Sunday, August 22, 2010

He's New Here

Since releasing Gil Scott-
Heron's I'm New Here in
February, XL Recordings has
done a great job at keeping
the album alive by issuing re-
mixes from Mos Def and the
like, but I was particularly
taken by this video for his ver-
sion of Smog's "I'm New Here."

Bill Callahan may have penned the lyrics, but Scott-Heron's
heartfelt interpretation makes it sound as if they were designed
just for him--and also reflect his journey through difficult times.

According to the press notes, the Iain Forsyth and Jane Pollard-
directed clip "was recorded live in Clinton Recording Studio, NY
with the engineer Lawson White. (This is where much of the album
was recorded and mixed). Pat Sullivan (XX) is featured on guitar."

Forsyth and Pollard add, "Some things should be kept simp-
le; no messing, no gimmicks. This video was shot with com-
pletely live sound, with half an eye looking back on classic
footage of performers like John Lee Hooker and Bob Dyl-
an. We wanted to shoot something bold and direct, that
captured something of Gil's remarkable presence and
the raw power of his performance. We filmed him the
day before walking around his neighborhood in Har-
lem then on the day we returned with Gil to the
studio where much of his new album had been
recorded. There's no narrative here, this is
a deliberately simple video for a decep-
tively simple and beautiful song."

***** ***** ***** ***** *****

Click here for my review of I'm New
. Image from Oregon Public Broadcasting.

Monday, August 16, 2010

in the

Click here for part four

Film folk in Seattle, circa 2008-10.

***** ***** ***** ***** ***** ***** ***** ***** ***** *****

Above: Author Sherman Alexie (The Toughest Indian in the World)
introduces Kent Mackenzie's
The Exiles at the NWFF in 2008. The Mile-
stone DVD features commentary from Alexie and Sean Axmaker.

Alexie lets out a laugh after the screening of The Exiles.

Barry Jenkins and NWFF program director Adam Se-
uler after a 2009 screening of Medicine for Melancholy.

Jenkins takes questions from the audience. Dig
the way the coffee cup completes the outfit!

Actor/director/raconteur Melvin Van Peebles
and NWFF executive director Lyall Bush in 2009.

Boston Phoenix
critic/filmmaker Gerald Peary in-
troduces For the Love of Movies at the NWFF in 2010.

More images to come.

Endnote: Cross-posted to Facebook and Siffblog. Click the
links for reviews of The Exiles
, Medicine for Melancholy, For
the Love of Movies
, and Confessionsofa Ex-Doofus-Itchyfoot-
ed Mutha
All photos taken with Kodak one-time use cameras.

Friday, August 06, 2010

Movie of
the Month:
Part 20

I recently
the follow-
ing film
for Vid-
eo Librarian
, and thought the results were worth sharing.

(Sarah Watt, Australia, 2009, 96 mins.)

The title promises comedy, but My Year Without Sex quickly
turns dark before the mood starts to lift. It begins as Ross (Matt
Day, Muriel's Wedding), a Melbourne audio technician, celebrates
his 39th birthday. All seems well until his wife, Natalie (Sacha Hor-
ler), who works in a retirement home, suffers a brain aneurysm.
Her recovery is slow--and far more realistic than what narrative
features usually depict--and Ross worries about their future.

When Natalie returns home, life normalizes, though they avoid
anything that could impede her recovery, like sex. Instead, Ross
gets her a dog after hearing a speaker on the radio claim they can
help people to live longer. Director Sarah Watt (Look Both Ways)
continues to track the events of the next 12 months: eight-year-
old Ruby (Portia Bradley) suffers a minor injury, Ross takes on
additional work as an assistant soccer coach (Jonathan Segat
plays their 12-year-old footy fanatic son Louis), the family
takes an ill-starred vacation, and Natalie changes careers.

All the while, they bicker about faith and parenting, make up, and
socialize with Anglican priest Margaret (Maude Davy, a standout)
and Uncle Greg (Fred Whitlock) and Winona (Katie Wall), a photo-
genic couple with fancier possessions, but problems of their own.

While her previous film featured animated segments, each section
of My Year Without Sex opens with a brief montage that intro-
duces the theme to come, a unique touch. Unlike most American
family dramedies, which toggle between quirk and sentiment, like
Little Miss Sunshine
, Watt sees both the humor and sorrow in ev-
eryday life without getting too big, too cute, or too soft. It's a re-
freshing change, and the cast is terrific. Highly recommended.

Click here for Movie of the Month, Part 19: Alice -
A Look into Alice's Adventures in Wonderland

Endnote: Slightly revised from the original text. I didn't provide
a DVD pick for July, but if I had, it would've been Mystery Train
(click here for review). Image from The Sydney Morning Herald.

Sunday, August 01, 2010


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

Amazon DVDs: La Mission (with Benjamin Bratt), Burn Notice -
Season Three
[four-disc set], The Killer Inside Me (with Casey
Affleck and Kate Hudson), White Collar - The Complete First Sea-
[four-disc set], White on Rice, The 41-Year-Old Virgin Who
Knocked Up Sarah Marshall and Felt Superbad About It
Psych - The Complete Fourth Season [four-disc set],
and Soundtrack for a Revolution (the Roots, etc.)

Amazon Theatricals: Joan Rivers - A Piece of Work,
Eat Pray Love (Julia Roberts and Javier Bardem), and
The American (Anton Corbijn directs George Clooney).

Still playing (or yet to open): Alice in Wonderland,
The Concert, Countdown to Zero, Exit Through the Gift
, Get Low, Inception, The Kids Are All Right,
Mother and Child, Please Give, and
Wild Grass.

Siffblog: The mindboggling House.

Video Librarian: Gogol Bordello Non-Stop, Masterpiece
Classic - Small Island
, Favela on Blast, Happiness Runs,
The Final Girl
, Sweethearts of the Prison Rodeo, The Diets
That Time Forgot
[two-disc set], Jersey Shore - Season 1
[two-disc set]
, Entre Nos, Benise - The Spanish Guitar,
and Elaine Page - Celebrating 40 Years on Stage.

Endnote: Small Island is so good, I watched it twice.
An adaptation of Andrea Levy's novel, it stars Naomie
Harris, David Oyelowo, Ruth Wilson, Ashley Walters,
and Benedict Cumberbatch (the BBC's new Sher-
lock Holmes
). Image from The Miami Herald.