Saturday, April 19, 2014

Shut Up and Play the Hits

Just watched Shut Up and Play the Hits. It's a documentary about LCD Soundsystem's final show at Madison Sq. Gardens.

It's mostly a multi-camera live show, but it's interspersed with interviews and fly-on-the-wall footage of the week leading up to the show. I was hoping for more documentary-type stuff than it actually contains. It's more of a live show / pseudo-doc.

Anyway, if you like LCD Soundsystem then watch it. You won't be disappointed. If you don't care about them then it's not going to enthrall you. Go do something else.

Nancy Whang is pretty hot at this show. For reals.

Le Trou

I picked up a bootleg copy of Le Trou in Bangkok for $2. They had all these Criterion boots on the street. It was awesome! I bought at least 15. The quality of the transfer was really good. Le Trou was one of those boots. I would be happy paying $40 for this today. I don't care, it's fucking awesome.

John Pierre Melville hailed Le Trou as the greatest French film ever made. I wouldn't go THAT far, we may reserve that title for Breathless...but anyway, Le Trou rules. It's a genuine masterpiece.

Jacques Becker based his movie on a real life Parisian prison break in 1947. One of the guys involved penned a novel about it, and Becker actually cast him in the film. Becker used non-actors to heighten the realism of the film. It's pretty much done in documentary style. No music. Nothing fancy. Many scenes that don't further the plot whatsoever, but add to the viewer's perception of prison life. The mundane ritual. The monotony. The grim reality.

Talk about TENSION. This is edge-of-your-seat viewing for two hours. It's awesome, man. And the ending?! Fuckin a. It's as powerful as THX1138.

Prison movies rule. Especially older ones. You're just in awe at the real life ingenuity of prisoners. The shit they have to go through on a day to day basis. The creativity. It's just incredible. You take a fascinating subject like that and then put it in the hands of a skilled's gold! There's a certain romanticism to 60's prison, too (in a bizarre way).

Anyway, track down a copy of Le Trou. It's awesome.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Hell's Angels: A Strange and Terrible Saga

My boy Jason loaned me Hunter S. Thompson's book on the Hells Angels. I swapped him with my copy of Sonny Barger's bio. Both sides of the coin.

This is a pretty fucking sweet book, man. I really don't know much about Hunter S. Thompson. Most people's introduction is Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. There's a doc on Netflix about him. I'll have to peep it.

This book is probably the defining example of gonzo journalism. Thompson is embedded with the Angels for a year. Rolls with them, parties with them, gets high with them, and eventually gets stomped by them. And he recalls it all here. It's pretty far out.

I dig Thompson's style. It's very down to Earth. He's clearly a good writer, a learned individual. But his diction and syntax is very approachable. The only thing better than reading this book would have been if Thompson had an 8mm camera with him the whole time to capture some of this crazy shit. At the time he just had his notebook, though.

Anyway, I've read quite a few books on bikers and/or for bikers. This ranks right up there, man. It's a trip. It starts a touch slow but really takes off. Thompson gives his own insight, his own opinion, but gives you social context, too. It's great from a journalistic point of view. He's clearly among the Angels, but nowhere close to being an Angel. 

The book gets exciting when he's documenting the Angels' weekend trips. It's craziness. Real class. 

If you've ever seen a 60's biker flick then you  know what you're getting yourself into. This is the literary equivalent. But real life is far crazier than the movies. That's for sure. If you ride a motorcycle; read this book.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Hell's Belles

We closed out this season of Motorcycle Movie Night with AIP's "Hell's Belles."

If you watch the above trailer or look at the poster you'll come away with a skewed perspective. The film isn't about a gang of biker chicks. It's not even really about one biker chick. The main protagonist is a dude, who's got beef with the Prez of a shitty ass excuse for an M/C. And in the midst of having beef, stealing cycles and whatnot, there's a hot momma who gets passed around from pillar to post.

I gotta say, Jocelyn Lane (the aforementioned hot momma) is one of the hottest chicks I've ever seen. She had all of us enraptured. Her skirt, boots, tight shirt. Good god. Hair, face. She's fucking gorgeous. And for some faggy-ass reason "the Cowboy" in this film doesn't want anything to do with her. He's given her. And he won't take her. Fucking MORON!

I'll do whatever you say, Jocelyn.
Anyway, the soundtrack is pretty good. Fuzzy guitar stuff of the era. Coincidentally, Marie went to LA last week and came home with a copy of the Hell's Belles soundtrack on vinyl for me. Kick ass!

There are no boobs, no swazis, no rape, no pillage, no "real" biker gang unless you count these fruitcakes on scramblers wearing turtlenecks. It doesn't really hit all the bases. But it's still a legit biker film. Adam Rourke from Hells Angels on Wheels is in it. He's fucking great, man. But everyone else pretty much sucks.

This movie is well worth seeing just to be mesmerized by Jocelyn Lane. If she wasn't in it, it'd be a dud.

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Blue is the Warmest Color

Marie's out of town for the weekend so I just got done watching a three hour French film about a gorgeous young lesbian.

Blue is the Warmest Color received a standing ovation and the Palm d'Or at Cannes last year. Both Director and Lead Actress won. So needless to say, it's a pretty fucking big deal.

Its content has been highly divisive amongst viewers. Some countries have banned it due to its graphic and gratuitous lesbian scenes, while other countries have suggested it be shown in high schools due to its realistic coming-of-age content.

I thought it was fucking great. It's incredibly French. There's plenty of wine, art, smoking and philosophical discussion. If it were any older you know they'd be going on about Indo-Chine and Dizzy Gillespie.

There's a clear lineage from the Nouvelle Vague. It has a documentary feel to it. Like 400 Blows meets Breathless meets Jules et Jim, but directed by Bertolucci (for the intense sexuality).

The soundtrack is mostly world music. Afro-Cuban stuff. But there's some dance music thrown in, too, when appropriate.

Good cinematography. Good framing and tight shots. Well edited. But the real star was Adèle Exarchoupoulos. She was brilliant.

I could look at her lips all day long.

The only chick who makes smoking look sexy.

This was the first photo I saw of her. Good god.

Friday, April 4, 2014

Good Ol' Freda

Never been a huge Beatles fan, but this doc looked worthwhile. And it most certainly was.

Freda Kelly was the secretary to the Beatles for their whole career. She's a wonderful woman. Clearly very warm, sincere, and loyal. Also; very private.

Freda's still a secretary to this day. But she doesn't really talk about her "past life" working for the Beatles in the 60's. She's incredibly fond of the time, but she doesn't live in the past. Anyway, mortality rears its head and you realize you gotta do something. Freda knew if she didn't tell her story now then she'd never get around to it. She wanted her grandkids to know about their grandmother's amazing life and her incredibly close relationship to the biggest band in the history of the world. Hence, this documentary was born.

This is a well done doc. It's very touching. It's woven together well. Very entertaining stuff. But most of all it's just a great down-to-earth, human story. It's light-hearted, but definitely moving. I dug it.

Stream it on Netflix. It's good shit, man.