Few thought that when Beastie Boy Adam Yauch set up distribution label Oscilloscope Laboratories to put out his 2008 directorial debut "Gunning For That #1 Spot," it would turn out to be anything other than a vanity side-project. But in fact, the company has evolved over the past four years to become one of the most forward-thinking indie distributors around, having released films like "Dear Zachary," "Wendy And Lucy," "Treeless Mountain," "The Exploding Girl," "Howl," "The Unloved," "We Need To Talk About Kevin," "Bellflower," "The Messenger," "Exit Through The Gift Shop" and "If A Tree Falls," the latter three all turning out to win Oscar nominations for their trouble.
They've got some promising films coming up, including Andrea Arnold's superb "Wuthering Heights" and the Melanie Lynskey vehicle "Hello, I Must Be Going," and they've just added one more to their slate, one that seems to be close to Yauch's heart. The company's website reveals that they've picked up the acclaimed Sundance and SXSW hit "Shut Up And Play The Hits," which documents the final Madison Square Garden gig (as well as the run-up and aftermath) of James Murphy's beloved dance-punk band LCD Soundsystem.
The film, from directors Will Lovelace and Dylan Southern ("Blur: No Distance Left To Run"), has won acclaim since its premiere in January (including our own A-grade review), and seems to have found a perfect home in Oscilloscope, who will release the film in special one-night only engagements across the summer. Yauch comments in the press release that, "Perhaps having grown up in a band for most of my life – a band that formed when I was 16 years old – and having released our first record when I was still in high school, this film addresses so many questions. For instance, it can be pretty clear when a band starts, but perhaps less so when it ends, or how it should end. In that sense, it’s brilliant of James to end it in such a definitive way.” We'll keep you posted as to when further release dates emerge.
In other distribution news, it's been almost a year since "United," the BBC TV drama that told the story of the 1958 Munich air crash that killed eleven players and staff from Manchester United, premiered in the U.K. But despite terrific reviews and a cast led by Dougray Scott, David Tennant and rising stars Sam Claflin ("Snow White And The Huntsman") and Jack O'Connell (the upcoming "Beautiful Creatures"), the film, directed by "Doctor Who" and "Downton Abbey" helmer James Strong, has yet to see the light of day in the U.S, presumably thanks to the relative unpopularity of soccer, and unfamiliarity with the incident in question.
But it's the kind of material that streaming services like Netflix can make a killing with, and indeed, Variety report that the company have acquired U.S. rights to the film. Which is good news all around: "United" is a moving, beautifully acted and well-directed piece of work that deserves to gain more exposure. There's no indication as to when the movie might hit the Watch Instantly service, but we imagine it'll be sooner rather than later. And if nothing else, it should help to showcase the excellent score by Clint Mansell ("Moon," "Requiem For A Dream," "The Fountain"). Listen to some extracts and watch a trailer below.
Clint Mansell - "The Lights Went Out In Manchester"
Clint Mansell - "World At Their Feet"