News: Gig tickets – The importance of being earnest

How far would you go to get tickets to see your favourite band? Pay a little extra cash, pull a sickie from work to go and buy tickets? How about camping out on the street overnight in cold, Scottish winds for over eleven hours? Because that’s what some crazed Mumford and Sons fans did last weekend as tickets to two upcoming gigs in Forres and Inverness went on sale.

With only around 1500 tickets on sale between both dates – one on the 4th March at The Loft venue, Kinloss, Forres and the other on the 8th March at the Ironworks, Inverness – hundreds of fans had to go without. Many of them after having stood in queues for over three or four hours.

The queue in Inverness clocked in at over 1000 eager fans, with almost all of them planning to buy two tickets each whilst a queue to buy tickets at music shop Sound and Vision in Elgin was estimated at over a mile long.

The band Mumford and Sons have a mini eight day tour ahead of them in Forres, Elgin and six dates on six different Scottish Islands including Kirkwall in Orkney before they head off on a worldwide tour including dates in Spain.

The band wanted to come back to their fans in the North where they started out playing small gigs – it’s just fortunate for them and unfortunate for the fans that they are a lot more popular up here now than they used to be so tickets instantly became harder to get. The band apologised to those fans who never got tickets through their website after they sold out very quickly and now realise that their wish of playing intimate gigs is not going to be as possible anymore.

Mumford and Sons first album ‘Sigh No More’ won the Brit Award for Mastercards British Album of the Year last week after being up against artists such as Take That, Plan B, Tinie Tempah and The XX. The band also recently performed with Bob Dylan at the Grammy Award Show where they were nominated for two awards.

Gillian Lambie

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Film: Review – I Am Number Four

Like teenagers the world over, I Am Number Four is a film which just tries to fit in. Alex ‘Stormbreaker‘ Pettyfer plays high school student John Smith, who is really an alien dubbed ‘Number Four’.

Following a frantic chase sequence which shows us the demise of Number Three, Number Four sets the scene with Pettyfer’s calm voiceover explaining that he and eight others are aliens who escaped from the planet Lorien as new-borns. Undesirables the Mogadorians were invading the planet and have now found the nine on Earth and have set about killing them in a ritualistic but necessary fashion – numerical order.

The film is based on the first novel of a six book series aimed at the Twilight saga audience, but unusually the back story is vague compared to other Stephanie Meyer’s vampire story, or J.K. Rowlings muggle on wizard universe. Add to that the cartoonish nature of baddies the Mogadorians, who look like an animalistic ancestor of Eric Bana’s Romulan leader Nero from the latest Star Trek film, and things begin to look a little undercooked.

Enter Glee star Dianna Agron as kooky love interest Sarah Hart, who brings everyman John out of his shell with her love of photography. Though the short run time keeps an uncomfortably fast pace, Agron and Pettyfer convince as they deal with changes far more unusual than the average teen.

Aside from some symbolic scars on his leg, Number Four looks like an average teenager. All that changes with Number Four’s coming-of-age as his ‘Legacy’, or superpower, gives him the (often uncontrollable) ability to shoot light from his hands, in a bizarre cross between Xmen‘s Cyclops and Iron Man, and as his new-found confidence grows so do his powers.

Number Four’s mentor and protector Henri (Timothy Olyphant) keeps things grounded with a great balance beween matter-of-fact humour and stern-faced words of wisdom, but the fun really begins with the arrival of Number Six, Teresa Palmer, previously seen in December Boys and The Sorcerer’s Apprentice.

Her teleportation powers and knife skills instantly add an element of ‘cool’ to proceedings, and Producer Michael Bay’s action streak shines through with a colossal explosion almost the second she appears.

Number Four’s situation becomes increasingly frantic as he battles to deal with his new found power while trying to keep Harri happy and Sarah safe.

The film builds to a crescendo of action as the two alien factions face off in an American football stadium, unfamiliar territory for Director DJ Caruso, previously responsible for the sublime Disturbia and frantic Eagle Eye. With action-man Bay behind him though, Caruso delivers an action spectacle more than adequate to keep the kids entertained.

The twenty year-old Brit Pettyfer holds things together fairly comfortably in what could be the first of six films, but with such expectation you can’t help but wonder if the film is just a bit too close to the norm to bring audiences back.

 

Rating: 3/5

James Michael Parry

Film: Review – The Fighter

In Britain we love the underdog, from our try-hard sports stars to gimmicky reality TV contestants, we are forever cheering for that ‘against-all-odds’ victory. Unlike a rags-to-riches tale, like Silvester Stallone’s Rocky, with The Fighter, director David O. Russell is dealing with a true story, making the challenge of producing a believable cinematic experience even greater.

Luckily Russell has great talent as his disposal in the form of Mark Wahlberg and Christian Bale as boxing brothers Micky Ward and Dicky Ekland.

Set in the all-American city of Lowell, Massachusettes, we see the brothers as they are warmly greeted out on the city streets, emphasising the significance of family, a feeling which runs through the whole film.

The sight of Bale as Dicky is a shock compared to the chiselled physique of the caped crusader, since Dicky is little more than a skeleton, which it is soon revealed is down to his issues with drugs.

Far from stealing the show, Bale gives a nervous energy to a man who his brother both loves and hates as he fails to show up to help Micky train. The tension between Micky and Dicky convinces, bubbling under the surface as the plot develops before proving to be the lynch pin for the success of Micky’s boxing.

Those with an aversion to violence should not worry about excessive injuries on screen; Russell keeps the fights themselves to the background, focusing on the characters until the film’s climax.

The supporting cast adds to the atmosphere, particularly with the casting of trainer and family friend Mickey O’Keefe playing himself, and this coupled with the appearance of the real Micky and Dicky in the film’s closing credits give a glimpse of the impressive characterisation in Wahlberg and Bale’s performance.

Bale delivers a particularly believable rendition of his character, earning him nominations for Best Supporting Actor at both the Academy Awards and BAFTAs. Amy Adams, who plays Micky’s love interest Charlene Fleming, is also nominated in the Best Supporting Actress category.

The Fighter is a film which does more than tick boxes for awards season though. Character drives the story along as Russell slowly lets us into Micky’s mind as he develops both as a fighter and independently as a person.

The film is more than just ‘a boxing film’ with the fights themselves on the sidelines to Micky’s challenge of balancing what is best for him and what is best for his family. Wahlberg’s often fixed expression suits the character down to the ground here, and the damage to his pride after a defeat in the ring is more visible than the cuts and bruises on his face.

Earning that one chance at the big time is one which we can all aspire to and you’re guaranteed to feel uplifted by the time the credits roll.

Rating: 4/5

James Michael Parry

Film: The most anticipated film releases of 2011

With the 2011 film release schedule now in full swing, with critic favourites The King’s Speech and Black Swan already capturing audience’s imaginations the world over, This Is Entertainment looks forward to some of the other delights the year has in store, courtesy of our very own Gillian Lambie in her first guest post.

Well we’ve all watched or heard about the likes of Toy Story 3, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1 and the 3rd Twilight: Eclipse – as well as all the other brilliant films that seen us through 2010. (I know this because we spent more than £1 billion pounds going to watch them all!)

So what’s next? What do we have to look forward to in 2011? The answer is: a lot. Around 119 films were produced in the UK last year, all ready for our viewing in the near future.

These upcoming titles include a fourth Pirates of the Caribbean named On Stranger Tides where we look forward to seeing Johnny Depp, as Captain Jack Sparrow, in much more excitement and danger.

Also, not too far away on 12 August a brand new film Cowboys and Aliens arrives, by spaceship! The cast including Daniel Craig and Harrison Ford take to the stage as cowboys from Arizona armed with rifles and guns ready to save the world. Looks to be an exciting, must-see movie.

But, if you can’t wait that long for aliens, then a Simon Pegg creation, Paul, enters our screens later this month. Written by the same creators of Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz, Paul looks to be just as hilarious and full of just as many explosions and clever one-liners as Pegg has delivered previously with Spaced Director Edgar Wright. ’Paul’ is set to arrive on 18 February.

A second Sherlock Holmes is also on the cards for those of you who watched and enjoyed the first film with Robert Downey Jr. returning as the titular hero and Jude Law as his long-suffering sidekick this December. Their first outing was released in 2009 – a film that made an estimated £40 million in it’s first week of release – so the stakes are high and the new film has is bound to offer something for everyone.

To follow on the 2011 theme of sequels, Transformers 3, or Transformers: Dark of the Moon as it’s called, will be a perfect summer treat this July. Those who enjoyed the first two, and to be honest, there weren’t many that didn’t, will definitely enjoy this one!

And for the very few who are not taken by aliens, detectives and wizards – we have Captain America: The First Avenger. A film about a Superhero! The Superhero being Chris Evans, playing Steve Rogers – a man too unfit for the military but lucky enough to be turned into Captain America. The film looks to be released this July.

Not to mention Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2, which we have all been anticipating since….forever. The film follows on from the hugely successful series of Harry Potter films based on the books by J.K Rowling. I’ve got to say Part 1 was pretty good, if not a lot darker and scary than the first ever pre-teen Harry Potter we seen way back in 2001.

For those who liked to read those wonderful, fantasy filled story books when you were kids, remember the book War Horse by Michael Morpurgo? The book that was first published in 1982 but is still read by millions of children today? Yes? Well, in just less than a year we will be able to relive that book on the big screen. Director, Steven Spielberg has been very busy over the past year filming in locations all over England including Devon and North Hampshire ready for the release in December 2011.

Finally, watch this space for details on Disney below-the-radar release I Am Number Four in the next few weeks. All in all it’s looking to be a good year!

Gillian Lambie