Bad Reception Movie Reviews

DVDFullWrapCoverTemplateIt’s been over six years now since I took the plunge to go to LA and direct my first movie. Had I known at the time, the heartache and turmoil, the potential law suits and financial impact the film would bring…I still would have done it anyway. Wouldn’t we all?

Dante’s Criterion (later renamed to Bad Reception) was a film born out of mysterious circumstances. Having raised $18,000 to make a film, on the (then) new HD 1080i format, our over confident and under talented writer demanded $46,000 and a WGA contract for his script.

 

Oddly, we decided not to go this route which was, believe it or not, a shock to the ‘writer’. Bet he didn’t see that in his story arc?

So having a budget but no film, I was tasked with the job of writing a horror movie in 6 weeks. Horror is not my genre but 6 weeks later, script 5A was ready to roll.  I won’t delve into the production because it would be a very long posting and if you’ve made a movie you’ve heard it all before. The precis being “Oh woe is me, but we managed it anyway, huraah”

Since then my last wife and I had to endure the joys of delinquent producers, law suits, contract disputes, failed film screenings and numerous distribution let downs in order to get the film out on the market. Shami Media of New York (our distributor) seem like a decent bunch of people and have got the movie out there and getting noticed. Thank you to them. But, after all this time, money and a learning curve that would make Sisyphus weep, what impact has my hollywood movie made? Well, mixed.

sisyphus

In this one I am the next Roger Corman: http://roguecinema.com/modules.php?name=News&file=article&sid=3015

In this: The actors are meh, but we kill them well: http://www.triskaidekafiles.com/journal/2013/10/21/what-im-watching-bad-reception.html

But all this said, my sanity was saved by a few words of wisdom from a friend who isn’t in ‘the business’. He said he’d seen  Indiana Jones and the Crystal Skull recently, he wasn’t impressed with that (and he spotted a few mistakes). So, what chance did my little movie stand against the critics?

He is right, but as a person I consider myself a creative. And as all us ‘creatives’ know, the worst critic in the room is always sitting in my chair.

So roll on the next film project,  lessons learnt, I guarantee it will turn a few critical heads and raise a smile.

MAT


The Birmingham Feature Film Trail

Birmingham CanalsI received this email from a colleague Keith Bracey. Never short of an opinion, Keith is a writer, broadcaster and avid historian of Birmingham.

Enjoy

 

 

 

I wondered why in your otherwise excellent examination of ‘incomers’ as I call them, rather than immigrants to the diverse City of Birmingham who made a great difference to our city, the Birmingham Jewish ‘Film Triumvirate’ of Sir Michael Balcon, Brummie Grammar Schoolboy and Birmingham and Britain’s first ‘Film Mogul’ who at one point worked for Louis B. Mayer of MGM, Victor Savile, who bankrolled Balcon and the eponymous Oscar Deutsche who founded the ODEON Cinema Chain in Birmingham in the 1930’s were not mentioned in History WM’s special edition on ‘Migration to the West Midlands’ and the effect that migration has had on our region, good (mostly) and bad………………..

All 3 film ‘movers and shakers’ could be found on a ride on the Inner Circle number 8 ‘Corporation Buzz’ in Birmingham’s inner city!

They are the reason Birmingham should set up a ‘Birmingham Film Trail’ with various stopping-off points in the City of Birmingham which as a city was almost single-handedly responsible for the world-wide film industry in the late nineteenth century with Brummie Alexander Parkes invention of the eponymously-named ‘Parkesine’ the first viable plastic in the City’s Jewellery Quarter in 1860, which led directly to the development of celluloid, also in the Jewellery Quarter and thence to the development of ‘film’ and the film industry.

Birmingham needs a ‘Birmingham Film Trail’ to highlight and showcase our cities film and cinematic roots which continue today with Sir Michael Balcon’s grandson, the excellent actor, possibly the best ever film actor: Daniel Day-Lewis, the record-breaking triple-Oscar for Best Actor winner.

The City of Birmingham is also home to the UK’s oldest existing cinema: ‘The Electric Cinema’ run by the excellent Tom Lawes which dates from 1909….and the oldest surviving ODEON Cinema which I think is ‘The Clifton’ in Perry Barr in North Birmingham.

keith braceyl well recall the early 1970’s BBC TV Black and White TV Series ‘Gangsters’ set in Birmingham echoing ‘The Peaky Blinders’ with an understated lead actor Maurice Colbourne ( like a typical Brummie, modest to a fault!) playing the lead role opposite a Pakistani actor with the surname of Malik (I cannot recall his first name) as they prowled the ‘Mean and Moody Streets’ of Birmingham where the Clubs along and just off Broad Street were run by ‘characters’ like Martin Hone’s ‘Opposite Lock Club’ in Gas Street.

Martin Hone, a big car-racing fan, was the prime mover behind the ‘Birmingham Super Prix’ of the 1980’s.

I was a Freshman at Birmingham University in the mid 1970’s and well remember going to the Fewtrell’s ‘Barbarella’s’ in Sheepcote Street opposite the old Liberal Jewish Synagogue which is long gone.

Birmingham then in the 1970’s was a generally racially tolerant city with an undercurrent of racism and violence pervading the city.

I went to George Dixon Grammar School for Boys from 1969 until 1976 and in that time we had two fine young black men as our Head Boy, both incidentally, who went on to play and coach in top class Rugby Union: Rudi Smith, who I think was the first black schoolboy to play for England Under 18’s International Schools Rugby and Collin Osborne, who is the current Harlequins Rugby Skills Coach, whom I interviewed on my Rugby Union Show on Sports Radio Birmingham a couple of weeks ago.

Collin has coached and played rugby at an elite level with Harlequins and coached Zimbabwe in the first Rugby World Cup in New Zealand in 1987.

As a former Academy Director of Harlequins Collin played a pivotal role in the development of current England Rugby Union Captain Chris Robshaw and England Internationals Full-Back Mike Brown, scrum-half Danny Care, and centre in his own image, Jordan Turner-Hall, a fine young black England international and centre as Collin Osborne was for Dixonians RFC (my Rugby Club) and Birmingham’s Premier Club Moseley RFC who currently play in the second tier of English Rugby, the IPA Greene King Championship, the tier below the AVIVA Premiership where Leicester Tigers and Northampton Saints play.

People do not believe me when I tell them that Moseley Rugby Football Club was a bigger rugby club in Birmingham than either The Tigers or The Saints…….!!!!!!!

Other young black men in soccer like the ‘3 Degrees’ Regis Batson and Cunningham the WBA soccer players were those brave young men who changed the attitudes of Britain toward black people by their groundbreaking feats on the football field and beyond, in Batson’s case as a PFA Union Official

They ignored the throwing of bananas onto the pitch and other such vile acts of racism and played the game as it should be played with passion and heart and soul.

I am so glad that their efforts have been recognized with Sandwell Council and the Baggies erecting a statue in the centre of West Bromwich to these 3 pioneers who braved the ‘Monkey Chants’ from the so-called soccer gangs like the Blues ‘Zulu Warriors’ and West Ham’s ‘Inter-City Firm’ as portrayed in films like ‘This is England’.

Back in 1974 I went to see the Reggae star Jimmy Cliff’s Biopic ‘The Harder they Come’ at the ODEON New Street founded by a chap from a previous generation in Birmingham who had suffered from prejudice in the City, a German Jew called Oscar Deutsche, who founded the ODEON Cinema Chain which is still the largest in the UK based on the acronym ‘Oscar Deutsche Entertains Our Nation’ the Greek for to watch is ‘ODEON’ so you can see Oscar was on the ball.

I saw Cyrille Regis, the late Lawrie Cunningham, who played for Spanish Giants Real Madrid, before his untimely early death in a car crash and a young Brendan Batson came out of ‘The Harder they Come’ who was a Black Hero to these young Black men……that typified and exemplified Birmingham in the 1970’s for me…..three young black men out for a good time, watching a violent Gangster Film in racially tolerant Birmingham…….

Another Brummie Grammar School Boy Sir Michael Balcon who founded Ealing Studios which gave us those great ‘Ealing Comedies’ like ‘Kind Hearts and Coronets’, ‘The Lavender Hill Mob’, ‘Passport to Pimlico’ and ‘The Ladykillers’ should be part of ‘The Birmingham Film Trail’ too for me.

Balcon went to my old school George Dixon Grammar School for Boys from 1906 when the school opened until 1913 when he left to join up in 1914 at the outbreak of The Great War.

Balcon tried to establish some of the early ‘Birmingham Pals’ Regiments in The Great War but ironically could not fight and serve himself due to defective eyesight……….

Balcon also named his ‘Everyman Copper Hero’ PC George Dixon of ‘Dixon of Dock Green’ fame after his old school, named after Education Reformer and the founder of Edgbaston High School for Girls, which my daughter attends and where my wife is a Teaching Assistant: George Dixon MP.

George Dixon was the Birmingham MP and Lord Mayor who was much overshadowed by his direct contemporary, former Colonial Secretary and architect of the modern municipal Birmingham Joseph Chamberlain.

‘The Birmingham Film Trail’ should be set up by Film Birmingham, Birmingham City Council‘s film promotion agency in my opinion, to maximize Birmingham’s film and cinematic history.

And as you can see the film and TV legacy of ‘The Peaky Blinders’ is nothing new in portraying Birmingham as a gritty, edgy city!

Keith Bracey
Writer, Broadcaster and Historian
Greensward Enterprise Business Consultancy
Oldbury, Sandwell, United Kingdom

 

Any opinions expressed in this piece are those of the writer and not the publisher or In Mi Experience.


Documentary, Social History, Fact or Folly?

The Public West BromwichI don’t consider myself a social commentator, I’ve always felt that my comprehensive education and working class background didn’t afford me the luxury of judging society’s flaws. But as I’ve wondered (not lonely as a cloud) through life, I’ve found illogical situations created by my elders and supposed betters.

One such situation revolves around an arts complex called The Public in my home town of West Bromwich. After years of controversy about whether or not the building should actually exist at all, The Public is now at the centre of a new row. The local Sandwell Council have announced, without any apparent consultation, to close the burgeoning arts and theatre venue and turn it into a sixth form college.

After moaning for many years that the 73 million pounds of ERDF (European Regional Development Fund) or anagram for someone else’s money) could have been better spent, this latest refit will cost a further 20 million pounds. Not a huge amount of cash by today’s standards but unusual as there are already two other empty schools within a 5 minute walk and….well….schools…..not…..art centres.

Now, I hope the people of West Bromwich will forgive me when I say, the town centre needs a lot of tlc. For those of you who haven’t seen it, the high street looks like it was tidied up by Darth Vader and a few blaster-happy storm troopers. I, and I believe most locals would agree that 20 million could be used to far better effect in renovating a town, which is now only getting a second look because of the very thing the Council wish to close down.

Ironically, a few years ago this same argument raged during the planning and building of The Public. I wonder what those people who opposed the project are saying now?

As a filmmaker, I felt I had to reach out to Linda Saunders and the dedicated team at The Public and offer to record some of the genuine feelings of the locals. I was forced to edit a lot of footage from the Tea Dance as some of the comments by the elderly attendees were…lets say ’18 rated’.

It’s a simple and honest video – well worth 5 minutes of your valuable time.


Independent Film Goes 4K

NAB saw the launch of the new Black Magic 4K Cinema Camera. Boasting an amazing super 35mm sensor, the camera retains many of the original BMC’s boasting rights.

Apart from the obvious quality upgrade the camera also features a global download of captured information. This means the problems with the previous models rolling shutter are now a thing of the past.

Check out the NAB video right here:


Back to school at the Shireland Academy

ShirelandsTwo weeks ago I had the opportunity to take part in a careers day at The Shireland Academy, Smethwick.

The last time I was surrounded by so many teenagers, I was 18 and at my secondary school – The Manor High School, Wednesbury. I didn’t expect to see all the kids in uniform, but it was comforting to see that and so many familiar faces in the classes: the jokers, the shy girl, the teachers pet. You know the ones.

I wasn’t sure how much I would be able to say about a career in film and TV, especially to kids who have been bought up on the myth of ‘celebrity’ and ‘X Factor’. So I was really impressed with the calibre of questions and the real interest about what it was I actually did. I was also surprised by how well trained I still was – when the bell rang I instinctively reached for my bag, though what class I was going to I don’t know.

StoryboardI didn’t have much time with each group of kids but I took them through a whistle-stop tour of a normal working day and we talked about how to create a script and why you produce a half decent storyboard. In one session we actually had time to try out some storyboards and the ‘bad boys’ at the back of the class came up with a really fun idea of selling mobile phones, providing you had a budget that to pay for Jason Statham! (“Cus he kicks ass sir”).

It’s incredible to think that these kids are the first generation to grow up in a world where there is no restriction on their creativity. I’m glad to say they have embraced that opportunity. In the short visits I met teenage rappers, dancers and a couple of filmmakers, whose version of the Harlem Shake can be seen on YouTube. Despite getting in trouble for the lunchtime prank, both the kids and one ‘off the record’ teacher are very proud of their first steps into filmmaking. I hope they enjoy the journey as much as I do.


Independent Series by Guvnor Media goes to The Public

The Haunted KingdomFor the past 5 months, Guvnor Media Ltd has been creating a growing number of short videos for its series The Haunted Kingdom.

 

Based around an area of the UK called The Black Country, the series looks at the many historical ghost stories that surround the region. The beauty of the series is contained not only the people relating the stories, but also the glimpse into the history of an area that encompasses The Industrial Revolution.

The first six videos of the series are now part of an exhibition at The Public in West Bromwich – Black Country Legends. This is the latest  of the videos which takes a look at The Crooked House, near Dudley.

Keep a look out for more new stories in the coming months.

The Guvnor Media Team.


Independent film – Spike Breakwell’s article features on Disability Horizons

Guvnor Films’ feature film Bad Reception continues to create a stir. After a successful premier in Dunstable, executive producer Spike Breakwell was asked to write a piece about his work on the film.

http://disabilityhorizons.com/2013/01/from-a-stage-in-luton-to-an-la-movie-set/

A full cast and crew listing is on IMDB

Own a copy of Bad Reception yourself, just click buy below.

Bad Reception DVD


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