Upcoming movies

Here are my top picks of films to see within the next few months:-

Looper: Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Rian Johnson team up once again for this futuristic thriller also starring Bruce Willis. The trailer looks as slick as Johnson’s Brick, and features a brilliant cast.

The Dark Knight Rises: the final installment of Christopher Nolan’s epic reworking of Batman. The jury is still out on the villain, Bane- it’s a tough act to follow Heath Ledger’s brilliant Joker, but the film looks visually stunning.

Lawless: As with all three of these films, the cast of Lawless is great and the screenplay based on the novel The Wettest County in the World by Matt Bondurant, is penned by Nick Cave.

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Third time not so lucky for the Men in Black

In my opinion, the third outing for Agents K and J of the Men in Black had a lot to live up to. Ten years ago we were treated to the under par sequel to the brilliant sci-fi caper starring Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones. But also this new addition to the franchise deals with the often confusing subject of time travel- with my own personal bias being the comparison between the execution of this plot line with the inimitable Back to the Future.

 
Unfortunately, as I expected, the time tangents of MIB 3 were nowhere near as polished and fluid as Zemeckis’ eponymous film. With the escape of alien criminal, Boris the Animal, from high-security Moon prison, LunarMax, Agent J (Smith) discovers that his long-time partner, K (Jones) is withholding information regarding the events leading to Boglodite Boris’ incarceration. Fearing that the criminal is back to take revenge on his partner, J “time-jumps” back to 1969 when the elusive stand-off between Boris and K occurred.
 

Here is when the plot becomes slightly ambitious and fails, in areas, to succeed- needless to say it does not affect the entertainment factor. Josh Brolin is inspired casting as the young K, even if we are supposed to suspend disbelief that he is 29 years old! We follow J, as he attempts to prevent the dire consequences of K’s altercation with the villain. Expect to be taken on a whirlwind journey to iconic events of the era such as the launch of Apollo 11 at Cape Canaveral and Andy Warhol’s ‘The Factory’. However the threads that connect the agents search for Boris- namely the alien, Griffin, who can see all possible futures- are ambiguous and certainly confusing for younger viewers. The performance of Will Smith is predictably energetic and comic as expected, Brolin  is excellent as deadpan K, and the film generally succeeds as a caper of which unfortunately suffers from unrealised ambition.

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Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows

A little review I wrote for an application:

The nation’s favourite sleuth is back for another blockbuster outing in Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows. Detective, Sherlock Holmes and his trusty aide, Dr. John Watson are drawn into the depths of nemesis, Professor James Moriarty’s crimes. The audience is led on an exhilarating journey of deceit and corruption from the streets of London, through traveller communes of France to the Reichenbach Falls in Switzerland. The second outing to Guy Ritchie’s reimagining of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s classic detective is of a similar disposition to its predecessor- an extremely entertaining caper.

Robert Downey, Jr. is fitting as Holmes- embodying Ritchie’s vision of the adventurer and deceiver perfectly. His roguish charms and eccentric portrayal is compelling to watch- with Holmes’s detective deciphering, both clinical and animalistic. This is balanced well by Jude Law’s straight-laced Watson, whose penchant for gambling and getting involved in fist-fights provide much amusement. Noomi Rapace, famed for her role as Lisbeth Salander in the Millennium trilogy of films, rounds up the heroes of the piece as French traveller, Simza. Conveying both the torture of her lost brother and defiance in the face of evil, makes her a successful acquaintance for Holmes and Watson. Perhaps the most affecting performance is Jared Harris as Moriarty. Cold, calculating and incredibly unsettling, the exchange between himself and Holmes at the close of the film is enthralling viewing. As to be expected from director, Ritchie, the film is both stark and stylish. Moriarty’s German arms factory fits the tone of its owner’s profiteering morals- bleak and disquieting. These scenes are juxtaposed with the splendour of the peace summit in Switzerland. As with the first instalment of the Sherlock Holmes series, the settings and set pieces are choreographed to great detail and costumes are both sumptuous and faithful to the era.

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Brand New at The Roundhouse- 11th February 2012

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This gig signalled my third time seeing Long Islanders, Brand New a firm favourite of mine for a few years now. They came into my life during my first year of university, a year for which any of you who have been to university will know, is a year of: tumultuous change, learning to fend for yourself in the big bad world, balancing studying and serious partying, consuming pasta daily and dealing with various amounts of mould and non-functioning appliances within your living confines. With Jesse Lacey’s raw, emotional lyrics and the band’s mix of melodious anthems and sheer pop punk songs, Brand New fast became the soundtrack to this era of my life.

As I was slightly late, misjudging how long it would take to get to Camden from Brighton, I missed the opening support act, The Xcerts. I certainly didn’t miss I Am The Avalanche, bursting onto the stage and giving my ears a definite blasting. I have been to a fair few gigs but this made me question the need for earplugs and the possible onset of tinnitus. Charismatic vocalist, Vinnie Caruana interspersed the music with witty anecdotes including the possible theft of his iPod (questionable whether it was amusing for him) which he concluded could have been left in a ‘fridge or something’. I intend to listen to them as when my ears weren’t screaming at me for the volume, they had some pretty nice melodies. As more people began to wander into the circular pit and a few proclaiming the classic ‘Oh I can’t see (insert name)! Excuse me I just need to get to my friends I’ve lost them’ whilst trailing another ten fibbers with them- it could only mean the band’s entrance was imminent. Opening with instrumental number ‘Welcome to Bangkok’, four songs from third album The Devil and God Are Raging Inside Me followed. This album dominated the setlist, unusual it may seem as recent album Daisy succeeded it but it is a fan favourite and it seems the band’s also. Highlights included, personal favourites of mine ‘Seventy Times 7’ with its cutting lyrics about betrayed friendship, ‘Soco Amaretto Lime’ an ode to being eighteen, and the hauntingly beautiful ‘Limousine (MS Rebridge)’ inspired by the accidental death of a young girl in Long Island, New York.

To anyone who hasn’t listened to Brand New it can be difficult to describe their musical style, as it changes from album to album. Debut record Your Favorite Weapon is all pop punk angst dotted with anthemic melodies on youth and that thing called love. Sophomore effort, Deja Entendu gathers comparisons to the ’emo’ genre of music, which I can see due to the subject matter of its songs, but I think it is much more than that. Lacey’s lyrics are beautiful, with every song telling a story and the overall sound of the record is matured from its predecessor. The lyrics are the one steadfast of Brand New’s repertoire. The following two albums carry this but with a darker edge. Basically, each album presents something new whilst retaining what is so residually great about the band- their knack for a brilliant and catchy melody and Jesse Lacey’s lyrical genius. 

I can’t praise the band enough they are one of the best live bands I’ve seen, always performing an intense and enthralling show. 

The setlist for the show was as follows:

Welcome to Bangkok

The Archers Bows Have Broken

Millstone

Sowing Season

Vices

Sink

Sic Transit Gloria…Glory Fades

Okay I Believe You, but My Tommy Gun Don’t

The Quiet Things That No One Ever Knows

Me vs. Maradona vs. Elvis

Jude Law and a Semester Abroad

Seventy Times 7

Soco Amaretto Lime

Limousine (MS Rebridge)

Jesus

Degausser

You Won’t Know

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February 20, 2012 · 4:18 pm

One of These Days

Ah my beloved Foo’s…here is the video for new single, These Days. Brings back memories of seeing them in July of last year at Milton Keynes…receiving tickets a few days before the concert, having to arrange a swap with another fan from halfway across the country in those few days before, not being able to see much for the whole gig whilst being showered with copious amounts of questionable liquid and then an 8 hour journey by coach in pretty much standstill traffic back to Brighton…ah! But I would do it all again, that is the love I have for these guys.

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Endless Idaho

I heard about the joint exhibition, “Unfinished” by James Franco and director Gus Van Sant in March of last year when it was showing in Los Angeles. Focusing on Van Sant’s 1991 film, My Own Private Idaho starring River Phoenix and Keanu Reeves, the exhibition featured artwork by the director and two film installations of outtakes edited by Franco. “My Own Private River” was described as Franco’s personal exploration into Phoenix’s portrayal of narcoleptic hustler, Mike Waters, using excerpts from twelve hours of footage that Van Sant accumulated during the filming process. “Endless Idaho” is as you might have guessed, the full twelve hours of unused footage. I am hopeful this exhibit may move to other cities in the future (preferably London, please!) as My Own Private Idaho is a brilliant film and River Phoenix- my favourite actor. Anyway, cutting to the chase, the reason why this has cropped up nearly a year after the exhibit, was through coming across excerpts of “Endless Idaho”. There is no dialogue throughout the scenes, purely accompanied by an instrumental score, and features unused shots, particularly focusing on the protagonist, Mike. The excerpts feature repetitions of shots, with little or no interruption from production, giving the watcher an unadulterated view into the development of character and scene, and frankly what was a masterclass in acting from River Phoenix.

Basically I had to share it because it is so captivating but enough of the analysis… here is one of the clips, and if you haven’t seen My Own Private Idaho, watch it!

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Playlist

Red Hot Chili Peppers will always have a special place in my heart- cheesy I know, but they were the first band (apart from the obligatory boy bands!) that I got into. I go in and out of listening to them, and this past week has been a bit of a Chili Peppers marathon. There are certain songs that always bring them back for me- this one especially. So here’s the amazing Soul To Squeeze– very hard to choose a favourite of theirs but this is definitely up there:

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