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Posts Tagged ‘Noel Clarke’

Last week saw John Boyega receive the BAFTA Rising Star Award.  His future looks pretty bright thanks to a little sci-fi franchise that he has a part in.  The other nominees Taron Egerton, Dakota Johnson, Brie Larson (BAFTA winner and Oscar favourite) and Bel Powley all appear to have busy diaries for the next few years too.  But what happened to the previous rising stars?  Are the now shining stars or did they fade into obscurity? I think you will agree most of them are doing okay:John Boyega

2006: James McAvoy: Jovial star of the hugely successful X-Men franchise.  Nominated for two further  BAFTA’s: Best Supporting Actor for  The Last King of Scotland and  Best Actor Atonement. (other 2006 nominees: Chiwetel Ejiofor, Gael García Bernal, Rachel McAdams, Michelle Williams)James McAvoy

2007: Eva Green: She doesn’t appear in many films, her choices are always interesting and she is usually brilliant in them if not as high profile as her earlier films The Dreamers and Casino Royale.  Last year she appeared in The Salvation that made my top ten of the year.  Her best recent work has come on TV in Penny Dreadful. (other 2007 nominees: Emily Blunt, Naomie Harris, Cillian Murphy, Ben Whishaw)Eva Green

2008: Shia LaBeouf: Went from a promising actor to a bit of a joke.  He is beginning to show more promise in with strong performances in: Fury, Nymphomaniac and The Necessary Death of Charlie Countryman.  He is yet to revive any other significant nominations. (other 2008 nominees: Sienna Miller, Ellen Page, Sam Riley, Tang Wei)Shia LaBeouf

2009: Noel Clarke: While he hasn’t had the hits some of the other actors have had, he has tuned into a one man British film industry working as an Actor, Producer, Writer and Director.  No other significant nominations to date, but he is currently working on Brotherhood, the final instalment in the “hood” trilogy. (other 2009 nominations: Michael Cera, Michael Fassbender, Rebecca Hall, Toby Kebbell)Noel Clarke

2010: Kristen Stewart: A hugely underrated actress who is struggling to shed the baggage of Twiglight with some audiences.  She was excellent in Still Alice.  She is yet to receive any other significant nominations and can consider herself extremely unlucky not to be nominated for supporting actress for Clouds of Sils Maria. (other nominees from 2010: Jesse Eisenberg, Nicholas Hoult, Carey Mulligan, Tahar Rahim)Kristen Stewart

2011: Tom Hardy: Versatile and likeable actor.  Star of my favourite movie of last yearMad Max: Fury Road.  Oscar Nominated for Best Supporting Actor for The Revenant this year. (other 2011 nominees: Gemma Arterton, Andrew Garfield, Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Emma Stone)Tom Hardy

2012: Adam Deacon: Surprise winner, his most significant role since wining was in the TV series Babylon.  No other significant nominations. (other 2012 nominations: Chris Hemsworth, Tom Hiddleston, Chris O’Dowd, Eddie Redmayne)Adam Deacon

2013: Juno Temple: First came to attention in Atonement six years before the rising star award.  She has continued to dazzle in supporting roles in big films and larger roles in smaller films.  I have heard good reports but am yet to see her in the TV show Vinyl.  Yet to revive any other significant nominations. (other 2013 nominations: Elizabeth Olsen, Andrea Riseborough, Suraj Sharma, Alicia Vikander)Juno Temple

2014: Will Poulter: Like Juno Temple it took a long time for this nomination after his memorable debute in Son of Rambow seven years before.  Since then he has impressed in Wild Bill and particularly this years The Revenant.  The Maze Runner wasn’t great but he was the best thing in it.  Yet to revive any other significant nominations. (other 2014 nominations: Dane DeHaan, George MacKay, Lupita Nyong’o, Léa Seydoux)

2015: Jack O’Connell: After five films being released in the year leading up to his rising star award we haven’t seen much of him since.  He has three films in the can including Money Monster directed by Jodie Foster.  He is also set to appear in Terry Gilliam’s long awaited second attempt to film The Man Who Killed Don Quixote. Yet to revive any other significant nominations. (other 2015 nominations: Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Margot Robbie, Miles Teller, Shailene Woodley)Jack O'Connell

 

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After posting my choice for the BAFTA rising star award there have been a few comments suggesting other nominees  deserve to win.  While I stand by my choice of Jack O’Connell I actually believe all the nominees are deserving to demonstrate this I thought I would run through the winners and losers from previous years. 

2006

Winner: James McAvoy

Other Nominees: Chiwetel Ejiofor, Gael García Bernal, Rachel McAdams, Michelle Williams

2006

2007

Winner: Eva Green

Other Nominees: Emily Blunt, Naomie Harris, Cillian Murphy, Ben Whishaw2007

2008

Winner: Shia LaBeouf

Other Nominees: Sienna Miller, Ellen Page, Sam Riley, Tang Wei2008

2009

Winner: Noel Clarke

Other Nominees: Michael Cera, Michael Fassbender, Rebecca Hall, Toby Kebbell2009

2010

Winner: Kristen Stewart

Other Nominees: Jesse Eisenberg, Nicholas Hoult, Carey Mulligan, Tahar Rahim2010

2011

Winner: Tom Hardy

Other Nominees: Gemma Arterton, Andrew Garfield, Aaron Johnson, Emma Stone2011

2012

Winner: Adam Deacon

Other Nominees: Chris Hemsworth, Tom Hiddleston, Chris O’Dowd, Eddie Redmayne2012

2013

Winner: Juno Temple

Other Nominees: Elizabeth Olsen, Andrea Riseborough, Suraj Sharma, Alicia Vikander2013

2014

Winner: Will Poulter

Other Nominees: Dane DeHaan, George MacKay, Lupita Nyong’o, Léa Seydoux2014

 

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The Anomaly posterBack in August I wrote about The Machine, an excellent low budget British Sci-Fi movie.  I have finally managed to catch up with The Anomaly, another entry in the same genre.  The reason I started with the comparison is both movies suffer with the same problem.  a lack of distribution.  Don’t get me wrong, it isn’t going to change the world or appear on your all time to ten list, it isn’t Star Wars or Blade Runner but it is a solid entertaining low budget movie. The Anomaly Noel Clarke

Set in an undisclosed date in the near future Ryan (Noel Clarke) a former soldier suffering PTSD wakes up in the back of a van with a kidnapped child and a huge gap in his memory.  He tries to help the boy but soon discovers there is far more going on than he comprehend.  He slowly discover what is going on and what his part in it is.  I have chosen not to giving away the plot so can’t say much more. The Anomaly

Directed, co-produced and starring one man film industry Noel Clarke.  The main support comes from Ian Somerhalder and Alexis Knapp with a small part for the legendry Brian Cox, also look out for Luke (older brother of Chris and Liam) Hemsworth.  Eagle-eyed viewers will spot Clarke’s Doctor Who co-star Freema Agyeman who appears as his wife in a photograph.The Anomaly Alexis Knapp

As you would expect of a low budget Sci-Fi movie the plot isn’t without holes, but none of them are significant and are soon forgotten as you root for the noble and likeable hero.  The action scenes are notable,  made on a budget the film employs well choreographed action shot with real visual flare.  It was reported at the time of release that Clarke did his own fight scenes without the use of a double, this really helps the action, as does the fighting style.  Employing the hard brutality of the real world with just a hint of The Matrix and Equilibrium style fantasy the action is fresh and entertaining.  This coupled with a mystery that unfolds slowly but without any real surprises makes for an enjoyable movie.The Anomaly  Ian Somerhalder

The film was shown at the Edinburgh Film Festival in June this year and supposedly receded a general release in the UK the following month.  Despite living in a major city (40 cinemas within a short drive), I was unable to find a local cinema showing the film.  Had the film been a no budget direct to video affair with a one cinema release to raise its profile, I could understand it, but that isn’t the case.  Although the actors are not A list, they are certainly recognisable.  That is why I cannot understand why  distributor Universal didn’t make more of it.  To exacerbate this, the film doesn’t appear to have made its way to North America in any format yet.  I don’t expect Hunger Games or Hobbit size releases, but I do think a British film deserves just a little time on the big screen over hear, if nothing else it may give it a fighting chance in other markets.

If you get the chance, to pick up a copy or see it on demand, give it a chance. 

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Skyfall and The Dark Knight Rises are amongst my favourite movies of the year, but between them they cost the best part of the unimaginable sum of half a billion dollars. What can be done with a lower budget? All of the ten films listed below were made for less than $25million and are all the better for the invention and creativity that comes with limitations of a small budget. In a B movie tradition I have discarded indie drama’s in favour of genre movies: action, gangsters, sci-fi and horror.  The other notable thing, is that despite their B credentials they all received a UK cinema release.

Haywire
Budget: $23,000,000 (estimated)
Legend has it that Steven Soderbergh was sat at home late one night channel surfing when he came across a Mixed Martial Arts contest (a cage fight). He was so enthralled with one of the contestants Gina Carano that he diced to write a movie for her. Having never acted before it was a big risk, but we are talking about the director who cast porn star Sasha Grey in The Girlfriend Experience. Taking a different approach for haywire, he filled the supporting roles with talented actors (Michael Fassbender, Michael Douglas, Antonio Banderas, Bill Paxton and Ewan McGregor), but it is the action that really sets the film apart. Forgoing the post Bourne trend of ultra close-ups and staccato editing in favour of long takes and mid length shots with lots of depth of field. It all helps show off Carano’s fighting talents. A love it or hate it film, it has received mixed reviews, personally I love it.

Killer Joe
Budget: $10,000,000 (estimated)
Back in 2006 William Friedkin made a criminally overlooked gem called Bug, it was based on a play by Tracy Letts who also wrote the screenplay. The pair re-teamed to adapt a play Letts wrote twenty years ago. Set around a criminally stupid dysfunctional Texas family it is a violent and repugnant tale. Emile Hirsch, Juno Temple, Thomas Haden Church and Gina Gershon are all brilliant but are in the shadow of the real star Matthew McConaughey. Often funny but the humour is truly jet black, this is a seriously fucked up film that many people will hate, again, I love it.

The Raid
Budget: $1,100,000 (estimated)
Welshman Gareth Evans is the unlikely director of this film that highlights Indonesian martial art, pencak silat. Set in a Jakarta tower block controlled by a crime lord a swat team have to fight for their lives as the story of why they are there gradually unfolds. A brutal and violent film that isn’t actually that originally but still manages to feel fresh and new. It isn’t as good, inventive or as memorable as Die Hard but it cost less than £1million, in other words less than the coffee budget from Lord of the Rings.

Wild Bill
Budget: no idea but its British so it won’t be much!
Dexter Fletcher has always been a decent and likeable actor, although never a great one, therefore it many come as a surprise, but his debut feature as a director is brilliant. Given his association with British gangster movies it is natural that Wild Bill would be set in London’s underworld. What’s great about the movie is that it avoids the usual storylines associated with this type of movie in recent years and concentrates on more personal story of an ex con who returns home from prison to find his two young sons abandoned my their mother. Being a farther is the last thing on his mind but something compels him to do the right thing. Fletcher also avoids the pitfall of casting himself instead opting for a whose who of British TV and genre movies.

Killing Them Softly
$18,000,000 (estimated)
This gritty tale of low level mobsters and hit men could have been a disaster. Not a great deal happens, it is filled with scenes of men talking around the issues of the movie. The social and political commentary have earned the movie its greatest praise and largest criticism. Directed by Andrew Dominik and starring Brad Pitt, the pair worked together on The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford and are both on top form again. And like all great genre movies, it clocks in at less than 100 minutes.

Lockout
$20,000,000 (estimated)
Based on an “original idea” by Luc Besson, I’m not sure there is an original idea in the whole movie and don’t think Luc Besson has actually had an original idea in a long time, but that really doesn’t matter, the movie is great. Its silly and its fun and that’s all it ever intended or indeed needed to be. The plot involves a shady but honest spy type character who is forced to rescue the president’s daughter who is held hostage on a prison in space. So basically its Die Hard meets Escape from New York, in space. The CGI is terrible and the plot is thin but none of this matters, the action is good and the dialogue is often funny. The real appeal is a surprisingly good Maggie Grace and the always brilliant Guy Pearce.

Chronicle
$12,000,000 (estimated)
The surprise low budget hit from the early part of the year. A Sci-fi movie reminiscent of Push (2009) and the TV show Misfits. I’m not a fan of the found footage genre but they get away with on the whole here. It loses its way in the final act but overall it is still an enjoyable movie. The unknown cast are good and the fact they are unknown often works in the movies favour.

Storage 24
Budget: again no idea but its British so will be well within the $25million limit.
I have suggested in the past that Noel Clarke is the most important person in the British film industry at the moment. Actor, writer, director and producer, awarded the Orange Rising Star Award at the 2009 BAFTA’s, he is the writer and star of Storage 24. Ultimately it is an alien invasion movie but without the grandeur of Hollywood movies and scaling it back to a small intimate and personal story. It plays out like a haunted house movie with a great blend of horror, comedy and action. Remembering the golden rule the creature is kept hidden for a long time and when we see it, its pretty good for a low budget movie. Criminally overlooked and underrated.

How I Spent My Summer Vacation (aka Get the Gringo)
$20,000,000 (estimated)
Sadly under seen thanks to Mel Gibson’s personal problems and the lack of a cinema release in America. First time director Adrian Gruenberg worked for Gibson as assistant director on Apocalypto, the pair give us an old fashioned story of a getaway driver who finds himself in trouble south of the border. There is a scene towards the end of the movie where Gibson impersonates Clint Eastwood but long before that the film starts to resemble A Fistful of Dollars (1964)/Yojimbo (1961) and is all the better for it. Full of both the action and the dry whit you would expect from Mel Gibson of old. Ultimately it is the story of a flawed character looking for redemption, just like Gibson himself.

The Grey
$25,000,000 (estimated)
A horrible and inaccurate portrayal of grey wolves but a haunting and entertaining movie. Liam Neeson has always walked the line between serious actor and action star, originally leaning more towards actor but more recently falling on the action side of the line. When a plane carrying oil drillers crashes in the freezing wastes of Alaska the survivors are hunted by killer wolves. A metaphor for the destruction of the environment and the power of nature or just a survival thriller. Whatever you get from the movie it is well made and largely enjoyable.

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The Olympics and a couple of big releases have led to a limited number of new releases in July so I have only seen five movie, but amongst them is the best film of the year so far.

Killer Joe: William Friedkin’s tale of murder set around a dysfunctional Texas family is often violent and repugnant, but it is also brilliant mainly because of a star turn from a resurgent Matthew McConaughey.

Storage 24: For the second month in a row a movie written by and starring the one man British film industry Noel Clarke. A well designed and thought out creature and good use of the confined space make for a really good British monster movie.

The Amazing Spider-Man: A reboot surprisingly soon after Sam Raimi’s trilogy. Andrew Garfield and Emma Stone are perfectly cast, the action is pretty good but the thing that sets it apart is the none costume build up to the action.

The Dark Knight Rises: Both the most intimate and the biggest in scale of Christopher Nolan’s Batman trilogy. Elevated by great casting particularly Tom Hardy and Anne Hathaway. A fitting conclusion to what is possibly the best trilogy ever that like all great movies leaves you wanting more.

Chariots of Fire: The 1981 film has been re-released in time for the Olympics. Based on a true story concentrating on two British athletes culminating with their appearance at the 1924 Paris Olympics. A seminal sports movie that is still relevant thirty years on.

Not only my movie of the month but my favourite movie so far this year:

The Dark Knight Rises

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