Two twelve-year-old boys, Romeo and Gavin, undergo an extraordinary test of character and friendship when Morell, a naive but eccentric and dangerous stranger, comes between them. Morell ... See full summary »
In a typical English working-class town, the juveniles have nothing more to do than hang around in gangs. One day, Alan Darcy, a highly motivated man with the same kind of youth experience,... See full summary »
Rock roadie, Le Donk, has lived, loved and learned. Along the way, he's lost a classy girlfriend but gained a sidekick, Scorz-Ayz-Ee. He sets out to make Scorz a star with a little help from the Artic Monkeys.
Follows a gang of small time crooks in an English town. Malc is in danger of losing his girlfriend Kate if he doesn't spend more time at home and the gang leader Jumbo looks like he is ... See full summary »
Christmas 1988. Soulmates, woody and Lol find themselves in exile from each other and the gang. Trying to understand the definition 'growing up', Shaun begins a course at College, that quickly takes the wrong turn.
The year is 1990, the rave scene has just entered England. The sound of the Stone roses lurks toward Shaun and the gang. This means that Woody and Lol are living in a domestic bliss, they are happy again. But this year will see huge changes in everyone. This is the year 1990. This is England.
Lyra Mae Thomas,
Falling into despair after his nine-year-old son leaves for Australia with his ex, Joseph walks away from his present life and boards a boat for Ireland to confront painful memories from his childhood.
Originally from the Midlands, Jimmy is currently living in Glasgow eking out a living as a hapless petty crook. One day, he sees his old family and friends - including his older foster sister Carol, her boyfriend/his old buddy Charlie, Jimmy's ex-wife and Carol's best friend Shirley, and Jimmy's pre-teen daughter Marlene - on a television talk show, they baring their souls to a national audience. He has not seen any of them in years. Of note on the show, Shirley rejects the marriage proposal of her slightly awkward live-in boyfriend Dek. Jimmy sees her answer to Dek as a reason to head back to the Midlands to reunite with his past, especially with Shirley and Marlene. Dek, already humiliated, is less than thrilled to see Jimmy back in their lives. In the ensuing duel between Jimmy and Dek for Shirley and Marlene's affections, others get caught up in the crossfire. Meanwhile, three of Jimmy's equally hapless crook friends from Glasgow come looking for him, Jimmy who left them high and ...Written by
Written by Larry Brown and Steve Cropper
Used by kind permission of Rondor Music London Ltd. on behalf of Irving Music Inc.
Performed by Wendy Rene
By Arrangement with Warner Special Products/Warner Strategic Marketing UK See more »
Respect is definitely due to Mr Meadows. He has made films about Britain that qualify as top notch cinema. He is a true artist - he portrays conflict both within and between people with his own style and bizarreness. He is making films about the people that fill British streets but do not on the whole have their own biographical art. His insistent use of everyday public and private space (the yellow brick semi, the grubby flat, the suburban street, the dilapidated bunch of in-town shops) gives his films a hyper-realistic, hallucinatory quality, like memories of childhood made flesh again.
The kaleidoscope of humour that dazzles the viewer of `A Room For Romeo Brass' or the first half of `Once upon a time.' is a gorgeous normality - a concentrated sniff of the glue that keeps working people and families together. These films know that this humour is an art form - akin to any other kind of oral culture through history, its purpose is to give its user's lives meaning, be it while fighting predators, invaders or the daily grind.
Meadows' plots are more overtly psycho-political than socio-political: the evil and darkness in his film comes from the past, from childhood. The families affected by that darkness tend to be the source of light and laughter which combats the darkness. Parents on-screen are loving and nurturing - it is orphans, or offspring of violent parents that bring this darkness from their off-screen histories to the films. This is where the dramatic power comes from - when Morrel in `Romeo Brass' alludes enigmatically to his violent father, our imaginations are left to their own devices. Similarly, though with less dramatic import, we are informed briefly in `once upon a time' that Jimmy is Carol's foster brother, and again we get that sense of how a fractured childhood creates a damaged adult.
Unfortunately Meadows cannot keep the dramatic quality up in `once upon a time' in the same way that he did to such devastating effect in `24-7' and `Romeo Brass'. The cowboy conceit that is one of the strands of amusement and pleasure in the film's first half gets strangely discarded just as it might be most effective - when Dek the cowardly geek finds his manhood. It is replaced by a strangely witless and conformist soap opera seriousness as the two dads tussle for one family. The surrealist streaks are still there (for instance Jimmy's penchant for haircuts, which I'm sure says a lot about his character) but the overall feel is that Meadows and his co-writer Paul Fraser repressed what had previously made the characters interesting in a kind of commercial dumbing-down attempt. `If Eastenders can get 19 million people watching it 3 times a week', they seem to have reasoned, `Then surely we can get some of that Ganesh magic to rub off on us'.
In the light of public indifference to Meadows' previous two glorious films, though, you have to be sympathetic to this. And it's worth watching for the first two thirds, some lovely acting (particularly by Rhys Ifans) and a kind of existential glow that I seem to get from Meadows' films and which makes him a top director in my book.
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