27 of 28 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating Documentary
I saw the film in the cinema and enjoyed it as a psychological insight into Mr Baker and as, what seemed to me to be, a really good piece of film making. Old footage was intelligently intercut with modern stuff. There was a good sense of his early life, musical influences and of his own music-making. I swung between liking and disliking Mr Baker as a person. His...
Published 18 months ago by Mary Rice
0 of 3 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Poor quality.
This was a big disappointment! Fist of all the sound. The recording was done with one small camera with microphone on the camera. That makes it very hard to balance the sound on your system. If only text would be able, it could be possible to get most of the dialogue. Do not waste your money. Buy a biography.
Published 6 months ago by John Harald Bjerk
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27 of 28 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating Documentary,
I saw the film in the cinema and enjoyed it as a psychological insight into Mr Baker and as, what seemed to me to be, a really good piece of film making. Old footage was intelligently intercut with modern stuff. There was a good sense of his early life, musical influences and of his own music-making. I swung between liking and disliking Mr Baker as a person. His championing of black particularly African music and its exponents, who were often challenging the rulers of their own countries, contrasted with his polo playing with an exploitative African elite; a man of great contradictions. The most difficult bit for me re his personality was how badly he treated his wives and kids. He seemed to have been greatly under the influence of various substances for so long, which put him somewhere out there in hyperspace; and also under the influence of his only real true love - music. And yet despite his casual cruelty to family, aggression and rudeness I kind of liked the man.
There is a great deal of explicit swearing, so not suitable for young kids or anyone likely to be offended by this.
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Beware the ego!,
This documentary will not please those who hold in their heads a picture, image, impression of Baker as a simple & gifted uber cool drummer ................ take the time to let the messages sink in and what you get is a bully, a whimp, a misogynist and a very insecure man. Yes, without doubt he is perhaps the most gifted drummer to date - the line up of greats who sing his praises atest to his reputation. Bottom line - great drummer. total egocentric waster. Worth watching? Well, yes not least of which to remind us that genius is often blighted by stupidity.
17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Compelling and uncompromising - Beware of what you're missing!,
I was lucky enough to see the limited release in my local cinema yesterday, and I am still buzzing!
This is NOT easy viewing, and the 15 rating is to be taken seriously - if you want to show the kids your hero then let them see Cream's farewell concert or an Airforce DVD if you can get one.
I thought I knew a lot about Mr Baker, but I never knew he was bullied at school or is a polo fanatic (most of his money goes on buying stablefuls of polo ponies, apparently! (Probably should have read the book)
Don't be taken in by the list of "guests" - the real interviews are with Ginger's family, and especially his son.
If you want to join Ginger on the roller coaster of his amazing life, with some concert footage that I imagined had long since been lost, then you must buy this.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Strange brew,
Rock biopics aren't to everyone's taste, but I generally quite like them, and this one benefits from having as its subject a genuine rock legend about whom little is generally known and there is a real story to tell. Ginger Baker is best known as the wild-eyed, mad-haired, flame-bearded drummer with `60s supergroup Cream, but he has roamed the musical (and geographical) landscape before and since, leaving a heroin-tinged trail of destruction wherever he has gone, alienating pretty much the whole world in the process.
Documentary maker Jay Bulger himself has an interesting story to tell: of how he blagged his way into Ginger Baker's now necessarily reclusive world by posing as a journalist with Rolling Stone, thereby scoring an interview which he then ingeniously managed to get Rolling Stone to publish, launching his own rock career. In this film Bulger returns to Baker and, despite being tempted in early exchanges, manages to keep himself well out of the frame for most of the rest of the film.
What Bulger comes up with is a cleverly constructed biopic which pivots around a series of filmed interviews with Baker, now a frail old man with osteoarthritis, and more or less in penniless exile on a South African ranch. His eyes may be dim but Baker has lost none of his irrascibility - Bulger sustains a nasty bleeding nose at one point for suggesting he will be talking to former band mates - and is a magnetic subject. The back story - which includes Alex Korner, the Graham Bond Organisation, Cream, Blind Faith, Public Image Limited and of course Ginger Baker's Air Force, as well as a number of drum duels with legends of the jazz scene is filled in around the interviews with stills and archive footage, interviews with every rock luminary you could possibly ask for, and a series of ingenious animations to fill those parts of the narrative where cameras weren't on hand. Pristine recordings of Baker's distinctive drumming accompany and occasionally punctuate the narrative: the superimposition of falling London bombs, from which the infant baker was sheltered while his father was away at a war from which he did not return, over Baker's buckshot snare work, is striking.
For all his troubling personal behaviour, Ginger Baker remains the purist's choice: when presented with a comparison, Eric Clapton is surprisingly blunt in his dismissal of Baker's contemporaries John Bonham and Keith Moon.
As with all rock biographies, there are portions of Baker's story which are less inherently interesting than others, and here this presents in a somewhat flatter middle section where we learn about Baker's developing passion for, of all things, polo, in the pursuit of which the drummer has seemingly exported horses across three continents. Despite having fathered a number of children and even in his advancing years Ginger Baker is not the reconciling type, so the picture lacks a grand warm reunion conclusion but the picture we're left with, of a profoundly gifted, troubled, self-destructive and man, is never less than engaging.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Dance with the devil,
Without doubt this is an intrigueing rock-u-mentary. Considering it's subject Jay Bulger does a wonderful job of securing footage and information that both intrigues and begs you to keep watching. As a kid growing up in the early seventes it was Zep, Sabbath and Purple that really caught my interest. The Who and Cream I didn't really get into. So subsequently I didn't know much about Baker apart from the fact he was a top end drummer. So I thought this would be a good opportunity to catch up on a hole in my musical knowledge. It doesn't pull any punches and nor does it try to dress Baker up as something he's not. He is without doubt an exception and ground breaking drummer, a talent he has persued at the expense of everything else it seems (apart from drugs and polo ponies ).
Bulger interweaves his time with Baker (as he spends time living with him ) with historical footage of the musican and other up to date interviews with the various people who have been instrumental in his life. He does this very effectively and the documentry has a good balanced feeling and continuity about it.
I'm not one of these people who ignore people's misgivings because of a wonderful talent they have, as such Baker is an exception talent but a thoroughly objectionable person who seems to have let everyone down in his life apart from his animals. And for many ardent fans of Baker I'm sure this is the elephant in the room here.
Bulger's persistance gets Baker to open up about many aspects of his life, but you rarely feel any warmth during these inter changes...there's a coldness , almost detached feeling to some of the answers he gives.
if I was being judged as a man at the end of my life it would be by what my children thought of me and certainly not by what John ' look at me I'm being controversial again' Lydon thought of me.
How sad then that his siblings were seen desperately trying to say something remotely nice about their Father and looked almost as confused as I was as to how some one could be so cold and distant to them.
Non the less though this is a very well put together, raw and thought provoking work.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Ginger Baker and his life.,
For all true Ginger Baker and musician and drummer fans, this is an excellently informative and extremely interesting dvd about Ginger, and the many things that have happened to him in his life. In this dvd he certainly lives up to his reputation of being a hard and nasty person who was difficult to work with, but on the drumming side he is perfection and this dvd shows why many musicians put up with his cantankerous ways, just to be able to play with such a great drummer. Now age and lifestyle decisions have caught up with him, but his presence is still awesome. Rock on Ginger.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent History and Insight to a Major Musician,
I am a big Cream fan, an amateur drummer and had read Ginger's autobiography, so viewing this film was a must.
His background is covered very well, and there are great early music clips and interviews with contemporary musicians (and ex-wives). As is well known, Ginger is a rather singular character, and this film brings this out very clearly! I was interested to hear how much he made from the Cream Reunion, and how he managed to blow this money. His (achieved) desire to be respected by the great jazz drummers was particularly touching. Eric Clapton's various contributions were insightful and warm.
I hugely enjoyed this film, and I guess like most people couldn't help but despair of his inability to get on with people or handle his financial affairs with even a little practical judgement. But grateful (and surprised!) that the Cream lasted as long as it did. I hope Ginger has a settled last phase of his life back in GB, and appreciate his contribution to the music that I love.
4.0 out of 5 stars forget the 2000s notions of 'wild child'....this is it!,
A timely reminder of the phenomenon that this 'force of nature' represents.
As one who was a teenager in the sixties it reminds and charts the amazing Cream/Blind Faith eras, as well as the previous Graham Bond and 'Jazz 'elements in popular music ,possibly now overlooked . It would not be too much to suggest Ginger Baker revolutionised Western popular music as much as the Beatles or Jimi Hendrix-certainly far mire than most of us realise. I would imagine many who see this will go ahead and also get hold of the documentary on his trip to west Africa-where drumming is traditional -and far ,far more sophisticated and intricate than most Westerners realise.
4.0 out of 5 stars Be on your guard at all times!,
The title describes it precisely.
As Simon Kirke (ex Free) says during the course of the film, Ginger Baker the drummer was a source of inspiration from whom he learned a great deal, however Ginger Baker the person had less to recommend him.
Ginger Baker's drumming ( and Ginger Baker talking about drumming) is inspiring, but I was glad that I was sat in the safety of my front room when Ginger Baker the person was on display. Not quite "behind the sofa" stuff, rather behind riot shield stuff whist wearing ear defenders.
Nevertheless, it was .worth watching for the wonderful drumming by Ginger.
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Beware Of Mr Baker (DVD),
Beware Of Mr Baker is a film that tells the story of Ginger Baker warts and all with a few exceptions where Ginger clearly did not want told in the film. I can imagine he was not an easy man to interview and at the time of the film making Ginger was clearly not a happy man as he was about to lose his horses and home.
Ginger made some terrible mistakes in his life and has trouble discussing these or simply does not discuss them. I like the honesty and the interviews with his family and friends, that is what makes this film so interesting as does the magnificent video footage of Baker in action with Cream, his other musical projects and one session that I found mesmerising was the playing he did in Africa in the early 1970s, that clearly was some of his most exciting musical work and its a shame he did not put more into this and create a whole new chapter in his career.
Ginger Baker seems to be a very angry and difficult man to deal with but at times you can see he is also a bit of a softy when he wants to be.
I was hoping personally for some complete footage of some of his best music and some discussion about his time with Hawkwind and BBM that does not get a mention apart from the cover of BBM.
The DVD I am reviewing is the USA version. This DVD does not contain any extra footage or anything else and does not have subtitles which I found annoying as I had trouble hearing Gingers voice at times.
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Beware of Mr. Baker [Blu-ray] by Jay Bulger (Blu-ray - 2013)