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By midlandsmovies, Aug 30 2017 10:49AM



Midlands Spotlight – Catharsis


With a successful cast and crew premiere at Nottingham’s Broadway Cinema in August, Midlands Movies discovers more about local short film Catharsis from filmmaker Jay Martin.


Writer/director Jay Martin hails from Mansfield in Nottinghamshire and studied at the Confetti Institute of Creative Technologies in 2015 where he began to develop Catharsis, his directorial debut.


The story follows Sandra (local actress Olivia Newton) who descends into drink and drugs after the loss of a child and the film is the culmination of a year and a half of dedication and commitment from a mostly local cast and crew.



Mark Jarvis (seen in a previous Midlands Movies film series we’ve covered called Let’s Bring Back Sophie) plays Isaac in the film and the regional focus of the movie meant it was made solely in and around greater Nottinghamshire.


“It's difficult to put into words the tremendous amount of love, respect, and gratitude I have for the entire cast and crew”, explains Jay. “A seventeen year old, first-timer, had no business working with such incredible talent!”


He adds, “With no producer on our backs hounding us for deadlines, we took the time to intricately develop every aspect of this film, and I truly believe that you see our love, and attention on screen. Every hardship we faced, we faced as a team”.




Although it is Jay’s first dramatic short, he has been involved with many previous projects which have included music videos ‘ABSORB - #PTFAD’ and ‘The Age of Stella – Lucilla’. And as production came to an end on Catharsis in May 2017, the director began developing his next short film project under the working title 'After Dark'.




Once completed, Catharsis was subsequently first shown at the 'Celebrate Short Film Festival' in Nottingham where not only did it have a tremendous reception, the dramatic short was awarded the converted 'Best Short Film' prize as well as a 'Best Director' win for Jay.


With a trailer soon to be released online and upcoming announcements on festival appearances and general release dates, Catharsis looks one to watch from an exciting and talented young filmmaker.


For more information check the film’s social media and IMDB accounts below:


Website: http://www.jaythefilmguy.com/


Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/jaythefilmguy/?hl=en


Twitter: https://twitter.com/jaythefilmguy


IMDB: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt6509956/?ref_=fn_al_tt_2

By midlandsmovies, Aug 27 2017 04:47PM

The Short Cinema 2017 - Part 2


For Part 1 of The Short Cinema showcase 2017 please click here:

http://www.midlandsmovies.com/blog/4558436876/The-Short-Cinema-2017---Part-1/11214523


After a much needed beer break, I headed back into the main screening room for the second part of the excellent Short Cinema 2017 to discover even more great films from the region’s talent...




Ultrasound – Kon-Tiki by Andrew Rutter

This successful music video (and ultimately eventual winner of The Short Cinema 2017 Main Competition) is directed by Andrew Rutter using a track by the group Ultrasound to launch a whirlwind coming of age story mixing surreal visuals with the band’s catchy melodies. Tackling serious subjects of inner conflict – the young protagonist begins on a bike yet behind closed doors dresses in high heels and nail varnish – the film does so in an entertaining way without ever poking fun at the teenager. With a healthy dose of nostalgia, the film’s most successful images are the most strange and dreamlike ones from an “astro” love-making session to personal reflections on a lake. In the end, Rutter has high ambition and more than achieves his aims throughout the video which itself ends on an explosive climax.

Watch the full video here: https://vimeo.com/192961828



A Broken Appointment by Kaleb D’Aguilar

A 3-minute short about same-sex relationships, A Broken Appointment showcases the complicated issues of closeting and hiding feelings in the gay community. Mixing tender and violent emotions, the film condenses a lot into its short run time from the first touching of hands to the complexities faced by a mixed-race gay couple. Dark yet offering a glimpse of optimism, the film’s sensitive narrative is a dramatic slice-of-life exploring marginalised groups in a responsible and delicate manner.

Find out more information here: http://caribbeantalesfestival.com/project/a-broken-appointment/



Girl A by Jess O’Brien

Reviewed by Midlands Movies earlier this year, Girl A still packs a metaphorical and physical punch on a third watch as young filmmaker Jess O’Brien doesn’t flinch from her story of a bully from a broken home. Using strong language and flashes of violence, the solid story and great performances from a teen cast help infuse the film with believability, as we see a troubled pupil lash out at school owing to problems at home. With some great tracking shots and an open ended finale the film is a local success from a strong young filmmaking voice.

Read our full review here: http://www.midlandsmovies.com/blog/4558436876/Feature-Review---Girl-A/11098121



Vandella Day by John McCourt

Actor Kieron Attwood reappears on our list in this darkly comic short from Leicester filmmaker John McCourt. Alongside Lois Cowley, Attwood plays one of two people holed up in a confined space where we find there is just one bullet left in their gun as they think the unthinkable. With the noise of attackers approaching and with no apparent way out, the gun is raised to their heads but malfunctions at the most inopportune time. The intense 1-minute short sets up its characters, cramped location and desperate motivations in mere seconds and filmmaker McCourt turns the tables when an accident with the firearm leads to less than pleasant consequences. A brief but forceful short, Vandella Day’s in-your-face extremities will hit you like a bullet in the head.

Find out more about Vandella Day here: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt6483644/fullcredits/



Betty by Jordan Handford

Another film reviewed by us earlier in 2017 is this drama from Jordan Handford about the effects of dementia. Set on a park bench the film slowly pans around Betty’s distant face before she is joined by a man who regales her with a story from his past that connects to her own. A subtle film on a sensitive subject, the story had personal connections to me after my own mother lost her battle against dementia in May of this year. “Betty” tackles the issues with a finely tuned script that is masterly delivered by John Ghent as Eric, who uses the well-written dialogue to capture the spirit and memories of the past whilst acknowledging the difficulties of the present.

Read our full review of Betty here: http://www.midlandsmovies.com/blog/4558436876/Midlands-Film-Review---Betty/11160736




The Last Drop by Sascha Zimmermann

Written by Nottingham-based screenwriter Tommy Draper, this new short had a true international flavour having been made in Germany. Der Letzte Tropfen (The Last Drop) concerns itself with a self-help group who are experiencing problems with drink dependency with some attendees less than pleased with being there. The group’s advisor tries to maintain some civility as each member explains (or doesn’t) the problems with their addiction. As a first-time stranger joins the group the film goes into overdrive as it switches genres right before our eyes in a spectacular but satisfying “rug-pull”. With a tremendous script and brilliant turns by the German cast, the film is a superb collaborative effort that audiences can get their teeth into.

Find out more here: http://www.midlandsmovies.com/blog/4558436876/Midlands-Spotlight---Nottingham-writer-Tommy-Draper-heads-to-Germany/11200733



The Inuring by James Hughes

With another tale this evening of childhood abuse, The Inuring looks at a teen who is a victim of bullying who confronts a sister about their past. An astonishing Emily Haigh plays troubled teen Aleish who has been bullied yet keeps many private thoughts to herself. Locking herself in a room, her sister (Sarine Sofair as Claudette) places herself on the other side of the door in an attempt to get her sibling to talk. Haigh’s performance shows the systematic breakdown of a put-upon victim and during their awkward interactions, dark secrets of the past are revealed which raises the stakes in their important conversations. With a bleak and gloomy tone and great cinematography the film is not for the faint of heart but winning performances make this short a satisfying drama of angst, regret and childhood ruin.

For more info click here: http://www.theinuring.com




Retrograde by Eve Wills-Wilson

This 10 minute experimental film uses varying film stock and images to cover issues of the past, present and future as well as celestial bodies and the movement of the oceans. The archive sound drones in the background as an abstract series of repeating motifs are shown. Not to my personal tastes – the backwards clock being a cliché crime – the film nonetheless has its roots in contemporary art and would suit an installation in a modern gallery where its ethereal imagery could be studied and discussed. With lots of random footage and film speeds, I would liken the short to a visual version of The Beatles’ “Revolution No. 9” – i.e. some will consider it a disorganised collage whilst others will see intellectual gifts within. Take your pick.

Watch the short here: https://vimeo.com/200670585




Bless You by Daryl Grizzle

Three videogame-playing friends sit in a front room in this short from Daryl Grizzle who uses the situation to discuss the history of one of the most used phrases of all time. As one of the pals does a particularly large sneeze, his friend gives him a courteous “bless you” before each of them in turn explains their version of the origins of the custom. From the plague and saving angels to keeping the devil at bay, the trio of chums lull the audience into a false sense of security with their banter before a jump-scare filled conclusion. Moving from a lightweight discussion to a darker ending the short is an off-kilter blessing in disguise.

Find out more info here: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt6867424/




Loyal to War by Parang Khezri

Made by award-winning Iranian filmmaker Parang Khezri, Loyal to War was one of the shortest and strangest films of the night. With middle-eastern imagery and a boy looking into a mirror (actually cleverly played by two actors through a frame), the film is a surreal look at nature and life. With some filming shot backwards and the images of petals and mirrors, the short asked the audience to reflect on its ideas but provides very little context as to meaning. An intriguing visual statement, the film is baffling in many ways but portrays a very mysterious aura and an enigmatic puzzle to study long after it ended.

Catch Parang’s previous 2010 short TABU: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zke-4oogD60




Upgrade by Mike Doxford

The final film of the night is another Random Acts funded project called Upgrade, where we are shown a night watchman who heads into a building to see a number of random youths hooked up to different technology. This tech seems forbidden, hence the security, but we notice they are listening to old headphones and playing old handheld video-games. The guard then presses play on an vintage tape recorder which plays some funky brass-filled salsa music. After a bit of head nodding the guard (played well by James Bartholomew) gets “into the groove” and begins dancing around the building. Linking the physical dance with the analogue tape player – the film presents a tangible world which stands in stark opposition to the passivity of modern day digital technology.

Find out more here: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt6394702/


In conclusion, with 22 varied films from different genres this year seemed more than just a showcase of film but acknowledged the huge work done by the community. In these films’ reflection and representation of different stories and narratives, the emphasis was on art and in the face of funding issues throughout the industry it was even more impressive to see the quality on show at the festival.


For more info on the Short Cinema please click here and a big thank you to all the organisers including the magnificent Alexzandra Jackson for such a tremendous 4-day event.


Midlands Movies Mike


Below are some photos from the evening.




By midlandsmovies, Aug 27 2017 01:12PM



The Short Cinema 2017 - Part 1


It comes around so quickly! Last night was another hugely successful showcase of regional talent as the final Main Competition night was held for The Short Cinema 2017. A full screening room at Leicester's Phoenix Square Independent Cinema were hugely receptive to a whole host of shorts, dramas, comedies and more from the best filmmakers in the area. With the largest programme of films I've seen yet, this show was spread over two screening sessions so I headed down to catch the judge's best films chosen from this year's Short Cinema entrants.


(Click here for part 2)




Multi Story by Kieran Chauhan

Given the big task of opening the evening, Kieran Chauhan had a huge job on his hands being the first film of the night but the bar was set high with his dark drama Multi Story. Set mostly in an eerie car park, the phrase “What Brings You Here?” is echoed throughout as the audience are encouraged to ask the same question of the protagonist. A car-park purgatory of sorts, a man investigates his wife's death but with surreal twists and turns. Its imagery echoes everything from the elevator from Inception to the visions of Jacob’s Ladder and the short is great at unsettling the audience. Adrian Bouchet is superb as the haunted detective whilst Izabella Malewska is feisty and mysterious in an excellent support role with director Chauhan demonstrating his outstanding eye for troubling images and peculiar sequences.

Find out more here: http://kieranchauhan.com/sample-page/shortfilms



Headspace by Stuart Peters

With influences from Spike Jonze’s sweeping camerawork in his “Weapon of Choice” and “Kenzo World” dance-music videos, this short showcases the dance talents of Danni Spooner. Contrasting the sunny tap dancing around Leicester’s Castle Park with a Gene Kelly-esque tit-for-tat dance off with her own spotlighted shadow, the short encapsulates the dreamy world of the dancer and accents all the right beats in its attempts to ‘click’ with the audience.

Watch the short here: https://vimeo.com/groups/459498/videos/213422967




The Last Barman on Earth by Brian McDowell

Brian McDowell’s film of two heavily armed survivors of a post-apocalyptic earth who head into a bar was certainly a highlight from the evening. Mixing great special effects with a tongue-in-cheek steampunk tone, the two leads’ banter contrasts with the appearance of straight-talking android barman. Channelling Martin Sheen in Passengers and a huge dose of Michael Fassbender’s ‘David’ in Prometheus, the star is Kieron Attwood whose electronic movements are a perfect physical manifestation of a machine. The monotone automaton has aims as dark as Ash in Alien and the film concludes with a suitably twisted ending. A satisfying sci-fi success.

Watch the short here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RBV6VENAQpQ



The Past Whispers by Jane Hearst

A short which tackles the sensitive subject of sexual abuse and bullying was not the last of the night but this film highlighted the struggles of an abuse survivor as well as the dark memories that continue to haunt victims. The film used a great concept of “blacking out” the perpetrator as a way of trying to forget past trauma but the use of personal photos were clear that the acts were committed by a close family member. The female lead has her memories collated in what initially looks like a fun scrapbook but the shadow of her tormentor burdens her thoughts throughout. An intriguing and delicate story, the film was created through the “First Acts” short programme in partnership with Rural Media – a grouping which again would appear more on the night.

Find out more here: http://randomacts.channel4.com/post/162079637751/the-past-whispers-by-jane-hearst-a-survivor-of



Hands by Michael Lane

An experimental film in which 4 hands are shown against a black backdrop is an arty conceptualisation of a number of themes which are open to interpretation in Michael Lane’s “Hands”. The fleshy appendages are shown in stark contrast to the dark background and the movement of digits hinted upon everything from communication, birth, blooming flowers and togetherness. With great music from Vladimir Konstantinov, Hands is not for everyone as the film’s abstractness may turn off some viewers but its collaborative creation encapsulates the minimalist words seen on screen at the end: A Dance. A Meditation. Hope.


Recovery by Daniel Purse

One of the first straight ahead (or so it seems) dramas of the night, Daniel Purse’s “Recovery” sets itself up as a tale of drunk driving and regret. However a literal left-turn (or was it right?) gives the short much more depth than at first glance. As a mysterious figure watches a grave, the film is superb at setting up a well-known narrative only to switch focus towards its conclusion. With the ringing of a red phone box and a symbolic red book, all signs point towards a bloody ending but a hint of time-travel (believe it or not) help turn a seen-it-before story into something much more intriguing.

Find out more about Recover at http://danielpurse.com/recovery/




Si by Steve George, Ryan Sibanda

A film by Steve George, Ryan Sibanda, Joshua Baggott and LJ Greenwood from the University of Wolverhampton, “Si” was nominated for the Undergraduate Short Feature award at the RTS Student Television Awards 2017. The short is an amazing comedic sketch from one of the strangest points-of-view this reviewer has ever seen. Telling the story in voiceover, the “star” of the film is a ‘Caution: Wet Floor” sign, nicknamed “Si”. Yes, that’s correct. This high-concept idea is delivered with huge laughs and an understated voiceover reminiscent of Ralph Brown’s Del Preston from Wayne’s World 2 (or Danny in Withnail & I if you prefer). Witnessing office romances, terrible toilet incidents and more, the sign hilariously comments on the various events and the short won the audience over from the outset. Si is a winning demonstration of how a great concept, executed well, can result in an even greater success for any short filmmaker.

Watch the short here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FpbjApLefgI




FAG by Danni Spooner

An abstract concept of a film, FAG is described as a “rebellious reflection on the cis-gendered society we exist in”. With three individuals shown at the start from the feet up, FAG plays around with stereotypes, expectations and political correctness. The high heels mixed with masculine “marching” mixes gender concepts and as the short progresses, there are tasteful shots of stubble, breasts and smoking – again, combining aspects of what the audience may expect from male or female bodies. With an inherent playfulness, the film brings up important issues but does so in a fun, (partially) explicit yet no-nonsense way that is accessible for all.

Watch the short here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=REpNwEOYUys




The Gift by John Quarrell

Husband Michael arrives at the posh residence of a call girl with embarrassment and trepidation in this dramatic film from John Quarrell. Yet, initial thoughts of a cheating spouse are put aside when it’s revealed this is part of a ‘gift’ provided by Michael’s wife, who is debilitated by Multiple Sclerosis. Gregory Finnegan delivers a great performance as he weighs the moral quandary he’s facing whilst Natasha Pring as his disabled wife shows the daily struggles she faces. All red-dress and sly glances, Alex Childs is amazing as she delivers a sultry performance as the call girl who gives depth to what could have been a straight forward supporting role in the film. With 3 strong actors delivering minimalist but thoroughly satisfying dialogue, The Gift gave its audience a superb present of extraordinary pleasures.

Find out more about The Gift here: https://www.johnquarrell.com/




My Jedi Powers by Rhys Davies

A modest little short from Leicester filmmaker Rhys Davies, My Jedi Powers continues with the themes from the filmmaker’s previous efforts embracing family connections between young and old generations. In this Star-Wars influenced film, a boy (in a Stormtrooper outfit) and his grandmother (brilliantly attired Audrey Ardington as Darth Vader) are attempting to get to the cinema but are beset by unforeseen ‘forces’ including a broken-down car. What a piece of junk! The two connect over talk of “Rebels” and, with the help of an old man, continue their adventure and cross rural rivers to get to the bus stop. With their new hope ultimately dashed as the bus fails to arrive, the short ends on a high with their journey itself being celebrated as a success. And again, My Jedi Powers shows how director Davies uses his masterful skill to tackle the quaint and peculiar hobbies that bring families together.

Find out more here: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt6225146/




Barfly by Mike Yeoman

“Mike Yeoman walks into a bar”. Barfly is a short but sweet sketch from Mike Yeoman and his FlipYou comedy collective and takes the age-old “bar joke” format and twists it with a swift punch-line. Less than a minute long, it continues Yeoman’s quick and funny Fast Show-paced skits that cut out the fat for big dollops of sharp laughs. Mixing the amusing with the absurd, the film left the audience in high spirits as the break approached and showed the group’s talent for well-observed, yet intelligently silly, humour.

Follow updates from Flip You comedy here: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCD8Slh-Kc2LHWcjC0h8-fuA


Click here for Part 2...


Midlands Movies Mike

By midlandsmovies, Aug 3 2017 08:58PM

Hounds of Love (2017) Dir. Ben Young


Australian model Emma Booth is unrecognisable as Evelyn White, the warped partner of a serial killer who preys on young girls in this debut feature from director Ben Young. Her husband is John (a creepy Stephen Curry) and together they troll the neighbourhood looking for unsuspecting girls to kidnap, torture and eventually kill. After a successful stalk and kill spree, their next target is the impressionable Ashleigh Cummings (as Vicki).


Jumping from her window at night to head to a party, Vicki is tempted by the lure of a lift and marijuana before being tricked into entering the couple’s home then drugged and chained to a bed. This dark and disturbing film treats its characters with respect allowing the actors to brilliantly portray twisted, psychopathic tendencies whilst showing a vulnerability and doubt that arise during quieter moments.


The house is surprisingly normal yet Vicki witnesses the twisted relationship from her confines and realises these doubts may be her one means of escape.


Jealousy and resentment play their parts and the director continuously crosses the mundane with bouts of shocking terror which never allows an audience to get truly comfy. There are (small) echoes of The Disappearance of Alice Creed (2009) as we see kidnappers distrusting one another but the terrifying drama and sadistic suffering is more akin to Haneke’s Funny Games (1997).


Booth portrays a conflicted persecutor so well there are signs of sympathy but her torment is cut with brutal cruelty that reminds us of the extremely harrowing circumstances she has placed this young woman in.


Cumming as Vicki suffers at the hands of her aggressors but knows that it will be her mind not her muscles that will assist her and the actress gives a first-rate performance as the abused but assured victim. A quality yet somewhat controversial debut, Ben Young has crafted a creepy suburban scare story which has the uncanny ability to make audiences both panic and ponder over its disturbing content. A scary soap opera about the neighbours next door.


7/10


Midlands Movies Mike

By midlandsmovies, Jul 29 2017 05:07PM



Bruised (2017) dir. Robert Ludlam


Underground Cinema presents Bruised, a short film about Danny (AJ Stevenson) an amateur boxer who saves a stranger from a mugger, then comes into contact with the stranger again and knows her as Chloe (Jessica Millott), a girl he will do anything to love and protect, at any cost.


Directed by Robert Ludlam, Bruised Is not your typical boxing drama nor is it your typical love story. The relationship between Danny and Chloe is not perfect and Danny himself is not your usual archetypal athlete. He is lonely, focused on the sport and getting the job done. His once simple life is changed when his eyes catch Chloe whilst on a morning run. SUbsequently Danny struggles to balance his feelings for her as he’s unable to forget her face.


Before making the big step in talking to her, Danny spends his nights on his laptop and his phone searching her social media. Ludlam brilliantly captures this aspect of modern love and life, where we can access someone’s entire public sphere within seconds, sometimes creating circumstances and manipulating encounters to meet a potential partner rather than it arriving naturally. The visuals here speak a thousand words with Ludlam using the image to ask if this is the healthiest way to start a relationship.


Another aspect of Bruised I really enjoyed was the director's take on violence. It’s refreshing to see a filmmaker have so much to say and so much focus on their themes. The camera lingers on the crowd as they watch Danny fight his opponent during an amateur boxing match, with the shot occupying itself on the audience’s hands as they clap and cheer on the violence. All this whilst Chloe holds back with worry plastered over her face.

Weaving in and out of the films timeline, Ludlam sensibly uses time to entertain the audience instead of confusing them. A film can sometimes lose meaning and its viewer when time is interfered with badly however it works perfectly here, leaving the audience anticipating every frame up until the final second. Assisting Ludlam in bringing Bruised to life is Lee Averne, credited as the cinematographer who is responsible for the shots that give the film its professional look complementing the director's vision. AJ Stevenson plays Danny brilliantly and is given the tough task of not having any dialogue for the first five minutes, relying instead on his face doing the talking.


Bruised is a short film that really impressed me and people who I have shown it to, I can easily place it as one of my favourite short films of 2017 and can’t wait to see what the cast and crew produce next.


Guy Russell

Twitter @BudGuyer



By midlandsmovies, Jul 10 2017 10:04AM

ELLE (2017) Dir. Paul Verhoeven


With a performance nominated for the Academy Award for Best Actress (and several wins including at the Golden Globes) Isabelle Huppert stars as Michèle Leblanc in this darkly fascinating illicit drama.


Opening with a shocking rape at home, Huppert’s video game company manager fails to alert the police before resuming her complicated life. This involves her son’s strange relationships, her mother’s overt liaisons with younger men as well as her own affair with the husband of her business partner.


If that wasn’t enough, she is also the daughter of an infamous mass murderer (!) whose parole is approaching fast. As these strands intertwine, Verhoeven does a great job of expertly maintaining the plot threads as to avoid confusion and Huppert’s crucial role is central in almost every single scene.


Verhoeven is never one to shy away from tackling controversial themes and he fills his boots here. From the violent satires of Robocop and Starship Troopers through to the ugly sexual politics of Basic Instinct (and heck, even the underrated Hollow Man), the director has consistently commented on problematic issues with a clever knowing. Here he adds some (very) dark comedy situations – especially one involving her son’s lack of acknowledgement of the colour of 'his' baby’s dark skin – but the film’s style is one of overall seriousness with flickers of comedy when needed.


Is there ever too much of a good thing? Well, Verhoeven certainly throws everything into the film he can but if the film has one potential flaw it is that it tries to cover too much. Think of all the French-drama-film clichés regularly appearing in that country’s cinema – dysfunctional relationships, revenge, sexual politics, family dynamics – and the film piles them on. One subplot is the son’s girlfriend whom his mother dislikes that escalates into bullying by said girlfriend, which increases into an unannounced birth then topped with a paternity issue that subsequently results in a child kidnapping!


Many side plots were so full of ‘events’ they could have been movies in their own right. They add depth but the film could have focused on fewer events and more on their impact. That said, in contrast, the film is never dull and keeps the audience’s attention with a multitude of motivating characters and scenes.


Avoiding any black and white answers or solutions, Elle is a triumph for taking risks by questioning societal reactions to complicated events. And it asks the audience to confront these difficult decisions and their controversial outcomes.


As a huge fan of his sci-fi films, Verhoeven continues to push boundaries and shows his technical and story skill which still reflects the filmmaker I fell in love with. Although not necessarily in the genre I personally have liked him the best, Elle shows a director who can move into newer territories whilst taking their talent with them. And anchored by Huppert’s striking performance, Elle is a film that is an engrossing, stacked-to-the-brim, thoughtful success.


7.5/10


Midlands Movies Mike


By midlandsmovies, Jun 27 2017 01:24PM

A Cure For Wellness (2017) Dir. Gore Verbinski


A cure for preposterousness should be the title of this new thriller from Gore Verbinski who takes his great visual eye honed on the glorious high seas of the Pirates of the Caribbean trilogy and wraps them around a ridiculous tale of terror in an eerie institution.


The film looks gorgeous and has Leonardo Di Caprio lookalike Dane DeHaan playing a Di Caprio-esque character in a film that has more than a resemblance to Di Caprio’s turn in Shutter Island. Like that film we have a protagonist sent to a remote medical facility where there may or may not be sinister forces at work.


The high-flying corporate De Haan is asked to retrieve a work colleague (now a patient) from the home in the hills of the Swiss Alps but after a freak accident becomes hospitalised himself. Confined with a broken leg he scours the creepy institution finding a host of mysteries and uncovered histories during his investigations.


Being one of the best looking films of the year is not enough however and with a hugely extended runtime over 2 hours and 20 minutes, the general themes of the film have been done elsewhere dozens of times before. The story runs out of steam two-thirds in yet contains a multitude of anti-climaxes as we are supposed to question whether he is there against his will or not.


A Beauty and the Beast allegory towards the end muddles the central theme of creating and maintaining life itself and the interesting (and realistic) premise develops into a strange fairy tale finale with monstrous outcomes that simply felt too silly.


Jason Isaacs channels a Dracula and Dorian Grey vibe and although great as an antagonistic doctor whose intentions could be darker than they first seem, his character (like the rest of the movie) overstays its welcome too.


The story is solid, De Haan is a superb actor and carries much of the film on his own but although it had me very intrigued during parts, this ‘tale as old as time’ needed to be at least 40 minutes shorter. This would help maintain a quicker pace and to get to a conclusion that would be inevitably guessed by any audience paying attention.


A nice diversion with some outstanding visuals, A Cure For Wellness is sadly a great 100-minute movie kept against its will inside a longer film that contains far too much redundant waffle.


7/10


Midlands Movies Mike

By midlandsmovies, Jun 9 2017 03:19PM



New production company Them Pesky Kids hit the region as their Kickstarter campaign launches into full swing for their upcoming short film Ariella.


Formed recently in Nottingham, Them Pesky Kids are aiming for a fresh take on the crime-thriller genre as they begin production on their film with a fundraising campaign goal of £10,000 due to end on 30th June.


The filmmakers are brothers Michael and Jack Jobling and Ariella will be their first film they have created together, though they have both worked individually on music videos, short films and documentaries.


Michael Jobling’s last project Anoesis was well received locally at the Short Stack and Beeston Film festivals and went on to win a student Royal Television Society award. Ariella is being produced by Ryan Harvey who won the Best Student Drama for his debut film Tuesday Afternoon at the Nottingham International MicroFilm Festival.


With a talented crew, the film tells the story of a seemingly innocent waitress who is told to keep an eye on two thugs hiding out in her cafe, but her own motives get in the way of her professionalism.


And as well as the successful past of the filmmakers, they have managed to attract amazing local talent in front of the screen as well.


Hannaj Bang Bendz, who recently won Best Actress at the LA Film Festival for her short film, The Man up the Stairs stars alongside Johann Myers who is a Nottingham based actor who has recently starred in Luther and Black Mirror.


As the villain, James Graeme takes the creepy role and has also been in Phantom of the Opera and Jesus Christ Superstar on the West End. Finally, playing his daughter is Nottingham based singer and actress, Tiger Cohen Towell who has appeared as a BBC Introducing artist.


‘The cast and crew have brought this collaborative mentality on board, they’re really bringing their A-Game”, says Jack Jobling. He adds, “I’ve lived in Nottingham for a year and I’m still astonished by how professional and creative everyone is!”


His brother Michael agrees with him. “Everyone believes in this project, the community support is incredible. It’s great to direct a film that’s bringing such talented Nottingham-based artists together”.


Previously, Them Pesky Kids held a launch screening at The Nottingham Contemporary to showcase their earlier films as well as unveil their plans for the future.


And in June 2017 they’ll be releasing further news, cast announcements, vlogs, songs and flash rewards across their social media pages.


Check their full Kickstarter and social media pages below:


https://www.facebook.com/thempeskykidsfilm


https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/498110007/ariella-short-film?ref=user_menu

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