6 items from 2014
It’s hip to be square yet again, it seems. The London-premiered musical version of American Psycho—famously a Bret Easton Ellis novel, then a cult classic 2000 film with Christian Bale—will get a stateside production this spring at Off Broadway’s Second Stage Theatre.
The musical—which alternates new, electronic-fused tunes by Tony-winning composer Duncan Sheik (Spring Awakening) along with the film’s cheeky use of 1980s tunes by Phil Collins, Human League, Tears For Fears, and the aforementioned Huey Lewis & The News, among others—received much acclaim in its 2013 premiere on the West End. The role of Patrick Bateman, »
- Jason Clark
In Dimitri Kirsanoff's Menilmontant a destitute waif, betrayed and abandoned by the man who seduced her, sits on a park bench with her newborn infant. Beside her is an old man eating a sandwich. This wordless exchange is one of the greatest moments ever committed to film. Nadia Sibirskaia’s face reveals all of life’s cruel mysteries as she gazes upon a crust of bread.
The persistence of hope is the dark angel that underlies despair, and here it taunts her mercilessly. A whole series of fluctuations of expression and movement in reaction to anguish, physical pain involving hesitation, dignity, ravenous hunger, survival, self-contempt, modesty, boundless gratitude. All articulated with absolute clarity without hitting notes (without touching the keys). Chaplin could have played either the old man on the bench (his mustache is a sensory device!) or Nadia. And it would have been masterful and deeply affecting, »
- Daniel Riccuito
Let's get one thing out of the way from the off. Walking on Sunshine, a jukebox musical featuring all your favourite pop hits from the '80s, can in no way be recommended to anyone under the guise of being "a good movie". The story ticks off every rom-com cliché in the book, the characters have all the appeal of third-degree sunburn, the acting frequently hits pantomime levels and the production values on both the recorded tracks and song and dance numbers leave something to be desired.
Yes, Walking on Sunshine really does make Mamma Mia! look like Citizen Kane. And yet, despite all this, you can't take your eyes off it for a second. One thing you can't accuse this film of is lacking in car-crash entertainment value. »
Tessa Watts, who has died of pancreatic cancer aged 68, was a pioneering British producer of music videos and a critical figure in the history of Virgin Records. In her time, what began as simple promotional devices for songs grew into a billion-dollar global industry, serviced by MTV, the 24-hour Us music television channel, whose European launch she oversaw in 1986.
George Michael, Culture Club, Beyoncé, the Sex Pistols, Madonna, the Human League and Genesis were among the many artists she worked, and several of the young directors she supervised, notably David Fincher and Michael Bay, went on to big Hollywood careers. She once estimated that she had made at least 1,500 music videos.
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- Michael Watts
It doesn’t seem possible that it was around 30 years ago that A Flock of Seagulls ran so far away or Modern English melted with us, but it was. The story behind those acts, their biggest hits, and dozens of other New Wave acts are captured in all their ‘80s bad hairdo-ed, brightly colored-glory in “Mad World: An Oral History of New Wave Artists And Songs That Defined The 1980s.” Written by Lori Majewski and Jonathan Bernstein, with a forward by Duran Duran’s Nick Rhodes and an afterward by Moby, the book examines the New Wave era through the filter of 36 songs associated with the time, such as Gary Numan’s “Cars,” Duran Duran’s “Girls On Film” and The Smiths’ “How Soon Is Now.” Each chapter deals with one act and, while not limited to the group’s biggest hit, explores the story behind that tune and the »
- Melinda Newman
Review Ryan Lambie 14 Jan 2014 - 22:30
Vic And Bob return to our screens with the sitcom House Of Fools. Here's Ryan's review of its debut episode, The Conan Affair...
Veteran comedy duo Vic and Bob are perhaps best known for their own brand of surrealist light entertainment, as seen in Vic Reeves Big Night Out, The Smell Of Reeves And Mortimer and Shooting Stars (to name but a few), they've also been known to tinker with the traditional sitcom format from time to time.
In 1992, the pair wrote and starred in The Weekenders, a one-off pilot for Channel 4. Its typically off-the-wall story took in a pub called The Farting Dashboard and The Human League's Phil Oakey selling an unidentified variety of meat in the middle of a playing field. This, unfortunately, was never picked up for a full series.
Twelve years later came Catterick, a six-episode dark comedy »
6 items from 2014
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