REVIEW: Jersey Boys [2014]

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“Aren’t you supposed to be home by eleven?” The end credits of Clint Eastwood‘s Jersey Boys steal the show. A bombastic number lasting a couple minutes has the entire cast singing “December 1963 (Oh, What A Night)” with genuine excitement through a staged New Jersey street and it gives us exactly what the previous two […]

REVIEW: The Beauty Strip [2014]

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“I think individuality is a very complex thing” There’s no better description for Marshmallow Press Productions than “cinema for the obscure viewer”—at least where their newest on-demand offering The Beauty Strip is concerned. Is its sixty-minutes a series of erotica music videos for electronica bands like Zigo Rayonpineal, Occurrences in Rain, Names, and Bob Orum? […]

REVIEW: Inside Llewyn Davis [2013]

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“Llewyn is the cat” Can I chalk my ambivalence to the Coen Brothers‘ newest film Inside Llewyn Davis up to knowing nothing about the Greenwich Village folk music scene of 1961? It is after all loosely inspired by the life of Dave Van Ronk, containing aspects of his autobiography The Mayor of MacDougal Street for […]

REVIEW: Artifact [2013]

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“We put everything on black. And we rolled the dice.” Full disclosure on my feelings about Thirty Seconds to Mars: I’m a huge fan. When “Capricorn (A Brand New Name)” hit the radio waves, I was sold—not yet aware Jared Leto was the frontman or that the music wasn’t just another lame attempt by an […]

REVIEW: The Punk Singer [2013]

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“It’s all about screaming what’s unspoken” When Kathleen Hanna is shown sitting at her home discussing her exit from fronting Le Tigre, she says, “I felt I had said everything I wanted to say”. It’s the kind of sentiment that makes you truly respect an artist, knowing they weren’t in it for the money or […]

REVIEW: Broadway Idiot [2013]

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“I can’t act. I can’t dance. Compared to a lot of these people I can’t even sing” I remember picking up Green Day’s American Idiot with trepidation in 2004. Dookie is without a doubt a classic while Insomniac proved to be a worthy follow-up to its greatness. Nimrod came with a few good tracks, but […]

REVIEW: BUMRUSH! Boulder, Colorado [2013]

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“We’re in Boulder, baby. This is how it goes.” While I’ve never been to Boulder, I have visited the Denver, CO area and experienced its college town atmosphere for the 30-40 sect looking to escape corporate suburbia for a bit of fun after the work day. I also talked to people who seemed genuinely discouraged […]

TIFF13 REVIEW: Begin Again [Can a Song Save Your Life?] [2014]

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“Yeah. I just phased out my cassettes.” To answer the title’s question—Can a Song Save Your Life?—writer/director John Carney says, “Yes.” A song can save someone from jumping off a subway platform and someone else from the searing emotional pain of being scorned in love. Music in general is an art form that can move […]

REVIEW: Fame High [2013]

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“Engage us” A real life version of Fame on the west coast, Scott Hamilton Kennedy’s coming-of-age documentary Fame High shows us the pressures of pursuing an arts education and career at the Los Angeles County High School for the Arts. Shot over a period of sixteen months, the film follows four students as they battle […]

REVIEW: The History of Future Folk [2013]

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“You still make a crappy assassin, though” Hipster culture appears here to stay. Big-bearded, plaid flannel-wearing, folk music playing bohemians increase their numbers every day as bands like Fleet Foxes, Bon Iver, and Iron & Wine expand into the mainstream rock scene. The appeal probably comes from our American love of wanting to be unique […]

HOTDOCS13 REVIEW: ALIAS [2013]

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“Every kid has dreams. But then you get reality.” Holding onto hope for a better life to strengthen each subsequent generation so one day his ancestors won’t be forced to hustle on the street, Alkatraz strives to achieve a future through his music. Raising his daughter on one hand and doing what he “has to […]