sun 27/09/2020

Los Angeles

Blu-ray: This Gun for Hire

The 1942 thriller This Gun for Hire, which opened five months after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, was closely adapted from Graham Greene’s 1936 novel A Gun for Sale by Albert Maltz and W.R. Burnett and directed for Paramount by...

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Blu-ray: Safety Last!

Comparing Harold Lloyd with Keaton and Chaplin is difficult. Though the input he brought to his films was crucial, Lloyd didn’t write or direct, and there’s much discussion as to whether he was a genuine comedian or a straight actor playing the part...

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She Dies Tomorrow review - intimations of mortality

Watching the semi-satirical psychological horror film She’ll Die Tomorrow conjures the last lines of TS Eliot’s "The Hollow Men": “This is the way the world ends/ Not with a bang but a whimper.” Writer-director Amy Seimetz’s second feature doesn’t...

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Album: Katy Perry - Smile

Katy Perry occupies an odd position. By some measure the biggest pop star in the world over the last decade, with streams in the billions, she’s always been an awkward mix of old-school razzle-dazzle showbiz hucksterism, knowing sass and awkward...

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Spree review - a wild ride through social media madness

Allergic to that word “influencer”? Afraid that social media is the death of civilisation as we’ve known it? Then this movie may be for you.Despite its overt absurdity and compulsive over-the-topness, director Eugene Wobble Palace Kotlyarenko has...

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Laurel Canyon, Sky Documentaries review - musical bliss in lotus land

It was Alison Ellwood who directed 2013’s History of the Eagles, and now she’s at the helm of this new two-parter on Sky Documentaries, telling the story of the Los Angeles music scene from the mid-Sixties to the early Seventies. The musicians’...

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Album: Sparks - A Steady Drip, Drip, Drip

Apparently a freaky, brilliant novelty in 1974, Sparks have proved eternally invincible: the synthpop duo template, glam and disco avatars, chasing the pop grail across the globe as their latest mode hit the local chart mark. Lightly worn resilience...

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Perry Mason, Sky Atlantic review - low life and hard times in Depression-era LA

Rather like David Suchet’s Poirot, the world will always think of Raymond Burr as the doughty defence lawyer Perry Mason, whom he played in nine TV series and 26 TV movies between 1957 and 1993. But Burr’s Mason existed before the age of the prequel...

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Echo in the Canyon review – California droopin'

Echo in the Canyon is a lamentably thin documentary about the vibrant folk-rock music scene that flourished in the bohemian Los Angeles neighbourhood of Laurel Canyon from 1965 to 1967. Though it features priceless vintage footage of the Beach Boys...

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Banana Split review - likable if essentially timid romcom

Is friendship mightier and more durable than sex? That's the proposition put forward by the engaging if ultimately cautious Banana Split, the Los Angeles-set romcom in which two teenagers become friends unbeknownst to the long-haired himbo boyfriend...

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Album: Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith - The Mosaic of Transformation

A singer-songwriter of somewhat mystical bent, originally from a forested island in the US Pacific Northwest, Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith really came into her own when she discovered vintage synthesizers. In particular, her masterpiece, 2016's EARS,...

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Album: Fiona Apple - Fetch the Bolt Cutters

Fiona Apple simmered in the LA sun for eight years to make this record, mostly holed up at home since her beloved dog died and she stopped drinking. Rather than polish the result to a sleek gleam, this is an album of trailing threads and percussive...

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