In a week when both Love & Mercy and Amy go on general release, The Sloth has come over all melodious. We’ve hummed through our DVD collection to bring you our favourite musical films from recent years. If you haven’t yet seen them, get watching, preferably with the volume dialled up to 11.
It’s not just ‘coz The Sloth is a ma-hoo-sive Joy Division fan. Really it isn’t. This biopic of Joy Division’s Ian Curtis is simply a sublime piece of filmmaking, being the feature film debut of both director Anton Corbjin and star Sam Riley, who gives an astonishing performance as the twitchy, tortured Curtis. By that logic, The Sloth wonders why more complete novices aren’t out there making BAFTA nominated films. We might give it a shot ourselves, come the next rainy Sunday afternoon.
The Sloth has replayed Inside Llewyn Davis’s scene of Justin Trousersnake singing ‘Please Mr Kennedy’ on YouTube more times than we dare admit. And barked like a seal with sheer delight every single time. Should you have not seen these 100 mins of joy from the dark comic minds of the Coen Brothers, rectify this immediately. Not only is it chock full of bone dry humour, but it also features some beautifully sung folk music from the ludicrously talented Oscar Issac.
No doubt you’ll have heard of The Walker Brothers, a 60’s band whose song The Sun Ain’t Gonna Shine Any More was a global hit. Post hits, Scott Walker went his own musical way. 30 Century Man explores what a way it was. Avant-garde doesn’t even begin to describe it. Revered to the status of legend in musical circles, Mr Walker’s work teetered on the brink of what we recognise as music. An afternoon in the studio, for example, might see him record professional percussionists methodically punching pieces of meat, as you do. Totally Bonkers.Totally brilliant.
Seemingly a case of always the bridesmaid, never the bride, the backing singer can slug away for decades on the cusp of the limelight. But is that through choice, or are they a victim of bad luck? Documentary Twenty Feet From Stardom pulls the lid back on an unseen world where some of these supremely talented ladies have reached legend status amongst their musical peers. With interviews from the likes of Mick Jagger, this is proper, grown up, eye-opening stuff.
Yes, go ahead and sneer, snobby musical purists! You’re no fun and The Sloth would rather chew our own toenails than listen to you drone on about the influence of Andy Warhol on Leonard Cohen’s early works, blah blah, yawn, zzzz. We love the Pitch Perfect ladies, particularly for their sheer audacity in opening their second film with Fat Amy flashing her lady-bits to The Obamas. What more could you want? Apart from a robotic rival German group called (affect constipated voice) Das Sound Machine. Oh, they put that in too. Magic!