Some notes I took along the way:

Day 2 opens with them looking thru Beatles fan magazines

Michael L-H is kinda an ass

Cutting between 1966+69 on “Rock & Roll Music” at end of day 4 is great

Mal is round-headed guy who plays anvil on Maxwell’s

We know that it’s magic to spend time with the Beatles, but episode two presses its luck, showing us different views of a flowerpot while John and Paul argue near a hidden mic

Peter Sellers shows up after The Magic Christian sets arrive

Reminiscing on their India trip, discussing the footage, which we get to see

Michael and Glyn are credited with the roof idea

Jackson has overbaked everything since Frighteners

Soon before the concert, John simply sings the setlist, wow

During the concert the movie thinks we want to hear everything the teenaged chinstrap-chewing pigs say, but we’d like to hear the music please

Problems with the crowd interviews on the street: British people are boring, and clearly Beatlemania is over

Beatlemania is back on in our house, though.

Aspirational Post-Beatles Media To-Do List

The Magic Christian (1969)
– Ringo: Beaucoups of Blues (1970)
– George: All Things Must Pass (1970)
– John/Yoko: Plastic Ono Band (1970) + Imagine (1971)
– Paul: McCartney (1970) + Linda/Ram (1971) + Wings/Wild Life (1971)
The Concert for Bangladesh (1972)
Concert for George (2003)
– Beatles Anthology (1995)
– Beatles Love (2006)
Rock and Roll Circus (1968)
How I Won the War (1967)
The Last Waltz (1978)
Jimi Plays Monterey (1967)
George Harrison: Living in the Material World (2011)

Her Majesty wishes to have knowledge, so her whitehatted sorcerer summons the angel Ariel. This is awesome, and is the last awesome thing that will happen in the film, which jumps to present-day artpunk, deteriorating into campy self-satisfied in-jokes as the novelty wears off and it stretches painfully to feature length.

The Past:

Jarman’s second feature after a decade of shorts costars Adam Ant, who lip-sync-fronts a live band. One of the Bowie-wannabe youth is Nell Campbell who somehow specialized in maximalist rock films, also appearing in Rocky Horror and The Wall and Lisztomania. A spirit named Ariel and an actor named Orlando seem to productively predict future, better films.

The Present:

See Also: A Quiet Passion, for which I wrote: “Spoiler alert for a Terence Davies movie: her heart is full of poetry and yearning but her adult/love life doesn’t turn out very happily.”

Siegfried “Vidal” Sassoon is a sensitive soul, deeply marked by the war, witty and strong-minded but sweet, who has affairs with a string of bitchy bitter young men, and finally grows into a bitchy bitter old man himself. Jack Lowden (friendly lawyer of Mangrove) is brilliant as younger Sassoon. Feels like a large movie for Davies, more characters and stock footage and party scenes and time periods than usual. The well-done morphing effect is back. The other fine actors included Simon Beale (husband of Deep Blue Sea), Jeremy Irvine (star of War Horse), Gemma Jones (Oliver Reed’s eventual wife in The Devils).

With a new Downton Abbey movie out, it’s really time we rewatch Gosford Park, which also featured Ivor Novello as a character. Stephen Tennant is mainly shown wearing colorful scarves, but after visiting his wiki page, I resent the movie not mentioning that Tennant’s stepdad Lord Grey was a bird lover whose older brother was the namesake for Earl Grey tea. Sassoon’s son George taking an interest in UFOs in the 1970’s and writing “The Radio Hacker’s Codebook” in the 90’s are just more reasons this movie needs a sequel – all these would’ve been cooler codas than Sassoon aging into Peter Capaldi, converting to catholicism in the 1960’s and being horrible to family and friends.

My first movie at the Landmark Midtown Art since Portrait of a Lady on Fire in early 2020. Glad to see some things haven’t changed (audio bleed through thin walls, indifferent projection quality) and some things have (they’ve stopped labeling which movie is on which screen, the lobby seems more haunted).

Foolish boy gets job at decrepit baths, falls into the pool immediately. Young Susan shows him around, then his first customer keeps swatting him and saying “up yours,” and the next one becomes an overheated John Waters situation. Every woman in town is hot for this 15-year-old except for Susan, who gets him arrested when he tails her to an x-rated movie. I can’t follow the currency because I dunno the 1970 guinea-to-pound-to-quid ratio, but I can follow the Can soundtrack, which is very Can. The tone stays kinda cutesy and light, even as he slashes her married boyfriend’s tires and she knocks his tooth out. Ultimately when your protagonist is a creepy insecure mumblemouthed potentially-violent teenage boy, things aren’t gonna end well – he murders her, but still in a playfully cute way.

Mike D’Angelo:

Even as his behavior gradually becomes more and more troubling, less and less defensible, the film remains too messy for a simple flipped switch in which we belatedly decide that we’ve been watching a monster … Deep End is a portrait of adolescent horniness/haplessness that always seems to be headed for tragedy (and indeed is), yet foregrounds a kid who comes across as so innocent and absurd that it’s hard to do anything but smile indulgently at him.

Our hero James Fox is trashing the office of a gambler who didn’t pay protection, which is a trend in movies I watched this week. The gambler then trashes Fox’s place and gets shot for it, now Fox has to lay low until his boss can get him onto a boat for New York. He stays with some druggie beatniks who grow mushrooms, led by Anita Pallenberg and including Mick Jagger. Now we’ve got two of the worst kind of people in movies: the violent gangster and the drippy hippie. The hippies’ influence is felt on the filmmaking – once we arrive at the house, the editing stops jumping into the future/past and the camera roves around more.

Hard to see Fox’s makeshift red-paint hair-dye job in this light:

Mick dances with a fluorescent light then lip-syncs a music video. Fox inevitably gets fed a crazy mushroom. When his men come to pick him up, he shoots Mick in the head and maybe becomes him. At one point I paused to look up whether Bergman’s Persona had opened in the UK early enough to have been an influence (yep, mid-1967).

Brown sugar in the foreground when Mick is introduced:

It’s all more sordid than I was expecting… gonna have to be one of those respected cinema classics that doesn’t become a personal fave. At least Peter Labuza agrees. Roeg’s first movie as (co-) director, having ended his cinematographer-for-hire career with Petulia. Writer/director Cammell later made three other features which all sound intriguing: an audiophile serial killer, Anne Heche as a call girl, and a computer impregnates Julie Christie.

Enid is a film censor (Niamh Algar, also of a Barry Keoghan drug dealer drama) with a set of strict rules, applying an even-handed scientific process to the banning of video nasties, then finding her life becoming one. It gets there gradually – the first death is almost an hour into the 83-minute movie. Hazy slow-mo traumatic flashbacks are not so good, the rest is fine, especially when a sleazy Michael Smiley shows up (she impales him on one of his own film awards). She ends up on a film set which is all a dream conspiracy. Didn’t totally work for me, but I appreciate postmodern takes on the schlocky horror movies more than people who revere the originals seem to.

I bailed on this after a couple scenes at Sundance, but only because I had work in the morning, not because I didn’t want to watch the rest. Still bugged by the new guy (Joel Fry of Paddington 2) being allowed into the lab unmasked before passing his array of pandemic-virus tests. He’s assigned a guide (folk-horror vet Ellora Torchia of Midsommar) and heads into the woods to do something or other, despite being bad at the outdoors, and hopefully run into his boss Dr. Wendell. There’s talk of underground network “like a brain” between trees, and later we’ll get a nice spore-releasing montage (the earth breathing) and ritual mushroom water – after A Field in England, it’s Wheatley’s second piece of mushroom art.

First they find Wendell’s ex Reece Shearsmith (The League of Gentlemen), who kidnaps them, then Wendell herself (Hayley Squires of Colin Burstead), who blasts the movie’s Clint Mansell score through tree-mounted speakers with accompanying strobe lights, and each tries to convince the newcomers that their ex is the crazy one. There’s a powerful ancient stone with a hole through it, and arguments over everyone’s intentions. Dr. Wendell claims both of the men were drawn towards her experiment when they contracted ringworm (a fungal infection: more mushrooms). When they finally enter the spore cloud, the movie goes psychedelic. Good pandemic movie – besides the plague in the cities, it is kinda about people going nuts in isolation.

Who’s crazy – mum?

Or dad?


And that’s it for SHOCKtober 2021. Final ranking:

1. Mad God
2. The Empty Man
3. Detention
4. The Devil’s Candy
5. Malignant
6. Office Killer
7. Final Destination
8. Parents

A good haunted house movie, much scarier than the 1970’s one, with some good demons and a new twist: the couple can’t move out of the extremely ghost-filled house because they’re Sudanese refugees who barely survived a treacherous boat ride that killed their daughter, and have been placed here by the government, their only chance to stay in Britain. He’s Sope Dirisu of the Snow White and the Huntsman sequel, and she’s Wunmi Mosaku of Lovecraft Country and the Wyatt Russell episode of Black Mirror. Ghosts in the house, crows in the walls and thugs outside, nowhere to hide. When he’s scraping off all the wallpaper and pulling out the wiring, and she’s trapped in the maze of their housing complex, I start wondering if they died at sea and England is hell, but they’ve got other secrets: their “daughter” was a girl they kidnapped to get preferential treatment while escaping. But instead of hell-vengeance, the wife kills the witch and they patch up the walls to please the housing people, and try to live in relative harmony with their racist neighbors and house full of spirits.

Wife, husband…

and daughter: