Brett Morgen – Kurt Cobain: Montage of Heck (2015)

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The documentary is directed by Brett Morgen who began work on it in 2007 when Cobain’s widow, Courtney Love, approached him with the idea,] It is the first documentary about Kurt Cobain to be made with the cooperation of his family. Morgen and his team were given access to the entirety of Cobain’s personal and family archives. The documentary includes footage from various Nirvana performances and unheard songs, as well as unreleased home movies, recordings, artwork, photography, journals, demos, and songbooks] Morgen used the interviews in the film Lenny as a model for the interviews in the film. The film’s title, Montage of Heck, takes its name from a musical collage that was created by Cobain with a 4-track cassette recorder in about 1988, of which there are two versions; one is about thirty-six minutes long and the other about eight minutes long. Several of the film’s scenes were animated by Stefan Nadelman and Hisko Hulsing. Jeff Danna wrote an original score for the film. The film was co-produced by HBO Documentary Films and Universal Pictures International Entertainment Content Group. Cobain and Courtney Love’s only daughter, Frances Bean Cobain, was a co-executive producer on the film.< Continue reading

Menahem Golan – The Apple (1980)

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Review
This 1980 attempt to cut in on the “midnight movie” market created by The Rocky Horror Picture Show has become a camp classic for all the wrong reasons. The Apple is fascinating because it takes a conceptual wrong turn at every angle: the ‘futuristic’ production design looks garish and cheap instead of sleek, the tone constantly veers back and forth between comedy and melodrama and the script is a mind-boggling muddle of religious overtones, heavy-handed “showbiz” satire and silly attempts at an anti-totalitarian message. The Apple’s serious intentions are further crippled by weak performances: George Gilmour makes a stone-faced, emotionally inert hero and Catherine Mary Stewart is too bland a romantic lead to inspire any interest in the film’s romantic subplot. The only actor who escapes unscathed is Vladek Sheybal, who applies a light comedic touch to the villainous Mr. Boogalow that escapes the rest of the cast. Despite these seemingly insurmountable flaws, The Apple remains surprisingly watchable if one has a taste for schlock: director Menahem Golan keeps up a speedy pace that delivers the film’s bizarre melange of mismatched elements at a breezy clip and the outrageous musical score delivers an unintentionally funny but always catchy musical number every few minutes. The finished product seldom makes sense but delivers so much sheer oddness at such a high speed that it is virtually impossible to be bored by this film. As a result, The Apple will probably baffle most viewers but trash devotees will find it to be a ‘schlock musical’ classic worthy of Can’t Stop The Music or Grease 2. ~ Donald Guarisco, All Movie Guide Continue reading

Ivan Pyryev – Skazanie o zemle sibirskoy AKA The Tale of Siberian Land (1947)

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From Mosfilm:
Andrey Balashov, a pianist, had to quit music after being wounded during the Great Patriotic War. Having failed to say goodbye to his friends and Natasha whom he loved he left for Siberia. He worked at the construction of an industrial complex and sang in a teahouse. An accidental meeting with his friends and Natasha changed his life. Andrey left for the Arctic region where being inspired by heroic labor of the builders he wrote a symphonic oratorio «Tale of Siberian Land» that won everybody’s recognition and made him popular in Moscow where Natasha was looking forward to see her true-love. Continue reading

Richard Attenborough – Oh! What a Lovely War [+Extras] (1969)

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The film, a thoroughly enjoyable ‘odd duck’, with a typical quasi-political artistic stance on the follies of war. Highly entertaining and, at times, touching.

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WHEN Joan Littlewood’s London improvisation, “Oh! What a Lovely War,” opened on Broadway five years ago, it had a cast of 18 men and women dressed as Pierrots and Columbines. In the pit was an orchestra that managed to recreate the nostalgic musical sounds of World War I and to comment on them—sometimes simultaneously.

The show itself, described as “a musical entertainment,” was a jolly satire on the madness of the First World War, done mostly in period songs and sketches in which the Pierrots and Columbines slipped in and out of almost invisible disguises as emperors, generals, nurses, music hall stars, Tommies, wives, nurses and spectators, some appalled, some bored. Continue reading

Julien Temple – Never Mind the Baubles Xmas ’77 With The Sex Pistols (2013)

The Sex Pistols’ last UK gig – a benefit for the children of striking firefighters at Ivanhoe’s nightclub in Huddersfield on Christmas Day 1977 – remains their most implausible.

“It’s footage I filmed on a big old crappy U-matic low-band camera,” explains director Julien Temple, who dodged flying cake and pogoing punks to record the two performances (an afternoon children’s matinee and an adult evening show) from 25 December 1977. “But it’s right in their face. I’m right up there with them. It’s probably the best footage of the Pistols on film but it’s never been seen.”

This aired on the BBC on Boxing Day 2013 – more at the guardian. Done in the Temple style, with lots of wacky old footage from the 70’s. Continue reading

Anna Brownfield – The Band (2009)

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When lead singer Jimmy Taranto dumps his girlfriend Candy then his rock band Gutter Filth, Candy decides to take his place in the band. Together with anal bass player GB, cross-dressing drummer Dee and Jennifer their loyal manager, they begin a journey to stardom. While their success eclipses Jimmy’s, Candy still can’t find the true love she is looking for. But sometimes the things you want are right in front of you. Continue reading