1. Thee Silver Mt. Zion Memorial Orchestra: Fuck Off Get Free We Pour Light on Everything (Constellation)
I think of Silver Mt. Zion as the post-rock Pogues. They have the drunken singing and the scratchy fiddling and the punky energy, but in a sort of gritty yet sophisticated Godspeed! You Black Emperor musical context (and in fact founder/singer/guitarist Efrim Manuel Menuck used to be in Godspeed!). On their eighth album, the added intensity that appeared on their previous album is increased; this may be their best yet. My favorite track is "What We Loved Was Not Enough," where at first it seems like he's singing "The days come when we no longer fail," but then when
Gangs Of Wasseypur Part 2 (18)
(Anurag Kashyap, 2012, Ind) Nawazuddin Siddiqui, Zeishan Quadri, Aditya Kumar, Huma Qureshi. 160 mins
It's over five hours long in all, but there's barely a slack moment in this exhilarating Indian epic as it races through generations of smalltown criminal, industrial and political enmity. Yes, it's violent, but like all great crime stories it's also a vibrant tapestry of family life and modern history, closer to Leone, Coppola or Tarantino than Bollywood.
(Park Chan-wook, 2013, Us/UK) Mia Wasikowska, Nicole Kidman, Matthew Goode. 99 mins
The Oldboy director gives us a sensual, tantalisingly ambiguous thriller, centred on Wasikowska and her shifty smalltown family.
(Nicholas Jarecki, 2012, Us) Richard Gere, Susan Sarandon, Brit Marling.
This is a 20th anniversary reissue of the documentary about folk guitarist Bert Jansch (who died in 2011), a pioneering musician who was to be an influence on Neil Young and Bob Dylan. It's a film that is preaching to the converted, and probably best savoured by those with a connoisseurship of folk, but I found myself won over by the music's melancholy beauty, and by Jansch's matter-of-fact modesty. This is not a music star who is after wealth and bling; in this film, he looks as if he lives just like the rest of us mortals. Billy Connolly introduces us to his work, and the comedian's love and expertise in all matters relating to folk music in general, and Jansch in particular, are very engaging. Jansch's musicianship and mastery of the acoustic guitar are quietly impressive.
Cloud Atlas (15)
(Andy & Lana Wachowski, Tom Tykwer, 2012, Ger/Us/Hk/Sin) Tom Hanks, Halle Berry, Hugh Grant, Jim Broadbent. 172 mins
You've got to admire the ambition of trying to tell six stories at once, together spanning the 19th to 24th century. There are connections and parallels, of course, but also wild variations in tone and effectiveness. The experience is a little like channel surfing between Tom Hanks movies, but it's greater than the sum of its parts.
To The Wonder (12A)
(Terrence Malick, 2012, Us) Olga Kurylenko, Ben Affleck, Rachel McAdams. 113 mins
Those entranced (or put off) by The Tree Of Life will get more of the same from
After the great guitarist Bert Jansch died last week, Pete Paphides penned a lengthy tribute for Film&Music – a tribute a great many of you appreciated (and which brought tears to the eyes of gpwayne and steewart54). In fact, just about the only gripes were from those complaining that a musician of Jansch's stature did not need character references from mere rock musicians in order to persuade the world of his greatness. "I hate having to read about Johnny Marr, Neil Young and no-marks like Devendra Banhart in whatever few Jansch pieces I read," wrote DeathByEnnui. "Bert Jansch needs no validation, no stamp of approval. All you need to do is tell people that they simply must own a copy of Rosemary Lane because it's one of the greatest albums of all time."
Amid some discussion about who was the better guitarist,
Bert Jansch, who helped invigorate the British folk movement of the 1960s, died today in Hampstead, London, following a bout with lung cancer. He was 67.
Born in Glasgow, Jansch was one of the most influential guitarists of the 20th century, counting among his fans and followers Bernard Butler, Donovan, Nick Drake, Johnny Marr, Jimmy Page, Paul Simon and Neil Young. As a solo artist, with guitarist John Renbourn and later as a member of Pentangle,
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