Category Archives: Movie score 9

A Hard Days Night

I saw this many years ago, but had pretty much forgotten a lot of it, and with my recent Beatlemania I thought I would watch it again.

This is a pretty weird one actually, at least by 2010’s standards. In the 1960’s, when The Goons were the kings of British comedy, the humour in this was probably normal. For today’s youth though this is probably a real head-scratcher. Can you imagine any of today’s boy bands making a film like this (I can’t think of one single boy band to name… is Kayne in a boy band)?

Which makes this a unique and very fun film to watch. The Fab Four while not the best actors are still just plain fun to watch, and as we know they were already funny anyway. With the weird script, sometimes bizarre dialogue, and general chaos it was a hoot. And of course there are several songs throughout. Seeing John, Paul, George, and Ringo at such a young age (Ringo was 23 at the time) was also interesting to see.

Ringo Starr accidentally came with the film title, and the title song was quickly written eight days before filming finished.

The name “The Beatles” is never spoken throughout the entire film, it is only seen written. Phil Collins played a schoolboy watching the Beatles play on TV (he was 13 at the time).

This film is listed in a few top 100 films of all time, and Roger Ebert gave it a four out of four stars. It influenced the Monkees TV series, as well as British spy films for some reason.

Good ol’ Beatles.

Date watched: October 21st
Score: 9/10
Film count 2017: 119

Turn the Key Softly

This is a 1953 British film about three women released from prison at the same time, and follows them on their first few days back in society.

Joan Collins plays a sassy and street-wise character who has trouble not slipping back into crime, but is trying to go straight by marrying a chap who promised to marry her before she went to prison. Yvonne Mitchell plays a woman who was nicked for burglary after getting involved with a dashing fellow who was also a career criminal. And Kathleen Harrison (she died in 1995 aged 103) played a poor granny caught by the Bill for petty theft, and who adored her pet dog “Johnny”. Their stories are intertwined, with each woman having a different outcome at the end.

The acting is superb by all, and the story is told honestly and without melodrama, very British one might say.

Not much else to say really except that this was a very pleasant surprise of a film to find on YouTube.

Date watched: October 17th
Score: 9/10
Film count 2017: 115

The poster does not really do the film justice, at all.

Moonlight

This is the Oscar winner, and is worthy of that title (it cartainly ticks all the Oscar winner boxes), about a young black man finding out his identity. It is the first film with an all black cast to win the best picture, as well as the first LGBT film.

Three actors play the character, from boyhood through to adult, and each one does an amazing job. So all good stuff, with a very satisfying end shot.

Date watched: 17th September
Score: 9/10
Film count 2017: 56

Mr. Dynamite: The Rise of James Brown

I stumbled across this on Netflix and thought it worthy of a watch.

And it is a very well made and told two-hour documentary which starts off with James in his childhood, his rise to super-stardom, and ends in the eighties when rap artists start to sample his music.

James was quite the dude. He was a perfectionist and expected nothing but perfection from his band members. He could dance like a demon too. But, like many super-stardom dudes he was a bit of a tyrant, especially when it came to paying his band which he didn’t do sometimes.

I didn’t realise he was quite the activist back in the sixties, not hardcore, but he attended and sang at some major rallies. You might say he was the Muhammad Ali of soul music.

There was plenty of archive footage, and interviews with ex-band members and other people including Mick Jagger (he produced this film) and Bootsie Collins, all very interesting.

Another excellent music documentary well worth watching.

Here is an article on Rolling Stone about the film.

Date watched: October 6th
Score: 9/10
Film count 2017: 112

I Called Him Morgan

This is a tops Jazz doco about Lee Morgan, a trumpeter who was murdered by his own wife in 1972, she shot him after an altercation in a bar, because of heavy snowfall in New York the ambulance took too long to arrive so he bled to death. He was only 33. I have a couple of albums featuring his playing, nice stuff it was too. His wife features quite a bit in this, she was interviewed just before she died in 1996, she pretty much saved him from heroin use (pretty common among Jazz players) and got him back on his feet.

Date watched: 11th September
Score: 9/10
Film count 2017: 51

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story

Watched this again as Ana had not seen it. She didn’t fall asleep (as she normally does when watching films on the comfy sofa) so must have liked it! Good second time around for me, but Jyn Erso was a little annoying, reminded of posh english girls. Which the actress probably is.

Date watched: 10th September
Score: 9/10
Film count 2017: 50

Nat King Cole: Afraid of the Dark

This is an excellent documentary about another musician I wanted to know more about.

The main thing I learned from this was that Nat King Cole was a thoroughly good person who treated everyone with respect and never had a bad thing to say about anyone. He was a great jazz pianist and of course an excellent singer. According to one talking head he never made a mistake during recording, and would always sing the complete song in one take without stopping.

Another thing I learned was that he was good buddies with Frank Sinatra, and Frank was strongly against segregation. In Las Vegas Nat could not stay in the casino hotels because they were whites-only in the bad old days, even though he would be on stage singing at them. So he had to stay at dingy hotels outside of town, and Frankie would stay there too when touring with Nat.

There were plenty of interviews with people around him including his wife (she died in 2012, two years before this documentary was released), his daughter Natalie Cole (I looked her up online and was surprised that she passed away in 2015 from cancer at 65 years old), his other daughters, manager, and many others. There were also interviews with Bruce Forsyth (he passed away just two days ago) who was a huge Nat fan, and sang with him on stage when Nat went to England in the 1960’s.

Nat died way too early at only 45 years old from cancer. He smoked a lot.

This is recommended watching, even if you are not interested in his music.

Date watched: August 19th
Score: 9/10
Film count 2017: 92

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