Sid & Nancy (dir: Alex Cox, 1986, cert 18)
The fortieth anniversary of punk and the thirtieth anniversary of the film brings a re-release of Alex Cox’s warts and all grueling biopic. The problem with the main characters is their absolute lack of sympathetic qualities; Vicious was a talentless musician who was so bad his bass was rarely even plugged in live, Spungen was a whining junkie groupie and they both shared a rapacious love affair with heroin. John and Yoko they ain’t. But maybe that’s the point Cox is making? Beautifully filmed and a fascinating glimpse into what was a threatening movement before its inevitable consummation by the mainstream. Mon 22 Aug 7pm &
Tue 23 Aug 2pm at mac, Cannon Hill Park, Birmingham B12 9QH £8 macbirmingham.co.uk/
Ken Loach – Which Side Are You On? + Q&A (dir: Ken Loach, 1985, cert N/A)
The Miner’s Strike was one of biggest social battles of the Thatcher era when class war was effectively declared on the unions to mitigate their power. An ugly chapter in British history and one from which the truth is now beginning to creep out. Soldiers dressed as policemen attacking miners anyone? Throughout it all Ken Loach toured the country offering support to communities that were under siege and filming what he found. Not just footage of pickets and the shameful police rioting at Orgreave but also songs, poems and thoughts from those under attack. In quite a coup for the mac the great man himself will be taking part in a Q & A after the screening. Unmissable.
Thu 25 Aug 6pm at mac, Cannon Hill Park, Birmingham B12 9QH £8 macbirmingham.co.uk
Wiener-Dog (dir: Todd Solondz, 2016, cert 15)
Now if you haven’t seen a Todd Solondz film before you really do need to pull your eyeballs out of their comatose state but also please set your awkwardometers to painful. Poking his lenses into the darkness of human behaviour, his is a peculiar ouevre filled with unsettling behaviour and gentle black humour. It takes a special kind of filmmaker to get laughs from rape, paedophilia, suicide and murder as he did in ‘Happiness’ (1998) but then still leave an audience moved. Wiener-Dog follows similar themes of helpless futility as the titular creature goes from home to home. Solondz’ funniest film to date but you may question just who is laughing at who.
Fri 26 Aug to Thu 1 Sep various times at mac, Cannon Hill Park, Birmingham B12 9QH £8 macbirmingham.co.uk/ and Mon 22 Aug to Thu 25 Aug various times at Electric Cinema, Station Street, Birmingham B5 4DY £10.50 www.theelectric.co.uk/ (The Electric screening will be proceeded by a screening of the short film ‘Glove’ as part of Flatpack Assemble find out more at flatpackfestival.org.uk)
Barry Lyndon (dir: Stanley Kubrick, 1975, cert 12A)
One of the greatest films ever made, period. Kubrick’s epic adaptation of Thackeray’s novel may come in at a bum numbing 199 minutes but not one second is wasted and you wont want it to end. A visual feast, it’s rather like falling into a Gainsborough landscape and being consumed by the intense beauty within. Cinematographer John Alcott’s divine work is one of the wonders of modern cinema and for which he won an Oscar. Magisterial and opulent, Stanley Kubrick is an absolute genius filmmaker, if you have even the slightest interest in the art and history of cinema then you need the memory of this film swimming in your brain. Thu 25 Aug 11.45am at Electric Cinema, Station Street, Birmingham B5 4DY £10.50 www.theelectric.co.uk/
Back To The Future Part II (dir: Robert Zemeckis, 1989, cert PG)
Great Scott! Someone is always meddling with the space time continuum but luckily Marty, the doc and a rather special DeLorean car are available to restore normality. A sequel that is at least as good as the original is a rare beast. The pace never flags and there are some excellent special effects from ILM who experimented with several new technologies on the film. We are rather disappointed that the real 2015 never brought with it hoverboards and Jaws 19!
Wed 24 Aug 8.45pm at Electric Cinema, Station Street, Birmingham B5 4DY £10.50 www.theelectric.co.uk/
Bobby Sands: 66 Days (dir: Brendan J. Byrne, 2016, cert 15)
It seems like a different age now, but we can still remember a time when the conflict in Northern Ireland was never far from the news or indeed our streets as Birmingham knows so tragically. One of its most seismic events was the hunger strikes of 1981, a culmination of several years of prison protest. Led by Bobby Sands, republican prisoners entered into a stand off with the Thatcher government over special category status with neither side relenting. After 66 days Sands was dead. Byrne’s film mixes animation, reenactment, interviews and archive footage to reflect a violent and tumultuous period in British history. Most touching are the excerpts from Sands’ diary. Compelling.
Tue 23 Aug 8.15pm at Electric Cinema, Station Street, Birmingham B5 4DY £10.50 www.theelectric.co.uk/
Dirty Dancing (dir: Emile Ardolino, 1987, cert 12A)
The ultimate chick flick. Silly, cheesy, corny, some might say ridiculous. Yes it’s all those things, but whilst that litany of faults would sink most films in Dirty Dancing they inexplicably mix to generate a feel good movie like no other. 26 year old Jennifer Grey plays 17 year old ‘Baby’ and 34 year old Patric Swayze is the youthful and mysterious dance teacher Johnny Castle. Inappropriate? Nah course not. Every girl in the world wants to holiday at Kellerman’s resort in The Catskill Mountains. Roger Ebert may have called the film ‘idiotic’ but that hasn’t stopped it grossing over 200 million dollars world wide. Gentlemen, your date night worries are over (at least for next Thursday anyway).
Thu 25 Aug 8.45pm at Electric Cinema, Station Street, Birmingham B5 4DY £10.50 www.theelectric.co.uk/
Brazil (dir: Terry Gilliam, 1985, cert 15)
Terry Gilliam’s epic Kafkaesque tale of a dystopian bureaucratic future is almost as famous for its production battles as for the film itself. Left in limbo for so long Gilliam took out a full page advert in Variety Magazine asking the producers when they were going to release his film. They eventually did, with an awful happy ending tacked on to please American audiences. Thankfully, the Electric are screening the Gilliam approved directors cut terrifying downbeat ending and all. We think Robert de Niro’s anarchist heating engineer Tuttle is one of his greatest roles. Audience members will need to fill in a form 27B/6 before being allowed admission.
Fri 26 Aug 8.45pm at Electric Cinema, Station Street, Birmingham B5 4DY £10.50 www.theelectric.co.uk/
Ran (dir: Akira Kurosawa, 1985, 12A)
The great director’s final epic has been restored to pristine condition and is sumptuously beautiful in its 4K incarnation. Based on Shakespeare’s ‘King Lear’ the film is a violent and beautiful tale of betrayal and power. Exquisitely staged and performed Kurosawa made great use of a budget that at the time made Ran the most expensive Japanese film ever made. Kurosawa is without compare and his films on the big screen are as close to cinephile perfection as its possible to get. There will be a brief introduction from Shakespeare scholar Professor Russell Jackson from Birmingham University, beginning at 12pm. Sun 28 Aug 12pm at Electric Cinema, Station Street, Birmingham B5 4DY £10.50 www.theelectric.co.uk/
Ingrid Bergman In Her Own Words (dir: Stig Bjorkman, 2016, cert N/A)
Beautiful documentary crafted together using letters, diary entries, photographs and most poignantly super 8 footage that has never been viewed publicly before. Made to celebrate the 100th anniversary of Bergman’s birth we are privy to a private world of a true icon of the silver screen. In an age of grim and unfettered access to celebrity lives it’s nice to be reminded of a time when stars maintained a mystique that only increased their allure. Beautiful and captivating much like Bergman herself.
Mon 22 Aug to Thu 25 Aug various times at Lighthouse Media Centre, Fryer Street, Wolverhampton WV1 1HT £7.90 light-house.co.uk/
Another ridiculously busy week for Birmingham’s cinemas, I hope you have deep pockets. The Electric is once again in multiplex mode screening mockumentary classic This Is Spinal Tap (Sun 28 Aug), coming of age drama Stand By Me (Sat 27 Aug) and body horror gorefest The Fly (Fri 26 Aug). You are also invited to witness the worst film ever made and encouraged to join your peers in shouting abuse at The Room (Fri 26 Aug). The Mockingbird continues its free frights theme with a screening of the original shocker Texas Chainsaw Massacre (Wed 24 Aug). If you don’t go and see a film this week there is possibly something wrong with you.
The wonderful Sundown cinema season continues outside at the mac with Psycho, Shaft and Calamity Jane read our preview here
Published on: Sat 20 Aug 2016