Herbie (1966) - News Poster



Exploring Disney's fascinating dark phase of the 70s and 80s

Ryan Lambie Dec 7, 2016

Space horror in The Black Hole. Animated death in The Black Cauldron. Ryan looks back at a unique period in Disney's filmmaking history...

When George Lucas started writing Star Wars in the early 70s, the space saga was intended to fill a void left behind by westerns, pirate movies and the sci-fi fantasy of old matinee serials. "Disney had abdicated its rein over the children's market," Lucas once said, according to Peter Biskind's book, Easy Riders, Raging Bulls, "and nothing had replaced it."

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Indeed, Disney was one of many Hollywood studios that Lucas had approached with Star Wars and they, just like Universal, United Artists and everyone other than 20th Century Fox boss Alan Ladd Jr, had turned it down flat.
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Top 25 Twenty-First Century Jazz Albums

Today being international jazz day, there will be much celebrating of the greatness of its history. I’ve done that in the past; it is a great history. But it is not all back in historical times; jazz lives, and evolves, and continues to be great. Yet how many lists of the greatest jazz albums include anything from the current century?

That they do not is no indictment of them; only sixteen percent of the years when recorded jazz has existed (not counting the present year yet) are in the twenty-first century, after all, and some prefer to bestow the label of greatness after more perspective has been achieved than sixteen (or fewer, for newer releases) years.

Nonetheless, if people are to respect jazz as a living art form, a look back at the best of its more recent releases seems worthwhile. Here’s one man’s “baker’s dozen
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Miles Beyond the Biopic: Don Cheadle Riffs on a Jazz Legend

Miles Beyond the Biopic: Don Cheadle Riffs on a Jazz Legend
Don Cheadle has managed to accomplish something no one has been able to pull off in two decades: serve up a bigscreen tale of jazz great Miles Davis.

Miles Ahead,” in which the versatile actor portrays the legendary trumpeter, marks the directorial debut of Cheadle, who co-wrote the script. The independently financed production, made for $8.5 million, wrapped a monthlong shoot in Cincinnati in mid-August, capping a lengthy gestation period for a project that began eight years ago with Davis’ posthumous induction into the Rock ’n’ Roll Hall of Fame.

The picture, which has yet to score a U.S. distributor, is among a number of film endeavors centering on iconic black musicians — all of them divisive figures who were considered ahead of their time, with none of the films so far connecting with a wide audience. Most recently, “Jimi: All Is by My Side,” starring Andre Benjamin (aka Outkast’s Andre 3000) as Jimi Hendrix,
See full article at Variety - Film News »

Darth Vader, Storm Troopers Crash Stage as L.A. Philharmonic Honors John Williams

Darth Vader, Storm Troopers Crash Stage as L.A. Philharmonic Honors John Williams
The Los Angeles Philharmonic started its sixth year under conductor Gustavo Dudamel by honoring composer John Williams on Tuesday at the Walt Disney Concert Hall.

“Musicians try to be close to composers like Mahler, Shostakovich. But in this opportunity, we have the chance to be so close to this one, that is, John Williams,” Dudamel told the audience. “I remember going to the cinema to listen to music,” Dudamel recalled. “To see the movie, of course! But as a musician you try to focus on how the music does the magic to the movie.” Addressing Williams, who was seen cheering and applauding throughout the program, he continued, “We are here tonight to pay homage to your genius and to your heart, because you are one of the best composers in our time. But the most important thing, you are a great human.”

The U.S. Army Herald Trumpets accompanied the
See full article at Variety - Film News »

Watch: 50-Minute 1997 George Lucas Docu 'Flying Solo' Featuring Harrison Ford, Mark Hamill & Francis Ford Coppola

As the “Star Wars” films enter their period of new storylines, recurring characters, and calendar domination over the next decade, George Lucas only stands now to distance himself from his creation, and reportedly get to work on more intimate, experimental ventures. While we wait to see the results of those efforts, an older documentary on the man provides a close look on his life leading up and into his life-changing franchise. Commissioned to coincide with the 1997 “Star Wars” Special Editions, the BBC Omnibus “George Lucas: Flying Solo,” profiles the director as he discusses his formative years, as well as clips and insight into his 16mm short films, “Look at Life,” “Herbie,” and “Freiheit.” His experimental roots are indeed a large element of the documentary (directed by James Erskine), as an interview with Francis Ford Coppola poses Lucas' alternative path if the trilogy never happened. Interviews with his actors and collaborators.
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Profile of jazz maestro Herbie Hancock: From the archive, 12 Feb 1975

The jazz maestro talks about Miles Davis, the evolution of funk and writing the score for Death Wish

Three dishevelled young men slip into building. Mother and daughter enter flat. Men sneak along passage. Mother enters kitchen. Men trick daughter into opening door. Daughter screams. Men take money, rape daughter, kill mother, run away.

Herbie Hancock, who wrote the music for Death Wish, is proud of what he did to this scene. He builds up the action with hissing percussion, repeated piano chords, occasional violins, leading to drums and synthesiser. Rape and murder are covered by strings; as the muggers dash off, cellos acquire a chilly symphonic resonance.

He reckons the understatement works, and I agree. The point of the film, a Western transplanted to modern New York, is that it updates the conventions of the B-feature, rather than those of Ford or Hawk. Cardboard characters, no emotion nor interlocking relationships,
See full article at The Guardian - Film News »

Best New Jazz Albums of 2012

When I was putting together my best jazz albums of 2012 article, Ivo Perelman's productive year had him dominating the list, so I made him artist of the year and then compiled a separate top ten of new recordings and a top five of older recordings mostly given their first releases this year. There were still plenty of excellent jazz albums to choose from. Jazz isn't dead, it just has to live on a fixed income.

Artist of the Year: Ivo Perelman

Brazilian tenor saxophonist Ivo Perelman's album The Hour of the Star was #18 on my Best New Jazz of 2011 list. He was just warming up for an amazing 2012 in which Leo Records released six -- Six!!! -- Perelman CDs. All of them are excellent (and none of them, alas, are on iTunes yet).

Ivo Perelman/Matthew Shipp/Gerald Cleaver The Foreign Legion Ivo Perelman/Matthew Shipp/Whit Dickey The Clairvoyant
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Funky Chicagoans Reframing Miles Davis & Radiohead

Corey Wilkes: Kind of Miles: Live at the Velvet Lounge (Katalyst)

Greg Spero Quartet: Radio over Miles (Katalyst)

These are not quite new releases (copyright 2011 and 2010 respectively), but they're new to me, and new enough that, in combination with their sterling quality and unjustly low profiles (outside Chicago, that is), a review seems eminently deserved. They are linked by more than the label releasing them (Chicago-based Katalyst Entertainment specializes in Chicago-linked jazz performers, both new releases and reissues). There's the Miles Davis repertoire reflected in the album titles, and three-quarters of Spero's band -- him, trumpeter Wilkes, and bassist Junius Paul -- is half of the sextet on Wilkes's album, with Spero's electric keyboards integral to the sound of both groups.

Newer release first. The idea of a trumpeter doing a Miles-themed album may seem too obvious to be more than a pale imitation, but Wilkes and the band have
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‘Herbie Goes Bananas’ has a Bad Reputation

Herbie Goes Bananas

Written by Don Tait, based on the novel Car, Boy, Girl by Gordon Buford

Directed By Vincent McEveety

USA, 1980, imdb

Listen to our Mousterpiece Cinema Herbie Goes Bananas podcast or read Josh‘s extended thoughts about the film.


Some films acquire a bad reputation that sticks like a bad smell, driving potential viewers away before they ever see it. Everyone knows that Alien³ and Alien Resurrection are terrible even especially those who have never seen the film. This fate happens particularly to notorious bombs – especially to films that (temporarily) kill off franchises. There is a perverse feedback loop in place, the film bombed because no one went to see it, and since the film bombed it must be terrible, so no one wants to watch it.

But this is confusing quality with popularity. They can be linked, but films bombing may result from any number of factors
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The things we wish had been included on the Star Wars Blu-rays

The Star Wars Blu-ray release may have broken sales records, but what extras could have been included on the discs? Here’s Cameron’s list of annoying omissions…

Although I am perfectly happy with my Star Wars: The Complete Saga Blu-ray box set (and boy, am I happy), the word "complete" has slightly irked me. Though there are over forty hours of juicy space opera goodness in the extras, I still think it isn’t quite complete.

Apart from essentials, such as trailers and TV spots, there are also a wealth of materials from previous DVD releases missing, such as the deleted scenes from the prequels and numerous documentaries. So, it’s probably best to hang on to those older discs.

Anyway, included below are five slices of Star Wars ephemera that would have been much appreciated if they had been included – maybe we’ll see them next time on the 3D box set…
See full article at Den of Geek »

Soundtracks of Significance – “American Graffiti”

“Source” music in a movie can be dicey. This is music that plays within the movie in such a way that we understand the characters in the scene can hear it, rather than music that plays over the film solely for our benefit. American Graffiti wasn’t the first movie to use source music effectively by any means, but perhaps no film before or since has used it as well. If for some reason you’re part of the 67% of Flickcharters who shamefully have not seen the movie, the premise is simple enough: four teenage friends spend the last night of Summer, 1962 together. The whole film spans that one night, from sundown to sunup. The various characters split off and reunite throughout the film, their individual and collective stories told across Modesto, California.

Anchoring the vignettes is the film’s soundtrack. In fact, because the licensing costs for the original recordings were so high,
See full article at Flickchart »

Hot Rods & Droids: A George Lucas Profile (Part 1)

Trevor Hogg profiles the career of legendary filmmaker George Lucas in the first of a six part feature...

“I was as normal as you can get,” stated American filmmaker George Lucas when reflecting upon his childhood. “I wanted a car and hated school. I was a poor student. I lived for summer vacations and got into trouble a lot shooting out windows with my Bb gun.” The California native was not initially drawn to the medium which would bring him fame and fortune. “Modesto was a small town, and there were only a couple of theatres. When I went to the movies I really didn’t pay much attention. I was usually looking for girls or to goof off.” George Lucas, Senior owned a stationary store where he sold office supplies and equipment to support his son, three daughters, and frequently invalid wife. “He was conservative, and I’m very conservative,
See full article at Flickeringmyth »

Esperanza Spalding: A Guide To The Best New Artist

Esperanza Spalding: A Guide To The Best New Artist
Esperanza Spalding may have won the Grammy for Best New Artist, but some have reveled in her talent for years.

A 26-year old, classically trained jazz/chamber music fusion musician and singer, Spalding has been making headlines in the jazz world since before her 2006 debut solo album, "Junjo." Having attended the Berklee Academy of Music, where she immediately became a professor after graduating at 20 years old, she began to travel with well known jazz musicians -- and then, the President.

Showing prescient hipness, President Obama selected Spalding to perform at the Oslo City Hall when he accepted his 2009 Nobel Prize, as well as at a White House poetry jam.

"Chamber Music Society" is actually her eighth overall album, including her teenage band and collaborations with famous jazz musicians. But she's still excited to be considered Best New Artist.

"I feel really lucky that I got to be acknowledged on this
See full article at Huffington Post »

Herbie Hancock on PBS NewsHour Sept. 16

Tune in alert for Thirsday, September 16 from PBS NewsHour. PBS is committed to the arts as an important aspect of their news coverage . not only as a recognition that the arts are a vital aspect of daily life, but also for the unique perspective artists bring to global issues and events. In just the latest example of this type of coverage, PBS Newshour features an interview with Herbie Hancocktonight, Thursday, September 16, 2010 (check local listings.) Jeffrey Brown traveled to Los Angeles to talk to jazz legend Herbie Hancock about .The Imagine Project. - an international recording and film project featuring more than 60 artists from seven countries who joined forces in hopes their music might change the
See full article at Monsters and Critics »

'Clash of the Titans': Are special effects less special in the CGI era?

'Clash of the Titans': Are special effects less special in the CGI era?
Getting pumped and ready to review the new Clash of the Titans, I of course went back to watch the original version. It would be fair to say that its special effects have not aged well. Then again, they were touchingly out-of-date even at the time. Made in 1981, Clash was the last movie to feature the special-effects magic of Ray Harryhausen (who produced the film), the wizard of stop-motion imagery whose heyday was the 1950s and '60s, when he was known for the then-wondrous effects in movies like The 7th Voyage of Sinbad (1958), Jason and the Argonauts (1963), and One Million Years B.C.
See full article at EW.com - The Movie Critics »

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