Archive for the ‘Film/TV/DVD’ Category
Film director-screenwriter-actor Harold Ramis died on Monday (February 24) at the age of 69, and quite by coincidence on Wednesday, I found myself watching “The Ice Harvest,” Ramis’ 2005 dark comedy mob-heist film starring John Cusack. Lo and behold, I soon discovered that the film’s soundtrack featured three songs from the Gentlemen, the side-project spin-off band of the Figgs’ Mike Gent – “Speedbaby,” “The Boys All Want Home” and “Let Us Know.”
“The Ice Harvest” is currently available on Netflix Instant Watch…
Review by Pete Mason
The Oscars are only a week away now, and while the popular categories for Acting, Directing and Writing may have simple name-recognition, there are a dozen or more over-looked categories, both on the film and technical sides of the annual awards. The Oscar Short Films are one of those categories and showcase incredible talent among unknown filmmakers. Fortunately, Albany’s Spectrum 8 Theatres give a screen to these rarely seen films, both the live action and animated short films.
I went to see the Live Action films once again this year, and the five films are an array of talent, stories and settings, with two films rising above the others. Ranging in length from seven to thirty minutes in length, and divided by interviews and insight from Oscar-nominated directors for feature length and short films, including last years winner for “Curfew,” Shawn Christensen, these films tell a story in a succinct manner and can leave an impact in only a short period of time.
Alfred is a young child with a terminal disease and confined to a hospital bed for the rest of his days. A custodian, Enzo, sees the look of despair and emptiness in this boy’s eyes and creates Helium, a world where he will travel to in his sleep. Visiting the boy and building upon the story helps Alfred find something to look forward to, with an ending that will bring you to tears. (Denmark, directed by Anders Walter and Kim Magnusson)
When it comes to dance, words are inadequate, but film can capture the ephemeral nature of this art. One documentary that does this stunningly is Move, to be screened on Saturday (February 22) at 2:30pm in the Little Theatre of the Berkshire Museum in Pittsfield.
The special screening is presented in partnership with Jacob’s Pillow Dance and as part of African American History Month.
DVD Review: (Kristina) Wong Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest – A Comedy About Depression [Berkshire on Stage]Friday, February 21st, 2014
Review by Larry Murray
Kristina Wong is a solo performer, writer and cultural commentator of the sort you often encounter at fringe festivals, and she is no stranger to the stage. She’s created five solo shows that have been seen at places like the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, the Public Theater, La MaMa ETC, as well as the more traditional Comedy Central Stage.
Wong Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest is by far her most successful performance piece and has been captured on a DVD recently released by Cinema Libre. Like any experimental theater piece, it breaks new ground theatrically while also serving as an introduction to some troubling information, the high rates of depression and suicide among Asian American women.
An addictive knitter, now in remission, she surrounds herself with unfinished knitting projects from dozens of friends – and strangers – and with the aid of projected visuals begins the task of explaining what it is like for an Asian woman to make her way in an world full of absurdities. Her performance includes explaining the story-telling arc from exposition to resolution, but for more than an hour she is brought back to the reality that life just doesn’t work that way.
Just in time for Valentine’s Day, Phantogram has released the video for “Fall in Love” from their upcoming album Voices, slated for release on Tuesday, February 18.
PS: Spa City-spawned electro-popsters Sarah Barthel and Josh Carter have also announced that they’ll be celebrating the new album’s release with a performance on ABC-TV’s “Jimmy Kimmel Live” on Tuesday, February 18.
“River of Fundament,” a new film by visionary artist and filmmaker Matthew Barney, will have its world premiere this week at the Brooklyn Academy of Music. The sprawling, six-hour film is an ambitious radical reinvention of Norman Mailer’s novel “Ancient Evenings,” created in collaboration with composer Jonathan Bepler.
Best known for his epic five-film “Cremaster” cycle, Barney combines traditional modes of narrative cinema with filmed elements of performance, sculpture and opera, reconstructing Mailer’s hypersexual story of Egyptian gods and the seven stages of reincarnation, in parallel with the rise and fall of the American car industry.
The film features Maggie Gyllenhaal, Paul Giamatti, Elaine Stritch, Ellen Burstyn, musicians Joan La Barbara, Milford Graves and David Amram, as well as Nippertown’s own Kevin McGuire (the star of such recent Capital Repertory Theatre productions as “A Christmas Carol,” “Red” and “Man of La Mancha”) as Ernest Hemingway.
“River of Fundament” will be screened at 7pm from Wednesday-Sunday (February 12-16) at BAM, in addition to an 11am screening on Sunday (February 16).