Tag Archives: event

5 reasons to come and see The Warriors

In case you’ve missed our occasional blogging and tweeting about the matter, we’re screening Walter Hill’s cult classic The Warriors at London’s Clapham Picturehouse tonight! Prior to the screening we’ll have fun times in the bar, an intro and a prize draw. But if that isn’t enough, we’ve put together 5 more reasons to convince you to part with your cash.

1. There will be pizza

The Warriors is New York City cinema at its finest, and, as we all know, the reason why everyone loves New York is because of its pizza. So in order to replicate the NYC experience, we’ve flown in some authentic pies from The Bronx for your gastronomic pleasure*. Who can say no to free pizza in the bar beforehand (from 8pm)?

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*actually from down the road in Clapham, but that’s our little secret.

2. We’re screening it from a 35mm print

We’ve managed to source an original print, so your experience of the film will be enhanced by the warmth and feel that only celluloid can give you. It’s the perfect showcase for Andrew Laszlo’s superb cinematography and the film’s myriad amazing NYC locations. Here’s a snap of the print! (P.S. We should say at this point that the print is an old one – not a restoration. As such, it’s picked up a fair few bumps and scratches along the way, and has a slight pink coloration).

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3. It’s the perfect summer movie

The weather’s scorching outside, so cool down in the cinema. You never know, you might pick up some clothing tips for the rest of the summer. The Baseball Furies (below) know what’s up.

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4. It’s exemplary action cinema from a master at the top of his game

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Walter Hill developed his reputation making lean, mean action classics, and The Warriors found him bang in the middle of a run that included the likes of Hard Times, The Driver, The Long Riders and Southern Comfort. There’s no fat here, just 90 minutes of suspense, music, dry humour, and fighting… lots of fighting. Just how action cinema should be.

5. Because could you really live with yourself if you missed the chance to spend some quality time with Luther?

Exactly. So, you can buy tickets here or grab them on the door. Food and drink in the bar from 8pm, film at 9. See you later!

PPH presents The Warriors | Here’s the poster!

Now just a shade over three weeks away, our 35mm screening of Walter Hill’s cult classic The Warriors at the Clapham Picturehouse is starting to cause some serious flutters of excitement. Join us on Monday 15 July 2013 for the big event.

You can – and absolutely should – book tickets by following this link. Our last few events (including a super-rare 35mm screening of Jim Jarmusch’s Ghost Dog: The Way of the Samurai ) have been very busy indeed, so book now to avoid disappointment!

If you’re on Facebook, you can also use our event page to tell us you’re coming. Spread the word!

Here’s a running order:

8.00 Join us in the bar for drinks, free pizza and snacks, soundtracked by classic 90s hip-hop and soul

9.00 Introduction and prize giveaway

9.10 The Warriors starts

To further whet your appetite, we’re delighted to unveil the event poster, designed by the ridiculously talented Piccia Neri.Screen shot 2013-06-21 at 14.32.21

Screening Announcement | PPH Presents The Warriors

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For the fifth edition of our ongoing series of special events, Permanent Plastic Helmet is delighted to present a rare, 35mm screening of Walter Hill’s classic action adventure The Warriors. The time and place? 21:00 on Monday 15 July 2013 at south London’s lovely Clapham Picturehouse.

This gaudy urban odyssey follows the eponymous Coney Island gang on their perilous journey home after they’ve been falsely accused of the murder of a major gang boss. Blessed with stunning cinematography, a host of superb New York locations, and a pumping soundtrack, The Warriors is one of the best American films of the 1970s.

Join us in the bar from 8pm for food, drink and a playlist of classic soul. The film will be preceded by a prize giveaway and an introduction by film critic Ashley Clark (Sight & Sound, Little White Lies). Come out to play!

You can, and absolutely should, buy tickets here. To get yourself in the mood, watch the trailer below:

5 reasons to come and see Ghost Dog: The Way of the Samurai

In case you’ve missed our occasional blogging and tweeting about it, we’re delighted to be hosting an extremely rare screening of Jim Jarmusch’s oddball cult classic Ghost Dog: The Way of the Samurai at London’s Clapham Picturehouse on Thursday 21 March (aka tomorrow to you and me, or today if you’re reading this tomorrow. Or perhaps yesterday, in which case you may as well close the page). Anyhow, if, for whatever reason, you weren’t sure whether or not to part with your cash, here are five reasons to swing you.

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1. We’re screening it from a 35mm print

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Such is the proliferation and “advancement” of digital technology, it’s increasingly rare these days to come across new films either being shot on film or older films projected from their original negatives. (The whole issue was recently explored in an absorbing, Keanu Reeves-fronted doc named Side By Side). So we’re extra elated to confirm that, thanks to top UK distributor Park Circus, we’ll be screening the film from an original, rich and warm 35mm widescreen print. It’s really the only way to appreciate cinematographer Robby Müller’s astonishing work.

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2. There will be pizza

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Whenever Permanent Plastic Helmet puts on an event, we like to look after our customers. So as well as a carefully selected soundtrack in the bar beforehand (you’re all welcome from around-about 7.30 onwards), a chance to win some prizes, and an introduction from “celebrated film critic Ashley Clark” – aka me – ticketholders will be able to wrap their gums around some free pizza from local restaurant extraordinaire Eco.

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3. Time Out London selected it as one of the best film events in London this week…

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…and they know the score

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4. It has one of the greatest soundtracks of all time

Provided by the inimitable RZA of the Wu-Tang Clan (who also cameos). Here’s proof

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5. It stars Forest Whitaker. That’s Forest Whitaker. As a samurai. Who likes pigeons. And kills mobsters. And it’s directed by Jim Jarmusch. And it’s an homage to Melville’s Le Samouraï 

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You can’t seriously need any more convincing that that, can you?

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So, it is decided. You’re coming. You can book tickets online by following this link, over the phone on 0871 902 5727, or risk it on the door to save yourself a booking fee.

PPH presents Ghost Dog: The Way of the Samurai | Here’s the poster!

Now just a shade over two weeks away, our screening of Jim Jarmusch’s cult classic Ghost Dog: The Way of the Samurai at the Clapham Picturehouse is starting to cause some serious flutters of excitement. Join us on Thursday 21 March for the big event.

You can – and absolutely should – book tickets by following this link. Our last few events (including a 35mm summer screening of Do The Right Thing, and ATCQ doc Beats Rhymes and Life) have been very busy indeed, so book now to avoid disappointment!

If you’re on Facebook, you can also use our event page to tell us you’re coming. Spread the word!

Here’s a running order:

7.30 Join us in the bar for drinks, free pizza and snacks, soundtracked by classic 90s hip-hop and soul

8.50 Introduction and prize giveaway

9.05 Ghost Dog: The Way of the Samurai starts

To further whet your appetite, we’re delighted to unveil the event poster, designed by the ridiculously talented Piccia Neri.

Screen shot 2013-03-04 at 11.24.54

Screening Announcement | PPH presents Ghost Dog: The Way of the Samurai

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For the fourth instalment of our ongoing Permanent Plastic Helmet presents… series of events, we are delighted to announce a 35mm screening of Jim Jarmusch’s extraordinary, unclassifiable classic Ghost Dog: The Way of the SamuraiThe time and place? 20:50 on Thursday 21 March 2013 at south London’s lovely Clapham Picturehouse.

This surreal tale stars Forest Whitaker as a perma-cool, self-taught samurai hitman who finds himself targeted for death by the mafia. Blessed with stunning cinematography from Robby Müller (Paris, Texas) and a brilliant original score from Wu-Tang Clan’s RZA (who also cameos), it’s an intoxicating, unique and strangely moving fusion of gangsta, gangster and ninja worlds

Come to the bar before the screening for drinks and free food, all soundtracked by classic 90s hip-hop and soul. Before the film commences, there will be a free prize draw and an introduction by PPH editor and film critic (Sight & Sound, Little White Lies) Ashley Clark.

You can, and absolutely should, buy tickets here. To get yourself in the mood, watch the trailer below:

Screening Announcement: White Men Can’t Jump @ Clapham Picturehouse, Thursday 6 Dec, 20:30

Following hot on the heels of sold-out showings of Do The Right Thing and Beats Rhymes and Life: The Travels of A Tribe Called Quest, PPH presents... returns for its third outing with a special 20th anniversary screening of Ron Shelton’s classic basketball comedy White Men Can’t JumpThe time and place? 20:30 on Thursday 6 December at south London’s lovely Clapham Picturehouse.

One of the funniest films of the 90’s – and one of the greatest sports movies full stop – White Men Can’t Jump features career-best performances from Wesley Snipes and Woody Harrelson as competing street b-ball hustlers pushing each other to the limit in the scorching L.A. sun. With ace support from Rosie Perez, and bags of zinging dialogue, it’s a dazzling tale of hoops, race, relationships… and foods that begin with the letter ‘Q’!

The screening will be preceded by food and drink soundtracked by classic 90s hip-hop and soul in the bar, plus a raffle with some great prizes on offer. You can, and absolutely should, buy tickets. To get yourself in the mood, watch the trailer below:

PPH presents Beats Rhymes and Life: The Travels of A Tribe Called Quest | How it went down

On Thursday 27 September, Permanent Plastic Helmet held our second screening event at London’s lovely Clapham Picturehouse. Following July’s packed screening of Spike Lee’s classic Do The Right Thing, we kept the vibe nice and retro with a rare showing of Michael Rapaport’s superb hip-hop doc Beats Rhymes and Life: The Travels of A Tribe Called Quest (courtesy of top UK indie distributor Soda Pictures).

Here’s a photographic record of how the sold-out event went down. (All photography ©Yves Salmon)

The Clapham Picturehouse, Venn St., London

Q-Tip, Ali Shaheed and Phife Dawg next to some thug in a penguin suit

Top billing

Looking after our guests with free pizza and snacks

Ticketholders begin to gather in the bar. The classic 90s hip-hop playlist gets underway

Board illustrated by Clapham Picturehouse’s Ben Collison with Jo Calderwood

The expectant crowds assemble

Ashley Clark (aka PPH, aka the person writing all of this) checks that his mic is on. It isn’t.

The crowd (almost all of whom are awake) listen intently…

The flattering low-angle shot can only mean one thing… it’s raffle time! We had CD’s, DVDs, champagne, and a Picturehouse membership up for grabs.

The sold-out crowd continues to enjoy themselves.

The film plays…

…and everyone goes home happy, though not before heading back to the…

Drinks and more drinks

Thanks to everybody who came to what was a fantastic event with a great buzz about it. We’re busy planning our next event and you’ll be the first to know when it’s confirmed.

PPH presents: Beats Rhymes and Life | Here’s the poster!

Now only two weeks away, our screening of Michael Rapaport’s cracking hip hop doc Beats Rhymes and Life: The Travels of A Tribe Called Quest at the Clapham Picturehouse is starting to cause some serious excitement around these parts. Join us on Thursday September 27 for the big event.

You can – and how will you live with yourself if you don’t? – book tickets by following this link. Our last event (a screening of Do The Right Thing) was a sell-out so book now to avoid disappointment.

If you’re on Facebook, you can also use our event page to tell us you’re coming. Spread the word!

Here’s a running order:

7.30 Join us in the bar for food and drink, soundtracked by classic 90s hip-hop

8.30 Intro and prize giveaway

8.45 Beats Rhymes and Life: The Travels of A Tribe Called Quest starts

10.15 More drinks in the bar!

To whet your appetite further, here’s the lovely event poster; a joint effort between Soda Pictures and designer Piccia Neri.

Cruisin’ for abusin’ – Al Pacino’s sleaziest movie

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By Ashley Clark

At London’s ICA on Sunday 15 December, film critics Anton Bitel, Katherine McLaughlin and Martyn Conterio host a rare screening of William Friedkin’s Cruising, in double-bill with Interior. Leather Bar., a new film by James Franco and Travis Matthews which ‘re-imagines’ the 40 minutes of explicit material cut from Friedkin’s original film. If you thought Friedkin’s Killer Joe was a nasty piece of work, wait ’til you cop a load of his 1980 film maudit…

[Editor’s note: This article discusses the plot in full, and thus assumes that the reader has either seen the film, or doesn’t mind knowing what happens beforehand.]

Perhaps unsurprisingly, William Friedkin’s S&M serial killer thriller caused a storm of controversy upon release in 1980. If Friedkin had tested the mettle of the general public – and the MPAA – with the crucifix-as-preteen-sex-toy shenanigans of The Exorcist in 1973, he pushed his luck too far with Cruising. In this case, it was a combination of the film’s content – Friedkin reportedly had to make 50 cuts to get an R rating – and the widespread belief that he’d crafted a distasteful work virulent with homophobia, both explicit and implicit, that doomed the film.

In Cruising, Al Pacino plays cop Steve Burns, assigned by his grizzled captain (Paul Sorvino aiming for ‘world weary’, instead achieving ‘quite tired’) to go undercover in New York’s leather bars to hunt down a killer targeting the community. Without further ado, he kisses his girlfriend (Karen Allen) goodbye, dons a pair of chaps and enthusiastically sets on his way. Before long, Burns, simultaneously fascinated and repelled by what he sees (including a hellish fisting session), is in turmoil over his own sexuality and finds himself unable to make much headway on the case. Following a fevered sojourn through an unremittingly seedy landscape, the killer – or at least one killer – is found, before an ambiguous coda suggests that Burns may have murderous tendencies.

A significant proportion of the New York gay community, outraged in their perception of the film’s attitude toward homosexuality, pilloried the shoot to such an extent that much of the sound was destroyed by vocal protest, resulting in the need for dialogue to be overdubbed. In addition to such public opprobrium, Cruising was widely panned by critics unimpressed by its grim hodgepodge of sex, violence and confusing narrative. To add the proverbial icing to the cake, the film secured a Golden Raspberry nomination for worst film of the year – amusingly, it was pipped by Can’t Stop the Music, a bizarre mock-doc about the formation of gay scene legends The Village People, starring Steve Guttenberg!

Is Cruising homophobic? Well, Friedkin argued that in focusing on an absolute extreme of a particular subculture, what he portrayed was not representative of the wider gay experience; moreover, he simply wanted to use the ‘scene’ as a backdrop to a murder mystery. This suggestion carries some dubious merit, but is undercut by the film’s cynical ambiguity, and its propagation of some horribly simplistic psychology which intimates that gay = problem.

The lanky, be-mulleted, leather-clad killer (Richard Cox) is revealed to have had a troubled relationship with his father, and his mantra, presumably directed at Daddy, is a robotically whispered “You made me do this”. In addition to such weak pop psychology, a further misstep is the presence of Burns’ chipper gay roommate Ted (Don Scardino) who exhibits, as suggested by the A.V. Club’s Nathan Rabin, “a sitcom perkiness [which] clashes with the brooding intensity of the rest of the film”. The innocent Ted meets the most horrific death of all – a veritable bloodbath. He is punished, presumably for being gay rather than just perky, but we’re never really sure by whom – the nature and circumstance of his death is completely at odds with the others that occur. If it is Burns, who at one point darkly intones to his girlfriend “There’s a lot you don’t know about me”, then Burns is really no more than the archaic stereotype of a gay man so consumed by self-loathing that he is driven to acts of destruction. If it isn’t, then it might have been Ted’s petulant, possessive boyfriend (a nicely piquant turn from The Warriors’ James Remar) or indeed anyone, suggesting an irresistible, widespread malaise within the community – gay murderers everywhere! There is no redemption here, just prurience and misery. Accordingly, Friedkin cannot honestly have been surprised at the negative reaction to his film.

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Yet Cruising, despite its myriad flaws, does have certain elements to recommend it. Cinematographer James Contner, who originally wanted to shoot in black and white, does a fantastic job of rendering an oppressive, dread-fuelled atmosphere through a near-monochrome palette of steely blues, greys and blacks. Contributing to the nightmarish vibe is a genuinely odd score from Phil Spector’s ex-right hand man Jack Nitschze, which runs the gamut from dirty proto-house, to twangy, skittering flamenco-jazz that sounds like the duelling banjos kid from Deliverance channelling the spirit of ’70s Miles Davis. Production designer Bruce Weintraub has a field day in populating the landscape with phallic symbols; there are dicks, real and signified, everywhere.

Credit must also go to Pacino for his frazzled, twitchy performance. Permanently covered in a thin film of sweat, with eyes darting askance, he fully convinces as a man increasingly out of his depth and troubled by rumblings of sexual confusion, or at the very least a man terrified his acting career is about to disappear down the toilet. It is truly startling to see a mainstream actor turn up in such an unceasingly sleazy film, and debatable whether a leading man of today would take on such a role (Ryan Gosling was arguably similarly game in Nicolas Winding Refn’s torrid – and comparably horrible – Only God Forgives). Pacino brought some ‘method’ to the party, too. Hilariously, production was delayed because he turned up to the first day’s shoot with, in the words of Friedkin, a “gay” haircut that “didn’t work out”.

In any discussion of Cruising, it would be a crime not to mention the cornucopia of unintentional hilarity on display, which frequently undermines the intense tone the production team carefully assemble. Some of the dialogue – much of it delivered by Sorvino – simply must be heard to be believed: “He intends to flop on the beach and turn nut brown”, “Ever been porked? Ever had a man smoke your pole?”, and the deathlessly serious “You’re my partner… we’re up to our ass in this!” are particular highlights. Then there’s the moment for which Cruising should, above all else, be immortalised: a mountain-sized black cop, dressed in nothing but a jockstrap, cowboy hat and boots, strides unannounced into an interrogation room to send Burns flying with the mother of all dry slaps. It is utterly inexplicable, and yet somehow perfect for a film which constantly treads the thin line between unpleasantness and ridiculousness.

Cruising, with its rum subject matter, dangerously ambiguous messaging and snapshot of a lost (pre-AIDS epidemic) subculture, is a rare example of post-New Hollywood risk-taking at its most discomfiting, and Friedkin at his most anti-social. Ultimately, we’ll never see the likes of it again, which is a shame, because there isn’t a single Al Pacino film released in the last 15 years that couldn’t have been improved by a spot of light fisting.