Movies

Now showing in Taos: ‘Yesterday’

Gimmicky premise gives way to a reminder of what geniuses were The Beatles

By Rick Romancito
tempo@taosnews.com
Posted 6/30/19

In the movie, "Yesterday," an average joe wakes up one day to a world in which everyone but him has no idea The Beatles ever existed. 

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Movies

Now showing in Taos: ‘Yesterday’

Gimmicky premise gives way to a reminder of what geniuses were The Beatles

Posted

In the movie, "Yesterday," an average joe wakes up one day to a world in which everyone but him has no idea The Beatles ever existed. 

I suppose if given the chance there are probably a lot of popular music bands an average listener might not have any problem forgetting if given the opportunity.

I mean, imagine a world without [fill in the blank]? No more songs about [fill in the blank] or if he or she ran off with [fill in the blank]. But, the sad thing is, people forget all the time. Here in Taos you could ask who remembers The Refrigerators? Or Yogi Odis? Or the Oriental Blue Streaks? Maybe somebody way in the back of the bar might shout "Hey, man, I 'member them!" But, most would go "huh?" 

In this movie, though, it's The Beatles, probably the most iconic band the world has ever known. Or, at least, known to folks older than MTV (when it started out playing music videos). How could you possibly not know them? For Director Danny Boyle it was as easy as putting together a monumental licensing deal that would allow him to pepper his soundtrack with their songs.

It’s a fantasy, of course, built around a gimmicky concept that, like other films by Boyle, serves as an allegory about fame, personal responsibility and honesty in a world that eats up that stuff like seriously unhealthy snack food.

Himesh Patel stars as Jack Malik, a British average joe musician who is very close to hanging up his guitar because no one seems interested in his music. The only one who is interested is his longtime agent and biggest fan, Ellie Appleton (Lily James), whom he’s known since they were teens and with whom he’s had a kind of will-they-won’t-they kind of closeness.

One night, there is a worldwide blackout during which Jack is involved in a traffic accident. When he awakens, he discovers that he has two teeth missing and the world is missing The Beatles. That’s not all. He also discovers that no one has ever heard of Coca-Cola or even cigarettes. But, it’s The Beatles that create the biggest puzzlement, especially after people around him start lavishing Jack with praise for performing songs by Lennon and McCartney only he can remember.

You can imagine the fame that soon begins to come his way and the personal issues that arise for him, his friends, and certainly for Ellie, and how they all begin to push away the nagging self-loathing Jack feels for taking credit for something that isn’t his. It is, however, a very funny movie. Boyle is expert at creating situations that are played straight but are enormously comedic.

Highly recommended, especially since you’ll be dying to listen to “Hey Jude” on the way home.

Co-stars include Kate McKinnon; Ed Sheeran, who plays himself; and Michael Kiwanuka, who appeared in Taos as a performer during the legendary Alabama Shakes concert in Kit Carson Park a few years back.

Tempo grade: B+

“Yesterday” is rated PG-13 for suggestive content and language.

It is screening daily at Mitchell Storyteller 7 Theatres, 110 Old Talpa Cañón Road. For show times, tickets and additional information, call (575) 751-4245 or visit storyteller7.com.

Also showing in Taos

Amazing Grace

MPAA rating: G for all audiences

Taos Community Auditorium

This film, originally directed by Sydney Pollack, features definitive soul-gospel vocalist Aretha Franklin recording her 1972 live album of the same name, and co-stars James Cleveland, C. L. Franklin, Bernard Purdie, and Chuck Rainey, with cameos by Mick Jagger and Charlie Watts of the Rolling Stones.

It was filmed and recorded at the New Temple Missionary Baptist Church in Los Angeles in 1972. Franklin is accompanied by the Southern California Community Choir, directed by Alexander Hamilton, seated behind her as she sings from the church's lectern to a mostly African-American audience.

Cleveland appears as a featured singer and a piano accompanist. Franklin is also accompanied by Purdie on drums and Rainey on bass guitar.

There were big plans for this film when originally conceived. It was to have been released as an accompaniment to Franklin’s record album, which itself went on to great acclaim. But, because director Pollack had no experience shooting music documentary films, he failed to use clappers for his 20 hours of 16mm footage.

When this movie was made, images and sound were captured separately on celluloid and audio tape. This system required a clapper board snap at the beginning of shots in order to synchronize them. Without that one element, shots could not be matched with the sound, so even after a herculean effort to fix it, Warner Bros. wound up shelving the movie, according to imdb.com.

Pollack, however, never gave up on the project. In 2007, dying of cancer, Pollack finally handed the documentary project over to producer and music enthusiast Alan Elliott, who worked with sound editor Serge Perron who successfully synchronized the sound with all of the film footage.

While that might have been the end of the film’s travails, Franklin herself sued Elliott for appropriating her likeness without permission. “After Franklin's original release contract was discovered at the Warner Bros. offices,” according to a Wikipedia entry, “Elliott decided to release the film at the Telluride Film Festival, Toronto International Film Festival, and Chicago International Film Festival in 2015. Franklin sued him again, this time for unknown reasons, and was granted an emergency injunction against the Telluride screening, saying she had not given permission to screen the footage.”

It wasn’t until after Franklin’s death in 2018 that her family finally made an arrangement to release the film.

“Amazing Grace” will be screened at 2 p.m. Sunday (June 30) and at 7 p.m. Monday through Wednesday (July 1-3) at the Taos Community Auditorium, 145 Paseo del Pueblo Norte. For tickets and additional information, call (575) 758-2052 or visit tcataos.org.

Annabelle Comes Home

MPAA rating: R for horror violence and terror.

Mitchell Storyteller 7 Theatres

Determined to keep demonically-possessed doll, Annabelle, from wreaking more havoc, paranormal investigators Ed and Lorraine Warren (Vera Farmiga and Patrick Wilson) lock the possessed doll in the artifacts room in their house. But when the doll awakens the room's evil spirits, it soon becomes an unholy night of terror for the couple's 10-year-old daughter (Mckenna Grace), her friends and their young baby sitter (Madison Iseman).

Directed by Gary Dauberman, this film is loosely based on the experiences of the late paranormal investigators who were considered the leading the authorities on this phenomena.

It is screening daily at Mitchell Storyteller 7 Theatres, 110 Old Talpa Cañón Road. For show times, tickets and additional information, call (575) 751-4245 or visit storyteller7.com.

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