A daily bulletin of news & opinion

30 April 2011

01 Film: USA

13 Assassins

Horror master Takashi Miike goes for the jidaigeki genre with this period drama about an elite team of 13 samurai assassins hired to kill the sadistic brother of the Shogun. Backed by British producer Jeremy Thomas (of Bertolucci’s Oscar-winning The Last Emperor), the picture is a brutal tale set in the dying days of Japan’s feudal era, anchored bloodily by an epic 45-minute battle sequence.

“13 Assassins”, directed by Takashi Miike, general release across the US

02 Music: Global

-Agnes Obel "Philharmonics"

Danish songstress Obel soft-launched her debut album, Philharmonics, last October but such was its success it’s being re-released with global distribution on Monday. We urge you to not wait; the original release can be downloaded now. Obel’s ballads are melancholic and sparse and, at times, soaring – breathy harmonies are accompanied by the piano, harp and cello, echoing the softer sides of Cat Power and Joanna Newsom. Softer, yes, but frequently more powerful.

Agnes Obel, “Philharmonics”, available for download on iTunes

03 Exhibition: London

-Ged Quinn

Run the risk of strangulation at the hands of leftover bunting this Saturday, and be sure to visit Ged Quinn’s show at Stephen Friedman Gallery in Mayfair. The painter’s first exhibition since being hung in Saatchi’s Newspeak show last year, Cornwall-based Quinn’s works have all the eager humour of Hieronymus Bosch, and all the pastoral charms of a Claude Lorrain countryside.

Ged Quinn, Stephen Friedman Gallery, 25-28 Old Burlington Street, London. Open daily, 10.00 – 18.00 (Saturday, 11.00 – 17.00, closed Sunday). Until 1

04 Book: Blobal

-Linda Grant "We Had It So Good"

Finally seeing a US release earlier this week, We Had It So Good is Linda Grant’s drop-dead funny successor to the Man Booker shortlisted The Clothes on Their Backs. It details the lives of wedded baby-boomers Stephen and Angela, whose encroaching middle age and continuous good fortune through their years remains a mystery to both of them. It’s a timely tale of matrimonial bliss, and a deadpan contemplation of growing old, for better or for worse.

Linda Grant, “We Had It So Good”, released in the US on 26 April

05 Film: UK

-Upside Down: The Story of Creation Records

A documentary worth cracking open the champagne (supernova) for, director Danny O’Connor chronicles the 20-year history of Alan McGee’s iconic record label, the one that gave us My Bloody Valentine, Oasis, and Primal Scream, to name a few. Sex, drugs and shoegazing, topped out with worn-in Doc Martens, stripy shirts and floppy mop hairdos – Upside Down is all about the beautiful mess Creation Records was.

“Upside Down: The Story of Creation Records”, directed by Danny O’Connor, released now across the UK


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