Film in Elsewhere

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I NEED THAT RECORD! a doco by BRENDAN TOLLER (Gryphon/Southbound DVD)

21 Apr 2012  |  3 min read  |  2

With today being Record Store Day and attention turning to how cheap books and CDs etc are on-line (not to mention downloading), this indie doco about "The Death (or Possible Survival) of the Independent Records Store" across America is an insightful look at the changing times we live in. The argument here is that indie record shops -- wall to ceiling vinyl, indie CDs, posters and... > Read more

ELITE SQUAD; THE ENEMY WITHIN by JOSE PADILHA (Madman DVD)

22 Mar 2012  |  1 min read

When it comes to a bit of the old glamorous ultra-violence, Hollywood might as well give up trying. The mainstream American audience has little stomach for violence which is so visceral that you don't know whether to look away, scream with horror or burst out laughing. At a screening recently of The Raid -- a real gut-tightening thriller made in Jakarta by the Welsh director Gareth Evans... > Read more

GOD BLESS OZZY OSBOURNE, a doco by MIKE FLEISS and MIKE PISCITELLI (Eagle Rock DVD)

8 Mar 2012  |  1 min read

Given that Ozzy Osbourne is unnaturally candid -- as is his wife Sharon -- and that much of what he did is already in the public domain, the only real question that this up-close, thorough and years in the making doco fails to answer is . . . why does Ozzy appear on the cover in a drawing where he looks like he has stepped out of Twilight, The Crow or True Blood. Ozzy is a unique character... > Read more

WALLANDER, SERIES 1 and 2, the television series based on books by HENNING MANKELL (BBC DVD)

23 Feb 2012  |  2 min read

Since two of my sons moved to Stockholm a couple of years ago I have taken a greater interest in a country I only know for gifting the world smorgasbord, Abba, Roxette and their unique take on alt.country-folk with bands like Baskery and First Aid Kit. So what have I come across in my increasing curiosity? Well, not long after they moved there some Al Queda lunatic tried to blow up... > Read more

MR MOJO RISIN', THE STORY OF LA WOMAN a doco by MARTIN R SMITH (Shock DVD)

31 Jan 2012  |  3 min read

Door singer frontman Jim Morrison might not have always been the great poet he imagined himself, but he certainly knew his way around a self-mythologising acronym. Hence "Mr Mojo Risin'", the name he came up for himself around the time of what would be the Doors final flourish in the studio, LA Woman of 1971. The remaining Doors -- guitarist Robby Krieger, keyboard player Ray... > Read more

LA Woman (alternate take)

THE UNDERWATER MELON MAN, a film by FANE FLAWS (Yellow Eye DVD)

25 Jan 2012  |  1 min read

This film (with tie-in CD and book) by artist/musician Fane Flaws has long been something of a cult favourite with kids and a guilty pleasure for adults. Flaws, whose most visible work was the opening animation for Radio with Pictures in the late Eighties, created The Underwater Melon Man and Other Unreasonable Rhymes in '97 and called on some of New Zealand and Australia's finest musicians... > Read more

Neville the Enchanted Rug

LINDSEY BUCKINGHAM: SONGS FROM THE SMALL MACHINE (Eagle Vision DVD/CD)

19 Jan 2012  |  1 min read

Aside from Stevie Nicks whose fan base is loyal and huge (but whose last album In Your Dreams was patchy to the point of being often awful), few people these days would care much for what former members of Fleetwood Mac might be up to. But with Lindsey Buckingham you would always make an exception and tune in. He helmed some of Mac's most interesting material (notably pushing them from... > Read more

Go Your Own Way

PUNK REVOLUTION NYC, a doco by TOM O'DELL (Chrome Dreams DVD)

16 Jan 2012  |  4 min read

Because so many who were there at the time are fading or have passed on (just one remaining Ramone from that classic album cover), this deeply detailed double DVD/three and a half hour doco on the New York punk scene (starting from the Velvet Underground) is an important document for those coming late, or only recently, to the story. What especially elevates this is the calibre of those... > Read more

Satisfaction

THE LOVE WE MAKE, a doco by ALBERT MAYSLES and BRADLEY KAPLIN (Shock DVD)

9 Jan 2012  |  2 min read

Whether you like Paul McCartney's music or not, this doco helmed by Albert Maysles (of the famous Maysles Brothers who did the Stones Gimme Shelter among dozens of other tracking-camera docos) takes you into the discomforts of enormous fame of the kind that makes other famous people nervous in his company. Among the passing parade of celebs and handshakers are Pete Townshend, Eric Clapton... > Read more

Freedom (live in NYC)

FOOTROT FLATS, 25th ANNIVERSARY EDITION, by MURRAY BALL (Roadshow DVD)

6 Jan 2012  |  2 min read  |  2

As I write, there is a steady drizzle and high wind so you can guess the season. Yes, it's the "summer" of 2011/2012 in New Zealand where, ironically, every part of the country aside from the bit closest to Antarctica has been suffering constant rain and wind. Wasn't like this in the old days. In fact, not much was . . . as the digital remaster of this sentimental Kiwi favourite... > Read more

THE ROLLING STONES; SOME GIRLS, LIVE IN TEXAS '78 a concert film by LYNN LENAU CALMES

5 Dec 2011  |  3 min read

Although the Rolling Stones' disastrous free concert at Altamont in San Francisco in late '69 is considered the final nail in the coffin of the hippie-era Sixties, it is less acknowledged that it was also the start of something. If the years preceding Altamont (and the Manson murders) had been about peace, love and benign drugs like marijuana and the consciousness-raising effects of LSD,... > Read more

GEORGE HARRISON; LIVING IN THE MATERIAL WORLD a doco by MARTIN SCORSESE (Roadshow DVD)

22 Nov 2011  |  5 min read

Five years ago, longtime Abbey Road studios engineer Geoff Emerick – who was there for the first and last Beatles' recording sessions and only missed a few weeks in between – wrote an interesting, slightly jaded but perhaps uncomfortably true memoir, Here, There and Everywhere. Aside from undermining the conventional wisdom that producer George Martin was a pivotal... > Read more

The Light That Has Lighted The World (demo)

RUSSIAN SNARK, a film by STEPHEN SINCLAIR (VM DVD)

14 Nov 2011  |  1 min read

Although it would perhaps be possible to write the plot outline of this modest but quietly impressive feature on a very small piece of paper, the protagonists here and a few of the marginal characters bring such insightful portrayals that it keeps attention for all its 80 minutes. First time feature director and writer Sinclair -- who co-wrote Ladies Night, worked with Peter Jackson and has... > Read more

METROPOLIS; RECONSTRUCTED AND RESTORED, a film by FRITZ LANG (Madman DVD)

11 Oct 2011  |  4 min read

Because it was, and remains, such an extraordinary film on every level -- visually, philosophically, technically -- most people can remember their first encounter with Fritz Lang's 1927 masterpiece Metroplis. Unfortunately, I suppose, many today encounter it in a Film Studies 101 course where it is shown in a lecture theatre in the context of analysis or as part of a homework... > Read more

COMANCHE MOON, written by LARRY McMURTRY (Madman DVD)

27 Sep 2011  |  1 min read

Although his star as one of the great historical novelists of lives played out on the American frontiers (the West, that world between the lawless old and increasingly modernity) has been eclipsed by the darker works of Cormac McCarthy (The Road, No Country for Old Men, All the Pretty Horses), the great Larry McMurtry has written some remarkable novels -- and is an essayist well worth reading.... > Read more

ROGER CORMAN PRESENTS SHARKTOPUS, directed by DECLAN O'BRIEN (Anchor Bay DVD)

19 Sep 2011  |  1 min read

Some years ago in this interview the master of B-grade flicks Roger Corman admitted that these days he often just thought up the title and let other directors flesh out the actual film. Hence Dinocroc. And of course, Dinocroc 2. Which also explains this amusingly low budget affair ("Half-shark. Half-octopus. All killer") in which our titular hybrid monster -- invented by... > Read more

HARRY SINCLAIR INTERVIEWED (2011): Expat filmmaker talks about his life

12 Sep 2011  |  11 min read

Harry Sinclair who has lived in the States for the past 10 years – the last four in LA, years prior to that in New York – is still well known in New Zealand. His reputation rests on two significant poles: As one half of the music/performance duo The Front Lawn with Don McGlashan, and for his pop-up television series Topless Women Talk About Their Lives, 41 short episodes which... > Read more

HAIL BOP! A PORTRAIT OF JOHN ADAMS, a doco by TONY PALMER (Voiceprint DVD)

15 Aug 2011  |  2 min read

Early in this insightful 100 minute portrait of the American composer John Adams by Tony Palmer, Adams cites Milton Babbitt's article Who Cares If You Listen? and being struck by the cavalier attitude of many composers who knew they had no audience and had created a mindset which "basically said 'Screw you'." "I remember Babbitt saying he would no sooner expect the average... > Read more

Now It is Night

BOB DYLAN; 1990-2006: THE NEVER ENDING NARRATIVE (Chrome Dreams DVD)

8 Aug 2011  |  3 min read  |  1

Although Bob Dylan closed his shapeless and directionless Eighties with the acclaimed Oh Mercy album produced by Daniel Lanois, no one would really have considered him ripe for a career reinvention. And Under the Red Sky of the following year -- a cast which included Slash, Bruce Hornsby, George Harrison and numerous others on material as unworthy as Wiggle Wiggle and Handy Dandy -- seemed... > Read more

The Levee's Gonna Break

RUTHIE FOSTER: LIVE AT ANTONE'S (Fuse DVD)

2 Aug 2011  |  <1 min read

Many who witnessed the sad and rather shameful "performance" by BB King in Auckland's Civic this year (see review here) have walked away embarrassed for King  . . . but thrilled by his opening act, the great Ruthie Foster. Her joyous, powerful and good humoured (but also deeply sensitive) set of gospel, soul, blues and Motown-styled pop was invigorating and her promise to come... > Read more

Up Above My Head