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Scroobius Pip // Exclusive Rhythm Circus Interview

Interview originally published at Rhythm Circus

Scroobius Pip

Scroobius Pip – the bearded face of the UK’s spoken word scene – is hosting a monthly film night at London’s coolest indie picture-house, The Prince Charles Cinema. Kicking off with Spanish time-travel thriller Time Crimes (click here for tickets), Pip’s mission is to take his London fans on a journey through his cinematic tastes and Rhythm Circus is along for the ride.

Naturally we wanted to know more and Pip, ever the gracious gent, agreed to answer a fistful of our geekiest questions…

The first question has to be about facial hair I’m afraid. Who has the most outstanding beard in cinema? 
Me when I finally make my transition over to film! For now I’d have to give the long term crown to Brian Blessed. Never has a beard looked so good.

Tell us the story behind your night at the Prince Charles? 
Well, I have been a fan of the place for years and, to be honest, I think they got sick of me arguing with them on Twitter about what they should and shouldn’t screen. So they agreed to give me my own monthly night where I can introduce a film of my choice and then host a Q&A or panel of some sort afterwards. I cant wait!

Time CrimesWe hear you are kicking off the series with Nacho Vigalondo’s mindbending Timecrimes, an under-seen Spanish indie rather than an established cult flick. Interesting choice…
Well, when I saw Harvey at the Prince Charles it struck me how amazing it was to see, on the big screen, one of my favourite films that I had only ever watched at home. So when choosing my films for this run I wanted to pick stuff that a) I loved, and b) many people either wont have seen OR simply wont have seen on the big screen.
Timecrimes seems to me to be one of the great overlooked films. Partly, I feel, to the tone of it being completely lost when the title is translated into English! Lets face it, Timecrimes sounds like an Arnie or Van Damme film.
I am currently working on getting a video introduction from Nacho himself and will have a panel afterwards where a physicist will discuss theories of time travel and I, along with film nerd and comedian Rich Sandling, will discuss the subjects of good films with bad names and the general horror of what can be lost in translation.

Let’s talk mainstream: what’s been your favourite cinema going experience of the summer?
Tough question! I LOVE the cinema and try to go four or five times a month. I think Alpha Papa has to take it though. Such a huge Alan Partridge fan, and I was worried about how they would pull it all off, but I absolutely loved it.

As a man with a penchant for the spoken word, you must be particularly attuned to dialogue when you’re watching a film. Do you have a favourite line?
It would either be Elwood P Dowd’s speech towards the end of Harvey (ending with) “….for years I was smart… I recommend pleasant” or Lloyd Dobler in Say Anything “I gave her my heart…she gave me a pen…”

We loved the video to Stunner (see below), your new track with dan le sac. It seemed like the video might have been influenced by the films of Gaspar Noe (Irreversible, Enter the Void). Was this intentional? 
It wasn’t intentional but I do produce and direct my own videos and I’m a MASSIVE fan of Gaspar so it’s lovely to hear that has some how come through. Irreversible is hopefully going to be the third film in my run of monthly nights at the Prince Charles. I remember seeing that on its initial short cinema release and being overwhelmed by the experience.
Similarly when Gaspar came over to do a Q&A and screening of Enter the Void. I think Enter the Void was the first film I saw that made me gutted I couldn’t watch it immediately again on DVD. Some of the shots instantly jumped out as having a hugely different impact on DVD compared to on the big screen. Neither better or worse, but it was something I wanted to check straight away!

Finally, if Scroobius Pip and dan le sac had a Lightsaber duel, who would win?
I am gangley and rangy so I therefore think I would have a slight advantage.

Be sure not to miss Scroobius Pip Presents… Timecrimes at the Prince Charles Cinema this Thursday. We’ll see you there.

For more info, and tickets, visit: PRINCE CHARLES CINEMA

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Only God Forgives – Trailer

ogf

I happen to have re-watched Drive only days before the arrival of the first trailer for Only God Forgives, the second collaboration between director Nicolas Winding Refn and star Ryan Gosling. Their first film together – part noir, part western, part fairy-tale, all intoxicating pulp fiction – was the most stylish film of 2011 (read my review here) and fans have been pining for a glimpse of their next project since it was announced some time ago.

By the looks of this red band trailer, the film will serve as a companion piece to their first collaboration, perhaps the yin to it’s yang. Drive was extremely violent, yes, but behind all of the hammering and head-stomping was a sweet romance and a slew of power ballads, whereas Only God Forgives looks to be cut from a darker cloth. A story of vengeance set amongst the world of drug smuggling and Thai boxing in Bangkok, this looks to be an intoxicating nightmare of stylish violence.

Excellent.

Aha! Partridge Trailer and Title Online Today

alan1Jackanackernory! Partridge fans are surely rubbing their eyes in disbelief that a movie is actually happening. The project was in preparation about 7-8 years ago but was notoriously shelved after the London Bombings due to the sensitive material lampooned in the script. Needless to say, there was doubt as to whether we would ever see Alan have the last laugh on the silver screen. Nevertheless, after a handful of recent projects – including the masterpiece that is the autobiographical I, Partridge: We need to talk about Alan – Steve Coogan’s comic miracle is finally about to bounce back.

alan filmingCook a cat! With veteran British TV director Declan Lowney at the helm, the writing team from I’m Alan Partridge and, of course, Alan and his tireless PA Lynn – 50 – in front of the camera, this should be the best film we have ever seen about the exploits of a disgruntled Norfolk radio DJ. The first official still (above) and a slew of on-location snaps showing Alan prating around with a rifle (right) are now online, making Partridge: The Movie a tangible prospect for fans, and anticipation is bubbling away. Lovely stuff.*

The news then, that the official Youtube channel for the movie (http://www.youtube.com/AlanPartridgeMovie) will air the first teaser trailer at 12:00pm this afternoon is sure to have you, Partrige fan, jumping for joy, smelling cheese, buttering arses and cooking cats. Furthermore, the title will be announced (Bangkok Chick Boys, fingers crossed) and we should start to form an idea of what we might expect on our screens on the mooted release date of 16th August.

Spice World!

*Not my words, the words of Shakin Stevens.

 

Jaws

Director: Steven Spielberg
Screenwriter: Peter Benchley, Carl Gottlieb
Cast: Roy Schneider, Richard Dreyfuss, Robert Shaw
Certificate: 12
Runtime: 124 min

There is something about watching movies as an impressionable youngster – the age when repeated viewings are preferred (finish, rewind, play) –which causes incidental, non-essential moments stand out. Just as when a word is repeated until it becomes abstract,  (‘towel’ is a good one), snippets of dialogue, the twitch of a hand, the lost face of an extra who has forgotten he is on camera, become the transcendental personal reasons that you love film as an adult.

Jaws is a beautiful tapestry of such moments; a note played on a harmonica at a beach party, the sing-song cadence of Richard Dreyfuss’ “That’s not funny, that’s not funny at all”, a big tooth bending as a mechanical jaw breaks Robert Shaw down into bite-size chunks. There are the stars, the excitement, the time in history into which Jaws was born – all aspects of the film that have earned it it’s sterling reputation – but it is these almost inconsequential moments that make you smile or cry or quote along; moments that make Jaws yours.

The story – production, reception, legacy – has been reprinted ad nauseum, and when that
happens a film’s Greatness can lapse into cliché. Do yourself a favour: if you haven’t seen it in while or (grit teeth) never seen it, go and watch Jaws (available in endorphin pumping high-def) because this story of a menacing Great White Shark and the three men determined to catch it (“the whole damn thing”) really is a phenomenal experience.

It is not perfect (let me finish), but its imperfections are part of its beauty and every frame is infused with a twentysomething Steven Spielberg’s adoration for storytelling and cinema. He shares his enthusiasm with anyone who will listen, compounding a mix-tape of his favourite tricks with from Hitchcock to Tobe Hooper. It has a freshness, a buoyancy, and whilst there is no denying Jaws’ ability to shock – that poor little Kitner boy – the lasting impression is one of intimacy and warmth. Remember the story you wrote in your writing book in Year 1 about why you love your Stretch Armstrong so much? It feels like that.

Whilst borne out of technical difficulties, the restraint that the film has with its Big Bad feels perfectly calibrated, Peter Benchley and Carl Gottlieb’s script is snappily written, John Williams’ score is John Williams’ score, and the triumvirate of actors – Roy Schneider, Richard Dreyfuss, the fan-fucking-tastic Robert Shaw – share legendary chemistry.

Verdict: A family film, a horror classic, an adventure, the arrival of The Blockbuster. The whole damn thing.

New Disney Short – (Paper) Cutting Edge Animation

When Disney’s 3D CGI animation Wreck it Ralph opens nationwide in cinemas next Friday, it will be accompanied by this painfully charming (and Oscar nominated no less) animated short, Paperman. Check it out on Disney Animation’s Youtube channel:

The directorial debut of Pixar animator John Kahrs, the six minute short is a beautiful combination of hand drawn and CGI animation – a technique called ‘final line advection’ – and tells the romantic tale of a lanky, hapless office worker (the sort that only Disney can draw) and his attempts to attract the girl-of-his-dreams-at-first-sight using paper aeroplanes.

In recent years, mainstream animation has broken new ground in terms of its photo-realistic possibilities, but Paperboy’s charm is found it it’s affinity for smudged pencil marks and a tranquil palate of whites, blacks, greys and a red lipstick mark. Like Wallace and Gromit’s endearing thumbprints, these are the loving markings of a craftsman, a storyteller.  With the studios’ push for shiny, colourful, bubblegum animation (the kind showcased by Pixar’s Cars and, indeed, Wreck it Ralph) it is unlikely that we will see a feature-length animation using this technique. For now, here is six-and-a-half minutes of magic.

Nike Sneakers and Bicycles at Dusk – The Amblin Marathon

As a crisp winter morning crept over London last Sunday, Martin Short was driving off into the sunset, a new man at the end of Joe Dante’s Innerspace (1987). Indeed, we too had undergone a life changing experience: twelve epic hours of distilled cinematic nostalgia – 640 minutes of movies, five ten minute breaks, 12 bags of sweets – at London’s Prince Charles Cinema’s Amblin Marathon 2013.

etFounded in 1981, Steven Spielberg’s legendary production company is responsible for some of the most beloved films of all time (also Viva Rock Vegas: swings and roundabouts). A check-list of a retrophile’s most re-watched DVDs, this line-up was loaded with iconic images and memorable scores and had more Spielbergian humour, spectacle and sentimentality than you could shake an absent father figure at. These are perfect films for children, working within the confines of genre (sci-fi, monster movies, swashbuckling adventure, Big Fucking Spiders) and viewing the spectacular events from an innocent, curious perspective, frequently shot from waist level. This is Spielberg’s (who executive produced all films featured, aside from the one he directed) gift to cinema: a childlike acceptance of the fantastical; escapism which always remains close to home.The tropes and themes shared by the movies are many, but there is no better way to describe the fabric that binds them as a particular kind of ‘movie magic’.

Loaded with enough caffeine and sugar to warrant arrest for intent to supply, we were ready to dive in.

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Amblin Marathon

Amblin

At 9:00 this evening, accompanied by two other hopeless geeks, I will embrace/endure a whopping 12 hours of 1980s Spielbergian sentimentality, thrills and spectacle and emerge the other side a changed man.
I will rendezvous with y’all here tomorrow morning to let you know my thoughts.
Find me on twitter for play-by-play thoughts 2100hrs this evening.