Prevenge (dir: Alice Lowe, 2016, cert 15)
For her debut feature Alice Lowe returns to the familiar territory of Ben Wheatley’s Sightseers, the hilariously pitch black comedy of caravaning and killing she co wrote with Steve Oram. In Prevenge a heavily pregnant Ruth, played by Lowe herself, goes on a rampaging spree of murderous violence guided by the unborn foetus inside her. The humour is so sludge thick black that you may possibly feel guilty for laughing and throughout there is a nagging dread at just what is going to happen come birth time. Not for the faint hearted but a homicidal joy for the rest of us.
Mon 20 Feb 8.30pm & Tue 21 Feb 2.15pm at Lighthouse, The Chubb Buildings, Fryer Street, Wolverhampton, WV1 1HT £8.15 light-house.co.uk
Arrival (dir: Denis Villeneuve, 2016, cert 12A)
That rarest of things a grown up sci-fi film that nurtures and encourages thought and imagination, with a compelling narrative and intelligently implemented CGI effects. In short, a film that respects its audience. What if the future of humanity rested on the interpretation of a word or phrase? A fascinating examination of language, speech and ideas. Amy Adams is exceptional as linguist Louise Banks and her non-nomination for an Academy Award is astonishing. Be warned your head, mind and probably whole consciousness may be spinning by the end.
Mon 20 Feb to Tue 21 Feb various times at Mockingbird, The Custard Factory, Gibb St, Birmingham B9 4AA £6.95 to £9.50 ticketing.eu.veezi.com
Fri 24 Feb 9pm at Electric, Station Street, Birmingham B5 4DY £9.50 www.theelectric.co.uk
La La Land (dir: Damien Chazelle, 2016, cert 12A)
A film that’s probably going to clean up at the Oscars, this throwback to the heady days of the musical and its uplifting reanimation of what had cheerily been described as an ‘extinct genre’ in some quarters, is an unexpectedly thrilling delight. The world definitely needs more free form jazz musicals and more films featuring Ryan Gosling tap dancing for that matter. The saccharine overload might not be to everyone’s taste and the opening show tune is a bit cringe, but just let yourselves go and enjoy the dizzying thrill of blossoming love. You won’t regret it.
Mon 20 Feb to Thu 23 Feb at Everyman, The Mailbox, Birmingham B1 1RF £13.30 www.everymancinema.com
Fri 24 Feb & Sun 26 Feb various times at Mockingbird, The Custard Factory, Gibb St, Birmingham B9 4AA £6.95 to £9.50 ticketing.eu.veezi.com
Sat 25 Feb 5pm at mac, Cannon Hill Park, Birmingham B12 9QH £8 macbirmingham.co.uk
Sat 25 Feb 3.05pm at Lighthouse, The Chubb Buildings, Fryer Street, Wolverhampton, WV1 1HT £8.15 light-house.co.uk
Life Animated (dir: Roger Ross Williams, 2016, cert PG)
There have been many films about autism but rarely have they taken the viewer inside the closed off world of the sufferer with such imaginatively empathetic panache as Life Animated. The incredible story of Owen Suskind who, at aged three, shut down, stopped talking and became a prisoner of autism. Remarkably Owen found a way to reconnect with his family and the outside world using Disney films. The film beautifully mixes scenes from Owen’s life and Disney animation to recreate the emotional highs and lows accompanying a life with autism. Set the feelgood factor to ten. Possibly the most heart warming film you will see this year.
Mon 20 Feb to Thu 23 Feb at Lighthouse, The Chubb Buildings, Fryer Street, Wolverhampton, WV1 1HT £8.15 light-house.co.uk
Manchester By The Sea (dir: Kenneth Lonergan, 2017, cert 15)
It’s only January and we may have already seen the best movie of 2017. Kenneth Lonergan’s sharp study of loss and raging helplessness is an emotionally raw examination of the unsettlingly internal trauma of grief. Casey Affleck is astonishing and, most importantly, believable as a host of real world problems begin to crush the life of his character Lee. It’s a reality that the audience knows only too well and it’s this choking resonance that lends the film such awful power. Human experience laid bare. Beautifully scored, shot, acted and directed. In short, a masterpiece.
Tue 21 Feb 11.30am & Fri 24 Feb 12pm at Electric, Station Street, Birmingham B5 4DY £9.50 www.theelectric.co.uk
Wed 22 Feb to Fri 24 Feb various times at at Mockingbird, The Custard Factory, Gibb St, Birmingham B9 4AA £6.95 to £9.50 ticketing.eu.veezi.com
To Wong Foo, Thanks for Everything! Julie Newmar (dir: Beeban Kidron, 1995, cert 15)
Apart from possibly possessing the clunkiest film title ever conceived To Wong Foo, is actually a great fun road movie. Three New York drag queens played deliciously by Patrick Swayze, Wesley Snipes and John Leguizamo are off to Hollywood to take part in the “Miss Drag Queen of America Pageant” and of course get involved in several comedy scrapes. With more cameos than you could shake a padded bra at, our favourite being Quentin Crisp as a pageant judge, To Wong Fo is a scream.
Tue 21 Feb 7.30pm at Journey Film Club, Birmingham LGBT, 38/40 Holloway Circus, B1 1EQ Free www.journeyfilmclub.co.uk
Metropolis (dir: Fritz Lang, 1926, cert PG) Cinematic Time Machine
Visual spectacles don't come any grander than Fritz Lang's outstanding expressionist sci-fi epic, Metropolis. The pioneering special effects are still dazzling a century later and some of the dramatic set pieces are dizzyingly hypnotic in their genius execution. For many years shown in truncated forms this is the essential full length version. Interestingly Metropolis was partly disavowed by Lang due to the Nazi Party's love of the film, Goebbels was a big fan. A key piece of cinematic history.
Tue 21 Feb 8.30pm at Electric, Station Street, Birmingham B5 4DY £9.50 www.theelectric.co.uk
The Killing of Sister George (dir: Robert Aldrich, 1968, cert 18) + Q&A LGBT and SHOUT Festival
Beryl Reid has never been better than as the disintegrating June "George" Buckridge in Robert Aldrich's dark adaptation of Frank Marcus' stage play. The film sensationalised lesbianism and ignored any of the nuance present in the original play in which Reid also played the leading role. It is still a fascinating glimpse into contemporary attitudes towards lesbianism. The screening will be followed by a panel discussion and Q&A. "Mooo".
Thu 23 Feb 7pm at mac, Cannon Hill Park, Birmingham B12 9QH Free macbirmingham.co.uk
The Happening (dir: M. Night Shyamalan, 2008, cert 18) Trash Film Night
The trash film night boys Luke and David are back pour live scorn all over another cinematic aberration. This time the claws are out for tiresome 'twist' director Shyamalan's mother nature takes revenge non-epic. You know the drill. No reserved seating, lots of noise and the zen like sense of satisfaction that comes from the collective derision of the idiotic. Remember the plants are your enemy. "Mother of God, what kind of terrorists are these?"
Thu 23 Feb 8.30pm at Electric, Station Street, Birmingham B5 4DY £7 www.theelectric.co.uk
Toni Erdmann (dir: Maren Ade, 2017, cert 15)
An utterly bizarre, hilarious and completely engaging near three hour romp through the tragedy and awkwardness of family dynamics. Peter Simonischek is the incorrigibly wacky and possibly cringe inducing Winfried Conradi, who decides that adopting the persona of Toni Erdmann and visiting his daughter is just what she needs in what he perceives is her unhappy life. A Riotously funny spectacle that skillfully manipulates perspective and agenda. This is a man going through a breakdown and it can at times feel uncomfortable. Despite the length it never lags and you will laugh throughout, you may even cry. There is the usual talk of a Hollywood remake but why bother when the original is so good?
Fri 24 Feb to Thu 2 Mar at mac, Cannon Hill Park, Birmingham B12 9QH £8 macbirmingham.co.uk
I, Daniel Blake (dir: Ken Loach, 2016, cert 15)
Loach is angry and so will you be after viewing the tribulations of the titular Daniel as he strives to negotiate the bureaucratic behemoth of state welfare. No sitting on the fence here and the message is certainly hammered home but when the rhetoric of the right
wing press is likewise hammered into popular consciousness maybe it’s the only way. An important antidote to the vile class stereotyping so beloved of the Daily Mail and its ilk and the most relevant film you will have seen in the last 12 months. You have been told.
Fri 24 Feb 8.45pm at mac, Cannon Hill Park, Birmingham B12 9QH £8 macbirmingham.co.uk
Moonlight (dir: Barry Jenkins, 2017, cert 15)
A heavyweight Oscar contender with 8 nominations, Barry Jenkins universally acclaimed drama is a powerhouse film of identity and sexuality that resonates with a heavy piquancy in these intolerant times. The ensemble cast is nothing short of astonishing with Trevante Rhodes’ performance as a gay black man adrift in an unaccepting culture being the highlight. The film swerves the sickly sentimentality that could dull its power and instead focuses unerringly on the fraught and fragile existence that living a lie begets. Moonlight is only Jenkins’ second feature and his first in 8 years, he is an exceptional and challenging talent. Moving and essential cinema.
Fri 24 Feb to Thu 2 Mar at Electric, Station Street, Birmingham B5 4DY £9.50 www.theelectric.co.uk
The Naked Civil Servant (dir: Jack Gold, 1975, cert 15) Birmingham LGBT History Festival
One of the recently departed John Hurt's most iconic roles as the flamboyant and enigmatic Quentin Crisp. The film made stars of both of them with Crisp becoming a much in demand personality and writer from its success. It's depiction of an unapologetically and colourful gay personality was at odds with an establishment and society still entrenched in repressive thinking. Crisp polarised opinion and there will be an introductory talk before the film exploring his life and legacy.
Sun 26 Feb 6pm at mac, Cannon Hill Park, Birmingham B12 9QH £8 macbirmingham.co.uk
Duck Soup (dir: Leo McCarey, 1933, cert U) Cinematic Time Machine
It's obvious that all any small bankrupt tin pot nation requires to succeed again is to put Rufus T. Firefly (Groucho Marx) in charge. What could possibly go wrong? The gags come at breakneck speed in what is not only the funniest Marx Brothers film but one of the funniest films ever made. Beneath the hilarity there is a nuanced weariness at a world racing from one world war to the next. "Remember, you're fighting for this woman's honor - which is probably more than she ever did." So full of Groucho zingers repeated viewings are necessary to catch them all.
Sun 26 Feb 3pm at Electric, Station Street, Birmingham B5 4DY £9.50 www.theelectric.co.uk