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What's On

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Now showing at Bussey Building/The CLF Art Cafe 133,Rye Lane,Peckham,London,London SE15 4ST 020 7732 5275

  • Almost Famous
  • Moonwalker

Almost Famous 4 stars

Semi-autobiographical drama from the writer-director of Jerry Maguire, tapping into Cameron Crowe's experiences as a young journalist on the respected music tome Rolling Stone. Set in the '70s, the film follows a high school student who longs to be a rock journalist and is given his big break by Rolling Stone. The magazine employs him to follow hot new band Stillwater on their latest US tour, getting to know the band members and the people who orbit them.

  • GenreAction, Comedy, Drama, Musical, Romance
  • CastPatrick Fugit, Billy Crudup, Frances McDormand.
  • DirectorCameron Crowe.
  • CountryUS
  • Duration126 mins
  • Official site
  • Release26/01/2001

Fifteen-year-old William Miller (Patrick Fugit) loves rock music. It's the lifeblood which courses through his veins, and inspires him to follow his dreams of becoming a fledgling reporter. William's fresh writing style catches the eye of jaded and uncompromising writer Lester Bangs (Philip Seymour Hoffman) who knows all the pitfalls of the trade. Acting as a mentor, Lester guides the boy towards his first assignment for respected music tome Rolling Stone, shadowing hot new band Stillwater on their US tour. The editors of the magazine want William getting to know the band members, including lead singer Jeff Bebe (Jason Lee) and lead guitarist Russell Hammond (Billy Crudup), and the people who orbit them - notably gregarious manager Dick Roswell (Noah Taylor), and the so-called "band aids" Penny Lane (Kate Hudson), Polexia Aphrodisia (Anna Paquin) and Sapphire (Fairuza Balk), who tend to the band's emotional needs. Lester advises his young protege in the unspoken rules of rock journalism - "You CANNOT make friends with the rock stars. They'll buy you drinks, they'll fly you places for free, offer you drugs... but they are not your friends." - but William quickly falls succumbs to celebrity's heady drug, developing a close friendship with Penny and Russell which threatens his objectivity to tell the band's story honestly. Almost Famous is a semi-autobiographical drama tapping into writer-director Cameron Crowe's experiences as a young journalist on Rolling Stone. William is his alter-ego, and together they revisit a pivotal time in the history of rock 'n' roll, providing us with the front row seats at the circus. The film is exquisitely crafted (Crowe collected this year's Oscar for Best Adapted Screenplay) as a valentine to the industry which has been such a large part of the writer-director's life (his wife is Nancy Wilson from the chart-topping rock band Heart). Fugit carries the film with an extraordinarily natural performance, perfectly evincing an awkward and shy teenager struck dumb by the chance to meet his musical idols. At first, he is completely in awe of Jeff, Russell and the gang, thrilled to be welcomed into the band's inner circle. But over time, his perfect image of his subjects shatters, and he comes to realise that they are just as desperate to be cool, to be liked, as him. Crudup strums a mean guitar and has the carefree rock 'n' roll attitude down pat, exploiting his new found fame and toying with Penny's emotions (despite having a young wife back home). Lee is suitably spiky as the vocalist annoyed by Russell's growing popularity, and Hudson is luminous as the lifelong Stillwater groupie who puts her heart on the line to make Russell happy. Following Judi Dench's lead in Shakespeare In Love, McDormand steals the show in little more than ten minutes screen time, playing a mother who is petrified that her one and only son will fall victim to the excesses of life on the road. Her telephone conversations with the band-mates, threatening them with hellfire and damnation if they dare lead William astray, are hysterical. Beautifully acted by all concerned, and underscored by a diverse soundtrack of hits from the era including Lou Reed, Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath and Simon & Garfunkel, Almost Famous is a nostalgia drenched, rites-of-passage drama which takes us all back to that time when anything seemed possible. It's good to be back.

Showtimes (Click time to book tickets)

Tuesday 7th July 2015

Moonwalker 3 stars

Musical.

  • GenreMusical
  • CastMichael Jackson, Joe Pesci.
  • DirectorColin Chivers/Jerry Kramer.
  • CountryUS
  • Duration93 mins
  • Official site

Showtimes (Click time to book tickets)

Wednesday 8th July 2015