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 see this year. You have been told.
Mon 5 Dec to Thu 8 Dec various times at Lighthouse, Chubb Buildings, Wolverhampton WV1 1HT £8 light-house.co.uk/

An Englishman in New York (dir: Richard Laxton, 2009, cert 15)
John Hurt’s portrayal of one of the stately homos of England, Quentin Crisp, is a delight. Reprising the role that made him famous in The Naked Civil Servant in 1975, Hurt lends Crisp a vulnerability that the celebrated queen tried desperately to hide. More indulged than innovative Crisp cuts a lonely figure as he sashays from one drama to the next meeting several celebrities and artists along the way. His carefully contrived eccentricity masked a glut of insecurities and it is this personality vacuum that makes the film so fascinating. Screening as part of the Journey Film Club.
Tue 6 Dec 7.30pm at Birmingham LGBT Centre 38/40 Holloway Circus Birmingham B1 1EQ, FREE www.journeyfilmclub.co.uk/

Gremlins (dir: Joe Dante, 1984, 12A)
The picture postcard perfection of Kingston Falls, clearly a parody of It’s A Wonderful Life’s Bedford Falls, is usurped with gloriously violent abandon by hoards of killer gremlins. If only Billy had kept his Mogwai dry. Christmas will never be the same again as Stripe and his murderous gremlin pals go on a bloody rampage. Inventive and imaginative the film was widely criticised at the time for giving kids ideas. Mogwai in a microwave anyone? Our favourite kill is poor Mrs. Deagle, launched out of her house by a sabotaged stair lift. Great fun.
Fri 9 Dec 11.30pm  at Mockingbird, Custard factory, Gibb Street, Digbeth Birmingham B9 4AA £7 /ticketing.eu.veezi.com/

Paterson (dir: Jim Jarmusch, 2016, cert 15)
A week in the life of Paterson, a bus driver in the city that shares his name Paterson, New Jersey. A beautifully poignant film that finds incredible depth and resonance in the minutiae of the mundane. Paterson drives the same route each day, takes the dog out for a walk in the evening and stops at the same bar for a drink. All the time observing the people around him and writing poetry in his notebook. Adam Driver is great as the titular Paterson, possessing an air of unfussy curiosity as his poetic gaze peers into the lives of others. There is a beautiful symphony of meaning to be unwrapped in nothingness, you just need to know where to look. Jarmusch knows.
Fri 9 Dec to Wed 14 Dec various times at Electric, Station Street, Birmingham B5 4DY £8.70 www.theelectric.co.uk/

Top Five (dir: Chris Rock, 2014, cert 15) + Q&A
Art imitates life as Chris Rock’s character, stale comedian Andre Allen, looks to kick-start his career and be taken more seriously. Rock excels as the scatter gun energy of his stand up routines shines through in a film blessed with several laugh out loud moments.  The bloated belly of an  obsequiously dysfunctional Hollywood is pricked several times as Andre tries anything to promote his terrible new movie. There’s an almost documentary feel as the viewer spends a day in the troubled comic’s company trawling the streets of New York. Whip crack smart, knowing and intelligent. The screening features an introduction and Q&A  with Bob Sumner in conversation with comedian John Simmit.
Fri 9 Dec 8pm at mac, Cannon Hill Park, Birmingham B12 9QH £8 macbirmingham.co.uk/

Bad Santa + Bad Santa 2 (dir: Terry Zwigoff, 2003, cert 15) (dir: Mark Waters, 2016, cert 15)
If the whole Christmas spirit thing is just not for you then Billy Bob Thornton’s anti-social, alcoholic, anal sex loving Santa is the perfect antidote. A foul mouthed degenerate thief who with his dwarf sidekick robs department stores each yuletide season whilst posing as an instore Santa and elf. Hilariously gross but and be warned, if you really hate Christmas that much, the curmudgeonly seasonal misanthrope Willy Soke still manages to learn a valuable festive lesson from relentlessly cheery kid Therman Merman. Unfortunately the sequel is a shadow of the original but does feature a foul mouthed Kathy Bates as Willy’s mother.
Fri 9 Dec to Thu 15 Dec various times at Mockingbird, Custard factory, Gibb Street, Digbeth Birmingham B9 4AA various prices ticketing.eu.veezi.com/

The Lord Of The Rings trilogy (dir: Peter Jackson, 2001 – 2003, cert 12)
Hard to believe that it’s been over a decade since Peter Jackson’s monumentally epic telling of Tolkien’s enormous fantasy trilogy was released. For three years the films dominated cinema as they grew in splendour, technological marvel and critical acclaim with each new episode. Elijah Wood’s tortured and sad expression as he laboured through a myriad of trials with the devious Gollum at his side lingered long in the memory. The real star for us though was Andy Serkis’ Gollum. A perfect marriage of technology and acting that got better and better with each film. As part of their Cinematic Time Machine season the Electric is screening all three instalments and if you go to see all three you can get a reduction. We can’t think of any better excuse than to book a sofa for three nights.
The Fellowship of The Ring Fri 9 Dec 8.15pm at Electric, Station Street, Birmingham B5 4DY £8.70 www.theelectric.co.uk/
The Two Towers Sat 10 Dec 8.15pm at Electric, Station Street, Birmingham B5 4DY £8.70 www.theelectric.co.uk/
The Return of The King Sun 11 Dec 8.15pm at Electric, Station Street, Birmingham B5 4DY £8.70 www.theelectric.co.uk/

It’s A Wonderful Life (dir: Frank Capra, 1936, cert U)
In a delightfully festive touch from the Electric they will be screening the greatest feelgood Christmas movie ever made in ‘It’s A Wonderful Life’ right through to Christmas Eve. If you haven’t seen it, well firstly what’s wrong with you? Secondly, book tickets now. So heartbreaking and heartwarming in equal measure you really won’t know whether to laugh or cry and will probably end up doing both as James Stewart’s George Bailey learns just how different the world would be without him in it. We all see ourselves in George; the sacrifices we make, the choices taken away and the yearning for something better. That’s what gives the film its enduring appeal. Most answers are closer to home than you think. Despite the tears you will leave the theatre wearing the biggest smile ever. It is indeed a wonderful life.
Sat 10 Dec to Sat 24 Dec various times at Electric, Station Street, Birmingham B5 4DY £8.70 www.theelectric.co.uk/

Die Hard (dir: John McTiernan, 1988, cert 15)
Yippie-Ki-Yay MotherFucker! It’s Christmas and poor old John McClane (Bruce Willis) is in the wrong place at the wrong time. A scenario that continued to dog him through the years. This is the first and best in the series. A deliciously evil evil Alan Rickman as consummate bad guy Hans Gruber has his nefarious plans thwarted by the ever resourceful McClane at every step. For a film that contains 23 on screen deaths it is quite remarkably a Christmas classic. Hated by Roger Ebert but loved by us. It redefined the action genre and showed that even when up against an army of heavily armed goons a little homicidal macgyvering can go a long way. Great fun.
Sat 10 Dec 9.30pm at Mockingbird, Custard factory, Gibb Street, Digbeth Birmingham B9 4AA £7 ticketing.eu.veezi.com/

One More Time With Feeling (dir: Andrew Dominik, 2016, cert 15)
Conceived, in part, to spare Nick Cave having to talk with journalists about the death of his son, Dominik’s film documents the recording of Cave’s sixteenth album in the aftermath of the tragedy. Stark, compelling and beautiful, the pain of losing a child is an incomparable and viciously deadening level of emotional grief. It hangs heavy over the film as Cave struggles to finish his album the Skeleton Tree. There is a poignant moment when he comments. “We all hope for this dramatic event in our life that we can write about, but this trauma, it was very damaging to the creative process.” Raw and hypnotic.
Sun 11 Dec 6pm at Electric, Station Street, Birmingham B5 4DY £8.70 www.theelectric.co.uk/

There Will Be Blood (dir: Paul Thomas Anderson, 2007, cert 15)
Epic Oscar winning film making featuring a heavyweight performance from Daniel Day-Lewis and an incredible score from Jonny Greenwood. To describe Day-Lewis’ character Daniel Plainview as ruthless is rather like saying Hitler was a bit of a pest. Plainview is a relentless monster, with no moral compunction about destroying anybody in his way to achieve his ends. Day-Lewis rages across the screen in great tumultuous bouts of violence both verbal and physical and though his scenery chewing was not to everybody’s taste, with one critic describing his performance as industrial scale ham, that didn’t stop the Academy awarding him a best actor Oscar. Also picking up a deserved gong for best cinematography TWBB is a breathtaking piece of cinema. Imagine Citizen Kane with oil instead of newspapers and lashings of extreme violence and cruelty. Part of the Cinematic Time Machine season.
Sun 11 Dec 11am  at Electric, Station Street, Birmingham B5 4DY £8.70 www.theelectric.co.uk/

Mon 5 Dec - Sun 11 Dec
Giles Logan
Published on:
Sun 6 Nov 2016