Category Archives: Documentary

Movie Review: “Strange Fruit: The Beatles Apple Records”


For the second week in a row, I’m reviewing a movie I found on Amazon Prime. I had signed up for a free 30 day trial subscription and decided that watching free Beatles movies would be a good way to enjoy it. Plus, I’ve been trying to read the same book for the past two weeks and I’m struggling to finish it. I hope to finish it up this week for my review next week.

The Beatles – Strange Fruit: The Beatles’ Apple Records is actually a very well made documentary about the birth and death of Apple records. From Mary Hopkins to Badfinger to James Taylor, this film tells of the talent that passed through the door at 3 Saville. With commentary from Beatles experts and Apple musicians Jackie Lomax and Joey Mullond, and longtime Beatle friend Tony Bramwell, the viewer feels like they are being brought into the inner sanctum.

If you’re feeling lucky, buy or rent this movie on Amazon. If you’re feeling thrifty, sign up for a thirty day free Amazon Prime subscription and be sure to include this film in your list of must-see movies. And for that reason….

I rate this movie 4 out of 4 Beetles!

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Movie Review: Mugshots: John Lennon – Death of a Beatle

I found this movie through Amazon Prime and decided to give it a go.  Apparently, “Mugshots” is a whole series of movies about either famous people who have been murdered, famous murderers or famous murders.

Mugshots: Mark D. Chapman – John Lennon: Death of a Beatle – is actually not a bad documentary for Lennon fans, if you can get past the taped interview of Mark David Chapman.  But if you are one of the folks that lives by the belief that “he who’s name shall not be spoken”, should also not be heard, then you’re going to have a big problem with this film.

The movie is more of the story of John Lennon, his life growing up and his life as a Beatle.  Several very familiar people participated in the making of this documentary, including such names as Pete Best, Bob Gruen, and Scott Muni.

At times, it almost appears as if this is two separate stories being told…that of Lennon and that of his killer, with each of the stories being able to stand on it’s own if it had to.  Chapman’s words are haunting…his story is strange…and his reasoning just unfathomable when you hear him tell it.  Yet, like a train wreck, it’s hard not to look and listen just to try to comprehend what he did.

If you’re a true Lennon fan who has to know every detail, then yes…watch this film.  If you love Lennon, but believe Chapman’s name should not be spoken, then watch Hard Day’s Night.

This documentary is well made, but because of my own personal beliefs on the subject…

I rate this movie: 2 out of 4 Beetles!

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Help! fund “Confessions of a Beatlemaniac! short film

Some of you may remember me reviewing a short book called “Confessions of a Beatlemaniac!!” by Dee Elias.  It’s a wonderful little book taken straight from Dee’s diaries when she was just 14-16 years old and was crazy about the Beatles.  It tells of her adventures with her friends as the set out to meet the Fab Four.

Well, now Dee is having her book made into a short film and has started a Kickstarter campaign to finance it.  She’s only trying to raise $1550 to make this film with her Director – Joseph Souza.

If you can, please help make this dream a reality for Dee.

Here’s Dee talking about the film: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1977683486/confessions-of-a-beatlemaniac-short-film/widget/video.html

Show your support here: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1977683486/confessions-of-a-beatlemaniac-short-film

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Upcoming Beatles Documentary

I’m not going to sugarcoat this…this post is going to be a plea for help! This project has just 26 days left to be financed or the entire deal will fall through…and as Beatles Freaks, I just can’t IMAGINE any of us letting that happen.

This is about Freda Kelly, The Beatles’ secretary from the early Cavern Club days when they were playing to audiences of 30 people at lunchtime, all the way through their years of international popularity and stardom, and until they eventually broke up in 1970.  Freda was only one of a handful of employees for The Beatles who lasted for the entire “Beatles Era.”

Freda has kept quiet all these years and is only now starting to come forward and tell her stories about all those years ago with the Fab Four.  She wants her grandchildren to know what their grandmother did in her youth…and what a great story she must have to tell.  I know I want to hear about it.

In order to make her documentary, the filmmakers must raise $50,000 by November 12, 2011 at 2:59 am.  Currently, the total donated is $13,390 from 117 donors.

So, let me break this down for you:  If the next 7,324 fans gave just $5 to this cause, they could make this film!  And you can’t tell me that they aren’t 7,324 Beatles Freaks out there that are dying to hear the inside stories from Freda!  You can give more if you’d like…you can give less…that’s up to you.  But I believe that we are capable of raising this money in the next 26 days.  And there are bonuses…such as, if you give $25, you will get a copy of the DVD when it’s made (there are more gifts for different donation levels, but I thought this was the most enticing for those with limited income).

All together now….come together, right now…

Donate here: http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1215635909/good-ol-freda

Please share this post on Twitter, Facebook and other social media to help this cause.

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Filed under Beatles-freak, Documentary, George Harrison, John Lennon, movies, music, Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr, Uncategorized

DVD Review: Composing Outside The Beatles (Lennon & McCartney 1973-1980)

The third installment in a series of on the collaboration of Lennon and McCartney, ‘Composing Outside the Beatles: Lennon and McCartney 1973-1980’ brings a lot to the table…if you can bear to sit through it!

I had mentioned to another Beatles freak that I had been sent a copy of this video to review and since I had never seen the first two installments, they informed me that they felt the first two were ‘dry’.  I don’t know that I’d use that same term, but instead I felt this documentary, about the separate careers of Lennon and McCartney after the split of the Beatles, drawled on…and on.  Even my son, who was sitting within ear shot while I watched, commented, “Everyone just went on and on and never seemed to shut up.”

But as I said, this movie is not without it’s good points.  I think it does do a fine job of covering all of Lennon’s and McCartney’s albums in great detail with commentary by such well respected people as: Denny Laine, Klaus Voorman, Denny Seiwell and Anythony DeCurtis, to name a few.  The problem seems to arise when the producers decided to let everyone have their say about the albums, making the whole thing a bit lengthy and boring.  I also think this isn’t necessarily a DVD for the hardcore Beatles freaks, since I don’t know that it gave much information that hasn’t already been published elsewhere.

All-in-all, a well made documentary, but be prepared to pause your player to enjoy life!

This DVD will be released on October 25, 2011 and can be pre-ordered on Amazon.com.

**Note: I just looked at the Amazon page for this DVD.  It says the run time for this movie is 60 minutes.  Not true…it’s 139 minutes!

I rate this movie: 2 out of 4 Beetles

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Movie Review: Paul McCartney Really Is Dead

Paul McCartney Really Is DeadMy neighbor knows what a huge Beatles fan I am, so he asked me a couple weeks ago if I had seen this movie.  I told him I had heard about it but hadn’t had a chance to watch it.  He said, “It’s not bad…”  Well, I’ll be the judge of that!

Paul McCartney Really Is Dead is listed on the IMDb (International Movie Database) as Documentary/Fantasy/Music.  This should be the first clue that something just isn’t right about this film.  A documentary and fantasy?  I believe we call that a ‘Mockumentary’…which brings to mind images of Spinal Tap or Desperately Seeking Paul McCartney.

The story line of the film is that in 2005, a package from London containing two mini cassettes and recorder showed up at Highway 61 Entertainment’s office.  The package had no return address.   The voice on the tape claims to be none other than George Harrsion, making a confession that Paul McCartney really did die in a car accident in 1966.  (Note: the subtitle of this film is ‘The Last Testament of George Harrison(yes, with a question mark!))  The voice on the tape then narrates the rest of the film as he explains the circumstances around Paul’s death and the ensuing cover-up.

Believable?  Maybe to the young and the gullible who, unlike us Beatles freaks, haven’t grown up hearing the tall tales of ‘Paul is Dead’.  The movie actually does a pretty good job of putting together all the clues about Paul’s untimely demise that could supposedly be found in the Beatles album covers and lyrics.  And I actually found that part of the movie informative since I had never heard ‘all’ the clues.  But the ability to find this movie entertaining came crashing down when the stories of how ‘Faux Paul’ ended up married to Linda Eastman and Heather Mills were discussed.  At this point, I let out an audible laugh and felt the film became a comedy.

Because of this films ability to show new Beatles fans all the album and lyric ‘clues’ that obsessed fans found to support the tall tale of Paul’s supposed death, I gave this movie a bit of a higher rating.

I rate this movie: 2 out of 4 Beetles

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