Punk: Attitude

This is a 2005 documentary by Don Letts about the bith of punk music. My brother sent me this on DVD many years ago, and it is a treasured addition to my small DVD collection. I last watched this back in 2011.

It starts off looking at pre-punk bands like The Velvet Underground, MC5, The New York Dolls, and The Stooges, then moves on to the early punk bands in New York such as The Ramones. Then of course it has to go to England where The Sex Pistols, The Damned, and X-Ray Spex did their thing in a very British way.

There were plenty of interviews with people such as Henry Rollins (he had a lot to say as usual), Jim Jarmusch, Jello Biafra, Captain Sensible, Paul Simonon, and plenty of others. And there was a lot of archive footage, all glued together well to tell an interesting and probably quite accurate tale.

One person missing from this was John Lydon, I would have liked to hear his take on it all, but as we know he is quite the difficult fellow, and probably wanted nothing to do with it. We did hear from Glen Matlock (I am reading his excellent book at the moment) and Steve Jones though.

It ends with a look at the grunge scene, which is really a kind of re-birth of punk but with better musicians.

This is an excellent music documentary, an essential one for fans of the seventies and eighties punk scenes.

Date watched: August 24th
Score: 9.5/10
Film count 2018: 54

The Empire Strikes Back

In preparation for Solo, James and I watched half of this this last night, and the other half today after we got back from Solo.

I have reviewed this a few times before, so I won’t go into it much. What I will say though is that there are several references in Solo to this film, nothing major but I like how the Star Wars films do that, it makes you feel like a real geeky fan when you can pick things up that Muggles won’t.

I am undecided whether I like this or Episode 4 better, so for now I will just call it a draw.

Date watched: July 16th
Score: 9.5/10
Film count 2018: 44

The Lives of Others

This is another film I have seen before, sometime before I started this blog. I had actually forgotten I had seen it, but as I watched it I realised I knew the story. Not to matter as this is an excellent film well worthy of another watch.

It is about a Stasi operative who is monitoring a playwright who is suspected of subversiveness. He has the playwright’s apartment thoroughly bugged and is constantly listening in for any dirt he can dig up. But, in the process he starts to feel that what he is doing is wrong and attempts to have the operation stopped.

It is an extremely well-told film, and is on the whole quite dark and depressing, I don’t think there was a single scene which was anything but. I don’t remember anyone laughing in the film at all, it was just a tale of paranoia, desperation, suicide, and unending dread, yet it was gripping and the acting was top notch. The fellow playing the Stasi operative was actually born in East Germany and worked as a border guard before turning to acting. He died from stomach cancer in 2007.

From what I have read on Wikipedia about this, the film actually does not go far enough when portraying the oppressiveness of the Stasi, and that the operative in the film would not have been able to get away with what he did because he too would have been constantly watched. Still, the film showed us just what a terrible regime it was.

This was the director’s first film, and unfortunately after his next film, The Tourist, he did not make another film until just recently. He has a film called “Werk ohne Autor” coming out this year, another film about East Germany. Hopefully it is released outside Europe.

This is not for those who like to be happy when they watch a film, because the whole thing is an excellent thought-provoking bummer.

Date watched: March 12th
Score: 9.5/10
Film count 2018: 22

Airplane!

I was watching this video of birds swearing and was laughing so much that it set me in the mood for a comedy. This film seemed to be the best choice.

I have seen this several times, and each time is just as funny as the last. All of the cast members in this were perfect in their roles, not a dud in sight. The dialogue was great with plenty of memorable one-liners and jokes. Some gags were a bit too silly, but they were far and few between. Some jokes would not be allowed today.

The script is an almost perfect recreation of a film called Zero Hour! Here is a good YouTube video with comparisons between the films (the producers had to buy the rights to the original film).

This film ranks just behind Monty Python and the Holy Grail and Monty Python’s Life of Brian in my all-time funniest films list. Blazing Saddles is not far behind, along with Young Frankenstein which I must watch again.

Date watched: January 19th
Score: 9.5/10
Film count 2018: 3

Blazing Saddles

A few days ago I decided this would be my final film for the year. I wanted it to be a comedy, and this is one of my all-time fave comedies and I have not seen it for a while (I last watched it in 2012).

As usual it was funny, although there were one or two flat jokes. It is also very un-PC, but even so despite the derogatory terms used it is not a racist film, quite the contrary actually.

All of the actors were very funny, even the supporting cast. Some characters had only one or two scenes but they were memorable. The hangman for example was very funny even though he had less than one minute in the whole film.

Sadly the only actor from the principal cast still with us today is Mel Brooks. Cleavon Little who played the sheriff died way back in 1992, Gene Wilder last year, Madeline Kahn back in 1999, Harvey Korman in 2008, and John Hillerman just last month.

Richard Pryor was one of the writers. He was the original choice for Sheriff Bart, but the studio was against it due to his drug problems. Cleavon Little though aced the part.

This is not up there with the Monty Python films, or Airplane!, but I still think it is a silly hoot.

And that is it for my film watching this year. Not a bad one.

Date watched: December 31st
Score: 9.5/10
Film count 2017: 148

Inglorious Basterds

I have seen this a couple of times before, the last being in 2010, with the first time not recorded in this blog.

Typical Tarantino stuff; excellent dialogue, superb acting, and gratuitous violence… what more could one ask for? Christoph Waltz and Brad Pitt both stole the show, especially Christoph who was brilliant. I can’t really think of any criticisms, although this review let’s rip.

I would probably rate this in my top three best Tarantino films along with Pulp Fiction and Reservoir Dogs, although all of his films are aces really. I see that he is set to make an R-rated Star Trek film next… that will be an eye opener.

Superb.

Date watched: December 26th
Score: 9.5/10
Film count 2017: 144

Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back

James and I decided yesterday we wanted to watch a Star Wars film with his first choice being Episode 7, which I don’t have, so his second choice was Episode 5. This is now the fifth review for this film on MBMS, but I have also seen it several times before as well.

There is no real need to review this, and I would say this is my fave Star Wars film of all of them, although Episode 7 follows in a close second.

It is not a perfect film, there are a few head-scratching scenes which Georgie could have handled better, but compared to Episodes 1, 2, and 3 they are nothing to worry about. Luke’s whining and impetuousness still grates.

Here is a video of some cut scenes. The video starts at a scene that was thankfully cut out, Georgie had a bit more control over himself back then…

Today James and I are going to watch Episode 7 if we can get TV time, I got it out on DVD last night.

Date watched: October 21st
Score: 9.5/10 (previously 10, but those minor niggles got the better of me)
Film count 2017: 118