Cult Screens Oxford - 2016

Once again, this Summer Oxonians can enjoy 2k HD projection of cult and classic films at four location in Oxford: the Old Prison Exercise Yard, St Hugh's College and the Pitt Rivers. Relax in bean bags with blankets, and enjoy drinks and popcorn!
Cult Screens - Oxford

Reviews

Dan Hall - Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman attempt to amount to a hill of beans in a crazy world.
Cult Screens marries the marvels of Hollywood with the beauty of Oxford's older spaces, taking its peripatetic silver screen to some of the city's most spectacular spots: this year at Oxford Castle, ...

Reviews

Brill - J.J. Abrams' epic Episode VII.
It should have been a musical!Disney have attempted to recreate the success of the original trilogy. They've surely done this financially, but they have not succeeded at all in any other way. They ...

September 19, 2016
An evening of lively, sing along entertainment that I would definitely recommend!

Having requested tickets for this event a few months ago as soon as I saw them being advertised, when it finally rolled around, I found myself full of anticipation and excitement. Grease is one of my favourite sing-along films, and I couldn't wait to experience it in the outdoor cinema, presented by Cult Screens. A real classic, as I'm sure you know, the film takes place at Rydell High school during the 1950s, exploring the antics and love lives of a group of students about to graduate. Upon arriving and seeing the large selection of deckchairs and beanbags in front of me, all facing an even bigger, inflatable projection screen, I wondered exactly how this was going to be done. The normal setting of a cinema had been replicated in Oxford Castle's prison exercise yard, with the array of seating giving a casual, relaxed atmosphere. My friend and I were seated in some deckchairs having arrived early to secure a pair of good seats; I instantly felt like I was part of a large group of sunbathers as everyone began to gradually filter in and occupy the sold out space.

When it was time for the film to start, after listening to some brilliant disco classics and remixes at the bar (situated behind the audience where a variety of snacks and drink were available), I was comfortably ready and excited for the evening ahead. The film screening was at 8:30pm, and, having only just realised this on the night, I started looking around and noticing how prepared other audience members had been! With people unrolling their blankets and bringing bottles of wine or hot drinks out of their bags, I felt a little understocked with my measly pack of Magic Stars and coat to keep me warm. One suggestion; for these outdoor screenings, especially now the summer is ending, definitely bring a blanket or other warm clothing with you!

The cool air was soon forgotten about when the film started. The idea of these screenings is to put on a pair of headphones (which are comfortable and very easy to work) and listen to the film that way, rather than through a speaker. I enjoyed this concept immensely, and was even more pleased to see that Cult Screens were prepared for its enthusiastic audience by showing the 'sing-along' version of the film, complete with karaoke-style lyrics for us to follow. Something that really stuck out to me was the moments in which I removed my headphones, either to go to the portaloos round the corner, or take in the atmosphere of the crowd. I have to say, it was quite a surreal experience, sitting in my deckchair while listening to about a hundred people singing 'Greased Lightnin'', without the headphones providing the original vocals. On several occasions I noticed audience members rising out of their seats to dance in the aisles of the prison yard, everyone singing enthusiastically, quoting famous lines of the script, and applauding themselves at the end of each number!

Overall, it was a thoroughly enjoyable experience watching a cult classic in the outdoor setting, particularly with so many people who know and love the film as much as I do. I would definitely look out for another one of these screenings if Cult Screens comes to Oxford again, particularly if there is the opportunity to sing!

July 11, 2016
Groundhog Day Revisited

My Insight Guide Oxford says of St Hugh's College:

The college grounds are said to be quite pleasant, but no one except St Hugh's students have actually seen them.

This facetious claim was shattered on Friday night, courtesy of Cult Screens, as c. 75 cinema-goers walked boldly in on a thankfully dry evening through the gates on St Margaret's Rd to watch the modern classic Groundhog Day on the big screen. The gardens are well up to Oxford college scratch, consisting of a wide green sward edged by lime trees, Scots pine, a bamboo grove and magnolias. Cult Screens prefer their film events to be all-seating, and here the choice lay between stripy deckchairs (£14.50), red or blue beanbags (£32 for a double, inc. blanket hire, £16.50/£14.50 concession for a single) or floor cushions(£12/£9.50 concession). No food or drink can be brought in, and two vans serve street food and a limited bar selection. The caterers were majoring in frankfurters in various guises - 'The Bomb' - Angus beef with chilli, pickles, mustard etc (£8), 'Pulled Pooch' - pulled pork with relish (£7), 'Naked Dog' - frankfurter and chips (£5) and the like.

Who dreams up these names? Is it some marketing drone in an arid office in Milton Keynes, or a whacky New Ager in the mud at Glastonbury? A can of beer is yours for £4, and a 'two pint pitcher' cocktail - including Pimms, Long Island Ice Tea, Mojito and a choice of film themed cocktails (£14). So it's not a cheap evening to watch a film available, as I type, as a 2nd hand DVD on Amazon for £1.63 inc. p&p. But of course the comparison's a specious one. How can chalk be rated with cheese?

And the film? This is simply a gem of intelligent film making - and how often can that be said of modern comedy? The idea of a man trapped in a timewarp, a day repeating itself endlessly for him alone while others remain unaware is hardly new - there's among others Repeat Performance from 1947, a decent film noir on the theme. Bill Murray's TV weatherman, from the beginning a selfish, thoughtless egotist, is assailed by cynicism, doubt and crushing despair for the future until, as Sonny and Cher fill the 6am airwaves for the 10th time, he begins to do a rare thing, one wholly alien to his nature. Having at first revelled in absolute freedom, then regarded his predicament as a ball and chain, he begins to learn and to change. For the first time he tries to see himself as others see him. Not liking the mirror image, he determines to act, slowly but with purpose. The situations are worked out with comic flair, the sharp editing dwells for just the right length of time on any one day, and the character development is made with a lack of sentimentality - remarkable in a Hollywood film. Bill Murray's perfect as a sour curmudgeon becoming human at last.

Earlier, the welcoming Event Manager Kieron had explained to me something of the logistics of the operation (Cult Screens is based in Reading), and as the horizon in the west turned from pink to pale orange, the evening star appeared above us and the Columbia Pictures logo in front of us, all thoughts were easily turned to the sensory pleasure to come.

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