Archive for February, 2013

2012 The Year In Film: Top 50 Best Pictures I: 50-26

50-LOOPER (Rian Johnson)

This excellent example of high concept sci-fi is one of the best works the much maligned genre has offered for quite a while. Set in a near dystopian future when a shady business of time travelling hitmen is booming; to avoid legal troubles, after a number of years every one of them is sent to kill his future self. A disturbingly puffy-faced Jonathan Gordon-Levitt discovers his older version in Bruce Willis and rebels against his fate. Great fun! Read the rest of this entry »

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Toro Y Moi Has His Cake And EatsIt

Chazwick Bradley Bundick, under his better known artistic moniker Toro Y Moi heads this week’s edition of the loop with ‘Cake’, our favourite track in his third album ‘Anything Can Happen’.

Another cut from My Bloody Valentine‘s long awaited third album is the highest entry, followed closely by the surprising collaboration between Kylie Minogue & Múm and the return of French favourites Phoenix. Polly Scattergood; araabMUZIK and Alabama Shakes brought the freebies.

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Rober Awards Film 2012: And The Winners Are…

★ BEST PICTURE

Poll Winner: ARGO (33%, 188 Votes)

Runners up: DJANGO UNCHAINED (21%, 118 Votes) / AMOUR (12%, 68 Votes)

Rober Award: AMOUR

★ BEST DIRECTOR

Poll Winner: QUENTIN TARANTINO-Django Unchained (46%, 211 Votes)

Runners-up: MICHAEL HANEKE-Amour (15%, 70 Votes) / KATHRYN BIGELOW-Zero Dark Thirty (14%, 63 Votes)

Rober Award: LEOS CARAX-Holy Motors

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2012 The Year In Film: 10 Surprises

A good year for cinema is usually a year full of surprises and 2012 offered good ones aplenty. Among them, writers such as Stephen Chbosky adapting his own best-selling rites of passage novel ‘The Perks Of Being A Wallflower’; actresses who also delivered the goods as screenplay writers (Zoe Kazan with ‘Ruby Sparks’) or directors (Julie Delpy in the hilarious comedy ‘Two Days In New York’); from the Australian feel-good treat ‘The Sapphires’, showing Chris O’Down as the shabby manager of a native girl band playing for the US troops in Vietnam; to the darker corners of South Africa with a study on repressed homosexuality in ‘Beauty’ or the explosion of Scandinavian noir, not only on television, but also in cinemas with more successful adaptations such as Jo Nesbø’s ‘Headhunters’.

The arthouse scene provided the long awaited return to form of Robert Guedeguian, who brought his usual acting troupe once again for another blend of humane comedy and working class leftie politics in ‘The Snows Of Kilimanjaro’; Christi Puiu took his time to follow up is multi-awarded ‘Death Of Mr. Lazarescu’ with the formally impressive yet patience challenging ‘Aurora’ and the umpteenth register change in Michael Winterbottom’s career with a simple experimental drama, shot over five years to portrait the impact that a dad in prison had in the lives of his family.

Genre films were another strong source of joy with the superb martial arts feast of ‘The Ride’; the clever dissection of trickery used by horror movies in ‘The Cabin Of The Woods’; the larger than life sci-fi epic ‘Cloud Atlas’, in which the Wachowskis and Tom Twyker aided by a starry cast faithfully recreatef a story without such time boundaries as past, present and future; the lightly politically-tinted literary saga of ‘The Hunger Games’, hugely successful and a worthier teen proposition than the finishing Twilight franchise; the superb reconstruction of the recent tsunami tragedy in ‘The Impossible’ or the impressively restrained existential fight between man and nature in ‘The Grey’.

Any of them would have proudly featured among our Top 10 surprises any other year. In 2012, though, there were some bigger ones. Read the rest of this entry »

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2012 The Year In Film: 10 Disappointments

As it has been our tradition for the last few years, before unveiling our favourite films of 2012, we’ll venture briefly into the dark side for a quick recap of those which disappointed us the most.

Last year’s hall of shame should feature such cinematic horrors as ‘The Devil Inside’; ‘This Means War’; ‘That’s My Boy’; ‘What To Expect When You’re Expecting’; ‘The Watch’; ‘Battleship’ or ‘The Lucky One’. Those who were brave enough to watch any of them are still telling frightening stories.

For our money the worst film of the year, probably of many years, was Noel Clarke and his mates’ take on the wedding comedy subgenre in ‘The Knot’. Deeply unfunny; clumsily told and cliché ridden it was by far the most painful experience to be had in a theatre near you during the last twelve months. Not a good year for wedding related films, following it closely another so-called comedy, ‘A Few Best Men’, saw a bunch of British lads at their grossest embarking on a trip to Australia for one of the friends’ nuptial ceremony. Its standout moment was Olivia Newton-John snorting coke. Hilarious! Plan B debuted as a director with his multidisciplinary latest proyect ‘Ill Manors’ and kept on trying to become an actor in the ill-fated remake of ‘The Sweeney’; both better forgotten.

But we didn’t expect much of any of the aforementioned titles, so no harm done. In more reputable waters, the latest works from Stephen Frears ‘Lay The Favourite’; Fernando Meirelles ‘360’, Zhang Yimou ‘The Flowers Of Evil’ and Tim Burton’s non animated project of the year ‘Dark Shadows’ all tanked creatively and in the box office, but managed to remain bubbling under the list of our biggest disappointments, which goes as follows: Read the rest of this entry »

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James Blake Turns The Loop Retrograde

The loop welcomes back on top to Rober Award winner Brit James Blake. His unique blend of vocal warmth and chilled electronica has produced another gem with ‘Retrograde’, an instantly winning tune that precedes his second album ‘Overgrown’, to be released on April 8th.

Youth Lagoon and Julianna Barwick are the highest new entries, alongside new efforts by the likes of Actress; Kurt Vile; Justin Timberlake and the first track anticipating the reformation of The Postal Service, likely to become one of the maximum attractions of this year’s festival circuit.

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Film Of The Week: ‘Mea Maxima Culpa – Silence In The House Of God’ ★★★★½

Our film of the week this time is the extraordinary “Mea Maxima Culpa: Silence In The House Of God’★★★★½, with which veteran director Alex Gibney re-establishes himself as one of the best documentary makers in the world, already counting on his CV with such renowned works as “Enron: The Smartest Guys In The Room’ or ‘Taxi To The Dark Side’.

Timely released coinciding with the Pope’s rare historical resignation, prompted partly by the shame brought by the subject of this work, the scandalous stories of children’s sexually abused by Catholic Priests, for which the policy of the institution through the years has been one of covering up; avoid scandal and protect the involved priests, showing little compassion for the needs of the victims. Read the rest of this entry »

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#BestOf2012: The Year In Film

With all the Oscar contenders finally in our theatres and having already seen the good, the bad and the ugly among them, the time has come for our annual recap of the last twelve months in film. From Today and until the Oscars ceremony officially puts an end to the awards season we will be taking a look at this fantastic year for movies, beginning by venturing into the dark side for a quick glance at the biggest disappointments of 2012; followed by the nicest surprises and finishing with our Top 50 favourite films.

2012 was a year of two very different halves. The first one was marked by the Olympic Games stealing everything else’s thunder and prompting a rather lacklustre selection of titles available; with distributors afraid of competing with the event of the year. Then, the second half brought an embarrassment of riches, when all the titles left on hold were finally released, rapidly followed by those in contention for award recognition, which this season were of a superior quality. Read the rest of this entry »

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The Loop Falls Victim Of A Scam

Our weekly review of favourite tracks is topped this time by little known weird pop collective Blanche Blanche Blanche and their Hanna-Barbera meets Suicide collaboration with The Birds Of Paradise “Scam’. They have managed to prevent The Knife’s latest from reaching peak position.

The strongest new entries on this edition are two exceptional returns by My Bloody Valentine and James Blake with new efforts by Chvrches; Toro Y Moi; Depeche Mode and John Grant also debuting. The collaboration between female alt greats Thao & The Get Down Stay Down and Joanna Newson is another highlight among them.

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Film Of The Week: No ★★★★★

With February the last of the award season contenders arrived, Hitchcock ★★½ and Flight ★★½ have finally reached British shores with their huge promotional display. However those big Hollywood productions are overshadowed by three smaller films that can easily be considered among the best of the year. Having to choose one of them, by a very narrow margin, ‘No’ ★★★★★ is our recommended film of the past fortnight.

Pablo Larraín’s final instalment of his recent Chilean history trilogy is also his finest. Lightening the tone from the grim sleaze of his debut ‘Tony Manero’ or the sombre ‘Post Mortem’, the director has chosen a feel-good comedy for his account of the elections that put an end to Pinochet’s bloody regime, after the dictator driven by growing international pressure agreed to a democratic referendum for the Chileans to decide if they wanted him to stay in power.

The depiction of those events, told from the point of view of the advertising creative who shaped the campaign for the negative vote, is incredibly engaging and works in many different levels; as a comedy; as a political thriller and as a thoroughly researched narration of recent history. Visually the clever mix of techniques makes the film even more rewarding. Some of it, shot imitating the typical eighties image coming from video tapes; plus real and faux documentary footage and commercials. Gael Garcia Bernal brings the star power needed to ease its way for international audiences. Nominated for the Foreign Language Oscar and four Rober Awards, including best picture; ‘No’ is not be missed.

Fierce competition in the arthouse scene comes this week from Japan and Hirokazu Koreeda’s charming urban children’s story ‘I Wish’★★★★½. Read the rest of this entry »

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From Ex Cops To Loop Tops

Brooklyn’s boy-girl duo Ex Cops head this week’s loop with their finely crafted catchy melodies. Formed by ex-members of Hymns and Minks respectively, ‘James’ is the standout track from their debut ‘True Hallucinations’.

In another massive week for new entries retro-infused Californian duo Foxygen is the highest, with new efforts by Wire; Watxahatchee; Shugo Tokumaru; Teleman; and the surprising collaborations between A$ap Rocky and, ehem, Skrillex and Adam Green & Binki Shapiro also faring well. Among the artists returning to the spotlight, trip-hop’s one hit wonder Nicolette and José González side band Junip.

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Listen To The New My Bloody Valentine Record At Last!

My Bloody Valentine shocked the music world last night by releasing through the band’s brand new website their first album since 1991’s ‘Loveless’. Named simply ‘MBV’, recorded analogically and taking the band back to the point where they left it more than two decades ago, fans reactions were ecstatic as first impression is that of a total triumph.The website collapsed for hours due to heavy demand but it’s properly up and running now.

The band, also beginning an International tour that will take them among other destinations to Barcelona’s Primavera Sound festival, has made available to stream all the new songs through TheOfficialMVB YouTube channel. Welcome back!!

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