Film in Elsewhere

Unusual or interesting DVDs, cult and classic films, movie reviews, genre overviews and interviews.

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THE DARK HORSE, a film by JAMES NAPIER ROBERTSON (Transmission DVD)

13 Dec 2014

That this film should have picked up so many wins at the NZ Film Awards will come as little surprise. Taking nothing away from the excellence of the acting and directing, there were few other serious contenders -- What We Do in the Shadows? Please! -- and it is also a feel-good film which has mainstream appeal. In fact, one friend called it "Karate Kid with chess" which was rather... > Read more

20,000 DAYS ON EARTH, a film by IAIN FORSYTH and JANE POLLARD (Madman DVD)

11 Dec 2014

During a recent Q&A session after a screening of this film about him, Nick Cave mentioned in passing that a sequence involving Bad Seed/Dirty Three/Grinderman band member Warren Ellis wasn't true: Ellis didn't live in that particular house and he didn't cook eel as he was shown to be doing. There were some surprised laughs, but as I looked around I got the sense that some people in the... > Read more

FRANK a film by LENNY ABRAHAMSON

17 Nov 2014    2

Not many people know that when Captain Beefheart and His Magic Band were recording their classic and sometimes frightening album Trout Mask Replica in '69, the good captain (Don Van Vliet) kept the musicians all-but captive in a big house in Topanga Canyon to ensure the job got done to his satisfaction. Artists often talk themselves into a different environment in the hope of finding... > Read more

CHARLES LLOYD; ARROWS INTO INFINITY, a doco by DOROTHY BARR and JEFFREY MORSE

15 Oct 2014    1

A very odd thing happened a few years ago when I was offered an interview with the great jazz saxophonist Charles Lloyd in advance of a New Zealand concert. I agreed immediately because after all, this was the great Charles Lloyd whose albums in the previous 25 years on ECM had set a new threshold in not just his own illustrious career but in jazz itself. More than that, the man... > Read more

Lady in the Harbour

WHIPLASH, a film by DAMIEN CHAZELLE

13 Oct 2014

Films about jazz are rare, good ones even more so. The reasons for this are pretty easy to discern: jazz is a minority art form and therefore of not much interest to the general audience, most of whom have very different views on what “jazz” actually means. That's because the word has become so widely used, misused, re-defined and co-opted for other purposes... > Read more

THE JACQUES TATI RESTORED COLLECTION (Madman DVD box set)

10 Oct 2014

In the Sixties and Seventies it was easy and fun to ridicule French culture: they made lousy pop'n'rock, their art films were so earnest they were readily parodied . . . and they hailed Jerry Lewis as an auteur at a time when he had fallen from grace in America. But every now and again stuff slipped through the skepticism, one of them being the films of Jacques Tati whose Monsieur... > Read more

ONLY LOVERS LEFT ALIVE a film by JIM JARMUSCH (Madman DVD)

15 Sep 2014

The appeal of vampire movies is well established. It's about sex . . . and if you doubt that you haven't seen enough of the breast-heaving Hammer horror films of the Sixties. Oh, and of course they are about death. Or eternal life, if you will. And every generation of teenagers gets its own hip style of vampire movie. The appeal for teens is enhanced if you are an... > Read more

ALFRED HITCHCOCK DIRECTS: THE TV COLLECTION (Madman DVD)

5 Sep 2014    1

Alfred Hitchcock may have been a genius, but he was certainly a nasty piece of work when it came to women actors, especially those who spurned his sometimes clumsy advances or let him down in some way. Some have noted that his films became increasingly violent towards woman after Psycho (1960), around the time he built up a stew of resentment towards actresses such as Kim Novak, Audrey... > Read more

SURVIVORS, REVISITED (2014): A television series from past about the now-future

18 Aug 2014    2

One of the more smug, not to say stupid, comments on television recently came from an expert speaking about the likelihood of the Ebola virus in West Africa making it to New Zealand. The essence of what he said was that the country’s geographical isolation would protect us. This opinion followed the statistic which said that this easily communicable and often... > Read more

SKEPTICS: SHEEN OF GOLD a doco by SIMON OGSTON

28 Jul 2014

When this film -- Simon Ogston's stylish, thorough and often moving documentary about New Zealand's Skeptics -- appeared briefly in cinemas a year ago it vindicated longtime Skeptic fans who, rightly, believed them to be one of the most important bands ever to emerge in New Zealand. Uncompromising, intelligent, visceral and often compellingly thrilling, the Skeptics existed in a context of... > Read more

A HARD DAY'S NIGHT, REMASTERED AND REISSUED (2014): All they had to do was act naturally

16 Jul 2014    1

At the same time as the Beatles were filming their first feature A Hard Day's Night, the once-great Elvis Presley was cranking out mindless Hollywood movies such as Fun in Acapulco and Kissin' Cousins. The King of Rock'n'Roll had gone soft and although his films were still successful at the box office, few would acclaim them as high art. His British counterpart Cliff Richard... > Read more

I Should Have Known Better

NEBRASKA, a film by ALEXANDER PAYNE (Roadshow DVD)

9 Jul 2014

The story of America is entwined with the myth of the road. From Daniel Boone and “Go West, Young Man” wagon trains through Jack Kerouac, Easy Rider, Springsteen's lyrics and onto Little Miss Sunshine and Road Trip, the songlines, trails and highways of America have been where people have found redemption and truth. Stories told about the road are of discovery and, just as... > Read more

GREG CAMALIER INTERVIEWED (2014): The sound of soul and the Swampers

7 Jul 2014

For a small, out of the way town which only had a population of about 8000 back in the Sixties and Seventies, Muscle Shoals in Alabama sure made its mark on the world. Situated by the Tennessee River and in the crosshairs of the racial divide, Muscle Shoals was home to the famous FAME recording studio founded by Rick Hall where Aretha Franklin, Wilson Pickett, Percy Sledge and dozens... > Read more

SONNY ROLLINS; BEYOND THE NOTES a doco by DICK FONTAINE

30 Jun 2014

When the great jazz saxophonist Sonny Rollins came to New Zealand in 2011, it was my pleasure to do a phone interview with him beforehand . . . and then see him in concert. I'd only seen Rollins twice previously and each time they were polar opposite performances, so it was impossible to know what to expect. And similarly interviewing him. Some musicians can be tetchy subjects,... > Read more

TAR, a film by 12 DIRECTORS

26 Jun 2014

A visual ode to memory, love, loss of innocence and the spectre of impending death because of the events at Three Mile Island, this film is an elusive construction drawing on the poems of the award-winning American writer CK Williams. Written and directed by 12 New York University film students, it singles out a few key poems and periods in the poet's life -- non-chronological and with... > Read more

CUTIE AND THE BOXER a doco by ZACHARY HEINZERLING (Madman DVD)

22 Jun 2014

Cantankerous, alcoholic, irresponsible and so convinced of his own genius that he saw his wife Noriko as a lesser person there to serve his artistic and emotional needs, there's not a lot to like about painter and sculptor Ushio Shinohara. When he arrived in New York from Japan in the Sixties he was a child of the Tokyo avant-garde and his style of painting which we might call Abstract... > Read more

GOOD VIBRATIONS a film by LISA BARROS D'SA and GLENN LEYBURN

8 Jun 2014

Those of us lucky enough not to have lived in Northern Ireland during the period the Irish euphemistically refer to as “The Troubles” could never know what that must have been like. Sectarian division and violence, roadblocks and checkpoints, assassinations and bombings, intimidation and factionalism . . . As John Lennon put it, “if you had the luck of the Irish,... > Read more

Just Another Teenage Rebel

B.B.KING; THE LIFE OF RILEY a doco by JON BREWER

4 May 2014

A few weeks ago a review of a lousy BB King concert in St. Loius went viral. But the comments about his rambling show, him forgetting lyrics or simply lost as to know what to do would come as no surprise to anyone who saw an equally bad concert in Auckland in 2011. My review here begins, "Few things are more sad, uncomfortable and disappointing than witnessing a once-towering talent in... > Read more

Sweet Little Angel (1964)

SONG OF THE SOUTH, a doco by Tom O'Dell (Sexy Intellectual/Triton DVD)

20 Nov 2013

As with Jimi Hendrix, the great Duane Allman -- dead at 24 after a motorcycle accident in 1971 -- wasn't with us for a long time. But what a mark he made in just those four years from when he first became known. He had only played guitar for 10 years and only in the last three of his short life had started playing slide guitar to create the sound he is synonymous with. It was a short... > Read more

Little Martha

UTU REDUX, a film by GEOFF MURPHY

19 Nov 2013

New Zealand landscapes lend themselves to the visual and emotional language of film: the black sand shore of The Piano; the towering Southern Alps inhabited by horsemen and warrior orks in Lord of the Rings; the menacing glower of sky and mountains in Vigil; the glimmering beauty of the East Coast in films like Boy and Whale Rider . . . And landscape was a visceral character in Geoff... > Read more