The Picturehouse Cinema chain and film magazine EMPIRE come together to mark their 30th birthdays this year. This joint celebration reaches across the country and the digital sphere, with screenings, podcasts and print features dedicated to thirty of the filmmakers they deem the most adventurous of the past three decades. We’re told to expect hat tips to Steven Spielberg, Kathryn Bigelow, James Cameron, Peter Jackson, Quentin Tarantino and Patty Jenkins, amongst others.
In Liverpool, at Picturehouse at FACT host a series of four films across August and into early September, starting with Martin Scorsese’s blistering mafia saga, Goodfellas. Excitement is high for the director’s reteaming with long-time muse Robert De Niro in Netflix-funded The Irishman later this year, but audiences can sate themselves with one of the pair’s most iconic collaborations on Sunday 11th August.
Scorsese’s film is followed by Ang Lee’s Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon on Sunday 18th. A surprise blockbusting phenomenon on release in 2000 that helped make stars of Michelle Yeoh and Chow Yun-fat, Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon ranked at 497 in EMPIRE’s 2008 list of the 500 greatest films ever made. Lee’s adaptation of Wang Dulu’s novel also sparked international interest in wuxia films with its elegant use of wire-work and flying swordplay in service of an epic drama.
This joint celebration reaches across the country and the digital sphere, with screenings, podcasts and print features
Screening on 25th August, the next film in the series was actually released in 1982, but there is no doubt that its director has continued to make his presence felt over the last thirty years. Steven Spielberg’s Raiders of the Lost Ark perhaps needs no introduction, but a big screen opportunity to catch Harrison Ford as Indiana Jones is a welcome one. Of course, Nazi’s remain stubbornly prominent in society and there is some catharsis to be found in watching them take a punch in the nose.
Paul Thomas Anderson’s Magnolia rounds out the season on Sunday 1st September. The director of Boogie Nights, There Will be Blood and Phantom Thread, Anderson is one of the most recognisable new auteurs to have emerged in the lifetime of EMPIRE and Picturehouse. In weaving together multiple character threads – including a seldom-better Tom Cruise as a cultish, self-help guru, William H. Macy as a former child prodigy and Philip Seymour Hoffman as a nurse – towards grand, cosmic ends, Anderson may overreach, but Magnolia remains one of his most wildly ambitious works.