Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Movie Haiku - Freedom Writers


Dir: Richard LaGravenese

Cast: Hilary Swank, Patrick Dempsey, Scott Glenn, Imelda Staunton

Teacher inspires them
keep journals about their lives
audience sniffles

soulmining rating: ***

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Movie Haiku - Blood Trails


Dir: Robert Krause

Cast: Rebecca Palmer, Ben Price, Tom Frederic, J.J. Straub

Go mountainbiking
chases her then makes dinner
timber mind that tree

soulmining rating: *

Movie Haiku - Snuff Movie


Dir: Bernard Rose

Cast: Jeroen Krabbe, Lisa Enos, Hugo Myatt, Joe Reegan

Maverick auteur
seeks actors to kill for real
duff movie more like

soulmining rating: *

Saturday, February 24, 2007

Satan (Sheitan) Review

Vincent Cassel in Satan (Sheitan)

"Sharp, inventive and wickedly funny..."

"Uncomfortable, constantly keeping the viewer on edge..."

"One of the most unconventional Christmas movies you're ever likely to see..."

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

Friday, February 23, 2007

Brighton Festival 2007 launches!

Can it really be that time of year already? Yes, Wednesday evening was launch night for this year's Brighton Festival, a busy night for us taking over *a lot* in advance bookings in just two hours. So what can we look forward to in this year's programme of music, dance, theatre and books & debate? Here's a few of my personal highlights:
  • 5th May @ Dome Concert Hall - Run Lola Run featuring a live soundtrack by The Bays
  • 7th May @ Dome Concert Hall - BAFTA: A life in Pictures (interviewee tbc)
  • From 8th May @ The Basement - Daniel Kitson - C-90
  • 11th May @ Dome Concert Hall - Victoria Wood in conversation
  • From 11th May @ Old Ship Hotel - The Maids
  • 16th May @ Theatre Royal - Vic Reeves - Me: Moir
  • 17th May @ Corn Exchange - Great Escape featuring Nouvelle Vague
  • 21st May @ Dome Concert Hall - Laurence Olivier's Henry V with live score by William Wallace
  • 23rd May @ Corn Exchange - Leslie Phillips
Priority booking for Festival Friends is now open, with general public sales starting from Friday 2nd March at the Dome Box Office. See you there!

Thursday, February 22, 2007

FrightFest in Glasgow

The FrightFest regulars (l-r): Lauren, D, Kim, Rachael and Alex

Last weekend I ventured north of the border to Scotland for the FrightFest all-dayer in Glasgow. Yes, it was a long way to travel for just a weekend, and yes it was expensive (although the ticket price was a very reasonable £20 for a day pass) but I figured what the hell, I wasn't going to Thailand this winter so I could afford to treat myself. I met up with D bright and early on Friday morning at Gatwick and we had a relatively smooth flight up to Glasgow, although I was horrified to discover that D was seriously contemplating seeing Epic Movie this week and wouldn't be persuaded otherwise. Once we arrived at Buchanan Bus Station we realised that our hotel (The Holiday Inn) was just along the road and handily adjacent to the local Cineworld! I have to say I was impressed with my choice of hotel and it was ideal for our needs.

After a quick scout about we met up with Lauren, Kim and Rachael who'd caught later flights up, and once they'd checked in we headed into the city centre. We'd decided to see the late night screening of Hot Fuzz so joined the snaking queue outside the cinema where we immediately bumped into Alex who was booking up to see a preview of Rescue Dawn. He then joined us for a walk around town and that's when the bad news came in - Rob phoned to say he'd lost his passport and wasn't going to be allowed to fly. With Easyjet not budging an inch he was screwed, so sadly he had to concede that he wouldn't be able to make it up to Glasgow. This put a bit of a dampener on our evening to say the least and we were all very subdued as we ate our dinner. No-one was really up for boozing it up, so we retired to our rooms then met up later for a quick livener at the bar before the excellent Hot Fuzz, which was showing in the biggest screen in the UK. As we left the cinema in the early hours we were greeted with the sight of a drunk man being chased down the road by four policemen... all rather appropriate really!

The "full Scottish breakfast" was just what we needed to set us up for Saturday and we arrived at the Glasgow Film Theatre at 11am to meet up with Alex and Evrim, who'd flown up that morning. Nobody could decide what they wanted to do before the films started, so in the end we just split up and went our own separate ways. Back at the GFT for 1pm we caught up with the FrightFest trio of Paul, Ian and Alan, then grabbed our seats in the front row ready for the day's first film, The Tripper. The cinema was lovely actually; very comfortable with nicely tiered rows and a huge gap from the front to the screen - the only downside was the aircon which gusted icily across our row when the room got too hot. I wasn't too taken by the opening movie - a slasher film involving a killer wearing a Reagan mask attacking a field full of hippies - but it had its moments and everyone else seemed to like it.

In the pub with Paul McEvoy (far left)

S&Man was better, a documentary about underground film-making which was pretty disturbing and certainly caused much debate after the screening. We continued our discussions over a quick pint in the nearest pub before returning for The Messengers, the first English language film from the Pang brothers. It was pretty generic stuff (a haunting at a sunflower farm) but I quite liked it - although judging from the reaction of the rest of the audience, Alex and I were in the minority on that one. My teeth were chattering from the freezing cold aircon by this time, so after grabbing a quick bite at Subway I dashed back to the hotel to pick up an extra layer.

Next up was Turistas, a backpackers-in-trouble flick from the master of the bikini shot, John Stockwell (he directed Into The Blue and Blue Crush). This proved to be my favourite film of the day and was generally well received by everyone. Our group missed out on the freebies given out in the next intermission, but I did get my hands on some Sheitan posters which was cool as it's the one with my quote on it! And so to the closing film of the evening, Motel Hell. This was an inspired bit of programming as this 1980 classic brought the house down with its mix of outlandish characters and hilarious dialogue - not to mention a chainsaw fight at the end! A fitting finale for an excellent day's entertainment and not a cinematic clunker amongst them.

Of course our evening didn't end there... our little gang then headed off with Paul and Ian to the Buff club in Bath Lane to unwind with some northern soul and alcoholic refreshments. As always, this social side to the FrightFest screenings is a huge part of why we all make such an effort to go to these events, and we had a lot of laughs... which then continued back at Ian's hotel room where we did him a kind favour by helping him drink his bottle of vodka until the wee hours. With just three hours sleep we were all shattered the next morning as we prepared to head back to the airport to catch our lunchtime flights home. But it was all worth it, another fun packed FrightFest event with some great films and some great company.

And we get to do it all again this Saturday at the Lionsgate Horrorthon in London!

Monday, February 19, 2007

FrightFest Movie Haiku - Motel Hell


Dir: Kevin Connor

Cast: Rory Calhoun, Paul Linke, Nancy Parsons, Nina Axelrod

Stop car for fake cows
secret spices in his meat
don't drink green champagne

soulmining rating: ***

FrightFest Movie Haiku - Paradise Lost (Turistas)


Dir: John Stockwell

Cast: Josh Duhamel, Melissa George, Olivia Wilde, Desmond Askew

Please come to Brazil
we'll crash your bus and drug you
then steal your organs

soulmining rating: ****

FrightFest Movie Haiku - The Messengers


Dir: Pang Brothers

Cast: Kristen Stewart, Dylan McDermott, Penelope Ann Miller, John Corbett

Family problems
they move to sunflower farm
crows are unsettled

soulmining rating: ***

FrightFest Movie Haiku - S&Man


Dir: JT Petty

Cast: Carol J. Clover, Debbie D, Fred Vogel, Bill Zebub

They make fetish films
this man secretly tapes girls
voyeur or real snuff

soulmining rating: ***

FrightFest Movie Haiku - The Tripper


Dir: David Arquette

Cast: David Arquette, Thomas Jane, Jaime King, Jason Mewes

Kill all the hippies
you can't stop him it's Reagan
hide in the shitter

soulmining rating: **

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Movie Haiku - Hot Fuzz


Dir: Edgar Wright

Cast: Simon Pegg, Nick Frost, Jim Broadbent, Paddy Considine

Catch the village swan
have shootout in Somerfield
they watched Bad Boys 2

soulmining rating: ****

We could be Heroes...

Heroes, Mondays 10pm Sci-Fi Channel

Just a quick reminder that Heroes begins tomorrow night with a double-bill of episodes from 10pm on the Sci-Fi Channel. I've already seen the first five episodes and think it's the best new drama series on telly, so do check it out if you get the chance. And if you can't get the Sci-Fi Channel (or download it off the 'net), then don't panic - BBC2 will be screening the series later in the year.

"Save the cheerleader, save the world!"

Friday, February 16, 2007

"Sharp, inventive and wickedly funny"

Satan (Sheitan) UK film poster

I love Tartan Films...

They've just given me my first film poster quote!

Well, rather Eat My Brains has the quote (top left) but it comes from my review of the film back in September. I had to go and check that I really did say that line, and indeed I did - you can read it here!

Sheitan (or Satan as it is now titled in the UK) opens at the ICA in London next Friday and I will be writing an expanded review of the film for EMB next week, so watch this space.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Play It Cool in February

I haven't bought much music this month so have been listening to a fair amount of back catalogue stuff. Still, looks like there's a few potentially decent new albums to look forward to in March (Air, Arcade Fire) so I should hopefully have some new stuff in next month's listings. Anyway, here's what I've been playing most over the last few weeks:
  • The Shins - Wincing The Night Away (Transgressive)
  • Mason vs Princess Superstar - Perfect (Exceeder) (Data) single
  • Sugababes - Overloaded: The Singles Collection (Universal)
  • Snow Patrol - Eyes Open (Polydor)
  • Inspiral Carpets - Greatest Hits (Mute)

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Valentines Day news round up!

Happy Valentines Day everyone, and thanks to those people that sent me messages today. You know who you are.

It's been really manic this week so I haven't had much time for blogging, so tonight I thought I'd just post a round up of loose items I've been meaning to mention for the last few days...

The 30-Second Bunnies Theatre have added some new productions to their site including their versions of The Ring and Borat. You can see them at the Angry Alien website here.

Next up, an addition to my links section. The very lovely Tatiana (left) has a new blog up and running called Savatra and it's not about music.

Instead it's focussing on "organic living, spiritual wellness, physical health and the quest to live life more simply".

You should read it because Tatiana is the best.

Football news... our annual office Fantasy Football competition continues apace with my Dirty Everton team still heading the pack, currently 86 pts clear. Last week we held the draw for the 2nd round of our Fantasy League Cup (which, ahem, I was cruelly knocked out of in the 1st round...) in the Waggon and Darren recorded all the action live. You can see our You Tube masterpiece below:

And finally, James posted an item about scary internet people (read it here) and the bizarre search terms that they use to find your blog, so I thought I'd check my recent keywords. Here are three of my favourite search terms:
  • Does Noel Fielding smoke?
  • Nerina Pallot's teeth
  • Fondling my sister (summer camp)
Can I just add I don't even have a sister. Thanks.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Movie Haiku - Hannibal Rising


Dir: Peter Webber

Cast: Gaspard Ulliel, Rhys Ifans, Gong Li, Kevin McKidd

They ate his sister
he tracks them down one by one
likes a cheeky meal

soulmining rating: **

Monday, February 12, 2007

Movie Haiku - The Science Of Sleep


Dir: Michel Gondry

Cast: Gael Garcia Bernal, Charlotte Gainsbourg, Alain Chabat, Miou-Miou

Falls for girl next door
watch all his dreams come to life
ride a cloth pony

soulmining rating: ****

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Haven - DVD Review

Orlando Bloom and Zoe Saldana in Haven

haven (noun): a safe or peaceful place.

In this thriller from newcomer Frank E. Flowers the Haven in question is the Cayman Islands, the place where the young writer/director grew up. It's a refuge for the shady Mr Allen (Stephen Dillane) and his son, and soon becomes the same for his business partner (Bill Paxton) and his daughter as they're forced to flee Miami with the feds on their tail. While Carl stashes his dollars back at their hotel daughter Pippa is out on the town sampling the local nightlife, a decision which later sets the scene for a daring robbery.

Just as you're settling into this plotline the film jumps back a few months and shifts its focus to some of the other islanders, and in particular the characters of Shy (Orlando Bloom) who works on the fishing boats and Andrea (Zoe Saldana), his boss's sultry daughter. When their secret night of passion is discovered by her headstrong brother (Anthony Mackie) a chain reaction of violence and revenge ensues.

Prominently billed as coming "from the makers of Crash" it's easy to see the similarities between the two films, with the jigsaw narrative switching between seemingly unconnected incidents until all the pieces fit into place, and replaying early scenes which now have meaning for other characters. It's an effective way of storytelling, especially for a thriller of this nature, but I feel could have been executed to better effect with Haven. The main problem comes in the editing and pacing which spends far too long with each introduction, rather than cutting between each thread more frequently. By the time Shy and Andrea finally get around to getting down and dirty you've long forgotten about Carl and his dodgy business dealings.

Structural flaws aside, it's a confident display from director Flowers who makes good use of the tropical location and creates a moody picture of trouble in paradise. It's always good to see Bill Paxton on screen, even if he doesn't have too much to do here, but the acting honours must go to Orlando Bloom (an Executive Producer on the film) who gives a quiet, sensitive performance as the pivotal character of Shy. Zoe Saldana also impresses in her first major role, and there's good support from such familiar faces as Stephen Dillane, Jake Weber (Dawn Of The Dead) and Lee Ingleby (BBC's Life On Mars). More cerebral than high octane, and with its appealing tale of star-crossed lovers, Haven is a rewarding drama that you'll enjoy escaping with for an hour or two.

Haven is currently available on R1 DVD from the usual retailers. There are no plans for a UK release at present.

The DVD includes the following special features:
  • Making Of Featurette
  • Theatrical Trailer
soulmining rating: ***

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Movie Haiku - Blood Diamond


Dir: Edward Zwick

Cast: Leonardo DiCaprio, Djimon Hounsou, Jennifer Connelly, Arnold Vosloo

Conflict stones are bad
army rebels and smugglers
fight wars to sell them

soulmining rating: **

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

The Lionsgate Horrorthon

Another date for the diary, coming a mere week after the FrightFest all-dayer in Glasgow is the Lionsgate Horrorthon. The event (in conjunction with the FrightFest team) is being held at the Rex cinema in Soho to celebrate the DVD launch of Saw III and will feature three screenings:
  • Snuff Movie (Dir: Bernard Rose)
  • Blood Trails (Dir: Robert Krause)
  • Saw III - Extreme Version (Dir: Darren Lynn Bousman)
Tickets are FREE but can only be won by entering the competition on the FrightFest website here or from the Eat My Brains competition later in the week.

Sunday, February 04, 2007

Movie Haiku - Arthur And The Invisibles


Dir: Luc Besson

Cast: Freddie Highmore, Mia Farrow, Madonna, David Bowie

Enters secret world
must find rubies to save house
fight on turntable

soulmining rating: ***

Saturday, February 03, 2007

CSS at the Concorde

CSS - Brighton Concorde2

My first gig of the year and one I went into with very high expectations having read countless comments on their "crazy" and "reckless" live shows. But first a word about the two support bands - Andy said it was possibly the worst warm up acts he'd ever seen! Oh well, I guess that made CSS even more welcome when they finally took to the stage at 10pm. They began with CSS Suxxx, then it was straight into Alala, with singer Lovefoxxx stripping down to her all-in-one leotard and diving into the crowd for the first of several forays into the audience. That's the first thing you notice about CSS, they are quite an unconventional band - they appear totally real, anti-fashion icons untouched by the 'evil' business - and they're led by a clearly bonkers half-Japanese girl who has the crowd in the palm of her hand. It's all about performance with Lovefoxx, she's the perfect front for the band and such fun to watch, throwing shapes, standing on the monitors and repeatedly trying to crowd surf! The music is good too - with an album as perfect as Cansei De Ser Sexy it couldn't be anything else - but live the subtleties of the bass and keyboards tend to be lost, and the songs come across more punky than the electro sound of the record. With a limited supply of songs, the whole album got an airing with Let's Make Love And Listen To Death From Above being the one song that really captured the spirit of the record and got the audience dancing. Returning for an encore the band played Patins with Adriano leaving his drumkit to come and play guitar, and then finished with a fun cover of L7's Pretend We're Dead which boasted a killer synth riff. CSS don't suck, CSS Suxxx!

Thursday, February 01, 2007

February Live

Right, that's January out of the way, let's get back to the gigging life! As much as it was nice to have a break after the madness of the previous three months, I have missed not having any live music to go to in the last few weeks. So, onwards into February and here's some of the highlights on offer this month:

01/02 - Now you'd be forgiven for thinking I'd be seeing Nerina Pallot at the Komedia tonight, but since I've seen her twice recently I'm blowing her out in favour of CSS at the Concorde. Their Cansei De Ser Sexy album was one of my favourites of 2006 and their reputation for crazy live shows makes me think this could be one of the gigs of the year. Expect my report to be posted here at the weekend.

05/02 - Ricky Gervais is at Brighton Centre for two nights performing his new live comedy show Fame - both nights are sold out but he's now added a third date in March.

09/02 - Taking a break from Brakes (no pun intended) Tom & Alex return to their other band Electric Soft Parade for a date at the Pressure Point.

10/02 - The Long Blondes are at The Old Market, on tour supporting the release of their fab new single Giddy Stratospheres.

11/02 - Following on from her show at the Concorde last year, Regina Spektor returns to Brighton for a gig at the Corn Exchange. Meanwhile at the Concorde, fresh from supporting The Kooks at the Dome in December, Larrikin Love have their own headline show.

17/02 - I'm going to be up in bonnie Scotland for the FrightFest event taking place at the Glasgow Film Theatre as part of the Glasgow Film Festival. Five scary movies (four new previews and one retro screening) and the usual banter - should be great fun!

20/02 - Tipped by everyone in the industry as the man to watch in 2007, and already boasting a number one single in the shape of Grace Kelly, Mika takes a bow at the Concorde. Catch him now before he hits the arena circuit next year...

24/02 - Another good looking Concorde gig, this time it's the turn of Howling Bells for some good old fashioned Aussie indie rock 'n' roll.

25/02 - Sarah Nixey, Luke Haines cohort from Black Box Recorder plays a solo show at Po Na Na.

27/02 - He's back again for two more nights of comic ramblings at the Pavilion Theatre - yes, it's our favourite, Daniel Kitson. Watch out for his story show C90 being performed at the Brighton Festival in May.

28/02 - A treat in store at the Komedia as Matt Berry performs a selection of music and songs from his repertoire. Matt of course is better known as Todd Rivers (aka Dr Lucien Sanchez) from Garth Marenghi's Darkplace and Dixon Bainbridge from The Mighty Boosh!

Movie Haiku - The Fountain


Dir: Darren Aronofsky

Cast: Hugh Jackman, Rachel Weisz, Ellen Burstyn, Cliff Curtis

Dying wife writes book
see past present and future
protect tree of life

soulmining rating: **