Tagged: Jeremy Thomas

The Last Impresario

Summary: Australian filmmaker Gracie Otto profiles perhaps the most famous person you’ve never heard of: Michael White. This larger-than-life theatre and film impresario single-handedly transformed the cultural scene of 1970’s London. Amongst the glitter and endless parties, White brought risqué productions such as The Rocky Horror Show to the stage, Monty Python’s The Holy Grail to the screen and introduced dance legends Merce Cunningham and Pina Bausch to the British masses.This is a fast and entertaining documentary with a stellar cast of famous friends and ex-lovers to boot including John Cleese, Yoko Ono, Naomi Watts, John Waters, Barry Humphries, Anna Wintour and Kate Moss.

Year: 2014

Australian Cinema Release Date: 26th June, 2014

Australian DVD Release Date: TBA

Country: Australia, UK, USA, France

Director: Gracie Otto

Screenwriter: Gracie Otto

Cast: Lou Adler (himself), Joanne Benjamin (herself), Michael Billington (himself), Gael Boglione (herself), Nell Campbell (herself), John Cleese (himself), Miranda Darling (herself), Peter Daubney (himself), Jessica de Rothschild (herself), Erro (himself), Harry Fane (himself), Alan Finkelstein (himself), Robert Fox (himself), Mirian Safia Haley (himself), Lyndall Hobbs (herself), Barry Humphries (himself), Jean-Jacques Lebel (himself), Rupert Lycett-Green (himself), Lorne Michaels (himself), Spike Milligan (himself), Kate Moss (herself), Michael Morris (himself), Richard O’Brien (himself), Bill Oddie (himself), Yoko Ono (herself), Gracie Otto (herself), Jean Pigozzi (himself), Nigel Planer (himself), Patricia Quinn (herself), Peter Richardson (himself), Julian Sands (himself), Jim Sharman (himself), Robert Shaye (himself), Meryl Tankard (herself), Jeremy Thomas (himself), Barnaby Thompson (himself), Brian Thomson (himself), Colin Vaines (himself), Leonie Van Ness (herself), John Waters (himself), Rachel Ward (herself), Naomi Watts (herself), Joshua White (himself), Michael White (himself), Anna Wintour (herself), Alan Yentob (himself), Richard Young (himself)

Runtime: 85 mins

Classification: TBA

 

OUR THE LAST IMPRESARIO REVIEWS & RATINGS:

 

Greg King: You can check out Greg’s The Last Impresario review on www.filmreviews.net.au

Stars(3.5)

 

Nick Gardener: You can check out Nick’s The Last Impresario review on The Good The Bad The Ugly Film Show Ep #85

Stars(3.5)

 

David Griffiths:

Michael White… ever heard of the name? If you are honest then the answer would be no, unless you have memorised a website like IMDB off by heart. It’s the premise that Michael White is the most famous person you’ve never heard of that actress turned filmmaker Gracie Otto uses to promote her first feature documentary The Last Impresario.

For those not in the know Michael White is a man who can walk into the Cannes Film Festival and instantly have members of the elite film groups fawn all over him. There is little chance that any serious film, theatre or television fan hasn’t seen at least one thing that he has produced at one stage in his life. From working with the likes of Yoko Ono on small alternative theatre pieces to producing the show that would eventually turn into the mammoth that we know as The Rocky Horror Picture Show it seems like Michael White has been there and worked with everyone. His work on some small theatre pieces and then television shows and films such as Monty Python also has many labelling him as one of the forefathers of modern comedy.

The White that Otto catches on film though is not the Michael White that once partied all night with the likes of Mick Jagger and Kate Moss. No the White we get to meet is a mild-mannered old man who series of strokes has left him with a speech impediment and has been lowered financially to the point of having to auction off some of his prized possessions including letters from the likes of John Cleese and Laurence Olivier. He is even coy about whether or not he still owns the rights to some of his best productions including The Rocky Horror Picture Show.

As a filmmaker Otto does a good job with The Last Impresario. Certainly any film or theatre fan is going to sit captivated as she tells the story of a man you almost feel guilty about not knowing. And while interviews with the likes of Barry Humphries, Kate Moss and John Cleese do give you a wonderful view inside both the business and personal life of Michael White you do start to get the feeling that Otto has perhaps relied too much on talking head interviews… especially when you consider just how flamboyant White was with his life.

Another really annoying trait of this documentary, and I know this is being really picky, is the way in which Otto asks the questions to White during his interviews. Because she hasn’t got a microphone near her for most of the time she simply yells the questions out. Yes it sounds like a small thing to have a gripe about, but it does become increasingly annoying and is certainly something that the top documentary film makers of our time would never, ever do.

Still The Last Impresario is a good documentary that will be loved by those who enjoy to learn a lot more about the cinema and theatre they have grown up. Cudos must be paid to Gracie Otto for being able to put together such an A-List of interviewees as well as being the first person brave enough to bring the Michael White story to the big screen. This is one for all the cinephiles out there.

Stars(2.5)

Average Subculture Rating (out of 5):  Stars(3)

IMDB Rating:  The Last Impresario (2013) on IMDb

Other Subculture Entertainment Reviews of ‘The Last Impresario′: For our full The Last Impresario review please check The Good The Bad The Ugly Film Show Ep #85

Trailer:

Seduced And Abandoned

Summary: Alec Baldwin and filmmaker James Toback are on a mission: to remake Bernardo Bertolucci’s legendary 1972 film Last Tango in Paris by setting it in Iraq in the mid-2000s. Hobnobbing their way around Cannes, the wisecracking duo meet up with a who’s who of the film industry , including Francis Ford Coppola, Martin Scorsese, Ryan Gosling and Bertolucci himself, as they try to find money, a script and a cast for their impossible idea.

Seduced and Abandoned is the delightful and utterly uncategorisable new pseudo-documentary from veteran director James Toback. A riff on the harsh economics of modern film turned unlikely buddy comedy, it’s a glimpse into the funny film business and a gleeful homage to a lost time when film was made for film’s sake.

Year: 2013

Australian Cinema Release Date: 8th May, 2014

Australian DVD Release Date: TBA

Country: USA

Director: James Toback

Screenwriter: James Toback

Cast: Alec Baldwin (himself), Berenice Bejo (herself), Bernardo Bertolucci (himself), James Caan (himself),Neve Campbell (herself), Jessica Chastain (herself), Francis Ford Coppola (himself), Scott Foundas (himself), Ryan Gosling (himself), Charlotte Kirk (herself), Diane Kruger (herself), Todd McCarthy (himself), Roman Polanski (himself), Ben Schneider (himself), Thorsten Schumacher (himself), Martin Scorsese (himself), Jeremy Thomas (himself)

Runtime: 98 mins

Classification: MA15+

OUR SEDUCED AND ABANDONED REVIEWS & RATINGS:

David Griffiths:

Seduced And Abandoned is a hard documentary to explain. Not just for this lowly reviewer but you get a feeling that even the guys responsible for this film may have some trouble trying to pinpoint what the exact focus of this documentary actually is. This reeks as the kind of film that may have sounded like a good idea when a group of friends got together over a few drinks, but sadly when it reaches the big screen it becomes a meandering film that was well deserved of the walk outs it received at the screening I was at.

At the heart of Seduced And Abandoned are film director James Toback (Tyson, When Will I Be Loved) and actor Alec Baldwin (Blue Jasmine, TV’S 30 Rock) who have come up with the idea of remaking the classic Last Tango In Paris but setting it in Bush-era Iraq. It seems the original concept of the documentary was show them travelling to the Cannes Film Festival on a mission to receive backing for the film, but somewhere along the way the film got railroaded and ended up becoming a look at the history of the Film Festival itself and also how the likes of Ryan Gosling, Roman Polanski and Martin Scorsese got their starts in Hollywood.

One of the things that makes Seduced And Abandoned such a strange documentary is that seems that Baldwin and Toback really wanted this to be the kind of film that really celebrates cinema. Certainly that seems to be what is happening when they sit down and talk to Polanski, Scorsese, Francis Ford Coppola and Bernardo Bertolucci, but during the film it actually begins to show the darkside of the industry – a side where people such as Neve Campbell and Oscar winner  Berenice Bejo find themselves as being described as ‘unmarketable.’

If Toback and Baldwin wanted Seduced And Abandoned to showcase themselves in the realm of a vanity piece then they certainly failed in their mission. Instead Toback comes across as a pushy director who believes that he deserves to be credited alongside the Scorseses and Coppolas of this world while Baldwin seems to be an actor who refuses to acknowledge that he is no longer a Hollywood leading man. At times this comes across as a poorly directed and cheaply edited wank fest, although it is kind of fun to watch as Baldwin gets put in his place by several producers and even an Australian film distributor.

Having said that though there are some highlights during Seduced And Abandoned. Hearing the likes of Ryan Gosling and Diane Kruger talking about what it means to be an actor in Hollywood these days is an interesting piece of cinema, as is hearing some of the legendary directors that we all look up to talking about their careers and what film-making means to them. Those interviews are absolutely priceless for young filmmakers out there.

Seduced And Abandoned ultimately fails at its major goals and is only made watchable by a couple of interviews that touch on some cinematic magic.

Stars(1)

Average Subculture Rating (out of 5): Stars(1)

IMDB Rating:  Seduced and Abandoned (2013) on IMDb

Other Subculture Media Reviews of ‘Seduced And Abandoned′: Nil.

Trailer: