Get On Up: A Tribute To James Brown’s Legacy

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It was just a matter of time for the life one of the greatest legends of American popular music to be taken to the big screen. The Godfather of Soul’s rags to riches life story was not easy to convey, as it contains more drama than an entire TV series and relates to a wide range of politically, historically and socially influential events happening all over the 20th century, but the moment has arrived and James Brown has finally got a biopic that above all celebrates his musical legacy.

Get On Up’s winning card is its lead actor, choosing a not-so popular Chadwick Boseman who just had his big jump from TV series to film with another biography, 42, playing baseball star Jackie Robinson, was a risk that’s paid off well. Boseman is electrifying as Brown, nailing his sexually-charged stage moves; larger than life persona as well as his physical transformations through the years. His accomplished rendition recalls James Foxx’s equally excellent, Oscar winning turn as Ray Charles. The young star’s breakthrough role hasn’t gone unnoticed, granting him a place in the already packed Marvel’s Universe for a forthcoming adaptation of the Black Panther comic. Read the rest of this entry »

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What We Do In The Shadows: Kiwi Vampire Fun

What We Do in the Shadows, Sundance Film Festival 2014

After years of an extraordinary rebirth in popular culture that has seen the vampire figure invading our screens, big and small; from the young adult-oriented Twilight saga to animated family films such as Hotel Transylvania; TV series like True Blood or such critically acclaimed arthouse works as ‘Let the right one in’ or Jim Jarmusch’s ‘Only lovers left alive’, the ubiquity of this classic horror creatures is now close to saturation point.

Last thing we could have expected then is for a deadpan comic approach to help relieving our fatigue, but that’s what Kiwi actors/directors Taika Waititi and Jermaine Clement, one half of the celebrated comedy band Flight Of the Conchords, have achieved with this mockumentary about the everyday life of a vampire household in Wellington, their immortal habits crashing with the pitfalls of modern living as the source of its jokes. Read the rest of this entry »

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LoneLady Grooves Our Loop Out

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Almost five year since her promising debut album, Mancunian multidisciplinary artist LoneLady returns with a vengeance, in the shape of her brand new, highly danceable and totally cool track ‘Groove It Out’, which reaches the top position on the latest edition of our loop.

Ekkah is the strongest debut on a week that also sees new offerings by Ariel Pink; Azelia Banks; Nas; Daddy, the Smiths inspired band formed by the ubiquitous James Franco, which counts with Jim O’Rourke blessings and a star studded collaboration between Stromae; HAIM; Q-Tip; Pusha T and Lorde taken from the kiwi star curated soundtrack of ‘The Hunger Games: Mockinjay”.

Check the new loop here: Read the rest of this entry »

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Leviathan: Russian Epic Of Biblical Proportions

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Released last week, at the same time Christopher Nolan almost set up the standard for modern blockbusters with Interstellar, Russian helmer Andrey Zvyagintsev is arguably doing the same for the arthouse film with Leviathan, an ambitious tale about the impossible battle of honest man versus corrupt state, boasting a lacerating view of contemporary Russia; imbued with symbolism; laced with dark humour and drowned in vodka. Read the rest of this entry »

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The Drop: Farewell To Gandolfini With Fine Crime Drama

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In the last decade Denis Lehane has consolidated himself as the go-to writer when American directors look for superior crime stories. Clint Eastwood took his Mystic River to the big screen, so did Scorsese with Shutter Island and Ben Affleck with Gone, Baby, Gone. This time Lehane adapts his own short story for Michaël R. Roskam’s first English language film, the follow-up to his Oscar nominated debut ‘Bullhead’. The Belgian director successfully changes the illegal hormone trade in his country’s underworld for mean Brooklyn streets populated by small time crooks under the rule of Eastern European mafia. Read the rest of this entry »

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The Loop Dances With Black Ballerina

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Ariel Pink keeps on building up anticipation for his new album “Pom Pom”. The first two tracks released from the record have both now topped our loop. This week’s favourite track is the very 80′s sounding ‘Black Ballerina’.

Highest debut on this edition is LoneLady with other strong entries by Natalie Prass; Alex Calder; Father John Misty; The Dodos and a lost Burial track just recovered for his label’s compilation series.

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Interstellar: An Imaginary Soundtrack

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So Interstellar finally arrived, and it was EVERY BIT the grandiose, epic, exhilarating to the point of exhaustion space travel blockbuster we were promised. It’s also quickly establishing itself as the most divisive movie of the season. Flawed perhaps, many elements of its storyline would struggle to pass logical scrutiny, but hey! That’s the fiction part in science-fiction and, to Christopher Nolan’s credit, somehow as a whole it manages to be far more than the sum of its parts.

Reviewing it in a manner that doesn’t spoil its many twists would be a nearly impossible task, so we thought an original way to expose our thoughts would be to compile an imaginary soundtrack packed with hits, like the ones big summer movies from the 80s used to complement their scores with, which in this case would have been of help to balance Hans Zimmer’s rousing work; so loudly trying to keep you on the edge that during certain scenes it even renders the dialogue inaudible. Read the rest of this entry »

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The Skeleton Twins & Say When: Double Dose Of US Indie

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Two acclaimed US Indies, The Skeleton Twins and Say When, are hitting our screens this week. Both are Sundance alumni, benefit from a notable cast and mix elements of drama and comedy to heart-warming result. For those willing to take the pulse of the current American independent filmmaking they would make a perfect double bill.

Best of the two is “The Skeleton Twins” (a title that feels like a euphemism for “Suicidal twins”), whose principal attractive is to be an acting showcase for well-known comedians getting out of their comfort zones and dusting their dramatic chops. Read the rest of this entry »

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Run The Jewels Back To #1

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A week after they gave away a second album that’s just as explosive as the first one, Run The Jewels return to the top of our loop teaming up with Zack De La Rocha in the excellent ‘Close Your Eyes (And Count To Fuck)”.

On a quieter week on the new entries front, Tonik Ensemble is the highest debut, followed by new tracks by Objekt; FKA Twigs; Grouper; Belle & Sebastian and The Chemical Brothers‘ collaboration with Miguel for the Lorde-curated soundtrack of The Hunger Games latest installment.

Check the new loop here: Read the rest of this entry »

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Nightcrawler: The Jake Gyllenhaal Creep Show

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Lou Bloom is a man desperate for a second chance in life; out of work and resorting to petty crime to get by, no job would be too small and no negative too harsh to defeat his purpose. A casual encounter with freelance journalists shooting a car crash shows him the way to the sleazy world of local TV news and its no holds barred, constant search for sensationalist footage. After veteran news editor Nina notices his unscrupulous potential and tips him on what works best for her audience – namely crimes in affluent areas – Lou hits the road, armed solely with a scanner to listen to police transmissions and helped by his newly recruited assistant shouting GPS directions, aiming to reach the scenes of crimes first and sneak around for the most exclusive material. Arriving before the police to a house where a triple homicide has just been committed will change his luck. Read the rest of this entry »

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Mr. Turner: Masterful Portrait Of A Master

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For a second time on his career, Mike Leigh has put on hold his superbly observed everyday stories to depict the work of an artist from the Victorian-era, fifteen years after delivering his take on the world of comic opera writers Gilbert and Sullivan in ‘Topsy Turvy’ to great critical acclaim. This time he focuses in the life and artistic achievements of one of the most influential British masters, J.M.W. Turner, with extraordinary results. Wisely avoiding the traps of conventional biopics, where the obsession for an accurate chronological timeline often comes at the expense of making their subjects and those characters surrounding them believable as people, ‘Mr. Turner’ focuses in the last quarter of the painter’s life, a period where his art became more radical and his life more interesting. Read the rest of this entry »

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Caribou & Jessy Lanza Get A Second Chance

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Caribou teamed up with Jessy Lanza for one of his latest album’s standout moments, Second Chance, which indeed has given the electronica master from Ontario a second chart-topper this year in our loop.

Clarence Clarity is the week’s highest entry, right above latest offerings by strong favourites such as Ariel Pink; Panda Bear; Scott Walker & SunnO))) and the long awaited return of grunge era’s best female chick trio, Sleater-Kinney, whom not only have just released an anthology box-set, but are also back together with a new album and tour in 2015.

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Communions New #1 In The Loop

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The new Danish music scene is increasingly exporting talent to the world. After the success of Lower or Iceage, it’s now the turn of Communions, whose britpop-tastic single “So Long Sun” takes over our loop this week.

Parkay Quarts, Parquet Courts americana alter-ego, is the highest debut, followed by new tracks by Leon Bridges; Viet Cong; Matias Aguayo and Caribou teaming up with Jessy Lanza in one of his latest album standout tracks.

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’71: An Excellent British Thriller

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On a particularly strong year for British film, ’71 marks the arrival of a huge talent who has crafted one of the most impressive first features of the year. Yann Demange’s career to date was developed in TV, with directorial credits for episodes in such popular series as Top Boy or Criminal Justice packing his CV. Demange has jumped now to the big screen with this impossibly tense, edge of the seat thriller.

71’ takes us back to the time where sectarian violence was exploding in the streets of Belfast, Read the rest of this entry »

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