Greetings! Have you ever wondered if a movie's worth blowing the money on to see at the theater or what to add next to your NetFlix queue? Then you've come to the right place! Enjoy!

"Absolut Warhola" DVD Review

 I'm going to save you 80 minutes of your life in case you are an Andy Warhol fan and are looking at this DVD of Absolut Warhola, the 2001 German-Polish documentary where director Stanislaw Mucha and his tiny crew journey to the eastern Slovakia town of Miková where Warhol's parents were from to interview surviving relatives, mostly cousins, whom he never met, though he sent them his works.

  • There's lots of aimless driving trying to even find Miková. There is also aimless hunting for mushrooms while pointing out long tapped oil wells in the woods.
  • A 90-year-old women heats water for coffee and it takes forever to heat and we get to see almost every minute of the process.
  • Babushkas seem to be the uniform for women.
  • There's a "Warhol doppelganger" who goes around and supposedly is meant to fool and/or delight the impoverished townspeople, but they don't get the joke.
  • His family refuses to believe he was gay and that the reason radical feminist terrorist Valerie Solanas shot him was because he refused to marry her.
  • The Andy Warhol Museum of Modern Art is in neighboring Medzilaborce and is in such poor shape that the roof leaks and the museum director openly asks for donations and gives out the bank account information. (I looked up the museum's website and they closed in March 2023 for massive renovations and hope to reopen by late-2024, so I guess the begging worked and only took nearly a quarter century.) They have a good selection of works that Warhol donated.
  • The local Gypsy population hates the museum because they aren't allowed to enter, supposedly due to racism. When asked about this, the museum director denies that it's racism, but that they don't bathe, smell bad, and damage and steal things and if they want to visit, just take a bath and don't steal things. 
  • This one guy likes to play his trumpet and we get to see him honking away several times at length.
  • One cousin relates a story about Warhol sending a suitcase full of art. They used it to "make trumpets" for the children and stored the rest in the attic. When a flood damaged the case, they threw it all away. 
  • They thought life was better under "socialism" meaning the Communist dictatorship because you could sleep in the park without being robbed.

The only thing that made this bearable was heckling it with the missus. The filmmakers don't even show a map to let us know where these boondocks locales are.

On the technical front, it's a non-anamorphic letterboxed presentation meaning on a current widescreen TV there will be bars on all sides. The quality of the 16mm photography is as blah as the landscapes. Audio is stereo and clear enough, but since it's just talking with subtitles, it's functional at best.

The only extra other than some trailers for other films is a brief "making of" piece which consists of video of the crew goofing off for a few minutes. It manages to be even less interesting than the feature.

Sometimes documentaries are meant for only the hardest core fans of a subject like Moonage Daydream was for David Bowie, but there are limits to irony, folks, and a tedious 80 minutes about people who never met Warhol who live in a place he never visited and barely associated with beyond sending some art is well past that line. What's next, a lengthy expedition to visit the distant cousins of the neighbors of the family who emigrated to America in the late-19th Century and whose descendant became the favorite drug dealer of 1980s Sunset Strip metal bands?

Score: 2/10. Skip it.


In case you don't believe me, I see someone posted the whole thing a few weeks ago. 

"WHAM!" Review

 The British pop duo Wham! (with the explanation point, as Deadpool explained) has a reputation slightly above Rick Astley's, mostly thought of "that silly pop thing George Michael was in before he went solo." The saxophone riff from "Careless Whisper" became the basis for the "Sexy Sax Man" prank videos which themselves were parodied by Saturday Night Live. So what can a Netflix documentary do to rehabilitate their image four decades later? Plenty.

 WHAM! is a tightly-focused recounting of how 12-year-old Andrew Ridgely befriended the new boy in school, Georgios Panayiotou - who rapidly gained the nickname "Yog" which stuck for life - in 1975 and they became besties who started writing songs together, formed WHAM! in 1981, and after some shaky early efforts, caught a break and then rocketed to the top of the charts, becoming global pop stars before deciding to split to free Michael to go solo after less than five years.

Bolstered by the archivist quality scrapbooks kept by Ridgely's mother tracing her son's career, WHAM! buzzes through their meteoric career with very few distractions. Even Michael's closeted status is handled matter of factly as an element of his and Ridgely's friendship with archived audio narration from Michael discussing how being a teen girl's pinup idol meant coming out publicly would be bad for business in the 1980s. It's also refreshing that no new interview footage or "music experts" opining about the group and it's meaning are loaded on top to tell us What It All Meant. It's just the duo and selected close family and associates contemporaneously telling their story.

 What WHAM! does best is correct the record for most people that Ridgely was just a lucky sod who rode Michaels' coattails until he was shaken off. I'd known that it was Ridgely who helped a young, shy, pudgy Cypriot boy get a sense of style and nurtured his musical growth, but because Michael blossomed like a nuclear blast during WHAM!'s brief run then released what was almost a greatest hits record with his debut, Faith (which had six of its nine tracks become hit singles), while Ridgely's musical career was effectively over with WHAM!'s end, his contribution to forming the group has gone mostly unappreciated.

Because WHAM! is intended to begin and end with the group itself, other than a title card mentioning how many records Michael sold as a solo artist, not much more of their lives or that their backup singers, Pepsi and Shirley, went on to UK pop stardom themselves is mentioned. Even Michael's death in 2016 is reserved for a post credits memorium.

So break out your neon leg warmers and big text message t-shirts and flashback to the Eighties for pure pop fizz.

Score: 8/10. Catch it on Netflix

"Wake Up Punk" Review

Why would anyone make a documentary about someone burning old clothes? They would when the clothes were the vintage creations of legendary fashion designer Vivienne Westwood and the arsonist is her son by notorious rock & roll swindler Malcolm McLaren, Joseph Corré, who with her blessing torched an estimated £6,000,000 worth of his punk rock memorabilia archive on a barge on the River Thames. Thus the aimless meandering documentary Wake Up Punk.

Combining footage of Westwood discussing the origins of the pieces that would be put to the torch with weird Oliver Twist-esque scenes of Dickensian ragamuffins discussing politics, there is an air of irony deficiency as a wealthy child of privilege - Corré also co-founded the Agent Provocateur lingerie line - and his mother try to pretend that burning the past will create a better future when there is no future really to be made from mindless destruction of the Old Ways. 

Also, it's pretty darn ironic that they are protesting the ManBearPig hoax and demanding "green energy" (which never includes nuclear for some reason) by SETTING A BUNCH OF STUFF ON FIRE AND RELEASING SMOKE AND CO2!!!! Save the planet, my arse. As opinionated loudmouth Henry Rollins remarked on the event, "Corré and Westwood might think they have taught everyone a lesson in what punk’s all about, but all they did was show off their massive egos and how much they’ve lost the plot. Maybe it was something else, too. Perhaps it was an emotional response to the fact that McLaren cut Corré out of his will. It doesn’t matter now. It’s yesterday’s garbage. Ooh, how punk." Well said, Hank.

 Unless you already know the history of the Sex Pistols, Westwood and McLaren, you won't really learn much from Wake Up Punk other than self-important people seek to make themselves important. The documentary also fails on the most basic level because it wasn't until I looked up Corré's Wikipedia page that I learned this burning took place in 2016. The film is dated 2022 and must've been completed ahead of Westwood's death in December that year for there's no acknowledgement of her passing.

Score: 4/10. Skip it.

DirkFlix. Copyright 2010-2015 Dirk Omnimedia Inc. All rights reserved.
Free WordPress Themes Presented by EZwpthemes.
Bloggerized by Miss Dothy