Review: Best

A mostly successful portrait of the Norther Irish footballer explores his explosive sporting highs and dark personal lows.

Hailing from Belfast, he crossed the Irish sea and was playing for Matt Busby‘s Manchester United by the age of 17.

Then began a dizzy spell of sumptuous football: an FA Cup win for the club in 1963, two First Division titles in 1965 and 1967 either side of a famous performance in 1966 away to Lisbon’s Benfica, and then a dramatic European Cup win in 1968, again against the aforementioned Portuguese powerhouse.

Ironically, this win marked a gradual decline for both club and player as United did not win a league title for another 25 years and would only regain the European Cup in 1999.

As for Best, he would endure a shattering descent into depression and alcoholism, with parts of the British press painting him into a corner as a celebrity party animal.

He later said: “The whole thing became a total nightmare”

Although director Daniel Gordon adopts a mostly chronological approach, he doesn’t shy away from the pain of his private life that continued to dog him as he became a wandering footballer for hire in the USA and around the world during the 1970s and 80s.

Among a raft of smoothly edited archive footage, there are some key interviews woven throughout: a sad lament from close United teammate Paddy Crerand, plus testimony from former wives Angie and Alex, who reveal the tumult of living with Best.

The film doesn’t really go far enough in exploring the full extent of the physical and mental abuse he reportedly inflicted on them, but still deserves praise for getting them in front of the camera to broach the subject.

At the time of his death in 2005, Best was a forlorn figure who had undergone a liver transplant and yet still continued to drink.

One might have thought there was not much more to say about George Best. But for veteran observers or newcomers to his life and career, this is a solid place to start.

> Find out more about George Best at Wikipedia
> Buy the film on DVD or Blu-ray at Amazon UK

Interview: Chris Cornell on Casino Royale

With the sad news of his death yesterday aged 52, I was reminded of an interview I did in 2006 with the late Soundgarden and Audioslave singer Chris Cornell.

He was chosen to perform singing duties on that year’s Bond film, Casino Royale, which also saw a new actor cast as the iconic spy.

You could not wish to meet a nicer and more urbane rock star and my initial scepticism about a former grunge singer performing duties on a Bond film were immediately wiped away.

The subsequent doubts about the 007 reboot (a lot was riding on it) were wiped away as Daniel Craig triumphed as the British secret agent and the film garnered rave reviews and a massive worldwide gross of $599m.

Listen to the interview here:

> Find out more about Casino Royale (2006)
> BBC News on Chris Cornell’s death, aged 52

DVD & Blu-ray Picks: May 2017

DVD & BLU-RAY

Tampopo – The Criterion Collection (Sony Pictures Home Ent.) / http://amzn.to/2qOwl2E

A Monster Calls (20th Century Fox Home Entertainment) / http://amzn.to/2rnL5Tb

My Life As a Dog (Arrow Films) / http://amzn.to/2qp8m8N

Silence (Elevation Sales) / http://amzn.to/2pTA36i

12 Angry Men – The Criterion Collection (Sony Pictures Home Ent.) / http://amzn.to/2qti74p

La La Land (Elevation Sales) / http://amzn.to/2qOTSk7

Mad Max: Fury Road – Black and Chrome Edition (Warner Home Video) / http://amzn.to/2qpjRNU

Manchester By the Sea (Elevation Sales) / http://amzn.to/2qpkfM3

Truck Turner (Trinity Creative Partnership) / http://amzn.to/2qpr0xBi

Mulholland Drive (Elevation Sales) / http://amzn.to/2qOClIz

Kraftwerk: The Catalogue 3D (Parlophone Records) / http://amzn.to/2qtbYF6

Fahrenheit 451 (Universal Pictures) / http://amzn.to/2qpgaHR

Toni Erdmann (Elevation Sales) / http://amzn.to/2pTWfgB

Mirror (Artificial Eye) / http://amzn.to/2pWMDGN

> George Miller interview at IndieWire on the Fury Road Chrome Edition
> Roger Ebert’s Great Movies: Crimes and Misdemeanors
> Kenneth Lonergan, Casey Affleck and Lucas Hedges Discuss Manchester By The Sea at AOL
> DP/30 interview with writer-director Damien Chazelle on La La Land