film

film on Elsewhere by Graham Reid - Browse our selection of content tagged 'film'.

TEAK LEAVES AT THE TEMPLES: A film where free jazz and traditional Javanese music meet

TEAK LEAVES AT THE TEMPLES: A film where free jazz and traditional Javanese music meet

On the face of it, there would seem little common ground between European free jazz and the traditional music and Buddhist culture of Java. But for Aucklander Winston Marsh -- co-producer of the film Teak Leaves at the Temples the intersection is in the immediacy and “the sense of the now” in the jazz and the transience...

BOOZE IN THE MOVIES: Through a glass, darkly . . .

BOOZE IN THE MOVIES: Through a glass, darkly . . .

For a few days in my late teens I stayed on Moturekareka, an island just south of Kawau Auckland's Hauraki Gulf. The sole other occupant was alcoholic old Snow who lived in a crude shack lined with newspapers. I couldn’t understand why he didn’t stay in the huge, deserted villa near the pier. It had formerly been a post...

PLAYING IT GAY: Straight men of the cinema bending themselves to new roles

PLAYING IT GAY: Straight men of the cinema bending themselves to new roles

Think back on Hollywood hunk Val Kilmer’s career. It began with the spy-spoof movie Top Secret! where he was an Elvis-lite heartthrob who had girls swooning. Then he was in Top Gun; played brooding rock poet-cum-sex god Jim Morrison in The Doors; a testosterone-fuelled if troubled Batman; the well-hung porn star John Holmes in...

DR STRANGELOVE: A troubling movie for troubling times

DR STRANGELOVE: A troubling movie for troubling times

When I was at intermediate school in 1962 the Cuban missile crisis occurred. The Russians were shipping missiles to sites in Cuba just a spit from the American mainland and president Jack Kennedy sent out vessels to turn the Russians back. The world took a sharp intake of breath as the threat of a nuclear war was real. So real that one day...

STEVEN SPIELBERG'S DUEL: The open road as a death trap

STEVEN SPIELBERG'S DUEL: The open road as a death trap

The best suspense movies can be very simple. There’s a lot you can do with a baby sitter, a telephone and a threatening phone call. Or two people abandoned at sea. The chill factor in the low-budget but still gripping Open Water - which engaged and terrified audiences in the mid 90s - came from a combination of primal fear and the...

THE THREE STOOGES: Violence spoken here

THE THREE STOOGES: Violence spoken here

The debate about the amount of violence on television isn’t going to end soon. There are too many people doing well-funded research for it to die quietly. By the time kids get to school they have seen, oh just heaps, of violent acts on television. They’ve also seen lots of programmes about sharks, but has anyone conducted a...

UNDER THE VOLCANO, a film by JOHN HUSTON, 1984 (Shock DVD)

UNDER THE VOLCANO, a film by JOHN HUSTON, 1984 (Shock DVD)

There are two anecdotes -- both possibly apocryphal -- which I remember about the life of Malcolm Lowry, the British author of the terrifying novel Under the Volcano. The first is that when he was child his father took him to a medical museum and showed him the disgusting and disfigured body parts of those who had died of various venereal...

IN THE ELECTRIC MIST, a film by BERTRAND TAVERNIER, 2009 (Madman DVD)

IN THE ELECTRIC MIST, a film by BERTRAND TAVERNIER, 2009 (Madman DVD)

Based on the James Lee Burke novel In the Electric Mist with Confederate Dead, this serial killer mystery (with surreal time slips into a world populated by the ghosts of the Civil War) is set in the Cajun bayou swamps of Louisiana which, of themselves, add an air of uneasy stillness and mystery. As detective Dave Robicheaux, Tommy Lee Jones...

VAN DIEMEN'S LAND, a film by JONATHAN AUF DER HEIDE, 2009 (Madman DVD)

VAN DIEMEN'S LAND, a film by JONATHAN AUF DER HEIDE, 2009 (Madman DVD)

In the first volume of his projected trilogy about the history of his homeland -- Australians: Origins to Eureka, published 2009 -- the writer Thomas Keneally writes of the first Irish convicts transported to what became Sydney. They believed that if they could just escape and head north they would get to China and be able to start a new...

SOUNDTRACK FOR A REVOLUTION, a film by  BILL GUTTENTAG and DAN STURMAN, 2009 (Hopscotch DVD)

SOUNDTRACK FOR A REVOLUTION, a film by BILL GUTTENTAG and DAN STURMAN, 2009 (Hopscotch DVD)

Anyone who gets depressed and thinks little social progress has been made need only to look at this ultimately uplifting if sometimes horrifying film to see how far America has come in the past 50 years. Here is an account of the civil rights movement through the words of those who were there, in images that will variously make the heart...

GLASS, A PORTRAIT OF PHILIP IN TWELVE PARTS, a documentary by SCOTT HICKS (Madman DVD)

GLASS, A PORTRAIT OF PHILIP IN TWELVE PARTS, a documentary by SCOTT HICKS (Madman DVD)

In his insightful, provocative and usefully gossipy book The Rest is Noise (2007), the writer and critic Alex Ross took a free-wheeling survey of 20th century classical music and addressed why the damn stuff had become so difficult for "modern" audiences. As with jazz -- which lost its populist mandate when free form arrived and...

THE COVE, a documentary by LOUIE PSIHOYOS (Madman, DVD)

THE COVE, a documentary by LOUIE PSIHOYOS (Madman, DVD)

At the time of this writing Japan's fishing industry is in the news for all the wrong reasons: The annual whale kill is down drastically because of efforts by Sea Shepherd to stop Japan's kill in Southern Ocean; New Zealand activist Peter Bethune is a Tokyo prison for boarding the whaling ship Shonan Maru 2 and attempting to present the captain...

AVATAR, a film by JAMES CAMERON (2009)

AVATAR, a film by JAMES CAMERON (2009)

The day after I saw Avatar in a 3D preview screening I wrote a blog about it: here is a modified and updated version of that to coincide with the DVD release. Despite the naysayers who emerged after the initial rush of enthusiasm, I haven't changed my opinion that this a terrific film . . .  I didn’t think much of James...

Steve Reich: It's Gonna Rain (1965)

Steve Reich: It's Gonna Rain (1965)

Sampling, found sound, loops and tape manipulation are commonplace these days -- but back in '65 this piece by minimalist Steve Reich (interviewed here) anticipated a whole style of experimental music. And as with John Lennon -- who allegedly put the tape of the Beatles' b-side Rain backwards into his home player and loved the strange sound...

THE WIGAN CASINO, a doco by TONY PALMER (Voiceprint/Southbound DVD)

THE WIGAN CASINO, a doco by TONY PALMER (Voiceprint/Southbound DVD)

In the advance publicity for his feature film Cemetery Junction (set in the Seventies and written/directed with Stephen Merchant), Ricky Gervais was quick to point out that in the mid Seventies not everyone dressed like glam-rock David Bowie and Marc Bolan, and that for most people in Britain life just went on at the same grim pace: work in the...

IN THE REALMS OF THE UNREAL: THE MYSTERY OF HENRY DARGER a documentary by JESSICA YU (Ovation/Southbound DVD)

IN THE REALMS OF THE UNREAL: THE MYSTERY OF HENRY DARGER a documentary by JESSICA YU (Ovation/Southbound DVD)

When the reclusive and friendless Henry Darger died at 81 in Chicago in 1973 (after a brief period in the same poorhouse in which his father had died) his story really began. Shortly before his death his neighbours discovered that Darger's apartment was full of the most remarkable, sustained artwork. Over the course of his later life -- in...

ALL YOU NEED IS LOVE, a documentary series by TONY PALMER (Isolde/Southbound DVD)

ALL YOU NEED IS LOVE, a documentary series by TONY PALMER (Isolde/Southbound DVD)

These days there are any number of documentary flms about music: Ken Burns' Jazz series, Martin Scorsese's series about the blues, country music dealt to in Lost Highway, the excellent History of Rock'n'Roll . . . Individual artists are also getting their due: the Beatles' Anthology; various Elvis docos; Scorsese on early Dylan in No...

STALINGRAD, a documentary series by S. DENHARDT, C. DEICK and J. MULLNER (DV1/Southbound DVD)

STALINGRAD, a documentary series by S. DENHARDT, C. DEICK and J. MULLNER (DV1/Southbound DVD)

In the tragically vast annals of war, the battle for Stalingrad stands out for the horrendous loss of life, the stubborness and arrogance of Adolf Hitler, the horrors that the German 6th Army endured imprisoned in that city, and the dreadful aftermath. This award-winning, three-part documentary resiles from none of that and if it perhaps...

ABSOLUTE WILSON, a documentary by KATHARINA OTTO-BERNSTEIN (Southbound DVD)

ABSOLUTE WILSON, a documentary by KATHARINA OTTO-BERNSTEIN (Southbound DVD)

Choreographer Robert Wilson is one of those rare individuals who can dress a stage to look like a private dream inspired by the stillness of a Rene Magritte paiting or a mad cabaret populated by frogs and floating chairs. Either way, at a glance you can spot a Wilson design. They are idiosyncratic, unique, often visionary, sometimes...

THE MAGIC OF AUDREY HEPBURN  (Madman DVD)

THE MAGIC OF AUDREY HEPBURN (Madman DVD)

The description "unauthorised" usually implies content that the subject may not wish to have exposed to the public, but there is nothing in this documentary -- hagiography in fact -- which Hepburn might have disapproved of. She is here described in terms of a secular saint for her charity work, and with adjectives which suggests...

SCENES FROM A REVOLUTION by MARK HARRIS: He not busy being born is busy dying.

SCENES FROM A REVOLUTION by MARK HARRIS: He not busy being born is busy dying.

That film is a collaborative art is accepted, but it can also be a war of attrition where inflated egos collide at the interface of culture and commerce. And in Hollywood where the stakes -- money, careers, egos -- are bigger, and can disproportionately rise or fall dramatically with any project, then the stories from behind the scenes can be...

OF TIME AND THE CITY, a film by TERENCE DAVIES (Madman DVD)

OF TIME AND THE CITY, a film by TERENCE DAVIES (Madman DVD)

This poetic meditation on his home city of Liverpool by the great British film-maker neatly blurs fact and faction into a seamless dreamscape of reflection on what once was and what has been lost . . . not just in that dark and dank city of his childhood, but also for the director himself. Using archival footage in grim black'n'white and...

PRIVILEGE, a film by PETER WATKINS, 1967 (Universal DVD)

PRIVILEGE, a film by PETER WATKINS, 1967 (Universal DVD)

Set in a dystopian future where the British government and state authorities (as well as organised religion) exercise complete and often subtle social control over citizens, this remarkable film by Peter Watkins came just as Beatlemania was ending but seems to use an extension of it as its starting point. Nominally it could be called a...

HUE AND CRY, a film by CHARLES CRICHTON, 1947 (Madman DVD)

HUE AND CRY, a film by CHARLES CRICHTON, 1947 (Madman DVD)

The population in central London in the years after the Second World War was less than half what it is today, around 3.5 million. Even in the early Sixties it wasn't much more . . . which explains why, if you watch an early episode of The Avengers for example there was hardly a car on the roads and eerily few people. In the Forties -- when...

PAUL JONES PROFILED: Can sing, can act . . . can do

PAUL JONES PROFILED: Can sing, can act . . . can do

Paul Jones has enjoyed a remarkable career in and – most rewardingly -- out of pop music. After only three and a half years with the Sixties band Manfred Mann, during which he sang their chart hits, Do Wah Diddy, If You Gotta Go and Pretty Flamingo, Jones walked away and into a solo career (hits High Time, I've Been a Bad Boy...

FIVE MINUTES OF HEAVEN, a film by OLIVER HIRSCHBIEGEL (Madman DVD)

FIVE MINUTES OF HEAVEN, a film by OLIVER HIRSCHBIEGEL (Madman DVD)

Although this seems to have all the hallmarks of a stage play adapted for the screen, Five Minutes to Heaven (by the director of the gripping Hitler-bunker drama Downfalll) is based on a true story which never exactly happened. The truth at the core is that a young, angry teenager out to prove himself to the local Ulster Volunteer Force...

YOUSSOU N'DOUR; RETURN TO GOREE, a doco by PIERRE-YVES BORGEAUD (Roadshow DVD)

YOUSSOU N'DOUR; RETURN TO GOREE, a doco by PIERRE-YVES BORGEAUD (Roadshow DVD)

Goree is the island off the coast of Senegal through which thousands of slaves passed on their way to Middle Passage and, if they survived, various parts of the "New World", notably the US and Caribbean. Senegalese singer Youssou N'Dour here traces a musical journey from Goree to the jazz and gospel music of the US, and digressions...

ARCHITECTURE; THE COMPLETE BOX SET (Five DVDs, Ovation/Southbound)

ARCHITECTURE; THE COMPLETE BOX SET (Five DVDs, Ovation/Southbound)

Although at a first encounter the narration to this series -- 29 major architects and/or buildings in separate episodes over five DVDs -- might seem a little dry and distant, you warm to it as the images take hold and the voice-over offers clear and informative commentary. These episodes take the nature of self-contained films (character and...

Roy Budd: Get Carter soundtrack (Silva Screen/Southbound)

Roy Budd: Get Carter soundtrack (Silva Screen/Southbound)

The classic Brit-film Get Carter of '71 -- Michael Caine in a career-defining role as a London gangster out for revenge in grim Newcastle -- could have come with a period soundtrack, but Bowie and T.Rex would have sounded pretty silly in this bleak context. But, as with the first adaptation of In Cold Blood, it sounded so much better with...

Cilla Black: Liverpool Lullaby (1969)

Cilla Black: Liverpool Lullaby (1969)

Liverpool today is a very different place from the tough port city it was in the years after the war: a world perhaps only familiar from documentaries about the Beatles' early years where bomb-scarred buildings still littered the landscape. That lost world is celebrated in song and commemorated in film.  Today, if nothing else,...

Various Artists: Late Night Tales; At the Movies (101/Southbound)

Various Artists: Late Night Tales; At the Movies (101/Southbound)

On paper the idea of a collection of movie themes segueing seamlessly into each other is undeniably appealing: you can imagine what a film noir compilation might sound like, same with westerns, horror, thriller and so on. But this catch-all -- a whopping 39 snippets, which averages about two minutes a slice -- moves from the sublime to the...

BOB DYLAN, ON FILM: Acting on the margins

BOB DYLAN, ON FILM: Acting on the margins

Somebody at the University of Applied Narcotics in San Francisco has probably written a thesis about Bob Dylan's bizarre film career. Like Neil Young, Dylan appears in movies which make little sense to anyone, possibly even himself. Yet it all started so well. The terrific doco Don't Look Back, by Don Pennebaker, of Dylan's brief British...

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

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

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...

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