Perspectives: The Role of Film Soundtracks

From the rousing horns of Indiana Jones, to the jukebox pop of Scorcese and Tarantino’s flicks, or the Wagnerian swagger of Apocalypse Now – there’s no denying film soundtracks are an integral part of the cinema experience. But what makes a great soundtrack? What are they there to do? The Red Curtain met with three doyens of different realms of cinema to get to the heart of what makes a great soundtrack. Continue reading

Edinburgh Fringe Festival – Continuous Growth (Review & Interview)

The Red Curtain believes all of life’s philosophies should be predicated on the consumption of chocolate. So it is natural we loved Continuous Growth - we warmly embrace any theatre that declares the world’s problems could be lessened if we just shared our last Rolo with someone we loved.

Continue reading

EIFF: Sexual Chronicles of A French Family

“Everyone’s fucking except me. And it’s driving me crazy.” So says 18-year-old Romain (Matthias Melloul), echoing a sentiment felt by the sexually hard-up world-wide. He’s not exaggerating, either. Here’s a young man so desperate to get to fornicating he gets caught indulging in onanistic pleasure in his biology class. His indiscretion causes his mother, Claire (Valérie Maës) to resolve to discuss sex more freely with her family, and it transpires they’re all at it in the manner of gleeful French bunnies (lapins sexuelles?). Romain’s widowed granddad is rumping with a whore. His sister is partial to hanky panky with veritable strangers. His brother blithely drops mentions of his three-ways at the dinner table, while his father is fond of talking streams of florid fantastical filth at his mother.

Continue reading

EIF Preview: Gulliver’s Travels – Creating the Soundscape

In 2009, a Romanian theatre troupe brought their production of Faust to the Edinburgh International Festival, and astonished audiences with a spectacular take on Goethe’s enduring fable, both epic and Brechtian in its treatment of the tale. This year, the same troupe – The National Theatre of Sibiu – return to the EIF with an interpretation of another literary giant – Gulliver’s Travels. Continue reading

EIFF: The Lorax

I want to exorcise the sense that I’ve been violated. I’ve just seen The Lorax, you see, and although I’d like to present a cogent argument as to why it is a fetid turd of a film, I fear I may be too damn irritated by the entire debacle to do it rational justice. Hard-upon will follow a bewildering morass of capital letters and ill-considered analogies, but somewhere amidst them all you will grasp my point.

Continue reading

Edinburgh Fringe Festival: Tam O’Shanter

The Red Curtain is not a native Scot, so unfortunately has to plead unfamiliarity with the Robbie Burns poem Tam O’Shanter, purportedly a piece of text most good Scottish children (that’s a we’en, apparently) will have drilled into them at school. But there’s no matter: the new production of Tam O’Shanter, from theatre group Communicado, is as warm and intriguing an introduction to the Rabelaisian excesses of Burns’ epic as one could hope for. Continue reading

Edinburgh Fringe Festival – Coalition: A New Play

Coalition Image

The realm of British Political Satire is dominated by the shadows cast by two brilliant, scathing comic Leviathans: whip-smart 1980s sitcom Yes (Prime) Minister and, more recently, Armando Iannuci’s scabrous beast The Thick of ItWith those two shows setting the standard so very, very high, it is especially impressive that Coalitionnew satirical play from writing team Robert Khan and Tom Kalinsky, manages to assert both its own identity and, indeed, pride of place, in the British Political Satire kingdom. Continue reading

In Conversation With William Friedkin

With an encyclopaedic knowledge of film, and 45 years of experience in the industry, William Friedkin is as expansive a raconteur about the world of cinema as you could hope to meet. In town to promote his new film Killer Joe, he talked at length about the filming of French Connection, the current studio system, and why violence is a compelling subject matter. 

Continue reading

Wednesday’s Top 5 – Top 5 Star Wars related YouTube videos

(Apologies for the unwieldy title)

Star Wars.

More a way of interacting with the people around you than a set of 3 blinding movies now. I frequently manage entire conversations composed entirely of Star Wars quotes (mind you, that’s not to say the person I’m is talking to has any idea what I’m on about, but then that’s hardly a novelty). More than any other movie franchise I can think of, there is a sense of personal ownership among the fans of Star Wars – that it is inalienably ours. Perhaps this explains people’s unusual fondness for re-imagining the films as YouTube curios.

5. 

Australian-Belgian singer Gotye’s song Somebody That I Used To Know, with its pitch-perfect lyrics about the dissolution of a relationship and inventive video clip, was one of the defining musical hits of 2011. Here, duo Tyler and Eddie – aka Teddie Films – rework the lyrics to describe the disillusionment they feel at George Lucas’ constant re-tinkering with the original canon (most recently his replacement of puppet Yoda with a CGI Yoda for the release of the Blu-Ray edition of Empire Strikes Back). Throw in a perfectly observed recreation of the video (complete with naked George Lucas) and you have YouTube gold.

4.

Richard Cheese really only has one gag – to take pop songs and re-work them into cheesy lounge-style classics – but from time to time he can hit on something giddily transcendent. So it is with his take on Copacobana as a ditty about the Mos Eisley Cantina. Han Solo really does have a smile 12 parsecs wide.

3.

Movie trailers these days are more likely than not to give away, if not simply the entire plot of a film, than certainly All Of The Best Bits. Trailers aren’t cut the way they used to be – evocative, thoughtful, teasing glimpses of What A Film May Be. The 1977 Star Wars trailer is absolutely tantalising. Ace score, too.

2.

“What am I supposed to do – stash her in some itty bitty hole up there in Nigger Town and go sneaking up there at night?” James Earl Jones has one of the most distinctive voices in film and theatre. Darth Vader’s mouth doesn’t move. So it’s a stroke of simple, ineluctable genius to re-dub Darth Vader with some of the choicest quotes from Earl Jones’ celluloid back catalogue. The result? The badassest Vader in town.

1. Star Wars Prequels

The grand-daddy of all Star Wars-related internet videos. Red Letter Media eviscerate that which most deserves scorn in popular culture (their assessment of Prometheus recently was a thing of simple beauty) with penetrating insight and the slavish devotion of a true geek. In a series of three feature-length videos, one for each of the films, they ruthlessly and ever-so-accurately rip apart the atrocities that were the Star Wars Prequels. Considerably more entertaining than watching the films themselves.

Women in Horror: Berberian Sound Studio vs V.H.S.

An incidental happenstance of watching so many films in a short period of time, as I am at the Edinburgh International Film Festival, is that films with quite disparate aesthetics and subject matter start to echo. The viewing of one film informs another. So it is in the case of Berberian Sound Studio, for which my love is well-documented, and V.H.S. The former is a sleek fugue of a film about Gilderoy, a sound designer losing his grip as he creates the sound-mix for an Italian exploitation horror in the 1970s. The latter is a crass American enterprise, a horror anthology, set in the modern day. But both are about men who film women, and how they hurt them. Continue reading