Things To Come (dir: Mia Hansen-Løve, 2016, cert 12A)
The uncertainty of life as the things we accept as real and meaningful become dust because of the careless whims of others is explored beautifully in Hansen-Løve’s latest film. Isabelle Huppert, who as ever is wonderful, plays middle aged Natalie who has to completely reevaluate her life and search for meaning when her husband demands a divorce. This journey for meaning is compelling and thoughtful without ever being moribund. How do we live well when our truth is shattered? Honestly told with a resonance that many will find hard yet liberating.
Mon 19 Sep to Thu 22 Sep various times at mac, Cannon Hill Park, Birmingham B12 9QH £8

I Bought a Vampire Motorcycle + introduction from director (dir: Dirk Campbell, 1990, cert 18)
So imagine some of the cast and crew of classic Birmingham based TV comedy ‘Boon’ got together to make a knowing, tongue in cheek, gross out and gory horror comedy about a possessed vampire motorcycle set right here. Well imagine no more as it actually happened and the result is a glorious mess. Think Stephen King’s ‘Christine’ only with humour, brummie accents, buckets of blood, talking turds and a Norton Commando motorcycle. Great fun and with added piquancy for anyone from the city. Screened as part of excellent Flatpack Birmingham on Film season. It’s an outdoor screening so come prepared. “Right. Let’s go kick some bottom!”. Fri 23 Sep 7pm at Coffin Works, 15 Fleet street, Jewellery Quarter, Birmingham B3 1JP £7

Akira (dir: Katsuhiro Otomo, 1988, cert 15)
Films don’t come much more influential than this. Otomo’s beautifully animated film bulldozed the anime genre into the mainstream. Cartoons could be serious with adult themes. When the bullets fly people get killed, punches land on faces and blood flows copiously. Based on Otomo’s own 2,000 page manga comic book of the same name; we follow Tetsuo, a weakling who is suddenly imbued with super human psychic powers which he puts to violent use against his enemies. In a bizarre case of life imitating art the film is set in a dystopian future just before the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. Guess where the 2020 Olympics are being held? Neo-Tokyo is about to E.X.P.L.O.D.E.
Wed 21 Sep 8.45pm at Electric, Station Street, Birmingham B5 4DY  £8.70

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. McCarthy’s star studded zombie tale is based on prolific comic book writer M. R. Carey’s novel of the same name, Carey produced the screenplay too. 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, no wonder it was filmed in Birmingham. The ever excellent Screenbrum radio show is carrying an interview with Carey this Friday for a more in depth examination of the film and why it was filmed here, you’ll find it on Brum Radio, 12pm-2pm.
Fri 23 Sep to Thu 29 Sep various times at Electric, Station Street, Birmingham B5 4DY £8.70

Secrets & Lies (dir: Mike Leigh, 1996, cert 15)
One of the greatest English filmmakers of this or any other generation, Leigh’s beautifully formed bittersweet dramas have always provided viewers with a compelling glimpse into the ordinary. The minor details of existence that mean so much individually writ large on the screen so engagingly by genius direction and ever strong ensemble casts. Secrets & Lies is both hilarious and grueling as Marianne Jean-Baptiste’s Hortense tracks down her real mother, played by a twitchy Brenda Blethyn. A perfect Leigh film; every shot, every detail, every cameo, every expression conveying a multitude of meaning, exquisitely realised in the the painful awkwardness of the lunch on the patio scene. It may not be our story on screen but the gamut of experiences are shared ones. That’s what makes Mike Leigh so good. Highly recommended.
Sun 25 Sep 3pm at Electric, Station Street, Birmingham B5 4DY £8.70

The Brand New Testament (dir: Jaco Van Dormael, 2015, cert 15)
The Mockingbird deserves a big pat on the back for screening this as part of their Spotlight Cinema season and we look forward to what else they have up their sleeves. If you’ve seen any of Van Dormael’s ouevre, and if not why not, you’ll know to expect a surreal other worldliness as innocence makes sense of uncomfortable reality. Innocence here is personified by God’s daughter, Ea. God is a miserable sadist living in the very non-celestial city of Brussels. It’s a wonderful film dripping with blasphemy and satire but with a sweet heart. Fri 23 Sep 7pm at Mockingbird, Custard Factory, Birmingham B9 4AA £4

Howard The Duck (dir: Willard Huyck, 1986, cert PG)
Definitely one to be filed under the ‘what were they thinking’ category. This live action adaptation of the cult comic book series is a litany of uncomfortably cringeworthy scenes as Howard the weird wise cracking man duck waddles across the screen and saves the world, or something  like that anyway. Marvel at Howard in the porn pool, wince as he nearly gets it on with Lea Thompson’s pneumatic hair, revel in the masterful dialogue ‘No one laughs at a master of Quack Fu’ and drop your jaw to the floor that this film cost $36 million dollars to make. An abortion of a film that has to be seen to be believed.
Fri 23 Sep 7pm at Mockingbird, Custard Factory, Birmingham B9 4AA £5

Birmingham on Film For our pick of top free events Thu 8 Sep – Mon 10 Oct see here

Birmingham on Film runs Fri 16 Sep – Sat 15 Oct see our preview here

Mon 19 Sep - Sun 25 Sep
Giles Logan
Published on:
Thu 1 Sep 2016