Archive for November, 2012

Autre Ne Veut Last Number One Of 2012

On the last edition of 2012, before we begin the end of the year’s review, alt-R&B purveyor Autre Ne Veut gets the number one position after joining Daniel Lopatin’s imprint with ‘Counting’, a taste of his anticipated second album.

Among the new entries, Big Boi, who’ll be the latest high profile album release of the year ; clear award candidates Chromatics with another track from the second volume of Italians Do It Better’s celebrated compilation ‘After Dark’ and what’s rumoured to be the farewell song by British groundbreakers Wu Lyf .

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It’s Kendrick Lamar Again!!

Another week, another Kendrick Lamar track heads the loop, reassuring “good kid Madd City” status as strong candidate for album of the year. This time is record’s standout ‘Backseat Freestyle’ replacing ‘good kid’ at the top.

The penultimate edition of our chart before giving way to our best of 2012 review sees another strong awards contender, Fiona Apple, debuting high with the soundtrack of Judd Apatow’s new comedy ‘This Is Forty’. The Evens; Solange and Nicolas Jaar have also delivered brand new songs.

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Amour Is Our Film Of The Week

Our recommended film this week couldn’t be other than Michael Haneke’s Palm D’Or winner ‘Amour’, which has been piling up five star reviews since it deservedly won Cannes film festival’s top honour for the second time in the director’s career.

From sexual frustration to the origins of fascism, Haneke has proven to be a master in thought-provoking explorations of mankind’s darkest side. In “Amour” ★★★★★ he reaches a more personal note with a reflection on how to deal with the suffering of a loved one. In carefully intimate detail we are introduced to the life of an elderly couple, magnificently played by French veterans Jean-Louis Trintignant and Emmanuelle Riva, enjoying their golden years comfortably after a lifetime of companionship. When the former classical music teacher suffers a minor stroke, the couple begins to endure her progressively deteriorating situation, prompting her husband to look after her at home. We see them closing down to the world, afraid of showing the indignities of her regressive state; even preventing the visits of her daughter –Isabelle Huppert -, whose role represents the way our society hides these matters away.

“Amour” already stands out in the career of an essential filmmaker as his most compassionate and affecting work yet; one that perfectly avoids both sentimentality and miserabilism in its heart-breaking, yet life-affirming portrayal of the ultimate sacrifice that comes with unconditional love. Much more could be said about Trintignant & Riva’s unforgettable expressions of dignity on coping with a degenerative illness; or the role played by music, namely some of Schubert’s opuses, helping to create the film’s perfectly balanced emotional tone. With the word masterpiece being profusely -and fairly- dropped to describe it, as the award season is about to reveal the critic’s favourites more accolades will follow. In the meantime, do yourself a favour! Go see ”Amour”!.

With no more new entries hitting our top 20; this edition sees other critical favourite “The Master” back to number 2 as the film finished its exclusive 70mm presentation in just a London theatre and went on general release.

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good kid Kendrick Is Back To #1

It’s Kendrick Lamar craze in the newest edition of our loop as “good kid” brings him back on top of our chart, while his fantastic new album keep on collecting rave reviews from everyone; even Lady Gaga has jumped into the unstoppable Lamar train adding vocals to a remix of “Bitch, Don’t Kill My Vibe”, also one of the highest new entries.

The return of alt-R&B extraordinaire Autre Ne Veut, having joined the ranks of Daniel Lopatin’s Software label, is the highest debut followed by long awaited new work from Scott Walker; Big Boi or Veronica Falls; plus some tracks off a fresh new batch of mixtapes by the likes of Charli XCX; Mykki Bianco and Larry Gus.

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Film Of The Week: Alps

Another great week for moviegoers thanks to a fresh batch of not-to-be-missed new releases ready to spoil for choice both mainstream and arthouse audiences. Among them, the one we liked the most -by a very narrow margin- is young Greek director Giorgios Lanthimos’ third feature ‘Alps’★★★★ . The follow-up to his Oscar nominated “Dogtooth” preserves all the elements that made its predecessor such an international success, establishing Lanthimos as one of the most unique voices in contemporary European cinema. ‘Alps’ is the name of a group comprised of four peculiar characters: the paramedic who manages it; a nurse; a gymnast and her coach. Altogether they offer bereaved families a service to replace their lost ones for some time, making their suffering more bearable. Trouble arises as one of them becomes too emotionally involved. A reflection on the ways we deal with death; ‘Alps’ is another impressive piece of work reminiscent on his minimalism of some Dogma films such as Lars Von Triers ‘The Idiots’.

And if Greece gets the gold, the USA and Great Britain share the silver. The latter with one of the most accomplished debuts of the year and the former thanks to what’s already been hailed as the film to beat at this year’s Oscar race, “Argo” ★★★&#9733. Based on true events whose documents were recently declassified by the CIA, Ben Affleck’s excellent third feature takes us back to the Iranian hostage crisis of 1979, when the American Embassy was raided and their delegates kidnapped in the midst of a popular revolutionary upsurge. A few managed to leave and hide in the Canadian ambassador’s home. Knowing their lives were endangered, the US government faked the shooting of a Hollywood sci-fi film as a cover-up for their rescue operation. Perfectly recreating the times, this gripping thriller nicely tones down towards comedy whenever the action moves from Iran to the rushed preparation of the fictitious Sci-Fi production. Affleck’s flawless directorial career to date is already earning him comparisons to Clint Eastwood, both having proved to be much better behind the camera.

On British shores, ‘My Brother The Devil’ ★★★&#9733 takes a look at the relationship between two young siblings of Egyptian descent, growing up in one of Hackney’s rough council states. It successfully transcends the drugs and gang clichés of the genre by throwing in the sexual identity issues of his main character, whose life as part of a gang of dealers leads to an escalating feud with a rival gang. Keeping an eye on his family, he tries to delay his impressionable younger sibling to join in that violence-ridden world. Sally El Hosaini gets superb performances from its two lead actors, supported by La Haine’s star Saïd Taghmaoui and backed by a cast of mostly non-professional neighbours, whom opened the doors to their homes adding a feel of authenticity to this complex and beautifully observed debut that’s piling up awards in festivals around the globe.

Other excellent new releases are ‘The Sapphires’,a crowd pleasing comedy with Chris O’Down as the improvised manager of an aboriginal Aussie girl band embarking on a tour to entertain the US troops in Vietnam; or Romanian auteur Christi Puiu as impressive as overlong new feature ‘Aurora’.

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Local Natives Break Into The Loop

Topping our loop this week, rising indie band from Los Angeles Local Natives, amply confirm themselves worthy of the acclaim their debut generated a couple of years ago.‘Breakers’, the notable first taster from their second album ‘Hummingbird’, scheduled for release in the first weeks of the new year.

A good edition for alternative R&B, Ryan Hemsworth remix of one of the tracks in the excellent mixtape by Jeremih, ‘Late night with Jeremih..” heads a contingent of new entries that also features new offerings by The Weeknd; Joey Bada$$ and Jessie Ware & Benzel covering Brownstone’s 90’s classic ‘If You Love Me’.

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Films Of The Week: The Master and Rust & Bone

Typically during the autumn season, most of the year’s greatest films begin queuing for release, cramming our theatres and making it difficult to catch them all. This week once again two films deservedly share our pick for film of the week.

First of them is “The Master” ★★★★½, Paul Thomas Anderson’s follow-up to “There Will Be Blood” which during the recent Venice film festival scooped the gongs for best director and actor (shared by both its leads) but controversially lost best picture, due to the festival’s rules not to reward the same film with all major prizes, to Korean author Kim Ki-Duk ‘s not so well received ‘Pieta’.

“The Master” is another portentous recreation of American history, loosely based in the origins of L Ron Hubbard’s Scientology, a subject that was always going to generate an extra amount of public interest , told through the relationship of two opposite characters: a drunk ex-sailor – superb physical performance by Joaquin Phoenix- irreparably traumatized after World War II , drifting from job to job until he meets the leader of a new philosophy – Hoffman, who also nails his role’s inner debate between charismatic grandeur and doubtful hoax – claiming to relieve all mental afflictions, who rapidly welcomes him as a perfect case to put teachings into practice. Technically impressive; shot to be projected in 70mm; boasting fantastic cinematography and a disturbing score composed by Radiohead’s Johnny Greenwood, repeating his collaboration on musical duties. Anderson raises many questions about the opposite, yet mutually feeding natures of master and disciple; religion versus cult and the way psychology and self-help theories have helped shaping our lives, but leaves most of them unanswered, which if doesn’t help The Master on its ambition to be the best movie of the year, certainly makes it one of the most thought-provoking.

Our second film of the week is another festival circuit favourite, recently won the best film award at the LFF, making his director Jacques Audiard the first on winning the accolade twice in the short story of the event’s competition – his former masterpiece ‘A Prophet’ granted him the first victory. ‘Rust & Bone’ ★★★★ freely adapts Canadian writer Craig Davidson’s short stories and allows Audiard to keep on exploring the marginal worlds of modern society, this time through the brutal love story of a security guard, father of a five year old kid, trying to get out of a rough patch in life by reviving his career as a fighter, with the whale trainer in a sea world resort who loses both legs in a work accident shortly after they met. The sleazy underworld of illegal combats juxtaposes with the depressing one of hospitals and coping with disability, adding a dose of terrible realism to the couple’s against the odds loving bond, brought to life by Marion Cotillard and Matthias Schoenarts’ deeply affecting performances.

Other interesting new releases this week are the British classic ‘It always rains on Sunday”, heralding BFI’s “Ealing: Light & Dark” season dedicated to the history of the much loved British film studio and life-affirming documentary “Call Me Kuchu”, raising awareness against Uganda’s draconian laws prosecuting gay people and paying tribute to the tragic, yet inspiring life of the country’s first openly gay activist, David Kato.

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Angel Haze Werks Her Way To The Loop

Michigan rapper Angel Haze, one of the main figures from a new batch of female hip-hop acts bound to shake the structures of the genre in 2013, reaches this week’s peak position with ‘Werkin’ Girls’, another standout track taken from her ‘New York EP’debut.

Kendrick Lamar breaks into our chart again on the wake of the acclaim earned by his latest opus, ahead of such strong new entries as the latest from Jon Talabot & Pional; Swans Feat. Karen O; Crystal Castles and Girls’ lead singer Christopher Owens unveiling ‘Lyssandre’, his first solo project.

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