Recent Posts in movies

July 29, 2015

Janis Joplin

Pretty cool:

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

Two Step

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.

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.

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:
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...

Continue reading "American Analog Set/Wooden Birds' Andrew Kenny scored new thriller 'Two Step' (listen to a song)"

July 20, 2015

by Bill Pearis

Will Oldham in 'Eden' / Will Sheff's directorial debut 'Down Down the Deep River'
Eden Rural Route Film Festival
Down Down the Deep River Rural Route Film Festival

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.

July 17, 2015

by Klaus Kinski

Roger Waters Amused to Death

Continuing on with my relentless coverage of things pertaining to Pink Floyd, my main man-hero Roger Waters, that band's bassist and primary songwriter, has also been a pretty busy fellow. First off, he is re-releasing his powerful and utterly prescient 1992 concept album Amused to Death on July 24 in multiple formats and in multiple packaging and platform iterations. It's sort of nuts (see list of options at the end of the post). This re-release features remastered audio completed by longtime Roger Waters / Pink Floyd collaborator and co-producer, James Guthrie. There's also tons of new concept artwork with the album as well.

Musically and thematically, this is easily my favorite Pink Floyd related solo album, with Waters' rock opera The Pros and Cons of Hitchhiking clocking in at a very close second. Allow me to let the record label sum up the album for me:

An unblinking look at an entertainment-obsessed society, Amused to Death addresses issues that have only grown in complexity and urgency over the past two decades. With Amused to Death, Roger Waters sounded the alarm about a society increasingly - and unthinkingly - in thrall to its television screens. Twenty-three years later, Amused to Death speaks to our present moment in ways that could scarcely have been anticipated two decades ago. In 2015, television is just one option in an endless array of distractions available to us anytime, anywhere, courtesy of our laptops, tablets and smartphones. With eyes glued to our screens, the dilemmas and injustices of the real world can easily recede from view.
He's turning the mirror on us, people. Again. Watch a few videos where Waters and others talk about Amused to Death and its reissue, below.

Roger also has a new cinematic version of Pink Floyd's The Wall: Live live that will hit select theaters on Tuesday September 29. This cinematic experience features high definition concert footage culled from his expansive Wall tour that happened between 2010 and 2013 (and which was witnesed by about 4 million people) as well as new dramatic narrative footage. This is going to be an experience for the ages. New Yorkers can experience the movie at Kips Bay Cinemas or Union Square Stadium 14. I will probably be at the Union Square screening if anyone wants to tailgate with me before hand. Watch a trailer for it below.

And lastly, but certainly not leastly, Roger will be performing at the very sold out Newport Folk Festival on Friday July 24. Roger has described his slot as "an intimate appearance specifically crafted for Newport Folk." Are you going? Will you tell me all about it?

Continue reading "Roger Waters reissuing 'Amused to Death,' screening 'The Wall' concert film in theaters, playing Newport Folk Festival"

July 13, 2015

the Hateful 8

Ennio Morricone will be composing the original score for Quentin Tarantino's upcoming western, The Hateful 8. The news was revealed at the film's San Diego Comic-Con panel, and Tarantino remarked that it would be the first western scored by Morricone in 40 years. Now 86, Morricone has stayed active and prolific over the course of his nearly 60-year career. Tarantino has used Morricone's work in previous films like Kill Bill, Inglorious Basterds and Django Unchained, but this will mark the first time Morricone will be doing an original score. As for the film, The Hateful 8, here's the official synopsis:

Bounty hunter John "The Hangman" Ruth (Kurt Russell) races to the town of Red Rock in post-Civil War Wyoming with a mysterious prisoner (Jennifer Jason Leigh) in tow. But when a blizzard forces them to take shelter with a group of strangers--including another bounty hunter (Samuel L. Jackson) and a man (Walton Goggins) who claims to be a sheriff--it becomes clear that they may not make it to their final destination after all.
The film also features Tim Roth, Channing Tatum, Michael Madsen and Bruce Dern. Tarantino shot the movie in 70mm, the super wide-screen format used on Ben-Hur, How the West Was Won and It's a Mad Mad Mad Mad World. It's the first major US film to use the format since Ron Howard's 1992 film Far and Away. It premieres in 70mm theaters on Christmas Day (12/25) and then in normal theaters on January 8, 2016.

Ennio Morricone was to have conducted a 200-piece orchestra at concerts in NYC and Los Angeles in 2014 but they were subsequently canceled after he injured his back. Glad to know you're feeling better, Ennio!

July 10, 2015

Star Wars Force Awakens

As you may know, the San Diego Comic-Con is in full force right now, and one of the most anticipated panels this year was for JJ Abrams' new Star Wars: The Force Awakens, which will be out in December. While most of us weren't there, the Star Wars folks have released the three-minute behind-the-scenes reel they screened today. We see Abrams shooting on real film on actual sets with practical effects and people in rubber masks. Also...Simon Pegg! Geek out below...

Continue reading "watch new 'Star Wars: The Force Awakens' footage shown at 2015 San Diego Comic-Con"

July 8, 2015

by Arielle Gordon

almost as good as 'Daleks On Ice'...
Dr Who Symphonic Spectacular

New York Comic Con will be back in October and so will New York Super Week, the concurrent pop culture festival that encompasses almost every type of entertainment related to nerdom - concerts, comedy shows, lectures, podcast tapings, and food events too. It runs October 5 - 11 at various venues around the city.

While the fest is still adding events to the schedule, there are already great shows abound. There's a special superhero vs. super villain edition of bimonthly debate show Uptown Showdown which will happen October 8 at Symphony Space (tickets). Past performers have included everyone from Michael Ian Black to Ilana Glazer, so be prepared for some can't-miss debate action.

There are some pretty interesting discussions during the festival as well, such as "Sheroes: An Exhibition of Women Comic Book Artists- Panel Discussion & Artist Reception" at La Casa Azul Bookstore on October 6, and a live taping of Nerdist's Sex Nerd Sandra podcast on October 10 at Union Hall (tickets). Another intriguing event is the "Inside the Writer's Room" workshop at Hard Rock Cafe on October 10 (tickets), featuring writers from shows like Parenthood and The Vampire Diaries, as well as television executives for Sony, HBO, Cinemax, and more.

There are a few music-related events happening. On October 7 at Barclays Center will be  the "Doctor Who Symphonic Spectacular" which features "well over 100 musicians, singers, and monsters live on stage, all under the talented conducting baton of Ben Foster." They'll be playing the music from the long-running BBC science fiction series, and the event is hosted by Michelle Gomez who plays Missy, the current incarnation of the Doctor's nemesis, The Master. And yes there will be Daleks. Hopefully a chorus line of them. There's a 3 PM and a 7 PM performance and tickets are on sale.

Then on October 9 at Hard Rock Cafe it's a DJ set from Kristian Narin, aka Hodor from Game of Thones (Game of Thrones). He DJ'd during NY Comic Con last year, too. Tickets are on sale. Having been a well-known house DJ well before being cast on Game of Thrones, Nairn just released his first single, titled "Up" and you can stream that below if you want.

There's lots more NY Super Week action, so check out all announced events.

In related news, the biggest con of them all, The San Diego Comic Con starts on Thursday (7/9).

Continue reading "NY Comic Con & NY Super Week return in October w/ 'Doctor Who Symphonic Spectacular,' Hodor, and more"

by Klaus Kinski

Amy Poehler

If you ever want to see me have a klaustrophobia-induced panic attack, throw me at an outdoor movie screening with thousands of other people in the middle of summer where exits and lavatories seem like mirages and movement without stepping on some idiot's tattooed foot is nearly impossible. Don't get me wrong; I love movies. Hell, I have degrees in Film History and Film Theory and Criticism. But outdoor screening programs are the least enjoyable environs for cinematic bliss. Mercifully, it appears that one of my comedic idols, Amy Poehler, has curated an 11 movie summer film series on top of the McKittrick Hotel (530 W 27th St., Manhattan) in an intimate, 30-person capacity private garden space called The Farm. Full schedule below. $20 gets you a ticket, popcorn, a "specialty cocktail," and a pretty killer view of Manhattan.

The pros of this series are pretty obvious; the more people you bring with you, the more the experience will feel like it was catered to you personally. Go alone, and you're still not in an uncomfortable, over-packed outdoor pigpen of humanity. However, the main con for me is that I'm pretty sure they aren't going to pony up the insane monies required for renting a dual 35mm projector set-up; my guess is that all the movies will be shown on video which would sort of be a drag. That said, if I had to recommend a single movie from that list that you should definitely try and see it's Vittorio De Sica's "The Bicycle Thief". This Italian neo-realist film from 1948 is about a man in post-WWII Rome searching for his stolen bicycle, an item which his whole livelihood depends on. It's one of the best movies I have ever seen and you'll love it too.

And don't forget to catch Amy and a stellar ensemble cast when Netflix unleashes the Wet Hot American Summer mini series on July 31st!

Dates and full movie list below..

Continue reading "Amy Poehler's favorite movies screening at McKittrick Hotel"

July 6, 2015

by Bill Pearis

Turkington in Ant-Man
Gregg Turkington in Ant-Man

He's best known for his sweaty Borscht Belt yukkster alter-ego Neil Hamburger, but Gregg Turkington has had an active career outside of that. In addition to running Amarillo Records (home of Anton LaVey, the Pop-O-Pies and Harvey Sid Fisher) in the '90s, he's appeared on Tenacious D projects, worked frequently with Tim & Eric and does a fair amount of voice work, most recently as Toby Determined on Gravity Falls. You can see him in his highest-profile role yet, the Marvel action-comedy Ant-Man, where he plays [SPOILER ALERT] the manager of a Baskin-Robbins who fires Paul Rudd's character (who becomes Ant-Man) early in the film. You can see Gregg in action in a Japanese version of the trailer, below. non-Japanese, Turkington-free trailer is below too.

The film is a bit controversial in the Marvel/comic-con scene as the project originated as a labor-of-love adaptation by Edgar Wright and Joe Cornish (Shaun of the Dead, Scott Pilgrim, etc) but parted ways from Ant-Man after production was underway. (Fans were not happy.) Director Payton Reed (Bring it On, Down with Love, lots of Merge Records bands' videos) took over and the finished product bows July 16.

Neil Hamburger, by the way, is still alive and well making awful jokes on tour all over the country. He'll play Brooklyn's The Bell House on November 7 with Nick Flanagan. Tickets are still available. All dates, which include an appearance at Tenacious D's Festival Supreme, are listed below...

Continue reading "Neil Hamburger touring; dates include Festival Supreme & Bell House; alter-ego Gregg Turkington is in 'Ant-Man' movie"

July 2, 2015

Jon Hamm on the Daily Show

Funny guy Scott Rogowski wraps up the current season of his live talk show, Running Late with Scott Rogowski, tonight (7/2) at Le Poisson Rouge. He's put together a pretty killer lineup of guests for his season finale, too: Jon Hamm and H. Jon Benjamin (both of whom are in Wet Hot American Summer: First Day of Camp) will be there, as will Tom Papa and actor Craig Bierko. Tickets are still available.

Jon Hamm, who also lends his voice to upcoming Despicable Me sequel Minions, stopped by The Daily Show on Wednesday (6/30) to chat with departing host Jon Stewart, and you can watch that segment below.

Continue reading "Jon Hamm, H. Jon Benjamin & more appearing tonight on 'Running Late w/ Scott Rogowski' at Le Poisson Rouge"