All posts filed under: Film


FILM REVIEW: “Spandau Ballet – Soul Boys Of The Western World”

I will make no apologies for what I am about to say:  I loved Spandau Ballet and I still think their albums – especially the first two – are classics of the early ’80’s.  From the moment I first heard “To Cut A Long Story Short” in ’80, ’81, I was a fan.  Granted, as time went by and their albums didn’t seem to have the same quality (I seemed to stop paying attention around Through The Barricades), they faded from my memory – and it seems from a lot of other peoples, as well as the charts.  Certainly, aside from the success of “True” and “Gold”, they didn’t have the same star-factor as they did elsewhere.  Nonetheless, as the ’80’s ended, it seemed so did Spandau.  I’d heard over the years about their self-inflicted lawsuit against songwriter Gary Kemp; there were bits and pieces but no band, so they seemed to be a relic of the ’80’s. In 2009, it was announced the band were reforming for a British tour and a new compilation …


Blu-Ray Review: “Escape From New York, Collector’s Edition”

From the mid-70s to the late 80s, John Carpenter was an industry unto himself, variously writing, directing, producing, scoring and/or appearing in a string of well-executed genre entertainments that relied on atmosphere and colorful performances to make up for what they lacked in budget. Released in 1981, at roughly the height of its director’s most fertile period, Escape from New York is probably Carpenter’s most enduring work after Halloween. But whereas the singular effectiveness of that film has been repeatedly diminished by countless imitators and its own dreary sequels, Escape (despite its own inferior sequel) remains as simple and engrossing as it was 34 years ago. Its premise is pure Carpenter, all high stakes and no bullshit: New York City has been converted into a prison. The President of the United States is trapped inside. He has a cassette tape that’s vitally important for world peace, for some damn reason or other. And only one man can rescue him, recover the tape, and save the world. Enter our hero, Snake Plissken. Snake is a rare …


Pearl Jam Bring Citizen Dick To Record Store Day

If you remember the ’90s movie Singles, helmed by Cameron Crowe, you’ll recall the band Citizen Dick. Or rather, you’ll recall Pearl Jam stalwarts Eddie Vedder, Stone Gossard and Jeff Ament’s implausible backstory about the band and their one hit, “Touch Me I’m Dick.” Well if you’ve been craving this for around two decades, you’ll only have to wait a couple more weeks to get Citizen Dick in your hot little hands. What I meant to say was: Record Store Day on April 18 will at long last be bringing you the majority of Pearl Jam as Citizen Dick doing their sideways-leaning tribute (at least in name) to Mudhoney, “Touch Me I’m Dick.”  The opposite side of the single-sided 7-inch will have an engraving of quotes from the movie via Matt Dillon’s character. More info is available at the Record Store Day official site:


MOVIE REVIEW: “The Wrecking Crew” (documentary)

The Wrecking Crew is the brilliant new(ish) documentary from filmmaker Denny Tedesco; it’s a labor of love and small wonder – his late father Tommy was the brilliant guitarist who played in this incredible collective.  For those who really don’t know, “The Wrecking Crew” was the nickname coined by drummer Hal Blaine for the group of studio/session musicians who  played – often with no credit – on many recording sessions/releases during the ’60’s that came out of Los Angeles.  This “dream group” backed a countless number of popular singers – and became the studio version of many well-known bands – and are easily one, if not the single most successful groups of studio musicians in history.  What made The Wrecking Crew’s so special, as you quickly learn in the movie, is that they were musically versatile even though most came from a background of either jazz or classical training.  This group, which was referred to as “first call” players were used on literally every style of recording – not just pop records but television theme …


MOVIE REVIEW: “St. Vincent” (2014)

To say that Bill Murray is getting better with age is an understatement; that he chooses interesting, meaty roles would probably be an accurate assumption.  Going back to his masterfully world-weary Herman Blume in Rushmore, he’s been consistent and worth the time spent watching, even if some of the films overall weren’t great.  With St. Vincent, he’s once again mastered the art of the curmudgeon with a soul. Murray stars as Vincent MacKenna, a Vietnam vet and retiree from Sheepshead Bay, Brooklyn; he’s irascible, unlikable, consistently drunk and broke due to gambling.  He has a wife in a nursing home with Alzheimer’s who he visits weekly.  He has regular encounters with a pregnant prostitute/dancer named Daka, played wonderfully by Naomi Watts.  Even though he’s a louse, people seem to like Vincent.  The always-brilliant Melissa McCarthy is his new neighbor, Maggie Bronstein, a newly-divorced single mom with an older-than-his-years son, Oliver – stunningly played by Jaeden Lieberher – they meet Vincent after their moving truck breaks a tree branch, which damages Vincent’s old LeBaron and destroys …


Film Review: “Penguins of Madagascar”

Don’t blame the filmmakers of Penguins of Madagascar for the recent troubles at Dreamworks Animation. The movie may feel like the company just cashing in on the most popular characters of their Madagascar franchise (the animated TV show certainly did), but this movie is original and funny, two words I didn’t think I’d be writing about it. Moreover, I liked Penguins of Madagascar more than Big Hero 6, Disney’s Academy Award nominated blockbuster. The film opens in fine fashion with a prologue that explains how the four penguin heroes met at children. Skipper (Tom McGrath), Kowalski (Chris Miller) and Rico (Conrad Vernon), break away from their colony and rescue a lost egg from hungry leopard seals. All of this is done while Werner Herzong provides commentary and a human documentary crew films – quite funny. The egg hatches and turns out to be cuddly Private (Christopher Knights). After escaping a fiery boat explosion, the four young penguins drift off to sea on an iceberg, their future uncertain. Jump ahead ten years and the action picks …