CBGB
2013, XLrator Media, 101 min, USA, Dir: Randall Miller

Originally a “Country, BlueGrass and Blues” club, CBGB became the epicenter of the New York alternative-music scene in the mid-1970s. With a policy of booking virtually any band that played original music, club owner Hilly Kristal (portrayed in the film by Alan Rickman) opened his doors to groups like Ramones, Blondie, Talking Heads, Television and others long before anyone had ever heard of punk rock or new wave. The cast includes such veterans as Bradley Whitford and Rupert Grint, but - appropriately for a film about an incubator of musicians - most of the actors in CBGB are at the beginnings of their screen careers. And need we mention the killer soundtrack?


BOB AND THE MONSTER
2013, Shaker Films, 89 min, USA, Dir: Keirda Bahruth

As leader of Thelonious Monster, Bob Forrest was the toast of Los Angeles’ indie-rock scene in the late 1980s, but his life was, to borrow one of the group’s album titles, a beautiful mess. Like many musicians, Forrest faced a life-threatening struggle with addiction, finally achieving sobriety after years in and out of rehab and becoming one of the most influential drug counselors in the country. This award-winning documentary blends archival performance footage, animation and recent interviews (including testimony from rockers Courtney Love, Anthony Kiedis, Flea of Red Hot Chili Peppers and many others) to profile this troubled but hopeful soul whose message is as vital as his music.


THE GREAT ROCK ’N’ ROLL SWINDLE
1980, Virgin Films, 103 min, UK, Dir: Julien Temple

“To be bad is good. To be good is simply boring.” - Malcolm McLaren. The urge to self-mythologize is written into rock's DNA and in 1978 the Sex Pistols story - who did what for whom, and why - was still up for grabs. THE GREAT ROCK ’N’ ROLL SWINDLE is manager Malcolm McLaren's attempt to write himself into history as the band's creator, manipulator and ideologue, and to steal back from the music industry what he felt it had stolen from rock & roll. Julien Temple's bizarre and hilarious fictional documentary charts the rise and fall of punk's most notorious band through the eyes of its calculating manager. Mixing animation and live footage of some of the Pistols' most electrifying performances, the film presents the band's success as an elaborate scam perpetrated by McLaren to make "a million pounds" at the expense of record companies, outraged moralists, the British royal family, and even the fans and band members themselves.


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