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By midlandsmovies, Sep 3 2019 05:04PM


Photo credit: Sam Irons
Photo credit: Sam Irons

Midlands Interview - Katie Redford


Katie Redford is an actress and writer from Nottingham in the East Midlands and we spoke to her about her latest film Ghosted, a mockumentary about the spiritual and unknown that was part-funded by the BFI.


Midlands Movies editor Mike Sales got the low down on Katie's regional connections, her admiration for Ricky Gervais and the trials and tribulations of getting her new film off the ground using crowd-funding and a grant from the BFI.


Hi Katie. Can you please tell us a bit about yourself and how you got into your current position in the industry?

Yes, of course. I'm from Nottingham. I was born in Stapleford but grew up mostly in Long Eaton. I went to London to train as an actress but one of my first jobs in the industry was working as a floor runner in TV. It was a brilliant job when it came to learning the different roles behind the scenes and witnessing just how much goes into a production, but I couldn't do it for long as I got too jealous of the actors!


And where did you go from there?

After a few years of juggling part time, I won the BBC Norman Beaton Fellowship which is a scheme BBC Radio Drama run for actors who haven't trained at an accredited drama school and I had 6 months working with the BBC Radio Drama Rep. From that point, I started working full time professionally as an actress in both TV and radio and started writing on the side for various local scratch nights. I was then accepted into BBC Comedy Writersroom so started writing more from that point.


Sounds great. Can you also tell us a bit about GHOSTED? How did you come up with the idea?

Ghosted is a comedy about a woman who loses her husband and as a result, turns to the world of the paranormal. We were both interested in different aspects of the paranormal and we just merged them together. My inspiration for the idea came from a paranormal investigation company that my friend runs. They meet at various old venues in Nottingham and Derbyshire with the aim to witness paranormal activity. The whole idea of the paranormal fascinates me but I also was intrigued as to know why people feel the need to find out / explore this bizarre phenomenon.



Photo credit: Toby Laurence & Jemma Benson
Photo credit: Toby Laurence & Jemma Benson

And how did the cast come on board?

Anna Wilson Jones, a brilliant actress who's also in the film, came on board to co-produce the project with us and suggested we send Alison Steadman the script. They'd worked together a few years before and thought it was worth a shot, which it most certainly was! We then approached the actors we really wanted and luckily, they all said yes!


What were the influences on your film?

There were a few, but I'd say mostly Spinal Tap, What We Do In The Shadows (Jermaine Clement's version), The Office & This Country. Duncan and I are huge fans of all of them and were inspired by mainly their tone and humour.


And what were the challenges you faced as local independent filmmaker?

There's lots of challenges - before pre shoot, during shoot and post shoot! In terms of pre shoot challenges, I think when you're an "unknown filmmaker, it's always going to be slightly trickier. It's a bigger risk when it comes to people investing in you and your project because they don't quite know what they're signing up for. For me, it was the first project I'd ever produced so there were lots of challenges for that reason alone.



Photo credit: Toby Laurence & Jemma Benson
Photo credit: Toby Laurence & Jemma Benson

And funding?

Funding is always going to be some what of a challenge but we decided to do things slightly differently and only apply for funding once we'd shot Ghosted. I was getting frustrated with the amount of hoops I was having to jump through to get a script read, let alone made, so we didn't want anything holding us up - we got a team together and shot it. It was afterwards that we launched a Kickstarter campaign and we managed to raise just over £6k, which really helped us in post.


How did the BFI involvement come about?

Again, it was something we looked into once we'd shot the film. I saw online that BFI NETWORK offered various grants and there was a Midlands branch so due to my connection, I sent an email along with our Kickstarter video. We recently found out that our Kickstarter video hugely influenced the decision to award us with the grant, so it really is vital getting that on point!


Was the process a smooth one?

Ghosted was one of the first short films to be produced by BFI Network in the Midlands so for us, the trickiest thing was simply waiting, as I think everyone was still finding their feet with the process of it all. But we were fortunate enough to have Alexzandra Jackson from BFI Network, who came on board as Exec Producer. Whenever there was a hold up or there was an issue, we'd just contact her and she'd reassure us with where everything was at.



Photo credit: Toby Laurence & Jemma Benson
Photo credit: Toby Laurence & Jemma Benson

And what has been the most difficult hurdle you have had to overcome yourself?

Firstly, to have patience - to accept that just because things don't happen instantly, it doesn't mean they won't happen at all. And secondly, if there's something I don't understand, to just ask. Because it was the first project I'd produced, there were certain things I wasn't sure about. For instance, when it came to paying our cast and crew (thanks to BFI Network funding!) I had no idea about issuing contracts and various clauses. As an actress, I'm used to my agent dealing with that side of things. But I just asked a few friends of mine who had produced and that really helped. The best piece of advice that was given to me from another producer was: "Everyone's blagging it. It's just about having the confidence, communicating and asking for help when you need it."


Moving onto your own personal tastes, do you have any heroes in the industry or favourite films you love?

I don't have a firm favourite - it's a bit all over the shop to be honest. I love Christmas films. And horror films. Paranormal Activity/ The Exorcist in particular. I also love Four Weddings and a Funeral. So, there's not exactly a pattern emerging. I have a few heroes in comedy; Ricky Gervais, Caroline Aherne, Ruth Jones & Peter Kay. They're all comedy legends who have carved the way for their own work.


And what has been your greatest achievement or success?

Having Alison Steadman as the lead in my first short film is pretty much up there at the minute!


So finally, what are your future plans for Ghosted?

It's currently doing the film festival circuit at the minute. It's doing well internationally having been selected for festivals in the US and Australia and we're looking forward to seeing it at Underwire and Aesthetica. We discussed plans for a TV series and have had a few meetings but they're just ideas at the minute.


And any advice to give to other Midlands filmmakers?

Get a good team around you. If in doubt, just ask. Don't let things hold you up - momentum is key! And remember, 'everyone's blagging it' - so just do it!


Thanks Katie!


Find out more about Ghosted at the official websuite: https://www.ghostedfilm.co.uk


The trailer for the film is below:




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, Mar 13 2019 12:06PM



QUAD’s Summer Nights Outdoor Film Festival returns in 2019


Summer Nights Outdoor Film Festival has announced venues, dates and films for its 2019 festival which runs from 4th July to 22nd September. Back for a ninth year the festival has expanded to twenty locations across the country.


Presented by QUAD on an inflatable screen, Summer Nights is the chance to enjoy a unique open-air cinematic experience at stunning heritage venues. Brand new venues for 2019 include Bolsover Castle and Kenilworth Castle, Coughton Court, Witley Court, Ormesby Hall and Battle Abbey.


Screenings include recent blockbusters including The Greatest Showman, A Star Is Born, Mamma Mia: Here We Go Again and the Oscar winning Bohemian Rhapsody alongside the return of the ever-popular Dirty Dancing, Ghost, Grease and Pretty Woman. There are also one-off titles such as Terminator 2: Judgement Day Monty Python And The Holy Grail and Purple Rain, plus further screenings to be announced.


The start times of the films vary, the screenings will start just after sunset. Many screenings have English subtitles for the Deaf and hard of hearing. Tickets for the films are £15.50 for adults or £10.50 for those aged under 12, tickets for children aged under five years are free. Tickets for group bookings of eight or more people are £12.50 for adults or £8.50 for those aged under 12.


The venues dates and films that have been announced are as follows:


Kedleston Hall, Derbyshire

Friday 5th July Bohemian Rhapsody (12A)

Saturday 6th July Ghost (12A)


Baddesley Clinton, Warwickshire

Friday 26th July Bohemian Rhapsody (12A)

Saturday 27th July The Greatest Showman (PG)


Bolsover Castle, Derbyshire

Friday 26th July Bohemian Rhapsody (12A)


Calke Abbey, Derbyshire

Thursday 1st August Bohemian Rhapsody (12A)


Kenilworth Castle, Warwickshire

Thursday 1st August Grease (PG)

Friday 2nd August The Lost Boys (15)

Saturday 3rd August Bohemian Rhapsody (12A)


Belton House, Lincolnshire

Saturday 10th August Bohemian Rhapsody (12A)


Coughton Court, Warwickshire

Friday 9th August Bohemian Rhapsody (12A)

Saturday 10th August Dirty Dancing (12A)


Mickleover Sports, Derbyshire

Tuesday 13th August Bohemian Rhapsody (12A) Subtitled

Wednesday 14th August A Star Is Born (15)


Hardwick Hall, Derbyshire

Friday 16th August Pretty Woman (15)

Saturday 17th August Bohemian Rhapsody (12A)

Sunday 18th August The Rocky Horror Picture Show (15) Subtitled


Wollaton Hall, Nottinghamshire

Thursday 22nd August A Star Is Born (15) Subtitled

Friday 23rd August Bohemian Rhapsody (12A)

Saturday 24th August Labyrinth (U)

Sunday 25th August Purple Rain (15)

Monday 26th August Mamma Mia: Here We Go Again (PG)


Attingham Park, Shropshire

Saturday 7th September Bohemian Rhapsody (12A)


Witley Court, Worcestershire

Thursday 19th September Dirty Dancing (12A)

Friday 20th September Bohemian Rhapsody (12A)


The Greatest Showman is the best-selling musical based on the true tale of the life of showman P.T. Barnum. Starring Hugh Jackman as the legendary figure alongside an all-star cast including Michelle Williams, Zac Efron, Zendaya and Rebecca Ferguson. Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga star in the latest version of A Star Is Born, the story of a musician helping a young singer find fame, but age and alcoholism send his own career into a downward spiral.


Mamma Mia: Here We Go Again is packed full of more ABBA inspired song and dance numbers! When Sophie discovers she is pregnant, she delves into a quest of discovery into her mother Donna’s colourful past. Cher joins the cast as Grandmother. Rami Malek is Freddie Mercury in the foot stomping biopic Bohemian Rhapsody, following the meteoric rise of the band through their iconic songs and revolutionary sound, their near implosion as Mercury’s lifestyle spirals out of control, and their triumphant 1985 Live Aid reunion.


“Nobody puts Baby in the corner!” in Dirty Dancing drama, music and romance are the order of the day for Frances “Baby” Houseman as she spends summer in a holiday camp and falls in love with dance instructor Johnny Castle (Patrick Swayze). In Ghost Sam (Patrick Swayze) and Molly (Demi Moore) are madly in love, but when Sam is murdered he is left to roam the earth as a powerless spirit. Sam seeks the help of psychic Oda Mae Brown (Whoopi Goldberg) to set things right and protect Molly.


Grease is the ultimate High School Musical, set amid the 1950’s teenage social and peer prejudices of the tumultuous final year of high school. The story about love found on a summer beach, then lost and found again. Pretty Woman, the breakout hit for Julia Roberts, who plays a beautiful call girl who is hired by Richard Gere’s businessman for a social event. But then they begin to fall in love…


For more information or to buy tickets see www.summernightsfilm.co.uk




By midlandsmovies, Jan 24 2019 11:30AM



Filmmakers homage to Saturday Night and Sunday Morning for 60th Anniversary


Local filmmakers Them Pesky Kids and director Luke Radford are releasing a homage to Alan Sillitoe’s "Saturday Night and Sunday Morning" to celebrate the original film’s approaching 60th anniversary at Rough Trade on the 1st of February.


On February 1st of January, Nottingham Director Luke Radford and Them Pesky Kids are hosting a launch night at Rough Trade Nottingham to mark the online release of their homage to Alan Sillitoe’s Saturday Night and Sunday Morning.


Aptly titled, “I’ll be Here After the Factory is Gone” tells a modern day reimagining of Arthur Seaton’s story expressing just how relevant the book and film still is today 60 years later.


Having already screened at Nottingham Contemporary in July, and Broadway Cinema in September as part of their Working Class Heroes season preceding the original film, the Rough Trade screening will mark the third and final public screening of the film before releasing its online release.


With free entry and featuring musical performances from The Ruffs and DJs throughout the night, the event will be taking donations to raise money for the St Anns Advice Centre and Food Bank, a charity dedicated to helping inhabitants in some of the most in need areas of Nottingham.


A modern day homage to Alan Sillitoe’s “Saturday Night and Sunday Morning”. Arthur is a young man stuck in the 9 to 5 office grind, finding his salvation in booze, parties, and women; until a new love brings clarity to his world. Directed by Luke Radford, Starring Aaron Lodge, Kelly Jaggers, and Esmeé Matthews. Set to music of Nottingham band The Ruffs. You can read our full Midlands Movies review by clicking this link.



Director Luke Radford adds, "I saw Saturday Night and Sunday Morning a few years ago and immediately read the book it's based on. It’s over 60 years since it was first released and the environment, themes and characters still resonate".


"I took themes and key elements of the original narrative and placed them in a contemporary setting with Arthur Seaton now working in telesales rather than the Raleigh factory.".


The film will be released online via Them Pesky Kids’ Vimeo and social media pages on the 1st of February at 7.30pm. Them Pesky Kids is a production company based in Nottingham who produce films and provide video content and solutions to a range of companies, www.thempeskykids.co.uk


Luke Radford recently had the limited theatrical release of his debut feature film Outlawed, which is also currently available in the USA on DVD/VOD. The UK release is set for mid 2019. Luke also teaches Film Production at Confetti ICT as he works towards his next project.



By midlandsmovies, Nov 23 2018 01:08PM



Calibre (2018) Dir. Matt Palmer


In the last 2 years Netflix has been the home of interesting independent film that allows the platform to champion smaller films and lesser known filmmakers and has, please see my best of the year lists from 2016 & 2017, created many more satisfying movies in the process.


During the same period, a number of Midlands filmmakers have seen their productions gain bigger budgets and with access to more resources and developing talents, Calibre is a film that bridges these two exciting areas – especially with a focus such as ours.


Here, Nottingham’s Wellington Films have created a thriller set in Scotland where two friends embark on a hunting excursion in the Highlands. Marcus (Martin McCann) is a confident businessman who invites childhood friend Vaughn (Jack Lowden) to a shoot in the woods and after entering a small village plagued by economic woes, settle down in a bar before their hunt the next morning. That evening they meet two girls and Marcus leaves the pub with one despite receiving a warning from a local.


The next morning and with heavy hangovers the duo head to the woods and Vaughn, shooting for the first time, accidentally kills a young boy in a fluke shot. The boy’s father appears and raises his gun but Marcus shoots him dead before convincing Vaughn no one will believe it was an accident. They bury the bodies at night and then do their best to exit town.


The film sets up its simple premise with thoughtful and engaging character work, small details are symbolically presented throughout and the location is equally the great outdoors and the oppressive indoors. This sense of inescapability – both physically and from the terrible past act – is the film’s driving force. A knife in the tyres from the brother of one of the girls they were warned away from means the two lads’ car becomes incapacitated. And this in surmounting pressure of the town becomes more and more unbearable with the audience unable to escape their own feelings of unpreventable pressure.


Unable to fix their vehicle quickly and with the local taxi driver drunk, the locals set out in search of the missing boy after their suspicions become aroused. And as the reality starts to hit home, the film heads into dark territory as the secrets become a scary reality for everyone involved.


Both leads hold the film together – Jack Lowden is excellent as the wide-eyed hunt virgin whose expression of innocence slowly turns to physical sickness – whilst Martin McCann’s performance is a fantastic mixture of loud-mouth cockiness and sinister self-assurance.


The direction captures the Scottish area well and each location is brilliantly filmed and perfectly establishes the setting and scene. From cosy but awkward local pubs to dirty farm buildings, they sit well alongside photography of forests which show beauty, but also horror, as they hide mysteries (and bodies) within the confines of stifling trees.


A great support cast play a host of residents, none of which you can be entirely sure are kindly residents or lethal locals, but it’s this guessing game that maintains Calibre’s invigorating narrative. With a hint of Kill List, a dashing of Wicker Man and splash of In Bruges, Calibre’s thematic influences are varied but it carves out its own unique position as a tremendously tight and tense thriller.


7.5/10


Mike Sales


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 Richard (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, Nov 11 2018 09:54AM



Robin Hood The Rebellion (2018) Dir. Nicholas Winter


Back in 1991 two Robin Hood films were released with Kevin Costner’s infamous Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves going head-to-head in an archery competition with the lower budget Robin Hood starring Patrick Bergin. Now in 2018 we have a similar experience with the Hollywood blockbuster Robin Hood and this low budget UK film.


Here, the background of the merry men coming together is jettisoned, as a coda at the start gives us a few lines to set up the story – which to be fair, would be well-known by the majority an audience familiar with the often-told legend. We are then thrust into a fight scene showing the current brutality of the Sheriff of Nottingham’s men against the band of outlaws hiding in the forest. Some good drone shots and authentic location work set up the period well, alongside solid costume design. At least here we don’t get the blockbuster “reinvention” which (at the time of writing and only the trailer out) looks on initial viewing like a CGI mess.


In summary, the story has Maid Marian (Marie Everett) being kidnapped by the Sheriff (James Oliver Wheatley) forcing Robin (Ben Freeman) to rescue her. Sadly the solid beginning and competent shadowy and fire-lit cinematography is undone by some rather bland story-telling. The stirring music is almost constant throughout, which gives the film no light or shade. About 25 minutes in we get our first shot of a stone castle but this is the first major location change. It comes far too late and a forest is only so interesting to look at and the woods give the movie the unfortunate tone of a fan-film. Again, same music. Same locations. Same action.


The film reminded me of the worst excesses of Zak Snyder – it looks the business but slow-motion is used when not needed and every line of “lofty”, but too expository, dialogue is delivered with so much emphasis it comes across as pantomime-like. When these “trailer” lines (“we MUST fight”) are so commonplace, development is difficult as no-one has regular conversations that enlighten their character.


It could do with a huge dollop of light-heartedness too (the best Hood tales for me have an abundance of camp fun) and the film reminds me of the rather dour Ridley Scott version from a few years back. And a much-needed OTT cameo from Prince of Thieves-starring Brian Blessed is too little too late.


Sadly then, although the filmmaker has done well with a low-budget, the story just isn’t there to maintain the required interest and the dialogue instils little empathy with the characters. Especially with Robin himself seemingly quite murderous in this version. So despite some great location work and cinematography, those two fantastic elements alone cannot overcome the film’s flaws so it’s difficult to recommend despite its honourably good intentions.


5/10


Michael Sales

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