Monthly Archives: March 2012
Earlier this month, Moth and Anise took a look at the latest pop releases, including Marcus Collins’ version of The White Stripes Seven Nation Army. Moth described it thusly: “Collins’s version is a thin streak of reggae-scented piss compared to the majestic White Stripes original”. Harsh words that got me a-thinkin’; I wonder who else has covered it?
Fired by curiosity and a love of cover versions I have listened my way through more than 20 covers of this song to provide you with five versions that I think are the most interesting and worth your time. If you have your own personal favourite that isn’t on this list please let us know what it is in the comments, or tweet your favourite @MostlyFilm.
by Jen Corcoran
Lena Dunham: if you don’t know her name already, you soon will. The 25 year-old Manhattan based film-maker is currently the focus of intense media attention from blogosphere to broadsheet as her Judd Apatow-sponsored TV series Girls debuts on HBO over in the US. Meanwhile, Dunham’s wildly acclaimed breakthrough feature Tiny Furniture (2010) finally gets a release in the UK this week, exporting her brand of naturalistic, female-led comedy across the Atlantic.
Lena Dunham’s accelerated rise through the Hollywood food chain has met with adulation and condemnation in equal measure. With a dozen YouTube shorts and one micro-budget feature, Creative Nonfiction, under her belt, Dunham was barely out of college when Tiny Furniture won the Best Narrative Feature prize at South by Southwest Festival. Starring the writer herself as Aura, a disillusioned graduate who returns to New York and moves back in with her mother and sister, the film is an unashamedly personal, self-parodying exploration of what it means to be young in the post-Millennial era.
by Thomas Pratchett
In 1979, Ridley Scott made a film about a bunch of people who find an alien spaceship and discover that the long dormant life inside isn’t so dormant, and in fact wants to kill them. In 2011, Ridley Scott made a film about a bunch of people who find an alien spaceship and… you can see where this is going. By now, everyone knows that Prometheus is a (so Scott claims) tangentially related prequel to Alien, although exactly how related they are is still to be seen. We’ve got the same Giger-esque architecture, milk-filled androids, stark white interiors played against grimy steam-filled corridors and pods filled with slimy things that want to hug our faces. If anyone else had come up with such a scenario and claimed it had no real links to the Alien franchise, 20th Century Fox’s lawyers would have moved faster than you can say ‘minimum safe distance’.
by Ron Swanson
I don’t cry very much. Or rather, I don’t cry very much in the first person. Something bad happens to me, I bite my bottom lip, stiffen my resolve and wallow in a tearless self-pity. However, I realised that I might be hiding from my own true nature when an advert for Google made me cry. For the fifth time. In a week.
By Blake Backlash
Let’s begin at the seaside with Grahame Greene. Imagine spending a wet Bank Holiday afternoon in Brighton and there’s a good chance you can already taste the atmosphere of damp, disappointment and danger that seeps through the films I want to tell you about. Graham Greene is important too. In the three years before World War II, he wrote A Gun for Sale, The Confidential Agent and Brighton Rock. All three are thrillers where there’s an attempt to bind the mechanics of a pulp plot to larger questions about fate and sin. Eccentric and desperate characters stumble through starkly atmospheric locations. Much of this is part of the template for all film noir – indeed A Gun For Sale became A Gun for Hire, with Alan Ladd and Veronica Lake. But Greene casts a long shadow over British noir in particular.
by Ann Jones
When White Cube opened its doors on Duke Street, St James’s in 1993 it was to a small first floor room – a perfect white cube. One of the smallest gallery spaces in Europe, but one which quickly became one of the most influential. The gallery functioned as a project space and artists showed there only once. At the time West End galleries were stuffy places, traditional art dealers selling the work of long-established and often long-dead artists on the secondary market. Video installations by Gary Hill or large scale, colourful assemblages by Jessica Stockholder didn’t go with the territory. With Victoria Miro Gallery, then on Cork Street, being perhaps the most notable exception, contemporary art happened elsewhere (sometimes elsewhere in the West End or thereabouts, but nonetheless, elsewhere).
Within a few years, White Cube expanded east to Hoxton Square but retained the Duke Street space, and went on to construct a purpose-built space in Mason’s Yard, the first new free-standing building in St James’s in over three decades. White Cube then has defied expectations from the start. But even so, the space is Bermondsey opened in October 2011 is in another league.
BY VIV WILBY
I said when it came out that Tim Burton’s film of Stephen Sondheim’s musical Sweeney Todd was his best for a long time. Maybe I got carried away in the moment. A couple of years on, I’m coming round to the view that most of what impressed me was down to Sondheim and not Burton.
I didn’t know the show at all before I saw the Burton film and I’d always been somewhat prejudiced against the whole Sweeney Todd thing. I was scarred by my experience of a dreadful schools’ musical version of the tale (I’m Sweeney Todd the bar-ber, An evil soul I har-bour, I run a little business cutting hair and other things) with which we occupied a couple of ‘music’ lessons in the third year. The few songs that I’d heard sounded difficult and discordant, full of tricky rhythms and rhymes. ‘The Worst Pies in London’ is not a song that makes a whole lot of sense shorn of context and live performance.
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by Paul Duane
Kenneth Lonergan, a big, disorganised-looking, mop-haired, slightly put-upon-looking man, sits at the front of the auditorium. He’s looking at the audience, they’re looking at him, and nobody speaks. The guy who’s doing this Q&A with Lonergan, director Damien O’Donnell, is nowhere to be seen – it transpires he’s looking for a small bell that he’s brought as a prop, for some reason that never really becomes clear. There’s a long, uncomfortable pause as the audience and Kenneth Lonergan try to figure out the etiquette to deal with this mild bit of social discomfort.
It’s a very ‘Kenneth Lonergan’ type of moment, right out of Margaret, Lonergan’s second film in his two-film career as a writer/director.
Margaret’s a baggy, shapeless, engrossing story that can’t really be described except to say that you need to see it in order to talk about it. If you do see it you’ll definitely want to talk about it, the way you talk about people you know and the odd, compulsive decisions they make, and why the fuck did they do this and not that? It’s that kind of film.
Lonergan was visiting the Jameson Dublin International Film Festival to talk about screenwriting. Here’s some of the things he had to say on the subject.