After a brief one-week hiatus, the regular slot known at At The Flix returns its rightful place here at Birmingham Favourites.
And to paraphrase Roger Moore, “when one is in the cinema, one must delve deeply into its pleasures”, so let’s delve, and do it, deeply:
22 Jump Street (15)
Yes, it’s the sequel to number 21 with Messrs. Hill and Tatum going deep undercover at a local college. Early reviews stay that the film stays to the formula of the original 21 Jump Street – improvisation, self-depreciating humour (poking fun at a comedy sequel) and a more confident “bromantic” back and forth between the two leads. More of the same often works in sequels, and if 21 Jump Street made you laugh, then this will too!
Grace of Monaco (PG)
This is the film that got given one of the most hostile receptions at the Cannes Film Festival, but it’s Cannes, and quite a lot of things get boo-ed. This though was so massively panned. The biopic follows former Hollywood star Grace Kelly’s (played by Nicole Kidman) crisis of marriage and identity, during a political dispute between Monaco’s Prince Rainier (Tim Roth) and France’s Charles De Gaulle, and a looming French invasion of Monaco in the early 1960s. Critics have laid into everything from the performances to the film’s overpowering sense of artifice and melodrama. There are clear echoes to Naomi Watts and the biopic Diana here, but surely it can’t be that bad?
Jimmy’s Hall (12A)
Acclaimed film-maker Ken Loach brings us Jimmy’s Hall, the true-life story of James Gralton (played by Barry Ward) – a self-educated, community-serving man of the people who became public enemy number one as far as the Catholic church and local land owners were concerned.
Gralton’s crime was to build a hall for the locals to serve as a venue for community dances were held there, boxing classes, singing lessons, poetry appreciation sessions and – most importantly – earnest debates about workers’ rights. For the Church and the ruling class, the hall and the man who built it represented something dangerous and subversive, leading to Gralton to becoming the first Irishman to be deported from his own country.
This once again is furtive, powerful stuff from Loach, combining strong, lyrical storytelling with a strong political underbelly, and proving what fire burns deep inside his filmmaking at every turn.
Britpop legends Pulp get the cinema treatment of Jarvis Cocker and the gang charting the history of the group from their start in the 1980s through to their farewell show some 25 years later. Documentary filmmaker Florian Habicht provides an intimate documentary of the band, their ties to their home city Sheffield, and the enduring centrepiece of the film and the band, aka Mr Cocker himself.
Being broadcast over the weekend (including Cineworld Birmingham), the special screening is broadcast live from Sheffield City Hall and will be followed by an extended Q&A with Habicht and the band.
Roundup of other films this week …
Elsewhere, the mac give you a chance to see Ilo Ilo (showing Tues 10 – Thurs 12 June), a film screened at Cannes to very strong reviews. Set in Singapore during the Asian financial crisis of 1997, it focuses on the relationship between bratty, spoilt ten-year-old Jiale and his strict new nanny Terry, who comes from Ilo Ilo in the Philippines.
Other highlights in Birmingham this week, include a chance to catch again Hayao Miyazaki’s spellbinding (supposedly) final feature, The Wind Rises and reshowings of Frank and Next Goal Wins at the mac.