Hello one and all, welcome to this week’s #AtTheFlix, the weekly trawl through all things cinematic, good and bad, in Birmingham.
Let’s dig in shall we!
Suite Francaise (15)
Set in France in 1940 in the first days of occupation and based on the best-selling book by Irene Nemirovsky, Suite Française tells the story of Lucille Angellier as she awaits news from her her husband: a prisoner of war.
Parisian refugees start to pour into their small town, soon followed by a regiment of German soldiers who take up residence in the villagers’ own homes. Lucile forms a bond with Bruno von Falk, a German officer staying with them, drawing them together and into the tragedy of war.
If a tragic romance and falling in love with the enemy is your thing, then this is definitely for you. This goes big on nuance and spectacle, has a classy cast and has garnered loads of positive reviews so far.
Run All Night (15)
Evidently Liam Neeson is either just continuing to love playing action roles or he’s just being typecast. Either way, he is good at it even if quality control is somewhat awry.
Anyhow, this time he plays a Brooklyn mobster and prolific hit man called Jimmy Conlon aka The Gravedigger.
He finds himself embroiled with his best friend, mob boss Shawn Maguire (Ed Harris), when Jimmy’s estranged son, becomes a target. He must make a choice between the crime family he chose and the real family he abandoned long ago.
Jimmy has to figure out exactly where his loyalties lie and to see if he can finally make things right.
This sounds like very familiar territory, and the trailer has played as a pastiche of many things. That said, director Jaume Collet-Serra, who worked with Neeson on Unknown, is clearly very capable of bringing the right elements together, and Neeson and Harris are two guys who can definitely bring their ‘thing’ to the table. Those are the only draws for me.
Whether it can be a patch on the 70s films it is being influenced by or has the strength of plot or characters to see it through, you will have to decide for yourself.
X+Y is a British indie film telling the story of Nathan, an autistic teenager and maths genius who has recently lost his father and is coming to terms with it along with his mum.
He is bullied and mocked by his peers. He soon meets an unconventional maths teacher and finds himself not only selected for the UK Mathematics Squad but representing his country in Taipei.
Over there, he finds that geeks and nerds are the real cool kids. The maths bit is straight forward enough. The hard bit is falling in love with his female exchange partner, Zhang Mei..
This is an indie take on youth and adolescence and being an outsider which is garnering strong reviews and has a significant emotional kick not least due to the cast including Asa Butterfield, Rafe Spall, Eddie Marsan and Sally Hawkins.
Showing at The Electric from tomorrow until Monday, The Duke of Burgundy (18), is the latest film from Peter Strickland, the director of Berberian Sound Studio. Given all the talk about erotic thrillers over the last few weeks, here’s one that properly channels the best of the genre, an erotic drama about a butterfly professor’s dom/sub lesbian relationship, one which is stylish, strange, bold, witty and invites the audience to at least go with it.
Also at the Electric, there’s the opportunity to catch Appropriate Behaviour (15), a fresh comedy written, directed and starring Desiree Akhava set in Brooklyn focussing on the romantic confusion and misadventures of Shirin, a confident young Iranian-American. The film is packed full of sharp wit and insight.
Next week, we will be previewing the upcoming Flatpack Festival which kicks off on the 19th.
Until then, have a great week at the cinema and be sure to tweet me @timmy666 with any queries.