Archive | October, 2011

October’s tune of the month

31 Oct

ella in berlinMack the Knife – Ella Fitzgerald
Ok, so I know it’s not a new track, but I was listening to it the other day and it struck me that anyone who hasn’t heard this, should.

This recording of Ella singing live at a concert in Berlin is the perfect showcase of what an incredible performer she was. The jazz singer forgets the words as she enters the second verse but makes up some clever alternatives, with a bit of a scat thrown in, all while holding up those incredible vocals. Mack The Knife is a great song as it is, but this has to be the best rendition, by arguably the best female vocalist that has ever lived.

You can hear it on YouTube here, but the quality’s not great.

You’ll like it if you like:

– Music
– Music
– Music

Frankly, I believe you’re not human if you don’t like it. Ella, I salute you.

Film review: We Need to Talk About Kevin

27 Oct

we need to talk about kevinTranslating epistolary literature into cinema can be very difficult because the form, by its nature, is highly episodic, a much bigger issue on the big screen than on the page. We Need To Talk About Kevin skilfully navigates this problem by cutting up the narrative and operating in several different timeframes simultaneously. The early marital bliss of Eva (a career best Tilda Swinton) and Franklin (John C Reilly) contrasts with Eva’s attempts in the present to live without her family in the aftermath of an horrific event everyone seems to blame her for. We watch Eva bringing up their detached, manipulative and sociopathic son Kevin. That he hides his deviance from his Father pushes Eva’s ability to cope to breaking point. But the two share a strange chemistry which is in part what makes the film so riveting. We Need To Talk About Kevin is not an easy watch but it is a fascinating examination of a disturbing relationship, superbly acted and confidently directed by Lynne Ramsey.

Director: Lynne Ramsey

Rating: 4/5

Review by Garreth Hynes

Halloween in London: 3 top spooky events

23 Oct

Get your ghoul on this weekend with some of the capital’s creepy offerings.

alice cooper at the BFI1. Alice Cooper: Welcome 2 My Nightmare Movies, £13 (concs £9.75 & members get £1.50 off)

On 28th October, this famously theatrical rocker will walk the ‘black carpet’ to the BFI Southbank and discuss the effect that film has had on his song-writing, performances and life. Alice will present chosen a range of film clips to illustrate his talk before putting questions to the audience. The night includes some special guests and freakish performers, and finally a screening of the classic horror film, Halloween.

When: Fri 28 Oct, 6.30pm
Where: NFT1, BFI, Southbank (nearest tube Waterloo)
Box office: 020 7928 3232


belle epoque - halloween2. Belle Epoque Party: Halloween Special, £20

Step into a spell-binding world of absinthe-tinged fantasy, daring dancers and vampish drama with the Belle Epoque’s seasonal party this weekend. The music hall venue will be draped in velvet and the organisers encourage costumes as elaborate as you dare… Men should look ‘devilishly dashing’ and ladies, you are asked to ‘reach into your inner desires’. Ooooh. Expect a lavish night of cocktails, enchantment and trapeze artists throwing shapes above you.

When: Sat 29 Oct, 8pm-2am
Where: The Grand Hall, Euston Road, London, WC1


you make a cake3. You Make A Cake Halloween Parties, £28 each for groups of age 5+, £35 each age 5+ if attending a workshop

Children (and adults) will love these fun workshops and group baking sessions. You Make A Cake provide all ingredients and utensils, so all you need to do is turn up, follow some simples steps, give your kids a major sugar-overload and come away with 12 delicious cakes. Classes and workshops to help you create creepy cakes are currently being run in the build up to Halloween.

Parties for groups last about 90 mins and workshops attended by individuals last for about two hours. Under-8s must be accompanied by an adult.

When: Until Sun 29 Oct
Where: You Make A Cake, 10 Bellevue Road, London, SW17 7EG

Film review: Real Steel

19 Oct

real-steelI ask you. How can it be that a grown man, possessing reasonable intelligence, a relatively even temper and a history of movie going that would suggest he should know better, can end up cheering and rooting for one robot boxer to beat the other robot boxer in the climax of Real Steel?

Directed by Shawn Night At The Museum Levy and starring Hugh Jackman, Real Steel is basically Rocky with robots. It’s also Rocky 4 with robots to the point where the “evil” robot is trained by a Russian and during the climactic fight the crowd end up chanting the underdog’s name. The underdog here is Atom, a sparring robot who has no chance in the big leagues. Discovered by down-on-his-luck robot trainer Charlie Kenton (Jackman) and his estranged young son Max, they embark on a journey that takes in every cliché known to man. Will Father and Son repair their relationship? Will Charlie rediscover his inner boxer and become the fighter he was born to be? It’s an avalanche of corn and I was at least six scenes ahead of it at every moment but damn it if I wasn’t on my feet shouting “Atom! Atom!” by the end.

Director: Shawn Levy

Rating: 4/5 (for sheer Hollywood nonsense)

Review by Garreth Hynes


Film review: Tyrannosaur

12 Oct

tyrannosaur_film_imageAnother British film exploring themes of rage and spiralling self-destruction is enough to make any cinemagoer shudder. Yet this assured directorial debut from actor Paddy Considine pulls off the minor miracle of making a film that is both moving and rewarding while never shying away from the appalling brutality that shapes its characters.

Joseph (Peter Mullan) is a man plagued with violence and self-hatred who is first introduced to us drunkenly kicking his own dog to death. Hannah (Olivia Colman) is a charity shop worker trapped in a marriage with a cruel and controlling husband (the terrifying Eddie Marsan).  A tentative relationship develops between Joseph and Hannah that provides them both with an escape from the harsh reality of their shattered lives. Will their connection and mutual support bring them redemption or are they forever trapped in a cycle of seething anger and destruction? With mesmerising performances across the board, a film that explores such intense themes really should be a depressing experience. This one isn’t. In fact it may just be the best British film of the year – and there’s nothing depressing about that.

Director: Paddy Considine

Rating 4/5

Film review: Red State

5 Oct

Red-State-posterA rain of fire and brimstone falls upon three horny college kids when they fall into the clutches of crazy preacher, Abin Cooper (Michael Parks) and his demented congregation.  As the preacher’s heavily armed church is laid to siege, ATF agent Joe Keenan (John Goodman) finds himself questioning the orders of his equally fanatical government bosses.  The director of Clerks returns with this rather uneven mixture of horror film and religious satire (Smith tackled the subject of religion much more successfully in his 1999 film Dogma).  A startling twist towards the end of Red State nearly pulls off a literal miracle but all this is very quickly abandoned and tied up in a rather rushed ending.  It’s a shame really but anything from Smith that isn’t Jersey Girl is probably a godsend itself.

Director: Kevin Smith

Rating: 3/5

Review by Ewan Fraser