12 items from 2015
Johnny Rotten grabs the microphone and lurches forward, his pimply face grinning into the camera. Next to him, Steve Jones is miming (or mocking) guitar-hero moves, while Sid Vicious hunches over his bass, surly as ever. The grainy footage carbon-dates to the tail end of 1977, right before the band was about to embark on their notorious U.S. tour and then implode. It's Christmas Day in the Northern city of Huddersfield, and will turn out to be the penultimate U.K. performance for the seminal punk band. They launch into »
“Bloody hell, man, I’m supposed to be dead!” Following the recent London premiere of Julien Temple’s latest kaleidoscopic documentary, Wilko Johnson played a sweat-streaked gig at the 100 Club on Oxford Street, strutting up and down the small stage like a berserker, swapping gleeful looks with the great Blockheads bassist, Norman Watt-Roy, machine-gunning the audience with the staccato strumming of his black Telecaster. It was an extraordinary show, made all the more remarkable by the fact that Johnson wasn’t supposed to be there at all. Indeed, Temple’s unexpectedly celebratory film began life as a chronicle of a death foretold, doctors having given Wilko less than a year to live following a diagnosis of pancreatic cancer in 2012. Yet here he was – larger than life, stranger than fiction, »
- Mark Kermode, Observer film critic
★★★☆☆ "If it's gonna kill me, I don't want it to bore me." It's an apparently novel way to approach a diagnosis with terminal pancreatic cancer, but is precisely the one adopted by Wilko Johnson. Most famous for being the wide-eyed berserker hopping around the stage for Dr. Feelgood in the 70s, his response to the Big C 'verdict' (as he refers to it) is now the subject of a new documentary by Julien Temple. Temple's Oil City Confidential (2009) told the story of the punk-influencing band and their emergence from Canvey Island, but The Ecstasy of Wilko Johnson (2015) pays little heed to musical legacy. This is a moving portrait of a remarkable man, which is at its most effective when it just lets him speak.
- CineVue UK
"If it's going to kill me," says Wilko Johnson, influential British rock guitarist, and subject of Julien Temple's new documentary, "I don't want it to bore me." He's speaking of his shock diagnosis with terminal pancreatic cancer in his mid-60s, after which he was given ten months to live, and enjoyed, in his own words, "the most extraordinary year of my life." Onetime punk-scene filmmaker Temple (who also directed "Absolute Beginners" and "Earth Girls Are Easy" back in the '80s) has filmed Johnson, onetime punk-scene spiritual godfather, before -- in 2009's "Oil City Confidential," his documentary on Johnson's most well-known band Dr. Feelgood. And perhaps that's why Temple is content to refer to Johnson's musical talent and legacy only in passing in 'Ecstasy.' This is a film about a man, not a legend, and indeed it is the man who emerges as bigger than movie as a result. »
- Jessica Kiang
Variety’s critics reveal their choices for the publication’s annual Critics’ Choice sidebar at the Karlovy Vary Intl. Film Festival, which runs July 3-11.
Director: Nicolas Steiner
A mesmerizing plunge into the damaged psyches of five characters floating by on the margins of American society — from a couple scraping by in a Las Vegas drainage tunnel to the young woman determined to be among the first crew to colonize Mars — this remarkable graduation film serves as a perfect companion piece to the wave of post-apocalyptic stories flooding TV and megaplexes. The latest (and best) in an unlikely subgenre of not-quite-documentaries to spring up around the desolate expanse beyond California’s Inland Empire, the pic delves into a patch of the American frontier that appears even less inhabitable now than it did in the time of John Ford classics. These dried-up lakes and sun-scorched vistas offer fertile soil for the artistic-minded, »
- Variety Staff
Julien Temple, with his numerous music documentaries behind him - many involving his pals, The Sex Pistols - may be no stranger to the rock documentary, but there is nothing quite like his new film, The Ecstasy of Wilko Johnson. For one, even though the film is about his dear friend Wilko Johnson, with its meditation on life, death, and the meaning we assign to this thing we call living, Ecstasy is Temple's most personal film to date.The project arose upon receiving the tragic news that his good friend Wilko Johnson, former Dr. Feelgood front man, had been told he had only 10 months to live. His initial interviews with Johnson had less to do with making a film than they did documenting the final...
[Read the whole post on twitchfilm.com...]
A stunning memoir of Wilko Johnson as he faces the final months of his suddenly abbreviated life, Julien Temple’s The Ecstasy of Wilko Johnson gives the undeniably influential British musician the opportunity to document his intelligent philosophies life and death. Staying true to the punk ethos of living today as if there will be no tomorrow, Johnson opts to enjoy every single moment of his final months. Whether it be keenly observing the world around him or performing on stage, Johnson’s unwavering stoicism is nothing but commendable. We chatted with Temple shortly after his documentary's premiere at SXSW 2015 to talk about death and punk rock, but not the death of punk rock. »
- Don Simpson
Having already captured the legend of Wilko Johnson's musical history in Oil City Confidential, while also staying true to Johnson's mantra of living in the present, Julien Temple opts not to give much backstory on Johnson. The Ecstasy of Wilko Johnson serves solely as a vehicle for Johnson to discuss his approach to dying. In this context, Johnson could be anyone; Johnson's message -- for which Temple's documentary is the medium -- has nothing to do with the rock and roll legend of his past. The Ecstasy of Wilko Johnson is not about a rockstar, it is about an everyman confronted by impending death. It serves as a lesson for us all to reevaluate the way that we approach life now, not when we realize that it is too late. »
- Don Simpson
This movie may have saved my life. Let me explain. Not too long ago, Wilko Johnson was told he would die. The musician, a co-founder of pioneering British pub-rock band Dr. Feelgood, received a diagnosis of inoperable, terminal pancreatic cancer. As you might imagine, it sent his world a-spinning. But after giving it some thought, he declined chemotherapy, which might extend his life a couple of months, and chose to enjoy what little time he had left, come what may. For him, that meant (mostly) making more music. His decision forms the basis of The Ecstasy of Wilko Johnson, a new documentary by Julien Temple that begins from a point of bleakness and quickly expands into a thing of grace and beauty. And, as it...
[Read the whole post on twitchfilm.com...]
A diagnosis of terminal cancer and a prognosis of only months to live would dampen even the most fiery of spirits. But most people aren't made of the stuff of Wilko Johnson. The cult British musician defied the odds, survived his illness, and inspired many with his journey. The upcoming documentary "The Ecstasy Of Wilko Johnson," premiering at SXSW, tells his story. Directed by Julien Temple ("Joe Strummer: The Future Is Unwritten"), the film chronicles what would've been Wilko Johnson's farewell tour, until he was given another chance to keep living and performing. It was an eye-opening experience for Johnson, whose amazement and positivity are keenly felt in this exclusive trailer. "The Ecstasy Of Wilko Johnson" will have its first screening at SXSW on Friday, March 13th at the Alamo Lamar B. Watch below. »
- Kevin Jagernauth
Hot projects new to Screenbase include Nicolas Winding Refn feature The Neon Demon, Pope Francis biopic Francisco, Brady Corbet’s directorial debut The Childhood Of A Leader and a new adaptation by Wim Wenders.Nicolas Winding Refn’s The Neon Demon
Principal photography will begin in Los Angeles on March 30. Gaumont and Wild Bunch are co-selling the title.
Brady Corbet’s [link »
- email@example.com (Maud Le Rest)
Exclusive: Moviehouse boards The Ecstasy of Wilko Johnson.
The Essential Arts/Nitrate Film Production doc, from producers Richard Conway and Andrew Curtis, follows the remarkable story of acclaimed musician Wilko Johnson who was told he only had months to live after being diagnosed with pancreatic cancer but staged a remarkable recovery while still managing to tour.
The film is in the latter stages of post-production and will premiere at SXSW this March.
Director Temple said: “I was astonished by Wilko on Oil City Confidential when I realised the depth of his eccentricity and wisdom and wanted to celebrate the inspirational way he dealt with his death sentence, and in the end he confounded us all.”
Mark Vennis of Moviehouse added: “We are delighted and excited to bring this unique and cinematic story to the »
- firstname.lastname@example.org (Andreas Wiseman)
12 items from 2015
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