The Terminator (dir: James Cameron, 1984, cert 15)
The first and best in the powerhouse time traveling robot franchise before the T-800 was reengineered and went all soft in the sequel. Schwarzenegger’s original android is a relentless and pitiless dead eyed killing machine, his pursuit and murder of every Sarah Connor in the telephone directory is quite terrifying. It’s this clinical malevolence that gives The Terminator an uncompromising edge over its sequels, yes they have more bells and whistles but they can’t touch the original for sociopathic cyborg mayhem, just ask the cops at The West Highland Police Station, or what’s left of them.
Mon 28 Aug 8.30pm at The Mockingbird, The Custard Factory, Gibb St, Birmingham B9 4AA £4 veezi.com
Prick Up Your Ears (dir: Stephen Frears, 1987, cert 18)
Possibly the most inspired piece of casting ever saw Gary Oldman not so much take on the role of trailblazing playwright Joe Orton as become him. For a few short sixties years Orton set the world of theatre alight with a series of outrageous plays that exploded stuffy British values in deliciously hilarious fashion, his personal life was equally scandalous and Oldman captures this essence perfectly. That it was all cut short under a barrage of hammer blows from curmudgeonly boyfriend Kenneth Halliwell, superbly played by Alfred Molina, is a tragedy that could have appeared in any of Orton’s work. Superb film and if you attend the Wednesday screening there is a performance from Tom Marshman recreating a 1982 interview with one of Orton’s best friends Kenneth Williams.
Tue 29 Aug to Thu 31 Aug at the mac, Cannon Hill Park, Birmingham B12 9QH £9 macbirmingham.co.uk
Brian De Palma Double Bill: Carlito’s Way (1993, cert 18) & Scarface (1983, cert 18)
De Palma and Pacino let loose in two heavyweight gangster epics, another inspired piece of scheduling at The Mockingbird. Carlito’s Way is a much subtler film than much of De Palma’s oeuvre and is all the better for it. Based on the novel After Hours, written by Judge Edwin Torres, the struggle of Carlito Brigante to go straight is tenser than a hitman’s garotte wire. No such subtlety in De Palma’s iconic rise and fall story, Scarface. Tony Montana’s (Pacino) visceral ascension through the ranks of Frank Lopez’s (Robert Loggia) drug empire is both shocking and compelling viewing. “I’m Tony Montana! You fuck with me, you fuckin’ with the best!” You heard the man.
Thu 31 Aug 6pm at The Mockingbird, The Custard Factory, Gibb St, Birmingham B9 4AA £7 veezi.com
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.
Fri 1 Sep to Thu 7 Sep at The Electric, Station Street, Birmingham B5 4DY £9.50 www.theelectric.co.uk
The Red Turtle (dir: Michael Dudok de Wit, 2017, cert PG)
The Studio Ghibli produced The Red Turtle is a breathtakingly beautiful film, with every hand drawn shot fostering a sense of awe in the viewer. The Robinson Crusoe with magic style story is a subtly wordless exploration of one man’s journey from isolation and frustration to an acceptance of the need for mutuality.
Sat 2 Sep to Sun 3 Sep at the mac, Cannon Hill Park, Birmingham B12 9QH £9 macbirmingham.co.uk
Good Morning Vietnam (dir: Barry Levinson, 1987, cert 15)
Good Morning Vietnam amply showcases Williams’ kinetic hyper energy as he takes on the role of real life wartime DJ Adrian Cronauer, poignantly illustrating the sad loss Williams’ tragic suicide was as his marauding comic energy brings welcome respite to the young and confused troops of the US Army. Both Cronauer and Williams are cut from the same “irreverent tendency” cloth, with Williams’ largely improvised radio monologues echoing the freneticism of Cronauer’s own performances. Levinson’s gaze into the cataclysmic abyss of the GI chomping Vietnam War is rendered more stark by the dreadful humour within. A cinematic Time Machine presentation which will be preceded by an introduction from B Film academic Andrew Watts.
Sun 3 Sep 3pm at The Electric, Station Street, Birmingham B5 4DY £9.50 www.theelectric.co.uk
Published on: Wed 2 Aug 2017