Movie Reviews – December 2008

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Arab on Radar
Sunshine for Shady People
Three One G
Street: 09.16
Sunshine for Shady People is a damn fine documentary of Arab On Radar. Directed by AoR drummer Craig Kureck, it follows the band through their beginnings in dirty basements and through their career in dirty basements, boxing rings and astrocades across the globe. Set against snippets of the shrapnel burn that is their sound, band members, a tour manager, fans and compatriots trade stories about Dachau, LSD, Slovenian Olympic rowing, Waco and other nefarious things. The real butter on this disc is in the bonus films. Unadulterated live footage from the leisure suit era in Minneapolis and Cape Cod to the grey Dickies work clothes era, including a set in hometown Providence, with effigies of the band hung by nooses. The music Arab On Radar made was intense––angular, pummeling, hyper spastic skronk that seem as if they are exercises in tension. The instrumentation is fairly traditional rock band (drums, guitars, vocals), but the execution is like taking said gear and throwing it into a blender with a few soldiers and a retarded child, creating a cacophany that you will either run from or be hypnotized by. They probably had music teachers that said, “You’re not supposed to do that,” but AOR ran the other way with it, creating one of the most original sounds heard since paleolithic no-wave, or cave noise, or whatever machines are doing these days. The energy they expel on stage is astounding, and may leave you wondering where can you catch that golden elixir. Well, look no further than this shiny jewel-like DVD and in the band Chinese Stars, where drummer/ director Kureck & caterwauler Eric Paul now reside. Speaking of Paul, ever wonder what the “David Berkowitz meet Andy Kaufman by way of the Crucifucks” lyrics are representing? Well go to theheartworm. com and you can find his book, I Offered Myself as the Sea, along with some other great stuff you would not be mad at me for checking out. – David Parish

Imagine Entertainment
In Theaters 10.31
Clint Eastwood successfully fires up the Oscar season with this real-life account of the inefficiencies and scandals of the corrupt Los Angeles Police Department in the 1920s. In 1928, Christine Collins’ (Angelina Jolie) son, Walter, vanished, but months later was declared found by the L.A.P.D. The only problem was that Walter was inches shorter, pudgier, and uncircumcised. Obviously, the case should be reopened, right? Nope. The obstinate detectives, helmed brilliantly by the devilishly callous Jeffery Donovan, chose to remain in the public’s positive light rather than admit their error. Oh, our tax dollars at work. Instead of cowering to the mighty giant, Christine decides to risk everything to expose the truth and find her son. In the extraordinary essence of Girl, Interrupted, Jolie immerses herself (and veils her usually obtruding ego) into the character and projects another performance that represents her true talent. While the multiple endings are similar to The Return of the King and confuse the audience on when the credits will actually roll, the stunning revelation is undeniably worth the wait. -Jimmy Martin

Dark Funeral
Attera Orbis Terrarum Part II
Regain Records
Street: 10.20
I might feel differently about this two-disc DVD had I encountered Part I, but I must say that Attera Orbis Terrarum Part II is an impressive package. Containing two full performances from Dark Funeral’s 2006 South American tour (disc 1 from Buenos Aires, disc 2 from Sao Paulo), the professionally filmed footage never drags. Generally, live concert DVDs are something to be endured rather than enjoyed, but multiple cameras and lively editing help sustain interest. Black metal stalwarts Dark Funeral have never sounded better. The live setting lends some snap to songs that often sound flat on record. The true treasure is the bonus fan footage added to each disc, filmed in smaller venues, and reaching back to the band’s origins. –Ben West

Parallel Worlds, Parallel Lives
Street: 10.21
This BBC Four-sponsored documentary invites you into the story of a rock star, but not your normal rock star story of the rise & fall dipshit who gets into drugs and boozing. It’s the story of Mark Oliver Everett, lead singer of the popular band The Eels, following the mystery of his father. Though they grew up in the same house for 20 years, Mark never really knew his father. His father is Hugh Everett III, a physicist who came up with a history changing theory of parallel words through quantum physics, known in the physics world to be as important as Einstein’s theory of relativity. Mark didn’t inherit his father’s brain, but wants to learn what his father created and deal with his daddy issues all at once. This is a NOVA / PBS production so the quality of the filmmaking is top notch along with the quality of the content. It helps explain quantum physics to the layman in a simple and educating way. My only complaint would be Everett himself seems to play to the camera quite a bit. Still, it’s very intriguing and interesting, and worth your time if you’re flipping through PBS late at night. –Adam Palcher

Quantum of Solace
In Theatres 11.14
Gone are the days of ghetto blaster rocket launchers, hairbrush walkie-talkies, explosive toothpaste, and Bond girls played by transsexuals. Continuing the tradition of successful franchise revamps, i.e. The Dark Knight, Daniel Craig’s second stab as 007 morphs the legendary super spy into a dark vengeful agent gone renegade in search of his lover’s killer. Forget karate chops to the throat and sleeping nerve pinches, this new Bond brutally beats ass and says fuck the questions later. Director Marc Forster’s (Monster’s Ball, Finding Neverland) film is the first true sequel in the series, picking up exactly where Casino Royale concluded. However, unlike its predecessor, this tale is all action with a miniscule plot squeezed in just so the characters have something to talk about. It was distressing to observe the talented Mathieu Amalric (The Diving Bell and the Butterfly) be overshadowed by an absurd storyline involving a crooked environmental organization and worldwide droughts, but witnessing Craig manhandle one henchman after the other is worth the price of admission. –Jimmy Martin

Studio One Anthology
KOCH Vision
Street 11.11
Before television airwaves were viciously sodomized and overrun with dumbass reality shows like Flavor of Love, My Super Sweet 16, and Who Wants to Marry a Multi- Millionaire, CBS aired an innovative drama series from 1948 to 1958 that provided engaging episodes entitled Studio One. Capturing the talents of Hollywoodland’s finest like Charleston Heston, Laurence Olivier, and Art Carney, this program stepped outside the box and paved the road for future shows to seek more creative ventures. KOCH Vision’s six-disc box set comes crammed with 17 restored films including 1984, Twelve Angry Men and Wuthering Heights. Along with the compelling broadcasts, the set also includes the ridiculously tacky, however hilarious, commercials that originally aired alongside the series. The only drawback to the collection is the $90 price tag, but with over 16 hours of vintage entertainment, no one can claim it’s lacking substance.–Jimmy Martin

The Real Ghostbusters: The Complete Series
Time Life
Street: 11.20
While growing up in the 80s, all my friends were obsessed with G.I. Joe and Legos. I, on the other hand, dedicated my life to ridding the world of apparitions and ghouls with the Kenner toy line based on the Saturday morning cartoon The Real Ghostbusters. The 147-episode series continues the documentation of Peter, Ray, Winston, Egon, and their unexplained yet friendly supernatural sidekick Slimer, as they continue to rid New York City from despicable paranormal activity. Two decades later, Time Life has performed a miracle and brought me straight back to my childhood (without a DeLorean or a flux capacitor) with their 25-disc set containing every episode and a slew of special features. Along with an assortment of video introductions provided by the production’s crew, a 50-page booklet educates readers with detailed episode summaries, original airdates, and trivia. Did you know the library from the Ghostbusters movie makes an appearance in the episode “Elementary My Dear Winston?” Probably not, but you can nerd out to all sorts of information like that with this surreal collection. The storylines are ludicrous, the jokes are corny, but the nostalgia level it supplies tops the charts. It’s the 1980s wrapped in a box! The set is an online exclusive only available at –Jimmy Martin

Todd Sucherman
Methods & Mechanics for Useful Musical Drumming
MVD Visual
Street 09.30
Todd Sucherman. Todd Sucherman? Who in the hell is Todd Sucherman? The short answer: a professional drummer who’s played with Styx, Peter Cetera and Spinal Tap. A sessions guy. A guy that can play, but somehow has never really been part of anything for any length of time. The instructional video is similarly all over the place, spelling out methods and tips for jazz drumming, swing and rock hi hat work. There are even tips on navigating a music career, how to tour well and what to do during down time in recording sessions. And where the production quality is sublime, the DVD is completely useless. It is full of self-absorbed shots of Sucherman drumming by the beach, in the studio and in front of a sunset. Lame, bloated and needless, from a guy no one has ever heard of. So what if he can play double bass? –James Bennett

Summit Entertainment
In Theaters 11.21
The sound of 300 screaming tweeners can only mean one of two events…either it’s free training bra day at JCPenney or the film adaptation of Stephenie Meyer’s best-selling vampire novel Twilight has finally hit the big screen. Now, I’ll admit I haven’t read the series, because…well…I have a penis, so don’t expect a movie vs. book comparison. When Bella Swan (Kristen Stewart) moves to gloomy Forks, Washington, she soon becomes increasingly infatuated with the mysteriously pale Cullen family, in particularly with Edward (Robert Pattinson). With her Nancy Drew-like detective skills, Bella learns the truth of her crush…he’s a vampire…GASP! The storyline is essentially a juvenile knockoff of Charlaine Harris’ Southern Vampire Mysteries (a.k.a. HBO’s True Blood). It’s a simplistic teenage love story with a miniscule amount of conflict. I guess if life gets too difficult the children get upset? As with many series’ introductory films, the majority of content consists of character introductions, which hopefully pays off in the sequels. Rather than using the narrative to elevate the viewer’s attention, the film predominantly relies on its soundtrack for support with multiple music montages. The film doesn’t falls anywhere near the realm of classic vamp tales like Near Dark or Interview with the Vampire, but it won’t be damned back to the depths of hell with Dracula: Dead and Loving It and Vampire in Brooklyn. –Jimmy Martin

Zombie Strippers
Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
Street 10.28
Why is no one in Hollywood satisfied with their current profession? Bruce Willis strives to be a blues musician, Madonna thinks she’s an actress, and Tom Cruise desperately desires to be a douche…and is succeeding. Now, America’s #1 porn star, Jenna Jameson, wants to be an actress too. Isn’t that adorable? It’s both sad and scary that Zombie Stripers isn’t the only film covering the issue (see also Zombies!, Zombies!, Zombies! – Strippers vs. Zombies). In Jameson’s journey, President Bush is serving his fourth term with Vice President Arnold Schwarzenegger and the military has developed a virus that resurrects dead soldiers so they can continue fighting the War on Terror. However, when the project unexpectedly goes awry, the disease reaches an underground strip club and infects its top performer, Kat, transforming her into a decaying yet flexible super slut. Necrophiliacs of the world unite! I am fully aware of the desired Troma-esque tone of the film (which will attract the majority of viewers), but the retarded antics become increasingly annoying 20 minutes in. I’ve never been so bored watching girls pole dance. I’d rather sit down with a bucket of popcorn and watch some good ol’ Jameson family classics including Ms. Behaved, On Her Back, and Up and Cummers 17. –Jimmy Martin