Welcome to this week's delicious slab of movie goodness as I cast an eye over what is out at the cinemas in Birmingham from today.
As it often the case, the offerings are a decidedly mixed affair so let's have a gander.
Moving out of the Dogme school filmmaking, Von Trier'
s experimentation, daring and controversy has made him one of European cinema's most compelling filmmakers of the last twenty years and one that seemingly likes to court scandal.He plays with the expectations of audiences and critics in equal measure… and yet he is quite often the one having the last laugh! With both parts of Nymphomaniac, the talk has been around the sexual and pornographic content. The few teaser trailers, clips and posters have carefully and knowingly kept 'hint' and 'suggestion' strong to keep the 'expectation' rolling.Von Trier has never been shy to explore sexuality, but still do it with the context of the challenging characters he wishes to portray. I am a big fan of his many sides, an extreme director stretching the joys and patience of his many viewers, even with Shia LaBoeuf's accent I believe.A 6pm on Saturday showing at selected venues across Birmingham, ticket dependant, you will have the opportunity to attend four hours (of five from the director's cut) of his latest challenging film about sex called Nymphomanic.
Initial reviews going back to preview showings in Denmark last year have indicated that Von Trier has not only made a film which is far more than an exercise in (often graphic) love and sexuality, but one laced with humour, art, philosophy.
It is adult art house at its most contemporary and if you get to watch it, you are one of the lucky few.
Invisible Woman (12A)
Finally out on a wider release after a few weeks in London and a few other places, Ralph Fiennes directs and stars as Charles Dickens in this story of his secret love affair wit a younger woman, played by the brilliant (and Brummie) Felicity Jones who becomes his secret lover until his death.
With a script by Abi Morgan, the story sensitively follows their passionate and secret romance, Nelly becomes the focus of Dickens' passion and his muse, for both of them secrecy is the price, and for Nelly a life of "invisibility".
The film looks like a darker more brooding version of Merchant Ivory films of previous decades as well as one which is carefully crafted, subtle and very intelligent.
Only Lovers Left Alive
Legendary indie director Jim Jarmusch
enters the vampire fray with the excellent Tom Hiddleston
and Tilda Swinton
as a married vampire couple of many hundreds of years. All is not good in their vampire universe. They have been there and done that. Vampire life is somewhat boring and in the Jim Jarmusch universe that's all the recipe he needs.They are educated Vampires who live in the underground. Frankly whether or not they are vampires is secondary to the fact that they exist in Jarmusch's world of shadows and outcasts. It seems like an intriguing marriage - an opportunity to mix comedy, alluring and gorgeous visuals and a pace all of its own.No doubt also, it's not about vampires - it's about love and Hiddleston and Swinton represent two brilliant actors in which to make all of this happen.New York Winter's Tale, A
The film, called "Winter's Tale" on the other side of the pond, looks like a sugary sweet tale from the trailer, and unfortunately of the sickly saccharine variety too!
Akiva Goldsman's directorial debut (and writer, and producer, and maybe some other stuff too) is set in a mythical New York City set over a century in time. It is pitched as quite an old-fashioned fable of miracles, crossed destinies, and the age-old battle between good and evil, starring Colin Farrell and featured a whole host of other A-listers.
Yet the most noticeable thing from the trailer about this tale of good and evil, angels and demons, love and loss (blah-de-blah) is not just its heightened sense of sentimentality but Russell Crowe's Irish accent. He's up there in the Anthony Hopkins school of unique accents which don't sound like anything you'd expect them too.
I'm not holding my breath.
Named as Russia's most popular film 2013, Stalingrad follows a group of Soviet reconnaissance troops under the command of Gromov, who are sent to prepare the way for a larger landing by Soviet troops from across Volga river in their sector of the city. They are soon confronting the Germans - Hauptmann Kahn, the officer commanding the German troops, falls in love with one of the Soviet women in the building, a young woman named Masha.
This year's Russian entry for Best Foreign Language Film at the Oscars did not make the final nomination list and despite the popularity, the film hasn't seemingly garnered so much critical acclaim. Empire Magazine has suggested to "play Call of Duty instead" and Total Film has added "Spielberg doesn't have too much to worry about yet.
Elsewhere, Urban Coffee Co's Supper Night returns this evening with the Cary Grant and Deborah Kerr 1957 classic An Affair to Remember. Check with Urban if any more places are available. For more info, click here.
Next Thursday, get your cowgirl boots on for Doris Day
in Calamity Jane at The Crescent Theatre. For more info, click here
If you need catch up on any of the Oscar nominated films, there are showings across Birmingham of many of the contenders, including at The Electric
who are showing many, if not all, the films vying for Best Picture.
That's it from me. As always, please let me know what you think of this week's choices by dropping me a tweet to @timmy666
Till next week, keep it real, unlike some of Crowe's more dubious accents.