MUSIC REVIEW | Elvis Costello – Spike (1989)

In a nutshell, Bored & Dangerous says: “The biggest pleasures with Spike were in its surprises.”

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In 1986, Elvis Costello released his album, King of America.  An album of which I said, “It’s great to hear an album by someone who I was so sure I was familiar with, to only then be surprised in different ways from song to song.”  It was that surprise that inspired me to dig deeper into this guy who I have always liked, but was becoming increasingly aware that I had also always taken for granted, expecting a very specific kind of music.  So, what surprises were in store with Costello’s record from three years later, Spike?

With an over produced drum sound and bouncing synth, the first few seconds of …This Town… had me wondering if I was listening to the wrong album.  But the second Costello’s voice joins the fray, this is undeniably an Elvis Costello song.  The little production flourishes continue with hints of similar period Peter Gabriel, but Costello’s voice is more than enough to overpower them all. (more…)

MOVIE REVIEW | Buffalo Bill and the Indians, or Sitting Bull’s History Lesson (1976)

In a nutshell, Bored & Dangerous says: “It has a message, it has things to say, and it never makes any bones about saying them openly and directly.”

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“The difference between a white man and an injun in all situations is that an injun is red. And an injun is red for a very good reason. So we can tell us apart.”

For a long time, westerns always seemed to me like a genre for old men.  Sure, when you watch old sitcoms from the 50s, or even in the original Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, young boys are always portrayed as being obsessed with cowboys.  But in my lifetime, westerns have always been watched by old blokes.  A baseless theory that none the less gets more validity as I get older and like them more and more.  As I increasingly seek westerns out, I generally only ever found further examples of the standard clichés that define the genre in its broadest terms.  But today, I stumbled across a real anti western, Buffalo Bill and the Indians, or Sitting Bull’s History Lesson.

William ‘Buffalo Bill’ Cody (Paul Newman) was once a frontier conquering, buffalo killing, man of the range.  But when this movie picks up, he’s a cheap huckster, leading a cheesy troupe of performers in ‘Buffalo Bill’s Wild West’.  A kind of arena show for late 19th century rubes, notorious names of the day, like Cody and Annie Oakley (Geraldine Chaplin) pimp out their once good names, and resort to performing re-enactments of recent cowboy versus Indian events. (more…)

MUSIC REVIEW | Fly Golden Eagle – Quartz Bijou (2015)

In a nutshell, Bored & Dangerous says: “Vintage heart and soul rock and roll.”

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A little while ago, I took a chance on what might be one of the worst named bands in the history of rock and roll by listening to King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard with what might be one of the worst named records in the history of rock and roll, Paper Mache Dream Balloon.  I took that chance simply because they were label mates with one of my absolute favourite bands of all time, and by far my number one most listened to band of the last few years, Drive-By Truckers.  The result was an, “oscillation between half decent and full bullshit.”  But I guess that wasn’t enough to put me off that method of trying new bands.  Because here I am, reviewing fellow ATO Records act Fly Golden Eagle, with last year’s Quartz Bijou.

Funk, soul, vintage R n’ B…  These ingredients in such full flavoured force aren’t something to be expected on a record from 2015, but You Look Good to Me delivers a heapin’ helpin’ that makes me want to watch a super low budget, B grade movie from the 70s.  The 70s vibe is only amplified even more with the dirt and grit of Stepping Stone.  It has an evangelical vibe as the vocals are preached in between bursts of sleazy rock that sounds way too cool to have been made this millennium. (more…)

MOVIE REVIEW | Tough Guys (1986)

In a nutshell, Bored & Dangerous says: “It’s an outright hilarious, and not always deliberately so, take on 50s and 80s stereotypes. ”

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“We’ll steal the whole Goddamn train and ride it to Mexico.”

The best thing about modern entertainment technology is, we have absolutely everything at out fingertips.  Pretty much any movie I have ever heard of is a few mouse clicks away, or streaming right into my telly when I want to watch it.  The worst part is, we have absolutely everything at out fingertips.  When there are things out there you know you’ll love, there’s no need to ever take a risk on something you know little about.  But when I was a kid, having only four TV channels meant often having to settle for whatever was on.  That meant sitting through some real shit bombs, but it also mean stumbling across movies that I love to this day.  Movies like Tough Guys.

30 years before the movie starts, Archie (Kirk Douglas) and Harry (Burt Lancaster) became legends as America’s last train robbers.  Caught and convicted, they spent three decades in the clink and are finally released.  Fish out of water in a world that moved on, their legend has faded and almost disappeared, and they’re no longer the young, good time gangsters of the 50s.  They’re old men in a new, 80s world.  A world where Harry is forced into mandatory retirement and Archie has to take a minimum wage job pouring frozen yoghurt for spoilt kids.  All the while, veteran cop Deke (Charles Durning) is convinced they’ll reoffend, and is determined to be there when they do.  Also on their tail is a vengeful, shotgun wielding half blind man (Eli Wallach) with a score to settle. (more…)

MUSIC REVIEW | Elvis Costello – King of America (1986)

In a nutshell, Bored & Dangerous says: “It’s great to hear an album by someone who I was so sure I was familiar with, to only then be surprised in different ways from song to song.”

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Diving head first into the back catalogue of musical legends is intimidating.  First of all, if they’re considered a legend, chances are they’ve been around a while and produced a healthy sized body of work.  Secondly, if you don’t like it, what does that say about your own tastes, or lack thereof?  Between his legendary status and 24 solo albums over almost 40 years, the work of Elvis Costello is dense and immense.  I already know I like him, and I still felt anxious when trying to decide which of his albums to listen to for a review.  In the end, for maximum new exposure, I chose one with the least number of song titles I recognised.  I chose King of America.

After the Costello-standard guitar based, melodious rock perfection of Brilliant Mistake, it’s his take on walking bass, 12 bar, 50s country, rock n roll with Loveable.  It’s not really a sound I’ve ever felt myself wishing Costello had tackled, and while it’s a perfectly fine little curiosity, it’s not the kind of thing I hope to find more of on King of America, or really anywhere else in the Elvis Costello oeuvre. (more…)

MOVIE REVIEW | ***B&D SUNDAY FLASHBACK*** Time Bandits (1981)

In a nutshell, Bored & Dangerous says: “Amongst all of its insanity, the ‘normal’guy is the weirdest one”

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“Dear Benson, you are so mercifully free of the ravages of intelligence.”

Terry Gilliam is a weird director for me.  I don’t love (or even like) that may of his movies, but I can’t help getting excited whenever there’s a new one coming out, or whenever I finally get around to watching an oldie I know I should have seen years ago.  Time Bandits doesn’t come with the classic reputation of Monty Python and the Holy Grail.  Or the cult love of Brazil.  Or the star power of Brad Pitt and Bruce Willis in 12 Monkeys.  Or even with the glorious failure spectacle of something like The Adventures of Baron Munchausen.  What Times Bandits does come with from others who sing its praises, is a feeling of childhood nostalgia.

And within the first few minutes, I could tell why this does have such a fond place in the memories of so many people.  When a full sized horse bursts out of a boy’s wardrobe in his mundane, suburban bedroom, I felt that nostalgia too, even though I’m an adult and was seeing Time Bandits for the first time. (more…)

MOVIE REVIEW | ***B&D SATURDAY FLASHBACK*** La Dolce Vita (1960)

In a nutshell, Bored & Dangerous says: “I agree that it is amazing and a true classic.  I just have no idea why I think that or how to articulate it.”

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“We must get beyond passions, like a great work of art. In such miraculous harmony. We should love each other outside of time… detached.”

Fellini is one for those film makers who even if you’ve never seen a single one of his movies, you’re familiar with his aesthetic.  If you’ve ever seen a parody of black and white, European cinema, chances are it was parody of Frederico Fellini, Ingmar Bergman or the one of the French New Wavers.  So even as I watched La Dolce Vita (translated as either “The Sweet Life” or “The Good Life”) for the first time, there was a kind of familiarity.  The serious, tortured men in suits and sunglasses, the glamorous women they bed, the cafes, cars and narrow streets of an ancient city invaded by the modern day.  It’s all here and it all looks amazing.


More a series of vignettes than a single story with a beginning, middle and end, La Dolce Vita follows tabloid reporter Marcello on a series of nocturnal adventures in and around Rome.  Each story generally tells of a late night exploit in Marcello’s pursuit of love and some sort of meaning of life.  Each story is then capped with a brief look at the consequences Marcello faces the following morning.  Some are connected, share characters and even tell parts of a continuing story.  Some don’t.  Some I found really entertaining.  Some I didn’t. (more…)