Friday, August 22, 2014


Hard to believe it was 50 years ago that The Zombies hit it big with She's Not There and even harder to believe that they're still going strong---well, two of them are, anyway---and sounding as good as ever.
The Zombies then.....
....and now
 The iconic band, which this year has been nominated for induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, drew more than 5,000 people to Santa Monica Pier and the surrounding beach with a mixture of old hits and new material.
  Sadly for the beachgoers, Santa Monica officials, worried about the huge crowds and hoping to dissuade people from showing up, had removed the beach-facing jumbotron screen, although it did nothing to dampen the enthusiasm of the audience.  
Beachgoers take in the music
  Led by the original founding members, keyboard player Rod Argent and singer Colin Bluntstone, the band has a new album out, and as well as She's Not There, it's original hits, Tell Her No from 1965 and Time of the Seasons (1966) are still played regularly on radio stations around the world.    
  The group, which was founded in the Blacksmith's Arms pub in St. Albans, disbanded back in 1967 but Argent and Blunstone reunited more than 30 years later and played live shows together until 2004 when they started going out under the name The Zombies with a re-formed line-up.

 Though the Zombies have faced inevitable member changes and split-ups over the years, Argent says that he and Blunstone came back together “just for fun” in late 1999.
“It was only that we had such a fun time playing that it mushroomed into many, many more gigs,” he says.
 He still relishes the buzz he and Blunstone get from performing live shows. “It feels one hundred percent the same as it did when we were 18 years old,” he says. “It’s just as exciting and it’s what makes being onstage magical. We have the privilege of being onstage again, and we’re having a ball.”

Saturday, August 9, 2014


 Since she portrayed the alluring double agent Vesper Lynd in the
James Bond film Casino Royale, Eva Green has built an on-screen
reputation as an evil, manipulating woman who uses her sex as a

  As Angelique Bouchard, who cursed Johnny Depp’s character to an eternity as a vampire in Dark Shadows, she caused a stir with her sizzling sex scenes.

  Now, in Sin City: A Dame to Kill For, she is naked with Josh Brolin and the poster advertising the film which bears her image has been banned by the Motion Picture Association of America “for nudity---curve
of under breast and dark nipple areola circle visible through sheer gown.”

   The poster shows 34-year-old Eva clad in a sheer white robe that shows off her silhouette and emphasises her curvy figure. But when I chatted with French-born Eva in Beverly Hills she seemed slightly
bemused by the ban.

   “I don’t really understand,” she says. “You don’t see anything on the poster. They don’t censor violence but they censor this; I’m holding a gun on the poster but that’s fine with them. If they are
shocked by the poster they’re going to be really shocked when they see the film. In 3D too!”

   She’s probably right because her scenes with Brolin push the
envelope of sex on screen to the outer limits.

    Eva stars as a femme fatale in the first of four stories in Sin City: A Dame to Die For, the sequel to Frank Miller’s graphic novel and neo-noir crime movie Sin City. It is again co-directed by Miller and Robert Rodriguez, with Bruce Willis, Jessica Alba, Mickey Rourke and Rosario Dawson returning to repeat their original roles.

      In the title segment Eva portrays Ava Lord, who seeks the help of her former lover, played by Josh Brolin, to escape her abusive husband, billionaire Damien Lord (played by Eva’s real-life
ex-boyfriend Marton Csokas). But Brolin’s character soon realises Ava’s true intentions are far more sinister than they appear.

   “She is beyond evil and it’s just so much fun to play somebody so extreme and so corrupt,” says Eva. “I’ve played evil women before but this one is something else. She has no sense of morality and no shame.

 “Playing evil women is quite meaty compared to being a boring
girlfriend. There’s something quite ballsy about these characters.
It’s fun and jubilating to play someone so bad.”

   What wasn’t so much fun for her were the graphic nude scenes, for
which director Rodriguez insisted she had to be naked.

   “I wanted to wear a corset and a bra but said I had to be naked and
he was right because she uses her body as a weapon. I knew it was
going to be shot in a tasteful way but when you do it, you want to
die. Also I was cast a week before shooting so I didn’t have time to
go on a diet. But when you go for it you forget you are naked and you
are just acting and it’s also helpful that the make-up artist puts on
lots of make-up all over your body. It’s kind of an armour, but it’s
no fun to be naked.

   “You feel very awkward and very silly and you don’t feel sexy at
all. You’re surrounded by a very bright green screen and Josh Brolin
is there wearing flesh-coloured Spandex. But you tell yourself, ‘It’s
all for art and it will be great on screen.’”


  It's always a pleasure seeing Nicole Kidman, whom I first met 21 years ago on Batman Forever. A lot of water under the bridge si...