Category Archives: Movie score 9

A DECADE UNDER THE INFLUENCE

I last watched this back in 2012, but decided to watch it again as it is a very good documentary about movie-making.

It starts off in the late sixties when films were made big and starred The Kirkster amongst others, then moves onto the seventies when new directors started experimenting and made films that were about real people and real life. By the end of the seventies they were making films like Star Wars and Jaws, pure escapism and more uplifting. It was quite a decade really.

There are interviews with people like Francis Ford Coppola, Bruce Dern, Julie Christie, Roger Corman, Sydney Pollack, Peter Bogdanovich, and Dennis Hopper.

I have seen many of the films mentioned, but there are just as many that I have not seen, so I am going to seek some of them out.

A very good watch if you like a bit of film history.

Date watched: February 8th
Score: 9/10
Film count 2018: 11

George Harrison: Living in the Material World

This is a 208 minute documentary about George and his life before, during, and after The Beatles.

And despite the long running time it is interesting all the way through (although I did watch this in three sessions). There is plenty of archival footage, a lot of which I have never seen before, interviews with several people including Paul, Ringo (very funny at times), Eric Clapton, his wife Olivia, Ravi Shankar, Phil Spector (before he went to prison), Jane Birkin, Patty Boyd, Eric Idle, Tom Petty, and plenty more.

A lot of the film looked at his spiritual beliefs and how it made it’s way into his music. There were various interviews with him and he seemed like a very decent chap, very down to earth, and bit of a rebel in some ways. Just the like the other Beatles he got a bit annoyed with the others towards the end and was just as tired as being a Beatle as the others, although it seems later in life he missed his fab four days.

Nothing was mentioned about his plagiarism problem with “My Sweet Lord” even though they did spend some time on the song. It seems he genuinely did not intentionally copy the original song “He’s So Fine” by The Chiffons, at least not consciously, but the similarities are obvious.

So this is a very worthwhile watch for Gerorge fans, and Beatles fans.

Date watched: January 29th and 30th
Score: 9/10
Film count 2018: 8

Buffalo ’66

This is Vincent Gallo’s first film. He wrote, directed, wrote and performed the music, and starred in this comedy-drama from 1998.

And he did a pretty good job I must say. It was quite funny in places, especially Angelica Huston’s role as a football-obsessed mother of the main character. The cinematography was good, it looked like it was made in the seventies. All of the cast were superb.

Christina Ricci was great in this, but she did not get on well with Vincent on set, so much so that her name was left out of the credits which is not on. Angelica Huston too did not get along with Vincent… it sounds like he is difficult to work with. He is a very good actor however. Mickey Rourke had one scene as a bookie.

The parents of Vincent’s character were apparently based on his own parents which may explain why he is a tad difficult. His father’s singing voice was used in a scene where the character’s father was miming to a Frank Sinatra song, quite the singer he is.

So this was good stuff, well worth a watch, especially if you like indie films.

Date watched: January 13th
Score: 9/10
Film count 2018: 2

Thor: Ragnarok

This is blimmin’ brilliant, Thor the Comedy. Makes perfect sense as Chris Hemsworth is a funny guy, he was the best thing about the recent Ghostbusters reboot. And anything with Jeff Goldblum is always going to be good. Taika Waititi (I still can’t believe he got the job of directing this) has done a grand job of making Thor good again. His cameo as a rock alien thing is pretty damn funny, as is most of the film. And the action bits are good action bits. Top stuff. 

And best use of a Led Zeppelin song in a movie ever.

Date watched: 20th November
Score: 9/10
Film count 2017: 67

Williams

This is a documentary about Sir Frank Williams and his racing team.

Actually, it is split into three main themes. The first tells the story of Frank and his rise to fame as one of the greatest privateer teams ever in Formula 1. A lot of the story is also devoted to his wife, Ginny, without whom the team probably would not have survived. Then there was the tale of Sir Frank’s car crash which left him a quadriplegic, and his recovery which Ginny had a lot to do with.

While there was plenty of Formula 1 history there were a few blanks including nothing more than a few seconds of Ayrton Senna’s death, and very little about the team’s successes apart from the early eighties. But, the rest of the story was well told and focussed mainly on Sir Frank, Ginny, and their daughter Claire who is now running the team.

Ginny died from cancer in 2013 so there is only archival footage of her. There is some footage though of her talking to a writer friend which reveals a lot about Sir Frank himself. What is clear about him is that he cares for very little except motor racing.

So this is an excellent watch for Formula 1 fans, and the human side to the story may appeal to those who are not. Either way it is a well made and told story, and an excellent start to another year of film watching.

Date watched: January 6th
Score: 9/10
Film count 2018: 1

Jaws

James and I watched this together this afternoon, it was a film I recommended James see due to it’s importance in cinema history.

Recently I started listening to a new podcast by Chuck Bryant (he of Stuff You Should Know fame) called Movie Crush, where he chats with celebs (not super famous ones) about their fave film. Roman Mars (he of 99% Invisible podcast fame) chose Jaws as his fave film and it gave me a hankering to watch it again.

And indeed it is still a great film, even if it has dated a little. Some of it is a bit contrived, but it is still a great tale of one huge and smart shark who just wants to eat, stupid people who ignore warnings about giant people-eating sharks, and the hero who wants to save the stupid people by killing the shark.

The film really gets going when Richard Dreyfuss, Roy Scheider, and Robert Shaw (who was apparently drunk most of the time on set) get on a boat and go huntin’ for the shark (the mechanical shark used in the film was nicknamed “Bruce”). It is tense the whole time and Roy Scheider’s reaction when he first see’s the shark up close is cinema gold, alng with the line “You’re gonna need a bigger boat!”, which was ad-libbed (story behind that here).

Steven did a great job of keeping the film tense, and there was never a dull or unnecessary moment in the film. The cinematography too is great.

The soundtrack too is fabs with the shark theme being one of the most iconic in all of cinema history. In fact I would rate it along with The Imperial March (Darth Vader’s theme) as being the best villain theme of all time, both by John Williams of course.

An excellent film to finish off the year, although I have one more film lined up as my final of the year…

Date watche: December 31st
Score: 9/10
Film count 2017: 147

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

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