Tickled (dir: Dylan Reeve & David Farrier, 2016, cert 15)
The mysterious world of online endurance tickling competitions is unearthed almost accidentally by journalist David Farrier and what begins as a whimsical examination into an eccentric subculture quickly degenerates into something far more sinister. The deeper Farrier’s investigation into the fetish goes the more hostile the response of those attempting to control it becomes. An absolutely fascinating documentary filmed with a delicate touch that never ridicules its participants, a trap into which lesser filmmakers would surely have fallen. ‘It’s not what you think’.
Wed 19 Oct 6pm at mac, Cannon Hill Park, Birmingham B12 9QH £8 macbirmingham.co.uk/
The Man Who Fell to Earth (dir: Nicolas Roeg, 1976, cert 18)
Never was a role more fitting for the actor playing it than David Bowie’s portrayal of alien humanoid Thomas Jerome Newton. Bowie’s androgynous other worldliness lends a quiet authenticity to the vulnerable timidity of the titular alien. Roeg’s film is beautifully rendered in an almost dreamy and seductive manner. Sedate pacing belies a simmering paranoia and even after several viewings it’s possible to discover things anew. It’s relentlessly downbeat nature may not be to everyone’s taste but we think it’s an absolute classic. Praise the mac folks, this is the newly restored 4k version.
Thu 20 Oct 8.15pm at mac, Cannon Hill Park, Birmingham B12 9QH £8 macbirmingham.co.uk/
Hell or High Water (dir: David Mackenzie, 2016, cert 15)
A gloriously rollicking throwback to the big budget muscle cinema of the seventies. Think Hackman, Eastwood, Marvin and Mitchum to name a few. The Howard boys, played with a proper Western swagger by Chris Pine and Ben Foster, wreak havoc across Texas on a thrilling bank robbing spree. Jeff Bridges is the dogged Texas Ranger Marcus Hamilton out to stop them. Beautifully shot in New Mexico lending an authentic ‘Western’ feel to the action. With a pitch perfect Nick Cave and Warren Ellis score married to some cracking dialogue Hell or High water is that rare breed a contemporary Hollywood release worth seeing.
Mon 17 Oct to Thu 20 Oct various times at mac, Cannon Hill Park, Birmingham B12 9QH £8 macbirmingham.co.uk/
I, Daniel Blake (dir: Ken Loach, 2016, cert 15)
It seems an age since Ken Loach picked up the Palme D’or at Cannes for I, Daniel Blake and it has rarely been out of the headlines since, well now you can see this timely polemic on the benefits system for yourselves. 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 see this year. You have been told.
Fri 21 Oct to Thu 27 Oct various times at Electric, Station Street, Birmingham B5 4DY £8.70 www.theelectric.co.uk/
My Scientology Movie + Q&A (dir: John Dower, 2016, cert 15)
Louis Theroux’s disarming, almost bumbling charm, has always disguised a razer sharp investigative mind and unlocked access into some of the world’s weirdest places. Well now, in his first big screen documentary, he focuses that finally honed wit on the rapacious cult of Scientology. The paranoid church, and its celebrity worshippers of the galactic overlord Xenu, have rarely been forthcoming regarding their religion. Well no matter, because Theroux subverts this masterfully and brings the aggressive lenses of the Scientology cult to him in a curious cat and mouse film off. If you’re an OT-III level operating Thetan then you probably won’t like this film. For the rest of us it shines a light on the dark insanity of a powerful cult.
Sat 22 Oct 2pm + Sun 23 Oct 6pm at Electric, Station Street, Birmingham B5 4DY £8.70 www.theelectric.co.uk/ (Please note the Saturday screening is followed by a recording of the recent satellite Q&A with Louis and broadcast from the Royal Festival Hall)
Life Is Beautiful (dir: Roberto Benigni, 1997, cert PG)
Benigni directs and stars in this sweetly tragic World War II tale of a father protecting his son from the horrors of the concentration camp into which they have both been sent. It is a marvel that Benigni manages to create humour in such an extreme and violent setting and while some viewers may find his sometimes hyper histrionics a little off putting we challenge anyone to not be moved by the camp’s final scene.
Sat 22 Oct 12.15pm at Electric, Station Street, Birmingham B5 4DY £8.70 www.theelectric.co.uk/
All About My Mother (dir: Pedro Almodovar, 1999, cert 15)
Winner of an Oscar for best foreign language film Almodovar’s exposition on maternal identity is a darkly witty and moving melodrama. The director has a subtle knack of taking the bizarre, unreal and downright strange and lending it an almost ‘normal’ credibility in a relate-able sense for the audience. So it is that we follow Manuella, played with a grudging stoicism by Cecilia Roth, as she tracks down her dead son’s father though encounters with a series of bizarre characters. In the wrong hands this could descend into a banal campy freakshow and fundamentally change the tone of the film, Almodovar weaves these characters expertly into his uniquely bright and luminescent landscapes. Classic cinema.
Sun 23 Oct 12.30pm at Electric, Station Street, Birmingham B5 4DY £8.70 www.theelectric.co.uk/
Under The Shadow (dir: Babak Anvari, 2016, cert 15)
An Iranian made Farsi language feminist horror may not have been on many people’s movie wish lists but that will certainly change now. Anvari’s debut feature is a slow burning thriller exploring the isolation of a mother and daughter trapped indoors by the incessant shelling of the Iran-Iraq war of the eighties and the growing sense that they may not be alone. Subtly oppressive and guaranteed to give you the creeps.
Fri 21 Oct to Thu 27 Oct various times at Lighthouse, Chubb Buildings, Fryer Street, Wolverhampton WV1 1HT £8 light-house.co.uk/
Another busy week for Birmingham cinema in addition to our recommendations which is great news for us. The Mockingbird is screening the hilarious Gene Wilder and Richard Pryor prison film Stir Crazy as well as a marathon screening of The Dark Knight trilogy. The Electric has a one off Saturday showing of the grubby serial killer known as The Greasy Strangler and a repeat screening of the Gallagher boys documentary Supersonic complete with Noel Q&A. The mac has stylish French sex noir The Blue Room and the charming World Cup tale Africa United.
Published on: Sat 1 Oct 2016