Bunch Of Fives: AXLS | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

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Newcastle’s electronic music trio AXLS follow up their debut album, First Contact (released earlier in the year) with a new dance-inducing number entitled discotek. It’s a song about getting lost in the music and is a euro-synth spectacular which pumps and pulsates beneath the ear-pleasingly pétillant vocal. 

Speaking of engrossing artforms, here the band tell us about their top five favourite films …

Blade Runner (1982) – Conrad’s pick
Ridley Scott’s 1982 sci fi cop epic based on Philip K Dick’s novel Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? is one of the best films ever made.

Harrison Ford excels as Rick Deckard the reluctant cop hunting down runaway synthetic human robots in a dystopian society. It dazzles with incredible visuals, a standout performance from Rutger Hauer and an incredible sci-fi score from Vangelis.

The film has been massively influential on us in creating our music both sonically and thematically. In short, we love this thought provoking existential futuristic thriller with flying cars and cool electronic soundtrack!

Alien (1979)- Conrad’s pick
Ridley Scott again but this time with a haunted house horror set in space. One of the most suspenseful films of all time.

The crew of the Nostromo answer a distress call from a mysterious planet which brings them into contact with an extraterrestrial with acid for blood and a taste for humans on the menu.

Superb performances from John Hurt and Ian Holm and solid support by Harry Dean Stanton and Yaphet Koto. It’s also the film that made Sigourney Weaver a star and spawned numerous sequels and spinoffs.

This was the first time that space was portrayed as dark and dangerous, unlike previous “clean” films like Star Wars and Star Trek. This was down to the stunning dark nightmarish visuals based on HR Giger art. It’s also a great film because it led to Aliens (one of the best sequels of all time) as colonial marines are dispatched to deal with a whole horde of aliens on a return to planet LV426.

Almost Famous (2000) – Chris’ pick
Where to start with this film? Well I guess it’s really a love letter to music. Semi-based on director Cameron Crowe’s own experiences as a teenage music journalist following some of the biggest bands of the 1970s. The film is funny but also moving at times, and both glorifies and satirises the idea of the glamorous rock and roll lifestyle. Almost Famous also has, arguably, one of the greatest soundtracks of all time and features the likes of Led Zeppelin, Cat Stevens, Yes and Elton John to name a few.

2001: A Space Odyssey (1968) – Chris’ pick
Stanley Kubrick’s masterpiece based upon the works of Arthur C Clarke is a dazzling look at humanity’s past, future and overall place in the universe. For a film over fifty years old now, 2001’s stunning visuals and special effects hold up surprisingly well. The film is frightening yet beautiful, and focuses on themes of existentialism, human evolution and the idea of extraterrestrial life. The most fascinating themes however are those of artificial intelligence and its relationship to humanity, being played out between the ship’s computer – HAL 9000 – and astronaut David Bowman. Despite the heavy themes however it is just as easy to enjoy 2001: A Space Odyssey for its stunning visuals and incredible realisation of space travel.

Matilda (1996) – Vic’s pick
This is probably the most random choice on our list but, come on, a film that both stars and is directed by Danny Devito?! What a dream. Matilda just so happens to be the first book I can remember reading and I’m so happy the film does Dahl justice. The story follows a spectacular girl who is repeatedly dismissed by her parents. Her upbringing makes her into the strong, independent young woman we all love to see and she may also have some inexplicable super powers?

Pam Ferris brings unmatched hilarity as the terrifying Miss Trunchbull. Her performance really makes the film what it is and I still hear her saying “much too good for children” every time I eat a fancy chocolate. Devito has some absolutely golden scenes as Harry Wormwood, including getting a hat glued to his head (sorry, the fibres of his hat fused to his head, I should say). Miss Honey is also the reason I can spell difficulty (WHY ARE ALL THESE WOMEN MARRIED?!).

Child neglect aside, it really is a feel-good film with a happy ending, and everyone should have it on their watched list.   

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