MARVEL CINEMATIC UNIVERSE THE RETURN OF ASH DOWNLOAD 2018
VULTUREHOUND JULY 2018 | ISSUE 21 | VULTUREHOUND.COM
YOU ME AT SIX CAST OF GOTHAM WE ARE SCIENTISTS
I O B R E P A P 'S TA N A L S T E A ID BLACK VEIL BR
REVIEWS: INCREDIBLES 2, JURASSIC WORLD: FALLEN KINGDOM, PATRICK MELROSE
issue of VultureHound. We’ve blockbusters galore; with Incredibles 2, Solo, Marvel and
Jurassic Park all reviewed. Summer means blockbusters, and it also means it’s time for festivals. We’ve just got back from Download Festival and have included our chat with Black Veil Bride’s Ashley Purdy and a look at Ozzy’s set with more at VultureHound. com This issue’s cover star is Asking Alexandria frontman Danny Worsnop who told us what’s next for the band,what’s on his bucket list and why
elcome to the latest
Frank Turner | PHOTO: Vicki Bailey
WELCOME FROM EDITOR
he dropped ‘Not the American Average’, We also got the chance to chat with WWE legend and COO Triple H, Atlanta star Brian Tyree Henry and returning band, Ash, There’s also more previews, reviews,
More live reviews and photos at vulturehound.com
features, opinions and DUMBO.
David Garlick (@davidgarlick)
Daily updates from VultureHound.co.uk Copyright 2018 VultureHound Magazine. All rights reserved. No part of this magazine may be reproduced without the written consent of VultureHound Magazine. Requests for permission should be directed to: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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JULY 2018 VULTUREHOUND 03
ARE WE DONE WITH
04 VULTUREHOUND JULY 2018
WORDS: JAMES TOAL | PHOTOS:NETFLIX
ow here’s the story about
season, but also adding more such as the
stress of a Bluth family life. But much like
a family and the one
family coming back to help Lindsey Bluth
the fans, we’re drawn back to see what
streaming service that tried
run for office.
can be done to fix everything. If there are
to keep it all together, yep it’s Arrested Development.
still motivations to make a film (which In a way, we should’ve all seen the reaction
also has been speculated about happening
The newest season had finally dropped,
coming. Season four was notoriously
soon) if the fans weren’t satisfied with
fans had been anticipating it for years,
shunned as the black sheep of the show
how the previous seasons were in terms
the moment arrived and the reaction was
for messing with the structure of episodes
of consistency in quality, then how do we
shoulder shruggingly average. It feels
and focusing on one character on each
expect them to make a satisfying feature-
like the idea of a new season of Arrested
entry. Sadly now in the Netflix era of the
Development was what people were
show, there aren’t as many memorable
actually excited over, not expecting a new
jokes or moments that stick in your head.
Let’s hope that we don’t have to wait and
one to materialise. Season five carries
The show had a decent ending in season
see what happens on the next Arrested
on the ‘whodunnit’ mystery regarding
three with Michael Bluth and his son
the Lucille Austero cliff hanger from last
sailing off into the sunset, escaping the
JULY 2018 VULTUREHOUND 05
As season four of the hugely successful Batman prequel, Gotham, comes to a close, we caught up with cast members
WORDS: GRAE WESTGATE
GOTHAM DAVID MAZOUZ, ROBIN LORD TAYLOR, CORY MICHAEL SMITH + DREW POWELL 06 VULTUREHOUND JULY 2018
s season four of the hugely successful Batman prequel, Gotham, comes to a close, we caught up with cast members David Mazouz, Robin Lord Taylor, Cory Michael Smith and Drew Powell as they took some well-earned time out from the madness of this year’s Heroes & Villains Fan Fest to talk about life after death, crazy cliffhangers, and the pressures of being an icon…
It must have been a huge pressure bringing these iconic characters to the screen, especially for you, David. How do you deal with people’s expectations of what and who these characters should be?
ROBIN LORD TAYLOR
David: I think there’s a tendency to go towards them just existing in the show, especially for me, where I forget that this character has existed outside of myself for seventy-five years. And that’s something that I think is really important to keep reminding myself of. I think it’s dangerous to not remember that. I had one fan say that she was never really a fan of Batman before the show, but then she started watching Gotham, and it didn’t feel like the same stories being told over and over again; it felt like a new, slightly outside of the canon, universe, and that’s why she liked it. She didn’t know what was gonna happen. Gotham has killed characters that are supposed to exist later on, and it has made relationships that would never be possible with most of the comic book storylines. With that kind of unexpectedness, there are some liberties that we should take as actors. But it is also important to keep in mind what we’re eventually leading to. Especially with my character! It’s important to remember that this character, I think, will eventually become Batman and I can’t ever stray toooo far from that. Cory: I’ve always thought that this is like nature vs nurture. There’s a DNA to the character that you can start with, but once the show starts happening, the environment that you’re in as a character and as an actor contributes to what happens to the character. You have to allow yourself to be influenced by the environment that the writers and the creators are throwing at you. So, you’re kind of growing in that. Whatever becomes of it may not be the version that everyone recognises, or may not even be someone’s favourite, but it is the version that has organically grown in this world that we’ve created. For better or worse. And maybe people will say “this is my favourite version”, because the circumstances that these writers presented, and the environment in which this person has
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"MAYBE PEOPLE WILL SAY THIS IS MY FAVOURITE VERSION" grown, has been so exciting.
Drew, did you know that Butch was gonna turn out to be Solomon Grundy from the get go? Drew: I didn’t! (laughs) I did not! Cory: Tricked ya! Drew: Yeah! Well, in season two, and this is the truth, we went to McDonalds, and my son wanted a Happy Meal. They were promoting the Batman animated series, and so in his Happy Meal, he got a Solomon Grundy doll. And I thought “Hmmm… A character that you can’t kill? That sounds good!” As that season started, I’ll never forget, we were shooting at that bank in the Bronx, that scene where the Red Hood Gang shoots off the head of that statue of Oswald’s mother…
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CORY MICHAEL SMITH
Cory: On a ninety-five-degree day, with no shade… Drew: Exactly! And Bruno (Heller) was there and I said something like “You know, Butch would be a perfect Solomon Grundy…” And he gave me this look and never mentioned it again. Another season and a half go by and I got a call, right before the end of season three, and he says “The bad news is, you’re getting shot in the head. The good news is, you’re coming back as Solomon Grundy!” So that was very exciting news for me. It was really fun. I didn’t appreciate what it meant to be a cannon character before that point. These guys, I was watching them and seeing what a great job they were doing of making it their own but still respecting it, so I wanted to do the same thing.
Robin and Drew, you guys started out together right
at the very beginning of the show. How did it feel mirroring that in the season four finale? Robin: Heartbreaking! The hardest thing for me doing this job is killing off other actors. As someone who has struggled for many years getting a regular gig on anything, I take that so seriously. Y’know, since I died in The Walking Dead… So, yeah, I don’t take it lightly. And the fact that it’s Drew, who’s become like a brother to me, it was one of the most difficult days I’ve had. Drew: I think there’s some nice symmetry to starting and ending with Robin. I’ll never forget sitting at that Russian restaurant that was playing a German Benny Hill type of show, with Euro-techno playing. It was freezing cold and we were outside. We met each other for the first time. I met his husband Dickie that day, and Jada (Pinkett Smith) was there, and this poor guy was getting hit over and over and landing in this puddle… There was all this stuff happening… There’s a line from that scene that I love, which is “How do you like Gotham so far?” And that was kind of it! We didn’t know!! And then you get to the end, and it was fitting that Robin was there again. I don’t know about this guy (indicating David), I’ve never worked with this guy! Cory and I have had some lovely stuff this year, but I’ll never forget that scene with Jessica (Lucas), and Robin and I. You never want the job to end. You know it’s going to eventually, but you never want to be the first guy out! There was a lovely sense of closure. Everyone’s like “maybe you’ll be back in
season five!” and maybe I will; it’s Gotham! But if not, I feel like it was a nice ending, and that we closed it off in a nice way. Butch was the unexpected heart in the show. The lover. You didn’t expect him to have that moment with Tabitha and finish it that way. It’s great for Penguin too. Robin: The thing I love most about that scene is that Penguin is sincerely mourning the loss of his friend. He didn’t kill him because of anything that Butch had done, or even seeing him as a threat to him. He did it only to punish Tabitha. So, when he does it, it isn’t the old standard Penguin menace, it’s a broken heart. Ultimately that really reflects the theme of the show, and how Gotham City drums it out of everybody.
How much warning do you get for big plots like that? Cory: Well, they send out outlines to us so that we know what’s going on, but sometimes I won’t read them until the actual script comes out. David: When I get the script, I always read the last page first, because I just love Gotham’s cliffhangers! I think every week we have great cliffhangers. I love being the first to know, and then I love reading up to that moment. Cory: So, wait… You read the stabbing of Alfred first? David: Yup! Every episode I read the end first! Drew: That certainly colours the way you read the rest of the script!
Drew, you mentioned that you never really got to work with David, and indeed, we’ve not had so much of Bruce interacting with many of the villains, so how was it shooting the dream sequence near the end of season four when we finally got a glimpse into everyone’s futures?
"WHEN I GET THE SCRIPT, I ALWAYS READ THE LAST PAGE FIRST, BECAUSE I JUST LOVE GOTHAM’S CLIFFHANGERS"
Robin: There was a live chicken! In Donal Logue’s arms! He was so kind and gentle! A beautiful thing to see!
had a really great time!
David: It was really fun! It wasn’t just that we were all together, we had really fun costumes, and because it was a dream sequence, we could do whatever we want! You just go as far out as you want! I
David: Yeah! He’s not only Batman, he’s also a prophet!
Robin: And who knew Bruce Wayne was psychic?
JULY 2018 VULTUREHOUND 09
PHOTO: MATT EACHUS | WORDS: ELIZABETH BIRT
10 VULTUREHOUND JULY 2018
ownload Festival 2018 continued where it left off in 2017, with a weekend of (mostly) sun, good fun and brilliant music. From the likes of main stage openers Boston Manor to Sunday night headliner Ozzy Osbourne, there truly was something for everyone. Main Stage saw a few technical issues throughout the weekend but still played host to dozens of brilliant sets, however, it was the smaller stages that caught the eye of many, with stand out sets from Zippo
Encore Stage Saturday headliners Parkway Drive, who brought the pyrotechnics, fireworks and an energetic set, while the Dogtooth Stage hosted the Friday highlights (although shout out again to Main Stage openers Boston Manor who were incredible) in Blessthefallâ€™s incredibly tight and playful set as well as a superb performance by headliners TesseracT. Best set honours for Sunday had to go to In This Moment and Meshuggah, both of whom captivated the crowd in their own unique way. Much the same from God Of Filth Marilyn Manson, who, with the exception of missing out a couple of his best known hits, provided a brilliant set, showing that he is truly in some of the best form of his career, albeit looking quite uncomfortable in the blazing heat of Sunday evening.
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WORDS: KITTY HEARSE / RAI JAYNE HEARSE
WE SPOKE WITH THE ASKING ALEXANDRIA FRONTMAN
DANNY WORSNOP 12 VULTUREHOUND JULY 2018
e managed to catch some time with Asking Alexandria frontman Danny Worsnop whilst he was in London for a special one off solo show last month. We tried to bribe him to do the interview with the promise of buying steak and Tequila, two of his favourite treats, but he quickly pointed out that it wasn’t possible to send them through the phone…damn, he’s smart. Luckily for us he was still up for the interview anyway, and Rai got to chat to him about AA’s latest eponymous album, their recent Resurrection Tour, Sin City inspired music videos, and what it’s like trying to get through customs with an axe in your bag…
The video for ‘Into the Fire’ was really powerful and moving so could you tell us a little bit about the process of creating it? That, along with everything about that album was us wanting to make a point that we were doing everything ourselves, we were writing everything ourselves, we were coming up with everything ourselves, whereas in the past there have been times where the label or the director have written the video. But this album we wanted to do something different so it was Ben (Bruce)
and I on the phone going over different ideas, figuring out a concept and that one came from a standalone concept that Ben had had but was going to cost us close to a million dollars to film. So it was just slowly figuring out ways to cut that cost down and not have to buy a Bentley and a Rolls Royce and a Lamborghini and crash them all, which was the original concept. And yeah, we gradually brought it down and it was ‘Okay, what if we shoot on green screen?’ But we didn’t want it to look shitty so we figured if we’re going to shoot on green screen we want it to look like green screen and I’ve always been a Robert Rodriguez fan and a fan of Sin City so that was kind of a natural move for us to be like ‘Okay, lets pull influence from there and create our own universe styled off that.’ So that was the idea.
We saw that you were retiring ‘Not the American Average’ from live shows, was there anything in particular that led to that decision? Yeah, it’s 2018 and everyone’s a snowflake. I wanted to get ahead of the curve and there would reach a time when, if I hadn’t retired it, it would reach a time where people were trying to force us to retire it because it’s ‘sexist and misogynistic’. But I mean, yeah, a seventeen year old wrote it, of course it is. I can’t sit and explain the context of the song to every single person every single time I play it. I can’t tell the entire backstory of what that song is about and why, in the context of who it’s written about. I just wanted to get ahead of that and just rip the band
JULY 2018 VULTUREHOUND 13
aid off and be like ‘okay, we’re not going to get in trouble for this, we’ll stop before it’s a problem.’ That and the fact that I fucking hate singing that song, it’s been ten years, I’m over it.
What has been the highlight of The Resurrection Tour for you? Ooh, that’s a good question. I don’t know. I mean touring’s different for us now, I wake up and work out a bit and then I sit in the dressing room and do emails all day, then I play a show and then I go to bed. So there’s no stand out things that happen, we have a routine, it’s a job. I’m running fourteen businesses and yeah I’m in a different city everyday but I’m still just glued to a computer or a phone.
So what’s next for Asking Alexandria then? 14 VULTUREHOUND JULY 2018
Second leg of The Resurrection Tour. I think we’re wrapping at the end of July then we’re going to do, I think, January and February and maybe March of next year I think and then that’s it. Then we’re going to start thinking about new music and figuring out what the next step is. We’ve got a couple of different ideas. I mean, I’ve been saying for five or six years now that the concept of an album is dying - well, I think it’s dead and people haven’t realised it yet. So depending on politically and business-wise what happens in the next six months, we might not do another album and we might just start releasing singles every month and kind of tackle it that way. It would allow us to take on very interesting opportunities touringwise in that we don’t necessarily go out for a month or two months or three months touring, we go out for
like a week and then we hang out at home for a month, then we go out for another week – all year round. I’d like to get to a point where we just play Friday and Saturday – we flight out somewhere, play Friday, fly somewhere, play Saturday, fly home. I mean everyone has families, Ben has kids and I think everyone else is following very closely and no one wants to miss their children growing up and miss having a life with their wives. So if we can get to that point where we can do that it allows us to tour all year round and also have a home life.
So what’s left on your personal bucket list? That’s very long. Most of it is business or fiscal things, I mean, I’m working on a couple of things right now. We’re buying a couple of
“THE CONCEPT OF AN ALBUM IS DYING I THINK IT’S DEAD AND PEOPLE HAVEN’T REALISED IT YET.” resorts in Mexico right now and I want to start building some really cool extension stuff onto there and make the hotels bigger and build some really cool recording studios around the world for people to experience a different side of making music. I want to get to travel more. At the end of last year I got rid of my house and all my cars and gave away all of my stuff and I moved into a backpack with the mindset of I’m just going to travel and explore and do things. I love the outdoors, I enjoy going out and just letting the universe guide me a little bit. I’m working on a TV show that’s loosely based around that, me and a couple of my buddies will just take out bikes, or take out horses, or take out a helicopter and bring a couple of guns with us and just live off the land for a week or two.
So, what’s it like trying to get through airport security with an axe? [laughing] Interesting. They (customs officers) weren’t huge fans of it. I’d had some celebratory drinks the night before from a deal I’d made and I guess I packed it in the wrong
bag and I put it in my carry-on. I mean I just kind of said to the guy ‘Listen, take it. I had some drinks last night and clearly I’ve packed the wrong thing. Just take it.’ And he just shook his head and walked away. I have problems all the time, I travel with ammunition and various weapons a lot so every now and again something gets put in the wrong bag and you’ve just got to suck it up and be like ‘Well, that’s not mine anymore.’
I’ve just one last question for you and we asked James this question when we interviewed him back in December so it will be interesting to get your answer. Which member of Asking would definitely NOT survive the zombie apocalypse? Oh, Cameron.
Yeah, I mean I’m armed to the teeth and trained to kill things so I feel like I’m good. James isn’t a bad shot, he doesn’t have any weapons but he can use them. Cameron’s not a bad shot either but he wouldn’t know where to find a gun and I don’t think he could wield anything sharp. Yeah, I think it would be me, James… see, I don’t know how Sam’d do. Sam’s never touched a weapon of any sort before so I’m not sure… well actually no, he touched a butterfly knife once and cut his hand up. But I think it would go me, James, Cam because he has some experience with weapons, Sam, Ben. Ben’s going first.
Well Ben, I guess that’s two out of five so far that agree you’re going to be eaten by zombies first. The band’s latest eponymous album, Asking Alexandria is out now.
Why? Because he’s a little spaghetti man. But also, Ben wouldn’t either.
Ben was James’ answer. JULY 2018 VULTUREHOUND 15
fear the walking dead
IT TOOK A LONG TIME FOR FEAR THE WALKING DEAD TO GET GOING...
FOUR REASONS WHY FEAR THE WALKING DEAD IS NOW BETTER THAN THE WALKING DEAD
16 VULTUREHOUND JULY 2018
WORDS: MATT CLEMENS | PHOTOS: AMC
t took a long time for Fear the Walking Dead to get going. Three whole seasons to be precise.
The first season held the promise of an absorbing origin story, giving viewers a front row seat to the start of the zombie apocalypse in an entirely different location (albeit still in America), and boy were we excited! Unfortunately, the reality was six protracted episodes that were about as fast paced as a herd of zombies with elephants chained to their backs.
behaviours of lead characters often coming across as contrived, lazily derived for plots that never really went anywhere. Worst of all – contrary to the name of the show – there was nothing particularly fearful about Fear the Walking Dead. It was that feeling that made me think it was perhaps time to cut my losses. Miraculously though, things changed. Right from episode one of season three, the pace became immediately more electric, delivering more shock, horror and intrigue in 40 minutes than seasons one and two combined. Once again, the universe and character list expanded, but this time the additions felt like they actually mattered and the narrative felt more consistent – but most importantly, more fun!
Still, ever the completionist, I persevered. Season two plodded along in much the same fashion, with the additions of an expanded universe and a host of new characters. The first half of the season had its moments (namely the intrigue of zombies at sea and post-apocalyptic piracy), but pacing remained an issue, particularly with the splitting of the groups, and the show frequently lost momentum as a result.
THREE WHOLE SEASONS TO BE PRECISE.
The second half of season two improved and the decision to base the story in one location (Mexico) helped settle the story. The drama intensified. The characters started to become more flawed and therefore more interesting, and generally, the show started to make you care. But problems remained. All conflicts and villains that could have been potentially interesting were dealt with far too quickly – rather unlike The Walking Dead, which flounders on the same storylines for too long. The writing was at times nonsensical, with some of the decisions and
With season four now in its stride and the improvements continuing, the question must be begged – is Fear the Walking Dead now better than TWD? I’ve been a dedicated Walking Dead fan since the show’s inception but things have been going down hill for a while, mainly due to the Negan arc. Sure, it was good to begin with. The tense introduction of Jeffrey Dean Morgan, the chilling sound of the whistling saviours, the masterful small screen adaptation of Glenn’s demise. It was all good stuff. But it was dragged along too long for its own good and in the process, TWD lost its mojo. With the season eight finale receiving the lowest ever viewer figures for an end of season episode, I’m clearly not alone. Of course, things might improve, especially if the Whisperers storyline plays out in season nine. But even so, I can’t help but feel that the show has left its best days behind it. Arguably then, Fear the Walking Dead is currently the superior show. Here’s more on why:
JULY 2018 VULTUREHOUND 17
fear the walking dead
THE ZOMBIES ARE A THREAT AGAIN At the start of the Walking Dead, the ‘walkers’ were the scariest thing that plagued Rick and his merry band of survivors. Of course, as the show evolved, you came across characters like Merle and the Governor who caused havoc and added a human threat in-between, but walkers were always the primary concern. In recent seasons, the zombies have played second fiddle and often felt like a nuisance that could be easily dealt with by everyone. They don’t pose any real danger anymore, except to nameless extras you have no emotional
18 VULTUREHOUND JULY 2018
attachment to. This means there is no longer any tension when it comes to the walkers. “But hang on,” you ask. “Isn’t this a show about terrifying flesh-eating zombies who’ll just as likely eat your nose as they will your delicious thighs?” The answer is yes, but you wouldn’t know it.
IT LOOKS BETTER
In Fear the Walking Dead, the zombies are back on the table. Sure, there is human conflict. But the walkers feel like the main threat again, providing some of the most terrifying encounters (and deaths) in either series and adding the painful ‘cover your face with a cushion’ tension back into the equation. Long live Fear the Walking Dead.
In contrast, Fear the Walking Dead makes use of cinematography and diverse locations that feel far more cinematic – just look at those beautiful sequences on the dam or at the ranch in season three. Admittedly, it’s the zombie apocalypse, so the visual aesthetic set by the Walking Dead feels appropriate and tonally consistent with its apocalyptic narrative, but it’s refreshing to see the end of the world as we know it through a more picturesque lens.
The Walking Dead has never moved location unlike its younger sibling. This results in a very drab and static colour palette, with locations that are painfully similar and often bland.
IT’S ORIGINAL One of the issues plaguing the Walking Dead is that it is inextricably linked with its source material, which means that followers of the comic and TV show more or less know where things are going at all times. Of course, as we saw with the demise of Carl in season eight, things don’t always play out the same way as they do in the comic, but from a wider perspective, this is an issue that Fear the Walking Dead will never have. It’s completely original storytelling, meaning there are infinite possibilities for the show to always surprise, shock and upset. Fear of the unknown is a powerful device when it comes to storytelling and Fear the Walking Dead really stands to benefit.
THE CHARACTERS ARE MORE BELIEVABLE A possible criticism of the Walking Dead is that its characters often feel far-fetched, almost to the point that they become caricatures – especially Negan, but equally characters like Merle, Daryl and Michonne. Even Rick has made decisions in recent seasons that feel both inconsistent with his character and hard to swallow. Again, given that the Walking Dead is based on a comic book that depicts gruesome and over the top horror action, it’s understandable why the TV show has such a fantastical tone. In comparison, the characters in Fear the Walking Dead feel far more real. For one, they aren’t categorised into
‘good’ and ‘evil’ like they are in TWD. Madison, Nick and Alicia have all done bad things, sure. This is a terrifying new world where unforgivable actions are necessary. But there is a far greater degree of ambiguity as to whether these actions make them good or bad people. They are merely acting in the way they think is best for their family. Even objectively evil characters such as Troy (introduced in season three) are given an origin that contextualises why they behave the way they do, and why these behaviours might be exacerbated in a zombie apocalypse. This adds a level of intrigue and believability that really makes this show stand out. And it is a key reason as to why Fear the Walking Dead is on top right now.
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WORDS: CHRIS SHORTT | PHOTOS: DISNEY
JUST ANOTHER STAR WARS STORY?
olo: A Star Wars Story has the unenviable task of telling the backstory of one of cinema’s most beloved characters. As demonstrated by the prequels, this is dangerous territory to wander into – but the signs up to now have been promising (if you can gloss over the firing of its two directors just under a year ago). In an era filled with prequels, franchises and origin stories, it’s easy to overlook Solo as just another Star Wars story – there’s one every year now, after all. But does this space Western promise something more?
04 20 VULTUREHOUND DECEMBER JULY 2018 2017
THE BACKGROUND When Disney first announced their colossal financial takeover of Lucasfilm, the most anticipated of the news to come from this was, incredibly, not the sequel trilogy. This isn’t to say fans weren’t licking their lips at the prospect of revisiting their favourite heroes from the original trilogy of ’7783 (they were). Yet, after the bad taste left by the divisive prequels, it was a different announcement that really caught everyone’s attention. This was the news that, in between releases of episodes VII-IX, Disney would release stand-alone films –
anthology films, that would explore different aspects of the Star Wars universe. Predictably, this led to a myriad of speculation, wishes and expectations from the Star Wars faithful. Which stories would these new films tell? Would there really be more prequels? Released back in December 2016, the first anthology film – Rogue One – was largely well-received. The subject matter was perhaps a little safe, given the significance of the Death Star to the Skywalker saga, but the film still managed to carve out its own standing in the franchise – due to its adoption of the war genre.
THE SOLO STORY If Rogue One at times veered a little too close to home, a Han Solo origin story is already sat on your couch with its feet up. This is Han Solo, after all – one of the most iconic and beloved figures of not only Star Wars, but popular culture entirely. Yet, most of his success is largely down to Harrison Ford – an actor who, despite making a resurgence of late with reprisals in both Star Wars: The Force Awakens and Blade Runner 2049 (with Indiana Jones 5 to arrive in 2019), will not be returning in this particular outing. Instead, the mantle falls to 28-yearold Alden Ehrenreich – an indiedarling turned breakout star, after his show-stealing turn in the Coen brothers’ otherwise muddled satire Hail, Caesar!. Replacing Harrison Ford is perhaps the most unenviable task in all of cinema, and Ehrenreich knows he’s got his plate full. Relievedly, he’s openly discussed the challenge he faced, and the overarching message seems to be that Ehrenreich isn’t emulating Ford – rather, attempting his own spin on a character vastly different from the finished product we saw in ’77. Indeed, Solo takes place years before the events of Star Wars – a Han that isn’t quite the hardened cynic that we know so well. This is a younger Han, one that Ehrenreich has described as an “idealist” – though you can be certain he’s still got the charming bravura and suavity of Ford’s older incarnation. Joining Ehrenreich’s Solo is probably the film’s most exciting component – Donald Glover’s take
on Lando Calrissian. Glover is not one to hide his zeal for pop culture, and his affinity for Star Wars has been long known – evidenced through his acting/writing for the TV sitcom Community, but also the ‘geek rap’ released under his musical alter-ego, Childish Gambino. A jack of all trades, certainly, but perhaps even a master of them too. Still, portraying Lando could be seen as his biggest challenge yet. Due to the somewhat unpredictability of Glover’s creative output, we’ve always been very much playing his game – not knowing what to expect (or when to expect it). With Solo, however, Glover perhaps faces, for the first time, a pre-existing set of constraints. Not rules, as such, given this Lando will be as similarly nascent as Ehrenreich’s Han – and so is afforded at least some artistic distinction. Still, the early signs are extremely promising – Glover certainly looks the part, and he’s got the necessary charisma and presence to rival Billy Dee Williams’ original Lando. Based on excitement alone, Solo owes a lot to the involvement of Glover.
THE RESHOOTS Much like Rogue One, the development of Solo was plagued with rumours over suspected reshoots – with the head honchos over at Lucasfilm apparently not pleased with their respective directors’ creative visions. With Rogue One, Gareth Edwards still ended up with a directing credit – but speculation still rages over the level of involvement of screenwriter Tony Gilroy. Solo took it one further, with the firing of Phil Lord and Christopher Miller (the comedy pair behind 21 Jump Street and The LEGO Movie) over “creative differences” – instead hiring Lucasfilm veteran Ron Howard. After making his name in the George Lucas hit American Graffiti, Howard continued his relationship with Lucasfilm by directing the Warwick Davis-led fantasy, Willow – and has since been seen as a skilled pair of hands behind the camera (if a little on the safe side). A self-confessed Star Wars enthusiast, Howard seems an appropriate choice to helm a Han Solo film in his own right. The issue is, however, that this isn’t quite his own right – indeed, reports suggest
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the Solo script remained unaltered during the directorial change, and so the questions remain as to how much of an influence Howard has even been allowed to exert here. Besides the two directors, one of the other major casualties of the decision is that of the principal villain. Michael K. Williams (The Wire) was originally slated to play the crime lord (and quintessentially Star Wars-titled) Dryden Vos. Due to scheduling conflicts, Williams had to be replaced by Paul Bettany (Avengers: Infinity War) – with crime lord Vos in the process transforming from a half-mountain lion to a mere scarred human. Upsetting, without doubt, but if Bettany’s Vision is any indication, you can be sure Solo’s villain will be one to remember.
NEVER TELL HIM THE ODDS It’s extremely rare for a Star Wars film to have such an underwhelming marketing run, with anticipation for Solo arguably the lowest it’s been since Revenge of the Sith.
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Faced with warning signs like these, it’s easy to overlook all the promising work that’s already been done on Solo. Despite the host of changes ushered in by the reshoots, screenwriter Lawrence Kasdan was among those to remain on-board. Co-writer of both The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi back in the ‘80s, Kasdan returned to the franchise in 2015 for The Force Awakens. As critically acclaimed and recordbreaking at the box-office as it was, J.J. Abrams’ episode VII was levelled with being too derivative of the original film. And while this criticism has some merits and some flaws (most of its detractors seem to forget that it’s a Star Wars film, after all) the film’s writing is definitely one of its strengths. Like Abrams’ direction, Kasdan’s history and affinity for the franchise just bleeds onto the screen – you feel like these guys were there watching the VHS boxset in your living room with you. In addition to the aforementioned casting of Ehrenreich, Glover and Bettany, Solo also treats us to the
introduction of Woody Harrelson and Daenerys herself, Emilia Clarke, to the Star Wars universe. Clarke plays one of Han’s oldest friends (and probable love interest, sorry Leia) while Harrelson is his pirateinspired mentor. There’s undoubtedly a lot to look forward to that will excite fans, with Glover’s Lando certain to make instant waves. Ultimately, we’re still dealing with an origin story, which history tells us never quite work. Disney’s sequel trilogy has excelled thus far in winning back those let down by Episodes I-III, but it’s in their spin-off entries that the franchise is in serious danger of appearing jet-lagged. Given the staggeringly rich potential presented by the Star Wars universe, is another prequel really what we need? It seems a waste, and an unnecessary risk to take. One thing’s for sure: the odds are well and truly stacked against Han for this one – just make sure you don’t tell him. Solo: A Star Wars Story is in cinemas now.
WORDS: CALLUM COOMBE | PHOTOS: DISNEY
ILERS INCLUDES SPOLUKE
: S E O R E H R U O Y T E E NEVER M
fter seeing Star Wars: The Last Jedi back in December, which was, to my mind, one of the best Star Wars films in recent years, it inspired me to comprehend the nature of change in our cinematic heroes, and how this change affects and colours our views of them. Most of the controversy surrounding The Last Jedi centred on the depiction of Luke Skywalker and his apparent extreme change of personality; indeed, there was even a Twitter movement, heralded by an interview with Mark Hamill in which he said that this iteration of Luke wasn’t “his”. But what engenders change in protagonists though? And more importantly, do we need it?
ON THE NATURE OF CHANGING CINEMATIC HEROES THROUGH THE LENS OF LUKE SKYWALKER
First off, it’s imperative to understand that change is life’s big catalyst. It drives everything we do, everything we see, and everything we understand. Death is fuelled by change, as is life; love and hate react to it, as do male and female, and so on, all the way down to the concept of plurality itself. If there was no change, there could be no life itself, for evolution itself grasps its own existence from the very notion of change; no evolution, no us. But when we are talking about fictional characters in fictional situations, displayed and paraded through thousands of years of myths, legends, tales, novels, poems, and now most recently film and video games, there is a marked change in the way we intercept and interpret these changes. In literature, it is easier to accept changing characters: we spend every page with our literary
heroes, with no breaks, even when there is a time jump or break in the narrative, there is far more time to spend with characters like Victor Frankenstein, Heathcliff, or Lizzy Bennett. With film protagonists this is a little trickier; we only have two hours (or three maximum) with which to acquaint ourselves with our heroes, and further complications like sequels and the time between films helps to make them more complex. The answer as to why cinematic heroes change is therefore simple: because life goes on. In The Last Jedi Luke exhibits changes in character we didn’t experience in the previous films he was in; he’s grumpy, disillusioned, broken, and flippant, not caring who or what Rey is or what she represents, and definitely not caring about the progress the First Order has made in conquering the galaxy. Compared with his original trilogy
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LUKE evolution from of a plucky young pilot who destroyed the Empire’s greatest weapon in A New Hope (1977), to a cocky, arrogant, and ultimately defeated young man in The Empire Strikes Back (1980) and ultimately, the confident, intelligent, and compassionate Jedi we see in Return of the Jedi (1983), this latest change can be quite hard to digest at first. But after I’d read all the vitriol and poison on the internet about how this film had ruined lives, and how people were finally ‘done’ with Star Wars now (how many times I’ve heard that statement is beyond me, but that is a rant for another time), I came to realise a fundamental truth about his change: that it was one hundred per cent, twenty four carat necessity. Of course he has changed, why wouldn’t he have? Over thirty years have passed since Return of the Jedi and what did we expect Luke to be like? Still dressed in black, mourning the death of his father and dancing with Ewoks? No, and the reason this is so is down to the notion of change itself: cycle. In all heroic journeys throughout history and culture, the one thing that defines a hero is his journey’s effect on him (or her) and the cycle of events that precede, travel with him, and ultimately shape him long after the journey ends. Mythographer Joseph Campbell called this hero’s journey the Monomyth in his 1949 study The Hero With a Thousand Faces, showing that just one such mythic journey can be seen in literature and mythology the world over for the plain and simple fact that it is universal, its themes primordial. Most humans dream of being more than they can be, of being
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heroic, saving our home and our friends and family, and defeating evil to return home to those we love. Notice something familiar about this heroic journey with regards to Luke? It was indeed this very structure that George Lucas intentionally and deliberately used when creating the world of Star Wars (Lucas was in fact a student of Campbell, so his use of the professor’s work is of little surprise), and one that still functions as a road map when applied to any film with a relatively heroic journey. It can even be flipped to serve as a formula for a villain’s journey, if indeed they did start out as a hero at some point. The point is that journeys engender change; change that is so wideranging and far-reaching that there is literally no way it couldn’t affect its protagonists. In the world of Star Wars this change is evident in each trilogy: in the original trilogy it is Luke’s journey; in the prequels, his father’s; and in this new trilogy, it is most certainly Rey’s. Each journey counterpoints another: Anakin made the fatal mistake of trusting the wrong person and betraying his friends and loved ones; Luke avoids this through his tutelage from Obi-Wan and Yoda and his final overcoming of his father and the Emperor; and Rey must avoid the mistakes Luke made in the establishment of his new Jedi order. Each trilogy is about the re-allocation of archetype and role, and it is here that I made my mind up about what they were trying to do with Luke: he has ascended to the role of Obi-Wan. It is the only logical direction in which his character could have gone, given the circumstances. Yes
we could have had a badass scene where Luke faces off against Kylo Ren and beats him, all the while destroying every vehicle the First Order has, but, other than looking cool, what purpose would this have served? Ultimately it would have been what everyone wished for, but it wasn’t what we needed. It would have ignored change. With his reserved and gruff appearance, and his ability to bend the truth, Luke has become what he initially encountered at the start of his journey all those years ago: the master. In sacrificing himself for his friends at the end of the film via his force projection, Luke repeats what his old master did back on the first Death Star, and saw that the greater good relies
RE TE UN CO EN Y LL IA IT IN HE T HA W E M CO BE S LUKE HA
AGO: S AR YE E OS TH L AL Y NE UR JO S HI OF T AR ST AT THE
on but a few individuals to change things, and not on the words and deeds of one old man. I think ultimately this is why protagonists who are under the wing of a mentor, often older or wiser, always feel distanced from them, apart from their knowledge and experience. They feel there is too much difference between them to ever consider they could be like them; the same is true of tragic villains, who feel the one they are corrupted by could never one day be them, until it is. This is the important role change plays in the nature of protagonists all across the film spectrum, not just in Star Wars; I only chose Star Wars because it was in this film that my mind stumbled upon its justifications for these changes.
Ultimately, they can be applied to any film franchise: Harry Potter changes dramatically throughout his seven year life at Hogwarts; Indiana Jones became his father in the fourth installment, made nearly twenty years later; even our Marvel and DC superheroes are governed by the changes their characters engender and the situations they deal with. I think the best way to end this brief foray into change in protagonists is to go back to The Last Jedi, to the scene where Luke encounters Yoda’s ghost after trying to destroy all the ancient Jedi texts. After Luke admits he has failed Rey and that he could never hope to get her back, Yoda hits us all with the emotional bombshell that defines any protagonist/
mentor relationship, and defines the change from a character’s original state to their current one: “We are what they grow beyond. That is the true burden of all masters.” Luke and Yoda are the end of every journey of change we take, or should endeavour to take, old age and wisdom left in the open, exposed for all to see. So, is The Last Jedi representative of the real image of change in our lives? And does it communicate the idea that not only can our favourite protagonists change and remain relatable, but that they should as well? Absolutely; it is what all film can and should do. Star Wars: The Last Jedi is available on DVD, Blu-Ray and Digital Download.
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BLACK VEIL BRIDES
WORDS: LAVIEA THOMAS | PHOTO: SARAH KOURY
We caught up with Black Veil Brides bassist Ashley Purdy for a quick chat about Download Festival and their latest festival
BLACK VEIL BRIDES
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QUICK CHAT Can you describe the evolution of Black Veil Brides in 3 words. Naïve, Hungry and Epic
What's your favourite BVB album so far? Set the World, definitely for me. Only because, that record was the first time that the band itself had self-wrote an entire record. Labels tend to want you to do work with other writers and stuff, but I feel like this is the most successful one. Not by the number of units sold, but just by the songs that were written. We still go back from top to bottom and listen to every song, like with some records you think, ‘Meh, that song whatever,’ but that record in particular we just love every single song.
Awesome, am I right in thinking that this is the forth time you guys are playing at Download? And has it been Main Stage every time? Yeah, I think we’ve played mainstage twice, so once today and some other time. Have we played four times? I actually can’t remember. Because I think we started on second stage, then mainstage when Metallica was playing and then second stage again when … was headlining it and now we’re doing main this year. But fourth down, on main stage is pretty cool, because you have
Ozzy, Manson and then us, these are pretty much heritage bands you know. So it’s like who’s going to take the place.
What would you say is the closest US Festival that you could compare to Download Festival? Erm, I think the closest thing, would be Rock on the Rocks in Ohio, I mean I don’t know the statistics or anything, but we just played it a couple weeks ago.
You recently dropped your newest album, Vale in February this year, talk me through your interlude introducing track, ‘Incipiens Ad Finem.’ We kind of always do that, we write opuses, if you will, in kind of theatrical ways. All of our tracks, not just that one, if you listen to them, not just that in particular, there’s nothing defining about that one in particular. But all our records have this flow, or storyline, and sometimes there’s a middle where there is an interlude. It’s more of just a fanatic. You know where you can sit down, you’re supposed to listen to an album top to bottom rather than just randomly listen through tracks. You’re supposed to read the lyrics, listen to the track, because it’s meant to be that way on purpose. It’s a conscious decision to write that way.
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BRIAN TYREE HENRY Boi’ per ‘Pa ert Alb ind beh n ma the RY HEN EE TYR AN BRI h wit up ght cau We essity Miles, to discuss fame, his relationship with Donald Glover, and the nec of diversity in telling future stories. 28 VULTUREHOUND JULY 2018
s the second season of the Emmy-winning Atlanta draws to a close, we caught up with Brian Tyree Henry – the man behind Albert ‘Paper Boi’ Miles – to discuss fame, his relationship with Donald Glover, and the necessity of diversity in telling future stories…
WORDS: CHRIS SHORTT
WORDS: CHRIS SHORTT | PHOTO: MATTHIAS CLAMER/FX
AT LA NTA: SU ND AY S AT 10 PM ON FO X
Hey Brian. First of all, I just wanna say how magnificent this season has been – and your character’s arc in particular. It’s one of the most interesting developments – the increased fame that Alfred ‘suffers’, in many ways – how do you think this has affected his relationship with Earn [Donald Glover]? Well, Earn is not his family now, you know, he’s my manager. It’s been harder for Alfred to understand Earn, anymore. You know, we haven’t really had a chance since the first season to really get down and be cousins. It just became business. And it became really dire for Earn – he’s a father, and he has nowhere to live, whereas Alfred has the ability to live. But who’s really living, at the end of the day? Like what is living for either one of them? As this season unfolds – which I’m very excited about – we really see how our relationship comes to an impasse. We have no choice but to confront the things we haven’t spoken about. And it’s all about care… Who is really gonna care about what happened in the woods [“Woods - Episode 8”] and that I got mugged? Who’s gonna care that Earn is still living in a damn storage unit? Who’s gonna care about what’s going on with him and Van [Zazie Beetz]? He’s my family, he’s my family through and through. And if you know anything about Alfred, family means the world to him – because it’s all he’s got.
Would you say that echoes your personal relationship with Donald [Glover]? Obviously JULY 2018 VULTUREHOUND 29
AT LA NTA : SU ND AY S AT 10 PM ON FO X
T N E M O M A T O N , T N ME
E V O M A I
he’s your co-star, but he’s also directing you, he’s writing the episodes… Is that quite a comfortable relationship, or does it have its issues? You know, Donald has really shown and provided a lot of care for me. And he’ll sure wanna get the same thing for him. But this is all new for us, like no matter what the ‘fam’ looks like on the outside, this is still real. We did not know that Atlanta would take off the way that it would. It’s not that we doubted that it would, you know. Like we’re in the middle of something – it’s
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not that we didn’t know what’s gonna come from this. But you know, this is our heart and soul… And when it comes to Donald, you’re never gonna have the tag – you’re never gonna know one side or the other of who Donald is. But that’s the greatness of his being. And I’m bound to protect that – that’s what I’m here for.
Alfred is a rapper, Paper Boi. How did you approach that aspect of the performance? Did it pose any difficulties? Well, I try not to focus on the rap as the performance. Let’s not forget
that rap is not something that he really wanted to do – it wasn’t his passion, it was just something that he did well and wanted to capitalise off it. He probably never even left Georgia. And for me, I wanted to make sure that his heart was shown. In the grand scheme of all of it, he is the master of the town. You know, he never left it – it’s like it’s his own. The more and more he got exposed, the more and more that people just only see him as Paper Boi. Let’s not forget that he deals drugs too, you know – so there’s this whole other persona of him, on that level. Everybody expects him to be the person who could elevate them to another level,
just cause they hear him on the radio.
“Woods” this season was an incredible piece of television. What did you think about the script when you first read it, and how much involvement did you have in its dedication to your mother? They told me while they were editing the show, well they asked me if I was okay to dedicate it to my mother. I kind of cried a little bit, cause that’s really heartfelt – really beautiful for them to want to dedicate that to her. Because it was really hard to make a decision on whether or not I wanted to expose that side of myself. But I realised that there was nowhere to hide. I think that’s the greatness of Stefani Robinson, who wrote that episode. Cause we’re really good friends, and Stefani could kinda see what I was going through with this grief of losing my mother – I lost my mother the same day that we wrapped the first season. It was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done – just to expose myself that way. Cos grief is not a oneway street, and neither is pain. And there’s no high answer for God to tell you how to navigate fame and grief because it is what it is.
Atlanta is one of the only shows to have an all-black writing staff, that I know of. How much has it meant to you, for the show to have had this success?
way, you wanna go out there and let them know that they’re not alone, and that their stories are important, that they’re being recognised. Especially with what we’re dealing with right now, it’s all about being overlooked. That’s why we have movements like #MeToo and movements like Black Lives Matter – cause it feels like nobody sees us, like nobody’s listening to us. And that really is devastating. So when you have people come up and say thank you, it just means so much that I’m doing something that instils something in somebody out there – championing for them and fighting for them. And I have to tell them “thank you”, because they changed my life. But I don’t want this to be a moment – I sort of feel like we’re having a moment right now. And I don’t want this to be a moment, I want this to be a movement. Let this be a movement that changes all these things.
You’re the people’s champ in a
Atlanta: Sundays at 10pm on FOX
I feel like whenever studios and networks have the option of telling black stories, it’s usually a white director or a white screenwriter – which is always gonna hold it back . I don’t think it only matters for how much it means to me, I feel it’s so much what matters to people. It’s very important to do it in honour of what the people are asking for, and I can see it every day. People… when I’m out in the street it just… it means so much, I can’t even explain it. People are thanking us for telling stories, for representing people that they just never really saw before. To have people thank you for your work, it kinda feels like you’re a soldier, you know – like you’re out there fighting the good fight.
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E S R E V I N U C I T A M E N I C L WHY THE MARVE T S E R E H T N A H T R E T WORKS BET
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WORDS: EMRYS MOUNGABIO | PHOTOS: DISNEY
ith the much-anticipated release of Avengers: Infinity War, the Marvel Cinematic Universe is now nineteen films strong. Carefully crafted by producer Kevin Feige, the series has introduced us to a wealth of characters who were previously unknown to most, outside of the comicbook community, and has put Marvel Studios in an enviable position. Looking at this monumental feat of film-making, it’s hard to believe that just a couple of decades ago, Marvel was going bankrupt, and desperately hoping to stay afloat as they sold off the film rights to their most popular characters. This of course meant that when the time came that they wanted to make their own films, they had to ignore their worldfamous characters like Spider-Man, the Fantastic Four and the X-Men, instead looking to their roster of B-List heroes. The end result shouldn’t have worked. But instead, it worked so well that all other film studios seem desperate to emulate the success that comes with a cohesive cinematic universe.
But that begs the question, why is Marvel’s Cinematic Universe better than the rest?
THEY HAVE GOALS
A big reason they succeed is because they make extensive plans. They set themselves goals. Then they work towards those goals. First, it was The Avengers. Then, it was Captain America: Civil War. More recently, it was, of course, Avengers: Infinity War. The Marvel Cinematic Universe is sprinkled with big road marks that give audiences a sense of accomplishment once they reach them.
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A V E L R M
Contrary to this, you have failed attempts like Universal and their Dark Universe. Set to feature a series of films starring fiction’s most memorable monsters, the series originally kicked off with The Mummy, after a failed attempt with Dracula Untold some years before. With The Mummy, Universal went all-in, creating their own Dark Universe logo and assembling the likes of Javier Bardem, Johnny Depp, Tom Cruise, Russell Crowe and reportedly Angelina Jolie to headline the series. A strong cast, if ever there was one. Like Marvel’s cinematic universe, The Mummy saw a unifying force in Russell Crowe / Dr. Jekyll’s Prodigium, the Dark Universe equivalent of Samuel L. Jackson / Nick Fury’s S.H.I.E.L.D.
But what was the end-goal? A monster team-up a la The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen? A showdown between monster hunters and this all-star cast they’d assembled? All of this was unclear. With Marvel, we knew what they were building to from the end of
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the first film. With Universal’s monsters, however, the future has always been shrouded in darkness.
THEY KNOW HOW TO GET PEOPLE EXCITED
One thing Marvel has always been great at is self-promotion. You go to the cinema to see a Marvel movie, chances are, the trailer for the next Marvel movie will be attached at the start. You buy the Home Entertainment release, and that too will be littered with teasers of what’s coming up. Comic Conventions are usually dominated by Marvel’s presentations, as they’ve been known to declare whole hordes of films at a time to rapturous applause. When a Marvel movie is on its way, it’s hard not to know about it. And on top of all that, they have a strong cast of stars who seem to love what they do, and are always willing to share stories, praise and passion about
this universe they’ve become a part of.
And then, you’ve got things like Sony’s attempt at a Spider-Man cinematic universe. It was a shaky prospect from the start, because a lot of the Spider-Man centric characters who could headline their own films were villains, and many of them may not have been villains audiences were willing to sit through a whole film about. With that in mind, the way things have been publicised so far is mind-boggling. 2014’s The Amazing Spider-Man 2 required audiences to ‘Shazam’ a song in the end-credits to get a teaser for the then-upcoming Sinister Six film. More recently, the Tom Hardy-starring Venom film released a teaser that didn’t even feature Venom! Sure, they later remedied that with another trailer, but the damage had been done.
Sony’s constant blundering of publicizing their Spider-Man themed movies (most of which are assumed not to feature Spider-Man,
we should add) make it very hard to get excited about this blatantly desperate attempt at a cinematic universe.
THEY FOCUS ON CHARACTER But Marvel’s isn’t the only successful cinematic universe out there. While it’s true, no others have reached the amazing nineteen-film milestone that they have with Avengers: Infinity War in recent years, some studios are doing things the right way. The best example is probably Legendary Pictures’ MonsterVerse. The reason this works is because unlike other cinematic universes, they tell a story, but don’t hamper it down with incessant teases for future projects. 2014’s Godzilla, while not perfect, was enjoyable enough. It’s prequel, Kong: Skull Island was fun, but didn’t beat you over the head with the fact it was a prequel. As such, those in the know will probably be anticipating the next few films in the series, 2019’s Godzilla: King of Monsters and 2020’s Godzilla vs. Kong, while those oblivious to the fact that this is a growing cinematic universe will probably be very pleasantly surprised. However, while we could talk about the limited longevity of these films (what happens after Godzilla fights King Kong? Where do you go from there?) there is a much more pressing issue. The characters. Godzilla got people on the hype-
train by teasing Bryan Cranston as the star, only to promptly kill him off within the film’s first twenty minutes. Similarly, Kong also had an enjoyable cast in John Goodman, Samuel L. Jackson, Tom Hiddleston and Brie Larson – but out of those who survived, there was the problematic context that this film was set in the seventies, and as such, it’s unlikely Legendary would bring these characters back in the modern day. We have no recurring point-of-view characters in this series. No one we can really relate to. With Marvel however, we have a whole horde of heroes from whom we can pick and choose our favourites, and the prospect of any of them dying in Avengers: Infinity War was a truly saddening one for fans who had been invested in the series.
THEY LEARN FROM THEIR MISTAKES While some may be saddened by the fact that Sony’s ‘Spider-Verse’ and Universal’s ‘Dark Universe’ are dreary messes, perhaps the most disappointing failure is that of DC’s Extended Universe. Here we had a pantheon of characters who could rival Marvel’s own. Imagine if Warner Bros. stepped up, and countered the previously unheard-of Captain America and the Guardians of the Galaxy with good movies about the ever-popular Superman and Batman. Some of these characters are now eighty years old! The word ‘superhero’ was practically invented for them. And yet, Wonder Woman aside, what we got from Warner Bros.
has been a series of critically disappointing movies and a whole ton of behind-the-scenes problems. Because whenever something goes wrong, Warner Bros. learns the wrong lesson, and changes up everything to steer their ship in a different direction. ‘Guardians of the Galaxy worked?’ ‘Well, let’s completely derail the vibe we were going for in Suicide Squad.’ ‘Batman v Superman didn’t do all that well?’ ‘Well let’s change up our approach to Justice League, despite the fact we’ve already pretty much finished filming it.’ ‘Oh, people like Harley Quinn? LET’S MAKE ALL THE HARLEY QUINN MOVIES!’ Enough, Warner Bros. Enough. Plan a few films, focus your energies on said films and make good ones. Don’t keep throwing shit at the wall to see what sticks. At this point, they have more failing projects in development than they have actual completed movies, and it doesn’t need to be this way. There’s no driving force here to calm everyone down; just a series of producers that have been booted as soon as anything goes wrong under their watch. Marvel isn’t perfect. But they learn the right lessons from their mistakes. Rights issues surrounding the Hulk lead to him featuring prominently in team-up movies. Thor: The Dark World’s reputation as the worst MCU film led to them bringing in director Taika Waititi to forge a new path. In short, they adapt. They change. They grow. But they don’t completely start over whenever there’s a slight panic, which is something DC and Warner Bros. have yet to learn not to do.
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you me at six
WORDS: RUBY PARSONS | PHOTO: JORDAN CURTIS HUGHES
YOU ME AT SIX
Chris Miller and Matt Barnes talk new sounds, upcoming tours, Saturday Kitchen and a shared hatred of quiche.
head of the October release of their 6th studio album, the aptly named VI, You Me at Six are in Finsbury Park for this year’s Community Festival. We caught up with guitarist Chris Miller and bassist Matt Barnes to talk new sounds, upcoming tours, Saturday Kitchen and a shared hatred of quiche.
Welcome to the second ever 36 VULTUREHOUND JULY 2018
Community Festival. Are you guys excited to play? Matt: I think someone said earlier there’s like 35/40 thousand people. It’s good fun - we haven’t played a super big show since we closed the second stage of Reading last year so its gonna be sweet!
So your album is coming out later this year, do you guys still get excited about release new albums? Chris: Yeah super excited. The
response we’ve had from the two songs out already has been amazing so we’re really excited to release the new stuff people haven’t heard. Matt: Releasing a record is way scarier than getting ready for a gig though. The night before everyone’s about to hear the record for the first time you’re just like “fuck, they might hate it!”
Is the whole album quite classic You Me at Six or have you thrown in some different sounds?
"Yeah, I hate quiche!" -Matt
Chris: Yeah, there’s variation on the album - we released ‘3AM’ and ‘Fast Forward’ at the same time because they’re sort of the two extremes of the different shades of the album. There’s lots of stuff in the middle - some more like ‘3AM’ some more like ‘Fast Forward’ so it’s a wide range. There’s lots of stuff we haven’t done before - that’s why we’re so excited.
Are you going to get a chance to sight-see? Matt: There isn’t always a lot of time. Like today, for example, we turn up and do interviews and photos and when you leave it’s already like 8pm and all you want to do is go and shower.
And then go to sleep?
Matt: We think it’s sick anyway so who gives a fuck. If everyone goes “oh we don’t like it, we don’t get it” who cares? We like it and we had fun!
Matt: Haha - no, none of this bed stuff! Then its time to go and get hammered!
You’ve got some more festivals coming up, are there cities you’re most excited about visiting?
So, if you were on Saturday Kitchen right now, what would your food heaven and food hell be?
Chris: We always have a laugh in Europe - we love mainland Europe and obviously the UK as well. For us going out to places like Germany and Belgium we always look forward to those festivals.
Matt: Mine would have changed now, I used to hate mushrooms
Matt: We were in Prague two days ago that was a lot of fun.
Chris: Ours are probably opposite. I would say I really want steak and you wouldn’t. For me the worst thing would be something with asparagus and some fish or something like that!
Matt: Goats cheese quiche - food hell.
That’s such a specific choice Matt: Yeah, I hate quiche. Chris: Max (Helyer, guitar) loves quiche. He’ll get a meal deal and pick a bloody quiche and we’re like “what is he doing?” Matt: Food heaven - I’m not sure. I’ve only just started eating vegetarian so my tastes are completely changing so I don’t know... Maybe a burrito!
Final important question, cats or dogs? Chris: Oh! I’m dogs but I recon he’s cats... Matt: Well I prefer cats but my parents have a dog, I’m brother to the dog. Ha!
VI is out in October via AWAL
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WORDS: CHRISTIAN LYNN | PHOTO: DISNEY
n between their Star Wars and Marvel profit hauls, Disney has been busy digging into its extensive back catalogue of classic animation, for the purpose of remaking these originals into live action for a younger, fresher audience. Their latest effort? Dumbo, helmed by legendary director and quirky visionary Tim Burton. Now, as with Disney’s other remakes, Dumbo has accumulated quite the cast to bring this definitive tale back to life. Firstly, there’s the ever reliable Colin Farrell in the lead role. But perhaps more enticingly, Dumbo finds itself acting as a Burton reunion of sorts, with the director reteaming with Batman Forever and Beetlejuice cast members Michael Keaton and Danny DeVito once more. A little hit of nostalgia that is sure to increase people’s excitement. But uncertainly, it brings Burton back to the Disney fray. Considering his previous efforts – 2010’s Alice in Wonderland, while financially successful, received a less than stellar response from critics and fans alike – Burton needs a hit, a chance to prove why he’s one of the most respected artists in the business. With a mixture of whimsical visuals and darker themes, Dumbo seems to be an ideal starting point for that recovery. It’ll be interesting to see how faithful it remains to the original. For example, while The Jungle Book veered somewhat from its animated predecessor, expanding upon its mythos, Beauty and the Beast was effectively a beat-for-beat remake, either to the joy or chagrin of its audience depending on your perspective. There are obvious elements that should be retained, such as its critical subtext and iconic visuals (pink elephants anyone?). But what is most intriguing is how Burton will put his own personal spin on the tale. We’ll get our answers March 29th, when Dumbo is released worldwide.
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New live action Dumbo film from legendary director Tim Burton
WORDS: DANIEL WITHEY | PHOTO: ALEX JOHN BECK was doing an interview yesterday, and somebody said ‘it’s been 25-26 years and it’s only album seven’” drummer Rick McMurray tells me, after I point out that it’s not unusual for fans of the Northern
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Ireland 3-piece to have to wait a bit between Ash albums; “But I guess there’s been A-Z too,” he continues, “which is probably the equivalent of three to four albums worth of material!” Whether or not seven albums and the shit load of singles they released during their ‘A-Z year’
(26, to be precise), constitutes as ‘slow going’ for the quartercentury they’ve been together, one thing’s for sure; Ash are a band to be admired. From that TIE-Fighter scream that kick starts the opening track of their 1996 debut, 1977, right through to today, and the release of album number seven, Islands, the band, made up of;
guitarist/vocalist Tim Wheeler, bassist Mark Hamilton, and drummer Rick McMurray, continue to do things their own way. And they’re doing it their own way in familiar company, too, having returned to Infectious; the record label where it all began, all those years ago Rick took some time to tell us a bit about Ash’s latest album, Islands, and the band’s “long, crazy journey”.
After the A-Z years, returning to the ‘album’ with Kablammo in 2015, it felt like the start of maybe more music coming out, more regularly, but you guys have been pretty quiet! The announcement of Islands was a nice surprise. Yeah, we’ve been in the studio knowing the record wasn’t coming out for a while, but we’ve been itching to post about it but we wanted to get everything in place first. We’ve probably been sort of quiet around the social media front as well, up until recently.
Returning to ‘albums’ is still a good idea, yeah? Yeah. With A-Z I think we got quite excited about the idea of doing things like we did pre-1977. At that time we were constricted by our school schedule and we were putting out singles every few months so it felt like a really fun, exciting time - we were trying to re-create the feel of that. But I think the industry still seems to
gear itself towards radio and press and still has this thing where it makes sense to make a new album. If you’re releasing a single every couple of weeks it’s like where’s the kind of focus point and push point for promotion? So I guess the album seems viable. I think when we announced that we weren’t going to do albums again our album sales were really declining, but our singles went up. And I think vinyl has become a big thing again, and back in 2007 when we released what was supposed to be our last album, our record company said “no one really does vinyl so we’re not going to do one”, so we said we would make it ourselves but they finally agreed because they wanted their share of the money!
You mentioned before about the press and radio play, how well has the single ‘Buzz Kill’ done on radio play so far? Surprisingly well considering the amount of swearing in it. It’s great, I get texts from friends saying ‘I’ve just heard Buzz Kill on the radio again’ and it’s such a buzz. We still get that kind of tingle every time we hear our new song on the radio.
And with the added bonus of Damien, Mickey of the Undertones appearing on the track… Yeah it was such a great time. I think they were in New York the week that the record was supposed to be delivered and we showed them around our studio and thought we should get them on our
record and defiantly go for it.
Tells us a bit more about how Islands came together? I think the songs from this record were written probably just towards the end of touring for Kablammo we finished in Japan. Tim ended up staying on - he was going through a break up at the time and stayed on to do a bit of song writing to deal with it and went to a few Japanese islands for the first couple of tracks. A few months later he was in Majorca, and then back in Manhattan and wrote a few more songs. After that it was about 6 more months before we started to put new ideas together and sort of thought that if it was written on an island it might be a cool idea for an album title. Once Tim had the initial idea of the songs we pretty much had everything together in the space of 2 weeks - it’s was kind of amazing having this album ready to go. I think a few times we’ve recorded 15 songs then tried to figure which ones were our favourites. This time it just felt like everything came together and we recorded 11 tracks over the
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space of 1 week– it was an amazing and intense recording process. Its something I’ve always wanted to do, I kind of like working in that sort of intense environment and really gives the album a flavour.
So you didn’t plan to sit on something for as long as you have… I think when we realised it would come out in 2018 there was less of a need to get it finished. Tim took his time a little bit more with ‘finishing it off’, which I can understand because you don’t want to finish something be sitting with it for years with the anxiety of “Is this going to be good enough?”
Yet it hasn’t exactly hurt the quality of records you’ve consistently put out over these past 22 years. From a fans perspective there hasn’t really been a low point where we can pick a forgettable era of Ash; which is crazy considering the diversity from album to album. Definitely. It’s important for us to
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keep that quality going. As much as we release stuff for the sake of it, each album is treated with the same amount of love and care as the first one. These days I really love getting into the studio and working on new stuff even more than ever. I think it’s probably been a big learning curve to when we started out with very little experience - it’s a craft that we’ve worked on over the years, and every time we’re going in we learn something new about it. It’s been a long crazy journey over the last 22 years.
People often focus in on the negatives in terms of how the music industry has changed in the past 20 years, but what do you think is better about the music industry now compared to how it was back in the mid 90s when Ash first emerged. I think a few interviews I’ve done recently have talked about ‘what is the state of guitar music these days’ and ‘hip hop and pop music has taken over’. But I think it’s healthy for music to go on in cycles like that. I think guitar music goes a little bit more underground, and you start to get more unique ideas
and more individual things instead of having one band blowing up and getting 20 carbon copies from other labels trying to cash in on that success.
There’s always the ‘guitar music is dead’ statement being thrown around, but if you’re a fan of guitar music then you will find it. There is enough decent music out there – It just might not be gracing the top of the charts as much… If you love it, whether it’s presented to you on a plate or if it’s something you have to search out, it’s almost more rewarding if you have to put a bit of work in and dig around to find it.
Finally, because I know you’re all massive ABBA fans - have you have got your ticket yet for this ABBA ‘Virtual’ ‘ABBAtar’ tour yet? No I haven’t yet! But that’s something that needs to be addressed, for sure.
FALL OUT BOY
Fall Out Boyâ€™s Mania tour returned to the UK for the big arena treatment and we were there to capture the action as their big scale production rolled into Cardiff.
FALL OUT BOY
CARDIFF MOTORPOINT ARENA PHOTOS: HELEN MESSENGER
SUPPORT FROM AGAINST THE CURRENT
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WORDS:JAMES TOAL | PHOTOS: WWE
Ahead of the WWE's return to Royal Albert Hall we spoke to WWE legend and COO, Paul “Triple H” Levesque. t’s that time of year again people, WWE’s UK tournament made its big return! Taking place on the 18th and 19th of June, the event was set at the Royal Albert Hall in London. Interestingly enough, not only did we get UK stars competing for Pete Dunne’s WWE UK Championship, but also accompanying this was multiple NXT championship matches. The Women’s, Tag Team, and North American championship were on the line during the two-day show. Needless to say, this was a show to keep your eye on. In the buildup to the show we managed to chat with WWE’s Triple H in order to find out his thoughts on the event, and even speculation on further developments with the UK division.
In his opening remarks, Paul “Triple H” Levesque recalled visiting the Royal Albert Hall and his feelings towards the venue
“I wrestled there in ‘95 and the last wrestling show that was there, and the aura in that place is incredible it’s got an ambience to it. It’s tough to say. You remember your first time at Madison Square Garden, you remember your first time walking into Royal Albert Hall. That’s what the excitement of this event was, it’s why I was so anxious to put this event out there even though it’s on a Monday and a Tuesday. It prevents us from doing live TV in a way, but the venue is so meaningful that I really wanted to do these events and I’m excited that we get the opportunity to be back there.” One of the biggest highlights of WWE’s UK push was with Pete Dunne challenging and ultimately defeating Tyler Bate at an NXT Takeover Event in 2017. The match was praised NXT Match of the Year and is considered a favourite by fans. We asked if there were any competitors in this years UK event that he believes could steal the show? “Boy, that’s a tough one because
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Triple H with his wife Stephanie during the headline match with Ronda Rousey and Kurt Angle
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TRIPLE H "I’m really excited for this, I think one of the bits and pieces I love about this the most is seeing who will rise to the occasion.”
I think that the expectations have changed. You’ve got a lot of talent on there that’s just amazing talent, but you’ve also got some talent there that were not necessarily competing in the tournament but that will be there that night. You will have Pete Dunne, Tyler Bate and all those guys competing on that show so when you’re looking at the overall show, that’s kind of a grab bag. But there’s a lot of talent on here, I’ve mentioned some of them before.” “Zack Gibson to me brings a lot to the table, I mentioned Joe and Mark Coffey who bring something completely different. They do have an opportunity because they do bring something totally different and bring it in a way that could steal the show, you’ve got Travis
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Banks, you’ve got Dave Mastiff, there’s just a lot of guys, Amir Jordan, these are all guys that could at any point in time steal the show. Some of the guys as you know will always come out of nowhere and shock you on the end of these things where you think “I thought that guy would do okay, but I never thought he’d do that.” He continued to praise the UK division and later remarked about his favourite part from seeing new people who come into the WWE. How their mindset when it comes to taking an opportunity can prove to be beneficial in terms of success. “I’m really excited for this, I think one of the bits and pieces I love about this the most is seeing
who will rise to the occasion. I know all these guys have a lot of experience, but I heard it brought up to me this week when they were all at download festival and guys were working for us there. The number of nerves that were there, its a huge opportunity for guys, that kind of pressure some people cave into it and some people thrive in it. To me it’s always a fascinating part is seeing who steps up and when you’re done you’re able to look at them and go “Wow I didn’t expect that out of this guy, but wow he really rose to the occasion and showed me something I didn’t know he had”. I’m looking forward to that part of it.” As the conference call went on, the conversation shifted to the
future of UK material associated with the WWE. One thing we asked regarded the speculation with Progress and even ICW making an appearance on WWE’s streaming service, WWE Network. “I think when the time is right, probably, I think those are things you can look forward to in the future maybe. The network is a little out of my day to day but if I had to speculate on that I would say sure. When there are quality products out there, we want to give that exposure in a way that’s meaningful for everybody. So I think if that’s something that can be done down the line then I’m sure that they’re looking at it.” Recently, the network has been presenting other branded material on their service. Most notably, TNA/Impact wrestling footage in the most recent episode of Table for 3 featuring clips from a match between Kurt Angle and AJ Styles. The possibility is indeed there, just in what form it will take remains a mystery. What strengthened the future of the UK division was the recent hiring of Johnny Saint as the UK General Manager. Paul “Triple H” Levesque remarked on the relationship between him and Johnny, and why he was the person they decided to choose for the role. “This isn’t the first time that we’ve worked with Johnny, he’s obviously a legend in the UK and in wrestling there, a history and a legacy that’s second to none. So obviously we’re very aware of him, he’s friends with William Regal. When we were in Blackpool a little over a year ago, Johnny was there. He’s done various things
with us when we were in London for the event that NXT did, he was there. He then came in and did a stint at the performance centre for us where he came in as a guest coach and was working with us on a daily basis, going on the road with our talent, and working with them. His experience and level of professionalism and everything was awesome to have him around.” He continued to divulge the relationship between him and Johnny, it was clear that Paul had a large amount of respect not only for him but also for British wrestling as a whole. This helped the decision to make Johnny Saint a General Manager, but this was not without a quick break before the ball got rolling. “It got to a point in time when he was in Orlando getting a little homesick and he wanted to go back, he’s up there in age and wanted to go back and I think he wanted to see his girlfriend and be home. I don’t remember how long he was with us, maybe six months maybe more. He went back home and we said ‘Hey we want to stay in touch and use you for the things’ we just did little things here and there and stayed in touch. When [UK Tournament] came about and we knew we were moving forward with these events and knew we were taking further steps with the UK brand, Johnny was my first choice to be the GM. We reached out to him and asked him if he would like to oversee this, luckily for us he said yes. Thrilled to have him, like I said his legacy is second to none and he is a wealth of knowledge that he’ll help anybody he comes into contact with.”
He discussed details about the role that Johnny would take with the UK division going forward. Given the amount of effort they are putting into the decisions for this upcoming event, it does seem that WWE is starting to take a push for UK wrestling seriously. “He’ll be an authority figure within the show to help keep things on the up and up. He will match make and also on a behind the scenes standpoint be a wonderful mentor and guide for these talents. The UK being a slightly different market, we have a handle on that through the people that work with us, whether that be William Regal or Johnny Moss or Robbie Brookside. It’s just another level of experience and what works in that market that Johnny can bring to the table, his ability to bring that UK style that technical style and be able to understand how those matchups will work best that will kind of be his forte for us in his matchmaking capability.” WWE has been criticised for not taking advantage of the UK tournament last year after what seemed to be a lack of development. All that seemed to happen was appearances on some shows like NXT, 205 Live and RAW, but nothing seemed to be moving forward for something tangible to build on. 2018 seems to be the year that they finally get the ball rolling, a path with NXT UK seems to be laid out and now all we have to do is see what can be done once the foundation has been laid. Will we get everything we’ve been dreaming of since last year? let’s tune in when NXT UK becomes an actual thing and find out for ourselves.
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WORDS: CAROLINE OPACIC
We are scientists
S T S I T N E I C S WE ARE
erds Bush h ep Sh at ow sh r ei th of d ea ah e to KEITH and CHRIS
e Are Scientists are back with the release of their sixth album Megaplex. We caught up with them ahead of their London show.
How do you feel that Megaplex is out in the world? Keith: Great relief that it’s no longer a big secret that we’ve been keeping. I guess we started working on it in earnest a year ago. We were writing before that, but that was just writing songs - free wheeling, you don’t have a care in the world.
This album was a bit more poppy than the last. Was that deliberate, or did it just kind of happen in the process? Keith: We always think we’re gonna make an incredibly poppy record, and I think this one wasn’t even as poppy as we intended to make it, but I think that reflects our tastes, not necessarily a mandate that we have.
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Have your tastes changed recently then? Chris: They always evolve with current popular music, if only to remain aware of what’s going on around you, and I think inevitably that seeps into your choices. Stuff we’ve liked recently includes new MGMT and Dua Lipa, she’s really cool. At this point, we talked about the idea of collaborations, but ended up getting onto hip hop fueds, Smoke Perp and youngsters of today. So I’ll skip over that...
Do you think you got pushed out of your comfort zone? Or after this many albums, does it come naturally? Chris: Pretty naturally. We do try and challenge ourselves in that we try not to write songs that sound like they would have been in Barbara or BTM or something even after a song is written, you’re always thinking, how can I make this sound new, so it doesn’t sound
like something that was 5 years ago.
For anyone who may not know We Are Scientists, which track from Megaplex would you get them to listen to first? Keith: If they’d NEVER heard of us, I would say ‘Heart is a Weapon’ or ‘You Failed’, something totally of the new era of WAS. Chris: That’s a tricky thing though, maybe you want to show them like ‘Now or Never’ or ‘Your Light has Changed’, because then if they like that, they have like 5 discs of WAS stuff to listen to. Keith: I feel like a way we are often prevented of being more exploratory is that people, understandably, associate us with a certain sound. So it would certainly be very liberating to have a generation of people who only know pop songs. Chris: I think you would write a very different album. Like, what if we put
INTERVIEW out a record called Smoke Perp’s Revenge and we could just write whatever we wanted, it wouldn’t be the same record as a WAS record.
A lot of bands from the huge indie boom have vanished - how come you think you’ve lasted? Chris: I think a lot of our longevity is just that Keith and I are best friends and we kind of hang out anyway. Even if we stopped the band we would still be just hanging out, going to movies. It’s kind of like, what would be the point of stopping? If it seemed that there was a consensus that the new stuff we were putting out was tired and shitty, that would probably make us stop doing it, as We Are Scientists. Then we might just start a new band or just write music and put it on Soundcloud as somebody else.
So you’re always in the UK, what keeps bringing you back? Chris: The Curry. It’s the curry. Again, we kind of got into a long debate about curry houses here, with Chris and Keith conflicted over Dishoom. Anyway…
Whats your favourite town in the UK? Chris: Leicester. Keith: Thats because there’s a great late night curry place. Chris: We love Glasgow. Keith: We’ve recently come around to Sheffield, really come around. It’s got a legitimate city about it, but its small and charming, leafy
and beautiful. With 13 years of visiting there on nearly every tour, we didn’t really know about it. But then we had a day off and finally we weren’t in the usual district and realised Sheffield is absolutely gorgeous. Chris: York of course as well. Little bookshops, old castle walls. Keith: Tell you what Brighton and Bristol sold themselves pretty hard. Weather was great, they were gorgeous cute towns.
What’s the summer looking like for We Are Scientists? Chris: Festivals, touring hard. We’re kind of playing through the beginning of August, then it slows down a bit. I think we’re playing the UK about 5 times in the next 3 months, and then we’ll be back for another week or two of shows in October. And then we’ll never return (laughter) Keith: So buy a ticket, buy a ticket now!
And finally, what's on the WAS bucket list?
Chris: We would really like to crack South America. We’ve never really done any touring there. We’ve flown in for a show in Brazil, but we’d love to do South American touring. We’d love to be huge in Spain and we are actively taking steps to that goal. That’s what you have to do with a bucket list.. Keith: Yep, you can’t just look at it and say “yeeah, I’m sure the list will occur”. Chris: Likewise for cracking Australia and New Zealand. Keith: Or Bali. Maybe we could crack Bali, play Bali Arena. Or Bali Stadium even. Sell it out days in a row. Well, not in a row, we would need some down time to surf and recover.
Well at least if you don’t break these places, we still get you all the time! Keith: Yep, you should pray very night that we don’t crack Indonesian lands.
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PATRICK MELROSE TV REVIEW t’s the 1980s. There’s a well spoken, besuited man heavily into drugs. He has issues. Who doesn’t? Seems like a lot of people in suits were into drugs in the 80s. The majority of them probably had issues.
Not the most compelling start to Patrick Melrose, based on the literary series written by Edward St. Aubyn about the life of the titular Melrose. When star and Executive Producer Benedict Cumberbatch was asked at a Q&A what fictional character would he still like to play he replied “Patrick Melrose” to the bemusement of many. Who is this mysterious and compelling sounding
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figure? Well thanks to Sky Atlantic and Showtime we bore witness. Playing out over five episodes, each instalment presents us with a different time period in the life Melrose. In episode one we meet a scatty, aimless young man with a Hunter S. Thompson-esque predilection to substances. In the opening scene he is informed his father has died. The news leaving our “hero” cold, nevertheless he travels to New York City to claim his remains. Cumberbatch is in fine form, portraying a troubled man with both comedic timing and crushing pathos but it ultimately felt style over substance, as cold and detached as Hugo Weaving’s corpse.
Ah yes, Hugo Weaving he becomes ever so important as David Melrose, Patrick Melrose’s father. Episode two transports us to the South of France where we see how life was for the young Patrick. Son to a domineering, potentially abusive Dad and a drunken, indifferent, albeit loving mother Eleanor (Jennifer Jason Leigh). Meandering at times but with occasional moments of creeping menace, the second episode acts as the crux to the whole story. Jennifer Jason Leigh mumbles a lot and Hugo Weaving looks malevolent and fabulous (his factory setting I believe), the drama intensified by the dark corridors of the family home that even a beautiful summer outside can’t bring light to.
The real charm of Patrick Melrose is seeing where our “hero” is at during each episode and time period so I won’t describe anymore. All I will say is that every moment of catharsis seems to bring with it new mountains to conquer. Cumberbatch is uniformly brilliant through each time period. Comfortably portraying 25 years of a person’s life, you witness his development into a man whilst retaining the qualities we meet in the first episode. In a strong career this should go down as one of his finest performances. Jessica Raine and Pip Torrens stand out from the ensemble cast. Raine as Melrose’s confidant, occasional lover Julia the embodiment of regret and
disappointment. Torrens has a ball as Melrose’s old-school, English gent, curmudgeonly-racist Godfather. Director Edward Berger brings great visual style to a story that without the right touch could have been one of many other perfectly fine human dramas. There’s a frenetic energy to the editing and dialogue but he knows when to pull back and allow the scenes to play out. This juxtaposition helps to underpin the moments of true anguish. This is truly a world where there are no angels, but mercy are there demons. It’s a great credit to screenwriter David Nicholls script that he finds the humanity within every character, even the ones who seem to be drawn as purely wicked.
WORDS: MICHAEL DICKINSON | PHOTO: SKY
The criticisms are truly slight. Certain characters appear, are built up then left again with little bye or leave. Some slower, atmosphere building scenes do verge into meandering. By the end of the series Melrose’s self destruction, whilst showing the true nature of addiction does feel somewhat repetitive as a viewer. Expertly directed, with a snappy, gut-punching script and fine ensemble cast, Patrick Melrose is a surprisingly haunting story entertainingly told.
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INCREDIBLES 2 FILM REVIEW he trailers were over and the audience was waiting for the title card to appear. Just what was tonight’s film going to be? Cineworld’s Secret Screenings had been a mixed bag in the past. This, their 8th secret screening, was looking likely to be Adrift or Tag. Both films had a wide enough gap before release to make it an ‘exclusive’ preview screening. The tension in the room was semipalatable. Then it appeared – The Incredibles 2.
An actual gasp rose in the room. Advertised as an ‘adult-only’ 15 screening, Pixar’s latest PG adventure had seemed unlikely. There was also the fact that although it had already been released in the USA a few days prior, it was not due
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to be hitting UK screens until the 13th of July (thanks World Cup). It had seemed so unlikely that Disney would have a preview so far in advance, let alone one at all, for a film so highly anticipated. This was the return of a truly beloved family 14 years since they first entered the public consciousness. Anticipation was high before. That was now equalled and overtaken by expectation. The film’s accompanying short – Bao – perfectly sets up the tone of the main feature. A story about a woman adopting a dumpling that comes to life after she had made it, seems like an unlikely concept, even for Pixar. It’s adorable and wonderful in equal measure. It’s about family, love, culture, food, growing up and how all of these things can collide; a wetting
of appetite for things to come. The Incredibles 2 then starts in media res, straight after where we left off 14 years ago. We’ve changed but they haven’t – just take a minute to think about that. In the space of 14 years America has had two vastly different presidents, social media is now not just a thing that exists but a thing that dominates our lives and superhero movies frequently arrive in cinemas then top the global box office. It’s an aspect this sequel manages to address for the most part. In the film Mr and Mrs Incredible have something of a role swap. When Helen (Holly Hunter) is invited to work with a new corporation that wants to advocate the power and potential of superheroes, with the intent to make Supers legal once
WORDS: CHARLOTTE HARRISON | PHOTOS: DISNEY of the film, our heroes must defeat it whilst also negotiating their own individual problems.
more, she’s given a chance to step in the limelight. That means Bob (Craig T. Nelson) is now the one staying at home and he quickly realises just how much Helen does for the family. From dealing with the romantic turmoil of his teenage daughter Violet (Sarah Vowell), his high energy son Dash (Huck Milner) and baby Jack-Jack (Eli Fucile) who may just be developing his own powers. The sequel hits many of the same beats as the first film because it has the same fundamental narrative – in a world where superheroes are banned an ambiguous institution offers an opportunity to a superhero family who want to do good when no-one
else seems to want them to. However, the end product is less of a retelling and more of a remake. Things we’ve seen and laughed at before reappear in a slightly different incarnation. The effect is akin to watching a tv series a la Power Rangers or reading a superhero comic book series, either of which tend to utilise a ‘monster of the week’ narrative. The characters are in a state of equilibrium, disequilibrium occurs when a villain arrives. For equilibrium to be restored at the end
THE PREVAILING SENSE OF FAMILIARITY WITH THE NARRATIVE WILL PLEASE SOME FANS. IT WILL ALIENATE OTHERS.
The prevailing sense of familiarity with the narrative will please some fans. It will alienate others. Whilst the film has its own shining moments, mostly anything involving Jack-Jack and Edna La Mode, they were also the shining moments of the first film. This is a film that utilises what it does best by recreating what it did so well the first time. And, lest we forget, 14 years has passed since the first film. There’s going to a large chunk of young people in each screening may not have even seen the original in the first place. The film features messages which seemed tailored to this new generation – about apathy, consumerism, gender roles/ expectations and hero worship. What Pixar does Incredibly well is present these in a fun, witty, warm and nuanced way; although it could have gone just that bit further with each. The Incredibles 2 is a release that has both nostalgia and time on its side. Enough time has passed to make us want the film to happen and nostalgia has us wanting certain features which are all present & correct. It’s a solid sequel as well as being light-hearted popcorn fare with some lovely messages. But whilst delightful to watch, for those old enough, it almost acts as a barometer of just how much has changed in those 14 years. What was once revolutionary and fresh no longer breaks new ground – have the superheroes arrived too late?
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OZZY AT DOWNLOAD REVIEW razy, but that’s how it goes. The Prince of darkness returns to the iconic fields of Donnington Park to take back his rightful place on the throne, as the godfather of heavy metal. Ozzy Osbourne and his band closed off another rocking year at Download Festival with a fifteen song set of his most famous anthems, headlining Sunday in front of 80,000 devoted metalheads.
WORDS: MORGAN RICHARDS | PHOTO COPYRIGHT" ROSS HALFIN
Kicking things straight off the bat with Bark At The Moon and Mr. Crowley, the Blizzard of Ozz mixed his solo career highlights with three of the Black Sabbath’s hits in Fairies Wear Boots, War Pigs and Paranoid that originally skyrocketed him as the voice of a whole music movement. Even though many critics were objective of Ozzy’s voice the last time he performed at Download back in 2016 with Sabbath, saying he’d lost a step on the doomy and slower numbers. His vocals seemed to be back up to scratch, complemented by selection of more upbeat and energetic melodies. He might never reach the same tones of what he once did, but Osbourne is proving why he’s still a headlining act in his late sixties. Geering up the audience with his larger than life persona and bonding a good time connection like no other. Accompanied once again by his long time guitarist and axe superstar Zakk Wylde, the Black Label Society founder brings another dimension to the set with his crisp style of playing that Randy Rhodes would be proud of. With an outstanding instrumental melody section and guitar solos, Wylde proves Ozzy’s not the only bonafide rockstar gracing the stage. Despite constant rumors of when Osbourne might hang up his crown, who knows if this could be the final time we’ll see the madman perform on this grande stage. One thing’s for sure, Ozzy will forever be the life and soul of the party. All aboard.
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Ozzy headlining the main stage at Download Festival 2018
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WORDS: CHARLOTTE HARRISON
orget going through a blue period or a rose period it seems as if blockbuster cinema is going through a marmite period. The Last Jedi and Solo both split Twitter and audiences alike. Why? Because both films played with expectations and conventions. They broke out of the box fandom had put them in and in turn sparked fury from some and joy from others.
Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom joins that list of films that will create two camps of filmwatchers – the heralders and those that feel like a beloved part of their childhood has been destroyed. JWFK doesn’t just rip up the rulebook – it covers it with lava, stomps over it, locks it away and releases it. There are
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no rules here but, as a great man (the thinking woman’s crumpet Dr Malcolm) once said 25 (!!!) years ago, were the filmmakers so ‘preoccupied with whether they could, they didn’t stop to think if they should?’ The film opens three years after Jurassic World. Since the whole dinosaur idea went wrong – again – they’ve been left to it on the island. Except a volcano will soon be erupting which will destroy the last remaining dinosaurs leaving world leaders and government officials with a huge moral dilema – should the last living dinosaurs be saved or should nature dictate things once more? Claire (Bryce Dallas Howard) leads the Dinosaur Protection Group which is determined not to leave the dinosaurs to this fate.
When help comes in the form of a foundation lead by Mills (Rafe Spall) and Benjamin Lockwood (James Cromwell) she’s beyond grateful. Except to make the rescue mission a success they’re going to need the help of a man good with raptors – but will Owen (Chris Pratt) be willing to leave the little bit of paradise he’s building for himself in the middle of nowhere? To give you an idea – that summary is only the first 10-15 minutes of the film. There’s another 110 minutes after that. And that’s exactly what makes JWFK so unlike it’s predecessors. Whilst the tropes are there, they’re not played in the ‘right’ order. And whether you think of the end product as sweet music (like the truly beautiful by Michael Giacchino) or a cacophony of mindlessness
JURASSIC WORLD: FALLEN KINGDOM FILM REVIEW depends fully on how willing your ears and eyes are. The previous films followed a set pattern that felt more ride than film as the franchise dragged on. To truly get the most out of JWFK you need to get onboard the ride and then endure a path that is so messy, bumpy and incoherent you need to be willing to let it just happen. This time around it’s not enough to simply suspend disbelief, you need to leave it at the cloak room when you arrive at the cinema and collect it again long after the credits role. (Side note: there is a very brief post credits moment). Part heist movie, part siege movie and part oh-really-what-now movie; the action is bigger, broader and badder (both meanings of the word)
than ever before. There’s a tonal shift between adventure and gothic that is so apparent and audacious it seems to warrant a begrudging nod for the very fact they went there. Forget Jurassic Park, expect Universal to be setting up a haunted house infested with dinosaurs any day now. But it’s so stop/start you can’t help but wish for more threat or peril. But it’s so confused in its use of dinosaurs, seemingly unable to decide if they are friend or foe they seem to shift intermittently throughout (arguably just like human beings do…) But there’s also a whole array of ridiculously stupid science moments that stick out as being truly impossible – truly a mean feat in a film that has such pseudoscience at its very foundation. But the film is very heavily dependant
on Chris Pratt’s quasi-Indiana Jones charisma; our Marty Sue yet again displays a never-ending and neverceasing-to-surprise skills – every single one delivered with a quip and a smirk. And yet, for all of those buts, there’s some infuriating fun about the heights of ridiculousness the film reaches. Everytime you think it can’t be more, it is. And then some. Providing more specific details would spoil things for you. Suffice to say, for a film that has as many flaws as claws, there may just be enough flair to hold back the fatigue – for the time being anyway….
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WORDS: CHRIS BANKS
WONDER WOMAN 1984 I
n a move seemingly
coherence is a hit with cinema-goers
first Wonder Woman along with a
designed to provoke a
and helps to steady a cinematic ship
brighter visual style and more articulate
deluge of hot takes and
that is not so much floundering on the
approach to world building.
rocks of critical success, but struggling
pieces worldwide, DC
to make it out of the harbour at all.
has decided to lead
The good news is she is back on board to direct the sequel along with Gal
its publicity campaign for Wonder
Still, Wonder Woman has so far been
Gadot and Pine who had a refreshing
Woman 84 with a photo of Chris Pine.
the sole bright spot for the DC Extended
and endearing chemistry first time out.
In true comic book fashion, Pineâ€™s First
Universe and looked to have brought
Kristen Wiig joins the cast taking on
World War ace Steve Trevor stands
some credibility to the beleaguered
the role of Cheetah, although precisely
proud, apparently very much alive
brand, before Justice League undid
which incarnation of the character is yet
despite having almost certainly died
much of its good work. Director Patty
to be confirmed; with Game of Thrones
in the previous instalment. DC and
Jenkins simultaneously brought a sense
star Pedro Pascal also announced. Set
Warner Bros will be hoping this kind
of maturity and much-needed lightness
in 1984, the movie is set to open in
of dissident approach to narrative
of tone to the DC Universe with the
cinemas on 1 November next year.
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