Toni Erdmann (dir: Maren Ade, 2017, cert 15)
An utterly bizarre, hilarious and completely engaging near three hour romp through the tragedy and awkwardness of family dynamics. Peter Simonischek is the incorrigibly wacky and possibly cringe inducing Winfried Conradi, who decides that adopting the persona of Toni Erdmann and visiting his daughter is just what she needs in what he perceives is her unhappy life. A Riotously funny spectacle that skillfully manipulates perspective and agenda. This is a man going through a breakdown and it can at times feel uncomfortable. Despite the length it never lags and you will laugh throughout, you may even cry. There is the usual talk of a Hollywood remake but why bother when the original is so good?
Mon 6 Feb to Thu 9 Feb various times at Electric, Station Street, Birmingham B5 4DY £8.70 theelectric
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.
Mon 6 Feb to Thu 9 Feb at Electric, Station Street, Birmingham B5 4DY £8.70 www.theelectric.co.uk/ Mon 6 Feb to Thu 9 Feb at Everyman Cinema, 116 The Mailbox, Birmingham B1 1RF £10.50 everymancinema
Manchester By The Sea (dir: Kenneth Lonergan, 2017, cert 15)
It’s only January and we may have already seen the best movie of 2017. Kenneth Lonergan’s sharp study of loss and raging helplessness is an emotionally raw examination of the unsettlingly internal trauma of grief. Casey Affleck is astonishing and, most importantly, believable as a host of real world problems begin to crush the life of his character Lee. It’s a reality that the audience knows only too well and it’s this choking resonance that lends the film such awful power. Human experience laid bare. Beautifully scored, shot, acted and directed. In short, a masterpiece.
Mon 6 Feb to Thu 9 Feb at Everyman Cinema, 116 The Mailbox, Birmingham B1 1RF £10.50 everymancinema
The Circle (dir: Stefan Haupt, 2014, cert 15)
Compelling docudrama that won the Best Documentary Award at the 2014 Berlin Film festival. The titular Circle refers to a Swiss gay publication that was popular in Zurich during the 1940’s and 1950’s and found itself at the heart of a moral outcry after the murders of three gay men by rent boys. Whilst the events themselves are dramatised there are actual interviews with the real life protagonists portrayed in the film, Ernst Ostertag and Röbi Rapp, a schoolteacher and a drag artist, both involved with the publication of The Circle. The magazine itself drifted out of publication nearly fifty years ago, let’s hope the attitudes that precipitated its demise stay there too.
Tue 7 Feb 7.30pm at Journey Film Club, Birmingham LGBT, 38-40 Holloway Circus, Birmingham B1 1EQ Free facebook
Moonlight (dir: Barry Jenkins, 2017, cert 15)
A heavyweight Oscar contender with 8 nominations, Barry Jenkins universally acclaimed drama is a powerhouse film of identity and sexuality that resonates with a heavy piquancy in these intolerant times. The ensemble cast is nothing short of astonishing with Trevante Rhodes’ performance as a gay black man adrift in an unaccepting culture being the highlight. The film swerves the sickly sentimentality that could dull its power and instead focuses unerringly on the fraught and fragile existence that living a lie begets. Moonlight is only Jenkins’ second feature and his first in 8 years, he is an exceptional and challenging talent. Moving and essential cinema. There will be an introduction to the film from Come the Revolution.
Thu 9 Feb 6.30pm at Everyman Cinema, 116 The Mailbox, Birmingham B1 1RF £10 everymancinema
Robocop (dir: Paul Paul Verhoeven, 1987, cert 18)
A film that annihilated the movie rule book, much like ED-209 annihilated unlucky OCP board members. Upping the violence ante some tenfold for a big budget Hollywood production, Verhoeven’s vision is a deliciously satirical black comedy. Filled with whip crack smart dialogue, incredible stop motion effects and the terrifyingly psychotic Clarence Boddicker, played with malicious glee by Kurtwood Smith, Robocop is an incendiary thrill from start to finish. There is a pointless remake but quite frankly, we wouldn’t watch that for a dollar. Remember kids, ‘stay out of trouble’.
Fri 10 Feb 6.30pm & 8.45pm at Mockingbird, The Custard Factory, Gibb St, Birmingham B9 4AA £5.95 ticketing
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 have seen in the last 12 months. You have been told.
Fri 10 Feb 7.30pm at Stirchley Baths, Bournville Lane Birmingham B30 2JT Free i-daniel-blake
The Wizard of Oz (dir: Victor Fleming, 1939, cert U)
Of course you know the story, but have you seen it on the big screen? The most lavish and grandiose technicolor spectacle ever to grace the cinema, as Dorothy and Toto embark on a fantastical road trip to pick the brains of the titular Wizard. Seeing the story unfold as it was meant to be seen, in the hush of a darkened cinema and projected onto a big screen, is one of the most magical highlights of any true cineaste’s life. Filled with iconic moments, songs and ground breaking special effects, everyone has a favourite moment. Ours? The Munchkin’s Lollipop Song. Least favourite? Margaret Hamilton’s Wicked Witch of the West still gives us the heebeegeebies now. ‘I’ll get you my pretty’, eek. Screened as part of the Cinematic Time Machine season.
Sat 11 Feb 11am & Sun 12 Feb 12pm at Electric, Station Street, Birmingham B5 4DY £8.70 theelectric
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.
Sun 12 Feb to Thu 16 Feb various times at mac, Cannon Hill Park, Birmingham, B12 9QH £8 macbirmingham
Donnie Darko (dir: Richard Kelly, 2001, cert 15)
The incredible cult classic has been playing with our minds for 15 years. Mind bending time warping existential angst or pretentious claptrap? Whatever your position there is no denying this is a film of extraordinary metaphysical power. From the moment Frank in his tattered rabbit costume announces to our titular hero that the world will end in 28 days, 6 hours, 42 minutes, and 12 seconds the film proceeds to usurp, undermine and traduce all expectations in a dizzying maelstrom of concerted head fuckery. Like a hook in your unwitting brain it will drag you screaming to an ending you will barely comprehend. Maybe the biggest subversion of expectation is Patrick Swayze’s motivational speaking paedophile. A truly great film.
Sun 12 Feb 3pm, 5.45pm & 8.15pm at at Mockingbird, The Custard Factory, Gibb St, Birmingham B9 4AA £5.95 ticketing
Please see our special Valentine’s feature here for a host of romantic cinema available this week. Grab a date and get loved up.
Published on: Thu 5 Jan 2017