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By midlandsmovies, Apr 8 2019 02:09PM



Midlands Review - Ghosts


Directed by Joey Lever


Digital Heart


2019


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


This is the footage recovered”.


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


Michael Sales


By midlandsmovies, Dec 28 2018 07:36PM



Spider-Man 2: Another World


Directed by Joey Lever


From its Marvel-esque introductory logo, the love for the comic-book web-slinger is seen from the outset in new fan film Spider-Man 2: Another World from Leicester filmmaker Joey Lever.


The film is the director’s follow up to his first successful outing with Peter Parker called Spider-Man: Lost Cause which has already racked up a phenomenal 36 million (!) views on YouTube (watch here).


Here in his latest we get a film filled with nods to the iconic superhero but one with a very much distinctive local flavour having been unashamedly filmed (and actually set) in my home town of Leicester.


The story sees Peter Parker (writer-director-star Joey Lever) attempt to balance his hectic life once more, whilst his friend Eddie Brock (Jak Beasley) having been sectioned away in the mad-house from the previous flick “Lost Cause”. The film opens with a meteorite hitting earth ensuring that we are firmly in Venom territory as well and the movie also weaves many fan favourites including Mary-Jane and Aunt May into a slightly confusing narrative about revenge and payback.


Different styles are used from comic book panels, news reports and nods to social media whilst the filmmaker has used impressive special effects to create the feeling of swinging through Leicester’s “skyscrapers” (albeit the city’s old hotels and council buildings).


Peter then encounters a mysterious being known as Madam Webb. She is capable of warping time and dimensions and although much is set up in this film, this is only the first part of a 2-part tale and several pieces of the puzzle appear to be left open for continuation.


We end on a glimpse into the multi-verse (a kind of visually equal quantum realm) which talks about the nature of different iterations of Spider-Man from different realities to fictional versions. And it is these knowing nods that make the film very self-referential. It regularly refers back to itself and its influences as a fan film – a nice admission which helps cover the low budget nature and some rough-around-the-edges acting.


The intentional comedy continues with its British flavour with an extraordinate amount of tea being drunk and plenty of hilarious quips, comments and more than a splattering of silly action.


Shots filmed at Leicester’s High Cross shopping centre and the city’s Cathedral maintain the local feel but small items like a canvas of New York City reminds the audience of the classic origins. Also of note are the efforts the filmmakers have gone to in showing Spider-Man’s high-flying antics. Web-crawling is kept mostly to a minimum but where possible there are more than admirable attempts to get up high in the city through drone shots, sequences on roof-tops and some clever framing angles to show Spidey in a city environment.


There are also some very impressive first-person shots that I’m not entirely sure I know how were done!


If there was one area for improvement it would be the story. Narrative threads stop-and-start, and characters appear without fully being introduced leaving newcomers a bit perplexed with the many people being thrown onto the screen one after the other.


But the multiple characters and story strands do actually support the swiftness of the film’s pace. Fast editing and a style that mimics modern blockbusters keep this pace and, more importantly, the interest up. It’s very easy for a low-budget film to drag out a short story into a feature film runtime but Another World is crammed full of sequences that are fun, inventive and make the best of its low-budget but passionate filmmaking techniques.


The CGI and practical special effects are generally good and Joey Lever is very expressive without saying a lot as Peter Parker. I may be biased about the film’s setting in Leicester, but the familiar sites of my city are well filmed, the cinematography excellent and these varied locations again keep scenes visually interesting.


With a short teaser for part 2 at the film’s conclusion, the best of Spider-Man 2: Another World may be yet to come. Despite some low budget limitations, this local fan film is lots of fun and I can recommend it not just for die-hard web-slinger fans, or comic-book aficionados, but for anyone who enjoys exciting entertainment with a blockbuster vibe with plenty of action joy to be found within.


Michael Sales


By midlandsmovies, Jun 6 2017 04:26PM


Local filmmaker ready to take you to another world


With the release of Marvel’s Spider-Man: Homecoming in the Summer of 2017, interest in the web-slinging superhero is at an all-time high. After a deal that saw Spidey enter the MCU from a property owned by Sony, fans are anticipating a great first adventure during the blockbuster season.


However, the biggest fan might just be right here in the Midlands as Leicester filmmaker Joey Lever is set to launch his own fan-film based around the infamous New Yorker. Now we’re “tingling” with excitement, we swing by to find out more about the ambitious production.


In early 2017, Joey Lever won a Midlands Movies Award for his sound mixing work on his film Paper Plane which began a successful start to a year that looks set to explode for the local filmmaker.


His new superhero fan film is Spider-Man: Another World and it is in fact part of a larger shared universe he has created with fellow fans. Taking an idea from Marvel themselves, Lever has named it "The strand of web, web series" which includes 3 films and one short.


DiGitiLhEaRt & PavillionArts are the studios who have invested in his vision and Joey’s new project has also seen him working with many of the region’s most talented creatives, including Gatling Gun Productions who also hail from Leicestershire.


With the trailer just launched in June (see YouTube video above) Joey Lever says “We are so excited to hear what [fans] think about it as this been such an amazing experience to step back into the shoes of Peter Parker. This time trying to make a fan film that is different and we are so proud of the outcome”.


Also supporting the production is comic book artist Marc Ducrow who has designed the film’s poster.



Updating via the movie's Facebook page, Joey goes on to add, “As a child I was always fascinated by the idea to tell stories in different ways. I spent many years growing up drawing, acting out little sequences I thought up before bedtime. This blossomed into my love of film making. Every film you see of mine will be made with my heart and soul”.

Based in Leicester, Joey is a self-taught freelance filmmaker & cinematographer and has been lucky enough to work internationally on projects in the USA, South America, Australia and Germany


As well as writing and directing Lever himself stars in the action-drama alongside local talent Jak Lionel Beasley, Lauren Baxter, Gill Broderick, Wade James Keeling and Carley Lightfoot.


We'll be keeping a close eye on the film's development as it comes to launch and follow the movie's updates on the official pages below.

https://www.facebook.com/SpiderManLC


http://www.joeylever.com

By midlandsmovies, Nov 8 2016 10:42PM

Midlands Movies writer Kira Comerford recently caught up with filmmaker Joey Lever to talk about his short film Paper Plane. After watching his film, she asked the writer and director a few questions about the ideas for the short and filmmaking in general.


Kira: What inspired you to become a filmmaker?


Joey: Since I was a child, I've always been interested in creation. Whether it be art or stories, I've always had the drive to create something. Getting older, I got more and more interested in how films work and the idea of letting my stories come to life in the form of film. Since the age of 10 I've strived to become a better filmmaker - every day after school I either had to write a story or plan a shoot with my friends. In school I had to excel in all art based projects as I wasn't very good at anything else. Now, 23 years later, I've won various awards; racked up 20 million views on YouTube and over 50k subscribers and I'm incredibly proud of how far I've got.


Kira: Where did the idea for Paper Plane come from?


Joey: The idea of Paper Planes came from the concept of having a horrible atmosphere told in such an innocent way. I've always loved the idea of trying to make something evil not look so bad though the eyes of children. The whole concept of the war came form my great-grandfather who recently passed. I've been told thousands of war stories from his past every time I saw him, so I guess my interest in WWII came from him, which just stuck with me during my first film.


Kira: What made you decide to end the film in the way you did?


Joey: I feel like there is only a few ways I could have ended the film, so I took the realistic approach. 32,000 civilians were killed and 87,000 were seriously injured during The Blitz. Two million houses (60 per cent of which were in London) were destroyed so I felt like this is what needed to happen to the main protagonist to show how evil those times were.


See the full film on the embedded Vimeo link and read Kira's review of the short below:




Paper Plane (2016)

Directed by Joey Lever.


Paper Plane is a short story about the thoughts of two children during the London Blitz in 1940. Timmy's brother is leaving to fight in the war while 50 miles away in London, Evan is trapped in the midst of the London blitz. We see them both communicating in their final moments before everything soon changes.


Paper Plane is the latest short film from writer and director Joey Lever, and I have had the privilege of watching it. I started off thinking it was a lovely period piece charting a snapshot of the story of the war, however by the time the film had finished, lovely wasn't really the most appropriate way to describe it...


I really enjoyed the performances by the two young leads. Alexander Hemley as Timmy and Oliver Ross as Evan were both tremendous as the young boys whose lives were both affected by the war in different ways. There is always something deeply affecting when child actors are used in the right way, and Lever got it bang on here when he cast these two in the main parts.


The story is why I feel it is perhaps wrong to describe Paper Plane as a lovely short film, because it did in fact turn very morbid by the end. I quite liked that about it, however. Sometimes I find, especially with some short films, that the writers are kind of too keen to keep their audiences happy by providing a nice ending, and so, whilst being slightly dark, it was oddly refreshing to have this film end in the way that it did.


On the whole, Paper Plane is a short that doesn't shy away from showing how WW2 affected people here on British soil; more importantly, it showed how children were affected both directly and indirectly by the war.


The direction taken by the film is good to see as it presents to us a filmmaker who is not afraid to take grittier route with his films. I would recommend that anyone thinking of delving into filmmaking themselves take a look at this short as it will provide some ideas on the sorts of stories you can tell, but also ways in which you can tell them to make them stand out from the works of others.


Kira Comerford

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