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First Look: Sadface Batman

Or get an even CLOSER look here.

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13th May 2014 - Add Comment - Tweet

Short Attention Span Theatre: 12 Years of DFA: Too Old To Be New, Too New To Be Classic

Talking through the DFA label's history, with James Murphy, LCD Soundsystem, The Rapture, Holy Ghost!, The Juan MacLean, Shit Robot, Sinkane, YACHT etc

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15th May 2013 - Add Comment - Tweet

John Mayall

Poole Lighthouse

This was our second John Mayall concert - the first was in 1967 (UCL Union); so only a wait of 44 years in between. In that time John, who remains one of the godfathers of British blues, has made many albums, lived a life of constant touring and launched the careers of many rock & blues legends - Eric Clapton, Peter Green, Mick Taylor and John McVey to name but a few.

This was the 6th night of a 25 date British tour that ends 18th November. The band retains a traditional line up of Rocky Athas - lead guitar, Greg Rzab - bass guitar, Jay Davenport - drums. Remarkably, Mayall did all the vocals, played keyboard and/or harmonica on all numbers apart from one, when he played guitar - not bad for a 77 year old!

The programme consisted of many standard rhythm and blues pieces, which were all played at a high technical level with a lot of feeling. Particularly memorable were “All Your Love” and “Parchment Farm” from the Blues Breakers (the Beano) Album.

Supporting act was from the Oli Brown Band.

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3rd Nov 2011 - Add Comment - Tweet

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LCD Soundsystem

This Is Happening

DFA

From the solid dance record that was their self-titled debut, LCD Soundsystem have managed to successfully evolve into one of the most essential acts around today. As solid as the debut was, you'd be forgiven for pegging them as a one trick pony. 2007's Sound Of Silver put paid to any of that by topping all the 'best of' lists that year, including All My Friends gaining the top spot on my "best tracks of the decade" list. With that record they stepped out of their dance shoes and became so well-rounded it's almost annoying. James Murphy's got his shit locked down. He hooks the chicks with his onstage antics and charisma, and appeals to the guys by looking like a record company executive that's trying his hand on the shop floor - and aceing it every time.

So what next then for Murphy and crew? Well there's only one thing for it. You follow all that up with an equally tough record and meet the throbbing expectation head on. I say "equally tough" but This Is Happening isn't quite as satisfying as Sound Of Silver although it's close enough. Opener Dance Yrself Clean is a hell of a way to kick off a record; starting slow then punching in with the most pleasing beats since Daft Punk last played in his house. All I Want is the other power-track here and one that really displays the multi-string bow with which this band wield their charm. Centered around a looping guitar chord, it stretches out over six minutes with very little in the way of chorus, it just goes on and on with trance-like sensibilities which are interjected with bleeps and synths that swirl and dive around this structure. Pow Pow is reminiscent of I'm Losing My Edge and also Talking Heads' use of spoken word. Closer Home wraps everything up so perfectly with a near eight minute swirler of unbridled joy. It's another one that's gloriously reminiscent of Talking Heads and one that displays Murphy's trick of "all verse" delivery. The length of these songs coupled with the "all meat and no fat" structure gives an album like this some considerable might.

Everything James Murphy creates under this banner will ultimately be classed as dance music but this has an intelligence rarely seen in the genre. It's fiercely contemporary with songs like All I Want but then gloriously retro with Change and You Wanted A Hit. It's got its weak points however. Somebody's Calling Me is a bit tedious and lead single Drunk Girls (which just sounds like a lazy attempt to prick up the ears of radio listeners) is a touch thin. Having said that, along with I Can Change it's really the only conceivable choice they've got in terms of releases, when every other song here averages out at seven minutes. But when you're surrounded by such quality it seems darn-right picky to pinpoint these as weaknesses. It's a pretty rare thing when you get an album that I clearly haven't enjoyed as much as the predecessor that's so good there's really no reason to mark it any lower. (Having said that Sound Of Silver should really have been 4.5)

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17th May 2010 - Add Comment - Tweet

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Shepard Fairey: Make My May Day

Nice piece over on World Famous Design Junkies w Shepard Fairey painting a new May Day mural.

Bonus fact: he's got a new print available in Habitat.

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27th Apr 2010 - Add Comment - Tweet

Star Wars On Earth

Star Wars On Earth - great set of photos from Cédric Delsaux over at WorldFamousDesignJunkies

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10th Mar 2010 - Add Comment - Tweet

OMG! Sonic Youth on Gossip Girl. TTYN!

OMG! Not content with dirtying the name of THE Aaron Rose, TV show Gossip Girl now has its sites set on grunge godfathers Sonic Youth - who appeared in this week's episode, playing as a band AND with Kim Gordon performing the wedding of two of the lead characters wedding...

Videogum has the story.

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14th Oct 2009 - Add Comment - Tweet

Star Status: Andy Garcia

A recent screening of The Untouchables brought Andy Garcia into the sights of Star Status, and it's a mixed picture. He's actually been in a lot of TV stuff and a lot of stuff that I for one haven't seen - so quite a few of these scores will be coming from the over-generous IBDB voting system. No TV, so his appearance in the pilot of Murder She Wrote won't count I'm afraid.

So, how does Cuban-born Andy Garcia rate in the Chimpomatic Star Status Movie Maths Generator?

It's 10 points for a Hit, 5 for a Maybe and 1 for a Miss... 

The Pink Panther 2 (2009) .... Vicenzo - MISS
City Island (2009) .... Vince Rizzo - HIT
La linea (2008) .... Javier Salazar - MISS
Beverly Hills Chihuahua (2008) (voice) .... Delgado - MISS
Ocean's Thirteen (2007) .... Terry Benedict - HIT
The Air I Breathe (2007) .... Fingers - HIT
Smokin' Aces (2006) .... Stanley Locke - MAYBE
The Lost City (2005) .... Fico Fellove - MAYBE
Ocean's Twelve (2004) .... Terry Benedict - HIT
Modigliani (2004) .... Amedeo Modigliani - MAYBE
The Lazarus Child (2004) .... Jack Heywood - MISS
Twisted (2004/I) .... Mike Delmarco - MISS
Confidence (2003) .... Gunther Butan - MAYBE
Just Like Mona (2003) - MISS
Ocean's Eleven (2001) .... Terry Benedict - HIT
The Man from Elysian Fields (2001) .... Byron - MAYBE
The Unsaid (2001) .... Michael Hunter - MAYBE
Lakeboat (2000) .... Guigliani - MISS
Just the Ticket (1999/I) .... Gary Starke - MISS
Desperate Measures (1998) .... Frank Conner - MISS
Hoodlum (1997) .... Lucky Luciano - MISS
The Disappearance of Garcia Lorca (1996) .... Lorca - MAYBE
Night Falls on Manhattan (1996) .... Sean Casey - MAYBE
Steal Big Steal Little (1995) .... Ruben Partida Martinez/Robert Martin/Narrator - MISS
Things to Do in Denver When You're Dead (1995) .... Jimmy 'The Saint' Tosnia - HIT
When a Man Loves a Woman (1994) .... Michael Green - MAYBE
Jennifer Eight (1992) .... Sgt. John Berlin - HIT
Hero (1992/I) .... John Bubber - HIT
Dead Again (1991) .... Gray Baker - HIT
The Godfather: Part III (1990) .... Vincent Mancini - HIT
A Show of Force (1990) .... Luis Angel Mora - MISS
Internal Affairs (1990) .... Raymond Avilla - HIT
Black Rain (1989/I) .... Charlie - HIT
American Roulette (1988) .... Carlos Quintas - MISS
Stand and Deliver (1988) .... Dr. Ramirez (Educational Testing Service) - MAYBE
The Untouchables (1987) .... Agent George Stone / Giuseppe Petri - HIT
8 Million Ways to Die (1986) .... Angel Moldonado - MAYBE

HIT 11
MAYBE 11
MISS 13

So that's 178 out of a possible 370

Andy Garcia, you have scored a (perhaps surprising) 48.1%

If you dare make a purchase, you can do so here, allowing Chimpomatic to profit from his loss. Check back soon for more Star Status movie maths. Same Chimp Channel, same Chimp Time...

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17th Jul 2009 - Add Comment - Tweet

Yeah Yeah Yeahs

It's Blitz!

Fiction

It's quite easy to compare the progression of New York's Yeah Yeah Yeahs with the progression of modern warfare, shit I compare pretty much everything to war. Their stunning debut Fever To Tell saw them engaging in hand to hand combat, homemade shanks were used to gut the opponent or simply the pounding brut force of a bleeding fist. Show Your Bones saw them retreat from the battlefield and adopt a slightly less primal approach, whereas the latest offering It's Blitz! is modern warfare in all its polished glory. There are no ground troops just long range, expertly precise strikes. The brut force kills are now a 'mission accomplished' notice on a computer screen. But the result is always the same, victory.

The last we heard from these guys was in 2007 with the EP Is Is. Since then this short bundle of goodness has become my favored item in their impeccable back catalogue. It's Blitz! isn't quite the cavalry that I thought Is Is was calling but it's still a worthy 3rd roll of the dice and one that takes them into new and rich territory. Karren O's presence still remains steadfast at the centre of their sound but the ship on which she sails has taken a new turn. The minimal crunch of guitars and belting drums have been enshrouded in detailed production and a wealth of synthesizers. The emphasis isn't on power but on depth.

Opener Zero is a massive way to reintroduce themselves. With vocals dripping in echo Karen O is up close and personal with some of the slickest production this band has ever offered. This isn't surprising seeing as TV On The Radio's Dave Sitek is at the helm. Wave upon wave of synth carry this song in directions more suited to Alison Goldfrapp or even Blondie. It's driving power pop and it's quite surprising for this band. Show Your Bones always hinted at this direction but the change has finally arrived. While this is probably the biggest tune here the remaining high points come in more subtle ways. Their ferocity is often punctuated to great effect by their anti-ballads and Skeletons is one of their finest. With grand and distant drums building on an analogue ocean of synthesizers this song sees Karen at her most breathless. Runaway is certainly one of the standout moments on It's Blitz! Introduced with the gentle plink of an old piano Karen sounds lonely among such empty sonic space. With a rumble of strings she is soon joined by the sensitive rhythm and a full orchestra. It just rises and rises on this structure like a flock of migrating birds dancing and reveling in their euphoric freedom. It's loaded with melancholy and tinged with screeching violins but is an utter joy from start to finish.

It's Blitz! is a surprise indeed. It doesn't do what other Yeah Yeah Yeahs albums have always been there to do but isn't it special when a band start to perform other functions. It's the most sensual of their releases. At times it comes way too close to Killers territory for my liking but their front woman steers it away expertly. Her voice has always done things for me but on this record I could just swim in it. They have always flirted with synthesizers but their courage to embrace it here pays off and gives the record an old school charm without sounding retro. They've grown up since Fever To Tell, who'd of thought a woman who brought us such a guttural howl could stand before us on album closer Little Shadow and ask us "will you follow me?" with such monolithic siren beauty. It's stunning and needs to be experienced.

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17th Mar 2009 - 3 comments - Add Comment - Tweet

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Star Status: Michael Caine

The whole star status formula was concocted one evening in the pub following a discussion about the patchy career of messrs Connory and Caine. Connery has a career so patchy he only scored a 28.8% hit rate, while Michael Caine's career is so schizophrenic that he couldn't collect his Oscar for Woody Allen's Hannah and Her Sisters, as he was busy filming Jaws IV: The Revenge. A low in the entire pantheon of cinema, not just one man's career.

So, how does Michael Caine (A.K.A. Sir Maurice Joseph Micklewhite Jr.) rate in the Chimpomatic Star Status Movie Maths Generator?

It's 10 points for a Hit, 5 for a Maybe and 1 for a Miss... No TV movies, just cinema releases to date.

In the spirit of full disclosure I should also tell you that I've been a little presumptuous and started the count with Zulu (1964), as prior to that it's a barrage of uncredited roles and TV bit parts. As he's a man with 139 credits on his IMDB page, there's plenty I haven't seen, for which I've taken some advice from the often over-generous IMDB ratings.

Is There Anybody There? (2008) - MAYBE
The Dark Knight (2008) .... Alfred Pennyworth - HIT
Sleuth (2007) .... Andrew - MISS
Flawless (2007) .... Mr. Hobbs - MAYBE
The Prestige (2006) .... Cutter - MAYBE
Children of Men (2006) .... Jasper - HIT
The Weather Man (2005) .... Robert Spritzel - MAYBE
Bewitched (2005) .... Nigel Bigelow - MISS
Batman Begins (2005) .... Alfred  - HIT
Around the Bend (2004) .... Henry Lair - HIT
The Statement (2003) .... Pierre Brossard - MAYBE
Secondhand Lions (2003) .... Garth - HIT
The Actors (2003) .... Anthony O'Malley - MAYBE
Quicksand (2003) .... Jake Mellows - MISS
The Quiet American (2002) .... Thomas Fowler - HIT
Austin Powers in Goldmember (2002) .... Nigel Powers - MAYBE
Last Orders (2001) .... Jack - HIT
Miss Congeniality (2000) .... Victor Melling - MAAAAYBE
Get Carter (2000) .... Cliff Brumby - MISS
Shiner (2000) .... Billy 'Shiner' Simpson - MAYBE
Quills (2000) .... Dr. Royer-Collard - HIT
The Debtors (1999) - MISS
The Cider House Rules (1999) .... Dr. Wilbur Larch - HIT
Curtain Call (1999) .... Max Gale - MISS
Little Voice (1998) .... Ray Say - HIT
Shadow Run (1998) .... Haskell - MISS
20,000 Leagues Under the Sea (1997/II) (TV) .... Captain Nemo - MISS
Mandela and de Klerk (1997) (TV) .... F.W. de Klerk - MAYBE
Midnight in Saint Petersburg (1996) .... Harry Palmer - MISS
Blood and Wine (1996) .... Victor 'Vic' Spansky - MAYBE
Bullet to Beijing (1995) .... Harry Palmer - MISS
World War II: When Lions Roared (1994) (TV) .... Joseph V. Stalin - MAYBE
On Deadly Ground (1994) .... Michael Jennings - MISS
The Muppet Christmas Carol (1992) .... Ebenezer Scrooge - HIT
Blue Ice (1992) .... Harry Anders - MISS
Noises Off... (1992) .... Lloyd Fellowes - MAYBE
Bullseye! (1990) .... Sidney Lipton/Doctor Hicklar - MISS
Mr. Destiny (1990) .... Mike/Mr. Destiny - MISS
A Shock to the System (1990) .... Graham Marshall - MISS
Dirty Rotten Scoundrels (1988) .... Lawrence Jamieson - MAYBE
Without a Clue (1988) .... Sherlock Holmes - MAYBE
Surrender (1987) .... Sean Stein - MISS
Jaws: The Revenge (1987) .... Hoagie Newcombe - MIIIIISSSSSSS!
The Whistle Blower (1987) .... Frank Jones - MISS
The Fourth Protocol (1987) .... John Preston - MAYBE
Half Moon Street (1986) .... Lord Sam Bulbeck - MISS
Mona Lisa (1986) .... Mortwell - HIT
Sweet Liberty (1986) .... Elliott James - MISS
Hannah and Her Sisters (1986) .... Elliot - HIT
The Holcroft Covenant (1985) .... Noel Holcroft - MISS
Water (1985/I) .... Governor Baxter Thwaites  - MISS
Blame It on Rio (1984) .... Matthew Hollins - MISS
The Honorary Consul (1983) .... Charley Fortnum, Consul - MISS
Educating Rita (1983) .... Dr. Frank Bryant - HIT
The Jigsaw Man (1983) .... Philip Kimberly/Sergei Kuzminsky - MISS
Deathtrap (1982) .... Sidney Bruhl - MISS
Escape To Victory (1981) .... Capt. John Colby - HIT
The Hand (1981) .... Jonathan Lansdale - MISS
The Island (1980) .... Blair Maynard - MISS
Dressed to Kill (1980) .... Doctor Robert Elliott - MAYBE
Beyond the Poseidon Adventure (1979) .... Captain Mike Turner - MISS
Ashanti (1979) .... Dr. David Linderby - MISS
California Suite (1978) .... Sidney Cochran - MAYBE
The Swarm (1978) .... Dr. Bradford Crane - MISS
Silver Bears (1978) .... Doc Fletcher - MISS
A Bridge Too Far (1977) .... Lt. Col. John O.E. Vandeleur - HIT
The Eagle Has Landed (1976) .... Colonel Steiner - HIT
Harry and Walter Go to New York (1976) .... Adam Worth - MISS
The Man Who Would Be King (1975) .... Peachy Carnehan - HIT
The Romantic Englishwoman (1975) .... Lewis Fielding - MISS
The Wilby Conspiracy (1975) .... Jim Keogh - MISS
Peeper (1975) .... Leslie C. Tucker - MISS
The Black Windmill (1974) .... Maj. John Tarrant - MISS
Sleuth (1972) .... Milo Tindle - HIT
Pulp (1972) .... Mickey King - MAYBE
Zee and Co. (1972) .... Robert Blakeley - MISS 
Kidnapped (1971) .... Alan Breck - MAYBE
Get Carter (1971) .... Jack Carter - HIT
The Last Valley (1970) .... The Captain - HIT
Too Late the Hero (1970) .... Pvt. Tosh Hearne - MAYBE
Battle of Britain (1969) .... Squadron Leader Canfield - HIT
The Italian Job (1969) .... Charlie Croker - HIT
The Magus (1968) .... Nicholas Urfe - MISS
Deadfall (1968) .... Henry Stuart Clarke - MISS
Play Dirty (1968) .... Capt. Douglas - MISS
Billion Dollar Brain (1967) .... Harry Palmer - MISS
Woman Times Seven (1967) .... Handsome Stranger (segment "Snow") - MISS
Hurry Sundown (1967) .... Henry Warren - MISS
Funeral in Berlin (1966) .... Harry Palmer - HIT
Gambit (1966) .... Harry Tristan Dean - HIT
The Wrong Box (1966) .... Michael Finsbury - MAYBE
Alfie (1966) .... Alfie Elkins - HIT
The Ipcress File (1965) .... Harry Palmer - HIT
Zulu (1964) .... Lieutenant Gonville Bromhead - HIT

HIT 28
MISS 22
MAYBE 44

So that's a generous 434 points out of a possible whopping 940.

Michael Caine: you have scored 46.1%

If you dare make a purchase, you can do so here, allowing Chimpomatic to profit from his loss. Check back soon for more Star Status movie maths. Same Chimp Channel, same Chimp Time...

#CSF
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26th Feb 2009 - Add Comment - Tweet

Demons

Episode One

ITV1

Another attempt from ITV to come up with something to plug that Saturday night Doctor Who black hole. 

Here, it's a fairly generic Buffy ripoff, with large chunks of Neil Gaiman's Neverworld thrown in for good measure. Some boyband wannabe finds out he's the last in the Van Helsing family line when his godfather shows up out of the blue with a large mystic gun and a terrible American accent and points out that there really are things under the bed. They chase them a bit together after going to see a blind piano player in London's Royal Festival Hall and then turning a corner and carrying on their chat in London's Spitalfields market* before Mackenzie Crook (Gareth from The Office) shows up with an odd stuck-on beak on his nose and scares them a bit. 

Philip Glenister - so good at getting you to believe in the Life On Mars/Ashes To Ashes time-travel/coma/where-are-we? conceit - is here lumbered with the task of trying to make this work. But as there's absolutely no reason at all why they've made him attempt an American accent, the whole thing struggles from the moment he pops up, simply because you're trying to work out why he's saying things like "let's verily smite these level three entities" all the time, when it would be a lot more convincing (almost) if he'd just been left to say it in his own accent. Maybe they're hoping to sell it to the US? Not much chance really - it's pretty hard to work out why you'd bother taking on monsters from other realms if you're not going to at least try and make it better than Buffy. Might pick up if it can settle down a bit, but at the moment, those London hellmouths don't feel very safe.

*note for non-London chimps: that would take a good 30 minutes to walk in non-TV time

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3rd Jan 2009 - 3 comments - Add Comment - Tweet

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Godfather - The Sequel?

this guy might be on to something

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11th Dec 2008 - Add Comment - Tweet

Gomorra

(Dir Matteo Garrone)

Fandango

Two kids decide to take on the local crime boss. A mafia-funded tailor decides to moonlight for a Chinese sweatshop. A politician looks for new sites to dump toxic waste. A mob money man decides he's had enough. A grocery boy gets drawn into an escalating turf war.

Dizzying reinvention of the mafia movie, based on the nonfiction book by Roberto Saviano. Far from the glamour of The Godfather or even The Sopranos, this is more like a Naples version of The Wire. We're thrown into the middle of five stories, which build up a crushing portrait of a city in chaos; it's not so much that the system has failed here, but that even the crime culture which has stepped into the void seems to have spiralled out of control, light years from the honour amongst thieves myth we've seen time and again. 

It's beautifully shot, with the housing estates where the bulk of the action takes place rising up like decaying Mayan pyramids. Scenes are artfully constructed, with details like a freshly manicured hand or a statue of Jesus being winched down an estate balcony standing out amidst the action. That's not to suggest that this elegant movie glosses over the trauma and social breakdown - far from it. Violence is ever-present, brutally casual and everyday. It's a bewildering experience, as we float from story to story and back again, wondering how they connect - and also wondering how any of the characters can possibly hope to escape the lives they've found themselves in. 

At 137 mins, it's a long haul, but well worth it. Strong contender for one of the films of 2008.

#Film
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1st Oct 2008 - 1 comments - Add Comment - Tweet

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Mudhoney

The Forum, Kentish Town, London

June 31st, 2008

With a 20 year anniversary under their belt, there's a new vigor in the Mudhoney camp and renewed interest in the seminal godfathers of Grunge. Sure, there's the fans who've grown up with the band (mostly geography teachers now by the look of things), but there's also a sweaty teenage contingent at the Forum tonight. There's not much in between, but fortunately these two groups have one thing in common.

Fang cover "The Money Will Roll Right In" opens the show, before we move on to "I'm Now" and "The Lucky Ones" from the recent album of the same name. While Mudhoney's recent releases have been far from disappointing, it seems clear that most of us are here for one thing. Mudhoney's recent re-release of "Superfuzz-Bigmuff" seems to have re-ignited the flame of nostalgia for the band, and while the crowd is rowdy from the start it explodes when the big hitters like "Touch Me I'm Sick" and "In 'n' Out Of Grace" come out. The mosh pit expands to fill most of the ground floor and - perhaps feeling a little nostalgic themselves - even the security guards relapse on their post-grunge clampdown, letting a free flowing barrage of crowd-surfing go relatively unpunished.

The 20 years haven't been bad to Mudhoney, with Mark Arm still throwing down Iggy Pop moves like a disgruntled teenager, while the band preside over the immense energy of the show like seasoned veterans. It's a set-list packed with early classics, and with the relentless pace making no attempt to hold back the 'hits,' it's left to Black Flag cover "Fix Me" to make up the encore and bring the show to an end. This dose of 80's punk serves as a potent reminder of where this band came from - let's hope their own legacy fuels the aspirations of a generation to come. Brilliant.

Lots more photos by chimp photographer Rachel Poulton over on our Flickr page.

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5th Aug 2008 - Add Comment - Tweet

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Hancock

(dir. Peter Berg)

Sony Pictures

Easy sell for this: Will Smith = alcoholic superhero. Throw in another great exercise in comic timing from Jason "Arrested Development" Bateman and a slow-burner from Charlize Theron and you've got a winner. 

Bateman's a PR exec who takes on Hancock's case after being saved from a train wreck (Hancock does the train-wrecking), and tries to rework his image so LA starts seeing him as a hero, and not a super-strong bum. Theron is Bateman's homely wife, who doesn't want to see him get burned by a loser like Hancock.

Director Peter Berg proved he could pull off a smart thriller with The Kingdom and he expands on that here, pushing the d-runk flying, whale-chucking, city-trashing jokes as far as they'll go - and then flipping the movie into a whole other zone after the first act. Worked as a nice surprise for me after seeing the trailer - which gives zero hints about where it's heading - so we'll leave it at that here. It's enough to say: this is darker than it looks, and more interesting. The action works, but it's the smaller moments that makes this film so enjoyable - Hancock using his super-strength to shave, popping out bulletproof glass with a flick etc - it's a like a kitchen sink drama (where they occasionally chuck the kitchen sink out of the kitchen).

A few more points in its favour: 

*First ever on-screen cameo from Berg's mentor Michael Mann.

*One of the few big-budget films in recent years to come in at the chimp-approved 92 minute-mark. Apparently there was a two-hour cut which may appear on the eventual dvd, and there are a few moments where you wonder if they've chopped out some backstory (mainly with the film's designated Brit baddie Eddie Marsan) - but I'd take that over a bloated two-hour blahthon anyday. 

* The DFA mix of MIA's Paper Planes is playing when they hit one of LA's cool restaurants

*It's a drunk superhero - what's not to love?

#Film
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21st Jun 2008 - Add Comment - Tweet

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Paul Weller O2 Indigo 4 June 2008

 the modfather on storming form live at the O2 Indigo, for a new show on ITV2, starting 14 June. crazy hair, but he's still got it

#chimp71

5th Jun 2008 - 2 comments - Add Comment - Tweet

The Last Shadow Puppets

The Age of the Understatement

Domino

Recalling the likes of Scott Walker and Phil Spector, The Last Shadow Puppets are a side project from chief Arctic Monkey Alex Turner and Miles Kane of lesser-known Wirral locals The Rascals. Simian Mobile Disco's James Ford plays drums as well as reprising the production role he took on last year's Favourite Worst Nightmare.

Inspired by that late 50's / early 60's sound, the band employ lavish strings, rich melodies and a sweeping grandeur that places them well away from the Arctic Monkeys' spikey, contemporary sound. Off to a flying start, the title track sets up the scenario - with Turner and Kane's harmonious vocals galloping along to the accompanyment of furious strings. Lyrically less of a first-person affair than the Monkeys, steering away from the minutiae of teenage life in Sheffield for a more subtle style of big screen story-telling. There's still room for Rock amongst all this orchestration however and many songs recall the early electric era of 7" singles - barely topping 3 minutes on most tracks. Highlights like Standing Next To Me and Only The Truth sum the approach up perfectly, doing away with long intros and getting straight to the full-blown matter at hand.

It's a fun listen, but at the end of the day it's a concept stretched a little too far. The similarity between Turner and Kane's voices does little to add much distinction between tracks and while it's by no means an offensive listen I just find my attention drifting towards the end. Finale The Time Has Come Again brings things back into focus however, with a suitably sweeping climax as the soft acoustic intro is embellished by the twin vocals and a rising orchestral arrangement.

In an age of mega marketing and struggling record sales, Turner has maintained steadfast integrity, shirking the expected mainstream and sticking to his guns. This is an unusual release, but one that is strong, original and superbly produced. A far cry from the Hoxton infested lo-fi 80s revivalist output that a lot of hyped bands seem to be trying for these days.

#Music
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8th May 2008 - Add Comment - Tweet

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Videotape(d)

For anyone who didn't manage to get into the Radiohead show at Rough Trade 93 Feet East (er, like everyone) it's all online over at YouTube. 'No Surprises' there. 

#CSF

18th Jan 2008 - Add Comment - Tweet

Steve 'Seagal' Jobs

Managed to catch a screening of Nico (a.k.a. Above The Law) last night in a bout of post-football depression. The near two decades since its creation haven't been kind and it played out like a 99 minute episode of The A-Team, complete with detached noodle-rock soundtrack and added Fu%$ing swearing to bump it up to an 18.

Anyway, two things that surfaced were:

a) It was poorly directed by Andrew Davis (who went on to find his form with The Fugitive), not the awesome John Badham or Martin Brest.

b) Steven Seagal bares more than a passing resemblance to the iPodfather, Steve Jobs. In the iBrows in particular. Boom.

#CSF

22nd Nov 2007 - 2 comments - Add Comment - Tweet

LCD Soundsystem

45:33

DFA

Orginally available as a shoe-based promo download on iTunes, LCD's jogging mix is now out in hard copy formats, with added tracks Freak Out/Starry Eyes, North American Scum and Hippie Priest Bum-out.

The first track is kind of an LCD greatest hits, with James Murphy skipping through early versions of Sound Of Silver tracks like the, er, great Someone Great mixed in with some new bits. If, like us, you've got SOS hitting the Top 5 of your 2007 list, then this is like a worthwhile bonus round.

I love lying flat out on the sofa and not jogging to this. Works just as well

#Music
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16th Nov 2007 - Add Comment - Tweet

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Mara/Mugi Live

nice run of gigs from Chimpomatic's favourite M's - Mugi and Mara...

5th Nov - Mara Carlyle is headlining at the Green Note in Camden

then Mugison is on tour in Iceland playing
6 Nov Ísafjörður - Edinborgarhúsið
8 Nov Akureyri - Græni Hatturinn
9 Nov Vestmanneyjar - í Vélasalnum
10 Nov Hafnafjörður - Bæjarbíó
11 Nov Reykjavík - Nasa;

crossing over to Scandinavia
14 Nov Den 11. time - TV stuff
16 Nov Voxhall / Århus
17 Nov Vega / Copenhagen
18 November Skråen / Ålborg -

25 Nov Berlin, Nordwind Festival with Ghostigital and HöH/Steindór Andersen

27th Nov - Mara's curating a night at St Barnabas featuring Circulus's Michael Tyack, Luca, Mugison and Max de Wardener

28th Nov - Mugison's headlining at the Luminaire in Kilburn with support from Mara and fellow Icelandic rocker Pétur Ben

Then Mugi's playing 29 Nov Liverpool - Barfly
1 Dec Paris - La Fleche D’Or

5th Dec - Mara's playing the Arctic Circle Christmas at the Union Chapel

busy people, all should be great going on previous outings

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7th Nov 2007 - 3 comments - Add Comment - Tweet

Transformers

(dir.Michael Bay)

Dreamworks

After their planet is ravaged by civil war, two warring factions of shape-shifting robots arrive on earth in search of a digital rubik's-cube gizmo with the power to turn ordinary electrical appliances into all consuming monster robots. The Decepticons are led by the evil Megatron, who was discovered frozen in the ice by troubled geeky teen Shia La Beouf's grandfather. Luckily he's just bought a new car that turns out to be one of the friendly Autobots who are here to save us - led by the articulated lorry-esque Optimus Prime.

As a kid you would probably shit bricks at how cool the robots are in this movie, but as an adult it's like watching a 120 minute trailer that shows all the best bits. An experience not too dissimilar to lying down on a motorway being run over constantly. The premise is thinner than Highlander II, with very little explanation for why the robots can assume some shapes they like, but don't bother at other times - when being a steam roller might be more useful than being a cool little dune-buggy.

Hollywood heavyweight/lifecoach Michael Bay adds his usual flair, taking his cue from the George Lucas school of film making - where you can't see the CGI because it's all CGI, and it works pretty seamlessly. There are some great sequences and effects - notably the helicopter-bot assassin that attacks the US Army a couple of times in an attempt to steal their bandwidth or something.

It's a fun ride, so don't take my cynical opinion on it all. I was always more of a Lego fan.

#Film
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25th Jun 2007 - 3 comments - Add Comment - Tweet

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Joakim

Monsters & Silly Songs

K7

You know those days when you just can't decide between, deep techno, grung rock, abstract noise, driving electro or ambient electronica so you settle for Kid A, well now there's an alternative. Joakim's second album in four years has it all and though this may lead to a slightly disjointed listen it's great to hear an album you can't sum up in the first few tracks.

True opener Sleep In Hollow Tree is a dark, pulsating start to the album recalling experimental oddballs Liars, while Drumtrax is a thumping instrumental electro jam rivaling anything from DFA or LCD. The slower offerings come in the form of Lonely Hearts which could be early Moby or Royksopp and there's even the sprawling ambience of The Devil With No Tail that is not too dissimilar to that of Japanese legend Susumu Yokota. But none of this would amount to anything if it weren't for the album highlight of Love Me 2. This is nearly 9 minutes of slow building drums that if Michael Mann ever hears he'll issue a re-edit of Heat where the Moby song that soundtracks the De Niro/ Pacino motorway chase is dropped for this gem. When you think it's about to climax and tail off you'll see from the time bar that it's only half way through. But do not fear, this baby will put out.

And the same can be said for the album as a whole. It's not perfect but it aims high. A general criticism for albums like this that showcase a wide variety of genres is that they end up spreading themselves too thin and become a Jack of all trades and master of none but I wouldn't say this about Monsters & Silly Songs. It's a highly original project that is both challenging and exciting and if you want to bitch and moan that I've done nothing here but name-check other bands, then I apologise - but hey, I can't write Shakespeare all the time.

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27th Mar 2007 - Add Comment - Tweet

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LCD Soundsystem

Sound Of Silver

These days fashion is a major player in making an album hit or miss - and James Murphy's LCD Soundsystem proved this in 2005 when their self titled debut took everyone by storm. It being the right time for their blend of self referencing, witty beat punk wasn't the only reason it was such a success. The album was full of well crafted, intelligent music which set the bar high for their second installment. "Sound Of Silver" sees them take stock of all that has gone before and move on confidently.

'Get Innocuous' creeps in with a whisper and the album is off to a perfect start. A 2 minute gently rolling beat intro is the frame work for Murphy's unassuming vocals. This could be vintage Talking Heads if it wasn't for the fiercely electronic structure. It tells us from the outset that some new strings have been added to this bow and to start the difficult second album off with a 7 minute piece of lushness like this sends out a message of confidence and progression. 'Time To Get Away' revisits old ground with wailing vocals stabbing at stuttering beats but the new ideas soon return. 'Someone Great' opens with an almost Top Gun theme morphing into Human League synths and the stand out track 'All My Friends' continues the 80's synth revival with a more piano led driving beat that never pauses and could go on forever. James Murphy's vocals are taken down a notch as in the opening track and the result of this change is stunning. Its relentlessness is awesome and even though the pace never changes you feel as if you're building up to something powerful. As in the best Joy Division moments it's this combination of a rolling bass structure, subtly building vocals and the guts to take a song past the 4 minute mark that make this album memorable.

This is a band settling into their sound and a displaying a progression that shows a lot of maturity. Their 2005 debut was perfect for that time both in content and style. Murphy's DFA label was huge, pioneering a very exciting electro/indie crossover and the sound that emerged from the labels history was fresh and a generation of super-cool indie kids were more than ready to accept Murphy's blend of synth beats and abrasive punk musings even though his lyrics often ridiculed the image conscious demographic that followed him. But since then the elctro-punk style has become somewhat tired so this album couldn't have been easy for the band. Talking Heads have been the principle influence for some of the best bands to emerge in the last 3 years and they certainly feature here. But this influence has brought a more earthy sound to LCD and that's where the maturity lies. Just as with Clap Your Hands Say Yeah's Some Loud Thunder we see a band who after making people sit up and take notice of their first statement are now settling in for the long-haul and although they've eased off on the gas they're making music with more depth and durability.

#Music
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30th Jan 2007 - 3 comments - Add Comment - Tweet

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No Noodles

Momofuku Ando, the Godfather of instant ramen has died, aged 96.

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7th Jan 2007 - 1 comments - Add Comment - Tweet

Little Miss Sunshine

(dir. Jonathan Dayton & Valerie Faris)

This is the feature film debut for directorial partnership Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris and sees them produce a delightful piece of cinema on a par with 2005's Sideways. Like Sideways, Little Miss Sunshine is a road movie that depicts deeply flawed characters in unusual and often forced situations struggling to cope with the pressures of life.

Here we have the Hoover family who are dysfunctional to say the least. Father Richard (Greg Kinnear), a hopelessly optimistic motivational speaker is trying to sell his nine-step programme to being a winner, supported and pitied by his wife (Toni Collette) whose brother (Steve Carell), a troubled Proust scholar, has just failed in his attempt to commit suicide. Meanwhile their Nietzsche obsessed son Dwayne has taken a vow of silence until he fulfils his goal of becoming a pilot while seven year old Olive, a slightly plump, four- eyed little girl dreams of becoming a beauty queen. As if all this wasn't eccentric enough they have a coke-snorting grandfather (Alan Arkin) living with them as well.

The film sees the Hoovers embarking on a long and tiresome journey to California in an old camper van after Olive gains a place in the Little Miss Sunshine finals. What we are treated to along the way is a touching portrait of family dynamics, the difficulties of being young and old and developing the ability to see what is truly important in life. The thing that makes this story so delightful is that the characters never slip into a stereotype, this is largely down to the writing but the subtle and heartfelt acting by everyone makes it compelling viewing. Abigail Breslin, who plays Olive is utterly charming and truly electrifying to watch but the foul mouthed grandfather is the one that really steals the show, one of his finest moments being his life lessons to the 15 year old son to "fuck a lot of women, not just one, a lot." He then goes on to say what a great position he's in being fifteen as he can have any fifteen year old he wants, if he waits till he's sixteen he could be looking at eight to ten.

The film doesn't try to make any judgements or provide any answers to the problems confronting these characters but that's where it shines. It is quite outrageous at times but always retains reality and with a proper belly laugh ending leaves you on a high. We have been swamped with Hollywood big budget movies this summer but with films like this it's important to remember that the American independent scene is, on the whole, a place of real quality and rare beauty.

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11th Sep 2006 - 2 comments - Add Comment - Tweet

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