Category Archives: Film

➤ Martin Kemp’s new hooligan movie all a bit too Lock-Stock for us!

Martin Kemp, posters, Leo Gregory,film , Top Dog
❚ TO BE HONEST the trailer for Top Dog was way too visceral for Shapersofthe80s to view out from behind the sofa. Martin Kemp’s latest film as a director for Richwater films is described by its producer Jonathan Sothcott as “the definitive hooligan movie”. If you insist on watching the “all a bit Lock-Stock” trailer, be warned: gratuitous macho swaggering from the outset, plus bodies being broken! The Strong Men at GQ have this to say about it …

➢ Click to view Top Dog trailer at GQ magazine

The British gangster genre is a tough nut to crack. Channel Four got it right with the excellent Top Boy, but cinema has often fallen short of the mark. For every Layer Cake and Wild Bill, there’s a thousand more films that just aren’t tough enough to survive in the world of dodgy East-End pubs and expertly tailored football hooliganism. Thank goodness, then for the release of Top Dog, a new British thriller adapted from the novel of the same name by Green Street’s Dougie Brimson. Starring Leo Gregory (a veteran of the genre after roles in Green Street and EastEnders) as a football firm leader who takes on more than he can handle when he tries to reclaim his family’s pub from a group of no-nonsense gangsters. While it may do little to change Britain’s reputation as a nation of football hooligans, for those looking for something to fill the void left by Gary Oldman’s 1989 original of The Firm and 2005’s Green Street, Top Dog is a tense, Elijah Wood-free alternative.

Top Dog is released in cinemas May 23 and on Blu Ray and DVD May 26.

➢ Previously at Shapersofthe80s: Catch up on the warts-and-all biopic about Spandau Ballet premiered in Texas

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➤ Another emotional gem on Spandau’s long walk to freedom

Soul Boys of the Western World, interview, Spandau Ballet, SXSW, Austin, premiere, movie, pop music,

Spandau Ballet’s post-gig interview at SXSW in Texas: Steve Norman finds the humour in St John Keeble’s healing homilies

❚ NOT TO BE MISSED! Freshly posted at YouTube is yet another heart-on-sleeve prequel to Spandau Ballet’s promised Reconciliation and Redemption tour. A group interview on video unexpectedly becomes a very moving and positive expression of the band’s solidarity as friends. Famously “sticky moments” from the kamikaze wrecking of the band at the height of its success and the atomic fall-out during the 90s are glancingly referred to in the spirit of mild self-flagellation. The five musicians who defined Britain’s New Romantic movement are discussing Soul Boys of the Western World, their warts-and-all documentary biopic premiered last month at SXSW, the cool new-media festival at Austin in Texas.

“The film is pretty honest and hard for us to watch at times,” says songwriter Gary Kemp. “You can see in the film I was a bit precious.”

“That Kray twin moment [a reference to the Kemps making a feature film about the Krays in 1990]: for me that’s really embarrassing cos me and Gary’s answer is really conceited, but that’s who we were at the time,” says brother and bass player Martin. “The film lets us examine where we went wrong.”

SOUL BOYS SET FOR CANNES

The Spandau Ballet documentary that proved a hit at SXSW in March, is to be screened to buyers at the ➢ Cannes Marché next month, handled by UK sales company Metro International

“We’re human, we didn’t always get it right, we were young kids thrust into the limelight,” says singer Tony Hadley.

“We went through that terrible time facing each other in court at one point,” says instrumentalist Steve Norman. “It was awful. I put my saxophone on the top shelf and didn’t want anything to do with it for about four or five years cos it was symbolic of Spandau.”

Throughout the interview St John of the Drums emerges as the Kentish Town savant with a healing prayer for the sins that destroyed lifelong friendships between the five soulboys. “You can’t be revisionist,” Keeble observes. “It was a major thing when we got back together five years ago. You cannot unknow stuff that’s gone on but I think everyone felt in their hearts that it was now better to focus on the future. The whole world’s still in front of us.”

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➢ Why the trailer for Soul Boys of the Western World
stops you in your tracks

What’s sad from a fan’s perspective is that the live gig in Texas which followed the film’s screening was the first and only time Spandau have played together since their year-long Reformation tour ended in 2010. That comeback tour was a sensational success, just as this gig has proved to be. The video interviewer, writer Lori Majewski, called Spandau a formidable live band: “I was surprised how tight you guys were, how great the live show was!” Entertainment Weekly reported the gig exuding “a rare atmosphere for a very youth-centrict fest, and a truly inspired musical moment – not bad for a bunch of fifty-somethings”.

The documentary has received keen reviews for its sole use of vintage footage and director George Hencken’s intelligent deployment of the band’s hit tunes from the 80s. The SXSW interview also reveals that at the 1985 Live Aid concert Steve Norman shot some under-cover footage backstage where cameras officially weren’t allowed. John Keeble remarks on the amount of original footage in their movie which the band themselves had never seen before – much shot by Martin Kemp as a Super8 enthusiast – while there’s plenty more footage that didn’t make the cut. So come on, lads. Let’s stage a premiere for the Spandau out-takes.

Click on video title above, then scroll to No 7 in the playlist

❏ This meeting of travellers at a crossroads in Austin has all the signs of a mystical resurrection sent from heaven, yet we’re told a Spandau tour is unlikely to happen this side of New Year. How patient must fans be? They had to wait three years for this film to be finished, having evolved naturally from a gifted film-maker recording the Reformation tour.

Two superb books on Spandau have been in preparation for years: one, a smart limited edition photobook, still awaits a strategic publication date to support a career jump-start.

The other was commissioned ten years ago, yes ten, in a wishful gesture of reconciliation while band members roamed the wilderness of solo careers. The showbiz writer Paul Simper was rightly deemed the only person qualified and trusted to capture the fascinating inside story of Spandau Ballet. His manuscript was revised five years ago to boost the Reformation tour, then publication was postponed in order to embrace the selfsame Reformation tour. His gripping text is far more thorough than many rock biogs because of the extraordinary times it describes and the wide-ranging context his research has captured. Currently, Simper is re-retuning his words which could become the book-of-the-film – once the film is given a release date. “Hearing the band talk so eloquently and emotionally gives me new impetus,” he said today. “It’s thrilling to hear them looking to the future.”

For the fans camped at the tiny Oasis of Hope, the road to truth and reconciliation for the band who’ve been pals since schooldays is a long one, as it has been for post-apartheid South Africa, and for Ireland since partition. But y’know, those two were nations with histories riven by British politics. Not a chart-topping pop group. Why doesn’t somebody ask Jerry for his Final Word then we can all get back to the music?

VULCAN GAS CO: SPANDAU’S FIRST US GIG IN 28 YEARS

AND AT THE LOU REED TRIBUTE AT SXSW

➢ Previously at Shapersofthe80s: Curtain up on Spandau’s rollercoaster saga of war and peace

CHEEKY CHAPPIES: THE WAY THEY WERE IN ’81

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2014 ➤ At last, Kemp reveals Spandau to tour UK and US in the fall – and tomorrow The World!

Spandau Ballet, SXSW, tour news, UK, US, pop music, Twitter

Gary Kemp scoops Spandau Ballet’s own website on March 15

Spandau Ballet, SXSW, Vulcan Gas Company, pop music, Tony Hadley, reunion, concert

Spandau Ballet reunion at SXSW: the band together onstage playing 11 of their classic numbers at the Vulcan Gas Company

❚ HERE ARE THE TWEETS Spandau Ballet fans have all been waiting for, when Gary Kemp scooped even the band’s official website following their reunion performances and film premiere at SXSW in Texas. Yes, a tour is in the offing and it will conquer the world.

Spandau Ballet, SXSW, tour news, UK, US, pop music, Twitter, Irvine Welsh

Gary’s news of a UK tour also emerged on March 15 during interrogation at Twitter by Irvine Welsh, the Scottish author of the 1993 novel, Trainspotting

Spandau Ballet, SXSW, tour news, UK, US, pop music, Twitter,

Two days later, March 17: Tweeter Martin Wood, an English fan from Yorkshire, engages Gary in some banter…

Spandau Ballet, SXSW, tour news, UK, US, pop music, Twitter

… whereupon Gary Kemp announces a second scoop at Twitter. Well done, Martin!

Spandau Ballet , video,Satellite of Love , SXSW

Spandau Ballet on Friday performing Satellite of Love at the Lou Reed Tribute at SXSW … Videograb courtesy Chickrock: click the pic to view her video in new window

➢ Previously at Shapersofthe80s: First review of Soul Boys of the Western World

➢ View March 12 interview for ComingSoon.net with Spandau Ballet plus their film director George Hencken

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2014 ➤ Curtain up on Spandau’s rollercoaster saga of war and peace

Spandau Ballet, SXSW, Vulcan Gas Company, pop music, Tony Hadley, concert

Hello America! In Austin, Texas, 28 years after their last vsit, Spandau Ballet return to play live

➢ UPDATE – First official review of SBWW from Mel Brown at Facebook:
I’m a very lucky girl. Got to see the worldwide premiere of Soul Boys of the Western World. Truly amazing. An emotional roller coaster. This film is not just for Spandau fans, it’s for anyone who loves a good story of friends growing up together. Can’t wait for its UK release. Thanks guys! Looking forward to the first US show in 28 years tonight.

❚ AUSTIN, TEXAS, IS SIX HOURS BEHIND THE UK so any minute NOW the curtain is going up on the world premiere of Soul Boys of the Western World. The documentary movie made entirely from vintage footage follows the rise and fall of the five london schoolpals who became one the the world’s half dozen pop supergroups of the 80s. And in two hours’ time we’ll know how much of a tearjerker it turns out to be. Take it away, Tone!

Spandau Ballet, reunion, TV, interview, Soul Boys of the Western World,movie,pop music, SXSW

Spandau Ballet all together on the Austin TV breakfast show: first public reunion since the Reformation tour ended in summer 2010

➢ Tony Hadley on Facebook early today:
A tiring but extremely successful day 2 at SXSW. We spent pretty much the entire day from 7.30am to 6pm doing promotion for the movie. The feedback from all the journalists that interviewed us was fantastic and there will be some reviews online later. In the afternoon we had a couple of hours to head out and check our back-line equipment for today’s show at a rehearsal facility here. In the room next door there was Kanye West and Jay-z rehearsing. 
Last night I had a chance to go and see London Grammar, Imagine Dragons and Coldplay playing at the iTunes Festival here. They all put on a great show.

“ Today is the main Spandau Ballet event…the premiere of Soul Boys of the Western World at the Paramount Theatre at 1400hrs. Very exciting!
 Tonight we play our first show here in the US for 28 years at the Vulcan Gas Company and we are all really looking forward to it. I’ll let you know tomorrow how it went!!

FIRST SNAPS AFTER THE SCREENING

Soul Boys of the Western World, Spandau Ballet, SXSW, Austin, premiere, movie, pop music, George Hencken

After the screening of Soul Boys of the Western World: Spandau invite a Q&A from the Paramount audience… Far left, the film’s director George Hencken

Today’s Tweet from Gary Kemp ‏@garyjkemp
On stage with band and director @georgehencken for Q&A post screening. Thank you @sxsw, it was emotional.

Spandau Ballet, Vulcan Gas Company, concert, pop music, SXSW,Austin

Soundcheck for tonight’s live gig: Spandau onstage together for the first time in almost four years at the Vulcan Gas Company in Austin. Photo by Spandau’s first record producer, Richard James Burgess

Today’s Tweet from Spandau’s film director Henckenstein ‏@georgehencken
Tonight is going to be about this: #SpandauBallet #VulcanGasCompany

 Richard Burgess , Spandau Ballet, Steve Norman, film, Soul Boys of the Western World, premiere,SXSW

Another reunion! Steve Norman meets up with Spandau’s first record producer Richard Burgess today at SXSW

Today’s tweet from Spandau’s first record producer Richard James Burgess
I haven’t seen them in a small room since 1980

Spandau Ballet, SXSW, Vulcan Gas Company, pop music, Tony Hadley, concert

After the soundcheck for tonight’s Spandau show: Tony Hadley relaxing as Steve Norman takes the snap

Today’s tweet from Steve Norman ‏@SteveNormanReal
The big man post sound check, pre gig madness @TheTonyHadley #SXSW

Soul Boys of the Western World, Spandau Ballet, SXSW, premiere, movie, pop music

Marquee of the Paramount in Austin, Texas: Soul Boys of the Western World premieres today

➢ Today’s SXSW 2014 print interview with Spandau Ballet and their film director George Hencken

➢ Click to view the trailer of Soul Boys of the Western World

➢ Previously at Shapersofthe80s: Spandau confirms live reunion gig in Texas – for a tiny elite!

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➤ Life inside the head of Big Frank and Little Frank will make you weep

Chris Sievey, Frank Sidebottom, Domhnall Gleeson,Michael Fassbender,Maggie Gyllenhaal,Lenny Abrahamson,Frank the film,

Frank the film (2014): Fassbender and Gleeson

❚ O.M.G! ANOTHER WACKO TRAILER for a feature film. This is one everyone born North of Macclesfield will want to see – Frank, a fictional story loosely inspired by the brilliant life of eccentric Mancunian musician Chris Sievey, who built a comedy career as Frank Sidebottom, the man in the giant papier-mâché head. He died in 2010 aged only 54.

A young wannabe musician, Jon (Domhnall Gleeson), finds himself out of his depth when he joins a band that includes the terrifying Clara (Maggie Gyllenhaal) and is led by the enigmatic Frank, played by the Irish actor Michael Fassbender. (Why?) And what goes on inside the giant head? The trailer alone reveals weirdnesses you never knew before. He never takes it off. When bandmates try to force him to remove his head, Frank says: “I have a certificate.” Sob.

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➢ View a rather more heart-warming clip at the website for Frank the film, directed by Lenny Abrahamson, UK release 9 May 2014

➢ Previously at Shapersofthe80s: RIP Big Frank and Little Frank who had a Fantastic Funeral

SIDEBOTTOM’S FIRST TV APPEARANCE (1985)

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