FOR A LONG time now, Wizard Ads has carried an entertainments section, featuring various reviews of films, DVDs, CDs and the like. These reviews have always appeared on a different page from Kerr’s Corner. As these reviews have always been very popular, I thought it would be a good idea to tag them onto this Blog site.
To kick off this new venture, we take a look at The Ramones: End of the Century, The Motorcycle Diaries and Old Boy.
Let me know what you think of these reviews – I’d be interested to receive any feedback. As usual you can contact me at:firstname.lastname@example.org
Ramones: End of the Century
Runtime: 110 mins.Country: USA.Colour/Black and WhiteLanguage: EnglishCertificate 15 Reviewed by Pat Harrington.
WATCHING this film brought back a lot of memories for me: of playing I want to be Sedated loud on headphones; of jumping up and down at Hammersmith Odeon when they played there and even of seeing the truly awful film Rock and Roll High School at the Scala in London. I loved the Ramones. They just had so much energy. Their music reflected that energy – tight and fast – like an assault on the senses. Their image was unique (at that time) and cool, black leather jackets and jeans.
To see the music played on screen was great. But the performances aren’t what make this film. The extensive and crosscutting interviews with band members, managers, and people from other bands, most notably, the late Joe Strummer of The Clash make it stand out. We get to understand the individuals and their relationships. This documentary is raw and real. Joey is just so sensitive that you wonder how he ever get through the day. DeeDee seems to have tried to find every possible way to abuse substances and his body. Johnny comes over as a bit of a dictator but also as someone with incredible drive and self-discipline. In fact this discipline ran through the whole band. In all their years they missed only one concert due to band misbehaviour and Johnny fired Marky over it. It seemed from this film that they just never stopped touring.
Now they are all dead. There is a poignant moment towards the end of the film when the off-screen interviewer asks Johnny, after Joey’s death, if he felt something when Joey died. Johnny says, yes, he felt something, he felt bad all the week of Joey’s death, even after not calling him while he was dying, not speaking for nearly two decades. Why, probes the interviewer, why did you feel something? Johnny replies because he was a Ramone, because he loved the Ramones, the group, and the music.
The Motorcycle Diaries
Certificate 15 (UK)Runtime: 128 minsReviewed by Jacqueline Sharp
THIS FILM is adapted from a journal written by Che Guevara when he was 23 years old. It recounts how he and his friend Alberto Grando crossed South America on a clapped out motorcycle (The Mighty One) in the 1950s. All the way from their home city of Buenos Aires through the Atacama Desert to Machu Pichu and ending in a leper colony near to Manaus in Brazil.
This Che (played by Gael Garcia Bernal of Y Tu Mama Tambien and Bad Education) is not yet the revolutionary leader and icon he was to become. Yet Brazilian director Walter Salles (Central Station) slowly introduces social commentary and we see Che being affected by the experiences he has. We can see the slow awakening of his social conscience. This film does not explain or depict strongly his ideology but it does show how he reacts very emotionally to any forms of injustice or need which he encounters. Perhaps this avoidance of a direct political message was deliberate in order to gain a wider audience. Those interested can delve deeper if they choose.
The tone of this film is warm – of friendship and shared journeys. Rodrigo De la Serna (playing Alberto Grendo) provides a relief from the serious Che with his comic and lusty performance. The visual images of South America are breathtaking, particularly those of Machu Pichu (one of the highest points in the area).
Certificate 18 (UK)Reviewed by Patrick Harrington
TARANTINO is said to be in awe of this film. The story is a disturbing one. A man who is held captive for fifteen years - and whose wife is murdered – is released suddenly and given money. He tries to discover why he was held prisoner. It is an intense film that tugs at your emotions with each twist and turn of the plot.
It depicts extreme violence but not gratuitously. It uses all the tools available, sound, music, cinematography, and acting, to really affect you. I particularly liked the haunting musical score. The performance of lead actor, Min-Sik Choi as Dae-su is outstanding. He is fearless, funny and wholly heartbreaking. The whole gambit of emotions is run from harmless drunkenness to pure despair.
Don’t let the fact that it’s subtitled put you off. It’s worth the effort. This film delivers and packs a punch. Director Chan-wook Park is someone to look out for in the future.