I, Daniel Blake (dir: Ken Loach, 2016, cert 15)
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. 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. 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 it’s a necessary voice in the dark.
Fri 6 Jan to Sat 8 Jan various times at mac, Cannon Hill Park, Birmingham B12 9QH £8 macbirmingham.co.uk
The Eagle Huntress (dir: Otto Bell, 2016, cert TBA)
The visually arresting documentary follows a similar path to many others as the film’s heroine Aisholpan, a 13 year old nomadic Mongolian girl desperate to break tradition and become an eagle hunter, struggles against entrenched attitudes and creeping modernity that look to stifle her dreams. The familiar ‘against all odds’ journey feels a little forced and there have been suggestions that the obstacles in Aisholpan’s path may have been a little overblown. However, that should not detract too much from what sometimes feels like a beautifully observed photographic essay through Mongolia.
Mon 2 Jan – Thu 5 Jan at mac, Cannon Hill Park, Birmingham B12 9QH £8 macbirmingham.co.uk/
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 2 Jan to Thu 12 Jan various times at Electric, Station Street, Birmingham B5 4DY £8.70 www.theelectric.co.uk/
La La Land (dir: Damien Chazelle, 2016, cert 12A) Preview Screening
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.
Sun 8 Jan 3pm at Electric, Station Street, Birmingham B5 4DY £8.70 www.theelectric.co.uk/
1st Sunday Shorts at Cafe Ort
Stickleback Cinema have a formidable reputation for curating some absolute gems as part of their monthly short film screenings at the wonderful Cafe Ort. Past screenings have included Mark Lobatto’s gripping film noir ‘Blue Borsalino’ and Aurora Fearnley’s award winning ‘Murmur’. Included in this month’s screenings are an Oscar nominated short and a Sundance 2015 winner. We can’t think of a more relaxing way to spend a Sunday afternoon.
Sun 8 Jan 2pm at Cafe Ort, 500-504 Moseley Road, B12 9AH Birmingham £5 www.facebook.com/
Published on: Tue 5 Jan 2016