Some stuff I did in January

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Towards the end of last year I spent or so putting some comments into incomplete blog postings. I evidently don’t have either the time or the inclination to keep this up. Which is annoying as it exists to keep my hand in with written communication. Or articulating the mess that goes on in this mind. Lets say it’s time. I’m definitely spending less time in the office doing this. So, let’s a different format. See if I can keep my hand in.

The Hateful Eight

New year’s day. Denver, Colorado. We can’t get in to the full 70mm roadshow, so we’re seeing this in council format.

There’s a ludicrously extended talky bit at the start of this where not only does Tarantino‘s supposed snappy dialogue is nowhere to be seen. There is a streak of misogyny that I’m not cool with, though.

Then the eight actually get together and it becomes an outrageous slapstick bloodfest. I am going to return to this in the full experience. So, more detail then.

Itchy-O Marching Band – The 3 Kings Tavern (1 January 2016)

Someone finally listened to my bitching and put some other gigs on while I was in Colorado.

There was a support band. I can’t remember their name. They weren’t bad.

How to describe Ithcy-O? The mariachi band who soundtrack Tim Hunkin‘s gorgonazola fueled night-sweats? Yeah, I think that’ll do it.

It’s part cabaret, part installation. There’s dancers, tesla coils, smoke cannons, lights on everything. But, mostly, there’s the battalion of drummers and musicians. When they get going they are a thumping hypnotic On-U groove. Problem is they spend so long getting going. I understand what an introduction is, and how they can be used. But, if you had a car that took forever to get started every time, you’d scrap it.

The Danish Girl

Tom Hooper‘s latest movie tells the remarkable true story of Danish artist Lili Elbe, a pioneer (that’s not the right word) of sexual re-assignment surgery.

Her’s is a fascinating story.

The cast are marvellous. Alicia Vikander stealing another film. Not to say that Eddie Redmayne is anything other that damn fine, and rather beguiling, in the title role. (And, all films could do with Ben Wishaw popping up. If only so I can shout Pingu! when he does.)

Early 20th Century Copenhagen and Paris are rendered beautifully. Making long to visit both again. (Although, today of course.)

It’s truly fucken woeful, though.

The Revenant

Talking of full of woe…

A lot has been made of the authenticity of this movie. The dedication to filming by natural light. Which is truly stunning at points. Of course, only serving to really emphasise the very obvious cg bits.

Apparently the actors were a bit cold and miserable. Diddums. It’s not as raw or grueling as you’d hope. There’s a point, where Leo‘s in the roots of a tree. Hiding from the French, or the natives, or Tom Hardy, or some wildlife, or fire, or snow, or wind, or an iceberg. Whatever. I looked at the screen and realised this film could’ve had Tom Hanks or Cruise in the main roll and not really have made a bit of a difference. Particularly to my relatively thumbs-up enjoyment of it.

Here’s a hint: Next time you’re looking to lose a bit of flab, or 20 minutes running time (as some people call it), start with the dream sequences.

Soom T – Hoxton Bar & Kitchen (20 January 2016)

I first became aware of MC Soom T providing vocals for the astounding Send Them Kids To War by the otherwise pedestrian Burns Unit. Since then, every now and again I’ve caught mention of her (huge in France, apparently) and been interested. So, free gig. No-brainer.

It’s quite good. I keep thinking about how I’m told she’s huge in France. Which might explain the just-too-slick edge to tonight. I find myself questioning how much of what I’m watching is what I’m hearing. But, it’s filed under “warrants ore investigation”.


David O Russell is one of those directors, like Paul Thomas Anderson, who – to my mind – I do not like. However, it transpires that of the very few films I’ve seen by him I’ve rather enjoyed them. So, I don’t know what it was about the deeply oblique trailers for this that made me begin to really want to see it. And, why, when I found out it was the biography of the woman that invented the miracle mop, I just wanted to see it all the more.

Another fantastic cast, at peak game. But, what O’Russell does so well with them is make them believable.  OK, I realise that’s kind of the point of directors and actors.  Let me try and expand.  While this is a dysfunctional family, the heart, the humanity, the reality are all there. There’s a domestic atmosphere that just rings true throughout. It’s at the heart of the film and is what makes it work.  For example Virginia Madsen‘s bed-ridden soap-obsessed mother (although not the matriarch) would be a shrill grotesque in the hands of, say, a Wes Anderson.  Here she has dimensions and we are pleased with her arc.

Here’s a hint: Next time you’re looking to lose a bit of flab, or 20 minutes running time (as some people call it), start with the dream sequences.


Unlike Lenny Abrahamson who I think I’ve loved all his films, but had only seen the two.

The Big Short

Blah-blah cast etc…

Adam McKay, director of this, is also currently co-host of a podcast called Surprisingly Awesome. Each week it takes an apparently dull subject, e.g. concrete, and kicks some interesting into it. This movie does the same with [one facet of] the 2008 crash. It’s not awesome, or particularity surprising. It is pretty damn entertaining though. (If no Margin Call.)


Forget the “who would’ve thought there was life in the Rocky franchise” question*. Who would’ve thought there was something you’d never seen before in a boxing movie? Like most current ‘re-boot’ movies, Ryan Coogler is happy to throw in those nods and references to give the audience that familiarity. (Although, to be fair, the Rocky movies may have invented this. He needs to do the run, he need to chase a chicken.) But, he also takes current filming techniques and gives us something we’ve never seen before in the tiredest old series of a seriously tired genre. There is a fight earlier on in this which appears to be filmed in one shot. Our POV is right in the heart of the action with the fists, blood and sweat flying. It strikes me as revolutionary as we’re told Raging Bull was back in the day.

* Although, by god there is. And it is a corker.

The BMX Bandits – 100 Club (30 January 2016)

I believe it was Alistair Gray who said “If the The BMX Bandits did not exist we would have to invent them”.

Black Star – David Bowie

In 2013, unexpectedly and seemingly from out of nowhere David Bowie released The Next Day. It made headline news across the world. How could he possibly top that? Oh. Right…


Written by Tony Kiernan

01 February 2016 at 10:54 am

Posted in Film, Gigs, Glasgow, London, Music

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