With Just A Hint Of Mayhem

Music trivia, useless info, extra added random stuff and the odd rant from me

With Just A Hint Of Mayhem is ten years old! Part 8 February 7, 2019

Filed under: Film,Trivia — justwilliam1959 @ 10:43 pm
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Well nearly all the candles are blown out on the With Just A Hint Of Mayhem 10th birthday cake. Today is day 8 and I am giving you a list of my ten favourite music related films.

Regular readers will know that so far I have shared with you top ten most viewed posts on the blog since it began back in February 2009, the top ten countries that have given With Just A Hint Of Mayhem the most views, rock/ music related books, biographies and autobiographies, my top 10 Bowie songs, my 10 favourite bands of all time, my top ten favourite male artists and yesterday the ten greatest gigs that I have been to. (Click here, here, here, here, here, here and here to view those again). Stay tuned, there are only two top tens to come after this! What will they be? Well sign up, follow or just check out this site regularly to find out! I can tell you that the remaining top tens will be my favourite female artists, my favourite albums and my favourite singles. Yes I know that makes eleven in total, but you’ll get a double whammy on the actually birthday itself 🙂

Don’t forget that you can also find us on Twitter  and FaceBook .

The list of films is not in any order of preference, simply chronological. What is your favourite music related film?

Let It Be (1970) worth it just for the footage of the last live show on the roof of the Apple building
American Graffiti (1973) maybe not really a music film as such, but it evokes a feeling of the early days of rock ‘n’ roll with a soundtrack to die for
Phantom Of The Paradise (1974) Directed by Brian De Palma and scored by Paul Williams. Very underrated in my opinion, it is a rock take on the Phantom Of The Opera
Tommy (1975) Ken Russell goes full wacko in this fabulous cinematic adaptation of the Who’s great opus
The Last Waltz (1978) An epic documentary showcasing the Band’s last concert
Quadrophenia (1979) One of my favourite Who albums turned into a full on story of mods, rockers, clothes, drugs and life
This Is Spinal Tap (1984) The definitive rock mockumentary and still funny even 35 years down the line……. smell the glove!
Almost Famous (2000) If I lived my life again I would do anything that I could to write for Rolling Stone or even the NME
The Filth And The Fury (2000) Julien Temple’s stunning documentary of the rise and fall of the Sex Pistols
Bohemian Rhapsody (2018) I really did not want to like this, but I bloody love it!

 

‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ January 21, 2019


have never been a fan of biographical faction style films of musicians and bands, some have had their good points, while many have been dire in my opinion. So I really wasn’t keen to see the Queen/ Freddie Mercury biopic ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’, but I was torn as everyone I knew that has seen it said it was stunning. They all told me I might need tissues to dry my eyes at times too, more of that later, but I thought they were bluffing. Anyway these last ten days or so I have been on an extended business trip to the USA. On Sunday I found myself downtown when it started to rain, so I thought why not pop into the conveniently close cinema. As luck would have it the next film on was ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ so I thought what the hell, I’ll give it a go!

The film certainly feels like it captures what life was like for Queen in the early days and how their life changed as they became successful. The story is told largely as Farouk Bulsara a.k.a. Freddie Mercury’s life but the interaction with all the other main players; Brian May, John Deacon, Roger Taylor, John Reid, Mary Austin, Paul Prenter and Jim Beach to name just a few is well portrayed and is full of pathos, humour and love. There are far too many highlights to mention all of them, you should see the film yourself if you haven’t already. But for me the gestation and recording of “Bohemian Rhapsody” is thrillingly done. The ongoing joke about Roger Taylor’s “I’m In Love With My Car” is hilarious. The Live Aid element, not just the concert but the lead up to it is heartwarming and highly interesting to us music anoraks. Finally the way Freddie tells his band mates that he has AIDS is so emotionally moving that yes I did need the tissues.

I never spotted it at first but EMI Executive Ray Foster was played by Mile Myers and perhaps more amusingly for Queen historians the guy in the truck stop scene who seems to be giving Freddie the come on is none other than Adam Lambert! The script, the acting, the production, the casting and the soundtrack are all brilliant. However the best thing about it for me is Rami Malek who so many times during the film made me believe I was watching a documentary. He had the emotional highs and lows spot on, especially in the highs and lows of his relationship with his family and his band family. Also the confusion of his long time relationship with Mary Austin. I am so very glad that I got to see this film and just sorry that it took me so long.

 

The Dark Tower film – “I think we need a gunslinger somebody tough to tame this town” August 20, 2017


As many of you know I am a massive fan of Stephen King and as such I have looked forward to the cinematic adaptation of his magnum opus, ‘The Dark Tower’. I was really excited when I learned that Idris Elba had been cast as Roland the Gunslinger and that the Man In Black would be played by Matthew McConaughey. Then there was that ridiculous period when the internet trolls moaned on about how could a black man play Roland. Well Roland’s character transcends colour and Elba is undoubtedly one of the finest actors on the planet. Thankfully that all died down. But then recently I started reading the reviews and almost all of them have been negative. Was the film as bad as those reviews have suggested?

Well I saw it on 18th August, sadly not on the 19th (OK some of you won’t get that point!) and I thought it was a very good opener for what I hope will be a long Dark Tower series. Elba and McConaughey are on superb form. Idris Elba makes a perfect Roland and Matthew McConaughey does evil in the most convincing way. Tom Taylor who plays Jake is pretty much everything I imagined Jake Chambers would be from the books. Taylor is British and this is his big screen break, although he has previously appeared in a number of TV shows.

New York in the movie looks every bit as vibrant, busy and depressing as I hear it can be. While Mid World looks exactly what a world that has moved on  should look like. The odd reference to some of King’s other works are clever, particularly Pennywise from IT. If I were scoring this film I would give it a 4 out of 5 and I excitedly anticipate the following instalments building on that and getting even better. To all those critics who scored it 1 or 2 out of five, were you actually watching it? Have you forgotten the face of your father? But to finish, this is a music blog so I have selected a few songs that in some way relate to the Dark Tower, did you get all the references?

 

Amy – The Girl Behind The Name – City Screen York Tuesday 7th July 2015 July 7, 2015

Filed under: Film,Review — justwilliam1959 @ 10:53 pm
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I had looked forward to seeing the Amy Winehouse documentary and I really hoped that it would be good. Well in my opinion it was a marvellous documentary of a modern tragedy. It portrayed what I would imagine was the real Amy Winehouse; a very talented and very vulnerable girl. I was moved to tears on a couple of occasions. The recording of the song “Back To Black” was one and hearing her take on fame was another. It was an emotional roller coaster because I also felt great anger at the way the scummy, tabloid paparazzi hounded this poor troubled woman when she was possibly at her lowest ebb.

Amy Winehouse

Tabloid journalists (is that an oxymoron?) and the paparazzi ought to be ashamed of themselves, although I doubt that they are. It felt to me that apart from her two friends since childhood, her first manager and her bodyguard she had no ‘real’ friends. Plenty of people who wanted a piece of her but not many who truly loved her. I may be doing them a disservice, but her parents seemed at best misguided about how to handle her. As for her final gigs, which she clearly didn’t want to do, who the hell made the decision to bundle her on a private jet to do the gig in Serbia? She was wasted and lost and clearly in no fit state to perform. Amy also had a lifelong issue with bulimia. A former girlfriend of mine died as a result of that horrible disease many, many years ago and I can still recall how awful that was.

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Amy Winehouse had what seemed to be a natural talent. Tony Bennett said that she was one of the best jazz singers that he had ever worked with. Her death is a tragic end to such a talented life and it has stolen a massive and enduring talent from the music world. Amy was not only a talented singer and interpreter of songs she was also an exceptionally talented songwriter. If you haven’t seen this film yet then I would urge you to do so.

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Grateful Dead – Fare Thee Well – Final Concert Ever – Cinema Simulcast – York City Screen Monday 6th July 2015 July 6, 2015


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I booked my tickets for this cinema show as soon as I saw them advertised. It would be unfair to say that I am a massive fan of the Grateful Dead but I have always had a kind of respect for what they have achieved and who they are. In my opinion the Dead are very much a genre defying band, it is very difficult to put them into a box. They take elements of west coast rock, jazz, psychedelia, soft rock, AOR and even prog. But ultimately they are the Grateful Dead and there is no band quite like them. Are they as good since the death of Jerry Garcia nearly 20 years ago in August 1995? They remain a great band but I believe they have evolved into a slightly different band without Jerry.

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The remaining original members all form part of the band for the Fare Thee Well shows; Phil Lesh, Bob Weir and Bill Kreutzmann, all of whom were in the Dead since 1965. Percussionist Mickey Hart joined in 1965. Trey Anastasio off of Phish is part of the Fare Thee Well band on guitar and vocals (he takes some of the Garcia vocals) The band is further augmented with Bruce Hornsby and Jeff Chimenti. The last show was the last of three dates at the Soldier Field American Football Stadium in Chicago. It was filmed for a pay per view audience and it was a slightly edited version of that which the cinema simulcast contained.

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The filming and cinematography was brilliant and at times stunning. The band was really on form and it is easy to see that the so-called ‘core four’ have been playing together for a life time. The band were on stage for more than three hours. When they played “I Know You Rider” it sounded like all 80,000 audience members were singing along to the somewhat appropriate lyrical refrain ‘I know you rider, gonna miss me when I’m gone’. My favourite songs from the show were “Throwing Stones” and “Mountains Of The Moon”. But you can’t ignore “Truckin'” which includes the line which for many Deadheads sums um the band. That line is; ‘What a long, strange trip it’s been’. Trey Anastsatio’s playing was phenomenal, for me particularly so on “Terrapin Station”. The last song before they returned for a two song encore was an audience rousing version of Buddy Holly’s “Not Fade Away”. The encore consisted of “Touch Of Grey” and “Attics Of My Life”. At least I think that was the title of the final song, if I am wrong please let me know.

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Not being a full on Deadhead myself I have never seen the Dead play live. I have seen lots of footage of them playing live though. This film is a great testament to a great band and you should go and see it if you get the chance.Even if you don’t consider yourself a fan there is no denying that this is a classic concert movie. Is this really an epitaph for the Grateful Dead? Time will tell, but personally I believe that it is. Remember what Don Henley said in the song “The Boys Of Summer”? ‘Out on the road today, I saw a Deadhead sticker on a Cadillac. A little voice inside my head said, “Don’t look back. You can never look back”. If you have seen the film I would love to know what you thought of it.

©Jay Blakesberg

©Jay Blakesberg

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The Stone Roses : Made Of Stone – World premiere simulcast York City Screen Thursday 30th May 2013 June 2, 2013


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On Thursday 30th May I attended a simulcast of the world première of the new Stones Roses documentary ‘Made Of Stone’ at York City Screen. The cinema is part of the excellent Picturehouse chain and was one of 200 UK cinemas that were broadcasting the première which took place in Manchester. There was a live link to the activities on the red carpet for the first hour and personally I found that part terribly dull, not helped in my opinion by Edith Bowman‘s interview style. She seems to ask a high percentage of closed questions. The most interesting interview she did was with Shane Meadows, the director of the film. The interview with Mick Jones off of the Clash was embarrassing in my opinion.

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The film however was a million light years from being dull. I would say that it is probably among the best music documentaries I have ever seen. It didn’t set out to tell a chronological story of the band, although some of the montages which included previously unseen footage were excellent. Much of that material was provided by the band themselves directly to Shane Meadows. This included some grainy Super 8 ciné film of Ian Brown and John  Squire on motor scooters from the early 80s. The film is essentially split into three parts; The resurrection press conference and the Parr Hall in Warrington free show; Then the rehearsals and finally some stunning footage from the Heaton Park gigs.

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I really loved the rehearsal element. It showed just how close the band really are and it was incredibly intimate and insightful. Apparently some of the rehearsal footage was shot by Shane Meadows using a Super 8 App on his iPhone. Does that mean we’ll all be making films soon? The filming and editing of the Parr Hall show and the build up to it was wonderfully entertaining. Especially the sequences of the people queueing up to be among the lucky 1,000 attendees. I order to get a wrist band for the gig you needed to bring along some official Stone Roses merchandise or CD/ Records and obviously to be in the first 1,000 people in the queue. One bloke arrived still in his paint spattered overalls having not even bothered to lock up the house he had been working on.

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The finale of the film is truly amazing and culminates in some superb footage from the Heaton Park gigs. There must have been countless cameras used and I hope that the video includes much more footage of the shows. Some clips of the pre Heaton Park warm up shows were shown leading up to the big gig. You saw the band back stage in Lyon meeting one of their Manchester United (or Mani United) heroes; Eric Cantona. Is it just me or does he look like Grizzly Adams these days? I’m sure that Liam Gallagher, who made a brief appearance in the film wouldn’t have liked that part. The classic non encore from the Amsterdam is also included. This was where Reni threw a bit of a hissy fit following some problems with his ear monitors and went straight back to the hotel. Ian Brown then had to come back on the stage and announce to the disgruntled audience that this was no joke and that the drummer had gone home. This culminated in the classic line ‘What can I say? The drummer’s a cunt!’ To be fair that is a little rich coming from a soon to be middle-aged man who wears his jeans low enough to see most of his undercrackers!

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The posters and trailers for the film include the line ‘this film will make grown men cry’. Well I didn’t cry, but perhaps it’s just because it’s not my generation and not ‘my’ band in the way it is for the hardcore Roses fans. But even with my eyes remaining dry this was a five-star music documentary. I urge you to go and see it if you can or put the DVD (scheduled for release in October) on your letter to Santa Claus. But you know the drill by now; if you have to sell your Granny to get a ticket then say bye bye Gran today!

 

“Where is that moonlight trail that leads to your side?” March 12, 2013


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Following the Oscar win for the Bond theme “Skyfall” Adele is being tipped to record the theme from the next James Bond movie as well. She wrote the song with Paul Epworth and she will need to record another two Bond themes to catch up with the current record holder for recording the most theme songs to this iconic film franchise. Dame Shirley Bassey has sung three Bond songs;

“Goldfinger” (1964) – written by Leslie Bricusse, Anthony Newley and John Barry.

“Diamonds Are Forever” – (1971) – written by John Barry and Don Black.

“Moonraker” – (1979) – written by John Barry and Hal David.

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All three were produced by John Barry. “Goldfinger” was the best chart performer of the three reaching number 21 in the UK and number 8 in the USA. Shirley was initially earmarked to record the opening credits song for the Thunderball film from 1965. The song was called “Mr Kiss Kiss Bang Bang” but Cubby Broccoli the film’s producer decided that the song had to have the same title as the film. This resulted in  a new song called, unsurprisingly, “Thunderball” being written. It was recorded my another Welsh singing star, Tom Jones. A version of “Mr Kiss Kiss Bang Bang” was recorded by Dionne Warwick and this version is included on the film’s soundtrack album. Incidentally Adele’s “Skyfall” is only the second Bond theme song not to appear on the accompanying soundtrack album. The first was “You Know My Name” sung by Chris Cornell for Casino Royale from 2006.

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