‘Time Of The Month’ – Rich Teasers Together With Random Clock Films For Our 2nd Film Of 2017!

In some ways, film projects and productions are a little like London buses(*): wildly optimistic timetables, cancellations, terminal roadside breakdowns… then two turn up bumper-to-bumper, just as you’re girding your loins for a Hunger Games-style trek through the Elephant and Castle.

Time Of The Month is our second film of 2017, a comic collaboration with Random Clock Films which began shooting in Scotland at the beginning of November. The script itself was developed off the back of one of those “two people, one room” concept pitches that sound easy enough to cobble together over lager and service station sandwiches but are actually much harder to make as dynamic and moreish as lager and service station sandwiches. You don’t try to reinvent the wheel – you just try to make sure that when people are getting together to talk wheels, they’re talking about your wheel being the coolest-looking wheel on the whole damn wheel rack.

In putting a monstrous twist on the age-old couples conundrum of trying to separate the partygoers from the babysitters, we and Random Clock think we have something pretty cool in the mix for 2018. More news will undoubtedly follow, but for now, here’s a trio of circular teasers…

Random Clock Films will also be posting production updates on their own site at Random Clock Films – do pop in for a virtual looksie.

(*)Of course in other ways, buses aren’t like film projects and productions at all: the N343, for example, can get you all the way from Tooley Street to New Cross after hours, and there’s no way Fletch or Last Of The Mohicans could ever manage that.

‘Happy Birthday Mrs. Shine’ – The Opening Shots Of A Black Comedy Feature…

Right from the beginning, our fabulous comedy short Snug As A Bug had a bigger, brassier, bad-assier sister.

That big, bad-ass sis is Happy Birthday Mrs. Shine: she controls the remote when mum’s not around, she’s better at netball (because she leads with the elbows) and she takes the book-ended story of Snug and ramps it up to new levels of mishap, paranoia and amateur dissection.

Lady hit squads! Lunatics in caravans! Autopsies in garden sheds!

It’s sometimes difficult to know how to start conceptualising a project like Happy Birthday… which is why we’re more than happy to devolve that tricky visual conceptualising to hyper-talented artistic collaborator Louise Caruana Galizia of Cue Pictures who has a fine eye for the enigmatic and visually engaging.

She’s made a start. We like the start she’s made…

There’ll be more news as time passes and hopefully more cool conceptualising from Louise at Cue Pictures (@cuepictures)

‘Snug As A Bug’ – Official Film Trailer

Having gone down a storm during its initial screenings at the BFI, it’s time now for Snug As A Bug to stuff its sandwiches into a knotted polka-dot handkerchief, tie said handkerchief to a sturdy stick or bamboo cane, adopt a stray cat as an inseparable travelling companion and strike out for the gilded pavements of Festivaldom.

Not that Festivaldom is a place or indeed a ‘-dom’ of any description, but you can see why we’re excited. Huge writerly thanks and Italianesque motherly hugs to director Louise Galizia, producer Rosie Wells, DOP Caroline Bridges and all the supporting makers, editors and donors who put in a shift to help produce something we can genuinely be proud of – even Rich and I with our ‘strong and stable’ standing around and supportive head nodding on the peripheries of filmmaking conversations we didn’t entirely understand.

Writing continues as always and we’re beginning to develop a number of new projects. We’re also waiting on some production news from Scotland which we’ll endeavour to share once it reaches Hadrian’s Wall and sees off the Roman guard…

TTFN – Andy

 

 

 

FILM NEWS: ‘Snug As A Bug’ To Screen At The BFI!

Ahead of its forthcoming film festival marathon, our darkly comic and pungently aromatic short Snug As A Bug – starring Owen Roberts and Stuart Black – will be screened for the first time on September 15th at the British Film Institute in London to an audience of special guests.

Spatulas, small spoons and oodles of air freshener complement a tale of criminal ineptitude and digestive mishap. You’ll howl. You’ll cringe. You’ll want to sit near a window.

That rug under the coffee table in the living room’ll never look so innocently ‘ruggy’ again, that’s for sure…

A lot of very talented people came together to turn our tea-stained scribblings into this little gem of celluloid superness. As it marches on with confidence and a heavily-scented nosegay, we’ll tell you more about how they made it happen… without retching.

The journey starts here…

RICH Lists: Andy’s 10 Best Films.

So Rich had his moment in the sun, inexplicably missing out ‘Ishtar’ and ‘Sex Lives Of The Potato Men’ – films that’ll be inexplicably missed off this list too…

Andy has a crack at his own “10 Best” after a brow-furrowing, no-particular-order brain trowel through decades of great film. And ‘Cool Runnings’ if there’s nothing else to watch.

* * * * *

  1. THE FRENCH CONNECTION – 1971

Hackman and ‘that’ pork pie hat. An antithetical New York to ‘Sex In The City’ where police officers fire their guns a lot (sometimes at each other), confuse ‘questioning’ with ‘assault’ and never go to magazine launches with Sarah Jessica-Parker. You get the feeling door-hinge salesmen in early ’70s New York must’ve made an absolute killing judging by the NYPD’s predilection for opening doors with the soles of their Size 11s. I also place the iconic, howling car chase across Brooklyn a notch above McQueen’s cat-and-mouse tyre shredder in ‘Bullitt’: Hackman’s tenacity during the lengthy FC sequence is almost coronary-inducing. Incidentally, both chases were choreographed and executed by acclaimed stunt driver Bill Hickman who makes extended cameos in both films. Hickman was also besties with James Dean who didn’t drive quite as well.

  1.  THE WILD BUNCH – 1969

A Western with a Schwarzenegger-level body count, made when the big man was still flexing his pecs in his undies and a body count was a yardstick to measure how well you were doing in your South-East Asian dirty war. William Holden, Ernest Borgnine and friends gurn, grimace and growl through a succession of gunfights and questionable business transactions: they kill their own gang members; they kill old ladies who don’t like booze; they kill an entire Mexican army regiment with a machine gun. Sam Peckinpah expends an awful lot of ammunition and propels men and horses through shop windows in slow motion as he crafts an elegiac lament for the passing of the Old West and its dubiously romantic ways… by killing absolutely everyone and everything in it. WARNING: contains Warren Oates.

  1. ’71 – 2014

An absolutely stunning portrayal of The Troubles in microcosm: young army recruits stuck with a thankless and dangerous policing task; Republicans and Loyalists plotting and planning behind the barricades on grim Belfast streets; shady British Intelligence-types playing all sides off against each other. A chase movie at heart as one young recruit finds himself cut off from his unit with the IRA hot on his heels, the film nevertheless subtly – and very eruditely – portrays a bewildering array of attitudes and standpoints that demonstrate just how politically and socially complex the ‘Northern Ireland issue’ was back in the 70s. I’ve never before seen a film display such a breadth and depth of topical knowledge in such a short window.

  1.  NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD – 1968

George A. Romero turned the horror genre completely on its head with his seminal low-budget zombie kickstarter. Young children were in the audience when this first screened in October ’68 as ‘horror’ generally cut through with a pretty blunt, campy edge. There’s nothing remotely campy about the anxious, disbelieving news reports of country-wide mass murders. Or the worrying close-up shots of the windows as darkness falls. Or the sight of an 11-year-old girl tucking hungrily in to her dead dad in the cellar. Romero also plays dirty trickster with the ending, allowing the hero to survive the titular night only to take a sheriff’s bullet square in the physog the following morning and wind up piled on a mini hillock of burning corpses. The guts and gore certainly shocked at the time but the ‘no-one-here-gets-out-alive’ motif genuinely troubled cinema goers used to the triumphant hero staple. “They’re coming to get you, Barbara… oh sh*t, they really are coming to get you, Barbara!”

  1.  PATHS OF GLORY – 1957

Kirk Douglas gets an entire regiment of French soldiers to fritter away on an ill-conceived attack on the German-held ‘Anthill’, a defensive network of trenches tougher than 3 Jet Li-stuffed Jason Stathams. With the attack breaking down for the want of any living rifle-carrying folk to help push it forward, the French high command elects to blame-file the tragic debacle under ‘cowardice’, graciously agreeing to reduce their death list from 100 to 3 randomly-picked rank-and-file scapegoats (one of whom is bodge-faced Hollywood fruit-and-nut, Timothy Carey). A defence lawyer in civvy street, Kirk steps in to sort this objectionable farce out for good ‘n’ all only to find a fait accompli for execution with its fait so entirely accompli-ed that it’s an exercise in frustration just watching the poor sod waste his breath (I genuinely shouted at the telly the first time I watched the court martial sequence). Bodge-faced Tim, Ralph Meeker and spooky barman Lloyd from ‘The Shining’ are duly taken out and shot – to encourage others to go out and be shot voluntarily – leaving an embittered Kirk to square his Spartacun (?) shoulders and ready another hapless bunch of corpses-in-waiting for a second pointless crack. The real power of this Kubrickian (??) classic is its deeper understanding of the abstractive ‘futility of war’ as a consequence of the limitless stupidity and intractability of individuals with the power to advocate and perpetuate it. Better pick a comedy next…

Paul Newman made over 60 films but I doubt I could name half of them.  I could probably name more of his salad dressings at a push.

  1.  GROSSE POINTE BLANK – 1997

OK, so it’s not a comedy in the strictest sense, but anything with Dan Aykroyd in it’s bound to inflate a little more chuckle space into the middle of that ‘comic thriller’ Venn diagram. Despite a modest showing at the box-office, the pearl in its oyster is its premise. Put Seagal or Stallone in the role of a disenchanted government assassin and they’d be taking down drug cartels or rescuing retirement-age POWs from the jungles of Vietnam with their serious faces on. John Cusack, however, drags his disenchanted government assassin ass off to his 10-year high school reunion, wisecracks laconically throughout and lets that pearl of a premise carry the joke onwards and upwards: he kills a guy with a pen at his high school reunion!; he disposes of a corpse in a furnace with an old pal at his high school reunion!; he kills Dan Aykroyd with a massive television just after his high school reunion! For me, the plausible implausibility of the whole thing is the cinematic equivalent of a stacked bacon sandwich the morning after a big night out – simply irresistible. Despite Minnie Driver.

Newman

Goes great with The Sundance Kid. And pasta.

  1.  ZULU – 1964

The 11-Victoria-Cross defence of Rorke’s Drift given the Technirama treatment and crafted into a polished piece of British cinematic awesomeness. Stanley Baker is a veritable rock. Michael Caine is coolly aristocratic. Nigel Green is shouty and avuncular with an Old Testament wisdom. The speccy Welsh bloke from ‘Please Sir!‘ is… Welshy. Never mind the liberal sprinklings of ‘artistic licence’ throughout (Zulu/Redcoat sing-off anyone…?), the film’s a cast iron blood stirrer and works hard to be even-handed with its positive treatment of all parties involved. Not all individual portrayals were universally adored, however: James Booth’s whiskey-loving, authority-hating Henry Hook was a sharp contrast to the teetotal model career soldier who snagged a VC for bravery on January 22nd 1879. Hook’s own daughter walked out of the UK premier which screened on the 85th anniversary of the engagement. Look out for Chief Buthelezi’s cameo at the beginning (clue: he isn’t one of the Redcoats). Peter Jackson modelled his ‘Lord Of The Rings’ battle for Helm’s Deep on the combat sequences in ‘Zulu’.

Goes great with The Sundance Kid. And pasta.

  1.  SOUTH PARK: THE MOVIE – 1999

Shut your f*@$ing face Uncle Fuckaaaaaa…“.

There’s really nothing more to add here.

  1.  BAD LIEUTENANT – 1992

Harvey Keitel bottoms out and outs his bottom in Abel Ferrara’s dark and difficult-to-watch litany of sex, sleaze and drug guzzling. Less a tale of redemption in a Catholic overcoat than a powerful study of the kind of behavioural contradictions that mark out each and every one of us, though perhaps not to the same polar extremes as Harvey and his al fresco gluteus maximus. In spite of his sense-killing addictions and abuses of power, the Lieutenant nevertheless metes out a kind of forgiving ‘second chance’ justice at odds with his destructive manner and mentality – an articulation of ‘good’ by other means, if you like. A really, really fascinating film once you get over the ‘hero’ indulging in cocaine and threesomes, blackmailing teenage girls for sexual gratification and shooting his car radio over the baseball scores.

  1.  GET CARTER – 1971

A gold-plated British crime classic. Ruthless, remorseless Michael Caine comes ‘home’ to the grim North-East to put some serious hurt on the shady types implicated in the death of his kid brother. He knifes the barman from ‘Minder’. He throws Coronation Street’s “Alf Roberts” from the roof of a parking building. He threatens tough guys with a shotgun in his birthday suit. Not even the creepily laconic John Osborne can deviate Caine from his vengeful course: those who manage to avoid the stabbings and involuntary off-building aerobatics end up drowned, poisoned, clubbed to death or shot instead. Caine’s divestment of the cheeky, chirpy, cockney geezer that garnered him such fame in the years immediately preceding ‘Get Carter’ is a gamble that pays off in spades, but the prize for ‘Most Convincing Baddie’ must surely go to supporting cast member Ian Hendry. Blighted by alcoholism and ill health, Hendry lost out on the role of Jack Carter to Caine and wore the indignation of his ‘demotion’ and envy of Caine’s success on his sleeve throughout the entire shoot. Hendry barely conceals his loathing and prodigious beverage intake during their on-screen exchanges.

Subs bench:

Deliverance (1972); The Killers (1964); Dead Man’s Shoes (2004); A Field In England (2013); Rollerball (1975).

RICH List: Rich’s 10 Best Films.

Engross yourself in conversation with a director or writer-type for long enough and talk will invariably turn to motion picture faves, hates and Holy Grails. Finding out what someone slots into these cinematic pigeonholes can serve as a useful window into the creative soul of the listee.

Or it can red-flag the guy dressed like Brandon Lee in ‘The Crow’ touting his “whimsical” rom-com next to a stack of low-budget X-rated European slashers and Dario Argento DVDs.

Rich takes time out from drafting another short to indulge his passion for drafting lists. Then re-ordering them. Then changing the font. Then re-ordering them again. Then agonising over that second font choice…

* * * * *

  1.  BROTHERHOOD OF THE WOLF – 2001

A film seemingly comprised from randomly generated elements: werewolves, psychopathic gypsies, a religious conspiracy, an incestuous longing, 18th Century France, and a heavily-tattooed, somersaulting native American kung-fu ninja! Strangely, it works. Even in French.

  1.  THE LORD OF THE RINGS – [all 3 films. I can have that as one choice, right?] – 2001, 2002, 2003

Firstly, for massive geeks like me, this is the equivalent of a pilgrimage. Fantasy taken seriously after all the “Muscles & Mullets” of 80s fantasy flicks. Peter Jackson treats them as alternative history and wrangles magic from a seamless blend of CGI, models and mattes, sets and stunts, and cast and costumes – ‘epic’ done right, in painstaking detail. Not a mullet in sight. Chris Waddle missed his chance.

  1.  THE USUAL SUSPECTS – 1995

An underworld urban myth of the devil in disguise played out across action set-pieces, intense interviews, and narrative sleight-of-hand. The whole cast plays a blinder, especially an Asian-Welsh Pete Postlethwaite. Features the greatest name in the whole of film history. “I am Keyser Soze. And so’s my wife.”

  1.  ONE FLEW OVER THE CUCKOO’S NEST – 1975

Fantastic story of a bunch mentally unwell vs. the medical establishment (read: misfits vs. conformity – the story was penned by ‘merry prankster’ Ken Kesey who pretty much wrote the book on misfitting) with a tour de force in unbridled mania from Jack Nicholson and a punch-the-air moment with a removable wash-stand. Nice shirt Chezzeroo!

  1.  MEMENTO – 2000

Back-to-fronty, twisty-turny and upside-downy… above all just an engrossing story from whichever direction you look at it and so clever with its chronology it has a Ph.D in timey-wimeyness. Watch the DVD – it includes a version of the movie edited to show the story ‘in the right order.’ Whoever thought Mike from ‘Neighbours’ would ever get so far?

Martial arts has worked wonders for Steven Seagal:  watch your lame ‘ex-Special Forces chef with wolf spirit guide’ pitch fall flat on its arse then chin-kick a studio exec through a window and – hey presto! – there’s $50million wired to your off-shore account for Under Siege 3…

  1.  DANGEROUS LIAISONS – 1988

Conniving, witty and waspish tale of decaying morals, reputations and social one-upmanship, with a ‘none more Malkovich’ performance from the rakish and razor-sharp Mr. M. Words used as weapons, love used as a landmine, all set in period splendour and dressed in French finery. Keanu Reeves gets a look-in too, just not a very big one:

     “Tell us what we should think of the opera, Chevalier?”

     “Woooah… it’s sublime, don’t you find… dude?”

  1.  MULHOLLAND DRIVE – 2001

Baffling, bonkers but brilliant. Does any of it make sense? Does that really matter? Possibly pretentious, possibly piffle but compelling viewing. A film to watch with your friends and play ‘Create Your Own Theory.’ A film with more questions than answers…or is it? Either you revel in the style or you’re holding the noose at the head of the David Lynch-mob.

  1.  GLADIATOR – 2000

A great film. A film with Russell Crowe in it. There’s not a large overlap in that particular Venn diagram but Crowe delivers here, in a blood ‘n’ guts tale of righteous revenge against a proper pantomime baddie. Not sure it will ‘echo through eternity’ but it will hold up well for a long time. A duck’s quack probably won’t echo through eternity either.

Seagal

Not on the list. Knows exactly how to find you. Also cooks.

  1.  GROUNDHOG DAY – 1993

No-one does hangdog like Bill Murray. Or multiple suicide. (No, I can’t listen to ‘I Got You Babe’ without wanting to top myself either). A perfectly structured comedy with gags galore. Even the presence of Andi MacDowall doesn’t put me off this one. I can watch it again… and again… and again… and again…

  1.  LAWRENCE OF ARABIA – 1962

Peter O’Toole being all English and Arabian and conflicted in his loyalties all at the same time. Deserts, dust and received pronunciation. And a man on a camel who takes a really, really long time to arrive – but then it is Omar Sharif and the casino’s at least 3 days ride…

*****

Also-rans:

Silence of the Lambs; 2001: A Space Odyssey; Apocalypse Now; The Exorcist; The French Connection.

Citizen Kane? Never seen it. Probably shouldn’t admit that.

“Snug As A Bug” Makes IMDB Landfall…!

Snug As A Bug (2017) is now officially a film… thing – IMDB

Once upon a time it was a blank sheet of paper on a kitchen table, ringed with tea stains and speckled with orange-hued Doritos dust. Now it’s a fully-fledged, gloriously graded, festival flag-flying mini masterpiece, bolted together by a crack unit of A-Team movie magicians who all saw merit in what that snack-and-beverage violated blank sheet eventually became.

We’ll post news of screenings and festival showings once dates are confirmed and we’ll be telling you more about the making of this corking little comedy in the weeks to come.

In the meantime, we won’t be resting on our eagerly-anticipated laurels… because resting on a sofa covered in cushions results in fewer lower leg cramps.

Snug_IMDB