Shine A Light

Films, Photos, Music, Fashion, Aesthetic, Narrative, Style, Image, Dialogue....

Wednesday, 22 December 2010

AN XMAS NOTE TO Y'ALL via TOM WAITS' BLUE VALENTINE (and a vague link to Ryan Gosling and Michelle Williams)

It's nearly Christmas! Pour yourself a drink...

Probably one os the best Christmas songs...even though there is no mention of Christmas in it itself....

Tom Waits' Blue Valentine is a great great album full of amazing songs. It now shares the name with the highly anticipated movie Blue Valentine. It's been doing the rounds at film festivals this year and has built up quite a buzz about it. The films follows a young couple looking back at their past love as their marriages falls apart.

Looks like a fusion of two other Ryan Gosling films, the look and sparse gritty feel of Half Nelson and the balls out love theme of The Notebook (two films I hold in high regard...for different reasons!). Combine this with Michelle Williams (who hasn't been in a bad film for a long time) and this could be pretty interesting movie...or plain naff!... but here's hoping for the best!

Tuesday, 14 December 2010

The best 13 films of the year


Here it is, in no particular order....

SHUTTER ISLAND (Martin Scorsese)

A remarkable cinematic experience the kind of film Hollywood has forgotten how to make. A genre movie with powerful twist and all aspects of the production are at a top level. Scorsese and DiCaprio doing what they do best, but unlike how we've seem before.


Didn't expect to enjoy this as much as I did. Probably the best looking and most stylish film...ever!

INCEPTION (Christopher Nolan)

Just awesome!

ALAMAR (Pedro Gonzalez Rubio)

A remarkable, unique and original blend of drama and documentary. A clever meditation on nature and family.

FOUR LIONS (Chris Morris)

By far the funniest film this year.


Visually incredible, a towering achievement of film making. It's not often you see a something as original and compelling as this.


If you read my last post you'll see why this so good.


David Fincher's incredible understated direction and Aaron Sorkin's raver sharp script combine to tell one of the most significant stories of this age.

I'M STILL HERE (Casey Affleck)

Big respect to Joaquin Phoenix and Casey Affleck for making an original film with a point, even if both were kind of unclear.

I'M HERE (Spike Jonze)

Spike Jonze's great short film about robots falling in love is standout piece of conceptualized film making. Shame it is yet to get a proper release.

MOTHER (Joon-Ho Bong)

This film is up there with some of the best films ever made. Original, beautiful, dark, comic, tragic with a profound knowledge of the art of cinema. Kim Hae Ja gives the best performance in any film this year.


A great documentary about the massive rise and then the massive fall of one of America's greatest cities. A stark reminder of the fragility of the way we live.


A great documentary about a great album. Bruce Springsteen is awesome!

I think it has been a good year!

Friday, 10 December 2010


In the decade between 1966 and 1976, 150 000 jobs were lost along London’s dockyards. With them so was a thousand years of history. A way of life, a work force and a community that has now more or less vanished from the public eye and conscious. The Docklands areas of east London were home to the largest port and trading places in the world, and the men and woman who lived and worked on the ships and the docks not only provided the infrastructure that created the wealth and power of Britain but also were integral in creating a sense of place and community that shaped the national identity. In The Rime of The Modern Mariner film makers Mark Donne, Joe Morris and Anthony Rossomando have created a documentary that draws light to this lost world of Dockers and Sailors, showing the colourful past and the barely skeletal remains of an industry that literally made Britain the (Great) modern nation it has become.

Narrated by The Libertines and Dirty Pretty Things front man Carl Barat, The Rime of The Modern Mariner opens with fast and lyrical retailing of characters that roamed the East End dockyards. This then leads to perhaps the film’s most vital aspect. The men of the Stepney Dockers Social Club are nearly all that’s left of a link to the past that was so quickly demolished and built upon. These men tell their stories with amazing coherence and pride, this is amplified by the unspoken stories that are there to see in the old men’s faces. Yet this is mixed with a sense of anger, that the world they new and the communities that lived in and forged were taken from them. Their way of life and their skills were made redundant by forces that were out of their control.

The modern age and the fully encompassing assault of globalisation, has changed the east end of London in such a way as to render it almost unrecognizable to how it formally was. The film takes the viewer on trip on the Dockland’s Light Railway, through Canary Wharf and the other glass corporate tower blocks and sky scrappers that have replaced the once vibrant and integral area of London’s docklands. A stark reminder of how quickly the world has changed throughout the last century.

The second half of the film is about the modern day dock workers and the maritime trade. About 90% of all imports to Britain are still from shipped sources. But the role of the dock workers, the sailors and the ships have changed dramatically and (paradoxically) even though there is more trade than before there are fewer jobs in this dwindling industry, as technology leaves manual labour redundant and what labour there is sent overseas.

The filmmakers, to their credit, handle the history, stories and emotions of the film with great restraint and respect for the subject. Mostly letting the subjects speak for themselves, unedited and honest. Joe Morris and Mark Donne’s images of the lost dock world work in wonderful conjuncture with the close up interviews of the old men who’s creased, worn faces echo the weather beaten forgotten landmarks that still remain, hidden in plain view, around London’s east end. Anthony Rossomando’s subtle and haunting soundtrack, fused with sounds he recorded from ships and dockyards, captures the mood perfectly and fall right in place with the imagery. Made on almost no money, edited and scored in a bedroom and sourced through blagging and perseverance, the film is also a remarkable achievement of guerrilla filmmaking in its own right.

There is an overwhelming sadness throughout this The Rime of The Modern Mariner. It is a demonstration of the soullessness of globalisation and corporate take over. The last laments of the old and dying Dockers are a powerful reminder what the world was like not that long ago and realisation of how quickly things change. But of course things have to change, and as D.H Lawrence said, ‘when things change, something is lost’. Change and loss are inevitable, and whilst this is a sad aspect to life, it is integral to it.

And perhaps it is because of this that The Rime of The Modern Mariner is such an engaging and important film, because it is a vital record of the past, a past that may not need to be sought after, but that should always be remembered.

'SOMEWHERE' - The Strokes demo

Soffia Coppola's Somewhere opens today, starring Stephen Dorff and Elle Fanning as an estranged father and daughter, against the backdrop of wealth and celebrity. This looks as if it's some kind of alt. version of Lost In Translation, and it certainly looks as stylish and classy.

I haven't seen it yet, but I caught the trailer the other day and was totally suckered in by this song, by Julian Casablancas...check it out on the trailer...(wait till about 40 secs in...)

This chilled out electric piano ditty would later become the more edgy and aggressive You Only Live Once

The Strokes front man also had a solo song of his (Out Of The Blue) feature on the trailer for the recent 'modern family comedy' The Kids Are Alright, another healthy dose of Hollywood mainstream leftist/liberal cinema (again I haven't seen it, but I heard it was very watchable)...(...wait till 1:50 in...)

Here's the full song....

I guess The Strokes are still considered by Hollywood to be a useful tool in making your movie seem kinda 'cool' with hip, left-of-center-middling-middle-aged-types!

The tunes are still awesome though....looking forward to new Strokes album next year and hopefully tour...there still one of the loudest, rocking(est), lively acts I'v seen!!!

Photo by Sam Hiscox

Monday, 6 December 2010


This isn't brand new but I had forgotten how funny and just how good this is!....A BOOMBOX IS NOT A TOY!

[The Lonely Island]
Imagine in your mind a posh country club
The stuffy old money where the poor get snubbed
The spread is bland sauerkraut and boiled goose
There's no way these people will ever cut loose

But then I walk in the room, hold my boombox high
And what happened next, will blow your mind

[Julian Casablancas]
Everything got outta control
The music was so entrancing
Everyone got out on the floor
It was a bunch of old white people dancing

[The Lonely Island]
Now picture if you will a bunch of business men
Stuffed in the boardroom like pigs in a pen
The ties around the necks are like a hangman's noose
In the middle of the table there's a boiled goose

The old people smell makes you want to puke in the sink
These dudes will never dance yeah that's what you think
I stride in the room all young and hip
Hold up my boombox and say listen to this

[Julian Casablancas]
Then everyone started to move
People rejoiced instead of financing
Your preconcieved notions were shattered
By the super old white people dancing

[The Lonely Island]
The big apple, where people never dance
Spirits go down while profits expand
The cops or the dealers, who's got the juice
The street vendors peddling their boiled goose

So many types of people will never get along
Till I bust out my boombox and play this song

[Julian Casablancas]
The music washed away all the hate
And society started advancing
Every demographic was represented
It was a rainbow coalition of dancing
Everyone was wearing fingerless gloves
I saw a Spanish guy doing the Bartman

[The Lonely Island]
Transport now to an old folks home
Where the elderly are tossed on their brittle bones
The orderlies are stealing there's no excuse
Everyday for lunch they eat boiled goose

So I grabbed my boombox and hit the turbo bass
And what happened next was a total disgrace

[Julian Casablancas]
Everybody started having sex
The music was way too powerful
A bunch of old people fucking like rabbits
It was disgusting to say the least
A boombox can change the world
You gotta know your limits with a boombox
This was a cautionary tale
A boombox is not a toy

Sunday, 5 December 2010

The Strokes Vs. Tron Legacy

I kind of doubt that the impending Tron: Legacy will be as cool as this was....

The Strokes - 12:51

But I hope Jeff Bridges and Daft Punk bring something other than 3D to the table....

Tron: Legacy