Showing posts with label Concerts. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Concerts. Show all posts

Friday, April 25, 2014

Some of My Favorite Concert and Rock and Roll Movies and The Week in Reviews

[I review DVDS "Frances Ha," "Stolen" and "Anchorman 2:  The Legend Continues" and a book that will change how you think about your decision-making.]

But first

As you probably can tell from past blog posts, I enjoy attending rock and roll concerts.  After all, I am a Baby Boomer!

Here I am at Safeco field last year waiting for Sir Paul to take the stage at the first ever musical concert held there. And yes, I am on the field, that close to the stage. And yes, he played for almost three hours, never left the stage and is over 70!  Just unbelievable. That guy loves to perform!

And lest you think I am just saying it's a Paul McCartney concert, here is the ticket to prove it, preserved forever in my box of treasures along with the reminder of what I was willing to pay to be down on the field only 17 rows from the stage.  See my blog "Why the Beatles Matter" to understand why.

I also like reading books about musicians and watching rock concert films and movies that depict the rock and roll life, so I thought I would share some of my favorite concert and rock films.

I think you will be surprised at some of my picks. 

(Note that "The Last Waltz" is not on this list.  That one tops many of the "Best of..." lists.  I saw it recently and feel it is totally over-rated.  I think it must be the fact that Martin Scorsese is the director.  But I just didn't feel it. 

Also since I already listed "Woodstock," "Gimme Shelter" and "Monterey Pop" as my favorite documentaries in my blog "15 Must See Documentaries," I have not included them here, though, of course, they are favorites).

I wanted to include some films you might not have seen.

So here are some my Favorite Concert and Rock and Roll Movies:


1. Neil Young Journeys (2011)

This film is part documentary and part concert film.

Neil returns to his hometown of Omemee, Ontario, Canada and drives around an old car with his brother, revisiting old haunts and reminiscing.  He also performs at Massey Hall in Toronto, playing some new songs and old ones, most notably "Ohio." 

Neil Young is a strange guy.  You get the full picture from his recent autobiography "Waging Heavy Peace" and Graham Nash's memoir (which I reviewed in my blog "Why Oprah Still Matters") also sheds some light (both really good books, by the way).  He's into model trains, old cars and he hates  the MP3, the CD, poorly made vinyl and poor audio quality in general. He wants people to hear the music the way it was recorded and he has invented the Pono Player which reproduces that original sound.

Why you should see it:  The ending is classic as Neil finishes a performance, places his guitar on the stand facing the speaker creating massive guitar feedback from the speaker, takes his bow and then abruptly unplugs and walks off to his tour bus.  Classic Neil Young.  Like I said, he's a strange guy.


Spinal Tap is a rock band. 

Not a real one, but you would never know it from this "mockumentary," that takes itself very seriously indeed (to huge comic effect), and which sends up every heavy metal, hair band cliché that ever was.

I will never forget when this first came out, Hubby and I got into a huge "fight" with some friends who hated this film BECAUSE THEY THOUGHT IT WAS REAL.  And they weren't alone.  Turns out this film caused all kinds of confusion, because so many people thought the same thing.

Why you should see it:  Because you don't want to be the only person on the planet who hasn't.  You need to see them perform their epic song "Stonehenge," you need to know the lyrics to "Big Bottom," and what someone is talking about when they say "it goes to 11."

3.  It Might Get Loud (2008)

Guitarists extraordinaire Jimmy Page of Led Zeppelin, the Edge (U2), and Jack White of The White Stripes talk about their origins and which musicians most influenced their sound.

Why you should see it: The three get together at the end sharing stories and playing each other's songs.  Just getting these three together is enormous, but they also finish with an impromptu acoustic version of The Band's "The Weight." Breathtaking, even if you are not a huge guitar enthusiast.

4.  Quadrophenia (1979)

This is a film adaptation of the Who's rock opera album of the same name.

It chronicles the legendary 1960's war between the Mods and the Rockers, a cultural rivalry in the UK akin to Hoods and Preppies in the U.S. The Mods are clean cut and wear suits and drive Vespas; the Rockers wear leather and pompadours and ride motorcycles and they are all disaffected youth.  What starts out as a fun Bank Holiday weekend in Brighton ends with a full-out "war" and disillusionment.

Why you should see it:  Unlike the film version of that other rock opera, Tommy, this one has a real story that makes sense and it captures a moment in time that Baby Boomers can relate to.

It's the 70's and a kid from Brooklyn thinks the only way he will ever make it is as King of Disco.

Why you should see it:

(It made me smile to just see this bit again).

And this

And the Bee Gees, too, of course.  This film breathed life back into their careers.

6.  Velvet Goldmine (1998)

Early 70's Glam Rock - think David Bowie as Ziggy Stardust.

Why you should see it:  Stellar cast of Ewan McGregor, Toni Collette, Jonathan Rhys Meyers (Any The Tudors fans out there?), Eddie Izzard and Christian Bale before he got big.

"Velvet Goldmine" is a fictional story but based on real character: Jonathan Rhys Meyers' character is a sort of "Ziggy Stardust" (David Bowie), and Ewan McGregor's character is part Lou Reed and part Ziggy Pop.appropriately named Curt Wild represented a mash of Lou Reed and Iggy Pop.

7.  The Rose (1979)

 Tragic life of a self-destructive rock star, loosely based on Janis Joplin.

I know there are probably haters on this movie but, to me, this was the perfect amalgam of Bette Midler's acting ability, performance and song range, which, I don't feel she has achieved since.  Now she has perfected the mincing harridan comic character, which is fine, but she probably wishes she was a "drah-matic" actress again.

Why you should see it:  Bette Midler's Academy Award nominated performance and her rendition of "When a Man Loves a Woman."  And it made me cry, which is good enough for me for most movies.

8. CBGB (2013)

Docudrama about CBGB, the famous New York City nightclub that helped start the punk rock phenomenon.
CBGB stood for Country, Bluegrass and Blues.  That is what owner Hilly Kristal (played by Alan Rickman, of whom I am a big fan and not just for "Harry Potter"), a heretofore failed business owner, meant to showcase in this seedy club with the legendary filthy bathroom in the Bowery when he opened it in 1973.  Instead, it became the launching pad for over 50,000 bands.  Yes, you heard me.  Blondie, Talking Heads, The Ramones, Patti Smith and The Police all got their start in Hilly Kristal's club. 
Why you should see it: without this club and Kristal's support, these now legendary bands might never have been.

9.  Sid and Nancy (1986)

The Sex Pistols were an early British punk band that took the world by storm and then faded violently away two and a half years later.

The Sex Pistols were nihilistic and against just about everything.  Their song "God Save the Queen" was a scandal in Britain.  Sid Vicious, born John Simon Richey, was the bass player for the punk band and Nancy was his groupie girlfriend Nancy Spungen. They had a violent relationship fueled by drugs which led to Nancy's murder in 1978. Sid died of an overdose a year later. In 2006, the Sex Pistols were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, but they refused to attend the ceremony, calling the museum "a piss stain". 

Why you should see it:  Gary Oldman's (Sid) first major film role.  The movie is raw and dark and captures what early punk was really all about.

10.  Once (2006)

An Irish busker and a Czech immigrant flower seller "meet cute" and form a musical duo.

The main characters are unnamed, just The Guy and The Girl, but in real life he is Glenn Hansard and she is Marketa Irglova and together they formed such a charming pair that this low-low budget indie film took off and is now a successful Broadway musical that is currently on tour.

Why you should see it:  It was on many critics' lists of best pictures of the year and "Falling Slowly," a gorgeous song, won the 2007 Academy Award for "Best Song."

11.  The Commitments (1991)

Based on the 1987 first novel of the same name by Irish writer Roddy Doyle, "The Commitments" tells the story of a working class band who wants to bring soul to Dublin.

The usual "let's start a rock band and my Mom will make the costumes" sort of thing, except it's in Ireland! They form, they storm, they love...the usual stuff...

Why you should see it:  The music is outstanding: songs by Al Green, Aretha Franklin, Otis Redding, Wilson Pickett, Mary Wells and more. 

12.  The Runaways (2010)

This is why we have Joan Jett and Lita Ford.

The story of one of the 1970's all-girl rock bands based on the book Neon Angel: A Memoir of a Runaway by Cherie Currie, the lead vocalist for the group, whose drug addiction proved her downfall.

Kristin Stewart doesn't smile in this one either.

Why you should see it:  Because believe it or not, there actually were women forming rock bands too.

The first ever benefit concert of this magnitude.

Baby Boomers definitely remember those pictures of those starving babies with the swollen bellies.  George tried to do something about it.  He was that kind of guy and probably the only guy (he was a Beatle, after all) able to get these heavy weights together.  Forty thousand people packed Madison Square Garden August 1, 1971 to hear Bob Dylan, Eric Clapton, Leon Russell, Badfinger, Ringo and more to raise money for UNICEF.  They raised almost $250,000 which was a lot of money in 1971.

Why you should see it:  It's Eric, baby, playing "While My Guitar Gently Weeps."  I wept.

14.  A Hard Day's Night (1964)

Why you should see it:  See my blog "Why the Beatles Matter." 
Enough said.

A behind-the-scenes look at Elton's "Made in England" tour directed by his now husband, David Furnish.

Why you should see it:  Elton lets it all hang out...and it's Elton "friggin'" John!

***In Theatres Now***
Sorry, folks.  Nothing in the theatres here that I really wanted to see this week. 
I was going to go to see "Transcendence," but the reviews are bloody awful.  Usually I don't necessarily let that deter me (I like to see for myself), but Johnny Depp isn't even supposed to be in it very much, and despite the fact that I am huge Rebecca Hall fan, what's the point of seeing a Johnny Depp movie if he isn't really in it?  And I didn't want to pay $20 for an IMAX experience for a bad movie.  
But some good ones opening today so catch my reviews next Friday. 

You Might Have Missed
And Some You Should Be Glad You Did
(I see the bad ones so you don't have to)
Frances Ha (2012)

A twenty-something rather clueless young modern dancer (and not a very good one) tries to make it in New York City. 
Greta Gerwig (along with Brit Marling) is one of my favorite Indie darlings, though the two of them write and star in very different kinds of vehicles.  Gerwig not only can act, but writes her vehicles as well, just as Marling does.
This black and white film is a bit Woody Allen (he has already singled her out-  she starred in his "To Rome with Love") and a bit the TV show "Girls," though sweeter.  It explores the nature of women's friendships without judgment and casts a jaundiced view on pompous young New Yorkers. 
Frances is vacuous and socially awkward, a dreamer.  If 60 is the new 40, then 27 is the new 17.  This girl makes some bad decisions, but who didn't when they were in their 20's, and she has an endearing quality that makes you root for her that she will find her niche.  Gerwig plays vulnerable like no one else.
Co-writer and director Noah Baumbach also wrote and directed "The Squid and the Whale" and "Margot at the Wedding."
Rosy the Reviewer says...this is a character piece that will not appeal to everyone, but Greta Gerwig is a name you should know.  If you like "Girls," you might like this.  Would be fun for a twenty-something Girls' Night.
Stolen (2012)
Our hero Nick is just out of jail for a big heist eight years earlier where his partners managed to escape capture.  Now his ex-partners want their share of the money they think he still has.  So they have "stolen" his daughter until he pays up.
With his "gritted teeth" acting style and quirky looks, Nicolas Cage is always fun to watch.  Add to that a script where the bad guys are really bad, the FBI agents are really inept (never seen an FBI agent wearing a pork pie hat, either), the dialogue is over the top, the plot is far-fetched, Fat Tuesday in New Orleans is the backdrop, our hero suddenly starts speaking Swedish out of the blue, and you have a fun romp complete with big car chase at the beginning, one in the middle and a gruesome ending. 
This is a "poor man's" "Taken" but not to be "taken" as seriously.  "Taken as seriously."  Get it?
Malin Akerman had second billing, but little to do which was too bad.
Rosy the Reviewer says...if you are into father-daughter kidnap action stories like "Taken," you might like this.  There are worse ways to spend 95 trimming your nose hairs or eating a jar of jalapenos.  But I would say see "Taken" instead.
It's now the 80's and anchorman Ron Bergundy (Will Ferrell) returns from his stint in San Diego and the first installment of the series to take on the new 24-hour news channel in New York City.
I have good news and bad news:
The good news is the satire about round the clock news and how news has turned into show biz, car chases, pandering patriotism and cute kitties is spot on.
The bad news is this movie was dumb and mostly not funny. 
The players from the first movie return:  Christina Applegate as Ron's wife and co-anchor, Veronica Corningstone, and Paul Rudd (Brian Fantana), Steve Carrell (Brick Tamland) and David Koechner (Champ Kind), who team back up with him at the new news station.
However, I have to say the fight at the end among the various world news teams is pretty funny (but still dumb) -  Canada (see if you can spot Marion Cotillard), the History Channel, the Entertainment Channel, MTV (who knew Kanye West had a sense of humor?) and the BBC is peopled with Jim Carrey, Amy Poeller, Tina Fey and more (it's fun to see if you can spot who's who.  Extra points if you recognize Kirsten Dunst).
Rosy the Reviewer says...I am a huge Will Ferrell fan, but this thing just was not funny...well, mostly not...but I couldn't stop watching.
***Book of the Week***

Gladwell puts forth the idea that in this age of information overload, decisions made in "the blink of an eye" based on someone's ability to wade through all of that information and focus on what matters, are often as good or better as those we research endlessly.  Intuition works.

He introduces us to a psychologist who can predict whether a marriage will last based on only a few minutes of observing a couple, how one expert in only a few minutes deemed a painting a fake when many others had deemed the painting real after hours and hours of inspection and research, and that speed dating is not such a silly concept.

"Blink" reveals that great decision makers aren't necessarily those who process the most information or spend the most time deliberating, but those who can cut through all of the many variables and factors to get at the truth.  He calls it "thin-slicing."  However, there is a dark side to all of this.  Some examples: race profiling and electing someone because he looks presidential (Warren Harding).
Rosy the Reviewer says...Intriguing idea that would have worked just as well as a long article.
That's it for this week.

See you Tuesday for

"What Makes You Happy?

Thanks for reading!

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Check your local library for DVDs and book mentioned.

Note:  Next time you are wondering whether or not to watch a particular film, check out my reviews on IMDB (The International Movie Database).
If I reviewed a movie, you can now find my reviews there too.
Find the page for the movie, click on "Explore More" on the right side panel and then scroll down to "External Reviews."  Click on that and you will find me alphabetically under "Rosy the Reviewer."


Friday, November 1, 2013

Will Your Husband Cheat?

According to a recent article in the AARP Magazine, probably not, especially if he's been married for awhile.

But not for the reasons you might think. 

Not because he is necessarily so devoted or his moral code won't allow it.  It is more simple that that.

Men are lazy.

As author Joe Queenan describes it: "Men like to plop down on the couch and watch sports and drink beer.  Romance, by contrast, is labor-intensive; you have to shower, shave, slap on some deodorant, put on something other than sweatpants, buy flowers, go to the movies, read a book every once in a while, think of compliments, engage in conversation.  Cheating on your wife involves travel, dinner reservations, booking hotel rooms.  Once a man has been married a few decades, the energy he would need to expend on an extramarital affair could be a life-threatening shock to his nervous system."

He goes on to discuss how cheap married men are and that they don't want to have to deal with the consequences of getting caught.

But my favorite reason is that men have seen Fatal Attraction (bunny boiling, anyone?).

He concludes with "But in the final analysis, I suspect that some men don't cheat for the same reason that they don't water-ski:  They're not really good at it, there's no learning curve for this sort of thing, and the results could be disastrous."

He ends by saying...

"By the way, women already know all this."


What do you think? 
Are older married men less likely to cheat?

***In Theatres Now***
The Counselor (2013)

A lawyer (Michael Fassbender) gets himself involved in a huge drug deal and wishes he hadn't.
Cormac McCarthy writes the screenplay (his first) which probably explains some of the long-winded philosophical rants some of the characters get into about the consequences of one's decisions.  I mean, even the drug dealers are philosophers here. I was scared the entire time I watched this thing from Cameron Diaz' gold tooth to what happens to Brad Pitt. It was ominous from the first shot of septic tank trucks doing what they do. Ridley Scott directs and I am usually a fan but this film is rather a nasty piece of work. I can't tell you how many times I had my hands over my eyes. 
Moral:  Don't get involved with drug dealers.
Rosy the Reviewer says...if you liked "Seven," you might like this. 
It's definitely not for the faint of heart.

Movies You Might Have Missed
(And some you will be glad you did)

Inescapable (2012)

A man who has left Damascus under suspicious circumstances must return to find his missing daughter.  

Rosy the Reviewer says...If you liked "Taken," you might like this but this one is much more "intellectual."  Actor Siddig is the one to watch.  His eyes tell it all.

Now You See Me (2013)

A group of magicians come together to pull off the perfect heist. 

Great cast, a story that could have gone somewhere but it all just fell apart.

Rosy the Reviewer says...This one started off well but was a hot mess at the end.  When I found out "who done it," I went, "ick."
Not Recommended.

Cheerful Weather for a Wedding (2012)

A disparate group of people come together for a wedding in the English countryside.

Felicity Jones is always a delight and I am a big fan of the many recognizable British actors that populate so many British films.  If you can't wait for Downton Abbey to start up again in January, you might find this British film a welcome addition to your viewing fare.  It even stars Elizabeth McGovern. 

Rosy the Reviewer says...But Downton Abbey it's not.

Ryan Gosling reunites with the Danish director of Drive, Nicolas Winding Refn, in this very gritty, very violent, very gory, very kinky story about a British Thai fight club owner whose brother is murdered for killing a young prostitute

Gosling, who doesn't say a word for the first 30 minutes of this film and probably only says a few sentences in all, seeks revenge for his brother's death at the behest of his sadistic crime boss Mom, Kristin Scott Thomas.  

If the Danes are the happiest people on earth, they sure like gruesome movies. Lars Von Trier ("Dogville," "Melancholia") is another one. Not gruesome so much, but in love with the long, languorous shots where you go, "Huh?  What is going on?" Likewise, much as I love Britain, British gangsters are bad asses and movies about them are usually very violent and full of gore. I usually like films that take place in Asia or Africa or the Middle East, places I have never been, but this one is an acquired taste. All I can say is this was one weird ass movie, pardon my French.  Not sure what Ryan was thinking on this one.  Not many lines to learn?

Rosy the Reviewer says... This must be my week for gory movies (see The Counselor above). Lots of sword wielding and torture, of which I am not fond. Even if you are a big Ryan Gosling fan, beware.
See "Drive" instead.

Trafficked by Sophie Hayes (2013)

Young British girl makes the wrong friends and ends up trafficked.

If I hadn't seen the author of this book make the talk show rounds, I would have thought this was a novel.  I don't in any way mean to minimize the danger and problem of human trafficking, but this book is one of those memoirs that is so astounding in the number of "things that can go wrong" genre, that it defies reality and you go "What?"  And it doesn't really shed any new light on the problem of trafficking.
Rosy the Reviewer says...If you are a big fan of stories of young girls being abused by their supposed boyfriends, OK, but otherwise, take a pass. 


A musical version of the movie.

I went to this prepared to laugh at a campy send-up especially when I saw the many guys in the lobby dressed up as Carrie. But instead, it was really good.  Alice Ripley, who I had seen in her Tony Award-winning turn in Next to Normal, was just amazing.  Though  the cast was very good, when she was on stage, it was especially riveting.  Her voice is so moving and unusual.  Unlike the movie, little blood and gore.  It's practically family fare.

Rosy the Reviewer says...I can't vouch for what it would be like without Alice Ripley, but if it comes to your town, give it a shot.


Gorgeous voice, sings poetry with a melancholic charisma. 

Didn't know much about him when I bought the tickets.  Knew about his dad Loudon Wainwright.  Rufus is a kind of a cross between Billy Joel and Elton John.

The song "Martha" was a highlight.  You can listen to it here.

Rosy the Reviewer says...Musical poetry.  If he appears near you, go.  He's a delight...and his sister, who opens for him, is very charming.


Styled to Rock (Bravo)

Designers vie for the opportunity to be part of Rihanna's design team.

Rosy the Reviewer says...Lacks the production values of "Project Runway," but if you like that show and fancy yourself a rock goddess, you might find this fun.

Dancing on the Edge (STARZ)

 stars as a 1930's jazz band leader in London who gets mixed up in some crazy stuff.

This is a far cry from his role in 12 Years a Slave (2013), which will probably earn him an Oscar Nomination. Johanna Vanderham, who currently is starring in "The Paradise" on PBS, is also one to watch. 

Rosy the Reviewer says...Stylish and intelligent TV fare.

That's it for this week.
See you Tuesday for 

My Dad's Three Rules of Child-Rearing -
a simple formula that will help you through adulthood and retirement!

Trust me!

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Check your local library for DVDs and books mentioned.

Note:  Next time you are wondering whether or not to watch a particular film, check out my reviews on IMDB (The International Movie Database). 

Find the page for the movie, click on "Explore More" on the right side panel and then scroll down to "External Reviews."  Look for "Rosy the Reviewer" on the list. Or if you are using a mobile device, look for "Critics Reviews." Click on that and you will find me alphabetically under "Rosy the Reviewer."