MINISERIES/'60S CLASIC ROCK
Beatles fans can’t get enough of this Peter Jackson-directed three-part series, despite its nearly eight-hour length (it was recorded over a 22-day period in January 1970). Based on footage shot by Michael Lindsay-Hogg’s crew during the Let It Be movie rehearsal sessions, Get Back reveals what really made the band tick and what ultimately caused their breakup. By ’69, tensions were running high; George Harrison wanted more participation and John Lennon introduced Yoko Ono to the mix. Still, Lennon proves to the be the glue that held the Beatles together for that long with his humor and intellect. McCartney’s Let It Be hits dominate the series, from “The Long and Winding Road,” to “Get Back to “Let It Be.” When Harrison’s mates pass on “All Things Must Pass” (it would become the title song of his first solo album in 1970), the sensitive guitarist stages a walkout. Billy Preston arrives mid-recording and adds R&B flourishes on electric piano. The best part of this deep dive is watching the Beatles construct songs, the give and take between Lennon, McCartney and Harrison. Get Back culminates with the famous London rooftop concert on January 30, 1970. There are a few drug references, though no pot is visibly smoked (many cigarettes are and even McCartney chokes down cigars). In one scene, Harrison blurts out, “Legalize pot.” The Fab Four officially parted ways in 1970 after the release of Let It Be.
The Evening Hour
In a year of opioid dramas, Braden King’s picture stands out. Heroin and pills have turned a small West Virginia coal-mining town upside-down. Studying to be a nurse and working at a facility, Cole (Phillip Ettinger) helps some of his addicted friends by dipping into the on-site pharmacy. A local dealer doesn’t like Cole’s meddling and soon they’re in the middle of a life-and-death struggle. It’s a depressing story told over and over again, how America’s heartland became overwhelmed with dope. Veteran actor Lili Taylor plays Cole’s mom.
A rogue social worker and an ex-con face off in Michele Civetta’s action flick. Mike (Zach Avery) gets out of jail unreformed, and dives back into a life of crime. But when he botches a drug heist, all hell breaks loose. Assigned to Mike’s family, Parker (Shea Whigham) becomes too close to the case and continues to work on it even after he’s fired. Caught between mad Mike and helpful Parker, Mike's wife Dahlia (Olivia Munn) and daughter Ashley (Taegen Burns) become pawns in the increasingly ugly and dangerous dispute involving a knapsack full of heroin. However, unlike in Trainspotting, no one walks away with the dope. Bruce Dern’s turn as Parker’s aging father is a highlight.
The Get Together
Will Bakke’s house-party movie takes its cues from Dazed and Confused and another Austin classic, Rock Opera. Overlapping stories converge at the rager. Only a cameo from Matthew McConaughey is missing, though there is this throwaway line: “I dropped acid with Mathew McConaughey’s cousin at ACL.” (That’s a reference to the Austin City Limits Festival.) Betsy (Joanna Braddy) and Damien (Jacob Artist) show up unannounced, setting off a series of problems. It all builds to a disappointing third act. However, the local scenery and overall rock & roll vibe makes for a fun movie. Some of the other characters worth noting are rocker Caleb (Alejandro Rose-Garcia), jokester Lucas (Chad Werner) and sad-sack August (Courtney Parchman).