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Sunday, October 19, 2008

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

PRESS RELEASE: "The Seventh Python draws cheers, standing ovation at Beatles fan festival in Chicago"

1000+ fans line up for morning screening of Neil Innes biopic

The Seventh Python
draws cheers,
standing ovation
at Beatles fan festival
in Chicago

HOLLYWOOD (JONAS PR) -- The Seventh Python, the acclaimed musical biopic of satirist, Monty Python collaborator and Rutle Neil Innes, received a standing ovation from more than a thousand fans in Chicago this weekend as producers previewed the film at the year's largest Beatles fan convention as part of its screening tour for distributors and tastemakers.

The Frozen Pictures film, which also stars Monty Python veterans John Cleese, Eric Idle, Terry Jones and Michael Palin, along with British comedian Phill Jupitus and Academy Award-nominated singer-songwriter Aimee Mann.

'This was the screening that was most nervous-making,' director Burt Kearns said this morning. 'This is largest Beatles fans convention of the year, and because Neil's fans and story are so closely connected with the Beatles, we knew a thumbs-down or even a shrug could do us in. But they loved it! More than a thousand a people showed up at 11 in the morning after a wild Friday night. And a standing ovation? Thank you, Fest for Beatles fans.'

'One thing these screenings are proving is that The Seventh Python deserves a theatrical run,' added producer Brett Hudson, himself an attraction at the fest as a member of the re-formed Hudson Brothers. 'The comedy from the Pythons and newcomers like Phill Jupitus has the audience rolling with laughter; the music has them singing and clapping along; the story of Neil's friendship with George Harrison actually has them crying. And in the end, they're on their feet.'

The film had its world premiere June 26th as the opening selection of the American Cinematheque's Mods & Rockers Film Festival in Hollywood. This Chicago 'Heartland premiere' was the next step on the way across the country to a distributors' screening in New York City, and across the Atlantic to a showing for Innes friends, fans and colleagues in London.

'This is a film that comes with the fans' seal of approval," Kearns said. "But it's for the mainstream audience who loves rock ‘n' roll, comedy, the Beatles, Monty Python- and are ready to be introduced to an awesomely talented songwriter and performer who's only managed to avoid fame for 40 years because he's insisted on it!"

Added Hudson: "The acclaim for Neil is well-deserved."

Additional film festival dates are due to be announced. Plans are also underway for The Seventh Python soundtrack and companion book.

Neil Innes-Hudson Brothers power combo helps turn The Seventh Python into greatest hit at Chicago Fest for Beatles Fans

The following post is adapted from a post on

With its star, supporting cast, director, producer and music supervisor in prominent attendance and a special, surprise late-night screening that followed up the packed, enthusiastic showing on Saturday morning, the unreleased Neil Innes biopic The Seventh Python is surely the hottest news to come out of The Fest for Beatles Fans that continues with overflow crowds today in Chicago.

Our latest film had its world premiere in June at Martin Lewis' Mods & Rocker Film Festival in Hollywood and is on the march to a New York City screening soon to be announced, as we look for theatrical distribution for what's proving to be a crowd pleaser that has audiences cheering, laughing, crying and singing along!

Neil Innes with superfan, Barbara Poudrier, who’s developed and runs several Innes fansites.

Key to The Seventh Python mania among the thousands of fans who’ve lined up this weekend with Python memorabilia and posters, is the approachable charisma of the movie’s star, Neil Innes, who's become a key figure at these Beatles Fests-- and an unexpected comeback of Seventies pop stars and John Lennon compadres The Hudson Brothers (one-third of which is our own Brett Hudson), who teamed up with Neil onstage and at signing sessions.

Mark and Brett Hudson eat in public.

Mark Hudson, familiar to Beatle Fest fans for writing with and producing Ringo Starr (and in a remarkable coup, filling for a lost friend by recording a tracks with George, Paul and Ringo ) was joined by brother Brett, who returns to performing after 28 years. A noted television and film writer and producer, Brett is producer and writer of The Seventh Python (Mark is music supervisor).

The trio was a triple-threat of promotion and star quality, joined occasionally by non-celeb Seventh director Burt Kearns.

Brett Hudson and Kearns entertained a large crowd last night with their stories of the making of The Seventh Python, a forum in which Brett revealed publicly that there will indeed be a Hudson brothers reunion (probably in New York City) and a documentary film produced by himself and Kearns.

Their talk was dwarfed by the no-standing-room-left Mark and Brett discussion moderated by Martin Lewis ("A Brit a A Brett & A Brat"). The fest continues today, and will be capped by another huge concert featuring the Hudsons (two out of three, so far) and Neil Innes.

Brett Hudson surrounded by the Mark Hudson power sales and promotion team, borrowed for The Seventh Python promotion: Still Nancy, Killer Heels, Soft Focus and Cheryl.

The Seventh Python is a hit at Chicago Beatles fest!

This exclusive video shows the audience response to the closing moments of The Seventh Python, our new Neil Innes musical biopic, at its special 11 a.m. showing Saturday morning at the fest for Beatles Fans in Chicago. More than a thousand fans crowded into the Rosemont Ballroom for the exclusive screening, and the response was overwhelming.

So was the standing ovation!

Exclusive photo! Neil Innes (right) watches the movie
with The Fest for Beatles Fans director Mark Lapidus.

Martin Lewis, Beatles Fest emcee and
curator of the American Cinematheque's
Mods & Rockers Film Festival that had
The Seventh Python's world premiere
as its opening selection, has another look.

Musician, songwriter and producer Mark Hudson
is caught watching The Seventh Python at its
Chicago fest for Beatles Fans screening

Thursday, August 07, 2008

Chicago Sun-Times heralds The Seventh Python

The Chicago Sun-Times features Neil Innes in today's issue, in anticipation of Saturday's Heartland premiere of our Innes biopic, The Seventh Python.

The film will screen at 11 a.m. Saturday for early-bird fans at The Fest For Beatle Fans at the Hyatt-Regency O'Hare Hotel.

Jeff Elbel interviews Neil from his home in England:

Chicago Sun-Times
August 7, 2008

A satisfied Rutle spends lost weekend with Beatles fans in Chicago


According to Neil Innes, he stumbled innocently into show business with the Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band during the 1960s and has been falling through open doors ever since. He’s happier as a respected peer of timeless entertainers like the Beatles and Monty Python troupe than being considered a star himself.

This year marks the 30th anniversary of the Rutles film “All You Need Is Cash,” a wickedly funny Beatles spoof. Monty Python’s Eric Idle wrote the screenplay about the “Prefab Four,” and Innes starred as John Lennon figure Ron Nasty. Innes’ compositions for the soundtrack (and 1996’s “Archaeology”) rival the wit and craft of the Beatles’ works they affectionately skewer.

This weekend in Chicago, Innes will speak at The Fest for Beatles Fans and perform Rutles favorites with the band Liverpool. Attendees also can see a new documentary called “The Seventh Python,” dedicated to Innes’ “accidental career.”

Innes spoke with the Sun-Times from his home in England.

Q. The Rutles song “Joe Public” could make a fitting theme song for the pro-anonymity stance of “The Seventh Python,” if you weren’t such an inspiring skeptic. Would the lyric “I put my faith in the powers that be” ever suit you?

A. No, but that’s what Joe Public does. If you go right back to Socrates, intelligence has not been a commodity held in high esteem. Most Joe Publics are happy to support a football team or form some sort of tribe, which plays into the hands of anyone wanting to take away their hard-earned dollar. [The general public] are not stupid, but we are unaware of how things work.

Q. Does “The Seventh Python” stoke your ego, or provoke your contempt for fame?

A. It’s a wriggly, awkward place to be, I’ll tell you [laughs]. I quite like that they went ’round with a photograph and nobody recognized me. My favorite bit was on Hollywood Boulevard, where the guy says, “So, you’re making a documentary about somebody nobody knows?” Fame and money have become the twin pillars of modern culture. I love the idea of a D-list celebrity, which is someone who’s been hit on the head by Tiger Woods’ golf ball.

Q. Would people at The Fest for Beatles Fans have the same trouble with the photo?

A. No, no. I just don’t cross into the mainstream. I’ve [witnessed] very big fame through people I know. It’s a lot more fun being a Rutle than a Beatle!

Q. Will you find the type of fans who made life challenging for the Beatles at the Fest?

A. No; it’s people on a voluntary Lost Weekend with family, playing songs to each other that they love. What unites everybody is a preferable reality to the one that comes down the pipe every other day of the year. It’s a little oasis of friendliness and hope. I’m incredibly flattered that they should find the Rutles songs not that wide of the mark.

Our Spinal Tap moment!

Hey! Maybe The Seventh Python is our Spinal Tap!

Two days until we follow up the June 26th Hollywood premiere of our Neil Innes docofilm with Saturday morning shwoing at the Fest for Beatles Fans in Chicago.

The gigantic Beatles fan convention is taking place tomorrow through Sunday at the Hyatt Regency-O'Hare Hotel (and taking over the hotel).

The film will be screened in the hotels' Rosemont Ballroom at 11 a.m. Saturday
as an "early bird special" for the thousands of Beatlemaniacs who'll be descending for the memorabilia swap, sell and songfest.

The Spinal Tap connection? Well, just as in the movie This is Spinal Tap, The Seventh Python is sharing billing, in this case, the "early bird" slot, with a puppet show!

On Sunday at 11:15 a.m., early birds are treated to Bob Abdou's Puppet Show (and a rockin' good Beatles puppet show it is)!

See you all in Chicago!

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Updated poster for The Seventh Python

special showing
August 9th, 2008
11 a.m.
The Fest for Beatles Fans
Grand Ballroom
Regency O'Hare Hotel

Saturday, July 12, 2008

The Seventh Python introduces the world to Tokyo's top Rutles tribute, The Mountbattens

When we were producing The Seventh Python, were sure to include a section about the role of the Internet in spreading Neil Innes' music and uniting his fans around the world, and it was through the Internet that we discovered what could be the only Rutles tribute group in Japan!

The Mountbattens, named for the Rutles manager who tragically accepted a taching post in Australia), do dead-on, English language versions of The Rutles' greatest hits, and their inclusion in The Seventh Python (they perform I Must Be In Love) proved to be one of the film's most crowd-pleasing, applause-inducing moments.

The Mountbattens were excited to be included in our little film. And they sent along their group bio:

This is our bio.

The Mountbattens are
Yuji Furuhata : Vo, G
Hitoshi Takahashi : G, Vo
Tatsuto Yasaka : B, Vo
Yasushi Suzuki : D

BBC(B) "Tell me about THE MOUNTBATTENS."


B "Oh! I love them too. Do you cover their songs?"

M "Ahhh.......No."

B "You play just like THE BEATLES, don't you?"

M "You're not far off."

B "Oh I see! You're closely related to Mersey beat, I guess."

M "Absolutely not."

B "Then what kind of music you play?"

M "We dig THE RUTLES."

B "Rat? What?"

M "We play a lot of songs of THE RUTLES. We love them than THE BEATLES."

B "THE BEATLES are the best, you know."

M "Yes, we know. But we love THE RUTLES for ever and ever."

B "No way. You villain!"

M "Yes, we know too."

Roman Shebalin, Russian bard and artist, gets a worldwide audience with The Seventh Python

We've found that one of the surprises in our Neil Innes biopic, The Seventh Python, is the inclusion of two international acts who are influenced by Neil and help spread his music in far-flung corners of the globe.

One of them is the Japanese Rutles tribute, the Mountbattens. The other is Roman Shebalin, an artist we've featured here before, and who's made an impact on YouTube with his Russian-language renditions of English.

In The Seventh Python, Roman performs his version of Neil's signature tune, How Sweet To Be An Idiot-- in Russian!

Roman-- who wears a pig on his head instead of a duck!-- tells us he doesn't speak English, but with the help of a translator friend sent us a bio.

We hope his inclusion in The Seventh Python only spreads his music as well!

Roman Shebalin (born on 25th of October, 1970 in Moscow, USSR) – Russian musician, writer, artist and registrar.

From 1994 to 1999 studied at the College of Literature. Works as a registrar since he has finished College, specializing at documentaries.

During 2003-2005 founded first Russian sites and fan-clubs of Fabrizio de Andre, “Teenage Opera” project, Bee Gees and Russian bands “Tambourine” and “Dialog”. Also he is one of the organizers and an active member of British rock lovers club and the creator and maintainer of Greyclan Studios.

Since childhood he writes poems; later he published his novels in magazines and also wrote a book called “Haunted City”.

Roman is the creator of the band named “Nav’” (1995) which plays art’n’folk, post-punk, minimalism and avant-guard. Main instruments are acoustic guitar, synthesizer and bagpipe. Also plays solo as a bard.

He is an artist, a designer and a participant of “Love Street” exhibitions (1989-1997). His favorite styles are abstractionism and surrealism, favorite techniques – watercolor, oil, collage.

PRESS RELEASE: "Innes-influenced indie acts get international exposure in 'The Seventh Python'"

Neil Innes biopic plays August 9th at Chicago Fest for Beatles Fans/
Russian folk artist and Japanese Rutles tribute are featured in acclaimed film

Innes-influenced indie acts
get international exposure
in "The Seventh Python"

HOLLYWOOD (JONAS PR) -- A folk-rock musician from Moscow and an offbeat tribute band from Tokyo are getting their first international exposure through their surprise inclusion in The Seventh Python, the acclaimed musical biopic of satirist, Monty Python collaborator and Rutle Neil Innes, that heads to an exclusive showing at the Chicago Fest for Beatles Fans on August 9th.

Roman Shebalin is featured in the Frozen Pictures film, singing a Russian-language version of Innes' signature song, How Sweet To Be An Idiot.

From the rock ‘n' roll nightclubs of Tokyo, Rutles tribute band The Mountbattens are shown performing I Must Be In Love, a classic song from the Rutles album and mockumentary, All You Need is Cash.

'We first heard and saw Roman's work on YouTube while we were in post-production,' says Seventh Python director Burt Kearns. 'He's a passionate performer and he's made it a crusade to spread Neil Innes' work in a part of the world that knows him even less than here! He's a great example of how Neil's work has spread across the globe, and how fans in distant places are united, thanks to the Internet.'

'The Mountbattens make pure, perfect pop music," says producer Brett Hudson, 'The fact that they're playing Rutles music and not the Beatles, capturing every nuance and in sound and performance, is totally bent! And truly a tribute to Neil's talent!'

Both performers have atttracted strong word-of-mouth since The Seventh Python premiered June 26th as the opening selection in the Mods & Rockers Film Festival in Hollywood. They managed to grab attention amid the brilliant starpower of Innes, John Cleese, Eric Idle, Terry Jones and Michael Palin, Terry Jones, and, in his introduction to the US and world stage, the hilarious comic and Innes compadre Phill Jupitus.

Shebalin, 37, who founded the first Russian fansites for bands including the BeeGees, is also an artist, published poet and author, and a founder of the post-punk, minimalist, avant-garde band, Nav. His main instruments are acoustic guitar, synthesizer and bagpipes.

The Mountbattens are Yuji Furuhata on vocals and guitar, Hitoshi Takahashi : guitar, vocals; Tatsuto Yasaka, bass & vocals; and
Yasushi Suzuki on drums.

The Seventh Python, hailed by the Los Angeles Times as 'charming and illuminating,' will be presented August 9th in a special 11:30 a.m. screening in the main ballroom of the Hyatt Regency O'Hare Hotel amid the Fest for Beatles Fans. Neil Innes will be there for the showing.

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Our next music bio film is about Chris Montez

We're still working on the aftermath of the world premiere of our Neil Innes biopic, The Seventh Python, but why waste time when we've got something great? We've already begun pre-production on our next nonfiction, musical feature film: the story of Sixties rocker Chris Montez.

Chris is a Mexican American rock legend who grew up in Hawthorne, California, went to school with the Beach Boys, met his hero Ritchie Valens as a teen, carried on as his successor, toured England with the Beatles as his opening act, and pioneered the lounge movement with hits like Call Me and The More I See You. You'll recognize his hit, Let's Dance. It played during the food fight scene in Animal House, and the Ramones covered it on their first album.

Here's the press release:


HOLLYWOOD, July 2 (JONAS PR) - Hot on the heels of the world premiere of its Neil Innes biopic, The Seventh Python, Frozen Pictures announced today that its next nonfiction musical feature film will focus on the life and career of rock and pop star Chris Montez.

Montez, best known for 1962 rocker, Let's Dance and Swingin' Sixties hits like Call Me and The More I See You, has seen international success whose versatility has moved him beyond the Oldies circuit.

“Chris Montez is an incredibly influential musician whose life and music have touched on every major thread in rock ‘n' roll, from Latino rock to R&B, Sixties pop to lounge, surf to punk,” says Burt Kearns, who writes, produces or directs all of Frozen's projects with Brett Hudson.

"His story is epic. He grew up in Hawthorne, California and went to school and jammed with Brian Wilson and his brothers. He met his hero Ritchie Valens, months before his death. He toured the Deep South at with Sam Cooke and Smokey Robinson. The Beatles were his opening act on their breakthrough British tour. He was washed up at 19. And then he met Herb Alpert and began a very unlikely second act.”

“This film will rewrite rock ‘n' roll history,” adds Hudson, who wrote part of that history with The Hudson Brothers in the Sixties and Seventies. “There's a legendary story about Chris getting into a barroom brawl with John Lennon. There are questions about where those Beatle suits came from. And there's lots more."

International Production

Plans call for filming in Los Angeles, Branson, Europe and Mexico, including an all-star jam session that will feature Montez' greatest hits in a casual setting. “What Bono did for Roy Orbison, what Rick Rubin did for Johnny Cash and Neil Diamond, we'll do for Chris Montez,” says Hudson. “He's a very special talent who really communicates with his music."

The greenlighting of the Montez project comes less than a week after Frozen Pictures' latest film, The Seventh Python, had its world premiere at the American Cinematheque's Mods & Rockers Film Festival in Hollywood.

Reviews have been uniformly impressive, with The Los Angeles Times calling the film “charming and illuminating,” and LAist praising it as “inspired and hilarious.'”

Hudson says the Montez story, besides "reflecting the journey and assimilation of the Mexican American from the 1950s to the first years of the 21st Century," fits in well with the Frozen Pictures' other entertaining, innovative and surprising nonfiction projects that that include the Bravo miniseries, All The Presidents' Movies with Martin Sheen and the television special, The Secret History of Rock ‘n' Roll with Gene Simmons.

“I want to be an example”

Montez, who recently starred at the Dick Clark ‘s American Bandstand Theatre in Branson, Missouri, is eager to bring his story to a new generation “and influence as many people as I can.

"For me, it's always been about overcoming obstacles,” he says. “I'd like to say I grew up in a bilingual home, but my parents never spoke English. I grew up with four brothers and four sisters, and none of them finished school. I've seen discrimination against them and I've experienced it myself. But though I know the struggles of being a Mexican American, I also had tremendous opportunities. I ended up working with the Beatles-- and having the Beatles open for me!

"A lot of Mexican Americans know about me, and I have a lot of older fans, but I want to be an example to young people. An example that everything's possible. I've had lot of Mexican people say to me, 'You're a legend'-- I don't know what that means. I've always been an underdog. And whether you're worth ten million dollars or ten bucks, you're the same person as long as you keep that focus.”

Lensing is set for late summer.

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

"One big happy singalong!": LAist reviews Neil Innes' concert at The Seventh Python's Mods & Rockers Film Festival premiere

Yes, we've been busy this past week! We've told you that we'll be screening The Seventh Python, August 9th at the 32nd Chicago Fest for Beatles Fans-- Neil Innes will be appearing that event, as well.-- and meanwhile, Elise Thompson at LAist has a review of Neil's performance at the Egyptian Theatre Friday night (see some great fan reviews at Neil Innes fansite:

JUNE 30, 2008

Neil Innes at the Egyptian 6/27/08

(Written with Bob Thompson)

It was an intimate night of music and comedy as Neil Innes entertained an enthralled crowd in The Egyptian Theater on Friday night, the second of a two-night Innes-Fest at the Mods and Rockers Film Festival.

It was more like hanging out in the local pub than attending a rock concert. Switching from guitar to keyboard to ukelele to something resembling a zither, Innes kept stressing it was an "interactive" night, inviting friends like animator and webmaster Bonnie Rose and Emo Philips up on stage to accompany him. Ken Simpson and “Rutling Ken” Thornton, a pair of guitarists from the Midwest, made especially strong contributions, Thornton adding Harrison-esque leads to several of the most moving songs. Innes often relied upon the audience to provide background vocals, and the theater turned into one big, happy sing-along. Imagine being part of a huge theater crowd hollering along to songs like “Jollity Farm” and “The Bruces’ Philosophers Song”.

The show opened with a “medley of hit”, the Bonzo Dog Band’s "Urban Spaceman", a big single in 1968 England, and heard by Yanks in Monty Python Live at the Hollywood Bowl fourteen years later. Innes then ran through a number of Monty Python, Bonzo Dog Band, Rutles and solo songs with a good mix of the popular and the obscure.

While Innes famously employs the dreaded mix of music and comedy, his schtick is quite different from the numerous guitar-wielding comics we’ve been seeing lately. Innes’ tunes are finely crafted, never just set-ups to a punch line. Even at his most pointedly parodic – jabbing Dylan with “Protest Song”, sampling the Beach Boys doo-wopping on his new keyboard or lampooning the Beatles in the Rutles segment – his songs are good enough to pass as those of his subjects. As insightful and subtle as Spinal Tap, Innes realizes that in satire, it’s worth sacrificing a couple of easy laughs in order to set up the really big one.

His ultimate Lennon jab, "Cheese and Onions", loudly requested by a pre-teen in attendance, brought the house down. “I’ve got grandchildren now… and I ate them both,” snarled Innes in response to the request, prowling the crowded stage, wondering what instrument to pick up next.

As could be expected, a lot of the folks in attendance were musicians, among them Joe Walsh and Jeff Lynne. Another successful evening ended at The Clubhouse where Seventh Python producer Brett Hudson and director Burt Kearns took over hosting duties.

Brett sings with brother Mark Hudson at Fest for Beatles Fans in Las Vegas-- and announces The Seventh Python Chicago premiere

On the heels of a blockbuster two-night premiere for The Seventh Python at the Mods & Rockers Film Festival at the Egyptian Theatre in Hollywood, star and subject Neil Innes, producer Brett Hudson, music supervisor Mark Hudson, director Burt Kearns and festival impresario Martin Lewis landed in Las Vegas for the opening of the est for Beatles Fans at the Mirage Hotel (home of the Love show). After catching a performance of Spamalot at the Wynn across Las Vegas Boulevard, Neil Innes made a surprise appearance onstage at the Fest and brought the house down with Rutles favorites.

But first, two-thirds of the Hudson Brothers appeared onstage with Lewis to talk about the new DVD collection of their Seventies TV series, and to announce that The Seventh Python will be shown at the Chicago Fest for Beatles Fans, beginning August 9th.

The film be screened in the grand ballroom of the Hyatt Regency OHare Hotel at 11 am as an "early bird special" for the fans queueing up for the noon opening of the fest.

It will be screened later in smaller fest venues.

Some photos from the two-night premiere party for The Seventh Python in Hollywood

A tip of the Tabloid Baby hat to Luke Ford & LAist...

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Review of The Seventh Python: "A marvelous, thought-provoking, important meditation on the problem of art and fame, asking deep questions"

The latest review of The Seventh Python comes from David Isaak, author of the new novel, Shock and Awe, on his Tomorrowville website:

reviewed by David Isaak

The Seventh Python was a marvelous, thought-provoking film. Rather than a rehash of the career of Neil Innes, it was an important meditation on the problem of art and fame.

The first human problem is physical survival--how to find food and shelter. Once those needs are satisfied, then we are faced with the deeper question of what we want to do with our lives.

The artist faces a similar progression of questions. The first problem facing creative people is how to support themselves while doing their work. For most of them, this means either doing creative work as a "hobby" while earning a living through other means, or putting considerable effort into promoting themselves and their projects.

But promotion is a marketplace activity, and if you're not a natural self-promoter, success puts strange and conflicting pressures on you. Neil Innes lives permanently on the edge between fame and anonymity, and it's clear that particular edge is an uncomfortable place to reside. He obviously doesn't want to be a celebrity--but he also needs to maintain a certain degree of public prominence to have the means to do his art.

Anyone who works in the creative arts, from the very public world of performance to the more private world of writing, ought to see this film. Beneath a light, fluffy surface, it is asking some very deep questions.

Friday, June 27, 2008

"Proves that the exhibition of emotional scars is not needed to provide insight into the heart of a person": LAist reviews The Seventh Python

When The Seventh Python, our film about Neil Innes, premiered at the Mods and Rockers Film Festival in Hollywood last night, Elise Thompson of the LAist website was there.

Today she posted the film's first major review. And what can we say, but... "thanks":

JUNE 27, 2008
LAist Movie Review: The Seventh Python

There are a number of inherent contradictions in making a film like The Seventh Python. First of all, how do you spend two hours focusing on a person who notoriously shuns the spotlight?

Innes expounds upon his distaste for fame in a film that by its very existence could make him famous. It is a little ironic when his face is exponentially duplicated to fill the screen like a Herbal Essences commercial (..and they told two friends, and so on, and so on, and so on...), while Innes sings "Joe Public", his ode to the mundane everyman.

Secondly, there is the challenge of making a documentary comprised of talking head interviews and concert footage when your subject is perhaps best known for making The Rutles, a film that mocks that very formula.

Somehow The Seventh Python manages to pull it all together using visual effects, editing techniques and witty commentary, all the while keeping focused exclusively on Innes' professional life.

The film is subtly enhanced with a sprinkling of animation. Bonnie Rose, who founded adds a style that is clearly in tribute to Terry Gilliam, even down to the crushing foot of fate. Other visual effects such the previously mentioned duplication and split screens are used to keep the eye entertained while the ears do the heavy lifting.

In a particularly inspired moment, Innes' attention to an airplane flying by cuts to a shot of an airplane, then to a shot of Terry Jones, whom we have already mentally established is in some distant location, as he pretends to hear the same plane pass overhead. It is an inspired moment that harkens back to the overlapping skits that made Monty Python great (Come back, Harold!).

Rockumentaries often have trouble finding the right balance between music and narrative. Most rock docs have no patience and start narrating over songs just as you are finding the groove. The Seventh Python strikes a nice balance, knowing to back off and allow "The Philosopher's Song" and "Let's be Natural" to play uninterrupted, while cutting into some of the longer, less iconic tunes.

The Bonzo Dog rehearsals follow Innes through a medley-like arrangement, another technique to avoid monotony. I almost wish they would exploit the similarity to a late-night K-Tel commercial and go for the gag, running song titles up the screen.
This film traces Innes' career from his earliest days with The Bonzo Dog Band and the childrens' show Don't adjust your Set, around the bend to Monty Python and just over the river to The Rutles until it gently slopes back to today. It covers his influences, from Magritte paintings to dusty 78s, and offers lots of fun, insider tidbits to chuckle over on fan sites.

Naturally, the commentary is hilarious; we would expect nothing less with friends like John Cleese and Michael Palin. Phil Jupitus is particularly funny, driving the audience into hysterics simply talking about Innes wearing a hat.

What you won't see up on the big screen is Innes' personal life. The closest you get is a short commentary from his wife, and some nostalgia regarding the death of George Harrison that Innes quickly nips in the bud. Such respect for the boundary between Neil Innes the man and Neil Innes the performer can only come from Burt Kearns, a director who penned the expose on tabloid journalism.

Kearns proves here that the exhibition and evaluation of emotional scars large and small is not needed to provide insight into the heart of a subject. This movie makes you admire Innes. It makes you like him as a person. It makes you want to be his friend. He comes off as quick-witted, approachable and clever. Even at his most mischievous he remains guileless. Who else but a self-aware pedant would dare rhyme "pedant" and "dead ant"?

This movie succeeds by coaxing its subject to open up just enough so that we do feel like his friend. The Seventh Python allows the audience to walk out of the theater with more than a taste of Neil Innes, but without having swallowed him whole.