The Odyssey (dir: Jérôme Salle, 2016, cer 12A)
Dive into this epic watery biography of the great underwater adventurer Jacques Cousteau spanning some thirty years of his life. The beautiful underwater photography is breathtaking and whilst several liberties have been taken with the Cousteau myth they do not detract from the aquatic majesty of the film. Part of Birmingham’s Art and Science Festival read our preview here.
Mon 13 Mar 2pm at mac, Cannon Hill Park, Birmingham B12 9QH £8 macbirmingham.co.uk
Elle (dir: Paul Verhoeven, 2017, cer 18)
A new Verhoeven film is something to be cherished. The Dutch director loves pushing the envelope and Elle certainly doesn’t disappoint, Verhoeven himself has stated “it’s not a rape comedy’ which gives some indication into Elle’s dark nature. A modern paranoid noir as Isabelle Huppert, in a career best performance, searches for the man who assaulted her. Unsettling, uncomfortable and at times hilarious. Verhoeven’s abrasive magic is still there.
Mon 13 Mar to Thu 16 Mar at Electric, Station Street, Birmingham B5 4DY £9.50 www.theelectric.co.uk
Contempt (dir: Jean Luc Godard, 1963, cer 15)
One of the greatest films about filmmaking. Godard’s beautiful vision stars an elderly Fritz Lang as himself directing a movie starring the stunningly gorgeous Brigitte Bardot. The real star though is the captivating island of Capri once the go to destination for the international jet set. Supremely intelligent cinema from one of its most genius exponents. Part of Birmingham’s Art and Science Festival read our preview here.
Tue 14 Mar 8pm at mac, Cannon Hill Park, Birmingham B12 9QH £8 macbirmingham.co.uk
Drowning by Numbers (dir: Peter Greenaway, 1998, cert 15)
Greenaway on the big screen is not something to be missed. The master of decadent excess manages to paint hugely grotesque images that are at the same time seductively beautiful. Join the Cissie Colpitts women in their murderous endeavours and leave reason at the door. Intractable? Certainly. Pretentious? Probably. Stop overthinking and sink into Greenaway’s maliciously divine otherworldliness. Oh and look out for dead cows 78 and 79. Part of Birmingham’s Art and Science Festival read our preview here.
Tue 14 Mar 9.30pm at Mockingbird, The Custard Factory, Gibb St, Birmingham B9 4AA £4 ticketing.eu.veezi.com
O Brother, Where Art Thou? (dir: Joel Coen,Ethan Coen, 2000, cert 12A)
Of all the epic Odyssey’s being shown this week, courtesy of Birmingham’s Art & Science Festival, the Coen Brothers wickedly engaging comedy is undoubtedly the most potent. A playfully joyous romp through Homer’s tale, moved to thirties Mississippi, with one of cinema’s greatest scores. Has Dapper Dan man George Clooney ever been better than as Ulysses Everett McGilll, unwitting leader of a triumvirate of idiots? The Ku Klux Klan rally is one of the most exquisitely dark sequences ever staged in cinematic history. Part of Birmingham’s Art and Science Festival read our preview here.
Wed 15 Mar 2pm at mac, Cannon Hill Park, Birmingham B12 9QH £8 macbirmingham.co.uk
War of the Buttons (dir: John Roberts, 1994, cert 12)
The Carricks and the Ballys engage in a battle of wills to decide the important questions in life such as who is the biggest tosspot. An hilarious film that also gently probes the bigger questions of conflict and how the trivial can escalate into violent hostility with disastrous consequences. Screened as part of The Old Crown’s St. Patrick’s week of events with all tickets including a steaming bowl of Irish stew.
Wed 15 Mar 8pm at Mockingbird, The Custard Factory, Gibb St, Birmingham B9 4AA £5.95 ticketing.eu.veezi.com
Trash Film Night presents Birdemic: Shock & Terror in 5DX (dir: James Nguyen, 2010, cert 18)
It may be inspired by Hitchcock’s The Birds but this is as close to anything resembling a quality film that Birdemic gets. Wallowing in a cinematic cess pit of incompetence and featuring clip art special effects it is certainly one of the most poorly conceived and executed films ever made. Trash Film Night hosts Luke and David invite you to pay money and enjoy their live commentary. Audience abuse of the film is actively encouraged and is part of the fun. ‘Who will survive?’ Part of Birmingham’s Art and Science Festival read our preview here.
Thu 16 Mar 8.30pm at Electric, Station Street, Birmingham B5 4DY £7 www.theelectric.co.uk
Ulysse’s Gaze (dir: Theo Angelopoulos, 1995, cert PG)
The legendary Greek director’s epic tale of A, played by Harvey Keitel, is an extraordinary tale of redemption for some and a laborious exercise in self indulgence for others. Its bum numbing three hour running time will certainly be an endurance exercise for some with Roger Ebert hating the film. However, A’s obsessive quest for the lost films of Balkan cinematic pioneers the Manakis brothers is a gently nuanced journey through contemporary political landscapes culminating in a war ravaged Sarajevo. Beautifully shot and worthy of your time and respect Ulysse’s Gaze is a work of supreme intelligence. Part of Birmingham’s Art and Science Festival read our preview here.
Thu 16 Mar 6pm at mac, Cannon Hill Park, Birmingham B12 9QH £8 macbirmingham.co.uk
Taxi Driver (dir: Martin Scorsese, 1976, cert 18)
Scorsese’s masterpiece of misguided vigilantism needs no introduction. If you haven’t experienced this seminal work on the big screen then you have missed one of cinema’s fundamental joys. Restored and reissued to celebrate its 40th anniversary Taxi Driver sparks with a discordant energy few films possess. Robert De Niro’s Travis Bickle is arguably one of cinema’s most iconic characters, his power fortified by the grudging knowledge that somewhere right now some lost soul is inevitably staring into a mirror and playing out his own ‘you looking at me’ scene. Essential cinema.
Fri 17 Mar 8.10pm at mac, Cannon Hill Park, Birmingham B12 9QH £8 macbirmingham.co.uk
Reservoir Dogs (dir: Quentin Tarantino, 1992, cert 18)
Video store clerk Tarantino took cinema by the scruff of the neck in 1992 and smashed its tired face into a bloody pulp in a miasmic explosion of pop culture references and unflinching violence. Dialogue so sharp it will make your ears bleed and brutality so corrosive it made viewers gag. A perfect storm of script, soundtrack and casting. Like all Tarantino movies it borrows heavily from other works but whereas some have used this as a critique it’s this encyclopaedic and reverential cultural smarts that make QT’s work so powerful. ‘Are you gonna bark all day little doggie, or are you gonna bite?’ Genius.
Fri 17 Mar 6.30pm & Sat 18 Mar 8pm at Mockingbird, The Custard Factory, Gibb St, Birmingham B9 4AA £5.95/£7 ticketing.eu.veezi.com
20,000 Leagues Under the Sea (dir: Richard Fleischer, 1954, cert U)
Nostalgia overdose warning. Saturday afternoon at the cinema watching the grandiose underwater Jules Verne adventure 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea is one of the most unexpected and welcome pieces of programming from Birmingham’s Art & Science Festival. Proper film stars with Kirk Douglas, Peter Lorre and the charming James Mason, searching for a mythical giant squid beneath the Pacific Ocean in a glorious technicolor adventure. The mac should probably allow popcorn just for this one movie. Part of Birmingham’s Art and Science Festival read our preview here.
Sat 18 Mar 2pm at mac, Cannon Hill Park, Birmingham B12 9QH £8 macbirmingham.co.uk
Christine (dir: Antonio Campos, 2017, cer 15)
One of the most curious and strangely forgotten episodes from popular culture of the seventies was the on screen suicide of news reporter Christine Chubbuck in 1974 with the immortal lines “In keeping with Channel 40’s policy of bringing you the latest in ‘blood and guts’, and in living color, you are going to see another first—attempted suicide.” Happily the footage has never surfaced but that didn’t stop it gaining almost mythical status amongst the infantile gorehounds of the Faces of Death generation. Antonio Campos has produced a film that avoids the gross rubbernecking fascination with her death and examines the emotionally tortured woman behind the story. In an age of soullessly pointed camera phones recording every tragedy that is obliquely reassuring.
Sat 18 Mar 2.30pm at Electric, Station Street, Birmingham B5 4DY £9.50 www.theelectric.co.uk
Train to Busan (dir: Sang-ho Yeon, 2016, cert 15)
If Dawn of the Dead swallowed a huge cocktail of steroids and speed it would be Train to Busan. A rollercoaster ride where the pace never drops and the bloody violence escalates to unbearable levels. As the titular train powers on to Busan survival odds narrow under a barrage of relentless zombies. A social satire that not so much bites as savages the throat. The avalanche of the undead swarming through train, station and society is breathtaking in its scope and realisation. ‘Get on board now’.
Sat 18 Mar 9pm at Electric, Station Street, Birmingham B5 4DY £9.50 www.theelectric.co.uk
Seoul Station (dir: Sang-ho Yeon, 2017, cert 15)
An animated prequel to Train to Busan screening earlier this evening, discount if you buy tickets for both. More understated than the riotous live action of its predecessor Seoul Station still packs a hefty punch. Zombie or disenfranchised human? The state doesn’t care and will go to any lengths to protect itself.
Sat 18 Mar 11.30pm at Electric, Station Street, Birmingham B5 4DY £9.50 www.theelectric.co.uk
Published on: Wed 15 Feb 2017