Monday, December 31, 2007

2007 Movie Haiku Index

Here's my handy index to all the films (173 - count 'em!) that I saw on the big screen in 2007 - apart from Hatchet, Saw III and Them which I first reviewed last year - alongside my star rating for each film. Click on the individual film title to read my movie haiku.
I actually saw a total of 181 films at the cinema this year, easily beating 2006's total of 140; the eight films that I saw more than once were Day Watch, Diary Of The Dead, Frontiere(s), Hot Fuzz, Paradise Lost (Turistas) and Sunshine (all twice) and Inside (A l'interieur) (three times).

Of the films listed, thirty-four of them were foreign language films, nineteen of them were sequels and five of them were remakes. Only seven films attained the coveted five star rating, although in hindsight Frontiere(s) should probably have been awarded one less star, and of course Hard Boiled is a nineties classic. Looking back over the list I don't think I've been too harsh on any one film, but there are certainly others which have benefited from some overly generous ratings - notably Botched and The Messengers which should have received two stars each, and Captivity, Evan Almighty, The Fountain (sorry!), Hannibal Rising and Rush Hour 3 which in hindsight were stone-cold one star stinkers. I walked out of four films this year; Km 31 and Skinwalkers at FrightFest and Exodus and Reclaim Your Brain at TIFF, but I came very close to giving up with Blood Trails, Joshua and Sukiyaki Western Django. I thankfully managed to avoid seeing anything completely pissed out of my head this year, but I'm sure I dozed off during more than a couple of films...

Sunday, December 30, 2007

2007 Review - Films of the Year

My final list is going to cover my favourite - and least favourite - films from the past twelve months... And I've had a lot of films to choose from this year, even more than in 2006!

(2006 Winner - Children Of Men)

Best films of 2007:
  1. Inside (À l'intérieur)
  2. Grindhouse
  3. Sunshine
  4. [Rec]
  5. The Orphanage
  6. Eagle vs. Shark
  7. Lars And The Real Girl
  8. 30 Days Of Night
  9. Frontiere(s)
  10. Day Watch

Worst films of 2007:

  1. Outlaw
  2. Blood Trails
  3. Evan Almighty
  4. Murder Party
  5. The Invasion
Tomorrow: I'm going to publish a handy index of all the movie haikus for the films that I've seen at the cinema this year.

Saturday, December 29, 2007

2007 Review - Albums of the Year

Okay, following on from yesterday's Songs of the Year, here's my list of favourite albums from the past twelve months.

(2006 Winner - Midlake - The Trials Of Van Occupanther)

Best albums of 2007:
  1. LCD Soundsystem - Sound Of Silver
  2. The Shins - Wincing The Night Away
  3. Feist - The Reminder
  4. New Young Pony Club - Fantastic Playroom
  5. Kate Nash - Made Of Bricks
  6. Arcade Fire - Neon Bible
  7. The Hold Steady - Boys And Girls In America
  8. Soulwax - Most Of The Remixes
  9. The Sounds - Dying To Say This To You
  10. Chungking - Stay Up Forever

Tomorrow: Films of the Year

Friday, December 28, 2007

2007 Review - Songs of the Year

Moving on from yesterday's Gigs of the Year, here's my list of favourite songs from the past twelve months. This year three of the artists in this list have also made it onto my Albums of the Year shortlist, but you'll have to wait until tomorrow to find out who they are!

(2006 Winner - The Automatic - Monster)

Best songs of 2007:
  1. Kate Nash - Foundations
  2. Asobi Seksu - Thursday
  3. The Duke Spirit - Lassoo
  4. New Young Pony Club - The Bomb
  5. The Shins - Phantom Limb
  6. Mason vs. Princess Superstar - Perfect (Exceeder)
  7. Duffy - Rockferry
  8. Adele - Hometown Glory
  9. The Little Ones - Lovers Who Uncover
  10. Mark Ronson - Stop Me

Tomorrow: Albums of the Year

Thursday, December 27, 2007

2007 Review - Gigs of the Year

It's that time of the year when everyone looks back over the past year and publishes lots of lists, so in keeping with previous years I'm going to start today with my favourite gigs that I've been to this year.

(2006 Winner - The Dandy Warhols at Islington Academy)

Best gigs of 2007:
  1. Foo Fighters at Brighton Concorde 2
  2. The Shins at The Forum
  3. The Sounds at Brighton Pressure Point
  4. New Young Pony Club at Brighton Concorde 2
  5. The Hold Steady at Resident Records

Tomorrow: Songs of the Year

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Movie Haiku - I Am Legend

Dir: Francis Lawrence

Cast: Will Smith, Alice Braga, Dash Mihok, Charlie Tahan

The last man on earth
seeks cure for human rabies
who lurks in the dark?

soulmining rating: ***

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Reflections on 2007

It's fast approaching the end of another year so as is customary I thought I'd take a few moments to look back and reflect on the past twelve months.

1) Was 2007 a good year for you?

I'd have to say yes, it was. Few changes at home and at work, but things continued to snowball with regards to my film writing and I had more opportunities than ever before - four FrightFest events, the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF), a set visit to Beyond The Rave, plus numerous industry screenings. I also made a heap of new friends while I was at it.

2) What was your favourite moment of the year?

That's a tough one! There were so many great moments, but I think the stand out for me was taking part in Mike's Zombie Walk in Leicester Square on August Bank Holiday Monday to help promote The Zombie Diaries. I usually hate any kind of fancy dress but this just came together so well (thanks again to Chrissy for getting our paramedic costumes) and it was such a thrill to see such a huge crowd of like-minded zombies take over the capital for a couple of hours. I don't think I've ever had to pose for so many photographs and Steve and I even made it onto CNN!

3) What was your least favourite moment of the year?

Getting stuck in the lift at my apartment in Toronto, although I did see the funny side of it. I'm just thankful I'm not that claustrophobic!

4) Where will you be when 2007 ends?

I will be staying with my parents in Stocksfield, Northumberland.

5) Who will you be with when 2007 ends?

My parents and - most probably - some of their close friends from the village.

6) Did you keep your New Year’s resolutions from 2007?

Yes, pretty much. My first resolution was to contribute more reviews to Eat My Brains; I certainly kept my hand in better this year, although things did tail off a little after TIFF as work got more intense. My second resolution was to stop mixing beer and wine on nights out which I successfully managed to do.

7) Do you have any New Year's resolutions for 2008?

I would like to get a new job (or at least move up the ranks where I am) to keep me motivated, and to keep taking any film-related opportunities that come my way.

8) Did you fall in love in 2007?


9) Do you regret it?

Not at all. I'd make a rubbish boyfriend; I barely have enough hours in the day to do all the things I want to do!

10) Did you break up with anyone in 2007?


11) Did you make any new friends in 2007?

Yes, I continued to make friends through the various FrightFest events and social get-togethers, most notably Johanna, Sheena, Joe Lynch and Scott Weinberg. At TIFF I'd have to include the wonderful Colin Geddes, Ant Timpson, Bruce Fletcher, Mitch Davis, Todd Brown and Darryl Shaw amongst the many cool faces that I met over there. In March I finally got to meet Gia who was instrumental in fuelling my appetite for all things Sunshine, and then closer to home there has been Raissa and Louise who I met via The Mummers gigs and last but not least, James, Lee and Jamie who've become valued friends and colleagues at work.

12) What was your favourite month of 2007?

I'd have to say August as it included the best ever FrightFest event, a huge birthday bash at the Phoenix for Rob and myself, and the Foo Fighters tiny club gig in Brighton.

13) Did you travel outside of the UK in 2007?

Yes, I spent two wonderful weeks in Canada for TIFF where I got to watch loads of new films and meet lots of exciting people. Toronto had such a relaxed, welcoming vibe and it gave me the chance to finally meet up with Courtney, one of my earliest blogging friends.

14) Did you lose anybody close to you in 2007?


15) Did you miss anybody in the past year?

Yeah... this was the first year in a while that I didn't go out to Thailand so I missed seeing the friends that I'd usually hook up with in Chiang Mai, especially Gary who is now teaching out there and my close American buddy Sean. Back here I'd have to say Jim and Lucy who have both moved on to other things and I rarely see nowadays, and more recently Darren who has relocated to Leicester - I miss having them around.

16) What was your favourite movie that you saw in 2007?

I'd have to say the French shocker Inside (À l'intérieur) which I saw three times on the big screen - a stunning piece of work.

17) What was your favourite song from 2007?

There was a whole host of catchy tunes this year, but top of the heap was undoubtedly Foundations by Kate Nash, the song of the Summer. I'll always remember the scrum at Pure Groove when the single was launched and Kate ended up busking outside!

18) What was your favourite record from 2007?

It's a close one, I was originally going to say Sound Of Silver by LCD Soundsystem but on balance I think Wincing The Night Away by The Shins just shades it.

19) How many concerts did you see in 2007?

My blagging continues unabated... Forty-five, plus a scattering of comedy and literary events.

20) Did you have a favourite concert in 2007?

No contest, Foo Fighters at the Concorde 2 in Brighton with my flatmate Steve. A special gig for Radio One with an audience of around 400 punters - simply awesome! And, we didn't pull any favours to get tickets, I had to queue up for about three hours outside the venue like everyone else... worth every moment. Unmissable!

21) Did you drink a lot of alcohol in 2007?

An average year I suppose. However, I've definitely become more sensitive to my previous drunken exploits and have taken to drinking shorts more often and not mixing my drinks quite so much. I can only recall one really severe hangover this year which resulted from 'The McEvoy Effect' when we got together to see Matt Berry at the Komedia back in February.

22) Did you do a lot of drugs in 2007?

None at all.

23) How many people did you sleep with in 2007?

(Sighs) None.

24) Did you do anything you are ashamed of this year?

Telling a friend something that I'd been told in confidence and getting found out. That taught me a hard lesson and I'd like to think that I'm a lot more discreet now. Also being given a gift that belonged to someone else and not owning up because I wanted to keep it for myself, that was pretty low.

25) What was the worst lie someone told you in 2007?

I don't remember being told any big fat lies, or at least none that have affected me. I do have a close friend who I believe is being lied to repeatedly, but that's a whole other story...

26) What was the best practical joke that you played in 2007?

I don't think there were any corkers this year, although I've just given flatmate Steve a DVD of Bradley Walsh's Soccer Shockers for Christmas which was very funny! Chrissy and I tried to convince (other) Steve that we were taking him to see Scissor Sisters at the O2 for his birthday when in fact we were going to see Aimee Mann at the IndigO2 instead, but I don't think he ever fully believed us. Of course there were plenty of gags in the office, although I reckon my spacesuit was the butt of most of them - the best of which was Darren's frequent use of Babylon Zoo's Spaceman as the perfect companion to Polly's horn.

27) What was your proudest moment of 2007?

Getting my first poster quote for the UK release of Satan (Sheitan) was one, as was being asked to help introduce the UK Premiere of Frontiere(s) at the FrightFest all-nighter, but I would have to say that my proudest moment was penning the intro for this year's FrightFest brochure - so many thanks to Ian and Paul for giving me that opportunity.

28) What was your most embarrassing moment of 2007?

I think I've been better behaved this year! The one embarassing moment that springs to mind is when I was at Gatwick airport with Ian and his Dad and we were sampling the cocktails at the Southern Comfort stand. In my eagerness I managed to knock over the display and send a bottle rolling across the floor - although remarkably it didn't break, so it could have been worse!

29) If you could go back in time to one moment in time in 2007 and change something what would it be?

I would make sure that Rob had his passport safe and sound prior to the FrightFest event in Glasgow.

30) What are your plans for 2007?

I am currently applying for a new job at work so am hopeful that I will be successful and that it will lead to a more challenging and fulfilling role. In March I plan to return to Thailand after a two year absence and am looking forward to hooking up with the usual suspects out there. I am also hoping to do at least one international film festival this year and will keep pursuing all my various film-related projects including a brand new regular blog for the FrightFest website entitled TV Eye.

Monday, December 24, 2007

Movie Haiku - St. Trinian's

Dir: Oliver Parker & Barnaby Thompson

Cast: Rupert Everett, Colin Firth, Lena Headey, Russell Brand

School going bankrupt
naughty schoolgirls hatch a plan
steal famous painting

soulmining rating: ***

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

CSS at the Dome

Joe Lean & The Jing Jang Jong - Brighton Dome

My final gig of the year (unless something unexpected crops up between now and New Year's Eve) saw me at the Dome for the return to Brighton of CSS, the first band that I saw play live this year. First support was the hotly tipped Joe Lean & The Jing Jang Jong and it's easy to see why - they play confident, spiky art-rock in the same mould as Franz Ferdinand and British Sea Power. With a few more memorable tunes under their belts they should go far in 2008. "I feel old," said a 20-year old guy as we stood watching the band, surrounded by young teens. Thanks mate, think how I must have felt!

CSS - Brighton Dome

Having missed Metronomy, we made it back into the auditorium for CSS and there was a definite party vibe around the place with a glammed up set, Christmas Tree on stage, and balloons in the crowd - they even brought a festive dancer on with them to liven things up. After a few initial problems with the sound, the band found their stride and rattled through some choice cuts from their album alongside a couple of new tunes. Then, just before the encore, some idiot threw a shoe which hit Lovefoxxx smack in the face. Off marched the band, confusion reigned, and then the house lights came on - show over. No encore, no Let's Make Love And Listen To Death From Above... and definitely no refunds. Well, to be fair, you couldn't blame the band, and it wasn't the venue's fault either. Still, a disappointing end to what had been an enjoyable Christmas show. As I said on the band's MySpace page (later reposted by NME on their news page) it's a shame that one idiot had to spoil the show for everyone else. Tosser!

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Play It Cool in December

Not much new music this month, but here's my pick of the discs for December:
  • Playgroup - Playgroup (Vital)
  • Kosheen - Damage (Moksha)
  • Foo Fighters - Echoes Silence Patience & Grace (BMG)
  • Roisin Murphy - Overpowered (EMI) single
  • The Shins - Wincing The Night Away (Transgressive)

Friday, December 14, 2007

Movie Haiku - Southland Tales

Dir: Richard Kelly

Cast: Dwayne Johnson, Seann William Scott, Sarah Michelle Gellar, Justin Timberlake

Actor and pornstar
fight for civil liberties
don't let the twins meet

soulmining rating: **

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Movie Haiku - We Own The Night

Dir: James Gray

Cast: Joaquin Phoenix, Mark Wahlberg, Eva Mendes, Robert Duvall

His club gets busted
takes side with his cop brother
all placed in danger

soulmining rating: ***

Crowded House at Brighton Centre

Crowded House - Brighton Centre

What can I tell you about the newly reformed Crowded House at Brighton Centre then? Well, very little probably as the gig was on Friday and it's now Tuesday, such is my workload at the moment... Anyway, Friday was Dave's last social engagement before f*cking off to Thailand, so it was a very pleasant night out bookended by a few drinks in the Ranelagh and the Waggon. The stage was pretty low key, just a few simple projections onto a backdrop but the band certainly gave good value for money, playing for over two hours. The set spanned the band's career from early hits like Don't Dream It's Over right through to this year's Time On Earth album. Let's be honest, you know what you're going to get with Crowded House and they do what they do very well; two encores, which included Pineapple Head and Weather With You really got the crowd going and the band also took some requests. Of course, one of their great strengths live has always been the lively banter - Neil Finn comes across like Murray from Flight Of The Conchords at times - which is always amusing and makes the show feel much more intimate than the large venue suggests.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Movie Haiku - The Golden Compass

Dir: Chris Weitz

Cast: Nicole Kidman, Dakota Blue Richards, Sam Elliott, Daniel Craig

It shows her the truth
bring your animal daemons
go north with ice bears

soulmining rating: ***

Monday, December 03, 2007

Movie Haiku - Hitman

Dir: Xavier Gens

Cast: Timothy Olyphant, Dougray Scott, Olga Kurylenko, Robert Knepper

No name just number
trained to kill by secret sect
bored identity

soulmining rating: **

New words for 2007

Thanks to Polly for bringing these to my attention...
  • 404 - Someone who's clueless. From the World Wide Web error message "404 Not Found" meaning that the requested document could not be located.
  • ADMINISPHERE - The rarefied organisational layers beginning just above the rank and file. Decisions that fall from the "adminisphere" are often profoundly inappropriate or irrelevant to the problems they were designed to solve. This is often affiliated with the dreaded "administrivia" - needless paperwork and processes.
  • AEROPLANE BLONDE - One who has bleached/dyed her hair but still has a 'black box'.
  • ASSMOSIS - The process by which people seem to absorb success and advancement by sucking up to the boss rather than working hard.
  • AUSSIE KISS - Similar to a French Kiss, but given down under.
  • BEER COAT - The invisible but warm coat worn when walking home after a booze cruise at 3:00am.
  • BEER COMPASS - The invisible device that ensures your safe arrival home after a booze cruise, even though you're too drunk to remember where you live, how you got here, and where you've come from.
  • BLAMESTORMING - Sitting round in a group, discussing why a deadline was missed or a project failed, and who was responsible.
  • BREAKING THE SEAL - Your first pee in the pub, usually after 2 hours of drinking. After breaking the seal of your bladder, repeat visits to the toilet will be required every 10 or 15 minutes for the rest of the night.
  • CUBE FARM - An office filled with cubicles.
  • GOING FOR A McSHIT - Entering a fast food restaurant with no intention of buying food, you're just going to the bog. If challenged by a pimply staff member, your declaration to them that you'll buy their food afterwards is known as a McShit with Lies.
  • GREYHOUND - A very short skirt, only an inch from the hare.
  • JOHNNY-NO-STARS - A young man of substandard intelligence, the typical adolescent who works in a burger restaurant. The 'no-stars' comes from the badges displaying stars that staff at fast-food restaurants often wear to show their level of training.
  • MILLENNIUM DOMES - The contents of a Wonderbra, i.e. extremely impressive when viewed from the outside, but there's actually naught in there worth seeing.
  • MONKEY BATH - A bath so hot, that when lowering yourself in, you go, "Oo! Oo! Oo! Aa! Aa! Aa!".
  • MYSTERY BUS - The bus that arrives at the pub on Friday night while you're in the toilet after your 10th pint, and whisks away all the unattractive people so the pub is suddenly packed with stunners when you come back in.
  • MYSTERY TAXI - The taxi that arrives at your place on Saturday morning before you wake up, whisks away the stunner you slept with, and leaves a 10 Pinter in your bed instead.
  • OH-NO SECOND - That minuscule fraction of time in which you realize that you've just made a BIG mistake (e.g. you've hit 'reply all').
  • PERCUSSIVE MAINTENANCE - The fine art of whacking the crap out of an electronic device to get it to work again.
  • PICASSO BUM - A woman whose knickers are too small for her, so she looks like she's Got four buttocks.
  • PRAIRIE DOGGING - When someone yells or drops something loudly in a cube farm, and people's heads pop up over the walls to see what's going on. (This also applies to applause for a promotion because there may be cake.)
  • SALAD DODGER - An excellent phrase for an overweight person.
  • SALMON DAY - The experience of spending an entire day swimming upstream only to get screwed and die.
  • SEAGULL MANAGER - A manager who flies in, makes a lot of noise, craps on everything, and then leaves.
  • SINBAD - Single working girls. Single Income, No Boyfriend And Desperate.
  • SITCOMs - Single Income, Two Children, Oppressive Mortgage. What yuppies turn into when they have children and one of them stops working to stay home with the kids or start a "home business".
  • SWAMP-DONKEY - A deeply unattractive person.
  • TART FUEL - Bottled premixed spirits, regularly consumed by young women.
  • TESTICULATING - Waving your arms around and talking bollocks.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Roisin Murphy at the Dome

Roisin Murphy - Brighton Dome

Another night at the Dome and I thought I'd stick around to catch Roisin Murphy as Dave's a fan and was in watching. A good move as it transpired; she put on perhaps the best show I've seen in our venue all year. Now I'm not familiar with her solo work apart from the recent singles and Overpowered was the sole track I recognised - it mattered little. The performance was so professional (good sound, excellent backing band) and full of gusto, it just got better and better with every song. Roisin's penchant for costume changes is her gimmick, but it works - especially with a set of songs ranging from jazz to electro. It was the dance numbers that worked best for me, with Roisin reminding me very much of Goldfrapp's performance here a couple of year's back. At nearly two hours long and with no sign of Moloko's trademark Sing It Back or The Time Is Now this was a very bold and pleasant surprise!

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Queens Of The Stone Age at the Dome

Queens Of The Stone Age - Brighton Dome

Queens Of The Stone Age = good, solid, melodic heavy rock 'n' roll. Exactly the sort of thing we should be having at the Dome. I was working, but managed to get in to see the second half of the show and I don't think I've ever seen the standing area quite so heaving - no-one wanted to sit down for this one! I heard Go With The Flow from outside the hall, but was inside by the time they played Little Sister and their fab new single Make It Wit Chu - and of course No One Knows which kicked off a rousing encore. "Is it me or is this really loud?" the question was raised? A unanimous YES was the verdict. A quality 85 mins leaving the audience shouting for more...

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Inside (À l'intérieur) Review

Alysson Paradis and Béatrice Dalle in Inside

"Like it or loathe it, Inside can't fail to provoke a strong reaction from those who dare see it..."

"She is simply terrifying as the unstoppable angel of death, creating what must surely be one of the most evil female characters ever to grace the silver screen..."

"Actively pushes the boundaries of what is acceptable to show on screen..."

You can read my full review at Eat My Brains here.

The Duke Spirit at 229

The Duke Spirit - 229, London

So I missed the England game last night (perhaps for the best as it turned out) and instead braved the London rain and headed to the city's latest live venue, 229 at 229 Great Portland Street to see The Duke Spirit. Decent place actually - smallish with a high stage which you could see from wherever you stood. I bumped into Louise and John at the bar so chatted to them during the support, then headed right down to the front for TDS. Great view, and no rowdy pushing, even that close - perfect! I loved the band when I saw them last Christmas at the ICA and once again they were fantastic, really powerful. Best of all the new songs spearheaded by recent single Lassoo were every bit as good as their old stuff which bodes well for next year's Neptune album. A brisk hour set with two encores and then it was back into the rain and off to the Phoenix to catch up with Sheena, Paul and Johanna. Much better than staying in watching that England game I expect...

Friday, November 16, 2007

Movie Haiku - Beowulf

Dir: Robert Zemeckis

Cast: Ray Winstone, Anthony Hopkins, John Malkovich, Angelina Jolie

Will kill your monster
tempted by golden Jolie
watch it in 3D

soulmining rating: ***

Play It Cool in November

Well, I've dropped the monthly live listings but for the time being my playlist remains, so this is what I've been listening to over the past few weeks:
  • Adele - Hometown Glory (Pacemaker) single
  • The Duke Spirit - Ex-Voto EP (Vital) single
  • Soulwax - Most Of The Remixes (Parlophone)
  • Calvin Harris - I Created Disco (Sony BMG)
  • The Kissaway Trail - The Kissaway Trail (Bella Union)

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Movie Haiku - Planet Terror

Dir: Robert Rodriguez

Cast: Rose McGowan, Freddy Rodriguez, Josh Brolin, Marley Shelton

Virus makes zombies
they must flee from infected
machine gun for leg

soulmining rating: ****

Movie Haiku - Good Luck Chuck

Dir: Mark Helfrich

Cast: Dane Cook, Jessica Alba, Dan Fogler, Lonny Ross

He's cursed by goth girl
sleep with him marry next bloke
she's hot but clumsy

soulmining rating: ***

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

New Young Pony Club at the Concorde

New Young Pony Club - Brighton Concorde 2

A feeling of deja-vu yesterday with New Young Pony Club returning to the Concorde a mere five months since they last played there. Of course this show was originally due to take place at the Corn Exchange, but then it got moved and rescheduled due to illness - for which Tahita apologised, kudos to her. The band played an hour long set pretty much as expected - all the tracks from Fantastic Playroom plus a B side and two covers - Pump Up The Jam and Take Me I'm Yours. It all sounded great and Tahita did her best to get everyone dancing as if it were a Friday night, but it didn't quite match the atmosphere of the previous gig - mainly because I wasn't right down the front leaping about this time!

Movie Haiku - American Gangster

Dir: Ridley Scott

Cast: Denzel Washington, Russell Crowe, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Josh Brolin

Sells drugs from Thailand
catch him and nab corrupt cops
there's Cozy Corner!

soulmining rating: ****

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Movie Haiku - The Darjeeling Limited

Dir: Wes Anderson

Cast: Owen Wilson, Adrien Brody, Jason Schwartzman, Anjelica Houston

Three distant brothers
take train ride through India
don't use pepper spray

soulmining rating: ****

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Return To House On Haunted Hill DVD Review

Amanda Righetti in Return To House On Haunted Hill

"Enter at your own risk..."

"Originality was never going to be this film's strong point..."

"Ups the ante a little more towards the Saw generation..."

You can read my full review at Eat My Brains here.

Movie Haiku - Lions For Lambs

Dir: Robert Redford

Cast: Robert Redford, Meryl Streep, Tom Cruise, Michael Pena

Senator talks war
teacher advises student
soldiers get stranded

soulmining rating: **

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

The Kissaway Trail at Resident Records

The Kissaway Trail - Resident Records, Brighton

Good old Resident - officially the best record shop in Brighton, in my opinion - had another of their regular instore gigs yesterday evening with The Kissaway Trail turning up for a quick four song acoustic set before their headline show at Audio. I really like their self-titled album which evokes The Flaming Lips and Arcade Fire, and the shared vocals give their songs an extra edge. Their short set featured a couple of songs from the album, including first single Smother + Evil = Hurt, and then they stuck around to chat and sign stuff. Nice!

And yes, my stalker was also there again.

Monday, November 05, 2007

FrightFest all-nighter at the ICA

George A. Romero with Paul McEvoy

Halloween is always a good time to get together to watch scary movies with a bunch of friends, so this weekend saw the second annual FrightFest all-nighter at the ICA in London. I missed last year's inaugaral event so was hyped about getting to this one, especially with such a stellar line up - even though I'd seen three of the films at TIFF in September. Thurein, Chrissy and I made good time getting up to London after work, so had enough time to grab a drink at the Phoenix beforehand where we met up with Steve, Tabitha, Rachael, Sheridan, Mike and a few other regulars. There were chaotic scenes at the ICA with people queuing for returns and special guest George A. Romero doing a signing session in the bar area. Rachael and I were collared by Scott Weinberg and Johanna who were busy interviewing people for a documentary on horror fans, so we answered a few questions for them. With seating so tight Ian C, Laura and myself were nervous as to whether we'd get in to Diary Of The Dead, but in the end Ian got us seats okay and we were treated to a great Q&A with George after the screening where he said that he doesn't have an idea for a sequel, despite the posters that have been circulating at the AFM this week!

There were more guests for Planet Terror so we sat that one out and had a relaxing drink in the bar instead with Ian, Paul and Mike. No problems with seating thereafter, so I was back in for the retro screening which was Savage Streets, a vigilante exploitation flick from 1984 starring Linda Blair. I'd earmarked this as a good time to sleep, but it was such a glorious celebration of wrongness (cheers David) that it kept us laughing from start to finish - all eighties fashion disasters, synth-rock soundtrack, gratuitous shower scenes, twenty-something actors pretending to be high school teens... and totally un-PC. Great stuff!

With Ian headed for home, Paul asked whether I'd like to introduce the UK premiere of Frontiere(s) so despite my fear of public speaking I gave it my best shot describing it as gory and f*cked up... I think it was a bit too relentless for some people, especially at 4am when we were all tired, but I still enjoyed watching it again. Last film of the night - and the perfect closer - was the other French shocker A l'interieur (Inside) which left many people reeling. Tired and numb we emerged blinking into daylight and said our goodbyes... I sloped off for breakfast with James and Jodie and then caught the train back to Brighton. Another hugely entertaining FrightFest event and I'm proud that I didn't fall asleep once during the night!

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Movie Haiku - Savage Streets

Dir: Danny Steinmann

Cast: Linda Blair, Robert Dryer, Sal Landi, Linnea Quigley

Girls go joy-riding
boys gang rape her deaf sister
tools up for revenge

soulmining rating: ***

Friday, November 02, 2007

Portslade Massif

Portslade Massif

Ex-KLF man Jimmy Cauty currently has an exhibition of his recent art project entitled Portslade Massif on display at Ink'd on North Road, Brighton. The exhibition finishes tomorrow, so get down there quick if you still want to catch it!

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Movie Haiku - 30 Days Of Night

Dir: David Slade

Cast: Josh Hartnett, Melissa George, Danny Huston, Ben Foster

It's dark for a month
vampires come to feast on town
balls nasty 15

soulmining rating: ****

Movie Haiku - Saw IV

Dir: Darren Lynn Bousman

Cast: Tobin Bell, Costas Mandylor, Scott Patterson, Betsy Russell

Jigsaw is now dead
but there's still more games afoot
see why he turned bad

soulmining rating: **

Max Miller Vandalised (Again)

Max Miller, yesterday...

Once again, our statue of Max Miller in the Pavilion Gardens has been vandalised in another 'hilarious' prank.

But who could have committed such a heinous crime...?

Mr Cotton, earlier...


Sunday, October 28, 2007

Asobi Seksu at The Barfly

Asobi Seksu - The Barfly, Brighton

It's been quite a while since I was last spotted inside The Gloucester nightclub (apart from the Brakes aftershow late last year) but the building has recently been given a makeover by the Barfly chain and is now building a solid reputation as a compact music venue. Friday night was my first taste of it as Dave, Andy, Bennett and myself rolled up to see Asobi Seksu, some good New York shoe-gazing music via the Japanese vocal talents of dinky singer Yuki. Before the headliners however we had two decent support bands (and it's not often I can say that) in the shape of Kowalski (very Bloc Party sounding) and Scanners (two girl, two boy combo with noisy guitars and keyboards) and I was also amused/nervous to spot my regular stalker in the crowd - quelle surprise. Asobi Seksu sounded good too, playing a selection of tracks from their current album Citrus and their first self-titled album. Singles Thursday and the forthcoming Strawberries in particular sounded excellent alive and amplified. As a venue The Barfly worked fine, although it's not a high stage so you really need to be stood at the front to get the best view. After the bands the place switched back into club mode, leading into a classic student night full of the best indie-dance tunes around... some of us stayed drinking and dancing there until 3am. A successful night then - a toast to The Barfly!

Friday, October 26, 2007

Kate Nash at the Concorde

Kate Nash - Brighton Concorde 2

Last night I was out seeing Kate Nash at the Concorde with Kelly, the third time I've seen her live this year, but the first since she really captured the public's imagination with her Foundations single and subsequent debut album, Made Of Bricks. Appearing in front of a decorative backdrop reflecting the homely artwork of her album, Kate seemed relaxed and at ease in front of her largest Brighton audience to date, but I guess she's used to large crowds now after a long Summer of festival appearances. It was good to see her in a venue with a decent PA system, her songs sounding better than ever properly amplified. The only downside about a bigger venue was the bigger proportion of idiots in the audience - sadly we were stood right in front of a gaggle of young girls who kept phoning their friends to tell them how good it was, rather than actually watching the show, grrrrrr! Anyway, Kate gave a perfunctory performance showcasing most of her album and a scattering of b sides, best of which were Foundations (predictably) and Birds in which she played along on guitar. The final encore of Pumpkin Soup provided a suitably rousing end to the set with Kate giving her keyboard a real workout. Undoubtedly this year's break out pop star, but quite how she adapts her act to further that popularity in the coming months will be interesting to watch.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Movie Haiku - Stardust

Dir: Matthew Vaughn

Cast: Charlie Cox, Claire Danes, Michelle Pfeiffer, Robert De Niro

Find the fallen star
witches and prince want her heart
love will conquer all

soulmining rating: ***

Monday, October 22, 2007

Movie Haiku - Elizabeth: The Golden Age

Dir: Shekhar Kapur

Cast: Cate Blanchett, Geoffrey Rush, Clive Owen, Samantha Morton

Still the virgin queen
Walter brings her potatoes
fight the Spanish fleet

soulmining rating: ***

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Adele at The Hope

Adele - The Hope, Brighton

One of the promos I picked up at the Record Fair last weekend was Hometown Glory, the debut single from 19 year old Adele. I love it - I've been playing it all week and think it's one of the strongest songs of the year. So, when I realised that she was playing in Brighton on Friday I decided that I had to try and get a ticket... A crafty bit of blagging later and I was on the guest list. There was a real air of expectation inside The Hope, with no more than about 100 people crammed into the tiny venue - the last time I was there for a gig was probably British Sea Power about five years ago! For her first headline tour she'd decided to play an acoustic set, so we were treated to nine songs, the latter few joined by her friend Ben on guitar. All the plaudits are well deserved, Adele possesses the most amazing soulful voice... all the more surprising when she talks between songs and comes across just like any other excitable teenager. She's both bubbly and down to earth with bags of confidence in her performance, and was really friendly when I caught up with her after the show. I'm sure she'll be a big star by this time next year, and her next tour in February - with a full band - will be one not to miss.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Movie Haiku - Resident Evil: Extinction

Dir: Russell Mulcahy

Cast: Milla Jovovich, Oded Fehr, Ali Larter, Iain Glen

Out in the desert
zombie crows attack the bus
team up with your clones

soulmining rating: **

Movie Haiku - The Invasion

Dir: Oliver Hirschbiegel

Cast: Nicole Kidman, Daniel Craig, Jeremy Northam, Jeffrey Wright

If you fall asleep
aliens take your body
oh dear I dozed off

soulmining rating: *

Monday, October 15, 2007

Movie Haiku - Mr Brooks

Dir: Bruce A. Evans

Cast: Kevin Costner, Demi Moore, Dane Cook, William Hurt

Voice in head made flesh
he's addicted to killing
a family trait

soulmining rating: ***

Play It Cool in October

Another month when I haven't bought a lot of new music, so not so much to choose from, but next month ought to have a whole host of brand spanking new tunes as I've just bought a pile of stuff at the Record Fair yesterday... Anyway, here's the pick of my CDs for October:
  • The Mummers - Wonderland EP (Izumi)
  • Princess Superstar - Princess Superstar Is (Rapster)
  • Tegan And Sara - The Con (MapleMusic)
  • The Duke Spirit - Souvenirs (Loog)
  • Caribou - Melody Day (City Slang) single

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Movie Haiku - Michael Clayton

Dir: Tony Gilroy

Cast: George Clooney, Tom Wilkinson, Sydney Pollack, Tilda Swinton

Bad corporation
attorney reveals the truth
bomb inside his car

soulmining rating: ***

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Movie Haiku - Hot Rod

Dir: Akiva Schaffer

Cast: Andy Samberg, Jorma Taccone, Isla Fisher, Ian McShane

He's rubbish at stunts
jumps buses to raise money
broadcast on AM

soulmining rating: ****

Movie Haiku - War

Dir: Philip G. Atwell

Cast: Jet Li, Jason Statham, John Lone, Devon Aoki

Rogue kills his partner
yakuzas versus triads
all speaking English

soulmining rating: ***

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

The Dandy Warhols at Camden Electric Ballroom

The Dandy Warhols - Camden Electric Ballroom

I always try and see The Dandy Warhols when they're playing in the UK so this was probably the eighth or ninth time that I've seen them. Sadly it wasn't their best, unlike last year's fantastic performance at the Islington Academy. I'm not quite sure why... maybe it was the venue (the Electric Ballroom is not the most atmospheric venue in London), maybe it was the crowd (too many w*nkers pushing past where I was stood) or maybe it was just over-familiarity. The gig started well enough, with Be In, We Used To Be Friends and Not If You Were The Last Junkie On Earth making a great triple-whammy to kick things off, but after that it all felt a bit lacklustre - excluding a rip-roaring Bohemian Like You, sounding better than ever - and the band never really got the audience revved up. We did get a handful of new songs which were a mixture of the Dandys two typical styles, ie. singalong choruses or long guitar-heavy wig-outs. Even so, after seventy-five minutes I'd moved to the back of the crowd, and after the finale of Boys Better I didn't even hang around to see if they'd do an encore. For once, underwhelming.

Monday, October 01, 2007

October Live

It's a busy time here in Brighton. The students are back in town and of course October sees the return of the annual Paramount Comedy Festival to our city. So let's get on with it...

02/10 - Not actually in Brighton this one, but it gets a mention anyway since I'm going - The Dandy Warhols are in London for a gig at Camden Electric Ballroom.

04/10 - Our first bit of comedy although not technically part of the Comedy festival - it's Billy Connolly at Brighton Centre for the first of two sold out shows.

05/10 - Always a safe bet for a good comedy show, Aussie Adam Hills is at the Corn Exchange.

06/10 - Another good bet for the Comedy Festival if you're not sure who to see are the Best Of The Fest nights which showcase five different comedians on the same bill. Tonight's show in the Dome is hosted by Russell Howard with Lucy Porter, Adam Hills, Jason Manford and Michael McIntyre making up the rest of the line up. The other two dates are the 12th (hosted by Frankie Boyle) and the 19th (hosted by Ed Byrne).

08/10 - The first of two FREE shows, we have Comedy Blue taking place in the Corn Exchange hosted by Jason Byrne which will be recorded for broadcast on the Paramount Channel.

10/10 - A quick return to Sussex for Richard Herring and his Oh F*** I'm 40! show coming to the Pavilion Theatre.

12/10 - Not long since she played at The Hope, Amy MacDonald is back in Brighton performing at the Pressure Point this time around.

13/10 - Lots of good comedy on tonight - my pick of the day would be Sean Lock at the Corn Exchange (he's also there on the 15th) but you've also got Frankie Boyle (doing the earlier show in the venue) and Ross Noble at the Dome for the first of two nights. If you'd prefer some music then Mercury-nominated Maps are playing at The Barfly.

14/10 - Bit of music tonight perhaps, with We Start Fires playing at Audio or The Mooney Suzuki playing at The Barfly.

15/10 - Fresh from her recent support slot with Aimee Mann, Jenny Owens Young comes to Brighton supporting Jim White at The Barfly. Meanwhile in the Comedy Festival there's Marcus Brigstocke performing in the Corn Exchange.

17/10 - More Comedy Festival stuff with the excellent Stewart Lee playing at the Corn Exchange.

20/10 - Jimmy Carr returns to the Dome for his annual visit, rounding off the Comedy Festival with two more shows.

22/10 - Yet another band joining the myriad of reformed groups this year, it's welcome back to Flowered Up who play at the Concorde. Not quite sure what to expect from them in 2007, but they've got to be worth a look just to hear them play Weekender. Alternatively there's Stephanie Dosen on at The Albert.

24/10 - Gig of the month (for me at least!) should be Kate Nash at the Concorde, hitting the big league since the success of Foundations and her debut album Made Of Bricks.

25/10 - A new one day festival comes to town - this one is called Brighton City Festival and showcases the best in dance music across 10 local venues. 2 Many DJs / Soulwax headline.

26/10 - Another one I'm looking forward to, Asobi Seksu play at The Barfly supporting the release of their excellent current album Citrus.

30/10 - Finally, this month's big gig at the Dome is latest indie-faves The Twang.

Friday, September 28, 2007

TIFF Movie Haikus

If you scroll down over the past month you'll see that I've now added my movie haikus and ratings for all of the thirty-odd films I saw while in Toronto.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Movie Haiku - Shoot 'Em Up

Dir: Michael Davis

Cast: Clive Owen, Paul Giamatti, Monica Bellucci, Stephen McHattie

Rescues new baby
shoot mid-shag or in mid-air
or uses carrots

soulmining: ***

Movie Haiku - Death Proof

Dir: Quentin Tarantino

Cast: Kurt Russell, Rosario Dawson, Vanessa Ferlito, Jordan Ladd

Kills girls with his car
after added lapdance scene
next victims fight back

soulmining rating: ****