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By midlandsmovies, Nov 1 2017 09:04AM



Atmospheric Films presents The Blair Witch Project


Getting the scares in early for Halloween, Films in a Flash once again took cinema screenings to unique and sometimes, all too realistic locations. October the 28th saw a sold out crowd converging on Haughmond Hill in Shrewsbury, in search of the Blair Witch. They found it. In the middle of the woods.


Unless you jetted over to Burkitsville, (formally Blair) USA, you'd be hard pressed to find a better location. The three minute walk from the car to the screening set the tone, as with torches in hand, eager film fans followed the trail through the woodland with many undoubtedly thinking…is this actually a good idea?


Victim, an independent short from Eddie Adamson, kicked off proceedings, skilfully selected for its scenes of the nefarious Slenderman stalking his victim through a not-too-dissimilar forest. It was genuinely nerve-wracking and an ideal appetizer.


Adding to the authenticity, Burkitsville residents sent a personalized video detailing the journey of the Blair Witch twig dolls which were available on the night. That’s genuine Burkitsville twigs dolls. Good idea, or tempting fate? Ask again in a few days. Attendees were also treated to a specially recorded video introduction from co-director and writer Dan Myrick, which got a cheer of approval from the audience.



Initial issues with the sound caused by the wind during the short film were quickly put right and the main feature sounded superb. As for the film itself, its impact has certainly diminished through the sheer amount of times it’s been emulated and parodied. Luckily this is exactly where such special surroundings make all the difference. The creaks of the woods and the snapping of twigs (whether jiggery-pokery from the organisers or (un)happy coincidence), beat any Dolby Surround. Was that leaf-rustling behind you caused by the Blair Witch? Or someone looking to crack open another can of Kestrel? Either way, dare you look around to find out?


Such elements create a completely individual screening: a live Special Edition, if you will. Forget 4DX: this is the immersive cinema experience you’ve been searching for.


Films in a Flash’s next movie event is a 30th Anniversary screening of Robocop, details of which are right here


Robb Sheppard

Twitter @redbezzle





By midlandsmovies, Oct 30 2017 04:48PM


Graycon (2017) Dir. Duaine Carma Roberts


A young couple who attempt to care for their virus infected daughter opens this brand new sci-fi drama from West Midlands filmmaker Duaine Carma Roberts.


After the young girl’s bloody cough turns worse, not even a pill administered by her father Joe (Andre Pierre) can save the poor child’s life, despite being convinced he has found a possible cure. The couple subsequently play the blame game before the background of the pill becomes a point of contention and although the mother attempts to move on with life, the father still questions why the cure failed.


In a parallel story, we are then introduced to the murky background of the virus and medication and are told that Joe’s friend Jordan (April Nerissa Hudson) is also attempting to save someone she loves. However, Jordan has betrayed murky businessman Ryan (James Edge) in her attempts to save her infected brother and the consequences of her decisions could be fatal to all involved.


As the antagonist Ryan, James Edge channels Tom Hiddleston-levels of evilness in an OTT performance that’s a joy to watch as he threatens more repercussions on the two scientists. Dressed in a trench-coat wardrobe, he delivers a fun role of ticks, stares and menacing hand gestures that balances the more serious dramatic turns from the talented Pierre and Hudson.


Soon a steam-punk time travel “device” called Graycon is introduced that Joe hopes can save his daughter in the past but both he and Jordan are increasingly troubled with the issues in the present. As Ryan tries to track them down he not only wants to get his hands on the device but to halt further development and make himself a rich man from any cure.


On the technical side, a simple piano score is effective and compliments the drama whilst also allowing a suitable level of tension to rise with its repeated musical motifs. If there was just one criticism it would be that the sound mix had a few volume “jumps” and the fighting, although well choreographed, could have utilised some stronger ‘punch’ noise-effects to go along with the brutal visuals – but both these are minor points in a top notch short.


The handheld camerawork maintained a sense of unease and moved in for close-ups when the drama’s intensity exploded into raised voices and fist fights yet it is the strong performances that are the film’s main draw throughout.


Both leads are first rate with Andre Pierre’s intensity as a father searching to correct past mistakes helping to centre the film and April Nerissa Hudson is given emotional scenes as a vulnerable sister trying to do right by her brother. Her poignant style is sensitive and strong and outstanding support also comes in the form of Adaya Henry, Romayah McCalla, Ackeem Gibbs and Nisaro Karim.


Overall, Roberts has provided a tight script with lashings of drama and action to help create an effective time-travel journey. The obligatory bouts of exposition – as are the norm in such sci-fi fare – are kept to a minimum but when they are required, Roberts uses exciting scenes, excellent performances and quirky dialogue delivery to keep things moving when information is being passed on.


A suitable open-to-interpretation ending is the perfect note to conclude the short with, and Graycon confirms that the best stories are ones where an audience can identify with well-rounded characters. And it hugely helps that Roberts has secured such high-quality actors to inhabit these roles. So with all the right elements in place, Graycon is a solid success which consistently delivers a satisfying drama and captures the imagination one moment at a time.


Midlands Movies Mike

By midlandsmovies, Oct 19 2017 06:50AM



I am Not a Witch at Nottingham’s Broadway Cinema


A fearless debut from Zambian-born Welsh director Rungano Nyoni, the film will be showing in cinemas across the UK including Broadway Cinema in Nottingham and on demand from Friday 20th October.


When eight-year-old Shula turns up alone and unannounced in a rural Zambian village, the locals are suspicious. A minor incident escalates to a full-blown witch trial, where she is found guilty and sentenced to life on a state-run witch camp.


There, she is tethered to a long white ribbon and told that if she ever tries to run away, she will be transformed into a goat. As the days pass, Shula begins to settle into her new community, but a threat looms on the horizon. Soon she is forced to make a difficult decision – whether to resign herself to life on the camp, or take a risk for freedom.


Watch the trailer above and follow on their social media pages below


Facebook https://www.facebook.com/IAmNotAWitchFilm/


Twitter https://twitter.com/NotAWitchFilm


Full show times are here:


Fri 20 Oct 16:45 20:45

Sat 21 Oct 16:45 20:45

Sun 22 Oct 16:45 20:45

Mon 23 Oct 16:45 20:45

Tue 24 Oct 16:45 20:45

Wed 25 Oct 16:45 20:45

Thu 26 Oct 16:45 20:45


To book, please head to http://www.broadway.org.uk/events/film-i-am-not-a-witch




By midlandsmovies, Oct 10 2017 09:26AM



Loving Vincent (2017) Dir. Dorota Kobiela & Hugh Welchman


My own love for Vincent stemmed from a project on The Netherlands in primary school all the way to imitating his artwork (and others in the post-impressionist movement) for my A-Levels so I was excited to hear about the development of this unique film.


If you have yet to hear, Loving Vincent is a hybrid animation/real-life film in a similar vein to Richard Linklater’s Waking Life and A Scanner Darkly. Like those films drawings were placed on top of acted out and pre-recorded scenes – its inherent strange rotoscoping perfect for the latter’s Philip K. Dick source material. Here however each frame of the film (around 65,000 of them) is an oil painting. 100 plus artists used Van Gogh-style painting techniques to capture the feel and style of his varied body of work.


The film’s story is a mystery concerning the investigations of Armand Roulin (Douglas Booth), a distant friend of the Van Gogh’s whose father, Chris O'Dowd as Postman Roulin, sets him on a trail to deliver one of Van Gogh’s last letters. Arriving in the village of Auvers-sur-Oise, he speaks to a number of people who interacted with the infamous painter who each describe their relationship with the artist during the last few weeks of his life.


The film flashes back from the colourful brushstrokes of his later portraits and rural landscapes to a more realistic black and white palette during the recollections of past events which is a brilliant nod to his developing styles from one stage of his life to another.


From an introduction at The Night Café (1888) and Portrait of the Postman Joseph Roulin (1841–1903) the film deliberately introduces locations and characters as exact replicas of their painted canvases, before moving to the drama of the scene itself. For Van Gogh lovers it’s very much a case of Spot-the-Painting but doesn’t detract from the artistry or drama for those less familiar.


The drama itself is mostly subtle and understated as the delivery of the letter turns into a noir detective narrative as Roulin begins to uncover some ambiguities regarding Vincent’s alleged suicide. With the few outbursts done in a swirling application of paint it was a delight to see both intimate conversations and volatile fist fights animated in oils. The music by Clint Mansell echoes some of his previous work and the string quartet ratchets up tension when needed and like the visuals, mixes a nice balance of intensity and gentleness across scenes.



Robert Gulaczyk as Vincent van Gogh is really a fleeting player in the story as other characters describe his past, but he does a lot with his body and face rather than a string of dialogue scenes. This keeps the emphasis on his enigmatic legacy and how he was a quiet, yet completely ‘visual’ personality.


Great support comes in the form of Jerome Flynn as Dr. Gachet, Saoirse Ronan as his daughter Marguerite Gachet, Helen McCrory as the feisty Louise Chevalier and John Sessions as Père Tanguy – each one bringing depth and nuance to their roles and further fleshing out this historic world.


It’s great to see the detective story secure a strong driving narrative to what could be seen as simply a gimmick, however the visuals really are the big-top draw here. Unlike anything I’ve seen before, when the drama slows, the cinema felt like your favourite museum with the audience simply ruminating on the almost-static images. Yet when they moved, the glory of the brushwork and talented painters who recreated Van Gogh’s style is clear to see – and a joy to behold.


It’s all too easy to allude to this as a masterpiece but a masterpiece it is nonetheless. In the end, Loving Vincent provides a portrait of a conflicting and unknowable sequence of past events that maintains the celebrated artist’s place in the art world. The story, music, acting and, of course, the unique painted design combine perfectly to create a dazzling canvas to be studied over, and most of all enjoyed, like Vincent’s best works already are.


10/10


Midlands Movies Mike




By midlandsmovies, Oct 9 2017 08:16AM



Midlands Movies gets an exclusive first look at the new film from Abdulrahman Ugas who has a unique take on the world of Tolkien set right here in the region.


Abdulrahman Ugas has 'gone epic' in his new fan-film ‘The Return of the Ring’, a regional movie based on Peter Jackson’s critically acclaimed film trilogy ‘The Lord of the Rings’.


In a unique twist on the genre, the story has moved from its fantasy world of horses and swords to modern day Britain where it will follow a resilient Elf who finds out the Ring has returned and sets out to re-claim its ownership.


With the film planned to be released in Autumn 2017, Abdulrahman explains the story of his distinctive film concept.


“After the events in “The Return of the King” in which the Ring was destroyed and Sauron’s empire collapsed, we know that peace was spread throughout Middle Earth. But this peace was not destined to last long”.


He adds, “We’ve proposed that incursions and raids by wild bands of Orcs and opportunistic land grabbing by the Dwarfs sends Middle Earth into a spiral of violence. A worn-out Aragorn decides to take drastic measures to cleanse Middle Earth of anything non-human. Destroying any sign of their civilizations so thousands of years later there are no more traces to be found”.


“And that’s when our story starts!”



Abdulrahman goes on to say that their protagonist is a young Elf called Illyandra who discovers that the Ring has made an unexpected return. Setting out to find it, we discover The Ring was sent to John, a young man who will have to make a choice that will decide their fate.


As both the director and writer of the film, Abdulrahman Ugas already has a feature script optioned with Julian Holmes (Strike Back, MI-5, Law & Order) attached to direct. Elaine Granger from Clash of the Titans, London Has Fallen and The Autopsy of Jane Doe is attached to cast for it.


He decided to make the leap into directing and will launch his career behind the camera with this short.




Amongst the multitude of support is Director of Photography James Alexander who is a talented West Midlands cinematographer. Having worked on music videos, corporate videos and commercials Abdulrahman says his eye to detail is impeccable.


With a cast featuring Rhianne Elizabeth as Illyandra, Sam Malley as John Frisby, Dominic Thompson as Alatar the Young, Theo Johnson as Frank Simms, Nisaro Karim as Amdir and Thomas Compton as Nazgul, this exciting new project is close to completion and promises to bring the tales of Tolkien back to their roots in the West Midlands.




To stay up-to-date with the project follow the film and director here:


www.instagram.com/AbdulrahmanUgas


www.twitter.com/AbdulrahmanUgas


https://www.facebook.com/AbdulrahmanUgasFilm



By midlandsmovies, Oct 7 2017 03:00PM



BLOOD MYTH


Directed by Sean Brown & Luke Gosling

Bearing 305 Productions. In association with Dark Rift films


After sci-fi short Athena, Leicester’s Bearing 305 Productions return with a full feature as filmmakers Sean Brown and Luke Gosling turn their gaze to the horror genre in their brand new release Blood Myth.


With the film now accepted into the Sacramento Horror Film Festival and the Spooky Empire Film Festival in Orlando, the two filmmakers made their movie for under £10,000 whilst it also features a voice cameo from actor Toby Kebbell (Kong Skull Island, Dead Man's Shoes).


The film begins with a night time point-of-view journey into the darkness as a dog barks and we stumble across a man covered in blood. With this spooky set up we cut to the main story where a journalist (Jonathan McClean as James Lincoln) investigates the urban legends of missing people and the emergence of stories about the occult.


As James interviews a number of people, we soon cut to his home life and pregnant girlfriend (Anna Dawson as Harriet Jones) whom he is planning to get away with for their anniversary. A voiceover fills in some background information and the filmmakers begin with a great selection of varied local locations from a car park roof to a barbershop which subsequently becomes important later. Other regional low-budget filmmakers take note – this can hugely assist with production values as the film (mostly) avoids suburban interiors that are often all-too-common in local productions and which helps set this film apart from the crowd.


The film hints upon a clandestine workplace affair from the past which causes friction and it should be noted that the technical side of the film certainly has a professional sheen. From the superb lighting (it moves from brightly lit locales to the ominous darkness of the countryside) to the sound mix, the filmmakers have no trouble handling a multitude of disciplines.


Also, the film appears to give nods to similar horror fare with some Psycho-esque animal taxidermy shots, a “creepy Victorian doll” and red lighting denoting upcoming bloodshed which ensures it wears its influences on its sleeves. When Harriet goes missing one night, her disappearance then leads to the police being called in but any astute viewer would suspect all is not what it seems.


One area of improvement however would be the slightly awkward script. Whether it was an intentional decision by the filmmakers or a nod to the gothic horrors of the past, the dialogue often comes across as if the actors are reading from a novel. Lines such as “until I find evidence of nefarious deeds”, “I suspect foul play” and “I think the findings justify my actions” come across as if the actors are reciting old prose. And unfortunately at times, their performances suffer as a result. It’s going to be difficult to deliver archaic words in what is set up as a realistic modern day setting and so it ends up sounding unnatural.



Nevertheless, as the story progresses into the exploration of the mysterious phenomenon, James’ room gets trashed and he is led to Hannah Chalmers as Alexandra Priest who explains more about the dark rumours circulating as he finds photos of himself on a digital camera.


The filmmakers mix up the pacing throughout which is great but a few trims could have been used in the ‘search’ scenes. An extended sequence where James slowly walks around farm buildings didn’t seem the narrative answer to the disappearance set up. Expecting the protagonist to rush around with a concern for the loss of his loved one, the film instead has him leisurely wandering in a drawn-out set of shots. This subsequently lowers the tension and without any immediacy there is less intrigue and concern for his (and her) plight.


Although a long time coming, as we enter the final scenes we are provided some nasty answers and the film surprises the viewer with some shocking revelations.


With unsettling vibes that hark to rural chillers like The Wicker Man and Kill List, Blood Myth mixes the urban and countryside settings successfully, and adds a splattering of blood and nastiness in its conclusion too. The addition of a few more dramatic scenes during the search would have lifted the slightly saggy middle section but when all is said and done, Blood Myth tackles the familiar but chilling idea of an eerie vanishing. As an intriguing mystery, the film takes a level-headed approach to familiar horror tropes and mixes in its own themes on the inherent unreliability of rumour, gossip and language.


Find out more about Blood Myth at the official site here: www.bloodmyth.com


Midlands Movies Mike

By midlandsmovies, Oct 6 2017 02:43PM



Dave Made A Maze (2017) Dir. Bill Waterson


I quickly came to the conclusion with only 20 minutes gone that Dave Made a Maze was the “most hipster film I’ve ever seen” which may (or may not) fill you with dread regarding this new high-concept comedy film. The story shows how after a weekend left alone Dave (Nick Thune) builds a cardboard fort/maze in his living room and when his girlfriend Annie (Meera Rohit Kumbhani) returns, she invites some friends around to help him escape after he gets “lost”.


Strangely, once they’re inside, the maze is in fact a huge fantasy interior with paper-based monsters and the explorers attempt a rescue yet are surprised at each corner they turn. A wacky and zany “Paperchase” of a movie, there are nods to Indiana Jones and The Goonies (booby traps) whilst origami cranes and tissue paper ‘blood’ continue its surreal elements. However, the film’s humour swung from low brow dick punches to self congratulatory smugness – neither which pushed my buttons.


An early musical sequence inside a keyboard room made me think that the film would in fact make a good 3-4 minute music video – which is why the trailer is great – but it’s an awfully long slog for a confused metaphor about creativity, struggling with life and feeling “lost”.


Back to the story, a film-making crew also attempts to document the journey which reflects the artificial nature of the expedition as they invade personal moments and create their own narrative journey. Whether you feel it could be a metaphor for filmmaking itself – its home-made nature, the dead-ends faced when trying to finish a goal and so forth – the film takes away any ambiguity by simply telling that to you. Via an interview, the film is far too on the nose with a cardboard structure used for both its location and its story.


However, one of the few genuine laughs came as the gang were turned into paper-mache marionettes and the film finally pokes fun at itself with the sarcastic dialogue exclaiming “This was only a matter of time”. But despite that and a chat about beards it’s still mostly blissfully unaware of its hipster clichés, confirmed with the inclusion of suitably quirky animations bookending the film.


A few positives include the unique mix of absurd and ludicrous situations with a tremendous design aesthetic. Optical illusions combine with gorgeous cardboard creations whilst the allusions to ancient tales – historical mazes, mythology and a Minotaur – added some much needed depth. At times it also harks to Tarsem Singh’s The Cell (2000) where we physically explore “the mind” and come across random and strange subconscious personified.


In the hands of a Michel Gondry or Spike Jonze, the wacky idea of Dave Made a Maze could have worked but there’s little humanity in this film and it’s less the mind-maze of Eternal Sunshine than it is The Crystal Maze in terms of quality and execution.


6/10


Midlands Movies Mike

By midlandsmovies, Oct 6 2017 02:35PM



Amityville: The Awakening (2017) Dir. Franck Khalfoun


Filmed in 2014 let me give you the real reason why this movie took so long to come out in this comprehensive cliché list:


✓Teenage goth

✓Young blonde girl

✓New house

✓Sick sibling

✓Single Mum

✓Alarms

✓Dog barking

✓Windows open

✓Shadows

✓Creaky staircase

✓Crucifix

✓Medical professional

✓Lightning

✓Jump scare

✓Bloody bed sheets

✓Waking from nightmare

✓Pigs head

✓Teenage angst

✓Power cut

✓Flashlights

✓Basement

✓Urban legend

✓Shotgun

✓Hallucinations

✓Insect swarm

✓Possession

✓Bible passage

✓Lakeside pier

✓ "This house is evil"

✓Crawling albino

✓Unstable mother

✓Bones cracking

✓More dreams

✓Violin screeches

✓Yadda yadda yadda


All the ingredients for one of the worst films of the year which has all the charm of a passing fart and includes the un-ironic dialogue "remakes totally blow". The one thing we can agree on.


2/10


Midlands Movies Mike

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