15 UK films to tempt festival directors in 2020

Johnny Flynn as David Bowie
Johnny Flynn as David Bowie

Beyond Sundance and before Toronto: new films from Clio Barnard, Francis Lee, Andrea Arnold, Edgar Wright, Sally Potter and Joanna Hogg.

Stardust

Dir: Gabriel Range
Beast star Johnny Flynn plays a young David Bowie and Jena Malone is his wife Angie in this chronicle of Bowie’s first visit to the US in 1971. Range is the Emmy award-winning filmmaker whose feature credits include I Am Slave and Death Of A President. The screenplay is by Christopher Bell. 
Contact: Film Constellation

After Love

Dir: Aleem Khan
Joanna Scanlan plays a woman who, having converted to Islam for her late husband, uncovers details of his secret family in the French town of Calais. After Love is produced by Matthieu de Braconier of London and Paris-based outfit The Bureau and is backed by BBC Films and the BFI. Khan is a former Screen UK Star of Tomorrow.
Contact: BBC Films Continue reading

Busy Johnny Flynn performs “Detectorists” theme

Hobbledehoy perennial favorite Johnny Flynn has been a very busy man over these past several months, starring in his popular Netflix comedy series Lovesick as well as in critically-acclaimed film Beast (recently released in the US.) Johnny also found time to perform on the Broadway stage in Martin McDonaugh’s latest play The Hangman.

As for his music, Johnny and his band The Sussex Wit are to be performing at Barclaycard British Summer Time 2018 in London, UK. (opening for and then supporting headliner Paul Simon on July 15th).

So – what have you been doing lately?

Here’s our Johnny singing the theme song of the wonderful Brit tv series Detectorists.

The Primal Attraction of ‘Beast’

Arresting lead performances give this British psychological thriller an alluringly dangerous sexual energy.

At first it comes on like a grim version of Sixteen Candles: a young, flame-haired woman flees her house after being upstaged at her own birthday party (where her older sister makes a happy announcement, with perfect malicious timing), then gets tipsy at a club and ends up with a dodgy boy who turns out to be a creep. Life is almost comically frustrating for Moll (Jessie Buckley), but Beast is no John Hughes scenario. Moll’s not a teenager anymore, and her stunted existence—she lives with her parents and helps tend a father with dementia—is shadowed by a troubling incident from her past.

Beast, which played during the first week of SIFF, is Michael Pearce’s feature writing/directing debut. The beast stalking the Isle of Jersey—that small enclave of Englishness just off the coast of France—has already killed a handful of people, including a victim slain the night of Moll’s birthday. Pearce rolls out the story as a whodunit, scattering a few viable suspects around—but Moll’s family, and the police, think the main candidate is Pascal Renouf (Johnny Flynn), the rough, scar-faced young man who came to Moll’s rescue the night she ran away. Moll and Pascal, both cast out by society, rush toward each other as though magnetized. She knows he could be the killer, but after having been surrounded by dullards on a small island all her life, the intoxication of their chemistry overwhelms her. When an insinuating police officer (Trystan Gravelle) interrogates Moll and asks whether her sex life with Pascal has been out of the ordinary, she contemptuously replies, “It’s not ordinary. It’s amazing.”

This is mad love, always rich turf for the movies. We see Moll taking dangerous risks on Pascal’s account, and we worry about her, but we also sense her exhilaration. The premise is a little like Nicholas Ray’s great film noir In a Lonely Place (1950), where we watch Humphrey Bogart begin a romance with Gloria Grahame while he’s under suspicion for murder—except that Beast shows us the dynamic from the female perspective. Pearce adds a sinister undercurrent: Moll, after all, must herself be considered one of the suspects.

I wish Beast fulfilled all its early promise, but it stumbles toward the end, and its caricature of domestic asphyxiation seems a little canned—did Moll’s mother (ably played by Geraldine James) have to be quite such a brittle harridan? The movie is memorable, though, because of the two lead performances. The Irish-born Buckley has seen success in longform TV shows like Taboo and BBC’s War and Peace, while Flynn is a musician and actor, perhaps best known as the youthful version of Albert Einstein in Genius. They’re mesmerizing. When movie stars are cast as misfits, it can produce unconvincing results (see Michelle Pfeiffer in Frankie and Johnny). No such problem here. Buckley and Flynn are both arresting—and it’ll be surprising if their careers don’t take off—but they don’t come across like stars. They look as though they’d stepped out of the pages of an old folk tale hatched from an insular island culture like Jersey’s: two phantom spirits, not entirely to be trusted.

Source: SEATTLE TIMES The Primal Attraction of ‘Beast’ | Seattle Weekly