Archive for March, 2009

Imagineering: A Review of Franklyn

March 30, 2009

A review placeholder

UK New Film Releases Week 11: 13 March – 19 March 2009

March 17, 2009
  • New British Feature Films (Fiction) Released in 2009 – 12  [13% of total film releases]
  • New British Fictional Feature Films (Released in 2009) Watched in the Cinema in 2009- 6
  • Total Film Releases in the UK in 2009 – 91
  • If you want to see new films this week , the choices are:

    • Alone (Issiz Adam) (TUR)
    • Bronson (Nicolas Winding Refn, 2008, UK) #11 British release 2009
    • The Burning Plain (USA)
    • Hush (Mark Tonderai, 2007, UK) #12 British release 2009 
    • In the City of Sylvia (SP)
    • Not Quite Hollywood: The Wild, Untold Story of Ozploitation! (AUS)
    • Wonderful Town (THAI)

    Unusually, just a single Hollywood film out this week (writer Guillermo Arriaga turns director for The Burning Plain). Otherwise mostly international films and two more British releases. This would now have to be described as a rush – 4 British films in a fortnight. Another low budget horror film creeps out, but not around here. Hush  follows quietly on the heels of Reverb and last year’s Mum and Dad – a definite trend in the bargain basement of British film production. Caged women in the back of trucks on the M1 anyone?

    hush

    Bronson is a noisier, controversial arrival. Planning to see Bronson tomorrow (5.20) at the Cinema De Lux in Leicester and then The Young Victoria at The Regal, Melton Mowbray on Thursday (5.45). What a wonderful contrast! Two glamourised biopics – a dehumanised convict and a humanised monarch, class and underclass. Should be an interesting week.

    bronson2

    Cinema Shows Week 10: Franklyn, 12th March 2009, Phoenix, Leicester

    March 14, 2009
  • British Feature Films (Fiction) Released in 2009 – 10
  • British Fictional Feature Films (Released in 2009) Watched in the Cinema  in 2009- 6
  • Ticket Outlay £18.47.5  (on British feature films released in 2009)
  • ‘Going Out’ [to the cinema] – 10 films
  • ‘Staying In’  [with rental DVDs] – 8 films
  • At the Phoenix again, the home for stray British film in Leicester. An early evening screening always feels like a transition. What do you do for the rest of the evening? Rob and Hari doubled up with Watchmen at the Cinema De Lux. I went home for my tea. A small crowd – maybe 25 or so. Youngish, male-ish. Rob and Hari had large beer, me, small. I’m not converted to drinking in cinemas. It doesn’t feel right or add to each experience. On screen we have the seemingly unconnected lives of three main characters and some other space – ‘Meanwhile City’, a dystopia grounded in compulsory religion, but not of the autocratic kind – no, instead, the postmodern plenitude of free choice – small, DIY groups such as ‘Seventh Day Manicurists’. Freedom and oppression in the dystopian mix. I liked the style of the ‘faith police’ in Meanwhile City – a puritan force in dark shades. I also very much enjoyed seeing Bernard Hill on screen.

    The first third of the film deliberately keeps us guessing to what is going on. The middle nicely starts to connect everything, but the final act started to get overly dramatic in search of resolution. This is a film about state of mind and impaired perception, madness, depression, psychosis. Many reviewers describe it as ‘ambitious’, and it is certainly the most unusual of the British feature film debuts that I have seen this year (Neil Thompson’s Clubbed,  Vito Rocco’s Faintheart, Steven Sheil’s Mum and Dad, Duane Hopkins’ Better Things).

    So many British films are made by first-time feature directors. How many will make any more?

    three_strangers

    Searching for a destiny that’s mine there’s another place another time.
    Touching many hearts along the way
    Yeah
    Hoping that I’ll never have to say
    It’s just an illusion – illusion – illusion.
    Follow your emotions anywhere
    Is it really magic in the air?
    Never let your feelings get you down. Open up your eyes and look around
    It’s just an illusion – illusion – illusion.
    Could it be that it’s just an illusion putting me back in all this confusion?
    Could it be that it’s just an illusion now?
    Could it be that it’s just an illusion putting me back in all this confusion?
    Could it be that it’s just an illusion now?

    (‘Just an Illusion’, Imagination)

    faith_police

    UK New Film Releases Week 10: 6 March – 12 March 2009

    March 13, 2009
  • New British Feature Films (Fiction) Released in 2009 – 10  [12% of total film releases]
  • New British Fictional Feature Films (Released in 2009) Watched in the Cinema in 2009- 6
  • Total Film Releases in the UK in 2009 – 84
  • youngvictoria

    The new releases in the UK from 6 March 2009 are:

    • American Teen (USA)
    • Flame and Citron (DEN/CZ/GER)
    • Reverb (Eitan Arrusi, 2007, UK) #9 British release 2009
    • Surveillance (USA)
    • Watchmen (USA)
    • Wendy and Lucy (USA)
    • The Young Victoria (Jean-Marc Vallée, 2007, UK/USA) #10 British release 2009
    • Marley and Me (USA) 11 March 2009

    Mostly new American films this week including Zack ‘300’ Snyder’s adaptation of Alan Moore’s graphic novel Watchmen and a film (Surveillance) directed by David Lynch’s daughter, Jennifer. Intriguing. And two more British films – we would have to call this a bumper week, then, for British releases. Contrasting films too. At the top of the British film chain we find The Young Victoria, an epic romance (with Martin Scorsese on board as a producer) that I am hoping turns into a riotous comedy (Carry on Vicky?). Feeding at the bottom of the tank is the low budget horror film Reverb with an interesting looking website, but no multiplex release nor posters on the side of Leicester buses that I have noticed this week.

    reverb

    reverb_main

    Reach Out and Touch: A Review of Better Things

    March 13, 2009

    To appear later

    Cinema Shows Week 9: Better Things, 27th February 2009, Phoenix, Leicester

    March 9, 2009
  • British Feature Films (Fiction) Released in 2009 – 10
  • British Fictional Feature Films (Released in 2009) Watched in the Cinema  in 2009- 5
  • Ticket Outlay £18.47.5  (on British feature films released in 2009)
  • At the Phoenix again to see the British feature debut of Duane Hopkins, Better Things, not too tardy after its general release on 23rd January. Had to dash to make this for a 4pm screening. You would expect poor attendence at such a time for such a film, but the audience was doubled by a group of 20, initially giggly sixth formers. I wondered why the teacher had brought them. Was it for the artiness of treatment or  for  the subject matter of young love and drugs? Perhaps the combination.

    better_things-ticket

    I found it a dreamy and drifty experience, which I think was intentional. At times I was dragged along and enthralled by the ensemble of drugged-up youngsters cross-cut with bewildered old folks. At other times I was distanced. I was finding it difficult to physically differentate between the young characters, but I was struck by the inertia and entropy of the young and old reaching out for something unspoken to make it alright.

    better-things_hands1 better-things_hands2

    And then we overcome our own stasis and return to the (fading) light.

    When you feel lost and about to give up (to give up)
    Cause your life just ain’t good enough (just ain’t good enough)
    And your feel the world has grown cold (has grown cold)
    And your drifting out all on your own (drifting out on your own)
    And you need a hand to hold, darlin
    Reach out come on girl reach out for me
    Reach out reach out for me
    I’ll be there to love and comfort you
    And I’ll be there to cherish and care for you
    (‘Reach Out I’ll Be There’, The Four Tops)

    UK New Film Releases Week 9: 27 February- 5 March 2009

    March 4, 2009
  • New British Feature Films (Fiction) Released in 2009 – 8  [11% of total film releases]
  • New British Fictional Feature Films (Released in 2009) Watched in the Cinema in 2009- 5
  • Total Film Releases in the UK in 2009 – 76
  • The new releases in the UK from 27 February 2009 are:

    • The Class (FR)
    • Franklyn (Gerald McMorrow, 2007, UK) #8 British release 2009
    • Gun Crazy (USA, re-issue)
    • The International (USA/GER/UK)
    • New in Town (USA)
    • Obscene (USA)
    • The Unborn (USA)
    • Peter Beard: Scrapbooks From Africa And Beyond (USA)
    • The Universe Of Keith Haring (USA)

    Hurrah! Hurrah! A new British film release  (Franklyn) the first one for two weeks – but not available to see in Leicester this week. Drat! (a word that seems to be disappearing from the language – shame). However, it is coming to the Phoenix next week. Franklyn looks the most interesting of all the releases this week because of a rare strangeness that might make it a cult film. We could be on the upturn. Oh. No, The Young Victoria is out on Friday – as you were.

    franklyn

    Of the 8 British fiction feature films released in 2009 only 4 have been released in Leicester in their first week of release (Slumdog Millionaire, Clubbed, Revolutionary Road, The Secret of Moonacre). Faintheart had a one-off free screening at the Cinema De Lux, Better Things was delayed, Franklyn is scheduled and The Broken is yet to be scheduled. Thus, so far, a British film has a 1 in 2 chance that it will be showing on its initial release. Except, of course, it is not luck but the kinds of films that are made and the distribution deals and exhibition strategies that provide the system in which. if current patterns persist, only 50% of British releases get into the chains.

    The Magic Pearls are Hidden Under the Tree: A Review of The Secret of Moonacre

    March 4, 2009

    A review to appear later.