Tag Archives: British Film

Getting The Reel Deal on British film with #IAmSoldier @thereelfilmshow #supportbritishfilm

17 Mar

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So a certain type of British film gets a bit of flack now and again. Normally its to do with East End gangsters usually has the line “You Mug” in it and it becomes something that those highbrow critics “love to hate.” Each to their own, however these films make huge amounts of money, they’re well made, open gateways to new actors and really portray the passion from their film makers like nothing I’ve ever seen.

So, as part of The Reel Deal, I will be fronting a brand new strand of content, which celebrates this type of film, why? Because I personally love them, and think that even if it doesn’t fit into everyone’s taste, we should be encouraging British cinema in all ways shapes and forms. Throughout this series I’ll be celebrating everything from first time British directors through to those considered some of the most prolific in the industry. I’ll also be looking at the taboo surrounding British cinema and what makes us love and loathe it.

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To start with, I took the team off to the deepest darkest depths of Essex to meet with prison guard, come writer, come director (of films like Tower Block) Ronnie Thompson to talk about his brand new SAS based drama I Am Soldier – which hits cinemas today.

This film shocked me with how good it was. My dad was in the SAS and Paratroopers so it definitely has some personal interest and meaning to me, but I loved everything from the performances, to the story lines and even the grading! Every detail was thought about brilliantly and is a perfect example of why this type of film should be celebrated, so start saluting great cinema, because this is Becks’ Best of British.

 

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Prepare to be hypnotised – Danny Boyle’s Trance

26 Mar

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Pulling together a stellar cast with an intricate and intelligent tale of a heist gone wrong, Danny Boyle once again proves himself to be the leading force in British film making and a national treasure in terms of making Britain look classy, stylish and very VERY cool.

Trance follows the story of an art auctioneer Simon (James McAvoy) who finds himself entangled in a complicated web with a group of criminalsScreen Shot 2013-03-26 at 18.01.14when he agrees to help steal a multi-million pound painting, in exchange for them clearing his soaring gambling debts. Unfortunately the heist doesn’t go quite to plan, the painting is mis-laid and the only solution to finding it is through hypnotherapy.

The poster for the film displays its intricacies perfectly, Trance is a carefully woven puzzle that cleverly unravels as the film progresses. You have to be alert to watch it as there is so much going on, but it’s a highly enjoyable watch which is fast paced, beautifully shot and engaging from its opening run-through of the auction house security procedure, innocently narrated by McAvoy, through to its explosive ending.

The cast compliment each other exceptionally well. James McAvoy is fast securing himself as the UK’s strongest acting export with a wide variety of roles under his belt over the last few years, and a fantastic array of films out this year including Welcome to the Punch and Filth. It’s his journey that you follow throughout, as he manages to portray the naivety of an innocent man falling in with the wrong crowd brilliantly. You feel his fear towards the criminals immediately and there is a brilliant everyman likeability and acceptance to him, which you grow to trust and sympathise with throughout the film.

On the flip side you have Vincent Cassel’s Franck. A French criminal who sees the opportunity to score big with this heist and is the leader of the crime trio Simon gets caught up in. Initially he seems like the obvious bad guy, but again, there is a strange level of warmth and acceptance that you as an audience member and Elizabeth the hypnotherapist (Rosario Dawson) feels towards his character, which again demonstrates that all is not necessarily as it seems.

Screen Shot 2013-03-26 at 18.01.40These two characters are displayed as the classic protagonist vs villain, which is an age old route to go down in story telling – along with the love interest thrown in the middle. However bring it up to present day, and Boyles cleverly shot tongue twister of a film keeps you guessing who really is the one to trust throughout. In addition to this, Dawson’s Elizabeth the hypnotherapist, is the final piece to the puzzle, her involvement is the trigger and solution for the twists in this tale. Again, as an audience member you remain unsure whether or not she is good or bad; and her motives don’t become clear until the very end but her calming portrayal balances out the hot headed performances of the two leading men.

Trance is one of those films that shows Boyles ability as a film maker at his very best. TheScreen Shot 2013-03-26 at 18.02.11fantastic script by Joe Ahearne and John Hodge is brought to life using beautiful cinematography which shows both the interior and exterior shots of London as a modern and exciting place to be. The editing between flash backs, trance states and present time helps to unravels each piece of the puzzle brilliantly and gives you that sudden eureka moment at the end but leaves you continually guessing throughout.

Altogether this stylish film will no doubt have cinema-goers raving about it and so they should, its Danny Boyle back to his best with an exciting crime story told in an innovative and breathtaking way.

Welcome to the Punch – Film Review @welcome2punch

14 Mar

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Eran Creevy ups his game tenfold following his impressive micro budget debut with Shifty. Now backed by executive producer Ridley Scott, and with a considerable amount more money behind him, Creevy demonstrates what he can do when he’s playing with the big boys, in an impressive but not quite perfect classic cop chase style film.

Welcome to the Punch stars James McAvoy as Detective Max Lewinsky a man on a three-year hunt for ex criminal Jacob Sternwood (Mark Strong). After hiding in Iceland, as you do, Sternwood is forced back to London when his son gets involved in a heist gone wrong. The East End battle begins.

The opening of Welcome to the Punch shows London in an impressive light, a drawn out motorbike chase through the back drop of Canary Wharf atScreen Shot 2013-03-14 at 11.08.51night, makes London look like its had the $10 million Hollywood effect sprayed across it, and I have to say, it looks stunningly beautiful and certainly sets the tone for this fast paced, well acted and glossy film.

McAvoy is strong as the lead character, and once again shows off his versatility as a disgruntled, scarred and determined officer, focused on nothing other than to get his man. Mark Strong is a fantastic counterpart to McAvoy’s good guy, he’s understated and calm, so you can’t ever quite read him correctly, and this plays out for the audience who spend the majority of the film trying to work out if he’s a “bad guy gone good”, or if its just one big double bluff?! On the filp side, rising Screen Shot 2013-03-14 at 11.10.19star Andrea Riseborough is sadly one of the more forgettable characters in this film, as one can’t help but feel that she is under-utilized throughout. She’s a supporting character, but sadly with not a huge amount to do or for us to care about, which does not bode well three quarters of the way through, and is perhaps one of the biggest shames about this film.

On the upside, however, There’s a fantastic array of dark humour throughout and the use of well known cameos such a Jason Flemyng and Jason Maza who have no more than a few minutes on screen, still throw is back to Creevy’s Shifty days and provide a warm and nostalgic reminder that this is a great British film.

Another great point about this film is that although the setting and style of delivery is very much London in feel, you can’t avoid seeing Creevy’s influences from much further afield. His love of Hong Kong cinema and John Woo can be picked up easily in the fight sequences, particularly the Screen Shot 2013-03-14 at 11.10.58hotel gun shooting scene, and this is a refreshing move forward for this film, it widens the field and its homages remind us of some great films that have come before it, and that Welcome to the Punch is paying a considerable tribute to them all.

Overall, this is a strong offering from Eran Creevy. Having major acting players like Mark Strong and James McAvoy involved does take this film up a notch, but Welcome to the Punch has managed to break a number of barriers in terms of British police based film making and visually looks as stunning as a multi-million dollar Hollywood film, but maintains the level of dark British undertones and humour which helps it to stand out from the crowd. It may not be perfect, but its enjoyable and very much worth a watch.

Will you be ready to tie The Knot in February?

9 Jan

It might still be just a tad too early for wedding season, but that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy watching a film to get you all excited for when it actually kicks in!

British film The Knot is ready for you to pre-order on DVD and Blu-Ray, and will be yours to own in early February. Back in September 2012, I was lucky enough to attend the Gala Premiere of the film and chat to its lovely stars and supporters, it was a great night, a funny film and worth you supporting British Cinema by picking it up at your local HMV etc in the coming weeks!

Hope you enjoy the interviews, and also if you’re a fan of Millie’s Cookies, then this video was created for its online TV show Freshly Baked – which I present!

Enjoy!



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A Night at the Museum – Well, the London Film Museum

21 Dec

 

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Ever wondered what makes British film so magical? Well, London as a Capital City has a huge part to play in making it what it is today, and to celebrate, The London Film Museum launches its Lights Camera Action! Exhibition in Covent Garden just in time for Christmas.

Being lucky enough to take a sneak peek around last night, I discovered that audiences visiting this exhibition will be able to follow a number of different themes, such as “Working London, Royal London, Musical London”, which help make British Film, set in London something that isn’t just magical, but iconic for many years, past, present and future.

 

Me blending in slightly with the wonderful Union Jack Mini on display

Me blending in slightly with the wonderful Union Jack Mini on display

As you enter the exhibition you’ll be able to learn about the history of film, from Kodak to Lumiere, and get your hands on a couple of exhibits of early projectors and early animation techniques. Further into the exhibition the themes become more apparent and you will find yourself wandering into various sectioned off areas dedicated to a particular time in London-based film.

Just one of the many "themed" areas at this exhibition.

Just one of the many “themed” areas at this exhibition.

As interesting as this exhibition was, one of the things I love about a behind the scenes, educational experience of film, is the ability to see props, manuscripts, costumes and never before seen photographs/stills. At this exhibition, you see some of this, but in my mind, unfortunately not nearly enough. There are some great props like the throne from Cate Blanchett’s Elizabeth, or the original script from Lionel Bart’s Oliver. There are also a lot of film posters on display, but essentially, for the majority of the exhibition, you are reading text off a board with a few still shots beside it and some projections of famous London films in the background.

Some of the props on display - these were taken from Love Actually

Some of the props on display – these were taken from Love Actually

 

With all this being said, it’s still a very enjoyable exhibition, and for a small venue round the corner from Covent Garden, if you fancy something filmy and new this Christmas period, then its most definitely worth a look. Plus, it’s free!

The London Film Museum’s Lights, Camera Action exhibition opens 21st December.

Brit Films still riding high…its time for the release of Twenty8k

14 Sep

I love interviewing the stars of British film. They’re humble, enthusiastic, and spend more than one question telling me how delighted they are being part of something they truly believe in. A lot of British films (independent, low budget, urban films mainly) hit a market which isn’t quite as mainstream and suffers unfortunately from not enough marketing and distribution money. Sure the real gems shine through and manage to make a more significant mark, but sadly some films barely see the light of day.

Twenty8k is one of those films, which despite having Parminda Nagra to front it, still ends up in selected cinemas on limited release and almost certainly wont make a profitable return. Regardless, it still inspired me to pop to the cinema and watch it, and for you all that are sat on the fence, here are the stars themselves chatting about it so hopefully you can go and spend your weekend checking it out too.

Huge thanks to the Genesis Cinema in Mile End for hosting this premiere.

 

I’m feeling filmy!!! …..

6 Sep

Well yesterday marked the start of the most exciting time of London’s film calendar…The London Film Festival. I was lucky enough to be at the event in the Odeon Leicester Square to capture all the reactions from the BFI Execs through to the film makers who are so over the moon to be a part of this fantastic festival! Well done all, it looks like an amazing line up!!!

For anyone who isn’t familiar, here are a few interviews to get you up to speed on all the wonderful films on offer this festival season….

 

Amanda Nevill CEO BFI

Sally El Hosaini – Director – My Brother the Devil

Sarah Gavron – Director – The Village at the End of the World

Charlie Paul – Director – For No Good Reason

Alice Lowe – Actress and Screenwriter – Sightseers

Mat Whitecross – Director Spike Island