Saturday, 31 January 2015

5 star films - January 2015

This is the first in what I hope will be a series of monthly blog posts where I name films I've rated 5 stars within that month.

Couple of things to bare in mind, this is just my personal opinion, what I thought of the film as I watched it on this occasion. It could change on a rewatch, some ties I could be watching with an analytical eye, other times I might be a few drinks into the evening.

Also it might not be the most relevant list, currently I don't go to the cinema that often, I haven't seen many of the awards films currently out at the cinema, in fact the only new release I've seen out in January has been Big Hero 6, and that didn't get 5 stars.

But, I have watched 31 films in January, so there is plenty of choice and maybe there might be something among these monthly recommendations that you fancy seeing, a reminder of something you've always wanted to see, or something you've never heard of.

This list is just as much for my memory though as for you. Onwards to January 2015's 5 star film

TOGETHER -Lukas Moodysson's 2nd feature is beautifully honest and uplifting in a strange way. I'm not sure why I find this uplifting, there's plenty of depression and constant arguing, but as people bond over a football match no one could really care about, the fun and joy shines through. Great believable characters make this one of Moodysson's best. Am currently working my way through his back catalogue so expect more to appear here, if he can reach 5 stars again.

THE ROVER - Another 2nd feature, this one from David Michod. I loved Animal Kingdom, but hadn't heard positive things about this one. I loved it's simplicity in narrative which focused you on character motivation and used the strange dessicated landscape and futuristic world as background. Guy Pearce and Robert Pattinson have both never been better, but the soundtrack is the stand out, phenomenal.

THE BROKEN CIRCLE BREAKDOWN - I saw this not knowing much about it, I heard it featured plenty of bluegrass music, so my interest was piqued. I didn't expect the emotional maelstrom I was going to be put through. So intense I think i worked up a sweat and my hand hurt afterwards from gripping the chair. The blue grass works as moments of levity away from the story, but aren't separate from it, they weave in well. Structurally it is similar to Blue Valentine but with a wider scope of interest in the themes it explores.

THE MASTER - I'm a huge P.T Anderson fan and wasn't disappointed in this, another change of style and time period in a film where every second could be paused and framed, the performances are some of the best committed to film that show a complex relationship that gives you plenty to chew on.

4 films receive the 5 star treatment this month, out of 31. Come back for more end of February

Thursday, 1 January 2015

How was 2014 for you

Another year has been and gone, like a flash, as seems to be the ongoing trend now. So, how was 2014 for you? Writing wise it's been my best 'almost' year. A few really exciting things got closer than ever before to happening, especially how close I got to writing on a programme I've loved since it began.

But, there wasn't just almosts, and whether they are positive or negative there was some actual stuff that did happen. It was a year where Twisted Showcase came back. Almost 18 months after Series 2 we managed to pull together another series, and I'm really proud of it. All the episodes were accomplished and each has their supporters. That was another thing that was great for me about 2014, people really started to champion my work, we gained some brilliant fans of Twisted Showcase who spurred us on to work even harder and even to release an E-book before the year was finished. We also had our first panel at a Comic Con,and I was embarrassed beyond belief by being asked for an autograph.

Also I found myself getting brilliant feedback from writers whose work I absolutely love. Two of my scripts were the main focus of this, my hour long TV drama pilot, The Benefits was the first, but the one which seemed to get most attention was a childrens' TV script called Smoke Beasts.

I'm tempted to go through my e mails and pull out quotes but I'll save my bragging for private moments, I say writing a blog of all my favourite bits of last year. To balance it out, maybe a few negatives. I struggled to get into a flow on a feature script at the end of the year, the last three months have been a slog on that and it's still not done, and although almost having great things happen keeps you going, it is also massively frustrating.

Having a series which gained lots of press certainly helped to keep me going. Honestly, if you're a writer, do anything to get some work out there. Audio plays, podcasts, monologues, short films, theatre productions, web series, whatever you can manage, do it, create something. Make that your resolution this year.

It could lead to anything. Here's some of my favourite press bits from last year.

Starburst E Book interview

Starburst Series Interview

Guardian Guide Twisted Showcase

My absolute favourite is that Guardian line ' the League of Gentlemen, but with no jokes.' Which I take as a compliment, especially when paired with being compared to Black Mirror also.

So a huge thanks to anyone that's helped this year, from those who offered words of advice on Twitter, to those who read stuff, to those who passed on my scripts to others, championed them and met up with me.

Looking forward, I have a feature to finish, a format breaking sitcom that is beginning to form and a rewrite on a drama for one of the best first drafts I've ever written. Then there's this list of ideas to try and get to, and finishing up one more script for Twisted Showcase Series 4. I hope we can get it out this year, don't want another 18 month break.

Let's strap in, 2015 is about to start. What? It's started already. Blimey!