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 9 Jan & Tue 10 Jan 2pm at the mac, Cannon Hill Park, Birmingham B12 9QH £8 macbirmingham.co.uk/ Mon 9 Jan to Thu 12 various times at Mockingbird, The Custard Factory, B9 4AA Birmingham www.mockingbirdcinema.com
Silence (dir: Martin Scorsese, 2016, cert 15)
A new Scorsese film is always cause for celebration, but when it’s a three hour biblical epic based on one of the greatest and most thoughtful books of the twentieth century it’s time to really stand up and take notice. The book in question; Silence, written by Shūsaku Endō, has been adapted for the screen before by Masahiro Shinoda in 1971 and we humbly suggest you seek this incredible work out too. Scorsese’s vision is a technological masterpiece of sumptuous cinema but it can at times feel as if the audience have been forgotten and it certainly drags in places. However, the almost Kurtzian quest to find Liam Neeson’s apostate priest Ferreira is a beguiling spectacle that will live long in the memory. Be warned, there is some excruciating on screen violence.
Mon 9 Jan to Thu 12 Jan various times at Electric, Station Street, Birmingham B5 4DY £8.70 www.theelectric.co.uk/ Fri 13 Jan to Thu 19 Jan various times at Lighthouse, Chubb Buildings, Fryer Street, Wolverhampton WV1 1HT £8 light-house.co.uk/
Chi-Raq (dir: Spike Lee, 2016, cert PG)
Spike Lee returns to blistering form with the incendiary Chi-Raq (an amalgamation of Chicago and Iraq) based on Aristophanes’ ancient Greek comedy Lysistrata in which women withhold sex from their husbands as punishment for fighting in the Peloponnesian War. In Spike’s joint an astonishing Teyonah Parris is seventies Pam Grier attitude and sixties firebrand Angela Davies’ politics clenched into a coruscating 21st century feminist fist. The setting is Chicago’s Southside where relentless gang shootings have led to the death of a child. Parris’ Lysistrata leads the sexual shutdown until the violence stops. Lyrical and visual dynamite. No peace no piece.
Tue 10 Jan 5.30pm & Thu 12 Jan 8.15pm at the mac, Cannon Hill Park, Birmingham B12 9QH £8 macbirmingham.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.
Thu 12 Jan to Thu 26 Jan at Electric, Station Street, Birmingham B5 4DY £8.70 www.theelectric.co.uk/ Fri 13 Jan to Thu 19 Jan various times at Lighthouse, Chubb Buildings, Fryer Street, Wolverhampton WV1 1HT £8 light-house.co.uk/ Thu 12 Jan to Sun 15 Jan various times at Mailbox 116 The Mailbox, Birmingham B1 1RF £13.30 www.everymancinema.com
Grey Gardens (dir: Albert and David Maysles, 1975, cert PG) LGBT Film Appreciation Evening
Ground breaking documentarian’s the Maysles brother’s point their camera into the sweetly eccentric world of ‘Big Edie’ and ‘Little Edie’ Bouvier Beale’s grandiose squalor and find two of cinema’s most engaging real life characters. Living in a time warp grounded in the glories of forty years previously the aunt and first cousin of Jackie Kennedy potter about their dilapidated ruinous home as if the world has stood still for four decades. Camp darlings recalling Bette Davies and Joan Crawford’s relentless bitchery in ‘Whatever Happened to baby Jane?’ The screening will be introduced by Jose Arroyo, Principal Teaching Fellow in Film Studies at the University of Warwick, and followed by an informal discussion of the film.
Fri 13 Jan 6.30pm at Birmingham LGBT Centre 38/40 Holloway Circus Birmingham B1 1EQ Free lgbt-film-appreciation-
P Cafe’s Film Night: Take 1
The first event in what the P Cafe hope will be a series showcasing the most interesting short films produced by local film makers. All levels of experience are welcome and there is no restriction on genre, style and content. Amongst the artists exhibiting films are Brendan O Neill, Stirchley Baths and Vafa Motamedi. Three hours of compelling short films with great company for nothing. Sounds like a good deal to us. See you there.
Fri 13 Jan 6pm at P Cafe, 1464 Pershore Road, Stirchley B30 2NT Free www.facebook.com
Rebecca (dir: Alfred Hitchcock, 1940, cert PG) + The inaugural B-Film Annual Lecture with Professor Linda Williams.
Frankly, a film that convinced us that should incredible wealth ever come our way we’ll manage just fine without the servants. The ghastly Mrs Danvers, played with exquisite malevolence by Judith Anderson, is right up there with nurse Ratched in the annals of on screen female cruelty. The cloying presence of Rebecca is suffocating for both viewer and the fragile Joan Fontaine, the second Mrs. de Winter, as Hitchcock cranks up the tension to almost unbearable levels. A classic of cinema and one of the best in Hitchcock’s formidable oeuvre. The screening will be preceded by a forty minute lecture, ‘Tales of Sound and Fury Signifying…Something or, The Elephant of Melodrama’, from Professor Linda Williams from the Department of Film and Media in the University of California at Berkeley.
Sat 14 Jan 12pm at Electric, Station Street, Birmingham B5 4DY £8.70 www.theelectric.co.uk/
Blue Velvet (dir: David Lynch, 1986, cert 18)
Few directors have traduced expectations in cinema than the enigmatic and unpredictable David Lynch. Announcing himself with the surrealist and uncomfortable industrial hymn Eraserhead, Lynch’s work has never been easily classifiable, genius to some and pretentious show off to others, there is no disputing the maverick anomie of his style, characters and stories. Blue Velvet is the film where all the weird disparate elements of his dark imagination clicked in perfect synchronicity, creating a perverse and perfect movie monster. Clean cut kid Jeffrey (Kyle MacLachlan) finds a severed ear and sets in motion a gruelling and mysterious series of events. Frank (Dennis Hopper) is one of cinemas baddest bad guys; a demented, unstable, violent misogynist and possessed with an uncontrollable attachment to the word fuck. You have been warned. We’ve seen people walk out of screenings before.
Sun 15 Jan 8.20pm at the mac, Cannon Hill Park, Birmingham B12 9QH £8 macbirmingham.co.uk
Sunset Boulevard (dir: Billy Wilder, 1950, cert PG)
Hollywood takes a sledgehammer to itself with destructive glee in Billy Wilder’s classic hand grenade under the paper thin veneer of tinsel town. Penned by Wilder with Charles Brackett it crackles along frenetically with some of the greatest withering dialogue ever produced through a succession of classic after classic scenes. ‘I am big it’s the pictures that got small’, rails former silent movie star Norma Desmond, played imperiously by Gloria Swanson. Watch out for a cameo from silent movie legend Buster Keaton. The first Cinematic Time Machine screening of 2017.
Sun 15 Jan 2pm at Electric, Station Street, Birmingham B5 4DY £8.70 www.theelectric.co.uk/
Let The Right One In (dir: Tomas Alfredson, 2008, cert 15)
Ignore the pointless remake. We don’t care if it’s any good it’s a pointless remake. LTROI is that rare breed these days, a good vampire film. As far removed from the twee soporific nonsense of the Twilight trash as it’s possible to get. Watching this actually makes one feel physically cold as the harsh Swedish winter seeps from the screen and brings little Eli into our consciousness in a whirlwind of pre-teen violence. The blossoming friendship between Eli and bullied Oskar is sweetly realised as the body count rises and the two lead child actors are astonishing.
Sun 15 Jan 7pm at Blue Orange Theatre, 118 Great Hampton St Birmingham B18 6AD £5 blueorangetheatre.co.uk/
Talking Film: 12 Week course at the mac for film enthusiasts with Michael Clifford
We’re excited about this. If you don’t know your mise en scene from your diegesis then spend 12 weeks in the company of award winning film maker Michael Clifford and fellow film enthusiasts gaining a deeper knowledge and understanding of the language of cinema. Using film clips, discussion and at least one social trip to the mac cinema to view a film students can expect to equip themselves with a ‘film appreciation toolkit’. Each term will explore a theme such as Film Noir, European film or British film through tutor led discussion and group work. A wonderful chance to enhance your film knowledge under the tutelage of an established film maker and what better campus could you ask for than the beautiful mac.
Thu 12 Jan 7pm then each Thursday after for 12 weeks except half term holidays at the mac, Cannon Hill Park, Birmingham B12 9QH £81 macbirmingham.co.uk/
Published on: Sun 1 Jan 2017