Music mogul Alan McGee's biopic is less Britpop, more Britplop
HE discovered some of the country’s biggest bands, swigged champagne with Tony Blair and called Coldplay “bedwetters”.
So it is no surprise that this Alan McGee biopic is a high-tempo mix of sex, drugs and rock ’n’ roll.
It is a surprise, however, that all those elements come across as very uncool in this chaotic movie.
Director Nick Moran has taken heavy influence from executive producer Danny Boyle in this tale of the Scottish businessman who famously discovered Oasis in a tiny Glasgow club in 1993 after missing his train home.
His music label Creation Records also launched The Jesus And Mary Chain, Primal Scream and My Bloody Valentine.
Ewen Bremner (Spud from Danny Boyle’s Trainspotting) plays McGee and there are strong echoes of that 1996 film with the frantic pace and strong Scottish dialect.
The story of music-obsessed McGee hurdles through the decades at breakneck speed.
We start with him as a Sex Pistol fanatic dancing in his bedroom — and getting clipped round the ear by his dad — and see him escape to a London squat and discover bands.
While 50-year-old Bremner gives a decent enough performance, he starts playing McGee at the age of 20, with only a frizzy wig to disguise his age.
And the wear and tear of five decades on his face jars embarrassingly next to his younger co-stars.McGee started Creation Records with a small group of friends, but none of these characters are explored to any extent.
FRUSTRATINGLY SMALL FOOTNOTE
Contributions from the supporting cast are little cameos, which is a shame as many are familiar faces (Ed Byrne as Alastair Campbell and Alistair McGowan as Jimmy Savile).
Director Moran also takes one for himself, playing a very OTT version of punk god Malcolm McLaren.
Much of the film sees McGee flying from hallucinogenic drugs to addiction to therapy to a very bad breakdown — all the while calling most people he meets the C-word.
And his discovery of Oasis becomes a frustratingly small footnote in this topsy-turvy film, reminding me of the band’s disappointing third album Be Here Now.
You thought you needed it, but then you got it . . . and realised you didn’t want it after all.
- On Sky Cinema
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My Father And Me
YOU don’t have to be a fan of director Nick Broomfield to enjoy this beautiful documentary – but it probably helps.
I have long admired the work of the award-winning British documentary maker, whose films include Whitney: Can I Be Me, Tales Of The Grim Sleeper and Aileen: Life And Death Of A Serial Killer.
His talents for revealing raw emotion of his subjects are played out in this gentler version of his usual work, which is about the relationship with his late father, Maurice.
He was a factory worker turned celebrated photographer, specialising in images of industrial post-World War Two England.
While Nick admits his dad’s pictures inspired his own career, the pair had a very different outlook.
While Maurice was a romantic, Nick’s left-wing political views caused some problems with his dad. Until, Nick admits, the pair became “best friends who had mundane conversations about the garden”.
As well as a heart-warming family story, this documentary shows the extreme changes that have taken place in the country between the two men’s lifetimes, with the rise and fall of industry in the North and the class divide.
- BBC Two, 9.45pm tomorrow and BBC iPlayer.
SILK Road was the world’s first unregulated online superstore, a place to buy and sell illegal drugs that could then be mailed from a dealer to your door.
The dark web venture became a global success.
Its founder, Ross Ulbricht, a 27-year-old libertarian from Austin, Texas, made millions in crypto-currency – until a Drug Enforcement Administration agent stepped in to take him down.
Based on true events, this cyber-crime drama certainly had a surplus of juicy material to work with.
But it’s not quite the gripping, suspenseful thriller it could have been.
Director Tiller Russell sensibly steers clear of too much geek action, limiting the code-writing storylines to focus more on the generational divide instead.
Nick Robinson is believable as the millennial idealist Ulbricht, who becomes consumed by the marketplace monster he has created, alienating his family, friends and girlfriend.
The Wire’s Darrell Britt-Gibson is comedy gold in the role of streetwise informant Rayford. But it is Jason Clarke as stereotypical, grumpy FBI agent Bowden who keeps you watching.
It lacks the nuance of Facebook biopic The Social Network, but still absorbing.
- On digital platforms from March 22.
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