Dixie – Johnny Owen’s plucky Welshman at the centre of this music biz romantic dramedy – is a well observed creation; an endlessly likeable schmo with a passion for music and an insatiable need to make it big managing a band. He moves to London with his girlfriend Shell (the just-as-pluckyVicky McClure) to bring superstardom to a talented but juvenile online discovery, The Premature Congratulations, but his idealistic, naïve temperament soon comes to blows with the ruthlessness of the big city scene…
Director: Jeff Gillen, Alan Ormsby
Screenwriter: Alan Ormsby
Cast: Roberts Blossom, Cosette Lee, Leslie Carlson
Runtime: 84 mins
Release Date: Out now on BR BUY NOW FROM ARROW VIDEO
Of the films inspired by Wisconsin body-snatcher Ed Gein, Jeff Gillen and Alan Ormsby’s 1974 oddity Deranged steers closest to the truth, the opening narration informing us that only the names of the characters have been changed: a quick Wikipedia search will prove its accuracy. Our subject, Ezra Cobb, is less of a Movie Monster than Norman Bates or Leatherface and the low key settings route his exploits in a more mundane realm than Bate’s Motel or even Texas Chainsaw’s backstreets.
Director: Paul China
Screenwriter: Paul China
Cast: Georgina Haig, George Shevtsov, Paul Holmes
Runtime: 80 mins
Release Date: On DVD & BD Now
An old car pulls into an auto-shop on a lonely road on an ordinary day and a man emerges. We meet him iconography first, slowly donning his large-brimmed hat as if he knows there’s a camera perfectly framing the back of his head. His boots clip-clop towards the door with precision and a bell ding-a-lings in close-up to announce his entrance, all scored to a Jaws-riffing tension-builder. The cowboy – European and sparing with dialogue – Anton-Chigurh’s his way through an enigmatic encounter with the shop’s owner, eventually leaving him as a crimson splatter, dribbling down the back wall…
Director: Scott Graham
Screenwriter: Scott Graham,
Cast: Chloe Pirrie, Joseph Mawle, Iain De Caestecker, Michael Smiley
Runtime: 90 mins
Release Date: In Cinemas March 15
Scott Graham’s first feature is as bleak as its Scottish Highland setting. Confined almost entirely to a remote petrol station, this is a frustrating struggle of a picture which considers the effects of isolation, depression and illness on the relationship between a father (Joseph Mawle) and his daughter, the eponymous Shell (Chloe Pirrie).
The Scandinavian influences are well pronounced, Yoliswa Gärtig’s widescreen digital photography capturing the harsh beauty of the landscape and picking out the fragility of Shell’s world which rumbles and rattles as lorries pass along their highland road. With a careful use of close-ups and diagetic sound we are forced into a tactile relationship with this uncomfortable world that will make you shiver, wince and gasp. The narrative also echoes the Dogme movement, events unfolding laboriously with a focus on tedium and the kind of jobs that get dirt under your fingernails. With its slight nature, lack of sensational material or use of music (a few lovely key moments aside), this is low-key storytelling that manages to be enthralling in its own way … Read more @ Rhythm Circus
Shell is screening in selected cinemas from tomorrow. Buy tickets here.
Last week I was lucky enough to attend a preview of Tom Hooper’s (The King’s Speech) adaptation of the musical blockbuster Les Miserables. The screening, packed to the rafters with lovers of the stage show, was a lively affair, the crowd erupting into cheers and applause after few key moments and shaking as a sobbing mass at others.
The film is released on January 11th and I will review it at Rhythm Circus in the coming weeks. Watch this space.
Director: Jim Mickle
Screenwriter: Jim Mickle, Nick Damici
Cast: Nick Damici, Connor Paolo, Kelly McGillis, Danielle Harris
Runtime: 98 mins
Release Date: 17 October 2011 on DVD and BR
Synopsis: A band of humans try to survive in a post-apocalyptic America that has been ravaged by vampires.
Jim Mickle’s apocalyptic, horror, western, road-movie is the best vampire film since Let The Right One In, not that it bares much resemblance to that Swedish masterpiece. Where Tomas Alfredson’s film excelled in its use of vampire lore to mirror the loneliness of a bullied youth, this 2011 effort uses the backdrop of an America ravaged by bloodsuckers to make a point about social and economic decline, as well as to challenge the way in which humanity in desperation can manifest their faith in violent ways.
A world in which religious extremists attack peaceful settlements by dropping in ravenous vamps from helicopters, those who cling to humane behaviours must drift across a wasted America in constant fear, both from the living and the dead. The philosophy is reminiscent of Romero’s zombie series, but this outlook is far grittier than those films’ satirical, comic book sentiments, and the film is at its most successful when it follows a group of people banding together as a pseudo-family in a dying world, trying to survive with a semblance of dignity.