Reviewer: Simon Topping
It is standing room only for Mark Kermode’s Celluloid Jukebox in the hot heat of the Music and Film Arena. Billed as a historic trip into the links between pop and film, Kermode quickly undercuts the rhetoric of any academic pretence by explaining from the start that this is just a showing of his most interesting film pop combinations. The audience applauds this notion in anticipation for what promises to be a fabulous glide through contemporary music in the movies, in just under an hour.
Starting with a startling clip of a very young Gary Busey doing an amazing impression of Buddy Holly in the Buddy Holly Story the crowd settle down for what they know is going to be a fabulous collection of oddities, rarities and the odd hit song raided from Kermode’s geeky filmic treasure trove.
Highlights of the first 30 minutes include the impossibly catchy Bellbottoms from the opening heist in Baby Driver with an interesting comparison to where the director Edgar Wright took his inspiration for the scene; a pop video for Mint Royale he had directed some years earlier, staring an in-car boogying Noel Fielding. We are also shown a fabulous burst from a Bette Middler film, For the Boys; a disregarded film which Kermode reckons is getting it’s highest viewing figures ever today, from the size of this festival crowd. Kermode goes on to exclaim “Midler can do no wrong!” This meets some resistance from the crowd, but the song is catchy and it appears to have won us over after the clip plays out.
Kermode is a charming, relaxed host; funny and self-deprecating. “Tom Hiddleston and I share the same tailor.” he quips in a plain black t-shirt and jeans, after he shows a clip of High Rise; staring Hiddleston with a haunting rendition of Abba’s SOS by Portishead. Reminiscent of Gary Jule’s version of Mad World, this is a song made more poignant as it was released as a tribute to murdered MP, Jo Cox. in 2016.
In the second half, we get more wonderful slices of a wide variety of cinema. A short glimpse of Channing Tatum’s sexy dancing briefly gives the arena a hen-do vibe, while Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me creeps out the onlookers as we try and work out what hell is going on. Other clips range from the sublime Besse Smith in what Kermode dubs the first pop video in 1929 to the fabulously silly ending of what Mark says is the best British rock and roll movie of all time: Slade in Flame. Come on and feel the noise, everyone!
All in all a very interesting collection and an intriguing and entertaining mash-up. A must see for any film buff.
Reviewed on 14 July 2018 | Image: Contributed