— THE SOCIETY OF THE SPECTACLE

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FILMS

I’ve now seen the Dark Knight Rises twice. While there are no doubt plot holes (as has been pointed out especially well in these Reddit posts including SPOILERS), there visual achievement of the films (especially in IMAX), is unboubted. One of the most underrated elements of the Nolan Batman films, and of course Inception is the sound and music. Hans Zimmer in particular, has created a visceral soundscape that is fast becoming a genre all of it’s own. If indeed you have never heard the Inception soundtrack, then I urge you to watch and listen to it performed live with Johnny Marr on guitar (It’s epic. The music starts around 7.30). This film delves into the thinking and processes for Zimmer and the sound team at large. I love how Zimmer blends analogue and digital elements to create something truly sonically unique.  Well worth a watch.

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I’m a sucker for documentaries, I’m also a sucker for denim and the cult that surrounds this fabric. A love affair with it’s history and cultural power that goes back to my days of selling Vintage Levi’s in London in the early 2000’s. So I was rather excited to see the trailer for ‘Legacy Of Cool’. A documentary (with an excellent soundtrack to boot), that explores the hold that denim has over it’s devotees, and the way this quintessential American creation has become the dominant clothing piece of the western world. Added bonus – this project started on where else but Kickstarter…

(Via Selectism)

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It’s a year ago this week that I had the profound privilege of being at Madison Square Garden (and the ridiculous after party at the Tribeca Grand Hotel), and saw the final ever gig of LCD Soundsystem. The band that pretty much documented my 20’s in the mid 2000’s. Even from their earliest records, LCD (and James Murphy) always felt like musical kindred spirits, the soul of crate diggers everywhere, and fundamentally hard-wired into the greatest city on Earth. So it was only appropriate that their final gig was a 20,000 people 4 hour barn stormer, packed with unforgettable moments.

While my memories will always be unique, it sent a glorious chill down the spine to know that there was a film being created of that night. ‘Shut Up And Play The Hits’ in fact does more than just become a memorial of one night, but, as this interview with the directors (Via The ever excellent Creators Project) explains, is also a mediation on that all-too-rare ability these days to go out at the top of your game. What happened when the sun rose at the Tribeca Grand? the drink had been drunk and the records had been played? I know I felt a state of shock, so god alone knows what is was like for James and the LCD Gang.

It’s a novel approach, the trailer (see above), gives you a pretty good sense of what that night was like. But for prosterity’s sake, here’s a couple of videos from the final song (and the emotional ‘New York I Love You’) as well as some after party madness that showed that New York, and the world weren’t quite ready to give the band up that easily.

I cannot wait to relive it again.

Shut Up And Play The Hits premiers at Sundance Festival

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Marvel’s grand 4 years (plus) in the making film of the Avengers is now mere months away. The studio has done a masterful job of teasing the film. From the ‘wait until the end of the film’ clips from the Marvel films (Iron Man 1/2, Incredible Hulk, Thor and Captain America), that led to the teaser of the first Avengers trailer last year, through to this months monster 3.00 trailer that left most fanboys on the floor dribbling with anticipation. Marvel has set the bar high for the film.

As you would expect for a film backed with such a fervent fanbase, some things have started to appear on the Internet that utilise fan and remix culture to give a different spin on the action. This example (paired with the 3.00 minute trailer for comparison),  uses slices of the 1960’s cartoon versions of Earth’s Mightiest Heroes to mirror the trailer. It serves no higher purpose, but is a great illustration as to how far the Marvel Universe has evolved since the Golden Age in the 1960’s, (animation techniques and all), but also makes you feel that the film luckily, will not stray very far from where the Avengers always was. Slightly ludicrous, but awesome fun.

We’ll have to wait until May to find out for sure if the film has delivered on it’s roots. But it’s another proof how the internet and remix/fan culture can find different points of view that help explain and expand an original idea.

(Via Creative Social)

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This is certainly one of the coolest and most ambitious ideas I have seen this year. All based on a very simple truth. New York Writes Itself, is literally that. A crowd-sourced film script made up of thousands of New Yorkers imaginations and reflections of their own city, billed as a ‘A Production By The People Of New York’.

It’s such a simple thought; a city as diverse, as complex and as densely rich in story as New York could quite literally write itself a script. It’s not like New York hasn’t already been explored in minute detail by some of film’s great directors, from Spike Lee’s Bed Stuy masterwork Do The Right Thing to Woody Allen’s Upper West Side neuroses in Manhattan, or Times Square’s squalor in Midnight Cowboy and Taxi Driver, (the tip of the iceberg obviously), but what makes this different, and therefore worth the follow is the threading together of these disparate experiences. Can you really make a script of something as vast as New York? All these films put a microscope onto a particular slice of New York life, giving you an opportunity to truly experience that slice of life. The creators have neatly sidestepped this by allowing all the elements, Quotes, scenes and characters in the script to be selected and made into their own productions – like posters, exhibitions, music videos and short films.

Projects are already underway, with the first one being ‘The Chairman’ (below)

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If you wanted to take this exploration further, then this project is another example of either the strength or weaknesses of crowdsourcing projects. What are the rewards of participation?  I personally believe the reward is in seeing your own experience recreated in some way. Your unique experience of New York becomes a unique thread in the cultural pattern of the city. You are now immortalised in your metropolis. When at times we can feel alienated from the scale and enormity (and relative anonymity) of cities, the chance to write your own piece into it, seems to be too tempting. A project to follow with interest.

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Creating new spins on retro styles is nothing new. So the question is how do you hold someone’s attention with something they are already familiar with?

Well, in the example of these two videos, the answer is simple. Craft. The first video is a music video for the concert season at Bellavista Social Pub (Jesus, what a name…). Ignoring the lameness of the name, the Jazz theme of the season has led the team to create a supreme re-interpretation of some of Blue Note records most beautiful record covers. The attention to detail is exquisite, and I mean exquisite. Even if you aren’t familiar with the content of the records themselves (although I would highly recommend you check some of these out). You cannot fail to be impressed with the level of homage, as well as the bravery of taking this design/moving image challenge on.

While the classic designs of Blue Note were getting a makeover, there appeared another video that took it’s cues from a lower form of entertainment, but nailed this homage just as brilliantly.

A speculative music video made for Buck 65 by Travis Hopkins, it reinterprets the lyrics of this rapidfire tune into a visual assault of the senses taking it’s cue from the 1960’s/70’s/80’s Exploitation scene. There’s so much pop cultural referencing going on here that really, you just have to watch it. But again, the craft, the dedication and the sheer nuttiness of it makes it really stand out.

Inspiring stuff.

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Here is the New York Times obituary of Sidney Lumet. This is a superb summary of his films, the genius of Lumet as a director was the power of story over style (Network, Serpico, Dog Day Afternoon, 12 Angry Men, The Pawnbroker etc.) The breadth of stories is truly stunning, and in death, you recognise the amazing stories covered in his career, as well as a deep seated love of New York itself. There are some lovely anecdotes here, Lumet is an engaging speaker on the subject, and his summary of his craft at the end is priceless. A director, and body of work to be treasured.

Enjoy.

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