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.
Mon 19 Dec to Thu 22 Dec various times at mac, Cannon Hill Park, Birmingham B12 9QH £8 macbirmingham.co.uk/
It’s A Wonderful Life (dir: Frank Capra, 1936, cert U)
In a delightfully festive touch most local cinemas 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.
Mon 19 Dec to Sat 24 Dec various times at Electric, Station Street, Birmingham B5 4DY £8.70 www.theelectric.co.uk/ Sat 24 Dec 2.30pm at Everyman, Mailbox, Birmingham B1 1RF £13.30 www.everymancinema.com Fri 23 Dec various times at Lighthouse, Chubb Buildings, Wolverhampton, WV1 1HT £8 light-house.co.uk/
Miracle on 34th Street (dir: George Seaton, 1947, cert U)
So what do you do if a sweet old man turns up and announces he is the real Santa Claus? Why you lock him up in a mental institution obviously. Such is the fate that befalls our hero Kris Kringle, played with Oscar winning sweetness by Edmund Gwenn, as he tried to bring some Christmas cheer into the lives of hardened New Yorkers. Tough gig. There have been four indifferent remakes including one with Richard Attenborough in the Kringle role and a horrendous religious angle hammered awkwardly into the script. This is the best version and includes cute as a button Natalie Wood in the role that made her a child star.
Mon 19 Dec 1pm at mac, Cannon Hill Park, Birmingham B12 9QH £8 macbirmingham.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.
Tue 20 Dec 1pm at mac, Cannon Hill Park, Birmingham B12 9QH £8 macbirmingham.co.uk/
Scrooge (dir: Brian Desmond-Hurst, 1951, cert U)
Charles Dickens’ short story ‘A Christmas Carol’ has become as synonymous with Christmas as Santa, mince pies and rubbish nativity plays. Ebeneezer Scrooge is one of literature’s greatest creations, the curmudgeonly old skinflint begrudgingly learning the value of Christmas, and his perfect on screen personification is Alastair Sim. Initially rejected by American audiences for being too grim us brits loved it from the off. Scrooge’s one man deconstruction of Christmas tradition is a malicious delight. Seasonal bliss.
Wed 21 Dec 1pm at mac, Cannon Hill Park, Birmingham B12 9QH £8 macbirmingham.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.
Wed 21 Dec 9.30pm & Fri 23 Dec 8pm at Electric, Station Street, Birmingham B5 4DY £8.70 www.theelectric.co.uk/
Do The Right Thing (dir: Spike Lee, 1989, cert 18)
It’s the hottest day of summer in Brooklyn, New York, tempers are fraying and racial tensions are simmering. We follow Mookie (Spike Lee) and his friends as emotions snap in in the heat and violence erupts at the local pizzeria. A close claustrophobic movie with Lee expertly ratcheting up the tension and shredding the nerves. Would you do the right thing? What is the right thing? Is the right thing predicated on your race? Lee doesn’t just stir up the inhabitants of Bedford-Stuyvesant he forces the viewer to ask themselves uncomfortable questions. Superior filmmaking. Screened by Flatpack as part of the monthly Yellow Wednesday season and featuring pizza and discussion on the issues raised in the film.
Wed 21 Dec 7pm at Impact Hub, Walker Building, 58 Oxford St, Birmingham B5 5NY £5 birmingham.impacthub.net/
The Electric has a bumper week of Christmas classics screening in the run up to the big day, see our full feature here
Published on: Thu 1 Dec 2016