I decided to delve back into my free Amazon Prime movies to see what’s available in the way of Beatles movies/documentaries that I hadn’t seen or heard of yet. It’s been a busy weekend and I didn’t have much time, so I chose the 48 minute documentary I Killed John Lennon. This movie is also available on DVD.
This movie revolves mostly around the 200 minutes of taped interviews that reporter Jack Jones did with Mark David Chapman over a period of six years starting in 1986. Mixed in with bits of audio from those tapes are interviews with Jack Jones and several psychologists who have read over the transcripts and present their analysis of Lennon’s murderer.
As you can imagine, a 48 minute film that covers 200 hours of tape isn’t going to really go very deep into the killers motivation or life history. This movie just seems to skim the surface of the whole story and end with the psychologist and Jones deeming that Chapman is crazy. If you’re truly interested in the who, what, when where and whys of the tragic death of John Lennon there are much better films and books. In fact, Jack Jones wrote a 300 page book about his interviews called, Let Me Take You Down: Inside the Mind of Mark David Chapman,the Man Who Killed John Lennon that you can buy used on Amazon for as little as $1.78. And for that reason…
I rate this film, 1 out of 4 Beetles!
The husband and I took a night off to go out to dinner and movie. This time we were lucky enough to have a Beatles themed flick playing one town over from us.
Deconstructing The Beatles is the brain child of musicologist and Beatles scholar Scott Freiman. He’s made four ‘Deconstructing’ films so far that are showing around the country. You can find out if any of them are playing near you on the website. Before I give my thoughts, here’s the trailer for this film:
I’ve seen several great Beatles experts who do lectures similar to this one…Kenneth Womack and Walter Everett come to mind and if you’ve ever been lucky enough to see either of these Beatles experts’ lectures, you’re sure to love this film. Scott Freiman literally walks his audience through each day of the 30 days the Beatles had to record their Rubber Soul album. What songs they recorded on what days, what instruments where used on each song, the tracks used, etc.. An amazing process to experience that just about any Beatles fan is sure to enjoy. In fact, I’m going to need to go back and find out where I can go to see the first three Deconstructing films about the White Album, Sgt. Peppers and Revolver. And for that reason…
I rate this film, 4 out of 4 Beetles!
The winners of last week’s giveaway for a copy of John Lennon: The stories behind every song 1970-1980 are: Meredith Floate, Deborah Allen and Rob Conlin! Please email me your mailing addresses so I can get your books out to you ASAP. Congrats!
The Lennon Report was recommended to my husband and I from a guy my husband met in a cigar store a couple weeks ago. My husband said he was interested in seeing it too, so the search was on to find it! As it turns out, the movie, which seems to have been released in October 2016, is only available to rent or buy online and has yet to be released on blue ray or disc.
The Lennon Report is a 1 hour 24 minutes recreation of the last hours of John Lennon’s life. From the moments before he was shot up until Yoko tells Sean his father is dead, this movie aims to let fans know what exactly happened in the hospital as the doctors and nurses tried to save John.
Here’s the trailer:
Though the acting leaves a bit to be desired, I gotta say, I really enjoyed watching this movie. It’s not over dramatized with a lot of unnecessary screaming and over the top emotions. It appears to show the true to life surprise by the hospital staff when they are told that the dying man on the table in front of them is John Lennon and it then reveals their above and beyond attempts to save his life.
As an added bonus – The doctor and one of the nurses who operated on Lennon, along with the reporter who was there, all appear at the end of this movie and talk about that fateful night.
There is no doubt in my mind that every Beatles fan and Lennon fan will love seeing this film. But as I said, you’re going to have to look past the weak acting skills on the part of some of the players. And for that reason…
I rate this movie, 3 out of 4 Beetles!
Several months ago, I went to a lecture that compared the Beatles to classical composer Franz Liszt. It would seem that Mr. Liszt (b. 1811 – d. 1886) was the rock star of his day! In April 1844, while reviewing the European music scene that season, writer Heinrich Heine coined the term ‘Lisztomania‘ to describe the frenzy and fainting that occurred when Liszt performed.
I’ve always enjoyed the music of Franz Liszt and you’ve probably heard it yourself. Here is a video of Liebestraum:
Or, if you prefer, here is a video of Bugs Bunny playing Liszt’s Hungarian Rhapsody:
Lisztomania, was written and directed by Ken Russell, the same guy who had already directed The Who’s classic – Tommy. The posters for Lisztomania even promoted this movies as ‘Tommy’s Tommy‘! Unfortunately, even with Roger Daltrey as the star in this film too, this movie doesn’t even come close to the genius of Tommy and makes one think that Russell should have quit while he was ahead. Even Ringo Starr, who plays the part of The Pope and who had been praised for many of his previous acting roles is mediocre at best.
Both the acting and the music in this film are terrible. The only redeeming quality is seeing a naked, young Roger Daltrey! I can also say that all of Liszt’s women/lovers in the film actually existed in real life and that his daughter really married composer Richard Wagner. But where Ken Russell came up with idea to put Nazis and Hitler in the film…I’ll never understand. And for that reason…
I rate this movie, 1 out of 4 Beetles!
I rate Roger Daltrey’s naked boday, 4 out of 4 Beetles!
About 2.5 years ago, I reviewed the book “Confessions of a Beatlemaniac!” A true story of a fan who broke all the rules to MEET THE BEATLES!“ by Dee Elias after meeting her at the Chicago Fest for Beatles Fans. And about a year later, I posted that Dee was having a Kickstarter campaign to help fund a short film based on her book.
For those of us that were lucky enough to get in on the ground floor by contributing to her highly successful campaign, and requested a copy of the DVD as our reward, we got the goods about 2 weeks ago. I couldn’t wait to pop this movie into my DVD player!
This 20 minute short starts with an animated title page that is just too cute. Hint: It’s a play on the book cover. Then the fun starts, as Dee and her friends reminisce about the fab time that had trying to meet the Beatles when they were just young innocent girls. Flash backs will take you back to 60’s with Dee and company sneaking and conniving their way to actually get up close and personal with the Fab Four. This movie is delightful…
But Dee’s adventures didn’t end in the 60’s. Dee and her movie crew have decided to enter this movie as a Short Film in several movie festivals this year. For the rest of her adoring fans, it’s scheduled to be released to the public in 2017!
For those that haven’t read her delightful true story of meeting the Beatles, you can purchase her book on her website or on Amazon. It’ll help pass the time while we all wait for the movie to be released to the public!
Good luck at the film festivals, Dee!
Here’s another shameless plug for the 30 day free Amazon Prime trial subscription. When I went to cancel before my month was up, then informed me that I could continue to use the free benefits until my 30 days was over! So…I watch another free movie.
Brian Wilson – Songwriter: 1969-1982 was a hell of a lot better than I had expected. This documentary was a great way to fill in the blanks that were left from watching “Love & Mercy“. As I said in my review, Love & Mercy was an excellent film, but you really had to know exactly what was going on with Brian in the 1960’s thru 1980’s to understand the movie completely. This film is going to give you those missing links.
And for that reason…
I rate this movie, 4 out of 4 Beetles!
Note: And keep an eye out for May Pang’s book, Loving John, on Peter Ames Carlin’s bookshelf!
I thought I’d throw one more movie review out here before ending my Prime subscription, but it’s not as much a review of this movie, as a warning not to bother wasting even a free membership to Prime on this one.
The Beatles: Parting Ways – is a 52 minute documentary about the life of the Beatles after their split in 1970. Going in the order of John, Paul, George and Ringo, each of the Beatles is given a little over 10 minutes of air time in this film that seems to take a lot of liberties and uses a lot of stock film footage that was also used in Strange Fruit.
One of the first things that caught my attention was that the makers of this film chose other bands’ music to play as a backdrop to their commentary. Really…The Animals “We Gotta Get Out of This Place” as background music in a Beatles documentary? Warning…there is no Beatles music in this film.
The other glaring (disturbing) error was when the narrator says Ringo and Maureen had 3 sons together – Zak, Jason and LEE! Wrong…just so, so wrong. And for that reason…
I rate this film 1 out of 4 Beetles!