At The Flix with @Timmy666

Hello cinema fans!

Welcome to this week's trawl through the cinematic releases hitting the big, and slightly less big, screens across Birmingham.

So without further or do, let's take a look at what's due to come our way!

Transcendence (12A)

This week's big film is the directorial debut from Wally Pfister, Christopher Nolan's regular DoP since Memento and stepping up to make something which on the surface looks quite Nolan-esque, attempting intelligent film-making whilst challenging the mainstream audience. 

The film stars Johnny Depp as Dr. Will Caster who works toward his goal of creating an omniscient, sentient machine but a radical anti-technology organisation fights to prevent him from establishing a world where computers can transcend the abilities of the human brain.

The screenplay for this film did the rounds for a quite a while on Hollywood's The Black List, a list which is basically the hotbed of desired screenplays by executives! By desired, not necessarily the best, but definitely the most sought after. The Black List even has its own website.  

It's such a shame then that Jack Paglen's much touted script hasn't translated into a film which the American critics have enjoyed. Far from it, it has received something of a critical mauling Stateside - a 19% rating on Rotten Tomatoes (at the time of writing this!).  Despite a high-end A-list cast and much expectation, Transcendence has so far failed to transcend the critical audience.

Maybe the cinema paying audience will think differently?

Other Woman, The (12A)

The Other Woman tells the story of a woman played by Cameron Diaz, who after discovering her boyfriend is married tries to get her ruined life back on track.

But when she accidentally meets the wife he's been cheating on, she realises they have much in common, and her sworn enemy becomes her greatest friend. When yet another affair is discovered, all three women team up to plot mutual revenge on that same man.

At the point of writing this particular part, the editor had a conversation with me about the use of the term "chick flick" and that it implies a derisory subtext. [Not true, it's just not everyone's glass of chardonnay - Ed]

So, with that in mind, it's a "chick flick" and I do want to give it more credit and not judge before I've seen it, but …. :)

Tracks (12A)

Out this week on limited release (including at The Electric Cinema), Tracks stars Mia Wasikowska as Robyn Davidson, the true story of a young woman who in 1977 undertook a perilous solo trek across 1,700 miles of stunning Australian outback. 

Promoted as a story of self-discovery, a chance meeting with National Geographic photographer Rick Smoland (Adam Driver) provides her with the necessary financing for her expedition under the condition that he be allowed to photograph parts of her journey for the magazine.

This film was many, many years in realisation. Indeed before Mia Wasikowska was even born, both Julia Roberts and Nicole Kidman had been attached to the lead role. Anyhow, finally on the big screen, I'm grateful it's out now because if any actress can carry off a performance of weight and substance to reflect the adventure, it is Wasikowska.

I'm looking forward to catching the film and to hoping that as many people as possible get to see it too.

We Are The Freaks (15)

Showing as one-off with a Q+A this Friday 25th April, this is the latest feature from talented Midlands director Justin Edgar. The film is set in England in 1990, and Thatcher has just resigned, and tells the story of three friends who embark on a wild night out in Birmingham, and what ensues is an energetic comedy, and their lives are changed forever.

The screening at The Electric will be followed by a cast and crew Q&A featuring writer-director Justin Edgar, plus cast members Sean Teale and Amber Anderson.

The Past (12A)

Showing at the mac from 27th April until 1st May, this Golden Globe nominated film is the follow up to director Asghar Farhadi's excellent 2012 film A Separation, stars Berenice Bejo and Tahir Rahim, and tells the story of an Iranian man who deserts his French wife and her two children to return to his homeland. Meanwhile, his wife starts up a new relationship, a reality her husband confronts upon his wife's request for a divorce.

I'm a big fan of A Separation, and given the critical acclaim of his follow-up, this is surely a must see this week!

The Shout Festival at the mac

Continuing this week, the mac is to show a number of films as part of the Shout Festival. These include Cupcakes (12A) described as "a charming comedy which takes a Eurovision-style song contest as a jumping-off point for a sweet and unabashedly nostalgic evocation of a time when, as one character puts it, "you borrowed a cup of sugar from your neighbour and stayed for coffee."" Got that? Good! :) 

So does anyone care to correct me on my definition of chick flicks? Indeed, if anyone/any man cares to throw their hat into the ring and admit to liking a few 'supposed' chick flicks, then please be my guest. I like 'You've Got Mail'. There.

As always, queries, quibbles and comments, please let me know via twitter @timmy666 or more generally at @BrumFaves.

Until then, have a great weekend at the cinema and see you next week for more At The Flix!