Film in Elsewhere

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1 Mar 2009  |  1 min read  |  1

My dad had a witty but true observation of the New Zealand whisky 45 South: "Don't think of it as a whisky and it's a quite acceptable drink." The same might be said of this doco in which neither Led Zeppelin nor their music appears: don't think of it as about Led Zeppelin and its quite an acceptable documentary. One of the cliches of contemporary music -- perpetrated in large... > Read more

Led Zeppelin: Gallow's Pole


7 Feb 2009  |  2 min read

The breathtaking opening shot in this documentary - a single, walking-pace, almost silent, dolly shot through a seemingly endless, multi-purpose factory in China which runs a full seven and a half minutes -- is so compelling in its impact that it has somewhat blinded many writers to what follows. Canadian photographer Edward Burtynsky, the subject of this doco by Jennifer Baichwal, takes... > Read more

THE THREE STOOGES: Violence spoken here

3 Feb 2009  |  1 min read  |  1

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 survey about just how much the average five-year old... > Read more

PRINCE IN THE PICTURE THEATRE: Can't act, can sing and dance some

22 Dec 2008  |  2 min read

One of the most stealthy pop rehabilitations in the past decade has been that of Prince. Ten years ago he was in creative limbo after a series of poor selling albums presented under that incomprehensible squiggle. Now however he’s appearing at the right parties and his tours are sell-outs. That’s despite his recent albums not doing anything like the business of his most creative... > Read more

Prince: Insatiable

BEST OF ELSEWHERE DVDs 2008 Kraftwerk and the Electronic Revolution (DVD)

22 Dec 2008  |  1 min read

Not only does this excellent overview of the German electronic scene come in at a whopping and thorough three hours, but it also has good timing: it is released just as Kraftwerk make a rare return appearance in New Zealand. This ambitious (but not officially sanctioned) look at Kraftwerk's place in the techno-cosmos places the group within the greater picture of the German music scene from... > Read more

QUENTIN TARANTINO: The director defining the landscape

19 Dec 2008  |  3 min read

There was a scene in Michael Palin’s much acclaimed travel-doco Himalaya which, even if you didn't see it, you'll recognise. It was of a towering mountain with clouds scuttling over at about 10 times the speed. Such an image is over-familiar these days -- you see it often in ads which indicates how cliched it has become -- but the accompanying music caught my attention. It was a series of... > Read more

BEST OF ELSEWHERE DVDs 2008 Frank Zappa and the Mothers of Invention: In the Sixties (DVD/ through Triton)

15 Dec 2008  |  2 min read  |  1

Frank Zappa died 15 years ago this month and while it is hard to make the case his music is still of influence (Zoogz Rift anyone?) this fascinating two hour-plus doco is persuasive in its argument that nothing in rock culture (and perhaps beyond) was the same after Zappa and the Mothers of Invention gatecrashed into pop music and then hippie culture in the Sixties. Although not authorised... > Read more


17 Nov 2008  |  1 min read  |  1

Well, this should keep you occupied for a few days of solid viewing. This new project by 1 Giant Leap (Duncan Bridgemen and Jamie Catto) took three years to film and edit, and had them travelling from Gabon to the most remote place in China, as well as doggedly trying to nail down REM's Michael Stipe to record his vocal part. (It was worth the effort, his song is a standout.) The... > Read more

1 Giant Leap: I Have Seen Trouble (with Michael Stipe)


20 Oct 2008  |  1 min read

The images could come from today’s headlines or tonight’s television news: an Arab leader meeting with a top terrorist; remote controlled bombs in a rubbish bin; suicide bombers; satellite surveillance of terrorist training camps; death and violence as televised entertainment; chequebook journalism . . . For a comedy the little-known 1982 Sean Connery movie Wrong is Right sure... > Read more

Nigel Gavin: A Job with the Circus (DVD by Costa Botes)

15 Oct 2008  |  1 min read

When I wrote the liner notes for Nigel Gavin's excellent Visitation album from late 06 I described him as "a musician without portfolio, a guitarist/composer whose work comfortably commands many different styles". Confirming that assessment were the list of people/bands he had worked with to that point: the Nairobi Trio, the Jews Brothers, the guitar orchestra Gitbox Rebellion he... > Read more

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

5 Oct 2008  |  5 min read  |  2

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 Wonderland; and Philip of Macedonia in Alexander, a part... > Read more

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

29 Sep 2008  |  2 min read

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 invisible. There are givens here: we have a... > Read more

DR STRANGELOVE: A troubling movie for troubling times

28 Sep 2008  |  1 min read

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 the rumour went around my playground the Americans... > Read more

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

15 Sep 2008  |  3 min read

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 of life and appreciation of the moment that... > Read more

IN SEARCH OF SHAKESPEARE (DVD): He doth bestride the world . . .

4 Aug 2008  |  2 min read

My favourite story is the one about the guy whose wife tells him to murder his boss and grab the top job. He does, but then he’s got to kill a few others to keep it. Along the way, as the body count rises, his wife goes crazy with guilt and commits suicide. But instead of giving it all away at this point the guy decides “ah what the hell” and fights it out to the bloody end.... > Read more

THE ROLLING STONES' SHINE A LIGHT: It's not only rock'n'roll (2008 review)

29 May 2008  |  2 min read

Director Martin Scorsese might have his name large on the credits of this 2006 Rolling Stones concert but it is clear from the opening scenes just who is in charge: it is the Stones, and Mick Jagger in particular. During hilarious opening scenes which recall Spinal Tap and the pilot for Curb Your Enthusiasm, Jagger is seen rejecting a model of stage set which seems to have been... > Read more

The Rolling Stones: Live with Me (with Christina Aguilera)

U23D CONCERT MOVIE: Even Better Than the Real Thing?

3 May 2008  |  1 min read

From where I hear it, the last couple of U2 albums have been a musical retreat from their innovative albums of the early 90s such as Achtung Baby and Zooropa, the only albums by them I have ever taken seriously. Prior to that I thought they were pompous, Bono’s messianic stage attitudes irritating when they weren’t plain nauseating, and their music bellowed its self-importance.... > Read more

ROGER CORMAN INTERVIEWED (2006): It's a gas. gas, gas-s-s-s

4 Apr 2008  |  6 min read

Roger Corman is the King of the B Grade Movie. He has directed and/or produced hundreds of films, claims he shot his cult classic Little Shop of Horrors (1960) in two days and one night, and usually brought in a movie in less than 10 days. He would often shoot sequences for two films simultaneously to save on costs and actors would also work in the crew. Because his movies were done so cheaply... > Read more

GEORGE GITTOES INTERVIEWED 2007: Film-maker as the witness for prosecution

4 Apr 2008  |  10 min read

Australian documentary filmmaker and painter George Gittoes is used to being in war zones, he’s covered every major conflict -- usually uninvited by the warring factions -- since Vietnam: the depressingly long list includes Rwanda where he witnessed and filmed the Kibeho massacre in 95 where as many as 8000 may have been killed, Somalia, Bosnia, Nicaragua, Gaza, Cambodia, Afghanistan,... > Read more


4 Apr 2008  |  10 min read

It was less a mighty wind which briefly blew through town than a brisk breeze in the form of actors Christopher Guest, Harry Shearer and Michael McKean. The trio may not be glossy-page stars who command headlines, but they are heavy-hitters in Movieworld. That's because of their collective comedic history of three decades, and also because on the sharp end of this high-rolling business... > Read more