Wednesday, May 11, 2016

May Reviews

Schoenaerts, Swinton, Johnson, and Fiennes in A Bigger Splash
These are the reviews and other pieces I'm working on this month.

The Stranger Film Openings: Mad Tiger Asks the Question: Is the Leader of Peelander-Z a Genius or Mad?, Tilda Swinton Plays a Rock Star in the Magnificent A Bigger Splash, The US Is Finally Ready for Eiichi Yamamoto's 1973 Erotic Animation Belladonna of Sadness, Maggie's Plan, and more to come.

Slog/Film Opening count: 650 posts/reviews since 2011.

The Stranger SIFF Notes: The Memory of Fish, Sunset Song,  
Where Have All the Good Men Gone, The Violin Teacher, and As You Are. There may be more to come between now and June 12.

The Stranger already had a cap for As You Are. Here's mine:

Miles Joris-Peyrafitte uses flashbacks and interrogation video to depict the friendship between two New York teens in the 1990s. The extro-
verted Mark (Charlie Heaton) meets the introverted Jack (Owen Camp-
bell) when their parents (Mary Stuart Masterson and Scott Cohen) fall in love. They become a triangle when they befriend Sarah (Amandla Stenberg) with whom they hang out and get high. Then jealousy enters the picture, and it all goes to shit. Though Joris-Peyrafitte is only 23, this is an assured debut that recalls Gus Van Sant in teen-thriller mode, so it's too bad it falls apart at the end. (KATHY FENNESSY)

The Stranger Music Things to Do: Dungen with Boogarins, Cate
Le Bon with Mega Bog, Sam Beam and Jesca Hoop, and Elysian 20th
Anniversary Show with the Gits, the Raveonettes, Black Lips, etc. 

Video Librarian: Between Allah and Me (and Everyone Else), Pearl 
S. Buck, A Chance to Dress, College - The Other Costs, Feminism In-
shallah - A History of Arab Feminism, How to End Unhealthy Rela-
tionships, Life Is Sacred, Nefertiti's Daughters, Regarding Susan Sontag, The Way We Talk, Live from the House of Soul - Antibalas, Theory of Obscurity - A Film about the Residents [Blu-ray], Zydeco Crossroads - A Tale of Two Cities [Blu-ray], Melody Gardot - Live at the Olympia Paris [Blu-ray], American Masters - Janis: Little Girl Blue, Alan Jackson - Keepin’ It Country: Live at Red Rocks [Blu-ray].

Endnote: Image from Fox Searchlight Pictures. 

Saturday, April 02, 2016

April Reviews

Ursula Parker and Logan Miller in Take Me to the River.
These are 
the reviews
and other 
pieces I'm 
on this 

The Stranger Film Openings: Demolition Has Oscarless Jake Gyllenhaal Playing a Normal Guy, The Gimmick Excels in the Postmillennial Noir Too Late, Girl Must Sell Sex to Pay Debt in Sold, Chantal Akerman's No Home Movie Is About the Death of Her Mother, but It's Not Depressing, It’s Punks vs. Skinheads in Green Room, and Women Realize That Men Hold All the Cards in Fireworks Wednesday.

Slog/Film Opening count: 647 posts/reviews since 2011.

The Stranger Music Things to Do: Killer Mike, Bilal, Shap-
rece, and DJ El Mizell
, Lush, and Tortoise and Life Coach.

SIFFBlog: Matt Sobel's Take Me to the River.

Video Librarian: Growing Apart - The Politics of Family Separation, Code Girl, I Smile Back, We Are Twisted F***ing Sister! [Blu-ray], Enrique Bunbury - El Camino Mas Largo [Blu-ray], American Masters - Carole King: Natural Woman [Blu-ray], and The Criterion Collection - A Poem Is a Naked Person. 

Endnote: Image from Film Movement. 

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

March Reviews

These are the reviews and other pieces I'm working on this month.

The Stranger Film Openings: Hello, My Name Is Doris Is Harold and Maude for Millennials, The Bronze Is a Good Film with a Very Acrobatic Sex Scene, and Very Old Christopher Plummer Goes After a Very Old Nazi in Remember.

Slog/Film Opening count: 641 posts/reviews since 2011.

The Stranger Music Things to Do: 2016 John in the Morning at Night: The Dandy Warhols, Young Fathers, Battleme, and Guests.

Video Librarian: Big Dream, India's Daughter, Life After 
Manson, Slash - Raised on the Sunset Strip [Blu-ray], Por-
trait of a Serial Monogamist, The Dicks from Texas, Live 
from the House of Soul - Charles Bradley with the Men-
ahan Street Band, Women Aren’t Funny, Turn It Up!  
A Celebration of the Electric Guitar [Blu-ray],
and Miss You Already [Blu-ray].


Endnote: Image from Roadside Attractions.

Monday, February 08, 2016

February Reviews

These are
the reviews
and other
pieces I'm
working on
this month.

KCTS 9: Screening films for the 2016 season
of Reel NW. Ti-
tles TBA.

The Stranger Film Openings: A Remarkable Life in Ingrid Bergman in Her Own Words and Austerity Equals Impotence in Arabian Nights.

Slog/Film Opening count: 638 posts/reviews since 2011.

The Stranger Music Things to Do: Julia Holter and Circuit des Yeux, the Budos Band and Guests, Parquet Courts and Guests, Basia Bulat and the Weather Station, Audio Social Dissent 2016: Wolf Eyes, Tim-
my's Organism, Regression 696, and Video
, and Dengue Fever, Branden Daniel and the Chics, and Kingdom of the Holy Sun.

Video Librarian: 1 Way Up - The Story of Peckham BMX, I Am 
Thor [Blu-ray], Semicolon; The Adventures of Ostomy Girl, This 
May Be the Last Time, Big Stone Gap [Blu-ray], and Honky.

Endnote: Image from Alt Film Guide (no photographer credited).

Thursday, January 07, 2016

January Reviews

Tom Courtenay and Charlotte Rampling in 45 Years.
These are the reviews and other pieces I'm working on this month.

KCTS 9: Screening films for the Northwest Showcase, aka Reel NW. Titles TBA.

The Stranger Film Openings: Charlotte Rampling's Performance in 45 Years Is Great, but Her Comments About Race and the Oscars Are Offensive and Ignorant and Bad Cop Discovers...The World of Kanako.

Slog/Film Opening count: 636 posts/reviews since 2011.

The Stranger Music Things to Do: Car Seat Headrest, Naked Giants, and Boyfriends, the Tom Price Desert Classic, the Riffbrokers, and Tales from the Birdbath, Ty Segall and the Muggers, CFM, and Bread and Butter, Unknown Mortal Orchestra, Lower Dens, and Hibou.

Video Librarian: Being Canadian, Circle Unbroken - A Gullah Journey from Africa to America, Dreams Rewired, Hand Made with Love in France, Lady Antebellum - Wheels Up Tour [Blu-ray], The Mama Sherpas, Sinatra - All or Nothing at All [Blu-ray], Some Kind 
of Spark, The Ritchie Blackmore Story [Blu-ray], Jaco, Scorpions Forever and a Day [Blu-ray], and Roger Waters - The Wall [Blu-ray].

Endnote: Image from Sundance Selects.

Thursday, December 31, 2015

Movies for Music Lovers: 2015 Edition

Jack O'Connell couldn't be better (and look more right) in '71
Click here 
for the 2014 

I'm not sure whether this is a first or not, but I'm pretty sure I listened
to more new records than I saw new movies in 2015--and I saw over
250 of the latter (not counting concert films and music documentaries
that never played theatrically)--so if you notice any notable omissions,
check out the list of films I missed below, and you'll probably find
them there. If not, feel free to give a shout. All of this isn't to say that
I didn't have a fantastic time at the movies this year. I did. I always do.

The links lead to my reviews for The Stranger, Portland Mercury, SIFFBlog, and the SIFF program guide (some also appeared in East Bay Express). My reviews for Video Librarian live behind a paywall.  

Sidse Babett Knudsen in The Duke of Burgundy
Top 10
1. '71 (Yann Demange)

The best film about The Troubles since Steve McQueen's Hunger. And for those who know nothing about the politics, it's still a great thriller in Odd Man Out-goes-digital mode. Surprisingly, the filmmaker isn't Irish--and nor is his protagonist--but a Brit of Algerian extraction. '71 is every bit as essential as In the Name of the Father and Bloody Sunday 

2. The Duke of Burgundy (Peter Strickland)
3. Spotlight (Tom McCarthy)
4. Mad Max: Fury Road (George Miller)
5. Carol (Todd Haynes)
6. While We're Young and Mistress America (Noah Baumbach)
7. White God (Kornél Mundruczó)
8. Girlhood (Céline Sciamma)
9. The Mend (John Magary)
10. Timbuktu (Abderrahmane Sissako)

11. It Follows (David Robert Mitchell)
12. The Forbidden Room (Guy Maddin and Evan Johnson)
13. Anomalisa (Charlie Kaufman and Duke Johnson)
14. Ex Machina (Alex Garland)
15. Hard to be a God (Alexei German)
16. The Diary of a Teenage Girl (Marielle Heller)
17. Phoenix (Christian Petzold)
18. Tu Dors Nicole (Stéphane Lafleur)
19. Creed (Ryan Coogler)
20. Love & Mercy (Bill Pohlad)

Note: I count home-video debuts as new releases, since I review so many of them. I caught Tu Dors Nicole on a Blu-ray that I reviewed for Video Librarian, though it also played SIFF's French Cinema Now festival in 2015. Other films I caught on video include Amy, Kumiko, the Treasure Hunter, Kurt Cobain: Montage of Heck, Mississippi Grind, Mommy, Why Don't You Play in Hell?, and Z for Zachariah.

Charlotte Rampling in 45 Years

Second Runners-up
1. 45 Years (Andrew Haigh)
2. Mustang (Deniz Gamze Ergüven)
3. Tangerine (Sean Baker)
4. The End of the Tour (James Ponsoldt)
5. Mr. Holmes (Bill Condon)
6. Mommy (Xavier Dolan)
7. Heaven Knows What (Ben and Josh Safdie)
8. The Martian (Ridley Scott)
9. A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night (Ana Lily Amirpour)
10. Jobs (Danny Boyle)

Top Documentaries
1. The Look of Silence (Joshua Oppenheimer)
2. Don’t Think I’ve Forgotten: Cambodia’s Lost Rock and Roll (John Pirozzi)
3. The Black Panthers: Vanguard of a Revolution (Stanley Nelson)
4. The Wolfpack (Crystal Mozell)
5. Best of Enemies (Morgan Neville and Robert Gordon)
6. Amy (Asif Kapadia)
7. Heart of a Dog (Laurie Anderson)
8. Iris (Albert Mayles)
9. Sunshine Superman (Marah Strauch)
10. Courtship (Amy Kohn)

Laurie Anderson at the Chicago International Film Festival.
Also worthy of note: 808, All Things Must Pass, The Assas-
sin, The Automatic Hate, Be-
ing Evel, The Big Short, Black Coal, Thin Ice, Borrowed Identity, Boy Meets Girl, Cherry Tobacco, Kurt Cobain: Montage of Heck, The Color of Noise, The Critic, Dope, A Fuller Life, Gabo: The Creation of Gabriel García Márquez, Gett: The Trial of Viviane Amsalem, Going Clear: Scientology and the Prison of Belief, Good Kill, Peggy Guggenheim: Art Addict, Hafu, I’ll See You in My Dreams, Jaco, Syl Johnson: Any Way the Wind Blows, Joy, Korla, Kumiko, the Treasure Hunter, Listen to Me Marlon, Lost Soul: The Doomed Journey of Richard Stanley's Island of Dr. Moreau, Love Between the Covers, Me and Earl and the Dying Girl, Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation, Mississippi Grind, My New Girlfriend, My Prairie Home, Name Me, Mr. Turner, Of Girls and Horses, People, Places, Things, A Pigeon Sat on a Branch Reflecting on Existence, Queen of Earth, Queens and Cowboys, Results, Revenge of the Mekons, Room, Saint Laurent, The Salt of the Earth, She’s Beautiful When She’s Angry, Sicario, Slow West, Song of the Sea, Spectre, Spy, Straight Outta Compton, Trainwreck, The Tribe, Unexpected, The Walk, We Monsters, Welcome to New York, Wet Bum, When Evening Falls on Bucharest, Why Don’t You Play in Hell?, Wild Canaries, Z for Zachariah, and Zero Motivation.

Yana Novikova of The Tribe at the Northwest Film Forum. 

Missed or haven’t seen yet: 99 Homes, About Elly, Advantageous,  
Amour Fou, Arabian Nights, Ballet 422, Blackhat, Bone Tomahawk,  
Breathe, Bridge of Spies, Brooklyn,* Cemetery of Splendor, Chevalier,
Chi-Raq, Clouds of Sils Maria, Court, Eden, Experimenter, Franco-
fonia, The Good Dinosaur, Grandma, The Hateful Eight, Hitchcock-
Truffaut, Horse Money, The Hunger Games: Mockingjay, Part 2, The Hunting Ground, In the Shadow of Women, Inside Out, The Iron Min-
istry, Irrational Man, Jackson Heights, Janis: Little Girl Blue, Jauja, The Kindergarten Teacher, Li’l Quinquin, Love, Magic Mike XXL, Man from Reno, Maps to the Stars, Moana with Sound, Mountains May Depart, Office, Nasty Baby, No Home Movie, The Pearl Button, The Revenant, Ricki and the Flash, The Royal Road, La Sapienza, Seymour: An Introduction, Shaun the Sheep: The Movie, Son of Saul, Suffragette, Taxi, Tokyo Tribe, Trumbo, Truth, We Come as Friends, Welcome to Me, What Happened, Ms. Simone?, What We Do in the Shadows, Where to Invade Next, Wild Tales, The Wonders, and Youth.

* I saw Brooklyn on 1/2/16. I liked it, but this should come as little surprise since I also liked John Crowley's Boy A, An Education (which featured an adapted screenplay from Nick Hornby), and every performance Saoirse Ronan has given, from Atonement to Hanna.  

Final thoughts: Some of these films, like Son of Saul, haven’t opened
in Seattle yet; others never will, but many have appeared on other top
10 lists. Though I’m not interested in seeing everything, all are signifi-
cant in some way, and I plan to catch up with most in the next year or two. And yes! I missed the latest films from Cronenberg and Assayas. How does that happen when they’re two of my favorite filmmakers? It happens because whenever I have free time, I’m broke, and whenever I'm not broke, I have no free time. I reviewed hundreds of videos this year, many of them fairly obscure (films designed for the educational market and the like). It keeps me occupied, but it also makes it hard
to keep up with the movies everybody's talking about, from the new James Bond to the new Star Wars. Also, Frederick Wiseman has had an arrangement with PBS for as long as I can remember. I always wait for the broadcast premiere to catch up with his documentaries.

Endnote: Jack O'Connell image from Roadside Attractions.  

Sunday, December 27, 2015

Songs for Cineastes: 2015 Edition

Lamont Thomas of Obnox. 
Click here 
for the 2014 

I probably spent more time listening to new music in 2015 than any other year, and that includes my days as a music director (when staffers helped me to plow through the deluge of records and CDs we received each week).

On average, that means several hours a day every day listening to new singles, EPs, and full-lengths. Although I don't rank them, I also watch-
ed a lot of videos and listened to a lot of mixes. I receive most of this material from labels and publicists, but I'm a freelance writer, and I di-
vide my time between music and film, so I don't get everything, and I don't have the time or money to hear it all, so you're sure to notice notable omissions. To that end, I've included a list of records at the end of this post that might have made my list if I had heard them in their entirety. In those cases, I heard a song or an excerpt, but didn't have access to the full-length in time. Some of these titles, like the Har-
monia collection are now sold out (at least according to Other Music).

As ever, ranking is somewhat arbitrary, except for #1. I love to rank things, but I kind of hate it, too. Plus, my feelings change with time; not radically so, but enough that these titles would probably remain the same, but the order in which they appear would look different. I can never really predict what will stand the test of time. I mean, sometimes I can, but not always. If something--anything--gets overplayed, it tends to grate on my nerves after awhile, and I notice flaws that weren't ap-
parent before. Or if they were always apparent, I focus on them more than I would otherwise. You could call it a flaw in my construction, and I wouldn't beg to differ, but it's part of the reason why independent releases will always give me more joy than major-label productions.

Note: Links lead to my previews for The Stranger (the paper's staff
published their lists here). Unnumbered lists are in alphabetical order.  

Top 10
1. Obnox - Boogalou Reed (12XU)

A new discovery for me. I'm not familiar with Lamont "Bim" Thomas's previous work, and nor did I hear the other two albums, Wiglet and Know America, that he released this year. I only know that Boogalou Reed--ridiculous title and all--rocked harder than anything else I heard (including that incendiary Wolf Eyes record), and I look forward to hearing more from Thomas in the years to come. As with Kamasi Washington's The Epic, this is a record and an artist that received very little love from Seattle in 2015. We can and should do better to support such talented, uninhibited artists. The fact that they're musicians of color makes their absence from local publications and airwaves seem even more unfortunate.  

2. Thee Oh Sees - Mutilator Defeated at Last (Castle Face)
3. Shamir - Ratchet (XL Recordings)
4. Twerps - Range Anxiety (Merge)
5. Kamasi Washington - The Epic (Brainfeeder)
6. Jane Weaver - Silver Globe (Finders Keepers)
7. The Cairo Gang - Goes Missing (God?-Drag City)
8. Bitchin Bajas & Natural Information Society -  
    Automaginary (Drag City)
9. Föllakzoid - III (Sacred Bones)
10. Wolf Eyes - I Am A Problem: Mind in Pieces (Third Man)

11. Joanna Newsom - Divers (Drag City)
12. Jim O'Rourke - Simple Songs (Drag City)
13. Deerhunter - Fading Frontier (4AD)
14. Shopping - Why Wait and Consumer Complaints (FatCat)
15. Hieroglyphic Being & J.I.T.U. Ahn-Sahm-Buhl -
      We Are Not the First (RVNG Intl.)
16. Destroyer - Poison Season (Merge)
17. Sleater-Kinney - No Cities to Love (Sub Pop)
18. Boogarins - Manual (Other Music Recording Co.)
19. Six Organs of Admittance - Hexadic II (Drag City)
20. Royal Headache - High (What’s Your Rupture?)

Second Runners-up
21. Courtney Barnett - Sometimes I Sit and Think, 
       and Sometimes I Just Sit (Mom + Pop)
22. Moon Duo - Shadow of the Sun (Sacred Bones)
23. Meg Baird - Don’t Weigh Down the Light (Drag City)
24. Slim Twig - Thank You for Stickin’ with Twig (DFA)
25. Ultimate Painting - Green Lanes (Trouble in Mind)
26. Jacco Gardner - Hypnophobia (Polyvinyl)
27. Suuns and Jerusalem in My Heart - Suuns and 
      Jerusalem in My Heart (Secretly Canadian)
28. Metz - II (Sub Pop)
29. Micachu & the Shapes - Good Sad Happy Bad (Rough Trade)
30. Circuit des Yeux - In Plain Speech (Thrill Jockey)

Haley Fohr of Circuit des Yeux. 

Local Superstars
1. La Luz - Weirdo Shrine (Hardly Art)
2. The Sonics - This Is the Sonics (Revox)
3. Pony Time - Rumours 2: The Rumours Are True (self-released)
4. Wimps - Suitcase (Kill Rock Stars)
5. Childbirth - Women’s Rights (Suicide Squeeze)
6. Car Seat Headrest - Teens of Denial (Matador) 
7. Shana Cleveland & the Sandcastles - Holy Rollers (Suicide Squeeze)
8. Chastity Belt - Time to Go Home (Hardly Art)

Top Reissues
1. Various Artists - Ork Records: New York, 
     New York (Numero Group)
2. Karin Krog - Don't Just Sing | An Anthology 
    1963-1999 (Light in the Attic)
3. Zeus B. Held - Vinyl Collection (Medical Records)
4. Various Artists - Don't Think I've Forgotten: 
    Cambodia's Lost Rock and Roll (Dust-to-Digital)
5. Frederick Michael St. Jude - Gang War (Drag City)
6. Elyse Weinberg - Greasepaint Smile (Numerophon)
7. John Carpenter - Lost Themes (Sacred Bones)
8. Six Organs of Admittance - Dust and Chimes (Holy Mountain)
9. Beat Happening - Look Around (Domino)
10. Okkervil River - Black Sheep Boy: 
     10th Anniversary Edition (Jagjaguwar)

Note: I forgot to add Laddio Bolocko's Live and Unreleased: 1997-2000 (Quarter Records), so just think of it as #11.  

1. White Magic - I'm Hiding My Nightingale (Leaving)
2. Ty Segall - Mr. Face (Famous Class)
3. Susanna - Songs Revisited (SusannaSonata)
4. Parquet Courts - Monastic Living (Rough Trade)
5. Amen Dunes - Cowboy Worship (Sacred Bones)

Top single
David Bowie - "Blackstar" (Sony)

Also worthy of note: Benjamin Clementine - At Least for Now (Capitol Records), Cold Beat - Into the Air (Crime on the Moon), Deradoorian - The Expanding Flower Planet (Anticon), Django Django - Born Under Saturn (Ribbon Music), Drinks - Hermits on Holiday (Heavenly Recordings), Bill Fay - Who Is the Sender? (Dead Oceans), Flying Saucer Attack - Instrumentals 2015 (Drag City), Gardens & Villa - Music for Dogs (Secretly Canadian), Don Howland - Life Is a Nightmare (12XU), Stone Jack Jones - Love and Torture (Western Vinyl), Jessie Jones - Jessie Jones (Burger), Idjut Boys - Versions (Smalltown Supersound), Mike Krol - Turkey (Merge), Lady Lamb - After (Mom+Pop), Jeffrey Lewis & Los Bolts - Manhattan (Rough Trade), Mantles - All Odds End (Slumberland), Rhett Miller - The Traveler (ATO Records), Peacers - Peacers (Drag City), A Place to Bury Strangers - Transfixiation (Dead Oceans), Public Service Broadcasting - The Race for Space (Test Card Recordings), Michael Rault - Living Daylight (Burger), Shannon & the Clams - Gone by the Dawn (Hardly Art), Speedy Ortiz - Foil Deer (Carpark), Summer Twins - Limbo (Burger Records), Richard Thompson - Still (Fantasy Records), Thundercat - The Beyond / Where the Giants Roam (Brainfeeder), Turn to Crime - Actions (Mugg and Bop), Unknown Mortal Orchestra - Multi-Love (Jagjaguwar), Ryley Walker - Primrose Green (Dead Oceans), Wand - 1,000 Days (God?-Drag City) and Golem (In the Red), Jamie Woon - Making Time (Blue Note), WX - WX (Castle Face), and Yo La Tengo - Stuff Like That There (Matador).

James McNew, Georgia Hubley, and Ira Kaplan of Yo La Tengo at the Neptune.
Need to hear more: Dick Diver - Melbourne, Florida (Trouble in Mind), Duke Ellington & His Orchestra - The Connie Plank Session (Grönland), Fuzz - II (In the Red), Girl Band - Holding Hands with Jamie (Rough Trade), Harmonia - Complete Works (Grönland), King Midas Sound/Fennesz - Edition 1 (Ninja Tune), Kendrick Lamar - To Pimp a Butterfly (Aftermath-Interscope), Cass McCombs - A Folk Set Apart: Rarities, B-Sides & Space Junk, Etc. (Domino), Mbongwana Star - From Kinshasa (World Circuit), Mueller_Roedelius - Imagori (Grönland), Peach Kelli Pop - III (Burger), and Smokey - How Far 
Will You Go?: The S&M Recordings, 1973-81 (Chapter Music).

Endnote: Obnox image from Público (no photographer noted).  

Thursday, December 03, 2015

December Reviews

The young cast of Deniz Gamze Ergüven's Mustang.
These are 
the reviews 
and other 
pieces I'm 
working on 
this month.

The Stranger Film Openings: The Danish Girl Fails to Strike a
Blow Against Hollywood's Heteronormative Hegemony
, Success
Is a Miracle Mop in Joy
, and Mustang Has a Kick-Ass Heroine

The Stranger Music Things to Do: Mike Krol, Rupert
Angeleyes, and Acapulco Lips
, Okkervil River, and
La Luz, Gazebos, and Sick Sad World.

Slog/Film Opening count: 634 posts/reviews since 2011.

Video Librarian: Love Between the Covers, The Placebo Effect, The 
Polygon, Private Violence, Resistance, Tap or Die, UnSlut, The Year 
We Thought About Love, Rock 'n Rhythm Collector's Set: The 1955 
Rock 'n Roll Revue and Rhythm and Blues Revue [two-disc set], Rage 
Against the Machine - Live at Finsbury Park [Blu-ray], Giving Up the 
Ghosts - Closing Time at Doc’s Music Hall [Blu-ray], Just Let Go - 
Lenny Kravitz Live [Blu-ray], Kurt Cobain - Montage of Heck [Blu-
ray], Katy Perry - The Prismatic World Tour Live [Blu-ray], Black 
Stone Cherry - Thank You, Livin’ Live Birmingham UK [Blu-ray + 
CD], The Color of Noise [Blu-ray + DVD], Advanced Style, Rebel Scum.

Endnote: Image from Variety by way of Cohen Media Group. 

Monday, November 02, 2015

November Reviews

Rachel McAdams, Michael Keaton, and Mark Ruffalo in Spotlight.
These are 
the reviews 
and other 
pieces I'm 
working on 
this month.

The Stranger Film Openings: Sex, Lies, and the Catholic Church in Spotlight and Even a Little Kink Can’t Save Angelina Jolie’s By the Sea.

Slog/Film Opening count: 631 posts/reviews since 2011.

The Stranger Music Things to Do: Micachu &
the Shapes
and Yo La Tengo and Dave Schramm.

Video Librarian: Pat Metheny - The Unity Sessions [Blu-ray], Sis-
ters - Seasons One & Two [seven-disc set], Soul Boys of the Western 
World - Spandau Ballet: The Film, Tu dors Nicole [Blu-ray], What’s 
Going On - Taste Live at the Isle of Wight [Blu], Barefoot in the Kit-
chen, A Courtship, Nazareth - No Means of Escape [Blu], Gone with 
the Wind - The Remarkable Rise and Tragic Fall of Lynyrd Skynyrd.

Endnote: Image from Open Road Films. 

Friday, October 09, 2015

October Reviews

Guy Maddin and Evan Johnson's The Forbidden Room.
These are the reviews and other pieces I'm working on this month.

The Factual Opinion: three-part Beat Connection podcast in which 
I join Nate Patrin and Marty Brown to look at music documentaries. Part Two - Underdog Films and Part Three - Movement Overviews.

The Stranger Film Openings: The Walk Isn't Perfect, But It's Thril-
and The Forbidden Room Is Like Guy Maddin’s Greatest Hits.

Slog/Film Opening count: 629 posts/reviews since 2011.


The Stranger Music Things to Do: Destroyer and Frog
, Atlas Sound and Deerhunter, and Shannon and the Clams,
Shopping, Gazebos, Nail Polish, and Underworld Scum

Video Librarian: Black and Cuba, Finding Home - Sophorn's 
Story, Perfect Strangers, Six Days - Three Activists, Three Wars, One 
Dream, Walking with Life - The Birth of a Human Rights Movement 
in Africa, George Strait - The Cowboy Rides Away, Life after Death 
from Above 1979, Aerosmith Rocks Donington 2014 [Blu-ray/two-
CD set], and Jeff Lynne’s ELO - Live in Hyde Park [Blu-ray].

Endnote: Image from Kino Lorber.

Wednesday, September 02, 2015

September Reviews

Poster for John Magary's The Mend.
These are the reviews and other 
pieces I'm working on this month.

The Factual Opinion: Beat Connection podcast 011-1 in which I join Nate Patrin and Marty Brown to look at music documentaries. Part One - Legacy Films. Part Two (un-
derdog films and movement overviews) to come. 

Fandor: A Seattle Childhood - The Sting Remains (a review of Bret Fetzer and Matt Smith's My Last Year with the Nuns).

The Stranger Film Openings: Ben Kingsley Meets the Ultimate
WASP in Learning to Drive
, What A Walk in the Woods Tells Us About Robert Redford, The Son of a Liberation Fighter Refuses to Take Sides in Borrowed Identity, The Mend Is a Wonderful Psychodrama, Sleep
ing with Other People
Is More Amusing Than Sexy
, The Mystery of Korla Pandit's Race Is Examined in Korla, and Gabo: The Creation of Gabriel García Márquez Could Use a Little More Magical Realism.

Slog/Film Opening count: 627 posts/reviews since 2011.

The Stranger Music Things to Do (formerly Up & Comings): A Place to Bury Strangers, Grooms, and Depth and Current, Moon Duo, Kinski, and Shitty Person (Benjamin Thomas-Kennedy), Lætitia Sadier and Deradoorian, Shamir and Allie X, and Angel Olsen and Alex Cameron.

Video Librarian: Harlem Street Singer - The Reverend Gary 
Davis Story, I Dream of Wires, Judith - Portrait of a Street Vendor,  
Queens & Cowboys - A Straight Year on the Gay Rodeo, No Evidence 
of Disease, Alto, Grey’s Anatomy - Season 11 [six-disc set], and The 
Goldbergs - The Complete Second Season [three-disc set].


Endnote: Poster image from Cinelicious Pics.

Tuesday, August 04, 2015

August Reviews

Greta Gerwig and Lola Kirke in Mistress America.
These are
the reviews
and other
pieces I'm
working on
this month.

Portland Mercury (The Stranger's sister paper): Noah Baum-
bach and Greta Gerwig's Mistress America Is Cleverly Self-Critical

The Stranger Film Openings: The Look of Silence Looks at Genocide from the View of an Optometrist, A Holocaust Survivor Returns from the Dead to Haunt Her Gentile Husband in Phoenix, Listen to Me Marlon Offers a Privileged View of a Legend's Thoughts, Noah Baum-
bach and Greta Gerwig's Mistress America Is Cleverly Self-Critical
, and Orlando Bloom Has Other Things on His Mind in Digging for Fire.

Slog/Film Opening count: 620 posts/reviews since 2011. 

The Stranger Up & Comings: Circuit des Yeux, Marisa
Anderson, somesurprises, and Josh Medina & Paurl Walsh

and Thee Oh Sees, SSDD, Smiling, and Guests.

Video Librarian: Ghosts of Amistad - In the Footsteps of the 
Rebels, Hafu, Out in the Lineup, They Are We, Revenge of the 
Mekons, Zero Motivation, Black Veil Brides - Alive and Burn-
ing [Blu-ray], Glen Campbell - I’ll Be Me, Can’t Stand Losing  
You - Surviving the Police [Blu-ray], I Am Femen, Baby It's You  
[Blu-ray], Heaven Adores You [Blu-ray], and Soaked in Bleach.

Endnote: Mistress America image from Fox Searchlight Pictures. 

Tuesday, July 07, 2015

July Reviews

Myroslav Slaboshpytskiy's The Tribe
These are 
the reviews 
and other 
pieces I'm 
working on 
this month.

The Stranger Film Openings: Aloft Is Drama with a Capital D, Attention Must Be Paid to The Tribe, Ian McKellen Shines in Mr. Holmes, A Pigeon Sat on a Branch Reflecting on Existence Is Bas-
ically a Live-Action Comic Strip About the Absurdity of Modern
, Two Unplanned Pregnancies in Unexpected, and Robin
Williams Gives a Nuanced Performance in Boulevard

Slog/Film Opening count: 615 posts/reviews since 2011. 

The Stranger Up & Comings: CROSSS, Gutless,
Homebody, and Big Priest
, Vetiver and Sam Ami-
, and Royal Headache, Dude York, and VHS.

For some reason, my Protomartyr U&C didn't make it to print:

Detroit quartet Protomartyr's Hardly Art debut, Under Color of Official Right, wasn't their first record, but it introduced them to their widest audience yet. Between Joe Casey's incantatory yelp and the band's post-hardcore attack, they recall the days when Midwestern giants like Hüsker Dü stalked the land (just add a little Gang of Four angularity to the equation). Though Greg Ahee, Scott Davidson, and Alex Leonard have what it takes to blow out your eardrums, they excel when they rein in that fury as on "Scum, Rise!," which threatens to explode, but never does, generating enough tension to power a stadium. Over the past year, they've recorded a split single with Kelley Deal’s R. Ring and a third album set for release this fall. Bring industrial-strength earplugs.

Video Librarian: Lost Songs - The Basement Tapes Contin-
ued [Blu-ray], Call the Midwife - Season Four [three-disc set],  
Finding Tatanka, Slash - Live at the Roxy 9.25.14 [Blu-ray],  
First Peoples - Americas, Béla Fleck - How to Write a Ban-
jo Concerto, My Prairie Home, Self Inflected, and Still.

Endnote: The Tribe image from Drafthouse Films.

Friday, June 05, 2015

June Reviews

Mia Wasikowska in Sophie Barthes's Madame Bovary.
These are 
the reviews 
and other 
pieces I'm 
working on 
this month.

The Stranger Film Openings: The Kidnapping of Michel Houelle-
Is Stranger Than Fiction
, The Film Critic: Cynical Writer Meets Beautiful Kleptomaniac, Madame Bovary: Light Gradually Giving Way to Shadow, Me and Earl and the Dying Girl: Cancer, Friendship, and Art, and The Wolfpack: A Bizarre Family, Candidly Captured

Slog/Film Opening count: 609 posts/reviews since 2011. 

The Stranger Up & Comings: Rhett Miller and
Annalisa Tornfelt
and Jacco Gardner and Calvin Love

Video Librarian: Deported, Once My Mother, A River
Changes Course, 2e - Twice Exceptional, Days of Grace, Ma-
hogany, When Calls the Heart - Trials of the Heart, Know
How, She Must Be Seeing Things, and Of Girls and Horses.

Endnote: Image from Millennium Entertainment.    

Saturday, May 02, 2015

May Reviews

R.J. Cyler and Thomas Mann in Me and Earl and the Dying Girl.
These are 
the reviews 
and other
 pieces I'm 
working on 
this month.

SIFFBlog: SIFF 2015 Documentaries Take on Music Stores,
Drum Machines, Dueling Pundits, and More!
and SIFF 2015
Guests Include Jemaine Clement, Star of People, Places, Things,
and Marah Strauch, Director of Sunshine Superman

The Stranger Film Openings: Rich Iris Apfel Believes Fashion
Lives Everywhere, Even Dollar Stores
and Good Kill Shows What
Can Happen When Humans Put Too Much Faith in Machines

Slog/Film Opening count: 604 posts/reviews since 2011.

The Stranger SIFF Notes: Spy, Banana, For Grace, Me and
Earl and the Dying Girl
, Sleeping with Other People, I'll See
You in My Dreams
, and Mr. Holmes. They used Angela Garbes's capsule of For Grace instead of mine. Here's what I wrote:

Documentaries about famous chefs, like Paul Liebrandt (A Matter of Taste) and 
Michel Bras (Entre les Bras), tend to play like promotional videos by showcasing 
restaurants as much as their founders. This one centers on photogenic Grace 
founder Curtis Duffy, who has a surprisingly grim back story, but the more 
charismatic subject is his business partner, Michael Muser, a burly Danny 
McBride character as imagined by David Mamet. (KATHY FENNESSY)


The Stranger Slog: A Unique Look at Beach Boy Brian
Wilson and Other Weekend Options
and SIFF 2015 Week-
end in Review: There's More to Australia Than
Mad Max.

The Stranger Up & Comings: The Rezillos and Kid Congo
Powers & the Pink Monkey Birds
, Vaadat Charigim, Speedy
Ortiz, Alex G., Broken Water
, and Amen Dunes & Ryley Walker.

Video Librarian: Don't Think I've Forgotten - Cambodia's 
Lost Rock and Roll, Hepatitis C - Causes, Symptoms, Pre-
vention, Treatment, The Milky Way, Mujeres con Pelotas, 
Kill Me Three Times, Shania - Still the One: Live from Las 
Vegas [Blu-ray], Boy Meets Girl, God's Slave, The Nun, 
and Transatlantic Sessions - The Best of Folk.  

Endnote: Me and Earl image from Indian Paintbrush.