17 items from 2014
Thanks to The Seventh Art for flagging this haunting 2006 short documentary from Sam Green, a belated inquiry into the murder of Meredith Hunter at the 1969 Rolling Stones concert in Altamont. Green’s presentation of the bizarre silence surrounding Hunter’s identity at the time of his death is relayed through archival newspapers, footage from Gimme Shelter, and a tour of his unmarked gravesite in California (a proper headstone was purchased in 2008). Despite its brevity, Lot 63, Grave C is a fascinating look inside the metaphorical end of an era. »
- Sarah Salovaara
Thanks to the increase in access to small scale non-fiction films through the barrage of streaming services viewers now have access to – Netflix, Hulu Plus, Amazon Prime, Mubi, Vudu, etc – people are watching more documentaries than ever before. You can literally turn on any web ready device of your choosing and be watching any number of top quality docs within a number of seconds. It’s nothing short of incredible. But, with ease of access comes an over saturation of content used to fill in the curatorial gaps. For every Marwencol, Senna, Gimme Shelter or The Act of Killing, there are heaps of ordures cinéma clogging up precious bandwidth. And let’s not forget, cinemas themselves are enjoying a renewed trust in the non-fiction form, exhibiting over 100 documentaries on the silver screen last year and banking over $50 Million at the box office in the process, not including the hundreds of »
- Jordan M. Smith
Simon Columb with 20 reasons to watch 20 Feet from Stardom…
With the release of 20 Feet from Stardom on DVD and Blu-ray this Monday, this is your opportunity to catch a documentary that gained exceptionally positive reviews but it also managed to snag the Best Documentary at the Oscars (beating off strong competition from The Act of Killing). Directed by Morgan Neville, this inspirational film was screened at the London Film Festival – and I’ve personally sung it’s praises ever since. Rather than merely repeat my joy for the film, I deemed it necessary to break down why, as a music lover, a fan of film and appreciator of art, this particular film is a must-watch. Here are 20 reasons you need to see 20 Feet from Stardom…
For the love of music…
These are singers who are unknown, but are the glue that holds a song together. Whether it is the doop-dee-doop »
- Simon Columb
Chicago – With the 2014 Major League All-Star game coming up next week on July 15th, that break is a time to reflect on the current season and your favorite team. At the “Hot Stove Cool Music” event in Chicago on June 20th, HollywoodChicago.com got in the All-Star spirit by talking with the President of Baseball Operations for the Chicago Cubs, Theo Epstein, plus baseball writer and former Espn commentator, Peter Gammons.
Hot Stove Cool Music was co-founded by Peter Gammons in 2000, and began in Boston. Theo Epstein and his family charity organization, “Foundation to Be Named Later” partnered with the event shortly thereafter, and in total it has raised more than $5.5 million dollars, creating positive opportunities for disadvantaged children and families. Cub Charities was also a co-sponsor of the night, which featured Gammons, Epstein and other Chicago talents rocking on the Cabaret Metro stage in Wrigleyville, about one block from the Chicago Cubs home base, »
- firstname.lastname@example.org (Adam Fendelman)
Our resident VOD expert tells you what's new to rent and own this week on the various streaming services such as cable Movies On Demand, Amazon, iTunes, Vudu, and, of course, Netflix. Cable Movies On Demand: Same-day-as-disc releases, older titles and pretheatrical exclusives for rent, priced from $3-$10, in 24- or 48-hour periods Labor Day (drama; Kate Winslet, Josh Brolin; rated PG-13) The Legend of Hercules (neutered action directed by Renny Harlin; Kellan Lutz, Liam McIntyre; also available in 3D; rated PG-13) The Secret Life of Walter Mitty (adventure, Ben Stiller, Kristen Wiig; rated PG) Black Nativity (musical; Forest Whitaker, Angela Bassett, Jennifer Hudson; rated PG) Gimme Shelter (drama; Vanessa Hudgens, Rosario Dawson; rated PG-13) Gloria (comedy...
- Robert B. DeSalvo
Escape from Tomorrow Shot guerrilla style at Disneyland, I haven't seen Escape from Tomorrow, but it seems to have gained most of its attention based on the way it was made more than based on what was made. Nevertheless, this film seems as if it's destined to be a curiosity for a long time coming.
The Legend of Hercules I received a review copy of this and I can't imagine being bored enough to ever watch what will probably one of the films looked back on at the end of the year as one of the biggest flops of 2014.
Devil's Due The 18% at RottenTomatoes says Devil's Due is "derivative and mostly uninspired", but that doesn't mean as a rental it wouldn't satisfy. Then again, I don't really plan on finding out. Youc
Gimme Shelter Yet another release hitting shelves this week that I have not yet seen. This one features »
- Brad Brevet
I'm sick and tired of hearing things/From uptight, short-sighted, narrow-minded hypocritics/All I want is the truth/Just gimme some truth/I've had enough of reading things/By neurotic, psychotic, pig-headed politicians/All I want is the truth/Just gimme some truth. – John Lennon
Albert and David Maysles are generally regarded as the fathers of the modern American documentary film. Beginning in the early 1960s, their pioneering work with contemporaries such as Robert Drew, Richard Leacock and D.A. Pennebaker helped launch the “Direct Cinema” movement, devoted to capturing real life as closely as possible, in all its unscripted reality. Today, filmmakers like Michael Moore, reality TV and every news magazine on the air and on the web can trace their linage back to the Maysles brothers.
Their three defining features: Salesman (1968), a sobering and often hilarious look at the lives »
- The Hollywood Interview.com
While there are many recurring motifs, themes and interests one can talk about when discussing the five-decade-plus long career of Martin Scorsese, when it comes to soundtracks, he's long shown an affinity for The Rolling Stones. Close pals with the rock 'n roll legends (he directed their 2008 concert doc "Shine A Light"), even since "Jumpin' Jack Flash" rumbled through "Mean Streets," he's kept an ear for opportunities to use the tunes of Mick 'n Keef. But one song in particular has been a favorite. "Gimme Shelter," the lead track to the band's Let It Bleed, has been used in no less than three Scorsese films: "Goodfellas," "Casino" and "The Departed." And so, naturally, someone has taken the time to paste together a supercut of that song in all three movies. And the result is a look at how one song is pretty damn useful for montage sequences, though if Scorsese never uses it again, »
- Kevin Jagernauth
Bound By Blood, Not Band: Berninger Tails Brother
The life of touring musicians has long been a favorite subject of documentarians the world over, but none previously have ventured so far from the rock ‘n’ roll lifestyle as to trudge the depths of fraternal envy via such open-hearted self deprecation as Tom Berninger’s Mistaken For Strangers. The film began when Tom was invited by his brother Matt to come join him on a year long tour with his premiere indie rock band, The National, who, after a decade of under-appreciated touring have finally found their time in the sun, now selling out massive theaters around the globe. Matt’s moody baritone vocals and intense stage presence jut to the fore of their dreamily layered soundscapes, making the lanky crooner somewhat of a modern day rock star (as much as that’s possible in today’s micro-fragmented music scene). Tom »
- Jordan M. Smith
The unsung heroines of the music industry finally get a moment to shine in 20 Feet from Stardom, this year's Oscar winner for Best Documentary. Apart from a cracking soundtrack with lots of feel-good beats (from Lou Reed's 'Walk on the Wild Side' to a stirring new version of 'Lean On Me'), you get a strong sense of the quiet frustration that comes with being a backup vocalist, standing to the side 'shoo-be-doing'.
Merry Clayton is one of the bigger characters, who has been singing backup since the rock 'n' roll era and went on to deliver those immortal lines - "just a shot away" - in the Rolling Stones' hit 'Gimme Shelter'. She's a great raconteur as well, vividly »
Former backup singers Tata Vega and Merry Clayton took center stage Monday night at an intimate soiree to celebrate the success of Morgan Neville’s Oscar-nominated music documentary 20 Feet From Stardom.
At Herb Alpert’s Vibrato Grill Jazz in Los Angeles, Neville gave a heartfelt speech about the journey of making the documentary, which tells the untold story of the backup singers behind some of the greatest musical acts of the 21st century. In a touching moment before the live music began, Neville thanked the late Gil Friesen, who had the original idea for the documentary and served as producer »
- Pamela Gocobachi
Turner Classic Movies (TCM) will open the 2014 edition of the TCM Classic Film Festival with the world premiere of a brand new restoration of the beloved Rodgers & Hammerstein musical Oklahoma! (1955). TCM’s own Robert Osborne, who serves as official host for the festival, will introduce Oklahoma!, with the film’s star, Academy Award®-winner Shirley Jones, in attendance. Vanity Fair will also return for the fifth year as a festival partner and co-presenter of the opening night after-party. Marking its fifth year, the TCM Classic Film Festival will take place April 10-13, 2014, in Hollywood. The gathering will coincide withTCM’s 20th anniversary as a leading authority in classic film.
In addition, the festival has added several high-profile guests to this year’s lineup, including Oscar®-winning director William Friedkin, who will attend for the screening of the U.S. premiere restoration of his suspenseful cult classic Sorcerer (1977); Kim Novak, who »
- Melissa Thompson
It’s not surprising that one of the best musically inclined docs of 2013 was pieced together by director Morgan Neville, a filmmaker who over the years has cinematically profiled the likes of Muddy Waters, Hank Williams, Brian Wilson, Ray Charles and so many others. Neville’s latest shows his vast knowledge of rock and roll mythology while highlighting his apt for storytelling economy, digging deep and moving nimbly between subjects yet rarely just glancing an anecdote. This time he’s chosen to unearth those overlooked by history, those whose voices enriched so many classic recordings with layers of youthful soul, yet went unheralded as solo artists, those who will be remembered for living just 20 Feet From Stardom. With expeditious style and an ear for the best mix of relevant tunes, Neville nods to the all important back up singers.
You may not know them by name, but you certainly know their voices. »
- Jordan M. Smith
Darlene Love has a mighty voice, but yesterday she really let it rip. At her home in New Jersey, she'd just finished her regular morning meditation and settled in to watch some of the Oscar nominations on TV. And at one point, she says, "I just screamed! My husband was in the other room and said, 'What? What?' Now they can put 'Oscar nominee' next to my name along with the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame."
Darlene Love's Lost Years and Sweet Redemption: Read the Full Story »
We’re breaking form this week and going alphabetical instead of preference order because of the Incredible diversity of product available for you to rent, buy, or stream over the next ten days. How does someone really compare “Sunrise” to “You’re Next”? Why bother?
If you need to know, “Closed Circuit” and “Runner Runner” aren’t really worth your time and “A.C.O.D.” and “Riddick” are flawed but everything else in here comes with varying degrees of recommendation, particularly the quiet beauty of “Sunrise” and the incredible charm of “Enough Said”. We’re also loading you up since we’ll be off next week seeing flicks in Park City at the Sundance Film Festival. There’s plenty in here to tide you over. Pick your favorites.
20 Feet From Stardom
Photo credit: The Weinstein Company
“20 Feet From Stardom”
One of the most crowd-pleasing documentaries in years is likely to find an »
- email@example.com (Adam Fendelman)
Martin Scorsese's latest movie The Wolf of Wall Street hits the big screen next week, and if you can look past the controversy you'll find a fast, funny and hugely entertaining look into the lives of some very bad men.
The heralded filmmaker has always had a keen eye (and ear) for marrying image to music, so with Wolf of Wall Street poised to open on Friday (January 17) in the UK, Digital Spy takes a look at 8 great uses of pop songs in Scorsese's career.
The Ronettes - 'Be My Baby' (Mean Streets)
When we see live concerts of our favorite singers and songwriters, it’s easy to zone in on the lead talent and ignore what’s going on around them. Think about going to a Bruce Springsteen concert, for example. His name is on all the tickets, he’s the one blown up on every monitor, and he’s the guy belting out leading vocals while strumming his guitar – but he’s not the only one on stage. There are other musicians, technical people, and backup singers who all contribute to the experience, yet most of the credit goes to whatever name is on that ticket.
Being a backup singer isn’t easy, but neither is making it as a solo act, and that’s the dangerous balance that documentary filmmaker Morgan Neville approached for one of 2013′s best documentaries, 20 Feet From Stardom. Neville’s film is an entrancing look into »
- Matt Donato
17 items from 2014
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