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Features Live Action Movies Music

Mogul Mowgli

Director – Bassam Tariq – 2020 – UK – Cert. 15 – 90m

****

A UK British Pakistani rap artist is stopped in his career tracks by an auto-immune system suppression illness – in cinemas from Friday, October 30th and on BFI Player from Monday, November 9th

This opens with British Pakistani rapper Zed (Riz Ahmed, who also co-wrote the film) waiting in the wings then going on stage to perform before a massively enthusiastic New York crowd. I had fairly high expectations and my heart sank. Ahmed’s performance as the singer was leaving me absolutely cold. (To be fair, I’m not a huge fan of rap music.) Happily I was much more impressed with almost everything that followed.

This opening performance turns out to be the final leg of a tour. Zed has a major European Tour planned imminently. Back in Britain, he gets into a street fight with a fan/stalker and in the course of the resultant fight starts to experience severe stomach pains. He wakes up in the local hospital to learn that he’s suffering from an auto-immune system suppression illness and consequently will be unable to tour. He’s horrified by the the suggestion from his trusted manager Vaseem (Anjana Vasam) that his admirer and rival performer RPG (Nabhaan Rizwan), whom Zed despises, can cover for him on the European Tour.… Read the rest

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Documentary Features Live Action Movies Music

Delia Derbyshire: The Myths And Legendary Tapes

Director – Caroline Catz – 2020 – UK – 98m

*****

Docudrama explores the ten years the legendary electronic musician spent at the BBC Radiophonic Workshop – on BFI Player as part of the BFI London Film Festival 2020 from 8.30 Thursday, October 15th to 18.30 Sunday, October 18th

Part documentary, part drama and part performance art, this is a fascinating examination of Delia Derbyshire, the woman who between 1962 and 1973 worked in the BBC Radiophonic Workshop. The film does examine her life and career before and after that, but only briefly. After studying mathematics and music at Cambridge, she became interested in music as an expression of mathematics and, as such, knew that the Radiophonic Workshop was the place she wanted to be.

We see Delia (writer-director Caroline Katz) interviewed for a job at Decca Records only to be told that women don’t work in the technical department but there are openings for secretaries. It’s easy to see that as sexism now, but at that time such attitudes were commonplace. She wonders if her interviewer was the person who turned down the Beatles. We see interviewed Dutch video artist Madelon Hoodykas with whom she collaborated in The Netherlands after her BBC period and there’s some brief footage of the LYC museum set up by Li Yuan-chia near Hadrian’s Wall where she spent some time after a disastrous marriage to a man with whom she had little in common with beyond drinking.… Read the rest

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Animation Features Live Action Movies Music

Tetsuo: The Iron Man (Tetsuo)

Director – Shinya Tsukamoto – 1989 – Japan – Cert. 18 – 67m

*****

Now on BFI Player as part of Japan 2020.

This review originally appeared in Manga Mania.

A metals fetishist (played by director Shinya Tsukamoto) inserts a metal tube into his leg and the resultant infection causes him to run through the streets where he’s run over by a car. A jazz sax score and the words “new world” accompany his passage into to what appears to be another dimension, from which he proceeds to terrorise an unfortunate woman on a subway platform, possessing her hand by metallicising it with spare parts.

The car’s driver, sitting next to her on the platform – who has already discovered a miniscule electronic component on his face while shaving – is pursued by the possessed woman. Later, the driver is sodomised by his girlfriend’s mechanical penis before his own penis develops into a lethal drill.

Flashbacks reveals the pair copulating in the park just after the hit and run accident. As he becomes more and more metallicised, he finds himself locked in combat with his crash victim, and the two eventually become fused into one, accompanying their birth into the New World.… Read the rest

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Music

Raf And O as The Kick Inside play the songs of Kate Bush

Bar & Co, Temple Pier, Embankment, opposite Temple tube between Blackfriars and Waterloo Bridges, London.

2018.02.25

*****

This article was originally written as a post on Facebook 2018.02.26.

Raf And O’s debut appearance as The Kick Inside to play the songs of Kate Bush, now relaunched as online gigs, 12.00, 20.00 hrs on Saturdays from September 26th. Booking info here.

This was an amazing evening in which Raf Mantelli and O Richard Smith (aka Raf And O) performed the songs of Kate Bush under the moniker The Kick Inside launch: The Kick Inside play the songs of Kate Bush.

I can’t honestly say I really got Kate Bush back in the day when EMI first pumped lots of money into her career: I remember enjoying the Hounds Of Love album (her fifth) when it came out but I only really clicked some years later when I was given an unexpected copy of Aerial for Christmas (thanks again Sue), a fantastic (double) album.

That’s a long time after the songs represented here which covered, I think, the first five albums. The early stuff. (If there was anything later than Hounds Of Love, someone can correct me.)

Anyway, the gig itself: the venue was London’s Bar & Co.,… Read the rest

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Features Live Action Movies Music

Schemers

Director – Dave Mclean – 2019 – UK – Cert. 15 – 91m

**1/2

A local Dundee lad and his two mates get into the promotions end of the music industry and find themselves dealing with gangstersin cinemas from Friday, September 25th

Dundee lad Davie (Conor Berry) arouses the ire of a man who catches Davie sleeping with the man’s girlfriend. Cue a couple of on foot chase sequences and, subsequently, Davie’s running into the guy at a local football game where the guy breaks Davie’s knee, putting his leg in plaster and his football career in limbo.

In hospital, Davie becomes smitten with student nurse charged with his care Shona (Tara Lee) and running into her later at a dancing venue asks her out. In the process, he talks himself up as a promoter of music gigs, so has to make good on that promise if the date with Shona is to happen. She’s keen on Simple Minds, so that’s the first act he books.

So he enlists his two mates – the happy-go-lucky Scot (Sean Connor) who has his finger in various dodgy and likely illegal dealings and the more responsible (and married) John (Grant Robert Keelan).… Read the rest

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Animation Documentary Features Live Action Movies Music

White Riot

Director – Rubika Shah – 2019 – UK – Cert. 15 – 80m

***1/2

Documentary charts the rise of the UK’s Rock Against Racism movement of the late 1970s and features among others The Clash, Steel Pulse and Tom Robinson – in cinemas and on BFI Player and Curzon Home Cinema from Friday, September 18th

Curiously prescient for our own time, the late nineteen seventies saw the rise of the far right movement in Britain characterised by the National Front and its desire to send all non-white British residents “back where they came from”. One of the other things that happened at that time in the UK was in the seemingly unrelated area of music: punk rock. Something clicked for photographer Red Saunders when the NME dispatched him to shoot Punk Night at London’s ICA venue. He saw an immediacy and an energy to what was going on, with bands the The Clash singing about social issues such as unemployment.

Fuelled by some ill-advised, vaguely Teutonic sentiments from David Bowie and, more specifically, a gig where guitarist Eric Clapton encouraged people to go and vote for racist MP Enoch Powell and everything he represented, Saunders set up the Rock Against Racism (RAR) movement to bring together youth from the UK’s various different ethnic backgrounds.… Read the rest

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Art Features Live Action Movies Music

Bill & Ted Face The Music

Director – Dean Parisot – Writers – Ed Solomon and Chris Matheson – 2020 – US – Cert. PG – 91m

****

Party on, dudes! The two friends return having failed over 25 years to write the song to unite all of humanity and prevent the universe unravelling – in cinemas from Wednesday, September 16th

William ‘Bill’ S. Preston esq. and Theodore ‘Ted’ Logan (Alex Winter and Keanu Reeves) have somehow failed to fulfil their destiny and become losers. 25 years on from their two earlier outings Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure (Stephen Herek, 1989) and Bill & Ted’s Bogus Journey (Peter Hewitt, 1991). Bill and Ted’s band Wyld Stallyns has been reduced from selling out stadium gigs to playing open mike nights. 

Then they are taken in a time travel pod to 2700 A.D. to discover that because they never did write that song to unify all humanity, the fabric of space and time threatens to unravel by 5.17pm that very day in 2700. 

Their wives Elizabeth and Joanna (the fifteenth century English princesses from the first film here played by Erinn Hayes and Jayma Mays) have had enough and are going to couples’ counselling… so Bill and Ted travel back to join them, inadvertently making the situation worse.… Read the rest

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Movies Music

On Bach, Beethoven, Bill Nelson and spiritual outlook

Published to coincide with the Bandcamp download release of Bill Nelson’s album And We Fell Into A Dream.

A year or so back I was fortunate enough to attend a fascinating discussion group at Tottenham Quakers. The brief was ‘A piece of music, writing, art or other inspiration which reflects your spiritual outlook’ – please bring something along that you are happy to talk about or just bring yourself along! So we had a small stone used as an aid to bereavement – actually the only physical object anyone brought along, everything else was one way or another mediated through various pieces or recording, translation or delivery technology – three pieces of music and one set of extracts from the Gospels, chiefly the story of the woman caught in adultery.

The latter was, for its presenter, a way of showing how spot on some of Jesus’ comments and actions were in regard to the human condition, whether or not you bought into the wider package of Christianity.

Two of the three pieces of music were sourced from movies, at least that was how those who brought them had discovered them.

Bach chamber piece ‘Double Concerto D Minor for Violins Second movement – Largo Ma Non Tanto’ from Children Of A Lesser God (Randa Haines, 1986), incidentally an adaptation of a stage play, was for its teacher character the most beautiful thing he had ever heard which he wanted to share with a student.… Read the rest

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Documentary Features Live Action Movies Music

Last And First Men

Director – Jóhann Jóhannsson – 2020 – Iceland – 71m

****

Available on BFI Player (extended free trial offer here) from Thursday, July 30th

This is the only feature directed by the late and renowned composer Jóhann Jóhannsson who has been releasing albums since Englabörn (2002) and has provided the soundtracks for such films as The Miners’ Hymns (2010), The Theory Of Everything (2014), Sicario (2015) and Arrival (2016). Last And First Men was originally a multimedia project performed in Manchester International Festival in 2017 with the BBC Philharmonic orchestra. While its appearance on BFI Player is most welcome, there are plans to tour the film with a live orchestra in the future.

To describe the film as based on or an adaptation of Olaf Stapledon’s cult SF novel Last And First Men: A Story Of The Near And Far Future (1930) is both accurate and misleading. Accurate because the scripted monologue spoken by Tilda Swinton (a terrific voice performance that would be a pleasure to listen to on its own, no other sounds or images) which runs throughout the film is adapted from that source. Misleading because the film largely comprises live action cinematography of architecture beneath skies in rural landscape against a soundtrack of Jóhannsson‘s specially composed music and Swinton’s narration.… Read the rest

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Exhibitions Music

The Pink Floyd Exhibition: Their Mortal Remains

Victoria and Albert Museum, London, UK.

13 May – 1 October 2017.

*****

On my Must See list for a while: finally managed a visit last week. Thoroughly enjoyed as someone who grew up when everyone but everyone owned a copy of Dark Side Of The Moon and subsequently discovered the whole back catalogue only to lose interest some time after The Wall (which I saw them play live at Earl’s Court) as the whole thing shifted toward a Roger Waters ego trip. Was busy listening to other things by the time Waters had been booted out and guitarist David Gilmour pulled them back on track (though managed to pick up live recording Pulse on CD and LD in the nineties when I was reviewing laserdiscs) but have since picked up the complete works, album by album, on CD. So, a casual fan but not a die-hard.

The exhibition is a mixed bag. Unlike the V&A’s earlier popular music exhibition David Bowie is, there aren’t lengthy dire periods to be avoided and amazing periods to celebrate, but there ARE chunks of Floyd career where there isn’t much surviving material on which to build an exhibition. Thus an early room covers the first eight albums in scant detail – including such highs as Atom Heart Mother and Meddle – so you feel the whole thing is going to be a disappointment.… Read the rest