Film in Elsewhere

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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

JOHNNY CASH; THE MAN IN BLACK (Xelon/Southbound DVD)

10 Mar 2011  |  <1 min read

Despite it's promising subtitle "A Documentary", this 90 minute overview of Johnny Cash's career is little more than a Reader's Digest synopsis where much is glossed over (just why was the death of his older brother so traumatic?) and important events are left hanging or unexplored. It is also scrupulously free of a single note of music by Cash, which rather defeats the purpose of... > Read more

Johnny Cash: Southern Accents

THE CRAMPS LIVE (ABC/Triton DVD)

7 Mar 2011  |  <1 min read

Anyone coming to this 50 minute DVD hoping to get a whiff of the Cramps' psychobilly rock'n'roll black magic is bound to be disappointed. The intensity of their performances was at its best on small stages in crowded (cramped?) rooms but here they are stranded on a huge stage at the 2006 Lokerese Festival in Belgium. So try as he might, Lux Interior (who died in '09) can't get much going... > Read more

JEAN-MICHEL BASQUIAT; THE RADIANT CHILD, a doco by TAMRA DAVIS (Roadshow)

21 Feb 2011  |  3 min read

The art critic Robert Hughes didn't have much time (but some sympathy for) New York painter Jean-Michel Basquiat. In a brutal essay in The Republic in '88 -- after the death of the painter at age 27 -- entitled Requiem for a Featherweight he pulled no punches. The truth abut Basquiat, then the most famous painter of his generation, was, according to Hughes "a tale of a small untrained... > Read more

ROCKSTEADY; THE ROOTS OF REGGAE, a doco by STASCHA BADER (Aztec DVD)

14 Feb 2011  |  1 min read  |  1

Somehow, between the reggae revolution and the ska revival, the rocksteady style which was prominent in Jamaica in the late Sixties never quite got its due. This beautifully shot and cleverly conceived doco should rectify that because while it contains fascinating historical (and contemporary footage) of Jamaica, it is the generous spirit of the musicians -- many elderly -- which is as... > Read more

Derrick Morgan: Forward March (1962)

JOE MASSOT INTERVIEWED (2001): And after all, you're my wonderwall . . .

14 Feb 2011  |  4 min read  |  1

Joe Massot – who died in 2002 – had a short but reasonably spectacular career as a film director who had passing glances at rock'n'roll culture. He directed the first rock'n'roll western Zachariah in 1971 (pretty awful) and was working on the '76 Led Zeppelin concert film The Song Remains the Same when he was removed from the project and it was completed by Peter Clifton.... > Read more

George Harrison: Party Seacombe (from the Wonderwall soundtrack)

WIZARDS, a film by RALPH BAKSHI (1977, DVD 2011)

14 Feb 2011  |  3 min read

The animated, futuristic allegory Wizards by Ralph Bakshi stands as a highpoint of his fantasy work -- and at the time was a marked departure from the tough-edged, sometimes profane "street" stories he told in Fritz the Cat, Heavy Traffic and Coonskin (1972-75), which had more in common with the US underground comics movement of the late Sixties. Bakshi -- who offers an amusing... > Read more

GREAT FESTIVALS; GLOBE TEKKER, a doco series by IAN CROSS (ABC TV)

14 Feb 2011  |  1 min read

This two and a half hour, fast-paced doco is edited down from the popular Pilot Guide series in which the presenters (the very funny Ian Wright formerly of the Lonely Planet programme, Justin Shapiro and others) toss themselves into the middle of sometimes strange and remote places and see what happens. The advantage this series has over many other such travel programmes is that the... > Read more

SOUNDTRACK FOR A REVOLUTION, a film by BILL GUTTENTAG and DAN STURMAN, 2009 (Hopscotch DVD)

12 Feb 2011  |  2 min read

Anyone who gets depressed and thinks little social progress has been made need only to look at this ultimately uplifting if sometimes horrifying film to see how far America has come in the past 50 years. Here is an account of the civil rights movement through the words of those who were there, in images that will variously make the heart soar or sink, and all to the accompaniment of... > Read more

NEW YORK, I LOVE YOU by various directors (Madman DVD)

7 Feb 2011  |  1 min read

This compendium of distinct but sometimes overlapping slice-of-life stories comes from the same production team which presented Paris, Je t'aime. But here, rather neatly, they sidestep picking the most obvious "New York" writer/directors (Scorsese, Woody Allen, Larry David et al) in favour of those who bring a fresh, often immigrant, eye to the city that not only never sleeps but... > Read more

LE DONK AND SCOR-ZAY-ZEE, a film by SHANE MEADOWS (Madman DVD)

7 Feb 2011  |  1 min read

Many rock musicians don't need much help to appear stupid. (The court calls Nikki Sixx.) But there has been a long line of films and television shows which parody or poke fun at musicians and their apparent lack of smarts, or even a sense of reality. Bad News, The Rutles, the classic Spinal Tap, Hunting Venus, Fear of a Black Hat (which parodied rappers), any number of Frank Zappa albums,... > Read more