At The Flix with @Timmy666

Welcome all to this week's hefty slab of meaty film goodness known as At The Flix. Let's get the carving knife out and slice off the layers to reveal the cinematic juicy bits from the gristle, hopefully more of the former! 

Was that a tenuous and indulgent use of metaphor and adjective? Yes absolutely!

Onwards...

Flatpack Festival

Firstly, remember the most excellent Flatpack Film Festival has begun and continues in venues across the city until March 30th, promising its unique blend of archives and reissues, projects, shorts, talks and walks, animations, new features, documentaries and live events. The festival challenges your preconceptions of film and the moving image in general and is essential for anyone in Brum over its ten days. Be sure to max out on the many things happening! Visit the website for more.

So, as for the rest ....

Starred Up (18)

Starred Up is an uncompromising British prison drama film directed by David Mackenzie and starring Jack O'Connell as a troubled and explosively violent teenager transferred to adult prison where he finally meets his match, and a man who also happens to be his father.

The film made a stir last Autumn during the international Film Festival circuit and the momentum has been building due to the critical acclaim of its gritty portrayal of life in prison. The film is brutal but judging from reviews and clips, it's clear that there's cunning and brains to the film's characters, and not just those being battered in the fight scenes. 

David Mackenzie has some great films to his credit including Hallam Foe and Young Adam, and it's brilliant to see a small British film getting such mainstream attention.

A Long Way Down (15)

There's much to commend this film on paper for its potential to deliver.  For starters, the film's basic plot premise is rich in comedic potential - four folks form a friendly bond after aborting their suicides at a popular suicide spot in London. Nick Hornby's novel, from which the film is based, has a darkly comic underbelly, and therein plenty of opportunity for something of real substance. 

The cast is full of strong actors who are proven for their comic acting abilities, in particular Toni Collette and Pierce Brosnan, both of whom have recent pedigree perfect for this kind of film. The key with comedies is often to have some emotional resonance, belief and likeability in the characters that are being portrayed and that the film doesn't fall into the pitfalls of cliche or archetype. 

This is the first English feature from French director Pascal Chaumeil, probably best known for his French film Heartbreaker from a few years ago starring Romain Duris and Vanessa Paradis. Let's hope the comedy isn't lost in translation. Fingers crossed!

Labor Day (12A)

After many, many months as a trailer, Labor Day finally arrives on mainstream release and stars Kate Winslet as a single mom Adele, who along with her son, offer a wounded man, played by Josh Brolin, a ride. They soon come to realise the back story to this man, an escaped convict on the run, and the film centres on the developing relationship of the film's characters, as the police get ever closer to his whereabouts.

This is an altogether more serious affair from director Jason Reitman following films with comedic underbellies such as Juno, Thank You For Smoking and Up in the Air. It is to Reitman's credit that he's prepared to take on such a variety of films and pace. The key is whether the film's simple premise, slow pace and unveiling of the characters' relationship is convincing, intimate or interesting enough to sustain an audience. Certainly with heavyweight acting talent such as Brolin and Winslet, one can at least hope that this is the case.

Yves Saint Laurent (15)

This is the biopic of YSL starting at the end of the 1950s where he began his relationship with lover and business partner, Pierre Berge, covering a 20 year period, and following hot on the heels of the French biopic craze of recent years started with La Vie en Rose and continued with Gainsbourg: A Heroic LifeCoco before Chanel and Renoir.

The film's focus is on the private life of YSL rather than his artistic endeavours. This means that his life behind the catwalk has to be suitably meaty or substantial enough to warrant cinematic viewing.

Therein lies my concern is whether or not this is worthy of Cineworld or this is purely TV movie territory?

That's it from me. As per usual, any squabbles or issues with any of the above can be directed to @timmy666 on Twitter or below.

Until next week, be sure to Flatpack up your troubles!  Laters!