Friday, 13 February 2015

The gift of new romantics

I would never have described myself as a new romantic. I hated being catagorised into a box. Goth didn’t exist and honestly post-punk feels the most comfortable fit for me back in the early 1980s.
What I didn’t realise at the time and it is only just beginning to hit me – is I lived in a very special time. I lived in a time when music was magical. Had you asked me, I would have always said I was a guitar gal, but I have since realised what a huge part electronic music has played in my life.

Way before it was legal for me to drink – I was going on a weekly basis to my local version of the Blitz Club. The Blitz club really was a movement the same way that Punk tried so hard to be. For me, being individual, standing out in a crowd had always felt natural and here was a chance – once a week – to stop wearing my school uniform (no matter how much I had adapted it – it was still a school uniform) and really be outrageous. With other who felt the same. It was such an important part of my life and really imprinted on me for who I was to become as an adult.

Steve Strange, Rusty Egan and Boy George amongst others led the way for us.  At the Blitz Club, looking good was as important as sounding good. It left a lasting impression on a generation.
Sadly Steve Strange passed away yesterday.  He will be missed. He would have loved to have known how much love was really out there for him.  But he leaves a generation of Blitz kids. And without the Blitz – where would David Bowie have gone to find someone for his Ashes to Ashes video?

Rest in peace Steve – and I hope you are styling them up in Heaven!


Sunday, 1 February 2015

Ex Machina Vs Kingsman

So how about it? Reviewing two films in one review. I do like a challenge.

Ex Machina vs Kingsman. Sci-fi vs action. Where do I start?
Well I do like top trumps so let’s start there.

Ex Machina
Entertainment value
Special Effects

Ex-Machina starts out like we are going on an adventure. And it is exciting. We feel we are making a great discovery. The inventor, Nathan seems to have a bit of a drink problem but has also made the most interesting invention of all time. An AI. Caleb is lucky enough to have been chosen from Nathan’s vast empire of workers. He is here to see if he can tell if the AI can think alone.  For me, someone who has studied psychology, I found this interaction fascinating. Who wouldn’t want to try this? Test out an AI? I would be volunteering and first in line.
But I do have problems with this film. Firstly how much Nathan drinks. I don’t believe anyone would choose to keep getting that wasted. And he is sleeping with what turns out to be an earlier version of an AI.  Tell me, if you are a man, making an AI and there are no limits, would you not make a woman who had ‘Lara Croft’ sized breasts? Be honest. Yes you would.  I felt this film had some good special effects but the women kept showing a huge amount of nudity that didn’t really make any difference to the storyline.

The ending left me questioning what happened to Caleb? Is he alive? Could he get to food? Would he slowly starve? How long could Ava (the AI) survive without being identified in the real world?
So I left that cinema feeling frustrated and a bit disappointed.

Kingsman. A modern day James Bond film? The film opened to Dire Straits’ ‘money for nothing’ which really worked with the action scene.  It is a great action scene and really tells us the story of what the Kingman are without needing to know too much.
Eggsy’s dad used to be a Kingman but saved his colleagues by sacrificing his own life. When Eggsy gets into trouble  he uses his get out of jail free card and meets Harry (played by Colin Firth) who is every bit a Kingsman.  So you can tell where this is going. It has a feel of ‘Men in Black’ about it but I still enjoyed the journey.

Every James Bond character needs its Blofeld baddie and this is no exception. Samuel L Jackson gives a great performance with a lisp in his character, Valentine.  His number two is called Gazelle. Not only by name but actually she has a disability and has legs like Oscar Pistorius. Except her legs have swords on them and can easily cut a man in two.
The film keeps a good pace and is really enjoyable – I like the idea that Valentine is giving out free sim cards for free calls and internet forever. I would never fall for a free card but many would. And of course Valentine is the baddie; his idea to save the world is to cull the amount of people. The cards can trigger a violent button in humans that makes them all want to kill each other.

Spoiler Alert: How can they kill Harry? Could they not afford to keep on Colin Firth for a whole film? It is such a shame.
I also wasn’t very impressed that Eggsy, who has a common London accent, puts on a suit and suddenly speaks the Queen’s English!

But there are some great learning tips. Want to sleep with a princess? Just let her out of a prison cell. (Yes James Bond has probably done this) but then she ups the ante.  Save the world and you get to give it to me up the bum! Okay I am paraphrasing, but you know he is gonna save the world! Not sure James Bond did that!
Both films are great in their own unique way but for pure entertainment I would say Kingsman wins by a tinsy bit.

Go and see both films. They are both worth your money.
And I’m off to Saville row just to see if the Kingsman tailor really exists.