"HIGH RISE" STANDS TALL AT TORONTO WORLD PREMIERE 0 278

“High-Rise”, the much anticipated adaptation of J.G. Ballard’s 1975 novel of the same name, had its world premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival last night. In attendance were the films’ stars Tom Hiddleston, Elisabeth Moss, Luke Evans and Jeremy Irons along with director Ben Wheatley.

attends the "High-Rise" premiere during the 2015 Toronto International Film Festival at The Elgin on September 13, 2015 in Toronto, Canada.

It didn’t take long after the film ended for the reviews to start flooding in, many of them, like the ones below, extremely positive.

Screendaily.com’s Fionnuala Halligan:

“In Tom Hiddleston, the director has found an actor who can deliver the central character’s essential distance with the right mix of sympathy, intelligence and raw carnality. The film sings, and, frequently, dances; it feels alive. High Rise is unusual, and, despite the visual sheen, grubby enough to retain the director’s Sightseers fan base while reaching out to new, young audiences looking for a no-holds-barred ride. That, 40 years and countless dystopias later, Ben Wheatley can still make his work look modern and edgy in times when we think we’ve seen it all is indeed a feat to be celebrated.”

David Jenkins of littlewhitelies.co.uk:

“The first 20 minutes of Ben Wheatley’s feverishly anticipated High-Rise offer the suggestion – no, it’s more than a suggestion, it’s an assurance – that you’ve just sat down to a sick modern classic. The lead character for most of High-Rise is Tom Hiddleston’s raffish Dr Robert Laing…the initial suggestion is that Laing will act as our conduit into the bowls of this monkey house, though this dissipates when it becomes clear that he’s just another crazed maniac, even if immaculately turned out and well spoken. And that’s pretty much game, set and match for the movie. Brilliant sequences and witty non-sequiturs pile up, all individually dazzling but at the service of nothing.”

The Telegraph’s Tim Robey:

“Wheatley, previously a low-budget cult hero after the likes of Down Terrace and Kill List, has upped his craft and ambition..brings the spirit of seventies swinger parties into the mix with giggly, orgiastic results. Wheatley stops short of making Ballard’s vision relevant to our debatably more anxious present. Ballard’s concept is meticulously, lovingly recreated, like a museum exhibit of itself.”

William Bibbiani of craveonline.com:

“The most disturbing part of Ben Wheatley’s High-Rise is how utterly normal its apocalypse is. Society slowly collapses into brutality and hedonism and anarchy and it’s just another day, as sane or insane as any other. Ho-hum. Pass the plate of dog, please? Who’s next in line for a lobotomy? Say what you will, but at least no one in Wheatley’s phantasmagoric asylum is being turned down at the sex parties. This is a leisurely drive into social collapse, and if that doesn’t freak you out then nothing in this movie will, and maybe it’s already too late. Watch the movie about the world falling apart as the world falls apart and get comfortable, because this twisted erection isn’t going away anytime soon. It’s a fun house mirror that shows us how warped we will be in two days time, and that’s as incredible as it is sad.”

Of course, not all critics were as impressed:

indiewire.com’s Kevin Jagernaugth:

“High-Rise” doesn’t have a plot so much as an escalating mood of slowly unwinding chaos…the characters can never be more than narrative metaphors, and because they don’t have much on the page beyond that, being engaged with their fate as the high-rise devolves into hell on Earth is fairly difficult. The withholding nature of the movie, and its indifference to the fate of the characters, creates a barrier that makes it difficult for the audience to share in the mayhem they are watching on screen. Indirectly or inadvertently, viewers are left in their own penthouse of sorts, watching from afar, with a curious but detached interest.”

The Guardian’s Henry Barnes:

“The combination of the low-ish budget production values and the wry tone makes the film feel like a pastiche. Hiddleston surfs the confusion with ease. His tendency to look detached works well in a setting where the rules have been thrown to the wind. Wheatley has made High Rise his story, instead of Ballard’s. That’s fine – but, unfortunately, it’s a less interesting take. It’s not a disaster, but the faults stack up. It took nearly 40 years for High Rise to make it to big screen. After all that time, this is a bit of a dog’s dinner.”

Those who were fortunate enough to attend the premiere took to the web (mostly Twitter) to share their thoughts, with many of them agreeing with the critics who praised the film:

John Le Gris, writing on letterboxd.com:

“Wheatley has achieved something undeniably zany, fun, shocking, perplexing, and straight up bonkers…High-Rise is a crazed and yet thoroughly entertaining feature film, which should rightfully expose Wheatley to any film lover who (for whatever reason) hasn’t heard of him yet. 8.5/10.”

@marco_orlic:

“HIGH-RISE: The most frustrating, unenjoyable, ballsy & visionary film I’ve seen in quite some time. Beautiful in its grotesqueness. #TIFF15.”

Clinton McClung @ResidentClinton:

“Ben Wheatley’s High-Rise just may be the new A Clockwork Orange. #TIFF.”

@adambvary:

“HIGH-RISE: I can’t think of a film this elaborate, w/a cast this impressive, that is so deeply weird, alienating, and anarchic. #TIFF15.”

@ginnymonaco:

“Magnificently weird, weirdly magnificent. #HighRise.”

@MikeyGorman:

“Credits are rolling on #HighRise. Holy flipping wow did I love that movie. #TIFF15.”

Emma Badame @pollyprissypant:

“Stylish, surreal and a standout. Some will hate #HighRise, but I loved it. Wheatley, I bow before your Ballard ballad. #TIFF15.”

“High Rise” will have its UK premiere at the London Film Festival on October 9 but no general release date has yet been announced.

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LX MASON TALKS “DRINK ME GOODBYE” AND FUTURE ASPIRATIONS 0 92

Having earned considerable attention and a strong following on the back of his debut single “I Don’t”, which to date has been streamed more than 35,000 times on Spotify alone, the latest song by Florida born artist Jon Davis, AKA LX Mason, addresses the desperate attempts so many people make to forget long-term relationships. With plans for an EP in the pipeline, LX Mason chatted to ThisIsTheLatest about song-writing inspiration, his thoughts on social media and his long term artistic goals.

TITL: What makes LX Mason different from all the other acts out there? What’s your unique selling point?

LX Mason: I think I’m unique in the sense that I’m an African American pop artist who isn’t doing R’n’B or rap, but I don’t think that defines me. I think we’re all just out here trying to make what’s true to us. So my unique selling point is, I’m me. Get to know me a little.

TITL: Is there a particular story behind your new single “Drink Me Goodbye”?

LXM: Of course! My songs are a way of coping with things that happen in my world, so you can always count on there being some type of story. I had a falling out with a really close friend of mine years back, and it wrecked me for a little bit until I bounced back. However, I saw from a distance how that person was trying so hard to forget me and I’d say that was the part that hurt the most. We eventually mended things but if we’re being honest, a lot happened during that time and it hasn’t been the same. 

TITL: How did you come up with the concept for the video and is being creative in that way something you enjoy? 

LXM: I LOVE directing. For some reason I always have. And since I was a little kid, I’ve always loved music videos. I bounced some ideas off of my mates, and my co-director Jason Denison. We wanted to portray a story of the depths that someone has to go to in order to forget someone and actually recreate these happy memories but without the other person being there. 

TITL: In terms of your lyrics and general song-writing from who or from where do you find most of your inspiration?

LXM: Real life situations inspire me. There are some pop artists whose writing I definitely appreciate – Julia Michaels, Lauv, Lennon Stella to name a few – but I try not to let that influence my writing because I want to be as authentic to the story, and the emotion, as possible. 

TITL: How easy or hard do you find the song-writing process? Can it depend on the subject you’re wanting to write about or your frame of mind at the time? 

LXM: Yeah definitely depends on what song I’m writing. And if my head isn’t in the right place for it, I have to really push past everything that I’m feeling to get a song out. 

TITL: Is there an EP or album in the works?

LXM: I’m working towards an EP! But definitely a couple more singles out first. 

TITL: Do you have any performance or tour plans you can tell me about?

LXM: At the moment, it’s all about the writing and recording. But things could definitely change, and I’m always keen to perform.

TITL: If you could put together your dream show with four bands or artists, living or dead, who would you choose and where would you play? 

LXM: WHOA. Uhm. I would completely disregard genre and just have a really selfish line-up of people I love. 

TITL: Given that your debut single has already achieved in excess of 35,000 streams, what are your thoughts on social media? Are you someone who believes it to be a powerful and necessary tool in your business, and society in general, or can there be/are there downsides to being so “online” all the time? 

LXM: There’s no question that the abuse of social media has had an effect on mental health. We’ve seen it, and Instagram/Facebook has done a little bit of work to improve it for the user, but I don’t think it’s there just yet. I think there is an aspect of it where it is effective for business, and societally it does increase your world a bit – I’ve met some wonderful people through social media. But if -or when – it crashes, it wouldn’t bother me. Half the time whenever I post something I think about my caption for half a second, post it, and throw my phone across the room because I don’t care. 

TITL: What does the rest of the year have in store for you? 

LXM: More music! Releasing some more of my own, as well as writing for other people’s projects and potentially featuring on some tracks as well. 

TITL: Finally then, given how “full” the music industry is now with both new and established talent, how do you plan to make yourself stay current in the years ahead? What are your long-term aspirations as an artist and where do you see the music industry going/ being in terms of its shape and longevity, as time goes on?

LXM: I think, more importantly, I want to stay true to myself. If that’s current, then great. What’s “current” changes so frequently that if I were to base my artistic identity in that, I wouldn’t know who I am anymore. My long term aspirations is to get where I want to go making the music I want to make whenever I want to make it. I think for the music industry, there’s more of an inclination towards independence and honesty in music that can bring people the music they want to connect to. 

Check out the video for “Drink Me Goodbye” below and for more information on LX Mason, visit his website, give his page a like on Facebook or follow him on Twitter.

BAILEY TOMKINSON CHATS “7 MINUTES IN HEAVEN”, TAYLOR SWIFT & SUPPORTING HER FELLOW FEMALE ARTISTS 0 125

Heavily influenced and inspired by Taylor Swift but with music tastes so varied she loves Sam Cooke, Madonna and Cyndi Lauper to name just three, Bailey Tomkinson has an undeniable passion for music. After releasing her EP Hey Ace last year, she’s recently dropped her new single “7 Minutes In Heaven” and with plans to head back in the studio soon to work on new material, ThisIsTheLatest caught up with her to talk favourite songs, upcoming performance plans and proudly supporting other female artists.

TITL: Who exactly is Bailey Tomkinson?

Bailey Tomkinson: Hi there! I’m Bailey, I’m a 19 year old singer/songwriter from sunny St Ives in Cornwall. I like to write country melodies that hopefully even people that don’t normally like Country Music will want to sing along to! I’m signed to German Indie Label FBP Music and when I’m not performing you can usually find me in the surf!

TITL: At what age did you first realise you wanted to make music a career and what did those closest to you think of said realisation?

BT: I’ve always known that I wanted to pursue a career in music, I watched the movie ‘Selena’, based on the life of the singer Selena Quintanilla, when I was about 4 and from then on all I wanted to do was perform.

The first time I played one of my songs in public was in front of about 300 people in an auditorium, it was a school rock concert in Brussels where we were living at the time, I was about 13. You could have heard a pin drop when I started to play and I just got the bug. I’ve never wanted to do anything else.  I think there is a video of it on YouTube somewhere actually! My family have never been anything other than massively supportive.Their attitude is that we all only get so many trips round the sun, why not spend them doing something you love?

TITL: Which artists and bands are you most inspired and influenced by, and what is it about the music they make that you like so much?

BT: I’ve grown up listening to Taylor Swift so she’s a big influence, obviously very relatable to a teenage girl. But I also admire her for willingness to experiment and innovate across genres; that she wanted to expand the ‘box’. I really admire Kacey Musgraves for the same reason. I listen to Sinatra. I love John Denver because he’s my Grandad’s favourite. Also Sam Cooke, Madonna, Abba, Cyndi Lauper, Jewel – honestly, I just love music.

TITL: Is there a story behind your latest single “7 Minutes In Heaven”?

BT: It was a combination of things really. I love movies like ‘Dazed and Confused’ and ‘Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist’ for the sense they have where in one, crazy night anything can happen. I thought it would be interesting to try to capture that feeling in a song. I’m 19 years old, so you know, I love a good party and we have some GREAT parties down here in St Ives, we’ve got the beach, bonfires, surfers and guitars so I thought why not write about some of them!

TITL: Who or what is your biggest inspiration when it comes to music and song-writing? With that in mind, could you choose what you feel is the greatest song ever written?

BT: That’s such a difficult question and if you asked me that 100 times, I’d probably give you a 100 different answers. Today, I’d go with “Bohemian Rhapsody” by Queen. The song structure is a work of genius; it somehow manages to link multiple songs into one. Freddie Mercury is a GOD!

I think at the end of the day, I wouldn’t say I have a biggest inspiration as I’m quite fickle with the music I listen to, one minute it’s Sam Cooke and the next it’s Guns N’ Roses. However, that said, I’m pretty sure that if you ask people that know me, they’d tell you it’s Taylor Swift. Hell, at school I was nicknamed ‘Baylor’ Swift.

TITL: As a fairly new artist who made their mark on the industry last year, following the release of your EP, do you ever worry about how you compare to so many of your artistic counterparts?

BT: No, success isn’t cake. Just because someone has some doesn’t mean there’s none for me. There’s plenty for everybody. I have nothing but admiration for people who say, I’m going to follow my passion for making music and if they manage to carve out their own niche then more power to them. It’s hard enough for women in music, we’re all seeking to get equal airtime, festival slots etc, without turning on each other. We all experience the same thing…radio stations happy to put our faces on their posters or Facebook pages but then not spinning our records…I make a point of supporting other female country singers out there, we all want the same thing, a bigger industry and an opportunity to thrive within it.  

TITL: Do you have any performances/tour plans in the works?

BT: There’s lots going on. I’m making my London debut at Luna Lounge in April and in August, I’ve been lucky enough to get a slot at Boardmasters Festival which is one of my favourite festivals. I really want to play the length and breadth of the country, so if any one reading this has slots available, hit me up!

TITL: Given that we live in such a technology obsessed/dependent society, what are your thoughts on social media? How have the likes of Facebook and Twitter impacted your ability to reach an audience, and do you believe that artists can become successful without it?

BT: I don’t know that I have any new startling insight on the subject to be honest. It’s a mixed bag. Social media can be horrible, it amplifies hate and lies, it can make people insecure and antisocial I certainly think it’s important to remember that like television, a lot of it isn’t real. But the flip side is that it can connect people across oceans, across continents in ways we’ve never been able to before. 

In terms of the music, so far my experiences on social media have been incredibly positive, I’ve had other artists reach out with encouragement and advice, I’ve had folks contact me saying how much they’ve enjoyed a certain song and share my stuff with their friends etc. everybody has been really welcoming. Can an artist become successful without it? It depends on how you define success…for some it’s filling stadiums, which I don’t think you can do without a strong social media presence; for others it’s being happy, doing something you love on a local stage. If we were all the same, life would be boring wouldn’t it?

TITL: What does the rest of the year have in store for you? Will you be working on some new material at some point?

BT: Yes, I’ve been in the studio recently to record another single. Then after Boardmasters and festival season, I’ll probably do another EP. I’m writing constantly and definitely want to capture those songs properly. Later in the year, I’d like to do a bigger tour.

TITL: Finally then, what advice would you give to anyone looking to make their mark on the music world as you have? Is there anything you’ve learnt in your short time in the business you’d pass on?

BT: I’d say, make the music you want to make and then surround yourself with as many good people as you can. It really does take a village.

Check out “7 Minutes In Heaven” below and for more information on Bailey, visit her website, give her page a like on Facebook or follow her on Twitter.