Archive for the ‘Film/TV/DVD’ Category

Fugue States, Feral Horses and the Choreography of Flesh @ EMPAC on Saturday [Berkshire on Stage]

Wednesday, January 28th, 2015
Ward of the Feral Horses, by Moroccan-Israeli artist Orit Ben-Shitrit, explores the sensation of a person being trapped in their body.

“Ward of the Feral Horses,” by Moroccan-Israeli artist Orit Ben-Shitrit, explores the sensation of a person being trapped in their body.

Over at EMPAC at RPI in Troy, New York we look forward to “media-dance” pioneer and Merce Cunningham collaborator Charles Atlas, who will be in residence this spring to develop a new piece of choreography tailored for the screen.

The multimedia dance form he helped popularize has been a programming priority at the Curtis R. Priem Experimental Media and Performing Arts Center (EMPAC) at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (110 8th St., Troy) ever since its opening.

With generous support from the Jaffe Fund for Experimental Media and Performing Arts, the DANCE MOViES commission will present this year’s selected works on Saturday (January 31) at 7pm. Admission is free.

Click to read the rest at Berkshire on Stage


New Music & Cultural Symposium @ UAlbany Performing Arts Center, Albany, 1/29-31/15
Free Day @ MASS MoCA, North Adams, 1/31/15
New York State Writers Institute’s Visiting Writers Series @ UAlbany, Albany, various days
Music at Noon @ Troy Savings Bank Music Hall, Troy, select Thursdays
Beat the Snow Winter Concert Series @ Schenectady Public Library, Schenectady, Sundays


“Empire” Tackles Homophobia and Grows Its Ratings, Is Renewed for Second Season [Berkshire on Stage]

Tuesday, January 20th, 2015

“Empire” is a powerful new drama about the head of a music empire whose three sons and ex-wife all battle for his throne.

Story by Larry Murray

Averaging a 5.3 rating in Nielsen’s Most Current measure, FOX-TV’s Empire has emerged as the No. 1 new series of the season. Following its second episode, it is the only new broadcast drama this season to grow from week one to week two.

Yesterday at the Television Critics Association Winter Press Tour, the cast and producers of the new hit drama series Empire fielded questions from reporters about the popular new series and our colleague Jim Halterman had the chance to ask creator Lee Daniels and star Terrence Howard about the homophobia portrayed in Howard’s character.

“Homophobia is rampant in the African‑American community, and men are on the DL,” Howard said. “They don’t come out because the priest says, your pastor says, your mama says, your next‑door neighbor says, your homie says, your brother says, your boss says…and so I wanted to blow the lid off the door and on homophobia in my community.”

Click to read the rest at Berkshire on Stage.

The Razzies Eclipse Oscar Nominees with Biggest Winners “Annie,” “The Interview,” Kirk Cameron, Kellan Lutz [Berkshire on Stage]

Friday, January 16th, 2015
Jennifer Aniston iis thrilled she’s up for a Razzie Redeemer Award as most improved.

Jennifer Aniston is thrilled she’s up for a Razzie Redeemer Award as Most Improved.

By Larry Murray

When the nominees for the Worst Movie of the Year were announced by the RAZZIES, all five nominees were The Interview, so they started over again and came up with equally deserving horror shows: Kirk Cameron’s Saving Christmas, Left Behind, The Legend of Hercules, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and Transformers: Age of Extinction.

As the only truly democratic major film “honors,” the RAZZIE Awards are unique in that the nominees and “winners” are not dictated by film critics or film professionals, but by “ordinary movie-goers” just like you, who also vote in this down-to-earth event. We like to think of ourselves as discerning and not easily fooled by the Hollywood celebrity machine. You need more than good red carpet skills and a photogenic figure to make us swoon. Or plunk down ten bucks to see you in some insipid movie.

My choice for worst film of the year, the remake of Annie, (read my condemnation) worked hard to earn its two nominations for the 35th Annual Razzie Awards, satirizing the worst achievements in film for 2014.

Click to read the rest at Berkshire on Stage.

ABC-TV’s New “Galavant” Musical Is Too Childish for Adults and Too Adult for Kids [Berkshire on Stage]

Friday, January 9th, 2015
Galavant the musical by Alan Menken and Glenn Slater on ABC Sunday nights in January.

Galavant the musical by Alan Menken and Glenn Slater on ABC Sunday nights in January.

By Larry Murray

In their infinite stupidity, the television networks continue to use the truly American form of the musical comedy as a punch line, and the new ABC-TV series Galavant is a prime example. It reminds me a bit of Camelot, because it is all about an on-the-rocks knight trying to win his lost love away from an evil king. This early preview begins sensibly enough, but by the last minute, we see that they don’t trust their audience and regress to lowest-common-demoninator humor based on yuk-yuk Three Stooges level writing. The plot doesn’t thicken, it congeals.

GALAVANT is a musical fairy tale that both satirizes, and capitalizes on, the genre’s tried and true tropes. At times, those efforts work, but more often than not, it just leads to adequately entertaining clichés in a half-baked presentation. – Matt Tamanini, Broadway World

I suppose we have to give ABC credit for trying something different to improve its ratings, but as hard as everyone may be trying, little about this hybrid is quite as good as it needs to be — or nearly as good as the multiple spoofs (Spamalot, Monty Python) it seems to be copying, in part because it never seems to be quite sure about what exactly it’s spoofing.

Click to read the rest at Berkshire on Stage.

Bob Irwin Goes to the Movies

Thursday, January 8th, 2015

Congrats go out to Bob Irwin – guitarslinger, producer and head honcho of Coxsackie’s Sundazed Music label – whose song, “The Throwaway Age,” is featured in one of the hottest new films of the season, Paul Thomas Anderson’s “Inherent Vice.”

“Damn proud, I am,” said Irwin, who recently re-located to Nashville.

Penned by Irwin, the slinky, twang-filled guitar instrumental was recorded in 2011 by Bob Irwin & the Pluto Walkers – also featuring drummer Chris Fisher, bassist Ed Wasilweski and organist Mike Dunn – at Fisher’s Easter Island Studios in Coxsackie. “The Throwaway Age” was released as a seven-inch single on Eddie Angel’s Spinout Records label, as well as the title track of the Pluto Walkers’ debut album on Sundazed.

In “Inherent Vice,” Irwin’s recording is nestled alongside some mighty heady company, as the film also features songs by Neil Young, Radiohead, Can, Sam Cooke, the Association, Burt Bacharach and others. Jonny Greenwood of Radiohead composed the score.

Based on the novel by Thomas Pynchon, “Inherent Vice” stars Joaquin Phoenix (nominated for a Golden Globe as Best Actor), Josh Brolin, Owen Wilson, Reese Witherspoon and Benicio Del Toro, among others. The film opened in select theaters last month and will open nationally on Friday (January 9), including the Spectrum 8 Theatres in Albany.

Calls for Entries: Filmmakers

Wednesday, January 7th, 2015

Four opportunities for Nippertown filmmakers and videographers:

The Albany Institute of History & Art is hosting a new program called “An Evening of Films,” which will showcase film and video artists working in the greater Capital Region and the Hudson Valley. The program will allow filmmakers the opportunity to present and discuss their work with the public. Filmmakers are asked to submit short films – 20 minutes or less – and all submissions should be in a web-viewable format (YouTube, Vimeo or whatever delivery service you may prefer). Deadline for submission is Thursday, January 15. Selected films will be shown on the evenings of Thursdays February 19 & 26. The screenings are free and open to the public. GO HERE for submission info…


The Lake George Arts Project is now accepting original short films and videos for their sixth annual Peoples Pixel Project, which will take place in the spring. The call for entries is open to anyone living within 100 miles of Lake George, and the deadline for entries is Saturday, January 31. Only films and videos on DVD will be accepted for submission. All selected videos will be screened at the festival at 2:30pm on Sunday, March 29, at the Crandall Public Library in Glens Falls. GO HERE for the submission form…


Stephen Hawking – As His Wife Saw Him – Illuminates “The Theory of Everything” [Berkshire on Stage]

Monday, January 5th, 2015
Felicity Jones, Stephen Hawking & Eddie Redmayne.

Felicity Jones, Stephen Hawking & Eddie Redmayne.

Film Review by Larry Murray

Stephen William Hawking was born on January 8, 1942 (300 years after the death of Galileo) in Oxford, England. His father wanted him to be a doctor, but instead he became the world’s most famous cosmologist, trying to figure out the basic laws the govern the universe. He sees creation as beginning in a big bang and ending in black holes. Along the way he has earned honors and awards for his genius and a dozen honorary degrees.

But the movie The Theory of Everything knows the average person is not particularly interested in the intracies of a unified field theory, or reconciling Einstein’s laws of the very big with the quantum world of the very small. I am fascinated by the details of Hawking’s discoveries, but in Hollywood’s world of make believe, it is not the scientific element that is going to bring folks into the local multiplex. So what we have is a nevertheless interesting film that is more about Hawking’s romance with his first wife, Jane, the family they raised, and his battle with ALS, a form of Motor Neurone Disease, which was diagnosed shortly after his 21st birthday.

Click to read the rest at Berkshire on Stage.

“Unbroken” Is a Horrific Hero’s Story from World War II, Directed by Angelina Jolie [Berkshire on Stage]

Wednesday, December 31st, 2014
A beaten but unbowed Jack O’Connell as Zamperini.

A beaten but unbowed Jack O’Connell as Zamperini.

Film review by Larry Murray

The World War II drama Unbroken opened on Christmas Day and marks Angelina Jolie’s second directorial effort. The film is solid in an old fashioned way, and will likely be popular, especially with those who love blood, bashing and brave heroes who speak in slogans and sound bites. To me, while based on a true story, it is a formula film that seems more in the spirit of the other film it most resembles, The Passion of the Christ. We love to see our heroes beaten up on the screen, especially if they are suffering for a good cause.

Louis Zamperini (Jack O’Connell) was a Los Angeles high school track star who raced in the 1936 Berlin Olympics on the U.S. team that included Jesse Owens. In 1943, his Air Force plane crashed in the Pacific. He survived without food and water for 47 days, enduring shark attacks, aerial attacks and hunger before washing ashore on a Japanese island behind enemy lines, where he was held as a prisoner of war for two years and tortured by his captors.

In the film, Zamperini the prisoner is seen enduring excruciating pain as he holds a wooden crossbar aloft for what seems like hours. He is also beaten mercilessly by the other prisoners who are ordered to shower punch after punch on him “in order to teach him respect” by the prison camp commander. But he was far from a saint. As a child he was constantly getting into trouble, stealing, running from the police and enduring the bullying of his classmates.

Click to read the rest at Berkshire on Stage.

Cartoonist John CaldwellHolly & EvanCaffe LenaAdvertise on Nippertown!Keep Albany BoringArtist Charles HaymesBerkshire On StageHudson SoundsLeave Regular Radio BehindAlbany PoetsThe LindaArtist and Musician Michael Eck