Category Archives: Film

“ANTIBALAS— LIVE FROM THE HOUSE OF SOUL”— Afrobeat

antibalas

“Antibalas – Live From The House Of Soul”

Afrobeat

Amos Lassen

“Antibalas” is the next installment of Daptone Records’ new video series, Live From The House Of Soul. It was recorded at Daptone Records’ backyard in Bushwick, Brooklyn and directed by Philip Di Fiore. Antibalas was born in a Brooklyn warehouse in 1997 and is a 12-piece ensemble credited with introducing Afrobeat to a wider global audience, influencing countless musicians and developing a live show that is the stuff of legend. The group has performed everywhere from Central Park to Carnegie Hall to Rikers Island Prison, and that’s just in New York. Through their concerts, tours and recordings, Antibalas have helped re-popularize the classic Afrobeat sound and in doing so have won the admiration of a wide array of respected musicians.

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Antibalas (Spanish for “bulletproof”) is a Brooklyn-based afrobeat band that is modeled after Fela Kuti‘s Africa 70 band and Eddie Palmieri‘s Harlem River Drive Orchestra. Although their music generally follows the musical architecture and language of afrobeat, it incorporates elements of jazz, funk, dub, improvised music, and traditional drumming from Cuba and West Africa.

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The group’s first performance was on May 26, 1998, at St. Nicks Pub in Harlem at a poetry night organized by renowned visual artist Xaviera Simmons. Over the next few months, the group solidified with a core of eleven band members and expanded their repertoire of original songs.

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Today the band is made up of:

Martin Perna – Baritone saxophone (1998-present)

  • Luke O’Malley – Guitar (1999-present)
  • Martin Perna– Baritone sax (1998-present)
  • Duke Amayo – Vocals, congas, percussion (1999-present)
  • Jordan McLean– Trumpet, flugelhorn (1999-present)
  • Aaron Johnson – Trombone (2000-present)
  • Stuart D. Bogie– Tenor saxophone, alto saxophone (2001-present)
  • Marcos J. Garcia – Guitar, vocals (2003-present)
  • Eric Biondo – Trumpet (2003-present)
  • Marcus Farrar – Shekere, vocals (2005-present)
  • Nikhil P. Yerawadekar – Bass guitar, guitar (2010-present)
  • Miles Arntzen– Drums (2010-present)
  • Rey de Jesus – Congas (2010-present)
  • Raymond “Evil Ray” Mason – Trombone (2013-present)
  • Will Rast – Organ, electric pianos, synthesizers (2013-present)
  • Timothy Allen – Guitar (2010-present)
  • Kevin Raczka – Drums (2015-present)
  • Jas Walton – Tenor saxophone (2015-present)
  • Joseph Woullard – Tenor saxophone (2015-present)
  • Raja Kassis – Guitar (2015-present)
  • Doug Berns – Bass (2015-present)
  • Jeff Pierce – Trombone, trumpet (2013-present)

In Afrobeat music, it is all about rhythm and that rhythm comes from many different places—vocals, horns, keyboards and the listeners. It is all about feeling the music and letting it take you away.

“ZYDECO CROSSROAD: A TALE OF TWO CITIES”— Creole Music from Louisiana

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“ZYDECO CROSSROAD: A TALE OF TWO CITIES”  

Creole Music from Louisiana

Amos Lassen

Robert Mugge explores the Creole culture of Southwest Louisiana in this 87-minute film that features performances by Buckwheat Zydeco, C.J. Chenier, Chubby Carrier, Nathan Williams, Major Handy, Rockin’ Dopsie, Jr., Rosie Ledet, Creole United, Soul Creole, Chris Ardoin, Lil’ Nate Williams, Corey Arceneaux and Vasti Jackson. The film also includes interviews by World Cafe host David Dye with many of these musicians as well as interviews with Zydeco and blues club owner Sid Williams and Zydeco music experts Herman Fuselier and Michael Tisserand. Since I am originally from New Orleans, I have been waiting for this DVD for quite a while after hearing wonderful things about it and it does not disappoint.

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It is a musical hat explores Louisiana’s Creole music community. During the latter half of 2014, music filmmaker Robert Mugge and his partner Diana Zelman worked with executives Roger LaMay and Bruce Warren of Philadelphia public radio station WXPN and their “World Cafe” host and producer David Dye to document and assist WXPN’s exploration of the Creole culture of Southwest Louisiana through its yearlong Zydeco Crossroads project. It documents concerts by zydeco artists C.J. Chenier and Rosie Ledet in the Philadelphia area and followed XPN staff to Lafayette, Louisiana where concerts were staged featuring other top zydeco artists listed above. We also see David Dye’s interviews with most of the key performing artists and with zydeco club owner Sid Williams, zydeco historian Michael Tisserand, and zydeco deejay Herman Fuselier of Lafayette public radio station KRVS.

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In the interviews, we learn the history of music created by Southwest Louisiana Creoles, who are generally defined as people of mixed African, French, Spanish, and Native American descent, but especially African and French. We meet musical families who, generation after generation, play a dominant role in preserving and updating Creole musical traditions and we see that there are different kinds of zydeco— the earlier fiddle-and-accordion-driven ‘French’ or ‘La La’ music and later accordion-and-rubboard-driven zydeco. There is also the influence of Mississippi blues on both traditional Creole music and contemporary zydeco. The film’s dialogue is English, while the song lyrics are a mix of English and French patois with English summaries provided where necessary.

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Track listings include:

C.J. Chenier – Zydeco Boogaloo, I’m Coming Home

Rosie Ledet – You’re No Good For Me

Creole United – Mmm Mmm Mmm, Les Barres de la Prison

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Soul Creole – Madeleine, Buffalo Soldier

Sid Williams – Got A Party Goin’ On At El Sid O’s

Nathan Williams – Lookin’ For What You’re Lookin’ For

Lil’ Nathan Williams – That L’Argent

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Buckwheat Zydeco – Jackpot

Chubby Carrier – Tu Le Ton Son Ton

Corey Arceneaux – Creole Man

Chris Ardoin – Back Home

Rockin’ Dopsie, Jr. – Josephine

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Vasti Jackson – Zydeco Crossroads

Rockin’ Dopsie, Jr. – Baby What You Want Me To Do

Major Handy – Zydeco Feeling, Trail Ride

87 minutes on 1 disc + 55 minute bonus ROSIE’S IN THE HOUSE TONIGHT starring zydeco artist Rosie Ledet

“GET A JOB”— Struggling

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“Get a Job”

Struggling

Amos Lassen

New of college graduate, Will (Miles Teller) is anxious to begin employment at a local newspaper after spending two years as an intern. When he learns that there is no such position for him, he finds himself on a downward spiral of crummy jobs and desperation and he is very angry that his upbringing promised him the world. Jillian (Anna Kendrick), his girlfriend, is worried that her love isn’t living up to his potential, trying to inspire him through vague dismissal. Will’s friends, Ethan (Christopher Mintz-Plasse), Charlie (Nicholas Braun), and Luke (Brandon T. Jackson), also struggle with employment and trying to establish themselves. Will leans on his father, Roger (Bryan Cranston), for advice, only to watch his own parent fight in the workforce after being laid off after decades of exemplary service.

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“Get a Job” begins with Will discussing an upbringing that rewarded him for losing. This is a provocative topic, but handled without severity by the production. It tries to blame a system of comfort and unearned reward instead of challenging personal responsibility. There is no real depth to the film and this could have been a very effective dramatic comedy. We follow the reality of live that is totally the opposite of how he was raised.

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“Get a Job” shows Will subjected to the trials of random jobs, including a brief stint working the front desk of a seedy hotel. He finally finds an opportunity with a job placement company where he makes video resumes for others and is routinely tested by his boss (Marcia Gay Harden). We also see the vocational adventures of Will’s buddies, with Ethan trying to sell an app, Charlie becoming a junior high teacher, and Luke hoping to join the ranks of elite stockbrokers.

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Cranston is great here, but the film suffers from poor editing. “Get a Job” doesn’t work and flails to find the funny and the sincere. The film’s premise need a more mature and contemporary examination.

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Director Dylan Kidd seems to have lost control of his film. From the very first scene, the rhythm is off, the staging and editing graceless, and the dialogue (the screenplay seesaws between trying too hard and not hard enough.

“MOON CHILD”— Love and Friendship

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“MOON CHILD”

Love and Friendship

Amos Lassen

In 2014, Japan collapsed economically and many of its people emigrated settled in other parts of the world. In a corner in Asia, there is a little street called Malepa that became a place where Asians (people from Hongkong, Taiwan and Japan live together. It was a place where people fought for order, food and freedom. It was there where Shou (Gackt Camui), raised as an orphan and Kei (Hyde), who could live forever, met and became the best of friends. However, they were unable to escape from the fight for power involving gangs of different ethnicity on the street of Malepa.

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Sho is a Japanese street urchin who has a tough living on the mean streets of the fictional Taiwanese city Malepa. During a routine pickpocketing, he meets Kei, a lethargic vampire Kei who is ready to end it all. But Sho saves Kei, who in turn saves Sho from certain death, and the duo becomes close friends.

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Going forward 11 years later, and Sho and Kei, firmly entrenched in the Malepa underworld, are making a living sending doped up pizza to local gangsters and then robbing them. The third member of the triumvirate is Toshi (Taro Yamamoto), another orphan. During yet another fouled up raid on a gambling parlor, the trio runs into Son (Lee-Hom Wang), a Taiwanese who is avenging the gang rape of his mute sister Yi-Che (Zeny Kwok) by the gangsters. The foursome becomes fast friends, which leads us to  moving forward,again Sho is now an established gangster, but some things have changed. For one, buddy Son has joined a rival gang, and Kei has been missing for some time. We learn that Kei is in fact still alive and in prison inside some city immerse in civil warfare or some such. Kei has given up on life and wishes to die. Meanwhile, Sho is feeling pressure from the local Mafioso to either join him or get crushed.

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As you can tell from the ambitious synopsis of “Moon Child” that the film itself is quite ambitious. The first thing of importance is “Moon Child’s” use of Kei as a brooding vampire in a story that is essentially a generic Rise and Fall of the Gangster movie. The first act is the film’s longest, taking up nearly an hour’s worth of running time. The film opens as half-comedy and half-parody of the Gangster genre, but all that disappears along with Kei in favor of straightforward and predictable) narrative. With Sho and Son now on opposite sides of the fence, they seem headed toward a gun battle. It’s hard to put a finger on what makes “Moon Child” such a watchable film.. The acting by leading man Gackt Camui is certainly superb, and the fact that Camui has an androgynous look contributes to the character’s complexity. However, Hyde comes across as lame; he barely able to convince as a vampire, much less as a brooding vampire who is cursed.

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Director Takahisa Zeze gets credit for “Moon Child’s” impressive visual style, but also the blame for staging some horrendous gunfights. The latter becomes a major point of frustration because “Moon Child” has a lot of gunfights. The action scenes do indeed look very cool but they also cause viewers to giggle as they watch them.

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“Moon Child” is visually beautiful, but the problem is that the film just doesn’t know when to move on. It reverses this concept of marginalized Asians in Japan to that of marginalized Japanese in Asia. In the opening decades of the 21st century, economic collapse in Japan has seen a growth in illegal immigrants into the multi-ethnic city of Maleppa, a fictional society somewhere on the Chinese mainland riddled with organized crime and drug use.

“THE MESSENGER”— Where Have All the Songbirds Gone?

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“The Messenger”

Where Have All the Songbirds Gone?

Amos Lassen

“The Messenger” is an investigation into what has caused the songbird mass depletion and the people working to change that. We see here how the issues facing birds also have serious implications for our planet. The turbulent conditions of the birds have been brought about by humans the film argues that their demise could signal the crash of the global ecosystem such as the disappearance of honeybees and the melting of the glaciers.

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“The Messenger” is a documentary by Su Rynard that examines the causes behind the troubling phenomenon as well as tells us how we can help preserve the songbird population. This critically acclaimed documentary was a New York Times Critic’s Pick, and was named a Top Ten Audience Favorite at the Hot Docs Canadian International Documentary Festival, as well as a winner at the Jackson Hole Wildlife Film Festival in 2015.

Looking at regions as diverse as the Boreal Forest, Mount Ararat, and New York City, Rynard explores the relationship between birds and humans, and how changes in the environment impacts the habitats and, ultimately, the existence of songbirds. The film also highlights the work being done by people who are helping to make a positive impact on the environment in order to preserve and sustain the world’s songbird population.

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Using a camera capable of shooting up to 1000 fps, Rynard and cinematographer Daniel Grant, worked in collaboration with Western University’s AFAR Avian research facility and captured images of songbirds in simulated nocturnal migration flying through the wind tunnel. This unique filming process resulted in stunning photography of the birds in motion.

Su Rynard’s team investigates many possibilities. Neonicotinoid pesticides are causing problems for some species and this is due to work done by activists trying to save bees. While this threat may be a temporary one, Rynard shows admirable balance in explaining what makes them so attractive to farmers. She also has a resident of the Landes in France explain why trapping and eating a particular kind of bird appeals to him so much that he will break the law to do it. He says that he’ll stop if scientists convince him the species is truly endangered but it might be too late.

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Some problems are surprisingly easy to solve. Bird smashing themselves to death against the sides of skyscrapers can be stopped simply by placing dots on the glass with magic marker, making it obvious that it’s not an open space without significantly impacting human enjoyment of the view. Others challenges, however, are so monumental that we get a feeling of hopelessness. Research suggests that migratory birds are missing important parts of the spring season because climate change is making the weather erratic, so they risk freezing to death or being unable to feed their nestlings when they return to their northern summer homes.

There are some simple things that we can do such as having a bird feeder can save lives and this is so easy that we should have thought of it. The impact of this film comes in two ways. First we get the stories that have been told such as the story of Mao Tse Tung’s disastrous campaign against birds that he deemed to be vermin. This not only drove them to the brink of extinction but also, because they were not there to eat the insect pests who ate the crops and this led to the deaths of millions of human beings. Second are the losses that are devastating by their mass numbers.

All around the world, there are traditions that have connected birds with the divine including the admiration of birds’ freedom to fly where they please and the great joy of hearing their singing. This film, however, notes that birds also act as another kind of messenger. Because they are so quick to respond to environmental changes, their silence warns us when things are going seriously wrong.

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It’s hard to make precise estimates, given the migratory nature of many species, but few experts are in doubt that we are currently witnessing a mass die-off. This film brings together birdwatchers, amateur and professional, from many different parts of the globe. They all tell versions of the same story. The songs they are hearing are fewer in number and fewer in kind.

Songbirds migrate mostly after dark to evade larger predatory birds, and the bright lights in big cities confuse them. Skyscraping glass towers prove a problem at night with their reflective floor-to-ceiling windows that cause head-on collisions during the day.

Domestic cats also pose a huge threat, and are responsible for the extinction of more than 32 bird species. Meanwhile, the French regard the Ortolan bunting as a delicacy, with local authorities ignoring violations of a Europe-wide hunting ban.The extensive use of pesticides means that some birds go hungry with fewer insects to feed on. Deforestation continues to destroy some of their natural habitats, while industrial noises drown out their mating calls. Global warming disorients many species, sometimes leading to fatal migratory miscalculations.

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Imagining a world without birdsong may seem trivial before watching “The Messenger” but after it is over, this becomes a shocking statement ended. Our world can be ugly enough and to destroy the beauty of the birds is unforgiveable.

Special features include a behind-the-scenes featurette, A Coffee Primer for Birds and People (about the relationship between coffee farms and bird habitats), a deleted scene, an informational booklet (with notes from the director and information on how viewers can help preserve the world’s songbird population), the trailer, and an interview with director Su Rynard.

“THE DAMNED— DON’T YOU WISH THAT WE WERE DEAD”— Pioneers of British Punk

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“The Damned – Don’t You Wish That We Were Dead”

Pioneers of British Punk

Amos Lassen 

“The Damned” are British punk pioneers who get a little help from their famous friends to make this documentary or rockumentary, if you prefer.

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“The Damned” were trailblazers on London’s mid-1970s punk rock scene, but never fully capitalized on their early notoriety. They were the first British punk band to release a single and in 1976 the band released “New Rose”. They also were the first British punksters to release an album, and the first to tour the U.S. and it was here that they left a lasting musical legacy. They never were able to achieve, however, the critical adoration that contemporaries like The Clash and Sex Pistols managed to do. This was probably because they preferred goofing around in silly costumes. “The Damned” were brash and juvenile. Nonetheless, they have outlasted most of their rivals and have survived despite many breakups and restarts. More than forty years to be on the circuit is quite an achievement.

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Director Wes Orshoski shows the band’s importance in this film that is “funny, fast-moving and fan-friendly”. The title comes a Damned song lyric and brings together chaotic archival material with firsthand footage that was shot on recent tours. The band’s classic late-1970s lineup consisted of singer Dave Vanian, bass player turned guitarist Captain Sensible (aka Ray Burns), drummer Rat Scabies (Christopher Millar) and guitarist Brian James. They share their stories with Orshoski, despite the bitter fights that have split the band into two camps. In the current lineup only Vanian and Sensible remain.

Orshoski also interviews friend and fans from the rock world, including Chris Stein and Clem Burke of “Blondie”, Nick Mason of “Pink Floyd”, Mick Jones of “The Clash”, Duff McKagan of “Guns N’ Roses”, DJ and filmmaker Don Letts and founder of “Dead Kennedys”, Jello Biafra. “Pretenders” singer Chrissie Hynde and “Culture Club” drummer Jon Moss both played in early lineups of The Damned, and both are seen in the documentary. The film comes across like a personal passion project for Orshoski. He followed the band around the world over a three-year period with one camera. This is not a neat rock documentary narrative because the band has had a messy history and went through many changes of musical style and personnel.

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Orshoski struggles to impose dramatic shape on a sprawling subject, but at least he finds an emotional hook in the decades-old rift between Sensible and Scabies, a disagreement over unpaid royalties that is now “beyond repair.” Scabies dismisses the dispute as ancient history but his tearful, agitated interviews tell a different story. This sad little subplot leaves a bitter aftertaste, but does not dilute the film’s overall take-home message that “The Damned” were “the live-wire jokers of the London punk scene:.

Orshoski charts the band’s trajectory from the toilets of Fairfield Halls where Sensible says, “One day, I found a turd that just would not flush,” through the earliest days of punk. The picture that we get is one of chaos and the band seems to thrive on it. Orshoski does a good job outlining the UK punk scene for US audiences and he helps illustrate just how out of step with their contemporaries The Damned’s activities were.

“45 YEARS”— Reflections on Marriage

45 years

“45 Years”

Reflections on a Marriage

Amos Lassen

“45 Years” opens with the recurrent click of a slide projector and we immediately realize that photographs are the main totems of the film. Kate (Charlotte Rampling) and Geoff Mercer (Tom Courtenay) are preparing to celebrate their 45th anniversary and on the night before, they are pulled apart. Writer-director Andrew Haigh’s beautiful film calls into question the relationship between the lives we lead and the what we accumulate. In “45 Years”, memories are substances that always threaten to turn the ache of nostalgia into the pain of regret.

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The action of the film takes place over a single week yet it also manages to include a personal history of close to fifty years. When Geoff receives word that the body of his former lover, Katya, has been discovered in Switzerland, decades after she fell to her death in an Alpine crevasse, the news sends both him and Kate reeling. Kate feels that this taints everything about their relationship as if her husband had been having an affair.

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Geoff’s grief hovers over the film but the stress is on Kate’s response. Her face becomes twisted and we feel her hurt. There is a deep sense of loss in the film and memories are separated from lives. Kate’s confrontation with totems from a past she can neither change nor prevent moves the film to its end. We see two lifetimes’ worth of grief and the fragility of memories and we realize that the past can never be changed. It is, quite simply, what was. Kate is stunned to learn about the former girlfriend; she had never heard a word about her before.

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We meet a couple who were well set in their ways.  Kate’s the earlier riser, taking their dog for a walk along country lanes, returning to join Geoff for breakfast. Kate and Geoff are clearly happy but then that letter sends Geoff into a nostalgic reverie and she shares the news with Kate and asks he permission to go to identify the body. Kate is surprised that he’d even consider this and was taken even further taken aback when he tells her he was listed as Katya’s next of kin as they’d posed as a married couple.

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Over the ensuing days, we follow Kate as she discusses final preparations with her best friend Lena and she is clearly distracted, and sees the changes in Geoff’s behavior.  Finding herself home alone, Kate makes a trip to the attic, ostensibly looking for photos for the upcoming party, instead indulging her fears and finding something to substantiate them.  On Friday, she finds a note saying Geoff has taken the bus into town.  She drives in to find him and then when they get home, surprises her again with an attempt at lovemaking that evening.  Saturday morning finds him reenergized and solicitous.  A fine party awaits full of friends to fete the happy couple.

1This is a very quiet movie.   Haigh has fashioned his film as a setting for his two stars.  The story of a marriage is the foundation, but it is Courtenay’s unintentionally insensitive matter-of-factness and Rampling’s cautious yet devastated reevaluations that make this film so fascinating. Every scene is filled with humanism in way that makes us feel that we are seeing a documentary. Much of the film takes place within Kate and Geoff’s home, but Haigh avoids making the scenes feel stuffy, melodramatic, or overly theatrical. He also does not use flashbacks. He gives the audience a lot to think about.

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What we do not think about are the outstanding bravura performances of Charlotte Rampling and Tom Courtenay. They both found the emotional truths of their roles and their performances are filled with nuance and charisma. They’re also capable of conveying many emotions even during the quiet moments. Essentially, for 93 minutes, you’ll forget that you’re watching Charlotte Rampling and Tom Courtenay because they essentially become their characters.

“TARGET FASCINATION”— Connecting

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“Target Fascination”

Connecting

Amos Lassen

A family attempt to connect with the murderer of their daughter after he’s spent 20 years in prison for the crime. This is a film that looks at forgiveness, one of the most difficult emotions with which to deal and in this case forgiveness has to deal with the person who murdered a family member twenty years earlier. Directed by Dominc Pelosi and written by Andrew Pelosi (brothers), the plot works under the idea of time healing wounds. Here we have a family but a very atypical family story and as soon as we meet the characters, we find ourselves caring about them. That statement alone should tell you that this is a human drama. Sisters Alice Meuller (Louise Vansalev) and Caroline Meuller (Pamela Eagleson) try to reconcile with Joe (Darrell Hoffman), a criminal and family member who raped and murdered their family member. The focus of the film deals with possibility of finding closure once Joe is set free from prison.

target1There are several powerful moments in this movie that challenge the audience to question morality and forgiveness. and there are also moments that will have you beginning to wonder about morality and forgiveness as well. However, I must admit that I had a few conscience pangs as I watched and wondered if it is indeed possible that a family would want to reconcile with the man who raped and murdered their daughter. There are no crimes more abhorrent than these.

Besides Hoffman’s character did not seem like the kind of guy that I would want to be involved with for any reason. We are led on a journey that takes us through family grief, topics that are usually not spoken of and forgiveness. This is not a film that one feels comfortable watching yet it is a film that is very important because of the way it deals with something that we would not have expected. I think it is fascinating how this movie is both personal and universal. It has its flaws but is nonetheless a film that will make you think and want to talk about what you have seen. Not every film can be educative but there is really no reason why we should aside from opening our minds to deal with a subject that few neither want to nor feel ready to touch. We feel like we are on a journey  through grief and forgiveness and family and things we talk about and things we don’t necessarily like to talk about yet seem to eventually have to face. It’s a simultaneously uncomfortable and exhilarating film, a film that takes universal themes and makes them deeply personal.

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As an ensemble, the cast is terrific and there are powerful single performances that I could call out but because this is really an ensemble piece, I have chosen not to do so. When it is over, you might feel strong emotions about the film and that is a good thing—it means that the film touched you in some way. To me, this is what film is all about. If I am not touched in some way (good or bad) then the film is just another movie. However, if I spend time thinking about what I saw, the filmmaker has done his job. Director Pelosi caught me early on and I became determined to watch the film what he had to say.

I must say that I was not ready to like this film and but after seeing it, I feel stimulated enough to write a review. Perhaps that is because after watching it, I felt that the movie had everything going for it.

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I realize that I have not really shared much of the plot and that was intentional. When you see the film, you will understand why.

“PRIDE AND JOY: THE STORY OF ALLIGATOR RECORDS”— Chicago Blues

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“PRIDE AND JOY: THE STORY OF ALLIGATOR RECORDS”

Chicago Blues

Amos Lassen

In 1971, Bruce Iglauer founded Alligator Records in Chicago. In 1991, Iglauer called documentary filmmaker Robert Mugge and told him that the two men should get to know each other and that phone call yielded a friendship, a collaboration and a film that tells the story of the Chicago-based record label which had, over the past two decades, become the world’s most successful purveyor of blues-related product.  That film is “Pride And Joy: The Story Of Alligator Records” and it is made up of musical highlights from one of the 4-plus-hour concerts (March 12th at Philadelphia’s now-defunct Chestnut Cabaret) that made up the Alligator Records 20th Anniversary Tour.

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We also get to see Alligator’s Chicago offices, and profiles of key performers and staff members. The “pride and joy” is not just the fine musical artists plying their trades, but also that of a passionate and highly principled entrepreneur who was able to succeed in a business that at that time was controlled by corporate giants and many small, independent labels.

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The songs and artists we see and hear in the film include “Pride and Joy” and “Ed’s Boogie” (Lil’ Ed), “Pussycat Moan” and “Lord, I Wonder” (Katie Webster), “El-Bo” and “Beer Drinking Woman” (Elvin Bishop), “I’d Rather Go Blind” (Koko Taylor), “Wife For Tonight” and “I Want All My Money Back” (Lonnie Brooks), “It’s A Dirty Job” (Koko Taylor with Lonnie Brooks), and “Sweet Home Chicago” (final joint encore).

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The film has been newly transferred to HD from the original 16mm film and stereo audio masters and lovingly restored by the director.  There are also ten bonus songs taken from Alligator’s original 1992 tour and soundtrack CD, as well as the director’s new “making of” video titled “Alligator Tales.

“BRIDE OF RE-ANIMATOR”— A Horror Comedy

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“Bride of Re-Animator”

A Horror Comedy

Amos Lassen

Unbothered by disastrous outcomes of meddling with the dead, Dr. Herbert West (Jeffrey Combs) researches the phenomenon of re-animation and plans to create life starting with the heart of his young protégé Meg Halsey who died recently. Here-animates Meg but it doesn’t go real smoothly.

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The film begins eight months after the events of “Re-Animator” and Doctors Herbert West and Dan Cain are working as medics in the middle of a bloody civil in Peru. In the chaos of battle and with plenty of casualties to work on, they are free to experiment with West’s re-animation project. When their medical tent is stormed by the enemy troops, West and Cain return home to Massachusetts where, they resume their former jobs as doctors at Miskatonic University in Arkham.

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Using parts pilfered from both the hospital’s morgue and from the cemetery conveniently located next door, West discovers that his “reagent” can re-animate body parts by themselves. He becomes determined to create an entire living person from disparate body parts. In the hospital morgue, West discovers the heart of Megan Halsey who was Dan Cain’s fiancée. He convinces Cain to work with him by re-animating Megan by using her heart. Pathologist. Wilbur Graves discovers a vial of West’s reagent and the severed head of Dr. Carl Hill and uses the reagent to re-animates Hill’s head.

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Meanwhile, police officer Lt. Leslie Chapham begins investigating West and Cain. He bears a grudge against the pair, as they were the only unaffected survivors of the Miskatonic Massacre (that took place in the original “Re-animator”. The dead body of Chapham’s wife was re-animated into a crazed zombie back them and Chapham suspects West and Cain were responsible. When he stops by their house to question them, he discovers West’s corpse-filled lab and the two have an ugly confrontation. A fight ensues and West ends up killing Chapham with a cloth treated with a chemical which causes cardiac arrest when inhaled. West then re-animates the police officer with the intention of covering up his crime. Chapham violently wanders out of the house and into the cemetery next door.

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Hill also bears a grudge against West, as West was responsible for his decapitation; the destruction of his body; taking away Megan, with whom he was obsessed; and having better theories about reanimation than himself. Hill commands Chapham to force Dr. Graves to stitch bat wings onto his neck, giving him back his mobility. He also extends his mental control to all of the zombie survivors of the Miskatonic Massacre. I could on telling you the rest of the plot but that would ruin the movie for you. I think you get the idea where this is going.

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The uncut version that existed was in pretty poor but it is now cleaned up and the pixilation has been fixed and the sound has been moderated. We get two versions of the film—-“R” rated one and the unrated. There is a good bit of raunch and ugliness and after a slow beginning things really get moving. In this director approved special edition we get many special features including:

Brand new 2K restorations of the Unrated and R-rated versions of the film, approved by director Brian Yuzna.

High Definition Blu-ray (1080p) and Standard Definition DVD presentations

Original Stereo 2.0 audio (uncompressed PCM on the Blu-ray)

Optional English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing

Newly commissioned artwork by Gary Pullin.

Limited Edition Collector s Booklet

Limited Edition Packaging to be revealed

DISCS 1 & 2 BLU-RAY/DVD UNRATED VERSION

Brand new 2K restoration of the Unrated version

Brand new audio commentary with Brian Yuzna.

Audio Commentary with Brian Yuzna, star Jeffrey Combs, visual effects supervisor Tom

Rainone and the effects team including John Buechler, Mike Deak, Bob Kurtzman, Howard Berger and Screaming Mad George

Audio Commentary with stars Jeffrey Combs and Bruce Abbott

Brian Yuzna Remembers Bride of Re-animator brand new featurette in which the director looks back at the making of the first Re-animator sequel

Splatter Masters: The Special Effects Artists of Bride of Re-animator Brand new FX featurette with a wealth of behind-the-scenes footage and interviews with Robert Kurtzman of KNB, Screaming Mad George, Tony Doublin and John Buechler

Getting Ahead in Horror – archive making-of featurette

Deleted Scenes

DISC 3 – BLU-RAY R-RATED VERSION

Brand new 2K restoration of the R-rated version