Film in Elsewhere

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

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THE TAMI SHOW (2020): The lady in lockdown

22 May 2020  |  1 min read

Given that last year was a pretty lousy one for many people (self included) many were looking forward to a fresh start in 2020. Well, then that happened . . . Few musicians were looking forward to this year as much as singer-songwriter Tami Neilson who had a fine album ready to go (Chickaboom! reviewed here), had the backing to tour internationally to consolidate her... > Read more

KIM'S CONVENIENCE, by Ins Choi and Kevin White. A Netflix series

13 Apr 2020  |  1 min read

Round Elsewhere's way when we aren't diverted by drug cartels (Narcos, the incredibly tense Ozark) or being taken on some bleak journey with a detective posted to some snow-blown remoteness to investigate a murder in Iceland/Norway/Canada/Alaska etc we like to take comfort in a gentle comedy series . . . like Kim's Convenience. This series – set in and around a Korean family's... > Read more

MILES DAVIS: BIRTH OF THE COOL, a doco by STANLEY NELSON (Netflix): Running the Voodoo Down again

2 Apr 2020  |  3 min read

When I interviewed Miles Davis in 1988 in advance of his Auckland concert, I punched in an improbably long line of digits to a New York number and after confirming it was him on the other end – the hoarse grunt was enough – I introduced myself and asked him about his most recent album Siesta. After a long silence the distinctively raspy voice grumbled,“I dunno what... > Read more

DELINQUENT DAYS; OUTSIDERS ON THE SILVER SCREEN (2020): The kids aren't alright

12 Jan 2020  |  3 min read

In the shorthand of pop culture, some would have you believe there was nothing going on between the death of Buddy Holly and the arrival of the Beatles. Certainly there were a lot of bland, production-line pretty-boy pop stars as we noted here, but there was also much more happening. As we said in that piece, “there were surf bands and Motown, Phil Spector, doo-wop... > Read more

MICHAEL HUTCHENCE: MYSTIFY, a film by RICHARD LOWENSTEIN

2 Sep 2019  |  3 min read  |  1

  Here's the briefest of encounters with the Australian superstar. It was at a fund-raising concert in Sydney in '92 and there were big acts aplenty on the bill. Backstage I chatted with Neil Finn (then of Crowded House) and the charming Johnny Diesel who should have been massive but instead had an excellent career. The catering tent was open to all, kids and partners ambled... > Read more

THE CHILLS: THE TRIUMPH AND TRAGEDY OF MARTIN PHILLIPPS, a doco by JULIA PARNELL and ROB CURRY (Madman DVD/Blu-Ray)

23 Aug 2019  |  4 min read  |  1

About two-thirds the way through this revealing, sometimes disturbing and occasionally (unintentionally) funny 95-minute doco Martin Phillipps is seen going through his scrupulously archived Chills clippings and comes on one from '92 written when he returned to New Zealand after announcing onstage in the US – to the surprise of his bandmates – that the Chills would be no more.... > Read more

APOLLO 11, a doco by TODD DOUGLAS MILLER (2019): Close enough to touch . . .

23 Aug 2019  |  2 min read

Even in the too-near future when fancy rockets from President Trump's visionary Space Force are shuttling Russian oligarchs and wealthy white billionaires off to the safety of Mars as the polluted Earth chokes and dies, people will still marvel at the technical genius and singular courage which took Man to the moon in July 1969. As we labour today under social division, fake news, the... > Read more

HERBS: SONGS OF FREEDOM (2019), a doco by TEAREPA KAHI

18 Aug 2019  |  3 min read  |  2

Well intentioned – and necessary – as this documentary is as a salute to one of the most important bands in Aotearoa New Zealand's music history, by never having a clear focus or trajectory it falls well short of the marks it seems to be aiming for. Herbs were this country's first overtly political group and the 1981 debut EP Whats' Be Happen (referred to as an album these days)... > Read more

MUSIC AND HOW WE SEE IT (2019): Movies about music in the NZ International Film Festival

23 Jul 2019  |  2 min read

NZIFF has kicked off in Auckland and this year's festival boasts an eclectic mix-tape of music-themed films.  A major highlight is the stunning film Amazing Grace – featuring the undisputed queen of soul, Aretha Franklin, as you’ve never seen her before. This spine-tingling film captures a two-night recording session in a Los Angeles Baptist church in... > Read more

ROLLING THUNDER REVUE, A BOB DYLAN STORY, a film by MARTIN SCORSESE: The drifter escapes, again

8 Jul 2019  |  4 min read  |  2

In 1975, when the acclaimed actor and playwright Sam Shepard was invited by Bob Dylan – whom he had never met – to come on tour with him, Shepard wasn't sure why. Nor, it turned out, was Dylan. Maybe he could write some lines for the artists who would be performing on what was called the Rolling Thunder Revue, said Dylan, but there would be improvised stuff so... > Read more

A QUEEN IS GONE, LONG LIVE QUEEN (2019): Freddie's dead, Adam is born

26 Jun 2019  |  2 min read

At a time when the film Yesterday creates a world in which the Beatles' songs never happened, here's another scenario to speculate on: what if the Beatles hadn't broken up when Paul McCartney announced his departure? What if Lennon, Harrison and Starr decided to carry on recording as the Beatles and got in an old pal like bassist Klaus Voorman – whom they known since Hamburg days... > Read more

YESTERDAY, a film by DANNY BOYLE

24 Jun 2019  |  3 min read  |  1

Because the Beatles' career, music and personal lives have been deconstructed in detail, analysed in similar depth and held up to the light for more than half a century, it is almost inevitable they would provide perfect material for fiction or dramatisation. Think of the Beatles' films made without them: Nowhere Boy about the teenage John Lennon, Backbeat about their Hamburg years, The... > Read more

ANTHEMS, NEW ZEALAND'S ICON HITS a doco series by JULIA PARNELL and MARCUS PALMER

23 Apr 2019  |  2 min read

It's an odd thing but the more nuanced and articulate a political song is, the less successful it is likely to be. People want slogans like Lennon's reductive All YOu Need is Love, Give Peace a Chance and Power to the People, not Costello's Tramp the Dirt Down. “The simpler the lyrics are, the more people will remember them,” says Dave Dobbyn. He's talking about the boozy Bliss... > Read more

HOTEL MUMBAI, a film by ANTHONY MARAS

12 Mar 2019  |  2 min read

On the far wall of the luxurious lobby of the Taj Mahal Palace Hotel in Mumbai/Bombay there is a list of names. To see it you have to get through the strict security outside – cars checked for concealed explosives, bags scrutinised – and then walk past the casually wealthy sitting in the spacious and airy lobby where staff are impeccably dressed and attentive. The list of 32... > Read more

TWO TRAINS RUNNIN', a doco by SAM POLLARD

11 Mar 2019  |  2 min read

This extensive 90 minute doco turns back time to America in the early Sixties when segregation was endemic, Northern white folk singers were becoming engaged by obscure and rare country blues by Southern black artists and the Civil Rights movement was on the rise with Martin Luther King at its head. At that time activists and music lovers converged in the Southern states. The two trains... > Read more

THE EYES OF ORSON WELLES, a doco by MARK COUSINS

13 Feb 2019  |  2 min read

Many decades ago when taking a class in film analysis to a group of enthusiastic young people, I was at a loss as to how introduce Orson Welles, his art and work was so diverse and massive. By chance it was made easy: I threw up an image of the older Orson on the screen and immediately a voice from the darkness said, “Hey, that's the Nashua 120 guy!” Yes, Orson Welles did a... > Read more

BIG PACIFIC, PRIME TV SERIES, and a book by REBECCA TANSLEY

10 Dec 2018  |  3 min read

There are maps which show us our world in different ways; the size of countries relative to population or poverty; the planet at night so we can see where people huddle under lights and so on. But few views are more dramatic and a reminder of our place on Earth than if you turn a globe so that just about everything you see is the Pacific Ocean. Over to one edge there is a sliver... > Read more

PRIME ROCKS; BUDDY HOLLY – RAVE ON (2018): And the songs will not fade away

30 Nov 2018  |  2 min read

It's probably taking it a bit far to say (as someone inevitably does in this doco) that Buddy Holly's influence is still evident today. Nothing in the charts would support that contention. But that is not to deny his enormous impact. He not only wrote his own songs in the late Fifties at a time when few pop artists did but he also played and produced most of them. And his musical and... > Read more

PRIME ROCKS: OASIS - SUPERSONIC, a doco by MAT WHITECROSS

21 Nov 2018  |  5 min read

This two-hour doco screening in the Prime Rocks series on December 5 was made by the team behind the moving Amy Winehouse film . . . with Noel and Liam Gallagher as executive producers, given separate screen credit. Given their long breakdown and the more recent solo careers of Liam and Noel, it sensibly starts where it ends, with their 1996 triumph at Knebworth. Everyone, the... > Read more

PRIME ROCKS; CARPOOL KARAOKE; WHEN CORDEN MET McCARTNEY (2018): You don't know how lucky you are, boy

17 Nov 2018  |  2 min read

It goes without saying that Paul McCartney is a clever one, but he's also canny and has a keen business sensibility. Aside from the misstep in letting Michale Jackson swoop in and grab control of the Lennon-McCartney catalogue (while he and Yoko were bickering about how much to pay, apparently) he has made very few mistakes in his his business dealings. And he certainly looks after number... > Read more