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By midlandsmovies, Nov 18 2019 05:39PM



Inkling


Directed by Wayne Kelly


2019


Spoon Jar Films & produced in association with KLens UK


New film Inkling comes from Leicester-based director Wayne Kelly of Spoon Jar films and tells the story of a date going well, then peculiar and then possibly far worse than that.


An interesting technical opening sees the camera following footsteps along the ground until we stop on a couple who head into an apartment stairwell.


Here we find out that an unnamed man (Joe Hughes) and Joanne (Rachel Nottingham) have come back from a date and although nervous she reluctantly invites him in for a drink.


A messy apartment and her (unsuccessful) draft novel manuscript somehow lead to an awkward kiss before he asks for more wine to keep the evening going. And as he heads to the bathroom, Rachel pours some drinks and puts on some music.


The man however looks increasingly disturbed as he rubs his chest, checks some of Rachel's medication and takes some deep breaths. Here the short takes a shocking turn as her guest’s personality changes, he returns to her front room and a frightening disturbance ensues.


Joanne uncovers a shocking sight, think “inkling”, on the body of Joe which may not be all it seems. He attempts to explain how he comes to have this personal body modification image and the significance it holds.


A very interesting and unique concept, Inkling is difficult to explain without spoilers but the short heads in a number of creepy and somewhat downbeat directions with each scene focusing on a dramatic incident to maintain the viewer’s attention into the next.


A hint of horror throughout, the fantastic ominous music from George Odom really helps sell the film’s creepy tone. An unusual and bizarre short at times, the two leads’ performances are also excellent and help keep up the narrative interest but the subject matter is dark to the point of blackness. Which may not resonate with every viewer with a focus heavily on "self" destruction.


Solid and unfussy direction keeps the puzzle pieces in place and a number of horrific discoveries are miles away from Inkling’s initial romantic start. With multiple layers and some metaphorical themes, Inkling jumps into very dark subject matter and will leave a more-than-permanent impression on its audience.


Michael Sales


Watch the film's trailer below:




By midlandsmovies, Nov 7 2019 12:07PM



20th Anniversary Screening of Wild Wild West at National Space Centre in Leicester


On 22 November enjoy a wiki-wiki-wild-wild-west evening at the National Space Centre. Take part in an early evening NERF shoot out in the galleries, followed by a 20th anniversary screening of Wild Wild West in the UK’s largest Planetarium.


Guests are welcome to bring their own non-powered NERF guns to participate!


The evening culminates in some fun on the Wild West Gaming tables, courtesy of the Ministry of Steampunk.


Boosters café/bar will be serving a selection of hot dogs, nachos, sandwiches, snacks, popcorn, soft and hot drinks, as well as alcoholic beverages from 18:30 on the night.


Tickets cost £10 per adult and £8 per child (12+ only due to the film classification).


Clcik here for info, tickets and details https://spacecentre.co.uk/event/wild-wild-west-20th-anniversary-screening/


Wild Wild West (12+)


If you think special government agent James West is fast with a six-shooter, wait'll he lays a quip on you! Will Smith plays West, reuniting with Men in Black director Barry Sonnenfeld in an effects-loaded, shoot-from-the-lip spectacular.


Kevin Kline plays inventor Artemus Gordon, teamed with West on a daring assignment: stop legless Dr. Arliss Loveless (Kenneth Branagh) and his diabolical plot for a Disunited States of America. Salma Hayek joins the action as mysterious adventuress Rita Escobar.


And all manner of geared-up 1860s gadgets—from belt-buckle derringers to surprise-packed billiard balls to a walking, eight-story, steam-and-steel tarantula—help make Wild Wild West a Wow!


Steampunks in Space


This event kicks off an alternative weekend dedicated to the “history that never was” as Steampunk fans get out their ray guns, strap on their goggles, and jump in their spaceships and head to the National Space Centre for Steampunks in Space, also including the SOLD OUT night of chap hop, science and cheese: Chap Hop and Cheese.


By midlandsmovies, Sep 30 2019 07:00AM



A Day in the Life of director Jordan Dean


In the final entry of our 'A Day in the Life' features, we follow the hectic schedule of Leicester-based film director Jordan Dean. Take a read of the very long day for one of the most crucial roles in local film production.


06:00. Wake up, shower, get ready. I then go through the schedule for the day, look over the shot list that I will have finalised with my DOP in pre-production. This allows me to focus my mind on what has to be done during the day so I can arrive to set and go through the day with my DOP and AD without having to run through paperwork which will slow things down.


07:30. Arrive on set, make a coffee and walk the set with my DOP and AD. This initial walkthrough allows the three of us to get on the same page for the first scene. This frees me up to work solely with the actors when they arrive as the DOP will communicate with their department what we have discussed, and they can begin to light the set and mark up camera positions.


08:00. I sit down with the actors and go through the 1st scene with them, this is a brief meeting and we touch on where this scene fits within the film, what has come before and what is coming after. The actors then head to hair and makeup.


08:45. My AD will bring the actors to set so we can begin blocking the scene. For this I usually have my AD and DOP close by so we can discuss any potential changes to shots, lighting etc. The gaffer and camera operators usually watch this blocking session to allow them to prep any camera moves and potential lighting changes. I like to allow my actors to play the scene out as they see it first, there are 2 reasons I do this. One, it allows the actors to take ownership over their surroundings and their characters. Two, I have a clear idea how the scene plays out in my mind but when you turn it over to an actor to make decisions without direction, they have a tendency to do something you had never thought of that could improve the scene. Once they play it through themselves, I then come in and change things that didn’t work and discuss some of the more interesting decisions they made. Once we have the blocking set the actors go back to their dressing room whilst I tweak a few things with the DOP.


09:15. Everything is in place; the first shot is set up and lighting is perfect. The actors are brought to set, we quickly run through the scene again and get them in position. We then run a final rehearsal followed by last looks from the hair and make up team. Now we are ready for the most exciting part of the day, first turnover. I sit by my monitor with my script supervisor and shout ‘Action!’. After we cut, I let my AD know if we need to go again or if are moving on, I then head straight to the actors whilst my AD lets everyone else know what’s going on. If we are going again, I let the actors know and we may tweak performance or if the reason for another take was a technical problem, I let them know that, so they don’t feel we are just going again for the sake of it. Once we have the shot, I will have a quick talk with my DOP about the next set up and then I go and work with the actors. This all repeats until the scene is wrapped.


12:00 – 13:00. Lunch (or dinner since I’m Northern). The majority of the cast and crew break here; however, I will have a meeting with my DOP and AD about the first scene after lunch so they can go straight to work after lunch. I grab something to eat and go over the shot list for the afternoon.


13:00 – 13:30. Get a fresh coffee, go through the morning with my script supervisor and ensure we have shot everything we intended.


13:30. Back on set with the actors for blocking. Same procedure as the morning, I try to stick to a similar routine as it allows everyone to be comfortable with what they are doing and limits the stress on set. Go through final tweaks with my AD and DOP.


14:00. Final rehearsal with the actors. Last looks. I head back to my monitor to find some fruit and fresh water as my script supervisor knows I won’t have had a proper lunch. Now it’s time for the first turnover of the afternoon.


18:00. That’s a wrap! Well, for most of the crew anyway. Whilst the crew pack down I spend some time with the actors reviewing the day and discuss the next days shoot. I give them some things to think about for the scenes coming up the next day and we discuss some initial ideas for the scenes.


18:30. I meet with my AD and script supervisor; we review the day and make sure we have shot everything we wanted to and that we are still on schedule. If we ran behind slightly, we might be discussing adding an extra scene into the schedule for the next day.


19:00. Everyone has gone home but I stay with my AD, script supervisor, DOP and the producer and we watch the rushes from the day. This is an exciting and nervous meeting as we get to watch back what we have shot which gives us an idea of what the final film may look like.


20:00. Leave set, head home and go over the schedule for the next day. I re-read the scenes for the next day and then go through the shot list in preparation for another long day on set.


By midlandsmovies, Sep 27 2019 10:22AM



And that’s another fine documentary you’ve gotten me into


A new documentary film is now in production from Leicester based production company Spoon Jar Films called On the Trail of Stan & Ollie which will showcase the historical journey of the famous film duo.


Established by experienced producer Wayne Kelly and Director/Cameraman Matt Holt, they make compelling films about fascinating people, issues that matter and quirky stories that surprise and entertain.


Wayne and Matt are currently filming the production which comes hot on the heels of documentaries “No Fare” and “In a Landfill Far, Far Away”.


And as well as the creative talents on Spoon Jar, the duo run commercial business MGL Media.


“We’ve been making high quality video for a wide range of businesses across the UK for over 13 years. Our portfolio covers a wide range of corporate clients, local governments, broadcasters and small businesses and organisations”, they say.


However, their new affectionate documentary will tell the story of comedy legends, Laurel and Hardy and follow hot on the heels of the recent BAFTA nominated film, ‘Stan and Ollie’. “We’re but really pleased at how many famous faces we’ve got on board so far”, they told Midlands Movies.


Wayne and Matt are also delighted to be producing this brand new documentary in collaboration with notable Laurel and Hardy aficionado, Ross Owen, of The Ross Owen Show.


And well-known actors will talk the viewer through their favourite scenes and show how Stan and Ollie continue to influence their own work and wider popular culture.


Laurel and Hardy historians and fans from around the world will also share their fascinating stories, some of which have never been heard before.


“We also follow the personal journey of Stan Laurel’s great granddaughter, Cassidy Cook, as she goes in search of her grandfather’s theatrical roots at the world’s oldest music hall - The Panopticon in Glasgow, Scotland”.


Shot on location in LA and Glasgow and full of anecdotes from those who knew Stan and Ollie best, this documentary brings ‘The Boys’ and their genius to a new generation of fans.


Having already produced films for the BBC and eOne, including content for international DVD & BluRay releases, the company also continue to seek new production and distribution partners.


“We always have multiple projects in production, so take a look at our website to see what we have on the slate, and how you can get involved”.


For further info check out their official website and social media pages below and check the full trailer out too:


http://www.mglmedia.tv/

https://twitter.com/SpoonJarFilms

http://www.spoonjarfilms.co.uk

https://www.facebook.com/spoonjarfilms





By midlandsmovies, Sep 23 2019 07:00AM



A Day in the Life of lighting director Michael Owen


Our 'A Day in the Life' series continues with Midlands Movies' guest contributor kelly McCormack checking in with Leicester-based lighting director Michael Owen.


"In GM Finney productions we take the approach used by many smaller production teams whereby the director and main cameraman are blended", says Michael. He adds, "splitting out the lighting element to a separate role - which is me me - here is a (brief!) blow by blow of a typical day on set…".


22:00 (the night before) – Go through my kit ensuring no damage or missing elements for the shoot needed tomorrow. This normally involves packing everything depending on the terrain and accessibility of the shoot and what ambient lighting is going to be in place. Also have to consider the availability of power and how to solve supply issues.


09:00 – Load up the vehicle. This may sound simple, but through possessing the forward thinking potential of a yak means I bought a car which doesn’t lend itself to the lugging around of lighting equipment. This make the whole thing a game of giant Tetris in the back of a saloon car.


09:10 – Re-load the vehicle when I realise I’ve forgotten the main elements of today’s shots


09:30 – Finally on the road. Text the director to advise I’m going to be late, again.


10:00 – Arrive on set. Go through the main shots with the director and producer. This is where the second challenge of the day comes in. As the majority of the work we do is out of hours and everyone has day jobs, usually there won’t have been time to scope out the location prior to shooting. This then requires a lot of off the cuff thinking and solutions to be put in place. One of my absolute favourites is trying to turn day into night, in a room full of windows, in mid-august – I love that.


10:30 – Begin the set up. Blocking out windows, assembling lighting equipment, providing power where needed. This again requires some ingenuity, trying to find places to hide lights and provide adequate light without over or under exposure.


11:00 – Actors and extras arrive and start to run through some scenes. Its normally at this point that we realise the lighting as has been set up isn’t necessarily going to work, so it’s up to me at that point to again think fast and move lighting and associated power around to where is needed. What makes this tricky is that it is rare for me to be able to mount lighting above the actors, with it usually being on ground level. This makes the management of shadows and motivation of the light important to get as close as possible given the situation whilst ensuring no one trips over or destroys lights with clumsy feet.


11:00 – 16:00 – This part of my day usually involves keeping things consistent over the shoot. If an actor moves, or the director wants to shoot in another direction, the light has to look like it is coming from the same place and isn’t un-naturally bright in spots as people approach, or walk away from, lights. This can sometimes involve advising the director about shots, trying to avoid shooting in ways which will look unnatural or out of place and contributing to the overall feel of the picture by changing colours or intensities of light depending on the mood. This can be fun when we shoot in a different order where we could end up returning to a location later on, matching light in these circumstances is tricky at the best of times, and is sometimes impossible. Communication is key here, making sure that what the director sees in their head is re-created as close as possible on screen and if it isn’t possible, discussing what we can do.


16:30 – Following the end of the shoot it is then a case of managing the clear up operation. While people are very willing to help with the tidying away (thankfully or it would take hours!), it makes it very hard to keep track of everything and eventually boils down to a ‘chuck it in the bag and I’ll sort it at home’ strategy.


17:00 – Head for home with a car full of badly packed lighting equipment – why don’t I just buy flight cases?



By midlandsmovies, Sep 19 2019 10:39AM



War Horse at Curve is a thrilling tale of emotion and intensity


War Horse at Curve - Wed 18 Sep to Sat 12 Oct


War Horse is a play based on the book of the same name by writer Michael Morpurgo, adapted for stage by Nick Stafford. And now after an 8 record-record breaking years in London’s West End and having played in 11 countries around the world to over 7 million people, the National Theatre’s acclaimed play came to Curve last night.


If you don’t already know one of the main draws to the various productions are the amazing life-size horse puppets by the Handspring Puppet Company and unlike the novel, whose story is told through the horse's viewpoint, the narrative follows a young boy’s efforts to be reunited with his beloved horse from his childhood.


Movie-wise of course it was adapted again, this time for film by the legendary director Steven Spielberg. With influences from both the novel and the stage play, the 2011 movie was nominated for 6 Academy Awards and starred Jeremy Irvine (in his film acting debut), Emily Watson, David Thewlis, Tom Huddleston, Benedict Cumberbatch, Eddie Marsan & many more in an amazing group cast. The film also has a small Midlands connection with parts being filmed on location at Castle Combe in Wiltshire.


Set around the First World War, War Horse tells of the journey of a horse (Joey) who is raised by British teenager Albert and after being bought by the Army, leads him to encounter numerous individuals and owners throughout Europe whilst the tragedies of war happen around him.


In this version we gallop headlong into events as Joey is bought at auction and forms a bond with young Albert (played with gusto by Scott Miller). And it’s here where the fantastic stage show comes to life by the extraordinary puppeteers. With two actors in the body and one for the head, the masterful demonstration of the art brought real life to the horses on stage. And when the amazing lighting was just right, you’d swear that were real. They were simply that good.


As the horse grows and is eventually sold under Albert’s nose into the military by his debt-ridden father, the stage becomes a brooding playground of war-time imagery. Smoke billows, searchlights cross no-man’s land and a fantastic understated score permeates scenes throughout the show and gives the play a movie-like feel.


A flash of an old photo camera pauses the action like a cinematic freeze-frame and a cavalry charge before the interval had unbelievable slow-motion explosions and horses stopping mid-air. Gunshots too had the audience bolting from their seats in fear, whist clever use of lighting and props were used like movie editing transitions to keep the story flowing.


As well as the emotional impact of the terrible consequences of war on humans and animals, there are moments of lightness. A puppet goose steals the show early-on with its amusing honk and comical conversations in the trench about the “girls back home” are clichéd but were touching and done with a real honesty.


The characterisation in general is quite broad but this allows space for you to enjoy and attach yourself emotionally to the animals – especially later on as an audible gasp was heard from the audience as one of the horses was whipped by an angry German soldier.


As we cantered our way to the show’s conclusion, the emotional intensity increases whilst reining in the sentimentality. And the horrors of war, cruelty, friendship and the relationship between humans and animals are all explored in an expressive, and impressive, final few scenes.


So strap yourself in the saddle, the touching tale of War Horse harnesses an emotional intensity that makes it simply the best touring production around right now and demands to be seen.


Michael Sales


War Horse at Curve - Wed 18 Sep to Sat 12 Oct

The show contains loud sound effects, gunfire, flashing lights and strobe lighting.

Running time: 2hrs 40mins incl. 20 min interval

Age Recommendation: 10+

Tickets £57 – £10


ACCESS PERFORMANCES

Captioned: Sat 28 Sep, 2.15pm

Signed: Tue 1 Oct, 7.30pm

Audio–Described: Fri 4 Oct, 7.30pm

Touch Tour: Fri 4 Oct, 5.30pm


AFTERSHOW DISCUSSION

Thu 26 Sep, 7.30pm


Credits

Book by Michael Morpurgo

Adapted by Nick Stafford

In association with Handspring Puppet Company

Directed by Marianne Elliott and Tom Morris


By midlandsmovies, Sep 18 2019 01:03PM



Crosscut Media launch new creative arm, Fishbulb Films with help from Creative England.


Leicester-based video production company Crosscut Media have been awarded a start up grant from Creative England to help launch their new creative brand.


Having produced video content for the likes of Leicester Comedy Festival, LOROS Hospice and Curve Theatre, Crosscut Media has grown over the past 3 years whilst being based at De Montfort University's Innovation Centre.


At the start of 2019, the team applied for a grant from Creative England's 'New Ideas Fund' to help them launch a new brand, Fishbulb Films, aimed at clients wanting to produce high-end branded films and TV adverts as well as being a name under which to produce short films for the film festival circuit and music videos.


After a successful application, the team have been busy producing the new brand which they are thrilled to now unveil.


“We saw the fund from Creative England and thought that we fit the criteria perfectly. We'd been itching to produce some more narrative based content and had found that we were receiving more and more enquiries about producing 'film style content' which didn't particularly fit within our corporate brand, Crosscut Media.”, Dan Flanders, Co-Director said.


“The new Fishbulb Films brand will allow us to focus on two sets of very different clients and their different requirements. Crosscut Media will look after things like event coverage, video testimonials, live streaming and promotional videos whilst Fishbulb Films will focus on narrative-based projects where larger crews are required.”


The grant covered start up costs such as web design, and a small amount of equipment as well as a number of reusable branded flasks to help reduce the amount of waste produced by the film making industry.


“Having a production company that causes the least harm to the environment is our goal. We have implemented an environmental strategy for all of our projects, to make sure they’re as green as possible.”, Duncan MacLeod, Co-Director said.


“For each production we have a designated environmental officer. The officer ensures that during each project we are being as conscious about our impact on the environment as possible.”



Jordan Dean, who has been working at Crosscut Media for the past 18 months has also been instrumental in pushing forward the new brand.


“The film industry is such a difficult industry to get into, so from completing my MA in International Film Production last year to co-founding Fishbulb Films this year will allow me to continue to hone my craft as a director by working on a wide range of creative projects.” Jordan added.


For more information about Fishbulb Films and their latest projects, please visit their website:


www.fishbulbfilms.co.uk



By midlandsmovies, Sep 9 2019 07:00AM



A Day in the Life of Midlands producer Kelly McCormack


In our third "A Day in the Life of" features, local Leicester producer Kelly McCormack herself describes what it's like to be involved on a film shoot in the region.


From early starts and long complicated days to celebratory drinks once a film has wrapped for the day, Kelly explains below the pressured environment of a Midlands film producer and the varied tasks to sort during a production.


0900: Wake up, get ready, sort out my paperwork ready to head to the venue. I choose a bright outfit with our production company’s logo so that any extras or location staff can recognise me as a point of contact.


10:00: I arrive early and the first person on location to ensure I can handle any early problems with the city centre venue such as no answer or room not cleared. Fortunately on this occasion everything goes to plan so I order myself a coffee.


10:20: Crew and main cast start to arrive, I keep an eye out for who is here and who there is no sign of. I start to ask around to see if everyone has heard from each other and if they are ready and excited for the day ahead.


10:45: I ensure whoever is due to have make up is in the makeup chairs while the crew continue to set up. Anyone already made up, I ask them to run through lines with each other. I let everyone know where the ‘snack trolley’ is based.


11:00: I sit down to have a chat with the director to see where his head is at. I explain we are slightly behind schedule and need to make a start asap. We discuss cutting a potential scene to help with timing if necessary. I help an actor with a read-through of his scenes whilst he is waiting to go on set.


11:00-13:00: I sit back and observe the shots that are happening, answering queries from the director, venue staff and actors not in the current scenes. I remind the director of timings when needed. I ask those not on set to take regular breaks when they can and ensure they have had something to eat.


13:00: Extras begin to arrive whilst I am covering clapper board duties so I ask my production runner to get them all signed in. I remind the director that we are technically behind schedule but I think we will be ok to catch up.


1330: I have a chat with my extras to ask how they are, how they feel about the shoot, if they have been on a film set before.


14:00: I do a speech to the thirty extras about the filming day, the scene they are in and what they need to do; it’s a gig scene so they just need to react to the two bands playing. I remind them that this is all for fun so to go with it and enjoy it but if anything concerns them or makes them uncomfortable that they can talk to me or our production runners. I ask them to only talk to the director and camera men if essential as they will do a lot of moving in this scene so need to focus. Everyone gives a big cheer to signify that they are happy. We sing a quick happy birthday to one of our cast members and the scene sets to begin.


14:00-16:00: We spend a good amount of time on the scene, rerunning about ten times to get different angles, ensuring the extras only put 100% when the camera is on them to ensure they aren’t too worn out! They all do brilliantly. I help by pressing play on the audio system for playback purposes about six or seven times. I take some behind the scenes photos.


16:00: I clarify with the director and camera men that we have everything we need, they confirm so we wrap the shoot early! We have an hour still in the venue so take our time to pack away, chat to the extras and lock them into some more shoot and just have a breather after an intense but seriously fun shoot.


17:00: I chat to the main cast and crew informing them of when the next shoot is scheduled and what is needed, they have already been told electronically so it is more of a reminder. We all thank each other for the hard work that has been put in.


18:00: We head to the bar, order a Guinness and toast to an enjoyable St Patricks day.


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