BPREVIEW: A Pigeon on a Branch Reflecting on Existence @ mac, 7/8th June ‘15


The final film in Swedish director Roy Andersson‘s ‘Living Trilogy’, A Pigeon on a Branch Reflecting on Existence, is being screened at mac Birmingham on Sunday 7th June & Monday 8th June.Main-with-web-colour-bcg---lr

Screenings start at 8pm on Sunday and 7pm on Monday, with tickets priced from £7.50 – for further info & online booking, click here

A Pigeon on a Branch Reflecting on Existence was premiered in 2014 at The Venice Film Festival, where it was awarded the prestigious Golden Lion award for best film. From October the same year, the film was further released through cinemas across the world – premiering in Andersson’s native Sweden at the Stockholm International Film Festival on November 9th 2014.

Described as a dark-comedy, the film takes a look at what it means to be human through Andersson’s own obscure and surreal observations of the human condition.

The film’s title was inspired by the painting ‘Hunters in The Snow’ by Pieter Brugel; Andersson said that he imagined the birds in the painting looking down on the people below and wonder what they are doing. He was further quoted as saying “(it is a) different way of saying ‘what are we actually doing’, that’s what the movie is about.”

Mostly set in modern day Sweden, A Pigeon on a Branch Reflecting on Existence follows two business partners who constantly argue – both suffering from chronic depression, exacerbated by the people they encounter whilst fruitlessly trying to sell novelty items door to door.

Unnervingly split between reality and fantasy, Andersson purposely uses a cast of unknown actors to portray the film’s grey, soulless and often anonymous mac-birm-magenta_620---with-web-colourcharacters – each telling a story that doesn’t necessarily have a specific narrative.

Roy Andersson‘s unique way of storytelling has been met with high critical acclaim. With review aggregator site, Metacritic, scoring the film 89%, A Pigeon on a Branch Reflecting on Existence has been described as “excruciatingly funny and streaked with coal black humour” by Time Out magazine, and “one of the strangest films you’ll see this (or any) year…” by Total Film.

Preceded by Songs from the Second Floor (2000) and You, the Living (2007), A Pigeon on a Branch Reflecting on Existence is the third and final film in Andersson’s ‘The Living Trilogy’ – concluding the Studio 24 founder’s personal vision on what defines us as a unique, yet detached species.

A Pigeon on a Branch Reflecting on Existence – official trailer

A Pigeon on a Branch Reflecting on Existence is screened at mac Birmingham on Sunday 7th June & Monday 8th June. For further info & online bookings, visit http://macbirmingham.co.uk/event/a-pigeon-on-a-branch-reflecting-on-existence/

For more on Roy Andersson, visit http://www.royandersson.com/

For more from mac Birmingham, including full cinema and event listings, visit http://macbirmingham.co.uk/

BPREVIEW: Tusk @ The Electric Cinema, 13th May ‘15

Tusk / www.tuskthemovie.comBilled as a body horror comedy, Tusk is the latest feature length film from director Kevin Smith.

Tusk will be shown as part of the ongoing Shock & Gore programme at the Electric Cinema (B’ham) on Wednesday 13th May at 8.30pm. Tickets are priced from £10.20 – for further details click here.

Intended to be the first of Smith’s True North Trilogy, Tusk premiered at the Toronto Film Festival in 2014 and was released on DVD later the same year.Main with web colour bcg - lr

The plot follows a non-linear narrative and tells the unfortunate story of Wallace Bryton, as portrayed by Justin Long. A podcaster from Los Angeles, Wallace travels to Canada to interview the ‘Kill Bill Kid’ – a man made famous for his internet stunts, only to be let down at the last minute.

Determined not to return to LA without a story, Wallace then encounters Howard Howe (Michael Parks), a retired sailor with a disconcerting obsession over a walrus named Mr Tusk. From here on in, the film takes a distinctive, gory turn for the worse as Wallace’s grisly future becomes more and more apparent.

Inspired by an actual advert on Gumtree, discovered by Kevin Smith whilst producing his own podcasts, Tusk asks the question ‘What is humanity?’ – a rather serious subject for a film pitched as a comedy, albeit one with gruesome dysmorphia as a narrative thread.

Tusk #1With a 39% critic rating on Rotten Tomatoes, Tusk received mixed reviews on release.  The film review website summary describes Tusk as ‘pleasantly ridiculous… but that isn’t enough to compensate for its thin, over stretched story.’  However, as with many of Smith’s previous projects, Tusk has already generated a large cult following.

Showing for one night only at Birmingham’s Electric Cinema, on Wednesday 13th May, Tusk is presented as part of their ongoing Shock & Gore programme. Established to celebrate the best and most disturbing horror, sci-fi and dramatic films, Shock & Gore culminates each July with the Shock & Gore Festival – held annually since 2011.Tusk #2

Screening both studio made productions as well as local, independent short films, Shock & Gore further advocates film making through its annual call for submissions – with entrants from around the world being screened at the Birmingham festival.

Shock & Gore organsisers are looking for ‘the weird, the wonderful and the fantastic, which includes science fiction, fantasy and the kind of narrative dramas that take human experiences to the extreme.’

For more information on submitting an entry to the Shock & Gore Festival, visit the official Withoutabox page – click here.

Tusk – official Trailer

Tusk Trailer

Showing for one night only, as part of their ongoing Shock & Gore programme, Tusk screens at the Electric Cinema (B’ham) on Weds 13th May. For more info & online bookings, visit https://www.theelectric.co.uk/programme.php?film=1139


For more on Tusk, visit http://tuskthemovie.com/

For more on A24, visit http://a24films.com/


For more on Shock & Gore, visit http://www.shockandgore.co.uk/

For more on the Electric Cinema (B’ham), including full listings, visit https://www.theelectric.co.uk

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BPREVIEW: Big Eyes @ mac Cinema, 9th – 15th Jan

Big Eyes / www.bigeyesfilm.comDirector: Tim Burton
Writing Credits:  Scott Alexander, Larry Karaszewski

Cast:  Amy Adams, Christopher Waltz, Krysten Ritter, Jason Schwartzman, Danny Huston, Terrence Stamp

UK rating: 12A Certificate
UK release date: 26th December 2014

Tim Burton’s latest biopic, Big Eyes, comes to mac Cinema from 9th to 15th January. For show times & online bookings, click here

Big Eyes is based on the real life story of Walter and Margaret Keane, the husband and wife behind a series of portraits in the 50’s and 60’s of woeful faced children and ‘waifs’ – recognised for their aforementioned big eyes.

Walter Keane claimed public credit for the portraits, whilst Big Eyes cites the actual painting done solely by Margaret Keane – Walter first exhibiting his wife’s work at a 1957 outdoor show in Washington Square Park, New York.Birmingham Preview / www.birminghamreview.net

After success compounded the lie, the mass production and sale of low cost prints compounded the success; prominent celebrities of the time bought the Walter signed Margaret originals, whilst bovine America could pick up a cheap reproduction poster or postcard in their local gas station.

By the mid 60’s Walter Keane had become a recognised media machine whilst Margaret continued to produce work for her husband to sign, in arguable secret and distress. The whistle was finally blown in 1970 after Margaret Keane went on public radio to claim her creative rights, with a high profile court case between the now estranged couple eventually unfolding in the mid 80’s.

Big Eyes tells the story of Walter and Margaret, from their first meeting (both as painters and divorcees), through to their subsequent marriage, fraud, success, and courtroom finale.

l-r Walter Keane (Christopher Waltz) and Margaret Keane (Amy Adams) / www.bigeyesfilm.comBig Eyes is the first collaboration between Tim Burton and scriptwriters Scott Alexander, Larry Karaszewski since their initial project together, Ed Wood (1994).

Originally casting Kate Hudson and Thomas Haden Church in the lead roles, the initially Alexander and Karaszewski directed project was stop/started from 2008, until Burton joined the production team in 2010 – later becoming the film’s director in 2012.

Tim Burton first met Margaret Keane in the 1990’s, when he commissioned the artist to paint a portrait of his partner at the time.

Burton began collecting Keane’s work, citing the “disturbing” and ubiquitous pictures as “practically the only art I ever saw as a child”.

Walter Keane died in 2000. His daughter from his first marriage, Susan Keane, still defends her father’s claims and condemns the Big Eyes as “myths perpetuated by the media.” Despite several requests, and a court room invitation to paint an original for a jury, Walter Keane never produced an original ‘big eyed’ portrait outside of his marriage to Margaret.

Watch the official Big Eyes trailer – click here or below:

Big Eyes runs at mac Cinema from 9th to 15th January. For further info and tickets, visit http://macbirmingham.co.uk/event/big-eyes/

For more on Big Eyes, visit http://bigeyesfilm.com/

For more from mac Birmingham, visit http://macbirmingham.co.uk/

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PREVIEW: Flickerama @ Great Tew Estate, Cotswolds, 14th to 16th August 2015

Flickerama / www.flickerama.co.uk

“Hello, watch this.”

Today sees the public launch of Flickerama, the world’s first Greenfield Film Festival – to be held on the Great Tew Estate in the Cotswolds (Oxfordshire) from 14th to 16th August 2015.

Five individual screens and arenas will host a weekend of cinema, from cult martial arts movies to children’s classics, catering for the celluloid whims of a 10,000 strong festival crowd.Birmingham Preview / www.birminghamreview.net

This is the ‘first event of its kind’ (what is colloquially being called ‘Glastonbury for films’) and things have been very hush, hush at Camp Flickerama – with organisers beavering behind their respective curtains to get things ready for the release of the Early Bird tickets today.

But last week Birmingham Review was invited to a Q&A at the appropriately themed Sanctum Soho Cinema & Hotel, to hear a bit more from the team behind the Flickerama debut.

“There has been a significant increase in Event Cinema over recent years,” explains organiser Tom Lawes, who also owns the Electric Cinema in Birmingham, “with the success of Everyman (chain of cinemas) and Secret Cinema showing how people want to go and see films but want to experience something extra.

Flickerama is the first event of its kind. There are film festivals in Edinburgh and London where the programme is spread out over a number of venues, but this is the world’s first ever Greenfield film festival – with the programme hosted all together on one, beautiful site.”

Flickerama / www.flickerama.co.ukBroken down into five separate screens and arenas, Flickerama will host a “nothing off limits” programme of films, with different arenas catering for different audiences.

The Main Stage will see a huge outdoor screen that’s ‘capable of accommodating a full orchestra and has the capacity for 10000 film fans,’ whilst The Boutique Screen will offer ‘a sophisticated ambiance with comfy seating a full bar and cocktail waiter service’.

The Shock and Gore Screen, named after the successful series of events hosted at The Electric Cinema, will present a programme of ‘horror, science fiction, comic book and marshall arts films’.

The Little Film Club will screen continuousfamily friendly films in a relaxed environment’ as well as hosting a weekend of activities for children – including ‘superhero discos, film inspired pottery sessions and animation workshops.’

With access to the Industry Pavilion available through ‘special industry accreditation’, where the more professionally focused can take part in ‘film makers workshops, Director Q&A’s, producers in conversation, funding forums and networking events.’

Extra activity on site will include live music – with The Blues Brothers band already confirmed to play alongside a screening of the John Landis film – a ‘memorabilia marketplace’, star signings, Director Q&As, a Zombie Walk, and as is de rigueur at any serious Greenfield festival on site camping/glamping will mean you’re never that far away.Great Tew Estate  / www.flickerama.co.uk

Plus Fickerama presents a series of themed food and drink stalls (alongside the more traditional festival fayre) where you can chow down on a film references from a tasty Big Kahuna burger to a Pan Galactic Garglebalster. Fingers crossed there’s no James Cameron buffet.

There will also be “the world’s biggest ever screening of The Room” – Tommy Wiseau’s odd 2003 melodrama that achieved cult status for being, arguably, ‘the worst movie of all time’.

Organisers are also looking for submissions from independent film makers to show during the weekend, welcoming ‘shorts, features and animations from across all genres’ that have been completed after 1st January 2014. Cost is £30 per film, with the final deadline on 24th May 2015 – all submissions to be made via Withoutabox.

More details about the full Flickerama programme and further festival opportunities are to be released in the coming months. For the full story read Birmingham Review.

Flickerama @ Great Tew Estate (Cotswolds) 14th to 16th August 2015 Click here or below


Flickerama, the world’s first Greenfield Film Festival, will be held on the Great Tew Estate in the Cotswolds (Oxfordshire) from 14th to 16th August 2015. Early Bird tickets are on sale from today (24th Nov) until Feb 2015 – priced at £99.

For more info on Flickerama, including online ticket purchases, visit http://www.flickerama.co.uk

PREVIEW: Monty Python Live (mostly)

Monty Python Live (mostly) / www.montypythonlive.com

Director: Aubrey Powell
Writing Credits:  Monty Python
Cast:  John Cleese, Terry Gilliam, Eric Idle, Michael Palin – with archive footage including Graham Chapman

UK rating: 15 certificate
UK release date: Various

Monty Python Live (mostly) is broadcast across UK cinemas today – being shown at the Electric Cinema tonight, with further ‘encore’s on July 24th, Aug 3rd & Aug 14th.Birmingham Preview / www.birminghamreview.net

Monty Python Live (mostly) / www.montypythonlive.comThe final performance from a series of ‘reunion’ stage dates at the 02 Academy in London, presented by Phil McIntyre EntertainmentsMonty Python Live (mostly) is exactly that – Monty Python, being performed by the original crew (R.I.P Mr Chapman) on stage live. Mostly. There’s some Terry Gilliam up there too.

The idea is simple and astute – get the Pythons back together, performing the tried and tested classics, run it as a stage show at the country’s second largest indoor arena, film it, screen the same live performance in cinemas across the country. No doubt the DVD-Blue-Ray-t-shirt- breakfast-cereal will be out just before Christmas. If you’re going to do a reunion, do it properly.Monty Python Live (mostly) / www.montypythonlive.com

And why not, after all there’s been the demand. The Pythons came together for one live date at the O2 Academy London on July 1st; sold that out, so added shows on July 2nd – 5th. After those sold out July 20th was added as a final farewell. This too, sold out. But you still get the chance to see it at cinemas across the country on special syndications of each live show. Unless of course those screenings have sold out as well. Which most have. As I said, there’s been the demand.

Monty Python Live (mostly) / www.montypythonlive.comBut a Monty Python reunion selling out is almost as predictable as the live show itself – an homage to lumberjacks, parrots (dead), people called Bruce, tinned meat(ish) and overzealous cardinals.  Although with Spamalot nearly a decade old there’s probably a heightened sense of ‘show’ in the proceedings.

Reports from the July 1st opening were equally obvious – ‘I can’t believe I’m watching the Pythons live’, ‘I can’t believe how old they look’, ‘I’m a lumberjack and I’m OK…’  After all, the Footlights was a long time ago.

But none of this really matters – Monty Python Live (mostly) is an arguably overdue exercise in giving the fans what they want (and there’s a lot of them) whilst getting handsomely paid in the process . Which, when you’ve contributed as much as the Pythons have, is no bad thing.

Monty Python’s Flying Circus deserve a golden handshake as absurd as their comedy, and the overwhelmingly complicit ticket buying public have agreed in their thousands. Tens of thousands. It may be contrived, but it’s always original – a paradox worthy of the Pythons themselves. The only tragedy being that they’re one down in number.

Monty Python Live (mostly) – official trailer, click here/image below

Monty Python Live (mostly) / www.montypythonlive.com

Monty Python Live is screened at the Electric Cinema tonight (July 20th), with further ‘encore’s on July 24th, Aug 3rd & Aug 14th. For further details, including full show listings and times, visit https://www.theelectric.co.uk

For more on Monty Python Live (Mostly), visit http://www.montypythonlive.com/

For more about Monty Python, visit http://pythonline.com/


For more about the Academy Music Group, including their Birmingham venue, visit http://www.academy-music-group.co.uk/

For more from Phil McIntyre Entertainments, visit http://www.mcintyre-ents.com