Film in Elsewhere

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MILES DAVIS QUINTET; EUROPEAN TOUR 1967 (/Impro-Jazz/Southbound DVD)

18 Jan 2010  |  1 min read

You might have thought in the decade since Ken Burns' groundbreaking television series Jazz that there would have been a slew of DVDs out there on the market to add depth to what he showcased. But there hasn't really been. Back before jazz was an "art form" few concerts were filmed for posterity. Jazz, by definition, was in the present tense. Which makes this one so... > Read more

THE RED RIDING TRILOGY based on the novels by DAVID PEACE (Madman DVD)

11 Jan 2010  |  2 min read

For sheer gruesome, grim and compellingly dark viewing this trilogy of made-for-television films based on the novels of David Peace would take some beating: murder is the backdrop; corruption at every level of the Yorkshire police is rife; the hunt for the Yorkshire Ripper casts a shadow over everything; and it rains most of the time. The North of England has rarely looked so bleak and... > Read more

ONE FAST MOVE OR I'M GONE a film by CURT WORDEM (2009, Kerouac Films)

7 Jan 2010  |  1 min read

That Jack Kerouac's artistic life led to personal tragedy as much as literary triumph is evident to anyone who has read his searingly personal, dark then redemptive book Big Sur, a barely disguised "novel" of his brief time at Lawrence Ferlinghetti's remote cabin in Bixby Canyon near Big Sur. By this time (1961) Kerouac had been lionized as the star of the Beat Generation for his... > Read more

Jay Farrar: California Zephyr

HOOKED: ANTI-DRUG FILMS FROM THE 30'S TO THE 70'S (Rocket/Triton DVD): Marijuana to murder in 15 minutes

1 Jan 2010  |  1 min read

Every generation thinks it invents the same two things: swearing and sex. Equally, in the Western world at least, for the past century or so every generation gets the soundtrack it needs. And the drugs. Drug education is a fraught area (more so than movies about junkies or drugs) and the tendency has been to go for scare scenarios. No one in their right mind doubts the dangers of... > Read more

The Mystery Trend: Johnny Was a Good Boy

THE WILD WOMEN OF WONGO a film by JAMES L. WALCOTT (1958) (Triton DVD)

13 Dec 2009  |  2 min read

Everyone is allowed their guilty secrets when it comes to bad movies: I have an unnatural affection for Zardoz (Sean Connery in the future somewhere) and The Long Ships (in which Sidney Poitier seems to swim from somewhere Moorish to the land of the Vikings). These are stupid but fun and allow you plenty of couchtime to add up the continuity errors and so on. The Wild Women of Wongo is... > Read more

PAUL McCARTNEY; GOOD EVENING NEW YORK CITY (Universal CD/DVD)

7 Dec 2009  |  2 min read

After a decade of exceptional diversity on disc -- it started with the left-field Liverpool Sound Collage, there was the remix album Twin Freaks, another album as The Fireman as well as a classical thing and some straight-up Macca-rock albums -- it seems a shame that McCartney should end it in such a predictable manner: a double live. This however has been his pattern: live albums have been... > Read more

Paul McCartney: I'm Down

LENNON AND McCARTNEY 1967-72; COMPOSING OUTSIDE THE BEATLES (Triton DVD)

30 Nov 2009  |  1 min read

While you might think there is little left to be said about the Beatles after the break-up and their subsequent solo careers, the narrow and deep focus of this two hour doco is surprisingly interesting. By just taking that period when Lennon and McCartney were starting to go their own ways, and pulling on the handbrake before Wings really took off, you get a real insight into just how... > Read more

Paul McCartney: Mumbo (from Wild Life, 1971)

GOODFELLAS, a film by MARTIN SCORSESE: Making a killing in crime

30 Nov 2009  |  3 min read  |  1

Within the ever-expanding genre of gangster flicks - from 1931 and James Cagney's Irish hood in Little Caesar to the quiet menace of Tony Soprano - there could never be consensus about the best Mob movie in any first-past-the-post system. But Martin Scorsese's GoodFellas from 1990 would certainly take the prize in any single-transferable-vote selection. It is a classic. From the... > Read more

Harry Nilsson: Jump into the Fire

THE BRAVADOS and BANDOLERO! (DVD): Westerns of the outlaw kind

23 Nov 2009  |  3 min read

The early years of the 21st century saw a revival of gritty, realistic and unglamorous westerns with morally ambivalent characters. Clint Eastwood (of course) had set the tone in the early Nineties with Unforgiven; Kevin Costner and Robert Duvall resurrected the genre to great critical if not commercial success in 2004 with Open Range and that same year a gritty version The Alamo... > Read more

THE GOOD, THE BAD AND THE UGLY; THE DIRECTOR'S CUT (DVD): The horse opera of death

23 Nov 2009  |  2 min read

The reputation of the epic Western has been somewhat tarnished in recent years, but the tradition of outsiders and the lawless world they inhabited is an honourable one. However, by the mid-Sixties, with the rise of the anti-hero and a more gritty kind of cinema, it took the Italian director Sergio Leone to re-invent the tired genre. With Clint Eastwood as the taciturn killer,... > Read more

Ennio Morricone: L'estasi dell'oro (The Ecstasy of Gold)

OPEN RANGE and THE ALAMO (DVD): The return of the real Westerns?

15 Nov 2009  |  2 min read

Recently the Kevin Costner movie Dragonfly from 2002 turned up on television. You'd probably never heard of it. I hadn't. It's hard to believe that after Dances with Wolves of 1990 and the inexplicably popular The Bodyguard of just two years later that it could all go downhill so fast for Costner. Just three years after getting up close and personal with Whitney he was... > Read more

OVER THERE a television series by STEVEN BOCHCO AND CHRIS GEROLMO (DVD, 2005)

9 Nov 2009  |  12 min read

A couple of years ago, if you had driven an hour north of downtown LA you would have been in a war zone, a slice of hellish Iraq right there in the arid desert of California. An American unit of young men and women is pinned down by insurgents holed up in the mosque on the hill, all around them a parched landscape is peppered by gunfire. A jeep explodes, a soldier in full combat gear... > Read more

Chris Gerolmo: Incoming

SON OF A LION, a film by BENJAMIN GILMOUR (Madman DVD)

9 Nov 2009  |  1 min read

Although the ending of this award-winning film by first time writer-director Gilmour from Australia is something of a cop-out, that takes nothing away from the story and all that is told beforehand. None of the actors had any previous experience, the dialogue seems largely improvised in places, the political subtexts come to the surface repeatedly but as a natural consequence of the action... > Read more

Asif Bhatti: Mey vanjaara (from the album Traditional Music from Pakistan)

GOMORRAH, a film by MATTEO GARRONE (Madman DVD, 2009)

2 Nov 2009  |  2 min read  |  1

Most tourists to Italy tend to visit the north for very good reason: up there are the big boxes to tick off: Renaissance Florence; the canals and contemporary art of Venice; the grandeur that was Rome; the medievalism of Siena and so on. The north is where the art and culture resides (at least in the tourist's imagination and seen through rose-tinted glasses), and fewer people head south of... > Read more

Diego: Nun c'e pirduni (from the album Omerta, Onuri e Sungu; La Musica della Mafia Vol 2)

STYLE WARS by TONY SILVER (DVD, 2003)

25 Oct 2009  |  4 min read

It's just a guess, but I doubt Krost Krist, Anakea and Ryus know who Taki 183 or Papi 184 were. That's a pity, because Taki 183 and Papi 184 started what Krost Krist and the others are doing down the railway which heads from Auckland city to Waitakere. It is believed Taki 183 was the first -- but whether you think that's a good thing or not depends on what you think of graffiti.... > Read more

Afrika Bambaataa: Planet Rock

CORNER GAS (Madman DVD): A whole lot of nothing

18 Oct 2009  |  2 min read

It is a peculiar thing that Corner Gas -- a wry, understated and very droll Canadian comedy series -- isn't screened on New Zealand television. It has many similarities in its humour to that of Flight of the Conchords, not the least in its gentle wit, the slightly confused and often naive characters, and the similarity between what Canadians feel about America and New Zealanders feel towards... > Read more

GONZO; THE LIFE AND WORK OF DR HUNTER S THOMPSON a doco by ALEX GIBNEY (Madman DVD, 2009)

12 Oct 2009  |  3 min read

There are few sadder sights in culture than when artists believe their own publicity (Michael Jackson genuinely thinking he was healing the world with a pop song) or when they become a caricature of their former selves. Tom Waits only just escaped his image as a lounge-room crooner-cum-barfly when he reinvented himself with the help of his wife Kathleen Brennan, but as this remarkable doco... > Read more

Dr Timothy Leary: You Can Be Anyone This Time Around

F FOR FAKE, a film by ORSON WELLES (Madman DVD): Rooms full of mirrors and smoke

28 Sep 2009  |  1 min read

The context of this curious film needs to be sketched in before the innocent venture into its bewildering chicanery and capriciously obscuring nature. Made in the early Seventies and one of the last films that Welles, a notorious unfinisher, actually completed, it is on one level a look at the life of the art forger Elmyr de Hory (if that was in fact his name) whom Welles knew, just as... > Read more

THE ROLLING STONES IN THE SIXTIES (Chrome Dreams DVD/Triton)

28 Sep 2009  |  2 min read  |  1

We have been down this occasionally interesting path previously with the Chrome Dreams label which has delivered DVDs about bands such as the Small Faces, the whole German electronic movement (Kraftwerk, Can et al) and Frank Zappa, as well as CDs of Bob Dylan's jukebox and a compilation of his Radio Hour music (no intros by Bob though). None of the DVDs are authorised by the management of... > Read more

The Rolling Stones: Stray Cat Blues (from Beggar's Banquet, 1968)

MAN ON WIRE by JAMES MARSH (Madman DVD)

31 Aug 2009  |  2 min read  |  1

Anyone who ever stepped out onto the roof of one of the Twin Towers would have been struck by three things: the view from that height; that height when you looked directly down; and the power of the wind at that height. The notion and reality of "height" was everywhere. My recollection of all three simply came down to one word, "Wow!" The World Trade Center towers... > Read more

Leon Russell: Tight Rope