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By midlandsmovies, Dec 17 2016 12:28AM

Top 2016 films from MIdlands Movies Editor, Mike Sales


After a very tough year personally, I think I have gone for a much more light-hearted Top 20 than in previous favourite lists of mine but there is also something from most genres including comedy, action, horror, drama, documentary, sci-fi and much more.


Not sure it was a “classic” year in terms of films that will have longevity but what it did have was creativity in spades and in at least three cases, the rejuvenation of well-worn franchises was actually the biggest surprise for me.


Read below for the final list of my favourite 20 films in 2016 and links to the full reviews from the site.




20. Hardcore Henry Dir. Ilya Naishuller

What we said: “The violence was suitably over-the-top and generally creative, an excellent and campy Sharlto Copley gets multiple characters to inhabit – including the delivery of a song and dance number – and the stunt work is superb”.


http://www.midlandsmovies.com/blog/4558436876/Review---Hardcore-Henry/10854265


19. Anomalisa Dir. Charlie Kaufman/Duke Johnson

What we said: “With dazzling animation, Kaufman’s tight script and a distinctive style to wrap the themes around, this exceptional film is that rare beast where mock-up mannequins gives us not just an imitation of life but show the intimacy of life. When Kafka meets Aardman you get Kaufman”.


http://www.midlandsmovies.com/blog/4558436876/Review---Anomalisa/10628676


18. Race Dir. Stephen Hopkins

What we said: “2016 has provided a wealth of sports films for fans and Race is a movie that makes you want to read more on a subject which is a rare commodity. Breaking track and field records alongside breaking barriers in America, I recommend you take a chance with this winning film as, despite its shortcomings, is one worth investing your soul in”.


http://www.midlandsmovies.com/blog/4558436876/Review---Race/10758379


17. Hunt for the Wilderpeople

REVIEW TBC


16. De Palma Dir. Noah Baumbach and Jake Paltrow

What we said: “De Palma’s legacy as a filmmaker has been assured with a genre-hopping career with unforgettable cinematic images. De Palma is a fantastic documentary…[and] for those wanting to get an insightful and, more importantly, honest review of someone’s life, De Palma lets the director do all of the talking”.


http://www.midlandsmovies.com/blog/4558436876/Reviews---Midlands-Movies-Film-Catch-Up-Blog-2016-Part-2/10911312


15. Midnight Special Dir. Jeff Nichols

What we said: “A supernatural thriller with a stunning piano-led soundtrack, Midnight Special takes an unexpected route to well-worn themes. Nichols has created an enigmatic film for those willing to stick with a cryptic cross-country cruise that doesn’t answer all the questions, but when done this well – it doesn’t need to”.


http://www.midlandsmovies.com/blog/4558436876/Review---Midnight-Special/10684545


14. Zero Days Dir Alex Gibney

What we said: “It’s a hush-hush story with all the twists of a spy thriller…this is an astonishing documentary. A fantastic journey of code-makers and breakers, Zero Days goes beyond its niche technical audience and becomes a successful critique on global warfare in the 21st Century”.


http://www.midlandsmovies.com/blog/4558436876/Review---Zero-Days/10817614


13. Rogue One: A Star Wars Story

What we said: "With enough action, throwback ‘easter eggs’ and a host of characters whose journeys we haven’t followed before, Rogue One delivers a solid sci-fi story of hopeful resistant fighters rising up against their wicked oppressors. It's done with fun, flair and impressive visuals that whisks you off to that galaxy far, far away like the annual family holiday. Comforting, expected but with an extra trip or two thrown in. We'll all be back again next year".


http://www.midlandsmovies.com/blog/4558436876/Review---Rogue-One---A-Star-Wars-Story/11026222


12. High-Rise Dir. Ben Wheatley

What we said: “High-Rise is a film that bubbles up slowly from the bottom until it reaches a gloriously gory finale. Experimental but just the right side of coherent, the film explores wickedness and immorality and if you go along with its wantonness you’ll find many more highs in a slow burner - building to a pinnacle of decadence”.


http://www.midlandsmovies.com/blog/4558436876/Review---High-Rise/11025992


11. Everybody Wants Some!! Dir. Richard Linklater

What we said: “Avoiding clichés, Everybody Wants Some blurs the lines of the traditional jock stereotype. Whilst plenty of time is given to their competitiveness, the film deconstructs this and…at the core is a spirited story of male-centred affection and despite the burliness and muscle-flexing bravado shown by the physical players, Linklater has created a film with much more soul than you would imagine”.


http://www.midlandsmovies.com/blog/4558436876/Review---Everybody-Wants-Some/10848732



10. The Nice Guys Dir. Shane Black

What we said: “Its use of Warner Bros 70s "Big W" logo designed by Saul Bass shows that the Nice Guys is much more than nice – it’s a big slice of retro-influenced cool. With stylish direction, a sophisticated script and a set of trendy performances, Black’s latest is best enjoyed as a hip cocktail of cynical repartee and noir style”.


http://www.midlandsmovies.com/blog/4558436876/Review---The-Nice-Guys/10848731


9. Hell or High Water Dir. David Mackenzie

What we said: “From dusty roads to budget diners, the film revels in its unobtrusive locations and settings to add realism to a well worn tale. Efficient in story-telling and with flashes of action interspersed with intimate tête-à-têtes, Hell or Highwater is a low key success that is both gritty and smart, tough and stylish and definitely one of this year’s highlights”.


http://www.midlandsmovies.com/blog/4558436876/Review---Hell-or-High-Water/11025994


8. Creed Dir. Ryan Coogler

What we said: “For the fans, all the ingredients of the Rocky formula are there with a focus on the characters you have grown up with but the drama is so well crafted there is plenty for those who know nothing about the journey so far. This means that Creed is a filmic feat, an emphatic return to form with an individual voice from director Coogler that amounts to a knock-out triumph”.


http://www.midlandsmovies.com/blog/4558436876/Review---Creed/10461550


7. Bone Tomahawk Dir. S. Craig Zahler

What we said: “Bone Tomahawk therefore ends up being a furious film with pockets of revolting cruelness and the dust-covered savages are a fascinating twist on the “cowboy and Indian” stories of the past and whilst the horse-based passage through the wild is a Hollywood chestnut, the film’s formula mixes in new aspects to the genre. A bloody smattering of torture and mutilation gives the movie a bleak twist that will also satisfy the horror crowd and its no-frills narrative was a thrilling ride along”.


http://www.midlandsmovies.com/blog/4558436876/Review---Bone-Tomahawk/10534068


6. Eye in the Sky Dir. Gavin Hood

What we said: “Marvellous powerhouse performances from the entire cast are elevated by Mirren and Rickman showing their legendary range in a remarkable film. Drone controllers Aaron Paul & Phoebe Fox are excellent support as those with their fingers-on-the-triggers but in the safety of your own home the film asks you to question what you would sacrifice for the sake of protecting others. And it doesn’t get much more significant than that”.


http://www.midlandsmovies.com/blog/4558436876/Review---Eye-in-the-Sky/10939145


5. The Revenant Dir. Alejandro González Iñárritu

What we said: “The film’s endurance reflects the characters’ fight for survival and combines thrills with more tender moments in a hard-hitting expedition of a movie. The director brings nuance and refreshing ideas – the camera gets “fogged” by the actors’ warm breaths in the chilly air at times – but with a superb cast the film is just a log cabin away from setting up camp in Oscar territory” (Editor – and boy did it!).


http://www.midlandsmovies.com/blog/4558436876/Review---The-Revenant/10434659


4. The Invitation Dir. Karyn Kusama

What we said: “Director Karyn Kusama has got nearly everything right with the film, getting great performances out of a good mixed cast, as well as filling her dark shots with trepidation, terror and a fair amount of fear. Expertly crafted, The Invitation creates anxiety through a superb central performance by Logan Marshall-Green, and is an alarming achievement where nothing is what it seems. Filled with fear and a few frightful revelations, this is one party I recommend you RSVP to on its release”.


http://www.midlandsmovies.com/blog/4558436876/Review---The-Invitation/10646298


3. Hail Caesar! Dir. Joel & Ethan Coen

What we said: “A homage, a pastiche, a tribute – the Coens’ ‘Hail, Caesar!’ is a masterclass in the technical but with warm comedic touches, a playfully simple narrative and heaps of laugh out loud moments, it also passes the audition to join those great films that are also about films. With the look of an LA Confidential and a raucousness verging on a Carry On film, the Coens’ latest offering has all the ingredients of the bygone age it affectionately lampoons”.


http://www.midlandsmovies.com/blog/4558436876/Review---Hail-Caesar/10705393


2. Green Room Dir. Jeremy Saulnier

What we said: “With the passing of star Anton Yelchin, it is even more sorrowful to know that the up and coming actor was putting in great performances right until the end. Bloody, nasty and at times gruesome, this is a superb film where characters make suitably realistic decisions and its understated opening of a down-and-out band playing the shitty underground music circuit contrasts brilliantly with the subsequent carnage later on. Brutal and uncompromising, ferocious and savage, fans of physical and emotional heaviness will lap up this dark movie from the director of Blue Ruin”.


http://www.midlandsmovies.com/blog/4558436876/Reviews---Midlands-Movies-Film-Catch-Up-2016/10802467


1. Captain America: Civil War Dir. Anthony and Joe Russo

What we said: “Here there is a better balance of characters than Age of Ultron and great action sequences and moving scenes help ground the film but the airport scrap between the two warring factions is simply “amazing” in all “senses” of the word. With an ending that’s as gripping as it is meaningful, the last but not least important aspect is Chris Evans as Captain himself. Originally somewhat of a clichéd damp squib of a character – the 40s hero is a war-time stereotype – Marvel have created an absolute pivotal role for the superhero and Evans’ superb approach creates a (narrative) freedom that Cap’ himself would be proud of”.


http://www.midlandsmovies.com/blog/4558436876/Review---Captain-America-Civil-War/10712083



By midlandsmovies, Feb 28 2016 01:01PM

Midlands Movies Mike Oscar Predictions 2016


Every year I have a go at predicting the Oscar winners and 2016 is no different. So many good films this year that I passionately love so a pretty strong field throughout especially in the technical categories.


So, here are my predictions for tonight's show and good luck to everyone involved:


Best picture

The Big Short

Bridge of Spies

Brooklyn

Mad Max: Fury Road

The Martian

The Revenant

Room

Spotlight


Winner: The Revenant (although I want Mad Max to win)


Best actor

Bryan Cranston - Trumbo

Matt Damon - The Martian

Leonardo DiCaprio - The Revenant

Michael Fassbender - Steve Jobs

Eddie Redmayne - The Danish Girl


Winner: Leo (although Cranston in with a HIGH chance)


Best actress

Cate Blanchett - Carol

Brie Larson - Room

Jennifer Lawrence - Joy

Charlotte Rampling - 45 Years

Saoirse Ronan - Brooklyn


Winner: Brie Larson


Best supporting actor

Christian Bale - The Big Short

Tom Hardy - The Revenant

Mark Ruffalo - Spotlight

Mark Rylance - Bridge of Spies

Sylvester Stallone - Creed


Winner: Sly Stallone (I really hope so but Rylance is CLOSE second)


Best supporting actress

Jennifer Jason Leigh - The Hateful Eight

Rooney Mara - Carol

Rachel McAdams - Spotlight

Alicia Vikander - The Danish Girl

Kate Winslet - Steve Jobs


Winner: Rooney Mara


Best director

Lenny Abrahamson - Room

Alejandro G Inarritu - The Revenant

Tom McCarthy - Spotlight

Adam McKay - The Big Short

George Miller - Mad Max: Fury Road


Winner: Alejandro G Inarritu (but again, George Miller is the one I want to win)


Best adapted screenplay

The Big Short

Brooklyn

Carol

The Martian

Room


Winner: (One of the closest categories but) I’m punting on The Big Short


Best original screenplay

Bridge of Spies

Ex Machina

Inside Out

Spotlight

Straight Outta Compton


Winner: Spotlight


Best animated film

Anomalisa

Boy and the World

Inside Out

Shaun the Sheep Movie

When Marnie Was There


Winner: Inside Out (with Anomalisa outside bet)


Best foreign language film

Embrace of the Serpent - Colombia

Mustang - France

Son of Saul - Hungary

Theeb - Jordan

A War - Denmark


Winner: Son of Saul


Best animated short

Bear Story

Prologue

Sanjay's Super Team

We Can't Live without Cosmos

World of Tomorrow


Winner: World of Tomorrow


Best cinematography

Carol

The Hateful Eight

Mad Max: Fury Road

The Revenant

Sicario


Winner: So close but Academy chooses The Revenant (Hateful 8 AND Mad Max outside chances)


Best costume design

Carol

Cinderella

The Danish Girl

Mad Max: Fury Road

The Revenant


Winner: Mad Max


Best documentary feature

Amy

Cartel Land

The Look of Silence

What Happened, Miss Simone?

Winter on Fire: Ukraine's Fight for Freedom


Winner: Amy


Best documentary short

Body Team 12

Chau, Beyond the Lines

Claude Lanzmann: Spectres of the Shoah

A Girl in the River: The Price of Forgiveness

Last Day of Freedom


Winner: Last Day of Freedom


Best editing

The Big Short

Mad Max: Fury Road

The Revenant

Spotlight

Star Wars: The Force Awakens


Winner: The Revenant


Best live action short

Ave Maria

Day One

Everything Will Be Okay (Alles Wird Gut)

Shok

Stutterer


Winner: Day One


Best make-up and hair

Mad Max: Fury Road

The 100-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared

The Revenant


Winner: Mad Max


Best original score

Bridge of Spies

Carol

The Hateful Eight

Sicario

Star Wars: The Force Awakens


Winner: The Hateful Eight (Morricone!)


Best original song

Earned It, The Weeknd - Fifty Shades of Grey

Manta Ray, J Ralph & Antony - Racing Extinction

Simple Song #3, Sumi Jo - Youth

Til It Happens To You, Lady Gaga - The Hunting Ground

Writing's On the Wall, Sam Smith - Spectre


Winner: Lady Gaga


Best production design

Bridge of Spies

The Danish Girl

Mad Max: Fury Road

The Martian

The Revenant


Winner: Mad Max (but maybe The Martian)


Best sound editing

Mad Max: Fury Road

The Martian

The Revenant

Sicario

Star Wars: The Force Awakens


Winner: The Revenant (but maybe The Martian)


Best sound mixing

Bridge of Spies

Mad Max: Fury Road

The Martian

The Revenant

Star Wars: The Force Awakens


Winner: The Revenant (love to see a bit of Force Awakens here)


Best visual effects

Ex Machina

Mad Max: Fury Road

The Martian

The Revenant

Star Wars: The Force Awakens


Winner: Mad Max


By midlandsmovies, Feb 7 2016 03:02PM

After my original post about the hugely popular expansion in independent film poster art I have been discovering even more beautiful poster designs from artists from all over the world in 2015/16. From qualified experts to recreational amateurs, I love to see alternate takes on posters which have sadly still not moved far from the hell that is bad PhotoShop.


First 25 Movie Poster blog - http://www.midlandsmovies.com/blog/4558436876/Midlands-Movies-Feature---Top-25-Alternative-Movie-Posters/9794671


Please spare a bit of time checking out these dazzling designs and please investigate the Twitter feeds and websites of all the artists for even more talented artwork on their homepages.


25. Fantastic Mr Fox (by Jayson Weidel https://twitter.com/planet_pulp)

Amazing cartoon style design for Wes Anderson's quirky animation that captures the fun spirit and warm colours from the cast of stop motion animals


24. Jurassic Park (by Francesco Francavilla)

Humungous dinosaurs who terrify a remote island couldn't be summed up better in this simple but effective design.


23. Alien (by Randy Ortiz)

A superb print design showing the alien discovery and the scares about to emerge from the otherworldly egg


22. Inception (by Gabz http://iamgabz.com/Inception)

A mind-entering film of topsy-turvy realities is expressed in this monochrome design


21. Brazil (by Shou Yuan http://www.shou-yuan.com)

A deeply disturbing head controlling design fits perfectly with Gilliam’s dystopian vision of the future


20. Django Unchained (by Harijs Grundmanis)

A sepia tinged historical print style poster captures the time & place of this Western


19. Guardians of the Galaxy (by Paul Shipper)

This Marvel old-school space opera design takes it influences from poster legend Drew Struzan


18. The Iron Giant (by Jeff Granito)

Amazing technicolour art deco retro design showing the 2 sides of the story


17. Batman (by Casey Callender)

My fave Batman film gets a suitably dark design with his batwings extended


16. Who Framed Roger Rabbit (by Dennis Salvatier http://www.salvatierstudios.com)

A 1930s influenced print with bold geometric shapes & glamour


15. Beetlejuice (by Ken Taylor)

Crazy lighting & day-glo colours reflect the insane world of Keaton’s lead


14. The Fly (by Drew Millward)

Don’t be afraid of this stunningly twisted poster that jumps into the plasma pool


13. Birdman (by Orlando Arocena https://www.behance.net/orlandoarocena)

A great colourful one-sheet combining the city, Birdman and Keaton in one amazing image


12. The Goonies (by Tyler Stout http://www.tstout.com)

80s adventure classic gets characters & symbols + the octopus for this crazily coloured map-like poster


11. Godzilla (by http://phantomcitycreative.com)

Asian inspired design as mushroom clouds become Godzilla scales in monster movie moment


10. Wall Street (by http://www.moxycreative.com/dressthepart/)

A poster not for wimps in this cold, clinical and smart design for the 80s financial classic


9. Blade Runner (by Kako and Carlos Bela)

An industrial sci-fi font mixes with a replicant owl in this crimson classic


8. Batman Returns (by Steven Holliday)

Blues & yellows come together for this extremely breath taking poster


7. Chinatown (by Philippe Poirier. http://www.philippepoirier.ca)

Warm browns and neon signs reflect the film’s murky underworld


6. Army of Darkness (by Richey Beckett)

Incredibly intricate & organic design for this raw horror drawing


5. Rocky (by Cesar Moreno)

A unique take on a gold leaf resurrection as religious Rocky enters the ring


4. The Hateful Eight (by Orlando Arocena https://www.behance.net/orlandoarocena)

Another great design capturing the wintery wilderness of QT’s latest epic


3. The Incredibles (by Kevin Wilson http://apemeetsgirl.com)

One of the film’s iconic shots is the source of this incredible design


2. The Force Awakens (by @matttaylordraws)

Inverted colours pop off the page in a dynamic poster


1. The Shining (by http://3ftdeep.com)

Author Jack appears from the page like a great King novel


Thanks to all who followed & retweeted on February 6th & hoped you enjoyed a timeline of cool movie art


Check all the posters using the hastag #MMfilmposter over on Twitter

By midlandsmovies, Dec 29 2015 09:04PM

Midlands Movies Marek picks his Top 10 of 2015


Regular Midlands Movies contributor Marek has picked out his favourite 10 films of 2015. With an eclectic mix of blockbuster and independents please check out his 10 best films of the year below:


(In no particluar order...)


Jurassic World


The Martian


A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night


What We Do in the Shadows


Birdman or (the unexpected virtue of ignorance)


Turbo Kid


The Man from U.N.C.L.E


Star Wars: The Force Awakens


Spectre


Mad Max: Fury Road


Marek adds:


"Overall 2015 was a very disappointing year for horror, where the major sequels (Insidious 3, Sinister 2) failed to build on promising earlier entries and the majority of original fare just not being up to scratch on the whole with the strongest theatrical releases being Del Toro's gothic haunted house/romance Crimson , which is barely a horror, and the Carpenter lite/atmosphere heavy It Follows. However it was a good year for horror comedy thanks to New Zealand with What We Do in the Shadows making my list and Deathgasm being just outside.


Finally there are three clear omissions from my list. The first due to its run time is the amazing Kung Fury. A must watch for all 80s action film fans and, considering it is free on YouTube there really is no excuse. Secondly, is Tarantino's 'The Hateful Eight' which is a masterpiece of dialogue and suspense and finally Sorrentino's return to filming in English with Youth staring Harvey Keitel and Michael Caine. Both of which will no doubt grace my top ten of 2016."


[N.B. I unfortunately didn't get chance to see Bridge of Spies, Sicario or The Duke of Burgundy but all seem to appeal to my tastes.]


December 2015

By midlandsmovies, Dec 28 2015 10:39AM

Top 10 local movie posters of 2015


Midlands Movies Mike picks 10 of the promotional movie posters from films made in the region.


* Night Owls (Nottingham) Film by Sophie Black and art by Dan Lord of @forecastdesign

* Crying Wolf (Derby) Film by MonoStereo

* The Witching Hour (Nottingham) Film by Mr. Stitch Films and art by Anthony Winson

* Derelict (Worcestershrire) Film by Venomous Little Man and art by Jamie Huntley

* Killersaurus (Leicester). Film by Steve Lawson

* The Wrong Floor (Leicester). Film by Marc Hamill/Roasted Films and art by Tom Hodge

* Junction 51 (Nottingham) Film by Superfreak Media

* The House of Screaming Death (West Midlands) Film by Lightbeam Productions & art by Colin Webb

* Athena (Leicester) Film by 305 Productions

* Acquiesce (Lincoln) Film and art by Thomas Cuthbertson




By midlandsmovies, Dec 21 2015 10:12AM

Midlands Movies Top 20 Films of 2015


Well, with my regular “Best Of” lists (or favourites if you prefer) starting from January 1st each year, it’s easy to forget the films that get released in the UK in the January-February period that go towards Oscar consideration. With that in mind, it’s easy to think of those films as last year’s movies but as I’ve consistently used a full calendar year, 2015 will be no different in that respect. I’ve included links to Midlands Movies reviews for readers to see our thoughts at the time.


The scoring will not necessarily equate to where the film appears in the list – especially with months of hindsight and any hype dying down – so the films have been finalised this month (December) and published as close to the end of the year as possible.


For a bit of context there are many critically acclaimed films I have not seen yet including Suffragette, Black Mass, Brooklyn, Assasin and Carol so they’ve haven’t been missed out because of quality but owing to my own busy and burgeoning schedule.


Also, a couple of films were in the list but then dropped out including Age of Ultron and Foxcatcher – both scored highly but in retrospect they both had flaws that have gnawed at me ever since – whilst I thought Big Hero 6 and Inside Out (one of the most overrated flicks of the year and i LOVE Pixar) were solid animations but nothing more for me. A Most Violent Year was very close as was The Visit and Montage of Heck and I enjoyed Ian McKellen in Mr. Holmes as well as the film-centred documentaries of Electric Boogaloo: The Story of Cannon Films and The Death of Superman Lives.


For me, disappointments included It Follows (unsettling but the horror hype machine spoilt this one) and Robert Zemeckis’ The Walk – an interesting story made dull by CGI. Maybe a 3-D IMAX viewing would have got my juices flowing. I recommend the far superior Man on Wire documentary which tells the same story with much more tension. Click here for my Worst Films of 2015 list – some real shockers this year so venture at your own risk – but here are my (Midlands Movies Editor Mike Sales) Top 20 favourite films of 2015.


20. Trainwreck (7.5/10)


19. Going Clear (8/10)


18. Tangerine (7.5/10)


17. White Bird in a Blizzard (7.5/10)


16. Ant-Man (7.5/10)


15. American Sniper (8/10)


14. Ex Machina (8/10)


13. John Wick (8/10)


12. The Voices (7/10)


11. Love and Mercy (7.5/10)


10. The Theory of Everything (9/10)


9. Sicario (8/10)


8. Legend (8/10)


7. The Force Awakens (8/10)


6. The Martian (8/10)


5. Amy (8/10)


4. Predestination (9/10)


3. Birdman (9/10)


2. Whiplash (9/10)


1. Mad Max: Fury Road (9.5/10)

By midlandsmovies, Oct 27 2015 01:19PM

Top 10 things to check out for Lincolnshire film fans


After our Top 10 covering the best of Leicester, Derby, Nottingham and West Midlands film-making talent we shift our focus to Lincolnshire to find out 10 of the best things a film fan can look out for in and around the county.


Lincolnshire Cathedral

The third largest cathedral in Britain after St Paul's and York Minster, Lincolnshire Cathedral owns one of only four surviving copies of Magna Carta from 1215 but has also played host to a number of blockbuster feature films, often doubling for Westminster Abbey in London. Filmed in September 2007 this was the case with Young Victoria and also the controversial “The Da Vinci Code”. Oscar-winner Tom Hanks played Robert Langdon in the film which caused a storm of controversy over its questioning of many of the key beliefs of Christianity. Officials from the Abbey refused to allow filming to take place inside, claiming that the book is "theologically unsound". To arrange a visit and follow the Cathedral’s many events please check their Twitter account here: https://twitter.com/LincsCathedral


The Drift by Backyard Productions

An already successful sci-fi, The Drift is no average independent film having been created with a crew of over 100 and with help from many local businesses in Lincolnshire. With a limited local budget of just £5000, the film took 3 years to make (all in everyone’s spare time) and the cast and crew were all volunteers but the ambition does not stop just there. With a feature length 100-minute run time and over 1300 Visual Effect shots they also built sets over 9 months and did 2 years of visual effects production, matching and even surpassing many a Hollywood blockbuster. Formed in 1993, Backyard Productions began with three teenagers making short movies in the garden before quickly moving on to making their first feature. From there, the “company” grew to include friends and family members, making parodies based on Batman, Indiana Jones and Star Wars with all productions being self-funded and helping to raise money for charity. For more insight check out http://bypuk.com/movies/drift/ and view The Drift's exciting trailer here - https://www.youtube.com/embed/aXFILnob3AA


Read our article on the film here: http://www.midlandsmovies.com/blog/4558436876/Midlands-Spotlight---The-Drift/9207663


Lincolnshire Film and Digital Media

Lincolnshire Film and Digital Media is run by multi-award winning, professional film maker Phillip Lofas whose background is in film production. His company uses state of the art video and media equipment to deliver professional quality work which specialises in offering high quality services as well as training within the county for aspiring filmmakers. With a respected track record in delivering education and training to a range of organisations they cover a wide variety of media training topics including script writing, pre-production, filming & mastering as well as sessions on lighting, sound and animation. Read more about this exciting organisation to develop your skills with a professional and local team here: http://www.lincolnshire-filmmaker.co.uk


Lincolnshire Film Archive

The LFA is a registered charity set up in 1986 to locate and preserve motion film showing life and work in all parts of the county. Covering wartime reels as well as many other decades, their films are available to enthusiastic cinematographers with local historical events such as the first post-war Royal Show, the Festival of Britain and the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II amongst archive footage available. Further footage comes in their “A Century on Film” series which focus on everything from World War 2 right through to the Victory celebrations of 1945. Drawing on its extensive motion picture collection, much of it has never before been made available for home viewing, the LFA sets out to present a wide-ranging picture of over a hundred years of Lincolnshire life. For an up-to-date list of videos and details of how to order, see www.primetimevideo.co.uk or check their main website: http://www.lincsfilm.co.uk


Movie Locations

We have already mentioned how The Da Vinci Code was partially filmed in Lincolnshire but as well as the infamous cathedral, the county has provided picturesque buildings for many more movies. However, one of these locations was again utilised in The Da Vinci Code, where Burghley House in Stamford near Peterborough was used for the interiors of ‘Castel Gandolfo’. Not solely focusing on that film though, Jan De Bont's The Haunting (1999) was filmed at Harlaxton Manor (Great Hall) in Grantham whilst Thunderball (1965) used RAF Waddington for the film's Airforce base runway scene. Not content with just those well-known classics, Lincoln can claim to be the location of certain scenes in the little-known The Emerald Forest (1985) whilst more famously, The Dam Busters (1955) with its “bouncing bombs” was partly filmed in the area. The coastal marshes from Atonement (2007) are at Gedney Drove End, a beach on the Wash and finally Pride and Prejudice (2005) was filmed in Lincoln where Burghley House (again) stood in for Rosings, while the adjacent town of Stamford served as Meryton. For more info on Burghley House check their official site: http://www.burghley.co.uk


Lincoln Shorts

The 5th annual Lincoln Shorts film festival showcased local film-making talent from Lincolnshire and the surrounding areas in October 2015. Previous screenings at the annual film event left audiences excited and amazed by the wealth and breadth of film-making talent right on their doorstep — film-making they may never knew existed. This annual event regularly takes submissions from a wide range of genres from comedy, drama, music and factual and all have a local Lincoln connection. Examples may be that it was filmed or edited locally or someone in the cast or crew may be originally from or lives in Lincolnshire or even studied in the area. Screening shorts (films should be five minutes or under) the last event was a great success at Lincoln’s Drill Hall and submissions will soon be open for filmmakers to submit their newest creations for the 2016 festival.

http://www.lincolnshorts.co.uk/latest/


The LAFTAS

The LAFTAs (Lincolnshire Awards for Film, Teamwork and Animation) is now in its ninth year and has become a key event in many schools' calendars and a regular event not to be missed. These annual film awards are for 3 - 19 year olds and showcase/celebrate the films and animations made by children and young people. The scheme has supported thousands of young people, teachers and schools through training, advice and guidance. Last year 40 schools submitted over 100 films and were judged by an independent panel consisting of experts from the film industry and education. All prizes were presented by the LAFTAs patron, Oscar and BAFTA winner, Jim Broadbent, who was born in Lincolnshire in 1949. Every year Jim dedicates time to viewing all of the shortlisted films to choose his favourite Primary age and Secondary age winner. Further information at: http://www.laftas.co.uk


Crow’s Eye

Crow’s Eye is a Production Company based in Lincolnshire involving the joint creative team of Nick and Pauline Loven. Covering a wide variety of work from feature length and short films as well as costume drama and music videos, Nick is a filmmaker with 15 years of experience and established his company Crow’s Eye Productions in 2005. Also available as a freelance camera operator, Nick uses broadcast standard equipment and for his most recent film set on First World War battlefields, he undertook pyrotechnic training. Crow’s Eye Productions also has its own Period Costume Wardrobe Department run by Pauline Loven, a costumier with 30 years’ experience. Check out the brilliant work of this dynamic duo at their websites and Twitter links below:


Twitter @CrowseyeUK http://www.crowseye.co.uk Twitter @periodwardrobe http://www.periodcostume.co.uk


Lincoln Film Society

The LFS is a small group of cinephiles who regularly meet at the Venue at Bishop Grosseteste University College in Lincoln. Publishing a set programme for each season, films are selected based on member’s suggestions and research by the Society’s committee. The ‘programme’ is never too specialist because their members have a wide taste in movies and the club also screens other one-off films as well. The Venue’s 230 capacity auditorium with fixed rake seating is the perfect location for the society which also allows temporary members to see films but heartily recommends full membership which can save people money over the course of a year. Like most film societies, Lincoln Film Society requires membership and has reasonable rates for those wishing to join. If interested please email lfs-membership@hotmail.co.uk for more information.

http://www.lincolnfilmsociety.com


BlackBeetle Films

Last but certainly not least is the brand new production company from Lincolnshire. They are currently fundraising for their debut short film Every Waking Breath which follows the story of Abigail Burton - a young woman who is haunted by the death of her parents when she was a child. After years of mourning she decides that there is only one way she can gain closure - by finding the man responsible and exacting revenge. With very high expectations, the team of Josh Brown (Producer) Scott Driver (Writer/Director), Joel Dunn-Wilson (DoP), Jake Greenan (Sound), Oliver Cowton (Art Director) & Harry Kumar (Editor) have set a preliminary fundraising target of £1,000 at IndieGoGo and have already surpassed their goal. Formed within the well-known Media Production course at the Lincoln School of Film and Media (https://www.lincoln.ac.uk/home/fm) the group will utilise the industry-standard, purpose-built facilities at the University to complete the project.


Check their updates here: https://twitter.com/BlackBeetleFilm

Fundraising campaign: https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/every-waking-breath-a-short-film#/


Midlands Movies Mike

By midlandsmovies, Oct 18 2015 10:16AM

Midlands Movies Feature - Top 10 Nicolas Cage films


Nicolas Cage. Well, what can you say?


Critics have described the actor as a pantomime or someone who reverts to over-the-top performances to compensate for a lack of quality. Others (such as Roger Ebert, no less) have noted that he has an “operatic” air to his work. In a world of method acting and weight gain/loss, the overdramatic theatrics of Nicolas Cage still dazzles and confuses fans in equal measure.


So, without too much ado, I plan to look back at 10 of my favourite (not necessarily the critics’ best) films the actor has appeared in. Right off the bat, I admit to being a much bigger fan of his action roles than his serious work but Cage has always been one to have taken many risks in his career. Never can anyone say that he’s not a very risky proposition for a film. An unlikely, sometimes odd-looking, leading man, his box office draw appears has subsided somewhat with an increase in straight to DVD “filler” and far less quality (but still very much of quantity).


A glut of poor choices more recently has seen the likes of Drive Angry and Ghost Rider 2 but still in the mix in the last few years are films like Joe (a notable return to form) and a supporting role in Kick *ss showing he still has the cinematic charisma that drew audiences in the first place.


Wikipedia cites 76 (!) films he has appeared in with 42 of those since 2000. Man, the boy Cage is prolific if nothing else so here’s some of my favourites from the huge body of work from a man whose roller-coaster of a career has no sign of letting up (4 Cage-helmed films were released in 2014 alone).


Close but not quite making it was the car-tastic schlock of Gone in 60 Seconds, his greasy-rocker road movie in Lynch’s Wild at Heart, the comedian Cage in the Coen’s Raising Arizona and the more recent bayou drama Joe.


N.B. Big thanks to Nick Staniforth who first published our article over at our good friends at Reel Good


10. Adaptation (2002)

Cage plays two roles in this meta-project from the warped mind of Charlie Kaufman which covers Kaufman’s own struggles in adapting The Orchid Thief for the cinema. Covering depression and writer’s block, Cage’s role as both brothers allows him to experiment with his own duality with his dark and brooding choices conflicting with his blockbuster sensibilities of the brother. An Academy Award nod saw Cage with the best critical reception in years and a testament to his acting ability when given the right material.


9. Lord of War (2005)

Andrew Nichol directs Cage as a Ukrainian-American arms dealer in this drama and dissection of war, conflict and weaponry. Tracing the story over many years across a global backdrop, Cage is great as the morally ambiguous gunrunner and the slightly heavy handed message is neatly wrapped up in a Cage performance that shows both a family man and his criminality and the ultimate if inevitable end game of human destruction.


8. Leaving Las Vegas (1995)

Winning the Academy Award for Best Actor, Cage’s most lauded role is as an alcoholic heading to the big city in order to drink himself to death. Cage embodies the carnage as a trail of broken dreams and his own broken body are the focus of a dark and disturbing film. With great support from Elizabeth Shue who balances the extremes of Cage’s performance, the film is a superb study of the dangers of addiction but you may struggle to sit through multiple viewings given its power and Cage’s haunting embodiment.


7. The Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans (2009)

Werner Herzog re-imagines Abel Ferrara’s 1992 film and Cage challenges the previous incarnation as the craziest copper in town with this police-crime drama. In the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, Cage’s Policeman spins out of control in a haze of drugs, corruption and lizard hallucinations. A solid tale of bribery, contraband and conflict, Cage’s experience with substance abusive characters is again showcased in this addictive film set in the Big Easy.


6. Kick Ass (2010)

Very much a supporting role in Matthew Vaughan’s violent take on comic book superheroes, Cage excels as the father to Hit-Girl in this subversive 2010 flick. Channelling every ounce of Adam West’s 1960s Batman (from the obvious bat-suit similarities to the pauses and strange ticks), Cage shows a quirky restraint but also a much needed adult focal point to the adolescent action throughout. With added moustache, Cage breathes eccentric life into an eccentric character helping to balance out the group of have a go heroes.


5. Snake Eyes (1998)

A film many critics and audiences never took to, Brian De Palma’s movie about a policeman (a staple of Cage) trying to solve a murder at a televised boxing match is an underrated gem in my book. From the directorial flourishes of split screen and long tracking shots, De Palma uses Cage’s watchability to ensure the 10-minute opening one-shot focuses on Cage’s character from the start. A series of genre tropes are mixed in with a narrative that plays and then re-plays sequences for the audience – along with Cage – to see things from different angles. Cage himself, portrays the character too from different angles as he transforms from smarmy cop to duped fool in this twisty and taut thriller.


4. National Treasure 1 & 2 (2004 & 2007)

Right, I don’t care what you say, the 2 National Treasure films are a highlight of Cage for me. Where Cage often went for independent strangeness or blockbuster action, this could have been one of his biggest departures ever. Could Cage really carry a family-friendly Disney movie? Well yes. And he even upsets purists by keeping Sean Bean alive by the end of it! Part Indiana Jones and part Da Vinci Code, director John Turtletaub makes a stupidly fun and idiotically entertaining film that those two missteps could only dream of being. A heist adventure with comedy capers thrown in, Cage’s now blockbuster likeability helps him play cat and mouse with previous Bad Lieutenant Harvey Keitel!


3. The Rock (1996)

Michael Bay has made some terrible films of late and his music-video aesthetic, wafer thin characters and sickening gyratory camera shots are now the stuff of parody. Yet, he did direct The Rock. The Rock was made immediately after Leaving Las Vegas and tells how Cage (Stanley Goodspeed) travels to Alcatraz to help release hostages held by National Treasure 2’s Ed Harris with the help of ex-MI5 convict Sean Connery. A surreal set of action beats, car chases, shootouts and punch ups are helped by the buddy-cop back-and-forth between Cage and Connery. Of course it’s silly and OTT but Cage and his fans wouldn’t have it any other way


2. Con Air (1997)

Cage’s hair has been famous throughout his career but never more so in this all-out action prison break-cum-airplane flick. A b-movie premise (escaping prisoners take over a plane) utilises Cage’s balding yet flowing locks as his good con tries to keep hostages alive and the authorities on his side. Comedy, action and a great villain (John Malkovich’s “Cyrus the Virus”) help package this film as a suitable follow up to The Rock but with Cage as the prisoner this time. Further great support from John Cusack and Steve Buscemi seals the deal with Cage demanding the “bunny back in the box” as he fights his way to freedom on a flight full of felons.


1. Face/Off (1997)

You’ve just won an Oscar and you’ve followed that up with 2 of the best action films of the 1990s so what did Cage do next? Well make another one of the best action films. Focusing more on fists and guns, the film is perfect to show one of Cage’s signature skills in playing two sides of character (see all films above). In this movie, he literally plays two characters (he starts as the insane Castor Troy & switches to the good cop Sean Archer for most of the film) and along with Travolta, both actors get to play off not only their character traits but their fellow actor in a riotous role-reversal. The story is silly, Cage is cool, crazy and criminal and the premise is ludicrous but John Woo decides to use the multi-faceted Cage, whose career is made up of using extreme characteristics and polar mannerisms, as the perfect person to tackle duality in this 90s classic.


Midlands Movies Mike


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