Slim & I – Movie Review

TL;DR – A beautiful documentary looking back on the lives of  Slim Dusty and Joy McKean  

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Post-Credit Scene – There is no post-credit scene

Slim & I. Image Credit: Universal Pictures.

Review –

Growing up in Australia, even if you might not know who Slim Dusty is or even if just the name rings a bell, you will still know a bunch of his songs, even if it is only through osmosis. Songs like A Pub With No Beer and Duncan sit in the pantheon of Australian music, and you probably started humming at least one of those tunes to yourself just with the mere mention of the name. However, I must confess that I didn’t really know much about his life beyond those touchstone moments and even less about Joy McKean, the I in Slim and I and the main focus of the documentary.  

The documentary follows a (mostly) chronological look at the lives of Joy McKean and Slim Dusty’s from their start in music through to today. We get to see them go on these gigantic Australia wide tours, raise a family on the road, and also write at least two albums a year which might be the most bonkers part of the entire process. Indeed, over their 50-year love story, they wrote at least 107 albums which is frankly ridiculous. They show this story with a mix of interviews with both Slim and Joy’s family but also with key members of Australia’s Country Music scene like Keith Urban, Missy Higgins and Kasey Chambers. As well as this, we get archive footage going back to the 60s, both professionally shot and also just from home cameras. There is such a varied amount of footage that someone had to be well ahead of the curve in adopting that technology and preserving it all these years.

Continue reading

Movie Review – Black is King

TL;DR – A visual masterwork and required viewing if you have Disney+    

Score – 4.5 out of 5 stars

Post-Credit Scene – There is no post-credit scene

Black is King. Image Credit: Disney+.

Review

Today we review a film that might be the oddest film I have watched from a conceptional perspective. It is a reinterpretation of the story of the Lion King remake, a movie I thought was okay but not much more. But this reframing is the barest framework the film uses throughout to explore everything from religion to music to race and more. This should not work, but it does.      

Black is King. Image Credit: Disney+.
It explores many themes during its runtime and gives each and every one of them the justice they deserve. Image Credit: Disney+.
Continue reading

Movie Review – Nobody Knows I’m Here (Nadie Sabe Que Estoy Aquí)

TL;DR – A haunting look at the damage that fame can do set in the beautiful world of the Chilean coast.    

Score – 4 out of 5 stars

Post-Credit Scene – There is no post-credit scene

Nobody Knows I'm Here (Nadie Sabe Que Estoy Aquí). Image Credit: Netflix.

Review

Fame, it is a thing that many people want, and in the world of Twitch, YouTube, and TikTok it is almost more obtainable than in any other point in history. However, fame can come with a cost, fame can come with damage, and fame can have lasting effects. Today we look at a film that explores these issues and the legacy that can leave in their wake.

So to set the scene, a child musical prodigy Memo (Lukas Vergara) had a lot of hope at one point but now all grown up Memo (Jorge Garcia) spends time breaking into houses and not doing much else. The rest of his time is spent working on his uncle’s Mr Braulio’s (Luis Gnecco) sheep farm on a coastal island of Southern Chile. His past haunts Memo as the damage of his youth lives through every part of his life.  

Continue reading

Article – Seatbelts, Bringing a Little Bit of That Cowboy Bebop Joy Back into the World

TL;DR – The Seatbelts are doing live versions of classic Cowboy bebop songs and they slap

Cowboy Bebop (カウボーイビバップ/Kaubōi Bibappu). Image Credit: Madman.

I don’t think it will be a surprise to anyone to say that I have been finding the last few months to be quite difficult. Indeed, I think it has been hard for most people and it is only increasing as the days, weeks, and months go on. I have been trying to find something to spark my joy, and while binge-watching old shows like The Nanny and Scrubs has helped, and having a watch list that might be 90% Bon Appétit videos is just the nature of the times. Nothing has really brought that smile to my world, well nothing until now.  

At the end of last year, I talked a lot about how much I loved Cowboy Bebop, an anime out of Japan that might be many of my generation’s first introduction into that art style but it is still something resonates in my heart today. One of the core components of that series that may even outlast the show is its music. It was a show that deeply wove its music into the tapestry of the show, nothing was just dumped in as filler. At the core of this musical work was composer and instrumentalist Yoko Kanno and her band the Seatbelts which has gone by シートベルツ, Shītoberutsu, Seat Belts or SEATBELTS depending on which version of the soundtrack you got. It was the smashing together of so many genres of music from jazz to pop to rock to even country and all in-between that stuck in my mind for decades.  

Well in the age of COVID and Zoom meetings, shudders Zoom meetings, there has been one ray of joy, as the SEATBELTS came back together perform songs from the soundtrack and it is just a sheer delight and everyone can listen to it here.

Continue reading

Awards – The Musical Scores of 2019 That Wowed Us

One factor that I will always look out for with a film and that is the musical score. I can get caught in the world of the music, as it sits in my head in the days, weeks, months, and even the years that come. There is immense artistry in weaving emotions from music, having us slip into the world that is created, fear the oncoming dread even if we do know why, or rejoice in the triumph of that final victory.

Music charts the cinematic world, it guides us, it can lift us up, and it can crush our souls, this is its power. So without further ado, these are the musical score that moved us in 2019. Be warned that there may be some slight spoilers ahead for the films in question and if you click on the banners you will be taken to the full review. 

Continue reading

Countdown – My Top 40 Film Score Moments of the Decade (2010-2019)

TL;DR – I countdown all of my top 40 moments in cinematic music from Moana to Dunkirk to Tron and more.

Countdown

As we think back to the decade that was, I have been musing about the amazing films that we have gotten to see and hear. While I was putting together my Top 100 Films of the Decade list one thing that I kept coming back to was the impact that the musical scores had on me so I decided to do a list focused just on them.

In this countdown, we will look at those musical moments that defined the decade for me. Most of these will be instrumental moments, but a couple of songs written for films also make their way into this list as well. For me, these are the moments that I think about long after the film is over, the moments I hum in my head or take me back to the cinema in those first moments I was watching the film. They show the power of the musical form to convey emotion, to tell stories, and to bring excitement.

With this list, we are going to focus on one individual song rather than the score as a whole because these are the moments that punched through for me. If there is a banner, you can click on it and get taken to our review of the film, as well as this, I have added Spotify links so you can listen to the songs yourself. It was really difficult to keep the list to just 40, so I would be really interested to hear what would be on your list, so let me know in the comments below. Well, without any further ado, let’s dive in.

Continue reading

Article – Why I Love Cowboy Bebop (カウボーイビバップ/Kaubōi Bibappu)

TL;DR – Its music, story, animation, worldbuilding, and characters that you really care for even though they are all broken in some way

Cowboy Bebop (カウボーイビバップ/Kaubōi Bibappu). Image Credit: Madman.

Article

A while back I took a moment to write about Why I loved Star Trek DS9 and since it was a great time of writing I have been meaning to get back at it again. I had a couple of choices but with the announcement that Netflix is producing a ten-episode live-action remake of Cowboy Bebop, well I got instantly dragged back in time to my high school days when the show rippled through my life with every beat of those conga drums, and well I instantly knew what to do next. Why Cowboy Bebop? Well, there are a lot of reasons, the music, story, animation, characters, but more than anything, it was the way it shaped how I viewed television and animation as a medium and got me more and more interested with how it is all made. It is also one of the go-to shows, as well as Samurai Champloo (サムライチャンプル), that I recommend whenever someone want to start exploring animation. So with that in mind let us dive into the neo-noir space-western from Shinichirō Watanabe (渡辺 信一郎) all about trying to escape the past and then realising that you can’t, and then also Ed, hello Ed.

In the Cowboy Bebop world, the human race has expanded out into the Solar System when the first Astral Gate (a faster than light transport system) exploded next to The Moon raining down Luna debris on Earth. The world had one choice escape or die on Earth and so they expanded out terraforming the Moons of Jupiter, Venus, creating the crater cities of Mars, and also Asteroid outposts across the Solar System like Tijuana (TJ). By 2071, because the human race is spread out across such a large region of space it has meant that enforcing law and order has become a challenge, so the powers at be implemented a bounty system and so Cowboys spread out chasing bounties and bringing back criminals to face justice … for a fee of course. This is where we meet our crew of the Bebop the ship they travel around the Solar System catching criminals while trying not to have to spend all its bounty on repairs.  

Continue reading

Movie Review – Sturgill Simpson Presents Sound & Fury (Sound & Fury)

TL;DR – A fascinating combination of animation and music, all this a real purpose and theme that made it a intriguing work of art.     

Score – 4 out of 5 stars

Post-Credit Scene – There is a post-credit scene

Sturgill Simpson Presents Sound & Fury (Sound & Fury). Image Credit: Netflix.

Review


Earlier this year I mentioned that back in the day Daft Punk created this animated accompaniment to one of their albums and that it was surprising that no one else had really explored this as well. That was at the start of the year since then we have had multiple artists combine an album release with a short film accompaniment. We have had the highs of Anima,The Bash Brothers Experience, and Guava Island. Well, today we get add another to that list with the truly fascinating Sound & Fury.

While there is a story referenced though some recurring moments, it is more a work that focuses on mood and theme. If I was to label it I would say it is a meditation on a post-apocalyptic world by way of Japanese animation and heaping of Mad Max car action and sheer absurdity all put to a rock anthem. This, I hope, will give you some idea as to just how weird this music video/experience is, but also how fascinatingly interesting it is.

Continue reading

Movie Review – The Flying Fish

TL;DR – An interesting experimental short film that unfortunately never graduates from allegory into something more.    

Score – 3 out of 5 stars

Post-Credit Scene – There is no post-credit scene

Rocky Head in The Flying Fish. Image Credit: Murat Saygıner.

Review

Today we get to step back and look at something a little bit different with a film that is less a narrative exercise and more an experimental experience. This was a little bit of a new area for us so it was a nice change of pace and an interesting twenty minutes.  

The Flying Fish is a composition of a number of short films by artist/filmmaker Murat Saygıner assembled into one work of art. It is here where the strengths and weaknesses of the work come to the surface. Because it is a collection of many different works, there is always something new entering into the frame to switch things up. However, because there are many different works being combined together there is not a strong unifying force that makes it feel like this is one work.

Continue reading

Movie Review – Anima (2019)

TL;DR – A 15-minute musical experiment that smashes the music of  Thom Yorke with the sensibilities of Paul Thomas Anderson   

Score – 4 out of 5 stars

Post-Credit Scene – There is no post-credit scene

Anima (2019). Image Credit: Netflix.

Review

This has been the year of the experimental music video/film hybrid, we have gotten the narrative version with Guava Island, the absurd with Bash Brothers, and the documentary hybrid with HΘMΣCΘMING. Well, today we continue this genre with a collaboration between director Paul Thomas Anderson noted for more visually stylistic films like Phantom Thread and Thom Yorke one of the main voices behind Radiohead. If you are a fan of Thom or Paul then I assume that combination instantly got your attention, and if you are not this is only 15 minutes so check it out anyway.

So to set the scene, we are on a train and a lady (Dajana Roncione) leaves her lunchbox behind and a man (Thom Yorke) takes it for himself only for things to get weird. Well, that is about it, as it is only 15 minutes there is not a whole lot more to say other than it is quite a ride.

The first thing I want to talk about is the choreography from Damien Jalet which is one of the three core things that makes this one of the most interesting things I have seen so far this year. There is a flow to the movement, but also a precision that is a really interesting blend. There is a lot of group performances that gives this an organic feel, but also the sharp movements are also otherworldly. Which does sort of fit the theme as anima is referring to the soul. To be honest, I am also always a sucker for the movement that lines up with the beat of the music.

Continue reading