Archive for October 2006

The Departed

Alright, let’s get the whinging out of the way first. Martin Scorcese‘s latest movie The Departed is an inexplicable remake of classic 2002 HK thriller Infernal Affairs (so good it sprung a trilogy).

Inexplicably they remove any ambiguity as to who is who. Straight from the start they say bad guy cop/good guy undercover. Half the brilliance of the original was that this came as a surprise (it certainly wouldn’t now). And the way it was unfolded was masterly. They’ve removed all the machinations of the mob (surely Scorcese’s bread and butter) and replaced them with a bunch of goons to give Jack Nicholson the opportunity to camp it up and chew the scenery in a turn that makes the Joker seem understated. And, they’ve added an unnecessary love triangle (hey, it’s Hollywood). The subplot with the psychiatrist stood well enough as it was. And, of course, the bad guy cop eventually comes apart in a macho honour among thieves way, which is clumsy. Yet, despite whacking chunks out the plot and removing all subtlety from the narrative, it still manages to be 50 minutes longer than the original.

Good points. It’s Scorcese. The lengthy opening sequence (yup, with Gimme Shelter soundtracking it) is a masterclass in tracking and boom shots and all very lovely. As well as some really cracking set pieces. The supporting cast (including Martin Sheen, Alec Baldwin, Ray Winstone) are excellent to a man. Especially Mark Wahlberg who has a great time being the most singularly abusive man on screen ever. The central two roles are adeptly handled by Matt Damon (not as good as in the Bourne movies, though) and Leonardo DiCaprio who might be turning into that actor everyone said Brad Pitt was going to be (whether this is good or not depends on your take on his clicking and farting in Twelve Monkeys).

All in, a pretty solid, well turned out film (and a few good laughs Wahlberg to Dicaprio “Don’t you know any Shakespeare“?). Not a Scorcese classic, but well worth seeing. In fact I’ll go as far as to say it’s up there with State Of Grace (which it is better than) and the Wahlberg starring The Corruptor (which it isn’t) in Hollywood nearly capturing the whole HK thing they’ve been lusting after for years.


Written by Tony Kiernan

11 October 2006 at 11:59 am

Posted in Film

Sparks – ABC (5 October 2006)

Earlier in the year the Mael Brothers opened their tour in Glasgow. This time, they are closing it. And, they give us exactly the same set (except for the addition of a fably preposterous acoustic version of new single Dick Around). The band are noticeably down a guitar, and the drummer isn’t as cute.

If anything, though, it’s better. Making this, gig of the year so far. BRILLIANT!!!

And, we all got to sing Happy Birthday to Russell. You missed yourselves.

Written by Tony Kiernan

10 October 2006 at 5:35 pm

Posted in Gigs

Juliette Lewis & The Licks – ABC (4 October 2006)

Let’s get this straight from the start (as a wise man once said) Juliette & The Licks are only here because of the hollywood stardom of the titular Ms Lewis. Their take on that sub-Babes In Toyland stuff has no real market. Were that the case, venues this size would be full of the million similar sounding – and frankly better – bands that there are littering the streets of Glasgow.

But, they must have that superstar sheen? Well, the session muso’s that make up the ‘licks’ could very possibly just be dancers playing to a backing track. There’s not a move unmade or shape unpulled tonight. And, of course, the lady herself… There is a certain frisson of excitement when she hits the stage. A couple of tracks in, you begin to remember that she’s actually not really that much of a star (we’re not talking Winona here, are we), and that basically her main contribution to (some fairly minor – and yes, I am including From Dusk ‘Til Dawn in that, love it though I do) movies tends to be the highly interchangeable female. With a whiny voice. Who had the great idea of putting someone who is famous for having an irritating voice at the front of a rock band? In short, (and before this turns into a character assassination of someone I dunno) she has not real charisma either on the screen or stage.

Yeah, but she rocks out, apparently. About as much, and as convincingly, as Bobby Gillespie.

Underwhelming. Borderline boring. Don’t give up the day job.

Written by Tony Kiernan

10 October 2006 at 5:21 pm

Posted in Gigs