Before Bronson came Chopper. Notorious criminals and the fame they garner for themselves as being beyond the level of usually hardened cell fodder is a fascinating avenue that has grown commercial through true crime and true fascination. No wonder the life of Bronson was turned into a Tom Hardy-led biopic. No wonder the life of Chopper was turned into a self-titled biopic helmed by director Andrew Dominik and starring Eric Bana as the caricature presentation of a tough, Australian criminal. Is there any difference between the tough-as-nails brutality found here and the more sophisticated mobsters of the Martin Scorsese-fuelled 1990s? Not too much. What separates them is the style of crime and the class in doing it.
Powers founded on the supergroups of the now are pale comparisons to what the late 1980s had in store for audiences. McBusted are a strong contender, surely, but not close to the might and influence Traveling Wilburys had in their two short years together. Artists who have crafted some of the all-time greats, not just once, but consistently so. Traveling Wilburys that is, not McBusted. Generations of influence, and decades of musical experience, all siphoned off into a ten-track album that spawned from a light joke of a single turning into something far, far more powerful than could ever have been expected. Handle With Care indeed. It didn’t get much better for this supergroup than Traveling Wilburys, Vol 1.
Who better to portray someone with a soul the size of a chickpea than Paul Giamatti? A man whose obsession with anger, spite and conformity to his own reality has steered some of his finest performances. Cold Souls feels like a continuation of the narcissism of Miles from Sideways. He wasn’t as soulless, but certainly just as driven and running on empty. There are parts of American Splendor chipping away at the isolation and glum colour tones used throughout this Sophie Barthes piece. What an undersung piece it is too, with its commentary on Anton Chekov bleeding through into a piece that looks to rip into Giamatti’s neurosis and talent as he adapts his best character of all, himself.
In an interview with Polygon, director Sam Raimi said he hopes audiences can “use their imagination” when they step into his first Marvel outing, Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness. That is unheard of for the series of near-30 features so far. Another plunge into the usual formula time and time again, relying more and more on the simple tactics that have conned people into wanting the same thing over and over. More power to those who can trick audiences into trickling cash into an unchanging, unmoving product for the emotionally deficient. Unfortunately, Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness soon boils down to pop-culture jabs, cameo-stuffed filler roles for the friends of Raimi (a wasted Bruce Campbell role is offered up) and the inevitable crossover of product fighting products looking to destroy some vague entity. Welcome to the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
If the drab affair of Creation Stories taught audiences and author Irvine Welsh one thing, it is that dab hands in novels are not the same for scriptwriting. That Ewen Bremner-led piece was as sordid as Welsh’s work gets, but not put together correctly. It lacked the pace of the written prose and the subsequent adaptations that come from it. Apparently, Britbox did not hear of the car crash scriptwriting attempt Welsh was involved in and brought him on to adapt a piece of his later bibliography, Crime. A straight-shooting and soulful sequel to Filth, a book and film that relied on the wackier imagery, the wilder content found within and the distance it placed between regular police work and its protagonist.
Bob Dylan fans were left disappointed after a promised “remake” of the classic track Subterranean Homesick Blues.
The iconic original shows Dylan holding placards in a London alleyway, timing the drop of the card with the lyrics throughout.
Commenters eagerly awaited the launch of the remake, which premiered on YouTube today on the official Bob Dylan YouTube account.
But fans who were hoping for the Mr. Tambourine Man singer to look back on his own work were sorely disappointed by an updated video that removed the classic placard protest.
Impossible it is to forget the monumental final effort David Bowie created with Blackstar, it is the frankness and tragedy of dying first that cements him at a pillar higher than Cohen when comparing their final works. They passed in the same year. They both offered greatly differing, vibrant bodies of work that will hold their own in the years to come. But You Want It Darker is better. It is an album defined by its title track, remembered for those ghostly, tender and operatic voices that open Cohen’s swansong, and rightly so. Move beyond You Want it Darker though. Cohen does offer a welcome reflection on his career and life, as did Bowie with Blackstar, but the former offers much more than that with the tracks that followed.
Shameful it is to mark the first encounter with Fleetwood Mac as a soundtrack riff on Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2, that is how it was for many. It is a perplexing and embarrassing way to mark the first experience with a track from Rumours, but it is how millions must have made the plunge into their music. It would be embarrassing for, say, a freelance journalist and music critic to make that their first experience with Fleetwood Mac, but we do not choose where we hear great songs or how we listen to them. Sometimes it is with 3D glasses hanging off of big noses in the back of a crumbling theatre, waiting for the funny gag about the raccoon and his friendly tree companion. Purchase a copy of Rumours, listen to the record scratches settle in, and soon it’ll wash away that first experience.
To discuss Michael Bay and the talent he has in realising the action Hollywood blockbuster is a fine line between joining those who praise the ground he walks and annoying saner individuals who are still upset with Transformers. The joke is on both parties though, because if anything, Ambulance certainly proves Bay has perfected his own formula. His work has always fit the bill for those looking for popcorn explosions but also those looking for deeper, gratifying sensibilities. Pain & Gain was not that long ago, and it provides a perfect example of how Bay has perfected the budget to meaning ratio. Enough for all audiences. Ambulance is another bold participation in that balance but stretches itself thin in places.
With solo artists formerly members of bands or groups, especially those that had left their cultural footprint on a generation, the issue of living up to the experience of past works will always linger. Paul Weller had it and came into his own. Roger Daltry experienced it time and time again. Jarvis Cocker is still chasing that high, so much so that he retreated back to group work with the seemingly ego-fuelled project Jarv Is. His name under one group, or roof, as House Music All Night Long would clamour for. Despite that, Cocker’s debut attempt at music with the simply titled The Jarvis Cocker Record shows off his indie range without dabbling in the culture wars, the drink and drugs of a past period or anything out of the ordinary.