Tuesday, 24 April 2012

Marley

I really should have posted about this sooner, but better late than never right? Last Wednesday I went to a preview screening of Marley, the new documentary chronicling the career of one of the most influential musicians of all time, Bob Marley. The screening was held at the W Hotel London for friends of Island Records, the film itself having been produced by Island Records founder Chris Blackwell who signed Marley to the label in 1972. Directed by Kevin Macdonald (The Last King of Scotland/Touching the Void) the film features interviews with everyone from legendary music producer Lee 'Scratch' Perry to Marley's wife and back-up singer Rita and of course The Wailers. There is also plenty of amazing live footage, including his performance at the Smile Jamaica concert shortly after he was shot. Macdonald offers us a very intimate portrait of the star, choosing not to gloss over issues such as the use of marijuana and Marley's infidelity to his wife, as well the stubbornness which lead him to skip medical appointments following a serious foot injury and delayed the revelation of his cancer which was discovered too late, costing him his life at the age of 36. The final segment of the film, which clocks in at a weighty 146minutes in total, focuses on the last year of Marley's life as he attempts to battle his cancer through holistic medicine, and it's certainly emotional and difficult to watch. Whether or not you're particularly familiar with Bob Marley's history and career you will no doubt be moved by the power of this documentary and the positive socio-political messages that Marley spread across the world through his music. The accompanying soundtrack is also worth picking up, featuring some very strong live performances, rare tracks and remixes.




Tuesday, 17 April 2012

Elfie Hopkins World Premiere

Last night I attended the world premiere of my friend Ryan Andrews' debut directorial feature Elfie Hopkins starring Jamie Winstone at the Vue in London's Leicester Square.

The film follows a pair of detective-wannabe stoners who begin investigating a suspicious family who move into their sleepy hunting village in England. While billed as a horror film it's actually more of a quirky coming-of-age story that just so happens to feature cannibalism and gratuitous violence. The story is overshadowed by the vivid characterisation and splendid performances from the cast. Jamie Winstone and Aneurin Barnard are engaging and likeable as the oddball pot-loving duo at the centre of the film while the bizarre family of Gammons provide comedy and terror in equal part.

Elfie Hopkins is a B-movie story with fully-fleshed and precisely portrayed characters that is entertaining, heartwarming and occasionally rather gruesome, with a hilarious cameo from Ray Winstone. It takes elements of cult cinema and mixes them with slick contemporary filmmaking to make the ideal midnight movie and a promising debut from a new young director. As Elfie would say, "skin up", sit back and enjoy.

Note: The film also features some very exciting and promising new unreleased tracks by Charli XCX (pictured below with me at the premiere).