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Cinephilia in West London

Cinephilia in West London

The ideal living room - Cinephilia

The ideal living room - Cinephilia

Ob. disclaimer – I was invited via Qype to a night at Cinephilia West, a film cafe/bar/screening room in Westbourne Grove. My review of the place follows:

If you like food, or cinema, this is DEFINITELY the place for you.

First off, it’s a learned cinema fan’s paradise. The basement is the ideal living room, stuffed full with cinematic books and DVDs for sale, and at the end a huge screen where they hold evening screenings. It’s a fantastically chilled out place from where to watch your favourite obscure film (Brazil). They hold screenings of curated films once a week, and it sounds like a fantastic way to broaden your film knowledge.

The ground floor holds film exhibitions, and a very very good selection of film magazines that you can just pick up and read. Plus there’s wi-fi if you want to work on your killer screenplay.

Alongside all this is a cafe, but not just any cafe. The sangria is gorgeous, and the cakes are oozing with seductive delights.

If I had one complaint about this place, it’s that it’s obviously not for your average-going Odeon mainstream person who prefers Doctor Doolittle to Doctor Parnassus. And the price for food heaven is a bit high …

But for years I have often lamented the lack of film-centric places in West London. Now there is one, and I can’t see how it could get better. (well, unless they held screenings of Doctor Who)

Check out my review of cinephilia – I am almostwitty – on Qype

Reigniting my inner film geek love

Reigniting my inner film geek love

I used to be a bit of a film geek, inhaling movies. I’d buy Empire magazine every month, and go see a film (as long as it wasn’t horror, gore, or involved zombies or crabs) via my local university film club every week. Sometimes twice a week (oooh, get him!)

Then real life intervened, London prices arrived, and I just … stopped. Of course, seeing the terrible films Batman and Robin, and Jurassic Park II within a week of each other didn’t help at all. Neither, ironically, did becoming a professional film reviewer where film-watching no longer became a leisurely activity, but something that was work and that I’d have to write up afterwards.

Sure, there were the glam moments (well, if you count having a bored Julianne Moore scowling at you at 10am because she thinks you’re a Japanese film journalist) but also having to review dross like Help I’m A Fish and Mission: Impossible 2 didn’t help.

So, while I didn’t turn my back entirely on cinema – The Matrix made me revise my entire thoughts on Hong Kong cinema – I’m not the raving film geek I used to be. At least not till tonight.

Tonight, I went to see Quentin Tarantino’s latest, Inglourious Basterds. And bugger me, I loved it. Even if it didn’t have any of the crash, bang, wallop that you’d expect. Instead, it’s a love letter to dialogue in multiple languages, to European cinema, to war-torn Europe, and for 147 minutes I was utterly captivated by the words, the acting, everything. Even the set.

Go, and see it.

What movies have I seen?

What movies have I seen?

Abandoned cinema

Originally uploaded by andre.govia

Despite describing myself as a film geek, I haven’t actually seen that many films. At least, recently. But let’s see how many I have seen…

Apparently, if you’ve seen over 85 films, you have no life. (What about those of us who’ve never had a life to begin with ?!)

Mark the ones you’ve seen. There are 239 films on this list. Copy this list, and see how many you’ve seen…

Avoiding spiders and zombies

Avoiding spiders and zombies

As you may know, I’m a bit of a film fan. I also have a slightly obsessive interest in apocalyptic fiction and Hollywood blockbusters. So why on earth am I most likely to avoid 28 Weeks Later and Spiderman 3?

Simply put, they both scare me in totally different ways.

Spiderman 1 was a great film, fantastic on pretty much every level. Almost too fantastic. I was a bit of an emotional wreck at the last scene – how could Peter Parker do that to his gorgeous simpering Mary Jane? How could any red-costumed or red-blooded heterosexual walk away from that? Because of that, I’ve somehow managed to avoid Spiderman 2 – despite having it on DVD – and will most likely manage to “never get round to seeing” Spiderman 3.

As for 28 Weeks Later, it’s because of my fear for zombies. I’m not sure what it is about them, but I do get terrified at the prospect of seeing zombies on the screen. When Shaun of the Dead slithered into cinemas, I really wanted to see it – hey, it’s Spaced + apocalyptic fiction + London, what’s there not to like? – and so resolved to get over my fear of zombies. After all, they’re just a movie construct and fantasy, right?

Almost. My zombie-fear-aversion routine was to watch as many zombie films as I could, in growing order of horror-ness until I thought I was desensitized to zombies, and then perhaps I could manage Shaun of the Dead. So the first film I tried was Resident Evil: Apocalypse. It’s a 15-rated film, starring Milla Jovovich and it seems like a B-movie. What could be that scary about it?

Who knows? Because when it came to the scene with the shuffling zombies chasing one poor civillian up a metal staircase, I had to switch off the DVD. I just couldn’t handle it.

I did somehow manage to see 28 Days Later – there aren’t that many zombie scenes in it, after all. But I did walk out of the cinema absolutely shaken, in need of a stiff drink and some human conversation. So I knocked on my then room-mate’s door – but he told me to go away and I felt even more depressed and dejected that night. It later turned out, of course, that he’d brought a girl back to his room and was steadily making more intimate human conversation with her.

So I might just have to avoid the cinema for the next couple of days!

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