Archive for the ‘Music’ Category

The Lost Boys

March 3, 2012

Being the sort of elitist snob who cares not a jot for mainstream mass media, I’ve never seen Joel Schumacher’s classic ’80s comedy horror The Lost Boys. Thus, I set out about reviewing it, in order that we can all move on and get over ourselves. Forthwith and anon.

Starring the glamorous media darlings of the decade, Paul and Barry Chuckle, Schumacher’s update of the sexy vampire myth was an instant hit with The Kids, who consumed unprecedented quantities of popped corn at the box office. The resulting food crisis in Central America led to mass starvation and three civil wars – and, ultimately, the dissolution of the state of Cuecas Novas.

Still, The Kids were happy. For now.

Or were they? (Yes, they were)

'The Kids'. But are they all right?

Controversially, the Brothers Chuckle didn’t play on-screen brothers – in a move deemed an act of sheer vandalism, Schumacher cast Barry Chuckle in the role of ‘Angsty Teen Guy #1’, and Paul Chuckle as ‘Edgy Vampire Rebel Awesome Dude #1’. Setting the sizzling siblings against each other, Schumacher had orchestrated a chemistry so nauseatingly smarmy that, for the next six years, only he could abide to be in the same room as himself.

Most notably, the scene in which Paul proffers Barry yesterday’s takeaway for a snack is oft heralded as a masterpiece of mise-en-scene, juxtaposing Paul’s chicken tikka masala with Barry’s lamb dopiaza and half-rice-half-chips.

“You’re eating maggots, Barry. Those are maggots,” Paul chides, gloatingly scoffing his tikka masala wrapped in a stale slice of paratha. Barry looks down to find his half-rice is in fact all-maggots.

Barry casts his spoiled sustenance aside in disgust.

“Gah! By ‘eck, Paul! You’re right – they’re chuffin’ maggots!”

Paul squirms and smarms in his seat, relishing the moment as he chomps gleefully.

“Heh heh, you ha’porth,” he quips, “It’s just rice.”

Barry looks at his ruined dinner on the floor.

“Crikey,” he replies, “You’re not wrong, Paul. It is just rice after all!”

The scene culminates in a perilous moped race along the coast of Skegness, at the end of which Paul is horrifically injured after he crashes his moped while trying to avoid some sheep.

One of the evil pair's victims. Note how every ounce of flesh has been stripped from the bones of this poor soul.

It’s impossible to talk about The Lost Boys without mentioning the parade of A-list cameo performances. Frank Carson is unconquerable as ‘Grampaw’, peppering his performance with obscene gestures and an extended dance routine. Rick Moranis and Chachi Arcola are indomitable as ‘The Frog Boys’, a duo so unstoppable that if you were passing them in a corridor you would step aside to let them past without a second thought. Or even a first thought.

Onto the soundtrack then. Opening with ‘Locofoco Motherfucker’ by Fleshies, it goes downhill from there, like a big sweaty meatball, fashioned from chopped innards for some insignificant country fayre, ceremoniously rolled down a hill and followed inanely by a horde of bumbling, tumbling oafs, bent on getting their hairy chops in the local rag.

Utter piffle.

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Streetdance 3D

May 18, 2010

Ultimately, all living things must die. Time is infinite, possibilities are limitless and man is but an atom, attached to a louse on God’s fanny. Here’s a review of Streetdance 3D.

The musical genre has oft baffled cultural critics; seemingly meaningless and superficial, musical cinema explores (on the surface) themes of the adolescent journey and the eternal struggle of man to assert his identity through the media of song and dance.

Dance troupe Diversity perform the film's centrepiece: the Swiss Cottage Swagger

Streetdance 3D (or ‘Stree-Dee Dee-Dee-Dee’ as it has become known among Britain’s disaffected youth) explores these themes only as a nod to its trailblazing forbears: Wizardy Foz, Sound of Mu-Ha, Chic-a-gogo, Cabarum and Greasies are subtly referenced throughout the film. Most notably, in the scene where N-Dubz set off to score some crack, skipping as they go. Tilting his top hat to a jaunty angle, the group’s lead soprano Dappy proclaims: “Why, dis be just like dat film wid dat wizard ‘n’ shit.”

As with Bertolucci’s Last Tango in Paris, sexuality and identity are inextricably linked by physicality in Streetdance 3D. The simple popping of a collar, a carefully executed Hackney Hunker, or an extravagant Grange Park Power Grab can be read as an attempt by the protagonists to stamp their mark, not only on the screen, but on life itself. STEP-STEP-GRAB! I AM ME! WATCH ME SHUFFLE GAILY! IN 3D!

Streetdance 3D‘s true strength lies in its highly original plot. Using dance as their springboard, the proletariat rise up against their square oppressors, fusing street styles with ballet, Fortis Green Foxtrots with Gunnersbury Goose-steps. Of course, the state doesn’t like this desecration of traditional styles and massacres the entire dance school in a finale reminiscent of Tiananman Square and stuff.

To some, Streetdance 3D will be ‘just another dance movie’. To them I say this: “STEP! TWO-THREE-FOUR AND KICK! TWO-THREE-FOUR NOW SLIDE! TWO-THREE-FOUR AND JAZZ-HANDS!!”

In 3D.

Bruce Campbell in verse – by Banjo Fett

October 24, 2009

I like Bruce Campbell. Here be some poetry about that:

If I were gay,

I’d be gay for Bruce Campbell.

And if I had one wish,

I would be Bruce for a day.

Bruce wears a shirt.

Its bright colours hide the hurt,

Of type-casting and near-misses.

Why don’t those big-shots take note?

Of his gritty performance in Maniac Cop.

Or the deranged slap-stick of Evil Dead.

One, two and three.

An elderly Elvis, the king of thieves.

And deleted from The Quick and the Dead.

Bruce. Say ‘workshed’.

And Bruce,

I’ll read your books. I’ll watch every episode of Burn Notice.

And I’ll never ask you about Evil Dead 4.

You could even make an album,

Of songs.

Sung in the style of William Shatner.

And I’d buy it.

Because you’re…

Groovy.

Banjo reviews… U2’s Achtung Baby

July 15, 2009

I’ve never heard this album, not knowingly. I hate U2. My wife likes them and she once paid a pauper’s fortune to see them play some songs in a football stadium. Fuck THAT, says I. Here’s a review of some album they did.

The first thing you notice about U2’s Achtung Baby is that the cover features a black and white picture of the band. There are other pictures, even of other stuff, but the important one is the black and white one of the band. The Edge looks a bit grizzly and he’s wearing a woolly hat like Benny off Crossroads.  Adam Clayton and Larry Mullen Jr are too far in the background to really make out, but you can see they’ve got their arms folded. It’s a good sign. It says: ‘This album is good. We’re quite happy with it.’ Of course, Bonovox takes up most of the frame in this shot. He’s got his face right up against the lens, almost, and his arms are out like a crucified messiah. Shit, I think, this guy means business.

So what noises do this bunch of uber-wealthy hoteliers and shoe-collectors make? Well, there’s some guitars. Probably with a lot of reverb. Edge tends to cover up a lack of raw talent with mountainous quantities of effects, so there’s a bit of that going on. There’s also some drums and bass, but not too much. Good. Fuck ’em. ON WITH THE BONO, cry the fans. BONO SEXED MY TOFU, yell the heaving-breasted mothers of children named Jake and Ruben. I WANT TO BE ANGRY ABOUT STUFF, howl bank-workers and call-centre managers in U2 branded fashionwear. HELP ME BONO-WAN-BONOBI YOU’RE MY ONLY HOPE, plea ten thousand Princess Leias from ten thousand R2D2 projector-pipes.

And he does. He teleports his brain-trumps right into your left lobal nerve-tubes. He sings about his Jimmy Choo copy platform shoes in ‘Even Better Than The Real Thing’. He sings a tragic tale about Jeff Goldblum’s insectoid transformation in ‘The Fly’ and waxes lyrical about self-updating software in ‘Acrobat’. All the while, The Edge punctuates Boneo’s gob-squawks with a ‘squiddly-dee’ riff repeated infinitely through a mangle-box. Hmm, thinketh I, these noises make the world less evil.

And they do. I peel back the curtain: a group of children, previously happy-slapping each other’s behoodied torsos, are now joyously skipping towards an old person’s home to help feed them their mushed-up biscuits. A bomb falling from the sky has transmogrified into a full battalion of sex-clowns, parachuting into town to cheer us all up with their honking great penises and love-lumps. And I cry. I cry tears of joy at Borneo’s tale of how many sugars he has in his tea in ‘One’, I weep like a whipped pup at his parable of a train network run by animals in ‘Zoo Station’. And I howl like an orphaned goat at his spellbinding duet with Stevie Wonder, ‘Love is Blindness’.

Needless to say, this album changed my world. I give it five out of ten.