With a television back-catalogue boasting directorial work on shows such as New Tricks, Downton Abbey and Outlander, Welsh filmmaker Philip John makes his first foray into feature film with Moon Dogs, a coming-of-age comedy set in Scotland. The story begins in Shetland where hapless teen Michael (Jack Parry Jones) is down on his luck when his girlfriend heads off to study in Glasgow. He is left behind with his dysfunctional family including oddball step-brother Thor (Christy O’Donnell), who is dealing with his own problems. The mismatched pair decide to embark on a road trip and soon become a trio when they inadvertently pick up care-free Caitlin (Tara Lee) along the way, who challenges their already fragile friendship at every turn.
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In 21st century cinema, British acting talent doesn’t come much more talented than Stephen Graham, the Liverpudlian known mostly for his hard-man roles across film and television, both in home-grown projects and in the US. His breakthrough role was in Guy Ritchie’s ensemble black comedy Snatch in which he starred alongside Jason Statham and Brad Pitt. Two years later, he was in the States working with Martin Scorsese, Leonardo DiCaprio and Daniel Day-Lewis in Gangs of New York.
Since then, he has been perhaps most associated with playing sociopathic skinhead Combo in Shane Meadows’ This Is England and portraying the notorious Chicago gangster Al Capone in HBO series Boardwalk Empire. His other notable credits include Public Enemies, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy and Pirates of the Caribbean.
His latest part sees him play reclusive security guard Robert in Michael Lennox’s directorial debut A Patch of Fog which is screening at the 2016 Edinburgh International Film Festival. Instead of following the rules and prosecuting, he blackmails the thief in return for friendship. I caught up with Stephen Graham to discuss the new film as well as his impressive back-catalogue of work.
We’re introduced in Edinburgh’s Caledonian hotel and as he orders a water with honey, he switches chairs a couple of times to get comfortable, apologising for looking like a ‘right goldilocks’. He’s far from that, and after I ruffle through my notes and hit record, this is what happened…
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It is the norm in film to have one director, applying their creative vision to projects solely, though it has been known to work well with two, most notably with siblings such as the Dardenne or Coen brothers. In Hong Kong based crime thriller Trivisa, there’s not one or two, but three directors at the helm. Frank Hui, Jevon Au and Vicky Wong put their heads together collaborate with a team of three screenwriters to bring a story based on real life gangsters to the big screen. Set in the 1997 Hong Kong underbelly, Kwai Ching-hung (Gordon Lam), Yip Kwok-foon (Richie Fon) and Cheuk Tse-keung (Jordan Chan) are unconnected gangsters who happen to be spotted in the same restaurant on the same night. This leads to speculation that they have formed an unlikely alliance, planning one big deal ahead of the handover of sovereignty from the UK to China.
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After winning a BAFTA for his short film Boogaloo & Graham in 2014, Irish filmmaker Michael Lennox makes the jump to feature for his directorial debut A Patch of Fog. The suspenseful psychological thriller follows novelist and TV personality Sandy Duffy (Conleth Hill) who lives off of the success of a best-seller which gives the film its name. Not content with the luxurious lifestyle his book has given him, he develops a habit of shoplifting for thrills, loving the excitement of walking through the exit with stolen goods. Sandy gets off scot-free until he encounters secluded security guard Robert (Stephen Graham) who spots him dropping a pen into his pocket as he receives a phoney phone call. However, instead of prosecuting, he begins to blackmail the thief, threatening to expose the secret to ruin his reputation, and asks only for companionship in return for his silence.
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After the release of a staggering 36 films since the turn of the century, we’ve come to know what to expect from films based on Marvel Comics, whether it’s an origin story or ensemble, or should that be ‘assemble’, piece where characters weave in and out of each others movies. In to mix up the formula as part of the X-Men series strand is self-referential comedy ‘Deadpool’, marking the directorial debut of Tim Miller, who is jokingly labelled an ‘overpaid tool’ in the titles. Ryan Reynolds takes the leading role, eager to leave the green mask of universally panned ‘Green Lantern’ behind him. The plot centres around mercenary Wade Wilson (Reynolds) who undergoes an experimental treatment that goes horribly wrong, but leaves him with superpowers. Out to reconcile with girlfriend Vanessa (Morena Baccarin) and get revenge on villainous Ajax (Ed Skrein), can he undo the damage and get the girl?
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The visionary director Alejandro González Iñárritu has been an Academy favourite now for some time and after the huge success of his last film, he again presents an Oscar frontrunner in hunting drama ‘The Revenant’, loosely adapted from Michael Punke’s novel of the same name. Leonardo DiCaprio takes the leading role as frontiersman Hugh Glass, who embarks on a fur trading expedition alongside John Fitzgerald (Tom Hardy), Jim Bridger (Will Poulter) and their leader Captain Andrew Henry (Domhnall Gleeson). When events take a drastic turn for the worse for Glass, he uses survival instincts and will power to exact revenge on those who have wronged him.
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