Rock ‘n’ Roll

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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Sound City Studios in Van Nuys has had a hand in creating 7 of the 500 greatest albums on Rolling Stone’s list. It’s a legendary spot, one rich with sonic history and a sense of American Rock ‘N’ Roll when it was far purer than it is today. It’ll no doubt make an engaging doc subject, and Foo Fighter/Nirvana member Dave Grohl plans to make sure that his directorial debut celebrates that musical birthplace in Sound City. According to Aint it Cool, Grohl is making himself mayor of Sound City after buying their Neve 8028 recording console (that was used to lay down tracks for everyone from Neil Young to Nirvana to Nine Inch Nails to bands that didn’t start with the letter N). The press release from Roswell Films calls the movie “a film about America’s greatest unsung recording studio.” Another phrase for it? A damned cool project.

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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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PirateRadio

Pirate Radio is a perfectly balanced comedy with a brilliant cast. Hard to believe it’s only Richard Curtis’s second film as director.

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It Might Get Loud

It Might Get Loud is a film for the bedroom dreamers and weekend warriors, a chance to see three of guitar rock’s finest players on the same stage sharing licks, trading tips and talking about how they got to where they are.

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TheCollectorHeader

The little horror film that could hits theaters today, and if the trailer didn’t sell you on it or if you’re wary of any horror that comes out, here are a few solid reasons why you should give The Collector the time of day.

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might-get-loud-header

What do you get when you put three rock icons in the same room together with a few amps and guitars? I guess we’ll find out.

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boat-that-rocked-domtrailer-header1

Pirate radio, Golden Era Rock ‘n’ Roll, and a cast of crazy DJ stowaways? Damn, this movie looks so incredibly good. And by “looks,” I mean that you can actually look at it in glorious trailer-vision!

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published: 12.18.2014
C-
published: 12.17.2014
B+
published: 12.15.2014
B
published: 12.12.2014
D+


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