The Bromley Boys – Review

When you really think about it, football and cinema have a lot in common. For 90 plus minutes a group of strangers are united in their voyeurism, watching in the hope of something and to bask in the glory of the achievements of strangers. We cheer on a team of sorts, whilst more than likely keeping an eye on one particular member of the team, and will for good things to happen. A narrative is constructed, be that of chancers or haven’t-got-a-chancers. The love of that team or film can define us, granting us membership to a particular tribe in return for resolute support. That’s what The Bromley Boys is about. How one boy’s discovery of football, and one team in particular, became a defining part of not only his adolescence, but lead him on the course of the rest of his life. On top of all that – it’s based on a true story.

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Bromley Boys: The True Story Of Supporting The Worst Football Team in Britain was published in 2008. In the book its author, Dave Roberts, details the experience of supporting Bromley Football Club during their 1968-1970 season – aka their worst ever season. The film’s focus is on teenage Roberts (Brenock O’Connor) love of the game and his team, and how this deepest adoration had a habit of spilling into the rest of his life. From his dad’s (Alan Davies) ardent distain of the sport to his mum’s (Martine McCutcheon) well-meaning support to his growing interest in the football manger’s daughter (Savannah Baker) – every aspect of his life will be impacted by how (badly) his beloved team are playing. As the film’s tagline declares, ‘You can’t chose who you fall in love with.’

There’s a lot to like about Bromley Boys. Stylistically it’s beautiful, perfectly capturing and rendering the time period. The locations, costumes and even the hair – all have the look and feel you’d imagine. This is further supported with a beautiful soundtrack that starts as it means to go on with Dusty Springfield’s ‘I Only Want To Be With You.’ It scores the opening beautifully, setting the whimsical and yearning tone of adolescence very effectively.  What follows on from there is pretty by-the-numbers underdog sport narrative. There’s the ‘will they make it?’ moments, the ‘no they didn’t!’ moments and the ‘It’s impossible!’ moments’. The film drifts it’s way past half-time in a carefree, almost drifty manner. There’s no rush as Dave’s life jumps from match-to-match in a rather episodic manner. Things build to the all-important climatic final match. Then it’s all over.

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The plot itself is fine, the performances are fine and the story itself is told finely enough. It’s a solid Sunday afternoon fare that has the best of intentions and such a wholesome sense about it that there’s really nothing to dislike. But, unlike the devotion the drives the film, there’s not enough to truly love about it. It’s not going to go to the top of the leader board, nor does it deserve to be at the bottom. It won’t be remembered or have iconic status, but it will have a fond soft spot for being a sweetly told comedy drama that all the family will like.

The Bromley Boys is out in cinemas Friday! 

Generation Wealth – Sundance London Review

Whatever amount of money we have, we just want more; this is what the American Dream has become. These are two of the observations made by photographer turned documentary-maker Lauren Greenfield in her compelling state of post-Reagan era America, Generation Wealth. Her film is partly about conspicuous consumption and partly about addiction. At one point, she turns the camera on herself and asks rhetorically, ‘am I addicted to work?’

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She is definitely addicted to turning her cameras (still and moving) towards excess. The sort that leads a bus driver – a bus driver – towards plastic surgery; you don’t need good looks to drive a bus, at least not in North London. The sort that leads an adult movie star to have fifty-eight men ejaculate over her face, resulting in Salmonella – she caught the disease through her eye. The sort that leads a mother to push her six year old daughter, Eden, into skimpy outfits – you succeed in ‘Toddlers and Tieras’ and then go for the next big thing. If we object on behalf of the child, who just wants money to buy stuff, then Mom says it’s our problem. The sort that leads David and Jackie Siegel to recreate the Palace of Versailles for their own desirable residence – until the money runs out. The sort that leads a Hedge Fund manager to join the FBI’s most wanted list and end up in the ‘prison’ known as Germany. The sort that makes a man drive the world’s longest limousine complete with helicopter landing pad. Does a helicopter need to land on a car? Heck, who cares?

When does enough cease to become enough? Greenfield can’t tell us, but she attributes America’s decline to the abolition of the Gold Standard in the US in 1971. Suddenly the Federal Reserve – America’s equivalent of the Bank of England – could print unlimited money, as fast as Americans could spend it, whether they could afford to borrow it or not. (The plastic surgery lady ends up losing her child and sleeping in a car.)

Greenfield’s starting point is the thesis that civilizations move towards excess at their exact point of collapse. But then we had the 2008 crash and we got over it. But this time it is really, really bad. She shows us a debutantes’ ball in Russia, attended by the daughters of oligarchs, that is actually an excuse to show off designer goods. The difference between the debutantes’ ball in Leo Tolstoy’s ‘War and Peace’ and in Russia today, notes one commentator, is the difference between real life and theatre.

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If I’m being picky, Greenfield’s actual starting point is a class for wealthy Chinese women learning how to pronounce ‘Dolce and Gabbana’ and ‘Louis Vuitton’ – before they even learn to conjugate verbs. Learning how to cut an orange or banana with style and grace is apparently worth the $16,000 they paid for the class – but what Greenfield doesn’t say is that the money could be better used to give their maids a raise.

Greenfield is undoubtedly fixated by the extent to which individuals see themselves in the lives of the super-rich. Her film is a correction to this. The million dollar handbag – clearly a future Clint Eastwood movie – may be on sale, but you wouldn’t want to buy it.

As long as Greenfield distances herself from her subject, the documentary works well. I didn’t think she needed to bring her family into it. Her eldest son, Noah, looks particularly uncomfortable in front of the camera.

Ultimately, her message is a familiar one: don’t be addicted to wealth acquisition; it is enough that your kids get to go to college. Fortunately for the director, Noah is heading in the right direction.

Generation Wealth screens at London’s PictureHouse Central on Saturday 2nd and Sunday 3rd June 2018

How to Market a Cinema and Not Alienate People…

You can watch movies practically everywhere nowadays. On your phone, your laptop, in your car, on a plane in the sky…There is so much I can  In the future, all we’ll have to do is close our eyelids and have films streamed into our eyelids in some Blade Runner type optical cinematic experience. It’s great that cinema of new and old is so easily accessible in your hand!

But there is nothing quite like watching a film in a movie theatre, is there? The hum of chatter as you walk through the foyer, the sweet smell of freshly made popcorn, and the fervent excitement of an audience in bated breath to be entertained. There’s a thrill to submerging yourself into a dark room away from the real world, your eyes glazed in wonder as you enter a story of characters and colours. You cannot beat sharing an experience with another fan and the electrified chatter in the air sending shivers of glee down your spine.

Oh, and, there’s absolutely no smartphone in sight. Absolutely not. None. Nope. No.

I don’t mean to sound like an old woman, moaning about new technology and how it is incomparable to the ways of the past. It’s just that, not only is my adoration for cinemas a deep-set belief, like a preacher raised in the church, it’s also my job.

Hello, I’m Sarah, and I am a cinema marketing manager.

The main crux of my job, as small part of the film industry, is to get you, potential audience member and customer, into my cinema to watch the latest releases. That’s it, in the most simplistic of terms.

But it runs deeper than that, I reckon. If you allow me to flourish a little bit, it’s my job to get you jacked up on cinema. I’m supposed to make you excited and get you talking. Sure, the big aim is to get you to buy a ticket or snacks, but a lot of it is to keep the conversation flowing. It’s to make you aware of the next film, and the movie after that, and the project after that, or the festival you have to go to. It’s a cycle of blockbuster belters, incredible independents, and movies that flow between. I’m meant to guide you through this, making you aware of your new obsessions and likes. I’m a cinema cheerleader, corralling you to shout loudly about movies.

There are many different ways to do this on site, on social media, and with partners. Most people recognise posters in cinemas and it’s my job to make sure each frame is filled with a winner. You’re heading to see Infinity Wars. Great, then you’ll love to see the brand new poster for Deadpool 2. You’ll also love these postcards or this chalkboard – pick up one, take a snap . Similarly for trailers, after the ads those teasers you see as you settle in your seat have been strategically plucked for your amusement.

Occasionally you get to do something bloody cool on site and that’s displays. I’ll be honest; I have no artistic skill in crafting beautiful and impressive artworks to promote a special film. Yet I know people who can and I have brilliant ideas. These are always wonderful ways of getting a team together to produce marvellous, imaginative works and honestly, some of the ones I’ve seen have been particularly special.

Social media platforms are perhaps the most modern and yet the most vital marketing tool for getting people engaged (because people just love to talk on social media.) Whilst it’s great for getting ticket links and sales in, it’s also brilliant to keep people twittering. Instagram can be wonderful for just showing how pretty your venue is and Twitter is good for short bursts of ingenuity, aiming for that viral level or simply making a few people chuckle. You are also the social media face of a company and have to act as customer services too – so you have to be prepared for complaints!

Other components to marketing is liaising with the staff to make sure they are up to speed on the latest releases, working with local businesses on special offers for a wide customer base and doubling up on promotion with the companies. There’s also occasionally fun activities such as manning Q&As, working with film talent, and introducing films too – there’s a wide variety of special events you can do with your company. Maybe a costume or two!

Also press. Getting press to cover your releases is magic, especially with print media. The weight of big names giving you the stamp of approval can influence customers coming to your site. For example, if you can get your screening in Time Out Magazine, then you’ve practically sold your listing. Especially if you live in London. That listing is like getting a golden ticket. Keep press informed and in a happy mood always.

Cinema marketing is tricky because it’s constantly changing. Whilst statistics and ticket sales are helpful aids in what works best, you’ve got to be able to shift and slide with each project as they are just as unique as the last. It can be tricky because you could put all your weight behind one project and not sell many tickets. You have to pick and choose your battles – you can’t do full campaigns on a week where five films are being released. So managing your priorities and realising what release would work best for your site is crucial. Movies can surprise you and keep you on your feet (but I guess that’s part of the fun.)

I’m lucky enough to work for a chain where cinema is a passion and each site has their own particular marketing manager. From being an usher, and having a manager who helped cultivate my skills, I now run marketing for one of the best cinemas in the country and I couldn’t be happier.

If you have the talent for whipping up hilarious social media posters, have an eye for what posters work in a particular venue, can listen to the conversation and swiftly change (like the coursing river,) and absolutely adore films in all their glory, than cinema marketing may be just for you!

Too long, did not read? Here’s a helpful video on cinema marketing!

Beautiful Boy – Brand New Trailer!

Timothée Chalamet has scooped up everyone in his charming ways with Call Me By Your Name and Lady Bird last year, earning him an Academy Award nomination. Now it’s set to continue with Beautiful  Boy. 

Starring alongside the brilliant Steve Carrell, the film revolves around a meth addict through the eyes of his father.

This is a pairing we’re immensely looking forward too, especially with director Felix Van Groeningen at the helm. Studiocanal are also  pleased to announce a unique partnership with Addaction – a charity that specialises in giving support for people with drug, alcohol and mental problems. What do you think?

Beautiful Boy is out January 18 2019 

Wildlife – Brand New Trailer!

A film pairing can make you excited and pull you into the story which is exactly why we are excited for Jake Gyllenhaal and Carey Mulligan to be paired in drama film Wildlife.

Written by wife and husband team Paul Dano and Zoe Kazan, directed by the former, the film revolves around a couples divorce through the eyes of their son.

Based on a novel of the same name by Richard Ford, the movie looks to be terrific (like this year’s Blue Valentine) and has so much praise weighted behind it. What do you think?

Wildlife is out later this year! 

The Sisters Brothers – Brand New Trailer!

A Western Black Comedy led by Joaquin Phoenix and John C. Reilly, as two oafish brothers in a dark comedy Western from the director of A Prophet? We’re sold. WE’RE SOLD!

Based on a book by Patrick deWitt and directed by Jacque Audiard,The Sisters Brothers revolves around two hitmen siblings who are on the hunt for a chemist after he concocts a formula for finding gold. Along the way, they come across some hilarious hi-jinks.

Also starring Jake Gyllenhaal and Riz Ahmed, this is going to be a must see movie. What do you think?

The Sisters Brothers is out later this year!