Would you please mind introducing yourself to the readers? My name is Emily Daccarett and I’m the lead singer, songwriter, and artistic director. My bandmates will change depending on the project we are working on, however my go to guys for performing live are Vedant Joshi on keys, Pedro Asfora on guitar, Jake Absher on drums, and Max Pierce on bass.
Where did you guys meet and how did you form this band? We met in the Musicians Institute in LA. We were all friends before and would jam together for fun and also on each other’s projects. We have a tight community and everyone will jam at least once together.
What kind of music do you make or would like to make in the future? My EP Cannibal has a strong 80’s synth pop style mixed in with some 70’s rock. The album I’m currently working on will have more of the 70’s French pop I started out with and we will add certain elements from my EP. I can’t say much because we are still experimenting!
What do you enjoy the most about the process of making music together? It does not feel like work, we are having fun trying out new things, and goofing around which usually leads to something cool. You start out with an idea as a songwriter, but it doesn’t fully flesh out until you start playing around.
What are some of your favourite themes to explore through your music? Hope, fantasy, innocence, and seduction.
Who are some artists that you love or who you’d say has had a huge influence on your work? David Bowie, Vanessa Paradis, Carla Bruni, Blondie, Pink Floyd, ABBA, and Serge Gainsbourg.
Where can someone looking for your music, find it? On Spotify, Apple Music, Google Play Music, Amazon Music, Pandora, Youtube….. pretty much any streaming service.
What’s your favourite part about touring/ doing live performances? Each performance is unique, and we learn something new each time. As terrifying as mistakes are, my bandmates are so talented that they turn it into something intentional.
What kind of message would you like to give your fans, through your music? I want them to always have hope for a better tomorrow and give them something they can escape to. Just let themselves dream!
Where do you see yourself in the future, or what are you future plans for the band? I would love to see us play at music festivals and tour other countries. I’m not the typical band, because I’m also a fashion designer and have my own womenswear brand. As I move forward with merging my two passions together, it brings forth a lot of questions for the future and also unique opportunities for us.
The Haim sisters are known for their love of LA and taking walks on the sunny streets of the city, and it is also the feeling that carries on into their projects – little happy/sad sunny pop songs that go perfect with the mood of driving around Los Angeles on a summer morning. I really enjoyed their first album but to be honest I was kinda disappointed by their second as it really really didn’t have much to offer except the unique bright style the band has cultivated. This is where Women in Music Pt. III really succeeds, while it is still a collection of sunny happy/sad songs, it is also much more. With this album, it feels as though the Haim sisters are finally up to something – a big exploration of themselves and their journey.
The videos to accompany their third album, Women in Music Part III, nod to the strolls of the past and add in a few new twists. In “Now I’m in it” directed again by the master Paul Thomas Anderson, bassist Este and guitarist Alana carry Danielle (lead vocals, production, guitar) on a stretcher; when Danielle is revived and joins her sisters for their signature walk, she casts a knowing glance straight to camera. In another video, they’re followed by a gloomy saxophonist ; in another, they stand rooted to their spots. These videos show the evolution of Haim, whose songwriting on WIMPIII is likewise more nuanced, more self-aware, and frequently darker than ever before.
The biting satire of the album’s title is something of a red herring for its explicitly personal content. In interviews, each sister has described a personal trauma that she brought to the studio. Alana has spoken of the grief she suffered when a best friend passed away at age 20, and Este has talked about the low points of living with Type 1 diabetes. Most felt is Danielle’s deep depression; she traces its origin to when her partner (and co-producer) Ariel Rechtstaid was diagnosed with testicular cancer in 2015.
Historically, Haim’s lyrics have been conversational and straightforward: emotionally incisive, sure, but usually vague enough that you could easily place yourself inside them. On WIMPIII, though, Danielle writes in vivid scenes, pulling you inside her personal depression fog. She blinks awake and finds herself at the wheel of a car; she watches TV and stares at the ceiling; she goes to the boulevard and can’t stop crying. On the stomping country-rock of “I’ve Been Down,” she sings about taping up the windows of her house, adding sardonically, “But I ain’t dead yet.” Elsewhere, the sisters cut and paste the most offensive interview questions they’ve faced from music journalists (“Do you make the same faces in bed?”) into a candid folk song that channels the spirit of Joni Mitchell.
Danielle was also inspired by André 3000’s solo album The Love Below, an exploratory record that sewed together disparate genres with uninhibited slapstick humor. While WIMPIII is more theatrical than Haim have been before—there’s the gasp that opens the underwater rock song “Up From a Dream,” the “you up?” voicemail skits on “3 AM”—the most obvious similarity is in the band’s newfound musical fluidity. With signature production touches from Rostam throughout, these songs shift gears, often eschewing Haim’s usual summery rock to find the right genre for the mood, sometimes containing different shades within the same track. “All That Ever Mattered” peppers Danielle’s vocals with distorted screams and a mumbled interjection of “fuck no,” before pirouetting away into a glam-rock guitar solo. “3 AM” and “Another Try” flirt with falsetto-driven funk and R&B, and “I Know Alone,” a song about depression-scrolling and sleeping through the day, contains dusty echoes of UK garage.
Not every song feels like a pioneering event. “Don’t Wanna” could have lived on any of Haim’s three albums: a tight pop-rock song built around an irrepressible guitar lick and an oblique story of a relationship in trouble. But their most exciting trips go off the beaten path, like the crystalline sad banger “Now I’m in It”—a song that wouldn’t have sounded out of place on Taylor Swift’s Lover. This may be the first Haim album that steps out of its retro groove long enough to draw parallels with other contemporary pop music, specifically Rechtshaid and Danielle’s recent work with Vampire Weekend. Having long since proven their chops when it comes to writing a breezy 1970s-style rock song, they now sound comfortable enough within their niche to push beyond it.
WIMPIII is bookended by two songs about L.A., both featuring a saxophone and wistful “doot-do-do” backing vocals. On the first, “Los Angeles,” Danielle describes falling out of love with her hometown. But in the final song, “Summer Girl”—while its melody hits a similarly melancholic vein—she interpolates Lou Reed as she sings about the relief of coming home to L.A. from tour to be with her partner. She’s anguished when she sings that she’s “thinking ’bout leaving” the city, but hushed and reverent on a later line when she reflects on how much she misses it: “L.A. on my mind, I can’t breathe.” Placed beside each other, the two songs take on new dimensions. It’s Haim as we haven’t quite heard them before: not just eminently proficient musicians, entertainers, and “women in music,” but full of flaws and contradictions, becoming something much greater.
Fav Tracks: //The Steps/ Up from a Dream/ Gasoline/ Don’t Wanna/ Leaning on you/ Man from the Magazine/ FUBT/ Bonus Tracks- Now I’m in it/ Hallelujah//
Michael Keaton is possibly reprising his iconic role as the caped crusader from Tim Burton’s Batman movies, in the upcoming Flash movie starring Ezra Miller according to several reports. Earlier reports stated that Jeffrey Dean Morgan is being eyed to return to his role of Thomas Wayne as Flashpoint Batman in the Flash movie, but it seems like they are not doing that right now. It is said WB will adapt the Flashpoint storyline to some extent and Keaton’s Batman will be part of the Burton-verse where Flash land up. But whatever the case, one thing is for sure – Multiverse is the future of DC, and in my opinion, that’s the best way to go about it. Here’s me telling you why.
The Flash is a very Multiverse Friendly character
The inclusion of Flash leads itself to the possibility to tell stories involving the multiverse. The Flash comics delve deep into the ideas of dimension hopping and alternate realities. Flashpoint, the comic storyline this Flash movie is said to be based on, is particularly a story where The Flash runs back in time to save his mother from dying but in doing creates a dystopian alternate reality. If you watch the CW Flash series you should be familiar with the idea of Flashpoint. And not just Grant Gustin, Ezra Miller’s Flash has already traveled to alternate dimensions in two occasion. Once in that brief bat-cave scene in BvS, and second in CW’s Crisis of Infite Earth event, where two versions of Flash famously crossed paths. And WB specially requested CW to put that cameo in, so they may have some bigger multiverse plans for Flash in the future.
All versions of Batman can be canon
Michael Keaton will return as Batman, taking up his role from the Burton films 30 years on. It would mean the Burton films are officially canon in the current DC Movies and as sources as reporting WB are trying to make Keaton’s old Bruce Wayne into a Nick Fury type of mentor figure in multiple upcoming DC projects. So we can have multiple actors playing different version of the same character at the same time. It would mean everything is canon, and all Ben Affleck, Robert Pattinson and Michael are Batman.
The Snyder-verse can still continue in some capacity
DC has been trying to reboot their movie universe and step away from Zack Snyder’s version of the Justice League, but with the release of Snyder Cut on HBO Max makes things seem a little muddled right now. With the introduction multiverse, Snyder’s version of the characters can continue in some capacity in future DC Movies and TV shows.
Wonder Woman 1984 and Aquaman both retcon events of Synder-verse.
Both Wonder Woman 1984 and Aquaman, deacon the events of the Snyderverse completely and start fresh with their characters. This is very confusing considering it the same actor playing the same characters, but the multiverse will be a really convenient way to explain the changes.
DC can continue their success with standalone movies
After a rocky start and a couple false beginnings DC has finally found their footing in the movie market alongside Marvel. The success Wonder Woman, Aquaman, Shazam, and Joker shows that strong standalone films are what’s really working for DC. Their upcoming slate is filled all standalone movies with no sight of a Justice League movie in a near future. The multiverse with allow the writers and directors to take artistic liberties by focusing on their own corner of the DC universe.
The Batman and Joker are in their own separate universe.
Matt Reeves’ upcoming The Batman staring Robert Pattinson is currently under production and it is said to be it’s own thing, much like the Joker movie from last year. This allows filmmaker’s to tell more dark high brow stories with this iconic characters as they don’t have to worry about connecting the films together. But existence of multiverse will open the door to characters from The Batman, Joker or any other DC black label movie potentially crossing over with the DCEU films in future.
The Future of DC movies
In short, the possibilities for DC movies in the future are endless right now. So it seems like multiverse is surely the way to go for DC in future. We can have have fun and bright kids movies, Big budget blockbusters, Dark Fantasies, high brow dramas and more at same time coming out of DC. It also separates them from their competition Marvel and gives them the edge over the company. It could also lead to more crossovers between DC TV shows and movies, and make the multiverse even rich with characters. And who knows, maybe five years from now, flash could run through a bunch of alternate dimensions and we could have a big Justice League movie with all the different versions of the DC characters coming together. All I can say right now is –
“Exciting times in the world right now, my friend. Exciting times.”
Would you guys please introduce yourselves and explain your role in the band?
Ernie: I’m Ernie, I sing, play guitar and am the main songwriter. Alex: I play lead guitar.
Where did you guys meet and how did you form this band?
Alex: Ernie and I met back in school where we formed our first band. Me and Jonny used to be neighbours and knew each other from the local scene. Arthur, we met down at our local after he overheard we needed a bassist.
Ernie: Bison Face started as just an outlet for all these demos I’d been writing g, but once Al moved back up from Brighton and jumped on board it became an actual thing. Played a few shows last year and recorded a single and a 5 track. The process has been slow but we’ve finally got an actual band together as of like, March?
What kind of music do you make or would like to make in the future?
Ernie: It doesn’t really sit in one category, it’s mainly 90s esque grungey guitar driven alternative rock with smatterings of desert, shoegaze, noise, and some cinematic textures.
Alex: We make a mix of grunge and desert rock with elements of shoegaze and ambient.
What do you enjoy the most about the process of making music together?
Alex: The ability to express our individual flare and to see the synergy of this come about is what making music is all about.
Ernie: There is a moment when you learn a new song and everything clicks in a practice room, you feel like you’re riding this wave. When you nail a track you’ve written as a band it is the best.
What are some of your favourite themes to explore through your music?
Ernie: I write about a lot of different things. Mental health, daily life struggles, love, loss, all that. Some dystopian themes creep in, I’m fascinated with space. Recently some of the injustice in America has crept up; I usually write about what’s affecting me in that moment.
Who are some artists that you love or who you’d say has had a huge influence on your work?
Alex: For me the biggest influences are Queens of the Stone Age, Pixies, Jeff Buckley, Led Zeppelin and Radiohead. We all have different musical backgrounds with a lot of overlap.
Ernie: My main musical influences would be Pixies, Nirvana, Radiohead, Soundgarden, MBV and Sonic Youth. Growing up I’d say Nirvana, Led Zep and Blur had the biggest influence on me. At the moment I’m loving the new Retirement Party record ‘Runaway Dog’.
Where can someone looking for your music, find it?
Ernie: Our debut single Ladybird is available on all your friendly neighbourhood streaming platforms, and the video our friend Tom Sharp made for us is up on YouTube.
What’s your favourite part about touring/ doing live performances?
Alex: It’s the opportunity to improvise and experiment with the songs in a live context, as well as being able to perform songs to a new audience and get our music involved in a new scene.
Ernie: Playing shows is the payoff for slaving away writing and rehearsing. You put all this hard work in, then playing a killer show and feeling that electricity is the cathartic release at the end.
What kind of message would you like to give your fans, through your music?
Ernie: I try not to be too head on with any particular issues, but if there is any message it would be to look after yourselves and look after each other. Life is great and life is shit in almost equal measure. Let’s have a good time.
Where do you guys see yourselves in the future, or what are your future plans for the band?
Alex: For now, we are focussed on releasing our first EP and then to get touring hopefully as soon as possible. After that it would be great to work towards recording a full-length LP and then play some larger tours maybe outside the UK and get some festivals down. We’ll have to see how the music scene changes post Covid.
Ernie: Yeah, I’ve spent the whole of lockdown just writing and demoing new material, so we’ve got a deluge of stuff to sift through when we’re allowed to jam again. But once the EP is finished I just want to play everywhere and anywhere. I miss playing live with the guys more than anything.
Love, Simon wasn’t the biggest movie that came out in 2018, but it was it’s own little thing and I adored it. And I don’t think I was alone – it was just so damn adorable. From the sweet teen romance to Nick Robinson’s charming performance and the chemistry between the cast that featured the likes of Katherine Langford, Alexandra Shipp, Keyinan Lonsdale, Jennifer Garner and more, Greg Berlanti pulled of one of the sweetest films to come out in recent history. Based on the book “Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda ” by Becky Albertalli, Love, Simon told the story of Simon, a closeted high-school student who starts chatting with a stranger on the internet and falls in love, but when his secret is threatened to be revealed, it sets him on journey to accept himself for who he is. It might not be the most innovative plot out there, but for big budget studio teen drama to have gay romance at the center and make big bucks at the box-office, is monumental in and of itself.
But if there was one major complaint about Love, Simon that a lot of people had, it was how the film really underplayed the struggles gay teens have to go through and instead focused the Greg Berlantis of the world, who had it “easy” because they had rich and liberal friends and family, and told a glossy version if the coming out tale. Well, the producers and creators at Fox heard your complaints and they are back with Love, Victor streaming on hulu right now.
Love, Victor is the perfect expansion for the story told in the first film. Michael Cimino leads the cast as Victor, a closeted homosexual teen from a small town in Texas with conservative Latin parents, who moves to a big city and starts to going to a new school Creekwood High, where he learns all about the legend of Simon Spier. Needless to say he feels immensely feels jealous of Simon for having ‘the most supportive parents ever’, and he reaches out to him on Instagram, telling to screw himself, because some people don’t have it as easy as him. But to his surprise Simon actually replies to his message, and begins an exchange of text between them as Simon guides Victor to realize to he is and what he wants. It is great storytelling device and helps connect the film with the series.
The series beautifully recaptures the sweetness of the original movie, and develops it’s themes further, courtesy of the extra run-time. Love, Victor gets the chance to flesh out characters like Victor’s parents, siblings and friends by devoting special scenes to them and their story-line throughout the entire show. And they don’t feel like filler subplots that are used to increase the run-time, in some cases I found the sub-plots to be even more interesting that the original story line involving Victor.
That’s mainly due to the writing of the show, which is flawless for the most part. There are some dialogues here and there and doesn’t feel as natural as it should, it feels like some old/ middle-aged person wrote what they think a young person might say in a particular situation – especially the pop culture references. But apart from that the writing is pretty solid, and in some cases the story really went places I didn’t expect it to.
Michael Cicimo is the perfect casting choice for the lead as he steals every scene he is in with his charisma, and his big endearing eyes makes you instantly feel for Victor. Rachel Naomi Hilson is another standout, her character Mia is given some of the most interesting things to do in the story and she does a great job playing them. But my personal favorite is Anthony Turpel as the over-excited neighbour Felix, whose relationship with Bebe Wood’s bubbly Lake, makes for some of the best moments on the show. The cast overall is pretty good and everybody is given some depth or something to do in the course of the entire show, like even the high school jock/bully played by Mason Gooding, has more to do than I initially expected. There are some really cool cameos in the series too, which I won’t spoil for you, but the they really do a good job with them.
Above everything else Love, Victor shows you how being gay doesn’t mean one thing and how the gay community, like every other community, is a multi-faceted community with a diverse group of people, each with their own struggles and hardships. Like the original film, this show aims to break many stereotypes about the experience of gay teens and break new ground in terms of representation, which I think it achieves. This show will surely inspire many teens around the globe to come out and accept themselves for who they are. And in my opinion, this show is a really big advocate for how the LGBT+ community is one of the most loving and accepting family one can hope to have. It is too early to compare the show with the movie, but I adored Love, Victor as much as I adored Love, Simon (which is a big achievement on the show’ s part).
So if you are a fan of the original movie or you’re looking to some way to kill time on the weekend, I’d suggest you to give Love, Victor on hulu a try.
And if you’ve already seen the show, do let me know what you thought about it in the comments below.
Artemis fowl feels like some parent gave an infant a brand new toy set featuring random action figures to play with, but the kid pooped his pants before he could finish the story, so now we are just left with whatever game the toddler designed in the limited time before he pooped his pants. But no, this isn’t some fantasy a 9-year-old cooked up in his bedroom, this 125 million dollar budget Disney production starring big names and directed by a well experienced director, who has made good movies in the past – how this movie turned out to be such an epic disaster, is a total mystery to me.
To call Artemis Fowl a movie would be giving it too much praise, it doesn’t qualify as a movie. It’s a series of random footage stitched together to form something that barely emulates a feature-length movie. It doesn’t even have a story, it’s the type of movie where nothing really happens. A bunch of characters are introduced, they get together in the third act, some random shit happens I guess and the movie just ends there. There are no character arcs, no plot, no journey, no adventure – basically anything that has something to do with a story is lacking from this movie.
Sitting through the one and half hours of which movie (which definitely felt much much longer) was a torture to say the least, the movie was so boring I dozed off twice. I would not be able to tell you anything about the plot of this movie, even if I were to try, because it is fucking nonexistent. In the first few minutes we are like told how smart Artemis Fowl, and then his whole backstory and family background is explained in very exposition heavy dialogues by a counselor of sorts. It is like if in Batman Begins, Batman just straight up showed up in the first act and Alfred explained to him how his parents died and then about all the ninja training he did, in a single monologue, so that the audience gets to know who Bruce Wayne is. What’s worse is, none of those details matter, because the character of Artemis Fowl himself doesn’t matter and I really don’t know why they had to make such a big point about him being smart, it’s not like they use it in the story, because he barely does anything. Yeah, the titular character of the movie doesn’t do anything in story except just existing in the frame.
I know this an adaptation, so maybe the character is just boring even in the books. But no, I know that’s not true because I have some friends who are real fans of the book and really love Artemis Fowl. From what I’ve heard, Artemis is supposed to be this grey character who’s a criminal mastermind and he’s supposed to have this big redemptive arc over the course of the books. It’s as if the writers of the movie didn’t even read the books , they just heard what the books were about – a smart kid, fairies, dwarfs,trolls, etc, and then sort of build a plot around it that they thought would print money. But then the script supervisor came in and told the writers that he was supposed to be a criminal mastermind, so they just randomly add line at the end of the movie where Artemis says, “I’m Artemis Fowl, the criminal mastermind.”They took all the elements from the books and stripped them of anything that makes it interesting, even down to it’s protagonist. Also, I don’t really wanna be too harsh on kid, but the guy (Fardia Shaw) they cast as Artemis Fowl sucked so bad. He was s such an un-charismatic and dull presence, that even in this awful movie, he stood out as wooden.
Now, if we are talking about acting, let’s get to the two biggest names in the cast. Josh Gad plays this giant dwarf character, who also narrates the entire movie from a prison cell. He looks like someone trying to pull off a cheap Hagrid cosplay in comic-con while putting on a Batman. And yes, the whole movie is narrated in a Batman voice, and I honestly don’t get the point of the narration, it’s not like anything happens in the money. Josh Gad is not that bad technically, but his costume, voice and CGI face make it tough for me to say he was good. Also putting on a Batman voice, is Dame Judi Dench who sort of plays the fairy version of M from the Bond movies. She also has her own centaur version of Q in the movie named Foaly, which I know because he’s introduced like this – “Hi there, this is Foaly!”. Between this and Cats, Judi Dench really needs to fire her agent, or maybe she’s just gotten to the point in her career where she doesn’t care anymore, and is just building some bank for her kids.
There are also other characters introduced in the story but none of them matters in the end. There’s a side quest with this fairy who’s father is believed to be a traitor, so she wants to clear his name. She’s like supposed be the best friend that Artemis Fowl makes in this misadventure, and they try to have these friendship moments between them but it all just comes off as so cheesy and cory that you don’t even take it seriously for one second. But Artemis Fowl is supposed have this great relationship with his Butler and his niece, but don’t give two shits about them cause neither does the movie, they just exist in the background somewhere.
This definitely feels like a movie that was botched in the edit room. I mean, I don’t believe there’s a cut of this movie that’s any good, but the editing seems so sloppy and the plot doesn’t really flow from one place to another, which makes me wonder who’s fault is this that this movie tuned out so bad. Everything about this movie is bad, from writing to acting and visual effects, it’s almost as if everyone working on this movie wanted it to fail. Disney surely did, because they didn’t try to do any re-shoots, get any good editors involved or pay any money for post production and good visual effects. Instead they took this opportunity to quietly dump the movie on their own streaming, but I’m not sure what it says about their brand. It feels like Disney is saying Disney Plus is the place where we’re gonna dump all our bad movies and the good ones will be coming in theaters, and I don’t think that’s the look they want. I don’t think this movie is gonna bring any new subscribers to Disney Plus, and in case you are already subscribed, I’d suggest you skip it.
So, did you watch Artemis Fowl (if so, why?) and what did you think of it?
Rating – “It’s great” / worth adding to your collection.
Amidst all the crazy shit happening around the world, with Netflix’s Da 5 Bloods, Spike Lee has officially announced that the Oscar race for 2021 has just began. Yes, it’s that good. This is without a doubt the most high quality film to be released during the lockdown, and it’s steal that you can just watch it for free at the comfort of your home right now.
The film opens with Muhammad Ali and closes with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., two legends who are inextricably tied to the Civil Rights movement and Black pride. Lee uses them to highlight another commonality: their strenuous opposition to the Vietnam War. For Ali, the objection cost him several productive years of his career and his heavyweight title; for Dr. King, this new focus was quite possibly the final straw that led to his assassination. The first words we hear are Ali’s famous explanation of why he refused to enlist. The last words we hear are from a speech King gave on April 4, 1967, exactly one year before his murder, where he quotes poet Lagston Hughes’ “Let America Be America Again.”
On the surface, Da 5 Bloods is a treasure hunt story, modelled on the template of “The Treasure of Sierra Madre” and of course, as he’s confessed, Spike Lee’s favorite film “Apocalypse Now”. There’s even a nighclub themed after Apocalypse Now in modern day Vietnam, andfilm fan will be able to catch the scene homages Spike Lee pays to Francis Ford Coppola’s masterpiece.
The movie tells the story of four war veterans who are back in Vietnam in recover their friend/leader’s remains from the jungle, but actually they have a hidden agenda underneath that the film reveals slowly. The men, who dub themselves as Bloods, have all got something going on with them – there’s the joker, Melvin (Isiah Whitlock Jr.), the level-headed medic, Otis (Clarke Peters) and the one who achieved the most post-war success, Eddie (Norm Lewis). Rounding out the quartet is the forceful, hot-headed leader, Paul, played by Delroy Lindo in one of the best performances to come out of a Spike Lee joint. The fifth blood of the title is not Paul’s son, David (Jonathan Majors), who unexpectedly shows up to join his elders’ crew. Delroy Lindo is just so good in the movie that if he’s not nominated whenever the Oscars are held next year, there’s seriously something wrong with the Academy. He has monologue towards the end of the movie, that was so good that it makes the movie for me.
Lindo’s character Paul, is the most affected by the events of the Vietnam war, the ghosts of the past are literally haunting him. He was one closest to their leader Norm nad looked up to him like a God, so in a way he feels the guilt of surviving while Norm did not. A deep thinker and a shrewd tactician, Norman has taken on almost mythical grandeur in his comrades’ memories. They refer to him as “our Malcolm and our Martin.” When the borders of the frame narrow and the color balance shifts to signify that we are back in the war, Norman is played by Chadwick Boseman, a perfect casting choice that underlines the heroism of the character, who is stamped with the likeness of Jackie Robinson and Black Panther himself from Wakanda. Boseman’s charisma can make feel even the most simple scenes heroic and inspiring.
A strong choice made by Spike Lee in the film is that the older actors also play their younger selves in the flashbacks, he doesn’t cast younger actors or de-age the actors like Martin Scorsese in The Irishman. It’s a choice that might through some people off, but it really pays off in my opinion. It goes on to show how the characters never left Vietnam and have been stuck in time ever since, and also the fact that Chadwick Boseman is the only young and charismatic presence, show how he never got to grow old like his contemporaries, and his ghost really lingers on in the present timeline.
Also another strong creative decision in the film that really pays off, is the decision to shoot the movie in different aspect ratio and and different type to film to give a sense of time and place. The flashbacks are all shot in 16 mm film with an aspect ratio of 4:3 which gives it a documentary-esque feel and the present-day jungle scenes appear to be like 35 mm IMAX film, but there’s no way to feel for me since we unfortunately can never watch the film in a theatre. The cinematography by Newton Thomas Sigel (who also shot Extraction for Netflix this year) is gorgeous and beautifully captures the rich landscapes of Vietnam and Thailand.
But Spike Lee being Spike Lee, this film has a lot to say and it says it effectively. In addition to the verbal commentary about present events vs. past ones, Lee also employs some sly visual representations of his points. David wears a Morehouse shirt throughout his jungle trek and it’s more than just a shout-out to the director’s alma mater. It’s a reminder that the college kids didn’t wind up in this location. “They put our poor Black asses out here on the front line,” says Melvin, “killing us like flies.” With the occasional jump to graphic documentary footage, we’re also reminded that the Vietnam War was beamed into the homes of millions of Americans via the nightly news, forcing them to see the atrocities in such an effective way that later wartime presidents forced a moratorium on images of war, as if out of sight meant out of mind.
You can really just dig into any scene from this movie and decipher meaning social commentary out of it. And which the amount of twists and turns in the script, it sure warrants repeat viewing. It talks about the turbulent times and complex issues Black soldiers faced in Vietnam, commentary on US’s current president, Race issues worldwide in general and so much much more. There’s scene in particular involving Hanna Hanoi and the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr. that sent chills down my spine.
Simply, Spike Lee has done it again – he’s went on and made a very entertaining movie with deeply rooted ideologies that feel relevant even today. I mean, the movie almost correlates to whatever has been going through in the US over past couple weeks with all the ‘Black Lives Matter’ protests going on. It’s a very timely movie and at the same time very timeless, so don’t make the mistake of skipping this one.
Da 5 Bloods is now available to stream on Netflix worldwide.
So what did you think of the movie if you have watched it, and what’s your favorite Spike Lee joint?
Rating – “It’s great” / worth adding to your collection.
Judd Apatow is known for making one type of film over and over – overlong stoner comedies about overgrown man-children, and helping commercially unproven comedians become huge stars by making films in which they embody lightly fictionalized versions of themselves. He’s made stars out of the likes of Seth Rogen and Steve Carell in the past, with films like Knocked Up and The 40 Year Old Virgin. This time it is Pete Davidson’s turn, and he fits perfectly in Apatow’s universe of slice of life light-hearted dramas. The SNL star’s brand of ‘I don’t give a fuck’ dark humor is a perfect fit for the coming-of-age tale of a man-child trying to figure his shit out.
This is not the type of comedy where you burst into laughter every five seconds at a penis joke, this movie takes it’s time, (like all Judd Apatow movies) but in doing so it beautifully flutters between scenes that genuinely bring a smile to your face and scenes that will genuinely touch your heart. I walked into this movie completely blind, I didn’t even see a single trailer for it, so the emotional story of the movie is what surprised me the most – this is the most heartwarming Judd Apatow movie I have ever seen. It reminds me a lot of Apatow’s cult TV show freaks & geeks, another charming coming-of-age dramedy, which still remains one of my favorite seasons of television. Maybe it’s because I’m in a similar phase of my life where I’m trying to figure my shit out, but as soon as Pete Davidson’s character walked into the screen, I immediately felt that connection with him. I need to give the movie props for making me care too – I was genuinely invested in the lives of these character and gave a damn about what happened to them, which is a hard thing to achieve.
Based on a script co-written by Davison and Apatow, The King of Staten Island tells the story of Scott Carlin who lost his fire-fighter father in a tragic accident when he was seven years old and has never been able grow up since, which is weird because Pete Davidson also lost his fire-fighter dad who died killed trying to rescue people from the Marriott World Trade Center on 9/11, so in a sense this a semi auto-biographical vehicle for Davidson. But while Davidson uses humor and comedy to deal with the tragedy in his life, Scott is a tattoo artist who dreams of opening a tattoo parlor cum restaurant, which he titles “Ruby Tattuesdays”.
Scott still lives with his mom (Merissa Tomei), while his ambitious little sister (Maude Apatow) goes off to college following her dreams. Both of them are worried about Scott’s life as he refuses to grow up or change. He hangs with his toner friends who are all a likable presence (especially Moisés Arias and Ricky Velez) and you will want to hang out with them. The exchanges between the friends is very realistic and funny in a true Judd Apatow fashion, and it sounds like what a bunch of dudes will be talking about as they smoke some weed. He’s also secretly fucking his childhood friend Kelsey (a brilliant Bel Powley) but Scoot is left so insecure by his father’s death that he is afraid to form any new relationship.
It’s a cozy environment that Scott has built for himself, until one day he tattoos kid in the wood and the kid’s dad (Bill Burr) starts dating Scott’s mom. Okay, Bill Burr is amazing in this movie, he is the perfect balance to Pete Davidson’s dry humor. Bill Burr also plays a fireman in the movie, a detail that doesn’t fit well with Scott as he starts making plans to break up his mom’s relationship, which sets him on a journey that ultimately helps him grow up.
This a masterfully shot movie, with great cinematography and production design, that truly captures the essence of Staten Island. All the performances are great and the chemistry among the cast is perfect and everyone has great lines in the movie. But it is Pete Davidson who ultimately carries this movie with his star-making performance. He maybe playing himself, but his sincerity and charm brings much gravitas to the character that makes you feel for him throughout the story, even when he’s making some pretty shitty decisions. Also the soundtrack of the movie is really unique, and helps set the mood for the story it’s trying to tell.
Is the movie longer than it needs to be? Absolutely. At a run-time of two hours and seventeen minutes, you do feel the length as the script meanders and the actors stretch scenes with improv. But it is also what grounds this movie and trust me, if you sit with it, the movie really pays off in the end. Judd Apatow loves making films about about middle aged men stuck in adolescence, and it is definitely funny to watch the misguided fools do stupid shit. But with The King of Staten Island, Apatow rises above his own storytelling techniques – you are not laughing at Pete Davidson in this movie for not being able to grow up, you rather feel bad for the dude. This movie gives you a sense of why certain people are the way they are – why some people do recreational drugs, why some people have their bodies covered in tattoos, why some people take pride in the comrade of firemen, and ultimately, why certain people come of age at different points in their lifetime, some much later than most.
Alright, so what did you think of The King of Staten Island, and what’s your favorite Judd Apatow movie?
Even if you’re not quite familiar with him you’ve definitely seen or heard of Ed O’Brien somewhere – the tall guy who plays on the left of Thom Yorke in every Radiohead concert. For all of the radical reinventions Radiohead have undergone over the past 30-odd years—the shift to experimental electronica, the redrafting of instrumental roles, Thom Yorke’s ponytail—guitarist Ed O’Brien has always remained guitarist Ed O’Brien. Amid the flurry of instrument swapping and machine tweaking that occurs at a typical Radiohead concert, O’Brien is rarely without his six-string and trusty bank of effects pedals, while his backing vocals often provide a crucial melodic underpinning for Yorke’s flights of fancy. Thus, amid the flashy contributions of guitarist Jonny Greenwood and frontman Thom Yorke, it is easy to forget about Ed O’Brien, but it is his consistent contributions that holds the band together.That grounding principle carries over to his first proper solo album. Where Yorke and Jonny Greenwood have used their extracurricular projects to further explore dissonant techno and avant-garde orchestration, O’Brien’s debut as EOB revisits the late-’80s/early-’90s student-disco sounds that gave rise to his main gig. While his bandmates are going on about Flying Lotus and Oliver Messiaen, O’Brien is preaching the life-changing effects of Screamadelia.
It’s taken some time, but O’Brien has finally stepped out from the shadows with the release of his exceptional solo debut, Earth, under the moniker EOB. He’s noted in interviews that he felt he had to release the record, that part of him would “die” if he didn’t. That sense of urgency is felt all over Earth. The opener “Shangri-La,” is a triumphant scorcher sprinkled with percussion as O’Brien acknowledges feelings he didn’t realize he had before finding the song’s titular mystical harmonious place. Never has his voice sounded so prominent — so recognizable — until now.
Much of Earth is laidback and peaceful, centered around the cerebral “Brasil” and “Olympik,” which clock in over eight minutes, tickling the brain with swirling synths and dreamy lines about love and perfection. “A love supreme is all I need,” he sings on the latter. “To be waking up from the deepest sea.” Tucked right behind “Brasil” is the stunning “Deep Days,” an acoustic slow burner that acts like a respite to the lengthy track before it: “Where you go, I will go/where you stay, I will stay,” he pledges. “And when you rise, I will rise/and if you fall, you can fall on me.”
The sparse, fairytale-like “Long Time Coming” is another standout (“A lonely city girl/looks out into her world”), but it’s the album closer, “Cloak on the Night,” that serves as the LP’s gut-wrenching highlight. Joined by Laura Marling, O’Brien carefully lays down each line over twinkling acoustic guitar: “You and me all night long,” they sing in harmony. “You and me in this storm/holding tight.”
Earth is at it’s best when it’s at it’s subtlest – it has that dreamy quality that transports you memories hanging on the brink of nostalgia. To me, nostalgia seems like the main theme of this project, it is what Ed O’Brien is drawing from, even going back to early sound of Radiohead, a sound that the band has mostly disregarded now. There are few tracks in this projects that take a total left swing from the familiar Radiohead sound, but to me those are this album’s weakest points. Like the song “Banksters”, which is good song and I do see myself to occasionally listening to i, but it feels so left out in the whole album that it hurts it in the end.
With Earth, O’Brien becomes the fourth Radiohead member to branch out and release a record of his own, following Yorke, guitarist Jonny Greenwood and drummer Phil Selway. It leaves bassist Colin Greenwood as the only person in the band yet to step out on his own. The success of all these extracurricular releases, including Earth, suggests that when he does, it’ll be worth waiting for.
Fav Tracks: //Shangri-La/ Brasil/ Long Time Coming/ Mass/ Sail On/ Olympik/ Cloak of the Night//
Least Fav Track: /Banksters/
So what did you think of this album, and what is your favorite solo project from a Radiohead member?