The fake band and the fake film about them – don´t miss “This Is Spinal Tap” on Tuesday!
With the tagline “Does for rock and roll what The Sound of Music did for hills”, we wonder if you can possibly refuse this week´s SubCinema screening. The film in question is This Is Spinal Tap, a mockumentary about the fictional heavy metal band Spinal Tap. That is, a fake documentary about a fake band – that became real in the process. Well, kind of real anyway.
Where: Dada, 115 Xingfu Lu
Between Fahuazhen and Pingwu Lu
Starts: Tuesday 23rd March, Door opens at 7pm. Screening starts at 9pm
Cover: Free entrance, although you´re expected to buy at least one drink
It all started back in 1979, when Spinal Tap first appeared on a failed 1979 ABC TV sketch comedy pilot called “The T.V. Show”, starring Rob Reiner, later the director of This Is Spinal Tap. The ABC sketch was a mock promotional video for the song “Rock and Roll Nightmare”, written by Reiner and the band. The members were portrayed by Michael McKean (as David St. Hubbins), Christopher Guest (as Nigel Tufnel) and Harry Shearer (as Derek Smalls).
And so five years later, in 1984, the band became the subject of the film This Is Spinal Tap. A soundtrack album with the same name was released and ever since this the band has toured and released music under the name of Spinal Tap. Throughout the years the much devoted fan base have collected details about the band based on their fictional performances, films, albums etc.
There is even a fake history written about the band, including a list of the band’s former members. This includes a succession of drummers, all said to have died in strange circumstances: one in a “bizarre gardening accident”, another “choked on someone else’s vomit,” and two from “spontaneous human combustion” onstage. It has also been claimed that police described one of the deaths as “a mystery better left unsolved”.
The trio of actors portraying Spinal Tap have occurred in many other shapes and alter egos. One example was in 2003 when they reunited as the 1960´s American folk music revival band The Folksmen in the mockumentary A Mighty Wind. In June last year Spinal Tap performed at Wembley Arena with The Folksmen as support, or should we say as the opening act – anything else is impossible. Another fun fact you might not be aware of is that the man behind the voice of Ned Flanders, the next door neighbor to the Simpson Family, is the Spinal Tap member Harry Shearer.
The band has reunited several times, in 1992, in 2001, in 2007… at a concert aimed to fight global warming. “They’re not that environmentally conscious, but they’ve heard of global warming” as Marty DeBergi, one of the fictional characters in This Is Spinal Tap (played by director Rob Reiner), put it. “Nigel thought it was just because he was wearing too much clothing – that if he just took his jacket off it would be cooler.” In connection to this environmentalist reunion the band also released the new song “Warmer Than Hell”.
One of the latest releases from the band was in August last year when they released a seven minute short film titled Stonehenge: Tis a Magical Place celebrating their 25th anniversary. The film depicts the members of Spinal Tap as they make a pilgrimage to Stonehenge for the first time.
Well, the hilarious stories about Spinal Tap could go on forever, and for anyone interested there are loads of info and trivia about them and their film(s) laying around on the internet. One good portal to start from is this fan page or the so called official website. If you wanna become really well-read on the topic, you can read film scholar Ethan de Seife´s cultography about the film. We’ve done some research on the author and yes, he actually seems to exist. Enjoy!
Check out what other movies are showing in Shanghai this coming week. Links lead to info about times and venues.
- 2010 Mexican Bicentennial Film Festival: Organized by the Consulate General of Mexico and Spain in Shanghai, this month-long festival will give viewers the rare chance to watch the best Mexican films ever. Over the four weekends, you´ll see movies made from the 40s to the 70s directed by Luis Buñuel and some of the country´s other great filmmakers. Go to our website to see a detailed screening schedule. RSVP required. In Spanish with English subtitles. Free. 7pm (Fri.), 5pm (Sat.)
- Secret Cinema at Vienna Café: Thursday 25 February will be Vienna Café´s Secret Cinema night. What film it is going to be won´t be announced until you sit down and the lights are out. Curious what film it’s going to be? Sorry, Vienna Café can’t tell you yet. English subtitles. Time: 19:30.
ENGLISH LANGUAGE MOVIES
- Gamer (天地逃生): Set in a future-world where humans can control other humans in mass-scale, multi-player online gaming environments, a star player from a game called “Slayers” looks to regain his independence while taking down the game’s mastermind.
- Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief (波西·杰克逊与神火之盗): It’s the 21st century, but the gods of Mount Olympus and assorted monsters have walked out of the pages of high school student Percy Jackson’s Greek mythology texts and into his life. And they’re not happy: Zeus’ lightning bolt has been stolen, and Percy is the prime suspect. Even more troubling is the sudden disappearance of Percy’s mother. As Percy finds himself caught between angry and battling gods, he and his friends embark on a cross-country adventure to catch the true lightning thief, save Percy’s mom, and unravel a mystery more powerful than the gods themselves. The movie is produced by Chris Columbus,who has formerly directed and/or produced “Home Alone”, “Mrs. Doubtfire”, “Gremlins” and the Harry Potter movies.
- Sherlock Holmes (大侦探福尔摩斯): Sherlock Holmes, the creation of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle who first appeared in publication in 1887 has made it to movie theatres in many different versions. This time under the direction of Guy Ritchie and starring Robert Downey Jr. and Jude Law. Detective Sherlock Holmes and his stalwart partner Watson engage in a battle of wits and brawn with a nemesis whose plot is a threat to all of England.
- Avatar: (阿凡达): James Cameron is back with this super expensive sci-fi thriller in 3D. Follow ex-marine Jack (Sam Worthington) as he explores planet Pandora as an avatar; a human mind in an alien body. On this paradise-like planet, he faces hostilities from exotic life forms and falls in love with a female alien. This movie used ground-breaking techniques and is being shown in 3-D. In English or Chinese depending on the cinema.
CHINESE LANGUAGE MOVIES
- Martial Spirit (武动青春): In “Martial Spirit”, three young chase their dreams with martial-art. The film stars Ao Quan, Theresa Fu, Da Zhang Wei and A Wei, although a lot of Ao Quan´s acting gets neglected since, according to some disappointed netizens, his voice has been dubbed.
- Storm Rider – Clash of the Evils (風雲決): This animated feature film directed by Dante Lam is based on the Wuxia Chinese comic series Fung Wan by Ma Wing Shing. The film is a spinoff of the original story and the two protagonists Wind and Cloud. The residents of Sword-Worshipping Manor, which houses the best sword-smiths in the world, are brutally massacred after they are alleged to be plotting a rebellion against the government. The young master of the manor, Ngou Kuet, is the only survivor. Ngou Kuet vows to finish forging the “Kuet” Sword, a task passed down by generations of his family which has yet to be completed. Ngou Kuet attacks Tin Ha Wui and battles with Wind and Cloud to obtain the blood of the Fire Kirin which can unleash the power of the sword. As the blood of the Fire Kirin runs in Wind’s veins, he becomes Ngou Kuet’s primary target.
- 72 Tenants of Prosperity (七十二家租客): A “throw-in-everything-but-the-kitchen-sink-oh-what-the-heck-throw-that-in-too comedy”. The story is a love triangle – two men in love with the same girl. One wins, the other loses, and they become enemies. But something larger happens that forces the men to form an uneasy alliance, along with their 70 fellow shopkeepers on the street: An evil landlord is set to raise the rent on the 72 tenants, threatening their economic survival.The film is a Lunar New Year’s comedy, a movie genre that is often unabashedly silly with a childlike playfulness, with the simple mission to instill 90 minutes of happiness. “72 Tenants of Prosperity” certainly aims for that, but producer-director-star Eric Tsang has something more on his mind. His inspiration is the 1973 classic “The House of 72 Tenants,” a film that broke Hong Kong box-office records set by Bruce Lee and became something of a cultural phenomenon. Tsang opens his film with the same style of credits, the same opening gag, and a spot-on re-creation of 1970s Hong Kong filming style.
- Little Big Soldier (大兵小将): Little Big Soldier is a 2010 Chinese action-adventure/comedy film directed by Ding Sheng and produced and written by Jackie Chan, also starring Chan and Leehom Wang. An old soldier kidnaps a young general of an enemy state and takes him on a long journey to collect the reward.
- True Legend (苏乞儿): Set at the turn of 19th and 20th century, the story of begins with Su Can, a wealthy man who loses all his fortune and reputation as a result of a conspiracy against him. After being forced out onto the streets, he dedicates his life to martial arts and reemerges as a patriotic hero as he challenges foreign fighters at a boxing ring. The story is loosely based on the life of Su Can, nicknamed Su Qi Er (Su the Bagger), who developed his own fighting style, known as “drunken fist”. This is Yuen Wo-Ping’s first directorial work since 1996 and may also give a major boost to the career of 37 year old China’s born martial-art star Zhao Wenzhuo.
- Hot Summer Days ( 全城热恋): “Hot Summer Days” unites a galaxy of stars in China’s show business, including Jacky Cheung, Rene Liu, Nocholas Tse, Barbie Hsu, Daniel Wu and Vivian Hsu. The film consists of six intertwining love stories, all set in a stifling and sultry summer. As Valentine’s Day this year falls on the first day of Chinese lunar new year, the release date for “Hot Summer Days”, February 11th, was chosen to coincide with the big occasion, aiming for a lion’s share of the movie market.
- Fortune King is Coming To Town (财神到): This Chinese New Year celebration comedy tells a story that is very similar to “Santa Clause is coming to Town”. Fortune King is a Chinese god who comes down from heaven to the earth to give money to people, similar to what Santa does for children. In this flick The God of Fortune is rushing to Earth, and a congregation of people must first finish a hilarious joke of a financial task before he comes. Lead Actor Tan Yonglin says the Fortune King only help people who watch out. “Our film is more than fun. If you don´t work hard, Fortune King will know and refuse to help you. The movie also tells us to open our heart and love others.”
- 14 Blades (锦衣卫): Daniel Lee´s martial arts epic stars certified Kung Fu badass Donnie Yen in the role of Qinglong, or Green Dragon. He is the best of the so called Jinyiwei, an imperial elite force of assassins recruited from street orphans. Jinyiwei were masters of the 14 Blades, eight being for torture, five for killing, and the last blade being reserved for suicide when a mission failed. When the emperor is kidnapped and the court taken over, Qinglong takes on the mission of restoring the emperor to power. Also starring Vicki Zhao and Chun Wu.
- McDull Kung Fu (麦兜响当当): In animated feature “McDull Kung Fu Kindergarten,” Hong Kong’s most iconic cartoon porker goes to learn martial arts at Wudang, birthplace of Taichi, to prove that pigs can fly-kick at a national championship.
- Royal Tattoo (Huang Jia Ci Qing, 皇家刺青): The film is a costume kung fu comedy with a mix of a Chinese version of Prison Break. It´s a humorous reinterpretation of a classic plot about a Qing Dynasty royal secret treasure and tattoo treasure map.
- Jing Tian Dong Di (惊天动地): Local directors Wang Jia and Shen Dong´s latest disaster flick was shot in the earthquake-stricken areas of Sichuan, “Jing Tian Dong Di” recalls the quake by following one of the PLA´s rescue troupes in this fictional retelling. The cast of well-known actors includes Li Youbin, You Yong and Hou Yong. Mandarin only.
- Sophie’s Revenge (非常完美): This Rom-com, directed by ambitious U.S.-educated director Jin Yimeng, marks Zhang Ziyi’s debut as a producer. The movie follows Sophie (Zhang Ziyi) and Jeff (Jisub So) as an engaged couple that rides an emotional roller coaster right before the wedding. Mandarin only.
- Empire of Silver (白银帝国): This Shanghai International Film Festival winner features Aaron Kwok, Hao Lei and Zhang Tieling. Directed by Christina Yao, the film is set in the late Qing Dynasty and follows a carefree young man who is the reluctant heir to his father’s banking empire. Mandarin only.
OTHER LANGUAGE MOVIES
- Yuet Gwong Bo Hup / Just Another Pandora’s Box (越光宝盒): Hong Kong director Jeffrey Lau, the director of last years “Metallic Attraction: Kungfu Cyborg” is already out with another comedy. With “Just Another Pandora’s Box” he´s trying to make fun of many classic movies, including one of his own, “Chinese Odyssey”. The story revolves around a bandit and an immortal girl who is in love with him, as they travel back to the Three Kingdom Period, on the eve of the Battle of Red Cliff…Or as another plot summary tells it: an idiot embarks on an adventurous journey with the help of a magic box during the period of the Three Kingdoms in ancient China.
- Kandidaten / The Candidate (迷魂陷阱): In this Danish thriller directed by Kasper Barfoed we meet Jonas Bechmann, a defense attorney who is a man of the system, until the day he himself is accused of murder. Taking matters into his own hands, he throws himself into the hunt for a group of blackmailers who threaten to expose him as the killer. But nothing is what it appears to be, and the blackmail links back to his father’s death under mysterious circumstances a year and a half earlier. In
- K-20 (变相黑侠): Set in a fictional Japanese city in 1949, a master criminal hones in on his latest victim. Screen idol Takeshi Kaneshiro is back and this time hes showing his respect for Lupin, Raffles and all the great thieves and masked penny dreadful heroes of the turn-of-the-century in this massive steampunk blow-out directed by Shimako Sato, one of the few female directors in the big budget end of the Japanese film industry.
- We Are From the Future / Back in Time (古墓迷途): This russian flick from 2008 takes place in sunny, groovy present day St.Petersburg and during the fierce defence of the city in 1942. Four friends, a student, a skinhead, a geeky gamer and a rapper make their cash looking for Nazi relics from WWII. Motivated by greed they are hip, cynical and have no respect for the past. During a dig they stumble upon a bombed out bunker full of valuable treasures but also something strange. Among the documents belonging to a Red Army officer they find a photograph of themselves. Trying to come to their senses they dive into a nearby lake and surface… to a spray of gunfire in 1942.
- La habitación de Fermat / Fermat´s Room (极限空间): Fermat’s Room is a 2007 Spanish thriller film directed by Luis Piedrahita and Rodrigo Sopeña. Three mathematicians and one inventor are invited to a house under the premise of solving a great enigma, and told to use pseudonyms based on famous historical mathematicians. At the house, they are trapped in a room. They must solve puzzles given by the host, who calls himself “Fermat,” in order to escape the slowly closing walls of the room.Four mathematicians who do not know each other are invited by a mysterious host on the pretext of resolving a great enigma…
- 7th Grade Civil Servant / My Girlfriend is an Agent (特工强档): This slick and tense thriller with comedic elements from South Korean director Shin Tae-ra concerns an aggressive unit of the Russian mafia, detached to infiltrate Korea and filch a cutting-edge chemical weapon. The Korean government issues two secret agents to stop the Russians – both masked by undercover identities: Ahn Soo-ji (Kim Ha-neul), a tough-as-nails female martial arts pro who continues to draw the envy of all of her colleagues, and her male counterpart, klutzy and inept rookie Lee Jae-joon (Kang ji-Hwan), whose unfortunate presence leads to a series of outrageous blunders. Complicating matters, it seems, is the fact that the couple (polar opposites, who hate each other passionately), were once romantically involved.
- Ne te retourne pas / Don´t Look Back (不要回头): A 2009 psychodrama about a photographer whose pictures tell a different story to that of her perception. Directed by Marina de Van and starring Sophie Marceau and Monica Bellucci. The film is in French and Italian.