The Nightmare Before Christmas (dir: Henry Selick, 1993, cert PG)
No one does creepy bug eyed freakery quite like the maverick Tim Burton, his influence as producer on the festive stop motion classic of yuletide darkness, The Nightmare Before Christmas, is obvious. Requiring 109,440 frames of animation, twenty simultaneous sound stages at one point and 227 puppets to complete, it is a masterwork of dedication, organisation and single mindedness. The result is astonishing as Jack Skellington tries to bring the joy of Christmas Town to the puzzled inhabitants of Halloween Town. A beautiful film recalling German Expressionism in its shadowy darkness. Stay away from Oogie Boogie kids.
Fri 30 Dec 1pm 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.
Fri 30 Dec – Thu 5 Jan at mac, Cannon Hill Park, Birmingham B12 9QH £8 macbirmingham.co.uk/
Purple Rain (dir: Albert Magnoli, 1984, cert 15) Screening, live music and DJ set
The plot may be risible; ‘The Kid’, played by Prince in his acting debut, must overcome an emotionally and sometimes violent home life, rival bands and his own ego to achieve success. With some of the most awkward acting ever committed to film, love interest Apollonia Kotero was nominated for a Razzie as ‘Worst New Star’. Purple Rain declared to the world that a special talent was here. After the screening the mighty soul band Trope will be performing and have promised to throw several Prince classics into their set, there will also be a DJ set from the acclaimed DJ Psykhomantus. A stunning celebration of a great artist. Read our full preview here
Fri 30 Dec 8pm 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 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 31 Dec 3.20pm at mac, Cannon Hill Park, Birmingham B12 9QH £8 macbirmingham.co.uk/
Your Name (dir: Makoto Shinkai, 2016, cert 12A)
Hailed as the natural successor to Miyazaki, Mikato Shinkai still has a long way to go to fill those enormous boots but his latest film Your Name is a good start. A beautifully rendered piece of cinema, the sweet and thoroughly naughty body swap comedy has become a sensation in Japan with hoards of fans even making pilgrimages to the locations animated on screen. It’s playful exploration of gender identity and love sits comfortably with the traditional story telling that has resonated so well with audiences. Delightful and highly recommended.
Wed 28 Dec to Sat 31 Dec various times at Electric, Station Street, Birmingham B5 4DY £8.70 www.theelectric.co.uk/
Trash Film Night presents Bloody New Year (dir: Norman J. Warren, 1987, cert 18)
Let the Trash film night boys, Luke and David, hold your hands and gently escort you towards the threshold of 2017 in the company of this timely and utterly rubbish non-masterpiece of cinematic drivel. Featuring a rowdy and live commentary, thrill in the absolute ineptitude of Warren’s direction and the several planks thick acting as a rabble of stupid teenagers are shipwrecked on a mysterious island. For a film entitled Bloody New Year there’s a distinct lack of the red gooey stuff and the major shock is that it ever got made at all. The only horror film we know that was filmed in the sunny climes of Wales’ Barry Island. ‘The last day of the year…or the last day of your life’. Who’d have thought such crap could be such good fun.
Thu 29 Dec 6pm at Electric, Station Street, Birmingham B5 4DY £6.50 www.theelectric.co.uk/
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.
Thu 29 Dec 9pm & Sat 31 Dec 6.15pm at Electric, Station Street, Birmingham B5 4DY £8.70
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.
Fri 30 Dec 8pm at Electric, Station Street, Birmingham B5 4DY £8.70 www.theelectric.co.uk/
Bugsy Malone (dir: Alan Parker, 1976, cert U) NYE Party
If you’re looking for something different to do on New Year’s Eve then this could be right up your gangster street. A whole evening themed on Alan Parker’s uproarious debut feature, the epic musical story of 1920’s prohibition featuring the exploits of Al Capone and Bugs Moran but starring children. How it works we don’t know but it does. The chemistry of Jodie Foster and Scott Baio is palpable and with the splurge guns replacing bullets the film is a riotous mess of cream, songs and fun. Fancy dress is a must, there’s free prosecco on arrival and gangster themed snacks throughout. The Mockingbird will be transformed into a speakeasy, watch out for the feds, and DJ’s will be taking you through to the early hours. Give our regards to Fat Sam.
Sat 31 Dec 5pm at Mockingbird, The Custard Factory, B9 4AA Birmingham £15 www.facebook.com/
Published on: Thu 1 Dec 2016