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. Sam Neill’s man of the woods Hec is just about upstaged by wannabe gangster kid Ricky played with anarchically juvenile glee by Julian Dennison. If you need laughs this week then you know where to go. Fri 30 Sep to Thu 6 Oct various times at mac, Cannon Hill Park, Birmingham B12 9QH £8 macbirmingham.co.uk/ Fri 30 Sep to Thu 6 Oct at Electric, Station Street, Birmingham B5 4DY £8.70 www.theelectric.co.uk/
Fri 30 Sep to Thu 6 Oct various times at Lighthouse, Fryer Street, Wolverhampton, WV1 1HT £7.90 light-house.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. One could almost imagine a forked tongue slipping through his deadened lips. Domestic bliss and extreme violence are padded seamlessly into the Puccio world view. There is a pitch black deadpan humour throughout. Not easily forgotten.
Fri 30 Sep to Thu 6 Oct various times at mac, Cannon Hill Park, Birmingham B12 9QH £8 macbirmingham.co.uk/
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.
Mon 26 Sep to Thu 29 Sep various times at Electric, Station Street, Birmingham B5 4DY £8.70 www.theelectric.co.uk/
Julieta (dir: Pedro Almodovar, 2016, cert 15)
If you have even a cursory interest in film you will know all about Pedro Almodovar and his bittersweet, blackly comic brand of eccentric and colourful Spanish cinema. His latest film Julieta explores familiar Almodovarian themes of abandonment, emotional desertion and the quest for a cleansing redemption that may possibly go unfulfilled. Adapted from the short stories of Alice Munro, Julieta may not be in the same league as some of Almodovar’s major works but it’s still streets ahead of most of his contemporaries. Always a treat.
Tue 27 Sep to Thu 29 Sep various times at Electric, Station Street, Birmingham B5 4DY £8.70www.theelectric.co.uk/
Glengarry Glen Ross + live jazz (dir: James Foley, 1992, cert 15)
We love this film at the Wire. Three hours of relentless foul language and bad behavior. Alec Baldwin’s smoothy trouble shooter lounges into Premier Properties from head office and proceeds to chew the under performing salesmen new ones with sweary abandon. Dubbed ‘Death of a Fucking Salesman’ by the cast the profanity comes thick, fast and creative. Our favourite exchange is Al Pacino’s ‘you just cost me 6,000 dollars’ rant at Kevin Spacey which I’m actually frightened to repeat here for fear of offending anyone. It’s not just epic level swearing though. An incredibly strong cast delivers top drawer performances, Pacino was Oscar nominated, in bringing David Mamet’s play to the big screen. Highly recommended. The screening will be followed by a live performance from Jazzlines’ John Fleming Quartet.
Fri 30 Sep 8.15pm at Electric, Station Street, Birmingham B5 4DY £8.70 www.theelectric.co.uk/
The Man Who Fell to Earth (dir: Nicolas Roeg, 1976, cert 18)
Never was a role more fitting for the actor playing it than David Bowie’s portrayal of alien humanoid Thomas Jerome Newton. Bowie’s androgynous other worldliness lends a quiet authenticity to the vulnerable timidity of the titular alien. Roeg’s film is beautifully rendered in an almost dreamy and seductive manner. Sedate pacing belies a simmering paranoia and even after several viewings it’s possible to discover things anew. It’s relentlessly downbeat nature may not be to everyone’s taste but we think it’s an absolute classic. It’s a shame it’s not the recently restored 4k version but that just gives us another excuse to watch the film yet again in the future.
Sat 1 Oct 2pm & Thu 6 Oct 8.30pm at Electric, Station Street, Birmingham B5 4DY £8.70 www.theelectric.co.uk/
Fargo (dir: Joel Coen, 1996, cert 18)
It’s difficult to pick a defining film from the Coen brothers canon but Fargo must come pretty close. The surreal setting in Scandy Minnesota, the hapless anti-hero, a solid macguffin and a dogged protagonist. Frances McDormand’s mumsy pregnant police chief Marge steals the show and earned the actress a well deserved Oscar. The Coen’s mischievously added the legend ‘based on a true story’ to the film’s opening credits which has spawned several theories and supposedly led one poor Japanese soul to travel from Tokyo and die of hypothermia whilst searching for the missing money. Her name was Takako Konishi and she actually committed suicide. Roger Deakins’ cinematography is spellbinding and deserves to be seen on the big screen.
Sat 1 Oct 11.30am at Electric, Station Street, Birmingham B5 4DY £8.70 www.theelectric.co.uk/
Gary Numan: Android In La La Land + Q&A (dir: Steve Read & Rob Alexander, 2016, cert 15)
Gary Numan was like an alien creature in the early 80s; that weird computer music, the pale face, the costumes and those enigmatic staring eyes. Best of all parents hated it because it wasn’t real music. What fans didn’t know at the time was that Numan’s music and persona were expressions of an inner turmoil caused by Asperger’s, depression and anxiety. Otherness was not a quality respected in those days with an unfettered gutter press having free reign to print whatsoever it chose and it chose to stick the boot into Numan for his supposed weirdness. The documentary charts these episodes but also how he has come to terms with his life and continues to make music. A fascinating glimpse into an enigmatic life.
Sun 2 Oct, 12.30pm at Electric, Station Street, Birmingham B5 4DY. £8.70www.theelectric.co.uk/
Kolya (dir: Jan Svěrák, 1996, cert 12)
Those clever people at Brum Cinema Addicts have got together with the Birmingham Czech and Slovak clubs to bring you the first in what should be an ongoing series of classic Czech cinema. To begin there is a screening of the sweetly serious Kolya. The tale of a Russian boy, the titular Kolya, who unwittingly falls into the care of the ‘politically unreliable’ František Louka played with grizzled aplomb by Zdeněk Svěrák who also wrote the screenplay. What sets Kolya apart from similarly themed ‘odd couple’ films and prevents it from degenerating into an asinine feel good movie is the political backdrop to its setting and the delightfully deadpan Czech humour. If you can’t speak Russian and Czech you will miss some of the comedy of conflicting languages. If you have a heart you will revel in a beautiful story told to perfection. Bring a hanky. Fri 30 Sep 8pm at Gunmakers Arms, 93 Bath Street, Birmingham B4 6HG Free www.facebook.com/
GRRRLS ON FILM
As part of the nationwide Scalarama ‘Month of Cinema’ initiative and the Homeless Period campaign in Birmingham the ever wonderful arts space that is the Ort is hosting an evening of short films from both local and international artists. A free event and please check out the link for a list of suggested items to donate to the campaign.
Wed 28 Sep 7.30pm at Ort Cafe, Moseley Road, Balsall heath, Birmingham B12 9AH Free www.facebook.com/
Notable mention must go to The Mockingbird that continues its adventurous programming. This week it will be screening everyone’s favourite memory erasure movie Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind in which a, for once, non gurning Jim Carey struggles with his past. Samuel Jackson is still sick of those ‘motherfucking snakes on this motherfucking plane’ in Snakes on a Plane and best of all there’s a double bill of the first two Rocky films.
Check website for screening times. Mockingbird, Custard Factory, Digbeth, Birmingham B9 4AA www.facebook.com/
Birmingham on Film season continues, read our preview here
Published on: Mon 12 Sep 2016