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English student at King's College London. Shakespeare enthusiast, house music connoisseur, improvisational actor, and chronic cinemagoer.

Andrew Marks

Marks Mix #21 (About Damn Time)

After torturing myself for more than a year, I finally finished the mix I've been going back and forth on since last summer and the result is a massive mix of all my favourite tunes of the last twelve months. Glad to have finally put something out after reshuffling this one over and over. It's been too long. Next one coming sooner.


Track List: 

  1. Sofi Needs a Ladder (Pig&Dan Remix) - deadmau5
  2. Wizard (Tchami Remix) - Martin Garrix, Jay Hardway
  3. EDM Trend Machine - Knife Party
  4. Anaconda - Wolfgang Gartner
  5. Coke Diet - Scotty Boy Lorenzo
  6. Melody (Original Mix) - Oliver Heldens
  7. Crank It Up - HI-LO
  8. 404 - Knife Party
  9. Sweets (Soda Pop) (Original Mix) - Fox Stevenson
  10. Rather Be feat. Jess Glynne (Merk & Kremont Remix) - Clean Bandit
  11. Far Away - Feed Me and Kill The Noise
  12. Eparrei feat. Pin feat. Bonde Do Role (W&W Remix) - Fatboy Slim, Diplo, Bonde Do Role, Dimitri Vegas, Like Mike, Pin
  13. Deep Down Low (Original Mix) - Valentino Khan
  14. Homeless feat. Jared Hiwat (Original Mix) - Bougenvilla, Jared Hiwat
  15. Lose Control (Original Mix) - Ummet Ozcan
  16. Red Roses (Original Mix) - Pep & Rash
  17. Life In Grey - Point Point
  18. West Coast [Stint Remix] - Lana Del Rey

Andrew Marks

Straight Outta Compton – Not Worth Avoiding

6 min read


I wasn’t sure what to expect when I walked into the cinema, cookie dough ice-cream in hand, forStraight Outta Compton. This time around, I broke my usual rule of going in completely uninformed, as I had read a fair bit about the film during its breakout success in the States. I was intrigued, hesitant, and, full disclosure, am not much of a gangster rap aficionado (though my brother has certainly tried his best to help foster an appreciation for the genre). All this said, I left the film certain of one thing: Straight Outta Compton is a film constructed to perfectly mirror the musical revolution it sets out to catalogue, coupling explosive energy with sequences pregnant with fear and distrust. It is both a thrilling tribute to a game-changing period in music history and a confident and well-crafted piece on race in America, tying together many echoes of contemporary injustice to the context that catalysed N.W.A. in the first place. 

The film begins with snapshots of the founding members before their careers as musicians and performers, each with distinct formative experiences of Compton. We first meet a young Dr. Dre (Corey Hawkins) lying on a pile of album covers that carpet his bedroom floor as he traces the curves of an imaginary turntable in the air before him, headphones on and eyes closed, the music washing over him and the audience. This sequence exhibits the one of the film’s great strengths, as it combines entertaining and visceral filmmaking with a sophisticated visualisation of a musical escape from poverty that soon proves quite literal. Similarly, Ice Cube (played by the OG Ice Cube’s son, O’Shea Jackson Jr.) scribbles lyrics on a notepad while riding the school bus home, when some students antagonise a car of gangsters who stop the bus and burst inside brandishing guns at the instigators, advocating ‘gangbanging books’ and finding a better life in a nice, if tense, subversion. Compton’s specificity plays an ambivalent role throughout, both as an obstacle to be overcome—one record label exec remarks ‘if they were from New York, maybe, but not Compton’ on the marketability of gangster rap—and a source of the experiential fuel for the anthems that catapulted NWA to the musical forefront in the early 90’s.

The parallel between the liberty of the recording studio and the resultant pushback from the predominantly white media (and other associated cultural and social authorities, most notably the LAPD) is woven masterfully throughout. A particularly amusing moment comes when the N.W.A. tour bus drives past a demonstration outside their venue, as a crowd of mostly whites drive steamrollers over mounds of their recently released album. The violent and uncomfortable tension is quickly broken when Easy E shrugs and remarks, with an air of victory, ‘Well, they bought em’. Shortly afterwards, police officers forcibly shut down a concert in Detroit, sending the audience running after firing warning shots, and eventually arresting the group on grounds of inciting violence. The lead-up to the arrest depicts officers raising their badges alongside the outstretched arms of fans, encroaching on the stage menacingly but also impotently, diluted by arms indistinguishable but for the badges. Near the end of the film, Ice Cube calls out a journalist for painting him as an authority for the black experience in order to capture a buzz worthy headline. There is subtlety here, and similarly to The Wolf of Wall Street and 8 Mile, to say that the film is solely about glamorising wealth or the badassery of rappers respectively, would be shamefully reductive.

Where the film loses my attention, perhaps unavoidably but nevertheless inexcusably, is its deeply ingrained misogyny. When women aren’t literally being thrown around or tossed aside, their role rarely rises beyond jiggling past the camera during the frankly ridiculous number of pool party scenes. Even in key moments of dramatic tension (such as when the mother of Dr. Dre’s child interrupts a recording session to tell him rent is overdue) or tenderness (when Andre meets his future wife at another goddamn pool party), there is no consequence or any narrative weight given at all. Women simply happen to the main characters, and that is a very serious problem. But as said previously, the film’s treatment of race is keenly considered, refreshing and effective. Does that give it a pass? Of course not. It is frustrating that a film that does such a good job of giving an authentic voice to a historically silenced group (outside of the music itself) also so effectively silences another in the process.

The film’s opening drug bust sequence is a perfect example. In it, squadrons of SWAT-level equipped police use a battering ram to smash open a drug dealer’s home, tearing the whole front of the house asunder in the process and painting a haunting image of police brutality in the sheer overkill of the act. Contrastingly, just before Easy E (Jason Mitchell) makes his escape across nearby rooftops, he smashes open a door and sends a woman trying to dispose of drug paraphernalia flying unambiguously comically across the room, which a few of my fellow cinemagoers laughed at. Within moments of one another, violence against blacks is treated with artistic integrity and thoughtful consideration, but violence against women is unabashedly funny. I wasn’t among the chuckling few. For more on this topic, I thoroughly recommend Helen O’Hara’s deeper and more ambivalent thoughts in her piece on feminism and other -isms in film.

Straight Outta Compton has already received a huge amount of credit (and money) for being an enjoyable and thrilling account of the legendary rap quintet, and it does an exceptional job of balancing fiction with fact for maximum impact. It feels extremely high production value thanks to cinematography that seems like what would happen if The Wire crew shot a music video, while also belting out well-earned emotional highs and lows thanks to a bouncy script and notable performances across the board. While I won’t be humming Fuck tha Police on my walk home from the tube (straight from the underground), the film’s success in fostering a vital and accessible dialogue on race while also being extremely entertaining proves it one of the must-sees of the summer.


Directed by F. Gary Grey

Written by Jonathan Herman and Andrea Berloff

Starring: O’Shea Jackson Jr., Corey Hawkins, Jason Mitchell, Paul Giamatti

Rating: 15

Runtime: 147 minutes

Andrew Marks

Marksist Mix #16 (NYE Party Mix)

This is my NYE mix from last year. Enjoy!

Andrew Marks

Monters: Dark Continent - A Bloody Tentacled Mess

3 min read

Taking a marked turn from Gareth Edward’s survival film MonstersMonsters: Dark Continentfeels like Pacific Rim smashed into Hurt Locker with all the best bits taken outending up as a gritty depiction of modern warfare with, hm, twelve-story-tall shuffling tentacle monsters from space. Though its technical prowess makes it a seemingly worthy sequel, Monsters: Dark Continent is severely hampered by its inconsistent focus, shallow characterisation, and bizarre racially-charged mysticism.

Following Michael (Sam Keely), AKA anonymous marine #1, and his analogous family of soldiers,Monsters: Dark Continent characterises the team as hyper-masculine meatheads, who enlist to get themselves out of a crumbling urban dystopia. This hyper-masculinity is handled with absolutely no finesse whatsoever, and the film plays through every worn-out trope of ‘badass’ to the point of exhaustion. Michael accidentally interrupts his friend mid-coitus, who continues to thrust throughout the conversation (High-five, bro). On their last night before shipping out, the boys paint the town red in the typical fashion. Loud music, graphic sex, and copious drug-usage all come together in a sequence that feels far too long, and all to accomplish what? All the team’s characterisation feels alienating and heavy-handed rather than edgy or sincere.

The film’s biggest failing boils down to its bizarre characterisation, alternating between vacuous and caricature. Despite genuinely wrenching performances, I found no emotional stake in these angry men. When three of the five generic marines get splattered within a four-minute sequence, it seemed more like narrative pruning than an existential crisis-inducing tragedy. Even the monsters themselves seem hollow, albeit brilliantly designed and profoundly alien. Wandering about in the background as a convenient framing device, the titular monsters hardly influence anything and come across as weirdly superficial. Even Sergeant Frater (Johnny Harris), who transforms from order-obsessed to identity-stripped as the film goes on and warrants the most emotional investment, fails to belt out the final notes of the film’s ‘all-war-is-futile’ theme.

However, the film’s greatest asset is its sweeping and truly epic cinematography. It manages to give an otherwise overstretched film a sense of immense scale to match the massively imposing monsters. I found myself leaning in not at moments of contrived action or unearned suspense, but while trying to really take in the remarkable composition of every frame. In the words of Tom Green, ‘Christopher Ross is a poet with a camera’, and every moment of wonder confirms this with swirling horizons and sun-stained sands. Monsters: DC paints the Middle East as an endless and beautiful desert of foreign mysticism and violent barbarians. Wait, what?

This brings me to my biggest, and most overwhelming criticism of Monsters: Dark World, which I think is closely tied to its jarringly inconsistent form. I don’t see how any 21st century anti-war film, as this film clearly is, can unashamedly characterise inhabitants of the Middle East as a binary of either gnarled mystics or bloodthirsty insurgents. ‘Perhaps’, one might say, ‘the film focuses on the futility of war, and how there can be no real solution to modern conflicts’. And to that I ask, ‘What for?’ It comes across as hamfisted, unsubtle, and racially appropriating. If a visual treat is all you’re looking for, Monsters: Dark Continent will satisfy, but everything else is a tangled mess of blood and tentacles.


Directed by Tom Green

Written by Tom Green and Jay Basu

Starring: Jonny Harris, Sam Keely, Joe Dempsie

Run Time: 123 minutes

Rating: 15

Andrew Marks

Andrew Marks

Andrew Marks

nice website noob

Andrew Marks

Andrew’s Boyhood Review | Watching Between the Lines

I'm sure Boyhood is on everyone's movie-radar, and for good reason. I saw the film last night, and I've been thinking about it non-stop since. It's certainly not quite a 'coming-of-age' epic, but it is a remarkable and honest film. I've collected my thoughts here.

Andrew Marks

Kickin' Up Suite 03 (Marksist Bootleg)

Danger zone.
Suite 03 - Deadmau5
Baseline Kickin' (Dzeko & Torres Remix) - Pegboard Nerds
feat. Sterling Archer and Doctor Krieger

Andrew Marks

Is the Sonnentanz Real? (Marksist Bootleg)

Just a bit of fun with some deep house and deeper samples.

Bodyrox, Luciana - Yeah Yeah (D. Ramirez Instrumental Mix)
Klangkarussell - Sonnentanz (Oliver Koletzki Remix)
Information Ghetto - Forest Vision (Original Mix)