The Girl With All The Gifts ( dir: Colm McCarthy, 2016, cert 15)
‘The Girl With All The Gifts’ joins an expanding list of apocalyptic movies made in Birmingham that has culminated with Steven Spielberg’s current redressing of Digbeth and the Jewellery Quarter as dystopian doubles of the future. Don’t quite know what that says about our city. Gemma Arterton and Paddy Considine are our heroes trying to protect mankind’s only hope of survival, the infected child genius Melanie. To do this they must escape Glenn Close’s child dissecting evil doctor and hoards of infected “hungries”. A bit like negotiating Broad Street on a Saturday night then.
Mon 10 Oct to Thu 13 Oct various times at at mac, Cannon Hill Park, Birmingham B12 9QH £8 macbirmingham.co.uk/
My Scientology Movie (dir: John Dower, 2016, cert 15)
Louis Theroux’s disarming, almost bumbling charm, has always disguised a razer sharp investigative mind and unlocked access into some of the world’s weirdest places. Well now, in his first big screen documentary, he focuses that finally honed wit on the rapacious cult of Scientology. The paranoid church, and its celebrity worshippers of the galactic overlord Xenu, have rarely been forthcoming regarding their religion. Well no matter, because Theroux subverts this masterfully and brings the aggressive lenses of the Scientology cult to him in a curious cat and mouse film off. If you’re an OT-III level operating Thetan then you probably won’t like this film. For the rest of us it shines a light on the dark insanity of a powerful cult. Mon 10 Oct to Sat 15 Oct various times at Electric, Station Street, Birmingham B5 4DY £8.70 www.theelectric.co.uk/
Hunt For The Wilderpeople (dir: Taika Waititi, 2016, cert 12A)
The premise may be formulaic, bad kid goes to live with cantankerous outsider and learns valuable life lessons (see Kolya also screening this week), but the comedic execution is perfect. There is definitely something off kilter and a little surreal about Kiwi humour; Flight of the Conchords has taught us that, indeed Waititi has written and directed for the show, and it’s that free wheeling anything can happen comedy that drives Wilderpeople along at its frenetically hilarious pace. The stand off, mid chase, between cop and boy where they argue about just which Terminator character they both are is a prime example. If you need laughs this week then you know where to go.
Tue 11 Oct 3.15pm at Electric, Station Street, Birmingham B5 4DY £8.70 www.theelectric.co.uk/
The Clan (dir: Pablo Trapero, 2016, cert 15)
Sometimes a story is just so off the charts mental it has to be true. The Clan is just such a story, a gruelling and wincing two hours in the company of Argentina’s most notorious family. At the fag end of Galtieri’s dictatorship in the 80s times were tough, jobs were scarce and a post Falklands War Argentina was being shunned by the world. The respectable middle class Puccio’s had a novel way of making ends meet. Kidnap and murder. Patriarch Arquímedes is played with horrifying detachment by Guillermo Francella. All lizard like stares and stony silence. Domestic bliss and extreme violence are padded seamlessly into the Puccio world view. There is a pitch black deadpan humour throughout. Not easily forgotten.
Tue 11 Oct to Thu 13 Oct various times at Electric, Station Street, Birmingham B5 4DY £8.70 www.theelectric.co.uk/
Lo & Behold, Reveries Of The Connected World + satellite Q&A (dir: Werner Herzog, 2016, cert 12A)
Herzog should need little introduction to anyone with even a cursory interest in film. The German maverick continues to produce cinema of the highest order and is, in our humble estimation, the most important filmmaker alive. For over half a century his unique and single minded vision has been writ large across popular culture. We love to lose ourselves in his documentaries, always playing fast and loose with the facts, or ‘ecstatic truth’ as he calls it. His beautifully laconic voice drips paternal authority in such a soothingly melodious way its impossible to resist. In Lo & Behold the director fixes his studied gaze on the multifarious chaos of the internet and attempts to bring a certain nebulous order to it all. He succeeds to a degree, but it’s a Herzogian sense that pervades so don’t expect clarity. The screening will be followed by a live satellite Q&A with the director.
Thu 13 Oct 6pm at Electric, Station Street, Birmingham B5 4DY £8.70 www.theelectric.co.uk/
Starship Troopers (dir: Paul Verhoeven, 1997, cert 18)
No one does garish spectacle quite like Paul Verhoeven. At the end of the last millennium he was Hollywood’s go to guy for frighteningly sumptuous visions of sex and bloody violence in films tinged with quasi fascism. Robocop, Total Recall and Showgirls were nightmarishly hypnotic explosions that repelled and fascinated audiences in equal measure. Starship Troopers is a similar beast. Join the army of the future with a gaggle of beautiful kids as they wage war on huge interplanetary bugs and your credulity. Brutally shallow fun. The only good bug is a dead bug.
Fri 14 Oct 10.30pm at Electric, Station Street, Birmingham B5 4DY £8.70 www.theelectric.co.uk/
Jim: The James Foley Story (dir: Brian Oakes, 2016, cert 15)
Heartfelt and important documentary exploring the life of journalist James Foley whose beheading by ISIS was filmed and broadcast around the world in 2014. An attempt to shift perception of James away from the figure in the orange jump suit moments from death and onto the often dangerous work he did to help the world understand the carnage that was unfolding in the middle east. Images of James will be on display during the screening and the audience is encouraged to leave their own messages which will be forwarded to Foley’s family.
Thu 13 Oct 7pm at Impact Hub, Walker Building, 58 Oxford St, Birmingham B5 5NY £7.50 birmingham.impacthub.net/
Dracula (dir: Tod Browning, 1931, cert PG)
A season of Universal monster films at the Electric? Excuse us whilst we squeal in excitement. First up is the definitive version of the on screen blood sucker and the role for which Bela Lugosi would always be remembered. He was buried in a Dracula cape. Based more on a stage adaptation of Bram Stoker’s original than the source novel it is a bit hammy in parts and Lugosi’s histrionics are at times an obvious throwback to the theatre version in which he starred. Browning’s silent movie roots permeate the film and actually add to the tension, long gaps between dialogue and lingering close ups. An absolute classic. Dracula’s sinister welcome to Harker as wolves bay outside still gives us the creeps,’Listen to them. Children of the night. What music they make.’
Sat 15 Oct 12pm at Electric, Station Street, Birmingham B5 4DY £8.70 www.theelectric.co.uk/
Jurassic Park with Conjurers’ Kitchen ( dir: Steven Spielberg, 1993, cert PG)
Why are we recommending Jurassic Park? Well apart from being one of the greatest blockbusters ever made and in our humble estimations the only film to ever utilise CGI effectively, this screening is presented by the mad culinary scientists from Conjurer’s Kitchen. Annabel Lector has prepared a series of gourmetic oddities relating to the action on screen to be consumed at key points throughout the film. We still have our marzipan blood encrusted toe from a Big Lebowski screening, just too nice to eat. Great fun and a whole new angle to see a wonderful film from.
Sat 15 Oct 3pm at Electric, Station Street, Birmingham B5 4DY £20.70 www.theelectric.co.uk/
Birmingham Comedy Festival: Laurel & Hardy All At Sea
We are beside ourselves with excitement that the mac are screening the classic Stan and Ollie two reelers The Live Ghost (1934)and Men O War (1929) along with the full length Our Relations (1936) as part of Birmingham Comedy Festival, all three being nautically based. Best of all they will be presented by the Grand Sheik of the Birmingham branch of the Laurel and Hardy Appreciation Society, John Ullah. All three are wonderful but Our Relations is something else, as the boys long lost twins Bert and Alf turn up to wreak beautiful havoc. As Stan himself states, “We’ll give them enough rope so we can hang ourselves.”
Sat 15 Oct 2pm at mac, Cannon Hill Park, Birmingham B12 9QH £8 macbirmingham.co.uk/
Seven Samurai (dir: Akira Kurosawa, 1954, cert PG)
We can think of no better way to wind down a weekend than watching Kurosawa’s epic, nearly four hours, tale of heroism and courage. Beautifully told and shot it is a film without compare. Exquisitely staged action sequences are matched by light comic touches. Remade as The Magnificent Seven. Kurosawa is one of those directors who is oft imitated but never bettered. Kudos to the Blue Orange Theatre for giving cinema lovers a chance to revisit one of the greatest films ever made and for audiences to experience for the first time. What a treat.
Sun 16 Oct 6pm at Blue Orange Theatre, 118 Great Hampton St Birmingham B18 6AD £5 (includes free glass of wine) www.meetup.com/
Birmingham on Film runs Fri 16 Sep – Sat 15 Oct see our preview here
Birmingham on Film For our pick of top free events Thu 8 Sep – Mon 10 Oct see here
Published on: Sat 1 Oct 2016