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By midlandsmovies, Sep 9 2019 07:19AM

Midlands Review - Jallianwalla Bagh 1919 and Peaky Blinders A New Era



This week we take a look at a double-release of films from new West Midlands film production companies Gurjant Singh Films and Five Pence Productions, which delve into two very distinct historical stories from the past.




First up is Jallianwalla Bagh 1919 directed by Gurjant Singh which is a 1-minute micro short which pays tribute to those massacred by the East India Trading Company in 1919. Given its short length it’s a welcome surprise to see the film mostly shot in slow motion. This extends the visual experience as we see gentle flowing clothes in the wind giving off an air of peace and tranquillity. This is juxtaposed with a screaming military sergeant (Richard Teasdale) and a cut to a primed rifle barrel. A voiceover from the protagonist (Nisaro Karim) provides some context given the film’s extremely brief runtime which was a good use of technique to give the audience background information. The pull of a trigger and the splattering of blood also gives us a brief glimpse of violence. The focus on just one person rather than a group (nearly 2,000 were shot in the struggle for independence) brings home the personal nature of this story to the filmmaker.




The second film is Peaky Blinders: A New Era. Most Midlanders will no doubt by familiar with the BBC TV series crime drama which is primarily set in Birmingham. It follows the exploits of the Shelby family after World War I and the fictional group is loosely based on the real 19th century urban gang who were active in the city from the 1890s.To honour the release of Season 5 in Sept 2019, this fan-film was shot in just 4 hours and set closer to the present in 1950.


This time period allows the short to (briefly) open up a conversation about a time where immigration was a cause for concern for locals leading to tensions running high. The short opens with Jimi Hendrix’s Voodoo Child infamous guitar riff which although is an impactful sound, is simply the wrong song given that it’s associated with the end of the 60s rather than the period aimed for.


The film’s visuals work much better though as we see a gang of suitably attired “peaky blinders” in a pub drinking before they leave and come across an Indian man (Nisrao Karim again) squaring up for a fight before it cuts to a bloody outcome and a promise of more revenge.


In summary, both shorts are technically proficient and tease insights into very different worlds of the past. Their short run-time though merely acts as brief advertisements for longer narratives. Definitely with an air of professionalism throughout, despite my pet-peeve of music choice, they both act as intriguing calling cards for stories I’d like to see more of.


Michael Sales




By midlandsmovies, Jul 26 2019 02:00PM

Movies shot in the Midlands


The Midlands with its mix of industrial cities and town centres and its swathes of picturesque countryside and regal-like manors and houses can provide film-makers with a wide range of locations for their shoots.


We take a look at some of the films that were made in the region and recommend that you go and check them out as most of these places are open to visitors too!


“Morning film fans - We'll be tweeting Midlands movie locations you can visit over the sunny weekend around the region...”


Cult classic The Princess Bride (1987) was shot on location at Haddon Hall #Derby which represented Humperdinck's Florin Castle in the film


#Jadoo (2013) is a comedy starring Harish Patel (from Run Fatboy Run) and filmed entirely in #Leicester @JadooMovie


Tom Hooper directed The Damned United (2009) with Michael Sheen as Brian Clough & Chesterfield FC stood in for Wembley in the film #Derby


Another football movie Goal 3 was filmed around the #Midlands including in #Nottingham and at #Leicester's King Power stadium


I visited Snake Pass, Kedleston #Derby few years ago which is in 2007's "And When Did You Last See Your Father?" http://t.co/mOablgizfM


Snake Pass was on way to Hadfield #Derby where I visited locale of The League of Gentlemen (2005 film from TV series) http://t.co/oswgfuV7Wj


The coastal marshes from Atonement (2007) are at Gedney Drove End, a beach on the Wash in #Lincolnshire #Midlands


The Upper Derwent Valley in #Derbyshire (the test area for the real raids) doubled as the Ruhr valley for the film The Dam Busters (1955)


In Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (Part 1) when Snape arrives at ‘Malfoy Manor’ it is actually Hardwick Hall in #Derbyshire #Midlands


And last year, Midlands Movies visited @WollatonHall #Nottingham for @OutdoorFilm in this #DarkKnightRises get up http://t.co/7sjyMNNHQ8


Les Misérables (2013) depicted the family estate of Marius using Boughton House, Kettering in #Northampton #Midlands


The Italian Job (1969) - Although the entrance was filmed in Turin, the length of sewer used was a new pipe being installed in #Coventry


Jan De Bont's The Haunting (1999) was filmed both at Harlaxton Manor (Great Hall) in Grantham #Lincolnshire & at Belvoir Castle #Leicester


Felicia’s Journey (1999) - The rainy street scene and cinema exteriors in the Bob Hoskins movie were filmed in Station Street outside the Electric Cinema, where a plaque was later erected.


Thunderball (1965) used RAF Waddington, Lincolnshire for the film's Airforce base runway scene #Midlands #Lincolnshire


Bolsover's local pit fitting workshop and the Empire were used as locations for the film The Full Monty (1997) #Derby #Midlands


Four Feathers (2002) starring Heath Ledger was partly filmed at Burley House in Oakham #Leicestershire #Midlands


Goodbye Mr Chips (1939) had the exterior shots of Brookfield School filmed at Repton School near Burton #Derby #Midlands


Midlands director @ShadyMeadows 2002 Once Upon a Time in the Midlands starred Robert Carlyle and was set primarily in Carlton #Nottingham


The Old Bailey in Scandal (1989) is actually Shire Hall in High Pavement #Nottingham and stood in for the infamous courts during the movie


Nicholas Winding Refn filmed 2009's Bronson (Tom Hardy) around the St. Ann’s, Sherwood, Worksop & Welbeck Abbey areas of #Nottingham


Saturday Night and Sunday Morning (1960) starred Albert Finney and was shot at the Raleigh Bicycle factory in Radford #Nottingham


Shadowlands (1993): Among the locations used in the Anthony Hopkins movie were Hole-in-the- Wall, Capler Woods and historic Goodrich Castle.


#Leicester's Great Central Railway is a pivotal location in Buster (1988), Phil Collins’ Great Train Robbery movie and The Hours (2002)


Control (2000) about the life/death of Joy Division’s Ian Curtis was partly filmed in #Nottingham around places Curtis was known to frequent


Belvoir Castle #Leicester is home to the Duke of Rutland & seen in Young Sherlock Holmes (1985) + Ron Howard’s The Da Vinci Code #midlands

John Cleese 80s classic farce Clockwise had scenes filmed at Edward’s School, Edgbaston & Menzies High School in West Brom #midlands


Brassed Off (1996) actually saw the band play in #Birmingham Town Hall which stood in for the Royal Albert Hall in the movie #Midlands


Ralph and Cedric argue at "Windsor Castle" in King Ralph (1991) which starred John Goodman but it is actually great hall and state rooms of Warwick Castle, Warks.


#Derby hero Alan Bates starred in Women in Love ('69) which featured Kedleston Hall as his & Eleanor Bron’s house #midlands #film


#Derby's historic Chatsworth House was turned into Mr Darcy’s home “Pemberley” in Pride and Prejudice (2005) #midlands


Haddon Hall, Bakewell, was used as Hatfield House, Elizabeth (1997) & doubled as Thornfield Hall in Zeffirelli’s Jane Eyre (1996) #Midlands


The Da Vinci Code was partly filmed in Lincolnshire including Burghley House, Stamford and "Westminster Abbey" was in fact Lincoln Cathedral


The Other Boleyn Girl (2008) by Justin Chadwick starred Scarlett Johansson & Natalie Portman as Mary Boleyn and sister Anne Boleyn. Parts of the film were shot in Dovedale, Cave Dale in Castleton and Haddon Hall, as well as at North Lees Hall.


"Thor's Cave, Manifold Valley, Staffordshire and the Peak District in Derby were both used for locations in The Lair of the White Worm (1988)


I've saved the best until last - Top Secret! (1984) - Fleurgendorf prison exterior filmed at Rockingham Castle, Corby #Northamptonshire


Movies in the Midlands, Films in the Midlands, Films shot in the Midlands, Film Locations in the Midlands, Movie Locations in the Midlands, Midlands Movies, Midllands Films

By midlandsmovies, Jun 13 2019 08:50PM

Quite simply, here is our ongoing and updated list of Film Festivals in the Midlands (2019 edition):


• THE SHORT CINEMA http://www.theshortcinema.co.uk info@theshortcinema.co.uk Phoenix, Leicester - August 20 – 24, 2019


* NOTTINGHAM INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL http://www.nottiff.com/ 14th - 17th November 2019


• INDIE-LINCS - Feb 13th - 15th 2020 Based at Lincoln Performing Arts Centre, and run in partnership with The School of Film and Media at the University of Lincoln http://www.indie-lincs.com


• BRINDLEY PLACE OUTDOOR FEST - http://www.brindleyplace.com/event/brindleyplace-film-festival-2018/ July 15th - 21st 2019


• BORDERLINES FEST http://www.borderlinesfilmfestival.co.uk UK's largest rural film festival. Herefordshire/Shropshire - 28th February to 15th March 2020


• BIRMINGHAM FILM FEST - 1st - 10th November 2019 https://filmfreeway.com/festival/Birminghamfilmfestival


• BIFF FEST (Birmingham Black International Film Fest) https://www.biffestival.co.uk 26th October 2019


• SHOCK AND GORE FESTIVAL Electric Cinema in Birmingham https://twitter.com/shockgore July 2019


• DEAFFEST http://www.deaffest.co.uk The UK's International Deaf Film & Arts Festival Wolverhampton. Contact info@light-house.co.uk 2020 date TBC


* BIRMINGHAM INDIAN FILM FESTIVAL http://birminghamindianfilmfestival.co.uk 21st June - 1 July 2019


• THE UK ASIAN FILM FESTIVAL LEICESTER - http://tonguesonfire.com/ 2020 dates TBC


• SHOUT FESTIVAL http://shoutfestival.co.uk Birmingham Dates TBC for 2020


• DERBY FILM FESTIVAL http://www.derbyfilmfestival.co.uk 14 - 17 November 2019


• FANTASTIQ FEST http://fantastiq.co.uk Fantasy/Horror Fest at Quad in Derby (part of Derby Film Fest)


• MAYHEM HORROR Film Fest - Halloween. Contact Broadway cinema in Nottingham http://www.broadway.org.uk/mayhem 10th October - 13th October 2019


• FLATPACK FEST - Birmingham, UK. http://www.flatpackfestival.org.uk 11th-16th May 2020


• BEESTON FILM FESTIVAL - https://twitter.com/BeestonFilm 25th-29th March 2020


• SHROPSHIRE RAINBOW FILM FESTIVAL http://www.rainbowfilmfestival.org.uk/midlands-zone on hiatus for 2019 - TBC 2020 dates


• GRINDHOUSE PLANET - www.grindhouseplanet.com November 2019 TBC


* BOTTLESMOKE FILM FESTIVAL - https://www.facebook.com/BottleSmokeStoke Stoke on Trent - September 8th 2019


* WIRKSWORTH 3-MINUTE FILM FEST https://wirksworth3minfilmfest.co.uk Derbyshire15th Sept 2019


* HEART OF ENGLAND FILM FEST - https://www.heartofenglandfilmfest.com Coventry 2020 Dates TBC


* THE BLACK BIRD FILM FEST Wolverhampton https://ajayhackett2113.wixsite.com/bbff Wolverhampton 2020 Dates TBC


* HIGH PEAK INDEPENDENT FILM FESTIVAL Derbyshire https://www.highpeakindie.com 12th to 16th June 2019. #HPIFF18


* NEXUS FILM FESTIVAL https://twitter.com/NexusEastMids Nottingham 2020 Dates TBC


* NOTTZ FILM FESTIVAL Hothouse Theatre Nottingham https://twitter.com/NottmFilmFest Sat 6th July 2019


* THE SHORT STACK FILM FESTIVAL Nottingham Bi-monthly screening night at Broadway Cinema https://www.facebook.com/groups/841340665914084 (Various dates)


* 5 LAMPS FILMS - Bi-monthly short-film screenings at Derby Quad (various dates) + annual 24hr film challenge https://twitter.com/fivelampsfilms 2020 Date TBC


* PARACINEMA - Derby https://twitter.com/ParacinemaDerby May 1st -3rd 2020


* THE BLACK COUNTRY HORROR SHORTS FILM FESTIVAL - Stourbridge https://www.weepingbankproductions.co.uk/horror-film-festival Saturday 25th January 2020


Other useful Film Festival information can be find at these links:

http://www.festivalfocus.org/festival

http://film.britishcouncil.org/festivals-directory/festivals-map

http://www.thefilmfestivaldoctor.co.uk

By midlandsmovies, May 24 2019 01:11PM

10 of the Best Midlands films to look out for in 2019


We take a look at some of our hot picks of shorts, thrillers, documentaries, dramas and more from the talented folk of the Midlands region that are due to hit our screens later in 2019. Please do check out all these projects and head to their respective websites for full information on their forthcoming release dates.




Kobe directed by AR Ugas

Kobe is an upcoming short crime thriller film from West Midlands director AR Ugas about a university student who, after his childhood friend is released from prison, decides to enter into a life of crime which culminates in a robbery that goes wrong. Made in Birmingham, the film was shot, produced, directed and edited by Ugas, who had great success with his Tolkien-inspired first film 'The Return of the Ring' (our review here). With a gritty and dynamic aesthetic, the director hopes it's also a lot more personal film than he’s ever made before and working on the project are acting leads Mathias Andre and Dominic Thompson. Joining them are Tee Morris, Alexandria Carr, Bola Latunji and many more. With a plan to release the film in the next few months, you can find out more about the film and filmmaker here https://www.facebook.com/ARUGASUK or on Twitter




Red t'Blue directed by Jay Martin

This new 15-minute documentary-short from Sharp Edge Productions will focus on how, and why, the ex-mining town constituency of Mansfield swung from the Labour party, which had held it for a consecutive 94-years, to the Conservative party in the 2017 snap-election. A party which had not claimed the seat since its creation in 1885. Directed and written by Jay Martin (who made his directorial debut with Catharsis - our review), the Nottingham-based filmmaker studied at the Confetti Institute of Creative Technologies in September and will interview a wide variety of local representatives including former Labour MP For Mansfield Alan Meale who served as the MP for Mansfield for a consecutive 31 years. Find out more on Facebook and Twitter




Abatement directed by Gary Rogers & Sharni Tapako Brown

Described as a thriller based around trust, lies and life changing events, this West Midlands production comes from Sharni Tapako Brown and Gary Rogers, an award winning cinematographer that has worked on a multitude of projects that include dozens of short films, TV Commercials and music videos. Since starting Country Star Productions with Sharni, one their recent short films 'The Beauty of It' received a nomination for best cinematography at the Midlands Movie Awards. This film tells the story of a group of friends who, whilst out in the woods, encounter a life changing sequence of events that brings into question their trust in each other and themselves. Co-directing and writing is the talented writer, actress and model Sharni Tapako Brown. More info at Facebook and Twitter








Apocalyptic 2077 directed by Marc Hamill

As an independent motion picture production team from Leicester, Roasted Studios specialise in original New-wave British Grindhouse cinema and if you like post-apocalyptic movies such as Mad Max, Book of Eli, Escape From New York and Turbo Kid, then you are sure to get behind Apocalyptic 2077. With heroes & villains, ice pirates, cyberpunks, marauders, skin Traders and zombie nuns(!), the filmmaking team behind The Wrong Floor have promised a mayhem filled thrill ride in the tradition of 80s action classics. Starring Rudolph Barrow and Ryan Flamson, the film already had a successful preview premiere on Sunday 28th April at the Century Cinema in Leicestershire.


More info on Facebook



Poison Ivy directed by Sophie Black

Midlands-based Triskelle Pictures was created back in 2008 as founder Sophie Black (interview here) was completing her degree at the University for the Creative Arts, but after a whole raft of award-winning shorts are about to embark on potentially their most popular and explosive one so far. With a love for the DC Batman villain Poison Ivy, the filmmaker feels as though she has long been underrepresented in film so are producing a fan film that brings the character front and centre. This film is not endorsed by DC in any way - it's simply a passion project by people who adore the subject matter and stars Aislinn De'Ath & Robert Dukes in the lead roles. With successes already gained for their drama Night Owls and fantasy short Songbird, starring The X Factor's Janet Devlin, the film comes later in summer after a passionate post-production period.


Find out more on their official website and their Facebook page





The Nursery Man directed by Anthony Michael Tracy-Winson

Mr. Stitch Films is an independent movie production company founded by Anthony M. Tracy-Winson which specialises in making horror movies and their latest undertaking is The Nursery Man. Beginning production back in February 2018, the film stars Sarah Ellis who plays Marion Kelly, a former paranormal specialist for Dartmoor University who sets out to help tormented mother, Florence Taylor, played by Sarah Wynne Kordas who children have disappeared. With the production now ongoing for many months, filming has taken place around the region by the team who made The Baylock Residence (review here). But despite the long journey, with retakes and re-shoots undertaken, the crew want to make this film the best that Mr. Stitch Films has ever produced. Find out more on Facebook and their official website






Sustain directed by Dave Hastings

Written By Brett Dewsbury and David Hastings, crime thriller/drama Sustain is the new film from Midlands Director David Hastings & Producers Troy Dennison and Keiran Bowers (see our The House of Screaming Death review). Brett Dewsbury himself plays Kieran, a mild-mannered young man whose life is shattered by the death of his close younger step-brother Toby (Joshua Sewell), the victim of a vicious race attack. Confronted with the shocking reality of recent fatal events, Kieran must come to terms with what has happened, carrying on without Toby, the gloating thugs who have walked free from his brother’s death. With the film in deep post-production, editor Sam Woodhall has been working closely with Hastings on fine-tuning the now locked visual cut of the film with the picture edging ever closer to its completion for audiences. Check the latest production updates on Facebook





Off Grid directed by Carl Timms

Off Grid is the upcoming production from Dark Matter Films and Bewdley-based Director Carl Timms who shot the short film on location in Worcestershire earlier this summer with a completion date pencilled in for early 2019. This post-apocalyptic, supernatural thriller boasts a stellar cast including James Cosmo, MBE (Game of Thrones, Braveheart, The Outlaw King) as force of nature John Tanner; Alison Steadman (Pride and Prejudice, Gavin & Stacey) as his frail wife, Grace and Marc Baylis (Coronation Street) as the enigmatic ‘Stranger’. Bewdley-based director Carl Timms says, "We are delighted with how the filming turned out. We feel honoured to have worked with such a talented cast who brought these characters to life exactly as we hoped”. Check out their new teaser for the film which will be released soon. Check out their website at www.darkmatterfilms.co.uk





MacBeth directed by Daryl Chase

The Screen Northants group have secured funding from BBC’s Children In Need to produce films working with disadvantaged young people across Northampton and their new version of classic Macbeth sees them working with professional crew to produce the film, which is being shot over 5 weeks in the school summer holidays. Becky Adams, Director of Screen Northants, says, “We are over the moon that BBC Children in Need are supporting us again. And we are looking forward to making a tangible difference to young people’s life chances”. Various sites across Northampton are being used to create the setting for this gritty, urban retelling of one of Shakespeare’s most popular plays. Screen Northants are taking the story from ancient Scotland to a contemporary dystopian estate on the fringes of society, pitting estate against estate. Macbeth and the love of his life, Lady Macbeth, make moves to escape the rut they find themselves in. Find out more at www.screennorthants.co.uk






Angel City directed by Duaine Roberts

Written, directed & Produced by Duaine Carma Roberts of Carma Film, Angel City tells the story of sisters whose loyalty is tested when one is accused of attempted murder, which causes past truths to come to light. Since founding CarmaFilm Motion Pictures in 2015, Duaine Carma Roberts has had a vision to change the way film is perceived in both Birmingham and the rest of the UK. With stories focusing on every day struggles and challenges, our short and feature films have garnered attention across the country and success showing in various film festivals. The film stars Adaya Henry, Tamaira Hesson, Georgia Neath, Liam Millard, Chereis Sewell, Ackeem Gibbs and Andre Pierre and comes on the back of Robert’s previously successful shorts Dear Josephine (our review) and Graycon (our review). Find out more on Twitter and the Carma Film website





By midlandsmovies, Feb 3 2019 08:10PM



Midlands Movies Awards 2019 - Nominations


1. Best Feature

James Smith (Do Something Jake)

Kaushy Patel & Philip Huzzey (Out of Gas)


2. Best Short

The Front Door by Andrew Rutter

73 Cows by Alex Lockwood

Scarecrow by Lee Charlish

Troubled Waters by Gemma Norton

Little Boxes by Joshua King

Bang Bang by Zeyn Haider

Bee-Loved by Sarah Wynne Kordas & James Pyle

Shining Tor by Andrew David Barker


3. Actor in a Leading Role

Joshua Barrett in Trentside

Lawrence Walker in Answer

Chris Butler in The Front Door

Harrington Day in Last Call

Ross Samuel in Cappuccino

Dave Inglis in Eviction


4. Actress in a Leading Role

Vivienne Bell in Troubled Waters

Natsumi Kuroda in The Nail that Sticks Out

Amelia Gabbard in Aurora

Kelly McCormack in Two’s Company

Rebekah Hinds in Woman of the Night

Claire Lowrie in Last Call


5. Actor in a Supporting Role

Paul Findlay in Breakdown

Brad Ash in The Front Door

Nisaro Karim in Duality

Jonny Parlett in Enemies

Michael Cotton in Carriages


6. Actress in a Supporting Role

Nathalie Codsi in Answer

Olivia Noyce in Headphones

Laura Peterson in The Nail That Sticks Out

Helen Lewis in Martin Sharp Is Sorry

Rhi Hardman in Return of the Ring


7. Animated Film

Sarah Wynne Kordas & James Pyle for Bee-Loved

Matt Williams for Crawl

Lee Charlish for Return from the Moon

Liam Harris for Perched


8. Costume & Makeup & Hairstyling

Eleanor Frith, Katherine Newbury & Karentino for Aurora

Lee Charlish, Meg Charlish and Jenny McDonald for Scarecrow

Monica Montalvo for Best Friends Forever

Coralie Hudson, Jessica Campbell, Alice Green, Elysia Fisher & Emile Wilson for Deeds not Words.

Chris Morris, Laura Viale Durand, Ben Fallaize, Monica Montalvo & Katarina Horvatic for Make Do or Mend

9. Directing

Gemma Norton for Troubled Waters

Christopher Bevan for Make Do or Mend

Thomas Line for Headphones

Alex Lockwood for 73 Cows

Sophie Black for Songbird

Charlie Delaney for Trentside

Luke J Collins for Cappuccino


10. Documentary

Paul Stringer for Boarders without Borders

Rick Goldsmith for Herefordshire: Life Through A Lens

Daina Anderson for BLACK' The Documentary - 'Strong'

Laura Ray for OCD: Can you hear it too?

Alex Lockwood for 73 Cows


11. Editing

Ashleigh Harley for Judge Me

Simon Dymond for Make Do or Mend

Dave Jones for Cappuccino

Ed Radford and Joshua King for Little Boxes

Zeyn Haider for Bang Bang


12. Music (Score or song)

Felix Mercer for Troubled Waters

Janet Devlin for Songbird

Peter Flint for Not Alone

Ashleigh Harley for Judge Me

Savfk (Saverio Blasi) for Gamer


13. Cinematography

David Andrew Smith for Trentside

Richard Staff for Troubled Waters

Connor Goodwin for Aurora

Gary Rogers for The Beauty of It

Oliver Walton for 73 Cows


14. Sound (Editing or Mixing)

Simon Haupt for Headphones

Keith Morrison for Make Do or Mend

Liam Banks for Best Friends Forever

Luke Galloway for Bang Bang

John Roddy for 73 Cows


15. Visual Effects

Sheikh Shahnawaz for Gamer

Hayley Allen, Steve Askey, Matt Burkey, Matt Oakley,

Dom Stables and Nick Willet for Songbird

Mick Walker for Shining Tor

Ashleigh Harley for The Wall of Lyon

Lee Charlish for Return from the Moon


16. Writing (Original/adapted)

Luke Collins for Cappuccino

Tommy Draper & Sascha Zimmermann for Lilli

Adam Palmer for Answer

Andrew Rutter for The Front Door

Daley-James Francis for Martin Sharpe is Sorry

By midlandsmovies, Nov 19 2018 12:40PM



Midlands Review - Teddy Bears Live Forever


Directed by Fabrizio Federico


Very rarely am I lost for words. I must admit that after watching Teddy Bears Live Forever, I experienced one of those occasions.


The film follows April, a young former ‘It’ girl who is effectively in exile after establishing multiple personality disorder, brought on following her time in Hollywood and as part of a UFO cult. As she embarks on a downwards spiral, April decides that is time for one of her six personalities to lose her virginity. In a solitary room, she starts to suffer bizarre flashbacks, sleepwalking, phoning rent boys, and listening to The Carpenters, whilst terrorizing her old guardian.


There is something very odd about every aspect of this film. The narrative, the structure, the look - all these things have been put together in such a way that is creates a massive disconnect between the film and its audience. For me personally, I was a little too detached from what was going on, and so found it quite difficult to stick with the film. However, I can see what the team behind it was going for with their approach. It felt like they tried to cause the viewer to experience some of the feelings that our lead character, April, was going through. She was isolated, and never really connected with anything that was going on around her. The story and the edit made it feel like this was a sensation they were aiming to create for the viewer as well, but like I said, I found it was a little too extreme and it missed me somewhat.


The film had a kind of found-footage/documentary feel to it, presumably to achieve the same effect that the writing hoped for. That was more of a hit for me. I couldn’t quite make sense of what was going on with the visuals, which I think worked well in bringing me closer to what April was experiencing herself.


It also gave the film an edgier appearance that certainly suited all its other aspects.


There were more than a few occasions where I found myself wondering what the hell had just happened. So much just doesn’t make sense. It is a very surreal film that seems to launch numerous relentless attacks on its viewer. I heard things that nearly made my eyes pop out of my head; I saw things that made me wish they had. As much as I tried to just go with the flow here, it just was not happening.


Teddy Bears Live Forever is just a very bizarre film. It’s almost like its main objective is to get its viewers talking about what they’ve just watched, which admittedly, seems to be a trend with some of the big Hollywood releases at the minute as well, so it definitely fits into the current bigger picture. It aims to create a visceral experience for its viewer, which on this occasion I have to say it didn’t quite hit the mark.


I think with a more open mind, a greater willingness to just go with it, and to resist questioning what is happening, more could be taken from it, however I don’t believe I can have the final say on that. It’s something that you can only experience for yourself in order to make your own mind up. I’m afraid that I can’t do that for you. I struggled to do it for myself, to be honest.


4/10


Kira Comerford


Twitter @FilmAndTV101


By midlandsmovies, Nov 12 2018 07:12PM

MIdlands Feature - Cinematic Crusade - The Best Robin Hood movies


With Robin Hood, not since Sherlock Holmes has an iconic British legend been turned into so many movie adaptations over the years.


A report from the NME earlier this year says there are 7 Robin Hood films in the works. However, having just reviewed Robin Hood: The Rebellion I think they’ve missed at least one. Well, 7 or 8 is still a huge number for the same brand recognition but one thing is for sure – it’s a legend ripe for the reimagining!


With so many iterations over the years – from 1908’s "Robin Hood and his Merry Men" which marks the first appearance of the outlaw on screen to porn parody “Virgins of Sherwood Forest” – there hasn’t been a genre that the Robin mythos hasn’t been adapted into. But which of the many versions are the best? Well, with ours and Robin’s Midlands origins we attempt to look at 10 of the best Robin Hood films from cinematic folklore. Please read on...





10. Robin Hood (1991) Directed by John Irvin

The first of two 1991 Robin Hood films on our list – take a wild guess at the other – sees Patrick Bergin embody the outlaw whilst an up-and-coming actress by the name of Uma Thurman stars as Maid Marian. Directed by John “Raw Deal” Irvin and produced by John “Die Hard” McTiernan, sadly don’t expect too much in the way of solid action but owing to Kevin Costner’s huge film later in the year, this film has been regularly overlooked and certainly underappreciated. Fighting nobility, the plot uses the same set up as the 1938 film where a war between Normans and Saxons gets things moving but the movie sadly, and unwisely, jettisons the Sheriff of Nottingham (why?) for some new villains. Filmed on location at Peckforton Castle in Cheshire – a non-Nottingham theme we’ll be seeing more of later – the 19-year age gap between Begin and Thurman is a bit icky but it’s well worth checking out as a bit of a curio in the history of Hood on film.


Hood Fact: The use of "Your Majesty" wasn’t used until almost 200 years later, the word “thugs” derives from the Thuggee which Brits wouldn’t encounter for another five centuries, the bloodhound was not a favoured dog breed until the 1500s and when Friar Tuck says he can afford swan's breast in Madeira, the country wasn't actually discovered until 1419 so he would have had difficulty! To be fair, many of the other films on this list commit worse crimes than these nit-picks.



9. Sword of Sherwood Forest (1960) Directed by Terence Fisher

Tagline: “The NEW and Greatest Adventures of Robin Hood... The World's Most Renowned Swordsman!" Sword? Surely bow and arrow? Anyways, a little-seen version, Sword of Sherwood Forest is a Hammer Film Production (them of ‘horror’ fame) and stars Richard Greene – who reprises the role he played in The Adventures of Robin Hood TV series from 1955 to 1959. Hammer stalwart Peter Cushing takes on the part of the Sheriff of Nottingham who has nefarious plans to confiscate a rich estate and, as always, is thwarted by Hood acting on the side of good. Several clumsy sword fights can be forgiven owing to a genuine love for the material and acting heavyweight Oliver Reed appears, but is re-dubbed, as Lord Melton. Unlike a few hammy Hammer sets, the film looks glorious filmed as it was on location in County Wicklow, Ireland – but again not in Nottingham sadly.


Hood Fact: From 1954 to 1967 Hammer Film Productions released three different movies starring the famous outlaw – as well as this there was The Men of Sherwood Forest (1954) and A Challenge for Robin Hood (1967).



8. Robin Hood (2010) Directed by Ridley Scott

Well, it’s not perfect. And then some. Seminal director Ridley Scott – a man known for his visual prowess and epic scale – takes the legend and sadly removes any fun despite a film filled with great actors and impressive locations. Here, Australian Russell Crowe is cast as Robin and is not the first, and no doubt won’t be the last, person to struggle with an English accent. His infamous BBC radio interview had him hopping mad – then walking out – when its authenticity was questioned (click here). Alongside Crowe is one of the best casts in the business, which includes Cate Blanchett, William Hurt, Mark Strong, Mark Addy, Oscar Isaac, Danny Huston, Eileen Atkins, and Max von Sydow. Yet it was the stodgy story and dour delivery that had people turning their noses up. Where’s Robin’s sense of mischief? Where is the adventure? Where is the film’s joy? For all its flaws though, you can still appreciate the fantastic Scott set pieces. Although, when seeing this film for the first time at the cinema I can still remember laughing out loud at the slow-motion sequence of Crowe popping out the sea (sea? In the legendary land-locked Nottingham?) in a shot of such ludicrous “epic-ness” there’s a perverse enjoyment of a film that takes a jaunty tale so seriously. You have been warned.


Hood Fact: The film's budget ballooned from $155 million to $200 million. Scott robbing from the rich film companies to deliver a poor film.



7. Robin and the 7 Hoods (1964) Directed by Gordon Douglas

A 60s musical set in Chicago during the Prohibition where two rival gangs compete for control of the city's rackets seems an unlikely interpretation but with so many films of Robin Hood appearing over the years, it’s these new takes that can standout amongst such a busy marketplace. Written by David R. Schwartz and produced by (and starring) Frank Sinatra, the film sees new mob boss Guy Gisborne (Peter Falk) ordering other gangsters in town to pay him protection whilst “Robbo” (Sinatra) gets together a band of merry men including pool hustler Little John (Dean Martin) and Will (Sammy Davis Jr.). Before long, the gangster ends up robbing from the rich and giving to a poor city orphanage. In a twist however, Barbara Rush as Marian Stevens (Maid Marian) is as duplicitous as they come, playing off both sides and looking out only for herself and stealing tainted money. Mostly a spoof, the film features the rat-pack stars belting out a variety of slick speakeasy hits including "My Kind of Town" which is the centrepiece number and was nominated for the 1964 Academy Award for Best Original Song. A quirky oddity, there’s enough swinging style to give Robin an updated unravelling by jumping into the seedy gangster genre.


Hood Fact: For a legend often containing imprisonments, ransoms and money exchanges, a scene depicting a kidnapping was filmed for Robin and the 7 Hoods but was quickly cut when star Frank Sinatra's son was kidnapped in real life. The 19-year old was released soon after after Sinatra paid the $240,000 demanded.



6. Robin and Marian (1976) Directed by Richard Lester

Before tackling his own American icon in Superman II, director Richard Lester went back to the past heroes of the UK with this period romantic adventure starring Sean Connery and Audrey Hepburn. Strangely including comedian Ronnie Barker as Friar Tuck, the film was mostly shot in sunny old Eng—actually in Zamora, Artajona and Orgi in Spain – standing in for France rather than the Midlands at times too. With this suspect geographical anomaly (a Robin Hood film tradition you will see as we continue to go through the list), the movie had big names, a score composed by John “007” Barry and came off the back of Lester’s take on another classic swashbuckler The Three Musketeers (1973). It moves away from the traditional narrative where we get an aging Robin Hood fighting abroad before his return to Nottingham but [SHOCK HORROR SPOILER WARNING] he actually dies at the end. An interesting look at age, legends, love and wisdom, Robin and Marian may be one of the most complex, and interesting, versions of the nostalgic tale to date.


Hood Fact: Connery seems inexplicably linked to the Hood fable from his appearance here to his cameo as King Richard the Lionheart in Prince of Thieves (1991). He also appeared in Time Bandits (1981) which featured John Cleese’s comical Robin Hood. And it doesn’t stop there as his own son Jason Connery would later play Robin Hood in Robin of Sherwood (1984)!



5. Robin Hood: Men in Tights (1993) Directed by Mel Brooks

Parodying the Robin Hood myth – but more specifically the 1938 and 1991 film versions – Mel Brooks undoes some of the legend’s classicism and replaces it with the pratfalls, visual jokes and verbal gags seen in Brook’s previous comedies. Cary Ewes plays a solid Robin holding together the chaotic narrative stemming from the eclectic support cast and bit-players which includes Dave Chappelle (in his first film role and clearly inspired by Morgan Freeman’s Moor), Isaac Hayes, Tracey Ullman, Patrick Stewart and even Dom DeLuise. A point-of-view shot following an arrow’s impossible journey around a forest (in the trailer only no less) is another direct reference to Prince of Thieves and whilst it pokes fun, it respects the story’s heart and never feels like a direct dig at the tale. Favourite line? “Unlike other Robin Hoods, I can speak with an English accent”. With this and some actors interacting with the crew on screen, Men in Tights takes a swipe at a number of past performances whilst warmly acknowledging the history of Hood on film into the bargain.


Hood Fact: As mentioned several times already, the geography of Great Britain is again suspect here – maybe intentionally so given the film’s parodic nature – but at the end of the movie when the camera is zooming out the castle is shown to be around Milton Keynes. Tut Tut.



4. Robin Hood (1973) Directed by Wolfgang Reitherman

Can humanoid cartoon animals portray historical characters better than Russell Crowe? You bet your ass they can! Disney’s box office success found fans owing to its excellent voice cast, fun animation and catchy tunes and although it may have aged a little worse than its initial box office suggested, the movie’s biggest draw is its entertaining and light-hearted take on the hero. Languishing in development hell since the mouse house’s Snow White (1937) the tale is inspired by Reynard the Fox – a medieval fable featuring a trickster red fox character. This version’s Little John shares eerie similarities with Baloo from The Jungle Book (1967) who was also a bear that had been voiced by Phil Harris and classic sequences are incorporated from the traditional Robin Hood narrative. One such take is the cordial tree-crossing in which Robin Hood and Little John wander over a fallen tree which bridges a river – this twists their usual legendary fight at the same location.


Hood Fact: The famous gap on Terry-Thomas' teeth was incorporated into the design of the character he voices, Sir Hiss (a snake) – and it makes a handy opening for his forked tongue to dart out from.



3. Robin Hood (1922) Directed by Allan Dwan

As the first film ever to have a Hollywood premiere, held at the now legendary Grauman’s Egyptian Theatre, Robin Hood was also one of the most expensive films of the 20s with a one-million-dollar budget. Douglas Fairbanks stars in this black and white silent movie as Earl of Huntingdon/Robin Hood and with sword fights, castles, horse chases and a feather in his hat, this much-lauded classic help set up many of the tropes we know from the films today. A massive film for its time, its use of over 1200 extras can be seen in spectacular battle scenes in huge Hollywood scale with some of its impressive sets being designed by architect Lloyd “Hollywood Bowl” Wright.


Hood Fact: Alan Hale, Sr. made such an impression as Little John in this film that he reprised the role sixteen years later in The Adventures of Robin Hood (1938) opposite Errol Flynn. Then he played the character again in Rogues of Sherwood Forest in 1950, 28 years after his initial performance in this original.



2. The Adventures of Robin Hood (1938) Directed by Michael Curtiz

Considered by many to be the definitive Robin Hood interpretation, the film is most known for Errol Flynn’s magnetic performance of Robin but director Curtiz (of Casablanca and Mildred Pierce fame no less) should be equally lauded for helming this legendary production. As well as Flynn, superstar Olivia de Havilland stars as Lady Marian Fitzwalter (Maid Marian) whilst Basil Rathbone takes the role of Guy of Gisbourne. Melville Cooper’s take on the High Sheriff of Nottingham is underrated and once again a film company (this time Warner Bros.) made their most expensive film ever with its budget being a richly $2 million. With its adventure spirit, a host of dramatic yet charismatic performances and fantastic fights, this film is rightly held as the pinnacle of chivalric swashbuckling on film and won Academy Awards for Art Direction, Editing and Original Score from celebrated composer Erich Wolfgang Korngold.


Hood Fact: James Cagney (of Curtiz’s earlier film Angels with Dirty Faces) was originally cast as Robin but walked out on his Warner Bros. contract and the filming was postponed three years, as a result – but paved the way for the role to go to Flynn.



1. Prince of Thieves (1991) Directed by Kevin Reynolds

As I have mentioned before on this site 1991 was a brilliant year for film which saw Terminator 2, Silence of the Lambs and JFK having huge critical and commercial success but it was Bryan Adams’ soundtrack song to Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves that takes me back to that infamous year. Spending what felt like 16 years atop the charts at number one (it was in fact a record-breaking 16 long WEEKS) the song’s cheesy love lyrics also earnt it an Academy Award but was the perfect accompaniment to a film that was (and still is to me) one of the guiltiest pleasures of the nineties. Costner’s intense and dodgy-accented New Orleans attorney in JFK from the same year was left behind for the dodgy-accented outlaw in a film which balanced both folk tale fun alongside serious issues of history, honour and guilt. Stealing the show of course is Alan Rickman’s BAFTA winning turn as the Sheriff which cemented his career playing legendary villains. It was also Rickman who brought in friend Ruby Wax to improve the Sheriff’s scripted dialogue. Also in on the act is a superb support cast including Morgan Freeman, Christian Slater and Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio who all give a bit of a depth to the characters we’ve seen dozens of times before. The brilliant rousing music score was composed by Michael Kamen and was subsequently used on Walt Disney trailers and gives me chills each and every time I hear it. The movie contains a split arrow sequence that nods to Flynn’s 1938 archery contest scene, a Sean Connery cameo as King John (who else, huh?) and lots of laughs and action that entertains to this day. Having kept the VHS of this film – I think it was the first one I ever bought – I’ve always had a soft spot for it and although it’s so cheesy it should be served with crackers, the film’s tone is the perfect adventure mix of silly and serious.


Hood Fact: Everyone always dismisses the film’s geography – land in Dover, get to Hadrian’s Wall then enter Nottingham by nightfall on foot but…..if the cliff is just a cliff and the wall just a wall then you can land in Grimsby at 5am in Summer and get to Loxley near Sheffield in 62 miles which is just kinda possible. And that’s what I’m sticking to.


Michael Sales

By midlandsmovies, Jun 2 2018 07:55AM



Eviction (2018)


Directed by Lewis Clements


When it came to creating his final piece of work for his university course, Lewis Clements decided to create a short film - his second following a debut project that screened at a number of festivals around the US and Canada.


Eviction follows Nigel Grimshaw and Luke Fox, two debt collectors who go about their day-to-day business, which quite often involves evicting tenants who cannot afford to pay their dues. However, little do they know that they are soon to evict a tenant with a very dark past.


The film was inspired by the TV series, 'Can’t Pay? We’ll Take It Away!', which follows a group of the country’s most experienced High Court sheriffs as they travel around enforcing writs and repossessing whatever they have to in order to pay off the debts that people have built up. After seeing this show, Clement thought it would be interesting to turn the tables and have the tenant turn on the debt collector.


Eviction makes you think on a few different levels. First, there were a lot of red herrings thrown into the mix throughout the film that made you expect the story would head in one direction one second, but it soon actually goes elsewhere. I liked this element and whilst I won't spoil the film, there are parts that hint at the end-game for the film. Ultimately it's best I say no more as if you know this I don’t think you can quite appreciate some of the other moments and how effective they really are at throwing you off the scent.


Eviction also makes the audience seriously consider the people who actually do this job. When we watch shows like Can’t Pay, I don’t think it's really considered about the potential repercussions some evictions carry with them. Quite often people are forced to think about those who get evicted from their homes, but the guys who just have to do this job don’t ever seem to get spared a second thought, at least I haven’t done so on the occasions I’ve watched.


So the film becomes a thought provoking piece that makes you take a minute to take stock of how these things affect the day to day lives of everyone involved, and it’s always a powerful thing when a short can achieve that.


The film did a good job of portraying the debt collectors here as real people with real problems, which is easy to forget when you see them evicting tenants from their homes. In this case, the character of Nigel was massively humanised, and didn’t particularly enjoy his job, but was doing it simply because he had bills to pay. Again, in terms of defending these enforcers, it’s an important thing to bear in mind what their personal circumstances are.


Clements made the decision to set the atmosphere for this film using grime music (I hope that’s right anyway), and I think it was the perfect backdrop given the subject matter being dealt with. When you look at the history of grime, there are some major similarities to some of the themes in this film, and seeing as Clements wanted to ensure that the project had a super British film in order to properly celebrate cinema in this country, I think it was a perfect fit.


All in all, Eviction is a film that really makes you take in the bigger picture surrounding a very interesting subject. There are a lot of elements that it makes you seriously consider, and whilst having some pretty dark themes, it does manage to remain entertaining through the changes of pace and direction that happen almost constantly throughout. Definitely worth a gander if you’ve got the time to spare.


Kira Comerford

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