Tag Archive | "British"

Director Adam Wimpenny – Interview

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Director Adam Wimpenny – Interview

Posted on 04 August 2014 by Chris Ford


This week sees the release of ‘Blackwood’ a classic English ghost story with a bit of an update. With a very strong cast including Russell Tovey Ed Stoppard and Paul Kaye Blackwood prooves to be a very enjoyable take on the Ghost Story including much that wasnt expected.

Last week I caught up with Blackwood director Adam Wimpenny and asked him a few questions about Blackwood:


If you had to summarize the film in one line what would it be?

Blackwood is a modern take on the classic English ghost story, with a twist.

What drew you to make Blackwood as your first feature film ?

I always wanted to make a ghost story, as a kid I grew up in a big, old, drafty farm-house on the Yorkshire moors so I think it always got my over-active imagination thinking there were things living in the attic. I’m a huge fan of suspense and tension movies and they’re a lot of fun to direct, so Blackwood seemed like a perfect first film.

How did the script translate to film? Were there difficult aspects to capture?

There were certainly a number of ambitious aspect to the script. Joe the writer had put into the script a a number of scenes that required some dangerous stunts and special effects including huge storm scene. As a director you get excited by these things on the page but on the day of shooting you wonder how on earth you’re going to pull these things off, especially when you’re working to a tight budget. I remember standing around in a freezing cold forrest with all these poor actors being dowsed in ice cold water for hours on end. I had to make a lot of apologies at the end of that filming day!

Blackwood has a very talented cast, you have worked with Russel Tovey and Paul Kaye before, were they obvious choices to you?

I’d directed Paul in a TV comedy series called Strutter and I’d made a short film with Russell called ROAR. Both of them had been fantastic to work with and I was really keen to get them involved with Blackwood. In the script the antagonists are Jack and Patrick, a local groundsman and a priest, and I thought they’d make a great double act together. I was really drawn to the idea of counter casting two actors known mostly for their comedy as these dark, sinister characters and they really deliver.

The strongest part of the film for me is the final 30mins, things unravel, they aren’t as they seemed, was that part of the story difficult to tell without giving things away in the lead up to it?

We really wanted to make a film that rewarded a repeat viewing. All the films on my DVD shelf are movies that have intricate twisty-turny plotting. There’s something satisfying about playing with the audiences perception and point of view in a movie, and as long as you don’t cheat and play by the rules then I think the audience enjoys being led down the garden path by film makers. However, trying to make sure the story is water tight and everything stacks up always involves a lot of head scratching and when you’re shooting the film all out of sequence as you frequently do in film making, it can become a real headache!

Was it difficult to get a film like Blackwood a cinema release especially in the summer up against lots of US blockbusters ?

Releasing a film is never easy, there’s a lot of films out there and it’s difficult to get heard above the noise of the big ten pole block busters. However, people who have seen the film have been very supportive and some of the major cinema chains have taken us under wing. We’ve resorted to using some novel marketing strategies too. Joe the writer is one of the worlds leading street artists and he created a huge piece of glowing 3D street art that was photographed in Canary Wharf last week to promote the film. The piece has gone viral and captured peoples imaginations so you have to do some left field thinking to get the people
talking about it.

Would you say the British film industry is in a good place at the moment?

I certainly think there’s a great deal of talent here and there are many opportunities for film makers although I wish there was more UK money available to support new emerging UK talent. A great number of Hollywood projects are coming to the UK to use our studios, cast and crew so we’re doing something right but I’d love to see us making more ambitious genre movies that can appeal to an international audience whilst retaining our British sensibilities.

You have previously worked on a lot of TV, The Real Hustle stands out for me as a bit of a classic and I imagine was a lot of fun to work on, did things ever go wrong? Were the ‘Hustlers’ rumbled much?

That was a great show to work on. Every day was a rush as it was always touch-and-go as to whether we’d get busted. Quite often I’d spend half a day setting up a location with hidden cameras and rehearsing with Alex, Paul and Jess but when it came to pulling off the scam all I could do was go hide in my covert van, sit back and watch things unfold. It felt like being in some MI6 sting operation. Amazingly I can’t remember one time we got busted which goes to show how easily people can be seduced with a smile and a bit of charm. The biggest problem became other people recognising us during a sting. Often you’d here some kids yelling ‘Oi! Real hustle!!’ which didn’t help. The guys started waring comedy moustaches for a few weeks but they looked so silly they didn’t last.

Whats next for you, any more films in the pipeline?

Working with the same team again I’m in the process of setting up our next film. It’s a conspiracy thriller and we’re talking about shooting it in Singapore. It’s a great script with lots of atmosphere and suspense again so if it goes the distance it’ll be a fantastic project to direct.

Thank you for your time and good luck with Blackwood

Blackwood is out in cinemas now and I highly recommended you check it out.

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Top 10 British Action Films

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Top 10 British Action Films

Posted on 02 April 2014 by Chris Ford

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On April 7th, British action thriller He Who Dares arrives on Blu-ray and DVD from STUDIOCANAL, telling the story of a group of ruthless terrorists who kidnap the Prime Minister’s daughter, fortifying themselves in an underground car park rigged with explosives. Sending in a crack SAS team, they must take back the building one level at a time. Directed by Paul Tanter (The Rise and Fall of a White Collar Hooligan), He Who Dares is a thrilling ride that harks back to British action at its best; here, we take a look back at those films…

Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels (1998)
Guy Ritchie burst onto the international filmmaking scene in 1998 with his quintessential British debut Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels, a crime comedy thriller renowned for first showcasing the acting talent of former footballer Vinnie Jones and Jason Statham (a former diver, for the record). A heist film at heart, Lock, Stock… follows a group of friends who must pay a debt to a powerful crime lord so set to robbing a small-time gang living next door. Starring Jason Flemying, Dexter Fletcher and, er, Sting, Ritchie’s film has rightfully embedded itself into popular culture as a British modern classic.

Snatch (2000)
Guy Ritchie’s follow-up to Lock Stock… may lack the cutting edge of the former, but still remained a solid effort in delivering another much-loved British film. The film follows two intertwined plots each containing an ensemble of characters played by a impressively assorted cast. One strand concerns the search for a missing diamond (starring Benicio del Toro and Frank Butcher himself, Mike Reid), whilst the other sees Jason Statham’s boxing promoter Turkish under the thumb of ruthless gangster, Brick Top (Alan Ford). Easily distinguishable by its frenetic editing and circular plot, Snatch also boasts a memorable turn from Brad Pitt as Irish traveller Mickey O’Neil.

The 51st State (2001)
A British film fronted by Samuel L. Jackson does exist with The 51st State boasting that credit; playing Elmo McElroy, a master chemist looking to sell his formula in the United Kingdom, he is soon entangled in a web of deceit involving ‘Fixer’ Felix DeSouza (Robert Carlyle), his boss Leopold (Ricky Tomlinson) and a detective played by Sean Pertwee. Set in Liverpool, The 51st State was a commercial failure upon release but still boasts plenty of fun to be had.

Casino Royale (2004)
Quantum of Solace may have fell short of the mark, with Skyfall soaring to become one of Britain’s biggest films of all time, but it was Martin Campbell who reintroduced James Bond to an entire new era. Very much an origins story, Casino Royale establishes a completely new timeline and begins… well, at the beginning. With 007 in the process of earning his licence to kill, he comes across Ian Fleming creations Vesper Lynd (Eva Green) and Le Chiffre (Mads Mikkelsen) in a film fit with well-staged action sequences and memorable moments galore.

Layer Cake (2004)
In 2004, Matthew Vaughn graduated from being Guy Ritchie’s number one producer by crafting Layer Cake, a film akin to both Lock Stock… and Snatch, and one Ritchie undoubtedly wishes he had made. Filled with a who’s-who cast of recognisable British faces, the crime thriller follows Daniel Craig’s unnamed kingpin who plans to retire from the business; however, his plans are foiled when his supplier Jimmy (Kenneth Cranham) sends him out to track down the teenage daughter of their associate, Eddie Temple (a fearsome Michael Gambon). Suffice to say, the gritty hi-jinks are played out in break-neck speed by a cast featuring Sienna Miller, Sally Hawkins as well as early roles for Tom Hardy and Ben Whishaw.

Attack the Block (2008)
British monster movie Attack the Block was written and directed by debutante Joe Cornish, coming from the same production houses as that of Edgar Wright’s Three Flavours Cornetto trilogy. Set on a council estate in South London, the story focuses on a teenage street gang who have to defend themselves when alien invaders make their presence known.

Kick-Ass (2010)
Matthew Vaughn’s adaptation of Mark Millar’s graphic novel may have American money behind it, but there’s no denying the clear slant towards British cinema present throughout; surrounding the plot of an American boy who sets out to rid the streets of crime by becoming a costumed vigilante named Kick-Ass are a dangerous criminal underworld headed by mob boss Frank D’Amico, played with relish by Mark Strong. Perhaps solidifying the British effort are appearances from Jason Flemyng and Dexter Fletcher as two of D’Amico’s goons.

The Sweeney (2012)
Inspired by the 1970s television police series starring John Thaw and Dennis Waterman, The Sweeney was brought to the big screen by Nick Love (The Football Factory, The Business) and is set in a contemporary London. Starring Ray Winstone as Detective Inspector Jack Regan alongside Ben ‘Plan B’ Drew, the story focuses on the Flying Squad, a section of the Metropolitan Police designed to investigate armed robberies. Fellow British talent, such as Hayley Awtell and Damian Lewis, both make appearances.

Welcome to the Punch (2013)
Eran Creevy’s action thriller depicts a shimmering London landscape, and tells the story of former Icelandic criminal Jacob Sternwood (Mark Strong) who comes out of hiding in an attempt to save his son when a heist in London goes wrong, much to the delight of Detective Lewinsky (James McAvoy), who has always been after Sternwood. However, the two are forced to become unlikely allies in exposing a deeper conspiracy. Appearances from Peter Mullan, David Morrissey and This Is England’s Johnny Harris establish this as a true British thriller.

He Who Dares is released on Blu-ray and DVD on 7th April 2014 from STUDIOCANAL

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British Gymnastics launch new gymnastics activity ‘FreeG’

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British Gymnastics launch new gymnastics activity ‘FreeG’

Posted on 22 August 2013 by Chris Ford

British Gymnastics has announced the launch of the new exciting freestyle gymnastics activity, FreeG.


The indoor activity combines traditional gymnastics and acrobatic tricks, with kicks and leaps inspired by martial arts and stunts.

British Gymnastics has developed the new club-based activity in-light of the increased popularity of adrenaline fueled freestyle sports, providing participants with the opportunity to express themselves through an incredible range of tricks and movements in a safe environment.

The governing body has also partnered with Continental Sport to design a range of bespoke freestyle-specific equipment which can be used during sessions by qualified FreeG coaches across the country.

David MarshallHead of Development at British Gymnastics, said: “With the increasing appeal of freestyle sports in the UK we see FreeG as an opportunity for budding freestylers to learn a range of dynamic and exciting tricks in a safe environment.


“We hope the launch of FreeG will encourage those who have never taken part in gymnastics to go to a BG affiliated club or leisure centre offering FreeG and give this exciting new style of gymnastics a go.”


Included as part of a wider range of participation opportunities offered by BG affiliated clubs, FreeG is set to get participants moving in ways they never thought possible, getting their hearts racing and developing a heightened sense of spatial awareness that can be put to good use in a variety of other sports.

You can have a look at the videos below to give you some idea of what you could learn :

Tornado Kick – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jotAwMG6lX0

Palm Spin – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RcShBis5iC8

Butterfly – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=86zz9w-2-mU

Wall Flip – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NVrzYFp-1wE

L-Kick – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sEos5FHxtck

Kip-Up – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0VqZtjBotWI

To find out more about this exciting new activity and to release your inner freedom, visit: www.freegfreedom.co.uk


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Montezuma’s Monkey Bars!

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Montezuma’s Monkey Bars!

Posted on 19 April 2012 by Chris Ford

I have told you before about Montezuma’s excellent Chocolate club where each month they send you a wonderful selection of their inspired chocolate for you to indulge in.  Well there’s more!

Inspired by a very special year for Britain, when we celebrate both the Royal Jubilee and the Olympics , Montezuma have developed their ‘Monkey Bar’ range  ( Monkey being cockney rhyming slang for 500).  Each bar has its own rhyming  slang name – having sampled a few I think my favourite is Nanny Goat (Boat)  which is a Venezuelan Milk chocolate with salted peanuts and butterscotch .

My usual chocolate choice is mainly a off the shelf famous brand of cheap milk chocolate and after sampling there really is no way back, much like when I first started making filter coffee I cant drink instant anymore the different really is night and day in terms of flavour.

There are five flavours to choose from in the massive 10″ by 6″ bar ideal for sharing or keeping all to yourself! (ahem )

The Bars are available from Montezumas.co.uk  one of their five shops as well as John Lewis and all good independent fine food stores nationwide with a RRP of £13.99






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