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By midlandsmovies, Nov 14 2019 12:35PM



Independent sci-fi Invasion Planet Earth Cast and Crew to appear at MCM Comic Con Birmingham


Originally titled Kaleidoscope Man, much of Invasion Planet Earth was shot in the Birmingham area over the 2000s and now the cast and crew will be leading a panel and a workshop on 17th November at MCM Comic Con Birmingham ahead of the film’s release.


It took two years and seven campaigns for filmmaker Simon Cox and his team to raise a significant amount of money which enabled them to shoot around a third of the movie.


Including some spectacular scenes in central Birmingham where nine hundred extras turned up to be blasted by aliens in an epic, War of the Worlds style battle scene.


Taking place as a special panel on the MCM main stage, the gang will be taking the audience behind the scenes of Invasion Planet Earth. And following this, Simon Cox (director, co-writer, editor, as well as supervisor and producer of the vfx) and Chris Jones (guerilla filmmaker) will be leading a free workshop on Creating Special Effects on a Budget.




Invasion Planet Earth tells the story of Tom Dunn who after the death of his daughter is a broken man. When his wife falls pregnant again, he cannot believe their luck. However, his joy is short lived, as on the very same day, the people of Earth become plagued with terrifying visions of the end of the world.


When a gigantic, all-consuming alien mothership appears in the sky and launches a ruthless attack on Earth’s cities, chaos and destruction follow.


Tom must find the strength and wisdom to save his wife and unborn child. However, first he must confront a shocking truth. A truth which threatens the key to the survival of the human race.


The story of the production of the film is a remarkable one. A true passion project, Invasion Planet Earth has taken twenty years to make from inception to release.


After years of pitching to the UK film industry and private investors, a small amount of money was raised which Simon used to produce a pilot and for concept art to be created. However, it soon became apparent that funding this movie in what was then, the traditional way, was not going to happen. In 2012, Simon took the bold decision to crowdfund the film using social media.




Simon then found some investors who financed the rest of the movie. However, this took time and once the live action scenes were finally shot, the special effects took another two and a half years to complete. In total, the movie was in production for seven years with ten years before that in development. Such was the multitude of generous donors and patrons of this project; the film lists over 100 producers on IMDb.


A theatrical release date of 5th December has been set and the film will be released on Digital Download on 16th December, shortly followed by the DVD release on 30th December.


For more info check out https://www.invasionplanetearth.com


By midlandsmovies, Oct 21 2019 02:23PM

Review - Movie catch up blog 2019 - Part 6


This month we check out new releases DOMINO (from Brian De Palma) MEN, IN BLACK: INTERNATIONAL (from F. Gary Gray) & TOY STORY 4 (from Josh Cooley). Scroll down to read the reviews:




Domino (2019) Dir. Brian De Palma


Scarface, The Untouchables, Carlito’s Way, Carrie and heck, even Snake Eyes and kickstarting the Mission Impossible franchise, Brian De Palma has a pretty impressive film CV. Well, he did once. In the last 12 years he’s made just 2 (terrible) films and it’s sad to say he’s added another here with boring potboiler thriller Domino.


At just 89 minutes this crime thriller feels twice as long and stars Game of Throners Nikolaj Coster-Waldau and Carice van Houten who are investigating the death of a Danish police officer. Stopping them is a dodgy CIA agent (Guy Pearce) and Eriq Ebouaney as a double agent acting on behalf of ISIS. Or is he? Well, who cares is the real question.


I don’t want to give away any spoilers about Domino but literally nothing happens. Combined with a troubled production and a star or two dropping out, this ramshackle made-for-TV level movie is lacklustre and dull. Sleepwalking actors deliver clichéd dialogue which is punctuated with the odd blandly-shot action/fight sequence. Flashes of De Palma’s fascination with Hitchcock sometimes comes through in a Vertigo-style roof chase and an ingenious shot here or there hinting upon the stylistic flourishes the director used in his more successful films from the past.


In the end though, it seems the director’s strategy of not caring at all about his utterly useless movie hasn’t paid the handsome dividends he might have hoped for. ★★





Men in Black: International (2019) Dir. F. Gary Gray


In a franchise of less-than-successful sequels, the Men In Black property gets a sort-of reboot in this new blockbuster flick from F. Gary Gray. Chris Hemsworth stars as the arrogant Agent H who is teamed up with new recruit (and his Thor: Ragnarok co-star) Tessa Thompson as Agent M to investigate more intergalactic shenanigans involving the destruction of Earth.


Emma Thompson returns as Head of MiB operations and the film follows the globe-trotting duo taking pot shots at a wide array of eclectic aliens and each other. However, the sad fact is that there’s little more to it than that. Any franchise that loses Will Smith (hello Independence Day) suffers from a loss of his comedy chops and charm – although it has to be said Hemsworth and Thompson do have chemistry which is one of the film’s highlights. Director F. Gary Gray brings none of the fun from his previous guilty pleasure flicks The Negotiator and Law Abiding Citizen or none of the bite/edginess from his Straight Outta Compton. So it ends up being rather bland.


The creatures are excellently designed though – especially “Pawny”, a tiny and loyal alien with a smart mouth – but the world-destruction/infiltrated agency story is instantly forgettable. That said, I don’t think it deserves the critical mauling I’ve also seen published. It’s miles better than the awful second sequel and for me it’s mostly harmless and relatively likeable blockbuster fare for children with two pleasant leads. Add in a handful of action set pieces and MiB: International provides an entertaining if ultimately unremarkable 2 hours of silly escapism. ★★★




Toy Story 4 (2019) Dir. Josh Cooley


After the perfect ending of Toy Story 3 (which has the honour of making me cry twice), the franchise was so brilliantly finished that no more stories of Woody and Buzz were surely needed given the satisfying send-off these animated characters deservedly got.


However, the toys were metaphorically and actually passed on from those who grew up with them and so Pixar have created a 4th film following the gang and their adventures with Bonnie (spoiler) the girl who is gifted them by Andy at the end of 3. Bonnie and her parents go on a road trip and cutting to the chase, the toys end up getting lost/left at a carnival. The group subsequently pull together and attempt to retrieve “Forky”, a quirky toy created by Bonnie herself from a, well, plastic fork and pipe cleaners. The first 30 minutes are pure this-should-have-gone-straight-to-video fodder and although the Pixar quality sheen and photo-realistic animation is all well and present, there’s not quite enough to justify this entry’s existence.


However, just under half-way through the film really hits its stride with excellent set pieces, a break-in at an antiques store and fantastically hilarious cameos from Keegan-Michael Key and Jordan Peel as Ducky and Bunny. Plus Keanu Reeves as daredevil stunt-biker Duke Kaboom. These new faces slip perfectly into the fold and the film is perhaps the funniest entry to date with some surreal humour added to the usual family-friendly fun. Is it really worth it though? Hmm, ultimately I think not. BUT it does act as a great epilogue and it’s second half is classic Pixar from a voice-cast working at the top of their game. You’ve got away with this Pixar. But please, no more Toy Story. ★★★★


Michael Sales


By midlandsmovies, Oct 21 2019 10:45AM



Number 23


Directed by Jack Veasey


2019


Three hooded people are paraded into a field by armed captors in an exciting opening to new action drama Number 23 from Midlands director Jack Veasey.


A Western-inspired steel guitar soundtrack plays as one of them is callously shot and the two survivors (Andre Pierre and Becki Lloyd) are told by Dr. James Fisher (an intimidating Jason Segade) that they are now simply numbered slaves before being taken into a makeshift cell alongside other captives.


Then a white supremacist in the prison stokes a violent encounter with two black prisoners and Veasey throws us into a brutal but haphazard fight.


Although slightly underlit in these prison scenes, the director does however try to create a great mood of secrecy with dark corners and harsh shadows. Then a classic action-flick monologue is delivered to fill in the story blanks about a war which segregated the population.


A line of dialogue about “an army of superhumans” garnered a bit of a guffaw from this reviewer but the film sticks to and delivers its 80s-influenced action beats. Inmate Number 23 (Pierre) is pulled from his incarceration and is injected with an unknown serum that our villain hopes to give him ‘supernatural’ powers.


Later, as a military drum march plays, all the captives are brought back outside as a brutal henchmen (Dominic Thompson) berates them, ensuring their life is as hard as possible. But the group put their differences aside and plan to escape their predicament before it gets worse for all of them.


Overpowering their guards, the film moves into a gun-filled conclusion with some decent practical effects, more hand-to-hand combat and some bloody punch-ups.


Andre-Pierre as the eponymous Number 23 is great and the two dark performances from Segade and Thompson are a fun over-the-top portrayal of the classic central villain and henchman dynamic.


The film seemed mostly influenced by a similar societal breakdown as seen in Children of Men and Veasey has definitely brought some decent action chops to his range of filmmaking talents. And although the slightly silly human experiment storyline was a bit clichéd, overall Number 23 is a satisfying mix of grounded sci-fi and action with a tiny dollop of more serious race-relations themes. Recommended.


Michael Sales


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