Having last seen Phil on tour with Genesis ten years again, since when (bar a Motown covers album) he has been largely inactive musically, I had feared that that was it. Talk of retirement followed by health issues involving some vertebrae and back operations that have left him unable to drum or even stand for any length of time, plus his well-publicised battle with the bottle, led me to believe I would not see Phil or Genesis in concert again.
It was therefore enormously pleasing to see Phil and his band in such excellent form last night at Manchester Arena. His body may be battered, but his voice retains its soulful character and a set of great songs had the whole audience on its feet in the home run during the second set. His 16-year old son, Nic, filled in on drums and is most definitely a chip off the old block. A confident and powerful drummer he surely has a great career ahead of him. His 14-piece band was tight and powerful, conjuring up atmospheric moods with “Another Day in Paradise” and “In the Air Tonight” and grooves with “Something Happened on the Way to Heaven” and all of the aforementioned home run. The sound was amazing – the best I have ever heard at an arena venue.
Yes, I missed Phil’s mobility – he was confined to a seat throughout – but the energy of his vocal performance and the superb band more than made up for his lack of physical movement. If anyone was worried PC may not have it in him any more they can be reassured, this was a top performance. Reviews of the shows have been excellent and it seems Phil’s music is being re-appraised. He has already announced a tour to South America in 2018 and I am sure he will follow up in the US and maybe other territories. There are hints at writing new material and as he stated last night he is still in touch with his Genesis colleagues having met up again the previous evening – so you never know.
Against All Odds (Take a Look at Me Now)
Another Day in Paradise
One More Night
Wake Up Call
Follow You Follow Me
Can’t Turn Back the Years
I Missed Again
Hang in Long Enough
Who Said I Would
Drum Duet (Nic Collins & Louis Conte)
I Don’t Care Anymore
Something Happened on the Way to Heaven
You Know What I Mean
In the Air Tonight
You Can’t Hurry Love
Dance Into the Light
A report by The Wrap states that a release date has been set for New Line’s controversial new take on Shaft. The date the film has been slated to his cinemas is 14 June 2019 – so quite some time to wait yet. No further reports on casting as yet, but with production scheduled to commence next month I expect further details will become available soon.
War for the Planet of the Apes (2017; USA; Colour; 140m) *** d. Matt Reeves; w. Mark Bomback, Matt Reeves; ph. Michael Seresin; m. Michael Giacchino. Cast: Andy Serkis, Woody Harrelson, Amiah Miller, Gabriel Chavarria, Steve Zahn, Karin Konoval, Ty Olsson, Judy Greer, Sara Canning, Devyn Dalton, Michael Adamthwaite, Aleks Paunovic, Toby Kebbell. After the apes suffer unimaginable losses, Caesar wrestles with his darker instincts and begins his own mythic quest to avenge his kind. Bloated third entry in the rebooted APES series has stunning visuals and special effects, but is weighed down by two-dimensional characterisations. Reeves too often slows the action down to a crawl in order to manufacture emotional wallop and some of the plot progression lacks logic. Also shot in 3-D. 
Kojak: Fatal Flaw (TV) (1989; USA; Technicolor; 94m) **½ d. Richard Compton; w. Albert Ruben; ph. Geoffrey Erb; m. Cameron Allan. Cast: Telly Savalas, Andre Braugher, Angie Dickinson, Steven Weber, George Morfogen, Charles Cioffi, Richard Jenkins, Paul Guilfoyle, Kario Salem, David Ciminello, Sally Jessy Raphael, Don King. Popular book writer is murdered. Kojak finds out that shortly before his death he was working on a book about the mafia, so the mob is automatically his number one suspect. Dickinson adds glamour to this okay mystery. Savalas seems more engaged with the material and the whole thing is competently directed by Compton. [PG]
A number of websites and trade papers are reporting New Line’s negotiations with actress Alexandra Shipp to join the cast of Tim Story’s new Shaft sequel. What role Shipp (who recently appeared as Storm in X-Men: Apocalypse) will take is not yet known. Jessie T. Usher has already been signed to play the son of Samuel L Jackson’s John Shaft – the nephew of Richard Roundtree’s original John Shaft.
In addition DenofGeek.com report a newly released synopsis for the movie provisionally titled Son of Shaft:
Working for the FBI, estranged from his father and determined not to be anything like him, John Shaft Jr. reluctantly enlists his father’s help to find out who killed his best friend Karim and bring down a drug-trafficking/money-laundering operation in NYC.
Production is due to commence in December, meaning a winter shoot emulating the original Shaft movie which started shooting in January 1971. Larry Blanford who worked with Story on Ride Along and Fantastic 4: Rise of the Silver Surfer, will be the director of photography.
Kojak: Ariana (TV) (1989; USA; Technicolor; 96m) ** d. Paul Krasny; w. Maurice Hurley; ph. Geoffrey Erb; m. Cameron Allan. Cast: Telly Savalas, Andre Braugher, Shari Headley, Caroline Wilde, Hector Elizondo, Joe Grifasi, Kario Salem, Jean De Baer, David Margulies, Liliana Komorowska, Mike Starr, James Rebhorn. One of Kojak’s old enemies uses Ariana, a young Greek girl, as bait to trap the legendary New York detective. Meanwhile, Kojak finds himself a brash young associate. After a promising start this first episode of a revived series of Kojak TV Movies descends into sentimentality and some weak comic moments. Braugher is introduced to handle the action sequences, whilst Savalas seems a little tired in his iconic role. [PG]
Price of Justice, The (TV) (1987; USA; Technicolor; 95m) **½ d. Alan Metzger; w. Albert Ruben; ph. Victor J. Kemper; m. Patrick Williams. Cast: Telly Savalas, Kate Nelligan, Pat Hingle, Jack Thompson, Brian Murray, John Bedford Lloyd, Jeffrey DeMunn, Tony DiBenedetto, Ron Frazier, Stephen Joyce. When the bodies of two young boys are discovered in a Harlem river, their mother is the obvious suspect, particularly with her scandalous past. But Kojak believes that she is innocent. This did she/didn’t she mystery never really catches fire and is little more than a routine addition to the Kojak series. Savalas, here lacking his support cast from the series, gives a subdued performance but Nelligan conveys effectively the confused emotional state of the mother. Hingle and Thompson are good in support, but the script is unconvincing. Based on the novel “The Investigation” by Dorothy Uhnak. 
Murder on the Blackpool Express (TV) (2017; UK; Colour; 91m) *½ pr. Jim Poyser; d. Simon Delaney; w. Jason Cook; ph. Ian Adrian; m. Samuel Karl Bohn. Cast: Johnny Vegas, Sian Gibson, Griff Rhys Jones, Mark Heap, Nina Wadia, Kimberley Nixon, Nigel Havers, Kevin Eldon, Una Stubbs, Sheila Reid. Feature-length comedy about a crime writer (Jones) who takes a group of his fans on a coach tour of locations from his books. The bus is soon leaving a string of bodies in its wake, and the passengers are faced with the possibility of a murderer in their midst. Woeful attempt to parody the Agatha Christie classic constantly misfires and long outstays its welcome. A good cast of comedy veterans is wasted with lame material and is poorly directed – even the few good jokes are badly delivered and executed.
Belarus File, The (TV) (1985; USA; Colour; 95m) **½ d. Robert Markowitz; w. Albert Ruben; ph. Alan Metzger; m. Joseph Conlan, Barry De Vorzon. Cast: Telly Savalas, Suzanne Pleshette, Max von Sydow, Herbert Berghof, Dan Frazer, Betsy Aidem, Alan Rosenberg, Charles Brown, George Savalas, David Leary, Harry Davis, Rita Karin, Mark Russell, Vince Conti. The murders of several elderly Russian men lead Kojak to a group of Nazi war criminals who are living in America with the full knowledge and approval of the U.S. Government. Savalas’ Kojak character is shoe-horned into an adaptation of John Loftus’ novel with middling results. There is no real mystery to sustain the story and the heavy-handed handling of the material flattens the intended emotional impact. On the plus side, Savalas remains charismatic, Von Sydow essays a dignified performance and there are occasional and welcome nods to the glory days of the TV series. [PG]
Kojak: The Summer of ’69 (TV) (1977; USA; Technicolor; 96m) *** d. Gene R. Kearney; w. Gene R. Kearney; ph. John McPherson; m. John Cacavas. Cast: Telly Savalas, Stephen McHattie, Alex Dreier, Harrison Page, Pepe Serna, Phillip R. Allen, Dan Frazer, Kevin Dobson, George Savalas, Woodrow Parfrey, Thalmus Rasulala, Catlin Adams, Diane Baker. A man is released from prison, and a woman who rides with him to New York is found murdered in his abandoned car (with the MO of a dead serial killer). Interesting premise helped by strong portrayal of psychotic killer by McHattie. Flashback elements are distracting and the sub-plot involving a mob fixer is never fully realised. Good use of NYC locations add authenticity. Compiled from two-part episode from fifth season of Kojak TV series.