May 2016


Rocker. Bass player. Gorgeous.

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The day before he must supervise a large concrete pour in Birmingham, construction foreman Ivan Locke (Tom Hardy) learns that Bethan, a co-worker with whom he had a one-night stand seven months previously, has gone into premature labour. Despite his job responsibilities and although his wife and sons are eagerly awaiting his arrival at home to watch an important football match, he decides to drive to London to be with Bethan during childbirth. While in the car Locke is phoning his boss and a colleague to ensure that the pour is successful, phoning his wife Katrina to confess his infidelity, and phoning Bethan to reassure her during her labour. Locke’s decision is revealed to be a reaction to his own father, who abandoned him as a child, and whom he did not meet until he was in his early twenties. Over the course of the two-hour drive to London, he is fired from his job, and kicked out of his house by his wife, but his sons insist that he return home soon, he talks his assistant Donal through preparing the pour despite several major setbacks, and-as he finally reaches his destination-learns of his child’s successful birth.

“Locke” is written and directed by Steven Knight. The movie had an unconventional shooting schedule. Tom Hardy filmed his part in 6 days, shooting the movie twice per night as it was filmed in a single take. The other actors were in a hotel room, speaking on the phone with Hardy, who was on location. The film shot during the course of eight nights with three cameras rolling. Ivan Locke’s cold was written into the script because actor Tom Hardy had a cold during production. Olly Richards of Empire awarded the film 4/5 stars and said: “There are films to see on huge screens, but this is one that almost cries out for a small cinema, surrounded by total blackness. It’s a daring experiment brilliantly executed, with Tom Hardy giving one of the best performances of his career”. “Locke” is yet another good example on how you can create a great piece of low budget film if you have a solid script, a great leading actor, visions and editing skills. Hardy engages you straight away on his journey and he forces you to pay attention as his life is shattered while in his car. Locke takes the challenge life hands to him despite the consequences. Is that right or is that wrong? That´s the moral dilemma Knight confronts us with. However, in the end Knight is maybe a bit too good at creating tension and suspense, so when the final frame has hit your eyes you still feel a bit like you waited and waited for some sort of truly dramatic conclusion that never came. (4 out of 5)

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“Singles” centers on the lives of a group of young people, mostly in their 20s, living in an apartment block in Seattle, Washington. Janet (Bridget Fonda), a coffee-bar waitress is fawning over Cliff (Matt Dillon), an aspiring, yet slightly aloof rock musician of the grunge/rock band Citizen Dick. Linda Powell (Kyra Sedgwick) and Steve Dunne (Campbell Scott), is wavering on whether to commit to each other or not, and Debbie Hunt (Sheila Kelley), who is trying to find Mr. Right – a man who would make an ideal romantic partner. Their search for love and romance will eventually change them…

Cameron Crowe´s “Singles” is set against the backdrop of the early 1990s grunge movement in Seattle. Contrary to popular belief, the film was already well underway when the celebrated “Seattle sound” became popular, rather than being designed as a vehicle to capitalize on its popularity. In fact, this film was supposed to begin production in 1984, right after The Wild Life (1984) but the project was delayed. While completed in early 1991, the film was not released until September 1992. The film’s release went through repeated delays while studio executives debated how to market it. Warner Bros. did not know what to do with the film, but after the grunge scene exploded, the movie was finally released. The film includes cameos from key bands from the Seattle music scene of the time, such as Pearl Jam, Alice in Chains, Soundgarden, and grunge favorite Tad Doyle (lead vocalist of the Seattle bands Tad and Hog Molly). Stone Gossard, Jeff Ament, and Eddie Vedder, all members of Pearl Jam, have small parts as members of Matt Dillon’s character Cliff Poncier’s fictional band Citizen Dick. Their parts were filmed when Pearl Jam was known as Mookie Blaylock. Most of Matt Dillon’s wardrobe in the movie actually belonged to Pearl Jam bassist Jeff Ament. During the making of the film Ament produced a list of song titles for the fictional band, Citizen Dick. Chris Cornell (of Soundgarden and Audioslave) saw the list of Citizen Dick song titles, which would appear briefly in the film and decided to pen songs to match each title. One of those songs, “Seasons”, appears on the film soundtrack. Another, “Spoonman”, was later recorded by Chris Cornell’s band Soundgarden. It became a hit in 1994 and can be heard in a rough version (perhaps a demo) in the film when an unseen person is posting Citizen Dick flyers. T Citizen Dick’s song name “Touch Me, I’m Dick” is a word play on the song “Touch Me, I’m Sick” by the Seattle band Mudhoney. Also, in the inside cover photo of the soundtrack, there is a Citizen Dick CD with the track listing on the CD itself. One of the songs is called “Louder Than Larry (Steiner)”, a wordplay on the Soundgarden album, Louder Than Love. The band name Citizen Dick is a play on the Seattle band Citizen Sane, which itself is a play on the 1941 film, Citizen Kane. Soundgarden frontman Chris Cornell has a cameo as the guy who comes out to listen to a car radio. He also appears in a later scene with his band Soundgarden performing the song “Birth Ritual”. The members of Alice in Chains also appear in the film as a bar band, playing the songs “It Ain’t Like That” and “Would?”. A year later in August 1992, a month after the film’s release, “Would?” became Alice In Chains’ biggest AOR hit to-date and “Singles” wins an MTV Movie Award for Best Movie Song. he Singles soundtrack was released on June 30, 1992 through Epic Records and became a best seller three months before the release of the film. The soundtrack included music from mentioned key bands from the Seattle music scene of the time, such as Alice in Chains, Pearl Jam, and Soundgarden. Pearl Jam performed two previously-unreleased songs on the soundtrack: “Breath” and “State of Love and Trust”. The Soundgarden song “Birth Ritual” and Chris Cornell’s solo song “Seasons” appear on the soundtrack. Paul Westerberg of The Replacements contributed two songs to the soundtrack and provided the score for the film. The Smashing Pumpkins also contributed to the soundtrack with the song “Drown”. Been awhile since I saw “Singles”, but it was such a pleasant trip back to 1992. Crowe´s honest and natural way of directing it (for example the idea of letting several characters talk straight to the camera fits so well with the movie) in combination of the script and the magic the actors create gives such a believable feeling to the movie. The strength of the movie is of course the music and the fact that it was a backdrop to the exploding Seattle music scene, which was happening when they actually filmed the movie. In hindsight I assume Crowe is pleased that he managed to use several of the great Seattle bands before they broke and integrated them and their music so well in the movie. It´s a treat to see Stone Gossard, Jeff Ament and Eddie Vedder acting as Matt Dillon´s bandmates for example. The movie has a good balance in general, even if love and to be loved is the focal point of the movie. It feels genuine/real and you get swept away with the characters and their lives. It was a treat as well to re-see the beautiful Bridget Fonda (still have a crush on her) and I can´t help missing her. And of course you can´t forget that “Singles” had one of the best soundtracks in the 90s. (4 out of 5)

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