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By midlandsmovies, Sep 7 2016 08:11PM

Filmmaker Jordan Handford has been playing around with the idea of Capricious for a while as he has never been enitrely happy with it writes Midlands Movies writer Kira Comerford. But now finished, she catches up with this new Leicester short film premiered last month at The Shortish Cinema...

Capricious is about a family whose relationship is tested following a car crash in which a mother is injured. The connection between them changes as the father blames his son Sean (Andrew Joshi). But Sean chooses to deal with things in his own way, refusing to work and even talk which adds further strain to his parents, particularly his father, Alan (Eric Wharton).

Alan demands that Sean is brought along to the family business the following morning (Valentines Day) by his friend, Martin (played by Ed Spence). Encouraging Sean to break free from his reclusive life and become more active, this is at odds with Sean's mental state which is tested further when he and Martin arrive at a shop to discover a robbery has taken place. With no witnesses to hand, Sean and Martin are in no position to take matters into their own hands, are they?

The idea for Capricious stemmed from Jordan's viewing of Death Sentence. He had always found a great love for revenge films as he, like everyone, loves to see the good guys win. However, when it came to creating his own homage to the revenge films he had seen, the filmmaker wanted to make a project with a slight difference.

Capricious is the first film Handford has completed as both the writer and director, however he is keen to emphasise that the project was very much a team effort. The limited time and virtually non-existent budget has meant that Handford couldn't be more grateful for the time, effort and commitment the whole cast and crew have put in since work got underway. After having recently been showcased as part of The Short Cinema in Leicester, the team are hoping for a decent festival run while also working on a few other things that will get them back on set in a few months’ time.

And now for my short review of the short…

Capricious (2016) Dir. Jordan Handford

I have to say I quite enjoyed Capricious. The dark tone of the film was what I absolutely loved about it. Director Handford has said that he wanted a revenge film with a slight difference, and that is exactly what he presented to us. It was refreshing (although I don't imagine that is the phrase that first springs to mind) to see a film such as this where revenge is never really achieved by anyone.

There were a few really solid performances in the film, however Andrew Joshi was the standout. Despite saying little or nothing throughout the film, it is his performance that sticks in my mind a few days after watching the short.

Joshi provided quite a symbolic presence, and allowed the audience to come up with their own interpretations of what had happened, and what was about to happen. They say that less is more – something that was certainly the case with Joshi’s performance.

The ‘less is more’ approach is the angle that much of the film took. I found it to be quite minimalist, which is something that I rather enjoy seeing in all films. There was a a lot that was never said out loud, nor spelt out for the audience, but instead the film allowed the audience to come up with their own conclusions.

All in all, I was quietly impressed by Capricious. The minimalist approach taken by every aspect of the film saw the simple things done well, and the dark tone made the film oddly satisfying to watch. For me, however, the key thing was how many questions I was left with afterwards. Much like is the case with some of my favourite thrillers, there are so many things that were left open-ended with Capricious that I have kind of been left wanting more.

Kira Comerford

By midlandsmovies, Aug 28 2016 10:13AM

(for part 1 of this blog please click here)

After some quick refreshments and brief chat about the films from the first half, the second part of The Short Cinema kicked off with Saiyan Armour directed by Daryl Grizzle. This strange but amusing film was set on a council estate where three youths discuss their summer break. Amongst all the “bruvs” and teen bravado the film actually showcases one of them attempting to convince his friends that he spent his holidays on Planet Vegeta (a Dragonball Z reference). Confused? Well it brilliantly subverts expectations ending on a t-shirt reveal that is as surprising as it was satisfying. A curious but comical gem.


Sophie Black’s impressive Night Owls was previously reviewed by us a few months ago but this rewatch confirmed all our admiration for the film from the first viewing. A subtle drama shot in Victorian browns, the short covers a drama set on one wet night as two opposites are attracted in strange circumstances as characters bond over loneliness and being outsiders.


Keeping Shop directed by Raj Pathak was another film set in a late night shop and showed the conflicted relationship between a father and son during a botched (and often comedic) robbery. This failed hold-up opens old and unresolved family wounds and the film’s good gags sit with a sad undercurrent that were both balanced well.


Transcended was shown before our Star Wars screening and the sci-fi short shows a human being infected and becoming a dangerous ‘bomb’ in a remote setting. Great cinematography by director Christopher Bevan, the film combines horror and drama which sit together well. Alongside this is a remarkable cast comprising of A.J Stevenson (Cal), Michael Muyunda (Alix) and Julia Quayle (Bren).


Rajnish Sharma directed dark apocalyptic drama Ascension showing the struggle of a solitary man surviving in a bunker from scary and unknown aggressors. The ambiguous tone and nervy camera work helped create a sense of unease along with the protagonist which lifted the film above some of the clichés of a crackling radio voiceover and disturbed loner.


Congratulations must go to Best of Festival winner Dolls by Leicester filmmaker Keith Allott. We reviewed the film earlier in the year and the film’s discomforting atmosphere was a joy to experience again. The effective horror short used creepy toys and great sound (from Kris Tearse) to deliver possibly the moment of the night. Having seen it before I knew the use of a shocking jump cut would have the crowd screaming and it delivered in spectacular fashion as the scary jolt was broken with an embarrassed audience getting their breath back.


The penultimate film was James Hissett’s Art Film #1: The Struggle. With a title like that it was only going to go one way in the funniest film of the night. Parodying every awful arthouse/student film cliché the film was shot appropriately in black and white with all the pretentiousness you would expect. Hilarious scenes included a montage of sequences shot in reverse as well a stop-motion chair on a lonely factory floor. These were brilliantly undermined by a comedy voiceover from the fictional filmmaker who struggles to get out of bed, watches Buffy the Vampire Slayer and discusses his favourite cereal - the true callings of a 'conflicted' artist.


There were signs of incredibly happy faces at the show’s conclusion as On the Fence by Thaxnay Kapdee arrived in the form of a gloriously animated Pixar-esque short. This sweet CGI cartoon followed a love-struck boy’s attempts in wooing a girl from over the fence using kites. A radiant idea well-executed, this lovely film had exceptional warmth from a gifted animator with shining talent.


And with that, the festival ended on such a high there was nothing but congratulations and well-wishes to be shared by the audience and filmmakers alike. A spectacular event encapsulating not just the talent from the region but the encouragement, cooperation and support the film-making community in the area gives each other. Special thanks should go to the festival’s organiser Alexzandra Jackson who again has created the festival highlight of the year for Leicester and long may it continue for another 10 years.


Midlands Movies Mike

By midlandsmovies, Aug 28 2016 09:20AM

From its beginnings as a pop-up screening night in the “snug” of Leicester’s local real ale pub The Criterion, the Short Cinema has gone from showing local music videos on a DVD and projector to a 4-day film extravaganza at The Phoenix – the city’s premier independent cinema.

Celebrating local, national and now international filmmakers, the festival is commemorating its 10th triumphant year where it has given a unique platform to aspiring filmmakers from all genres.

The culmination of the 4-day event is the Saturday night main competition where a selection of respected judges vote for the year’s best in show. With submissions growing exponentially every year, it is an accomplishment that the festival has even managed to slim the entrants to just these fantastic films.

Arriving to a packed foyer at the Phoenix, filmmakers mingled with film fans and a buzzing audience queued early such was the anticipation for this special evening. Settling down with a lovingly crafted ‘goodie’ bag, I joined my fellow cinephiles for an evening of high quality drama, horror, animation and more.

The quality this year was as high as it has ever been so please read below for my thoughts on the films from the night after the jump...

Pitiful Corpses directed by Tom Young opened the evening with a monologue based on Chekhov’s work which was a simple and understated film to get things underway. A fantastic performance captured in extreme close up mixed the intricate words of the Russian playwright with a reveal of modern homelessness to subvert expectations.


Next up was John McCourt’s Rachel which was a standalone piece from his larger series Arrivals. Directed, written and produced by McCourt, the film’s dialogue slowly revealed a story of possible time travel that mixed sci-fi and a police procedural. A superb comic turn from Jordan Handford as an interrogator got the first laughs of the night which complimented the film’s serious premise.


Tom Young was back again for Interference which showed a spaceman searching for a missing family member on an alien planet. Unfortunately, this was a weaker effort than his first film with a confused focus and although the short was intentionally ambiguous, for me Interference fell sligtly into incoherence. Positively, this film was originally made in 24 hours for the Five Lamps 24 hour film competition which was still a great achievement to complete.

The fourth film of the evening was Paper Plane by Joey Lever. Set during World War 2 the film was located in the impressive Victorian country house Beaumanor Hall near Loughborough where a small child sees his older brother leave to fight in the trenches whilst communicating by radio with another child in the blitz. A melancholic drama, the film used stirring aerial shots with a notable intimacy whilst both the soundtrack and sound effects were some of the best of the evening.


L.O.A.B. was the quirky eclectic effort of the evening as director Peter James used an almost blank screen for the duration of his comedy (you could argue tragedy)-laced short before a funny end reveal. An emergence from a ‘packet’ finally disclosed what the cryptic acronym actually stands for- the short life cycle of a grocery provision is all I’ll say.

Up next was Kebabylon directed by C.D. Cronin which was a longer drama-comedy about a late night take-away and a culture clash of generations. A fantastic drama, the film moves from light-heartedness to more serious themes about working hard, family and pursuing your goals. A passionate performance by Annil Mittoo as the owner of the kebab shop was a highlight of a delightful and dramatic short.


Young filmmaker Jess O Brien who has been featured on Midlands Movies before showcased her excellent new film Hinterland. Focusing on choices and containing only child actors, the cast gave first-rate performances with the award-winning Jess supported by the superb Jacq Ardron and Tyler Dunnan.


Finally, the evening’s first half was completed with an amusing comedy short directed by Mike Yeoman called Parenthood. More of a skit than a fully fledged cinematic short, the huge laughter from the crowd came from a grown man dressed as a boy having fun with his ‘dad’ at a local playground. A League of Gentleman-style dark twist is revealed at the end as the man-child is paid for his ‘services’.

Ending on this humorous high took us all into an interval with the entire audience excitedly looking forward to the night’s second half.

Read what part two of the show had in store in our follow up review by clicking here...

Midlands Movies Mike

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