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By midlandsmovies, Jun 3 2019 07:52AM

Midlands Spotlight - Indie Filmmaker Showcase

There's a new festival in town coming to the Midlands later this month called the Indie Filmmaker Showcase arranged by Leicester production company Roasted Media.

The event take place on Saturday 29th June 2019 from 2pm to 6pm at 369 Film Studios in Leicester and will not just be a film screening showcase but also a great opportunity to network and meet likeminded cinema creatives from the region.

The day will Include screenings of over 15 short films, awards presentations, a networking social in the 369 Bar plus a 'Self Funding for Filmmakers' workshop.

Screenings will include both international and local films, along with an awards presentation for the best films screened. The 'Self funding for Filmmakers' workshop will hopefully help inform and help filmmakers make their own films on their own budget.

Finally, there will be a complimentary drink waiting at the bar with every ticket!

Tickets are £7.50 in advance and £10 on the door and can be purchased via Evenbrite here.

The full run-down of the event is:

2:00PM - Mingling, Drinks & Popcorn Served

2:30PM - Movie Screenings Begin

5:15PM - Awards Presentation

5:30PM - 'Self Funding for Filmmakers' Workshop and Networking in the 369 Bar.

Date and Time:

Sat, 29 June 2019

14:00 – 18:00


369 Film Studios, 7 Woodboy Street , Leicester, LE1 3NJ

By midlandsmovies, Jul 25 2017 07:13PM

I Don’t Feel at Home in this World Anymore (2017) Dir. Macon Blair

A mild-mannered hospital helper who is pissed off by dog-shit, novel-spoilers and rude supermarket patrons is the unlikely hero in this new indie farce from Macon Blair. Despite these tiny annoyances building up, her real problems begin when she returns home to find it ransacked and with the incompetent police taking little interest in her case she takes it upon herself to find the culprits.

Mixing domiciles and homicides, this great movie stars 2 and a Half Men’s Melanie Lynskey as the protagonist Ruth who thinks “everyone is an arsehole” and her existential nihilism turns to positive action as she attempts to recover her stolen goods.

Along for the ride is the ever enjoyable Elijah Wood (who has been excellent in his eclectic post-Frodo films like Sin City, Maniac and Grand Piano) and here he plays a weirdo ninja-neighbour who Ruth initially uses as ‘muscle’ on her journey. The film’s humour mixes with a dark story and as Ruth follows the trail of her valuables she falls deeper into a more sinister plot involving a group of cult-like criminals. One of their members is Devon Graye as Christian who looks a cross between Eminem and Alfred E. Neuman of Mad Magazine and his gang plan to extort money from his rich father.

Directed by Macon Blair (the star of Blue Ruin), it contains familiar themes of an unlikely suburban hero mixed with violent criminals and Blair throws in some great sequences including a thrilling chase at an antiques market and a melancholic comedy scene with the police – who continually refuse to fully involve themselves in the case. The darkly comic scenarios make the gore and blood all the more shocking when they arrive and the movie has a great balance of over the top characters with realistic decision making.

One of the biggest and best surprises of the year so far, a superb central performance shows how one frustrated nobody can go almost full-on “John Wick” in the face of an apathetic society. Funny and fascinating, this indie gem uses the reluctant hero trope to perfection as an awkward misfit becomes involved in crimes just by circumstance and bad luck. Yet, there’s no bad luck in the execution by the filmmaker who delivers a knock out punch of hilarity and humanity.


Midlands Movies Mike

By midlandsmovies, Aug 30 2016 06:29PM

Wiener-Dog (2016) Dir. Todd Solondz

This new film from Happiness director Todd Sololondz contains four separate stories that are connected by the ownership of a Wiener Dog (Dachshund) that passes from person to person.

Fans of Solondz will recognise his trademark dark comedy, controversial themes and dialogue and challenging narrative structures with each of the mini-episodes having its own strange focus. People who do not like Solondz’s previous movies will struggle to enjoy this but if you can make it through the awful first short tale, then audiences will find at least something in one of the various shaggy dog stories later on.

The first vignette follows a boy given a Dachshund (let’s stop the term Wiener Dog right here) but the parents have their doubts and as the boy feeds the dog granola bars, the poor hooch gets sick and is taken to be put down.

The intentionally humdrum settings and incredibly boring low-key conversations are passed off as high art and a long tracking shot of (literal) dog puke is strangely apt at this point. And the comedy? Well, I’ve argued before that humour is highly subjective but if you go the dark route – which I love by the way – imparting adult themed gross-out stories to a young kid is the intelligentsia equivalent of Bad Grandpa. The segment’s dialogue – “Heel, mother*cker” – was unnaturally cruel but just the tip of a distasteful iceberg.

That said, here the film’s clever construction leads us into story 2 where a vet takes pity on the hound and moves the dog from the surgery to nurse at home. After running into an old school friend (Kieran Culkin as Brandon) at a convenience store, she is invited on a road-trip where they cross with homesick Mexican hitchhikers who proclaim that America is depressing. Wrong so far! Watching the film to this point is. She names him “Doody” – another hilariously shit “shit metaphor” and then they leave the dog with Brandon’s brother and sister-in-law.

Yet, it was in this segment I started to warm to the film’s weird charms. I also found some humanity as family secrets and addictions are challenged and the acting was pushed to the forefront.

After a hilarious intermission involving the dog on green-screen walking across America with a country and western soundtrack, the hound arrives with screenwriting teacher Dave Schmerz (Danny De Vito). After his negativity invites complaints from students, his depression gets worse as a famous university alumni further embarrasses him. This leads to Schmerz using the dog as a bomb. Bomb dogs, Solondz? Better done by Chris Morris on The Day Today, my pedigree chum.

Finally, the film concludes with Ellen Burstyn’s grumpy Nana visited by her granddaughter and new artist boyfriend “Fantasy”. Nana day dreams of a life where she was more positive and the film ends on a Requiem for a Dream twisted note of death.

For me, the film delivers sporadic interest but it missed tickling my funny (dog) bone. In a film about the transient nature of modern America, Wiener-Dog is supposed to be a comedy. However, from the sad dog-in-a-cage beginning to the heartbreaking ending, the tale(s) are more melancholic than mirthful. But I suspect that is Solondz’s intent.


Midlands Movies Mike

By midlandsmovies, Jan 2 2016 06:39PM

Midlands Movies Mike finds out about In Limbo, the new short film from Nine Ladies Film.

Shot in Wirksworth in July 2015, In Limbo stars such well known actors as Nigel Barber (Mission: Impossible 5 and Spectre) Bern Deegan, Rebekah Bowman and Rachel Prince. The story itself focuses on three friends who decide to go away for the weekend but none of them count on encountering the urban myth that is the Black Eyed Children.

Their dreams are invaded but they fight to save not only their physical bodies – which have been frozen in a trancelike state – but also their souls that wander alone trapped In Limbo. The film is written and directed by Stuart Wheeldon, who is based in Wirksworth (in Derbyshire) and he is joined by Director of Photography Geraint Owen. The film features music from local bands Blue Wallpaper Inc who play a mix of acoustic and funk fusion as well as Frank – an indie band signed to Soundhub records.

The film played at The Northern Light Cinema on the 4th 5th and 6th of October and accompanying those screenings was a 30 minute documentary about the making of the film by Chris Lobley. Followed by a questions and answers session the nights were a great success and brought attention to both the film and this independent boutique cinema that is tucked away in the Derbyshire Dales. www.thenorthernlightcinema.co.uk

The film In Limbo is the first film in a series by Nine Ladies Film with the company already having a second film scheduled for filming in January 2016. This film, “Visitant”, will be a horror film which explores the poltergeist hauntings in a rural townhouse. The film promises to show a newly married couple that move into an inherited house that are forced to battle their own personal demons as well as the Visitant that inhabits the house. “The film draws from real life experiences and promises to be both a narrative and visually challenging film”, says Stuart Wheeldon

Visitant will once again be written and directed by Stuart also and he is joined by the same production crew that worked on In Limbo. More information can be found about both films at www.nineladiesfilm.com

The trailer for In Limbo can be seen below:

By midlandsmovies, Jun 14 2015 09:51AM

Little Pieces is an 80 minute film by Adam Nelson which tells the story of Michael and Eric, who are young men on a collision course with the world they live in. As they race violently towards each other their world comes crashing down, changing their lives forever.

The film stars Finnian Nainby-Luxmoore, Matt Jones, Isabelle Glinn, Graham Cawte and Peter Oliver who star in this story of love, violence, reconciliation and family in which all the pieces matter.

Made by Apple Park Films in 2014 and soon to be released in 2015, please check out the film’s trailer above as Adam develops his love for film that he has had since a young boy. From studying Film Studies at University, he learned the tools of the trade making several short student films and filling many technical roles before he was drawn to editing.

Having then taught film production, he became the writer/director of ‘The House Near Apple Park.’ Building from that to this first feature, Adam has also made promotional films and music videos alongside the film and now finished, is developing his next screenplay for a second feature due to begin production in the near future.

Little Pieces on IMDB: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt3112264

Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/LittlePiecesFilm?fref=ts

You can also purchase a copy of the full film at this link here: http://littlepieces.vhx.tv/

Apple Park Films

By midlandsmovies, Jun 13 2015 06:37PM

Listen Up Philip (2015) Dir. Alex Ross Perry

With a hazy 70s aesthetic, director Alex Ross Perry take a lo-fi look at one writer’s struggles to come to terms with his creativity and arrogance. Jason Schwartzman is Philip Lewis Friedman, a character with more than a nod to Wes Anderson but the film is more slice of life than a hipster’s wet dream. When Philip hears about a bad review of his new book, his already tumultuous relationships become further frayed and he is offered the chance to relax in the country with established author Ike Zimmerman (played by a brilliant Jonathan Pryce).

The brilliantly lazy jazz trumpet soundtrack and voiceover by Eric Bogosian give the film a literary vibe and a somewhat gumshoe ambiance whilst Schwartzman’s odious writer often questions everyone in his authorial tweed jacket. Nonetheless the film holds no punches in showcasing the arrogant arsehole fighting as well as embracing the stereotypical writer’s persona. Combining a Woody Allen-esque narcissism with a subdued dry comedic tone, I wanted it to go a little further with the humour as the scenes are well played but it’s all set up and no punch-line. Lines like “I hope this will be good us for. But especially for me” reflect a well-written script as Philip creates a solitary lifestyle as if it was the “done thing” for writers and his creative endeavour appears to have being ‘high and mighty’ as the end goal. “You are not me,” Pryce tells Schwartzman despite Philip admiring and even copying his style, tics and negative viewpoint on life.

One strange aspect is that around the 40 minute mark, the film leaves Philip to follow his bohemian ex-girlfriend Ashley who, post-breakup, reminisces and focuses on her loneliness. Whimsical summer musical montages are sweeter than the scathing Schwartzman but somewhat less interesting as she erases him along with the film.

Schwartzman is a perfect Philip though, and returns later in the movie after we have a short stint with Zimmerman and his daughter. We witness Philip narrating his own life in dialogue as much as the omniscient narrator in the film and the super 16mm film stock looks the part. The final embarrassing scenes play out as he attempts to return to his girlfriend whilst the soundtrack and narration continue like a talking book. At one point I even closed my eyes and just let the music and voices create the story.

One aspect of the film is whether you can stomach long periods of Schwartzman’s wholly unpalatable protagonist whose pretentiousness and literary platitudes may grate on some viewers. However, I am not usually a fan of these type of films but maybe I was in a similar melancholic mood when I watched it as I enjoyed its quirky off-beat charm. Or perhaps the cynical writer in me saw some moments of self-destructive truth reflected in this essay of a film. A surprising indie success.


Midlands Movies Mike

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