Dennis Skinner: Nature of the Beast + Q&A (dir: Daniel Draper, 2017, cert n/a)
The Beast of Bolsover has a formidable reputation that has been forged over nearly five decades as an MP. Skinner’s fierce free thinking independence and biting wit set him apart from a generation of identikit politicians armed with glib platitudes and the easy evasiveness of the best shyster’s. Suspended from Parliament on ten occasions for using ‘unparliamentary language’, he has the best attendance and lowest expenses of anyone in that house. Draper’s fascinating film explores Skinner’s career from his working class upbringing to left wing political icon. The screening will be followed by a Q&A with Dave Nellist, Labour MP for Coventry South East between 1983-1992.
Mon 11 Sep 7pm at The Mockingbird, The Custard Factory, Gibb St, Birmingham B9 4AA £5 veezi.com
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.
Wed 13 Sep 2pm & Thu 14 Sep 12pm at mac, Cannon Hill Park, Birmingham B12 9QH £9 macbirmingham.co.uk
God’s Own Country (dir: Francis Lee, 2017, cert 15)
Whilst comparisons to Brokeback Mountain are inevitable, Francis Lee’s debut feature is a much more nuanced film and swerves the at times maudlin sentimentality of Ang Lee’s movie. The bleak Yorkshire moors set the tone for a stunningly realised exploration of love, identity and loyalty. The performances of Josh O’Connor as frustrated sheep farmer Johnny Saxby and Alec Secareanu as Romanian seasonal worker Gheorghe Ionescu are breathtaking. The gradual wearing of that peculiarly English brand of brooding sexual and emotional repression will resonate with UK audiences particularly. An incredible debut and highly recommended.
Mon 11 Sep to Thu 14 Sep at The Electric Cinema, Station Street, Birmingham B5 4DY £9.50 www.theelectric.co.uk
Fri 15 sep to Thu 21 Sep at mac, Cannon Hill Park, Birmingham B12 9QH £9 macbirmingham.co.uk
Take Me High (dir: David Askey, 1974, cert U)
There isn’t a lot going for Cliff Richard’s limp seventies musical comedy vehicle. Appalling script, clunky direction, ham-fisted songs coupled with leaden choreography and acting so wooden your eyes could get splinters. But the one thing that does make this a film worth seeing is the magical Oscar worthy acting of Birmingham itself. Join our city as it easily upstages the Peter Pan of Pop as he hacks around New Street, Corporation Street, the Library, Gas Street Basin and a host of familiar Brum landmarks all endearingly locked into the brutalist reality of 1974. The screening takes place aboard a canal boat and thanks to the ever giving Flatpack bods your entry fee will also entitle you to sample a 21st century version of the Brumburger around which the whole plot of the film clumsily rotates. Read more about The Birmingham on Film season here.
Sat 16 Sep 6pm at Gas Street Basin, 42A Gas St, Birmingham B1 2JT £10 flatpackfestival.org.uk
Full Metal Jacket (dir: Stanley Kubrick, 1987, cert 15)
Kubrick’s visceral war movie is really two films in one. The gruelling training of newly drafted marines; subjected to the relentless tirades of Gunnery Sergeant Hartman, played with exquisitely foul mouthed glee by R. Lee Ermy in a mostly ad libbed performance, and life on the brutal frontline in Vietnam during the Tet Offensive. Stylish, bloody and unforgettable, Kubrick didn’t set out to make an anti-war film but, according to Michael Herr on whose book the film is based, “wanted to show what war is like.” Kubrick’s violent and emotional jackhammer assault on the senses succeeds. As Hartman succinctly observes. “Here, you are all equally useless!”
Sun 17 Sep 12pm at The Electric Cinema, Station Street, Birmingham B5 4DY £9.50 www.theelectric.co.uk
Buster Keaton Double Bill
The Great Stone Face not only set the blueprint for all cinematic comedy but created a powerhouse legacy that has informed all cinema ever since. Keaton’s films, from his riotous beginnings alongside Fatty Arbuckle through to the epic The General, ran wild with creative abandon. In One Week (1920) newly weds Buster and wife Sybil Seely make your Ikea flatpack nightmares seem like bliss as they attempt to assemble their marital home, look out for a genius look to camera censorship gag as Sybil takes a bath. Sherlock Jr. (1924) is ferociously inventive and features special effects that still dazzle. The very nature of reality is usurped with hilariously existential delirium as amateur detective and projectionist Buster literally falls inside the movie screen. Utter genius.
Sun 17 Sep 2pm at mac, Cannon Hill Park, Birmingham B12 9QH £9 macbirmingham.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’.
Sun 17 Sep 7pm at Cafe Ort, 500-504 Moseley Rd, Birmingham B12 9AH £5 www.meetup.com
Also this weekend The Electric Cinema’s Flickerama Festival gets under way at Umberslade Farm Park, there are outdoor screenings at The Botanical Gardens including the kinetic Romeo and Juliet and The Mockingbird have free, yes free, screenings of Spinal Tap and Old School, Flatpack’s Birmingham on Film has events throughout the city.
Published on: Thu 10 Aug 2017