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By midlandsmovies, Mar 24 2019 08:08AM



Midlands Review - Deeds Not Words


Directed by Coralie Hudson


2018


Well... It looks like the Midlands has produced yet another solid little film.


This time, it comes in the form of Deeds Not Words, a short that takes a look at the Suffragette movement on a more local scale than perhaps most of us learnt about at school. The film is divided into three parts, focusing in on three different women who all got involved in the movement at some point.


I really love the thought that has gone into the structure of the film before we even get into any of the nitty gritty stuff. The chapter headings for each part of the film are colour-coded to match the Suffragette flag, and the themes of each part represent the values that the movement held as it fought for women to gain the right to vote.


I thought this attention to detail by director Coralie Kate Hudson was wonderful, and displayed a true passion and dedication to the story that she was telling through the film. When filmmakers feel this way about anything they decide to make the subject of a project, it truly works wonders in elevating a film to another level entirely.


The first third of the film centres around the theme of dignity, and I thought this to be the best of the three acts. The speech that we see being rehearsed is well written and tremendously delivered by Lisa Blissitt, who played Sarah E. Woodward in the film. I think it perfectly encapsulated this first theme, and was definitely my favourite part.


A lot of planning seems to have gone into the presentation of this film. Obviously as this is a period piece, I was expecting to see costumes, hair and make-up to fit the time period, although one always fears - or at least, I do - that really a big budget is a necessity in order to create a look that is convincing enough to transport viewers back to the time in which a story is set. It would seem, however, that those fears were entirely unfounded because the costumes put together here were fantastic, and when paired with some of the locations where the film was shot, absolutely smacked of the early 1900s.


The final touches that just added an extra little something to this film came during the post-production stages, and more specifically, the colour grading process. The faded film look that was added gives a sense of times gone by, but there’s a touch of warmth that reminds us that this movement was one of the better things to have happened throughout history. Again, it’s a little attention to small details that has added masses to the final product.


Overall, I think Deeds Not Words is a splendid short film that deserves to be seen by many. So much work has gone into making sure this could turn out as well as it has for it to be missed. It’s a true reflection of how every element and stage of the filmmaking process can come together to produce magnificent results regardless of budget, and that is the only reason anyone should need to watch it.


Kira Comerford

Twitter @FilmAndTV101


By midlandsmovies, Mar 23 2019 08:52AM



Midlands Spotlight - KOBE


KOBE is an upcoming short crime thriller film from West Midlands director AR Ugas about a university student who, after his childhood friend is released from prison, decides to enter into a life of crime which culminates in a robbery that goes wrong.


Shot in 5 days in several locations in the Birmingham are, the film was shot, produced, directed and edited by Ugas, who had great success with his Tolkien-inspired first film 'The Return of the Ring'.

AR Ugas explains, "After The Return of the Ring and its success I felt like I was ready to jump into making a feature film. I wrote the script, casted it and was about to start the rehearsal process, but for a variety of reasons and like many other independent projects it failed to launch".

"After that, I decided to go back to the basics and fully develop myself as a one-man team guerilla filmmaker, buying my own camera and editing software and hardware", he added.


The director explains that not only did he make decisions to save time and money in the long run, he also wanted to fully appreciate and understand what it takes to create a film. "Having dipped my toes into shooting and editing myself, I am a lot more confident and comfortable with all sides of filmmaking now".


While 'The Return of the Ring' was very high-concept and flashy, the director felt it lacked an emotional depth - "Everyone saw what happened but not many felt what happened and we watch films not just to see but also to feel".


KOBE will be a lot more gritty and dynamic film and the director hopes it's also a lot more personal too as the film delves into the friendship of an ex-prisoner and a university student, examining their moral compasses and how people change when put in a difficult situation. It also looks at a faltering relationship between a strict out-of-touch father and said student.



Working on the project are the two leads, Mathias Andre (as Kobe) and Dominic Thompson (as Mouse) who also played the hooded wizzard in The Return of the Ring.


Joining them are Tee Morris (Christopher) who recently won an award for 'Best Actor' for the wonderful short film 'Climbing Trees', Alexandria Carr (Serena), Bola Latunji (James), COrey Thompson (Sully) and Summer Carr (Natasha).


With a plan to release the film in the next few motnhs, the production are looking at several platforms for the release and you can find out more about the film and filmaker here https://www.facebook.com/ARUGASUK and check out the two exclusive screengrabs of Dominic Thompson playing 'MOUSE'.



By midlandsmovies, Mar 22 2019 01:04PM



Midlands Review - Return from the Moon


Directed by Lee Charlish


Korky Films (2018)


One of the biggest mistakes a film-goer can make is mistaking Animation for a genre. There’s nothing worse than sitting your tiny child down in front of something bright and colourful only to discover it’s Akira and the last third puts them in therapy for life. Awkward. Animation is a medium, not a genre, one that gives filmmakers the freedom to express all sorts of thoughts, no matter how dark.


‘Dark’ is the key word for this particular film, as anyone familiar with other offerings from Korky Films such as ‘Scarecrow’ and ‘The Cold Caller’ can reasonably expect. With ‘Return to the Moon’, Lee Charlish has crafted a twisted Lynchian nightmare that very much highlights how animation is not always for kids. Not for nothing did it win Best Animated Film at this year’s Midlands Movies awards!


An astronaut plummets to Earth following a visit to the dark side of the moon, but while his body is trapped in his capsule, his mind (his soul?) is elsewhere, still on that remote chunk of rock far far away. His visions are troubling, even existentially terrifying, and he’s forced to take drastic measures to free himself.


I’ve seen this short several times now, and it’s very hard to pin down in words exactly how effective it is. It was interesting watching with an audience at the Beeston Film Festival, as nervous laughter broke out at the first surreal image (a humanoid rabbit is a pretty funny sight, in fairness) but the laughter quickly died down and became an uneasy silence. It went down well, the audience liked it, but it touches you on a deeper level.


This is a film worth watching at least twice to soak up the aesthetic and to embrace how uncomfortable it makes you feel. It’s not gory or nasty or anything like that, but it’s very unsettling. And that’s exactly how it should feel – this is a consciousness in peril, a psyche warring with itself or with a higher power.


That’s up for debate and personal interpretation, of course, as all the best art is. The animation itself is fluid and has an extremely distinctive style, a little reminiscent of mid-2000s era internet animation but with a much more careful eye for detail and flow.


If you’re interested in films that leave you with an itchy id, make sure you check this one out.


Sam Kurd


Twitter @Splend


By midlandsmovies, Mar 21 2019 02:29PM



FLATPACK LAUNCHES FESTIVAL PROGRAMME FOR 2019


Birmingham’s Flatpack Festival returns this May Day Bank Holiday for its thirteenth edition and boasts a wonderfully eclectic line-up over the 6-day festival with 100 events taking place at 14 different venues across Birmingham.


Running from 30th APRIL – 5th MAY and with everything from car park theatre and cat-shaped bento to Moomins and post-punk legends, this year’s Flatpack will treat audiences to a week of inspiring screenings, exhibitions, live performances, installations and some very special guests.


Flatpack will welcome acclaimed stand-up Stewart Lee and filmmaker Michael Cumming to offer an exclusive taste of their new documentary KING ROCKER, a unique tribute to the Black Country’s unsung post-punk heroes The Nightingales.


Cumming will also screen his film OXIDE GHOSTS sharing his personal insights into the process of making the cult TV series Brass Eye. Other highlights include the world premiere of immersive theatre piece A MOMENT OF MADNESS, in which participants are thrust into the heart of a spy thriller in a car park.



The ever-popular family strand Colour Box will return with a host of animated shorts and free drop-in activities to entertain all the family. Tokyo artist and animator Mari Miyazawa will present her unfeasibly cute BEAUTIFUL BENTO workshops in the UK for the first time - turning traditional Japanese lunch boxes into fun, edible characters. Other Colour Box highlights include the SOUNDPLAY DOME, a unique interactive musical installation for children of all ages to explore, a special preview of Sky TV’s MOOMINVALLEY featuring the vocal talents of Richard Ayoade and Matt Berry, and a series of workshops on animating the canine film characters from Wes Anderson’s Isle of Dogs.


Flatpack will open in spectacular style at the Royal Birmingham Conservatoire with the world premiere of Sinestro Home Video’s live rescore of Japanese classic A PAGE OF MADNESS, complete with benshi narration.


This year’s programme of feature films present a wide and varied picture of international cinema including: EIGHTH GRADE the debut feature from YouTube star and comedian Bo Burnham; Peter Strickland’s offbeat horror IN FABRIC which follows the life of a cursed dress as it passes from person to person with devastating consequences; and SUMMER, an ode to the underground rock scene of pre-perestroika Leningrad featuring an epic soundtrack from David Bowie, T-Rex and Iggy Pop.



The documentary strand will include the UK premiere of NARCISSISTER ORGAN PLAYER a revealing look at the inscrutable performance artist; Werner Herzog’s MEETING GORBACHEV, an engaging and tender portrait of the eighth and final leader of the Soviet Union.


Part cinema and part music gig, Optical Sound offers a fascinating fusion of live performance and audio-visual artistry whilst Flatpack’s creative industries strand Unpacked offers unique insight into the processes of filmmakers and artists. This year’s line-up includes the inaugural DUPLICATE: ARTIST PUBLISHING FAIR showcasing self-publishers from the UK and beyond; WHO FUNDS WHAT? is an informative event for emerging filmmakers to help demystify where the boundaries lie when it comes to film funding.


Flatpack’s acclaimed short film strand celebrates emerging talent, with 21 of the 50 shorts in competition for the jury prize of £1,000 being UK premieres and finally Flatpack has always had a taste for digging into the archives, now reflected in a new strand gathering rare, unseen material and revealing the stories behind it. A day of VIDEO TALES at MAC will showcase rediscoveries from the VHS era, including a peek at pioneering booking agency and record shop Oriental Star forty years after they brought qawwali legend Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan to the UK for the first time.


After starting life as a monthly night in a Digbeth pub in 2003, Flatpack’s mobile film empire has grown to include cinema-tents, family film tours, outdoor extravaganzas and archive archaeology - not to mention an annual festival recognised as one of the most distinctive and downright fun in the UK calendar. Flatpack are also lead partners with Nottingham's Broadway Cinema on Film Hub Midlands, a BFI-supported initiative to develop film culture across the region.


Full details of the Flatpack Festival programme and ticket information can be found at www.flatpackfestival.org.uk

By midlandsmovies, Mar 21 2019 09:55AM



Take a trip to the moon in new film at the National Space Centre Leicester


On 06 April the National Space Centre in Leicester is launching a brand-new planetarium show and you could be one of the first people on the planet to take a seat in the UK’s largest planetarium to see it.


CAPCOM GO! The Apollo Story, celebrates the achievements of the Apollo missions, highlighting what it took to put the first humans on the Moon.


The show tells the amazing story of the Apollo space missions, which are just as important today, as humankind looks to return to the Moon and on to other planets.


CAPCOM GO! has been produced by the award winning NSC Creative, one of the world’s leading planetarium-specialist production companies, with shows screening in over 600 venues in 60 countries.


On the eve of the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 10 mission, the National Space Centre is inviting visitors to take a seat in the Sir Patrick Moore Planetarium, the UK’s largest planetarium, to discover how NASA not only landed man on the Moon, but also saw humankind take one giant scientific and technological leap.


Apollo inspired a generation of engineers, mathematicians, human computers and scientists. Paul Mowbray, Director of NSC Creative, said; “What better way to celebrate 50 years since one of the greatest achievements in human history than by introducing a new generation to the immense challenges the team overcame with the aims of inspiring our visitors to become the explorers, designers, engineers, thinkers and dreamers of the future.”


The new show kicks off a full programme of celebrations in the Easter school holiday period. Apollo Easter will see visitors witness explosive presentations, build and land their own Lunar Module and construct a Moon orbiter, as well as take a seat in the Planetarium for this brand-new show.


Book now and upgrade your ticket for a free Annual Pass upgrade. Tickets cost £15 per adult and £12 per child with the cost of your planetarium show included in your ticket.


https://spacecentre.co.uk/event/apollo-easter


By midlandsmovies, Mar 17 2019 10:21AM



Midlands Spotlight - Leicester Horror Con


With stalls, guests, talks, screenings, cosplay and more, a new event heads to Leicester this summer covering all things strange, spooky and scary in the form of Leicester Horror Con 2019.


Taking place on Saturday 22nd June from 11am to 5pm the event will be held at the suitably historical and ghostly Guildhall in Leicester.


With five reported ghosts, the Guildhall is reputedly Leicester's most haunted building and has appeared on the television show Most Haunted.


One of the highlights of the convention is their "Dark Market". Here, the UK’s best horror traders will be in attendance selling artwork, posters, toys, comics, books, DVDs/Blu-Rays and more.


In addition, there will be guests, screenings and an evening event and the day will be a chance for attendees to meet fellow horror fans, buy merchandise from vendors and learn more about the genre everyone loves.


Leicester Horror Con is being organised by horror film fan Nathan Leverton who has run a number of events in Leicester which includes Leicester Comic Con in the city’s Silver Arcade and a Challenge Charity Boxing at the Morningside Arena.


A slight warning - it is likely material on display will not be suitable for minors and whilst Under 10s can go free, they must be accompanied by a ticket holding adult.


For everyone else, the tickets re limited but provide attendees with a wristband that gains them entry to the "Dark Market" at The Guildhall, as well as screenings, talks and discounts at participating venues. Please note, it does not include entry to any evening shows at venues after the convention ends at 5pm.


Tickets are a suitably priced £6.66 and an be bought at Eventbrite here:

https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/leicester-horror-con-2019-tickets-57705160689


For more information - and with updates on traders, timings and further guests then please check out the event's social media pages on the links below:


www.instagram.com/leicesterhorrorcon

www.facebook.com/LeicesterHorrorCon




By midlandsmovies, Mar 16 2019 04:41PM



Border (2019) Dir. Ali Abbasi


Iranian-Swedish director Ali Abbasi directs this new dark drama based on the short story of the same name by Ajvide Lindqvist. The film was nominated for Best Makeup and Hairstyling at the 91st Academy Awards and stars Eva Melander as Tina who has a Neanderthal appearance and works in customs where she has the ability to smell guilt.


Melander gives an amazingly sensitive performance of a lady with severe facial disfigurement who lives in a secluded house with her partner Roland.


As she catches people with contraband at the border, one man is caught with child pornography which leads to a police investigation where Tina’s abilities may be able to assist. Alongside this, a man with a similar facial disfigurement (Eero Milonoff as Vore) comes through customs and Tina is intrigued into his past and strange demeanour.


The film builds slowly, allowing us to invest our time with Tina and her sorry life. Shot in a very realistic manner which makes Tina’s strange abilities seem entirely believable, Border sets up a series of mysteries – Tina’s skills, the awful detected crime, Vore’s backstory – which maintains the film’s forward momentum throughout.


As Vore is caught incubating, and then eating, maggots the mixture of nature and fairy tale imagery adds huge doses of surrealism to the documentary-like cinematography. Vore and Tina frolic naked in a lake and in the woods, and as their relationship develops Tina's reserved character is slowly revealed. And much more besides.


There are many, many revelations in the film which I really don’t want to spoil here however. The less you know the more you will get from this film as it twists and turns and even jumps genres to amazing effect. A shocking liaison in the the forest alongside some haunting imagery linking the various narrative threads were some of the most striking sequences I’ve seen in cinema in a long time.


Abassi uses themes of family and genetics to tackle the problems of being an outsider as he injects realism and history into his tall tale. And whilst Tina’s deformity sets her apart from those around her, the film explores not just her place in our society, but in other societies too, which creates a clash of identities.


A cracking drama with added fantasy elements, Border is both compassionate and shocking and comes hugely recommended as it combines amazing performances that go beyond the prosthetics with a host of disturbing images you simply won't forget.


★★★★½


Michael Sales


By midlandsmovies, Mar 14 2019 02:18PM



The Girl in the Spider's Web (2018) Dir. Fede Álvarez


As a big fan of the original Swedish version of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (2009) – which had terrific introductory performances (to me anyways) from Michael Nyqvist and Noomi Rapace – I was greatly looking forward to The Girl in the Spider's Web which is an adaptation of the 4th book in the Millennium series.


After the author of the first three books, Stieg Larsson, died of a heart attack in 2004 Swedish author and crime journalist David Lagercrantz was commissioned to continue the stories of Goth-hacker Lisbeth Salander and political investigative journalist Mikael Blomkvist.


This is an adaptation of the first of Lagercrantz's two books he has had published so far, and the film follows Salander as she hunts down a file that could access the world’s nuclear arsenal whilst protecting a young boy who is the key to accessing its precious secrets. Along the way we get a flashback to Salander’s abusive past and plenty of intrigue as multiple parties – from the State to terrorist goons – try to get their dirty mitts on the electronic bounty.


If that sounds a bit too far-fetched for what began as a drama-thriller then you’d be right. Fresh from an amazing performance in First Man, Claire Foy dons the dark leathers of the rebellious Salander and despite her multitude of talents cannot raise the sub-Mission Impossible material. Which is certainly a weird direction for the franchise to go in.


Gone are the dark machinations of political and family drama and in comes a Bond-pastiche of nuke codes, bike chases and villainous lairs. Combined with a series of sequences that has Foy tazering and brawling, by the end we are exhausted from the chaotic action as a team made up of a sniper and a computer hacker support Salander beat up a clan of henchman.


Also disappearing from view is the simplicity of the first novel – a whodunit in the main – and Sverrir Gudnason is monstrously miscast as a far-too-young Mikael Blomkvist. The father-figure/mentor character which operates as an antidote to Salander’s wayward impulses was a highlight of the Swedish originals – and Fincher’s US remake – and its absence here is sorely missing. Salander’s mysterious character too has been replaced with a spousal revenge superhero of sorts with her Bat-belt of tricks and black hoodie “cape”.


The Bond-lite developments continue with car chases, gadgets and codebreaking along with duplicitous double-agents and an albino-haired henchman. There was also not enough dialogue to flesh out the characters, their motivations or to create drama. And I yearned for the powerful verbal sparring of the earlier incarnations that would have punched up this bland screenplay.


So despite many of the great ingredients and with Claire Foy doing well as Salander, sadly it all just doesn’t gel. A passable time for a few hours, this ‘facsimile of Fincher’ means only (super) fans of the book should clear their diary and make time for this unremarkable, and highly disappointing, adaptation.


★★ ½


Michael Sales



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