Archive for October, 2015

Retro-Loop: Songs From The London Film Festival

BILLIE HOLIDAY

The section in which we remember our favourite not new music is dedicated this week to the, still warm, musical memories brought by the films shown at the London Film Festival.

A fantastic programme comprising around 240 films was always going to be a good occasion for soundtracks to shine and this year has been no exception. Excellent work from Nicolas Jaar in Jacques Audiard’ Cannes Palm D’or winner ‘Dheepan’; Nils Frahm in the German thriller ‘Victoria’; Junkie XL adding a touch of the contemporary to gangster biopic ‘Black Mass’; Carter Burwell evocative score for ‘Carol’ or Michael Brook’s charming work in “Brooklyn” stood out; all of which new and soon to be getting the attention they deserve.

Among the songs from the past rescued by this year’s films we found terrific renditions of such classics as the Rolling Stones ‘Emotional Rescue’ by Ralph Fiennes in “A Bigger Splash’; Olivia Colman & Garry Mountaine in a deadpan karaoke performance of Gene Pitney’s ‘Something’s gotten hold of my heart’ for ‘The Lobster’ or Jennifer Jason Leigh doing an acoustic take in English and Italian of Cyndi Lauper’s ‘Girls just want to have fun’ as part of Charlie Kauffman’s animated masterpiece ‘Anomalisa’, this edition’s surprise film.

Elsewhere songs by Billie Holiday; Mark Kozelek; The Fall; Tindersticks; Dead Kennedys ; Sparks or Songhoy Blues, as well as a terrific, yet to be released cover of Abba’s ‘S.O.S’ by Bristol finest Portishead, also grabbed our attention.

Check our brand (not) new, cinematic retro loop here Read the rest of this entry »

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The Loop Gets Glitzy With Neon Indian

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Neon Indian is back on top of the loop with the irresistibly danceable ‘The Glitzy Hive’, the third loop-topper from his terrific new album, the Suicide tribute-titled “VEGA INTL. Night School’.

The Long awaited return of Savages, ‘The Answer’, is the highest entry, next to brand new tracks by Oneohtrix Point Never; Nao; Shearwater; Chairlift; Sufjan Stevens; Porches; Shopping; The Bug; Vanessa Carlton; Junior Boys; Jeezy feat. Janelle Monáe; Merchandise with Dum Dum Girls and the fusion jazz surprise collaboration of the year, the legendary Bobby Caldwell & Jack Splash under the moniker Cool Uncle, featuring Jessie Ware‘s silky vocals.

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Erykah Badu Blings The Loop Up

ErykahBaduHotline

Back from our ‪London Film Festival‬ hiatus, our loop returns with Erykah Badu at the top. The soulful diva has completely reworked one of Drake’s latest smashes, ‘Hotline Bling’. Her “(But You Caint Use My Phone Mix)” widely improves on an already excellent, Flash & The Pan sampling original, which a few weeks ago came also close to top our chart.

Highest entry of the week is Baltimore’s favourites Beach House with one of the standout tracks from their surprise new album, ‘Thank Your Lucky Stars’, their second in as many months. Also new, the latest tracks from Eleanor Friedberger; Deerhunter; Sophie; Majical Cloudz; Mark Kozelek; Tinashe; Hype Williams; Shackleton; Operator Music Band and a colaboration between classically trained maestros Ólafur Arnalds & Nils Frahm.

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What To Watch At The #LFF This Weekend

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While we’re still recovering from last night’s excellent surprise film, Charlie Kaufman and Duke Johnson’s animated marvel ‘Anomalisa’, the festival reaches its last two days. After a week that has brought such highlights as Laurie Anderson’s documentary ‘Heart of a Dog’, a life-affirming meditation on death and existence, and her insightful conversation with Brian Eno, part of the LFF Connects events; Miguel Gomes ambitious ‘Arabian Nights’ trilogy, loosely taking structure and ideas from the classic Middle-Eastern folk opus ‘1001 Nights’ and adapting it to Portugal today in a portrait of the multiple anonymous stories left by an austerity stricken post-financial crisis country or the SXSW winner ‘Krisha’ and its startling study of the devastating effects of addition set against the backdrop of a Thanksgiving big family reunion. Reviews for all of which are coming soon.

Whether you want to carry exploring this year’s excellent programme or just don’t want to let the festival finish without having had a taste, there’s still plenty to choose from. Beyond the obvious “begging, borrowing or stealing” to get a ticket for its sold out closing gala, Danny Boyle’s ‘Steve Jobs’ biopic, starring Michael Fassbender in an Oscar-tipped performance. Here’s a few recommendations from what we’ve already seen and a few more from the titles we are still eagerly anticipating, paired as suitable double bills to help you make the most of your festival experience: Read the rest of this entry »

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#LFF Recommended: Carol (Todd Haynes)

CAROL_shop counter

The festival Galas are normally reserved for those titles able to balance a prestigious facture with the star power needed for red carpet glamour. The ones this year have excelled at their purpose.

Our favourite among them has to be ‘Carol’, Todd Haynes’ return to old-fashioned melodrama adapting Patricia Highsmith’s novel ‘The Price Of Salt’. The notorious thrillers writer published it under an alias, afraid perhaps of the scandal to be caused for dealing with a lesbian relationship in a positive light, defying the convictions of the 1950’s. Read the rest of this entry »

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#LFF Recommended: Evolution (Lucile Hadžihalilović)

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As the festival goes on, its official competition has delivered a another strong contender for this year’s prize with Lucile Hadžihalilović’s beautifully disturbing second feature, ‘Evolution’.

Those who never saw Hadžihalilović’s 2004 debut, ‘Innocence’, are likely to find in her second work a total revelation. Read the rest of this entry »

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Joanna Newsom Leaves City For Loop

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The second taster from Joanna Newsom‘s highly anticipated new album ‘Divers’ is our top track this week in a delayed edition due to our coverage of the London Film Festival. ‘Leaving the City’ comes with the news of a world tour that will bring the songwriter to our city in November.

Atlanta’s rocker girls The Coathangers are the highest debut. Next to them, the newest tracks by Run The Jewels; Little Simz; Neon Indian; Nicolas jaar; Carla Morrison; the returns of Tortoise and Annie; an unheard Kurt Cobain track, plus the unexpected collaborations of Jesu with Sun Kil moon and Christine & The Queens with Perfume Genius.

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#LFF Day 4: Guy Maddin Connects; A Romanian Western and a Cannes Masterpiece

THE FORBIDDEN ROOM_how to take a bath

The fourth day of festival’s personal highlight was Guy Maddin, fresh from leaving London audiences in awe with the IMAX screening of his latest feature ‘The Forbidden Room’ (review here), in conversation with festival director Clare Stewart as part of LFF Connect, the new events strand dedicated to explore the relationships between film and other creative areas. The ever entertaining Canadian auteur came to talk about how his work in installation art has influenced his filmmaking. The beginning of his installation projects happened mainly due to financial reasons, channeling an ongoing obsession for rescuing lost, unmade or incomplete films. Early projects such as ‘Hauntings’(from which we saw ‘Bing & Bela’, dedicated to Bing Crosby & Bela Lugosi) have grown in scope and ambition through the years up to his current one,‘Seances’. Read the rest of this entry »

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#LFF Day 3: ‘A Bigger Splash’; ‘High-Rise’ and ‘The Invitation’

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On the third day of the festival two of its most eagerly anticipated galas grabbed the headlines. The Love strand chose ‘A Bigger Splash’; a dark, abrasive relationships drama celebrating the pleasure of the senses with obscene abandon. The festival’s own one was Ben Wheatley’s ‘High-Rise’, a wild satire about social collapse. A rollercoaster of very diverse thrills suitably complemented with the frights provided by superior chiller ‘The Invitation’. Read the rest of this entry »

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#LFF Day Two: ‘Trumbo’; ‘Lost In Munich’; ‘The Measure Of A Man’…

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The second day of the London Film Festival brought Hollywood glamour to the red carpet with Bryan Cranston, Helen Mirren and John Goodman in town for the European premiere of ‘Trumbo’, a glossy biopic about the screenplay writer who, jailed and blacklisted for refusing to testify in the infamous House Committee of un-American activities during the McCarthy era, later went to win two Oscars for ‘Roman Holiday’ and ‘The Brave One’ under pseudonym. The event also opened its official competition with Cary Fukunaga’s jaw-dropping child soldier film ‘Beast Of No Nation’. Elsewhere, the excellent Czech comedy,’Lost In Munich’ and the Cannes winner French social drama ‘The Measure of a Man’ stood up. Read the rest of this entry »

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#LFF First Day: Jia Zhangke and Josh Mond Get Emotional

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Apart from the opening gala of Suffragette, which monopolised a big part of the media attention, the first day of the festival brought us two remarkable works exploring the dramatic possibilities of the maternal-filial bond: one by acclaimed Chinese helmer Jia Zhangke, ‘Mountains May Depart’, and the second, ‘James White’, the directorial debut of American producer Josh Mond.

The Chinese auteur, one of the standout personalities in the programme, is also the subject of Walter Salles documentary ‘Jia Zhange; a guy from Fenyang.’ Both filmmakers imparted one of this year’s screen talks. Read the rest of this entry »

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#LFF Suffragette (Sarah Gavron): Sisters Were Doing It For Themselves

Anne-Marie Duff (Violet) and Carey Mulligan (Maud) in SUFFRAGETTE

Anne-Marie Duff (Violet) and Carey Mulligan (Maud) in SUFFRAGETTE

As the Curtain rises on the 59th BFI London Film Festival, its opening gala couldn’t have captured the feeling of the times any better. Released right on time to support the ongoing debate about gender inequality within the film industry, as well as in our society as a whole; ‘Suffragette’ goes back to the beginning of the 20th century paying tribute to the movement for women’s right to vote.

A passion project for director Sarah Gavron, it took ten years to complete, hindered by what many perceived as the lack of commercial viability of an all-women endeavour. The final result is a solid, finely crafted, but rather conventional drama whose screenplay, penned by Abi Morgan (Shame; The Iron Lady), combines historical research with crowd pleasing elements. Read the rest of this entry »

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#LFF Recommended: Sembène! And Brand: The Second Coming, Two Approaches To Revolution

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You might not find many chances to connect the works of two artists as disparate as Ousmane Sembène, the late father of African cinema, and British superstar comedian Russell Brand, but two remarkable documentaries convey the influence that ideals of political revolution have had in their respective output; both driven by a similar ambition to become a spokesperson for the people. The first one more than achieved his goal through a ground breaking body of work; whereas the results of the latter’s much publicised reincarnation as a political agitator are yet to be seen. Read the rest of this entry »

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Sonic & Beyond: The Sounds Of The LFF

Photographer: Noah Greenberg

Photographer: Noah Greenberg

2015 has been the year when movies with pop music-related subjects have renewed their massive audience appeal. Some of the biggest success stories, from NWA’s biopic ‘Straight Outta Compton’ to the record breaking Amy Winehouse documentary, were based on the biographies of iconic artists. The festival Sonic strand’s eclectic selection timely underlines the growing importance of that symbiotic relationship between those two creative fields.

The strand’s gala is the biopic of young Palestinian star Mohammad Assaf and his incredible road to success from his origins in Gaza to his ‘Arab idol’ victory. Directed by two-time Academy award nominee Hany Abu Hassad, ‘The Idol’ follows the steps of ‘Paradise Now’ and ‘Oman’ with what looks like a sure-fire crowd pleaser. Almost in the opposite end of the spectrum, thrill seekers will likely be pleased by Philippine punk artist Khavn De La Cruz’s latest feature ‘Ruined Heart: Another Love Story between a Criminal and A Whore’. Read the rest of this entry »

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