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Chelsea On the Rocks [Blu-ray]

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Chelsea on the Rocks celebrates the personalities and artistic voices that have emerged from the legendary residence, the Chelsea Hotel, in the heart of New York. Once considered an untouchable, impenetrable tower for writers, artists, musicians and mavericks, it has recently been claimed as a boutique hotel venture for a management company that shows blatant disregard for its formidable history. The film intertwines archival footage, interviews and narrative sequences as well as actors who are very much part of the soul of the hotel (Ethan Hawke, Dennis Hopper and others). ... ... Expanded Synopsis: CHELSEA ON THE ROCKS celebrates the personalities and artistic voices that have emerged from this legendary residence in the heart of New York. The 12-storey, 250- room Chelsea Hotel - originally built in 1883 as Manhattan s first cooperative apartment, and the tallest building in New York until 1902 - was converted into a hotel and residence in 1905. Once considered an untouchable, impenetrable tower for writers, artists, musicians and mavericks, it has recently been claimed as a boutique hotel venture for a management company which shows blatant disregard for its formidable history. The officially landmarked building is recognized as an American cultural icon and renowned for those who have lived and created there, including Sir Arthur Clarke, Bob Dylan, Stanley Kubrick, Arthur Miller, Joni Mitchell, Dee Dee Ramone, Larry Rivers, Dylan Thomas, Mark Twain,Tennessee Williams, Milos Forman, Janis Joplin, Donald Sutherland, Patti Smith, Philip Taaffe, Dennis Hopper, Andy Warhol, Edie Sedgwick, Eugene O Neill, Jane Fonda, Leonard Cohen, Robert Mapplethorpe, Tom Waits, Courtney Love, Sam Shepard, Charles Bukowski, Julian Schnabel, Jasper Johns, Viva, Quentin Crisp, Jimi Hendrix and many others (some of whom appear in this film). Beyond the famous are the little known who have made this their refuge in New York - countless writers, painters, directors, costume and lighting designers, gallerists and curators, and those who are just always there with no visible means of support. And then there are those - most famously Sid Vicious girlfriend Nancy Spungen - who died there. Each of these characters fills out a cast that makes this story come together with the best of New York architecture, history, art, comedy and tragedy, all through the eyes and passion of acclaimed auteur Abel Ferrara. Interviewing current tenants, recreating scenes of events that occurred at the Chelsea and intertwining archival footage with different formats of film and video, Ferrara creates a film that breaks through the documentary mould into something that captures the essence of the Chelsea Hotel.

Review

This is a documentary with a kick. --Chris Barsanti, Flimcritic

Chelsea on the rocks tells us stories of suicide, ghosts, drugs, life, death, love and freedom. Here, people don't walk, they float. While Milos Forman goes to confession, Julian Schnabel's daughter passes through to distribute flyers for the next show. The camera continues to roll, we are among friends. And Forman continues his story: a celebration on the floors, a fire caused by cooking meat released a huge cloud of smoke and triggered the intervention of firefighters. The room flooded by firehoses, the occupant drowned. They watch the body transported to the elevator, in a silence of death, and once the doors closed, the party continued. The Chelsea Hotel is packed with stories like this and Ferrara shares them with is, creating a documentary full of energy. --Moland Fengkov, Plume Noire

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Special Features

None.

Product Details

  • Actors: Abel Ferrara, Walter Cronkite, Dennis Hopper, Milos Forman, Gaby Hoffman
  • Directors: Abel Ferrara
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Blu-ray, Dolby, NTSC, Widescreen
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region A/1 (Read more about DVD/Blu-ray formats.)
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: R (Restricted)
  • Studio: Hannover House
  • DVD Release Date: May 4, 2010
  • Run Time: 88 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0030DE46A
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #245,145 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

9 of 12 people found the following review helpful By D. Hartley on May 3, 2010
Format: DVD
Since 1883, the Hotel Chelsea in New York City has been considered to be the center of the universe by bohemian culture vultures. It has been the hostelry of choice for the holiest of hipster saints over the years, housing just about anybody who was anybody in the upper echelons of poets, writers, playwrights, artists, actors, directors, musicians and free thinkers over the past century. Some checked in whenever they were in town, and some lived as residents for years on end. Some checked out forever within its walls (most notably Dylan Thomas and Sid Vicous' ill-fated girlfriend, Nancy Spungen). Of course, not every single resident was a luminary, but chances always were that they were someone who had a story or two to tell. Abel Ferrara, a director who has been known to spin a sordid New York tale or two ("China Girl", "Bad Lieutenant", "King of New York", "The Funeral") has attempted to paint a portrait of the hotel with his new documentary, "Chelsea on the Rocks"-with mixed results.

Blending interviews with current residents with archival footage and docu-drama vignettes, Ferrara tackles this potentially intriguing subject matter in frustrating fits and starts. He never decides whether he wants to offer up a contextualized history, an impressionistic study, or simply a series of "So tell me your favorite Chelsea anecdote" stories (ranging from genuinely funny or harrowing to banal and/or incomprehensible).

The most fascinating parts of the film to me were the relatively brief bits of archival footage.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Frank M. Gentile on January 28, 2013
Format: Amazon Instant Video
Oh..I really really HATED this movie. I LOVE the Chesea Hotel, and have been there many times. I LOVE Janis Joplin. I LOVE R.Crumb. I love all things Warhol. I love the history of Dylans Thomas and Bob. But what I HATE HATE HATE are the dreaded "recreation" scenes that those who brought about this film inexplicably decided to employ. Unless you're recreating a battle scene with 1000 nameless faceless extras, or you're Merly Streep, recreation scenes NEVER work. The main reason for this is that they ALWAYS get the famous person they're recreating WRONG..so wrong that anyone with a glimmer of knowledge or history about whover it is they are recreating can only burst out laughing, when they're not just being insulted. The film would have maybe been just fine without these horrendous lapses in judgement. Also., .there is NOTHING worse than a talentless person who thinks they are an "artist." Art is subjective you say??, open to varied interpretation? Yes, that is true. But lack of talent is NOT subjective..it is glaringly, blazingly apparent, as evidenced by a thousand screeching monsters bellowing into microphones, assaulting their victims at clubs and street corners and cafes and bus stations across the country. At big town and small town "art" shows that feature unending, hideous wastes of canvas, paint, wood, metal, or any number of materials and supplies. Mix this with a person who is intentionally "eccentric", a "character", with their bangles, beads, piercings, tattoos, braids, whirling skirts, multi-colored hair, unmastered instruments, brain dead rap, bad poetry, and "intensity", ..all screaming.."LOOK AT ME!..NOTICE ME!!"...and you are in HELL. Watching this movie, I was. It's enough to make me want to spend my next vacation in Branson, Mo.Read more ›
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Pauline Kael-Jones on October 26, 2010
Format: DVD
If pop culture in the 1970's and 1980's had a ground-zero, it would have been New York's notorious Chelsea Hotel, as gloriously presented in Abel Ferrara's brilliant new documentary. Utilizing archival footage of legendary residents -- from Andy Warhol to Sid Vicious -- and clever reenactments and flashbacks, "Chelsea On The Rocks" transcends the mold of mainstream documentaries and breaks fresh new ground that is both exhilarating and a bit frightening. Definitely worth owning!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Lorena Jones on October 14, 2010
Format: DVD
Loved the mix of archival footage with re-enactments and interviews to paint a colorful portrait of a ground-zero in the world of Bohemian artists and rebels. My only complaint is the absence of identifying captions on some interviewees (ie., who they are and what is their claim-to-fame?). Otherwise, it's a documentary adventure that's enlightening and very entertaining.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By lisamarie22 on October 24, 2010
Format: DVD
The film is a collage of the Chelsea hotel-- its history, residents, ghosts. Felt like I was there rather than being told what it was like at the Chelsea.
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