Weiner (dir: Josh Kriegman, Elyse Steinberg, 2016, cert 15)
The perfect subject for a fly on the wall documentary would be a self aggrandizing sociopathic train wreck with lofty political ambitions and in Anthony Weiner, Kriegman and Steinberg have hit the mother lode. Weiner’s laughable attempt to run for New York mayor in 2013 is captured in all its disastrous glory as it lurches from one crisis to another. Harbouring a seemingly uncontrollable penchant for texting pictures of his genitalia to the opposite sex, his king sized rapacious ego is a rare thing to behold. By turns hilarious and tragic, the pain of Weiner’s wife Huma is palpable and heart breaking, as her attempts to stand by her errant hubby become ever more desperate. Awkward viewing.
Tue 16 Aug to Wed 17 Aug various times at mac, Cannon Hill Park, Birmingham B12 9QH £8 macbirmingham.co.uk/
We Are Many + Q&A (dir: Amir Amirani, 2014, cert 12A)
In February 2003, with war in Iraq imminent, a million people took to the streets of London in the biggest march this country had ever seen. The demonstration was part of a coordinated world wide protest that saw some 30 million people marching against the war in 800 cities. Amirani’s film explores what it calls the new grass roots activism that grew from the protests. Interviewing protagonists along with world figures such as Hans Blix, Ken Loach and Noam Chomsky and filmed over an incredible 9 years, We Are Many is some achievement. Whilst there is no denying the spine tingling power of seeing a million people taking to the streets, one is left to ruminate on the uncomfortable fact that the march ultimately changed nothing. The Q&A should be fascinating.
Thu 18 Aug 7pm at mac, Cannon Hill Park, Birmingham B12 9QH macbirmingham.co.uk/
Barry Lyndon (dir: Stanley Kubrick, 1975, cert 12A)
One of the greatest films ever made, period. Kubrick’s epic adaptation of Thackeray’s novel may come in at a bum numbing 199 minutes but not one second is wasted and you wont want it to end. A visual feast, it’s rather like falling into a Gainsborough landscape and being consumed by the intense beauty within. Cinematographer John Alcott’s divine work is one of the wonders of modern cinema and for which he won an Oscar. Magisterial and opulent, Stanley Kubrick is an absolute genius filmmaker, if you have even the slightest interest in the art and history of cinema then you need the memory of this film swimming in your brain. Fri 19 Aug 8.10pm at mac, Cannon Hill Park, Birmingham B12 9QH macbirmingham.co.uk/
Sun 21 Aug 1.30pm at The Electric Cinema, Station Street, Birmingham B5 4DY £10.50 www.theelectric.co.uk/
Wiener-Dog (dir: Todd Solondz, 2016, cert 15)
Now if you haven’t seen a Todd Solondz film before you really do need to pull your eyeballs out of their comatose state but also please set your awkwardometers to painful. Poking his lenses into the darkness of human behaviour, his is a peculiar ouevre filled with unsettling behaviour and gentle black humour. It takes a special kind of filmmaker to get laughs from rape, paedophilia, suicide and murder as he did in ‘Happiness’ (1998) but then still leave an audience moved. Wiener-Dog follows similar themes of helpless futility as the titular creature goes from home to home. Solondz’ funniest film to date but you may question just who is laughing at who.
Mon 15 Aug to Thu 18 Aug at The Electric Cinema, Station Street, Birmingham B5 4DY £10.50 www.theelectric.co.uk/
The Neon Demon (dir: Nicolas Winding Refn, 2016, cert 18)
Refn’s films have a reputation for testing extremes and The Neon Demon is no different. Evincing boos at The Cannes Film Festival from horrified critics Refn’s latest is a blood drenched fairy tale laced with depravity. The violence is gratuitous, shocking and great fun. This is what you get when a director’s favourite film is The Texas Chainsaw Massacre and his biggest influence is Alejandro Jodorowsky. If you can handle mature themes you’ll have a blast otherwise don’t bother.
Mon 15 Aug and Thu 18 Aug various times at The Electric Cinema, Station Street, Birmingham B5 4DY £10.50 www.theelectric.co.uk/
Transformers The Movie (dir: Nelson Shin, 1986, cert PG)
Mark Kermode summed up the contemporary breed of Transformers movies perfectly in this video review of himself banging his head against a wall. Can I use this preview to state that Michael Bay is the most talent-less director of special effects porn that ever lived and the fact that the suits of Hollywood pour billions of dollars into the blackly creative charnel that is his imagination is proof of the redundancy of blockbuster cinema. Oops I just did! Anyway, the harmless and badly animated 1986 version is refreshingly innocent and comes armed with a heavy duty voice cast that includes Orson Welles in his last film role. Robotic nostalgia overdose!
Fri 19 Aug and Sun 21 Aug various times at The Electric Cinema, Station Street, Birmingham B5 4DY £10.50 www.theelectric.co.uk/
Hellraiser (dir: Clive Barker, 1987, cert 18)
The greatest English horror writer Clive Barker, whose three volume ‘Books of Blood’ revolutionized horror fiction and messed with our minds sparking ‘The Hellbound Heart’ novella upon which Hellraiser is based. Hated by Roger Ebert who stated it had a ‘bankruptcy of imagination’ it has the twisted vision of Barker’s cruel fiction coursing through it. Bloodier than a thousand abattoirs the relentless murdering veers from slapstick to horrifying as The Cenobites exact their bloody will. A unique and violent experience. It will tear your soul apart. Oh it’s also free!
Tue 16 Aug 8pm at The Mockingbird, Custard Factory, Digbeth, Birmimngham B9 4AA Free www.facebook.com/
Heathers (dir: Michael Lehmann, 1988, cert 18)
Homicidal high school shenanigans as Winona Ryder and Christian Slater fire up a storm of revenge and score settling in Michael Lehmann’s mean and moody black comedy. Rife with a razer sharp wit that manages to garner laughs from suicide and homosexuality, Heathers is a relentlessly satisfying walk on the wild side. Westerburg High School is not a good place to be a jock or cheerleader, the teenage suicide capital of America. As the tag line goes, ‘best friends, social trends and occasional murder.’ Thu 18 Aug 8pm at The Mockingbird, Custard Factory, Digbeth, Birmimngham B9 4AA £5 www.facebook.com/
An American Werewolf in London (dir: John Landis, 1981, cert 15)
The great John Landis was at the top of his game in the early 80s producing such classics as ‘The Blues Brothers’ and ‘Trading Places’. In An American Werewolf in London he created not only an uproarious black comedy but a ground breaking genre film that has pretty much set the benchmark for others to follow. The astonishing special effects of Rick Baker still look jaw droppingly good after 35 years; David Naughton’s transformation into the titular beast is one of the cinema’s, not just horror’s, most electrifying sequences. We also have to admit a rather huge schoolboy crush on Jenny Agutter. Travelers! Top tips for the Yorkshire Moors! Stay out of The Slaughtered Lamb public house, stick to the roads and beware the full moon!
Sat 20 Aug 8pm at The Mockingbird, Custard Factory, Digbeth, Birmimngham B9 4AA £5 www.facebook.com/
Chevalier (dir: Athina Rachel Tsangari, 2016, cert 18)
A wonderful and increasingly stark Greek comedy as machismo and the lengths to which men will go to prove their own is tested to the extreme. As the gloves come off so does the veneer of social respectability that insulates people from their peers. Six well-heeled men on a fishing trip begin to implode, hilariously we might add, as the scores on each others various qualities which they note down eagerly to decide who is “the best in general” take a sinister turn. The absurdist tale of ridiculous preening men striving for superiority is the perfect antidote to the recent slew of buddy bromance movies. “Your syntax is shit. And your penis is very, very small.” Indeed!
Mon 15 Aug to Thu 18 Aug various times at The Lighthouse, Chubb Buildings, Wolverhampton WV1 1HT £7.90 light-house.co.uk/
In another busy week for Birmingham cinema, there are several further notable films. The Electric is doing its best impersonation of a multiplex gone mad for the week screening several films across its two screens. Eighties coming of age girly classic Dirty Dancing (Sat 20 Aug), relive an entirely age appropriate Patrick Swayze sweeping baby off her feet and keeping her out of the corner. Great Scott! Back to the Future II (Sun 21 Aug) and the gentle and engaging comedy of Bill Forsyth’s Local Hero (Sun 21 Aug). There is also a special screening of Pedro Almodovar’s new film Julieta (Sun 21 Aug). The mac will be screening the David Bowie Is (Tue 16 Aug) documentary, the turbulent and beautifully shot French feminist drama Summertime (Mon 15 Aug and Tue 16 Aug) and Danish political drama The Commune (Sun 21 Aug).
The wonderful Sundown cinema season continues outside at the mac with Mad Max read our preview here
Published on: Mon 15 Aug 2016