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Smiley Says

9 Nov

© Zimbio

Michael Smiley has been in more TVO-connected films, TV shows, and even music videos, than you can shake a stick at. He brings a particular type of menace to the screen, whether victimising mushroom heads in A Field In England or robbing banks while Blue Song plays. So it’s nice to come across an in-depth video with the man himself, in which he discusses his entire career.

Smiley was recently interviewed by Moviehooker, a blog that recommends movies to people. It’s a comprehensive, candid piece and well earth a read if you want to familiarise yourself with everything that Smiley has done.

The interview runs the gamut from his early says of stand up in Northern Ireland, via his time working with Simon Pegg and Nick Frost, right up to date with his latest feature film with Ben Wheatley, Free Fire (currently in pre-production).

When asked about his career highlights, Smiley says: “I’m very proud of my plays that I did in the 90s. But I’d say my highlight for me was winning the BIFTA Award for Kill List. That was a major highlight of my life. Nothing would have come close to that. I was in a room with incredibly well known and incredibly talented people. I was on a list with Benedict Cumberbatch, Tom Hardy and Eddie Marsan, then they called my name out!…When my name was called out, there was a roar, it was like I went deaf, it was like that scene in fucking Goodfellas when he’s taking her to the restaurant – people moving out of your way, just going up to the podium.”

Awesome stuff! To read the interview in full click here.

Wear Your Favourite Film

11 Oct

© Last Exit to Nowhere

Over the years, we’ve had the privilege of seeing a few of the people that we write about appearing in some pretty awesome films. But what’s been missing until now is the ability to wear creative interpretations of those films emblazoned across our chests. Not any more…

Last Exit to Nowhere is a small collective of film enthusiasts and creative designers. They  collaborate to create unique hand screen printed T-shirts that pay homage to memorable places and characters in cinema history. And we’ve uncovered some great designs with a TVO flavour:

A personal favourite is this design on above (awesomely titled “Death has a ginger beard”), which pays homage to Ben Wheatley‘s Sightseers (written by and featuring Steve Oram and Alice Lowe, just in case it’s managed to pass you by). It’s available in regular and slim fit for £20 by clicking here.

You can also have the pleasure of wearing another Wheatley-directed film on your body, in the guise of this A Field In England t-shirt, also £20. Or a Hot Fuzz-inspired design like this ‘Neighbourhood Watch Alliance’ design.

If you needed any further TV-connected reason to pay the site a visit, Chris O’Dowd fans can also express their love of Cuban Fury by donning this El Corazon Cuban Salsa Dance Club tee for the princely sum of £20.

 There are a ton of other cool designs too – including mugs and posters…so get in!

Grow Your Own Field In England

30 May

© Rooke Films

Our Screen is offering up A Field In England as one of its film options for us mere mortals to host our own cinema screening.

The service allows you to set up a screening in a choice of cinemas, which you can invite people to attend. For an overview of how it all works click here (although to be honest, the ‘explanation’ on Our Screen’s website is a tad vague!).

So to make it as simple as possible, here are our step-by-step instructions if you fancy hosting your own screening of A Field In England: Click on this to select the film and choose your preferred cinema. There are currently 18 cinemas which offer the screening, and you can search by postcode. You’ll then be asked to choose a date, time and whether you want your screening to be public (in which case anyone can buy tickets) or private. If you choose a private screening, you’ll be asked to select who you’re inviting, then depending on the numbers a ticket price will be calculated.

And there you have it, how to arrange your very own screening of one of Ben Wheatley‘s finest/strangest, featuring the exceptional acting talents of TVO faces Reece Shearmsith, Michael Smiley, Richard Glover and Julian Barratt. What are you waiting for?

Digital Field

7 Mar

© Rook Films Ltd

The soundtrack to A Field In England is to be released digitally later this month.

The film, directed by Ben Wheatley and starring Michael Smiley, Richard Glover, Julian Barratt and Reece Shearsmith as part of its small ensemble cast – was released in cinemas, on television, on demand and via physical media last Summer.

Scored by Jim Williams, who was also responsible for the Sightseers score previously, the soundtrack has already seen release as limited edition vinyl and cassette editions, but until now the only track available digitally was the Glover-sung Baloo My Boy, which was released for a limited time only via The Velvet Onion at Christmas.

The fifteen track album is available for pre-order via Amazon UK for just £7.49, and at this moment in time, it seems they’re the only place “stocking” it for its March 24th release date, so get in whilst you can! We’re crossing everything that the equally non-digital Sightseers score follows suit.

If you don’t yet own the film, you can pick it up on dvd and blu-ray via our store now.

Toast Of The Awards

26 Feb

© Kuba Wieczorek

There are more award nominations for TVO related shows, starting with Matt Berry‘s Toast of London being nominated in the TV Award category of the Chortle Awards 2014.

Meanwhile in the Empire Awards, A Field in England is nominated for Best Horror, with Alan Partridge: Alpha Papa and The World’s End both being nominated in the Best Comedy and Best British Film categories, with Edgar Wright nominated for Best Director, making three nominations for The World’s End.

Click on the links to vote for your favourites. The Chortle Awards are open until midnight on 4th March, and while there’s no closing date mentioned for the Empire Awards, it’s best to get your votes in soon!

If you’ve missed any of the nominated shows, don’t forget you can get everything you need at the Velvet Onion Store, just click to buy.

Toast of London

Alan Partridge: Alpha Papa DVD or Blu-ray.

A Field in England.

Cornetto Trilogy.

Shrooms And The Silver Screen

9 Feb

© Alamo Drafthouse

Alamo Drafthouse in Austen is hosting a themed A Field In England Feast this Tuesday, 11th February.

In honour of the tripped-out psychedelia of the film, Chef Trish Eichelberger has created a mushroom-centric menu available only at a special screening. “After watching the feature I decided that doing a vegetarian dinner would be the best,” said Eichelberger.  “They only dine one time in the movie, on a humble stew made of mushrooms discovered in the field. The first course is direct homage to this – being a mushroom & barley stew in a brown ale broth, the men were in route to an ale house so I though the beer belonged in this course in well.”

We’re seriously loving the attention to detail, although we suspect that the mushrooms on this menu won’t have quite the same effect as the ones that were ingested in the film!

For more information and to book visit Alamo Drafthouse’s website. Somewhat bizarrely it states that children over 6 must be accompanied by an adult (the film is rated 15 in the UK), and we can’t find where to book tickets online. So if you fancy it, we recommend contacting the Slaughter Lane venue direct.

A Field In England – In The US

16 Jan
© film 4

© film 4

A Field in England, the black and white masterpiece directed by Ben Wheatley and featuring Julian Barratt, Michael Smiley and Richard Glover will have it’s US release on 7th February 2014. It will have a multi-format release as in the UK - in cinemas, on DVD and on Video On Demand simultaneously.

If you missed it when it came out in the UK you can get hold of the DVD or Blu-ray from TVO Store, and you can read what we thought about it at the time here.

The film has a brand new psychedelic poster to celebrate the latest release and there is a new US trailer which you can see below.

A Field In Hackney

6 Jan

There’s another chance to see a very special alternate version of A Field In England on the big screen in London next week.

© Dean Rodgers

© Dean Rodgers

First performed back in NovemberA Field In England: Remixed sees Jim Williams haunting score and Ben Wheatley‘s stunning visuals remixed and performed by post-rock band Teeth Of The Sea.

The film was originally released in cinemas, and via dvd, blu-ray, video-on-demand services and television on the same day last July, and features an ensemble cast of deserters on a trip to find a public house that turns incredibly sinister with the arrival of a Machiavellian bewitcher.

© Dean Rodgers

© Dean Rodgers

Shot by Wheatley and his regular collaborators, Claire Jones and Laurie Rose, back in 2012, the film stars Michael Smiley and Reece Shearsmith, alongside Peter Ferdinando, Ryan Pope, Richard Glover and Julian Barratt.

Fast becoming one of the most critically acclaimed films of last year, it is available on dvd and blu-ray from The Velvet Onion Amazon Store in its original form, and you can see this very special version once more at Hackney Picturehouse on Wednesday 15th January.

For more details, visit their website over yonder, and don’t forget you can download Baloo My Boy from the soundtrack (sung by Richard Glover) as part of our In Holoserica Cepa EP until January 9th.

You can also view the film’s original theatrical trailer below, and view extensive behind the scenes material, shot by Gareth Tunley no less, on the official A Field In England Masterclass website now.

Four Days Left For In Holoserica Cepa 2013!

4 Jan

In Holoserica Cepa 2013It can’t have escaped your attention that, with all this review of the year gubbins, TVO has been relatively silent on the news front. Given the relative silence of a new year, we decided to temporarily suspend normal service at TVO Towers until tomorrow, when we’ll return to our usual ways of bringing you all the news, reviews, interviews and fun stuffs that we can muster from the realm of Onion Land.

You can see our four part review of the year below if you’ve hopped straight to our home page, or individually by clicking on the words one, two, three and four in this sentence.

To round off this period of reflection, we felt it prudent to remind you on this one final evening of indulgence that there’s just four days left to download our 100% FREE Six-Track musical EP, featuring some of the finest musical names in Onion Land.

In Holoserica Cepa 2013 includes the official release of ZaNg‘s epic Yogiebogiebox - the alt-rock brainchild of Paul Kaye & Adie Hardy, which features actor Marc Warren on harmonica.  It also packs the first release of Waen Shepherd‘s festive ditty, Little Old Nick in character as Beach Boys esque alter-ego Colin Watson, and the debut of James Cook‘s sensational cover of XTC’s Making Plans For Nigel.

And, like all gifts that keep on giving, there’s a preview of Stephen Evans‘ forthcoming one-man comedy show via his track Walking, made in collaboration with Rob Halcrow – and a rare chance to hear a new track from Dead Dog In Black Bag which pays homage to one of the biggest influences, Prince.  Lastly, but by no means least, the EP is the only place you can pick up a digital copy of Baloo My Boy sung by Richard Glover on the soundtrack to A Field In England, which was previously only available on limited edition vinyl.

You can hear the full thing above, or alternatively DOWNLOAD IT OVER YONDER.  But hurry, because just like our first EP this time last year, come January 9th, they’ll be gone for good.

As always, TVO would like to thank everyone involved with the making of these tracks, and the compiling of this collection.  You all know who you are, and to you, and everyone out there reading this – a very happy new year to you all. We love ya.

For full details on the tracklisting, click to read more…  Continue reading

TVO’s Review Of The Year 2013: Part Two

2 Jan

Yesterday we brought you a round-up of the first quarter of 2013, as we’d probably forgotten half of it ourselves, let alone you lovely lot out there.  The second quarter provided loads more great things to celebrate, so we’ve been ploughing through TVO’s archives to pluck out the best bits from over 700 news stories across 2013. This second instalment of our round-up covers April-June, and is jam packed with forgotten treasures and instant classics alike.  Enjoy.

APRIL

April, or Ape-ril as it was renamed by the Sumatran Orangutan Society, began with a plea from TVO regulars Dave Brown and Tony Law to grow your beard as large as possible.  This was, of course, in aid of ape conservation: we are all 96.4% Orangutan after all…

The facial hair theme continued apace, with some of Onion Land’s most mighty beard-wearers being active this month.  First up, Paul Kaye hosted a short exhibition of his art, with TVO attended the star-studded press night to admire his work and have a quick chat to the man himself, though sadly his hectic schedule postponed our latest catch-up… we’re gonna get ya in the new year, mate! Kaye also became the latest big name to join the cast of hugely acclaimed fantasy show Game Of Thrones, as warrior Thoros of Myr.

He wasn’t the only one, either. Whilst the world got increasingly excited about his (then) forthcoming film A Field In EnglandBen Wheatley did the last thing critics expected, and made a string of commercials for Go Compare, further proving he works on his own terms ahead of one of the oddest films of 2013…

Another beardy Onion layer up to good things this month was Matt Berry, who was quietly preparing to unleash his new album, Kill The Wolf. May and June would see an awful lot of Berry activity, but April was no push-over, either.  First off, his radio series I, Regress… returned to the airwaves, and he went on to release the first snippet of his new album with a track called The Devil Inside Me

He wasn’t the only one returning, either. Rhys Thomas brought back his incredibly popular Radio 4 show Down The Line for a fifth run – the sixth if you include short-lived tv spin-off Bellamy’s People. Once again it featured Thomas’ fellow Fast Show veterans Paul Whitehouse, Charlie Higson, Simon Day and the late, great Felix Dexter. Also along for the ride were Look Around You star Robert Popper, Big Train(and It’s Kevin) actress Amelia Bullmore, Citizen Khanwriter Adil Ray, and another TVO regular (and Rhys’ wife), Lucy Montgomery.

Also back this month were Boosh veterans and indie-folk legends The Ralfe Band, who released the single Come On Go Wild from their new album, Son Be Wise, and toured as support to Manchester’s finest ever band, I Am Kloot.  A video for the single followed on 1st May, which can be seen below.

This month also saw us bid farewell to Life’s Too Short, which returned for a one-off special at Easter. Sadly lacking in Matt Holness magic (Matt was a regular in the show’s first and only series), it nevertheless found the time to bring back Colin Hoult as Warwick Davis‘ useless psychic, Brian. Also along for the ride were telly veterans, Les Dennis, Keith Chegwin and Shaun Williamson, as well as former Batman star Val Kilmer. A fine send-off, then, for a show that ended way too soon.

Continue reading

FREE DOWNLOAD: In Holoserica Cepa 2013!

25 Dec

In Holoserica Cepa 2013It’s that time of the year again. The big fat bloke has been, and given you all lots of lovely jubbly presents, with hopefully a few TVO related goodies amongst them!

As our friends, naturally, we had to provide you with a gift or some variety, and given the runaway success of last year’s festive EP, we’ve managed to bring together another collection of great tracks from our musical members absolutely free for a limited time only.

In Holoserica Cepa 2013 features six tracks to download completely free between now and January 8th, including some rather special exclusives, which you can also hear below.

Just visit our Soundcloud page to get the EP, featuring the likes of James Cook, DeadDogInBlackBagStephen EvansRichard Glover Paul Kaye and Waen Shepherd.  But hurry, because just like last year’s effort, come January 9th, they’ll be gone for good.

As always, TVO would like to thank everyone involved with the making of these tracks, and the compiling of this collection.  You all know who you are, and to you, and everyone out there reading this – a most merry of holiday seasons to you all. We love ya.

TRACKLISTING

© Paul Kaye

© Paul Kaye

Yogiebogiebox – ZaNg

Comedy legend Paul Kaye has provided us with the world exclusive download of Yogiebogiebox, the first effort from ZaNg: his musical project with Adie Hardy, featuring actor Marc Warren on harmonica.  It’s a hard-hitting slice of alt-rock madness, and we’ve been grooving to the demo all year, so it’s great to finally be able to share a finished version with you all.

© James Cook

© James Cook

Making Plans For Nigel – JAMES COOK

You may know him from his time fronting electropop wonders Nemo, or from his numerous appearances in The Mighty Boosh, but in recent years, James Cook has branched out into an increasingly healthy solo career.  Ahead of his second studio album proper, he’ll be releasing a selection of covers across two EP releases early next year, and this gorgeous reworking of an XTC classic is amongst them.

© Stephen Evans

© Stephen Evans

Walking – STEPHEN EVANS feat. ROB HALCROW

Former Hyperdrive star Stephen Evans is no stranger to the live circuit, having performed as part of Dutch Elm Conservatoire (alongside Rufus Jones & Dan Skinner), and more recently alongside regular collaborator Colin Hoult.  As he prepares a solo live show of his own, he’s very kindly offered us this rough mix of a track he’s written for inclusion in the show.  Recorded with the aid of musician Rob Halcrow, the singalong chorus features “quite a few anonymous comedy performers singing their hearts out” towards the end.

© Dead Dog In Black Bag

© Dead Dog In Black Bag

Prince Lives In My Garden – DEAD DOG IN BLACK BAG

We love Dead Dog. And Dead Dog really love Prince.  Things have been awfully quiet on the Black Bag front of late, as the electropop filthsters take a well earned break whilst Suzy Evelyn-Hall celebrates motherhood for the first time, but her partner in crime Holly Jane Shears (of Circulus fame) has very kindly sent us this recording of a live fan favourite.

© Rook Films

© Rook Films

Baloo My Boy [Excerpt from 'A Field In England'] – RICHARD GLOVER

Anyone who has seen Ben Wheatley‘s glorious A Field In England will have fallen in love with Richard Glover‘s kind-hearted simpleton peasant, known only as Friend.  This track from the soundtrack in which Friend sings a jaunty ditty receives its digital première here, having previously only been available on a limited edition vinyl release earlier this year, thanks to the good folk at Rook Films.

© Waen Shepherd

© Waen Shepherd

Little Old Nick – COLIN WATSON & THE EARLY BIRDS

Another comedy veteran offering us a world exclusive is Waen Shepherd, who has sent us a track by his Beach Boys inspired alter-ego Colin Watson, entitled Little Old Nick.  This festive ditty offers a rather twisted view on the traditional festive number, and we’re sure will become a staple of alternative Xmas playlists for years to come.

Onion On The Red Carpet At The Comedy Awards

20 Dec

We were lucky enough to bag some camera space alongside the red carpet at last week’s British Comedy Awards, so we sent two of our intrepid team down there to extract some chat from the award winners.

Sadly for TVO, the artists and shows that we celebrate on this site didn’t scoop as many gongs as we were hoping for (we was robbed!), but we did manage to find a few familiar faces, one of whom is definitely on our list and most of whom can claim some sort of connection to the folk who we write about*.

In the short video below you can see what Jack Whitehall wants to say to Lee Mack  about his suit, who Steve Coogan would give his award to, and how Johnny Vegas nearly killed someone with plastic flowers:

 

Many thanks to everyone who stopped by for a natter!

* In case you were wondering, here are a few of the TVO connections: Jack Whitehall has appeared on a fair few panel shows with Noel Fielding; Lee Mack shared a flat in Edinburgh with Noel; Reece Shearsmith of League of Gentleman featured in Ben Wheatley’s A Field In England, plus he and Steve Pemberton are responsible for Inside No. 9, a new sitcom starring Katherine Parkinson (more about that soon!); Nina Conti appeared in Family Tree with Chris O’Dowd; Johnny Vegas and that kiss on last week’s Buzzcocks…

Critics Circle Award Nominations

19 Dec

© Rook Films / Film 4

A couple of TVO-linked movies have received a mention in the just-announced 2014 Critics Circle Film Awards nominations.

Steve Coogan‘s Philomena, co-written by and starring Steve has picked up a handful of nominations, and Ben Wheatley‘s psychedelic history trip A Field In England is also shortlisted for an award.

Philomena has been shortlisted for ‘British Film of the Year’, and Steve himself nominated for ‘Screenwriter of the Year’ (with Jeff Pope)  and for ‘British Actor of the Year’ (for his roles in Philomena, Alpha Papa, What Maisie Knew and The Look of Love). His co-star in Philomena, Judi Dench, has picked up nominations in the ‘Actress of the Year’ and  ‘British Actress of the Year’ categories.

A Field In England has been shortlisted for ‘British Film of The Year’.

The London Critics’ Circle Film Awards are voted for by a long standing and prestigious critical organisation in the UK, which boasts 140 members (who between them see every one of the hundreds of films released in the UK each year).

To view the fill list of nominations click here. Congratulations to the nominees and good luck to ‘our lot’ for the Awards ceremony on 2nd February 2014!

Indie Film Awards – Nominations Announced

12 Nov

© Bifa

The nominations for the 16th Annual British Independent Film Awards have just been announced, and we’re delighted to note that a few of ‘our lot’ feature!

Steve Coogan has been shortlisted for Best Actor for his role in Philomena, which also stars Judi Dench (nominated in the Best Actress category).

Philomena has also been nominated for Best British Independent film and Coogan has been shortlisted for Best Screenplay for the film, which he co-wrote with Jeff Pope.

Next up, Mia Wasikowska has picked up a nomination for Best Supporting Actress for her role in The Double, directed by Richard Ayoade.

And finally, A Field In England has deservedly been shortlisted in the Best Achievement In Production category.

For a  list of all of this year’s nominations click here. Big congratulations to all of the nominees!

The awards will be announced on 8th December.

 

 

A Field In England – Live!

31 Oct

There’s another chance to see the sublime A Field In England live on the big screen next month, but with an unusual, musical twist.

© Rook Films

Released earlier this year, A Field In England is a psychedelic masterpiece and a favourite here at TVO. For those who don’t know, it’s directed by Ben Wheatley, and features Richard Glover, Michael Smiley and Julian Barratt, in it’s small ensemble cast.

The score, by Jim Williams, is no less impressive and now you can hear it performed live at the Cork Film Festival by electronic band Teeth Of The Sea.

Billed as one of the most original post-rock bands of recent years, a cursory glance at their output on Youtube will show the promoters aren’t kidding with this one!

A Field In England – Remixed will be an audio-visual spectacular performed on 16th November and tickets can be booked on the festival website, here.

Halloween Horror On Film4

26 Oct
© Rook Films Limited/Optimum Releasing

© Rook Films Limited/Optimum Releasing

Film4 are showing Ben Wheatley‘s A Field in England and Kill List, as part of The Dark Arts Season which runs from Tuesday 28th October to Sunday 3rd November – “six nights of cinema that will steal your soul”.

The season crosses with the BFI GOTHIC season which runs from October to January.

Kill List will be shown at 12.30am on Saturday 2nd November, and A Field in England will follow at 11pm on the same day.

For a full list of films and more information on The Dark Arts Season and the GOTHIC Season click here.

Smiley At The Empire

13 Oct
© Dean Rodgers

© Dean Rodgers

Kill List and A Field in England star, Michael Smiley gave an interview to Nev Pierce for Empire Magazine while at the 24th Dinard British Film Festival in Northern France.

Smiley was a member of the Festival jury, alongside one of his hero’s – footballer turned actor Eric Cantona, who was the President of the jury.

In the interview he talks about meeting Cantona, how he learned his craft, the best directors he’s worked with, and where he gets his motivation for the characters he plays.

The interview can be found at empire online

A Field In England In America

6 Oct
© Dean Rodgers

© Dean Rodgers

A Field In England, Ben Wheatley‘s psychedelic follow-up to Sightseers, will be screened in Santa Monica later this month.

Released cross-platform in the UK back in July, the film made quite the impact in Onion Land with a tiny but brilliant cast including Richard Glover, Michael Smiley and Julian Barratt and a marvelous script by SightseersAmy Jump. Showing the Civil War through the mushroom-tinted eyes of a band of deserters, the film is dark and disconcerting as well as funny (for our review of the film, take a look over here). Now, it is set to be shown in the US for the first time.

The film will be shown in a ‘British Invasion’ double bill at the Aero Theatre on October 18th, along with a discussion and screening of ‘unnerving’ horror The Borderlands and tickets can be booked here.

Thanks to @jennyorjennifer on Twitter for telling us about the event!

A Field On Friday

12 Aug

© Dean Rodgers

This Friday, 16th August, Rough Trade East in London will be showing  A Field In England along with a Q&A with director Ben Wheatley and producer Andrew Starke.

Friday’s screening is set to coincide with the release of the film soundtrack on vinyl. Limited to just 500 copies worldwide, there will be some stock available at the event!  What’s more, Ben and  Andrew will be present on the evening to introduce the film and answer questions.  Plus, it’s a film that really should be seen on the large screen.

Showing at Rough Trade East, the film will start at 6.30pm. Tickets cost £5 pounds, which will be redeemable against the purchase of the DVD. For more information and to buy tickets click here.

Wheatley Plays Pop

9 Aug

Ben Wheatley has directed his first music video – a spaghetti western-style promo for Editors’ single Formaldehyde

The video was shot in  Almeria in Spain, on the old sets used in Sergio Leone’s ‘Once Upon a Time in the West’, and stars Simon Smith who appeared in Wheatley’s Down Terrace. The crew  also included regular Wheatley collaborators, with Nick Gilespie shooting and Claire Jones producing.

In a recent interview with Creative Review magazine, Wheatley said of the project: “A lot of directors come up through making pop promos: I didn’t. My route in was through advertising, internet and television. The pop promo is something I’ve always been interested in. Music plays a big part in my film work and I’ve always admired the work of Michel Gondry, Chris Cunningham,  David Wilson and Dougal Wilson to name but a few. I was very flattered to be asked.”

With epic vistas and sinister, dreamlike sequences, you might detect echoes of A Field In England in there too:

While we’re on the subject of music and A Field In England, you can now treat yourself to a FREE download of a track from the movie’s soundtrack, courtesy of Drafthouse Films! All you have to do is click here.  Easy peasy.

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