Results for category "Independent"

Bereave *

  

U.S./ Directors Evangelos Giovanis and George Giovanis / 2015 / 99 mins
 
Synopsis: Fatally ill, Garvey (McDowall) is dying and thinks he has figured out how to die alone. But when his beloved wife Evelyn (Seymour) goes missing on their anniversary, he must live to save her.

 

A low budget drama from brothers Evangelos and George Giovanis who raised the funds to make the film through Kickstarter.

 

Sitting on the edge of his bed on the morning of his 40th wedding anniversary, Garvey (Malcolm McDowall) contemplates his life with a revolver in his hand. He is struggling with his dark secret which is frustrating his wife Evelyn (Jane Seymour) who does not understand what is going on with her husband. Struggling with pressure of the secret and with the arguments between the two increasing, he runs away from home for a strange day of misadventures.

 

There may be be a good film somewhere, but this script hides any potential it may have. The problem is the multiple storylines involving Garvey’s family which do not connect with the central premise.

 

This is especially the case with the strand involving his brother (Keith Carridine), a character that appears to be some kind of gangster. But there is no character development and aspects about their lives are never fully explained. Not only that, but some of the dialogue is absolutely terrible.

 

With the actors involved in this film, it would at least be expected that the performances would be good. Unfortunately everyone overacts and give over the top amateurish performances. Only Garvey’s granddaughter (Rachel Egglestone) shows any promise and outshines the professionals.

 

Bereave may have some great actors in the cast, but the characters that are hard to emphasise with. This muddled mess is extremely challenging to watch.

 

Reviewed by Paul Logan

  

Big Gold Dream: Scottish Post-Punk and Infiltrating the Mainstream *****

  

UK/ Director Grant McPhee/ 94mins
 
Synopsis: After the Punk explosion of 1976 shockwaves were sent throughout the United Kingdom’s youth. In Scotland, Fast Product and Postcard records would herald in the birth of indie music sounds and fashion and build the template for BritPop. This would all begin from two small tenement flats in opposite coasts of Scotland.

After making an impressive debut with Sarah’s Room, Director Grant McPhee returns with an informative and interesting documentary about the Scottish music scene from 1977-1985.
 
In a tenement flat in Edinburgh Bob Last and Hilary Morrison through their record label FAST Product, would go onto sign the Fire Engines, Scars and Boots For Dancing.
 
They would go on to produce acclaimed DIY releases including The Mekons, Gang of Four, Joy Division and the Dead Kennedys.
 
Fast Product would later expand into publishing and management and eventually be responsible for the 1981 Christmas No.1 ‘Don’t You Want Me’ and parent album ‘Dare’ by The Human League.
 
Meanwhile on the west coast, Glasgow based Postcard Records run by the enigmatic Alan Horne with Edwyn Collins would release Orange Juice singles.
 
With Postcard the music press would travel to see them. While it was claimed that every London based A&R representative was travelling to Scotland to sign anyone with a guitar.
 
Audiences may not be aware of all or any of the bands, but after watching this extensively researched and compelling documentary there senses will be enlightened to this interesting time for Scottish music.
 
Although the film is full of information, at 94 minutes never feels dull or dragged out. The overall structure is completely well balanced with a equal amount of screen time for both sides to convey their recollections of past events.
 
The film is compiled ofinterviews, music videos and stock footage. The interviews range from Fast owner Bob Last to colour characters in the bands to music critics to legends like Joy Division’s Peter Hook. Unfortunately there is no new interview from Orange Juice’s Edwyn Collins, only archived footage. Even the present day footage is given an aged effect look which gives the film an authentic feel.
 
It does not really matter whether audiences are Scottish Indie music fans or not, this fascinating documentary has something for everyone with great music to tap your feet to.

Reviewed by Paul Logan

  


EIFF 2014: Hyena

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Hyena: **
US/ Director Gerald Johnson/ 112mins

 

After the promising debut from Johnson with his serial killer drama, Tony, the director returns with a lacklustre run by the mill cop thriller.

 

The film follows the “hyena” in question, a scavenger and a corrupt cop Michael (Peter Ferdinando) who leads a special task-force that tackles London’s biggest drug traffickers. Michael turns a blind eye against the illegal activity of the Turkish and Albanian criminal community of the city, however the reappearance of an old colleague from his past threatens to expose he and his unit’s corruption.

 

The main problem with Hyena is that this story has been done several times before and with better results. Johnson has clearly been influenced by
Abel Ferrara’s classic Bad Lieutenant Nicholas Winding Refn’s Pusher.

 

The style and look is dark, gritty, bleak and murky with none of the characters involved being at all likeable. The filmmakers use the standard clichéd use of jump cuts, close ups and overused slow motion that has really been done to death in this genre, especially in UK crime thrillers. The script is predictable and has several plot holes within the story.

 

It is not all doom and gloom however. The acting saves the piece for being truly forgettable. Especially by The lead performer Tony’s Peter Ferdinando and the ever reliable Stephen Graham who appears to be wasted in an underdeveloped role as Michael’s superior officer.

 

While the soundtrack by 80’s electronic act The The works well with the disturbing images.

 

With murder, rape and dismemberment, Hyena is distinctly unpleasant to watch. The performances may lift the overall piece, but there is just nothing here that is particularly memorable.

By Paul Logan

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Sarah’s Room: ****

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Run Time: 94mins                  Cert: N/A
 

Synopsis: When Joe (O’Brien) returns home after being away, he finds that his wife (Colquhoun) has taken in a mysterious lodger( Stanbridge). Is this stranger playing tricks on him or is he slowly going mad.

 

After spending over 10 years in the camera department on movies such as Cloud Atlas, World War & Under the Skin, Grant McPhee makes a giant leap into making his directing debut. Originally entitled ‘To Here Knows When’ this psychedelic ambient drama was filmed over five days at the cost of £4,000.

 

The first thing to notice in this remarkable film is the stunning cinematography. With blinding flashes and quick cuts, the film has a classic 70’s feel to each frame. In fact the piece has the look that is reminiscent of Donald Cammell, Dario Argento and Nice Roeg.

 

The performances of the stellar cast bring extra life to the film. After a fantastic turn in the horror Outcast Hannah Stanbridge shows that she is one of Scotland’s unique talents. Not to be outdone both newcomers Patrick O’Brien gives a powerful and sympathetic performance as Joe, while Colquhoun gives an emotional and compelling performance as his wife who is stuck in the middle of both sides of the situation.

 

The narrative of the story is complex and has many elements going on within the story. None of which are ever fully explained or revealed to the audience. Sadly this is where the film is letdown. While many movies from the 70’s followed this rule, they at least detailed one of story strands. There is nothing wrong with making a narrative ambiguous, but it just takes too many turns making the journey far too confusing to an audience.

 

Overall McPhee’s debut is a stunning piece of filmmaking, with memorable performances. It is hard to believe that a film of this calibre was made with such a small budget and in such a short amount of time. Everyone involved in this production should be incredibly proud of their achievements.

Reviewed by Paul Logan