Veronica Mars What Have You Kickstarted?

Darci's Walk of Shame

Me and Kickstarter have been on an emotional rollercoaster of late and my poor friends have been subjected to a rant or two. Let’s see if I can get all of the rant out of me now so I can move on with my life and stop fretting.

My emotions started high when Veronica Mars achieved more than double its goal of $2-million. This was a show that I loved which wasn’t going to get a film made any other way. The film was largely being made for the sheer love of it all and us fans were happy to lend a financial hand. I did have some reservations about what this would mean for the future of funding for smaller films but all in all was pleased that Rob Thomas would finally be making a film follow-up to one of my all time favourite shows.

Veronica Mars

Then over a week ago I received an email/tweet/telegram from a friend telling me to have a look at Melissa Joan Hart’s Kickstarter as she was trying to emulate the success of Veronica Mars in a way we found ridiculous. The film Hart is trying to get made is called Darci’s Walk of Shame and is to be written and directed by Tibor Takács. Don’t remember Tibor? He directed the visually uninspired TV film Sabrina Goes to Rome. It’s not exactly the pedigree that inspires this particular Kickstarter user and their rewards were near carbon copies of the Mars project. This seemed less of a passion project and more a half-hearted attempt to get Hart a film to work on.

Darci's Walk of Shame

At this point I was all ready to write a slightly mean piece entitled Melissa Joan Hart, Veronica Mars is Smarter than You which would have been amusing and smug and make me feel like a happy little blogger. Then Zach Braff entered the fray.

Zach Braff is a bit of a special case where I am concerned. His debut, and so far solo, film as writer/director Garden State was the first film that made me realise there were other cinematic options outside the mainstream. The film is far from perfect but it is special to me and I have been waiting for a second feature from the Scrubs star for quite some time now. Braff last week launched his own Kickstarter for a second film, Wish I Was Here, with his eyes set on the now standard target of $2-million. I was elated. How much would I give? How much could I afford to give? This was all very exciting and gave my article a happy ending rather than a simple rant. And then…

And then…

Wish I Was Here

And then I read his Kickstarter in full and had a think. Never a wise proposition. It turned out that Zach Braff had already successfully raised the money for this second film but had turned down the deal when Veronica Mars opened his eyes to an alternative funding route. Braff cites creative freedom as his motivation for taking the Kickstarter route and while this may well be true a large financial incentive should also be taken into account. With his original funding deal Braff would presumably have had to relinquish some of the film’s profit to his investors one it had been released. With the Kickstarter model Braff receives all his money from fan donors, and let’s be clear these are donors and not investors, and so takes on no financial risk for himself or anyone else.

Zach Braff, a man who at one point was earning $350,000 per episode on Scrubs, is asking his fans to pay for his next film. Yes, I realise that is totally at the fans discretion (and I hypocritically have yet to decide if I will join them) and they receive various rewards, but I can’t help but fixate on the fact that the film would have gone ahead with or without Kickstarter. Braff is not even offering a copy of the film as part of any reward tier; you can donate as much as $10,000 but you’ll still have to pay when the film itself comes out.

I like Zach Braff and I don’t think he is being particularly conniving or deceitful in his Kickstarter campaign but this was not his only option. If his Kickstarter had somehow failed to reach its target I imagine we would have still been able to see a relatively unchanged Wish I Was Here in a year’s time. In the meantime there are various projects that genuinely need Kickstarter to get them the funding they need for production. To pick one at random the feature film Bonobo is looking for just £7,500 to fund filming this summer but is struggling with no big names attached and no existing fan base.


When alternative funding sources are available, and have been offered, it seems almost insulting to instead ask for handouts from admittedly willing fans. I don’t think I will be able to afford it if every film I want to see requires a donation from me before it can enter production. When a film’s budget enters into the millions then they are likely to be expecting the profits to reflect this. Hollywood is a lucrative industry built on large investments and larger rewards. Relying on us to fund their projects means they remove the risk but keep the potential profits for themselves.

As I said I am a hypocrite and a fan and can’t promise that I will boycott all future larger Kickstarter project but I hope that anyone willing to give a millionaire $30 to make their next feature will consider throwing a few pounds at a smaller film like Bonobo. I can’t promise that Bonobo will be any good but after All New People I can’t promise that Wish I Was Here will be either.

I’m So Excited – Film Review

I'm So Excited

For the past ten years film-makers that have made films about planes crashing have had to walk a fine line between respectful, yet exciting; dramatic, yet thrilling; tense, yet nostalgic etc. The latest film from Almodóvar has decided instead to make a film about a plane crash that revolves around song and dance numbers, excess drug taking, and aeronautical orgies.

The plot of the film is set almost entirely in the business class section of Peninsula flight 2549; a plane that is having to make an emergency landing due to technical difficulties. The all-male, all-gay flight attendants have drugged the female/transsexual stewardesses and all of the economy class fliers in order to keep them calm – meanwhile the business class guests consist of a Mexican businessman with a secret, a fashion designer with a secret, a virginal psychic with a secret, a pair of newlyweds with a secret, a failed actor with a secret, and a conservative banker with a secret. As these characters begin to learn the fate of the plane they all begin to form different factions and temporary relationships until the secrets all come out over a bucket of champagne, tequila and mescaline (leading to some fantastically surreal Almodóvarian naughtiness…)

I'm So Excited 2

It will be said by some audiences that the film has a sense of irony around its subject matter relating to current Spanish politics. A country that is in political and financial turmoil with insane youth unemployment and a dangerous swelling of neo-fascists produces a comedy film about a selection of upper-middle class elites with secrets flying aimlessly above the country in search of a place to land. This may well be the case, but the film is mostly focused on larger-than-life characters and melodrama. A more important political reading of the film could be that it is a timely accompaniment to the wave of same-sex marriage legislation being discussed across the western world. The film is unashamedly gay with not a suggestion of homophobia or embarrassment from any of the characters as they all discuss (and act upon) the finer points of a fluid sexuality. Even the plane itself becomes a character in some of the saucier scenes as the camera lingers over spinning turbines and the long erect body of the plane fills the screen after the camera pans away from an ecstatic face mid-pleasure.

The film has got to be one of the most colourful and camp films of 2013 – especially seeing as it is named after the 1982 classic song from The Pointer Sisters (which is used brilliantly) – and it should become an instant camp classic with the right crowd.

Out Now – 26th April 2013

The Look of Iron Man 3

Iron Man 3
Tony Stark is back! Iron Man is back! Pepper Potts is back… In a post-Avengers world Ben Kingsley is causing trouble in a film that is apparently more like Iron Man than Iron Man 2 and all the better for it.

The Look of Love
Steve Coogan is the King of Soho in a film filled with sex and nudity that somehow failed to win me over. What has happened to the world?

The ABCs of Death (limited release)
A horror anthology lasting two hours and made up of 26 shorts. As a fan of horror I really want to see this.

Bernie (limited release)
Documentary/comedy/drama about a beloved mortician turned murderer who has to be tried in a court miles from his home town as he is so beloved that the jury would be biased. Bizarre and intriguing.

In the Fog (limited release)
WAR FILM! I’m tired. Moving on…

Scarecrow (limited re-release)
Re-release of the 1970s Al Pacino drama about an ex-con and an ex-sailor who team up to head east together.

White Elephant (limited release)
“While working alongside his long-time friend and colleague in building a hospital for the residents of a Buenos Aries shantytown, a troubled priest finds solace in a young, atheist social worker.” Score one for the atheists!

The Look of Love – Film Review

The Look of Love

A few weeks ago I navigated the urban maze of Soho in London to reach the Soho Screening Rooms and watch The Look of Love. The film opens on Paul Raymond (Steve Coogan) driving in a car with his granddaughter through the urban maze of Soho in London. As they drive Raymond points out the various properties he owns and explains that he bought them all for his daughter, Debbie (Imogen Poots), who has recently died from a drug overdose. Raymond then sits down to watch an old interview featuring his daughter and himself as we flashback to the start of his career…

Paul Raymond was once Britain’s richest man, his money coming from the aforementioned properties and a lucrative history in strip clubs, sex comedies, and what some would call pornographic magazines. In The Look of Love we follow Raymond’s career as he profits from displays of flesh in numerous forms, end his adulterous marriage with Jean Raymond (Anna Friel) and takes up with showgirl Amber (Tamsin Egerton) to indulge in a life of sex, drugs, and an apartment designed by Ringo Starr.

The Look of Love - Addison, Poots, & Coogan

The Look of Love has been blessed with an amazing cast largely filled with comic actors in not so comic roles. Steve Coogan nearly completely banishes Alan Partridge from your mind as he is transformed into a blonde Lothario and Chris Addison’s performance as the drug happy editor Tony Power is worth the ticket price alone. Other smaller roles are filled by the likes of Miles Jupp, Sarah Solemani, David Walliams, Simon Bird, Matt Lucas, and Stephen Fry. Heck we even get the marvellous James Lance who is never in enough films. Tamsin Egerton makes the most of her first proper leading role and is more ballsy than brave as she plays the character most often seen unclothed and with the most depth.

Director Michael Winterbottom is not one to shy away from onscreen nudity and sure enough we are presented with a plethora of scantily clad young women on stage, in swimming pools, and cavorting in Raymond’s bedroom which features sun lamps and a retractable roof. The nudity is not presented in an overly exploitative manner but is simply present in as great a quantity as it was in Raymond’s real life. For a film filled with sex and nudity there isn’t too much to titillate here for better or worse. With some exceptions perhaps…

The Look of Love - Tamsin Egerton

That said there isn’t a huge deal of depth to be found either. Events from Raymond’s life are paraded in front of us with unquestionably fine acting and direction but somehow the essence of the man escapes us. The film is solidly made; if you kick it, it won’t fall down, but look inside and it is mostly empty. By the end of the film I knew a lot about what Raymond had done but had no insight into why he had done it. Why did he love Amber above all the other women who passed through his bed? Why did he love his daughter so much yet dismiss his sons? Why did Jean put up with his philandering? The Look of Love is an enjoyable film and provides the winning combination of a perfect cast and all that nudity but it doesn’t uncover anything revealing about Paul Raymond as a character.

For a film about a man who pushed the boundaries in his time there are surprisingly few boundaries pushed onscreen. And this is from the director that brought graphic sex to the multiplex. There were moments where I could feel Winterbottom censoring himself as he shied away from fully exploiting the world of Paul Raymond. The last thing this film needed was tasteful nudity. While it is ostensibly a good thing to not exploit sex and nudity this is a film about “The King of Soho” at the end of the day and I only needed to walk for 2 minutes from the screening room to see the neon clad impact of his life, something the film failed to capture.

A film worth seeing but probably just the once, The Look of Love is in UK cinemas on 26th April 2013.

Great Gatsby Competition

That irritating flashing image can only mean one thing; because we know you love free things we have a new competition to launch and so want to grab your attention in the most obnoxious way we know how.

We’ve teamed up with Ladbrokes who are celebrating (but in no way affiliated with) the release of the upcoming Great Gatsby movie by helping people recreate the glitz and glamour of the Jazz Age casino. The prize pack is worth over £100 and includes everything you need to recreate a 1920s casino for the evening; it includes a vintage card set, poker chips, a cocktail shaker, fancy dress, and a copy of The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald. I offer you the picture below as proof:

Ladbrokes Prize 1

Look at that haul! I actually wouldn’t mind winning myself. But alas only you have the privilege of entering our competition by submitting your details below.

A few terms and conditions; this competition is open to UK residents only and there is no cash alternative. The competition closes at 5pm on May 7th 2013 and we will pick a winner at random using the mysterious power of Excel. We in no way guarantee that your friends will consider your new feather boa to be glitzy or glamorous.

Continue reading

Reincarnated – DVD Review


My review for Reincarnated is likely to be slight, but then so was the film. You only get out what you put in I’m afraid.

Reincarnated is a documentary following everyone’s favourite rapper/drug-user/pornographer Snoop Dogg for a month as he records an album, explores Rastafarianism and smokes a whole lot of weed. Seriously. If we turn to the BBFC their rating of 18 seems to be almost solely provoked by “frequent drug use” and as they point out “the drug is used both in the context of Rastafarian culture and as a lifestyle choice”.

I’m not taking a moral stance on marijuana usage here but I will say that his indulgence in the herb/da weed seems to inspire his interest in Rastafarianism rather than the other way round. I feel as though we are supposed to be watching Snoop Dogg go on a creative and spiritual journey through which he finds a new religion, makes some music, and changes his name to Snoop Lion but instead are served up a 96 minute promotion for his new album while he sits back and gets high in a variety of different places.

This is not a film that holds your attention or even distinguishes itself from one minute to the next. At one point as I watched my stream lost connection so I had to refresh and try to find my place in the film. The task was near impossible. Which of the myriad of scenes of Snoop Dogg singing and smoking was I watching when the connection broke? I think I managed to get within 10 minutes of where I left off but wouldn’t stake my life on it.

Reincarnated is a pretty inconsequential documentary that will only interest the most die-hard fans of Snoop Dogg Lion. It is out on DVD from today but I wouldn’t if I were you… and I already have.

Virgin Media Shorts 2013

Shane Meadows

It must be the short film competition time of year because I have another for your consideration; the Virgin Media Shorts competition. It just so happens to be the UK’s biggest short film competition so probably best to up your game and not enter anything that resembles the sort of amateur fare I used to make at University. (Ahem)

Joining the panel of judges this year, a panel which for some reason includes David Tennant but not me, is Shane Meadows. Meadows is a particularly apt choice to join the panel as he is a self-taught filmmaker and yet possessed the talent that brought us the likes of Dead Man’s Shoes and This is England. Watch some of his work and feel inspired. You can make films too! Well, not all of you. But it’s worth a try!

Some words from Mr Meadows:

“Short film has always been very close to my heart. It’s how I learnt my trade and what has ultimately shaped what I make today, I’m archiving my shorts now and I’ve made over a 100 in nearly 20 years and still continue to do so. When I first started off, getting my work seen was a massive challenge. Even today the right kind of exposure for aspiring film makers is hard to come by. The internet has meant that anyone with a camera can publish their work. Virgin Media Shorts takes that a step further – offering both a credible route to exposure and the chance of receiving expert support. I can’t wait to see this year’s entries and wish good luck to everyone entering.”

For all the details like how much the prize is (£30,000!!!!!!!) and how to enter go to And if when you win be sure to include us in your acceptance speech. Or to simply build your speech around this site. Or maybe base the film on me and this site and how much you love it. It won’t win but I’ve always wanted a stalker.

Virgin Media Shorts

Out Now – 19th April 2013

Evil Dead

Olympus Has Fallen
For Stephen’s sake I am going to be nice to Morgan Freeman this week. In this film about a White House under siege he plays the Speaker of the House of Representatives and I am sure he plays the best Speaker under siege of all time.

Evil Dead
Remake of one of the most popular horror films of all time. With Diablo Cody giving the script a polish and Bruce Campbell himself producing this remake can’t be THAT bad and we rarely get this flavour of horror in cinemas any more. No found footage just body mutilation and creepy singing.

Promised Land
Hit and miss (but mostly hit) director Gus Van Sant directs Matt Damon as a natural gas salesman trying to buy drilling rights from a small town. I smell Matt Damon learning a life lesson while I giggle when everyone uses the word “fracking”.

Love Is All You Need (limited release)
A cancer survivor falls in love with a widowed Pierce Brosnan in Italy. The film’s original title was “Den skaldede frisør” which translates as “The bald hairdresser”. I can see why they changed it…

Rebellion (limited release)
While I have Google Translate open I can reveal that the original French title translates as “The order and morality” which is much less unpleasant. “Dissidents in a French colony attack a police station and take hostages.”

Fuck for Forest (limited release)
Ever watched people have sex (online, from the bushes, or at the village’s swingers club) and wished you could be saving the planet at the same time? You’re in luck! This documentary focussed on a Berlin charity which raises money by selling “erotic videos” online. Naturists and naturalists rejoice.

Me and You (limited release)
This is not a film about me and you, I am still writing that so bear with me. Instead we have an Italian drama about an introverted teenager who tells his parents he going on a ski trip, but instead spends his time alone in a basement. To continue the theme the original Italian title translates as “You and I” which just means Google Translate has excellent grammar.

Bait (Empire Leicester Square only)
“A freak tsunami traps shoppers at a coastal Australian supermarket inside the building – along with a 12-foot Great White Shark.” I genuinely want to see this. I am not ashamed.

Bestival Film Line-up 2013


Two years ago Kat and I took a trip to see Rob Da Bank performing a live DJ set at the BFI to give King Kong a new score. Kat described the event as “awesome” which coming from Kat is a real compliment, trust me. And Rob himself was kind enough to thank us for our kind words when he kindly tweeted:

“@mild_concern v kind! and sorry if it was too loud ;)”

Kat was duly mortified. Why I mention all this is that Rob Da Bank’s pet project Bestival announced the film line-up for this year’s festival on the Isle of Wight and were kind enough to email us about it. A wise move considering my general lack of grasp on what is going on outside the internet. Bestival has a surprisingly impressive line-up of films which will be screening in an amphitheatre in the forest. The line-up is below:

Bestival Films

Rob da Bank says:

“The Films in the Forest were such a success last year with people raving to the Chemical Brothers Don’t Think, right through to scaring the bejesus out of themselves to David Lynch films that we had to repeat it. The films selected this year are just as cool and I’m delighted Fake Blood himself will be doing a horror soundtrack and the hip-hop night looks ace too… see you in the Woods”

Any time you get a chance to see a film get a live re-scoring you should take the opportunity. Seeing King Kong two years ago joined a limited list of truly formative, and transformative, cinema experiences for me. Go and see 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea and you will not be disappointed.

Bestival runs from 5th – 8th September and tickets are on sale now: / 0844 888 4410

Worth mentioning that Bestival also has lots of live music (non-film people tell me this is actually the main draw for some) and this year the line-up includes the likes of Elton John and Snoop Dogg. Don’t worry though Elton doesn’t clash with either of the live scores. Phew!

Brick Animated GIF Wall


I love Rian Johnson’s debut film Brick. It’s noir set in a high school which should never work but somehow occasionally does (hi Veronica Mars!) and was made for next to no money by a first time director yet is visually one of my favourite films of all time. Johnson offsets his low budget by putting real care in composing each shot and the film as a result looks gorgeous with a distinct noir pallet.

As a result various images from the film have stuck with me and as a form of visual therapy I have made some of them into animated GIFs. Click through and enjoy. But do prepare yourself for some large image files. Continue reading