All posts filed under: Film

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MOVIE REVIEW: “Northern Soul”

Northern Soul is a 2014 British film directed by Elaine Constantine.  Set in 1974, it’s about two Lancashire teens, Matt and John, whose lives become intertwined are changed forever by their mutual love of obscure American soul music and the dance scene (near cult) of the time, which became known as “Northern Soul” (since most of the the clubs that craved this music were in the north of England).  While the movie tends to use some predictable (not bad, just predictable) plot lines, the real star of this movie is the magnificent sounds heard within. Simple tale:  listless school boy Matt meets up with John, who is an avid Northern Soul fanatic.  Taking his cues from John, Matt begins to not only obsess over Northern Soul but immerses himself so deeply and embraces every element, that he formulates a plan to become a D.J. along with John.  Various ups and downs occur, but the focus on the music – the replicated style of dancing along with fashions – makes this thoroughly enjoyable. About the music …

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DVD REVIEW: “He’s A Bully, Charlie Brown”

Another in Warner Home Video’s inspired Peanuts re-release series, this special, which originally aired in 2006, carries an important (albeit done gently) message – especially in the current climate.  In He’s A Bully, Charlie Brown, Charlie Brown and the Peanuts gang learn the valuable lesson that sometimes you have to stand up for yourself and those you care about when someone takes advantage of you.  It’s a very good and wise first step towards educating a child about the very real dangers of bullying.  This release is also tied in with National Bullying Awareness Month, which is October. The story follows most of the Peanuts gang to summer camp, where Rerun Van Pelt (Linus and Lucy’s little brother) meets an antagonistic boy named Joe Agate.  Rerun has become determined to learn how to play marbles after finding his grandfather’s prize collection and winds up losing them when Joe Agate pretends to teach Rerun but in reality, plays him and takes them in an unfair first match. Charlie Brown, who is history’s loveable loser, becomes angry …

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MOVIE REVIEW: “The Jam – About The Young Idea”

Thrilled to see that the Showtime network has sought fit to broadcast the British documentary, The Jam – About The Young Idea, as it’s high time a sizable audience could see/hear/learn about the most important band to come out of the 1977 punk/new wave explosion and be barely known in the United States.  The Jam were a particularly British phenomenon and 33 years after their split, new audiences/new generations are finding out about them.  Which means that a whole new audience in the United States may pick up on this incredible band. I’m not going to waste time giving you their history, etc. – that’s what this very well-done documentary does and I think does it smartly and in an interesting manner.  It’s told in the band’s own words, uses archival footage of The Jam (including some songs that have not been previously heard) and speaks to various people – friends of and fans of the band, amongst them, noted actor Martin Freeman (Fargo, The Hobbit, etc.) and writer Paul Abbott (Shameless – both U.K. …

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MOVIE REVIEW: “National Lampoon: Drunk, Stoned, Brilliant, Dead”

National Lampoon: Drunk, Stoned, Brilliant, Dead is the no-bullshit story of the most influential humor magazine to ever exist.  Co-founded by Douglas Kenney, Henry Beard and Douglas Hoffman, this magazine was irreverent, forward-thinking, risk-taking, ballsy and of its time – unafraid to make fun of the culture of the day, the government and anything else deemed to be transparent nonsense.  National Lampoon took chances on topics, spoofs on advertising and on talent, which is the most crucial element to their story.  From writers to designers to actors (who took some of the written material to the radio and the stage), National Lampoon magazine was a pool filled with talent – talents who, to this day, have become loved and revered icons.  Amongst the names that came from National Lampoon include Michael O’Donoghue, P.J. O’Rourke, Tony Hendra, John Hughes, John Belushi, Gilda Radner, Bill Murray, Chevy Chase, Joe Flaherty – the list is literally endless. The film, directed by Douglas Tirola, tells the story in a linear fashion, with tales of the magazine’s earliest days; its …

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DVD REVIEW: Peanuts: Emmy Honored Collection

The beauty of Peanuts exists on several levels:  the warmth of the characters; the sense of empathy one has for Charlie Brown; the sweetness and innocence of these children; the messages contained within both the comic strip and the T.V. specials that have appeared over the years.  Understand, I grew up with and loved everything about Peanuts – from the first moment I’d ever read one of the collections or saw A Charlie Brown Christmas as a child.  Now, even in my 50’s and not a father, I still find joy and pleasure in watching these programs and these beloved characters. And once again, Warner Home Video has offered up this dynamic collection, Peanuts:  Emmy Honored Collection, a 2-disc gathering of no less than 9 Emmy nominated/winning Peanuts specials from over the years.  Although these are cartoons, there are also some very powerfully poignant lessons to be learned, such as with “Why, Charlie Brown, Why?” in which Linus tries to learn how to cope with the serious illness of a friend of his; “Is This …

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DVD REVIEW: “Salad Days: A Decade Of Punk In Washington, D.C. (1980 – 90)”

Having seen the film “Positive Force” last December, I see this as a natural companion piece to an important part of punk rock history.  Salad Days: A Decade Of Punk In Washington, D.C. (1980 – 90) tells the story of the birth and rise of the Washington D.C. punk scene and the words come straight from those who played crucial roles in its genesis:  not surprisingly, Ian MacKaye, Alec MacKaye, Henry Rollins and so on – this isn’t a story that you haven’t heard before.  But at least here, the recollections are coming from those who spear-headed the movement themselves. Built around a turbulent time in the Nation’s capital, D.C. punk came on the heels of bitter disappointments with the government, a spike in crime and drugs and a general malaise that settled over Washington at the dawn of the 1980’s.  Beginning with Bad Brains and rise of Minor Threat (formed from the ashes of Teen Idles), along with the formation of MacKaye and then-Minor Threat drummer Jeff Nelson’s Dischord Records label, D.C. punk forged …

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Popdose Giveaway: Win TRANSPORTER REFUELED Swag and a $25 Fandango Gift Card!

We here at Popdose love to giveaway swag to our loyal readers. You’ve been with us a long time and it’s our little way of saying “thanks.” The good folks supporting THE TRANSPORTER REFUELED (opening September 4) are stoked about the movie and want to to make sure you all rush out and see it. In case you’re unfamiliar with the TRANSPORTER franchise, it comes from the mind of Luc Besson, the French filmmaker who’s given us such action packed classics like The Professional, The Fifth Element, the Taken series, and Lucy starring Scarlett Johansson. The first TRANSPORTER film was released in 2002 and it starred Jason Statham as Frank Martin, a former special-ops mercenary now working as a professional courier driver for hire. Statham went on to star in two sequels before stepping away. After that, there was a TRANSPORTER television series continuing the adventures of Frank Martin that aired on TNT in the States. Martin returns to the big screen with THE TRANSPORTER REFUELED with the character now portrayed by newcomer Ed Skrein. In the new film, Frank Martin is now living a less perilous life – or …

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Blu-ray Review: Mads Mikkelsen is a Sure Shot in the Western, “The Salvation”

Mads Mikkelsen is best known here in the States as the latest incarnation of the infamous Hannibal Lecter. His performance on NBC’s Hannibal went largely unnoticed by the general audiences, but if you saw just one episode, you knew that this guy is one of the greatest actors working. The veteran Danish performer has had a renowned movie career in films ranging from French romances (Coco Chanel & Igor Stravinsky) to gripping Danish dramas (The Hunt) to blockbuster spy movies (Casino Royale). With The Salvation, he leads an international cast and tackles the mythology of the Old West. This excellent western directed by Kristian Levring plays out like an origin story to one of the many Clint Eastwood Man with No Name films. Mikkelsen portrays Jon, an ex-soldier from the Second Schleswig War of 1864 between Denmark and Prussia and Austria. After the war, Jon immigrates to America’s frontier to begin a new life as a farmer. With his brother, Peter (Mikael Persbrandt), they set down roots in the rugged land, before Jon calls for …

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Popdose Vinyl Giveaway: Diary of A Teenage Girl Soundtrack

The fine folks at Rhino Records are set to release the original soundtrack for the film Diary of A Teenage Girl, set in 1976 San Francisco, starring Kristen Wiig and Alexander Skarsgard. The record will be released, Friday August 7th (same day s as the movie which is getting great reviews) and Popdose is proud to offer a poster  & vinyl giveaway for the wonderful collection of songs from HEART, Nico, The Stooges, and Television. Plus, an original track from Nate Heller ft. Amber Coffman from Dirty Projectors. Track list: Dreamsong (feat. Amber Coffman) – Nate Heller Looking For The Magic – Dwight Twilley Band Dreamboat Annie – Heart Wrap Your Troubles In Dreams – Nico Next Plane To London – Rose Garden Precious Star – T. Rex Crying Laughing Loving Lying (2006 Remastered Version) – Labi Siffre It It’s Good To You (It’s Good For You) – Barbara & The Browns Roll Away The Stone – MOTT The HOOPLE Down On The Street – The Stooges A Fool In Love – Frankie Miller See No Evil – Television …

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DVD REVIEW: THE STRAY CATS, “Live At Rockpalast 1983/Loreley Open Air & 1981 Cologne”

The Stray Cats were born of the punk era, but with their obvious skills, it was evident from their love of pure rock & roll that  rockabilly would be their driving force. Guitarist/vocalist Brian Setzer, Lee “Rocker” Drucker on standup bass and Jim “Slim Jim Phanton” McDonald took their revivalist style to England from their native Long Island and slowly re-set the world on fire. Thirty-plus years after their initial launch and success, this 2-DVD set reminds you what a great combo the Cats were. Live at Rockpalast brings together footage from two German shows, the first from Cologne in 1981 and the second at the Loreley in 1983. The look and sound of both performances are terrific – it’s a great statement of a band’s beginning and then explosion on the international stage in a short, two-year span. The 1981 show is a band flushed with the drive and excitement to buck against everything happening at the time while the 1983 show shows the band during the frenzy of their now-international success. These are …

'Ant-Man' stars ants, and Paul Rudd.

Farkakte Film Flashback: Buggy ‘Ant-Man’ Edition

I saw “Ant-Man” over the weekend, and given the fact that advance buzz (so to speak) was iffy, I was pleasantly surprised: It was the funniest Marvel movie yet, and it fully embraces its ludicrous premise (something about being able to make people shrink by “changing the distance between atoms,” a concept that only sounds even mildly reasonable because it’s uttered by Michael Douglas). But one of my favorite parts of the movie is its cast of supporting characters — no, not Michael Peña, although he is awesome. I’m talking about the ants, whom Ant-Man controls by harnessing the something in their whatsis … actually I don’t think they ever really explain how it works, but who cares? Unlike most movie bugs they’re a huge help to our hero, and one of them — SPOILER ALERT! — even gets a name (Antony) and a heroic demise. It also made me think of certain other, previous bug movies, some of which are definitely lesser than “Ant-Man,” but which all hold a space in the pantheon of creepy …

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DVD PREVIEW: “He’s A Bully, Charlie Brown”

Once again, the fine folks at Warner Bros. Home Entertainment are preparing to release another collection of Peanuts specials, but in this case, the message and the subject matter is quite timely and serious. He’s a Bully, Charlie Brown will be available October 6, 2015. This collection brings together two Peanuts specials that are paired with an episode of The Charlie Brown & Snoopy Show, that have been brilliantly remastered in all-new 4K Ultra HD transfers to DVD. In this must-own compilation, Charlie Brown is called upon to stand up for one of his pals, who is taken advantage of by a bully at summer camp. Most saliently, this DVD set will be released in time for National Bullying Prevention Month, which takes place in October. In It was a Short Summer, Charlie Brown, which is also featured on this release, it’s a hilarious battle of boys against girls, withSnoopy having to get in the middle of it all.  At summer camp, the Peanuts gang put up with poor food and the girls winning all …