out to land the role of her dreams in a Tina Turner musical.
Plus, there are a couple more chances to catch some of our finest thesps treading the boards, with NT Live screenings of Fleabag at Vue (Fri 7th) and Everyman (Weds 12th), plus another screening of David Tennant-starring political drama Good at Vue on Tues 11th.
Ever wondered what goes on behind the scenes in the Tooth Fairy world – you know, the training, infrastructure and accreditation that supports the thriving nocturnal gnasher-collecting industry?
Really? Not once? Then My Fairy Troublemaker is probably not for you, alas – which is a shame, as it’s this week’s budget offering at Cineworld (Sat 8th/Sun 9th, tickets £2.50) and Vue (Sat 8th/Sun 9th, £2.49).
Cineworld are also offering ursine caper Boonie Bears: Guardian Code (Sat 8th/Sun 9th, £2.50), while City Screen’s Kids’ Club screening is the gastronomic wonder that is Ratatouille (Sat 8th, £3.30) – it’s too bad we don’t live in the universe where Raccacoonie got made, but we certainly got the next best thing.
Fight Club! (No, not that one): old favourites back on the big screen
It’s week two for City Screen’s Greta Gerwig/Christopher Nolan face-off, as two more of the directors’ films go head to head in the run-up to the eagerly-awaited releases of Barbie and Oppenheimer on 21st July.
This week sees Gerwig’s 2017 solo directorial debut Lady Bird go up against Nolan’s 2014 space odyssey Interstellar on Sun 9th.
So you can either watch a great-but-flawed, slightly too long and a bit confusing sci-fi epic or a modern coming-of-age classic which gets better every time you see it. Entirely up to you, I’m not going to influence your decision either way…
And in the spirit of contrived cinematic battles invented purely for marketing purposes, there follows a celluloid smackdown between the rest of this week’s re-releases. No more bets please, take your seats!
First off, it’s two titans of 90s gangster cinema, as Reservoir Dogs (Everyman, Sun 9th, Tues 11th) has a turf war with Goodfellas (Vue, Sat 8th) – very close to call, this one, but Scorsese’s masterpiece just pips it for being the only film to get me to like an Eric Clapton song.
You’re definitely going to be seeing double in this next bout – it’s a twin-off! In the (very) red corner, the creepy siblings of The Shining (Vue, Sat 8th), and in the blue corner, real-life sisters Catherine Deneuve and Françoise Dorléac in classic French musical The Young Girls of Rochefort (City Screen, Sun 9th) – I’ve never seen the latter, but going on the pastel-coloured poster and the fact it probably won’t give me nightmares, I’m afraid Kubrick is out for the count in this round.
Next up, they’re lovers not fighters: two much-loved queer coming-of-age tales duke it out as Oscar winner Moonlight (Vue, Fri 7th, Mon 10th) squares off with high school romcom Love, Simon (Vue, Sat 8th, Sun 9th, Tues 11th) – for all the sweet-natured charm of the latter, it’s a straight KO for Barry Jenkins’ modern classic here.
And finally, it’s the Dame of Rock and Roll vs. the Grande Dame of Cinema, as reissued Bowie concert doc Ziggy Stardust: The Global Premiere (City Screen, Fri 12th) goes up against a Cate Blanchett tour-de-force in romantic period drama Carol (Vue, Fri 7th, Thurs 13th) – a proper clash of the titans which would surely result in a draw, and mutual fan-girling in the dressing room afterwards.
Plus, I can’t help thinking Bowie would have enjoyed Blanchett’s guest appearance with Sparks at Glastonbury, which is all the reason I need to close proceedings with it for the second week in a row – tune in next week to see what tenuous excuse I can find to crowbar it in again…