Recent Posts in movies
May 21, 2014
a still from 20,000 Days On Earth
It's been an excellent year for music documentaries. Slint's Breadcrumb Trail, Grant Hart's Every Everything, and many others screened at CIMM Fest 2014 earlier this month. Joining this recent music documentary resurgence is 20,000 Days On Earth, the Nick Cave documentary that's been making the festival circuit the past few months, and out of all the music docs I've seen this year it happens to be my favorite.
What sets 20,000 Days... apart from most documentaries is that it doesn't follow the usual linear and chronological narrative; it instead it opts to jump around -- quite often -- blurring the lines between fiction and reality. In the film, Cave himself says that writing and creating stories is about throwing together two of the most unlikely things, and seeing what happens. That train of thought forms the basis of his songwriting technique, as well as the entire film's concept. It contains scenes in which Cave has conversations in his car with friends, friends who disappear as abruptly as they appear, leaving him driving quietly alone. Were these conversations scripted within Cave's mind, or were they real? Scenes like this are scattered throughout the film and kept me constantly intrigued.
The film is meant to offer a kind of "a day in the life of Nick Cave," the 20,000th day marking Cave's 54th year of existence. There have of course been films done with this "life in a day" concept but the level of intimacy on display in 20,000 Days... is unparalleled. From frantically tapping away on his typewriter at home, to recording Push the Sky Away in the studio, viewers are given an intimate front row view of a man and his creative process.
Also shown are glimpses of his personal life. In one segment, viewers are treated to an appointment with Cave's therapist, during which he discusses his childhood, father, and early musical career. In another, we see Cave sitting with his two sons, watching Scarface. And my favorite, Cave getting into his car, gunning the engine, and Kylie Minogue's "Can't Get You Out of My Head" blaring through the speakers.
Warren Ellis, Cave's friend, fellow band member, and frequent collaborator is also featured prominently in the film, and you get to see the two reminisce about their musical careers in some wonderful scenes. Cave's hilarious, sardonic sense of humor is also on full display throughout the film but I won't spoil it; just know that it's there and it's gold.
Another excellent thing that the film does is show the influence that Brighton, UK, Cave's coastal English town of residence, has on the man and his art. The scenes of the seaside town juxtaposed with Cave's narration makes it come alive in an almost supernatural way. By the film's end, you feel like the town is as much of a character as Cave is.
By doing away with the usual narrative and combining fiction and nonfiction, alongside some fantastic editing and cinematography, lauded directors Iain Forsyth, Jane Pollard, and Cave have created one of the most unique and original music docs. in recent memory. Part biography (or autobiography, whichever you choose to believe) and part ode to the creative spirit, 20,000 Days... is a remarkable film that no music fan should miss out on.
If you missed the film at recent festivals, Drafthouse Films just recently secured its North American distribution rights. Expect a release in early fall. Check out a trailer for 20,000 Days On Earth below...
May 1, 2014
Brian Wilson @ Chicago Theatre w/ The Beach Boys (more by James Richards IV)
CIMM Fest 2014 begins tonight (5/1), yet as with any festival, changes do happen. In this case, it happens to be a great one: the often reclusive Brian Wilson will be joining award-winning director John Anderson's From the Cutting Room Floor panel via phone/Skype. The panel takes place in the lounge at The Logan Theatre on Friday, May 2 from 8-9:30PM.
Here's its description:
More than 95% of footage shot for documentaries doesn't make the final product. In music documentaries, it's not unusual for classic performances, in-depth interviews and one-of-a-kind material - the stuff that the serious musicphiles consider gold - to wind up on the cutting room floor due to time constraints, legal complications and bad hair days. For the first time ever, Grammy-nominated director John Anderson, (Brian Wilson Presents SMiLE) - whose subjects have included Pete Townshend, Jack White, Neil Young, Ray Davies, Paul McCartney, Brian Wilson, Patti Smith, Elvis Costello, Eric Clapton, The Beach Boys, John Fogerty, Emmylou Harris, James Cotton, Cheap Trick, John Prine, Eric Burdon, Tiny Tim, Kanye West, Andy Summers and John Cage - opens up his vault and shares with CIMMfest classic moments that have passed through his hands on their way to the cutting room floor.Festival passes (4-day + single-day) are still available.
Watch Brian Wilson and his band perform SMiLE live after the jump...
March 25, 2014
(via CIMM Fest's Instagram)
As discussed, CIMM Fest 2014 is slated to take place from May 1-4 at 20+ venues throughout Wicker Park, Bucktown, Logan Square, and beyond. Some films we're pretty jazzed about are Revenge of the Mekons, Water & Power (which will feature a live score from Califone), Led Zeppelin Played Here, Every Everything: The Life, Music, & Times of Grant Hart, the Nick Cave documentary 20,000 Days On Earth, and more. The fest also features performances by Yo La Tengo, Murder By Death, Booker T. Jones, Wreckmeister Harmonies, and many more. The full festival schedule is now live, and festival passes (regular and VIP) are still available.
Check out the trailers for the above-mentioned films after the jump...
Slint's extremely thorough Spiderland box set is due to hit stores on April 15 via Touch and Go Records. One of its many components is Breadcrumb Trail, a never-before-seen, 90-minute documentary on the band and the making of Spiderland. It features extensive interviews with Slint, Steve Albini, Ian Mackaye, David Grubbs, David Yow, James Murphy, and more. You can check out a trailer for it at the bottom of this post. The film will be screening at the Music Box Theatre on April 16 and a Q&A with director Lance Bangs will follow it. Tickets are on sale now.
UPDATE: Slint members Dave Pajo and Todd Brashear will join the Q&A session.
The trailer for Breadcrumb Trail can be found below...
March 19, 2014
CIMM Fest 2014--the Chicago International Movies & Music Festival--is slated to take place from May 1-4 at "20+ venues along 1.5 miles of Wicker Park, Bucktown, Logan Square and beyond." The festival has shared its initial lineup, which includes music headliners Yo La Tengo, Murder By Death, Booker T. Jones, and more, with films like the Nick Cave documentary 20,000 Days On Earth, Every Everything: The Life, Music, and Times of Grant Hart, Led Zeppelin Played Here, the Johnny Thunders (New York Dolls/the Heartbreakers) documentary Looking for Johnny, and you guessed it--even more films. The full festival schedule will be live on March 25. Four-day festival passes--both regular admission and VIP--are on sale now. Stay tuned for the full fest schedule.
February 24, 2014
Harold Ramis and Annie Potts on 'Ghostbusters' set
"There's a pride in what I do that other people share because I'm local, which in L.A. is meaningless; no one's local," Ramis said upon the launch of the first movie he directed after his move, the 1999 mobster-in-therapy comedy "Analyze This," another hit. "It's a good thing. I feel like I represent the city in a certain way."Harold Ramis, your influence on modern comedy cannot be overestimated. Rest in peace.
Ramis, a longtime North Shore resident, was surrounded by family when he died at 12:53 a.m. from complications of autoimmune inflammatory vasculitis, a rare disease that involves swelling of the blood vessels, his wife Erica Mann Ramis said. He was 69.
Ramis' serious health struggles began in May 2010 with an infection that led to complications related to the autoimmune disease, his wife said. Ramis had to relearn to walk but suffered a relapse of the vasculitis in late 2011, said Laurel Ward, vice president of development at Ramis' Ocean Pictures production company.
Ramis leaves behind a formidable body of work, with writing credits on such enduring comedies as "National Lampoon's Animal House" (which upon its 1978 release catapulted the film career of John Belushi, with whom Ramis acted at Second City), "Stripes" (1981) and "Ghostbusters" (in which Ramis also co-starred) plus such directing efforts as "Caddyshack" (1980), "National Lampoon's Vacation" (1983), "Groundhog Day" and "Analyze This." - [Chicago Tribune]
January 21, 2014
The National @ Lollapalooza 2013 (more by Dana (Distortion) Yavin)
The National have announced more North American dates in support of 2013's excellent Trouble Will Find Me. Their spring run will tag Chicago for a two-night stand at The Chicago Theatre on April 15 & 16 with tourmates Daughter. Tickets for both nights go on sale this Friday (1/24) at 10AM CST. All dates are listed at the bottom of this post.
The band's 2013 rockumentary, Mistaken For Strangers, will also be hitting theaters this spring. It began as a 2010 tour doc. filmed by crewmember Tom Berninger (brother of frontman Matt Berninger), but ends up exploring the relationship between brothers who are at very different points in their lives. It'll make its theatrical premiere in Los Angeles in late-March.
All National dates, a trailer for Mistaken For Strangers, and a couple of videos lie after the jump...
January 9, 2014
This Friday (1/10) at Lincoln Hall, local filmmaker Chris Hefner will be holding a pair of screenings for his second feature film The Poisoner. It's looking to be a rather interesting film, heavy on black and white noir visuals and a slightly macabre story. The Kafka-esque plot focuses on a married couple where the wife is contractually obligated to slowly poison her husband during their life together. The Poisoner will show at 7PM and 10PM, and both screenings will be preceded by a live musical performance from Daniel Knox, the film's composer, as well as an introduction by Hefner. Advance tickets are still available.
Check out a trailer for the film after the jump...
June 25, 2013
Last summer, Detroit protopunk outfit Death were given the documentary treatment by Mark Covino and Jeff Howlett. Their film, A Band Called Death, then screened at SXSW 2013, where the group also performed at a BrooklynVegan day party. A Band Called Death has since seen a digital release and will make its way to select movie theaters across the United States on Friday, June 28. In Chicago, that means you'll be able to catch the film at the Music Box. The theater currently have three-screenings listed - June 28 at 4PM, June 29 at 8PM, and July 2 at 9:45PM - and maybe more will be added soon. Advance tickets are on sale now.
In celebration of the film's limited release, we're also giving away a Death t-shirt. It's modeled after the ones the band made in the '70s, and you can see a picture of the updated version at the bottom of this post.
All screening dates, a trailer for the film, contest details, and a picture of the t-shirt are below...
May 28, 2013
If We Shout Loud Enough follows Baltimore DIY greats Double Dagger as they complete their farewell tour and final album. The film was released alongside that final album, 333, by longtime label Thrill Jockey Records. If We Shout Loud Enough will be making its Chicago premiere at Galerie F on June 12. The screening will be followed by performances from Doug McCombs, Pearls, and Small Sur, and advance tickets are on-sale now.
Double Dagger played their final Chicago show at Treasure Town (RIP) on October 15 of 2011. You can check out some footage from that performance (courtesy of our friends at Gonzo Chicago), an official film trailer, and a list of all upcoming screenings below...