The Shock & Gore Festival 2016 starts this Friday with a screening of Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining at Highbury Hall (limited tickets available) and runs until Thu 21 Jul featuring a fearsome fistful of classics such as Don’t Look Now, Deep Red and Manhunter. See our full preview here
The Neon Demon (dir: Nicolas Winding Refn, 2016, cert 18)
Refn’s films have a reputation for testing extremes and The Neon Demon is no different. Evincing boos at The Cannes Film Festival from horrified critics Refn’s latest is a blood drenched fairy tale laced with depravity. The violence is gratuitous, shocking and great fun. This is what you get when a director’s favourite film is The Texas Chainsaw Massacre and his biggest influence is Alejandro Jodorowsky. If you can handle mature themes you’ll have a blast otherwise don’t bother.
Fri 8 Jul – Thu 14 Jul, various times at Electric £10.50 www.theelectric.co.uk
Howl’s Moving Castle (dir: Hayao Miyazaki, 2004, cert U)
Birmingham fans of Studio Ghibli have been spoiled rotten this year and the enthralling genius of Miyazaki continues with this adaptation of the British writer Diana Wynne Jones’ book. Never less than beautiful to look at for a moment, as our hero ‘Sophie’ is turned into an old crone by ‘the Witch of the Waste’. There begins a crackpot chase of technicolour splendour as Sophie lurches from one psychedelically beguiling situation to the next. The ‘Victoriana’ setting is a marvel and we advise taking an extra pair of eyes, as there is so much happening on screen you won’t want to miss a thing!
Wed 6 Jul, 5.45pm at Electric, £10.50 www.theelectric.co.uk, Mon 4 Jul, 2pm at Mac (dubbed version) £8 www.macbirmingham.co.uk
Ponyo (dir: Hayao Miyazaki, 2008, cert U)
More Ghibli genius in the technical marvel that is Ponyo. Inspired by The Little Mermaid legend and featuring 170,000 separate images it is visually flawless, like watching a living, breathing painting unfold itself before you. The startling creative minutiae that Miyazaki employs to realise his projects is really quite staggering. Of course none of this would matter if the films didn’t stand up but naturally they do. The eponymous Ponyo’s cute as a button goldfish falls in love, in a story that is equal parts enchanting and peculiar. Delightful film.
Sun 10 Jul, 11am at Electric £10.50 www.theelectric.co.uk Sat 9 Jul, 2pm at Mac (dubbed screen juniors screening) £3 www.macbirmingham.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. There will be Blue Velvet Martinis available and specially curated Lynchian sounds in the bar.
Thu 7 Jul, 7pm at Mockingbird, Custard Factory, £5 www.mockingbirdtheatre.com
The Thing (dir: John Carpenter, 1982, cert 18)
A true horror classic, filled with extraordinary special effects that still look stunning today. Stay away from the defib Dr. Cooper! Paranoia so palpable you can almost touch it as Kurt Russell’s world weary MacReady attempts to sort alien from human. And just who put MacReady in charge anyway? It is an absolute blast from start to finish; the arctic setting really emphasising the isolation and dread. The only safe option is to barricade yourself indoors and never go out. “I dunno what the hell’s in there, but it’s weird and pissed off, whatever it is.”
Fri 8 Jul, at Mockingbird, Custard Factory, £5 www.facebook.com
Free Saturday Cinema: Lock, Stock & Two Smoking Barrels (dir: Guy Ritchie, 1998, cert 18)
Guy Ritchie’s Mockney geezer Disneyland was introduced to the world at the arse end of the last century and it feels as dated. Cartoon violence in a cockney crime world where everyone is a bit ‘tasty’ and talks in rhyming slang. Puts the S in stereotype. Throw in some hyper kinetic editing with vertigo inducing visuals and you pretty much have the blueprint for a Guy Ritchie film. The film that launched Vinnie Jones’ acting career and the relentless genre of straight to video Danny Dyer cockney gangster vehicles. What a legacy! If we haven’t put you off you can go see it for free and try a Roary Breaker Burger with a Fucking Rainforest cocktail, courtesy of the Mockingbird.
Sat 9 Jul, 7pm at Mockingbird, Custard Factory www.mockingbirdtheatre.com
Published on: Fri 1 Jul 2016