Elvis

A Hard Day

The uniquely discordant strum of a guitar introduces the now-iconic image of the Fab Four careening down a London-as-Liverpool street, chased by a horde of screaming young fans. George attempts to sneak a glance behind him, then loses his balance and careens to the ground, bringing poor Ringo down with him. John looks back to witness the instantaneous mayhem and continues running elated with laughter. This wasn’t a moment of acting or planning or choreography, but a purely spontaneous interaction between members of the most famous band in the world captured on film. The contrivance of the scene produced a “mistake” which then inspired a genuine, unpremeditated moment between the bandmates, a real glimpse at John’s interaction with (and affection for) his colleagues outside the trappings of unprecedented fame and millions of dollars in royalties. Throughout A Hard Day’s Night, director Richard Lester toys with the obvious contrivances of filmmaking, a façade made ever more evident by the fact that this film was an out-and-out cash grab. The bandmates played themselves in quotation marks, taking the piss out of fame, rock ‘n’ roll, Mod chic, mass media, the British aristocracy, and ultimately themselves, a caricature that ironically helped distinguish The Beatles’ individual members for American audiences. The manic irreverence of Lester’s brand of comedy regularly broke cinematic rules of continuity and logic, making for a less anarchic kind of Breathless. But perhaps what most consequently made A Hard Day’s Night the essential pop musical it is today is the fact that nobody – from […]

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Elvis Presley biopic

There’s a whole lotta (head) shakin’ going on and, no, said shakin’ is not come care of that terrible Elvis pun, because the shakin’ predates the pun. So there. The Wrap is reporting that the King himself, Elvis Presley, might be getting a shiny new biopic, care of two people who have so far proven themselves ill-equipped to translate historical events to the big screen in a clear, concise and inspired manner. The outlet shares the news that Saving Mr. Banks scribe (and also 50 Shades of Grey adapter, please her heart) Kelly Marcel is penning a new biopic about the king’s life for the big screen. As of now, it’s “unclear which periods of Presley’s life would be depicted in the film,” but the script is described as an original take on his life. (Curiously, the outlet calls the currently-untitled film a biopic before stating that it’s “believed to be a biopic” later in their same piece. Shrug.) And although the king of rock n’ roll doesn’t have a bitter-faced British author to drive his narrative, he does have something that could be compelling the film’s possible director – a metric ton of sparkles.

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Criterion Files

Tune into VH1 Classics on any given day, and this is something you’re likely to see: a rock video of a mid-80s hair band playing on a giant stage, complete with sleek cinematography, wide camera angles, and a stadium-sized audience packed to the brim. At first you might be confused, thinking that this is possibly some Whitesnake or Guns N’ Roses song that somehow escaped your memory. But then the music video ends and in the bottom left corner the band’s name comes up. You’ve never heard of them before, and you’ve definitely never heard this song before. Yet this video depicts monstrous popularity that suggests nothing less than massive cultural phenomenon. While it’s possible for a one-hit wonder to develop this degree of renown for a certain frame of time, it becomes something of a schizophrenic moment when you consider that this hit single both inaugurated the now-forgotten band’s moment of popularity and depicted it simultaneously. With so many hair bands, how is it possible that every single one of them sells out stadium-size crowds? The answer, of course, can only be one thing: an association with mass popularity is, for hair bands, only a reality for the privileged few, but for the rest it’s a fabrication that’s all part of the musical aesthetic – it’s what makes this subgenre of rock that’s reliant on spectacle so spectacular. It’s fitting, then, that one of the landmark mockumentaries of American filmmaking chose as its subject a genre that itself relies […]

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Rob Hunter loves movies. He also loves nudity in PG-rated movies. These two joys come together in the form of cash money payments that he receives every week and immediately uses to buy more DVDs. This week features Clash of the Titans, 2012, Elvis, The Wraith, Bitch Slap, and more!

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