REVIEW: London Road [2015]

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“It was a complete nightmare” For anyone who believes cinema currently languishes in a rut of remakes, rehashes, sequels, and been-there-done-thats: you aren’t looking hard enough. Those works are what the media force-feeds because they’re the ones making big money come opening weekend, but there’s more out there if you’re willing. Some financiers like BBC […]

REVIEW: The Decline of Western Civilization Part III [1998]

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“Your spit is greatly appreciated” To a certain extent The Decline of Western Civilization Part III could have been titled The New Western Civilization. The first two films in Penelope Spheeris‘ trilogy showed us the music that was changing American youth culture as well as the people performing it and listening to it. This entry […]

REVIEW: The Decline of Western Civilization Part II: The Metal Years [1988]

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“It doesn’t matter—the size of your pencil. It’s how you write your name.” Director Penelope Spheeris changes the aesthetic and to some extent the goals of her documentary series The Decline of Western Civilization with Part II: The Metal Years. Like its predecessor depicting the contemporary 1980 Los Angeles punk scene, we get a glimpse […]

REVIEW: The Decline of Western Civilization [1981]

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“I don’t think of myself as a happy person, but I had fun tonight” You don’t get much more punk rock than Penelope Spheeris‘ concert documentary The Decline of Western Civilization. At least not American punk since the film details the club life in Los Angeles during the 80s rather than mid-70s Britain. We’re talking […]

REVIEW: Les demoiselles de Rochefort [The Young Girls of Rochefort] [1967]

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“The illusion of love is only love unseen” The fair is in town and love is in the air. Welcome to Rochefort—a little seaside navy town in France full of sumptuously bright colors and plenty of light-footed citizens ready to dance accompaniment for anyone willing to belt their hearts out in song. It’s a harbinger […]

REVIEW: Presenting Princess Shaw [2016]

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“Why am I going in the same direction with no direction?” Even though Presenting Princess Shaw isn’t a film about filmmaking, you can’t help wondering about the logistics of its creation considering director Ido Haar is listed as the project’s sole cinematographer. The story of Princess (Samantha Montgomery) and Kutiman (Ophir Kutiel) focuses on music […]

REVIEW: Sing Street [2016]

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“Happy sad” Writer/director John Carney emotionally stripped ex-The Frames bandmate Glen Hansard bare in his 2007 feature film Once and now he does it to himself. The hiccup that was an attempt to recreate lightning in a bottle despite the conscious addition of polish and star appeal with Begin Again is thankfully a distant memory […]

REVIEW: Born to Be Blue [2016]

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“Hello fear. Hello death.” I’m not a jazz guy. I’ll listen, enjoy, and promptly forget it straight away. It all kind of sounds the same to me, but to each his own. If you can differentiate Miles Davis‘ sound from Chet Baker‘s you’re a better music fan than me. So to hear Robert Budreau‘s biopic […]

REVIEW: What Happened, Miss Simone? [2015]

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“I’ll tell you what freedom is to me: no fear” As someone who heard “Feeling Good” on a Muse album in the early 2000s thinking it was their song until the promotional advertisements for season four of “Six Feet Under” got me researching the female vocalist singing its “new” rendition, a documentary on Nina Simone […]

REVIEW: Hail, Caesar! [2016]

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“It’s all in the hips, the lips, the eyes, and the thighs” You don’t think much when you read the Coen Brothers have been bouncing Hail, Caesar! around since 2004. After all, they’re prolific auteurs that often write scripts for other directors, so a decade-long gestation period is nothing to scoff at. Only when you […]

REVIEW: Velvet Goldmine [1998]

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“It’s funny how beautiful people look when they’re walking out the door” What if Citizen Kane wasn’t about Charlie’s Foster Kane but instead the interviewer tasked with speaking to those in Kane’s life, mining for the meaning of “Rosebud”? This is sort of where director Todd Haynes (co-written with James Lyons) begins his fictional account […]