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By midlandsmovies, Jul 29 2017 07:56AM

The Jock and The Chav (2017) Dir. Jon David Ellison

Filmed round the back of my flat (literally) in the Cultural Quarter of Leicester, this new comedy action film incorporates a fight involving two stock characters straight out of the stereotype play book.

However, what makes this film unique is a nod to 90s computer arcade fight games like Street Fighter and Mortal Kombat as filmmaker Jon Ellison tries to recreate the look and the sound of the era.

As the first combatant enters the fray, the crowd boo and jeer and cleverly, appear to repeat the same background motions like a programmed sprite from the Mega-Drive era.

With the Far East influences of Nintendo and others, a second (and much bulkier) fighter enters the fray and after a “have a fair fight” warning the competition begins. Here, the film adds video game power bars for each fighter and the side-on/locked-off shot is a great recreation of the layout of retro fighting games.

The film even includes some (basic) special effects as a lighter becomes a Ryu-style flame attack although the film did stray away at times from the video-game format. One such cutaway was to two cheerleaders which slightly distracted from the style already established. That said, the sequences are used for laughs and the home-made nature gave the film low-budget charm.

The voice-dubbing was a little off sync as well – although you could argue it fitted with badly-dubbed Asian Kung-Fu style it harked back to – so again, it may have been an intentional choice.

Director Ellison has made a number of shorts prior to this film, which have included a short featuring stop-motion balloons and straight-to-the-point title, “What F*@!er Said That”, which have all included a fast-paced style combined with dark humour and comedy.

A bit rough and ready, and definitely in need of some tighter editing, it’s clearly a low budget feature and some opening shots could have benefited from a tripod or tracking shot but the sketchy technical nature fits in with the humorous tone.

A little Scott Pilgrim here, a little Fast Show “Long Big Punch Up” there, The Jock and the Chav had me smiling with only the technical side letting it down. Its dollop of fun was a refreshing addition to the local comedy film-making community (see also Flip You in Leicester) and combined with his other films, Ellison has a Kentucky Fried Movie of sketches and skits to play with in future.

Midlands Movies Mike

Watch the full short here:

By midlandsmovies, Sep 1 2016 09:51AM

After a successful short film featured in the recent Short Cinema festival at Leicester’s Phoenix cinema, Midlands Movies finds out about a large group of local filmmakers who are soon to launch an online comedy series.

A team of award-winning Leicester-based filmmakers called FlipYou have written and produced a series of brand new online comedy sketches from the region to great approval. Released on both Youtube and Facebook, the shorts have picked up over 18,000 views and individually have been submitted and accepted into a number of film festivals.

The group ‘FlipYou Productions’ comprises of writers and actors who have spent over twelve months developing their work, and star BBC writer and stand-up comic Mike Yeoman, actor and ITV writer Peter James and stage actor and director Dan Thomas.

“There’s also a guy we think is called Vinnie,” says Mike Yeoman, FlipYou Productions’ CEO, who offers some insight into the characters that have made it into the final cut of sketches: “There’s the most paranoid man in Britain, survivalist Yogi Griddles and space explorer Captain McDuck,” he goes on to explain.

Yeoman is confident that the comedy collective will become a household name, “Following in the footsteps of our legendary football team, FlipYou wants to make Leicester the film and comedy champions of the UK,” he says.

“Our jokes fly in as hard and fast as Vardy’s beautiful and shiny right foot. In all seriousness though, I’m not actually joking when I say that I want FlipYou to be mentioned in the same breath as Monty Python, The Fast Show and Big Train”.

With Leicester’s annual Dave Comedy Festival going strong for over 20 years, the group have high hopes for their series. “I want every season to be ten times better than the last. We've already learnt a lot from filming season 1 so can't wait to start Season 2.”

The short films can be viewed at www.flipyou.co.uk with new sketches being released every week. The group is starting work on Series 2 in the coming months.

Further information can be found at www.flipyou.co.uk and follow the group on Twitter @flipyou_co_uk and www.facebook.com/flipyoucomedy

By midlandsmovies, Aug 31 2016 10:51PM

David Brent: Life on the Road (2016) Dir. Ricky Gervais

15 years after the success of The Office, Ricky Gervais’ cringe worthy creation returns in this TV spin off that maintains the mockumentary style laced with squirming humour.

Here we follow Brent post-Wernham Hogg – sadly there are no cameos from anyone else from the original series – as he pulls together a reluctant band for a tour (series of local gigs) of his questionable music material. His dreams of packed venues and getting signed by a record company couldn’t be further away as we see the deluded Brent aspiring for the stars with a group of musicians laughing at his efforts.

The laudable Foregone Conclusion fail on almost every level with Brent creating “visionary” and “political” songs such as ‘Native American’, ‘Equality Street’ and the less subtle 'Please Don't Make Fun of the Disabled'.

Despite all these fiascos, it’s Gervais’ talent as an actor and writer that helps elicit huge amounts of sympathy for Brent who – like many of us – dreams of leaving a mundane day job with ambitions (some may say delusions) beyond his boring everyday life.

Support comes from Ben Bailey Smith plays a great role as Dom Johnson, an aspiring rapper held back by Brent’s ineptitude and also Jo Hartley as Pauline, a sympathetic colleague. Of course, there are plenty of laughs throughout as Brent attempts at being politically correct fail as spectacularly as the band’s atrocious gigs with t-shirt cannon slapstick and embarrassing hotel sequences added to make the viewer snort and squirm at the same time.

It’s this pathos – the sad Brent piling every penny into his musical fantasy of “making it” – that gives the film a warm glow as you root for the character despite every wrong decision he makes. The British love a loser and there isn’t a bigger one than Brent and as much as you flinch from his humiliation, I found myself rooting for some sort of catharsis. The film doesn’t go the whole “Hogg” as it delivers the required upbeat ending which suggests some individual success but I found this crucial after an abundance of hopelessness.

Is the film much more than an elongated TV episode though? For me, not really. It sits nicely alongside Alpha Papa by refusing to ‘go bi’g to ensure their respective comedy creations had smaller local problems to deal with. But the film’s are all the better because of their undersized intimacy.

If you like Gervais’ comedy stylings then there is a lot to recommend in Life on the Road. As someone who has worked in an office and been on tour with a band there was so much reflecting back at me it was uncannily accurate at times. However, those who find Gervais grating will not be won over here. However, he makes Brent take centre stage on a musical odyssey that has both sensitivity and affection at its core but never forgets the chuckles.


Midlands Movies Mike

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