Mulholland Drive (dir: David Lynch, 2001, cert 15)
Any experience of Lynch’s psychologically unsettling surrealist masterpiece is dependent on the mental state of its audience. No two viewings are ever the same, it’s a film that picks relentlessly at the subconscious and contains so many ‘did I just see that’ moments you will question your very sanity. In a full 4k restoration, the critics choice of best film of the 21st century has never looked better.
Mon 1 May to Thu 4 May at mac, Cannon Hill Park, Birmingham B12 9QH £9 macbirmingham.co.uk
Mad Max: Fury Road Black & Chrome Edition (dir: George Miller, 2015, cert 15)
George Miller’s hi-octane update of the classic post apocalyptic road warrior movie gets a sleek and stylish monochrome overhaul. The new noirish edge to the unrelenting carnage and mayhem lends itself to a more subdued and powerful reading of the film. The spectacular effects; in being muted, gain an extra resonance stripped of colour, the film becomes more about the protagonists and less about the jackhammer visceral imagery. An exciting premise stylishly executed.
Mon 1 May 2pm at Electric, Station Street, Birmingham B5 4DY £9.50 www.theelectric.co.uk
Mon 1 May to Tue 2 May at Mockingbird, Custard Factory, Gibb St, Birmingham B9 4AA £9.50 ticketing.eu.veezi.com
Lady Macbeth (dir: William Oldroyd, 2017, cert 15)
Oldroyd’s debut feature is a daring deconstruction of the genteel language and repressed sexuality of the stuffy period drama genre. The black heart of Lady Macbeth traduces expectation as sedate and at times almost narcoleptic pacing is punctured by searing outbursts of sex and violence. An astonishing and beautifully realised piece of cinema that is not easily forgotten.
Mon 1 May to Thu 4 May at Electric, Station Street, Birmingham B5 4DY £9.50 www.theelectric.co.uk
Bunch of Kunst (dir: Christine Franz, 2017, cert 18)
Sleaford Mods have become the voice of the the under represented and marginalised working classes, feeding in to an underclass zeitgeist that is either ignored or ridiculed by the mainstream media. With stripped down tunes and an acerbically astute lyricism their potent rage is an effective blend of righteous angst and literary genius. Bunch of Kunst is an excellent peek into the band’s motivations and a harsh reflection of modern British life. Sleaford Mods are also coming to the O2 Institute in October, read our preview here.
Mon 1 May to Wed 3 May at Mockingbird, Custard Factory, Gibb St, Birmingham B9 4AA £9.50 ticketing.eu.veezi.com
The Handmaiden (dir: Park Chan-wook, 2017, cert 18)
Park Chan-wook is one of the most daring filmmakers at work today, he doesn’t so much push the envelope as douse it in petrol and burn it. His name and an 18 certificate are a cast iron guarantee that your senses are going to be getting one hell of a workout. The Handmaiden is a dizzyingly extravagant thriller soaked in an uneasy and intelligent eroticism, don’t relax for a second because Park Chan-wook will trip you up. Superior contemporary filmmaking.
Mon 1 May to Thu 4 May at Everyman, The Mailbox, Birmingham B1 1RF £13.50 www.everymancinema.com
Elephant Man (dir: David Lynch, 1980, cert PG)
The monochrome veneer and darkly harsh aesthetics lend a grim Victorian authenticity to the heartbreaking tale of John Merrick’s torment. Lynch surprised many by producing a relatively straight story (see later career) free of the surrealistic flourishes of his earlier feature debut Eraserhead. Hurt and Hopkins are superb and it’s a hard heart that is not moved by the simple humanity of their relationship.
Tue 2 May 8.10pm at mac, Cannon Hill Park, Birmingham B12 9QH £9 macbirmingham.co.uk
I Am Not Your Negro (dir: Raoul Peck, 2016, cert 15)
The one time Haitian Minister of Culture, Raoul Peck, brings to life the unpublished writings of literary heavyweight James Baldwin. Marrying imaginative contemporary clips with Samuel L Jackson’s electric sharp reading lends a heady resonance to a voice that was a powerful symbol of black and gay rights. In a nation still riven along racial divides this is a prescient and compelling documentary.
Tue 2 May 8pm at at Everyman, The Mailbox, Birmingham B1 1RF £13.50 www.everymancinema.com
Cover Girl (dir: Charles Vidor, 1944, cert U)
Seeing Gene Kelly and Rita hayworth in glorious technicolor on the big screen is not something to be sniffed at. An opulently staged musical filled with breathtakingly imaginative choreography and familiar Ira Gershwin (George’s big brother) numbers, it will delight your senses. The Second World War was nearing its end and this is as lavish a piece of morale boosting entertainment as you will ever see. ‘The show must go on’.
Wed 3 May 6.30pm at The Light, 62 Wolverhampton St, Walsall WS2 8DD £8.95 lightcinemas.co.uk
Mindhorn (dir: Sean Foley, 2017, cert 15)
If you missed this at Flatpack now’s your chance to catch up with the Isle of Man’s most famous detective Mindhorn. The familiar Julian Barratt (Mighty Boosh, Nathan Barley) is the titular hero, he also co-wrote with Simon Farnaby, in the cringe inducing adventures of possibly cinema’s most deluded crime fighter. Being bereft of any self-awareness and oblivious to the crushing embarrassment of one’s actions is a familiar trope of British comedy, think Alan Partridge (Steve Coogan cameo’s), but here it is played to perfection. ‘See the truth’.
Fri 5 May to Sun 14 May at Electric, Station Street, Birmingham B5 4DY £9.50 www.theelectric.co.uk
Don’t Look Back (dir: D.A. Pennebaker, 1967, cert 15)
With Pennebaker’s Don’t Look Back the fly on the wall rockumentary was born. It’s startling use of handheld camera’s poking into the most intimate of spaces was a revelation. Serendipitously recording the moment Dylan went from fringe folkie to iconic cultural hero during his 1965 tour of England. Filled with incredible highlights the standout for us is the legendary Subterranean Homesick Blues opening credits.
Fri 5 May to Sat 6 May at mac, Cannon Hill Park, Birmingham B12 9QH £9 macbirmingham.co.uk
The Death of Mr. Lazarescu (dir: Cristi Puiu, 2006, cert 15)
This bleak but perfectly formed Romanian film follows one man’s (Mr. Lazarescu) awful night time journey from hospital to hospital via muffling indifference and scant concern. It’s an existentially kafkaesque nightmare, borne of real life events, as the grubby drunkard’s importance in the universe is reduced to negligibly subhuman. It’s a sobering (sorry) lesson on the judgements we make and diminishing humanity. Highly recommended.
Sun 7 May 2pm at mac, Cannon Hill Park, Birmingham B12 9QH £9 macbirmingham.co.uk
Published on: Wed 5 Apr 2017