Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Music/Concert DVD Review: Rolling Stones: Let's Spend the Night Together (1981)



Now Available to Own 




Regardless of the fact that it was a brand new track when Harold and Maude filmmaker Hal Ashby and his Being There cinematographer Caleb Deschanel shot the Stones concert film Let's Spend the Night Together in 1981, Mick Jagger waits until roughly the middle of the set-list to unleash “Start Me Up.”

Instead, as a natural born entertainer who most likely is “on” every waking minute of his life, it's only fitting that Jagger kicked off the show with “Under My Thumb.”

Looking out into a massive crowd that's roughly the size of an ocean, Jagger sings at admirers rather than to them.

Thus, knowing full well that in stark contrast to Thumb's openly misogynistic lyrics wherein he likens an obedient girlfriend to “the sweetest pet in the world,”when Jagger opens with that tune he's changing the meaning completely, acknowledging that his captivated audience has become his largest, highest paying pet in the world.

And unfortunately, this is the biggest part of the problem as although we see a polished, highly energized Jagger lunge onstage, he's been started up to go through his chart-toppers completely on dispassionate autopilot.

Gyrating wildly in what has become his trademark “eroticism” that leaves nothing to the imagination, Jagger tries to force sex into some of his most earnest hits, forgetting the fact that not everything works well as a double entendre when you're applying the double meaning in laughable crotch-accentuating football pants.

In my mind, there's absolutely nothing sexier than the right rhythm and blues laced Rolling Stones song and especially the ones that allow death-defying guitarist Keith Richards the chance to wail and this could've only been heightened with a more bare-bones, intimate venue concert. Sadly and aside from the inclusion of a jukebox worth of Stones hits, there's nothing less sexy than the performance on this DVD.

Seeing Jagger's androgynous presentation as a cross between Olivia Newton John's jazzercise aerobics favorite “Let's Get Physical” and glam rock era David Bowie is the equivalent of “baby, I've got a headache.”

And given the stellar material of the Stones catalog, I think he'd be much more effective without the cold shower inducing pomp and neon circumstance of the '80s arena rock concert venue and weird Aerosmith flag plus football attire approach.

Throughout, Jagger speeds through classics he must be tired of singing like “Jumpin' Jack Flash,” so that we lose the punch of those pre-punk, post-Dylan poetic lyrics about being “born with a spike right through my head.”

Essentially, he's the only band member that tries to ignite lust or excitement in the audience (even if by force) as amusingly even a parade of gorgeous girls during “Honky Tonk Women” can't distract the perpetually smoking Ron Wood and Keith Richards from showing each other their killer guitar skills.

And while we'd love to know exactly what he seemed peeved about, privately mouthing off to himself after it appeared as though Ron Wood gave Jagger some direction, Ashby's film remains a slick commercial concert piece.

Obviously, Let's Spend the Night Together may please some die-hard fans looking for a quickie that masquerades as a one-night stand. However since I prefer a musical love affair, let's just say that athletic wear and male eyeliner simply doesn't “Start Me Up” like hearing the album version of “Satisfaction.”


Text ©2010, Film Intuition, LLC; All Rights Reserved. http://www.filmintuition.com Unauthorized Reproduction or Publication Elsewhere is Strictly Prohibited and in violation of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act.  

FTC Disclosure: Per standard professional practice, I received a review copy of this title in order to evaluate it for my readers, which had no impact whatsoever on whether or not it received a favorable or unfavorable critique.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Music Documentary Review: Parting Ways: An Unauthorized Story on Life After The Beatles



Now Available to Own





AKA: The Beatles: Parting Ways; Parting Ways: The Beatles

In this brief fifty-one minute unauthorized documentary best suited for television broadcast rather than purchase or even rental, filmmakers chronicle the lives of the Fab Four following the breakup or rather more fittingly dubbed “divorce” of The Beatles.

Although for the most part it fails to shed much new light on its subject, Parting Ways nonetheless makes for passable entertainment that's sure to appeal to die-hard fans.

A rather one-dimensional overview of post-Beatlemania existence for the men that's told in the order of their involvement with the band, the DVD from Infinity Entertainment Group presents their mini biographies from “the first Beatle” aka John Lennon all the way up through the last (Ringo Starr).

Admittedly it does come as a bit of a surprise that the disc delves into the usually ignored eighteen month separation of John Lennon and Yoko Ono that he spent with Yoko's assistant May Pang, with whom Yoko suggested that John take up in the early '70s.

However, one of the eerier focuses of the disc considers the effect of Lennon's death by assassination on the remaining Beatles. While the DVD reveals that Paul McCartney became especially weary of touring, Parting Ways delivers a startling blow by illustrating the impact it had on George Harrison who is painted as something of a near hermit for not leaving his estate much, only to find in a cruel twist of fate that he became the target of a home invasion by a mad stabber, whom he fortunately was able to outmaneuver.

Thankfully the disc doesn't spend the majority of its running time fixated on the macabre as it celebrates the individual musical achievements the four had following their split and the way that in some cases they ended up collaborating on other material.

Yet considering its incredibly short running time, it isn't able to go into great detail regarding their various professional accomplishments and winds up glossing over recent releases of The Beatles Rock Band game and the Cirque du Soleil show “Love.”

Retaining its small screen style look of a full frame aspect ratio and 2.0 sound, although the disc offers four bonus featurettes that center on everything from Stella McCartney's role in fashion to the men's spiritual exploration, overall it seems to blend right into the background of way too many superior Beatles retrospectives.


Text ©2010, Film Intuition, LLC;
All Rights Reserved. http://www.filmintuition.com
Unauthorized Reproduction or Publication Elsewhere is Strictly Prohibited and in violation of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act.

FTC Disclosure: Per standard professional practice, I received a review copy of this title in order to evaluate it for my readers, which had no impact whatsoever on whether or not it received a favorable or unfavorable critique.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Film Intuition's Home Entertainment Calendar of New Releases in DVD & Blu-ray

Film Intuition's
Home Entertainment Calendar for June 2010


New Releases in DVD & Blu-ray*
Check Back Frequently for Updates



June 1, 2010

Alice in Wonderland (2010)
Bad Boys [Blu-ray]
Burn Notice: Season 3
Drop Dead Diva: Season 1
Foyle's War: Set 6
Life
The Man With No Name Trilogy [Blu-ray]
Midsomer Murders: Set 15
Peanuts: 1970s Collection Volume 2
The Red Baron
Rescue Me: Season 5
U2 360: Live at the Rose Bowl
War of the Worlds [Blu-ray]
The Wolfman


June 8, 2010

The 41-Year-Old Virgin Who Knocked Up Sarah Marshall and Felt Superbad About It
180 South
The A-Team: Complete Series
Animation Express
Bob Hope: Thanks for the Memories Collection
Caddyshack [Blu-ray]
Coach
The Cry of the Owl
Curb Your Enthusiasm: Season 7
Family Matters: The Complete First Season
From Paris with Love
Happy Together [Blu-ray]
iCarly: iSaved Your Life
The Illusionist [Blu-ray]
IMAX: Horses -- The Story of Equus
Jim Henson's Dog City: The Movie
Nip/Tuck: The Sixth and Final Season
Not the Messiah
Oceans
Shaun the Sheep: One Giant Leap for Lambkind
Shinjuku Incident
Shutter Island
Small Island
StarStruck: Extended Edition
Tales of the Gold Monkey: The Complete Series
TCM Spotlight: Charlie Chan


June 15, 2010

American Dad, Vol. 5
The Book of Eli
Everwood: The Complete 3rd Season
Family Guy, Vol. 8
HawthoRNe: Complete First Season
Johnny Bravo: Season One
MacGyver: The TV Movies
Mystery Train (Criterion Collection)
Raffles: Complete Collection
Sanctuary: The Complete Second Season
Secret Life of an American Teenager, Vol. 4
Showgirls [Blu-ray]
Supernatural: The Complete First Season [Blu-ray]
Unthinkable
When in Rome
Youth in Revolt


June 22, 2010

Bluebeard
Death Race 2000
Entourage: The Complete Sixth Season
Fuel
The Good Guy
Green Zone
Hung: The Complete First Season
The Last Station
Night Train to Munich (Criterion Collection)
Red Desert (Criterion Collection)
Remember Me
She's Out of My League
A Star is Born [Blu-ray Book]
Tom & Jerry: Deluxe Anniversary Collection


June 29, 2010

A Bit of a Do
The Closer: Complete Fifth Season
Crazy
Creation
Don McKay
The Eclipse
Eureka: Season 3.5
Everlasting Moments: Criterion Collection
How the Earth Changed History
Jennie: Lady Randolph Churchill
The Leopard (Criterion Collection)
Mad About You: Complete Fourth Season
Madeline's Great Adventures
Night Train to Munich (Criterion Collection)
Percy Jackson & The Olympians: The Lightning Thief
Predator: Ultimate Hunter Edition [Blu-ray]
Pretty Bird
Stolen
Warehouse 13: Season 1

*Check Back Frequently for Updates re: Release Dates & New Titles

Friday, June 11, 2010

Music DVD Review: You Really Got Me -- The Story of The Kinks (2010)


Now Available to Own





Devoting nearly ninety minutes edited like a record into nine Kinks song based selections from “Everybody’s A Dreamer” through “Changes,” You Really Got Me: The Story of The Kinks is best appreciated from a musical perspective rather than from a historical one.

Although it chronicles the “quintessentially British” British Invasion band from their first smash single (the eponymous “You Really Got Me,” which was the guys’ third release) up through their induction into The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Museum, those hoping for an authoritative, eye-opening expose on the musicians will be disappointed with the result of this region free DVD.

However, for avid fans, You Really Got Me is a goldmine of rare performance footage that showcases not just the band’s biggest chart toppers like “Sunny Afternoon” and “All Day and All Of the Night,” but also works in some of the vintage rhythm and blues tracks and the group’s country/folk phase with cuts like “Muswell Hillbilly,” “Milk Cow Blues,” “Low Budget,” and more, going as far as to include the length of each one of over twenty songs right on the back of the DVD case.

With a fascinating biographical printed portrait contained in the inner sleeve penned by Jon Kirkman, the work from ABC Entertainment tries to present the best of both worlds by making up for what the DVD lacks in factual content with its overall presentation as a cross between a documentary and an album.

Still, there’s no doubt that You Really Got Me will make you curious to discover the real story behind the cited “unspecified reasons” why the band was banned from America from 1965-1969.

Additionally you'll long to learn more about The Kinks’ charismatic leader Ray Davies who took the sound of the music in several directions throughout its heyday, making the group influential to various genres and schools of performance from punk to New Wave when it became something of a “cult band” in the 1970s.


Text ©2010, Film Intuition, LLC;
All Rights Reserved. http://www.filmintuition.com
Unauthorized Reproduction or Publication Elsewhere is Strictly Prohibited and in violation of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act.

FTC Disclosure: Per standard professional practice, I received a review copy of this title in order to evaluate it for my readers, which had no impact whatsoever on whether or not it received a favorable or unfavorable critique.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

TV Review: HBO Premieres New Series, "The Neistat Brothers" (2010)




Devotees of the well-organized creative minutia of Wes Anderson, the humor of Spike Jonze, the mixed media daring of Michel Gondry and the experimental free-for-all of Neistat Brothers inspirations Jean-Luc Godard and Hunter S. Thompson are sure to delight in television’s debut “handmade home movie TV show.”

Although on the surface, HBO’s newest Friday night series The Neistat Brothers looks like it could play as an installation exhibit at your local museum of contemporary art, you’re quick to discover that it’s filled with the same sense of wonder that caused most of us to pick up video cameras at a young age and start rolling… um, tape.

As the two introduce us to the mad method behind their mini-movies, filming and adventuring for four weeks and diligently editing for two in their downtown Manhattan studio, 368 Broadway, their enthusiasm for the craft of filmmaking becomes infectious. Soon they take journeys ranging in scale from the dollar store with one’s son and another trip to Amsterdam in order to share their ideas with us over the course of an eight episode season.

Quick to discern that -- although it’s about the lives of the brothers -- it’s never about whom they really are and therefore not a (yawn) reality series, The Neistat Brothers is a cheery blend of creative mischief and innovative mayhem that must be experienced in order to describe.

Veterans of short filmmaking since they used their tax returns to buy iMac DV computers before maxing out their credit cards to fill their hands with cameras, the two who are perhaps most famous for a short work they did about the batteries in an iPod, compare their interest in their work to the story of Jack and the Beanstalk in which a trade was made for the chance or opportunity to achieve something great.


With roughly seven short films and interstitial movies complete with a corresponding theme “baked together in iMovie” to comprise each episode, the brothers Van and Casey admirably give YouTube a run for its overexposed money by primarily using cameras (both still and moving) that most of us use to shoot our family and friends with on a regular basis before going off on their filmed escapades that encompass everything from model boat racing to showing us “A Cool Thing About a Garbage Truck.”

And throughout, they interweave the story of how one brother met their spouse and then tracked down their biological dad at the age of thirty-two to making a movie with their budding filmmaker son, racing their Olympic skier assistant to Amsterdam on a maple syrup expedition or reenacting a scene from The Shining.

And after just two episodes, I'm confident that the series that took a full year to make, promises to be as filled with smiles as it is a celebration of artistic exploration, which proves once again why HBO is as usual several steps ahead of the curve when it comes to intellectual programming we didn’t even know we were missing.


Text ©2010, Film Intuition, LLC; All Rights Reserved. http://www.filmintuition.com Unauthorized Reproduction or Publication Elsewhere is Strictly Prohibited and in violation of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act.

FTC Disclosure: Per standard professional practice, I received a review copy of this title in order to evaluate it for my readers, which had no impact whatsoever on whether or not it received a favorable or unfavorable critique.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Film Intuition's Home Entertainment Calendar of New Releases in DVD & Blu-ray for May 2010

Film Intuition's
Home Entertainment Calendar

May 2010

New Releases in DVD & Blu-ray*
Check Back Frequently for Updates



May 4, 2010

According to Jim: The Complete Second Season
Barbra Streisand: One Night at the Village Vanguard
Before You Say I Do
Bound By a Secret
Dirt: The Complete Second Season
Doctor Zhivago -- Anniversary Edition [Blu-ray]
Dragon Ball: Season 4
Escape from L.A. [Blu-ray]
The Facts of Life: Season 4
Fallen
Go Diego Go: Great Panda Adventure
Hamlet (2009)
Iron Man: Armored Adventures -- Complete Season 1
Iron Man: Complete Animated Series
Leap Year
Marvel X-Men: Vol. 5
Mine
Murdoch Mysteries: Season 2
The Nanny Express
Never Sleep Again: The Elm Street Legacy
Nine
No Time for Sergeants
The Notebook [Blu-ray]
Penn and Teller: Bulls*** Season 7
Saving Private Ryan [Blu-ray]
Tetro
Tooth Fairy
Virtuality
Wolverine and X-Men: Revelation
X-Men: Volume 5 (Marvel DVD)


May 11, 2010


Celine: Through the Eyes of the World

Daria: The Complete Animated Series
Daybreakers
The Edge [Blu-ray]
Edge of Darkness (2010)
Essential Art House: Kurosawa Collection
Fresh Prince of Bel Air: Season 5
Hang 'Em High [Blu-ray]
High Anxiety [Blu-ray]
History of the World: Part 1 [Blu-ray]
The Karate Kid I [Blu-ray]
The Karate Kid Part II [Blu-ray]
Larry McMurtry's The Streets of Laredo
Legend of the Tsunami Warrior [Blu-ray]
Legion
M (Criterion Collection)
Magnificent Seven Collection [Blu-ray]
The Man in the Iron Mask [Blu-ray]
Marked for Death [Blu-ray]
My Wife and Kids: Season 2
Raising the Bar: Season 2
Robin Hood: Men in Tights [Blu-ray]
Rock 'N Roll High School [Blu-ray]
Spy Kids: Collection
Thirtysomething: The Complete Third Season
Toy Story Special Edition DVD
Toy Story 2 Special Edition DVD


May 18, 2010

Carlito's Way [Blu-ray]
The Dukes
Extraordinary Measures
The Girl on the Train
Invictus
John Lennon: Rare & Unseen
The Kinks: You Really Got Me -- The Story of The Kinks
The Louis L'Amour Movie Collection
Law and Order: Criminal Intent -- The 5th Year
The Messenger
The New Daughter
Outlander
The Spy Next Door
Valentine's Day
Walkabout (Criterion Collection) [Blu-ray]


May 25, 2010

Bigger and Blackerer: David Cross
City of the Living Dead
Dear John
Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog [Blu-ray]
Flashpoint: The Second Season
George Gently: Series 2
The Guild: Season 3
Leverage: The Complete Second Season
Mystery Team
Rain Fall
The Road
Royal Pains: Season 1
Seven Swords
Spartacus: 50th Anniversary Edition [Blu-ray]
Stagecoach (Criterion Collection) [Blu-ray]
True Blood: The Complete Second Season

Saturday, May 29, 2010

TV Review: Royal Pains -- Season 2 Premiere: "Spasticity"



Own Season One





In the words of Divya (Reshma Shetty), “the cold war’s still raging” between the brothers after Hank (Mark Feuerstein) and Evan (Paulo Costanzo) find that HankMed’s entire savings have been swindled by their untrustworthy father, following Evan’s judgmental lapse to trust the man who helped bring them into the world.

And while checks are bouncing and Hank avoids Divya’s calls as well as his appointment to take care of the family situation as the second season of Royal Pains begins, soon the “Robin Hood of Medicine” is back in full swing, reminding America why he’s become our knight in a shiny white coat (when that is, he’s not wearing Hamptons beach apparel).

As a concierge doctor to the rich and an on-call physician to everyone else including his mysteriously ill landlord Boris (Campbell Scott), Hank finds himself up to his neck in work revolving around one unusually accident prone infomercial spokesperson who seems to have a different ailment every time Divya’s phone rings.

With Marcia Gay Harden making the life of Dr. Jill Casey (Jill Flint) miserable at the local hospital thanks to the young woman’s insistence to put the comfort and needs of patients before the tantrums and paychecks of spoiled surgeons, Jill is all too eager to become even more professionally entangled by HankMed despite her romantically rocky relationship with the leading man.

In a pleasant prescription of sunny fun and feverish medical drama complete with some of the most bizarre cases you’ll find on that side of New York, Royal Pains tricks you into assuming it’s all business as usual until-- much like in the outlandish emergencies Hank is able to instantly piece together-- the series produces a side effect we weren’t expecting at all in one killer of an ending sure to lead to USA Network addiction this summer. Luckily, however, there’s a cure for what ails you and HankMed’s got it in spades.



Text ©2010, Film Intuition, LLC; All Rights Reserved. http://www.filmintuition.com Unauthorized Reproduction or Publication Elsewhere is Strictly Prohibited and in violation of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act.

FTC Disclosure: Per standard professional practice, I viewed an online screener of this title in order to evaluate it for my readers, which had no impact whatsoever on whether or not it received a favorable or unfavorable critique.

TV Review: Burn Notice -- Season 4 Premiere: "Friends and Enemies"








Michael Westen (Jeffrey Donovan) may be a captured spy at the start of the fourth season of Matt Nix’s wildly inventive Mission Impossible meets MacGyver series Burn Notice, but the one thing we know about Westen by now is that he’s not going to stay captured for long.

Temporarily brought into custody at what the outside world may assume is a document processing plant that truly doubles as a secret holding center for VIPs (very important prisoners), Westen is persuaded to work alongside the agency that burned him by the mysterious and charismatic Vaughn (Robert Wisdom) who assures Westen that the government has plenty of use for burned spies since people without direct ties can cross lines that those on the paper trail cannot.

And soon enough, the two begin going after an illegal weapons salesman, which we realize is just step one in what Vaughn describes as “a new kind of problem” for our national security that will consume Michael in this summer’s return to USA Network’s hit series.

Finding himself drawn into another more urgent battle by Fiona (Gabrielle Anwar) and Sam (Bruce Campbell) who are in over their heads protecting a lawyer from Miami’s toughest biker gang who’ve gotten the greenlight to end their client’s life, Sam reassures their pal that although their reunion for their captured friend is brief, “this whole business here needs a little Michael Westen” before arming him to the teeth in a high speed pursuit.

Deftly balancing adventure with the building plot concerning Westen’s fate now that he’s begun putting the pieces together regarding who burned him and why, the season gets off to an action packed start with the same trademark tongue-in-cheek narration about Fiona infiltrating a group running on “testosterone and motor oil” that we’ve come to appreciate whenever the temperatures rise and Nix’s series once again takes to the airwaves.



Text ©2010, Film Intuition, LLC; All Rights Reserved. http://www.filmintuition.com Unauthorized Reproduction or Publication Elsewhere is Strictly Prohibited and in violation of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act.

FTC Disclosure: Per standard professional practice, I viewed an online screener of this title in order to evaluate it for my readers, which had no impact whatsoever on whether or not it received a favorable or unfavorable critique.

Comedy DVD Review: David Cross -- Bigger and Blackerer (2010)



Now Available to Own





From dubbing Mormonism “the Scientology of its day” to walking us through what it's like to buy batteries when you're tripping, there's a lot to enjoy in David Cross's new DVD Bigger and Blackerer that was shot over the course of two shows in his hometown of Boston, Massachusetts.

And though it's an uneven hour since David Cross is inventive to a fault given a few staged gimmicks concerning a fan who shows up to sign his own jokes that falls flat, he's nonetheless a likable comic who finds inspiration in everything from the SkyMall catalog to a badly written postcard about date rape, thereby making you admire the mind behind the musings all the more.

To put it another way, Cross is one of those comedians with whom you find yourself agreeing rather than falling out of your chair laughing over which makes his appeal both universal as the type of “funny sidekick” you wish was in your group yet it's likewise limiting since his cleverness often gets the best of him in odd segues when he simply gets distracted or says, “well that bit's kind of gone.”

Admirably with Cross, you can see the wheels turning in his mind while he delivers, taking in what the audience is finding funny and then structuring a line to suit whether it's asking them why they're laughing before the punchline – a common occurrence on these DVDs we discover – or in an extra feature, oddly standing up for Dane Cook when he realizes a female audience member is a fan.

It's not often you find a comedian joking he's going to do a benefit for another comic in an act of support in the midst of his own DVD but again, it illustrates Cross's true nature as a man concerned with something other than his own ego that comes right through in his most successful sequences when he analyzes the comedy goldmine of religion and politics.

And although he confesses that he isn't above airplane jokes since they're the ones viewers will be wishing for once he hits religion, honestly – and not just because I agreed with Cross – he could've done an entire set on the hypocrisy of religion or confounding bible facts since his takes on it were so unusually fresh.

In fact, he's a better religious comic than he is a political one, giving Bill Maher quite a run for his money on the Religulous subject that stands as the best segment contained in his entire act of routinely solid bits that again, we were smiling and cheering about mentally far more often than we were ready to bust a gut as Cross might say.

Aside from another staged audience gag that doesn't quite work, you're going to want to explore the disc's extra features to see an even funnier finale in the form of a long, hilarious and highly involved anecdote that illustrates his brilliance as a writer and observer of nature along with his unexpected rise to the defense of Dane Cook.



Text ©2010, Film Intuition, LLC;
All Rights Reserved. http://www.filmintuition.com
Unauthorized Reproduction or Publication Elsewhere is Strictly Prohibited and in violation of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act.FTC Disclosure: Per standard professional practice, I received a review copy of this title in order to evaluate it for my readers, which had no impact whatsoever on whether or not it received a favorable or unfavorable critique.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Music DVD Review: I Need That Record! The Death (Or Possible Survival) of the Independent Record Store


Now Available to Own





Once “MP3” replaced “sex” as the term most searched for on the world wide web, the music industry knew that they were in trouble. And though the Napster years may indeed be over, the iTunes years keep on growing, much to the chagrin of CD sellers everywhere let alone independent record store owners.

Yet is the click-record-distribute option of MP3 really to blame for the downfall of the independent record store or is it a combination of several factors?

Filmmaker Brendan Toller decides to investigate in his entertaining, hip and freshly edited title I Need That Record! The Death (Or Possible Survival of the Independent Record Store). In investigating why roughly three thousand stores have closed shop during the past ten years, he points a whimsical finger at the main culprits including Big Box Stores like Best Buy or Wal-Mart that can sell a CD at ridiculously low prices in the hopes of guaranteeing a sale on bigger ticket items as well as the record industry itself which took a darker spin in the 1980s when MBAs took over the executive positions and music lovers were pushed out of the decision making business.

However more than just whining about “the man,” Toller is an insightful filmmaker who offers us a succinct yet fascinating history about the way that music and money has always overlapped from the old payola scandals with DJ Alan Freed up through the commercialization of radio via the Telecommunications Act which finds Clear Channel owning 1 in every 10 stations that play the same music 73% of the time.

Additionally, in arguing for the need to create a profitable business model so that independent community oriented stores could stay in business and compete with CD prices, Toller looks at some of the contradictions in marketing wherein an unknown Amy Winehouse album sells at an impossibly low introductory rate until it goes up roughly ten dollars when she becomes in demand.

Filled with Catch 22s and passionate people, the film is imbued with some unexpected bursts of animation both literally and in the colorful personalities of those interviewed. Moreover, it's the type of work that not only celebrates the local stores that help foster friendships, bands and in some cases save lives but also makes the viewer take a little responsibility in reexamining their downfall from radio to record to CD to MP3.

Rightfully it argues the importance of the stores in catering to an under-served niche of music savvy collectors as radio listenership is at a 27 year low in celebrating diversity and opening one's heart, mind and ears to music they may otherwise miss in a world of Top 50 pop music that fails to foster unique tastes. Likewise, the film is certain to cater not only to its built in audience of indie stores still with open doors but music aficionados and audiophiles as well.

Due to its brisk 77 minute running time, Toller is unable to offer an authoritative historical analysis on the many issues introduced and we wish he would've gotten much more on film from music historians or scholarly sources instead of just “man on the scene” interviews. While the DVD is bursting with hours of bonus interviews in the special features section, overall the great thing about the documentary as mentioned is it invites you to do more research on your own and consider just how much you value the choices you're able to make at independent stores verses the ease of Big Box stores or Clear Channel radio.


Text ©2010, Film Intuition, LLC;
All Rights Reserved. http://www.filmintuition.com
Unauthorized Reproduction or Publication Elsewhere is Strictly Prohibited and in violation of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act.

FTC Disclosure: Per standard professional practice, I received a review copy of this title in order to evaluate it for my readers, which had no impact whatsoever on whether or not it received a favorable or unfavorable critique.

Music DVD Review: The Rolling Stones -- Rare and Unseen


Now Available to Own





In the words of former Rolling Stones member Bill Wyman – dubbed “the historian of the band” since he's the one who remembers dates and places – it was much nicer to perform for audiences as they aged since initially they just wanted to see the Stones and then as time went on, they wanted to listen to the music.

However, the folks from MVD Visual's Rare and Unseen Collection are hoping that after more than four decades of Rolling Stones fever, fans will still want to see more of Mick, Keith and the rest of the guys in this alternatively fascinating yet at times haphazardly pieced together sixty-four minute work.

Without the benefit of going in chronological order or establishing the type of place-markers of date and location that no doubt Wyman or others could've assisted with, this collection of rare footage simply moves in far too many directions at once. Therefore, unless you are an amateur historian of the band and know all of its present and past members, it can get pretty confusing pretty quickly as we wonder who is talking or where they are in the timeline of the albums, the singles, or the many evolutions of the band.

Inter-splicing photos and clips of the group alongside interviews and text bubbles here and there, while the presentation fails to make this one recommendable to anyone other than die hard fans, for those who dig the Stones, there's enough contained in the piece to fascinate you.

In a key sequence, it includes some nice contradictory moments for Mick Jagger taking one stance on an issue one moment before it cuts to a scene a few decades later (moving from black and white to color) where he decides to ignore his stance and speak up about politics, illustrating the way that the band has aged right along with its audience in terms of maturity, responsibility etc.

In the short spin we see Mick Taylor's admission that Jagger could be a bit difficult to footage from Jagger's marriage to Bianca to the differences in touring from playing “rinky dinky rinky” joints with a “big” crew of thirty guys to finally waiting until 1998 to play Russia, which had banned their performances for decades.

And throughout there's enough substance to keep you interested even if you have a hard time feeling invested in the documentary when we simply view sound free film of Mick Jagger at a Red Carpet event or spend time during a drug trial interview that doesn't make a whole lot of sense without the context.

Overall, a mixed bag of footage transferred as well as can be expected considering the age of some of the pieces included, The Rolling Stones Rare and Unseen may be worth a casual look for a die hard fan but casual ones are sure to fail to gain any real satisfaction from it after all.


Text ©2010, Film Intuition, LLC;
All Rights Reserved. http://www.filmintuition.com
Unauthorized Reproduction or Publication Elsewhere is Strictly Prohibited and in violation of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act.

FTC Disclosure: Per standard professional practice, I received a review copy of this title in order to evaluate it for my readers, which had no impact whatsoever on whether or not it received a favorable or unfavorable critique.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Q & A: Colin Michael Day Discusses Acting, Travel and "The Loneliest Road in America"




Q & A: Colin Michael Day


1) Congratulations on the completion of The Loneliest Road in America. From a viewer standpoint, it really felt like we traveled on an authentic road trip across the southwest along with the cast of characters. How long did it take to shoot the film and what was the process like? Did you all embark on a journey together and where did you guys shoot?

It took about 1 month to shoot the entire film. We started in Denver and pretty much shot in sequence in Denver, Utah, Nevada and LA. In Denver, it was just me; Chris Hayes, the actor who plays Matt; Mardana Mayginnes, the director; and Tony McGrath, the cinematographer; and then we met the rest of the crew in Nevada.

The process of filming the movie was a blast, but it was hard. We had to be detailed and thorough about the shots we wanted. We only had so much light during the day so we had to be quick and precise. We didn’t do more than 3 takes for any scene throughout the entire movie. And since all the actors were very prepared, it made it easy for the crew to do their job. Plus Mardana and Tony had been working for a long time preparing shot lists.

Since we went in so ready with the shots we wanted to do and the actors feeling confident with their lines, we avoided a lot of problems. Of course, there were some problems, because it’s bound to happen, but we didn’t have as many as expected. Basically, we were like a family while shooting; everyone got along really well. There were some disagreements and arguments, but that’s normal. Overall, we had great chemistry on location and it was a great experience.

2) I found it interesting that your director Mardana Mayginnes initially wanted you to play the role of Matt -- the wisecracking and blunt sidekick. To me, Matt and the more contemplative character you played – Jamie -- seemed like night and day. What drew you to the role of Jamie and why do you think Mardana originally saw you as Matt?

Mardana saw me as Matt because we’ve been on road trips together, and we’re partiers much like Matt’s character. I make a lot of jokes and tend to be the funny one, even though I don’t have the exact personality of Matt. But Mardana thinks I’m funny, and I’m flattered by that. And since I’m not really a depressed person or anything like that, because that’s not my personality, Mardana thought the Matt character was more me and that I would have fun playing him. At first I did think it would be a lot of fun, and Matt’s a big character in the film, he’s on screen a lot, so it would have been a good role for me.

As time went on, however, and the more I read the script, the Jamie character seemed to be more of a challenge for an actor, and I felt I could pull it off. There was more emotion, more back story. Plus, he is the main lead, you follow him throughout the whole movie and I thought that would be challenging, that was something I could do. And I thought for this movie to be a big success, I felt I could pull it off better than someone else auditioning.

3) It seems appropriate that the trip just seems to continue in the movie as it ends. Where do you think Jamie is now?

To be honest, we’ve joked about this and we think Jamie went to South America. That seems like a place he would go, to get out of the U.S. and get away. It seems like a fun place and he could meet people and hit on women. He could get away from everybody and continue his life. That’s the great thing about the ending of the film, people can guess where he went, and they can imagine where life took him. He could go anywhere, really, like Alaska or Japan. Hell, he could be hipping out in a nude colony somewhere. It’s your own opinion really as to where he ends up, but I think he went to South America.

4) Throughout the film, you guys made excellent use of music. Personally, do you have any particular favorite songs to add to your iPod or mixes when you travel?

The music credit is given to Mardana, completely. I was there through the process, but he knew what he wanted. He had a complete idea; I think he hit on the mood everywhere through the movie. I kept commenting and saying this song or that song was good, but he saw it, he heard it.

When it comes to creating music lists, to be honest I create mixes from my friends’ suggestions, because I don’t go out and find stuff on my own usually. I mean, Mardana got me into Cat Powers and Kascade. But I’m really open to all types of music, I don’t keep to a certain genre. Like right now, I’m listening to the new Kascade CD that’s just come out but I don’t limit myself to just techno; I love rock n’ roll and oldies like The Beatles, Rolling Stones, Pearl Jam. The list goes on. I even like opera.

5) Your biography reveals quite an extensive background exploring the world. Out of all of the various getaway locales, what’s one memorable experience and place that sticks out?

I have to pick just one place? I could pick many, I could go on forever, because there are so many unique places I’ve seen. But if I have to pick, one of my greatest moments was when I was living in Sydney during a semester studying abroad. I have a lot of family that lives there, and as a favor to my aunt, I started coaching my cousins’ girls’ basketball team. They were horrendous, I mean, they were getting creamed by everyone they played.

My friend Jason and I decided to be their coach, and it was just such an interesting experience. While I was having a great time living there and acting, I just loved going and coaching. It was another challenge, and it was a blast to teach them basic skills and plays. We actually started winning and other teams were trying to copy our defensive and offensive strategies. To be able to do that in another country, especially one where basketball isn’t very big, it was truly unique.

I guess the reason I enjoyed it so much is because, when I travel, I love meeting people. I can go on adventures climbing mountains and hiking through towns and seeing great landscapes, but I can never get away from interacting with other people, other cultures, experiencing different personalities. I got to be part of a community outside my country, and the parents respected me for teaching their kids. That meant a lot to me because it was coming from people I never expected to get it from. It was a great feeling and an amazing experience.

6) As an actor and producer, what do you think your background as a business major and tennis player at the University of Denver has taught you to use in your field?

My business major helped me with creating the movie, or at least the business plan but it’s a different beast creating a movie over a business plan for a class. We have our own production company, so my business background helped with that but in all honesty, business didn’t help much with my acting. Tennis helped a lot, because of the competitive nature and the work ethic tennis required throughout my life. And that’s why I wanted the Jamie character, it was a challenge, and in tennis you’re challenged. You always want to compete against better players so you can improve.

Acting is hard, even though I was told I was a natural, but that doesn’t mean I was a great actor. Same as tennis, I was told I was really athletic, but that doesn’t mean I was going be a great tennis player. I had to work at tennis; I had to learn the strokes, the techniques, all the little details. The more I practiced the better I got.

There are a lot of details you have to work at in acting, too, like scripts and lines, your reactions to situations, the way you listen to other actors. The more you do it, the better you get, it’s like muscle memory. You stop thinking about it, you just do it naturally and you’re in the moment. It’s all about working at it. I keep growing, I’m always growing, and you’re always learning new things. If there is one thing I could say to actors out there, continue to act. If you love it, keep doing it.

7) I read that you’re continuing your acting studies with Elizabeth Metznick who specializes in the Meisner Technique. I’m unfamiliar with that approach. In a nutshell, what is the Meisner Technique?

It’s pretty simple when you’re doing it, but it’s complicated to explain. Basically, Meisner believed in being as natural as possible while acting. It’s an acting technique that emphasizes reacting off another person or an environment. But also as you start the process, you start learning about your emotional self. Meisner strips you of a lot of your defensive shields and opens up these emotions like sadness, anger, happiness, and makes them truthful, not fake. This is all in the first year of the process, and the second year you do all the character work, the character building. You’re adding point of view, roles, and there is a lot of improve and reaction involved.

The reason I like studying with Elizabeth is because I feel like I take one step forward, two steps back. I know that sounds weird, but it helps. Elizabeth is great, and I chose her because she calls you out on things. She wants you to see what you’re doing. She can see what you can’t, and you can’t hide from that.

Many people will get frustrated and blame their teachers, but I never get upset at the teacher. I never got mad at Elizabeth, because I always felt her comments were helpful and she guided me through this technique. Once you break through that wall, take that step, you feel great. It’s just helping me learn, because I’m always growing.

8) Since you have such a versatile resume in theatre and film as well as roles both in front of and behind the camera, professionally what do you have lined up next?

Well, I just finished another short film where I played a math genius that kind of goes crazy because he’s trying to find an equation to create a portal to an alternate universe. I’m the only actor in the film and it was a great character role. I had a blast, and I think it has a lot of potential to go somewhere.

There are a few plays coming up at Elephant Theater Company that I’ll hopefully get involved with. I’ve been talking to people about doing some web series, and it’s been exciting talking about doing those projects. Within our crew, we have about 3 scripts that we’re hoping to start pre-production on in the fall. But I’m not doing anything anytime soon, because I’ll be going to South Africa for the World Cup. All I’ve been doing recently is a lot of publicity for Loneliest Road, just trying to promote the movie.


Text ©2010, Film Intuition, LLC; All Rights Reserved. http://www.filmintuition.com Unauthorized Reproduction or Publication Elsewhere is Strictly Prohibited and in violation of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Film Intuition's Home Entertainment Calendar of New Releases in DVD & Blu-ray for April 2010

Film Intuition's
Home Entertainment Calendar
April 2010

New Releases in DVD & Blu-ray*
Check Back Frequently for Updates




April 1, 2010

Yes Men Fix the World


April 6, 2010

Ally McBeal: Complete Second Season
Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans
Battlestar Galactica: Season 2 [Blu-ray]

Cocoon: 25th Anniversary (Blu-ray)
Harlem Aria
Icons of Suspense: Hammer Films
Lord of the Rings Trilogy [Blu-ray Theatrical Version Collection]
Madonna: Sticky & Sweet Tour
The Natural [Blu-ray]
Nightmare on Elm Street [Blu-ray]
A Numbers Game
Thomas Crown Affair (Blu-ray)
The Unusuals


April 13, 2010

44 Inch Chest
2010: The Winter Olympics
Apollo 13 (Blu-ray)
The Beatnicks
Creature of Darkness
Dallas: The Complete 13th Season
Defendor
Dora the Explorer: Explore the Earth
Emergency!: Season 6
Essential Art House: 8 1/2
Essential Art House: Brief Encounter
Essential Art House: Floating Weeds
Essential Art House: Jules and Jim
Essential Art House: Kapo
Essential Art House: Loves of a Blonde
Essential Art House: Volume V
Final Storm
Gone With the Wind [Blu-ray] (Scarlett Edition)
Great Mouse Detective (Mystery in the Mist Edition)
Haunted: The Complete Series
Ice Twisters
Jim Henson's Animal Show with Stinky & Jake
Jim Henson's The Song of the Cloud Forest and Other Earth Stories
The Korean
Living Landscapes: Four Seasons [Blu-ray]
Love the Beast (Two Disc Special Edition)
The Madeline Movie: Lost in Paris
Master and Commander: Far Side of the World [Blu-ray]
Nightmare on Elm Street [Blu-ray]
Nightmare on Elm Street Collection
Pirate Radio
School of Life
The Slammin' Salmon
Stoic
Storm Seekers
Tenderness
Tenure
Tom and Jerry Tales: The Complete First Season


April 20, 2010

Batman Returns [Blu-ray]
Battleship Potemkin [Blu-ray]
Crazy Heart
Deadly Impact
Falcon Crest: The Complete First Season
Handy Manny: Big Race
Hercules: The Legendary Journeys -- Season 1
The Lovely Bones
Merlin: The Complete First Season
Minority Report [Blu-ray]
Peacock
Summer Hours (Criterion Collection) [Blu-ray]
Tales from the Script
Vivre Sa Vie
The Young Victoria
Xena: Warrior Princess-- Season 1


April 22, 2010

Avatar DVD Blu-ray


April 27, 2010

Armageddon [Blu-ray]
The Barbara Stanwyck Collection
Disgrace
District 13: Ultimatum
Dune [Blu-ray]
Elizabeth [Blu-ray]
Elizabeth: The Golden Age [Blu-ray]
Five Minutes of Heaven
Fugitive Kind (Criterion Collection)
Georgia O'Keefe
The Imagination of Doctor Parnassus
It's Complicated
The Jackal [Blu-ray]
Last of the Summer Wine: Vintage 1982-1983
Murphy's Law: Series 2
Out of Africa: 25th Anniversary Edition [Blu-ray/DVD Combo]
Pride and Prejudice: The Restored Edition
Ride with the Devil (Criterion Collection) [Blu-ray] DVD
Six Centuries of Verse
Survivors: Season 1 & 2
Tombstone [Blu-ray]
Traffic [Blu-ray]


*Check Back Frequently for Updates re: Release Dates & New Titles
Submit a Title, Press Release or Screener Inquiries

Friday, April 23, 2010

Music DVD Review: Masters of American Music -- Sarah Vaughan: The Divine One (1993)





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Even though the fact that she could push a one syllable word throughout a rollercoaster of her three plus octave range by dragging it out as though it were five syllables both endeared and infuriated the fans of Sarah Vaughan, she nonetheless ranked number one for five consecutive years as the “favorite girl singer” of her era.

Fluent in jazz, pop and bebop, Vaughan never encountered a standard song she wanted to sing straight, which was why her interpretation of “Body and Soul” sung on a dare in a contest as a teenager soon found her joining big bands where – much like Billie Holiday – she used her voice as an instrument to spontaneously get into the freewheeling rhythm as though it were a trumpet or saxophone.

Known as The Divine One to the fans who likened Vaughan to operatic diva royalty, dubbed Sailor by those who new “Sassy” Sarah best for her gift to “out-cuss Popeye the Sailor Man” with the boys on the road, the diverse Ms. Vaughn is profiled in this compelling and beautifully preserved piece of musical portraiture.



Part documentary, part interview retrospective, and part musical performance, the Masters of American Music Limited Edition digitally remastered, region free, Sarah Vaughan: The Divine One is a delight for fans eager to discover more than just the bare minimum of biographical facts.

And this intimacy is what we're treated to from those who knew her best including the two she lived with in the form of her mother and her daughter – both of whom speak candidly about the private, professional Vaughan who had a big heart that was often broken but who managed to touch the hearts of so many all with that signature voice.

Although it clocks in at merely fifty-six minutes, the DVD which plays worldwide in all models of players as a Region 0 disc offers some lush performance footage that showcases Vaughan at various periods in her extraordinary career, highlighting the admirable way that unlike many jazz artists she was able to transcend musical genres and continue to have a career for five decades.

From “I've Got a Crush on You” to some of her most famous interpretations of “Misty,” “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” and “Send in the Clowns,” it's a beautiful work all around, even if it ultimately leaves you wanting more... much like a talented “girl singer” who stretches out the notes before exiting the stage to thunderous applause and cries of “Encore.”

One of four new discs released in the Masters of American Music series including titles devoted to John Coltrane, Count Basie and the blues with Bluesland, Sarah Vaughan: The Divine One follows the successful launch of the previous quartet of jazz themed limited edition bows in late 2009.




Text ©2010, Film Intuition, LLC; All Rights Reserved. http://www.filmintuition.com

Unauthorized Reproduction or Publication Elsewhere is Strictly Prohibited and in violation of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act.

FTC Disclosure:
Per standard professional practice, I received a review copy of this title in order to evaluate it for my readers, which had no impact whatsoever on whether or not it received a favorable or unfavorable critique.