7:00 PM, 1st June, 2013
The Host marks the second coming of ‘she who inflicted “Twilight” on the world’ Stephenie Meyer. The world has been taken over by parasitic aliens, who take over human bodies, erasing the original occupants. They make themselves easy to spot by changing the eyes of the human to be bright shiny blue (perhaps the alien equivalent of a sparkly vampire?).
Melanie Stryder (Ronan) has had one of these aliens injected into her body. This alien calls herself Wanda. Melanie remains partially conscious despite her infestation and the two develop a connection. Instead of carrying out her race’s mission of taking over the Earth, Wanda forms a bond with her host and sets out to aid other free humans. In doing so she must avoid and outsmart ‘The Seeker’ (Kruger), who placed Wanda in Melanie in the first place to find out what useful knowledge Melanie possessed.
Aimed squarely at the already-won-over Twilight fanbase, your decision is probably already made on this one – fans of Meyer will flock in, everyone else can have an evening at home with a copy of Invasion of the Body Snatchers (either 1956 or 1978 will work nicely) on DVD instead.
9:20 PM, 1st June, 2013
Gorgeous 17th-Century witch Jennifer, mightily peeved at having been burned at the stake by the bigwig Puritan Jonathan Wooley (March), places a curse on his family: he and every future Wooley son will find themselves compelled to marry the least pleasant, most unsuitable brides available to them. Fast forward to the present day (1942) and the latest in a long line of Wooleys (all of them also played by March), Wallace Wooley (March again) is due to get married, cement his political career, and ruin his life. Then lightning strikes – literally – and Jennifer’s spirit is released from its terrestrial prison and allowed to take corporeal form once again. Since this corporeal form is that of the suitably bewitching Veronica Lake, we know that she can’t be all bad – well, not deep down – well, not deep, deep down; and although she starts off wanting to torment Wallace even more mercilessly than ever, we know where the plot is going. (There’s that subtle hint in the title, for one thing.)
Renowned as a director of silent and early sound comedies in France, René Clair made four films in Hollywood during World War II (one was And Then There Were None, screened here last year), and was almost unique among European directors of the era in being able to say that each time he managed to make the film he wanted. On this occasion it’s a light, tasty pastry of a movie; even the witch trials of Salem are a pleasant fairground attraction.