Fancy catching a free movie one balmy summer evening? Then head up to Brno’s very own Golden ¼ Mile, přehrada, for a screening at AHOY. Here’s my picks.
Slumdog Millionaire (Danny Boyle, 2008) – Tue, Aug 2
Danny Boyle’s most lavish and overrated film should play well to an outdoor audience. It’s a colourful, unlikely shaggy dog story about a Mumbai slum dweller on the verge of winning the jackpot on Who Wants to be a Millionaire? Because of his low social status, the authorities assume he’s cheating, and via flashback we find out how he happens to know the answers to the questions.
Like Danny Boyle’s second most overrated film, Trainspotting, it opens with a burst of unadulterated energy and quickly runs out of puff. The neat concept and the film’s core romance never quite pays off as well as you’d hope, but it still makes for solid feel good entertainment.
Blue Velvet (David Lynch, 1986) – Mon, Aug 8
Arguably David Lynch’s masterpiece, a perfect blend of the director’s trademark weirdness and a compelling plot. Nice boy Jeffrey (Kyle MacLachlan) disappears down the rabbit hole when he discovers a severed ear on his way home one day, discovering the murky underbelly of his white picket fence, all American hometown. He becomes dangerously involved with mysterious torch singer Dorothy (Isabella Rossellini) and the psycho she’s indebted to, Frank (Dennis Hopper). It’s a surreal, violent and darkly comic examination of obsession and abuse. Once seen, you’ll never order a bottle of Heineken the same way again.
Midnight in Paris (Woody Allen, 2011) – Tue, Aug 9
One of the most likeable of Woody Allen’s 21st century efforts, Midnight in Paris involves a hack scriptwriter enamoured with the city and its literary heritage, who by quirk of the time-space continuum gets to hang out with the heavyweights of the ’20s Parisian art scene – Hemingway, Fitzgerald, Picasso, etc. It’s bright, breezy fun and will probably strike a chord with expats, especially those with artistic leanings. It makes some interesting observations on the nature of nostalgia, and Owen Wilson brings an unusually sunny vibe to the lead, compared to Allen’s usual cast of East coast neurotics.
Eden Lake (James Watkins, 2008) – Mon, Aug 15
Viewers of Eden Lake at Ahoy are more likely to run for the bright lights of the city than hang about by the water after this harrowing, nasty piece of work. It’s a strange mix of British kitchen sink realism and American slasher cliches, as an arrogant couple from the city camping at the titular beauty spot are drawn into a series of increasingly violent stand-offs with a feral band of local chavs. It’s tight, nail-biting, and the finale is an absolute bummer. It tackles the social horrors of modern day Britain from a genre perspective, and reminds me why I never want to live in England again!
Evil Dead II: Dead by Dawn (Sam Raimi, 1987) – Mon, Aug 22
Easily one of the best sequels ever made, if not one of the best horror movies of all time, Evil Dead II is a real treat for film buffs and wannabe film makers alike. Director Sam Raimi puts on a real virtuoso performance, flinging just about every film making technique at the screen in a delirious all-you-can-eat buffet of cinematic craziness. Bruce Campbell cements his cult hero status as an embattled every man besieged by ancient evil in a prototypical cabin in the woods. No-one could accuse Campbell of being a great actor, but he is a remarkable physical performer with a gift for a sardonic one liner, epitomized by the film’s standout scene where he’s beaten up by his own possessed hand. Manic, gory, frightening and utterly hilarious, Evil Dead II is a fantastic summer movie.
Little Miss Sunshine (Jonathan Dayton & Valerie Faris, 2006) – Tue, Aug 30
Starts off like one of those quirky dysfunctional family comedies so prevalent in the Noughties, much in the vein of The Royal Tennenbaums, and evolves into a genuinely funny and touching road movie. It features an exceptional ensemble cast playing to their strengths – Toni Collette, Greg Kinnear, Steve Carell – but the film is stolen by young Abigail Breslin as a precocious kid who dreams of winning a beauty pageant, and Alan Arkin as her irresponsible grandfather in charge of choreographing her dance moves. The final dance sequence is a hideously funny takedown of the American pageant’s inappropriate sexualisation of their very, very young contestants.
Check out the full listing of AHOY summer cinema (Přístavní 57) & enjoy your summer viewing!
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