Archive for February, 2012

Top 40 Films Of 2011

Hours before our annual pool closes and the Oscars ceremony takes place, it’s about time to finish 2011 film review by revealing our Top 40 favourites.

Only two of the 9 Oscar nominated films have made our list, not because of the rest is any worse than other years; rather thanks to the sheer diversity of remarkable pictures released during the past 12 months; featuring among them a record 5 documentaries; 5 first features and works coming from 18 different nations.

The Rober Awards Top 40 Films of 2011 are: Read the rest of this entry »

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2011 Film Review: 10 Surprises

2011 wasn’t short of surprises; some of them small, yet hinting at better or bigger things to come. Around the world, Athina Rachel Sangari’s Attenberg’ ‘raised our hopes for of a new wave of Greek Cinema currently on its way, proving that last year acclaimed ‘Dogtooth’ was more than a one-off; Latin America gave many signs of good health (Las Acacias; Post Mortem..) and in the States notable commercial alternatives to the typical multiplex fodder included such accomplished works as Benoit Miller baseball drama ‘Moneyball’ ; JJ Abrahams recreating the spirit of teen 80’s movies in ‘Super 8’ or, on a larger scale, the rush to complete the films introducing all of Marvel’s comic Universe characters with a view to the huge all-star superhero blockbuster ‘The Avengers’ arriving this year.

But those ones counted as minor cases compared to our top 10 surprises Read the rest of this entry »

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2011 Film Review: 10 Disappointments

Before getting into the movies that made of 2012 a year to remember, let’s have a look at the dark side of the screen: those other films that didn’t live up to their expectations. On a moment when sequels, prequels and reboots of tried and tested franchises dominated more than ever the box offices, the Cineplex has never looked so boring; so we’ve made a conscientious effort to avoid them , which unfortunately make us unable to comment on the dubious delights offered by the likes of “Pirates Of The Caribbean 4” or “Transformers 3”.

We didn’t really look forward to Jodie Foster’s directorial effort ‘The Beaver’ as the idea of watching Mel Gibson resorting to ventriloquism to exorcize his demons was enough to put us off; nor to Roland Emmerich dropping a conspiracy theory into Shakespeare’s authorship in ‘Anonymous’ or for Catherine Breillat’s third foray into sexing popular children’s tales up with the über pretentious ‘Sleeping Beauty’, so not too much harm done there.

Elsewhere, a few recent efforts by normally dependable directors such as Lorne Scherfig’s romantic flop “One Day’; Steven Sorderbergh’s spy thriller ‘Haywire’; Montxo Armendariz’s parental abuse drama “Don’t Be Afraid’; Michel Gondry’s by the numbers comic adaptation of ‘The Green Hornet’ or Terence Davies adaptation of Rattigan’s play “The Long Day Closes’ weren’t entirely without merit, but none of them reached the level their authors have accustomed us to. There were, however, sadder examples… Read the rest of this entry »

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Julia Holter’s Ekstasis Gets High Again

Julia Holter, comes back to the loop’s peak position with ‘In The Same Room’, the second single from her imminent new album, ‘Ekstasis’, one of the most anticipated releases of the springtime and the one that may take Holter’s profile into the A-league of experimental chanteuses.

Burial’s new EP; Los Planetas & Lagartija Nick members’ side project Evangelistas and their tribute to the late flamenco legend Enrique Morente; plus a new track from returning veterans Lambchop are some of the standout new entries. Whereas Memoryhouse; Friends and long time silent R&B star Cassie are among the generous souls giving away some new material.

Check this week’s edition after the jump. Read the rest of this entry »

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The Loop Is Sulking With Trust

The electrogoth project formed by Austra’s drummer Maya Postepski, Trust, climbs to the top of the loop with ’Sulk’, one of the anticipating tracks of their debut. The Toronto duo was closely followed by The Men and new hip-hop sensation Schoolboy Q.

More members of notorious bands offering new projects such as Grizzly Bear’s Daniel Rossen and Fleet Foxes’ former drummer Joss Tillman with Father John Misty are among the highest entries; with Clark; Damien Jurado and Evian Christ providing the week’s free download fixes.

Check this week’s edition after the jump. Read the rest of this entry »

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2011: The Year In Film

In the past weeks’ ubiquitous end of the year reviews there seemed to be a consensus in America’s mainstream press about how poor 2011 has been for cinema. And if, driven by the rushes of the catch-me-before-deadline-if-you-can that are common during December and January, you have come to consider either ‘The Help’; ‘War Horse’; ‘Moneyball’; ‘Hugo’ or even ‘The Descendants’ as best movies of the year, you may be excused for thinking 2011 has been indeed Extremely Dull and Dangerously Bland.

From across the pond, It seems possible to have a more optimistic perspective. The aforementioned films may be seen as rather disappointing choices for accolades when the best cinema of the year was found elsewhere, but for Hollywood fare, most of those works –plus the rest in contention in this awards season- form a rather solid; finely crafted and nicely acted batch that have also helped raising the standards of an excellent 12 months in film.

In the US, small gems such as ‘Take Shelter’; ‘Martha Marcy May Marlene’ or ‘Cold Weather’ gave good signs of creative health and renewal within the country’s independent cinematography; plus the rescue of Kenneth Lonergan mind-blowingly good ‘Margaret’ after being shelved for seven years, which thanks to the online effort of its #TeamMargaret has turned into a sort of cult, getting part of the acclaim it was certainly due. Meanwhile, in Europe last year’s selection at Cannes was hailed as a vintage one, with Terrence Malick flawed, yet awe-inspiring masterpiece ‘The Tree Of Life’; ‘The Artist’ and ‘Drive’ leading a pack that also boasted very notable new offerings by a number of high profile auteurs: The Dardenne Brothers; Lars Von Trier; Lynne Ramsay; Aki Kaurismäki and Pedro Almodovar among them.

Later on, Venice showcased the divisive but well-received new films by Roman Polanski and Andrea Arnold, next to two of the year’s best: Thomas Alfredson’s adaptation of ‘Tinker Taylor Soldier Spy’ and the disturbing portrait of a sex addict in ‘Shame’, whose excellent reception unleashed rivers of ink to debate if today’s audiences are ready again for more adult and thought-provoking subjects.

Around the world, a few great movies also transcended local barriers and became international stories of success. Among them, from Iran ‘A Separation’ managed to circumvent a growing censorship that has already sent to jail or banned from filming some of the nation’s best directors (the case of Jafar Panahi, the most notorious) and gave a critical view of Today’s Iranian society wisely disguised under the shape of a family in crisis. Denouncing the drug cartel’s wide-reaching tentacles in contemporary Mexico, the bleak drama ‘Miss Bala’ was another highlight of 2012. Even darker were ‘Snowtown’, portraying the crimes of the worst serial killer in Australia’s history, or Russia’s ‘My Joy’, a frightening road trip into the heart of evil. Back in the UK, a wave of fresh talent helped to shape a very promising year, with titles such as ‘Tyrannosaur’; ‘Weekend’ and ‘Submarine’ earning unanimous raves.

Last, but not least, there was an incredibly good year for Documentaries, reinforcing the trend that has seen the genre finding its way back to theatres and regaining an adult audience tired of more infantile propositions. 2012’s crop has spoilt everyone for choice; from the excellent look at the life of Brazilian Formula 1 champion in ‘Senna’; to veteran directors such as Werner Herzog and Wim Wenders exploring the possibilities of 3D in ‘Cave Of Forgotten Dreams’ and ‘Pina’ respectively. Errol Morris funnily compelling ‘Tabloid’ criticising the role of today press in manufacturing scandal for the masses, to Carol Morley’s reconstruction of a life that passed away unnoticed in ‘Dreams Of A Life’.

During the next two weeks, until the Oscars put an end to the current Awards Season and our Film Poll closes, we’ll be giving a recap to everything 2012 delivered for film aficionados. First we’ll have a look at our biggest disappointments; then, to balance things out, we’ll check what surprised us the most, to finish counting down our Top 40 films of the year. Hope you enjoy it.

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Nicolas Jaar Storms The Roundhouse (And Tops The Loop)

Nicolas Jaar was the star of the week as he finished is world tour at the London Roundhouse to rapturous acclaim; sharing with D’Angelo the honours for live sensation of the moment, the Chilean-American electronic wunderkind impressed for his wide-reaching eclecticism on a set that ranged from intimate piano sounds to his reworks of soul classics. One of the highlights was new single, ‘And I Say”, which also features Bruce Willis’ daughter Scout Larue on vocals. It has also climbed to the top of our chart.

The returns of Malian greats Amadou & Mariam in collaboration with Santigold ; St. Etienne and Orbital also in collaboration with another female vocalist, nu-goth star Zola Jesus , are some of the most notable entries; alongside brand new downloads from A$ap Rocky and lo-fi rebel hip-hop female duo THEESatisfaction.

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Rober Awards 2011 Music : Winners’ List

…And The Winners Are: Read the rest of this entry »

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Leonard Cohen’s Old Ideas Still Relevant

On an release-wise unusually boring January, the return of Leonard Cohen has unexpectedly become the most exciting thing the record industry got on offer, unless you really dig Lana Del Rey’s album. The veteran writer, who recently came to London for a record presentation where Jarvis Cocker led a funny interview, has crafted his stronger collection since ‘I’m Your Man’ and ‘Come Healing’, one of Old Ideas’ standout tracks, tops the current edition of the loop.

Among the entries of the week we can find the latest offerings by Ladyhawke, Grizzly Bear’s Daniel Rossen ; The Men and Greg Dulli whom, fresh from announcing a comeback tour with The Afghan Whigs, is one of the chosen artists to cover a selection of (again) Leonard Cohen’s classics in the video series ‘Old Ideas By New Friends’ alongside Cults, Bradford Cox; New Pornographer A.C. Newman; etc.

Check this week’s edition after the jump. Read the rest of this entry »

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