Great music choices in film #6

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Queen made a comeback of sorts recently due to the success of new biopic Bohemian Rhapsody (2018). Instead of going for an obvious choice from that movie, let’s look at a clip from the opening of the Brazilian film Aquarius (2016). The majority of the story takes place in the present with the opening set in 1980.

The joy of introducing music to those around you is a special thing. The sequence in the film is from a time when you couldn’t YouTube every song. Music was discovered via tapes, friend’s recommendations, at parties and on the radio. The character Clara who owns the tape is a music critic.
As said in the new Freddie Mercury movie, Another One Bites the Dust has a great riff, but the most memorable use of the song for me is in Aquarius which can make the listener nostalgic for the pre-internet days. (Watching the clip won’t spoil the movie)

 

Here’s my review of Aquarius

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What do you think? As always, comments are welcome

Question: Your anticipated films and TV of 2019 ?

 

 

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I realize a few of the below have been released in other parts of the world or at film festivals already. The thing is, I’m still waiting, we are often late getting them to our screens in Denmark. Bear in mind, you can’t predict everything and this is NOT an attempt at an exhaustive list. You can find lists of upcoming blockbusters elsewhere. Just a selection of key titles that personally interest me. We will see if the sequels/continuations I mention here are worth the time. Click the links for trailers and local release dates. Without further ado, let’s look ahead!

 

 

 

 

TV and documentaries:

 

 

 

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63 Up (Michael Apted) (TV Movie)

(The long-running Up series is something special, every 7 years. Interesting to follow the group from child to adult. Forces you to reflect on your own life, the good and the bad. The participants are now 63 years old. Airs in the UK in May)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Stranger Things (TV series) (Season 3)

I enjoyed seasons one and two and can’t wait to find out what happens to the characters next. If you haven’t watched the Netflix show, it’s reminiscent of 80s movies such as The Goonies (1985) or Stand by Me (1986). Mark you calendars for July 4.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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This Time With Alan Partridge (TV series)

(Six half-hour episodes. Should be fun to see Alan in a contemporary setting. Rumor is #MeToo is weaved into the story. Expected in February on BBC )

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Mum (TV series) (Series 3) 
(Airs on BBC2 in 2019. According to denofgeek, this will be the third and final series of the kitchen sink sitcom. In the vein of Mike Leigh’s films albeit a longer format.  Starring Lesley Manville (from Phantom Thread) and Peter Mullan who give likeable performances. For me, the drama in S1 and S2 works better than the comedy. The repetitions and caricatures among the supporting characters are put in place for comedic effect)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Free
Solo (documentary)
(The reviews so far are very positive. Available on region 2 dvd on April 8 and I assume a National Geographic  TV premiere at some point in 2019. Follow Alex Honnold as he attempts to become the first person to ever free solo climb Yosemite’s 3,000 foot high El Capitan wall. With no ropes or safety gear, this would arguably be the greatest feat in rock climbing history)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The Cure (career-spanning 40th anniversary documentary) (Tim Pope)
Announced at the end of 2017. Worryingly,  still not listed on IMDB. Might be a long shot for 2019 as still in production. You can read the latest here.

 

 

 

 

 

Continue reading “Question: Your anticipated films and TV of 2019 ?”

Films and TV of the month: December

 

Happy New Year to those who read this blog! Christmas was hectic. Made a little easier with great food, light entertainment thanks to Peter Sellers, and a few presents. I was given new quilt covers, a movie quiz game, and the collected works by the celebrated Danish poet Michael Strunge (he’s not well known outside of Scandinavia)
I also received Five Go Gluten Free (from 2016) with text by Bruno Vincent. In the sleeve, says the book is ”Enid Blyton for Grown-Ups”. Other titles in the spoof series include Five on Brexit Island and Five Give Up the Booze. Blyton must be rolling in her grave! I presume has been endorsed by her estate.

I’m omitting a few new film releases in this post as those will feature in my upcoming top 10 films of 2018. To be published later this month. I’m waiting for The Favourite (2018) which is out January 24 in my country.

 

 

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I Know Where I’m Going! (1945) (Michael Powell & Emeric Pressburger)
With the music score, Scottish dialect, and stormy weather, actually deciphering the dialogue is at times quite the challenge. See it with subtitles. The scenery is beautifully captured and you get to witness customs such as a highland song and dance party. There’s an affection for Scotland in how it’s depicted on screen though not shying away from the dangers of the violent sea (and there can be beauty in nature’s extremes). The journey to find your place feels timeless and a film that probably grows on you on repeat viewings.
7-8/10

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The Pink Panther (1963) (Blake Edwards)

Great music and the sequence when two men are hiding in the bedroom is a highlight. The animated intro and surprising ending are pretty iconic though the film feels a little long and the slapstick is only mildly amusing. Has charm in abundance thanks to actors like David Niven, Peter Sellers, and Claudia Cardinale as the Princess.
7-8/10

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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The Return of the Pink Panther (1975) (Blake Edwards)

A farcical 1975 sequel and 4th film in the long running Pink Panther series. The story isn’t particularly believable and the plot occasionally feels like rehash of the original, yet funnier than the 1963 film with many scenes designed for Sellers to get into trouble. The comedy becomes a bit predictable and forced after a while though does have its moments with the monkey/musician scene a stand out. As with the superior sequel A Shot in the Dark (1964), Charles Dreyfus (Herbert Lom) steals the show. Christopher Plummer lacks the charm of David Niven whom he replaced in the role of Sir Charles Litton (spelled differently for some reason)
6/10

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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Harakiri (1962) (Masaki Kobayashi)

Set in the 1600s in Japan, I’m sure this classic has historical significance as a document of seppuku (harakiri) and the hypocrisy of honor. The critics admire it, but I found the characters hard to care about and the dialogue tended to repeat things. Told in a non-linear fashion, many scenes are dull and feature men facing each other, talking formally. The action in the opening hour consists of a man stabbing himself which displays the samurai honor aspect yet is painful to watch. An important, but tiresome film.
4/10

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The Apparition (2018) (Xavier Giannoli)

Great central idea about a journalist investigating a woman who claims to have seen the virgin Mary. The story is too slow and long albeit the actors are good. Visually, it’s pretty drab and not easily remembered. The film’s strength is in raising a number of questions about the church, faith, and worship. The subplot about Jacques’s hearing was neglected. The ending lessens the importance of what came before. Resulting in a frustrating watch, as the movie is over, just when it starts getting interesting.
5/10

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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Hal (2018) (Amy Scott)

A documentary about the life of beloved film director Hal Ashby who peaked in the 1970s with films such as Being There (1979).
There’s a bit of Hal within his films. I didn’t know his dad killed himself when Hal was only 12, and that could explain the fascination with suicide in Harold and Maude (1971).
Ashby has high praise for screenwriter Robert Towne who scripted The Last Detail (1973). Hal’s rebellous and anti-authority side comes across in those characters.
He lost control of 8 Million Ways to Die (1986) which was botched in the editing room. Very sad the way Ashby’s life and career ended. A bright light who became a bitter man, clashing with the film studio. But a wonderful run of films in the 70s.
7/10

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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Leave No Trace (2018) (Debra Granik)

The most overrated film of 2018. All the critics on Rotten Tomatoes think it’s praiseworthy yet to me a mediocre, flavorless drama. A more realistic take on that Viggo Mortensen movie in the forest Captain Fantastic, but I had forgotten the movie soon after. So Leave No Trace is an appropriate title! Winter’s Bone (by the same writer/director) is a better film and more impactful.
4/10

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The Rider (2017) (Chloé Zhao)
I applaud a western that tries something different and delves into contemporary masculinity through the eyes of a female writer/director. I really wanted to like this film, but the narrative just didn’t hold my attention. Nothing much happens, a situation rather than a story. I found the lead actor dull to watch and this is accentuated by the slow pacing. I expected more based on the 97% Rotten Tomatoes score. A low-key work that I appreciate for its concept/idea yet found slightly underwhelming as a viewing experience. The last 10-15 minutes had some emotion.
5/10

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What do you think? As always, comments are welcome

 

Favorite older album discoveries of 2018

 

 

 

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The bands/artists I spent the most time listening to during 2018 were: David Bowie (1969-1983), Eagles (1972-1979), Neil Young (1969-1970, 1975, 1979, 2005),  Jethro Tull (1969-1972) Rush (1976-1978), Kraftwerk (1974-1978, 2003) Beck (1999-2002, 2006), Nine Inch Nails (1989-1994), Bob Dylan (1967, 1975) Emmylou Harris (both 1975 albums), Massive Attack (1991-1998), Enya (1988-1991), Fiona Apple (1996-1999), C.V. Jørgensen (1977-1980), and Tommy Seebach (1975-1986)

 

 

 

 

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Blood on the Tracks by Bob Dylan (1975)
Recorded in the midst of marital discord, has been categorized as “a comeback” and “the definite breakup album”.  I love the first half. His 1975 LP contains some of Dylan’s best known songs: Tangled Up in Blue, Simple Twist of Fate, and Shelter From the Storm.
Asked about the music, Bob Dylan remarked: “I wanted to defy time, so that the story took place in the present and past at the same time”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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What’s Going On by Marvin Gaye (1971)

Breaking the mould of the traditional Motown sound, and told from the point of view of a returning Vietnam soldier. What’s Going On is arguably one of the best protest albums of all-time, about world conditions, drug abuse, poverty, the ecological disaster, the next generation, war, and other aspects. There’s an earnestness in Marvin Gaye’s vocal so you believe what he sings. The artwork reflects his project of looking outside of himself, with the iconic cover image presenting him in a rain coat looking towards the horizon.
Yet remarkably you can also just take the album for its relaxing mood and catchy songs that have become classics; What’s Going On, Mercy Mercy Me (The Ecology), Inner City Blues (Make Me Wanna Holler)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Sea Change by Beck (2002)

With a deliberately quieter sound featuring orchestral flourishes, a big departure from the funkiness of 1999’s Midnite Vultures. Going for an introspective, serious approach, I’ve heard Sea Change described as the definitive break-up album (and in a far more direct, matter-of-fact way than the ambiguous Blood on the Tracks mentioned above).
Certainly melancholy with lyrics such as “And the sun don’t shine, even when its day”. Beck is at his most vulnerable, using the songs as self-therapy, telling the listener about his loneliness and failed relationship, and in turn we can empathize and maybe relate. Lost Cause and Guess I’m Doing Fine are Beck classics. I’ve only listened to a third of his discography (as of March 2018) but this feels like Beck’s masterpiece. Whether you can handle the sadness is subjective. You need to be in the right mood and I’d only listen to it sparingly.

 

 

 

 

 

Continue reading “Favorite older album discoveries of 2018”

Top 10 songs of 2018, bonus tracks, and playlist

 

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To listen to the music, I created Spotify and YouTube playlists. I reserve the right to alter the list if I change my mind or stumble upon new stuff that impresses! Below is my top 10:

 

 

 

1.)
Keep Reachin sung by Chaka Khan 
(Nice and funky. A great find from end credits of new Quincy Jones documentary. If the song had been cut down to 3 minutes it would have been stronger. But still pretty awesome)

 

 

 

 

 

 

2.)
The Crossing by Alejandro Escovedo
(From his concept album on immigration, the affecting title track which also has a brilliant melody attached. I’d go so far and say it’s a modern classic already)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

3.)
Slow Burn by Kacey Musgraves 
(A couple of other bloggers gushed over this and I have to admit they’re right! Doesn’t get stale and what a voice! )

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

4.)
Crazy, Classic, Life by Janelle Monáe
(Empowering lyrics and maybe the best pop chorus of the year)

 

 

 

 

 

 

5.)
Shallow by Lady Gaga & Bradley Cooper
(From A Star Is Born soundtrack. Not many Oscar songs gave me chills in recent years but Shallow did ! Hope it wins Best Song. Haven’t seen the film)

 

 

 

 

 

Continue reading “Top 10 songs of 2018, bonus tracks, and playlist”