4 posts categorized "Punk"

February 16, 2020

MADE IN SHEFFIELD

MadeThe industrial city of Sheffield, England was the birthplace for the electronic pop explosion of cool post punk bands such as "Vice Versa," "The Human League," "Heaven 17," "ABC,” and "Cabaret Voltaire."

Slick style and a rejection of cultural limitations at hand, these daring musicians created a utopian attitude of romanticized clarity and precision. 

Cabaret Voltaire

Songs pulse, heat up, and grow on an international level in a bastion of fearless creativity. Here is an essential chapter of musical history brought to relevant life and context in fun documentary.   

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In this enthusiastic, if brief documentary (it clocks in at only 52 minutes), filmmaker Eve Wood charts the lineage of musicians whose music inspired modern-day bands such as "Stereolab," "Ladytron," "Client," and "Peaches."

Made In Sheffield

Through insightful interviews with band members (such as Phil Oakey of The Human League), and rare live performance footage, "Made In Sheffield" fills an essential period that linked Punk to the British New Wave with bands intent on destroying rock music.

John-peel

Interview subjects such as the late John Peel, The Human League’s Phil Oakey and Ian Craig Marsh, and music critic Andy Gill shed light on the indispensable influence of Sheffield’s electronic music scene. This thrilling documentary is an important film for any serious music lover to learn about the origins of a time and place where musical creativity ran wild. Perhaps the best thing about this essential documentary is that it might inspire new audiences to discover this music, and perhaps be inspired to create original music of their own.

Humanleague

Not rated. 52 mins.Four Stars

COLE SMITHEY

Groupthink doesn't live here, critical thought does.

This website is dedicated to Agnès Varda and to Luis Buñuel.

Get cool rewards when you click on the button to pledge your support through Patreon.

Cole Smithey on Patreon

August 03, 2018

NICO 1988

Nico 1988Writer-director Susanna Nicchiarelli crafts a brief biopic about Velvet Underground legend Nico that is at turns inspired, frustrating, thrilling, and inchoate. Trine Dryholm’s unvarnished performance holds the film together with a weathered beauty teetering on the edge of an abyss that only her drug-addled character can see.

One element missing from the film is any regard for the stunning beauty of Nico’s youth — she worked as a model — who captured the hearts, minds, and libidos of Jackson Browne, Jim Morrison, Iggy Pop, Bob Dylan, Brian Jones, Jimmy Page, and notably Alain Delon with whom she had a son named Ari. Never mind that Delon never claimed the child who Nico abandoned when he was four-years-old.

Nico-1988

Dryholm embodies the tone-deaf chanteuse with the same nihilistic charisma that Lou Reed freely exhibited for most of his career. Nico clearly copped Reed’s heroin habit and refused to ever let it go. Her fascination with death comes through in the songs of her later career as featured in the film.

Trine_dyrholm

Audiences unfamiliar with Nico’s ‘60s era collaborations with Reed and The Velvet Underground, under the guidance of Andy Warhol, receive no hand-holding in this film. If you don’t already know the haunting sound of Nico’s baritone European accented voice on the songs “All Tomorrow’s Parties,” “I’ll Be Your Mirror,” “Femme Fatal,” or “Sunday Morning,” then you’ve got some homework to do.

Living a junkie existence with a band of amateur musicians, save a classically trained violinist, Nico (real name Christa Päffgen) performs for small audiences around Eastern Europe. Border crossings pose imminent danger. She hates the communist youths that risk jail to host her performance. She also loathes her fans, especially if they appear in the guise of naïve young women.  

Nico-1988

We get that Nico was a child of war; she carries around a portable recorder to capture source sounds from the environments she visits, in the hope of rediscovering the sound of Berlin being bombed when she was a tyke. Nico longs for annihilation.

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Ultimately, “Nico 1988” fails because it never convinces the audience as to why we should empathize with this brutal person. That Nicchiarelli omits the moment of Nico’s lonely death on a bicycle in Ibiza, comes across as laziness on the part of the filmmaker. “Nico 1988” is a solid showcase for Trine Dryholm but it doesn’t make a case for Nico’s music.  

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Rated R. 99 mins. Two Stars

COLE SMITHEY

Groupthink doesn't live here, critical thought does.

This ad-free website is dedicated to Agnès Varda and to Luis Buñuel.

Get cool rewards when you click on the button to pledge your support through Patreon. Thanks a lot pal! Every bit helps keep the reviews coming.

Cole Smithey on Patreon

September 10, 2017

RUDE BOY

Colesmithey.comHowever fraught with behind-the-scenes controversy, “Rude Boy” is a priceless document of one of the greatest Punk bands in history. This music exploitation docudrama is the result of a co-directing effort by Jack Hazan and David Mingay set during 1978 and 1979 when The Clash were positioning to take over the world.

The film features recording sessions and live performance footage of songs that appeared on the first two Clash albums (“The Clash” and “Give “Em Enough Rope”).

It’s obvious that the filmmakers haven't a clue about creating narrative structure, but they know they’ve got a tiger by the tail, and to their credit they don’t let it go.

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Controversy arose when members of The Clash discovered a subplot woven into the storyline that denigrated young black men in London during the Thatcher era. The band distanced itself from the film, and never received any royalties from it. It doesn’t help that the filmmakers repeatedly return to “White Riot,” one of the band’s most misunderstood songs that the Nazi National Front adopted as their own.

Colesmithey.com

So it is with bitter sadness that any knowing audience should come to a film that so innocently captures the charismatic personalities of the band and of their raw musicality on full display. A highlight of the film arrives when Joe Strummer bangs out a couple of blues tunes on an out of tune upright piano in a small empty music hall. This scene alone is worth the price of admission.

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What storyline there is arrives via Ray Gange (playing himself) a right-wing leaning punk who inexplicably loves fiercely leftist-minded Clash, so much so that he endears himself as an unpaid roadie. Ray works at a dirty book store and collects his weekly dole amount of less than $15 when he isn’t getting drunk and going on the road with the band. Ray exposes his aspirational motivation for aligning himself with the right-wing because he wants to ride in big black cars rather than walk everywhere.

Rudeboy

Here is a backstage and close-up proscenium look at The Clash shortly before they took America by storm with a stage act that still puts every other band to shame. Joe Strummer had the goods, and the perfect band to back him up. See the proof, and ignore the film’s spackled-on political subtext. Meet The Clash!

Songs to look out for include: “Career Opportunities,” “I’m So Bored With the USA,” “Stay Free,” and “I Fought The Law.” Wow.

Colesmithey.com2

Rated R. 133 mins. 

3 Stars

COLE SMITHEY

Groupthink doesn't live here, critical thought does.

This ad-free website is dedicated to Agnès Varda and to Luis Buñuel.

Get cool rewards when you click on the button to pledge your support through Patreon. Thanks a lot pal!

Cole Smithey on Patreon

We delighted in drinking Samuel Adams REBEL JUICED IPA for our discussion of RUDE BOY, currently streaming on FILMSTRUCK. Pull up a chair to THE BIG FEAST!

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