EXTRA#009 – Midnight Special

In an extra podcast, Paul and Robert take a look at Midnight Special, which has been receiving good reviews from the critics.

In the film, a father absconds with his son, aided by the father’s boyhood friend and the boy’s mother, from a cult in order to deliver the boy to a location at a specified time.  In pursuit are both law enforcement agencies as well as members of the cult.

The film was written and directed by Jeff Nichols and starred Michael Shannon, Kirsten Dunst, Joel Edgerton, Jaeden Lieberher and Adam Driver.

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Foundation Films#004 – Raiders of the Lost Ark

In the fourth episode of our Foundation Films series of specials we take a look at Raiders of the Lost Ark. Released in 1981, this film was directed by Steven Spielberg and the story was by George Lucas, although the actual screenplay was written by Lawrence Kasdan. Harrison Ford was the main star but the cast also included Karen Allen, Paul Freeman, Ronald Lacey, John Rhys-Davies, Denholm Elliott and Alfred Molina.

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Raiders is set in 1981 and has one of the most memorable opening sequences ever that is used to introduce you to the main man, Indiana (Indy) Jones. The main story follows Indy’s attempts to beat the Nazis to one of the most famous items in religious history, the ark of the covenant. Featuring many classic set-pieces, the film has you on the edge of your seat from start to finish. The film spawned three sequels and a fourth is being planned.

This podcast is special for a few reasons.  We recorded this from Michael’s house in Cardiff for the first time, we were able to have a special guest in the form of Vern Griffiths and, most importantly, Michael helped us to understand how well the microphone pics up fizzy drinks being poured!  Twice!

Our next main podcast will take a look at Victoria for the cinema release, Victor Frankenstein see its home release and the classic film is Die Hard.

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EXTRA#008 – Hard Tide / Nathanael Wiseman Interview

Hard Tide is an indie British crime movie with a difference. Jake (Nathanael Wiseman) is a small-time criminal who has some issues as his Dad (Ralph Brown) is about to be put away and Margate, the setting for the film, is about to become embroiled in a turf war. At this point, Jake’s life is turned upside down when he meets and befriends a neglected nine-year-old girl, Jade (played by outstanding newcomer, Alexandra Newick).

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The film utilises some lovely settings in and around Margate, and the cinematographer, Joe Mannion, has done a great job extracting the maximum from these locations. These visuals when over laid with a great little soundtrack by Si Begg, and with original music from UK rapper Mic Righteous, leave you in no doubt as to how grimy life can get on these housing estates. However, as well as the violence that you would expect from a British crime movie, you also have the lighter scenes with Jake and Jade that ultimately turn this into a tale of redemption. Wiseman and Newick have great chemistry on-screen that leaves you in no doubt about Jake’s determination to save Jade.

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As well as Wiseman, Brown and Newick, the cast includes the likes of Mem Ferda, Oliver Stark, Andy Lucas, Katarina Gellin, Beverly Hills and Sean Cronin, so you know the story is in safe hands.

Hard Tide receives a theatrical release on 29th April 2016 and is available to buy on DVD from 9th May 2016.

We were lucky enough to bag ourselves an interview with the lead actor, Nathanael Wiseman (Nate). As well as taking the lead role in the film, Nate also co-wrote and co-directed this film with Robert Osman, was a producer alongside Katarina Gellin (who took over the role of Nate’s girlfriend in the film when the original actress was injured a few days before the start of filming) and also produced and provided vocals on one of the songs on the soundtrack. The interview was carried out by Robert, Marc and Paul for the podcast. There are a couple of points where a dog can be heard in the background towards the end of the recording, please accept our apologies for this.

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REV#0001 – The Brand New Testament

Directed by Jaco Van Dormael
Written by Thomas Gunzig & Jaco Van Dormael
Stars Pili Groyne, Benoît Poelvoorde, Catherine Deneuve, Yolande Moreau, Marco Lorenzini et al
Released 15th April 2016
Language French with English subtitles

What if God exists and is living in a flat in Brussels? And what if He isn’t the benevolent supreme being that is taught in religion but rather an unlikeable bastard who lives with His wife and daughter, spending most of His time either watching sport or creating rules that are inflicted on the human race in order to annoy? This is the scenario that you are presented with in this dark comedy and, while most people will have heard of His son (who is known as JC in the film and lives on as a living ornament in the flat), the wife and daughter are new.

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The God in this film is an overbearing character, to the point that His wife rarely speaks, and it is not unknown for His daughter, Éa, to receive the belt for perceived misdeeds. It is after one such punishment that Éa decides to take her revenge and go out into the real world, taking on six apostles that she tries to help with various aspects of their lives. It is the form that the revenge takes which makes this film really interesting as Éa breaks into her father’s study and texts everybody in the world with their actual date and time of death.

This one act poses an interesting question: how would you react if you knew you had 62 years left before you die? Or a week? How about 20 seconds? Whichever way you look at it, it is an interesting question and I doubt anyone would carry on exactly as they did before, and it is most certainly true of the apostles that are chosen. Each of the six have faulty or completely broken lives and Éa helps them to fix the main things holding them back and allow them to live their lives better.

The darker thoughts and concepts in this film are lightened considerably by the humour deployed throughout the movie. The laughs start quickly with an interesting take on Genesis that should not be missed, and the opening scenes are also used to explain away a lot of life’s little annoyances, such as the phone always ringing when you get into the bath, as being examples of the many rules or laws put in place by God. Out in the real world, there are a good number of funny set pieces throughout the film where you see the same person taking on increasingly dangerous stunts, now fully aware that he has many years left in his life.

Ultimately, The Brand New Testament could have been very dark indeed with the possibility of death always just around the corner, however, the themes of love and redemption that run through this film are strong and, along with the mix of humour, actually make it an uplifting experience. If it is showing in a cinema near you I would highly recommend a trip out to see it and it is worth the effort required with the subtitles if you are not fluent in French.

EXTRA#007 – The Sound Barrier

To mark the 25th anniversary of David Lean’s death, STUDIOCANAL are re-releasing one of his lesser known films, The Sound Barrier.  The film has received restoration by the BFI National Archive in partnership with STUDIOCANAL aided by generous funding from the David Lean Foundation.  This edition is being released on 11th April 2016 under the Vintage Classics banner and will be the first time that is has received an outing on Blu-Ray.

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The Sound Barrier was first released in 1952 and, as well as directing the film, David Lean also produced the film.  Terence Rattigan wrote the screenplay and the film starred Ralph Richardson, Ann Todd, Nigel Patrick, John Justin, Dinah Sheridan and Denholm Elliott amongst others.

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The film follows John Ridgefield (Ralph Richardson), who is the wealthy owner of an aircraft manufacturer, whose aim of building a plane that can fly faster than the speed of sound has grown into an obsession.  This single-mindedness pushes his son (Denholm Elliott) to try to become a pilot, something that the son has no natural gift for, and eventually results in the death of the son.  Ridgefield’s daughter (Ann Todd) marries a WWII fighter ace (Nigel Patrick) who subsequently becomes a test pilot for Ridgefield.

If you like old British movies, that are full of stiff upper-lippery (and Robert certainly does with his own obsession in old British war movies), then this film will be a must-see, particularly as it is so rarely seen with it being over-shadowed by Lean’s masterpieces such as Brief Encounter, Lawrence of Arabia, Dr Zhivago and The Bridge On The River Kwai.  Some of the domestic scenes between Todd and Patrick are not as strong as they perhaps could have been as they lacked a certain passion that you would expect from a newly-wed couple, but this is more than made up for by the aerial scenes and Richardson’s performance as the obsessesive manufacturer who succeeds in pushing his family away before a form of redemption at the end.

Back To The Feature Podcast were lucky enough to receive an advance preview copy of the film so Robert and Marc took it out for a quick test flight.

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