Thursday, 2 February 2012


“You can’t get over something while you’re still under it” says Michael in the midst of the chaos that ensues in Roman Polanski’s latest film Carnage. The premise is as follows, two couples Michael and Penelope Longstreet (John C. Reilly and Jodie Foster) and Nancy and Alan Cowen (Kate Winslet and Christopher Waltz) choose to meet up after both their sons get into a playground scuffle which ends up with Cowen’s son knocking out the others front teeth. Simple enough, yet extremely affective.

Carnage, which is based on the play God of Carnage written by Yasmina Reza takes place almost entirely (give or take the opening explaining how they got there) in the home of the Longstreet’s where the two couples try and figure out how the issue should be resolved. These types of film, which arguably are a genre amongst themselves either work well or not at all. This is no exception as Carnage is a solid film that shows confident fluidity throughout.

It doesn’t take us long to realise during the short but sweet 77 minute running time that the parents are much more crazy than their kids are. Alan is always on the phone to work much to the dismay of weak stomached and slightly neurotic Nancy while Penelope is an emotional wreck. These points are exactly what makes the film work so well, since these are the only four characters that appear, they all seem to play off of each other interestingly, one minute their on their spouses side, the next they find themselves on their gender doubles, or no one’s at all. And believe me, it only gets worse when the fifth character is introduced. Alcohol.  

Ultimately the fact that these characters are always somewhat in the right or wrong throughout is what makes them so believable and appealing to watch, and although the resolution wasn’t personally to my taste (which I won’t ruin for those who haven’t seen it), Carnage is a film with brilliant actors, good characters and a charmingly funny script.


Lana Del Rey- 'Born To Die' (album)

If ‘Disney’s Gothic Magic Kingdom’ were a real place, Lana Del Rey would be the main attraction. I was captivated by her essence and voice the first time I listened to ‘Video Games’ in autumn last year, and awestruck by her (if to be believed, carefully crafted and constructed) persona. But you can’t judge an album off of one song, and after following an artist for some time, you can often feel let down by the end product. This fortunately isn't the case with 'Born To Die'.

First of all, ‘Born To Die’ is a brilliant album. From what feels like an overture from a Rita Hayworth movie in the title track which opens the album, the tone for the 12 tracks is set. Del Rey juxtaposes the beauty of besotted love with the torturous and haunting strings that accompany every song on the album perfectly. The range in her voice is astounding, which varies from the almost comically high in ‘Off To Races’ (light of my life, fyyre ‘f’ma loins) to the downbeat downtrodden sounds of both ‘Born to Die’ and ‘Carmen’.

Personally, Del Rey’s first album feels like a concept album, an autobiography of sorts detailing the positive sides as well as the dangers of falling and staying in love. Standout tracks such as National Anthem and This Is What Makes Us Girls will be on repeat for weeks. Along with news that Lana Del Rey has purchased the rights to her unreleased first album under her real name, Lizzy Grant, I can’t wait to hear what’s next.


Key Tracks: National Anthem, Born To Die, This Is What Makes Us Girls, Summertime Sadness


The first time I heard about this film about two months ago it was described to me as a Cloverfield meets X-Men hybrid. From the offset, I was obsessed. Chronicle, which tells the story of three Seattle teenagers, aspiring class president Steve (Michael B. Jordan) and cousins Matt (Alex Russell) and the meek Andrew (Dane DeHaan) who develop telekinetic abilities after coming into contact with a pulsating (and ultimately unexplained)…how would you describe it? Giant plant-like figure that looks like a cross between something out of Halo and the Super Mario Bros. game series. Steve, Matt and Andrew do what any normal group of teenage guys would do; make stuffed animals float to scare an innocent, and therefore extremely easily scared girl, punk someone by moving their car across the parking lot and make a rogue leaf blower accidentally blow up cheerleaders skirts. But it can’t all be fun and games right?

To anyone that’s seen the trailer or read about Chronicle this is nothing new, but as the film unravels we also witness Andrew’s mental state do the same. The most troubled out of the three and also the most developed character, we witness his abusive relationship with his father (Michael Kelly) bullies in school, and with girls. Or lack thereof. It is in the form of Andrew mostly how Chronicle separates itself from the other superhero/superpower tripe we’ve been force fed over the last few years (Green Lantern springs directly to mind here), the film’s special effects aren’t exactly incredible, but Chronicle remains gritty and witty throughout, and contains dare I say it, a lot more heart than most will be expecting.

Chronicle is ultimately more Bryan Singer’s X-Men than Brett Ratner’s if anything (thank fuck) but even that comparison doesn’t seem fair as it is mostly unlike anything I’ve seen before. The main characters are both believable and extremely likeable, the plot line drifts from the generic to the dynamic and the climax, for me, was extremely satisfying.

See it now.