Showing posts with label music. Show all posts
Showing posts with label music. Show all posts

15 July 2017

DOGWOOF PRESENTS: LIBERATION DAY. (2017) REVIEW BY SANDRA HARRIS.

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6 April 2015

Blu-ray Review - Rude Boy (1980)

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Genre:
Music, Drama
Distributor:
Fabulous Films
Rating: 18
BD Release Date:
6th April 2015 (UK)
Director:
David Mingay, Jack Hazan
Cast:
Joe Strummer, Mick Jones, Paul Simonon, Topper Headon, Ray Gange
Buy:The Clash - Rude Boy: Collectors Edition [Blu-ray]

Rude Boy is a fascinating document of its time: it’s a fake documentary about a kid named Ray Gange (who is played by, well - Ray Gange), and he’s a young punk who becomes a roadie for The Clash. The film’s reputation over the years has been mixed to say the least, and The Clash famously boycotted it and got badges made with “I don't want Rude Boy Clash Film” on them. It does, however, have many virtues as a document of a band on the verge of mega stardom and of late ‘70s Britain.

Ray - like so many young punks at the time, is an uneducated and naïve kid who develops a passion for punk music, but despite the leftist views of punk he doesn’t really get it. Ray spouts anti-left wing nonsense and is sympathetic at times towards the fascist National Front. The Clash’s front-man Joe Strummer is in a great scene in which he tries to explain to him why the left is better than the right. It’s an interesting coming of age film that is almost reminiscent of the Robert Bresson’s The Devil, Probably in the sense that it’s a about a young man drifting through life with different ideologies, never truly finding the answer he is looking for.

The film’s obvious highlight is the footage of The Clash which is really them at their peak before they left to become huge in the States. The footage dates around the time of their first album and around the time they started recording their most famous album London Calling - it ends with a song from it, ‘Rudie Can’t Fail’. The live concert footage, with the possible exception of the So It Goes footage for Granada television, is the best document of The Clash in a live environment and all the energy and urgency is on show.

Despite overall enjoying the experience, Ray Gange regrets a lot of what the filmmakers did. They tried to force situations in the film, and all the political stuff was apparently the director’s decisions - he just went along with it. The film infamously has a blowjob scene in a bathroom which is unnecessary and simply there for shock-value and to show how much of a dick the character of Ray Gange is.

Despite many virtues, it’s terribly flawed in so many ways; there is a bizarre unconnected subplot about a black kid who gets arrested and goes nowhere, for example, but I guess it’s there to try and show that white middle class kids shouting about revolution can make it (The Clash) whereas blacks are still stuck where they are. It’s naïve, stupid and really misses the point of The Clash, but ultimately it just makes the film drag.

The film’s length is ridiculous: it’s over two hours long, and the aforementioned subplot should have been left in a skip somewhere outside of Slough. Realistically, 100 minutes would have been a better length, combined with a tighter edit or perhaps just the concert film that The Clash wanted instead. It’s still a very captivating film, however, and the Ray Gange kid - despite playing a total dick - is strangely charismatic on screen.

This new Blu-Ray looks shockingly good for a low budget British film from the late ‘70s; the print shows very little signs of dirt or grain. The live footage already just kicked you in the stomach in previous versions but it almost puts you right in the midst of the crowd. The disc includes interviews with Ray Gange who talks about his reservations of the film, the road manger Johnny Green and the two directors who come off as middle class twats. Like previous DVD editions, it has "Just play the The Clash" feature, a lot of deleted footage and some great earlier footage of them live in Munich in 1977.

★★★1/2
Ian Schultz

7 March 2015

THE TOP FILM SCORES BY ALEXANDRE DESPLAT

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Alexandre Desplat is without question one of the most prolific composers in contemporary film. The 53-year-old Frenchman has composed for over 100 films since 1985 when he began contributing to small movies in his home country. Desplat composed the dark yet beautiful score for Syriana in 2005, and this remarkable musical feat cemented his place as one of the most in demand composers in the business. To celebrate the home entertainment release of THE IMITATION GAME arriving on Blu-ray™, DVD and digital platforms on 9th March 2015, courtesy of STUDIOCANAL, this feature will take a look at Alexandre Desplat's top film scores.


THE IMITATION GAME (2014)

Desplat had a very limited period of time to compose music reflecting the brilliant mind of Alan Turing. Desplat knew that a big-orchestra approach was out of the question—if not just for time’s sake, it was also too outsized for a story reflecting the unique mind of one man. Realizing that the visuals of the film would never be able to depict the process of Turing’s brain, Desplat decided to make that the focus of his music, paying homage to the godfather of computers by using machines to randomly layer multiple piano tracks over each other. The result is a an extremely atmospheric score to go along with one of the films of the year.

The Tree of Life (2001)

Terrence Malick's controversial masterpiece took nearly thirty years to come to the big screen, and with such a heavy burden of expectation, the film needed an equally bold musical score. Desplat delivered such a score in a typically emphatic fashion. His music is one of the film’s great binding forces, gifting Malick the cohesion that he often has difficulty establishing on his own.

The Fantastic Mr Fox (2009)

Beautifully whimsical, touching and bright, Desplat shows his versatility by creating a score that is clearly out of his comfort zone but no less incredible for Wes Anderson’s critically acclaimed The Fantastic Mr Fox. Desplat produces a resonantly beautiful sense of homecoming that speaks to the titular wild animal’s belief that everything will turn out alright in the end so long as his family survives in one piece


Birth (2004)

Even divorced from the setting of the film for which it was commissioned, Desplat’s score for Birth has the feel of a chilly afternoon somewhere north of 66th St. These pieces are some of the composer's most luxurious work—so garlanded with deep drums and dancing flutes that they genuinely begin to take on the feel of the wealthy characters onscreen. The recurring theme is a touch off-kilter, the perfect disequilibrium for a movie about an affluent Manhattan widow who starts to believe that her dead husband has been reincarnated in the body of a young boy.

The Grand Budapest Hotel (2014)

Wes Anderson teams up with Desplat time after time due to the almost telepathic connection they have when working on a score for one of Anderson's films. Desplat's natural ability to capture Anderson’s movie worlds in just a couple of notes was critical to the filmmaker’s decision to move into the world of moviemaking where the uniquely quirky ideas he had in his head were finally allowed to be brought to the big screen. The Grand Budapest Hotel's music feels true to the films setting in a historically volatile period, its organ blasts and harpsichord tunes resounding with the call for a great adventure.

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (2008)

This subtle yet beautiful score – another Oscar nominated piece from Alexandre Desplat – went a long way in providing the audience with the freedom to really experience escapism at its very best. The light and subtle tones used throughout added another layer of mystique and beauty to a film that would change cinema forever.

A Prophet(2009)

A Prophet is the masterpiece from Jacques Audiard, and composing a suitably gritty yet beautiful score was always going to be a near impossible feat. As you would come to expect from Desplat, he scored an elegant selection of music to provide the perfect backdrop to this Academy Award winning film.


THE IMITATION GAME arrives on Blu-ray™, DVD and digital platforms on 9th March 2015, courtesy of STUDIOCANAL

26 January 2015

Sundance 2015 Review - What Happened Miss Simone? (2015)

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Genre:
Music, Documentary
Venue:
Sundance 2015
Rating:NC
Director:
Liz Garbus

Nina Simone is one of those people who requires no introduction, but after viewing Liz Garbus’ stellar documentary What Happened, Miss Simone?, you might be surprised how little you knew about the outspoken songstress.

First and foremost, this is a film about love and music, specifically Simone’s love for music which seemed to go beyond just love and graduate to a fiercely symbiotic relation. Thus What Happened is also about the heartbreak and trauma Simone underwent when those things were perverted in every aspect of her life.

After an enigmatic opening which sees Simone take to the stage, stare near-violently into space then abruptly, and mysteriously introduce herself, Garbus zips back to contextualize the singer’s ominous cynicism. By any respects Simone led a fascinating life, from her humble upbringing flourished a prodigal talent in classic piano, through a fierce marriage, rocket to fame, family woes, embracing a political lifestyle, friendships with Malcolm X and Martin Luther King, falling in with black radicals, collapse of her mental state, fleeing the USA, absorbing and reflecting all the shit she ever put up with, but eventual rescue by friends, and success in later life. This is a riveting documentary about a truly remarkable woman.

Simone was overwhelmingly alone. Hers was the gift of insight, understanding and this - along with other disturbances in her life- drove her to the edge. Garbus understands this implicitly, giving us unprecedented and never-before-seen access to, not just Simone’s career, process, and personal life, but arguably her very soul. Her manic depression, self-harm, and bipolar behaviour, are presented as part and parcel of her anguish towards a world torn apart by racism and greed. Yet, Garbus is wise to keep Simone’s radical, violence-inciting, behaviours at arm’s length, even when the context of the story argues them an act of desperation.

When asked in her later years about the civil rights movement she replies ‘there is no civil rights movement…they are all gone’. I wonder what she would have said about the last 12 months of American history, how she would have reacted to the continuing age of distress. If we can’t know what Simone thinks, we can at least deduce Garbus’ feelings in this bold and fascinating historical cross-section that seems preposterously well-timed.

Endearingly composed of unseen footage, personal letters and diaries, archive interviews, and intimate conversations with Simone’s colleagues and friends, What Happened, Miss Simone? Is a fantastic piece of work. Perhaps a little flashy, you can’t really blame Garbus for a little overdramatic sound editing and dramatic flareflair…she is writing about Nina Simone after all.

★★★★
Scott Clark

9 December 2013

DVD Review - Pussy Riot: A Punk Prayer

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Genre:
Documentary
Distributor:
Independent Distribution
Rating:
18
DVD Release Date:
25th November 2013 (UK)
Director:
Mike Lerner, Maxim Pozdorovkin
Cast:
Mariya Alyokhina, Ekaterina Samutsevich, Nadezhda Tolokonnikova
Buy: Pussy Riot - A Punk Prayer [DVD]

“They walked into the heart of Russia and took a shit”. So comes the damning opinion of an elderly Russian lady stood outside a Moscow church. She is not alone. Surrounding her are large groups of protesters, holding banners, clutching at rosaries and collectively chastising three women who have long since been imprisoned. Opposite stand another, younger group, worried about the way the rest of the world will now perceive their nation. A protest against the protest all stemming from an original protest on the spot this face-off takes place.

On February 21st 2012 three members of the feminist punk group Pussy Riot donned their now iconic balaclava’s, entered the Cathedral of Christ the Saviour and performed around 30 seconds of their number ‘It’s God’s Shit’. Security stepped in along with members of the visiting public, forcing them back into retreat. By now you’d be troubled not to have a vague understanding of what followed; public outrage, heavy-handed state intervention and Nadia, Katia and Masha now locked up inside the Putinist Russia they so vehemently protest against.

Some back-story is needed and Mike Lerner and Maxim Pozdorovkin’s documentary adequately provides it, rolling through the band’s birth, ideals, and other, less news-grabbing performances. The band was formally conceived the very day Putin returned to office for at least 6 more years following his sole rival’s withdrawal of candidacy. That catalyst spawned a reaction, one unfamiliar to the nation at large. One aspect of the Pussy Riot story that Punk Prayer shines a light on is the landscape into which they launched their brand of protest art. The years of communism under Soviet reign has led to something of a cultural gap in Russia’s consciousness, leaving a country largely oblivious to Pussy Riot’s main calling cards – punk and performance art. You sense the communal outrage comes from confusion; a misunderstanding of their actions and a fear of their motives due to their ways seeming so other worldly to swathes of locals, especially those holding the Church is some high esteem.

Pussy Riot, far from being a trio of chancers armed with three chords and a job-lot of balaclava’s, is a collective infused with art and political ideals. They release call to arms video’s urging other to join their cause, write songs against Putin, feminist anthems and choose the locations for their performances carefully. The headlines came after their attack on the union between the Church and the state that forms the Russian Orthodox Church. It was a song written to be heard at large and performed at the home of the nation’s church where they mounted the sacred, male-only alter and landed three members behind bars.

As noted by Nadia’s boyfriend, the Pussy Riot case is curiously the highest profile court case Russia has witnessed for decades and A Punk Prayer provides an intriguing overview of its ins and outs. The greatest achievement is the level of access which we are treated to. The camera’s are there to take in the prosecution, defence and statements of the court case as well holding interviews with family members, fellow ‘rioters’ and providing footage of previous art projects undertaken by the incarcerated trio. The other side is represented by the Church’s supporters, those gathered to protest against the band and the cross carriers who, decked out like members of an aging biker gang, dismiss the women as ‘witches’ and ‘demons’ who would have been burned in times past.

This all leads to a greater understanding of the argument from both sides without ever really moving the genre forward or unveiling any great revelations. A rather balanced synopsis of a case that caught the world’s attention. Where the film could be accused of not going far enough is to examine aspects that are touched upon but never investigated. The prosecution lawyers who laugh at the claims of Putin’s personal involvement in the case are never questioned why the rumours persist and there is no real effort to look further into the shadowy regime that the band hold in such disdain. There is a moment too when Nadia’s father is grilled by rival supporters, genuinely fearing for his safety yet, despite multiple interviews with him this isn’t a subject breached throughout.

A flawed but fascinating take on a case likely to run and run providing an excellent entry point into the culture clashes at the heart of Russia.

★★★½

Matthew Walsh


24 September 2013

Supermensch: The Legend of Shep Gordon - TIFF 2013 Review

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Rating:
15
Release Date:
7,8,14th September 2013 (TIFF)
Director:
Mike Myers
Cast:
Shep Gordon,Alice Cooper, Michael Douglas,Tom Arnold, Anne Murray, Sylvester Stallone

Mike Myers’ directorial debut is proof not only that he’s a skilled director and impressive documenter, but the subject of his film is probably one of the coolest men to ever live. Shep Gordon, manager extraordinaire, is a power house of productivity, a messiah of good times, and an all-round nice guy. He’s managed Alice Cooper since the beginning of his career, practically invented the concept of the celebrity chef, and has managed to intertwine his existence with the mint of Hollywood and rock royalty by being one of the world’s greatest hosts. So says Supermensch; The Legend of Shep Gordon.

The key to Myers’ film is that he has a genuine respect for Gordon, like the rest of the stars who pop up through this charming - often hilarious - exploration of Gordon’s career. Michael Douglas, Sylvester Stallone, Myers himself, Alice Cooper, Willie Nelson, to name a few, all jump at the opportunity to give candid tales of Gordon’s frankly mindboggling life. From his humble, drug fuelled beginnings hanging out with the likes of Hendrix and Joplin, onwards through his fast-paced career in music and film. His legendary appetite for good times and women are here exceeded only by his love for seemingly everyone he meets.

Myers is an incredibly gifted filmmaker, fusing his zany wit and comic timing with Gordon’s own barmy life. His editing is sharp and gripping; snippets from movies and a great soundtrack make Supermensch nothing short of fascinating viewing. Perhaps Myers gets a bit caught up in his own love for the father-figure, at points making his documentary a kind of advertisement, but a keen sense of ‘the man’ Gordon as opposed to just ‘the legend’ maintains a suitably grounded and heartfelt film. The Alice Cooper chapter goes on a bit but Gordon’s input into Cooper’s vaudevillian act is vast and thus arguably important. Sure, near-ridiculous amount of good praise for Gordon gets silly at points, but only a cynical kind of tabloid gossip-craving would render this an actual fault. Take a page out of Gordon’s book and cheer the hell up.

No matter where your interests lie, Gordon’s life is at worst intriguing and at best mad. This is a highly impressive debut and a thrilling story of a loving friend, hedonist, innovator, and showman. The fifteen year old me wants another Austin Powers, whilst now I can’t help but hope Myers has another go in the director’s chair.

Supermensch: The Legend of Shep Gordon is entirely watchable, vivid, and compulsive filmmaking punctuated by a host of celebrity guests, a great soundtrack, and some psychedelic editing. Myers’ debut film is an impressive exploration of a life well-lived: heart-warming, hilarious, but above all highly recommendable.

★★★★½


Scott Clark

19 July 2013

The Great Rock'N' Roll Swindle Scottish Style, UK Trailer For The Great Hip Hop Hoax

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Dubbed 'The Imposter of music docs,' the film tells the real life story about how - back in 2003/4, Californian hip-hop duo 'Silibil N'Brains' secured a record deal and were set to be massive – however, what no-one really knew was that they were actually a pair of students from Dundee, Scotland, with fake American accents and made up identities.

The Great Hip Hop Hoax was one of the surprise hit film's of last month's Edinburgh Film Festival, it also received some great feedback SxSw and now it's ready for it's cinema/VOD release this September.To promote the film's release Vertigo Films have sent us over the film's UK trailer....



When it comes to mockumentary films the pedastool has been set high with the classic This Is Spinal Tap there's been no one who came close to matching or bettering that film. The Great Hip Hop Hoax might be that film to at least match proving if you want that dream, you'll do anything to succeed and 6th September you'll get that chance to see if the 2 boys from Dundee, the rapping Proclaimers will become the cities most famous sons after Desperate Dan.

The Great Hip Hop Hoax stars Gavin Bain and Billy Boyd.


30 June 2013

Saving The World From Total Boredom This July The Aquabats Season 1 on DVD!

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Join a new generation of super hero in The Aquabats: Super Show Complete Season One comes to UK this July.

Taking outrageously fun entertainment to the next level for kids and adults alike The Aquabats looks set to take over TV screens with an offering of rock out tracks and hearty laughs. This hit CITV TV show finds itself on DVD for the first time in the UK. Featuring a former ska band and a number of set pieces reminiscent of 90’s cartoons and the Power Rangers, The Aquabats are ready for just about anything.

From the creators of Yo Gabba Gabba! and frontman Christian Jacobs comes the perfect blend of live-action and animation! Follow the amazingly wild comic antics of The Aquabats the galaxy's first group of musical crime-fighting superheroes! MC Bat Commander Crash McLarson Ricky Fitness Eagle Bones Falconhawk and Jimmy the Robot will take you along on their most outrageous adventures to protect space from the creatures and super villains out to destroy it! All 13 Season One episodes can now be found in one deluxe collection sure to banish boredom and make anyone an instant fan of the world's most inept superheroes!



Aquabats hits every note with rockin’ success. A blending of both humour, action, animation and music, the Super Show packs in a dazzling performance to make a stunning debut season enjoyable for both adults and kids. With references to 90’s ska and some truly out of this world creations, Aquabats places itself centre stage ready to become an instant cult classic.

The Aquabats! Super Show Season One Arrives on DVD in UK 22nd July. The Aquabats are Christian Jacobs, Richard Falomir, James Briggs , Ian Fowles, Chad Larson. Pre-Order or Buy The Aquabats Complete Season 1 (CITV) [DVD] now!






19 June 2013

Spike Island Review

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This one could not have come along at a better time. The Stone Roses' return to the music scene last year, followed up by gigs in London a little over a week ago, and Shane Meadows' eulogizing love letter-cum-documentary, has seen interest in the band at its highest in decades.

Not since they signed off with a Reading festival set so dire that it has since assumed the status of arguably the worst live performance of any Manchester band, have The Roses been so bloody prevalent. There's a palpable wave of goodwill for Spike Island to surf, which can only help its chance of finding an audience beyond devotes of the baggy quartet.

Mat Whitecross' tale of youthful abandon centres around The Roses' 1990 gig at Spike Island (near Widnes), a show which may even have attained an even greater mythical standing than the aforementioned palava, and a young band's desperate attempts to ensure they are involved in the fun and games.

Young Tits (Elliott Tittensor) and his bands mates, the venerable Shadowcastre, are having a right time of it kicking about their Manchester estate. School's a drag and life at home ain't much better for the gang, a preposterously named bunch of mononymous toe-rags, sporting monikers that wouldn't sound out of place amongst the well-thumbed pages of The Beano; Dodge is on rhythm guitar and Zippy the drums, leaving Penfold to assume the role of poor-man's Bez.

The boys idolise the The Stone Roses and will stop at nothing to crash their upcoming gig and make forge a reputation for themselves.

It's a coming-of-age, right-of-passage tale which certainly packs enough youthful energy to keep the show rolling along, even if it times it feels as if the script may have been cribbed from a copy of the Mancunian Book of Cliches.

The dialogue frequently descends into extended bursts of Manc patois but it's a good-as-gold tale of working class, northern ecentricity and music. Which in itself is no bad thing, but all this swaggering and floppy hair might not translate south of Crewe.

At times the the drudgery and domestic strife feels laboured and unwelcome, but at it's heart it's a film about the music; a story with a rock and roll sentiment, which should render it palatable for anyone with anything approaching an interest in great British music.

★★★☆☆

Chris Banks

Rating: 15
Release Date: 21st June 2013 (UK)
Director
Cast:  

13 June 2013

Neil Young And Crazy Horse: Year Of The Horse DVD Review

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The Year of the Horse marks Jim Jarmusch’s second collaboration with Neil Young. It came out after the first Dead Man (which is my personal favourite of Jim Jarmusch’s films) and Neil Young composed the score to the film live while watching the film. It’s one of many many films on Neil Young including a trilogy by noted film director Jonathan Demme and 5 by Neil himself under his pseudonym Bernard Shakey. It follows Neil with his band Crazy Horse during mostly their 1996 European tour.

The film originally came out in 1997 and had a rather lacklustre release. It opened to pretty poor reviews with Roger Ebert in his end of the year run down citing as the worse film of the year… this was the year of Batman & Robin. It was made during a period when Neil Young had found a new hip creditability with the “grunge” kids and was being cited as a “godfather of grunge” by people like Kurt Cobain, Eddie Vedder and J. Mascis. This came after a very hard 10+ years of 80s where rock critics lambasted Neil Young’s music because he experimented in many music styles; which eventually resulted in a notorious lawsuit.

The film is clearly inspired by D.A Pennebaker’s seminal film on Bob Dylan Don’t Look Back (as is any rock n’ roll tour film) and to a lesser extent the still unreleased Rolling Stones film Cocksucker Blues. Both films Jim Jarmusch has cited as influence films for him. Unlike those 2 films the musicians in question don’t come off as completed drug addled assholes (even though Neil certainly has done his fair share…. See The Last Waltz). The film not that dissimilarity to Jim Jarmusch’s fictional films for the most part just follows Neil & his band mates around Europe. They talk… they talk and talk. They play some songs.

The film is never a deep expose on the relations between Neil and his band mates. It does however have on very revealing interview in which Neil’s band mates jackets have “Neil Young & Crazy Horse” while Neil’s has simply “Crazy Horse”. It does talk a bit about some of the early members who died young because of heroin use; Neil has been staunchly anti-Heroin throughout his career because of it. It has a very Testament on their tour bus… you know “the part where god is really pissed off”.

The film highlight of the film is obviously the concert footage of band playing some of their most well known songs “Like a Hurricane”, “Sedan Delivery”, “Tonight’s the Night” etc. The film starts with a funny bit of a crazy German Neil Young singing “Like a Hurricane” really badly. It’s shot on many different formats Super 8, 16mm, Hi-8 Video (for the interviews due to length problems). It has a very grainy look reminiscent of those old concerts films I mentioned earlier and to a extent Jim Jarmusch’s earlier films like Stranger Than Paradise and Down by Law.

The film has been out of circulation for many years, only previously released on vhs in the UK. It was released in the US for a bit but is currently out of print. Neil Young & Crazy Horse is touring in the UK as I write this review. It’s clearly being re-released to collide with that tour which is fine cause it’s a welcome release of a previous rare film in Jim Jarmusch’s filmography. Now only if they will release Human Highway on dvd. The dvd contain additional 45 minutes of interviews split between Crazy Horse and Neil and Jim.

★★★★

Ian Schultz

24 May 2013

These Boys Are Mad For It in Trailer for Spike Island

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Every decade had it's moments which you could look back and say "where you there?" 1970's Glam Rock, Punk early days of dance music. 1980's new romantics, dance and late 1980's /early 1990's we had the Madchester scene. Spike Island is an coming of age story set in 1990 in the middle of the Madchester music scene of 5 young guys in a band determined to break into the music buy heading to Stone Roses legendary gig at Spike Island by handing their demo to lead singer Ian Brown.

Synopsis

Shadowcaster are a four-piece band from Manchester. Or more accurately, they are five lads with guitars and a garage and an ambition to forget school, forget their troubled home lives, forget GCSEs and see their heroes, The Stone Roses, as they play the biggest gig of their career.
As the defining concert of their generation is announced, the band are convinced that all they need is to get tickets, get to the gig, meet Ian Brown, give him their demo tape, and the rest, as the saying goes, will be history.
A simple enough plan, right? But with no tickets and a sold out gig to contend with, the boys embark on a road trip in a “borrowed” florist’s van to Spike Island. Along the way friendships are tested and their futures shaped – together or apart.
Consistently hilarious and heart-warming, Spike Island perfectly captures a defining era in British music history.

The Madchester scene is an era I can relate too as I was of similar age as the characters of the film, no matter what part of UK you came from, you couldn't go anywhere without hearing one band from the scene. Spike Island is looks like a love letter to Madchester or to be more precise Stone Roses which will be like a nostalgic ride down memory lane for fans. The film also stars Game Of Thrones Emilia Clarke which has put some weight behind the film however if your a fan of  British Independent films you'll want to check this one out.



Spike Island stars Elliott Tittensor, Nico Mirallegro, Jordan Murphy, Adam Long and the film arrives in UK&Irish cinemas from 21st June.


25 April 2013

Sundance London: Peaches Does Herself Review

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An 80 year-old woman stands onstage, topless, clutching a dildo, and singing a song called ‘I love dick’. Welcome to the world of Peaches, and what an eye-opening world it is, full of breasts, genitalia, transsexuals, and orgies. The German singer and survivor of flash-in-the-pan, early noughties electroclash genre brings this collection of all things racy to the big screen in her debut film Peaches Does Herself, celebrating 10 years in the music industry.

Confined to an extravagant stage show, Peaches brings us a sexually charged piece of musical theatre loosely explaining how she came to be, from bedroom artist to the empowered stage-savvy queen of all things fetish. The mentioned nude geriatric is Sandy Kane, a former hooker, friend of Peaches and self-proclaimed oldest sex entertainer in the business who re-appears to perform an act that involves attaching matchsticks to her nipples and lighting them in a grotesque showing of her hardcore credentials. This comes as she battles our singing star for the affection of transsexual Danni Daniels – another member of Peaches ragtag gang able to perform both parts of her Shake Your Dicks, Shake Your Tits song. It’s that kind of show.

It’s not he first time a musical artist has gone down this road, Madonna, Prince and, most recently Vanessa Hudgeons have all flirted with sexual imagery for varying reasons. With Peaches however, you sense it’s far more genuine and there’s certainly nothing as coy as flirting going on here. Throughout her career, Peaches has embraced the seedier side of life and done so with a touch of humour and no lack of good songs, indeed she describes this project as a gift to herself to commemorate her decade of dirty pop. But perhaps that’s the problem with it as a film. There seems to be no filter process in this anything (and everything) goes production, tailored to Peaches’ own distinctive taste. The mooted narrative is slight at best and it’s in danger of resembling little more than a well soundtracked vanity project.

Dancers come and go without offering anything distinctive in the way of choreography, the sets aim to add an organic, home-made feel but come across as slightly cheap looking and nothing to worry Michel Gondry, while performances resemble over-the-top amateur dramatics.

Fans curious to see what she’s concocted will appreciate the musical breaks, the booming electronics and feverish guitars certainly benefit from the lush cinematic sound quality and the performances are the most exciting part of this project. At 70 minutes however, they may be better off just revisiting those albums and spare themselves some of the sights on show here.

☆☆☆☆


Matthew Walsh


Rating: 18
Festival Release Date: 26th April 2013
Director: Peaches
Cast: Dannii Daniels, Sandy Kane, Peaches
Buy Tickets: Peaches Does Herself



1 April 2013

Watch The Greetings From Tim Buckley Trailer

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If there's any stories of musicians  you can talk admirably and tragedy in the same sentence it has to be Tim & Jeff Buckley. Tim Buckley  highly respected throughout the 1970's folk movement  dying of a drug overdose in 1977, his son Jeff  making his name in 1990's tragically drowning 1994 aged 30. Both talented men in their own right both dying young and now they both  have a biopic,Greetings From Tim Buckley which is now ready for its cinematic run after a decent festival run that's included Toronto, London, Glasgow watch official trailer.

Greetings From Tim Buckley actually follows the build up to Jeff's first public appearance in a tribute concert to his father Tim (Ben Rosenfield), its here he meets Allie (Imogen Poots) a young woman involved in the concerts organisation he becomes attracted too. The film follows Jeff (Penn Badgley) attempting to come to terms with his father's loss leading up to his own tragic death.

When Buckley family are very reluctant to support any type of film be it in a supportive way it can be near impossible to be as honest as you can. But as Amy Berg's Mystery White Boy Movie gather's dust Greetings From Tim Buckley  has moved forward with what looks an honest account of 2 talented tragic musicians with a solid performance from Badgley an young actor whose roles previously may not bring confidence to the viewer though this may give the actor a push to bigger and better things.

No word on the film's UK release just yet however American fans can catch the film on VOD later this month and on limited cinema release from 3rd May.



12 March 2013

Vinyl Review

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Washed-up punk-rocker Johnny Jones (Phil Daniels) begs a record company head-honcho to re-sign his band Weapons of Happiness after decades on the scrap-heap, only to be refused on the grounds that listening to anyone over the age of 30 sing is like “watching your parents having sex”. Faced with rejection, and staring at an anonymous middle-age spent in various caravan parks, Johnny hatches a plan to re-launch his music career. Assemble a group of TV-friendly kids as a front for his band; the kids can mime and wave, while Johnny and his pals roll back the years and kick out the jams backstage.

Johnny and his bandmates’ auditions for likely teenyboppers unearth the talents of troubled youngster Drainpipe (Jamie Blackley), a kid with a reckless streak, a passion at odds with the plastic, wipe-clean façade of the pop group he should be a poster boy for, and showmanship similar to that of Johnny himself. The band is launched, and their first single becomes an unlikely success.

Sara Sugarman’s warm-hearted tale of men behaving badly, and musically maladroit youths is based on the real-life story of Welsh band The Alarm who pulled of a similar hoax of their own in 2004. Vinyl extolls the virtues of six strings, pub gigs and cramped tour buses, over the auto-tuned, pre-packaged pop of X-Factor and the like. But while it invokes the spirit of the Sex Pistols, Buzzcocks and The Great Rock n’ Roll Swindle, Vinyl lacks the element of unpredictability so integral to the punk music it worships. It feels safer, less anarchic even than School Of Rock, a film with which it shares a certain DNA.

That’s not to say it lacks heart or humour. Daniels makes a decent fist of injecting sympathy into the selfish, pig-headed, oldest swinger in town, Johnny Jones. As the bad-boy of the Welsh seaside, Blackley radiates the impulsiveness and sex-appeal so obvious in the best and most dangerous of rock stars. Weapons of Happiness guitarist turned nursing home impresario, Perry Benson reminds us just what a fine comic actor he is also.

It probably won’t have you dusting off the leathers, but it will make you chuckle as it gives Simon Cowell a gentle kick up the backside.

Chris Banks (@Chris_in_2D)

★★★☆☆

Rating: 15
Release Date:1st March 2013 (UK)
Directed by: Sara Sugarman
Cast: Keith Allen, Phil Daniels , Jamie Blackley 

23 December 2012

Searching For Sugar Man Blu Ray Review

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If someone was to ask you do you know of a musician who is regarded bigger than Elvis better than Bob Dylan you would probably laugh in that persons face and tell them there's no one. In Mallick Bendjelloul's Searching For Sugar Man he introduces to the world that person, his name is Sixto Rodriguez an unknown but gifted latino American singer songwriter whose fame and success is the inspiration behind a nation's rise against their oppressors to become a nation once again.

Searching For Sugar Man tells the story of (Sixto) Rodriguez a Mexican American singer songwriter who was discovered in the late 1960's by two celebrated producers awestruck by his soulful melodies and prophetic lyrics. They went onto to record 2 albums which were to secure Rodriguez's reputation as one of the finest recording artists of his generation, however the albums bombed the singer disappeared into oblivion  amid rumours of gruesome onstage suicide. Whist Rodriguez sunk without trace in his homeland thousands of miles away on the other side of the world unknown to him his music becomes the voice of the resistance in Apartheid South Africa . Thanks to two of those South African Fans embark on a investigation on what really happened to their hero, an investigation lead them to some extra ordinary results.

Searching For Sugar Man is a story that had to be told.In an era when many young musicians  are wrapped in cotton wool to protect them, forced to give up individual  style, creativity , originality for a quick route to the top. In return musical fascist  Simon Cowell rips your soul away for a predictable generic sound, manufactured to find your 15 minutes of fame, would you ever see James Arthur, JLS or no direction have they stepped into a smokey old bar or an aggressive working mans club? They probably look at you with such disdain. Say it to Rodriguez and many of the artists of the same generation these clubs are the heart and soul of music, you learned your trade their, experienced heartache most off be spotted there.

Searching for Sugar Man may not be telling us the whole story nor is it leaving you what your hearing is fabrication. The director Malik Bendjelloul decides to deliver the mystery card most of Rodriguez life with solely concentrating on the impact his album Cold Fact had on South Africa. 2012 has been the year of the documentary which this film earning its cinematic stripes staying away from the typical musical doc constraints for something a little more in depth, impact delivering the mystery by following the investigation of South African journalist Craig Bartholomew  and record shop owner Stephen 'Sugar' Segerman, as they try to piece to piece together one of music's great 'unsolved' Rock N Roll Suicides. With the search beginning only 15 years ago in 1997 you would think things would be a little easier however this was pre internet boom era the world wide web was in it's infancy with access to the internet limited to a privilege few making this out come even more fascinating.

My only gripe with Searching For the Sugar Man was the trail of the financial benefits that should have bestowed Rodriguez was cut rather too soon for my liking. However as you watch on the trail we did take hit a brick wall when all paths seem to lead to former Mowtown Executive Clarence  Avant who clearly becomes very aggressive when questioned leading to thoughts Rodriguez  talent was exploited for other persons financial gains. So why doesn't Rodriguez not care? When we finally meet him we see why, he's a modest man, a man of basic needs despite his appearance and sometimes a persona of a old rock star but deep downa man living a solitude life.Politically we hear that Rodriguez is a man of the people, working class street man it's this that suggests where the 'better than Dylan' line may come into force but also as his views politically not of American way you might think this might have cost him. If he did reap those lost financial rewards he would have shared the wealth with his loved ones just like he did with the South African ones.

Searching For the Sugar Man may not totally answer those burning questions fully but still what we get is fulfilling  compelling and captivating. In a age when new musicians surrender musical freedom and integrity to be pushed directly limeight for their 15 minutes of fame unprepared for the pitfall's of the industry Searching For The Sugar Man is a stark reminder of a story that will never happen again in music so its a magical story that must be told for generations to come.

Paul Devine

★★★★★

UK Rating: 15
DVD/BD Release Date: 27th December 2012 (UK)
Directed by: Malik Bendjelloul
Cast: RodriguezClarence Avant
Buy Searching For Sugarman: [Blu-ray] or [DVD]