Be Here Now: “The Chosen One” DVD Release @ Mission Bar & Tapas

September 23rd, 2009, 5:27 pm by Sara

Theodore Collatos is an award-winning filmmaker from the Berkshires whose “Dog Show” was screened at the Cannes Film Festival Short Film Corner in 2009. Starring Carolina Monnerat, the short film was shot in Rio de Janiero.

Now, filmmakers Collatos and Monnerat are releasing a DVD of Berkshires-made film, “The Chosen One,” which judging from the trailer (and trust us, you want to see the trailer) is a satirical horror film in the vein of Ingmar Bergman meets Guy Maddin.

To celebrate, the filmmakers are hosting a DVD release party at Mission Bar & Tapas in Pittsfield, Mass. on Monday, September 28, promising a night of music, art, wine and film. It’s a pay-what-you-will celebration, although a $20 suggested donation includes a free drink, an exhibition of Collatos’ photography and experimental films accompanied by live music.

The event will also serve as a benefit for Collatos’ upcoming film project which is slated to be filmed in Pittsfield. “I want to do a film about what people my age are experiencing now – the fallout of the Bush years and life in small town America,” Collatos explains. The story follows a man recently released from prison and his struggles follow his dream of being a comedian.

WHAT: “The Chosen One” DVD release party and benefit
WHERE: Mission Bar and Tapas, 438 North Street, Pittsfield
WHEN: Monday, September 28, 7pm
Suggested donation: $20

“The Chosen One” can be purchased online at Best Buy, Target,
and Barnes and Noble.


DVD: THE MOODY BLUES’ “Threshold of a Dream: Live at the Isle of Wight Festival”

August 25th, 2009, 3:54 pm by Greg

moodyBlues(Eagle Rock Entertainment, 2009):

It was 39 years ago, almost to the day, when the Moody Blues invaded the Isle of Wight, churning out their classic/classical rock to an estimated audience of 600,000 fans.

At the time, their new album, “A Question of Balance,” was number one on the British pop charts – no mean feat considering that it was the third album that the Moodies had released in just two years, the others being 1969’s “On the Threshold of a Dream” and “To Our Children’s Children’s Children.”

This newly released DVD captures the performance, or at least most of it. Apparently, some film has not survived the years, so all 14 songs – which can be heard on the CD – didn’t make it onto the DVD. “The Sunset” is included on the DVD, but there’s no footage of the band’s performance, only a montage of crowd shots, which is interesting enough.

But, of course, there’s “Tuesday Afternoon,” “Nights in White Satin,” “Question” and the still mindscrambling “Legend of a Mind.” It’s difficult to remember that there was a time when “Legend of a Mind” could be considered a dramatic show-closer. And the 50-minutes of concert footage wraps up with a time-traveling montage of the band rolling through “Ride My See Saw.”

Read the rest of this entry »

DVD: “Scott Walker: 30 Century Man”

July 16th, 2009, 3:08 pm by Greg

scottWalker(Oscilloscope Pictures, 2009)

Scott Walker. Genius or pretentious? Discuss…

Directed by Stephen Kijak, this feature-length career-retrospective documentary tries to simultaneously mythologize the singer-songwriter and also to peel back the veil of mystery that’s surrounded him since his days as the most brooding pop star of England’s Swinging ’60s.

His big booming baritone croon made Scott Walker a bonafide ’60s superstar in Britain as the lead vocalist of the Walker Brothers. It was a decidedly ironic situation as the band was, in fact, American; no one in the band was named Walker; and none of them were brothers, either.

Walker Brothers’ classics like “Make It Easy on Yourself” and “The Sun Ain’t Gonna Shine Anymore” only hinted at the melancholy grandeur that he would conjure up with his early art-house solo stuff – including a penchant for the dark cabaret sounds of Jacques Brel.

And those early solo albums were only signposts along the way to the thoroughly avant garde sonic experiments that the reclusive, enigmatic singer-composer conjured up on recent albums like “Tilt” and “The Drift.”

This film certainly puts Walker on a pedestal, but for the first time, fans get to hear Walker explaining much of the music and motives in his own voice. And it’s a truly fascinating tale.

There are plenty of vintage teen pop-star TV clips of the Walker Brothers, but there is also some marvelously mystifying footage of Walker in the recording studio, trying to capture elusive, ephemeral sounds for “The Drift.”

David Bowie served as executive producer of the film, and also appears on camera to discuss the importance and influence of Walker’s music. So, too, do a whole raft-load of musicians, including Brian Eno, Richard Hawley, the members of Radiohead, Johnny Marr, Marc Almond, Damon Albarn, Lulu, Sting, Ute Lemper, Alison Goldfrappe and others.

Die-hard Scott Walker fans (and there are no other kind), as well as those who’ve only heard about him, are both gonna want to see this film. Then you can decide for yourself where you want to place Scott Walker in your own personal rock pantheon.

Scott Walker: 30 Century Man

Remix this!

June 10th, 2009, 4:07 pm by Greg

Activist and filmmaker Brett Gaylor tackles a thorny subject – the issues of copyright in the digital information age – with his new film, “RiP! A remix manifesto.”

The feature-length documentary has been making the film festival rounds to considerable acclaim, having been hailed as “about as edgy and fascinating a glimpse as you’ll get into one of the more pressing issues of our Internet Age,” as well as “the sexiest film about copyright infringement I’ve ever seen.”

The film is both smart and funny, focusing much of the debate on sonic-collagist and mass-mash-up master Girl Talk, who was a feature performer at the Mountain Jam fest at Hunter Mountain just two weeks ago.

Whether you’re talking about the one-step-beyond-sampling music of Girl Talk or the Obama image appropriation of artist Shepard Fairey, this is a thought-provoking movie that you’re going to want to see.

How you see it, of course, is up to you.

You can go directly to the movie’s website and download the entire film at a pay-what-you-will rate.

Or you could wait and buy it on DVD (with a whole bunch of extras) when the Disinformation Company releases it on Tuesday, June 30.

Or you can head down to Carrie Haddad Photographs in Hudson, where the gallery will be screening the film at 7pm Friday, June 12. Copyright lawyer, arts advocate, Metroland columnist and all-around bon vivant Paul Rapp will lead what is certain to be a lively discussion following the screening.

For reservations, email

JEFF BUCKLEY’s “Grace Around the World”

June 2nd, 2009, 10:16 am by Greg

(Columbia/Legacy, 2009)
When he drowned in Memphis a dozen years ago, 30-year-old Jeff Buckley had completed only one full-length album. But that album was 1994’s audacious “Grace,” and it cemented Buckley’s legacy as a cult icon.

Now that stunning debut album is being celebrated on the occasion of its 15th anniversary with “Grace Around the World,” a CD/DVD combo that presents previously unreleased live versions of the songs from the album. (Benjamin Britten’s “Corpus Christi Carol” is absent from the new compilation. In its stead is the Qawwali-influenced “What Will You Say.”)

The live renditions are culled from a variety of concerts and television appearances in London, New York, Frankfurt, New Orleans, Tokyo and Chicago. It’s pretty amazing stuff, perfectly capturing Buckley’s fearless adventurousness.

Serious fans will want to go the extra bucks for the deluxe package which includes a second DVD – the hour-long, award-winning documentary, “Amazing Grace: Jeff Buckley,” by directors Laurie Trombley and Nyla Bialek Adams.

Jeff Buckley: Grace-Around The World Deluxe Edition (CD/DVD+DVD Documentary Amazing Grace: Jeff Buckley)

Cult Classics: “Phantom of the Paradise”

May 27th, 2009, 6:14 pm by Greg

Somewhere in between Goethe and Randy Newman, director/screenwriter Brian De Palma teamed up with songwriter/actor Paul Williams to concoct this 1974 cacophonous cinematic deconstruction of “Faust”-meets-“Phantom of the Opera.”

As the devilish Swan (portrayed by Williams) explains to a gaggle of reporters at a press conference, “It’s an opera, a kind of pop cantata. It tells the story of a young man who sells his soul to the devil to become a pop star. It will be the first rock version of ‘Faust.'”

And yes, apparently the film is supposed to be a contemporary (for ’74) rock & roll rendition, but with music penned by Williams – the composer of “Theme From the Love Boat,” the Carpenters’ “We’ve Only Just Begun” and the recent stage musical “Happy Days: The Musical” – the rockin’ never really gets started.

The tag line on the DVD cover proclaims the film to be “the most highly acclaimed horror phantasy of our time,” but I have no idea whose time they’re actually talking about. So ridiculously over the top, the film seems to make a run for the midnight movie circuit, and at times it’s clearly a “Rocky Horror Picture Show” wanna-be.

Chockful of delightfully awful scenery-chewing acting and incredibly over-cooked dialogue (“The karma is so bad around here you need an Aqualung to breathe,” for example), it’s no surprise that the film was panned by reviewers.

The best thing about this movie? The voice-over narration at the beginning of the film – by an uncredited Rod Serling.

So what is it?
A horror musical comedy?
Keenly observed satire?
A total trainwreck?

Well, maybe it’s all of those things. But one thing is for sure – it’s a hoot and a half.

DVDiary: What we’ve been watching

May 27th, 2009, 4:03 pm by Greg

Phantom of the Paradise – Whoa! Ouch! More on this one later…

Andrei Rublev – Such a beautiful film – B&W has rarely looked more gorgeous


The Outlaw Josey Wales – “We got somethin’ in this territory called the Missouri boatride…”

The Clearing – That Helen Mirren sure is goooood

Melinda and Melinda – Tragedy? Comedy? Who cares?

Be Kind Rewind – A sweet, sweet movie – better than most of the reviews would lead you to believe

Bringing Up Baby – Truly one of the greatest comedies of all time

“I might be moving to Montana soon…”

May 10th, 2009, 7:51 pm by Greg

Hey, just a few nights ago, I settled back and watched the DVD “Classic Albums: Apostrophe (‘) and Over-Nite Sensation,” and it was a stone gas.

Frank Zappa: Apostrophe/Overnight SensationLots of old interviews with Frank Zappa and live footage, too. (Remember “I Am the Slime” from Zappa’s 1976 appearance on “Saturday Night Live”? It’s here, complete with the Don Pardo spoken word section.) Lots of recent interviews with the bandmembers from those early-’70s Zappa bands – including George Duke, Napolean Murphy Brock and Ruth Underwood. And lots Dweezil sitting at the mixing board, dissecting the music track by track – really fascinating.

Every once in while, there was footage of Dweezil onstage, too, leading his tribute band Zappa Plays Zappa, as they cranked out an Frank nugget. I got all wistful (or was that wasteful?) about the sold-out ZPZ show at The Egg last year. “Sure would love the opportunity to catch that band in action again soon,” I thought. “I mean, it’s not like I’m going to have the chance to ever see Frank again.”

(Of course, there was that time back in ’69 when Zappa and the Mothers played the University at Buffalo’s Clark Gym and brought out Simon & Garfunkel for a set of old doo-wop tunes. But that’s a story for another time.)

Anyway, the next day I find out that ZPZ is coming to the Palace Theatre on Tuesday, August 4 as part of the second annual Progressive Nation tour with Dream Theater, Pain of Salvation and Beardfish. How lucky am I? Maybe I’ve got the shining.

Tix for the Palace show go on sale Friday, May 15.

Oh, and one more little tidbit that I learned watching the DVD? The back-up singers on “Over-Nite Sensation” were the uncredited Tina Turner and the Ikettes. Whoa…

Frank Zappa: Apostrophe / Over-Nite Sensation

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