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By midlandsmovies, Sep 27 2019 07:44AM



Review - My Beautiful Laundrette at Curve Leicester


My Beautiful Launderette won an Oscar nomination for Hanif Kureshi for Best Original Screenplay back in 1987. Adapted for the stage by the writer and featuring an original score by the Pet Shop Boys, the stage adaptation remains true to its roots and plunges the audience straight into 1980s Britain.


Set to the backdrop of a dingy launderette, My Beautiful Launderette tells the story of Omar, a young British Pakistani who has lost his way after a family tragedy. Played with gentle charm dashed with an edge of cunning, Omar Malik’s Omar has the audience in the palm of his hand from the outset. When he confronts a fascist gang after recognising his school friend Johnny amongst them, we are rooting for the pair to make a success out of the launderette that they decide to renovate between them, and later for their love story to have a happy ending.


Whilst the entire ensemble are to be commended for their achievements in bringing this story to life (the majority play multiple roles), it’s Jonny Fines who deserves every accolade for his portrayal of the initially moody and mysterious Johnny. His focus and embodiment of the character needs to be seen to be believed; every action, reaction and facial expression draws the audience in and it was his enthralling performance that had me joining the standing ovation at the end.


Praise should also be heaped upon Grace Smart for her set design; she has created a clever, multi-purpose set that reflects both the grim back story with its industrial lines and neon graffiti, to happier times with the giant (albeit skewed) glitter ball and the ever-present ‘Back to the Future’ poster! The clever lighting design deserves recognition too, from the flashing POWDERS sign to the illumination of a moody, sexy Johnny enveloped in smoke on top of scaffolding.


The play is not without its faults. At times the narrative was confusing to follow as the audience focus was pulled where it wasn’t supposed to be; I missed the first part of an important scene between Johnny and Omar as I was watching two other actors writhe in knee high boots and top hats on another part of the stage! There were also scenes played out on the floor that I struggled to see, despite being only four rows back from the stage.


Despite its minor flaws, My Beautiful Launderette is well worth a visit for anybody who loves the ‘80s (the costume design alone will have you salivating) and anybody who loves tales of star-crossed lovers or is a champion of the underdog. The final fight scene had me wincing, the stage combat was so effective and the curtain call was accompanied by a surprise that had the audience enthralled…we’ll let you see what that is when you visit!


My Beautiful Launderette plays at Curve Theatre, Leicester from Friday 27th September to Saturday 5th October.


Karen Stevens


£22 – £10

PREVIEWS

Fri 20 – Wed 25 Sep – £10


241 Tickets on Thu 26 Sep 7.15pm & Mon 30 Sep 7.15pm


ACCESS PERFORMANCES

Captioned: Thu 3 Oct, 7.15pm

Audio-Described: Sat 5 Oct, 2.30pm (with Touch Tour starting 90mins prior)




By midlandsmovies, Jul 12 2019 09:01AM



Midlands Spotlight - Birmingham Indian Festival 2019 a huge success


The 5th anniversary of Birmingham Indian Film Festival opened with Director Anubhav Sinha walking the red carpet at Cineworld, Broad Street for his hard-hitting thriller ‘Article 15’ (out now on global general release) and ended this week with a sold-out screening of Ritesh Batra’s ‘Photograph’ at MAC Birmingham.


The Festival was part of the Bagri London Indian Film Festival which together is the UK and Europe’s largest South Asian Film Festival.


Eleven days of 16 screenings and events took place in five venues across Birmingham and showcased a number of high profile and emerging women film-makers films, Q&A’s with Directors as well as a rarely seen documentary and special screenings of LGBTQ+ shorts attended by a diverse audience.


The Festival’s first Screen Talk took place at The Mockingbird Cinema with India’s leading cult iconic Director Anurag Kashyap.


Other guests at screenings during the festival included investigative journalist and activist, Anand Patwardhan, legendary Bengali director, Buddhadeb Dasgupta, Kannada actress Anju Alva Naik and directors Praveen Morchhale and Gaurav Bakshi.


This year’s inaugural BIFF Audience Award went to the charming romance ‘Sir’, directed by Rohena Gera which took the Cannes film festival by storm in 2018. The award, which has been running at the Bagri London Indian Film Festival for 7 years, marks the first time it has been presented to a female director.


Rohena Gera said “I am truly delighted that ‘Sir’ has won the Audience Award in Birmingham. It means a lot to me that the film connects with the audience at the heart of the UK. I am honoured to be their favourite".


The Satyajit Ray Short Film Award went to Rohan Parashuram Kanawade for U Ushacha who was presented with £1000 from the Satyajit Ray Foundation at the closing night of the London festival. Cary Rajinder Sawhney MBE, Executive and Programming Director said “I’m delighted that we have showcased our strongest film selection ever for the 5th anniversary of Birmingham Indian Film Festival, helmed by the Birmingham premiere of politically daring film ‘Article 15’.


Continuing to push boundaries of diversity, I’m pleased that our women protagonist led and LGBTQ+ themes have seen audiences flocking to them, redefining images of Indian and South Asian Culture in the media".


Dharmesh Rajput, Head of Cinema, Birmingham added: “It’s been fantastic to have an increase in diverse audiences attending the festival this year and to have ended on a high with a sold-out screening of Ritesh Batra’s ‘Photograph’ which was well received by the audience. I’m proud that the festival platforms independent South Asian films which wouldn’t necessarily be seen here in the UK and that we’ve been able to interact with directors at Q&As".


The festival could not have gone so well without the help of Birmingham City University and the Asian Business Chamber of Commerce who share the festival’s passion for Asian arts and culture and would also like to extend their thanks to new hotel partner Malmaison Birmingham.


Birmingham Indian Film Festival will be announcing details of further screenings this year and ask audiences to keep in touch by subscribing to the Festival newsletter via their website www.birminghamindianfilmfestival.co.uk




By midlandsmovies, Jun 13 2019 08:50PM

Quite simply, here is our ongoing and updated list of Film Festivals in the Midlands (2019 edition):


• THE SHORT CINEMA http://www.theshortcinema.co.uk info@theshortcinema.co.uk Phoenix, Leicester - August 20 – 24, 2019


* NOTTINGHAM INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL http://www.nottiff.com/ 14th - 17th November 2019


• INDIE-LINCS - Feb 13th - 15th 2020 Based at Lincoln Performing Arts Centre, and run in partnership with The School of Film and Media at the University of Lincoln http://www.indie-lincs.com


• BRINDLEY PLACE OUTDOOR FEST - http://www.brindleyplace.com/event/brindleyplace-film-festival-2018/ July 15th - 21st 2019


• BORDERLINES FEST http://www.borderlinesfilmfestival.co.uk UK's largest rural film festival. Herefordshire/Shropshire - 28th February to 15th March 2020


• BIRMINGHAM FILM FEST - 1st - 10th November 2019 https://filmfreeway.com/festival/Birminghamfilmfestival


• BIFF FEST (Birmingham Black International Film Fest) https://www.biffestival.co.uk 26th October 2019


• SHOCK AND GORE FESTIVAL Electric Cinema in Birmingham https://twitter.com/shockgore July 2019


• DEAFFEST http://www.deaffest.co.uk The UK's International Deaf Film & Arts Festival Wolverhampton. Contact info@light-house.co.uk 2020 date TBC


* BIRMINGHAM INDIAN FILM FESTIVAL http://birminghamindianfilmfestival.co.uk 21st June - 1 July 2019


• THE UK ASIAN FILM FESTIVAL LEICESTER - http://tonguesonfire.com/ 2020 dates TBC


• SHOUT FESTIVAL http://shoutfestival.co.uk Birmingham Dates TBC for 2020


• DERBY FILM FESTIVAL http://www.derbyfilmfestival.co.uk 14 - 17 November 2019


• FANTASTIQ FEST http://fantastiq.co.uk Fantasy/Horror Fest at Quad in Derby (part of Derby Film Fest)


• MAYHEM HORROR Film Fest - Halloween. Contact Broadway cinema in Nottingham http://www.broadway.org.uk/mayhem 10th October - 13th October 2019


• FLATPACK FEST - Birmingham, UK. http://www.flatpackfestival.org.uk 11th-16th May 2020


• BEESTON FILM FESTIVAL - https://twitter.com/BeestonFilm 25th-29th March 2020


• SHROPSHIRE RAINBOW FILM FESTIVAL http://www.rainbowfilmfestival.org.uk/midlands-zone on hiatus for 2019 - TBC 2020 dates


• GRINDHOUSE PLANET - www.grindhouseplanet.com November 2019 TBC


* BOTTLESMOKE FILM FESTIVAL - https://www.facebook.com/BottleSmokeStoke Stoke on Trent - September 8th 2019


* WIRKSWORTH 3-MINUTE FILM FEST https://wirksworth3minfilmfest.co.uk Derbyshire15th Sept 2019


* HEART OF ENGLAND FILM FEST - https://www.heartofenglandfilmfest.com Coventry 2020 Dates TBC


* THE BLACK BIRD FILM FEST Wolverhampton https://ajayhackett2113.wixsite.com/bbff Wolverhampton 2020 Dates TBC


* HIGH PEAK INDEPENDENT FILM FESTIVAL Derbyshire https://www.highpeakindie.com 12th to 16th June 2019. #HPIFF18


* NEXUS FILM FESTIVAL https://twitter.com/NexusEastMids Nottingham 2020 Dates TBC


* NOTTZ FILM FESTIVAL Hothouse Theatre Nottingham https://twitter.com/NottmFilmFest Sat 6th July 2019


* THE SHORT STACK FILM FESTIVAL Nottingham Bi-monthly screening night at Broadway Cinema https://www.facebook.com/groups/841340665914084 (Various dates)


* 5 LAMPS FILMS - Bi-monthly short-film screenings at Derby Quad (various dates) + annual 24hr film challenge https://twitter.com/fivelampsfilms 2020 Date TBC


* PARACINEMA - Derby https://twitter.com/ParacinemaDerby May 1st -3rd 2020


* THE BLACK COUNTRY HORROR SHORTS FILM FESTIVAL - Stourbridge https://www.weepingbankproductions.co.uk/horror-film-festival Saturday 25th January 2020


Other useful Film Festival information can be find at these links:

http://www.festivalfocus.org/festival

http://film.britishcouncil.org/festivals-directory/festivals-map

http://www.thefilmfestivaldoctor.co.uk

By midlandsmovies, May 31 2019 07:40AM



Godzilla: King of the Monsters (2019) Directed by Michael Dougherty


OH NO! THERE GOES TOKYO, GO GO GODZILLA!


When the 2014 Godzilla came out, audiences had two big criticisms: firstly, that Godzilla was chunkier than expected, and secondly that he wasn’t on-screen nearly long enough.


With this year’s Godzilla: King of Monsters, director Michael Doherty certainly can’t be accused of holding him back – there’s plenty of the big green guy on show as he smashes his way through buildings and throws down to show the roster of revived kaiju who’s boss. He’s also no less hench this time around, as his neck seems to have disappeared completely. I’m not body-shaming, he looks great!


Set five years after Godzilla duked it out with the MUTOs in San Francisco, the film follows estranged couple Emma (Vera Farmiga) and Mark (Kyle Chandler) along with their daughter Madison (Millie Bobby Brown). Emma is a scientist at Monarch, the global organisation introduced in the first film as the people charged with finding and researching Godzilla and the other Titans.


Mark left the organisation and retired after their son died at the hands (or feet) of Godzilla, but when a group of eco-terrorists (led by the always-great Charles Dance) kidnap Emma and Madison and threaten to unleash the Titans upon the world, he’s out of retirement to rescue them faster than you can say ‘that trope is so old it’s got false teeth in’.


Ken Watanabe and Sally Hawkins reprise their roles from the first film, but are relegated to side-kicks and exposition providers; one of the film’s most awkward moments has Chandler explaining Godzilla’s motives and how to handle him to Watanabe, who’s been established as having been researching and hunting for Godzilla for decades. Having the American man school the Japanese man on Godzilla of all things makes for uncomfortable viewing!


The actors all put in terrific performances, especially Farmiga and Brown, though I could have done with more Charles Dance because I love him very much. The film really hits it stride when all hell breaks loose and the Titans clash as the trailer promised that they would. The plot may have had some structural weaknesses, but it’s clear that this part of the film is what the filmmakers wanted to focus on; big monsters knocking the crap out of each other.


The effects are superb, as you would expect, with Godzilla and Rodan especially characterful. It’s easy to see these creatures as individuals with personalities rather than just dumb beasts with a penchant for stepping on people. I watched this in the IMAX and the film really makes use of that, especially in the battle scenes; make sure you see this on the biggest screen possible. The 3D feels tacked-on and unnecessary, though, as it was barely utilised at all; in fact it often set the actors apart from the action in a way that made me unconsciously aware of how the actors are acting against a green screen.


The film is far from perfect; certain characters deserved better treatment, the plot is hokey an predictable at times and there’s an alarming dynamic of White Heroes and Sidekicks of Colour (all the people of colour in the film are subordinate to the main heroes), but if you disengage your brain and go in expecting a fun spectacle where big monsters smash things up then you won’t leave disappointed. Plus it sets up next year’s Godzilla vs Kong quite neatly.


★★★½


Sam Kurd

Twitter @splend


By midlandsmovies, May 22 2019 11:23AM



BIRMINGHAM INDIAN FILM FESTIVAL CELEBRATES 5TH ANNIVERSARY IN THE CITY


Screenings have now been announced for Birmingham Indian Film Festival (BIFF), supported by Birmingham City University and the BFI, part of the UK and Europe’s largest South Asian film festival, opening Friday 21st June until Monday 1st July 2019.


This year marks their 5th anniversary, showcasing a rich assortment of entertaining and thought-provoking independent films that have been winning awards and making global impact, including India’s new wave of LGBTQ+ films.


The Festival is presented by the Bagri Foundation London Indian Film Festival which is celebrating its own 10th anniversary and is extending to Manchester and Bradford.


Birmingham Indian Film Festival will run across the city for a phenomenal 11 days at existing partner venues: Cineworld Broad Street; MAC Birmingham, Cannon Hill Park; and The Mockingbird Cinema and Kitchen, Custard Factory. This year we welcome new partner venue Centrala based in Digbeth.


Cary Rajinder Sawhney, Executive & Programming Director of the festival said: “The Festival has dynamically opened the UK media and audiences to Indian and South Asian independent cinema in all its linguistic diversity, and that’s something we are extremely proud of. Punching above our weight as always, this year is probably our strongest programme ever with exciting Midland premieres, rarely seen archival masterpieces, and some seriously cutting-edge dramas and documentaries.”


The 5th Anniversary celebrations will open with a sparkling red-carpet event at Cineworld Broad Street, for the Birmingham Premiere of the hard-hitting Article 15, starring India’s hottest male star Ayushmann Khurrana, ahead of its UK and worldwide release later in the month.


FULL LISTINGS BELOW:


Opening Film – Article 15

21 June | 19:00 | Cineworld Broad Street (Red Carpet from 18.30)

Midlands Premiere. 120 mins Hindi with English subtitles. India 2019 Q&A with Anubhav Sinha and others


Closing Film – Photograph

1 July | 19:00 | MAC Birmingham Birmingham Premiere. 110mins

Hindi, Gujarati, English with English subtitles. India/Germany/US. 2019


Satyajit Ray Short Film Award - 22 June | 14.00 | The Mockingbird Cinema and Kitchen


Urojahaj (The Flight) - 22 June | 16:30 | MAC Birmingham

European Premiere. 82mins Bengali with English subtitles. India 2018 Q&A with Buddhadeb Dasgupta


Widow of Silence - 22 June | 18:00 | Cineworld Broad Street

UK Premiere. 85mins Urdu with English subtitles. India 2018 Q&A with Pravin Morchhale


Vivek (Reason) - 23 June | 16:30 | MAC Birmingham Hindi, Marathi with English subtitles. India 2018 Q&A with Anand Patwardhan.


Arishadvarga - 23 June | 19:00 | Cineworld Broad Street Midlands Premiere. 159mins

Kannada with English subtitles. India 2018


Sir - 24 June | 18:30 | MAC Birmingham Midlands Premiere. 99mins

Hindi, English, Marathi with English subtitles. India/France 2018 Q&A with Rohena Gera


My Home, India - 25 June | 18.30 | Centrala Midlands Premiere. 45 mins

English, Polish with English subtitles. India/Poland 2019


#Gadhvi - 25 June | 20:30 | MAC Birmingham

Midlands Premiere. 109mins Hindi with English subtitles. India 2018


Anurag Kashyap in Conversation - 26 June | 19.00 | The Mockingbird Cinema and Kitchen


Bulbul Can Sing - 27 June | 18:00 | MAC Birmingham

Assamese, Hindi with English subtitles. India 2018 Q&A with Rima Das


Saturday Afternoon - 28 June | 18:15 | MAC Birmingham

Bengali, English with English subtitles. Bangladesh/Germany/India 2019 Q&A with Mostofa Sarwar Farooki


Kattumaram (Catamaran) - 29 June | 13:30 | MAC Birmingham

Midlands Premiere. 73mins - Tamil with English subtitles


Chuskit - 29 June | 16:00 | The Mockingbird

Ladakhi with English subtitles. India 2018 Q&A with Priya Ramasubban


Ardaas II - 29 June | 19:00 | Cineworld Broad Street

Punjabi with English subtitles. India 2019. Q&A with Gippy Grewal and others


Useful Links


https://www.twitter.com/weLoveBIFF


www.facebook.com/BirminghamINDIANFilmFestival


www.instagram.com/weloveBIFF






By midlandsmovies, Mar 6 2019 02:16PM



First ever Salaam Pakistan Film Festival opens in spring in Birmingham


A brand-new touring film festival showcasing the very best of Pakistan’s new Independent film making opens at Birmingham’s MIDLANDS ARTS CENTRE on Sunday 24 March and continues on Wednesday 27 and Saturday 30 March 2019.


The screenings are part of the inaugural SALAAM PAKISTAN FILM FESTIVAL, a small but mighty film programme, which will also be touring to Manchester, Bradford, Halifax, Rochdale and Leeds throughout March.


SALAAM PAKISTAN FILM FESTIVAL celebrates the best of Pakistan's new Independent film making providing audiences with a rare chance to see award-winning films, a UK PREMIERE, Oscar winning documentaries and special Q&A’s.


The Festival is supported by various prestigious organisations including the British Film Institute and Rangoonwala Foundation and covers a range of themes including the 1947 partition, class and social struggle, female rights and the fight for social justice.


Opening the Festival will be the UK PREMIERE of the compelling UK-Pakistani film Lakeer, hailed as the first Pahari film. Lakeer is directed by pioneering film maker Shiv Dutt, who sadly passed away in 2018, and tells the story of a Kashmiri couple divided by Partition in 1947. The screening will be followed by a special Q&A with the film’s UK-based writer Ali Adaalat.




Further highlights of the festival are the rare screenings of A Girl in the River and Saving Face, two powerful and hopeful Oscar winning documentaries by Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy. Sharmeen was honoured with the Hilal-i-Imtiaz, the second highest civilian honour of the country, by the Government of Pakistan in 2012 and is the only woman to win two Oscars by the age of 37.


The festival is excited to announce Pakistani filmmaker Iram Parveen Bilal will be flying into the city direct from Los Angeles to attend the screening of her thought-provoking film Josh, a compelling film about class and social struggle which closes the Festival. Iram, a Physics Olympian turned filmmaker, initiated the Pakistani Oscar committee and is the founder of Pakistan's first professional screenwriting lab (QALAMBAAZ). Iram will be taking Q&A’s from the audience after the screening.


Debbie Kermode, Chief Executive and Artistic Director of Midlands Arts Centre in Birmingham commented “We’re delighted to welcome the first Salaam Pakistan Film Festival to Midlands Arts Centre. We’re sure that our audiences will appreciate the opportunity to see this fantastic collection of cutting-edge Pakistani and British Pakistani films.”


Salaam Pakistan Film Festival acknowledges the support of all its partners: The National Lottery, BFI FAN, Film Hub Midlands, Film Hub North, Rangoonwala Foundation, British Pakistan Foundation (BPF).


Tickets for all screenings at Midlands Arts Centre can be booked via the Box Office on 0121-446 3232 or online at www.macbirmingham.co.uk (all films are screened with English subtitles).



By midlandsmovies, Apr 7 2018 07:29AM

In April 2018 we ran a competition to win a set of Extreme Tartan Asian Cinema films as well as 3 special Kung Fu Legends dvds in our 7 films on 7th April prize draw.


We drew one lucky winner out on the 7th and that was.... *drum roll*


Twitter user: @LiamBeeeazley


Congrats Liam!


Please get in touch and we'll have more winning prizes soon so please follow us on Twitter on @midlandsmovies for more cinema competitions coming up!


Midlands Movies

By midlandsmovies, Mar 13 2018 06:44PM




Ground-breaking new Midlands project 'Crushed Wings' being developed to tackle FGM


Based on true life events, the English-spoken drama film ‘Crushed Wings’ boldly challenges dangerously prevalent and out-dated ideas surrounding FGM (female genital mutilation), forced marriage and honour killing.


The story tells of brave Ria, an FGM-survivor who tries to find the strength through the impossible and is one of the first movies ever to be made on this subject.


“The shocking fact we wanted to show in our film is that this is not only happening in Africa and Europe – including the UK – but also in Asia and even in Russia. And many people are not aware of this”, says Amrita Tewari, the Managing Director of production company Cam Buddha Films who are behind the film.


FGM is officially classified as child abuse and the filmmakers have filmed both abroad and more locally in Birmingham to get their story across.


The film's director Lalit Bhusal explains, “We have huge aims - to release a powerful piece of film making and to push the pressure movement for a ban on FGM. By joining the Crushed Wings family you’ll be part of more than just a film; you'll be bringing us one step closer to a world free of FGM”.


The filmmakers have recently launched a crowd-funding campaign to assist in the production of their project and more info on can be found at Indiegogo here https://igg.me/at/crushed-wings


View the film’s first trailer below.





For more information on the film please visit the official site here: www.crushedwings.org


And follow on Twitter here: https://twitter.com/Cam_buddha




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