Archive for August, 2009

UK New Film Releases Week 35: 28 August – 3 September 2009

August 31, 2009
  • New British Feature Films (Fiction) Released in 2009 – 52 [18% of total film releases]
  • Total Film Releases in the UK in 2009 – 293
  • The UK  film release schedule for the week commencing 28 August 2009 is:

    • Broken Embraces (SP)
    • The Final Destination (USA)
    • Funny People (USA)
    • The Hurt Locker (USA)
    • In The Realms Of The Senses (JAP) Reissue 2 September
    • Jetsam (Simon Welsford, 2007, UK) #52 British feature film release 2009
    • Mesrine: Public Enemy Number One
    • (500) Days Of Summer (USA) 2 September

    Jetsam is the first new British feature film release for quite some time, but again it is on limited release and only showing at the ICA, London. Unbelievably made for just £2,500, it received completion and distribution support from Screen South. Most of the reviews seem positive, so it seems strange that it hasn’t reached the screen earlier and wider. Surely there has to be a market for contemporary thrillers that are being compared to Memento?


    UK New Film Releases Week 34: 21 August – 27 August 2009

    August 31, 2009
  • New British Feature Films (Fiction) Released in 2009 – 51 [18% of total film releases]
  • Total Film Releases in the UK in 2009 – 285
  • The UK  film release schedule for the week commencing 21 August 2009 is:

    • Afterschool (USA)
    • Chiko (GER)
    • Dance Flick (USA)
    • I Love You Beth Cooper (USA)
    • Shooting Robert King (UK) Documentary
    • Shorts (USA)
    • Scarface (USA) Reissue 23 August

    A sleepy time during the school holidays for British feature films – which may tell us something about the kind of films that get made in the UK. Just a solitary documentary – Shooting Robert King – about the photojournalist and war photographer Robert King, at the ICA in London. Time to catch up on the latest 3D films before they disappear. The one intriguing film for me this week is Shorts. A new ‘home movie’ from Robert Rodriguez is always welcome, especially these kids adventure films. Where are the young British filmmakers making inventive films with digital technologies?

    shooting robert king

    Cinema Shows Week 24: Is Anybody There?, Cheri, Looking For Eric, and Doghouse 15th-18th June 2009

    August 20, 2009

    Total Ticket Outlay (on 22 British feature films released in 2009) – £97.72.5

    is anybody there ticket

    cheri ticket

    A bumper week this one. Can’t remember the last time, if ever, that I went to the cinema four times in one week. Had to start with two trips to the Phoenix on a Monday. By 6pm I had seen two films and the rest of the evening was still stretching ahead. Strange. Nice.

    The afternoon 1pm screenings are cheap and seem to be dominated by an older audience, almost as if they have come on a coach trip, but probably lured out  of their homes individually by the cut prices. Is Anybody There? is not comforting subject matter for people in their 50s and 60s, the dominant age groups in the screening. They are likely to be experiencing the problems of looking after elderly parents and options such as care homes. A retirement or care home is a sad backdrop to the film’s generational gap drama that proves to be a downer. Do the lucky ones die at home away from these waiting rooms for the befuddled and dependent? Michael Caine really gives it everything he has and the relationship with the young lad played by Bill Milner (Son of Rambow) is convincingly touching. It feels British through and through, and I was really surprised that it didn’t get wider distribution – but then outside of the reduced prices of the cosy arts cinema scene the multiplexes are dominated by youth and families. Will my wrongly titled ticket be worth anything in the future?

    Is Anybody There?

    Is Anybody There?

    In contrast to Is Anybody There? I didn’t leave with any strong feelings about Cheri. I found Stephen Frears’s voiceover a bit wierd. It seemed incredibly out-of-keeping with the period and subjectivity of the film. I think the cool reception to the film is that it doen’t seem to have any great resonance at this time. It seems quite a strange choice of subject and no Dangerous Liaisons. Safe Liaisons?



    looking for eric ticket

    doghouse ticket

    Out of the art cinema and back into the multiplex to complete the week’s shows. And what contrasting experiences. Ken Loach’s Looking For Eric is one of my highlights of watching new British films this year. It has a great ensemble feel, and if you want to cut through the collective action propaganda, you can do, but the ‘Operation Cantona’ sequence is a real joy. In the middle it threatens to go into dark Loachian territory – familiar, but not predictable, and ultimately uplifting. The mythology of Cantona is enhanced rather than deconstructed, like a ghostly Robin Hood.

    Looking For Eric

    Looking For Eric

    Equally wonderful, but in a very different way was the reaction provoked by watching Doghouse at the Cinema de Lux in Leicester. I wasn’t sure whether it was completely offensive or a staggering work of post-feminist genius. Among the recent laddish horror films such as Lesbian Vampire Killers it has the most chance of attracting a cult following. We just need to decide whether we are laughing with it or at it.



    Can you hear her calling, from within the house?
    If you would stop barking, she might let you out
    At last she opens the back gate, you’re released, you’re now free to
    You’ve been waiting for this moment for sometime and now you must
    Into the fields where there is laughter, there is peace and you’re
    Try to hold on now before she calls you home!
    You’re in the doghouse
    ‘Cause you’re just a dog!
    (‘Doghouse’, No Doubt)

    Cinema Shows Week 23: Last Chance Harvey, 8th June 2009, CDL, Leicester

    August 16, 2009

    Total Ticket Outlay (on 18 British feature films released in 2009) – £82.25

    last chance harvey ticket

    If I was choosing to see a film, I would normally give Last Chance Harvey a miss. But since it is an official British co-production, it had to be seen. It seems to have done quite well at the box office grossing over £2m in 10 weeks on release – almost a million more than Looking For Eric, which just doesn’t seem right. There is obviously more appeal for a rather slushy and extremely predictable transatlantic romcom than the highs and lows of Northern social realism. It left me feeling a bit numb and it could so easily have been written by a computer so conventional was its tribulations. A very small audience in a large theatre – no great atmosphere. A relief to leave.


    Raincoats at Dawn, Yawn

    UK New Film Releases Week 33: 14 August – 20 August 2009

    August 15, 2009
  • New British Feature Films (Fiction) Released in 2009 – 51 [18% of total film releases]
  • Total Film Releases in the UK in 2009 – 278
  • The UK  film release schedule for the week commencing 14 August 2009 is:

    • A Perfect Getaway (USA)
    • Imagine That (USA/GER)
    • Les Demoiselles De Rochefort (FRA) Reissue
    • Mid-August Lunch (IT)
    • Sin Nombre (MEX/USA)
    • The Time Traveller’s Wife (USA)
    • Inglourious Basterds (USA/GER/FRA) 19 August

    No new British feature films on release this week. Time to face my demons I think and finally go and see Harry Potter or maybe some 3D films. The standout release is of course a new Tarantino film. However disappointing the actual experience of watching the latest Tarantino film, the anticipation is always exciting. As a cineaste, Tarantino’s knowledge of cinema and enthusiasm for the medium doesn’t seem to have a British equivalent. There might be interesting auteurs such as Guy Richie and Danny Boyle in British cinema, but no one to match Tarantino’s geeky controversy.

    Cinema Shows Week 21: Tormented, 27th May 2009, Odeon Freemans Park, Leicester, Awaydays, 28th May 2009, CDL, Leicester

    August 14, 2009



    Better watch out
    There’s no way to stop it now
    You can’t escape
    It’s too late
    Look what you’ve done
    There’s no place that you can run
    The monsters made
    We must pray
    Maybe nature has a plan
    To control the ways of man
    He must start from scratch again
    Many battles must he win
    til he earns his place on earth
    Like the other creatures do
    Will there be a happy end
    Now that all depends on you
    Supernature, supernature
    Supernature, supernature
    Supernature, supernature
    Supernature, supernature

    (‘Supernature’, Cerrone)

    Total Ticket Outlay (on 17 British feature films released in 2009) – £75.25


    tormented ticket 

    An interesting mix of youth movies this particular week. First of all a teen horror movie aimed at the Skins generation – which isn’t me. I was, maybe slightly, uncomfortably the oldest person in the theatre. Small groups of school kids, and students having late fast lunches. It seemed to go down well with one or two screams. As an attempt to transpose the American high school slasher movie to a British secondary school I thought that it worked quite well – but I was disappointed by the supernatural killer. The other thing that struck me was the prominent safe sex message in the teenagers’s use of condoms. Bless British social conscience!

    awaydays ticket 

    The next day I had to attend a very late screening (10:25pm) of Awaydays. I regarded this as an intriguing prospect and wondered what the audience might be for late night cinema. It looked like I might be alone for a while, but then I was joined by a couple of young couples, and I wasn’t sure whether or not they had just wandered off the streets for somewhere to prolong their dates, or whether this was a pre-planned part of their night out. I should have asked, but I didn’t.



    For me the film had great personal resonance, more so in terms of the general post-punk Northern setting than the specific football casuals scene. To those younger people in the audience it must have seemed as distant and other as teddy boys are to me. Thirty years is a long time in subculture history. My lasting memory of the experience, however, is how I left the cinema with a peculiar physical and psychological effect. I strode into the cityscape upright, feeling tough and at least two inches taller than normal. Anticipating trouble round any corner I was ready for a ruck. I would have not backed down but walked into some kind of cathartic destiny – but I made it to the Renault Clio without trouble. No danger.

    The outlaw stance is so pedantic
    Hate the world, it’s so romantic

    (‘Young Savage’, Ultravox)


    Cinema Shows Week 20: In The Loop, 18th May 2009, Phoenix, Leicester

    August 14, 2009

    Total Ticket Outlay (on 15 British feature films released in 2009) – £63.30

    in the loop ticket

    At last, finding some time to log some visits to the cinema, now several months passed. In The Loop seemed to take a while to get to Leicester, but in the end waited for it to come to the Phoenix. The plus side of screenings at (the now closed) Phoenix is that you are nearly always guaranteed quite a large audience, which is unlike many of the screenings that I go to at the multiplexes in the late afternoon or early evenings where there can be less than a dozen people. Probably about 60-80 in for the show, elderly, middle-class. The problem with television adaptation is that it can feel like you are watching a big television screen rather than watching something which is cinematic, and this particular expansion of the BBC’s The Thick Of It is no exception. It is carried almost entirely by Peter Capaldi’s wonderfully outrageous rants and one-liners as foul-mouthed government civil servant Malcolm Tucker – a more respectable disrespectful version of Roy ‘Chubby’ Brown.



    UK New Film Releases Week 32: 7 August – 13 August 2009

    August 13, 2009
  • New British Feature Films (Fiction) Released in 2009 – 51 [19% of total film releases]
  • Total Film Releases in the UK in 2009 – 271
  • The UK  film release schedule for the week commencing 7 August 2009 is:

    • Adam  (USA)
    • Beautiful Losers (USA)
    • GI Joe: The Rise Of Cobra (USA)
    • Home (SWITZ)/FRA/BELG)
    • The Meerkats (UK) Documentary
    • Mega Shark Vs Giant Octopus (USA)
    • Mesrine: Killer Instinct (FRA/CAN/IT)
    • Orphan (USA/CAN/GER/FRA)
    • The Ugly Truth (USA)
    • The Yes Men Fix The World (USA/FRA)
    • Aliens In The Attic (USA/CAN) 12 August
    • Bandslam (USA) 12 August

    Twelve new releases this week, but no British feature films. Thus, the percentage of total British features takes a whole point dip. We have entered a very quiet time for the release of British feature films, even small pictures with limited distribution are thin on the ground. Instead, we have a BBC-financed documentary as the only new British film on release.  All hail those most social of creatures The Meerkats

    Anyone seen any new British films recently?

    Anyone seen any new British films recently?

    UK New Film Releases Week 31: 31 July – 6 August 2009

    August 13, 2009
  • New British Feature Films (Fiction) Released in 2009 – 51 [20% of total film releases]
  • Total Film Releases in the UK in 2009 – 259
  • madsadbad

    The UK  film release schedule for the week commencing 31 July 2009 is:

    • Coco Before Chanel (FRA)
    • Crossing Over (USA)
    • G Force 3D  (USA)
    • Land Of The Lost (USA)
    • Love Aaj Kal (IND)
    • Mad, Sad & Bad (Avie Luthra, 2008, UK) #50 British release 2009
    • Rumba (FRA/BEL)
    • The Taking Of Pelham 123 (Tony Scott, 2009, USA/UK) #51 British release 2009

    A milestone week in terms of reaching 50 British feature films released in the UK in 2009. But the flow of new British films has become a trickle in recent weeks during the holiday period and the domination of the big Hollywood family films and the Harry Potter juggernaut. And those films that are released tend to be ones that get very limited distribution, often only on a single screen in London and then spreading slowly around the art cinemas. Thus, the latest example is Mad, Sad & Bad which opened on two screens taking just over £1000 pounds at its first weekend. Surely it must have a chance of getting a a good audience in Leicester? – a thirtysomething comedy about a dysfunctional Asian family starring Meera Syal?

    At the other end of the British feature film continuum is The Taking of Pelham 123. There seems to be contradictory evidence about whether or not this is an official USA/UK co-production, but for the moment I’m counting it in. IMDB and BritFilms say it is, but the UK Film Council has it as an American film. The only link to the UK can be through Tony and Ridley Scott’s film and television production company Scott Free. Otherwise, it seems entirely an American project – a $100 million actionfest with Hollywood stars. Could Tony Scott have relocated this remake to the London Underground? Probably not with the 7/7 terrorist attack still fresh in people’s minds, but it would be interesting to speculate about the kind of films that Tony Scott could make in a British milieu. How about a remake of Buster Tony?


    UK New Film Releases Week 30: 24 July – 30 July 2009

    August 12, 2009


    • New British Feature Films (Fiction) Released in 2009 – 49 [20% of total film releases]
    • Total Film Releases in the UK in 2009 – 251

    The UK  film release schedule for the week commencing 24 July 2009 is:

    • Charles Dickens’s England (UK) Documentary
    • Just Another Love Story (DEN)
    • Once Upon A Time In The West (IT/USA) Reissue
    • Antichrist (DEN/GER/FR/SWE/IT/POL)
    • The Blues Brothers (USA) Reissue
    • Skin (Anthony Fabian, 2008, UK/S. AFR) #49 British Release 2009

    We approach a half-century of British feature film releases in the UK for 2009 and maintaining a very healthy and surprising fifth of all films released in Britain this year.  A curious week with hardly any films that will receive a wide nationwide release – a couple of reissues, foreihn language films and a British documentary about Dickens (what the Dickens?). Skin is a UK/South African co-production, and in the tradition of worthy, quality cinema, based on ‘a true story’ – how genes can trouble the racial categories that people try to enforce in racist regimes. It is only showing in two cinemas including the ICA who are distributing the film. A nice surprise is that it is earning more per site than Bruno – but then it is on 270 fewer screens.