Lost Love at Moonrise – 31.10.12

It seems this week I’ve actually managed to keep to my blogging schedule which has been fairly slack recently. I’m also pretty pleased with my merged title so things are looking good.

This week I was incredibly excited to have finally been able to watch Lost Highway, it was one of the only Lynch films I hadn’t seen so here’s my review for that one https://musicmoviesgenerallifeandsuch.wordpress.com/2012/10/27/lost-highway/. Then another film I’d been waiting to see for yonks was Moonrise Kingdom, Wes Anderson’s latest comedy https://musicmoviesgenerallifeandsuch.wordpress.com/2012/10/29/moonrise-kingdom/. Then finally I reviewed one of the Mercury nominated albums seeing as the award will be given tomorrow evening so here’s my review of Lianne La Havas’ debut Is Your Love Big Enough? https://musicmoviesgenerallifeandsuch.wordpress.com/2012/10/30/is-your-love-big-enough/.

In the spirit of the Mercury prize I’ll leave with a song by Field Music look out for my review of their Mercury nominated album, Plumb in the next day or two:

Is Your Love Big Enough?

So with the Mercury Awards just a couple of days away I thought I’d check out some of the artists I hadn’t yet heard. Having a flick through various of the artist’s singles I was grabbed by Lianne La Havas’ ‘Forget’ which I was fairly sure I’d heard somewhere before but hadn’t realised quite how good it was. So I decided I’de give her album a go, bearing in mind most Soul records I’ve listened to in the past few years I’ve been astounded by the singers’ voices but bored by their records, could this one be different?

In short, yes it can. La Havas has an unbelievable knack for finding a catchy soulful hook within most of her songs that make her immediately more listen-able  than others. This is exemplified with the aforementioned ‘Forget’ beautifully sung, well crafted verses flow perfectly into the insanely catchy chorus that gives the song just a good edge of pop. There are other less pop-y songs on the album but the hooks are rarely missing. She reminds me in many ways of Adele the way she has the power to make you empathise completely with her. ‘Lost and Found’ is, for me, the stand out track; it has the most angst ridden yet soulful lyrics and is sung in such a beautiful way its impossible not to be transported back to a time when you had similar feelings and that is the sign of genuine artistry.

Is Your Love Big Enough? is an album that brings the Soul genre a brand new breath of life in the wake of the success of people like Adele who have incorporated part of the genre in there more singer/songwriter style Lianne La Havas manages to make an album that sounds far more unashamedly Soul music with her own pop twist. With her debut she has placed herself firmly on the map as a maverick in her own right.

 

Moonrise Kingdom

Wes Anderson’s latest sees him work with some different personnel than you might be used to, drafting in the likes of Edward Norton, Bruce Willis, Frances McDormand and Harvey Keitel. No sign of Owen Wilson though, which is unusual but we are treated a nice dose of Bill Murray. It speaks to Anderson’s talent the way he’s managed to attract such stars to a quirky, alternative, teenage rom-com an they all manage to fit into his strange world seamlessly.

With the exception of Fantastic Mr. Fox this is probably Anderson’s more child based films taking a number of his techniques from Rushmore. As with all of Anderson’s previous movies all the characters speak the same, in this very matter-of-fact, slightly monotone manner, in his films that way of talking transcends age and gender. Moonrise Kingdom focusses on a young boy and girl who both have fairly messed up families. Sam (Jared Gilman), it is discovered is an orphan, and a scout, he runs away from his scout camp to meet Suzy (Kara Hayward), they promptly fall in love an we learn of their back stories. The style of dialogue is even more ridiculous when it’s spoken by these two kids but it brings the film a nice charm and is frequently hilarious.

What follows is essentially a chase movie where the scout camp and Suzy’s parents try to round up the pair with a number of complications on the way. It builds up to a bit of a mad finale during a freak weather storm with a climactic scene that is put together in a classic Anderson fashion panning between all the different groups of characters as the events unfold. The ending is very heart-warming and the emotional side of the film is one of the best developed in Anderson’s back catalogue.

Bruce Willis and Edward Norton are superb, Willis being a huge amount more vulnerable than I’ve ever seen him and pulling it off particularly well. And Norton being fantastically peculiar. Harvey Keitel is a great addition to the team of bumbling scout leaders who don’t really have a clue what they’re doing. Overall all the elements of the film really work and makes for a great addition to Anderson’s filmography and is fun for all the family too.

 

Lost Highway

It took a very long while for me to be able to get hold of a copy of Lost Highway, but it finally became available on Lovefilm a week or so ago and after putting it as my only high priority it finally came. I now only have one Lynch film left to watch, Dune, which I am slightly worried about but for now lets get on with Lost Highway.

The film has a feel a lot more like a horror film than most of Lynch’s work. There is, I’ve decided, a theme of possession, because nothing’s ever 100% clear with Lynch, but the theme has been evident in a number of his other works, perhaps most notably in Twin Peaks with the story of Laura Palmer’s possessed father. My theory for the plot is that the guy pictured above (the Mystery Man) has unfinished business with Robert Loggia’s character Mr. Eddy, who is a gangster in the porn industry. Through some kind of supernatural powers the Mystery Man takes our protagonist, Fred, back in time and shows him his girlfriend being used by this gangster, as it goes on the Mystery Man takes him back and forth in time and ultimately gets him to a position ready to kill Mr. Eddy. Although this is all just speculation, as always, the narrative is very cryptic.

The theme feels slightly more mainstream than those found in Lynch’s more abstract features making it, probably, most similar to Blue Velvet when compared to the rest of his back catalogue. The plot seems a lot clearer than in more recent titles like Mulholland Drive or Inland Empire.

The music is a highlight of the film, unusually taking a role right at the forefront of the films action. It has deep low tones layered beneath almost every scene, particularly in the first half, creating an unrelenting feeling of eeriness throughout. This is juxtaposed very well with the use of nu-metal songs that completely take control of the action scenes. The style, in itself, is very unique a mixture of film noir with horror and a good dose of just general David Lynchian weirdness.

In conclusion, it has become one of my favourite Lynch films so far. The tone is set so well and tension is built effectively all the way through. Scattered along the way are incredibly artistically shot sex scenes that show a darker side to the characters they involve and the most graphic violence of any Lynch picture, again adding to the more mainstream horror vibe. The story seems a lot more understandable than many of his other films while still being encompassed by mysteriousness. And all of this adds up to one of the most well-crafted films I’ve seen in years, a truly under-rated masterpiece.

 

The House of Blissful Devils – 24.10.12

I am, yet again, late doing my weekly update and I annoy even myself, I also have failed on my promise of four posts this week and have only managed the usual three but let’s just put all this hideous mess behind us and plough on through.

My first post this week was a review of I Saw The Devil https://musicmoviesgenerallifeandsuch.wordpress.com/2012/10/20/i-saw-the-devil/ a film I was incredibly impressed with and have since watched a number of other films by Jee-woon Kim and he has quickly become one of my new favourite directors. My second review was one of The Vertigo of Bliss, Biffy Clyro’s second album because I had a lack of new music to talk about https://musicmoviesgenerallifeandsuch.wordpress.com/2012/10/22/the-vertigo-of-bliss/ but then I discovered there was a new Stone Sour album out so my next review was a no brainer https://musicmoviesgenerallifeandsuch.wordpress.com/2012/10/23/house-of-gold-and-bones-part-1/. Hope you enjoy the reviews, if there’s anything in particular you’d like me to review please let me know, any requests would be welcome.

So at the moment everyone’s going Bond crazy and I must say I have become hugely excited for Skyfall which, so far, has garnered some pretty awesome praise from critics so I shall leave you with the theme song by Adele, a bit of a hark back to the Bond themes of old:

House of Gold and Bones, part 1

 

I have never really got into Stone Sour, or even Slipknot either. I have always said I think Stone Sour are better but if I’m honest I’ve never listened to either of them at any length. So this evening as I was trying to find a new album to review I thought I might go and get some knowledge on them and listen to their new album, the first half of a concept project. Corey Taylor has boldly claimed that the album is ‘Pink Floyds’ The Wall meets Alice in Chains’ Dirt’. Further bold proclamations of the albums greatness have come from critics, getting 5 star reviews across the board the lowest rating I can find is an 8/10, although there is no Metacritic score for the record just yet.

I must admit, I was incredibly impressed within about 30 seconds of putting the album on. The opening track, ‘Gone Sovereign’ starts off slow before it lulls into a deep quietness and then bursts out with a super quick double bass pedal drum solo, propelling you into the albums metal influenced but well educated sound. The first track, for me, was the stand out but that’s not to say the rest of the album isn’t great. It really is.

What I’d found in the past with Stone Sour, the few songs I had heard, is that the lyrics were hopelessly cheesy, and although there are some cringe moments on this record it definitely seems to have improved, and the fact is, on this album the music is so much more mature that it doesn’t actually matter when they are bad. That’s where the great difference between Stone Sour and Slipknot becomes most evident, the musical maturity. Where Slipknot like to just bombard you with power chords andd persistent double bass, Stone Sour know when to attack your ears and then when to calm down. The real art of House of Gold and Bones part 1 is found in the way it juxtaposes its heavier elements with its quieter ones.

The reviews of this album have been incredibly kind, artistdirect’s view claiming it’s on par with Dirt, Master of Puppets, Songs for the Deaf, Superknown or any other game changing albums you can think of. I have to say this is maybe slightly too over enthusiastic but this album certainly is a big step in the right direction for Stone Sour, I can’t wait to hear the second part which is due to be released in May 2013, perhaps in the mean time I’ll have a listen to some of their older stuff.

In short, listen to this album.