Friday, 31 July 2009

RIP SIR BOBBY ROBSON


It's extremely rare I post about anything that's not movie or music-related, but this is an exception.
I was greatly saddened to learn that Sir Bobby Robson lost his battle against cancer earlier today. Bobby had a long and distinguished career in football, playing for Fulham and West Brom before becoming a manager both here and abroad. Sir Bobby's Ipswich side won many friends for their quality of football, and I can recall some great games when his side came to Derby and when we travelled to Portman Road for matches.
In 1982 Bobby became manager of our national football team, and guided England to the 1988 World Cup semi-finals. We were a whisker away from the final until Germany won the penalty shoot-out.

It's well nigh impossible to think of a nicer, more genuine football man and life inside and outside football will be the worse for his passing.
Sir Bobby was 76. Thoughts and prayers go out to his family.

Wednesday, 29 July 2009

SPOTLIGHT ON THE BLOGS

Jeremy over at the wonderful Moon In The Gutter blog has just published his thoughts on Jess Franco's classic VENUS IN FURS.

You can read his excellent piece here

DISCO 2000. PULP

FANTASTIC MR. FOX

Given the absolutely atrocious 'Summer' weather, October doesn't seem too far around the corner and, as usual, it's going to be a very important month for UK film buffs.
Once again, The Times London Film Festival will be screening the very best in World Cinema and I've just received details of a very special opening night film.

Wednesday 14th October will see the World Premiere of Wes Anderson's FANTASTIC MR FOX, which tells the story of the best-selling children's book by British author Ronald Dahl.This will be Anderson's first animated film and features the voices of an impressive cast of actors.
Anderson, George Clooney, Meryl Streep, Jason Schwartzman and other members of the voice cast are likely to attend this special screening.
It's highly unlikely we'll be able to attend this year's festival, but The Last Picture Show will bring news, interviews and festival-related clips through September and October.

One member of the voice cast is our very own Jarvis Cocker from Pulp, so cast your eyes to the post above and you'll find a video of Pulp treating the Glastonbury thousands to one of their finest songs.

Monday, 27 July 2009

YOU'RE SO YOUNG AT HEART




Stephen Walker's documentary follows a group of New England senior citizens who bring rock, punk, disco and old classic standards to appreciative audiences in the US and Europe. This remarkable band of pensioners not only deliver lovable amateur interpretations of some (for them) very leftfield songs, but also become movers and shakers with some winning onstage bopping.
While Walker's direction may sometimes come over as invasion of privacy, it's hard to totally disagree with his choices as the camera captures the triumphs, despair and heartbreaking sadness that increases with age and, in the process, makes us love each and everyone of the characters.

YOUNG@HEART follows this plucky troupe during the course of a six week rehearsal period, leading up to a special concert in their hometown. With an average age of eighty, it was almost inevitable that failing health would conspire to throw an almighty spanner in the works and that's precisely what happens as a great sadness consumes the group. Indeed, it's well nigh impossible to view this without shedding a good few tears, but the end result is a wholly uplifting experience as one marvels at the courage and spirit displayed by a group of individuals who defy the usual conventions surrounding their age. Their story is all about friendship; about never giving up and continuing to do the things that they enjoy. It's about living life to the full, and is a lesson to us all.

It's hard to select standout moments in a production brimming with them: a concert for the inmates at Hampshire County Jail is one, as prisoners (visibly moved) rise to applaud following a moving version of Dylan's "Forever Young", while a spirited music video of The Ramones' "I Wanna Be Sedated" had be tapping my feet and grinning from ear to ear. Perhaps the real standout - and easily the most poignant moment - comes when Fred Knittle performs a beautiful rendition of Coldplay's "Fix You", in tribute to his recently deceased friend. It's one of those rare moments that hits you hard, and reminds you of beloved ones no longer here.

YOUNG@HEART: sad, funny, and essential viewing. My heartfelt thanks and respect to everyone involved.

Friday, 24 July 2009

BACK (SORT OF)

For the first time since last time, I woke up with the urge to do a little something on this long-neglected blog of mine. On the work and home fronts, things are looking a little better than they did three months ago and we're beginning to see a glimmer of daylight ahead. Like the majority of folks, we're finding the recession extremely debilitating, with little available cash for trips to the cinema and no immediate prospect of a short break at our favourite seaside resort. So, I've busied myself by discovering the delights of the wonderful WATCHMEN graphic novel; enjoying a steady selection of Blu-ray rentals from those fab folks over at Lovefilm; helping my wife study for her forthcoming Life In The UK test, and doing my bit to ensure we continue to deliver top-notch sales figures at work.

While it will be a few months before I'm able to devote the necessary time to turn this blog into a regular posting vehicle, I do intend to post as often as time permits, in the near future. First off, is a video of prime-time Clash from youtube, featuring a certain gent from Sham 69.
Enjoy.

THERE'S A RIOT GOIN' ON