Posts Tagged: "Hyland Cinema"

Celebrating Bruce Lee at the Hyland Cinema

Robert Pegg - - Theatre & Film
The London Yodeller

PEGG a bruce kick“Lee wisely realized that by sharing the screen with other accomplished martial artists, when it was his time to shine, he would look all the better.”

Seems hard to believe that it has been over forty years since the death of martial arts legend Bruce Lee at the young age of 32. Even harder to consider that he would have turned 75 this month.

What better way to commemorate the occasion than a birthday screening of Enter the Dragon on Friday, November 29th at the Hyland Cinema as part of their ‘Retromania’ late-night series. The film is credited as creating the blueprint for martial arts cinema as we know it today. It is also known as the first martial arts movie made by Hollywood – and ironically the last film made by Bruce Lee. Sadly, the film which would have cemented his future in Hollywood – and also made him a pop-culture icon afterwards – did not have its premiere till shortly after his death in 1973. Prior to that, the American-born but raised in Hong Kong actor was unsure about his future in Hollywood. He need not have worried – made for $850,000, it went on the gross almost $22 million its first year in North America alone. The movie became a cult classic, a perennial favorite of those who like ‘manly’ movies and in the process, made Lee a household name. Continue Reading

Strange Goings On at the Wharncliffe Bus Shelter

Sean Twist - - Everything Else
The London Yodeller

TWIST fake blood_95268345_327x231“Well,” Spacey said, putting me back down on the ground, “If London’s premiere consulting detective says it’s science, then I’m all ears.”

“It’s a classic locked room mystery,” Miss Moran said. She ran her finger down the glass.

I looked around. “Whatevs, I guess. It just looks like a crappy bus shelter to me.”

“A crappy bus shelter, John, that has seen six people disappear within it this month. Six people . . . just gone.

“Gone like your high score on Guitar Hero 2, huh?” I air guitared some serious fretwork.

She gave me a look and said “This is serious,” but I could tell it still bothered her. What can I say? I was on a sweet run last night.

Two babes entered the shelter. Well, one was a babe. Had some sweet tats on her, a few piercings up top which usually meant some sweet ones down below. The other one was older, but still worth a look and all. Continue Reading

A Cinderella for the Ages

Herman Goodden - - Theatre & Film
The London Yodeller

CINDERELLA“Branagh has a genius for revivifying stories you think you know well, drawing out aspects and insights that previous versions left unexplored and pulling the whole thing off with such unapologetic bravado that he astonishes you again and again”

With a granddaughter in town for a few weeks, my wife and I decided that a movie night might be in order and we had heard great things about Kenneth Branagh’s live action retelling of Cinderella that was playing at the Hyland Cinema for a few days. So off we went to the last of London’s original movie houses on Wharncliffe Road; a theatre which will always hold a special place in our hearts as it was the site of our very first date circa 1970 where we saw Five Easy Pieces. (Snatches of dialogue from that film still pop up in our conversation today; whenever some half-informed social justice warrior presumes to tell me how I should live my life, I recall Jack Nicholson’s smack down of his not very bright friend: “Keep on tellin’ me about the good life, Elton, because it makes me puke.”)

The Disney Corporation produced this new version of Cinderella as the latest in a series of re-visitations they’ve funded where their old feature length cartoons are reimagined as live action stories. Here at least, the process seems a worthwhile one, dispensing with corny songs like Bibbity Boppity Boo and A Dream Is a Wish Your Heart Makes and replacing bland cartoon representations of human beings with actual flesh and blood people who somehow ground the story and make it a lot more compelling. In Branagh’s sole concession to contemporary taste, there is one sappy song voiced by some hideous pop chanteuse that’s played under the final credits but it was easy enough to shut that out by plugging my ears and screaming “La la la lah,” while running for the exit at the film’s conclusion. Continue Reading

Retromania – Movies that Are Worth Going Out to See

Bob Klanac - - Theatre & Film
The London Yodeller

KLANAC ROAD WARRIOR“What to program was a conundrum. They had to find much loved films that people really wanted to see on a big screen or wanted to see with an audience.”

Although the Hyland Cinema typically plays first-run films unlikely to be seen at the megaboxes, once a month their marquee boasts a title pulled from cinema history. Retromania, revisits cult gems from cinema’s past on the last Friday of any given month. It was the brainchild of Hyland projectionist Victor Liorentas and cinephile Jeremy Hobbs. They cribbed the idea from the Midnight Cinemas of New York in the 70s.

“They would play El Topo, Eraserhead, that sort of thing”, explains Hobbs. “Artists and musicians would champion these theatres. Everyone from Dennis Hopper to John Lennon would go to these screenings.”

Of course the advent of home video drove lovers of cult cinema indoors and most of the great repertory theatres closed their doors, including London’s lamented New Yorker at the corner of York and Richmond. Their immediate inspiration came when Liorentas was projecting films for someone who rented out the Hyland after hours to watch cult classics like The Shining, A Clockwork Orange and Phantom Of The Paradise on a big screen. Continue Reading

At the Movies: It Follows (100 minutes)

Bob Klanac - - Theatre & Film
The London Yodeller

KLANAC it-followsLike The Babadook before it, It Follows is that rarity, a horror film that scares more than it gores. It turns the ‘80s horror sex-guilt schtick on its nose, where the thing that follows it is transferred by having sex with someone else.

If it sounds preposterous, it kinda is. What is wonderful is how the film carries such a sense of dread through the lives of its characters, all teenagers living normal suburban lives. Their world is very carefully rendered with suburban Detroit standing in for everyburb, USA and the teens’ parents rarely seen except in longshots, felt only in off-screen comments. It’s like Charles Schultz Charlie Brown characters turned on their heads. Continue Reading

Starring Adam West – A Documentary About That Guy who Played ‘Batman’

Robert Pegg - - Art & Books, Theatre & Film
The London Yodeller

PEGG adam west cowl“Adam West was doing ‘Shatner’ even before Shatner.”

Need something to do after you get home from Free Comic Book Day, on Saturday, May 2nd? After a day spent lined up outside our local comic shops with people dressed in superhero costumes, what better way to relax while leafing through your scores of the day than by sitting down and watching some sort of related fare on the TV?

Right now, the Netflix is offering a number of films of the superhero genre to choose from – in fact, I often suspect that it takes up most of their catalogue. You’ve got numerous entries from the X-Men franchise; fresh episodes of the new highly-regarded Daredevil TV-series (not to be confused with the Ben Affleck-starring film from many years ago which sadly did not put an end to his superhero career) Watchmen and just about every Batman movie made by Tim Burton and Christopher Nolan and even an animated Dark Knight Returns.

What I couldn’t find listed on the Netflix – although it surely must be on there someplace – is Batman: The Movie – from 1966. A feature-length film of the same TV-show of that era, starring Adam West in the title role and Burt Ward as ‘Robin.’ A who’s who of villains from the TV show include Frank (Riddler) Gorshin, Burgess (Penguin) Meredith, Cesar (Joker) Romero and Lee Meriwether in her first and sadly only appearance as the Catwoman.

As far as I’m concerned, taken moment by moment, this is the most consistently entertaining of all the various Batman films. Don’t get me wrong. I really liked the first Tim Burton Batman – but little of anything else that followed in that era. And although the latest ‘reimaging’ trilogy by Christopher Nolan was hit and miss at times, the payoff was worth it. When L.A. Mood Comics and Games had a free screening of The Dark Knight Rises the opening weekend of its release in 2012, I was so choked up by the ending that when Gord and Carol opened the door to the lobby, I was virtually speechless. Continue Reading

At the Movies: What We Do In The Shadows

Bob Klanac - - Theatre & Film
The London Yodeller

KLANAC WHAT-WE-DO-IN-THE-SHADOWS-VAMPIREAlthough on paper, this mockumentary of four vampires sharing a house could seem a bit tiresome, in the hands of Jermaine Clement & Taika Waititi (creators of Flight of the Conchords), it’s a pure delight, one of the best comedies to make its way into a cinema in years.

What makes the film such a delight is the way the four flat mates banter about the banalities of flat living, albeit with a twist: cleaning up the stack of bloody dishes in the kitchen and bones left lying around the general living space. When one of them complains about the place being too messy to have a friend over, the other deadpans, ‘What do you care? You’re just going to kill them anyway.’

The disparate personalities of the vampires are also a delight. The film’s narrator, the eager-to-please Viago, always looks on the bright side of his dark life, noting at one point how his lifestyle informs his fashion style: ‘Well, you might be killing someone and you say ‘hey, those are nice pants’. Continue Reading

At The Movies: Leviathan (Russia, 2014, 140 minutes)

Bob Klanac - - Theatre & Film
The London Yodeller

“The mayor is so crooked that, to borrow a phrase from Hunter S. Thompson, he has to screw his pants on every morning.”

We’ve all rolled our eyes at Russia these days, specifically the bureaucratic antics of Vladmir Putin. He says there are no Russian troops moving into the Ukraine, we have footage of Russian troops moving into the Ukraine. He says he has no idea who murdered his political enemy and chuckle deeply when he announces that he will personally oversee the investigation.

We can laugh at his wholesale lying and he doesn’t care in the least. What he does care about is the Russian people believing him. And with strong control over most of the media outlets, he can manage the story with ease. It’s that cool belief in The Official Word over process and human endeavours that give Leviathan its icy tone.

Leviathan, a two-hour plus epic in miniature shows us modern-day Russia and its stage-managed political structures in all its banality. Continue Reading