Showing posts with label 2014 raindance film festival. Show all posts
Showing posts with label 2014 raindance film festival. Show all posts

7 October 2014

Film Review - Like Sunday, Like Rain (2014, Raindance Film Festival)

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Music, Drama
Rating: 12A
Screening Status:
UK Premiere
UK Release Date:
Frank Whaley
Leighton Meester, Julian Shatkin, Billy Joel Armstrong, Debra Messing

After breaking up with her boyfriend and losing her job and home, a desperate Eleanor (Leighton Meester) lies convincingly to land a job as a nanny to a gifted 13-year-old boy named Reggie (Julian Shatkin).  

Eleanor is in her mid 20’s and at a loss, she doesn’t know what to do with herself and takes the nanny job as a stopgap before she figures out her next move.  On first impressions Reggie is a total brat, a spoilt rich kid who isn’t in touch with reality.  However as Reggie and Eleanor’s friendship develops, you see how he is able to help her overcome her break up with musician Dennis (Billy Joe Armstrong, yes the guy from Green Day) and support her, whilst she struggles to deal with her wayward family and her dying father.

Relative unknown Julian Shatkin plays the role of Reggie with remarkable maturity and intelligence for someone of his age.  There is undeniably chemistry between himself and Meester, which for a 20-day shooting schedule, shows the strength of them both as actors. 

Leighton Meester is rather tremendous as Eleanor and if we didn’t know it already, the role shows that she is capable of being much more than Blair Waldorf. Though still on the Upper West Side, we see a different side of her and she plays the role with true class and sincerity.

The big question that everyone will be asking is “can Billy Joe Armstrong act?”  And the answer is, “yes, erm kind of”. Admittedly he is playing a broke, greasy musician type, so all he had to do was learn to act poor, but he definitely didn’t embarrass himself in the process.  Apparently he was really nervous about being in the movie and kept forgetting his lines, which is kinda sweet.  Debra Messing (Will and Grace) is also rather formidable as Reggie’s emotionless mother.

Despite Billy Joel’s acting, no Green Day is featured in the movie, but there is lots of music provided by Reggie’s cello and a score composed by British musician Ed Harcourt. Music also plays a large part in the bonding and discussion of Reggie and Eleanor throughout the movie.

Director/writer Frank Whaley is an actor and probably most recognizable as being Brett in Pulp Fiction, the man who gets ceremoniously killed in the infamous Ezekiel 25:17 scene, he was also in 90’s classics Field of Dreams and The Doors.  This is the fourth film Whaley has directed/written in a 15 year period since 1999’s Joe The King and he is still consistently working as an actor, most recently in bit parts on TV shows Gotham and The Blacklist. 

We were lucky that Whaley was at the screening and he gave a short Q&A after the film. Whaley talked about first meeting Meester, and her really connecting to the role and being very open to him about her upbringing (which has famously been reported on). It seemed that the role really spoke to Meester on a personal level and Whaley instantly wanted her for the role, even though a better-known actress was available.

Whaley also talked about how Harold and Maude was an influence in making the film, in an unlikely friendship with an age gap.  And, yes we know that Meester isn’t 80, but there is a timeless quality to the film, that is reminiscent of the 70’s classic.

This is a consistently good film with a charming plot. It’s intriguing to see the friendship of Eleanor and Reggie play out, the influence they have on each other and the journey both of them take throughout the timeframe of the movie.  I’m not sure what plans there are for a cinema release, however I urge you to seek it out and enjoy it.

16 September 2014

Michael Madsen to attend European premiere of THE NINTH CLOUD at RDFF

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THE NINTH CLOUD, Jane Spencer’s dark, philosophical drama, will receive its European Premiere at this year’s Raindance Film festival, on Monday 29 September (8.50pm) at the Vue Piccadilly. The film’s stars will be attending, including Michael Madsen and Leo Gregory. Director Jane Spencer and producer Julia Verdin will also be attending and all will be giving a Q+A after the screening.

Set in 90s London, THE NINTH CLOUD tells the story of Zena (Megan Maczko), who, trying to escape the grief of her family being killed in a plane crash, becomes infatuated with fellow American Bob (Michael Madsen), an enigmatic but failed poet and writer, who has taken up residency in a Hackney squat. Searching for hope through Bob’s artistic visions, whilst clinging on to her fragile grasp of reality, Zena collides and colludes with an array of desperados, angst-ridden IT girls and debauched failed artists. Two men in particular zero in on her: Brett, a narcissistic socialite (Leo Gregory), and Jonny, a drink-drowning musician searching for a way to re-surface (Jean Hughes Anglade). But it is to the unattainable Bob that Zena is mystically drawn to – as if only he holds the answer to the meaning of her life...

Jane Spencer’s tragi-comedy takes us on a journey through the underbelly of 90s London where loss, love and the meaning of existence are given a uniquely surreal twist.

She comments: “The film is about a group of people from all walks of life, trying to find hope in a world full of darkness and tragedy. Zena is a dreamer, who, against all circumstance, is trying to make something good happen in the world - even at a very high personal cost. I grew up watching films from the 1960's 'free cinema' movements and idolised the work of Lindsay Anderson, Tony Richardson, John Schlesinger, and also the philosophical films of that time; the French films of Truffaut, and especially Jacques Rivette. I suppose THE NINTH CLOUD is a 'homage' to those films, in a way
Producer Julia Verdin adds: “One of the things that attracted me to this project is that it is a film about escapism. All of the character is their different ways are trying to escape from reality and living in worlds that they have created for themselves and so blocked from moving forward by their own perceptions which i think is something that audiences will identify with.

The screening will take place at The Vue Piccadilly at 8.50pm on Monday 29 September. There is a second screening, also at the Vue Piccadilly, on Tues 30 at 4pm.

Tickets can be bought from: