Recent Posts in movies
August 26, 2015
The 2015 edition of Pop Montreal is coming up in less than a month (September 16 - 20) and festival organizers have recently made a few additions to the already robust lineup. Perhaps most interesting is that Pop's film fest will have the world premiere of director Kahlil Joseph' Arcade Fire documentary The Reflektor Tapes which promises:
The film recontextualizes the album experience, transporting the viewer into a kaleidoscopic sonic and visual landscape. It charts the band's creative journey as they lay foundations for the album in Jamaica, record in Montreal and play an impromptu gig at a Haitian hotel on the first night of Carnival, before bringing their breathtaking live show to packed arenas in Los Angeles and London. The Reflektor Tapes blends never-before-seen personal interviews and moments captured by the band to dazzling effect, and features 15 minutes of exclusive unseen footage, filmed only for cinema audiences.That is just ahead of the film's North American September 23 release date. It will be playing in NYC at Sunshine Cinema, BowTie Cinema Chelsea 9, East 86th St Cinema 4 in Manhattan and Williamsburg Cinema in Brooklyn. and tickets are on sale now for many of those screenings. You can watch the trailer for that below.
The full music lineup has been finalized and new additions include Seattle garage rock legends The Sonics, Doldrums, UK band All We Are, Prison Garde (the latest moniker of electronic musician Vaughn Robert Squire aka Sixtoo) and more. Other artists playing this year's Pop Montreal include Built to Spill, Giorgio Moroder, The Cribs, Mikal Cronin, Godflesh, Will Butler, Babes in Toyland, Thurston Moore, Stars of the Lid, Cannibal Ox, Besnard Lakes (performing as a 17-piece "orchestra"), Viet Cont, The Orb, and more.
There are also lots of panel discussions and lectures happening via the Pop Symposium, including one with Canadian songwriter Andy Kim (the man behind The Archies' "Sugar Sugar" and other bubblegum hits),
Festival passes and day passes are still available. Full Pop Montreal music and film lineups are listed below.
August 19, 2015
by Bill Pearis
Fred Armisen, Bill Hader and Seth Myers have a new series on IFC called Documentary Now! which parodies various nonfiction films, including Grey Gardens, Nanook of the North, and VICE's HBO series. They got Helen Mirren to intro every episode and he series premieres this Thursday (8/20) at 10 PM EST with "Sandy Passage" (the Grey Gardens parody). You can watch the entire VICE parody, titled "DRONEZ" and featuring Jack Black as a Shane Smith-inspired character, as well as a few other clips below.
Bill Hader was on Late Night with Seth Meyers on Monday to promote the show, which also featured a live performance by fake '70s soft rock band Blue Jean Committee, who feature in Documentary Now!'s two-part 'Behind the Music' style season finale that includes cameos from HAIM, Darryl Hall, Kenny Loggins, Michael McDonald, and more. You can watch their performance of "Catalina Breeze" (pretty good Loggins & Messina / England Dan & John Ford Coley style yacht rock) You may remember Blue Jean Committee from a 2011 SNL episode. Here, they've gone deep in the shag, recording a bunch of songs which will be released on an EP in November via Drag City (who put out BJC's "Massachusetts Afternoon" last year as a 7"). That's the cover art above and you can stream two tracks from that right now, below...
August 13, 2015
So, as the dog days of summer wind down and the studios finish dumping their late summer dreck on us (I'm looking at you Fantastic Four, American Ultra, Man from U.N.C.L.E.) we focus our eyes on the fall heavy hitters season. While most of the world awaits December for the force to be awakened once again, the fall brings us the 53rd Annual New York Film Festival which runs September 25 - October 11. (That's the poster, above, designed by Laurie Anderson.) The main slate of 26 films were just announced and this year looks to be uniformly wonderful. Let's pick a few highlights.
The opening night film is Robert Zemeckis' The Walk which depicts the true story of Phillipe Petit's August 1974 historic cable walk across the World Trade Center's Twin Towers. (You may have seen the documentary about this, Man on Wire.) If you have seen the trailer and you know Zemeckis's work, you know this should be a dazzler. The middle "Centerpiece" film is the much anticipated Steve Jobs from director Danny Boyle and writer Aaron Sorkin. Blithely pushing aside that earlier Ashton Kutcher version, this should cast a wider, more intense net (word from a friend who saw a test screening earlier is that it's great and Michael Fassbender playing Jobs is fantastic). This year's closing night film, and one which should be on the radar of all the music fans here, is Don Cheadle's directorial debut Miles Ahead. It's a portrayal of the legendary Miles Davis starting from his time holed up in his Upper Manhattan apartment in the 70's and looking back on one extraordinary life.
Besides the opening and closing night, there are two other world premiers: Steven Spielberg's cold war drama Bridge of Spies and Laura Israel's documentary about the amazing photographer/filmmaker Robert Frank.
NYFF will also bring some highly regarded films from this year's Cannes Film Festival, including jury prize winner The Lobster, an absurd dark comedy from Dogtooth director Yorgos Lanthimos (although we don't get either Palme D'or winner Dheepan or Grand Prize winner Son of Saul. Those went to Toronto. Boo!)
There are also new works from festival mainstays such as Hong Sansoo (Right Now, Wrong Then), Arnaud Desplechin (My Golden Days), and Michael Moore's intriguing new Where Do We Invade Next, Todd Haynes (Carol), Michael Gondry (Microbe & Gasoline), among others.
Besides many of the above, I am really looking forward to director Jia Zhangke's new film Mountains May Depart. His 2013 festival film A Touch of Sin was one of my favorites that year. Also: the master Hou Hsiao-hsien's The Assassin; Thai director Apichatpong Weerasethakul's Cemetery of Splendor; insane director (not really but maybe?) Guy Maddin's The Forbidden; NY based director (who you might see out at local concerts all the time. I do.) Michael Almereyda's Experimenter and, well, there are just too many to name. It is a great lineup for all you film obsessives and a perfect start to what looks to be a powerhouse fall season. Be on the lookout as well for announcements on special events, documentaries, and Convergence and Projections lineup of films.
Tickets to the 2015 NYFF go on sale to the general public on Sunday September 13, with Film Society of Lincoln Center presales starting September 8. There are also other VIP and member options. Check out below the full main slate as well as trailers for some of the films, below...
August 8, 2015
OK, boppers, there's going to be a celebration of 1979 cult classic The Warriors at Coney Island's Surf Pavillon on September 13. The event will feature a reunion some of the cast and crew, including Michael Beck ("Swan"), Dorsey Wright ("Cleon"), David Harris ("Cochise") and Bryan Tyler ("Snow). There will be live music from Sick of it All and Gotham City Mashers, a cosplay contest and and a screening of the film and post-movie Q&A hosted by John Joseph of Cro-Mags. Can you dig it? Tickets are on sale now.
Flyer for the event, more info and schedule is below...
August 4, 2015
by Bill Pearis
The Julie Ruin's Kathleen Hanna has been the subject of a film -- documentary The Punk Singer -- and now here she is starring in a film. Well her voice at least, as the title character of Myrna, a short film about an alien from the moon trying to find love and meaning in Los Angeles. Writer-director Ian Samuels uses a mix of puppetry (he used to work for Jim Henson Co and Sesame Street) and CGI in this bittersweet, darkly comic character piece and Hanna's voice acting brings a lot of empathy to Myrna. The music is by YACHT, by the way. Myrna is pretty NSFW but you can watch it below.
Related: Hannah's old band Bikini Kill are reissuing their original demo tape on vinyl and CD.
Also related: YACHT released a teaser for their upcoming album, I Thought The Future Would Be Cooler, which you can watch below.
August 3, 2015
The 2015 version of "Max's Kansas City" (photo via Rob Ortiz)
First, Rough Trade NYC transformed into a '70s Sam Goody for Martin Scorsese's upcoming HBO drama Vinyl, and now Gothamist points out that a replica of Max's Kansas City was constructed for it too. The new facade was just around the corner from the original Max's (which just celebrated its 50th anniversary).
Vinyl is set in NYC in the 1970s, the same decade that Max's played host to a ton of early punk bands, including New York Dolls, Ramones, Patti Smith, Blondie, Television, Talking Heads, Misfits and more. Gothamist points out that, like the Sam Goody replica, old cars were featured on the exterior of the set. There were was also a newstand with LIFE, Penthouse, Telegraph, Ebony and other magazines from that era.
Listen to side A of The Velvet Underground's Live At Max's Kansas City below...
July 31, 2015
Sad news from the world of wrestling -- WWE star "Rowdy" Roddy Piper died in his sleep on Thursday night from cardiac arrest. From ESPN:
"Roddy Piper was one of the most entertaining, controversial and bombastic performers ever in WWE, beloved by millions of fans around the world," said WWE chairman and CEO Vince McMahon. "I extend my deepest condolences to his family."In addition to pro wrestling, Piper also acted, most notably in John Carpenter's great 1988 darkly comic, highly subversive thriller They Live. You can watch Piper's "I came here to chew bubblegum" and famously epic fight scene with Keith David below.
Roddy Piper was added to the WWE Hall of Fame in 2005. John Shearer/WireImage for BWR Public Relations
Piper, born Roderick Toombs, joined WWE in 1984. He teamed with Paul Orndorff on March 31, 1985, to take on Hulk Hogan and Mr. T at Madison Square Garden in Wrestlemania's first main event.
Inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2005, Piper was well-known for his microphone skills and often hosted the Piper's Pit segment during WWE shows. He is the second Hall of Famer to die this summer following the June death of Dusty Rhodes.
Roddy, you will be missed. Rest in peace.
July 29, 2015
It was revealed today that musician/singer/songwriter/actor Chan Marshall (also known as Cat Power) will be the voice narrating the upcoming Janis Joplin documentary "Janis" from Academy Award®-nominated director Amy Berg ("Deliver Us From Evil," "West of Memphis"). The documentary will have its much anticipated World Premiere at the Venice Film Festival where it was just selected to screen out of competition.The film is apparently called "Janis" which is a little confusing because there's already a Janis Joplin documentary with that name.
July 22, 2015
La Chima Films presents TWO STEP, a fast-paced Texas thriller in which the lives of James, a directionless college dropout, and Webb, a career criminal with his back against the wall, violently collide. Written and directed by Alex R. Johnson, TWO STEP features Beth Broderick ("Under the Dome", "Lost", "Sabrina the Teenage Witch") as dance teacher, Dot, James Landry Hébert ("Mob City", "Seven Psychopaths", "Gangster Squad") as short-fused career criminal, Webb, Ashley Rae Spillers ("Last Vegas", "Zero Charisma", "Saturday Morning Mystery") as Amy, his fed-up girlfriend, Jason Douglas ("Breaking Bad", "Nashville", "Revolution") as crime boss/father figure, Duane, and relative newcomer Skyy Moore ("Love Land") as protagonist James.The new Alex R. Johnson-directed thriller Two Step hits theaters on July 31 (synopsis above). Making this film interesting from an indie rock fan's perspective is that American Analog Set / Wooden Birds frontman Andrew Kenny provided an original score for it. He also included a solo piano version of "Long Time To Lose It" from the Wooden Birds' 2011 album, Two Matchsticks, and the premiere of that song is in this post. Here's what Andrew says about including that song in the film:
Kicked out of college, James visits Grams, his only remaining family, who dies shortly after his arrival. He finds consolation in the company of Grams' neighbor, Dot, a dance teacher, as he figures out his next move. While settling Grams' affairs, James learns she's been the victim of the "grandparent scam" in which someone posing as James has been slowly bilking her out of thousands. But before James can go looking for the culprit, he shows up at the front door, desperate for money. The culprit, Webb, has his own problems in the form of Duane, who has ordered Webb to pay an old debt or else. And if Webb can't get it from Grams, James will have to do - no matter who stands in his way.
There is a special emptiness that surrounds you in the moment your family is gone and it opens you up to all manner of hardship as you drift through it. Two Step begins in this moment and I wanted to write something that played at the fog that follows. As fate would have it, I already had.Alex R. Johnson added, "I needed something to be a salve for the tension of the previous 90 minutes, but it also needed to fit the context of it all. AK fulfilled that perfectly."
Those in NYC can catch Two Step from July 31-August 6 at Cinema Village East. More info here.
Listen to the new song, with the film trailer, below...
July 20, 2015
by Bill Pearis
Will Oldham in 'Eden' / Will Sheff's directorial debut 'Down Down the Deep River'
The Rural Route Film Festival happens this weekend (July 24-26) at The Museum of the Moving Image. Now in its 11th year, the fest showcases "international films that take the road less traveled. This year's focus will be on bold, independent women behind and in front of the camera." Music is an element, too, and figures into a couple of the RRFF's events. On Saturday (7/25) it's the world premiere Down Down the Deep River, the directorial debut of Okkervil River's Will Sheff. Sheff will be on hand for the screening, playing a short set before the 42-minute film and participating in a Q&A afterward. Tickets are on sale and here's the synopsis:
The sci-fi fantasy world of two bullied sixth-grade boys invades reality and changes their lives forever. An explosion of the music video into a narrative film, Down Down the Deep River grew out of the recent work of acclaimed indie band Okkervil River, and directed by front man Will Sheff. The song of the same name appears in multiple incarnations throughout the film, interpreted in '80s appropriate styles (New Wave, soft rock, rap). A poetic, abstract tribute to classic children's fantasy films, Down Down the Deep River was shot in and around Sheff's hometown in rural New Hampshire and stars local actors.Then on Sunday (7/26) it's Elise DuRant's new feature Eden which stars Will Oldham:
Nine-year-old Alma is forced to leave Mexico with her artifact-smuggling father, John (played by Will Oldham). Years later, after her father's death, she returns to Mexico to confront the man responsible for their emigration. But she finds more than she was looking for, in the form of a new cultural identity and old secrets that are revealed. This sensitively depicted, personal exploration of the ties-that-bind--to family or country--is a film about our search for roots and a sense of belonging and the love and loss that accompanies this search.Preceding the screening will be a performance by Mariachi Flor de Toloache, "the first and only established all-female mariachi band." Director DuRant will be on hand for a Q&A after the film. Tickets are on sale.
You can check out the full list of Rural Route Film Festival screens over at Museum of the Moving Image's website.