Nosferatu the Vampyre (1979)
Where’s it on? Talking Pictures TV, Friday, 10pm
Remaking one of the foundation stones of horror cinema was always going to be a foolhardy enterprise, but Werner Herzog isn’t known for being risk averse. F.W. Murnau’s original silent classic Nosferatu (1922) was a daring proposition in itself, the story being ripped off Bram Stoker’s novel Dracula without any rights clearances, but it has cast a long shadow over all vampire movies in its wake. Still, Herzog regular Klaus Kinski brings his own sense of spectral style and revulsion as the bulb-headed count, and the director suffuses his version with a rhapsodic Bavarian romanticism that’s impossible to resist. Although it’s Herzog’s only horror movie to date, he could teach the jump-scare generation a thing or two about managing dread. The scene of rats running rampant through a middle-European town square is all the more squirm-inducing for the fact that it’s happening for real, with Werner seeking permission from the town authorities to unleash 11,000 rodents.
Where’s it on? Cinemas nationwide
Olivier Assayas is so prolific it’s difficult to keep up. But with his latest, the Cuban spy drama Wasp Network, recently screening at festivals, his one before is seeing a belated release in UK cinemas. This would be Non-fiction, his witty and wryly provocative comedy set in the French publishing world. Full of very contemporary debates about the woes facing publishers in the digital era, it focuses on two couples caught in the turbulence: literary publisher Alain (Guillame Cantet) and his TV actress wife Selena (Juliette Binoche), and autofiction author Léonard (Vincent Macaigne) and his girlfriend Valérie (Nora Hamzawi), a political aide. Deliciously talky and smart, Assayas’s film offers intrigue, adultery and in-jokes amid all the intellectualising. All in all, another winner from the Personal Shopper and Clouds of Sils Maria director.
Angel Heart (1987)
Where’s it on? Blu-ray and DVD
With Robert De Niro making waves again for his turn in Martin Scorsese’s upcoming The Irishman, it’s a good weekend to revisit one of his ripest performances, as the mysterious, long-fingernailed Louis Cyphre in Alan Parker’s delirious deep-south thriller Angel Heart – newly available on Blu-ray. It’s a florid 1980s riff on 1940s private eye movies, in which the genre slips its metropolitan moorings amid a world of sin, superstition and voodoo. Mickey Rourke is New York private dick Harry Angel, who heads down to New Orleans in search of a singer who’s gone missing in suspicious, occult-tinged circumstances. There he finds himself in a southern gothic world where ceiling fans whirr wheezily, an elevator descends with endless, portentous menace, locals writhe with berserk abandon during a black mass, and a bedroom pours with blood in the course of a (highly controversial) sex scene.
Sexy Beast (2000)
Where’s it on? Film 4, Friday, 11.40pm
Six years on from Under the Skin and all we’ve got to go on from director Jonathan Glazer is that ‘Untitled Jonathan Glazer Project’ is in the works. Dare we expect it for next year? In the meantime, Film 4 are screening the first of his still only three features to date this weekend. Upon release in 2000, Sexy Beast easily stood out from the crop of Brit gangster films, even if few could have made the call that Glazer would materialise as one of our most vaunted directors. Ray Winstone plays the tanned-to-leather London gangster living out an early retirement at his Spanish villa until force-of-nature nutjob Don Logan (Ben Kingsley) arrives from the capital, wanting Winstone for a new job and not ready to take no as an answer…
Singin’ in the Rain (1952)
Where’s it on? Cinemas nationwide
Still the film most often cited as the greatest of all movie musicals, Singin’ in the Rain is back in cinemas around the country as part of the BFI’s Musicals! season. Set in that turbulent moment at the end of the 1920s when the arrival of sound technology sent the film industry into a tailspin that led to the decline of many of its great stars, and the making of many others, it’s an evergreen piece of self-mythology from Hollywood. It continued a run of pictures from Gene Kelly – following On the Town (1949) and An American in Paris (1951) – in which the artistic possibilities of the movie musical were flexed to increasingly dazzling effect. With a jukebox soundtrack of songs culled from 1920s and 30s musicals, it’s crammed full of legendary moments – from Kelly’s lovestruck walk home in a downpour to the elocution lesson of ‘Moses Supposes’.