Fun, original take on an otherwise ageing property. Apocalypse Now meets Watchmen.
5th Jan 2018Read more 3 star reviews
Sentimental trample through "Stone Roses - The Musical." Engaging by default.
13th Oct 2014Read more 3 star reviews
Some good stuff in the latest Mike D-edited edition of Monster Children magazine, including the film below and a double edged driving playlist, curated by Mike D and Spike Jonze. I've only got two of the tracks in the Mike D playlist, but pretty much everything except Rock Lopster for Spike Jonze'.
Mike D, Kassia Meador, Rob Machado, Photographer Morgan Maassen
Frank Ocean, Mick Jones, Paul Simonon and Diplo - Hero
Portugal. The Man - Work All Day
Jai Paul - BTSTU (demo)
Can - Sing Swan Song
Silver Apples - Lovefingers
T Rex - Life’s a Gas
Neil Young - Journey Through the Past
Led Zeppelin - Good Times Bad Times
Soko feat. Ariel Pink - Monster Love
MIA feat. The Weeknd - Sexodus
Major Lazer - Get Free
Jai Paul - Jasmine (demo)
Cassius - I <3 U So
Brian Eno - Some of Them Are Old
Christian Tiger School - Various cuts
Darkside - Golden Arrow
Chromatics - Tick of the Clock
Kanye West feat. Bon Iver - Lost in the World
Chief Keef - Citgo
Kanye West - Blood on the Leaves
EPMD - You Gots to Chill
Spike Jonze, Ford Archbold, Alex Knost, Tanner Rozunko and cinematographer Alex Kopps
Billy Joel - The Longest Time (start a 6am drive with this and everyone is feeling pretty good)
Jane’s Addiction - Summertime Rolls
Girls - Summertime
Guided by Voices - A Salty Salute
David Bowie - Five Years
Pavement - In the Mouth a Desert
Future Islands - Seasons (Waiting on You)
The Strokes - Someday (As we got closer to the spot, we would start picking it up…)
Minor Threat - Salad Days
X - Los Angeles
Television Personalities - Part Time Punks
Velvet Underground - Lady Godiva’s Operation
Pavement - Gold Soundz
The B-52’s - Rock Lobster
Extreme snowboarding/surfing/ice fishing/sledging arctic expedition.
More Stone Roses nostalgia on the way...
Trailer up for the new JJ Abrams TV show - Alcatraz. Looks to be positioned somewhere between Lost and Fringe in terms of production quality and originality.
Shining vs video games as Scorcese pulls tricks out the bag in this hokey, old-fashioned studio pic.
7th Mar 2011Read more 3 star reviews
7th Mar 2011Read on Twitter
Beautifully shot and art directed movie which unfolds as a painfully sincere companion to The Island.
3rd Feb 2011Read more 3 star reviews
Clunky compilation of three interlinked short stories.
1st Jan 2011Read more 2.5 star reviews
more details on the bonus materials coming on the Lost S6 boxset - 11 and a half mins of Hurley and Ben running the island after Jack. Dharma snacks for all!
Nice framed prints available from Image Kind, mapping the geography of the Lost island. Not sure you could find your way home with it, but it might look nice on the wall of your geek den.
Emerging bleary eyed from the Christmas/New Year haze I was confronted with nothing but talk of immanent financial hardship and the merits of a New York band called The Drums. I laughed off both as mere hype but lo and behold they've both come true and after hearing this debut album the latter certainly certainly makes the former rumor more easy to bear. If you have the Summertime Ep released last year then you'll be familiar with a lot of this but that shouldn't dampen your enjoyment in the least. Swamped in British eighties warmth but infused with a charm and freshness that seems to only emanate from the States at the moment The Drums continue in part what bands like Vampire Weekend started. These are simple songs heavily recalling bands like The Cure or New Order but laced with a rolling surf-rock sensibility. It's a fine mix and one that benefits form a full length format. They've bravely left off two of their most popular songs from Summertime, I Felt Stupid and Submarine, but left their flagship Let's Go Surfing, a song that won them their considerable acclaim on the blogs.
In these dark times I continuously look across the pond for indie-pop alleviation and with The Drums I look no further. It's not reinventing the wheel but who needs reinvention with a record as joyous as this. Highlights include Forever And Ever Amen and I'll Never Drop My Sword.Read more 3.5 star reviews
Don't get your hopes up for answers, but the Lost Blu-ray release will contain a bonus scene of '12 to 14 minutes' depicted Hurley and Ben's final days/months/years/decades on the island. Which might provide some answers.
Just turn the island off and on again at the plug and everything will be fine #lostfinale
24th May 2010Read on Twitter
Comedy from The Lonely Island + Julian Casablancas
one of the unlikelier team-ups of recent years - it's Paul Weller and My Bloody Valentine's Kevin Shields for 7 + 3 Is The Striker's Name
Morrissey on Desert Island Discs, Radio 4, as we tweet. Check it.
29th Nov 2009Read on Twitter
It was relatively late in coming, but the praise that followed Justin Vernon's debut Bon Iver project was unprecedented and warranted. The critics aren't messing about with this new side project featuring Vernon alongside fellow Wisconsinites Collections of Colonies Of Bees - and there has been much frenzied chatter about Unmap for a while now. While Unmap is certainly permeated with a similar bewitching presence as For Emma, Forever Ago it sounds less focused and just what a side-project tends to sound like. It has a different agenda from the music made under Bon Iver. It is totally studio produced and has more formalistic concerns like texture and ambiance than the emotional weight Bon Iver carried. Rather than a mission statement bursting to be released from one man, this sounds like a group of like-minded guys just enjoying the process of music making and all the more so given the success that one of these members has enjoyed of late. But they handle that with remarkable restraint and play down Vernon's now familiar tones to mere texture at times.
It's quite clear this is no Bon Iver follow-up, as the sultry notes of opener Husks And Shells drifts into earshot. With the gentlest of plucking and delicate textures Vernon introduces himself with a series of wordless harmonies that amble along with little fixed direction but create an arresting sense of desolation. He raises his voice in the last 20 seconds with a gradual crescendo that makes room for Seeplymouth, one of the strongest songs here. With a similar structure it builds with layered percussion, synth melody and looped vocals to a massive, unrelenting finale that booms with depth and refuses to let up. And when it does, out of the dust emerges Island, Is, a perfectly carved marble statue of a song that glistens with polished clarity. Vernon's vocals are given new buoyancy with the electronic soundscape that underlies them. Gradually layered levels of melody and intricate rhythm amble along with perfect direction this time and create a sense of warmth that has rarely surrounded this voice.
But for me that is where the magic starts to wane. The rest of the album tends to veer off into more directionless territory. This is indeed the sound of a group of guys enjoying a process but at times it sounds far too much like that. And Gather meanders along in an aimless haze of half baked hand clap rhythm and irritating harmonies while Mbira In The Morass sees Vernon experimenting with a new warble in his singing and when coupled with some awkward percussion the result is less than perfect to say the least. There are of course exceptions to this. The short burst of joy that is Cool Knowledge comes as a breath of fresh air and the reworking of Woods, the Bloodbank EP's curious end note, is a vast improvement and a much fuller and fascinating piece of work. But these delights are too few in the second half of this record and by the time it comes to an end, the treasures of the first half have already started to fade slightly.
For Emma, Forever Ago cast its spell on all who heard it and the effect of this spell is still present here, but I'd be lying if I didn't say that I have felt it wearing off somewhat. What Unmap does do is prove that Vernon is no one-trick pony and has a clear passion for experimentation. This is an exciting prospect and one that hints at some truly stunning ideas yet to be realised, but those ideas seem slightly half baked here.Read more 3 star reviews
Bon Iver mainman Justin Vernon has got a new sideline called Volcano Choir up and running, teaming up with Collections Of Colonies Of Bees. Sounds like a more electronic version if the mpfree on Jagaguwar is anything to go by.
Listen on Spotify here. A review is in the pipeline...
#Spotted: Aaron the Secret service from 24, in 'The Island' - playing a sort of Secret Service agent...
22nd Sep 2009Read on Twitter
With their debut album this South-West London due have lovingly created what sounds like an exploded diagram of an indie-pop record. Each element is laid out infront of you exposing its bare bones and the result is a sparse and at times haunting collection of songs that despite their stark simplicity are utterly compelling from the start. Theirs is a blend of glistening indie pop guitar melodies that flutter with new wave inspired reverberation and a vocal duo that drench the whole thing pure soul.
I must admit I find it hard to get past the Intro that opens this album. As a two minute instrumental it stands alone form the rest of the songs and is two minutes of near perfection with its echoing rhythm ponding in the cavernous space and the delicate melody circling above. But move on we must and as soon as Romy Madley Croft's soft vocals emerge on VCR like wildlife after a storm the spell is cast. Both her and Oliver Sim have the duty of filling in the hollow gaps in this sparse music but with their delicate and hushed tones they only fill it with more emtyness. Their delivery defies their roots and have the awkward softness of Scandinavia, together they make this sound quite unique.
By distancing each musical element from their context and exposing them in virtual isolation their power is all the more potent when they all come together. Seen most notably on Basic Space and Night Time the sense of satisfaction that occurs in you when you've wandered through the lonely musical space only to see it all gently converge with such precision and purpose is what makes this record so special. It's desperately lonely but there's warmth in these voices. They're intimate and close and above all real. Picking through the vulnerable particles of the human relationship the writing is simple and economic echoing the simplicity of the music. XX is an exercise of context, with the music and vocals being presented to us alone and then in unison. By bringing things together on songs like Crystalised or Islands they hold our attention throughout the record, our hearts straining for the next moment of bliss. Thankfully it doesn't have long to wait as these moments are plentiful on an album that simply glows with originality and honesty. This is a magnificent debut and one whose beauty may be set on slow release but pours forth in generous amounts as soon as you let it.Read more 4 star reviews
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
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...
Oh My God, Charlie Darwin
At some point in their fledgling careers all 'man with guitar' outfits will have to bear reference to the 'man with guitar' master. If there's one aspect of His Bobness that Bella Union's The Low Anthem emulate, it is the sense of an old 'all seeing' soul in a young man's body. Long before the mundanity of a youth in a simple mining town was discovered by biographers and used against him by 'Judas' shouting fanatics Dylan created a myriad of myths about his upbringing. The 'ho-bo on a train' and 'circus performer on the run' personas that Dylan invented for himself created a mystique that allowed the listener to accept a wisdom that defied his tender years. Though technically 'two men with guitars', The Low Anthem have something of that sort of quality; with a philosophy that seeps from their music suggesting many years on a Kerouacian road. This comforting suspension of disbelief is a joy that makes The Low Anthem so enchanting; it would be a shame if it was shot to pieces by revealing that it is all just cut and pasted by 21st century teenagers with access to folk pages on wikipedia.
In terms of the actual sound and feel of The Low Anthem it is not the original Dylan that springs to mind, but rather the original 'new Dylan'; Bruce Springsteen. One always gets the sense that at heart The Boss is really the boy from New Jersey who got a union card and wedding coat for his 19th birthday rather than being born to run. Its not that The Low Anthem sound like Springsteen rather that they sound what a young Bruce might have sounded like if he had carried on along Thunder Road in search of America rather than getting bogged down with 'debts that no honest man can pay' down in Asbury Park and Atlantic City. Embarking from Rhode Island they must have hit the Midwest built a bonfire and larked about with a banjo, stopped off in the Appalachian mountains for a hill-billy hoe down, howled at the moon like the Boss's hero Tom Joad out on the dusty prairies, soaked up some Blue Grass in the Georgian swamps and been lifted by the sound of Spiritiuals in the deep south. 'Oh My God, Charlie Darwin', The Low Anthem's second album, is all of these things, with moments akin to a melancholic Bruce rocking gently alone on a porch or rollicking good times with the E Street Band in tow.
If your idea of great music is a band in a basement, then I dare say you'll love 'Oh My God, Charlie Darwin' and wish you'd been out on the road with the two men with guitars. If it isn't, then you'll probably be happy to book a last minute package and be glad that at no stage were you subjected to hotel lobby music that sounded in any way like 21st century Americana. The Low Anthem are the latest in a lineage from Woody Guthrie through Tom Waits and the Boss - who all the while manage to sound timeless.Read more 4 star reviews
Looks like we're in for a grim thriller face-off: would you rather be stuck on Martin Scorsese's; Shutter Island with Leonardo DiCaprio, or heading out on The Road with Viggo Mortensen and Charlize Theron?
Trailer up for Scorcese's latest picture - Shutter Island, starring Leonardo DiCaprio as usual, plus the excellent Mark Ruffalo. Based on the book by Dennis Lehane, who also wrote Mystic River and Gone Baby Gone.
Are you finding it hard to keep up with all the recent political developments? One minute they're putting through moats and duck islands on expenses, the next they're trying to explain how fascists have been let into Europe. Here's a handy guide to finding out if Gordon Brown is still PM
£75,000 to sit on your arse on a Desert Island anyone?
iTunes has had a number of features added with the recent bump to version 8.1, including an opportunity to open control out to the floor. Anyone with an iPhone can queue up tracks for a potentially democratic/disastrous desert island disco. Wired has the details.
4 New Albums
It's been a while since I checked in with former GBV frontman Robert Pollard's release schedule (June 11th 2008 in fact) and a belated effort to do so now quickly unearths a whopping 4 new records. The kind of output that makes even John Frusciante look lazy. With Pollard's usual hit-rate in mind, I was expecting at least four new tracks for my ever expanding best-of-Pollard playlist.
Boston Spaceships - Brown Submarine - Sept 16th 2008 - 3 Stars
First up is the debut album from Pollard's 'new' band - the Boston Spaceships. A collaboration with former GBV band mate Chris Slusarenko (also featured in The Takeovers) and Decemberist John Moen, the band marks an effort to re-capture that 'full band' sound that has been missing from many of Pollard's post-Guided By Voices projects.
Go For The Exit starts the record with a slice of classic Pollard, as thoughtful lyrics wind over a simple guitar, before exploding into power chords - while Ready To Pop threatens to re-visit the successful magic of GBV's final album, but somehow never quite takes off. There's little in the way of experimentation here, so the simple-but-fun Rat Trap provides a welcome break from the otherwise even footing of much of the album, which is generally operating on cruise control, with only two songs even building beyond the 3 minute mark.
Circus Devils - Ataxia - November 11th 2008 - 2 Stars
The Circus Devils has been a longer-running side-project for Pollard, partnering with producer Todd Tobias and brother Tim Tobias. Ataxia marks the sixth full-length from the project and like a musical desk drawer, the record is packed full of sound bites and ideas while largely remaining a little incomplete.
Not dissimilar to one of Pollard's own art collages, the record has countless moments that catch your attention and a scattergun approach will always hit a few targets. The meandering epic Fuzz In The Street fails to gain any traction, while promising moments appear with the unfulfilled mystical intro to He Had All Day or the Procol Harum-esque spoken word of Stars, Stripes and Crack Pipes.
Just as your patience may be wearing a little thin however, another bonifide gem is polished out of the album's rough diamonds - as the gentle intro of The Girls Will Make It Happen gives way to a pounding drums and hypnotic lyrics that thunder along at a relentless and engaging pace.
Robert Pollard - The Crawling Distance - Jan 20th 2009 - 2.5 Stars
After the excellent albums Off To Business and Normal Happiness, Pollard seemed to be finding his stride in a world without GBV and the hit rate was soaring. Sadly the magic has momentarily gone again and we're back to the plodding middle-lane driving of tracks like No Island or It's Easy. Lyrically, as ever, there's plenty of interest - but without fully developed musical backing there's little to really grab your attention.
With the turbulent peaks and troughs of most Pollard records there's nearly always a killer track but, unfortunately, here the sea is calm and little breaks the surface. As a consequence, there's no real stinkers either, but I'd gladly drop a couple of tracks in return for that one diamond.
Boston Spaceships - Planets Are Blasted - Feb 17th 2009 - 2.5 Stars
A mere five months after their debut, the Boston Spaceships are back with a sophomore effort - Planets Are Blasted. Rather than build on the strengths of the original however, the record unfortunately misses the mark, lacking muscle and falling back into the one-dimensional trap that plagues much of Pollard's projects. Big O Gets An Earful tries to build up a wall of sound before fading away and Canned Food Demons makes a brave effort to bring the album up a notch, but it's too little too late. Sounding like it was recorded in parts, the record again lacks that power generated by a full live band holing up in a studio for 9 months. Or 9 days for that matter.
Circus Devils - Gringo - April 14th 2009 - 4 Stars
Before I'd even finished writing this review (quite literally) details of another Circus Devils album arrived in my inbox - their seventh album, Gringo, due out on April 14th on Happy Jack Rock Records.
It's arrival was not a moment too late. Forget the descriptions ("1970's Morricone-esque with a South Western flavour") and focus on the music, as Gringo is the easy highlight of this current run of releases. The album's more acoustic bias immediately dispels the tinny studio sound that has marred many of the releases cover here and in stark contrast to the Circus Devils' last record there's a full sound with a cohesive approach and multiple layers of interest. The epic Monkey Head takes the prize for album highlight, with a sprawling - almost prog - approach played out through booming acoustic guitars. Thumping sing-a-long Easy Baby ebbs and flows beautifully while Witness Hill wraps up an engaging record with suitable style.
Thanks Bob, I'll check back in six months.Read more 3 star reviews
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
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...
compilation of SNL's new-school boys Lonely Island's hits - Chronic Of Narnia, Dick-in-a-box, Natalie gangsta Portman etc
Season 5: Because You Left / The Lie
With the endgame in sight, Lost's fifth season gets off to a pretty confident, solid start. Now that they have worked out when they're going to end it all, it feels like they can relax with the whole story and just get on with telling it, rather than faffing about so much and adding unnecessary side-tracks all over the place. They must have got enough loose ends to play with by now - here's where they start to tie them up.
We pick up where we left off, with Jack and Ben in the funeral parlour with Locke's body, Sayid and Hurley on the run after busting Hurley out of his mental institution, Kate and Aaron living in suburbia and the rest of the islanders left behind trying to work out where the boat's gone...
As we hoped when the Freighter Folk first showed up, it looks like Team Weirdo (Daniel Faraday, Charlotte Lewis and ESP-man Miles) are going to come into their own now there's a bit more room on the island. Faraday in particular really steps up in these first two episodes, and for once it feels like someone other than Ben knows what is going on - and might actually tell someone else. As they've hinted before with Desmond, time travel feels like it's going to be at the core of things - more a case of when is the island than where is it perhaps...
It also seems like we're going to be skipping around back and forth between the island and the mainland for this season, with Locke rounding the gang up to take everyone back in one storyline, while we see how everyone else - Juliet, Sawyer, Rose & Bernard, Locke etc - are dealing with being left behind in a state of confusion.
As ever, it's Hurley who gives us some classic moments, explaining in dude-speak what crazy shit he's really been up to since the plane crash - a nice way for the writers to acknowledge just how loopy this story has got - and then carry on telling it.
There's more from the Dharma Initiative, which is great, as it kind of felt like they'd forgotten about them for a bit, and they've got the coolest outfits. It's also clear that Ben's operation on the mainland is pretty organised - and that the other Others - ie the people he's worried about (the Widmore Group?) are also closing in. All in all, a very enjoyable return from a show that it would be great to see head for the final straight in style. No doubt they'll probably get a little lost again on the way, but it really feels like they're focused on delivering on the show's early promise again.
BONUS SPOILER TRIVIA BELOW
Dr Marvin Candle lived on the island for a while, filming the Dharma Initiative Orientation films, liked vinyl and is really called... Dr Chen.
Ana Lucia returns.
Hurley's a shitzu fan.
Charles Widmore (aka hardest working man in TV cameos, Alan Dale) shows up.Read more 4 star reviews
Back from a successful mission in New York and Brooklyn, taking in New York's best steak (24 years running!), a great William Eggleston exhibition at the Whitney and a trip to Coney Island ...all topped off with an unscheduled sighting of Bret from Flight of the Conchords at Union Pool in Williamsburg. Boom!
Still a mystery why Five have been sitting on Season Two of this excellent sitcom - especially after Tina Fey's starring role in the US election this year. They're promising it's going to be on around February/March, but if you can't wait, the US DVD's been out for a bit now, and is a great watch.
From Werewolf Barmitzvah, to Milf Island, Jack's powerplay for the top dog spot at NBC/GE and Kenneth's never mention-it-again-party, this second series proves 30 Rock is a show that's fast becoming a sitcom classic. It's up there with Arrested Development and Malcolm In The Middle in terms of detail, snappy dialogue and fast-moving plots - can see it evolving into something as strong as Seinfeld if it's left to run and run (never a given in the ruthless world of noughties network TV). They even slip a Jerry cameo into the first episode, when Jack invents Seinfeld Vision - inserting clips of Jerry into any show he likes...
Other guest spots to enjoy this season include Carrie Fisher with a great Leia, Matthew Broderick as a beleagured Bush employee, Rip Torn reprising his role as Don Geiss and Edie Falco as Jack's opposites-attract Democrat Senator lover.
The DVD comes with some interesting extras - for once, some you'll actually want to watch beyond the usual deleted scenes. Best is the table read-through for one of the episodes, where you get to see the cast rehearsing their lines and cracking each other up as they go through the script. Interesting to hear slightly different versions of some of the lines, and variations on the delivery as well. There's also a behind-the-scenes look at Tina Fey hosting Saturday Night Live (the obvious model for 30 Rock), the cast being interviewed together, and a shaky video showing them in a live read-through of a script on stage at a small improv theatre during the writers' strike.
If you haven't got round to getting into 30 Rock, you're missing out. (And so are Five here in the UK... hurry up dudes.)Read more 4 star reviews
The Hawk Is Howling
Scottish post-rockers Mogwai are back, with The Hawk Is Howling - their sixth studio album. Wall Of Sound are the label this time, with Matador releasing the record in the US.
The obtusely named I'm Jim Morrison, I'm Dead starts with a delicate piano, before building slowly as bass, guitar and drums layer on top of each other, steadily heightening the intense atmosphere. There are no vocals or lyrics of course, and as Jim Morrison didn't play guitar it's hard to know what he's saying. In fact, without lyrics the song titles are all we do have to decode this album and work out what Mogwai are trying to say. Thankfully "The Sun Smells Too Loud", "I Love You, I'm Going To Blow Up Your School" and "Thank You Space Expert" spell it out in black and white.
While titles like these might offer little in the way of explanation - seeming more like very personal thoughts and ideas - they do add a certain intensity and suggestion to the music, however misleading they may in fact be. Eschewing some of the more left-field experiments of previous records, the album plays a fairly straight bat - with most songs concentrating on a slow-burning intensity that leads to eventually reward, rather than the more pummeling up/down sound of some of their post-rock contemporaries. Where Explosions In The Sky virtually never fail to deliver an unmitigated rock-out, some of these songs do tend to boil a bit too long - failing to bubble over and ending instead in anti-climax by going for a more constant atmospheric approach, raher than hugely distinctive peaks and troughs. As a result, much of the album can slip by unnoticed - all thorurughly fine, but just slightly dis-engaging.
Mogwai have always seemed to have a bullet-proof mystique to them, from their cult name, through obscure concerts on Scottish islands, to the superior artwork of this and other records - dismissing potential commercial projects to work on the likes of the Zidane movie. The Hawk Is Howling does nothing to damage that reputation, instead just becoming another piece of a diverse cannon of work, much of which doesn't quite encapsulate the band as it seems like it should.Read more 3 star reviews
Headed up to the Big Buddha on Lantau Island today - instead of a marathon bus ride, these days there's a cable car taking you up the mountain straight from the MTR train station. Pretty hairy for any vertigo-challenged passengers, but amazing view all the same, floating up higher than the enormous mega-cities that have all sprung up on Lantau; over the airport; over the harbour etc... Of course there's now a Starbucks up at the Chinese-style tourist village complex they've built with the cable car.
Welcome To Goon Island
Add one more X to this band and you've got a world of Google strife, but without it you've got a five piece London band who spew out endlessly pleasing, driving art-rock (what the fuck does art-rock even mean?) very much in the vein of bands like The Fall. Formerly known as Xerox Teens, this band have recently signed to Mute for their debut - Welcome To Goon Island. It's pretty much a DIY record which sweeps from genre to genre throughout but always manages to maintain the frantic pace. Front man Rich Cash yelps and screams like a twisted David Byrne but can slow it down to a deep spoken word delivery reminiscent of Damon Albarn. Rolling basslines lay down the cover fire as raging drums and driving guitars leap forward dragging with them all sorts of things that make a musical noise. The result is a impenetrable broth of sound that treads fearlessly on the right side of anarchy and the wrong side of politeness.
An idyllic strumming harp heralds the coming of this debut, then in contrast to its gentle emergence comes the erratic beat and frenzied vocals for opener The Way We Were. This pace and enthusiasm is something you get used to on this record as song after song continues the full throttle drive of this group. B-54 employs the spoken word over 4/4 beats that are quickly layered by the rhythm guitar and crashing cymbals
The ultimate success of this debut is its wide sphere of influence and inability to fall neatly into classification. It squeals with raw punk sensibility but will lace the potion with structured and melodic horns like on Ba (Ba-Ba-Ba). Every composition threatens to come apart at the seams but holds tight to structural elements with driving rhythm and rising melody repeatedly acting as pillars around which the unruly kids play. It has the open-mindedness of a group at the start of their career as guitar is often traded in for saxophone or trumpet. Lead single Darlin' illustrates this perfectly as the brass fanfare announces. Then as the crashing din of every drum in the room storm the stage Cash's muffled and distorted vocals dart fleetingly in and out of audible range. To make things stranger and even more textured the relentless beat is curiously joined by delightfully melodic and thoroughly out of place Caribbean steel drums. With military percussion bringing things to a close Cash confuses us even more with the repeated lyric "the chinese are comin," just as the closing bars are dominated by an electrifying african bongo drum solo.
All these conflicting elements in less capable hands could be a disaster but under the guidance of this band it all works. The only thing that does seem a bit shoe-horned is Brian Haw's monologue that finishes the record. The song itself For Brian Haw is the bands final sonic attack but the lyrics rarely stray further from the title and as Haw's voice fades out with the sound of Parliament Square traffic it does seem like a political statement tacked on to the end of the record. XX Teens may be a part of a slightly over subscribed genre and though they wear their influences proudly if not obviously on their sleeves it doesn't detract from this impressive debut. They fail to live up to the creativeness of many of the bands they reference but their enthusiasm and energy bode well for the future.Read more 3 star reviews