Wednesday, 27 October 2010
Just stumbled across this thanks to a retweet from Drowned in Sound. Reckon it's sort of like really very good. Robert Smith and Crystal Castles. Who'd have thunk it.
Crystal Castles played the last two Leeds Festivals but I wasn't allowed to watch them because my friends reminded me I'm not 17 and I'm not in Skins. I think I regret not going to watch them. I think I definitely regret going to watch Vampire Weekend instead (2009 was a dark year).
Anyway. Big fan of this. Always preferred the skanky mess of the second Crystal Castles album to the (mostly) more tightly arranged first one. Even if I'm almost 22 and was never in Skins.
It's out December 6. Apparently they're popping acoustic versions of Celestica and Suffocation on the single too. Bless 'em. Maybe they're sensitive souls after all.
(Thanks Drowned in Sound, thanks Clash)
Sunday, 10 October 2010
17 year old Ree (Jennifer Lawrence), the focus of Debra Granik’s Winter’s Bone, doesn't have it easy. Abandoned by a feckless dad and left to look after two kid siblings and a mentally ill Mum, she's been robbed of her teenage years. If things look bad at the start of the film, as she spends long grey days chopping wood and begging neighbours for supplies, they're about to get a lot worse. A local sheriff drops by to let Ree know that her dad jumped bail. Since he put the house she struggles to maintain up as bond, her family will be left homeless unless she can track him down. So begins her meet and greet with the strange folk of the Ozark Mountains.
Image via Google
Tuesday, 28 September 2010
Sunday, 26 September 2010
La Dolce Vita, one of Fellini’s most popular and accessible works, isn’t really about much. Marcello Rubini (Marcello Mastroianni) is a journalist and man-about-town who wanders endlessly across Rome from one decadent party to the next, followed by his loyal troop of paparazzi. Along the way, he wades through the Trevi Fountain at night with the beautiful starlet, Sylvia (Anita Ekberg), and later covers a woman in feathers so she looks like a chicken. Yeah.
Although the film follows a number of characters from Marcello’s perspective, Fellini has little interest in narrative arcs that allow to them gleam any valuable life experience from their endeavours. La Dolce Vita’s running time stretches to three hours but there’s little room for character development. The films just glides from party to party, presenting a series of vignettes of languid aesthetes. Their hedonism is coldly compelling. As Marcello’s girlfriends puts it, ‘at least they do things with a certain elegance’.
He resists making any overt moral judgements, but Fellini hints at the unfulfilling nature of his characters’ lives. Throughout there is an emphasis on performance. Sylvia sashays from her private jet to her adoring photographers, only to repeat the action so they can get a better picture. This kind of faking it for the cameras occurs elsewhere, and often. This life might be sweet, but it’s not real. When Marcello and his father visit a nightclub and watch a performance by a tragic clown who bumbles from one calamity to another, for the audience’s pleasure, the message is clear.
Towards the end of the film, a tragedy occurs that is all the more surprising because it comes out of nowhere. What’s interesting is that Fellini largely ignores the aftermath of the event. Instead, he focuses on paparazzi swarming around the family member left behind as police break the news. In an earlier and unrelated scene, one photographer asks Sylvia, the famous actress, ‘Do you think Italian Neorealism is dead or alive?’. A self-reflexive joke that got a (self-satisfied) laugh from last night’s audience, the line now suggests how everything becomes a commodity in the end, even a person’s life.
Surprisingly watchable for its lack of any narrative development, La Dolce Vita is haunting for its cold observational distance. It is a subtle and poignant exploration of life lived elegantly wasted. It’s definitely worth a viewing. Just maybe not at the BFI Southbank, unless you want to get tutted at for breathing.
Monday, 13 September 2010
Image via Google
Sunday, 5 September 2010
Tuesday, 31 August 2010
Image via Google
Thursday, 26 August 2010
Every now and then I feel like some area of popular culture has stared me blankly in the face and muttered at me to just be a fucking man. I spent yesterday afternoon alone in the cinema watching The Expendables. Sly Stallone gurned, Jason Statham grimaced and some Latino bird got a bit damp. I felt inadequate. And I took some notes. Here's 5 things The Expendables taught me about drinkin', fightin', male-pattern baldness-defyin' masculinity:
1.) When your girlfriend leaves you for some basketball-playing douchebag, there'll be no weeping and wailing. Real men don't snivel into the answerphone at 3am. Just jump on your Ducati and full-throttle it to Mickey Rourke's tattoo shop. If, upon your arrival, Sly Stallone is ready and waiting bent over a motorbike, you can relax: this is all you'll ever need.
2.) Abducting women is fine, as long as you think it's in their best interests. Especially when they're Latin-American and therefore, you know, probably pretty thick.
3.) Putting too many super-hunks into any one scene can only lead to super-hunk cameo overload. Cutting between John McClane, Rocky and The Terminator inevitably leaves you with something that looks like an advert for a chain of celebrity-endorsed gyms. Or baby oil.
4.) If picking off individual targets is proving a tad finicky - and frankly a waste of time better spent guzzling beer in Mickey Rourke's tattoo shop - just stop messing about. Use a rocket launcher. It's like the tough-guy equivalent of your dad spending ten minutes in his garage trying to carefully disassemble an old Ikea wardrobe, then grunting 'Fuck it' and smashing the bastard to smithereens with the back of a spade.
5.) Watching soggy middle-aged men throw punches at each other is really fun for about forty minutes. And then you remember the first time you saw Carrie Bradshaw in a tutu, way before that last racist movie - and your heart flutters.
'What's wrong with this picture?'
Images via Google
Monday, 23 August 2010
So somehow Carrie Brownstein, Woody Allen and Isaac Brock all feature in the new Thermals video I Don't Believe You. Okay, unsurprisingly Woody doesn't ACTUALLY make a cameo, but he does get a name-check when star of the show Brownstein scatters books out from her bookshelf on the hunt for that bloody racket. Blink and you'll miss it, but if you haven't got anything better to do today (I haven't), it might bring a smile to your face. The real money shot is Isaac Brock in his PJ's at 10.22am during the coda, looking grizzled and slightly bonkers. I'm hoping for a similar sight the morning after Modest Mouse's Main Stage performance at Leeds Festival later this week. I'll let you know how that goes.
I Don't Believe You is the first single to be taken from the forthcoming album Personal Life, which is due for release on the 7th September on Kill Rock Stars. Watching the video again, I got to thinking, you know that game where you pick your dream dinner party guests? How about Carrie Brownstein, Woody Allen and Isaac Brock. If nothing else, it's a guaranteed sex scandal.
Tuesday, 17 August 2010
Since Harmony Korine is probably the preferred film-maker of fuck-ups the world over, I think it's appropriate that the first post on this blog should turn to his latest offering, Trash Humpers. Cinema showings over here were pretty few and far between during its UK theatrical release a couple of months ago (local example: a single screening at the Showroom in Sheffield) but the film is due to see a UK DVD release on the 20th of September. Korine describes it as 'a new kind of horror; palpable and raw'. Watching the trailer and a few scraps floating about online, it looks like he might have abandoned the bitter-sweet optimism (and conventional narrative) of 2007's Mister Lonely. This one's about hillbillies in Bo Selecta masks fucking bags of rubbish. And drooling over obese hookers. And stuff. Wouldn't be surprised if some kid turns up to drown a kittie before the end credits roll, like in 1997's Gummo, because it seems Korine hasn't lost his appetite for pissing people off. After eight years in the wilderness, two burned down houses and one lost masterpiece (which, if you believe what you read, is pretty much how Korine's life went between 1999's Julien Donkey-Boy and Mister Lonely), I guess you can't stay chipper forever.
Anyway, in honour of the lo-fi and distinctly anti-digital stylings of Trash Humpers, The Brudenell Social Club in Leeds are showing the film 'on various old school VCR's and tv's, and also on a big screen and through gig PA to provide a unique full effect audio', with a band playing afterwards. Here's the link. The event is on Tue 31st August and me and my mate Pete are dead excited about it. If you watch the trailer below, you'll get excited too. Promise.