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By midlandsmovies, Apr 14 2019 08:27AM



Sustain movie releases brand new trailer


Award-Winning producers Troy Dennison and Keiran Bowers have unleashed the newest trailer for the Midlands-based crime thriller/drama Sustain, directed by Dave Hastings.


With the film in deep post-production, editor Sam Woodhall has been working closely with Hastings on fine-tuning the now locked visual cut of the film. The next stage sees film grading whilst James Hall will be supervising a new sound mix. And with a composer for the film being announced in the near future, the picture is close to completion for audiences.


However, the second trailer for the film is here to whet audiences’ appetites even more. “And we’re very proud to unleash the new footage from Sustain which we all hope you will find exciting” teases producer Troy Dennison.


Featuring lots of new footage that illustrates the wide-ranging scope of exciting Midlands locations, the filmmakers had help from people Sophia French at Walsall Council and beyond. "The new trailer raises the stakes and gives you an even more thrilling look into the dangerous world that protagonist Kieran Flank (Brett Dewsbury), finds himself slipping into after the brutal murder of his step-brother Toby (Joshua Sewell)”, says director Hastings.


Dewsbury comments that “people should be excited by the film because it was produced locally, made by local talent, cast filled with raw local talent and promotes the Midlands area so very much. It is exciting because it shows what hard work, passion and creativity can achieve when you virtually have a non-existent budget. It’s a beautiful, gritty and very emotional piece that people should be happy to support because it touches on many issues we face in our day to day lives”.


The trailer also features an expanded glimpse at some of the films ensemble of other actors such as Richard Buck as the dangerous Kevin McKenzie as well as Matthew Kinson and Jay Podmore who make up the film’s chilling trio of villains who set off the dramatic chain of events the film follows.


As well as this, are the good guys like Greg Yates as DI Bridge and Laura Evenson as local news reporter Kara Marshdale, who form an uneasy allegiance in an attempt to expose the dark heart of humanity.


All of them in the trailer “shine so very much, giving audiences a new compelling glimpse into a story we’ve been incredibly excited to share with everyone”, comments Dennison.


Sustain is a joint co-production between Lightbeam Productions, 5cm/Sec Films, ICI Films, Faceless Films and Pat The Bull Films. You can follow the film on Facebook and Twitter for more exciting developments.


By midlandsmovies, Apr 8 2019 02:09PM



Midlands Review - Ghosts


Directed by Joey Lever


Digital Heart


2019


"Early 2019 The Ghost Catchers were hired to rig 369 Film Studios with state-of-the-art paranormal technology to find spirits that have been haunting the studio for 30 years.


This is the footage recovered”.


And so opens this new paranormal comedy mockumentary from Leicester filmmaker Joey Lever. With the relatively recent explosion of films based around a similar premise – the Paranormal Activity franchise films and 2011’s Grave Encounters - Lever plays Malone, a ghost who is haunting a local film studio but is followed by a film crew too.


In this unique twist we are introduced not just to Malone, but he shares this haunted space with two other spirits – Flynn (Jak Beasley) and his girlfriend (ghost-friend?) Spryte played by Phoebe Hammond.


The trio have quirky personas and spend their days pranking the owner Jeff, played by real-life studio owner David Hardware. As we are reminded that “ghosts can’t die”, we see Flynn hanging from a noose in one of many comedy japes they play. But they are not all as macabre as that. For example, we are shown how Malone spends an extra ordinate amount of time simply moving mugs and newspapers around to annoy Jeff.


The filmmakers have kept the documentary feel by inserting several interviews and talking-heads sections. We are introduced to Harry from the fictional Ghost Catcher TV series and these help give the short some structure as well as provide fun background information about the characters.


From the Martin Freeman-style direct-to-the-camera “stares” to the David Brent embarrassing smiles and shrugs, there’s a fare chunk of The Office in tone included in Ghosts. However, the supernatural element is clearly influenced by the similarly-styled What We Do in The Shadows. That 2014 film followed a group of vampire friends and the filmmakers have taken the genre and added some of their own spooky situations.


The comedy is understated and despite their morbid predicament, the threesome's lives are often framed by petty arguments and silly squabbles. Whilst their horrible deaths bring them together, the film gets laughs from the mundane minutiae of their lives rather than any spiritual revelations.


Later on an exorcist is hired by Jeff to rid the building of its phantoms and once he arrives, he begins to shriek “may the power of Christ compel you” as they look on incredulously. He leaves with the apparent spirits in a ghost catching unit, but this simply results in the three ghosts laughing as they remain where they are.


Leading up to their biggest prank moment – Malone brings along some white sheets and the trio prepare for some scares. As mild as they are and filmed in bright daylight, the ghosts’ final masterplan is as mundane as their previous efforts. However, despite this everyday quality, they may have taken it too far this time. Leaving us to ask whether Jeff will finally discover his tormentors or head to an entirely different place altogether.


A witty and somewhat improvised script helps sell this short and although the ideas are certainly nothing new, the film does manage to find a unique slant on an established formula. With plenty of gags present, Ghosts is an excellent manifestation of a solid idea with a humorous delivery. And whilst zombie-fans often get the majority of comedy-horror, this mockumentary certainly gives the audience an amusing account of the afterlife.


Michael Sales


By midlandsmovies, Apr 8 2019 08:35AM



Midlands Spotlight - A Sort of Burial


A Sort of Burial is a new comedy, currently in pre-production, from Coventry based production company, Korky Films which was written by and will be directed by Midlands filmmaker Lee Charlish.


The film follows Alistair who is late for a funeral which annoys many including Carla who is there to say goodbye to her loyal family friend who is has now passed away. With the Vicar starting the service and Harry 'the fencer' having a job to do, the film is a funny look at a final send off.


Written by Midlands Movies Awards winner Lee Charlish, he again assumes directing and editing duties on this new film and he feels it’s a departure from his recent, more darker offerings.


Carla, the movie’s lead, will be played by Korky Films stalwart Marian ‘Mazzy’ Elizabeth who Lee describes as "solid, dependable and talented and she was the natural choice to assume the grief stricken and highly-agitated Carla".


Alistair, her hapless close friend will be played by Leicester-based actor, Martyn Luke. Lee adds, "Martyn is a well-established voice-actor who has provided voices on a few Korky Films animations previously. However, he is true talent in front of the screen too and is soon to appear in a few other local short films. His comic timing and expressive personality will bring the right level of credence to the often ‘put upon’ Alistair".


In addition, Leamington-based filmmaker Mark Hancock, who recently played The Psychopath in the last Korky Films ‘live-action’ release The Cold Caller, will assume a decidedly different role as Harry the Fencer.


And completing the cast is Stoke-based acting talent, Harrington Day as The Vicar, Gregory. "An accomplished, local actor, Harry is in constant demand by filmmakers for his professionalism and acting brilliance. He will compliment proceedings with a stoic and reverential turn in front of the cameras", says Lee.


As with The Cold Caller, the crew list for A Sort of Burial isdeliberately small as again, the production will be total self-funded. Like a lot of local filmmakers, Lee will use his house and garden, and minimal exterior locations as well, to keep costs deliberately down.


But Lee doesn't want to stop there. "More, larger scale scripts have been written, however, for the short-term, I have concentrated on preparing a slate of smaller-scale films, deliberately written so they can be filmed economically on a shoestring budget".


He adds, "To be clear, everyone gets paid; we fully support the needs of creatives, but we just cannot compete with projects who secure funding. For us, it just isn’t there, despite our output and successes. That said, our small-scale movies are no less ambitious and the level of professionalism we squeeze out of productions is a testament to the team’s talent".


Behind the camera is Damien Trent, another Coventry-based filmmaker (from Doktored Films) and Damien has previously worked as a sound recordist on the Korky Films/Jam-AV production, Scarecrow and operated camera on The Cold Caller. And finally, Ryan Clarke, a new member of the team will provide assistance to Lee as First AD.


Lee is currently looking for local musicians who may be able to assist in crafting a score and/or creating an original song to complement proceedings.


"The movie also requires a sound recordist and we're actively trying to recruit a competent professional before shooting begins on May 5th in Coventry, West Midlands".


For more information follow Korky Films on Twitter and Facebook




By midlandsmovies, Apr 7 2019 11:32AM



Midlands Review - Capcom Go at the National Space Centre


On April 6th 2019, Midlands Movies Editor Mike Sales headed to the National Space Centre in Leicester who were screening the world premiere of a brand-new show in the UK’s largest planetarium. Read his thoughts below of this spectacular new space-based event...


CAPCOM GO! The Apollo Story celebrates the achievements of the Apollo missions and highlights what it took to put the first humans on the Moon and with our enjoyment of last year's First Man, we couldn't be more excited.


Capcom, if you didn’t know, is short for ‘capsule communicator’ - a NASA position who is the liaison between an in-space crew and mission control.


And with a packed crowd for the first screening, the planetarium show opens on a tv of the original ‘first step’, and soon the old-style tv fades away into the distance. But then your breath is taken away when space suddenly comes into view and takes up your entire field of vision in an amazing 360 degree experience.


Colourful diagrams and archive footage fills in the backstory of the cold-war space race. From the first dog to the first man we get computer graphics zooming us across the world showing how global the event became.


A section devoted to the unsung human “computers” whose solutions to complex mathematics made JFK’s dream possible showcased the men, and especially women, of the back-room staff. Do check out Hidden Figures – a fantastic film that explores this important but sometimes overlooked portion of the Apollo plan.


The film continues as elliptical orbits and slingshot journeys fill the planetarium’s ceiling and – word of warning – the constant moving of the stars can give younger viewers serious motion sickness, so do beware!


As well as the historical and fun, the film doesn’t skip over the dangerous testing that was done and the lives lost in the process. Halfway through, a serene and respectful moment gives time for the audience to reflect on the real cost for the pioneers aiming for the stars.


However, we are soon at the Saturn 5 launch pad in what was to be one of the highlights of the show. The swinging camera shows the rocket on its pad and an overhead crane shot will give you a sense of vertigo not seen since Spider-Man: Homecoming 3-D!


As the boosters ignite, the room shakes and the film is a pleasure for both the eyes and the ears. Following the Apollo journey, the film mixes cinematic flourishes with more educational information about the lunar modules and we are soon skipping across the moon’s service in another fantastic sequence showing the dangerous landing. And yes, we get the obligatory, but still hugely powerful “eagle has landed” and “one small step” speeches too.


As the film concludes we get one more rampant scene of fun as the lunar rover jumps and bounds across the surface in a segment that seems a little overblown - but with music pumping and the rover jumping, younger viewers will hopefully leave the auditorium fulfilled by the entertainment and the easily digestible “factoids”.


The full 30 minutes are not just a well-crafted and well-rendered CGI treat by the award-winning NSC Creative, it contains full and understandable information for all ages with lashings of spectacular space sequences. And as Apollo inspired a new generation of engineers and enthusiasts, the final positive message of hope in Capcom Go aims to do the same with today’s astronaut admirers.


Michael Sales


By midlandsmovies, Apr 3 2019 11:31AM



THE POPULAR ‘BEWARE THE MOON’ SCREENINGS RETURN TO DUDLEY CASTLE THIS SUMMER


Dudley Zoological Gardens are again teaming up with Flatpack Projects to present the cinema spectacular BEWARE THE MOON.


Dudley Castle will once again be transformed into a vast open-air cinema for two consecutive nights – Tim Burton’s afterlife comedy BEETLEJUICE will screen on Friday 2nd August, followed by the supernatural cult classic THE BLAIR WITCH PROJECT on Saturday 3rd August 2019.


Previous Flatpack events have included spectacular outdoor screenings of NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD, THE LOST BOYS, THE BRIDE OF FRANKENSTEIN and AN AMERICAN WEREWOLF IN LONDON in the stunning castle courtyard. Guests at BEWARE THE MOON can enjoy hot food, a licensed bar, DJs and spine-chilling special effects projected onto the historic castle ramparts – with a very spooky surprise or two thrown in for good measure!


BEWARE THE MOON: BEETLEJUICE (15)

Friday 2nd August 2019, doors open at 7pm

Castle Hill, Dudley, West Midlands, DY1 4QF

Tickets: £12 (concs £10), Double Bill Ticket: £20

Book via https://www.dudleyzoo.org.uk/beetlejuice/


BEWARE THE MOON: THE BLAIR WITCH PROJECT (15)

Saturday 3rd August 2019, doors open at 7pm

Castle Hill, Dudley, West Midlands, DY1 4QF

Tickets: £12 (concs £10), Double Bill Ticket: £20

Book via https://www.dudleyzoo.org.uk/blair-witch/


Dudley Castle will also be hosting some additional outdoor screenings in May – the foot-stomping celebration of Queen BOHEMIAN RHAPSODY (Friday 17th May 2019) and the classic love story DIRTY DANCING (Saturday 18th May 2019).


Some FAQs are below:


How do I gain access to the event?

Entrance to the event will be via the Fellows Pub car park, No 1 The Broadway, Dudley, DY1 4QB, from 7pm. Last admission on site will be 9.15pm.


Where can I park?

Please note parking is not available either at the Castle or on The Fellows pub car park for this event. Please park on the main Zoo car park (situated off the Tipton Road, DY1 4SQ) which will be open from 6.30pm. Car parking is included in your event cost. Please note the car park is an approximate 15 minute walk away from the event. Please advise staff in advance of any access needs and we can plan an alternative route. Please note this car park will close at 11.30 pm.


How do I get there via public transport?

Dudley Bus Station is 2 minutes walk from the entrance via Fellows Pub car park.

Rail: Dudley Port Station 3 miles / Sandwell & Dudley Station 5 miles. Frequent bus service to Dudley from Dudley Port station.


What should I bring with me?

Please bring your booking confirmation ticket with you on the evening for admission purposes. This can be shown on your mobile phone. All guests listed on your ticket must arrive together. All concessionary ticket holders will also need to present proof of concession status. We advise guests to bring a torch with them as areas of the Zoo can be a little dark when you leave. We also advise sensible footwear to be worn and suitable clothing for the weather. Seating will not be provided so please bring picnic blankets and/or camping chairs. Tents are not allowed.


What time does it start?

Doors open at 7pm and we kick off with a DJ, followed by shorts at 9pm and the main feature at 9.30pm.


What time does it finish?

The event is expected to finish around 11pm and guests should also exit the site via the green gates on the Fellows Pub car park.


What happens if it rains?

The event will go ahead whatever the weather. TICKETS ARE NON-REFUNDABLE & NON-EXCHANGEABLE.


Will there be food and drink available to buy?

Refreshments will be available to purchase during the evening from the Courtyard café and inside the Castle Grounds. You are welcome to bring your own picnics too.


Are pets allowed?

Only assistance animals are allowed access to the site.


Is it suitable for children?

The film is rated 15. All children under the age of 16 yrs must be accompanied by an adult.


Can I smoke at the event?

Smoking is permitted in the designated smoking area by the Courtyard café.




By midlandsmovies, Apr 2 2019 05:33PM



Midlands Review - The Music Box


2018


Directed by Hendrik Harms


The predominant feeling that I was left with after viewing of The Music Box was unfortunately one of sad disappointment. The undeniably well executed moments of the film only add to the frustration of what this film could’ve been, as there are too many falters to mar what had the potential to be a fantastic horror short.


Most features of The Music Box have lots of potential; the majority of scenes are effectively lit and composed, however there is a lack of attention to detail in the framing of scenes and the steadiness of the camera is often jarring. Making improvements to these somewhat basic problems would allow the audience to fully appreciate not only the cinematography of the film, but would allow the audience to become fully immersed in the narrative.


Although The Music Box has some shortcomings, the compelling performance given by lead Penny Ashmore is reason enough alone to watch the film. Ashmore carries the film through her role as Marcy, a musically gifted young woman who must struggle to survive a night of psychological torment at the hands of a mysterious music box.


Occasionally Ashmore’s performance is somewhat stifled by some poor dialogue, which is starkly contrasted by her performance in silent moments of the film – her incredibly hypnotic portrayal of emotion slowly builds with the tension of the film, eventually reaching a beautifully painful climax.


Despite the aforementioned sparse dialogue, this is by and large the worst feature of the film. The few dialogue-driven scenes are overflowing with uncomfortable character interactions and horror monologues, predominantly delivered by the slightly wooden Hendrik Harms (Jeremy).


Jeremy’s character simultaneously overloads the audience with heavy-handed exposition with little-to-no information; each scene in which he’s featured drags and unfortunately pulls the viewer out of narrative flow and deflates the tension that is so painstakingly built throughout.


This being said, the plot of the film is beautifully written – there is a painstaking amount of attention to detail given to subtle foreshadowing, which I find can only be fully appreciated after a second viewing.


This use of foreshadowing not only leaves interesting breadcrumbs for viewers to follow throughout, but also ties into the themes of time and perception, giving the plot a cohesion that is lost on most other aspects of the film. Unfortunately, the precision focused on the thematic and narrative elements of The Music Box may be the reason the dialogue is poor, as could have been deemed unimportant in comparison and therefore was neglected.


Perhaps some of The Music Box’s shortcomings are symptomatic of an over-arching issue: the over-involvement and, by extension, over-reaching of Hendrik Harms. Harms is credited as the writer, producer, director and co-star of the short; by tasking himself with such a large number of crucial production roles instead of finding others to fill them, Harms maybe was likely unable to apply the amount of focus that each of these roles require and therefore allowed the film to fall short.


However, I would recommend watching The Music Box because the highlights of the film are incredibly enjoyable and deserve attention, but also as a warning of the detrimental effects of involving yourself in too many aspects of the filmmaking process.


Beth Hawkes



By midlandsmovies, Apr 2 2019 03:30PM



Midlands Review - A Helping Hand


Directed & written by Debbie Daniels


2018


Sutton Coldfield Movie Makers present A Helping Hand, a short film about an elderly man who is now sleeping during the day and active throughout the night. This isolated way of living forces him to seek help, with surprising results.


Arf (Arthur Fletcher) due to continued lack of sleep has now resigned himself to operating during the night and falling asleep in the day. The audience can see early on that he isn't happy with this arrangement as he is seen routinely opening his bedroom door, longing for normality, longing for sleep.


Writer and director Debbie Daniels, through a series of shots show the viewer how Arf lives his life. Because he cant sleep at night he is forced to carry out tasks such as shopping, gardening and cleaning in unsociable hours. Mute and glum with depression.


Arf decides to visit Dr Spellman where he reveals he is a widower, and since his wife's passing he has had trouble adjusting to sleeping alone. The good doctor discourages medication and recommends a “co-sleeper”, someone who will physically take the place of his late wife in bed to give Arf the familiar feeling of sleeping next to someone. Arf, taken aback by the unusual prescription agrees to give it a go.


Leah (Fiona Dunn) is introduced shortly after, lifting Arf's spirits immediately. The introduction of this character also elevates the films pace, as I enjoyed watching Arf and Leah's relationship grow in what should have been an awkward encounter. In stark contrast to Arf's conventional way of living, Leah brings with her otherworldly candles, props and music to help lull Arf into a deep slumber. Both characters are written beautifully, Arf's willingness after his initial scepticism warms me to his character whilst Leah's hunger for helping people make her a joy to watch.


“Remember, you can do anything you wan, be anything you want, you've got your whole life ahead of you” Arf says as he waves Leah goodbye after an unsuccessful effort to help him regain a normal sleeping pattern. Dave, another co-sleeper is introduced but to no avail until a third co-sleeper, an elderly lady Ann enters Arf's life. Will Arf be able to succeed in Dr Spellman's counselling and be able to live the life he wants to?


A Helping Hand is a light hearted story regarding a sombre subject which another director might have been heavy handed in their approach however director Debbie Daniels handles the story with a gentle touch surrounding Arf's evident discomfort with humorous moments.


Daniels is also responsible for the inspired choice of casting Arthur Fletcher as Arf as he gives a great performance. Fletcher is the films anchor as he commands attention in every scene and also to have great chemistry with all three of the supporting actors is a serious achievement.


The aspect that stood out for me the most whilst watching this film was friendship and the potential strangers have to be of importance to one another.


Shot on location in Sutton Coldfield, A Helping Hand reminded me of particular type of film that Britain does excellently, the mature comedy-drama. Go check it out.


For more information on Sutton Coldfield Movie Makers please click on this link.


Guy Russell

Twitter @BudGuyer


By midlandsmovies, Apr 1 2019 04:51PM



The Front Runner (2019) Dir. Jason Reitman

Depicting the rise of Gary Hart, an American Democratic senator and 1988 presidential candidate, and to be honest for this 1980s born UK film reviewer a complete nobody to me, The Front Runner is a new political drama from Jason Reitman. Although not a shoe in, Hart hits the campaign trail hard and asks journalists “to follow him around”. Bad mistake. After publishing photos of Hart having an extra-marital liaison with journalist Donna Rice, he takes a stand against the press by arguing his private life is none of their business. In a world not just before the internet but even before the 24-hour TV news cycle, Hart’s request seems silly and naïve by today’s standards. Hugh Jackman plays the senator as a strong-willed but foolish man and the film positions itself as a commentary about an historical turning point in the coverage of the private lives of public figures. However, it doesn’t do this successfully despite Jackman’s compelling efforts as the bemused senator. There is however good support from the always excellent JK Simmons (as Hart’s campaign manager), Vera Farmiga as his put-upon wife and Sara Paxton playing his mistress. Whilst I was one of only a few that thought Spielberg’s The Post was overrated, the cinematic flourishes and clever script of that film show up the flaws in this one. Consequently then, The Front Runner ends up being all surface with little depth, telling a sordid tale in a Wikipedia-style fashion, ticking bland boxes as it goes. ★★★



The Dirt (2019) Directed by Jeff Tremaine

From the director of 4 Jackass-related movies, comes along a new musical biopic in the footsteps of Bohemian Rhapsody about 1980s glam-haired shock rockers Mötley Crüe. Based on the book The Dirt: Confessions of the World's Most Notorious Rock Band by Neil Strauss – which I read whilst being on tour with my own heavy rock band – the story begins in 1980 when Frank Carlton Feranna Jr leaves his abusive home and changes his name to Nikki Six. It isn’t long before he is hooking up with drummer Tommy Lee (he of later Pamela Anderson fame), guitarist Mick Mars and vocalist Vince Neil. After well-received gigs in LA, the band are signed to a 5-album deal and their crazy rock antics get more and more extreme. From touring with Ozzy Osbourne (who ‘snorts’ ants and drinks urine) they go through a slew of wild parties, model girlfriends, overdoses and a car crash which ultimately results in a conviction of manslaughter for Vince. After the set backs the band go on to hit the top of the charts, sell platinum albums and go on a successful world tour. Douglas Booth (from Loving Vincent) as Nikki is the best of the bunch whilst the others give admirable facsimiles of the rest of the band. Unremarkable throughout, and as someone who liked Bohemian Rhapsody but acknowledged its pretty nondescript-recounting of the band’s life, this film goes further into mediocre TV-production wishy-washiness. With little cinematic flair, this is definitely a film for the fans in the main, as it never gets under the make-up and tasteless clichés of the band, something the book – written from each band member’s viewpoint – actually did pretty successfully. Dr. Feel“bland” ★★★



Triple Frontier (2019) Directed by J. C. Chandor

A Netflix original film featuring A-List superstars Ben Affleck and Oscar Isaac and featuring a solid support cast of Charlie Hunnam, Garrett Hedlund, Adria Arjona and Pedro Pascal, Triple Frontier tackles a band of ex-soldiers who reunite for one big heist to rip off a Colombian drug baron. As Isaac tries to convince the team to get back together for one last big score (ensuring they’ll never have to work again obvs) the film’s first 25 mins moves at a pace but with little character development and a whole host of semi-retired-older-guys-getting-back-in-the-saddle clichés. After easily defeating the bland crime lord, who barely features to be fair, the guys load up their over-stuffed bags with cash. But their escape helicopter crashes as it is over the maximum weight owing to the greedy guts the guys have been. Director J. C. Chandor’s previous movie A Most Violent Year, also starring Oscar Isaac, was slow and measured – sometimes to a fault – but Triple Frontier is knuckleheaded and speedy – again, to a fault. The beginning had strong Predator-vibes – covert operation in the jungle - and to be honest I was hoping the film would go into sci-fi or horror territory to avoid the clichés it was delivering. The whole second half however shows the crew trying to get to a rendezvous point which had echoes of The Way Back (Peter Weir’s 2010 survival film) and the boredom sets in as the group slowly trudge back through different wildernesses. In the end, despite its big-name stars, the film disappoints on a triple front by being flat, flavourless and ultimately forgettable. ★★


Michael Sales


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