Archive for May, 2009

UK New Film Releases Week 20: 15 May – 21 May 2009

May 18, 2009
  • New British Feature Films (Fiction) Released in 2009 – 29 [17% of total film releases]
  • Total Film Releases in the UK in 2009 – 167
  • The UK  film release schedule for the week commencing 15 May 2009 is:

    • Fighting (USA)
    • French Film (Jackie Oudney, 2007, UK) #29  British release 2009
    • Synecdoche, New York (USA)
    • Viva (USA)
    • Night at the Museum 2 (USA) 20 May

    We approach 30 British films released in 2009, but the supply to Leicester has really been drying up in recent weeks. And so no place for French Film this week. But there are not many new films at all, and only one new film (apart from Angels and Demons, released 14 May) is available here – Fighting, a film about fighting. It seems we are in need of a film about underground street fighting in New York, but not a British ‘comedy about love’ (starring Eric Cantona as a French film director). So, no new British films to see this week. I am surprised, or maybe disappointed, that Synecdoche, New York isn’t on somewhere. This is screenwriter Charlie Kaufman’s directorial debut having previouslyworked with Spike Jonze and Michel Gondry. I can’t think of a similar group of film-makers who are making quirky films or creating a buzz. Like Kaufman, Jackie Oudney is making a feature film directorial debut, and this is one of the trends of British cinema. I wish her well, but she isn’t being helped by a dreadful website.


    I can’t help wondering if there is a French film director out there somewhere about to make their start in cinema by making a ‘comedy about gangsters’ called Film Britannique starring Vinnie Jones.


    Cinema Shows Week 14: The Damned United, 6th April 2009 and The Boat That Rocked, 8th April 2009, Odeon Freemans Park, Leicester

    May 15, 2009

    Total Ticket Outlay (on 11 British feature films released in 2009) – £42.35



    Two visits to the Odeon Freemans Park this week. A pair of films about, I guess, now historical popular culture – football in the 1970s and pop music in the 1960s. Only 5 0r 6 people in the cinema to see The Damend United. These late afternoon/early evening sessions can feel quite lonely in such large thetares. Saw The Boat That Rocked on ‘Orange Wednesday’, so busier and half-price tickets. And a different audience for once – perhaps 20-30 people, in family and frienship groups – quite unusual. A ‘Richard Curtis’ factor?

    I have a personal interest in The Damned United since it is on my home ground of West Yorkshire. As a child and young adult I lived in Gawthorpe a village, near the town of Ossett, next to the city of Leeds. Ossett is the birth place of David Peace, the author of the novel on which the film is based. Peace is about 10 years younger than me, but we went to the same secondary (Batley Grammar School).

    I didn’t like Leeds United as a child – I thought they were cocky and glamourous – I liked underdogs, and went occasionally to rugby league (Dewsbury, Wakefiled Trinity). Clearly the film is an appeasement to the family of Brian Clough – much lighter than the novel. Without finding the cinematic equivalent of Peace’s dark narrative and repetitive prose style, the film is pleasant enough. Interestingly I came away thinking about Don Revie more than Clough. I wanted to go away and look at his England record for instance. As much as the film is about what happened next to Brian Clough, it also gets us to think about what became of Revie who with hindsight had peaked with his blessed celebrity hard nuts at LUFC – he did OK, but failed to qualify for a major tournament:




    The Boat That Rocked experience has to be one of the low points so far, perhaps even worse than Lesbian Vampire Killers. Leaving was a relief. As an ensemble of sex-obsessed young men (and token lesbian) this crowd could have been in any context – workers at a supermarket or whatever. At least The Damned United was a satisfying celebration of ‘the best manager England never had’, but The Boat That Rocked‘s celebration of the importance of recorded music was a nightmare – those dreadful cutaways of teenagers listening to pirate radio under the bedclothes and people in a state of wild abandon. Yuk!


    Let’s dance, put on your red shoes and dance the blues
    Let’s dance, to the song they’re playin’ on the radio

    Let’s sway, while colour lights up your face
    Let’s sway, sway through the crowd to an empty space
    (‘Let’s Dance’, David Bowie)

    UK New Film Releases Week 19: 8 May – 14 May 2009

    May 13, 2009
  • New British Feature Films (Fiction) Released in 2009 – 28 [17% of total film releases]
  • Total Film Releases in the UK in 2009 – 162The UK  film release schedule for the week commencing 8 May 2009 is:
    • Blue Eyelids  (MEX)
    • Cheri (Stephen Frears, 2009, UK) #27  British release 2009
    • Coraline 3D (USA)
    • Delta (GER/HUN)
    • Little Ashes (Paul Morrison, 2008, UK) #28 British release 2009
    • Momma’s Man (USA)
    • O’Horten (NOR/GER/FR)
    • Sounds Like Teen Spirit (UK) Documentary
    • Star Trek (USA)
    • Angels and Demons (USA) 14 May

    With the release of Star Trek and Angels and Demons this week we are now getting into the blockbuster season. I guess this must add to the pressure on low budget films to gain wide release. The famine continues this week. Two new British films, but not showing in the Leicester area. I doubt this is a particular disappointment to Stephen Frears about his home city, but his latest film Cheri is not showing here. There is also no place for Paul Morrison’s Little Ashes. In stark contrast to last week’s new British films, the subject matter turns swiftly from the domestic sociality of the elderly and people in care to continental history. Another coincidence again, but both the films released this week are set in historical Europe – pre-First World war Paris (Cheri) and Madrid in the 1920s (Little Ashes). They are both, in their different ways, about love affairs. Will we be given the chance to love them on the big screen?



    UK New Film Releases Week 18: 1 May – 7 May 2009

    May 10, 2009
  • New British Feature Films (Fiction) Released in 2009 – 26 [17% of total film releases]
  • Total Film Releases in the UK in 2009 – 152
  • The UK  film release schedule for the week commencing 1 May 2009 is:

    • The End  (UK) Documentary
    • Funuke: Show Some Love, You Losers! (JAP)
    • Ghosts of Girlfriends Past (USA)
    • Hannah Montana: The Movie (USA)
    • Helen (Joe Lawlor, Christine Molloy, 2008, UK) #25 British release 2009
    • Is Anybody There? (John Crowley, 2008, UK) #26 British release 2009
    • Kal Kisne Dekha (IND)


    Back to the famine. Two new British feature fiction films this week, but not showing in Leicester. One can understand that Helen will be on limited release given that it is art-cinema material from debut co-directors, but it is a surprise not to see Is Anybody There? on local screens since it stars Michael Caine and it has received some publicity. I have even seen a couple of posters at Leicester railway station, so what’s going there? What’s the point of stimulating interest if it can’t be met? Is anybody there? Yes, we are, but the film isn’t. Also, this might be a significant coincidence, but both films have main characters living in social institutions – care home (Helen) and retirement home (Is Anybody There?). Philip Fench is likening Helen to Bresson and Antonioni. In Is Anybody There? Michael Caine plays Clarence the retired magician…got to be mashup material, surely.

    is anybody there_leic_station2

    Norfolk Turkey: A Review of Lesbian Vampire Killers

    May 10, 2009

    Placeholder – review to appear later.

    Get Vic Quick: A Review of The Young Victoria

    May 10, 2009

    Placeholder – review to appear later.

    Cinema Shows Week 13: The Age of Stupid, 30th March 2009, Phoenix, Leicester

    May 4, 2009

    I was rather hoping that The Age of Stupid (‘drama-documentary-animation’) would be a more moving and emotional experience, but it left me a bit flat. I had read that it would be possible to organize your own screening of the film, and imagined I might do that, but this seemed less exciting a prospect after seeing it. However, whatever the ‘let downs’ of the film, the idea of being able to have DIY screenings is , I think, the most interesting part of the project.

    The screening was supported by local environmental activist groups and a short introduction given. I guess the film is preaching to the converted. We are all concerned about the impending global catastrophe that the film dramatizes, but I suppose that many people like myself are fellow travellers who are not prepared to get involved in campaigns. Having picked up an ‘action pack’ containing such things as stickers and certificates for climate heroes and villains, it is likely to remain an ‘inaction pack’ collectible (at least until the tides rise).

    I quite liked the drama bits framing  the documentary video with glum Pete Postlethwaite staring out of the screen through his computer interface as the ‘man living alone in the devasted world of 2055’ ( we have to imagine the worst), and I really liked all the animation inserts. But I found the documentary parts the least engaging. Yes, you get a global perspective, but the links seemed tenuous, and the content underwhelming. I was expecting to be much more shocked or appalled, but I was surprised by how understated it all seemed.


    However, please do not let this stop you organizing your own screening of the film, and other independent films that will be offered in the near future. The filmmakers have set up an ‘Indie Screenings’ facility where licences to show the film can be purchased so that you can become a film exhibitor. If not the ‘future of film distribution’, it is certainly a development that we should support (ooh, er, that sounds a bit active for me). Time to contact the village hall committee…


    UK New Film Releases Week 17: 24 April – 30 April 2009

    May 2, 2009
  • New British Feature Films (Fiction) Released in 2009 – 24 [17% of total film releases]
  • Total Film Releases in the UK in 2009 – 145
  • The UK  film release schedule for the week commencing 24 April 2009 is:

    • City Rats (Steve Kelly, 2007, UK) #22 British release 2009
    • Encounters at the End of the World (USA)
    • FAQ About Time Travel  (Gareth Carrivick, 2007, UK) #23 British release 2009
    • From Russia With Love (UK) Re-issue
    • The Grocer’s Son  (FR)
    • Observe and Report (USA)
    • Outlander (USA/GER)
    • Shifty (Eran Creevy, 2008, UK) #24 British release 2009
    • State of Play (USA/GER)
    • The Uninvited (USA)
    • X-Men Origins: Wolverine (USA) 29 April

    After the famine, the feast. No new British films on show in Leicester in recent weeks, only to be followed by several, including a delayed appearance of In the Loop this week. In terms of new releases this week, we can detect some ongoing developments. City Rats, another British gansgter film, continues the trend towards limited theatrical and multiplatform release. While showing only a couple of times in the East and West Ends of London, it will be almost immediately available on DVD.


    FAQ About Time Travel, like Lesbian Vampire Killers before, is attempting to build on the success of Shaun of the Dead.


    Most interesting of all, however, is Shifty, the second film (the first being Mum and Dad) to be released from the Film London Microwave scheme to produce films for the unbelievable  micro-budget of £100,000. Listening to one of the film’s actors, Jason Flemyng, on Jonathan Ross’ radio show this morning, I learned that on the 13 month shoot of The Curious Case of Benjamin Button a similar amount was spent on the coffee budget alone!


    As part of publicity and promotion, most films have their own websites now, and often this will include a competition to win free tickets. But you have to be organised because the closing dates are often in advance of release. City Rats had an intriguing photography competition involving stenciling the film’s title onto a watermelon (a prop that features prominently in the film) and then photographing the aforementioned fruit at a ‘famous British landmark’. No entries are yet available on the website, but it would be interesting to know how many entries they did get, and has anyone else thought of my idea to climb the Angel of the North and put the watermelon on its head? FAQ About Time Travel had a science fiction quiz, but Shifty has a much more engaging and rewarding competition that involves remixing the soundtrack by downloading the stems of a track, and then uploading the new mix to a website. The winner will receive £500 and studio time to professionally produce the track. The competition is open until 22 May – so get remixing!


    city_rats_comp faq_quiz