CONTENTS Page 4-7
Life, Animated A coming of age story about a boy & his family who overcome great challenges by turning Disney animated movies into a language to express himself.
Sully The story of an American pilot who became a hero after landing his plane on the river in order to save the flight’s passengers and crew.
Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them The adventures of writer Newt Scamander in New York’s secret community of witches and wizards seventy years before Harry Potter reads his book in school.
Collateral Beauty A brief preview that examines the Spiritual films which Will Smith hasbeen in and related films and their universal messages.
Coming Soon Some of the best films that you can expect to see over the next three months.
Stanley, A Man of Variety About a middle-aged man who enjoys watching British films and TV shows from 1960/1970s.
Timecode Luna and Diego are the parking lot security guards. Diego does the night shift, and Luna works by day. Between them they create a merry dance. Winner of Palme d’Or for Best Short film at Cannes.
The Stutterer Short. A young man with a speech impediment texts a girl he likes but then she suggests they meet.
My Brother’s Voice Documentary. Two young girls are shown videos of their brother who died before they were born.
Page 31 Page 32 PHOTO CREDITS
Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them (poster) Sully (poster) Life, Animated (poster) Dogwoolf Pictures:1,4,6,7,32 Warner Bros.8,10,11,12,14,1516,18,19,30,31 UK Film Festival: 27,28,29
Clare Leach at Premier Com. Comms Kate Hudson at DDAPR Roni Newman at DDAPR Sheena Patel at Grapevine Digital Katy Carter at Grapevine Digital Hannah Dowie at Grapevine Digital Becky Palmer at Organic-Publicity Murray Woodfield at UK Film Festival
EDITORIAL Hello loyal readers and film lovers, MbM invites you to the 44th issue of the magazine. Let us peek at what’s inside its pages this month. Our front cover review is the remarkable documentary Life, Animated about a young man who is autistic and has been since he was four years of age. He is unable to communicate with his parents until his father discovers that a way in to his son via Disney cartoons which the boy constantly watches. Other film reviews are the latest Tom Hanks drama Sully and J.K.Rowling’s pre-Harry Potter: Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, starring Eddie Redmayne. Another feature is a look at the UK Film Festival which ran for four days, screening at the BFI and the Shortwave Cinema, Bermondsey. The festival was a plethora of Shorts and a few Features. Among those MbM reviews: Timecode, The Stutterer, My Brother’s Voice, Sweet Maddie Stone, and Stanley, A Man of Variety. The UK Film Festival, an annual event which celebrates the best in filmmaking from around the world in the heart of London. We also glance at the films that will be screened over the winter season. Enjoy the read.
Brian Mills Magazine Editor
Paul Ridler Magazine Designer
LIFE, ANIMATED * Spoiler Alert *
Directed by Roger Ross Williams. Starring: Jonathan Freeman. Gilbert Gottfried. Alan Rosenblatt. Owen Suskind. Ron Suskind. All of a sudden, at three-years-old, Owen vanishes. The doctor said “Let me explain what autism is. Some of the kids don’t ever talk again. - Ron Suskind. Watching Walt Disney animated films after seeing this documentary film may take on a greater significance of their influential power, it certainly did for Owen Suskind – it changed his life. They helped him relate to whatever he was going through in his life, and it helped his parents Ron and Cornelia and his older brother Walter communicate. It was Owen’s father who discovered the key into Owen’s world when he realized that the Disney videos he was always watching was a way that he could speak to his son again. So as Owen was on his bed reading a Disney book, Ron grabbed a Disney hand-puppet and began to talk to him like Iago the parrot, the evil sidekick of Jafar in Aladdin. Owen responded immediately, talking directly to Iago in lines from the movie. They talked for about a minute and a half, before Ron rushed downstairs to tell his wife. It was the first real conversation that Ron ever had with his son. Owen is first shown as an adult, wandering along a sidewalk by himself, speaking what appears to be gibberish but is in fact dialogue from character’s in Disney movies like Peter Pan, Aladdin, The Lion King, The Little Mermaid. Unlike his three-year-old self, he now can speak words other than Disney dialogue (he also taught himself to read from the end-credits of Disney films). At one point, he asks his mother about a personal disappointment involving his girlfriend Emily. Why is the world so full of pain and tragedy? Owen’s childhood is presented in the film by his parents and his brother. The backstory sequences are accompanied by home footage as well as animation, created by Mathieu Betard, Olivier Lescot, Philippe Sonrier. When Owen starts to join the world again, the animation grows 4
in complexity. At the start, there is a small black and white boy shown standing at the end of a long dark hallway, no way out. Later, the animation grows to fantastical Technicolor, as Owen accesses his own creativity. Owen was bullied at school, and he found comfort in drawing various Disney characters. His father realised at one point that Owen only drew the “sidekicks,” never the heroes. I am the protector of sidekicks. No sidekicks get left behind. Owen goes to a group home, where he learns from therapists how to deal with everyday situations, in preparation for his exit from the safe environment to live on his own in an apartment. The first thing that Owen does in his new apartment is to unpack his boxes of Disney movie VHS tapes, and on the first night, he lies in bed watching Bambi, particularly the scene where Bambi’s mother is killed because Owen is already missing his mother but the film helps him: We know. This is tough. Bambi got through it and so will you. There is a heart-breaking scene when his girlfriend Emily no longer wants to be his girlfriend and that is difficult for him to understand because he believes that if you love someone then you will marry them and be together for the rest of your life. It is his naivety that his brother Walter addresses as he is concerned about what will happen to him when their parents die. It will be Walter’s responsibility to make sure that Owen is okay. In a scene where they are playing miniature golf, he tells Owen about what a relationship might entail. When people kiss, they don’t just kiss with their lips. They kiss with their…… (hoping Owen will fill in the blank)
Owen guesses. Feelings? He has no way of knowing of what goes on other than kissing because Disney cartoons never show that, so Owen’s answer is a good one. Owen’s progress leads to him forming a Disney Club, where he is a spokesman-advocate for autistic people at his group home. When the residents gather, they watch a film and then discuss it afterwards. Owen leads the group and asks them questions like: What is Mustafa teaching Simba? There is a wonderful moment when Owen is pleasantly surprised by a visit from Jonathan Freeman who voiced the villain Jafar in Aladdin and he immediately goes into character. Then a further surprise drop-in is the actor and stand-up comedian Gilbert Gottfried who is the voice of the wise-cracking parrot Iago. Again, the actor speaks to Owen and the class of excited and applauding residents, in the voice of Iago. It is scenes like these and the empathy and love that they invoke for Owen who is charming and comical throughout the film that makes Life Animated such a wonderful and entertaining experience. Further, the film shows the effect that films can have on its audience, not just cartoons but all films, all genres. But it is animation that was probably the first type of film that we saw at a cinema and that our children saw and their children will see. Let it be for them as I hope it was for you – an unforgettable experience that will have them return again and again.
Owen Suskind in Life, Animated.
Ron, Walter, Cornelia & Owen in Life, Animated. 6
Ron & Owen in Life, Animated.
Ron & Owen in Life, Animated.
SULLY Directed by Clint Eastwood Starring: Tom Hanks. Aaron Eckart. Laura Linney. Valerie Mahaffey. Mike O’Malley. Until I read the script, I didn’t know that the investigative board was trying to paint the picture that he had done the wrong thing and kind of railroading him into it was his fault and that wasn’t the case at all. There is something about a near-miss like that, that makes you appreciate life as you have it. - Clint Eastwood
Factual depiction of 2009’s ‘miracle on the Hudson’ in which Captain Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger (Tom Hanks) the pilot of U.S. Airways A320, successfully made an emergency water landing in New York City’s river after a mid-air bird-strike took out both of his aircraft’s engines. His actions saved the lives of 155 passengers and its crew. The dramatic narrative cuts backwards and forwards to before the ‘incident’ and the subsequent aftermath which involves the NTSB attempting to scapegoat the heroic captain and his co-pilot, Jeff Skiles (Aaron Eckhart), during the pro-forms post-incident hearing. Sully, on the verge of retirement, suddenly finds himself at the centre of huge media attention. But his over 40 years flying experience cushioned him to remain calm and cool and decisive to neither turn the plane back to LaGuardia Airport or attempt to make it to New Jersey’s nearby Teterboro Airport, but instead to glide his way down the Hudson with zero engine thrust for a path down the river. Within moments of the water landing, Port Authority ferries were assisting the passenger and crew off the slowly sinking craft. Captain Sullenberger is shaken to the core by the whole ordeal and has now to face a further ordeal the imminent NTSB hearing, which begins to feel more like a hostile interrogation than a clear-minded dissection of the day’s events. I play Charles Porter and he is the chairman of the investigation for the National Transportation Safety Board, so we meet him early in the picture where he is questioning Captain Sullenberger and First Officer Skyles about what happened. That is the National Transportation Safety Board to ask all the questions, and try to understand how this accident happened so that they can avoid 8
accidents like it in the future and so the story about him being a hero doesn’t really impact.
The National Transportation Safety Board are trying to ask all the questions and get all the information. When I found out that Clint Eastwood was directing it and Tom Hanks was starring in it, I wanted to be part of it. To be able to work with two legends like those two guys. There is a reason why they are continually working and there is a reason that they have as much success as they’ve had - film after film after film. And just to be surrounded by that kind of talent is tremendous. - Mike O’Malley
The top end of the film and the resulting denouement is that the plane and the safety of all on board are in the hands of an experienced pilot and that man is played by Tom Hanks who is one actor who has delivered again and again because like the character he plays he is the best. You watch his demeanour, incredulous at being grilled by the NTSB. It is an examination of a character coping with the aftermath of tragedy. The success of this film is on Tom Hanks and we gradually realise through his performance what it took for his character to make the split-decisions he made. Hanks allows you to peek into the man who can put aside the overwhelming emotion to get on with the task at hand. Captain Sullenberger’s professionalism is paramount always, just like the actor who plays him. Hanks can next be seen in The Circle opposite Emma Watson and Karen Gillan. A woman lands a job at a powerful tech company called The Circle, where she becomes involved with a mysterious man. And what was it like for Tom Hanks on being directed by Clint Eastwood for the first time? You certainly don’t want one of those Eastwood looks. Clint Eastwood of course comes with a career which spans both acting and directing. His last performance as an actor was in 2012 in Trouble with The Curve opposite Amy Adams. He played a top baseball scout but his age is catching up with and his daughter goes along with him on his next scouting mission because she is worried about him. Eastwood’s directing filmography extends to over 36 films; among them: Play Misty For Me, The Outlaw Josey Wales, Pale Rider, The Bridges of Madison County, Mystic River, Gran Torino, Jersey Boys. The combination therefore between Hanks and Eastwood predicts a successful film with no signs of it crashing at the box office.
First Officer Skyles (Aaron Eckhart) & Captain Sullenberger (Tom Hanks) in Sully.
Captain Sullenberger (Tom Hanks) in Sully.
Captain Sullenberger (Tom Hanks) & First Officer Skyles (Aaron Ekhart) in Sully.
Clint Eastwood on the set of Sully.
FANTASTIC BEASTS AND WHERE TO FIND THEM Directed by: David Yates Starring: Eddie Redmayne. Katherine Waterston. Dan Fogler. Something is stalking our city! Reaping destruction and then disappearing without trace. Witches live amongst us! - Mary Lou Barebone
J.K. Rowlands, her screenwriting debut, explores the wizardry world during the prohibition era when a magical escape offered an exciting but scary option. A prequel to the Harry Potter franchise which concentrates on the character of Newt Scamander (Eddie Redmayne), a writer in New Yorkâ€™s secret community of witches and wizards seventy years before Harry Potter reads his book in school. It offers a goldmine franchise of being the first of five, so if you are a Potter aficionado, then you will have no trouble in identifying Newt Scamander and journeying through his adventures. If not, then you will need a lot of explanations to be in the same spellbound universe that he occupies. Whatever, it promises a wondrous-fantasy romance suitably released as Christmas fare. Newt, a British Magizoologist, descends upon New York looking for rare creatures, and carries a few exotic specimens himself in his battered and bottomless suitcase which is held shut by clasps which flip open on their own accord to reveal claws coming out at their freewill. What a great gift this would make for children â€“ a magical suitcase containing all sorts of creatures from the furry to the feathery. Hamleys are probably preparing their shelves for it already! Some of these supernatural creatures escape into the city that has now been threatened by dark poltergeist magic which is smashing its way through streets and buildings. Expelled from Hogwarts for endangering humanity with one of the 85 creatures featured in his encyclopaedia, the first of many problems he will face. It does not help Newt at all that he causes a calamitous situation almost immediately on arriving at the bank with his animals, but it allows him to form a friendship with a no-maj, Jacob Kowalski, who is at the bank hoping to get the financial backing to open his own bakery as a wannabe pastry chef. A mix-up with their luggage is a comical scene, with beasts in one, and cakes and buns in the other.
Newt and Jacob are spotted by an astute operative Tina Goldstein (Katherine Waterston) who’s eager to regain her investigator post and quell the exasperated US wizard authorities. But she finds herself having to protect Newt and Jacob and takes them back to the apartment that she shares with her mind-reading sister Queenie (Alison Sudol). But danger lurks on the Magical Exposure Threat Level Barometer, colour-coded orange for ‘severe unexplained activity’ because Dark Wizard Gellert Grindlewald (Johnny Depp) is on the loose. Tension is increased when scary anti-witch activist Mary Lou (Samantha Morton) appears with her adopted son Credence (Ezra Miller), with the agenda of wanting to rid the city of warlocks and witches once and for all, but has a worrying connection with power-crazed Magical Congress of the USA (MACUSA)top wizard Percival Graves (Colin Farrell). It is an event that adds fuel to the latter organisation and newspaper magnate Henry Shaw’s (Jon Voigt) arguments in the divided city where economic inequality is high and wizards have been forced into hiding by an intolerant government, xenophobia, authoritarianism, persecution and oppression. With the current American political situation as it is, J.K. is not only a famous author but a psychic too! What is exciting and new is that is that the wizardry of the setting moves from rural England to the jazz age of New York. There is lot going on in Fabulous Beasts and Where to Find Them and it seems that director David Yates has adhered to the remit of opening the story-up with Johnny Depp taking the lead as the main villain in future instalments, while in this film he appears as an introductory cameo. There is a dizzying collection of beasts which practically steal the show: Demiguise, from whom silky hair Invisibility Cloaks are spun, storm-inducing Thunderbird, shape-shifting dragon bird Occamy, and the scene-stealing and money-stealing mole-like Niffler who is not only hilariously funny but warrants a series of its own. The most magical scene is when Newt invites Jacob to enter his battered suitcase and marvel at the exotic wild enclosures housing his exotic pets. Wondrous. There is no doubt of the film’s success as its box office takings are breaking records with all its fans clamouring to see it, but what if we take a closer look – then what? The film relies on the magical effects of CGI to create its greatest spells, which are obviously CGI. Eddie Redmayne seems to have one expression throughout the film which soon becomes quite tiresome. You need to be Harry Pottertrained to avoid an embarrassing bladder reaction, a good excuse to go to the toilet. On the plus side, Katherine Waterston is excellent as Tina, a strong woman who is on equal terms with the men she encounters. She is a no-nonsense girl and is not one you would want to leave behind. You can be assured of seeing her in leading roles in the months ahead. She will next be seen in State Like Sleep about the basic need for human connection and love. Her co-stars are Luke Evans and Michael Shannon.
Newt Scamander (Eddie Redmayne) in Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them.
Newt Scamander (Eddie Redmayne) in Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. 14
Tina Goldstein (Katharine Waterston), Newt Scamander (Eddie Redmayne), Queenie (Alison Sudol), and Jacob Kowalski (Dan Fogler) in Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them.
Newt Scamander(Eddie Redmayne) and Tina Goldstein (Katharine Waterston) in Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them.
COLLATERAL BEAUTY (a brief preview) Directed by David Frankel Starring: Will Smith. Keira Knightley. Kate Winslet. Edward Norton. Naomie Harris. Helen Mirren. Howard is a brilliant boss and he’s not just a boss, he’s a friend. He lost his child and now he doesn’t care if he loses everything else. - Claire When a successful New York advertising executive suffers a great tragedy, he retreats from life. While his concerned friends try desperately to reconnect with him, he seeks answers from the universe by writing letters to Love, Time and Death. But it’s not until his notes bring unexpected personal responses that these constants interlock in a life fully lived and how even the deepest loss can reveal moments of meaning and beauty. Collateral Beauty fits into a welcomed spiritual genre and has a brilliant cast headed by Will Smith, who has a fortunate habit of appearing in films where the character he plays is quirky but most importantly inspirational and often mystical. So, what we can expect from his latest film, which is released on Boxing Day, is a universal truth, a profound statement to guide us, and though the adage, if you want to send a message use Western Union, it cannot compete with films for imparting truth from the cosmos. And if at first people don’t get it, repeat it again and again.
The logline or mantra of Collateral Beauty is: We are all connected
One of the most inspiring films of all-time is The Legend of Bagger Vance, which starred Matt Damon and Charlize Theron and Will Smith as the eponymous Bagger, a mystical man who appears out of nowhere while Matt Damon’s character is practising is golf swings. His fear that he may have hit the man who now stands before him are dismissed as he is told that is why he knew he would be safe if he stood in front of him. He introduces himself and tells him that he needs to work on that swing and offers to be his caddy.
The rhythm of the game Just like the rhythm of life 16
In Six Degrees of Separation Will plays the enigmatic Paul Poitier in a story about a couple of upper class private art dealers. Their prized possession is a double sided Kadinsky, one side that represents control, the other side chaos. They tell a story that becomes legendary that everyone on the planet is separated by six degrees of separation to six hundred people. They encounter a young man (Will Smith) who comes stumbling upon their front door one evening and is sporting a knife wound to his abdomen after being mugged outside their building. He claims he is the son of actor Sidney Poitier who he is meeting the next day in town. But how much of that is hooey remains to be seen. But they will remember Paul and his philosophical belief: Everyone is a new door Opening into other worlds
The Pursuit of Happyness concerns a Christopher Gardner who has invested heavily in a device known as a ‘bone density scanner.’ He feels like he has made these devices. However, they do not sell as they are marginally better than the current technology at a much higher price. As he tries to figure out how to sell them, his wife leaves him, he loses his house, his bank account and credit cards. Forced to live out in the streets with his son, Gardner is now desperate to find a steady job and he takes on a job as a stockbroker, but needs to go through 6 months of training before he receives any money.
He tells his son the lesson he has learnt in life. Don’t let anybody tell you You can’t do something In A New York’s Winter Tale, Will Smith had only a cameo role as a judge, but the film manifested a beautiful spiritual narrative of romance and crossed destinies. Peter Lake (Colin Farrell) meets a dying woman named Beverly and falls irrevocably in love with her. Peter’s only option is to discover a way to stop time and bring her back from death. In summary let Beverley Penn (Jessica Brown Findlay) narration inspire us all with this quote from the film which connects all the aforementioned and will hopefully inspire you all.
What if, once upon a time, there were no stars in the sky at all? What if the stars are not what we think? What if the light from afar doesn’t come from the rays of distant suns, but from our wings as we turn into angels? Destiny calls to each of us. And there is a world behind the world where we are all connected, all part of a great and moving plan. Magic is everywhere around us. You just have to look. Look closely. For even time and distance are not what they appear.
Howard Inlet (Will Smith) and Raffi (Jacob Lattimore) in Collateral Beauty.
Howard Inlet (Will Smith) in Collateral Beauty. 18
Whit Yardsham (Edward Norton) and Howard Inlet (Will Smith) in Collateral Beauty.
Stan (Enrique Marciano) and Clare (Kate Winslet) in Collateral Beauty.
COMING DECEMBER –
HERE IS THE RUNDOWN OF THE FILMS THAT YOU CAN EXPECT TO GET EXCITED ABOUT SEEING OVER THE NEXT THREE MONTHS.
Directed by Morten Tyldum. Stars: Jennifer Lawrence. Chris Pratt. Michael Sheen. A spacecraft travelling to a distant colony planet and transporting thousands of people has a malfunction in its sleep chambers, and as a result, two passengers are awakened 90 years early. UK RELEASE DEC 21 2016
Directed by David Frankel. Stars: Will Smith. Keira Knightley. Kate Winslet. Retreating from life after tragedy, a man questions the universe by writing to Love, Time and Death. Receiving unexpected answers, he begins to see how these things interlock and how even loss can reveal moments of meaning and beauty. UK RELEASE DEC 26 2016
Directed by Martin Scorsese. Stars: Andrew Garfield. Liam Neeson. Adam Driver. In the 17th century, two Jesuit priests face violence and persecution when they travel to Japan to locate their mentor and propagate Christianity. UK RELEASE JAN 1 2017
Directed by James Marsh. Stars: Rachel Weisz. Colin Firth. David Thewlis. Yachtsman Donald Crowhurst’s disastrous attempt to win the 1968 Golden Globe Race ends up with him creating an outrageous account of travelling the world alone by sea. UK RELEASE Jan 6 2017 20
BILLY LYNN’S LONG HALF-TIME WALK
Directed by Ang Lee. Stars: Joe Alwyn. Garrett Hedlund. Arturo Castro. 19-year-old Billy Lynn is brought home for a victory tour after a harrowing Iraq battle. Through flashbacks the film shows what really happened to his squad, contrasting the realities of war with America’s perceptions. UK RELEASE JAN 10 2017
LIVE BY NIGHT
Directed by Ben Affleck. Stars: Zoe Saldana. Ben Affleck. Elle Fanning. A story set in the Prohibition Era and centred around a group of individuals and their dealings in the world of organised crime. UK RELEASE JAN 13 2017
LA LA LAND
Directed by Damien Chazelle Stars: Ryan Gosling. Emma Stone. A jazz pianist falls for an aspiring actress in Los Angeles. UK RELEASE JAN 13 2017
Directed by Thomas Lilti. Stars: Francois Cluzet. Marianne Denicourt. All the people in this countryside area, can count on Jean-Pierre, the doctor who auscultates them, heals and reassures them, day and night, 7 days a week. Now he is sick. So Natalie, a young doctor from a hospital, is sent to assist him. UK RELEASE JAN 15 2017
Directed by Pablo Larrain. Stars: Natalie Portman. John Hurt. Peter Sarsgaard. Following the assassination of President John F Kennedy, First Lady, Jacqueline Kennedy fights through grief and trauma to regain her faith, console her children and define her husbandâ€™s historic legacy. UK RELEASE JAN 20 2017
Directed by Mick Jackson. Stars: Rachel Weisz. Tom Wilkinson. Timothy Spall. Acclaimed writer and historian Deborah E Lipstadt must battle for historical truth to prove the Holocaust actually occurred when David Irving, a renowned denier, sues her for libel. UK RELEASE JAN 27 2017
RULES DONâ€™T APPLY
Directed by Warren Beatty. Stars: Lily Collins. Haley Bennett. Taissa Farmiga. Ed Harris. Warren Beatty. Alden Ehrenreich. Annette Bening. Alec Baldwin. An unconventional love story of an aspiring actress, her determined driver, and the eccentric billionaire, Howard Hughes, who they work for. UK RELEASE JAN 27 2017
Directed by Mel Gibson. Stars: Andrew Garfield. Sam Worthington. World War 2 American Army Medic, Desmond T. Doss, who served during the Battle of Okinawa, refuses to kill people, and becomes the first man in American history to win the Medal of Honour without firing a shot. UK RELEASE JAN 27 2017
Directed by Maren Ade. Stars: Peter Simonischek. Sandra Huller. A father tries to reconnect with his adult daughter. UK RELEASE JAN 27 2017 22
Directed by John Lee Hancock. Stars: Michael Keaton. Linda Cardellini. Patrick Wilson. The story of McDonald’s founder Ray Kroc. UK RELEASE FEB 10 2017
Directed by John Madden. Stars: Jessica Chastain. John Lithgow. Gugu Mbatha-Raw. A story of a brilliant and ruthless lobbyist who is notorious for her unparalleled talent and her desire to win at all costs, even when it puts her own career at risk. UK RELEASE FEB 10 2017
THE GREAT WALL
Directed by Yimou Zhang. Stars: Matt Damon.Pedro Pascal. Willem Dafoe. A mystery centred around the construction of The Great Wall of China. UK RELEASE FEB 17 2017
Directed by Peter Berg. Stars: Melissa Benoist. Michelle Monaghan. Mark Wahlberg. An account of Boston Police Commissioner Ed Davis’s actions in the events leading up to the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing and the aftermath, which includes the city-wide manhunt to find the terrorists behind it. UK RELEASE FEB 24 2017
STANLEY, A MAN OF VARIETY Directed by Stephen Cookson Starring Timothy Spall. Stanley collects characters from his favourite classic British films and TV shows from the 1960s and ‘70s. He soon finds himself in prison for a crime that he believes that he didn’t commit and after many years in solitary confinement he begins to talk to his comedy heroes from the past as each one tries to help him remember what he’s done. We follow Stanley through his journey of hallucinations as he faces up to his unusual upbringing and his parent’s bizarre religious beliefs. Timothy Spall plays all the characters: Max Wall, Tony Hancock, Max Miller, George Formby, Frank Spencer, Noel Coward, Egor, Margaret Rutherford… It is a lot of fun spotting the celebrities that Spall creates. They are not impersonations but types that he plays and we can instantly recognise. Director, Stephen Cookson, had been writing the script for Stanley, A Man of Variety with Timothy Spall for ten months and in that time it has gone through many variations. As the story and characters developed it became apparent that the original idea of a man stuck in prison wanting to escape wasn’t particularly original and didn’t offer Tim much of a challenge. That’s when they started to research the Ealing Comedies and in particular Alec G uinness in Kind Hearts and Coronets. This gave Stephen and Tim the idea that perhaps one actor could play more than one role and indeed populate the entire film with entertaining figures from the leading character’s imagination. That was the starting point to where the film ended up. Stanley was such a fan of vintage comedy films it seemed possible that he became all of his film star idols. These visions in turn would try to help Stanley face why he’s in prison and what he can do to change his life and become a better person. The style of the film needed to be straight forward without any tricks or unnecessary editing or special effects. Whilst there are some VFX, particularly when Tim is playing multiple characters, comedy is always filmed in wide shot so that the audience can watch everybody’s performance and thus it should be more entertaining to watch. 24
TIMOTHY SPALL: He is an English character actor who has appeared in over 70 feature films, and began his career in theatre portraying title roles in Macbeth and Othello. Among some of the great directors he has worked for are: Ken Russell (Gothic), Clint Eastwood (White Hunter, Black Hunter), Bernardo Bertolucci (The Sheltering Sky), Mike Leigh (Life is Sweet, Secrets & Lies, Topsy Turvy, All or Nothing, Mr. Turner), Rolf de Heer (The Old Man Who Read Love Stories), Cameron Crowe (Vanilla Sky), Gillian Armstrong (Death Defying Acts), Tim Burton (Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street), Tom Hooper (The King’s Speech), Kenneth Branagh (Hamlet), and Sally Potter (Ginger & Rosa and The Party). For Harry Potter fans he will always be remembered as Peter Pettigrew, as he reminded his audience at the UK Film Festival. On 24 May 2014 he won the Best Actor award at the Cannes Film Festival for his lead role in Mike Leigh’s Mr. Turner. Spall also recently won Best Actor at the New York Film Critics Circle Awards for Mr Turner and Best Actor for his role in My Angel at the Monaco International Film Festival. He is currently writing a comedy with Stephen Cookson called Skid Marks and Glamour which focuses on what happens to actors when they reach the end of their career. STEPHEN COOKSON: Caught the attention of Robert Zemeckis and Michael Jackson’s production company in the late 90’s where he was given his first development deals. He went onto work at the Cannes Film Festival and during his first year he became a runner for David Lean, who became his mentor. Acting alongside Jason Connery in Journey’s End and found himself that same year working as an extra on The Russia House with Sean Connery. He took as much extra work as he could, working on large scale, studio movies filming in the UK and spoke with top directors: Brian De Palma, Jerry Zucker, Kevin Costner and Kenneth Branagh. Cookson started his directing and producing career by doing many short films and commercials. One of the first projects was for an aspiring singer called Ricky Gervais. Fate stepped in when he met his neighbour, Academy Award winning producer John Daly (The Last Emperor, Platoon, Terminator), who helped him raise the finance for his first movie Stoneman. He went on to direct Mumbo Jumbo, starring Joss Ackland and Brian Blessed. Stephen’s first film with Timothy Spall was My Angel, which was the first British production to win Best Film, Best Director and Best Screenplay, plus Best Actor, Timothy Spall and Best Actress, Brenda Blethyn at the French Film Festival: Monaco International Film Festival in 2014. He went on to direct his first musical Journey to the Moon starring a cast of entirely children playing adults. Stephen Cookson’s next project is the official sequel to David Lean’s Ryan’s Daughter, written by Oscar winner Robert Bolt, which he is developing with Sarah Milles.
Stanley (Timothy Spall) in Stanley, A Man of Variety.
Stanley (Timothy Spall) in Stanley, A Man of Variety. 26
TIMECODE Directed by Juanjo Gimenez Pena Starring: Lali Ayguade. Nicolas Ricchini. Pep Domenich. Vicente Gil. Timecode won Palme d’Or for Best Short film at Cannes and won Best European Short Film at Ghent International Film Festival. It has also made the cut for the 10 Live Action Shorts for 2017 Oscars Consideration. Luna (Lali Ayguade) and Diego(Nicolas Ricchini) are the parking lot security guards. Diego does the night shift and Luna works by day. One day Luna observes some strange behaviour on the monitor screen of Diego executing dance steps and weird hand movements. These are interrupted by calls from her boss asking if everything is alright. She replies in the affirmative while still viewing Diego’s eccentric manoeuvres. She wonders what could have possibly have happened to Diego to act this way, but at the same is intrigued by it all. When Diego arrives for his shift that night, though nothing has changed, but the next day now he is beckoning Luna to join him. She is it seems fun and would be totally out of her
he acts quite normal as there he is again, but reluctant at first but as daily routine, she does.
The same day their boss appears with a recruit and is startled to see Luna and Diego dancing in the parking lot while he is telling the new recruit what the job involves. In parrot-fashion he asks the young man what does he think of the job. A worried expression clouds the young man’s face as he watches the monitor. I can’t dance, he replies. Timecode is a very original film and as enticingly eccentric as the lead characters and beautifully captures the feelings of people who lead a boring life doing the same thing every day, starting with clocking in and staring at a monitor. They are obviously not enjoying their day-to-day existence, which so many people could relate to, it is just a job. What they have discovered is joyous and perhaps fastforwarding their lives they will leave and follow something that they would really enjoy.
THE STUTTERER Directed by Benjamin Cleary Starring: Matthew Needham. Chloe Pirrie. Eric Richmond. Snap judgement: reclusive typographer, invisible to the naked eye, communication skills infant, excels in the art of self-pity. The Stutterer’s first minute is immediately setting up a premise. The titular stutterer is a young man named Greenwood (Matthew Needham) whose inner monologue is sharp-witted and clever, but whose debilitating speech impediment keeps him from having conversations with his father or giving someone directions to the store. We first see Greenwood waiting on hold and struggling to talk to his internet provider regarding his bill, a situation that nobody wants to be in at the best of times. Greenwood is faced with a new challenge when Ellie (Chloe Pirrie), a woman he has been in an online relationship with, arrives in town and wants to meet him in real life. Panic immediately sets in and one feels sorry for him. The story is original and interesting, though visually trapped in its claustrophobic setting which symbolises the protagonist’s plight. When the film reaches its tense climax as Greenwood accepts Ellie’s invitation to meet, it comes with an unexpected twist. Matthew Needham: Casualty TV Series. Film: Shakespeare’s Globe: The Comedy of Errors, based on a plot by Plautus. Shakespeare caps the mayhem of his Roman original to build up on a hectic tale of violent cross-purposes. Matthew played Antipholus of Ephesus. Benjamin Cleary: Two previous Short films as a writer: Love is a Sting. About a hyper-intelligent mosquito named Anabel. The Great Fall. About a terrified raindrop about his first fall to earth. The Stutterer. Benjamin’s first film as a director.
MY BROTHER’S VOICE Directed by Andrea Bersani Documentary This is quite an extraordinary documentary about an Italian family and their two young daughters and how Andrea Bersani, their next-door neighbour, got talking to them about the videos that they have collected on their son who is no longer alive. Bersani was intrigued with the subject and asked the children’s mother if he could watch the videos she had saved and if she would allow him to edit the material which she had and for him to a feature film from the material which she could show her girls so that they could see for the first time their brother who died before they were born. What resulted was a charming and very emotional record of a magical little boy being introduced to his loveable sisters. Further to this extraordinary opportunity for Andrea was the fact that it was first time that he had directed a film of any kind. At the UK Film Festival on Wednesday 23rd November, Bersani’s film had its world premiere to a warm reception at the London Shortwave Cinema, Bermondsey, at which the director attended for a Q & A. Once again the UK Film Festival hosted a wide selection of Short films which included: The Road. United Kingdom/China. Directed by Yanqi Chen. Crackpot. United Kingdom. Directed by Alex Bernas. Stolpe Nord. Germany. Directed by Julia Tieke. My Brief Eternity. United Kingdom. Direxcted by Clare Sturges. Perched. United Kingdom. Directed by Liam Harris. When You Hear the Bells. France/Afghanistan. Directed by Chabname Zariab. Slave. Mexico. Directed by Amat Escalante. Daniel. United Kingdom. Directed by Dean Loxton. Small Talk. Norway. Directed by Evan Hafnor. The Body is a Lonely Place. Sweden. Directed by Ida Lindgren. The Idyll. United Kingdom. Directed by Justin Anderson. The Return of Erkin. Russia. Directed by Maria Guskova. The End of the World. Romania. Directed by Catalin Rotaru & Gabi Virginia Sarga. The Fuzz. United Kingdom. Directed by Grant Alexander King. Sweet Maddie Stone. United Kingdom. Directed by Brady Hood. Mariana’s Sandwich. Mexico. Directed by Carlos Cuaron. Heart of the Land. Finland. Directed by Kaika Astikainen. Pirouette. China. Directed by Zige Zhang. Black Sheep. United Kingdom. Directed by Christian Cerami. Shell House. United Kingdom. Directed by Artiom Barkun. Tamara. United Kingdom/ Russia. Directed by Sofia Safonova. Everything Will Be Okay. Germany. Directed by Patrick Volrath. Mother. Columbia. Directed by Simon Mesa Soto. Imago. Philippines. Directed by Ribay Gutierrez. The Bathtub. Germany. Directed by Tim Ellrich. Sunday Morning Coming Down. United Kingdom. Directed by Harry Lighton. A Night in Tokoriki. Romania. Directed by Roxana Stroe. Nocturne. Mexico. Directed by Luis Ayhllon.
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