Monday, 18 November 2013
Tuesday, 5 November 2013
Tuesday, 27 August 2013
Monday, 19 August 2013
Gotcharocka is the new band of Jui, erstwhile frontman of the sorely lamented Vidoll - one of the best VK bands of the last decade, if not of all time. After a quickly tossed-off contractual-obligation solo album, he's back on an indie (God Child Records, the label run by Asagi of D) and has teamed up with guitarist Jun, formerly of Spiv States, for an album of catchy light rock with both funky and heavy moments. Jui, ever the Casanova, is in full swing here with his usual slightly dirty, pervy lyrics (see "Qtie" and "Virginity"). Thanks in part to his unique voice, and to some similarity in the musical style, this does sound quite a lot like Vidoll, but it's rather more self-consciously classicist; Jun has obviously got a bit of a guitar god thing going on, and there's a distinct classical influence in some of the lead guitar work, with recycled baroque melodies. On the whole it's a really good album with some great riffs and loads of singalongable choruses. Two thumbs up.
Friday, 16 August 2013
Watched Passion the other night, Brian De Palma's lurid new straight-to-video shocker starring Rachel McAdams and Noomi Rapace as advertising executives whose bitchy rivalry escalates into murder. Based on the recent French film Crime d'Amour, it's absolutely vintage De Palma as he uses every cinematic trick in the book from his 70s and 80s heyday - dream sequences, weird camera angles, funky lighting, even split screen! - to confuse and confound the audience as to what is really going on. The dialogue is terrible, the acting hammy, the plot ludicrous, the ending a confused and muddled mess, and you can see the twist coming from a mile off - I loved it. The two leads are both terrific fun, and Pino Donaggio's haunting, beautiful score is simply the icing on the cake. It doesn't stand up with the best of this great director's work, but should certainly please his fans. One and a half thumbs up.
Went to see Only God Forgives this evening - my goodness, what a film. It's sure not going to be for everyone - the Gosling fangirls in the row in front were baffled - but if you're a lover of the art of film, you will love this, because it's basically an exercise in pure cinema. I can put it no better than The Guardian's film critic, who, giving the film one of its few positive reviews, said "each scene is executed with pure formal brilliance". You could write the plot on the back of a postage stamp, but this is not about the plot. Dark, mysterious, extremely minimalist, incredibly stylized and exceedingly violent, it has the fingerprints of David Lynch all over it. It also reminded me of Blade Runner, for some weird reason. At times, it even feels a bit like a spaghetti western mysteriously transposed to Bangkok. It's almost worth seeing for Kristin Scott Thomas's searing performance alone, as Gosling's monstrous, domineering mother. Vithaya Pansringarm, previously unknown in the West, is also superb as the chillingly impassive antagonist. Naturally, the lighting, design, and cinematography (by Larry Smith, who shot Kubrick's Eyes Wide Shut) are all impeccable. Cliff Martinez's roiling electronic score provides the film with a lot of its atmosphere and is also highly to be commended. All in all, love it or hate it, this is not a film you will forget in a hurry. Two bloody thumbs up.
Sunday, 11 August 2013
Mark arrives in New York, naive and full of enthusiasm, to study drama, and falls for Stephanie, a gorgeous waitress wiser than her years, who seems to hide an enigmatic secret. After a shocking incident at the theatre, Mark encounters Stephanie once again and is drawn into a strange and dangerous world of costumed vigilantes with mysterious powers, that will change his life irrevocably. As dread forces converge on the city, will his romance with Stephanie survive - and will he?
(c) John D. Buchanan 2013