Category Archives: Movie Reviews

Movie Review: “The Beatles: Parting Ways”

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!

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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: “Love & Mercy”

“I’ve often played Pet Sounds and cried. It’s that kind of an album for me.” – Paul McCartney

Rubber Soul inspired Pet Sounds, which inspired Sgt. Pepper’s and that inspired me to make Smile,” – Brian Wilson

Ever since watching Love & Mercy 5 days ago, I haven’t been able to stop Beach Boys songs from playing in my head. The movie has that much of an impact.

There’s no doubt that the Beach Boys were the Beatles biggest rivals (or threat). This friendly rivalry between the bands helped to created four of the greatest albums ever made as Brian Wilson and Paul McCartney were determined to out due each other with their songwriting genius.

Love & Mercy is the heartbreaking story of Brian Wilson. Brian is the oldest of the three Wilson brothers who were the foundation of the Beach Boys, along with their cousin Mike Love and friend Al Jardine. Suffering from anxiety and mental disorders from an early age, Brian became a recluse not only physically, but mentally. But it was within his own self-imposed isolated and demented world that he created Pet Sounds…an album that Rolling Stone magazine ranks as the #2 album of all time!

This is one of those times that I believe that the greatest musicians of the world were given their gift from the universe, as you watch a young Brian Wilson (played magnificently by Paul Dano) struggle with the voices and sounds in his head, and turn them into art.

Get yourself a copy of Love & Mercy…this movie is a must see for any true music fan! And for that reason…

I rate this book: 4 out of 4 Beetles!

 

 

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Movie Review: “George Harrison: Living In A Material World”

This is the movie I had attempted to watch several weeks ago while I was traveling.  I ended up in a battle to watch it on my iPad mini for weeks now, before finally giving up and having to watch it on my PC.  I really dislike watching any type of movie on my computer.  I’d much rather do it from the comfort of my couch, especially a 3.5 hour documentary like this.

George Harrison: Living In The Material World, directed by Martin Scorsese, came out in 2011.  Even I had tears in my eyes when I saw the trailer for the movie before it’s release.  Was I going to be able to sit through this film about a beloved Beatle who left us way too early?

The movie actually starts out quite poorly.  Several times during a scene, the music just drops off and  the scene goes to an interview.  There’s no fade out.  I kept thinking, “Is this going to happen through the entire film?  Is this really a Martin Scorsese film?  I guess I should be happy he didn’t cast Leonardo as George!”  Then I started thinking, “Thank god it’s not a Tim Burton film with Johnny Depp as George!”  But I digress…

For some unknown reason, the music stops dropping off and begins fading out between scenes, but still the first half off this film felt more like a Beatles documentary than a movie about George.  I paused it and got up several times to get a drink, let the dog out, etc.  I almost dreaded having to sit through Part Two after the intermission, but that’s actually where the movie picks up and becomes George’s story.  (Except the part where Derek Taylor’s wife shows up and, just like Derek, only wants to talk about doing LSD with the Beatles.  Do these people talk about anything else?!)

Part Two of this movie is a delight and kept me in my chair until the end as George’s friends, colleagues, wife and son telling us about the real George.  If you can make it through the Blah-Blah of the first 1.5 hours,  you’ll love the rest.  Though I wouldn’t call this Scorsese’s best cinematic production, the scenes with George and Friar Park are beautiful.

It was not available on my Fios OnDemand, but you can rent from Amazon.com, iTunes or Netflix.

Buy at Amazon.com or any major retailer where movies are sold.

I rate this movie: 3 out of 4 Beetles!

 

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Movie Review: Good Ol’ Freda

I’m two years behind on watching Good Ol’ Freda, the story of Freda Kelly who was the Beatles Fan Club President from the very beginning and up until the very end.  Until the making of this film, Freda willingly remained a silent and loyal figure in the background of the mayhem that was Beatlemania.

Good Ol’ Freda was the brainchild of Kathy McCabe and Ryan White who began a Kickstarter campaign on October 11, 2011 in hopes of raising $50,000 to make a movie telling the story of a young, naive, seventeen year old girl who fell in love with a local band in Liverpool and ended up the secretary of the greatest band the world would every know.  Within one month, Kathy and Ryan were able to raise $58,000 for this project and in 2013 they release this documentary.

Maybe it was all the hype and hullabaloo that has been made about this film over the past two years, but I didn’t find it to be ‘all that’.  I felt as if I spent at least 25% of the time listening to Freda, her family, friends and colleagues tell me how loyal, devoted and honest she was/is and that she would never spill any dirt about the Beatles.  Hmm, so what was this movie about?  From the magazine clippings about Ms. Kelly that appeared in this film, it doesn’t seem as if we were learning anything about her that hadn’t already been told during her years working for them.

This film left me a little confused as to why it was made and it’s purpose.  Near the end of the movie, Freda says she finally decided to tell her story for her grand-children so they would know what she did with her life.  Uh…they probably could have learned that from the four boxes of memorabilia and scrapbooks in her attic that we get to see her rifle through throughout the film.

Now don’t get me wrong…Freda is fun to watch and listen to for the 87 minutes of this film as she giggles like a young girl as she reflects back on her years with Eppy, Richie, John, Paul and George.  And there is no doubt in my mind that she’s a lovely lady to meet and spend time with over tea or such, but I’m glad this movie wasn’t much longer than it already is.

If you’re a die-hard Beatles fan that has to know absolutely everything about the Fab Four, than this movie is for you and you should buy it and add it to your collection.  If you’re just curious about Freda Kelly and her story, you can rent Good Ol’ Freda on Amazon for $2.99 and watch it on your laptop.

You can buy Good Ol’ Freda at Amazon.com.

Or you can purchase from the Good Ol’ Freda website.

I rate this movie: 3 out of 4 Beetles!

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