Friday, November 7, 2014
Australian Daevid Allen was a founding member of Soft Machine (in 1966), but is certainly (a little bit) better known for his band Gong, formed in 1967 and of which he has been the founder/leader off and on to this day. His work over the decades seems sheer endless and hard to follow, but is always characterized by his quirky humor, his abundant imagination and musicianship (he's quite a good guitarist). To me he (and the band Gong) were the ultimate and never-aging hippies - I was a big fan. Bananamoon was his first solo album released in 1971 with an all-star troupe that includes Robert Wyatt (Soft Machine), Gary Wright (Spooky Tooth), Maggie Bell (Stone the Crows), and Gong members "Submarine Captain" Christian Tritsch, Pip Pyle, and Allen's girlfriend Hillie Smyth (aka "Shakti Yoni").The song Stoned Innocent Frankenstein is a typical Allen song, which just as well could have appeared on one the many Gong Albums.
Thursday, November 6, 2014
Zoviet France (latterly usually written as :zoviet France:) are a group from Newcastle upon Tyne founded in 1980 that is active to this day (two new albums were released this year). Their albums are mostly hard-to-get, often hand-made elaborately designed with unusual materials, self-released and in limted editions - usually you could get them from Recommended Records - at dissuasive prices. I came upon them in the early 80s as they were considered to be a pioneer industrital band, although their productions can best described as ambient with dissonant elemenst, often the songs are of symphonic length.
During the Iraq War, a Sergeant recently assigned to an army bomb squad is put at at odds with his squad mates due to his maverick way of handling his work.
Complex and insightful study of men at war with a more timeless message than focusing on the specifics of the Iraq war.
Maltin***1/2: "Episodic but thoroughly absorbing character study has many suspenseful moments, and one breathtaking sequence in which the men fight fatigue while conducting a long-range rifle battle. Renner is perfect in the central role as a man for whom "war is a drug." Vivied, credible screenplay by Mark Boal, perfectly realized by Bigelow."
A young man who survives a disaster at sea is hurtled into an epic journey of adventure and discovery.
Ingeniously adapted from the novel this instant classic of adventure movie shines with a great central performance and breathtaking animation effects.
On second view I can still say that I'm still enthusiastic.
Maltin****: "Newcomer Sharma captures and commands the screen as the younger Pi, who narrates his odyssey of survival and enlightenment. Director Lee and an army of visual effects wizards manage to make the impossible seem real and the implausible a thing of wonder - all the more so in 3-D. One can find layers of meaning in this metaphysical journey or merely experience it as a phantasmagorical movie experience. Either way it's unique and incredible."