Not even a fort could withstand the winter’s snow blizzard weather, and the premiere of Dom Lee’s Fort Box was postponed. The new date has been released, and we would recommend you hop in your (cardboard box) car and head to Crediton.
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For multifaceted filmmaker Dom Lee, 2016 has been an exhausting, epic and fantastical journey. Not only did he create a fort entirely out of cardboard boxes, but he also fashioned a spaceship out of a garden shed.
‘We will share your story: Freedom through Football’, reads a picture in the trailer to Balls, Barriers and Bulldozers, which is at the Exeter Phoenix with a Q&A. We’d also add film to that.[Read more…] about Freedom through Football… and film… in the West Bank
It’s about the power of film and the responsibility of filmmakers. Something that The Silent writer and director Karen Turner says during our interview is echoed not long after by Ridley Scott in his life-long BAFTA achievement award acceptance speech.
The Vibraphonic festival is in Exeter to ‘ to celebrate all things diverse and progressive in reggae, jazz, hip hop, dub step, soul, funk, blues, drum ‘n’ bass, electronica and urban music’, and this year that includes the powerful documentary Lee Scratch Perry’s Vision of Paradise.
Vigilante justice in the deep South, a London safecracker comes home and mobster carnage in France -Tom Leins reviews this week’s biggest DVDs.
Following the death of his wife, former drug enforcement officer Phil Broker (Jason Statham, The Transporter) moves to a small town I Louisiana with his young daughter, hoping to give her a better life. So begins Homefront (Lionsgate), a typically violent slab of Statham mayhem.
After a schoolyard conflict involving his daughter spirals out of control, Broker finds himself on a collision course with local meth-kingpin Gator Bodine (James Franco, Spring Breakers), the uncle of the boy who his daughter got in a scuffle with. What starts out as a tit-for-tat feud, soon takes on a sinister quality, and when Broker’s true identity is leaked to a notorious biker gang he once infiltrated, he is forced to wage a brutal one man war on the town’s criminal fraternity.
Adapted -by Sylvester Stallone no less -from the novel of the same name by Vietnam veteran Chuck Logan, Homefront is part of a series of Phil Broker books, and represents Statham’s latest attempt at kick-starting a new action franchise. After last year’s unwieldy but entertaining Parker, which saw Statham resurrect the iconic Richard Stark anti-hero of the same name, Homefront is a far less complicated affair, and its lone tough guy narrative could have been ripped straight out of an 80s Stallone movie.
The reliably off-kilter James Franco adds depth to the backwoods bad-guy role , but Statham is the star of the show, pummelling his way through a series of bozos, meth-chefs and bikers. It may lack sophistication -and indeed surprises -but Homefront is an enjoyably trashy B-movie thriller that Statham fans will lap up.
Dom Hemingway (Lionsgate), played by Jude Law (Sherlock Holmes) is a larger-than-life safecracker, back on the London streets after a twelve-year stint in jail. Determined to reclaim what he is owed for keeping his mouth shut inside, Dom heads to the south of France with his flamboyant, long-suffering best friend Dickie (Richard E. Grant, Withnail and I), only to clash with suave crime boss Mr Fontaine (Demian Bichir, A Better Life). Dom’s rampant ego and excessive boozing set in motion a deadly chain of events, and to compound his problems, upon his return to England he struggles to reconnect with his estranged grown-up daughter Evelyn (Emilia Clarke, Game of Thrones), and her family.
Before drifting into TV work, American writer-director Richard Shepard helmed offbeat Pierce Brosnan/Greg Kinnear drama The Matador back in 2005. The two movies have many parallels, but Dom Hemingway lacks the earlier movie’s subtlety, replacing it with a brash, shouty approach that is likely to prove off-putting to viewers of a sensitive disposition. Jude Law has a great time as Dom, even if the movie gives off a wearying try-hard vibe for long stretches. Comparisons to Sexy Beast have been drawn, but Dom Hemingway lacks the earlier movie’s sense of purpose, and is far too pleased with its own warped sense of humour to rank as a Brit-gangster classic. That said, with an appealingly brisk run-time and some enjoyably depraved dialogue, the film is not without its charms.
In action-comedy The Family (Entertainment One) ex-mafia boss Giovanni Manzoni (Robert De Niro, Goodfellas) is moved to rural France under the witness protection programme, after snitching on his old associates back in the United States. Given new identities as the ‘Blake’ family, Fred (De Niro), his wife Maggie (Michelle Pfeiffer, Married To The Mob) and their two children Belle (Dianna Agron, Glee) and Warren (John D’Leo) struggle to adapt to the French way of life, and it isn’t long before their old ways of dealing with trouble start to attract the attentions of some very violent men from their old neighbourhood.
With paper-thin characterisation, a weirdly lazy script and a shop-soiled pre-Sopranos vision of mob life, The Family is a clumsy, tiresome mess that strikes a series of hollow notes throughout. The gleeful sadism and tongue-in-cheek humour are odd bedfellows, with the movie seemingly desperate to earn its stripes as a ‘dark comedy’. Much has been made of Robert De Niro’s lazy trampling of his own legacy, but the real villain here is Luc Besson, who delivers one of the worst movies of his directorial career. De Niro puts in a passable performance, as does Michelle Pfeiffer, but they are given little of substance to work with. A typically hangdog Tommy Lee Jones sports a look of world-weary bemusement throughout. I imagine many viewers will share the sensation
Violence and loneliness collide in this week’s DVD round-up.
Rust & Bone (StudioCanal) is director Jacques Audiard’s follow-up to the phenomenal 2009 prison drama A Prophet. Disenfranchised twenty-something Ali (Matthias Schoenaerts, Bullhead) dreams of becoming a professional boxer, but is forced to put his ambitions on hold when he is abruptly given custody of his five-year-old son. Hoping for support he moves in with his sister in the south of France and quickly secures a job as a nightclub bouncer. One night, while intervening in an altercation, Ali meets Stephanie (Marion Cotillard, The Dark Knight Rises), who works as a killer whale trainer at a nearby waterpark. He gives her his number, not anticipating that she will contact him, but after a tragic -not to mention life-changing -accident Stephanie turns to Ali for support, and the pair form a strange bond that deepens further when Ali plunges headlong into the brutal world of bare-knuckle fighting.
Adapted from the excellent short story collection of the same name by Canadian author Craig Davidson, Rust & Bone is a gritty, sweeping movie that belies its patchwork quilt origin to tell a coherent, often gripping story. The hulking Schoenarts may carry the film’s plot, but the ever-impressive Cotillard arguably steals the show as the damaged Stephanie. Although the storyline treads close to melodrama at times, the lead performances keep it on track, and the undercurrent of menace gives the proceedings added bite. For my money Rust & Bone is not as poetic and visceral as the book that inspired it, but it remains an emphatic piece of filmmaking that further enhances Audiard’s stellar reputation. Impressive stuff.
Sleep Tight (Metrodome) is an excursion into psychological horror from director Jaume Balaguero, who earned plaudits for the memorable Spanish zombie thriller [REC] in 2007. The film follows Cesar (Luis Tosar, Cell 211, Miami Vice), who works as a concierge to the residents at a wealthy apartment building. Although Cesar is well-liked, and likes to go the extra yard for those around him, he is harbouring a dark secret, and his main goal in life is to make the carefree residents of his building as miserable as he is. Unfortunately for her, the object of Cesar’s demented affections is the beautiful Clara (Martra Etura, Eva, Cell 211), whose spontaneity and happy-go-lucky nature are firmly at odds with Cesar’s own misanthropic world-view. With easy access to Clara’s apartment, and an unpleasant bag of tricks to delve into, Cesar’s behaviour quickly degenerates, but when her boyfriend Marcos (Alberto San Juan) unexpectedly returns home the situation gets dangerously out of hand.
The [REC] series may have fizzled out into blood-splattered silliness with [REC]3: Genesis, but on this evidence, Balaguero has plenty more tricks up his sleeve. Sleep Tight is a riveting psychological thriller, peppered with expertly rendered moments of suspense, and Balaguero wastes little time in setting out his stall. Indeed, the excellent opening scene immediately wrong-foots you, letting you know that you are in for a twisted treat. The unhinged character of Cesar offers Luis Tosar another eye-catching role following his menacing turn as Malamadre in Cell 211, and Sleep Tight’s mild-mannered desk-jockey is arguably a far scarier character than the vicious convict. All in all: a great movie that richly deserves the crossover success heading its way.
In The Package (Anchor Bay) ex-wrestler ‘Stone Cold’ Steve Austin (The Condemned, Hunt To Kill) stars as combat veteran Tommy Wick, who picks up a steady wage as a nightclub bouncer and mob enforcer for the shadowy ‘Big Doug’. Keen to pay off his incarcerated brother’s debt to the mob boss, Tommy readily accepts whatever jobs Doug offers him, but is understandably wary when he is enlisted to deliver a mysterious package to his notorious former associate known only as ‘The German’ (Dolph Lundgren, Rocky IV). In time-honoured fashion, things quickly spiral out of control, and Tommy finds himself being hunted down by a squad of sadistic mercenaries who are keen to get their hands on the enigmatic ‘package’, whatever it is…
Since Sly Stallone gathered up all of his old cronies for The Expendables, the straight-to-DVD market has seen a resurgence in old-school action double-headers which pit a pair of washed-up action heroes up against one another for an undemanding cinematic grudge match (witness One In The Chamber, Maximum Conviction etc). This is definitely a positive development in my book, as it gives straight-to-DVD connoisseurs more bang for their buck! Lundgren has always been one of the more dependable cut-price action heroes on the circuit, and seems equally comfortable whether playing the hero or, in this case, a scenery-chewing villain. While Austin’s acting chops leave a lot to be desired, he has proven himself to be a dependable straight-to-DVD performer in recent years, making up for his unconvincing delivery by delivering blunt force trauma in all of his action scenes. While it is unlikely to make a splash outside of its core demographic, The Package is a solid enough B-movie thriller, with enough quirky moments to keep you interested.
Shot for just $500,000 on a set constructed in director William Eubank’s parents’ back garden, LOVE (High Fliers) tells the story of Captain Lee Miller (Gunner Wright, J. Edgar) an astronaut who loses contact with Earth while carrying out a solitary mission on board an International Space Station. As time ticks away and the space craft’s life support systems start to diminish, Miller struggles to maintain his sanity and the claustrophobic conditions begin to provoke hallucinatory experiences in him. Produced by Tom DeLonge (of Blink 182 fame), whose current band Angels & Airwaves also provide the film’s minimalist score, LOVE has understandably attracted attention from many quarters, but the film arguably warrants further scrutiny on its own merits. Relative newcomer Gunner Wright shoulders the film’s narrative almost single-handedly, and brings a quiet intensity to the role. Despite a brisk 75-minute run-time, LOVE doesn’t suffer from a lack of ideas, and its slick presentation belies its shoestring budget and art-house poise. It may be too slight to rank alongside its key influences like 2001, Solaris and Moon, but LOVE is an engaging curio with plenty to recommend it.
Based on the 1972 Charles Bronson movie of the same name, The Mechanic (Momentum) is a welcome opportunity to see unreconstructed British action hero Jason Statham strut his stuff, away from the swollen ensemble cast of The Expendables.
South West TV production super company Twofour are joining super mum Myleene Klass to create a new online channel for expectant parents and parents of young children.
Klaatu Barrada Nikto, might be something you’d expect John Cleese to have said back in his Python days. But the catchphase (!) is one that made the The Day the Earth Stood Still famous (or was it the other way round), and Sir Cleese (surely he’s been Knighted by now) plays Dr Barnhardt in the remake. We caught up with him (via a released interview) to find out more about his role in the film and the funny man’s future projects.
We got in touch with director Dom Lee, who worked alongside David Salas, to create the music video for Awakening, the first single from the Sound of the Sirens’ album This Time. But first, here are Abbe Martin and Hannah Wood, the Sound of the Sirens themselves what inspired them…[Read more…] about The making of: Awakening – Sound of the Sirens video
With its premiere a year ago at the Two Short Nights film festival in Exeter, you can now watch Dom Lee’s Rocketshed film online, in its full three-minute entirety.
‘Rocketshed’ is one of seven films selected this year as part of Exeter Phoenix Digital’s Film Commission. They provide funding and support for the filmmakers and the films will premiere at their Two Short Nights Film Festival in December.
It’s not often that a short film can turn your mind to a combination of Spinal Tap and Platoon. Jam Session, a new short from filmmaker Dom Lee, is a story about four rocker friends who meet up for their regular jam night.
Devon filmmaker Dom Lee has been working on the Chris Hardman short film Pollen.
Filmmaker Dom Lee is in pre-production of his next short film Jam Session and he’s on the look out for some cast members.
In this world of hi-tech communication pinging around, the new South West FilmMail is going old school with an email newsletter. The idea is to promote collaboration in the South West film community. We spoke to filmmaker Dom Lee – the force behind the new newsletter, who’s been selected for this year’s BFI Network x BAFTA Crew scheme – about what it is, how it will connect, and why you should sign up[Read more…] about South West FilmMail newsletter to promote film collaboration
Prepare for lumpy throats and celebrations. Fort Box, Dom Lee’s touching story about childhood, has gone online after an extensive festival run.[Read more…] about Fort Box film, touching story of childhood, goes online
Alexis Kirke‘s new film A Boat takes on the task of recreating the experience of Lewy bodies type of dementia. It’s a pretty big ask, but he seems to have managed it. We popped him a few questions about how he got involved with representing dementia on screen and the top notch team he worked with.
A film which seeks to highlight the effects early onset dementia can have on people in their 30s, 40s and 50s is to be premiered during a free event at the University of Plymouth.
Torbay can now count itself officially on the movie map, following a successful week for the English Riviera Film Festival and the inaugural English Riviera Film Awards.
The awarding of the People’s Choice to Timi Ajani and Hana Elias for their film The Search Party closed another creative melee (so much more dignified than a riot) of short film and celebration of local, regional and international talent that took place at the Exeter Phoenix for its Two Short Nights extravaganza -now in its 15th year.
Exeter Phoenix’s annual short film festival, Two Short Nights, prepares to bring flocks of filmmakers, viewers and industry specialists to the city this December in a celebration of short film and the people who make them.
I first met Ben Tallamy a few years ago which firstly I began to discover his film work, whether that was music videos, short films and full length features.