Welcome Home Roxy Carmichael: Safety On The Shore

2.5/5      

Written by Luke Barnes

Summary

A teenage goth outsider, played by Winona Ryder, finds comfort in a boat.

I can see what this film was trying to do, but it really just didn’t come together well. The two crisscrossing storylines of Ryder’s character being abandoned as a child and then her high school isolation happening side by side with the narrative flirting with the idea of unreliable narration and time could have led to great contrast, but as it turns out it doesn’t actually lead to a satisfying pay off. I would say that is the main issue with this film that it seems to think that it is far deeper than it actually is.

I think without Ryder the film would be a lot worse, as it is Ryder manages to pull the film together with enough dark energy to keep you watching until the end. You really do believe the pain that her character is clearly going through and do also feel a lot of sympathy towards her, her character is quite well constructed and layered too which is nice.

The pace of the film is a little off and I would say it could lose about 20 minutes and be a tighter and better film.

Overall, fine but with a fair number of issues holding it back.

Pros.

Ryder

It tries to do something fresh

It is watchable

Cons.

The pace

It thinks it is deeper than it actually is

The ending is quite anticlimactic

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Interview With Writer/Director George Veck: Clogwyn

Written by Luke Barnes

I recently had the chance to interview writer/director George Veck about his new film Clogwyn which focuses on the destructive nature of gambling addiction and how it can destroy families. In this interview we discuss addiction, mental health and the need for further legislation regarding gambling, and its marketing. I hope you enjoy.

Q: What was your motivation for making this film?

A: To shed light on the sheer amount of people who despite having no background in sport or watching sport, end up gambling and how it can be those lesser fans who suffer most as they need a bet to enjoy the event.

Q: What was your message?

A: That anyone vulnerable who hates what they do with their life can be sucked into drink, drugs or gambling in the UK.

 Q: Do you think the government should do more to tackle gambling beyond what it is currently doing?

 Absolutely, the current level of restrictions on adverts during sporting events is appalling despite overwhelming evidence of the amount of sports fans who watch not for the love of the sport, but only due of the thrill of betting.

Q: What are the warning signs of gambling addiction and when should people seek help?

 It’s hard to detect initially but the secrecy of the person suffering will become apparent and the niggling feeling of being lied to. The deeper the person gets, the harsher the depression will be after they lose a bet, this is one sign to get help.

Q: Do you have any funny or interesting stories from the making of this short?

 This was a very international cast, with talent from Canada, US, Ireland, Wales, England, Denmark, Australia and New Zealand forming the cast and crew.

Q: Future Plans do you want to do a follow up or tackle any other issues in future films?

 I have just finished editing a short about domestic violence called disquietude which will be out soon as well as a short called Scarlett about cocaine addiction. Issues around mental health and poverty are what I want to portray in my films. I would love to explore gambling addiction as a theme again, hopefully next time as a feature film.

Q: After making this film do you have any advice for aspiring film-makers?

 To those from rural areas who worry about accessibility and finances, that with a carefully selected cast of willing actors and imagination you can make fulfilling films from the comfort of your home.

To check out Clogwyn for yourself then head over to Vecks Gems Productions or click on the link provided https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fd-nuBL0MbE

If you have been effected by the topics discussed in this interview then please consider getting help or if someone you know is suffering people get them some help. Addictions are awful things and often people try and hide them and suffer in silence and we all need to do our best to recognise the symptoms and help to the best of our abilities.

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Clogwyn: Don’t Throw Your Dreams Away

4.5/5      

Written by Luke Barnes

Summary

A man’s dream of starting a business in the UK are derailed after he becomes addicted to gambling.

I want to open this review by saying how powerful and important I think this short is. In our current world there are adverts for gambling everywhere, often with minimal government regulation, as such big gambling firms are in a prime position to make a killing from people without facing any real consequences as they ruin people’s lives and that is scary.

I think the plot of this film is a plight that many people will be able to relate to in one way or another, this isn’t superhumans battling it out in the streets or a war for an alien world it is something that has effected most people, most people have either been effected by gambling addiction or know someone who has and that’s why this film is so compelling.

My only negative in regard to this film would be that it could have been more in-depth. It shows most aspects to serious gambling addictions, but it could have shown more of the warning signs and highlighted further just how destructive it can be.

Overall, a powerful and moving short.

Pros.

The impact

It really hits home

It is very relatable

It is powerful and moving

You really feel for the characters

Cons.

It could have been a bit longer and more in-depth

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Fisherman’s Friends One And All: It Is Okay To Not Be Okay

5/5         

Written by Luke Barnes

Summary

The Fisherman’s Friends must deal with a changing world and the price of fame as they return for another outing.

This was a nigh on perfect film, it had everything you would want, humour, heart and soul. It made me both laugh and cry. It feels like such an authentic film, which yes is boosted by the fact that it is based on real events but also because of the fact that this feels as removed from Hollywood as you can get, though not quite low budget indie film level.

Moreover, I really appreciated and enjoyed the focus on men’s mental health. I thought the speech that Jim, played by James Purefoy, gave about it being okay to not be okay was really important, as on a personal level I know men who struggle with their mental health but feel like they can’t talk about it or get help for it as such it is nice to see the message being spread that it is okay to ask for help and to cry.

In addition the cast across the board is great, but Purefoy is the anchor of the film and really sells the emotion and the passion. I think without Purefoy this film wouldn’t be half as good.

Overall, a lovely film that as many people as possible should see.

Pros.

Purefoy

The focus on men’s mental health

The shanties

It feels like a sequel that deserves to exist

The end credits scenes with the real people

Cons.

None

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I Love My Dad: Taking Facebook Creeping Up A Notch

2/5         

Written by Luke Barnes

Summary

A dad, played by Patton Oswald catfishes his emotionally vulnerable son, played by Jason Morosini, after he blocks him online.

I have two key issues with this film. Firstly, the end of the film shows the son being warm towards the dad and even goes so far as to almost celebrate the dad at the end when in actual fact the dad is cruel, unethical and deeply controlling. This normalisation is not undone by the fact the film points out these issues in the father’s personality as in the end these criticisms don’t matter. Secondly, the film tries to bill itself as the ultimate cringe comedy, but instead just comes off as deeply depressing and leaves you feeling sad.

There are a handful of sparse laughs to be had here, but for the most part this film leaves you cold. Honestly the context of the son’s mental state makes the film uncomfortable viewing, in a different film the father’s catfish could come off as funny or even as a prank but as here he knows his son has suicidal tendencies it just comes across as messed up and wrong.

Overall, not particularly enjoyable.

Pros.

A few laughs to be had

It is mercifully short

Cons.

The father doesn’t deserve to be redeemed at the end

It is not as deep as it thinks it is

It makes for uncomfortable viewing

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Hey Bro A Sneak Peak From The Feature Film The Hard Life And Times Of Clownie: Clowns Have Problems Too

3/5         

Written by Luke Barnes

Summary

Clownie, played by Josh Rutgers, must face down a dark night of the soul after being kicked out of the clowning association.

I enjoyed the raw passion of this film and the clear enthusiasm that was on display in every frame. It wasn’t a perfect film, but it has a lot of heart and really that is what I liked about this film, it knew what it was and it was just a group of people having fun and at the very heart of the matter that is what all films should be.

My main complaint of this film would be that it isn’t on long enough for us to become properly attached to Clownie, or to buy his emotional journey. However, I suppose that is what sequels are for, there is always more ground to cover in the future. In terms of short films this is definitely on the shorter side.

For the short time it was on I found the film quite compelling, and I was interested to see how it would play out. I think the ending raised the stakes for the film and left us with some questions about where things can go from here.

Overall, a film that has clearly been made with a lot of passion, love and talent.

Pros.

Clownie as a character

The ending

The passion is clear to see

Cons.

It is too short

It is a little messy in places  

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Mrs Harris Goes To Paris: Trading It All In For A Pretty Dress

3/5         

Written by Luke Barnes

Summary

An English working class woman, played by Lesley Manville, travels to France to obtain a fancy Dior dress.

I think in many ways this is a nice mindless film, wholesome without making you think particularly. Comfort viewing. However, I do think that a lot of the characters and plot lines feel very derivative, I understand that it was based on a book and if this is how the characters in the book act then I would say that the writer liberally borrowed from the standard bag of literary cliches.

Though I enjoyed the wholesomeness for the most part I would say there were moments where the film felt to me like it was flirting with over sentimentality. I find that when films cross over this line I often find them quite false and off putting and this film definitely dipped its toe over the line at times.

Manville for her part is fine, she is perfectly serviceable here. The same sentiment applies to the rest of the cast as well fine, but nothing more. Jason Issac was the only performer who I remembered afterwards as his wheeler dealer character had a few funny moments that kept him in mind.

Overall, an enjoyable film but nothing novel.

Pros.

The wholesomeness

The ending

It is very easy to watch

Cons.

It feels overly familiar

None of the cast really blow you away with their performances

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Nude Tuesday: Jemaine Clement Fully Exposed

2/5         

Written by Luke Barnes

Summary

A couple, played by Jackie van Beek and Damon Herriman, head to a couples retreat after their relationship implodes.

This film will not be what you are expecting, and I mean that in a bad way. I was hoping for a quirky comedy made all the better by the humorous comedic stylings of Jemaine Clement , that is not what I got. Rather it was a depressing cynical look at married life made harder to watch by a strange dialogue choice.

The whole film is spoken in a made up language with accompanying subtitles, and to me this felt incredibly needless. I got the impression that this choice was supposed to be impactful or disruptive in some sort of way, and I assume the writers/directors were giving themselves a pat on the pack for such a genius idea, however, upon execution I found it presented a very large barrier to enjoying the film and made watching it a slog.

Moreover, the outlook of the film is so whole heartedly depressing that it again made it hard to finish. There were many times when I was watching it I found myself actively disliking the characters more and more, I was not warming to any of them even by the end of the film. Clement at least brought something to proceedings and seeing him as a man child quasi cult leader was fun but not enough to keep me invested.

Overall, not an enjoyable film to watch and one you will no doubt turn off early.

Pros.

Clement

A few jokes land

Cons.

It is depressing

The use of the made up language

The ending   

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Not Okay: The Whiny Angsty Side Of Gen Z

2/5         

Written by Luke Barnes

Summary

A young woman’s dream of being internet famous leads to her faking being a terror attack survivor.

My, my this film is whiney and self-involved, it tries to tackle these deep issues but comes across as shallow as can be, it spends minimal time considering the lead’s, played by Zoey Deutch, mental state and instead tries to hype up the spectacle of the who thing. Trying to humanise influencers, or in this case wannabe influencers, never really works out because often times it white washes the more undesirable narcissistic elements that come along with these sorts of personalities.

I think the romance subplot again feels soap opera deep at best, and mostly wastes the talents of Dylan O’Brien. In many ways the Gen Z internet teens will latch onto this as some sort of anthem or their shared online experience in their efforts to be famous and to have their lives suddenly gain meaning by having others online gratify their existence. However, rather than having anything new or salient to say it is just more of the same platitudes that we have seen time and again before.

For what it is worth Deutch is trying her best to keep things going and to anchor this film with a good performance and whilst I don’t think her performance is terrific by any means there is enough to it to highlight Deutch’s talents in a positive way.

Overall, a puddle that thinks it is an ocean.

Pros.

Deutch

It is laughably bad at times

Cons.

The message

It is vapid

It is far too simplistic

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Fifty Shades Of Grey: Porn For Old Ladies

1/5         

Written by Luke Barnes

Summary

The film that made middle aged ladies everywhere quiver.

Let’s get this out of the way straight off the bat, the way this film portrays relationships is deeply unhealthy and the message it prompts that this is a good relationship that the characters actively enjoy speaks to the wider toxicity of the film. No young woman should become essentially a slave to her boyfriend, it is wrong.

When this film came out a lot of people spoke about it as though it was the most titillating thing to ever exist, however, in reality having watched it for the first time recently years after it came out I find the film incredibly tame. Moreover, it goes without saying that if you are going to the cinema to get your giddy thrills whilst watching this film, there is a much easier and more effective way that you can do just from the comfort of your own home for free. This film feels far too clinical and scripted to every approach anything that could even be confused with sexy.

I think the biggest issue here is that the performances from both James Doran and Dakota Johnson are just so wooden and stiff that the film is essentially doomed from the outset. As this is a ‘romance film’, the strength of the feature lives or dies on the chemistry of the leads and in this case it dies, painfully.

Overall, I don’t see why this film was popular nor do I understand why it had sequels

Pros.

It is laughably bad at times

Cons.

The message is toxic

It is not hot in any way

It is deeply cringe

The leads have no chemistry   

If you enjoyed this review, then please head over to my Patreon to support me, I offer personalized shoutouts, the ability for you to pick what I review next and full access to my Patreon exclusive game reviews. Check it out!

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