Tag Archives: Musical

Anna and the Apocalypse (John McPhail, 2017)

The pool of Scottish film musicals is small but notable – there’s Sunshine on Leith, a jukebox musical of The Proclaimers’ hits; Stuart Murdoch’s God Help the Girl; and culturally insensitive Gene Kelly vehicle Brigadoon. They can step aside for the new baby in the family, and this one’s got some bite. Anna and the Apocalypse is (probably) the world’s first Christmas-set high-school zombie comedy musical. Less Brigadoon, more Brigadoom…

Full review for SciFiNow

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‘Grease’ at 40: A first-time look at a pop culture classic

We all have our blind spots when it comes to cinema – and that’s a good thing. Being passionate about film is being open to discovery and constantly looking to fill in gaps in one’s knowledge. But when you get to a certain age and also happen to work in film journalism, not having seen certain pop culture touchstones starts to stick out. Until very recently, my biggest blind spot – at least in terms of a film it seemed everyone had seen at least once – was Grease.

And yet, through cultural osmosis, I’ve always felt like I have seen Grease. Not only did I know most of the songs, I knew most of the words to most of the songs. What I didn’t know was what a peculiar musical it is. Take the title track, for instance, which plays over the opening credits and is one of the few songs I hadn’t heard before. One of four original songs written for the film (this one by Barry Gibb), the disco number feels surprisingly at odds with the late-’50s/early ‘60s style of the rest of the soundtrack. It’s a catchy tune, but seems as though it’s been included merely to forge a connection between the film and star John Travolta’s earlier Bee Gees-scored hit, Saturday Night Fever. It’s a curious identity crisis moment, but then perhaps it’s appropriate given the narrative arcs of the film’s leading pair…

Full feature for Little White Lies

Tokyo Tribe (Sion Sono, 2014)

From the ever-prolific cult Japanese filmmaker Sion Sono comes Tokyo Tribe, an anarchic hip-hop musical about gang warfare that may be the director’s most unhinged film yet. And that’s saying something, considering the man’s made at least one four-hour movie about an upskirt photographer…

Full review for VODzilla.co

Tokyo Tribe (Sion Sono, 2014)

Bringing “slammin’ beats from the ass-end of hell,”, Sion Sono’s manga adaptation Tokyo Tribe is a hysterical hybrid of The Warriors, Yakuza movies and Escape from New York, spliced with video games Jet Set Radio and Streets of Rage, and a dash of Scott Pilgrim. Also, it’s a candy-coloured rap-battle musical where maybe 15% of the dialogue isn’t sung or grunted to some kind of beat. So in that sense it’s like The Umbrellas of Cherbourg but with added beatboxing, tanks, Clockwork Orange-riffing human furniture and virgin sacrifices to Satan. Fun for all the family…

Full review for The Skinny