Film in Elsewhere

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CHANTS R&B: Christchurch's rare rock, rumble and bang captured on film

27 Jul 2011  |  7 min read  |  1

Chants R&B out of Christchurch in the Sixties were a rare New Zealand band, on so many levels. Rare in that they played exciting, noisy, feedback-infused rhythm and blues rock at a time when most other New Zealand bands were following the Beatles into bright pop.Rare that they recorded a live album.Rare that they were so often photographed.Rare also  that they were filmed.And most... > Read more

I'm Your Witchdoctor (1966)

HOWL, a film by ROB EPSTEIN and JEFFREY FRIEDMAN

18 Jul 2011  |  2 min read

The three parallel, intercutting narratives here in this story of Allen Gisnberg's famous, half-hour poem Howl and the subsequent obscenity trial can be off-outting at first, and in truth don't serve the film or poet especially well. But for those new to the subject its slightly racy, post-modern attitude is bound to have considerable appeal. Generations have grown up with the first lines... > Read more

Footnote to Howl (reading from 1956)

BRIAN ENO: THE MAN WHO FELL TO EARTH (2011) (Sexy Intellectual/Triton DVD)

28 Jun 2011  |  1 min read

Despite the title here being appropriated from David Bowie, this does seem a fair description of Brian Eno, the self-described "non-musician" who made his name in Roxy Music as the flamboyant synth-twiddler who brought an avant-garde sensibility to a band which might have otherwise simply sounded retro and poopy. Eno's sonic textures only appeared on the first two Roxy Music... > Read more

BLACK SWAN, a film by DARREN ARONOFSKY (Fox DVD)

17 Jun 2011  |  1 min read

There are few successful films where the protagonist is so unsympathetic and whose character requires a suspension of disbelief, yet whose tension-filled course towards their fate you will watch with increasing concern. Black Swan -- flawed but beautiful, much like its central character -- is one of them. Set in the competitive and physically demanding world of professional ballet,... > Read more

EDDIE AND THE CRUISERS, a film by MARTIN DAVIDSON (Triton DVD)

13 Jun 2011  |  2 min read

Although this B-grade rock-cum-mystery film from '83 has plot holes and continuity problems so big you could drive a pink '57 Chevy through them, it isn't without some interest, especially if Bruce Springsteen means anything to you. In the most broadest of terms, it starts like Citizen Kane (a television reporter Maggie Foley -- played by Ellen Barkin -- goes in search of the real story... > Read more

WHEN YOU'RE STRANGE; A FILM ABOUT THE DOORS, a doco by TOM DICILLO (Madman DVD)

1 Jun 2011  |  3 min read

Two things strike you immediately about this much vaunted and Grammy award-winning doco: That Jim Morrison was a man of brooding good looks except when he smiled and then he looked just plain goofy (and there is a lot of him smiling and laughing in the early footage here); and that the script which Johnny Depp reads in a tired monotone seems to have been written by a 12-year old who has relied... > Read more

The Doors: End of the Night (1967)

TREME; THE COMPLETE FIRST SEASON, a series by DAVID SIMON (4-DVD set)

23 May 2011  |  3 min read  |  6

As I write this, large areas of Louisiana have been under water this past week as the Mississippi rose and authorities opened floodgates so as not put pressure on the levees further down, notably around Baton Rouge and New Orleans. And in nearly every report of the events – caused by melting ice and run-off way up north – one word has rung like a refrain: Katrina.... > Read more

The Wild Magnolias: Soul Soul Soul

STRAVINSKY; ONCE, AT A BORDER, a doco by TONY PALMER (Voiceprint DVD)

18 May 2011  |  1 min read

When Tony Palmer made this acclaimed and insightful documentary about Igor Stravinsky on the 100th anniversary of the composer's birth, the great man had been dead less than a decade. As with the other docos by Palmer previously mentioned at Elsewhere (notably All You Need is Love), the filmmaker was therefore close to the lifetime and influence of his subject, and this being done at the... > Read more

Vladimir Ashkenazy: Concerto for piano and wind instruments by Stravinsky, composed 1923

IN THE FOOTSTEPS OF FAMOUS COMPOSERS (Time Life/Shock DVD)

16 May 2011  |  2 min read

Myth making and hype attached itself to Beethoven at an early age. When he was eight his father -- a boozer -- presented him at a recital as being just six in order to pass him off as a child prodigy like Mozart. Not that Ludwig needed much help in the prodigy stakes. And although he was a genius, it wasn't without a struggle and constant revision of his scores, as the profile of him... > Read more

New Zealand Symphony Orchestra conducted by Victor Yampolsky: Symphonie Fantastique Op 14, Fourth Mo

BIEBERMANIA!, a film by THOMAS GIBSON

16 May 2011  |  2 min read

In a cover which looks about as far from exciting as that exclamation mark wants us to believe this is, comes yet another unauthorised biography -- this from a director of E! Hollywood True Story -- about a young man for whom no hyperbole is too understated. Here again we are told of his remarkable rise from Stratford in Ontario -- "a small bucolic town" on the cover, a... > Read more

BOB DYLAN, ON FILM: Acting on the margins

14 May 2011  |  3 min read

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 tour in '65 captured him toying with journalists,... > Read more

JUSTIN BIEBER: TEEN IDOL, a doco by MAUREEN GOLDTHORPE

2 May 2011  |  2 min read

When Justin Bieber seemingly appeared out of nowhere to the soundtrack of cute r'n'b pop and screaming girls, people who should have known better -- especially those media commentators who had been there for Beatlemania in their own youth -- just seemed idiotic in their damning and condescending comments. They came off as more silly than the girls who screamed because these were people who... > Read more

LADY GAGA, ONE SEQUIN AT A TIME, a doco by SONIA ANDERSON

2 May 2011  |  3 min read

The famous British DJ Jimmy Savile wore a suit made of bananas when he was hosting a television show. Copying Lady Gaga's notorious "meat dress"? Not at all. Savile -- now Sir Jimmy -- wore his eye-catching clobber on Top of the Pops back in the Seventies. Visually striking and an icon she may be, but you certainly couldn't accuse Lady Gaga of originality. Her music is a... > Read more

THE GRAND OLE OPRY PRESENTS . . . CLASSICS (Time Life 5-DVD set)

25 Apr 2011  |  1 min read

Can you have too much of that old time mainstream country music? Some might say that five discs and 10 hours of country singers at the Grand Ole Opry might just be that bridge too far . . . and to be honest I didn't get more than halfway through this set which draws mostly from the Fifties and Sixties. It is hilarious of course if you just want to tune in for the downhome humor, awkward... > Read more

Loretta Lynn: You Ain't Woman Enough

HENDRIX; BAND OF GYPSYS, a doco by BOB SMEATON (Sony DVD)

18 Apr 2011  |  3 min read

1969 was a bad year for Hendrix. Despite his superb Electric Ladyland double album at the tail end of the previous year, he still had an audience wanting to hear Purple Haze, was frustrated with the Experience band and was looking for a new direction. In August 1969 he appeared at Woodstock with an expanded band line-up but that didn‘t work in subsequent studio sessions, so... > Read more

Band of Gypsys: Voodoo Child (slight return)

GHOST BLUES; THE STORY OF RORY GALLAGHER, a doco by IAN THUILLIER (Shock DVD)

10 Apr 2011  |  2 min read

Here's one from the pub quiz: Who topped the Melody Maker poll in '72 in the best guitarist category? Of course a more interesting question might be, "How come Ireland's Rory Gallagher beat out Eric Clapton, Jimmy Page, Steve Howe, Leslie West and all those axe-slingers of the day?" Gallagher -- who died in '95 of liver complications due to lifestyle -- was not just an... > Read more

Rory Gallagher: Heaven's Gate (from the '90 album Fresh Evidence)

THE FAMOUS ELSEWHERE QUESTIONNAIRE (FILM VERSION): Costa Botes

3 Apr 2011  |  3 min read

Wellington-based filmmaker Costa Botes leaped to national and international attention with his straight-faced mockumentary Forgotten Silver in the mid Nineties, a brilliantly realised investigation of the life and times of the New Zealand film pioneer Colin McKenzie (see here) which Botes co-directed with Peter Jackson from an original idea. Using period footage and credible commentators,... > Read more

Jeff Beck: Rock'n'Roll Party (Shock DVD)

1 Apr 2011  |  1 min read  |  3

Excellent though the recent Jeff Beck, Imelda May and others CD of this concert was -- a salute to the late guitar player and designer Les Paul -- this DVD film of the concert (and then some) is a leap ahead, and not just because the live show by these people is such fun, but because the extra footage is engrossing. At some point you may meet a person who was there when these people played... > Read more

Jeff Beck: Sleep Walk

THE T.A.M.I. AWARDS, a concert film by STEVE BINDER

24 Mar 2011  |  2 min read

Widely considered one of the best rock films ever made, this long-overdue DVD release might throw you back to 1964 ( to the Teenage Awards Music International) but from the hysteria with which the acts are greeted, and the non-stop stage action (no fluffing about) you barely have a chance to catch your breath. So this might be a period piece -- but what a period! Filmed live at the... > Read more

KATHMANDU BLUES; ON TOP OF THE WORLD, a doco by COSTA BOTES (Lone Pine DVD)

20 Mar 2011  |  1 min read

Among the amusing moments in this fly-on-the-wall, 90 minute doco about -- yes -- a blues festival in Kathmandu, are artists saying that when invited they thought it was a joke by a friend or some kind of credit card fraud scheme. Singer-guitarist Paul Burris from the UK -- wearing Keep on Truckin' t-shirt -- says "we thought it was a scam" and that the organisers assumed because... > Read more