Archive | May, 2013

Magic Mike.

29 May

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When I first heard about Magic Mike my reaction was ‘Yes! Yes! Yes!’ One yes for every day of the week and two for Sunday’s!

However, on viewing the trailer and keeping my eye on the films advertisements, I was really quite afraid for the films release and not in the sense that I was excited about it. The trailers seemed to show less and less of what the audiences, predominantly female I’m sure, wanted to see which is dancing naked men and more of a storyline which could be loosely described as another Step Up movie….and we were already getting one of those that year! However what we get is very much the opposite as there is an ample amount of nakedness.

Steven Soderberghs’ film is based upon Channing Tatum’s own experiences of working in a Tampa nightclub as a stripper before he became an ‘actor’, and shows him as Magic Mike himself who takes Adam (Alex Pettyfer) under his wing and shows him the poles (the word poles being strategically used as a replacement for ropes here – get it?!). Upon entering Mike’s world, Alex soon realises that it’s not all glitz, glam and thongs as club owner and hard-ass Southern stripper Dallas, played by the ever chiselled McConaughey, pushes his limits and shows him the dark side. Pun intended.

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I watched Magic Mike twice before writing this review and the results were really interesting. Not because I was almost taken to Pleasure-town but because the first time I watched it I watched it all the way through, butt-cracks and all, and the second time I was on a train and so skipped through all of the ‘professional dancing’ for fear of embarrassment. And what a difference that dancing makes. Without it the film is a sweet melodrama that reflects its pre-released trailers, a film filled with cheese, a mediocre leading man and a stellar yet poorly used (except for the fact we get to watch them all strip) supporting cast. With it, it’s good. Not great but good.

Empire gave it 4 stars which I find incredibly hard to agree with, and when comparing it to other 4 star rated films from the same magazine such as ‘Shame’, ‘Star Trek: Into Darkness’ and ‘Senna‘, it further justifies my reasoning for not having a star rating on my blog. The field of film is too wide to quantify into 5 tiny little stars. Undoubtedly what makes Soderberghs’ Magic Mike is not the lack of acting and more the toned, tanned skin of McConaughey, Manganiello, Pettyfer and Tatum being thrust upon us. It is so far away from being a Magical piece of cinema but it is one hell of an entertaining film. If you’re into that sort of thing.

Selling Point – I did mention there were naked men right?

Quote-a-rama – ‘You are the husband they never had! You are that dreamboat guy that never came along!’ Oh and, ‘How pregnant did you get that girl’s mouth last night?’ Class all the way.

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Matt Berry and The Maypoles.

15 May

To go to a gig not knowing any of the music (minus a few obligatory covers) and come out completely satisfied is a true testament to any artist or band. In this case it was on a wonderful Sunday evening at The Fleece in Bristol and the testament goes to Matt Berry, of I.T Crowd fame, and his Maypoles.

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While families around the country sat at home with their Sunday roasts, myself and two friends ventured to a location that has in the past been a one-stop platform for many upcoming artists throughout the decades, including Muse, Oasis and Amy Winehouse. Set just off one of the main roads, the thick stone-walled building with its bare and rustic interior is the perfect setting for an evening of ‘alternative’ (I have seen everything from Gabba to Industrial Metal at The Fleece) music.

At around 21:30 Matt Berry, preceded by his six-strong band, graced the stage with his presence to a warm applause and excited cheers. After listening to the support band Pugwash who took on a self-devised set list that would rival any original Britpop band, I wasn’t sure what to expect from a man who’s ‘funny’ is so much larger than his stature. What followed was a mix of haunting yet beautiful tracks, including ‘Take My Hand’, ‘A Song for Rosie’ and ‘The Pheasant’ all with a bit of funk thrown in. At times I felt like I had been transported back to the 1970’s where ‘chill’ and ‘vibe’ were the reoccurring buzzwords and soundtracks to films such as The Wicker Man and The Exorcist had been composed.

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Berry, who is undoubtedly funny, was a worthy front-man. His voice, whilst not able to reach diva-esque notes, was rich and soft with a heavy weight behind it and was accompanied by the soothing tones of the Florence-lookalike singer and clarinet player Cecilia Fage. Berry also showed great admiration and respect for his loyal fans by signing autographs and posing for photo’s until the large metal doors of the venue were closing. In a conversation with the bassist of Pugwash I proclaimed the comedian to be very humble for staying behind, to which he replied, “Humble?! You should see all the caviar he has upstairs…and champagne, and smoking jackets…”. Although an obviously fabricated image, this is precisely how I like to think of Matt Berry at any given moment.

He has done well to surround himself with such a talented and eclectic mix of people who looked to him for inspiration as he orchestrated the gig with various swings of his arms and clicks of his fingers, and they in turn shone in his presence. The lead guitarist was a highlight for me (apologies for not remembering his name – it has caused me hours of frustration). The speed at which he struck each chord was incredible and his animated style had the crowd well and truly rocking.

All in all it was a brilliant evening of entertainment. Hauntingly beautiful throughout and at times funny, it was a gig that I will hold dear for many years to come. While Matt Berry’s name will pull in the punters, the music will ensure they will stay forever, as fans.

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High Five!

10 May

Welcome New Followers! Thank you for taking the time to have a look around. Just for you I have re-blogged my ‘High Five!’ article complete with trailers which I am going to be adding too over the weekend…so many exciting new films coming out!
Happy Reading Everyone 🙂

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2013 is set to be a big year for films. It might not have the overload of Blockbusters that 2012 had, what with the first Avengers ensemble film being released and the last of The Dark Knight trilogy punching its way into the cinemas, but there are some truly promising treats heading our way. Just to give you a taste, I have compiled a list of my Top 5 upcoming films, all complete with their very own trailer.

*for trailers simply click on the title of the film and it will link you through to the official trailer on IMDB.

Red2 – This slick new comedy is the follow up to the 2010 film Red about the best-of-the-best ex-CIA agents and stars Bruce Willis, Helen Mirren, John Malkovich, Anthony Hopkins, Catherine Zeta-Jones and Mary-Louise Parker. The first installment seems to have completely slipped under my radar, and judging by the…

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RIP Ray Harryhausen.

8 May

RIP Ray Harryhausen.

This article, despite being a cut and paste job, is an emotional and heart-felt tribute to the inspirational and groundbreaking special effects pioneer Ray Harryhausen who sadly passed away yesterday at the age of 92.

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I remember curling up on the sofa many times throughout my childhood to watch Ray’s skeletons come alive in the 1963 film Jason and the Argonauts, and being filled with wonderment, fascination and joy. Although many of his effects will seem dated in today’s world, one that is filled with Transformers and 3D monsters, he opened the doors and led people down the path to a world that was filled with possibilities.

As Peter Lord – co-founder of Aardman Animations – said on Twitter, Harryhausen was “a one-man industry and a one-man genre”. He will be missed.

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RUSH.

2 May

If there was ever a film poster that would make audiences want to rush to the cinema, it’s this one.

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From director Ron Howard (Happy Days, A Beautiful Mind) comes the latest biographical film, due for release in September of this year, RUSH. Based on the F1 racing rivalry between James Hunt and Niki Lauda during the 1976 season in which the latter suffered extensive burns to his face after crashing at the Nurburgring, Rush is set to be a fast-paced and emotional drama in which these two lives are broken down and celebrated.

Online chatter has already begun about this anticipated thrill-ride and the question has arisen as to why Hemsworth, who is Australian, is playing a British Formula One World Champion? My answer – why not?! Aside from the dodgy accent (from a voice that is hauntingly familiar to a Mr. H. Ledger), Hemsworth has cemented his place in Hollywood not only as a heart-throb but as a pretty spectacular actor. Rush, which is far more drama than it is a world-saving, hammer-wielding Blockbuster, is undoubtedly going to prove to any cynics that he has what it takes to act, regardless of birthplace.

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(What I did find amusing however through reading the online buzz was that someone had commented that whilst Hemsworth shouldnt play the part due to him being an Aussie, they thought that ‘It’s a shame Heath Ledger is dead…as this role would have been made for him’. Err?!)

I am most excited about the casting of Daniel Bruhl as three-time F1 World Champion and Austrian Niki Lauda. Since his roles in ‘Goodbye Lenin‘ and ‘The Edukators‘ I have been a huge, for want of a better word, fan. His boyish charm, dark and mysterious eyes and his adaptability make him one of the most underrated stars around. Thanks to this film and Tarantino’s  ‘Inglorious Basterds’ which shot him into the mainstream, hopefully, by September he will be high on the actor-radar.

As the poster and the trailers many taglines suggest (‘Their rivalry made them legends, their courage was inspiring’) Howard’s ‘Rush’ is going to be a high-octane passionate drama that will screech onto our screens and brake our hearts. And if that doesn’t sell it for you, scroll back up to the top.

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For related reviews see also my blog entry about the exceptional documentary film Senna.