Tika Sumpter as Michelle Obama and Parker Sawyers as Barack Obama, in 'Southside With You'

TBB's Descant Deb Reviews the Obama's Love Story, 'Southside With You'

Southside With You is the tale of one summer day in Chicago, 1989, which law firm intern Barack Obama (Parker Sawyers) and his supervisor Michelle Robinson (Tika Sumpter, also co-producer) spent together. So far, so ordinary. But, this is the day which set them on the road to their historic ...

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#TBBDoesRaindance2016 @DescantDeb Reviews British Horror-Thriller 'Don't Knock Twice'

For my second dark fantasy of the week, Don't Knock Twice was essential viewing for us. It's the latest release from the award-winning Red and Black Films production company co-founded by TBB Favourite John Giwa-Amu (read TBB interview with him here). This supernatural thriller is more Bechdel Test positivity from their ...

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Boss of the Backpack Gang, Roxxxan Speaks to TBB About Being Back to Live

Regular feature on 'UK rappers you need to know' lists and boss of the backpack gang, Roxxxan makes a deliberate and perfectly timed return in to the ring with the release of ‘Back To Live’. The Birmingham ambassador has previously sparred alongside respected MCs like P Money, on sets with ...

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BLACK STAR Programme Launches. Includes UK Premiere of 'A Hundred Streets' Starring Idris Elba

This October at BFI Southbank sees the start of the BLACK STAR, the BFI’s landmark season championing the achievements of black stars from the earliest years of cinema through to the present day. The season at BFI Southbank, programmed by Ashley Clark, runs from 17 October – 31 December and ...

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Stonebwoy, E.L, Amakye Dede & Abrantee Headline Ghana Music Week UK

Ghanaian Reggae and Dancehall star, and BET Award winner Stonebwoy will be headlining the first ever Ghana Music Week UK festival, which is taking place at the Indigo at The O2, October 21, 2016. Joining Stonebwoy on the bill is Capital Xtra’s veteran broadcaster and Afrobeats tastemaker Abrantee, who has ...

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#TBBSpoilerFree: Review of Sennia Nanua's Feature Debut 'The Girl With All The Gifts'

This was a rarity - knowingly attending any kind of dark fantasy movie, albeit The Girl With All The Gifts, a film surrounded by a major, positive buzz, and starring the lovely Sennia Nanua! For those of you who don't know, TBB have been supporting Beverley, the Cass Pennant-produced film ...

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TBB Speaks to Director Rubika Shah on Her Short Film, 'Let’s Dance: Bowie Down Under'

Rubika Shah is a Crystal Bear-nominated director. Her rare short documentary of David Bowie and the untold story behind the Let's Dance music video premiered at the Berlinale and went on to screen at Tribeca, Hot Docs, BFI London Film Festival, amongst others. After working at Universal Music Group, Rubika went ...

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Writer, Director, Producer K.D Pascall

TBB Speaks to Writer/Director K.D.Pascall Ahead of BUFF 2016 Screening of Gangster film ‘Residential’

K.D Pascall will make his directorial debut with this feature film 'Residential' getting its UK premiere as part of the British Urban Film Festival's Closing Gala. Starting his filmmaking career in 2004 as cameraman for the highly acclaimed DVD ‘Streetz Incarcerated’.  He gradually worked his way up interviewing the likes of ...

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Noel Clarke

Fresh From His Box Office Triumph 'Brotherhood', Noel Clarke is DS Sean Gunner Martin in ITV's 'The Level'

There are few people who don't know who the award-winning actor (stage, screen and TV), screenwriter (screen and TV), director (film) and comic book writer Noel Clarke is. He is young, gifted and black, and has not only managed to get the mainstream to take notice of him and his ...

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#TBBDoesLFF2016: Disney Avoids Adaptation Decay In 'Queen Of Katwe', A Dose of Authentic Modern Africa.

Just as old dogs can learn new tricks, so Disney has proved, unequivocally, that they can venture from a decades-old tried and tested trope and make authentic cinema with the much-anticipated Queen of Katwe. The 93 year old film making behemoth has trademarked candy-coated re-packaging of other nation's oral and ...

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HAVE YOU BOUGHT YOUR TICKETS? Back2Black @ BAFTA October 2nd 2016

Creating Role Models are proud to announce the 3rd Year of BACK2BLACK for Black History Month UK taking place at the prestigious BAFTA, 195 Piccadilly on October 2nd 2016 in celebration of Black History Month. Black History Month, known also as “African-American History Month” in America, is an annual observance which ...

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David Oyelowo to Headline BFI BLACK STAR Symposium Thursday, 6 October @ BFI Southbank. 

The 60th BFI London Film Festival in partnership with American Express® announces that highly acclaimed British actor and producer David Oyelowo will be the lead speaker at this year’s Festival’s headline industry event, the Black Star Symposium on Thursday, 6 October at BFI Southbank. With confirmed speakers to include filmmakers ...

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TBB’s Descant Deb Reviews the Obama’s Love Story, ‘Southside With You’

Tika Sumpter as Michelle Obama and Parker Sawyers as Barack Obama, in 'Southside With You'

Tika Sumpter as Michelle Obama and Parker Sawyers as Barack Obama, in ‘Southside With You’

Southside With You is the tale of one summer day in Chicago, 1989, which law firm intern Barack Obama (Parker Sawyers) and his supervisor Michelle Robinson (Tika Sumpter, also co-producer) spent together. So far, so ordinary. But, this is the day which set them on the road to their historic lives together as the U.S. President and his First Lady – the first African-American couple to rise to the highest offices in America.

This is an imagining of their first date according to Richard Tanne, the writer-director-co-producer, a European-American and New Jersey native. It stems from an idea he had in 2008, and a feature debut script started in 2013, having become fascinated by the accounts he mined about their first date – articles, interviews and videos. Tanne, felt the way that the First Couple of America looked at each other,  and seemed to flirt in public, was authentic… and a little sexy.

Michelle Robinson, a product of a close-knit, hard-working aspirational Southside family, has worked hard and overcome the barriers of being a dark-skinned African-American woman, to be offered an associate position in a prestigious Chicago law firm, right out of Harvard Law School. Two years in, a swaggering, confident, smoker, Barack Obama, joins the firm as a rising star intern in the summer of 89. He notices her immediately and, for a month, uses all the moves at his disposal to get her to go out with him. She resists, meeting his persistence with increasing discouragement. We meet them after he has masterminded an invitation that she finally finds acceptable – as a collegial companion. But, Obama plans a day to win her over.   Southside With You is that one chance he creates to get her to ‘see’ him more clearly, as more than the forbidden colleague, as more than the self-possessed smooth-talker and, I suspect, as more than just a ‘Coconut’ – brown on the outside, white on the inside.

Despite his long-standing interest in her, it is also an opportunity for him to revise his opinion of her, to see her as more than just a superficial challenge to his male ego, and maybe as a challenge to his whimsy and his own pre-conceptions. We know how the story ultimately ends. But, the outcome of that one day is by no means guaranteed in Obama’s favour. The journey Tanne takes us on follows the question, can it take just one day, as they engage in, at times, arch banter, and if so, how?

When the date/non-date is good, the chemistry between Sumpter and Sawyer fizzes almost to the point of feeling an uneasy voyeurism – when they find things to admire in the character of the other, agree on the meaning of family, or find some other common ground. When it’s bad, it’s a hard heart that won’t feel for the one suffering, as they clash over the nature of judgment and forgiveness, or negotiating the corporate politics of being African-American in the upper echelons of white America. How it balances at the end of that day rests mostly with Michelle, but at one point, with Barack himself.

Over 83 minutes, Tanne created a spec script which was true to the accounts of the actual first date, but he admitted that the inciting invitation he chose to get them together happened during their courtship, but not on that first occasion. The Obamas had nothing to do with the development of the story or film, but Tanne feels that, despite the imagined dialogue, the film is around 90% accurate. He also drew a lot from his personal experience, including aspects of Barack’s persistence in the face of serious discouragement. He manages to make it romantic rather than creepy, and a lot of that must be credited to Parker Sawyers. You cannot help but like him, to the point where, as he lights up another cigarette, you think “Dont do it! It’s sooo bad for you!” It feels at odds, probably because we’ve never seen the president smoke!

Sawyers is simply remarkable as Barack. He manages to capture the confidence of his youth and success, the profound joy of discovering a connection with the African Diaspora which was unintentionally missing from most of his life, and the skills of listening, of mediation and persuasion through public speech which would carry him into office – all without actually doing an impression of the president. Sumpter captures Michelle’s unique speech pattern, use of her startling eyes and her whole demeanour of super-intelligence with the heart of a soul sistah. Even when she is being prickly, you cannot dislike her! You find yourself willing her to relax, remain open and give him a chance (and vice versa). Sumpter and Sawyers basically do the couple justice.

Sometimes, I like my films straightforward. I don’t want to come away thinking, did that really happen? I would like to think that this is as close as we’ll ever get to knowing what happened when this couple of couples spent one pivotal day together, short of hearing from the horse’s mouth. So, expositional at times? Maybe. But, despite what film makers say, sometimes we do say what we mean – especially when we have the tools with which to express ourselves. And these two absolutely do! The creative choice here feels congruent with Barack’s awareness of this being his one shot, and Michelle, having accepted the invitation, cannot help but respond to him honestly. It is also the prerogative of the independent film maker to present us with something unexpected every once in a while. Despite the $1.5m budget, Tanne’s obvious affection for the couple glimmers through every scene, and he keeps many of the shots tight on their expressions and gestures, drawing you into how he sees them, and how they begin to see each other. Add the conversation, and it makes for intimate viewing. He also does a Richard Curtis and manages to make a hot summer in the south side of Chicago a believable romantic backdrop. With the murder statistics for the city hitting headlines again, plus the backlash against Spike Lee’s Chi-Raq last year, this movie is a gentle, easy antidote, giving us a little bit of that balance we keep asking for in depicting our unseen lives.

It’s a great date movie, family movie, or a morale-boosting movie. The soundtrack wraps you in nostalgia and the specially-written song ‘Start’ by John Legend, who also exec produced, is just gorgeous. It feeds into the unapologetically romantic tone of the film, and is reminiscent of those great love stories that came out of the US in the 90s.

Southside With You premiered at Sundance 2016 in January. During a Q&A afterward, Tanne confirmed that the First Couple are familiar with the film. “We’ve heard from some pretty reliable sources that they are aware [of the film]…They are excited, and they are also a little baffled by its existence.”

We’re not.

Southside With You has its UK release on Friday September 30th 2016

 

Review by @DescantDeb

Joan Armatrading Releases Album #TheTempestSongs, Specially Composed For Donmar Warehouse Production!

joan_donmarLegendary singer-songwriter Joan Armatrading has composed original music for the Donmar Warehouse’s forthcoming production of The Tempest, directed by critically acclaimed Phyllida Lloyd.

Starring film, TV and stage acting legend Harriet Walter (Lady Shackleton in Downton Abbey) as Prospero, all-female support will be provided by TBB Favourites Jade Anouka, Sheila Atim (Les Blancs), Shiloh Coke, Jackie Clune, Leah Harvey, Martina Laird, alongside Karen Dunbar, Clare Dunne, Zainab Hasan, Jennifer Joseph, Sophie Stanton and Carolina Valdés.

The Tempest forms part of the Donmar’s #Shakespeare Trilogy, which will run from September 23rd to December 17th. It will then be joined from November 17th by their revivals of Julius Caesar and Henry IV. Press day on November 22nd will present ‘Julius Caesar’ at 11am, ‘Henry IV’ at 3.30pm and ‘The Tempest’ at 8pm.

Joan Armatrading is recognised as a pioneering creative force with a career spanning four decades, the Brit Awards and The GRAMMYs-nominated St. Kitts-Brit has won and maintained an acclaimed and storied career and fan base. Other accolades include Top 10 albums and singles, an historic #1 debut for a UK female artist in the Billboard Blues chart in 2007, VH1’s list of the 100 Most Influential Women in Rock and gave a command performance for Nelson Mandela on his 70th birthday at Wembley Stadium. In 2014 she embarked on an 18-month solo “Me Myself I World Tour”, with just a piano and guitar for accompaniment. She had to reassure fans that she has not retired and will continue to perform on a smaller scale.

More recently, she has lent her support as Ambassador to The Donmar’s Shakespeare Trilogy YOUNG+FREE scheme alongside such names as Tony-winning Cynthia Erivo, Lenny Henry, Jenny Jules, Cush Jumbo, amongst others, which is making 25% of tickets free to those 25 or under.

A digital album of the music, ‘The Tempest Songs’, released by 429 Records, has been available to download on iTunes since Monday 19th September.

For more information and tickets to performances, visit http://www.donmarwarehouse.com

BFI Announces 15 Diverse Writers & Directors Taking Part in Ground-Breaking NET.WORK@LFF

network_bfiThe BFI  has announced the 15 writers and directors taking part in the ground-breaking NET.WORK@LFF professional development programme at this year’s BFI London Film Festival. In a move that is a further expression of the BFI’s commitment and positive action towards increasing opportunity and inclusivity in film for talented filmmakers, this year’s NET.WORK@LFF focuses on emerging filmmakers from BAME backgrounds from across the UK.

NET.WORK@LFF also mirrors the Festival’s thought-provoking headline industry event, the LFF Black Star Symposium (Thursday, 6 October), which will be opened by the highly acclaimed British actor and producer David Oyelowo, a passionate and articulate advocate for action in changing the framework of opportunities for black talent.
During the course of the internationally-focused five-day NET.WORK@LFF programme (6-10 October) which is supported by the BFI with National Lottery funding, the 15 emerging writers and directors will be participating in masterclasses, screenings, networking and one-to-one sessions with visiting international filmmakers and executives whose films are screening at the Festival including:

  • Director Amma Asante whose latest feature A United Kingdom, starring David Oyelowo and Rosamund Pike, is this year’s Opening Gala at the LFF;
  • Julie Dash (Daughters of the Dust), pioneering filmmaker, author and member of the LA Rebellion film movement of African and African-American filmmakers who graduated from AFI and UCLA and created a black cinema alternative to Hollywood;
  • Tracy ‘Twinkie’ Byrd, Casting Director on Southside with You, Fruitvale Station and Stomp The Yard;
  • Mohamed Diab, director of Clash, which screens in Official Competition at the Festival, and which opened Un Certain Regard at Cannes 2016;
  • Michele Turnure-Salleo, who as founder and head of the highly respected San Francisco Film Society’s Filmmaker360 department helped guide hundreds of independent filmmakers and award-winning film projects through development, production and distribution including Fruitvale Station (Sundance 2013) and Love is Strange (Sundance and Berlin 2014); and
  • Julia Oh, who co-produced Andrea Arnold’s critically acclaimed American Honey which has its UK premiere at the Festival as the Festival Special Presentation, and produced Sebastián Silva’s Berlin Teddy award-winning Nasty Baby.

Julie Dash will open this year’s NET.WORK programme as the keynote speaker as well as presenting her film Daughters of the Dust. There will be further private screenings and Q&A sessions, and industry-focused discussions with key industry figures including Negeen Yazdi (President of International Production, The Weinstein Company) and David Flynn (Motion Picture Literary Agent, United Talent Agency).

Clare Stewart, BFI London Film Festival Director, says, “The BFI London Film Festival is committed to supporting emerging UK film talent and we are proud to take that further this year by promoting real action on diversity. We want to create positive change – for filmmakers, the industry and audiences – not only by presenting opportunities for debate like the LFF Black Star Symposium, but by creating tangible opportunities for emerging black, Asian and minority ethnic filmmakers to meet, learn and be inspired by many of the international filmmakers and industry professionals who come to London for the Festival.”

The full list of filmmakers taking part this year is:

Aleem Khan – his short film, Three Brothers, was nominated for a BAFTA in 2015, and he was one of Screen International’s Stars of Tomorrow in 2015. He is now developing a couple of feature length screenplays one of which, After Love, is in development with The Bureau Film company and has development funding from Creative England.

Amrou Al-Kadhi -  his first short which he wrote and starred in, Nightstand, was exec produced by Stephen Fry and picked up for distribution by Peccadillo Pictures. He is currently in development on two other shorts as a writer/director, and working up to making his first feature, Leather & Sweaters, which is currently in development.

Chika Anadu – was part of the Cannes Cinefondation residency programme (2010/11) working on her first feature script B For Boy which premiered in First Feature Competition at the BFI London Film Festival (2013). The film won the Audience Award at the AFI Film Festival (2013), and the Special Jury Prize at the Seattle International Film Festival (2014). B for Boy is now available on Netflix and iTunes.

David Alexander – has made several shorts including Growing which won awards from Time Out and screened at over 30 film festivals around the world. Previously a participant in the talent labs at the Berlin Film Festival, the Toronto International Film Festival and the Tribeca Film Festival, he has directed for artists George The Poet and Kate Tempest and is currently developing his first feature film with Dark Pictures and Creative England.

Gbolahan Obisesan - is a Genesis Fellow of the Young Vic Theatre and is currently writing an original feature, We Get Around for Emu Films/Film4. He recently directed Cutting It for the Young Vic and is also under commission to Eclipse Theatre Company.

Kibwe Tavares – was named one of the top 20 new directors at the Saatchi & Saatchi 2014 New Directors’ showcase. His short Jonah won the Kurosawa award and Bronze Medal at the 24fps International Short Film Festival and was nominated for the Grand Prix at Cork and at Sundance. His graduation film, Robots of Brixton, won the Special Jury Prize at the Sundance Film Festival. He currently has three features in development with Film 4, Element, DNA, DMC Film.

Matt Houghton – is currently signed to PULSE for commercials and has had short films screened at the London Short Film Festival, Sheffield Doc Fest, Rushes Soho Shorts and the East End Film Festival. Matt’s latest short film, Dear Araucaria, was made in partnership with The Guardian won the Audience Award at Sheffield Doc/Fest 2015 and was released in 2015 to much acclaim.

Melissa Iqbal – completed an MA in Screenwriting at the National Film and Television School in 2014. Her graduation script, The Death Engine, won the prestigious Academy Nicholl Fellowship, was on the highly regarded Brit List and is now in development with Warp Films. She has adapted a YA novel for Warner Bros US and has another spec, Shore, in development with Midnight Road. Most recently, she was part of a writers room for Charlie Brooker’s Black Mirror (which headlines this year’s LFF Connects Television event) and is currently writing a TV pilot for Sky Atlantic and the Wellcome Trust.

Nadia Latif – is a theatre director working almost exclusively in new writing. She has worked with writers including Brad Birch, Somalia Seaton, Omar El-Khairy, Inua Ellams, Ella Hickson, Kristiana Colon, Naomi Wallace, and Ben Ockrent at venues and companies including the Royal Shakespeare Company, Almeida, Headlong, Royal Court and Soho Theatre. Her work also includes some short documentaries.

Nathaniel Martello White – is a writer, director and actor. His first play was Blackta (Young Vic), he is currently directing Torn at the Royal Court and has a project with Creative England’s Emerging Talent Fund. As an actor his credits include People, Places & Things, Edward II (National), Death in Paradise (TV) and The Internet is Serious Business. He has recently completed three short films - SLAP, CLaaM and MARS Tingz.

Rachna Suri – is a director working across genres, tackling complex themes through personal stories. A Screen International Star of Tomorrow in 2015, Rachna’s feature and television slate includes projects with Paddy Campbell, Charlie Covell and Company Pictures. Previous credits include Playing Ball (BBC) and Our Lad (Channel 4). She has also worked for Universal Films and New Line Cinema, the Google Creative Lab and trained with the National Youth Theatre.

Sandhya Suri – is an award-winning film-maker and graduate from the National Film and Television School. Her first feature documentary, I for India screened in competition at Sundance Film Festival, was released in cinemas across the UK and Canada and garnered several awards. This year Suri was selected for both the Sundance Screenwriters and Directors Lab with her first fiction feature Santosh.

Selina Lim – is a BAFTA and BIFA nominated screenwriter and writer Keeping up with the Joneses starring Maxine Peake and Adeel Akhtar and directed by Michael Pearce, supported by the BFI. Selina’s latest project is a 15-minute short film Playing Ball which was commissioned by the BBC Drama as part of the Original Drama Shorts 2015 from BBC iPlayer. She is currently working on a short with BBC Three/Green Door and one with Antagonist/Tread Softly Films.

Sing J Lee - is currently signed to Partizan Worldwide directing music videos, commercials and content including for acts including Muse, Charli XCX, Chvrches, Pharrell and Years & Years. He is currently developing several short films and a feature script.

Toby Fell-Holden – Toby’s short Balcony won a Crystal Bear at Berlin (Generation 14plus) Flickerfest, along with a nomination for Best British Short at the BIFAs. He is currently working on his first feature as well as other screenplays with director Ramin Bahrani and producer Afolabi Kuti in New York and London, respectively.

The BFI NET.WORK is central to the BFI’s strategy to discover and support the next generation of feature filmmaking talent, no matter where they live in the UK. Writers, directors and producers who have yet to have a feature film produced and/or released are supported through a hands-on approach that is tailored to their specific needs. This includes funding for feature film development, short films and pilots as well as bespoke editorial and professional development support. NET.WORK partners also host regular masterclasses, workshops and other talent development programmes across the country. The BFI works with partners Creative England, Ffilm Cymru Wales, Film London, Northern Ireland Screen and the Scottish Film Talent Network in delivering the NET.WORK.

For more information on NET.WORK@ LFF visit network.bfi.org.uk

#TBBDoesRaindance2016 @DescantDeb Reviews British Horror-Thriller ‘Don’t Knock Twice’

don_t_knockFor my second dark fantasy of the week, Don’t Knock Twice was essential viewing for us. It’s the latest release from the award-winning Red and Black Films production company co-founded by TBB Favourite John Giwa-Amu (read TBB interview with him here).

This supernatural thriller is more Bechdel Test positivity from their stable – something we know is important to the R&BF boys, Giwa-Amu and co-founder and director of this offering, Caradog James. They have consistently put these values into practice, having set the precedent with such strong female characters as Ava (Caity Lotz) in The Machine (2013) and Shelley (Morfydd Clarke) in The Call Up (2016). The strong female here is the fabulous Katee Sackhoff (Starbuck in rebooted Battlestar Galactica, 2004-09) as main protagonist Jess, an insanely successful sculptress contending with inner demons.

It’s been 9 years since the nadir of her struggle, 9 years since she gave up her daughter to care, fearing for her safety in her own. Having tried several times, she now waits with nervous apprehension, to see if a teenage Chloe (Lucy Boynton and her huge green eyes, used to great effect) will allow her back into her life. She picks at her clay-caked cuticles as the care home worker makes small talk with Ben (Javier Botet) her new husband, willing to undertake the role of stepfather. She has been working with new mother Tira (Pooneh Hajimohammadi) who has been modelling for a new work – a mother and child. Tira, sensing Jess’s disquiet, gives her a talisman, explaining that it will allow a child to see the love in a mother’s heart.

Chloe, a talented artist herself, is full of anger, and ruthlessly rejects Jess, barely registering Ben. She retreats to hang out with long term friend, now boyfriend, Danny (relative newcomer of quality Jordan Bolger, Peaky Blinders, 2014-16, and soon to be seen in another Raindance selection The Habit Of Beauty, alongside Noel Clarke).  They reminisce about the local childhood pranks they would amuse themselves with, along with a boy called Michael Flowers (Gabriel Trimble). Danny, sensing Chloe’s melancholy, resolves to amuse her again and takes her along to the scene of their greatest adventure – a now abandoned house at the centre of an urban legend. Having once played knock-down-ginger there, Michael went missing and they were sure the old resident, Ginger, had taken him.  Danny decides the best way to lighten Chloe’s mood is for them to test the legend… So begins a game of cat-and-mouse, a rollercoaster ride on which James unnerves the viewer with measured revelations and misdirections.

Don’t Knock Twice respectfully borrows elements from Candyman (1992) and The Ring (2002) and techniques perfected by Sam Raimi – loud sound effects and jump scares, but doesn’t overdo it.  The title is an at-times heavy-handed recurring theme throughout, as a frightened Chloe hastily takes Jess up on her offer. What does work, is the added undercurrent of the two women’s circumstances and relationship, weaving in the issues of placing trust in estranged family members. In this case, it cleverly works both ways.

Having wooed the sci fi world with one of the trickier aspects of the Galactica reboot (replacing Dirk Benedict’s Starbuck), Sackhoff turns in a fine-spun, unexpected performance. She manages to keep you guessing as to whether she is ready to be mother to a troubled child and everything that it might cost, including trying working out the significance of Detective Boardman (Nick Moran). It feels a little at odds with the execution of some aspects of the story.

Don’t Knock Twice is a good looking, modern British psychological horror, which was 100% financed and test screened in Wales, and should be applauded (and supported by film goers and horror fans) for attempting to revive a genre that seems to have lost momentum after the quality renaissance of the Noughties – 28 Days Later (2002), Dog Soldiers (2002), Shaun of The Dead (2004), The Descent (2005), Eden Lake (2008), 28 Weeks Later (2007), and Kill List (2011).

Don’t Knock Twice had its market premiere in Cannes 2016 and will officially premiere in the UK as part of the Raindance Film Festival on Friday September 30th 2016 at the festival venue Vue Piccadilly (20:45 – 22:45). It is exhibiting as part of the official selection for the Narrative Strand.

For tickets, visit: https://raindance.ticketsolve.com/#/shows/873562192

It has yet to confirm a UK release date, but rumour suggests it may be in March 2017.

You can follow the film’s progress on social media:

Review for the british blacklist by  @DescantDeb

Idris Elba’s ‘The Dark Tower’ Trilogy TBC as 2018 TV Series!

idrisYou can’t have failed to notice that Idris Elba was kept busy over the summer filming the first of the film adaptations of Stephen King’s ‘Magnum Opus’ novel series, The Dark Tower. This is King’s 4,000 page, 8 novel cross-genre work of science fiction, fantasy, horror and western, published between 1982 and 2012.

The newswires went nuts when Elba was first cast as Mid-World’s last Gunslinger, Roland Deschain, another character originally written and illustrated as white.

However, currently reigning as the World’s Coolest Dude means that, unlike the Heimdall casting when he was just a contender, this one was met more positively and even with some excitement. Having announced that principal photography wrapped at the end of August, Elba recently confirmed that the edit was ‘coming along nicely.’

The Dark Tower series is the post-apocalyptic story of Roland Deschain, Mid-World’s last member of a knightly order of the gunslingers, who is travelling south-east towards the fey region of End-World. He is searching for the sea of singing red roses, home to the powerful but elusive magical edifice known as the Dark Tower – a nexus point of the time-space continuum. It is the heart of all worlds, but it is also under threat from use of the evil technology of the Great Old Ones. Jake Chambers, a psychic teen from present-day New York begins to have visions of the Tower and all who are trying to reach it.

Distributors Sony Pictures revealed earlier this year that they would premiere their first-look at the first instalment in October at Entertainment Weekly’s EW Pop Fest. But, even still, fans are growing impatient to see footage of the film.

Coinciding with Stephen King’s 69th birthday, Media Rights Capital (MRC) – the production company who won the rights – announced confirmation of plans to adapt the fourth book, ‘Wizard and Glass’ as a 10 – 13 episode companion TV series. A 2017 production date with a broadcast/streaming release in 2018 has been proposed. This is the origins story of a younger Deschain’s exile to his home world, his romance and tests of the bond with his friends.

The big news is that Elba will appear in the series as the older Roland in visions of the teen Roland’s future. Teenage Deschain has not been cast yet, which presents a major opportunity for a young black actor.
No network is attached yet either. MRC also produces ‘House of Cards’ for Netflix, so there’s a chance that this series will end up there too, since they say that the story’s Game Of Thrones-type dark mature/adult content would suit a cable network or streaming service.

The movie’s director, Nikolaj Arcel, and co-writer, Anders Thomas Jensen, are helping to develop the TV series which, if well received, would continue the story of young Roland as a second season, most likely as an adaptation of the Dark Tower comics by Robin Furth.

The Dark Tower is slated for a UK release date of February 17, 2017.

Words by @DescantDeb

 

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