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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 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, 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

By midlandsmovies, Nov 4 2018 08:44AM



Midlands Spotlight - Nottingham International Film Festival


The Nottingham International Film Festival is taking place at the Cineworld and Nottingham Arts Theatre from the 11th-15th November and is showing a great selection of independent film from around the world.


After two successful years the festival is expanding in length and will be spread across two venues with Nottingham’s city centre cinema Cineworld and stalwart of Nottingham’s arts scene The Nottingham Arts Theatre hosting a mix of feature and documentary films, short films, experimental, music videos and animations.


The opening night documentary, The Ballad of a Righteous Merchant, is about Werner Herzog and the making of his film My Son, My Son, What Have Ye Done.


The film is playing at Cineworld on 11th November at 4PM and the director will be doing a Q&A after the screening. Check out http://www.nottiff.com/ballad-of-righteous-merchant for all the information and to buy tickets.



Screenings at the Arts Theatre are great value for money as they include both a Short Film Showcase and a feature presentation for the price of one ticket. Viewers can also grab a selection of passes for the Cineworld screenings, including all six films for £24 (£20 for students).


A 60-Minute Short Film Showcase and feature film double bill at The Nottingham Arts Theatre can be purchased for just £7.50


For all ticket options and offer click here: http://www.nottiff.com/tickets-and-passes/

For more details please visit http://www.nottiff.com


Full Line-Up below:


Ballad of a Righteous Merchant

HERBERT GOLDER / UNITED STATES / 63 MINUTES / ENGLISH LANGUAGE

Starring: Werner Herzog, Michael Shannon, Chloë Sevigny, Willem Dafoe

Playing at 4pm on Sunday 11th November at Cineworld Nottingham


Opening Night Shorts

A selection of short films from around the world with stars Billy Bob Thornton, Stephen Graham and Alfred Molina in the linuep.

Playing at 6:30PM on 11TH November, Cineworld


Octav

SERGE IOAN CELEBIDACHI / ROMANIA / 100 MINUTES / ROMANIAN WITH ENGLISH SUBTITLES

Starring: Marcel Iures, Victor Rebengiuc, Lia Bugnar

Playing at 6pm on Monday 12th November at Cineworld Nottingham


My Year with Helen

GAYLENE PRESTON / NEW ZEALAND / 93 MINUTES / ENGLISH LANGUAGE

Starring: Helen Clark

Playing at 8:30pm on Monday 12th November at Cineworld Nottingham


Behind the Mirror

DIETMAR GAMPER, LINDA ROEHL / ITALY / 73 MINUTES / GERMAN WITH ENGLISH SUBTITLES

Starring: Hanna Weithaler, Veronika Pircher, Walter Tribus

Includes Tuesday Night Short Film Showcase

Playing at 7PM on Tuesday 13th November at the Nottingham Arts Theatre


Phantompain

ANDREAS OLENBERG / GERMANY / 98 MINUTES / GERMAN WITH ENGLISH SUBTITLES

Starring: Daniel Littau, Sven Martinek, Jessica Boehrs

Includes Wednesday Night Short Film Showcase

Playing at 7PM on Wednesday 14th November 7PM at the Nottingham Arts Theatre


You Can’t Say No

PAUL KRAMER / UNITED STATES / 91 MINUTES / ENGLISH LANGUAGE

Starring: Marguerite Moreau, Annie Monroe, Peter Fonda

Playing at 6pm on Thursday 15th November at Cineworld Nottingham


When The Storm Fades

SEAN DEVLIN / CANADA / 81 MINUTES / ENGLISH LANGUAGE

Starring: Kayla Lorette, Ryan Beil

Includes Thursday Night Short Film Showcase

Playing at 7PM on Thursday 15th November at the Nottingham Arts Theatre


Laddie: The Man Behind the Movies

AMANDA LADD-JONES / UNITED STATES / 84 MINUTES / ENGLISH LANGUAGE

Starring: Alan Ladd Jnr, Morgan Freeman, Ridley Scott, Mel Gibson, Sigourney Weaver

Playing at 8:30pm on Thursday 15th November at Cineworld Nottingham

By midlandsmovies, Oct 4 2018 08:59AM



Midlands Spotlight - Mayhem Film Festival


The Mayhem Film Festival was founded in 2005 by filmmakers Steven Sheil and Chris Cooke and screens the best in contemporary horror, science-fiction and cult cinema from around the world right here in the Midlands.


And their forthcoming 2018 festival is no different. Featuring premieres, previews, masterclasses and international special guest filmmakers - as well and unique live cinema events - the festival has developed a reputation as one of the most innovative horror genre festivals in the country.


Running from 11th October to 14th October the event is based at Nottingham’s Broadway – one of the UK's leading independent cinemas and creative hubs.


Festival Co-Director Chris Cooke has an illustrious career by writing and directing Film 4/BFI funded comedy feature One For The Road whilst fellow Co-Director Steven Sheil is also a screenwriter and director. His first feature film, the microbudget Mum & Dad (2008) was described by Total Film as 'one of the defining British horrors of its generation'.


And with something for every fright fan, please check out the full line up for the 4-days below!


THURSDAY 11 OCTOBER

7.30PM - ANNA AND THE APOCALYPSE + Q&A // Dir. John McPhail

10PM - NIGHTMARE CINEMA // Dirs. Joe Dante, Mick Garris, Alejandro Brugués, Ryûhei Kitamura & David Slade


FRIDAY 12 OCTOBER

2.15PM - THE WHITE REINDEER // Dir. Erik Blomberg

3.45PM - PIERCING // Dir. Nicolas Pesce

6.15PM - NIGHTSHOOTERS + Q&A // Dir. Marc Price

8.30PM - PUPPET MASTER: THE LITTLEST REICH // Dirs. Sonny Laguna & Tommy Wiklund

10.30PM - MANDY // Dir. Panos Costamos


SATURDAY 13 OCTOBER

12PM - ONE CUT OF THE DEAD // Dir. Shin'inchiro Ueda

2PM - PROSPECT - UK Premiere // Dirs. Chris Caldwell & Zeek Earl

4PM - NUMBER 37 - UK Premiere // Dir. Nosipho Dumisa

6.45PM - SHORT FILM SHOWCASE // Dirs. Various

9PM - THE DEVIL'S DOORWAY + Q&A //Dir. Aislinn Clarke

11PM - DEMONS + CHOWBOYS (UK Premiere) // Dir. Lamberto Bava


SUNDAY 14 OCTOBER

12PM - INUYASHIKI - UK Premiere // Dir. Shinsuke Sato

2.30PM - THE FIELD GUIDE TO EVIL // Dirs. Ashim Ahluwalia, Can Evrenol, Severin Fiala, Veronika Franz, Katrin Gebbe, Calvin Reeder, Agnieszka Smoczynska, Peter Strickland & Yannis Veslemes

4.45PM - THE WITCH IN THE WINDOW //Dir. Andy Mitton

6.15PM - The Flinterrogation in Cafébar

7.15PM - THE NIGHTSHIFTER //Dir. Dennison Ramalho

9.30PM - WHAT KEEPS YOU ALIVE // Dir. Colin Minihan


Check out the festival's official website here:

http://www.mayhemfilmfestival.com


By midlandsmovies, Sep 4 2018 07:50PM



Midlands Interview - Emmeline Kellie


From Nottingham's Film and TV Tweet Up to acting in recent action film Outlawed, Emmeline Kellie is a force to be reckoned with after being involved in film in front of and behind the camera at every level of production.


With such a diverse cinematic background and with her new project Keep Breathing recently launched, Midlands Movies writer Guy Russell speaks to Emmeline about her short film which has been created in light of the #metoo movement.


Guy Russell: You’ve recently launched the funding campaign for Keep Breathing, is crowdfunding a format you have used before and if so were you successful?

Emmeline Kellie: Nope, this is the very first time! I still feel extremely nervous about it even though we’re already two weeks in! It’s been really hard because all of us have been working full time while running it so it hasn’t had the TLC it needs. I’ve come to realise that Crowdfunding really is a full-time job. I probably wouldn’t advise doing it unless you have a dedicated team to do shifts, or you can take four weeks off of work!


Please tell us more about Keep Breathing, I understand it tackles the importance of sexual consent?

Keep Breathing is a powerful and incisive look at attitudes towards consent, rape, and victim blaming. It has a tightly plotted script that challenges two characters that don’t conform to the typical depictions of victim and perpetrator. The situation we explore is extremely common and goes widely unreported, yet when it is reported, both parties often have very different perceptions about what they’ve encountered. Not every victim of rape says no, and not every perpetrator understands the boundaries of consent. This film will engage the audience, provoke thought, provide a voice and encourage discussion, which is the essential next step towards changing attitudes.


Whilst the message is extremely important to us, the script is actually something we’re very proud of as well. It has interesting characters and it’s gripping, pacey and emotional. The message is actually drawn out very subtly through it. Most of the dialogue is ambiguous and laced with deeper meaning, so it’s a drama on the surface, but an eye-opener underneath.


What has the reaction been so far?

Amazing. Of those who have been sent the script, we’ve had a few say it’s the best short film script they’ve read which is so encouraging. I think the last person to read it was a documentary filmmaker called Miguel Gaudencio who our writer Tommy Draper worked with about ten years ago. He said “I think this is Tommy’s best script. I LOVE it! It screwed my head, which is great, and I love the fact that characters are not stereotypical. It’s a very powerful drama and so well set up.” I was quite pleased with that reaction! Especially as Tommy’s other work is just incredible.


Since putting the campaign out there, we’ve also had a lot of people getting in touch saying much it resonates with them and how glad they are that we’re trying to do something about it. So overall, a really positive response!



Was there a specific moment which inspired you to start writing Keep Breathing, or was the idea brewing for a while?

I believe it was at 2:39am on Christmas morning just gone. I was in bed and couldn’t sleep. My head was swimming with #metoo stuff, and how even though everyone else had publicly nodded to their experiences of sexual assault and rape, I hadn’t felt I could because there were some incidents I just didn’t want to open myself up to talking about, and then there was one where I was still convinced that what had happened was my fault. I was drunk and had said no repeatedly, then after about half an hour of persistence while I was trying to sleep, I gave in because it was easier. I didn’t say the word ‘yes’ but my body gave in. Why didn’t I stagger out of there? Why wasn’t I firmer with him? Why did I even agree to staying there? But I was so drunk and verging on the edge of consciousness. He was sober. It really messed with my head afterwards for so long. But why? It seemed so trivial- just one of those things that happen when you get too drunk.


I then deliberately shifted my mind onto film because I didn’t want to think about it anymore. I said to myself “Right, come up with an idea for a film with two characters in one location so we can just crack on with it and make something decent in a month’s time”… and that’s when the idea just came to me. Checked the time. 2:39. Bam. Except it grew into something so much bigger that we wanted to put a lot more time and effort into, to do it justice.


You co-wrote Keep Breathing with Tommy Draper, what was Tommy like as a writing partner?

Amazing. The thing I’m really bad at is writing a first draft, but he did it quickly, threw some brilliant ideas into the pot and then we had a really solid foundation to work with. Mark, our director, was also involved every step of the way giving notes on every other draft. The first two drafts we did actually went in a completely different direction, and then we sat down to work out exactly what we wanted the piece to say which is what turned it into the compelling story we have now. Tommy and I took in turns to play with the script. He was fine-tuning the action and the drama while I was fine-tuning a lot of the dialogue. We had a good balance and I don’t think we had any disagreements. Having said that…. I’d love to see his response to this question! Probably quite different!


Your short film Cadence was quite the success, it has had over a million views and is currently being used as an education tool about driving awareness, is there something similar you’d like to achieve with Keep Breathing?

Definitely. We want to tour it around schools, colleges and universities with a workshop and presentation. The film will get students’ attention (we all liked watching videos in school!) and afterwards, we can kick off the conversation with a discussion about the story and characters. Getting people talking about it, thinking about it, and aware of it is the first step to solving it as it should mean that they are more mindful when in the moment. Once it’s done its educational tours and film festival circuit, we want to release it online with a campaign, containing some facts and statistics found in our on-going survey and research. Hopefully the festivals will help give it the buzz it needs for a strong online launch.


Keep Breathing and Cadence are quite similar in the sense that both short films have an important story to tell, they have narratives that will feel familiar to a lot of people but are not shown enough in the media. Is there a reason you’re attracted to telling stories like these?

I think the reason I found an interest in filmmaking was because of how movies made me feel, and the things I learned from them. For example, take the film The Butterfly Effect, this film realigned my thinking and outlook on life. I’m not even sure it intended to. I used to constantly be living in the past thinking “what if I’d done that differently, where would I be now?”.. I’d really dwell on my decisions after I made them, and it’d keep me awake at night wondering if I’ve done the right thing. Even when I was 6 I ran down to my mum crying at midnight because I regretted the choice I made about which sunglasses to buy three weeks previous. The Butterfly Effect made me realise that going back and trying to fix things would disrupt everything else, and that everything happens for a reason. Some other films that have influenced my thinking or taught me something valuable are Seven Pounds, The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas, Detroit, The Day After Tomorrow and tonnes more. Filmmaking is such a powerful tool. It provides entertainment and escapism, but it can also change the world.



Alex Stroud & Emmeline Kellie at the Midlands Movies Awards 2018
Alex Stroud & Emmeline Kellie at the Midlands Movies Awards 2018

You’re an Actor, Producer and Writer, do you have a favourite and why?

I’d say my heart belongs to acting but I really do love it all.


Do you see a future where you actively undertake all three roles or is there one you would like to focus all your efforts on in the future?

I think acting is what I actually want to do for a career. I really, really want to go into TV and work on lots of amazing projects with talented and inspiring people. In an ideal world, acting is where I’d make my income, however, I think I’m always going to have a passion project on the go as well. If I can produce at least one really decent film every year, I’ll be happy - it’s such a fulfilling experience.


What is your experience filmmaking in the Midlands, is it a good region to make films in?

The East Midlands is fantastic. We have such a wonderful close-knit film community and everyone is so keen and supportive. I think everyone has worked with everyone at some point, and we have at least a handful of amazingly talented people to fill every single position in a film crew. Apart from a grip maybe- I’m not sure I know any grips.


Was there a specific moment in your life where you knew you wanted to embark on a career in the media/film?

Not that I can remember. I’ve always wanted to act since I was small. I loved school plays, loved going to the Valle Academy of Performing Arts and loved making my mum sit through many private performances that I’m sure she was a huge fan of. Film came about quite suddenly when I was presented with the brief for my GCSE art coursework. My teacher said “you can do whatever you like, whether it’s a painting, a sketch, pottery, a sculpture, a cross-stitch… hell you could even make a film if you’re crazy enough!” … I chose crazy and I loved it. Picked up a crappy digital camera from my mum’s drawer, flicked it into video mode and bribed my friends to act for me, and then started shooting. Never looked back.


What should the industry be doing that it currently isn’t for independent filmmakers such as yourself?

Funding. I just feel like the amount of hoops you have to jump through to get any kind of funding secured for a film, whether it’s a short or feature, is soul-destroying. Although I do understand that there’s sadly not much money in the pot anymore. Maybe there should be more peer-mentorship and shadowing opportunities set up with the people who are achieving the things we all want to be achieving. I don’t really know but it’s so hard to move forward.


Keep Breathing aside, have you any other projects in the pipeline?

There’s lots of ideas being thrown about at the minute - I think it’ll either be a fun, snappy short that we can do on a couple hundred quid, or our first feature!


If people would like to take part in the funding for Keep Breathing, how can they do so?

You can find all details on our campaign page: www.crowdfunder.co.uk/kbshortfilm


Be sure to check out all the rewards! The campaign ends on 17th September at 10:00am.



By midlandsmovies, Aug 29 2018 06:55PM



Outlawed (2018)


Directed by Adam Collins & Luke Radford


Outlaw Productions


“Who do you think you are? Bruce Willis?”


So says one cop in new Nottingham film Outlawed. And by all accounts, co-director, co-writer and main star of the film Adam Collins – also a former Royal Marine Commando – may just be exactly that in his new flick which does a damn good imitation of Die Hard and similar retro actioners.


We open on Nottingham in 1996 as we hover over the city at night before unhinged criminal Harry Archibald (Ian Hitchens) executes the city’s Mayor in an alley in a ruthless power move. But the whole incident is witnessed which sets in motion the story of Outlawed.


A local film of some flair, we are then whisked away to Afghanistan – via a CGI plane – and the first thing to note is the amazing production values of what could have been a homemade affair.


As the titles roll we get a parachute drop, a shoot-out and an impressive award ceremony. Whatever little money the filmmakers have is all up on screen and whilst the accents keep it firmly a Midlands film, the movie has far more Hollywood sheen than I was expecting.


This is partly the result of the fantastic professional look from the five cinematographers. The shadows, the lighting, the silhouettes and even the daytime shooting from the combined efforts of Robert Beck, Troy Edige, Will Price, Nico Turner and Louis Vella all make it incredibly visually interesting. They film Nottingham landmarks such as Trent Bridge, Nottingham City War Memorial and Nottingham Council House with great skill from the start.


Back to the story, we get to find out that commando Jake O’Neill returns from war to be offered a deal with Archibald now in his new position of power. After refusing he struggles to adjust to normal life and when he finds his girlfriend cheating on him, his life begins to spiral out of control.


However, when a girl from his past (Jessica Norris as Jade Roberts) contacts him to investigate her father’s death, he agrees but soon after a failed rescue mission in which a young boy loses his life, Jake completely self-destructs in orgies of drink and drugs. The film’s acting is solid but there are times when clichéd dialogue slips in a bit too often (“I’m not cut out to play happy families”, “welcome to the party” and “there’s no school like the old school”). These are quirky nods to other action films but seemed a bit too familiar in their repetition.


However, it’s the action – also influenced by 80s and 90s classics – that is most impressive here. A deal-gone-wrong at a car yard that ends in a violent shootout with machine guns and explosions and is impressively handled. And as the narrative steamrolls ahead – albeit a bit messily – there’s frankly no time to get bored at all.


A sequence of commandos tackling an armed group of hostage-takers filmed in an abandoned factory has echoes of Robocop and slews of bloodied guts hark back to Verhoeven’s other brutal classic Total Recall. A nice Wilhelm scream is a sly nod to old Hollywood stunt-work yet leads us to the amazing sound mixing. Outlawed has expertly handled the difficult balancing act of complex explosions and gun shots alongside the dialogue and is a joy to the ears as well as the eyes!


From a snow-covered graveyard to an impressive church, the sheer variety of visuals throughout is spectacular for this level of filmmaking. Only an operation room betrays the film’s production values. Yet, as we pick up Jake in his most dire of times, his dismissal means he heads to a casino to gamble. And with his tuxedo and liquor, Adam Collins could easily be considered for the next James Bond. Some racy sex scenes are sprinkled throughout and Collins’ natural charm on screen works well with the confidence shown behind the camera where he has utilised different influences from a genre he’s clearly passionate about.


And whilst the script could do with some polish, the film’s ending is a spectacular revenge action sequence as Jake rescues his loved one from the clutches of the villain. Getting to this point we have seen all the right pieces for a Hollywood actioner – sex, style, seedy goings on as well as guns, bullets and explosions. However, this breath-taking finale will satisfy and then some. The full rampant final sequence includes motorcycle stunts, snipers, fist fights, people on fire as well as grenades and a rocket launcher (!)


Filmmakers who feel the leap from the local to Hollywood is too huge a barrier should study Outlawed. With plenty of inventive filming techniques, the film is the kind of movie that can see filmmakers move from the independent scene to larger studio-helmed projects.


One of the hardest things for me here is to review the film as being at the high end of the low budget local film community OR the low end of the high budget film community. It straddles both which is actually a huge compliment. Fans of Olympus Has Fallen will enjoy this, but the film demonstrates how local filmmakers are no longer showing them to “just their mates” but creating movies vying for position on your shelf or in your Netflix playlist.


Certainly not without some flaws – most of which come from a handful of over-used genre clichés – Outlawed should be seen as a high benchmark for regional filmmakers looking to create feature films that can compete in the big leagues. Tackling a genre – action – that requires a high degree of skill and dexterity on technical aspects like stunts, special effects and fight choreography is also no easy task. The fact that Outlawed delivers plenty of all of these in spades is testament to the startling cinematic talents of all the incredible cast and crew. And action fans will love the high-octane thrills and shattering action all the way through.


Mike Sales


By midlandsmovies, Aug 19 2018 07:30AM



Midlands Review - Bare


Recently released from prison is Steven Arnold’s Bill who in flashback is revealed to have been violent to his partner in a new drama film called BARE from Staffordshire director Ash Morris.


Bill initially seems withdrawn and somewhat forlorn as he makes his way back to his neighbourhood with his brother Ryan (Rob Haythorn of TV series Waterloo Road). Returning to his mum’s home, the narrative is interspersed with scenes of chaotic frenzy as we see Bob in his prison cell on the night of his arrest.


“A real man wouldn’t hit his woman", his mother screams at him at breakfast and the reality of his new position contrasts starkly with Ash Morris’ directorial use of flashbacks, which are a dreamy haze of blood and fierceness. A female victim, who is also pregnant, is seen drenched in blood staring at her reflection in a mirror seemingly contemplating the events that have just occurred.


Some smoky slow-motion shadow boxing and a Rocky-esque run in park with grey tracksuit shows Bill’s roots in violence before the film guides us to the shocking event itself.


Without scrimping on the graphic nature of the attack, we are then whisked back to present where William in joined by Bruce Jones (of Coronation Street) – an old friend who makes disturbingly light conversation of Will’s drink and violent past. And perhaps future.


Strangely, as although the violence isn’t condoned in Bare, the minor suggestion that alcohol or a woman’s taunting provokes the outrage is somewhat problematic. As someone who has been trained on the Freedom Programme, it is well established that whilst a lowering of inhibitions is without question through drink, the dominator shouldn’t be excused from choices made. Here in Bare, the character’s inherent violent nature could have been made more overt aside from the obvious boxing analogy.


That said, the film provides no easy answers and a great shot of blood-soaked water in a bath is a strikingly memorable image. Again, Bare doesn’t shy away from the harshness with a grotesque shot of his pregnant partner discharging blood shocking the audience in its deliberate portrayal.



Nottingham writer, and award-winning novelist, Nicola Monaghan says a lot with a little dialogue and the story’s non-linear structure gives us a glimpse into the past and future which was edited with great dexterity and form. Sound mixer Rick Smith, also from Nottingham, has worked on the This is England TV show and the brutal fist crunching, screaming matches and music are edited together brilliantly to give the film an aural jolt.


As we come to the film’s conclusion, a slide into the world of illegal underground fighting leaves hints, albeit small ones, of a touch of redemption and remorse as the reality of the consequences of the decisions he has made becoming hauntingly prescient.


A harsh uncompromising drama, Bare never lets up with its violence, darkness and serious tone which may be too much for sensitive viewers. However, it lays bare some horrible truths about domestic violence and the nature of its perpetrators, condemning and contemplating the various aspects of such situations. With technical flair and high production values, Bare is a fantastic Midlands film drama with strong performances from the whole cast and themes that will plague you long after watching.


Mike Sales




Watch the Bare teaser trailer below:






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