DVD Reviews – August 2008

Afterimage: The Art of 337
The Dada Factory
Street: 06.20
Although the beloved 337 building was torn down months ago, fans of the project can relive the experience while watching Afterimage: The Art of 337. This documentary includes in-depth interviews with artists who worked on the building, building owner and project planner Adam Price, and those who came to visit Project 337. The documentary covers everything from the beginning stages of the project to the building's demolition in April. Also included is over an hour of bonus montage footage of all of the art included in the buildingjust in case you didn't get a chance to check the shit out during the two weeks 337 was open to the public. Pick up a copy of this gem at The Salt Lake Art Center for only $15, and while you're there be sure to peep Present Tense: A Post 337 Project, an exhibit containing work by 25 of the artists involved with the original 337 Project. Although only a vacant lot stands where the brightly colored 337 Project exploded onto the scene, and the eco-friendly work/ living spaces have yet to be built, this DVD captures just how incredible the project was and will continue to be. Jeanette Moses

Chop Shop
Koch Lorber Films
Street: 07.08
This is the story of the street savvy Alejandro, a young boy, and his sister trying to make it in the big city. He tries living and working in a chop shop, stealing hubcaps and purses, and watching his sister sink into seedy prostitution rings. From the get go it is clear that things just aren't going Alejandro's way, and as the movie progresses you hope that things will improve. As soon as things start to look up, there is inevitably a problem waiting to derail whatever progress has been made. Directed by Ramin Bahrani, Chop Shop is filmed in the familiar style that you almost expect from a movie about street-savvy adolescents (like Larry Clark's Kids) there is a lot of handheld camera work and cool looking shots of random inner city action like pit bulls barking and people fighting. If you don't get too weepy during depressing movies, or if you dig kids saying bad words, this is well worth your time. Ben Trentelman

Weinstein Company
Street: 06.03.08
Ian Curtis' suicide on the eve of Joy Division's first American tour has always had a mythic quality. It begged for exploration and explanation while becoming the subject of multiple books and was often rumored to being adapted for a film by various movie studios over the past few years. Based on the book Touching from a Distance by Deborah Curtis, Ian's wife, the Anton Corbijn-directed Control should alleviate any fears Joy Division fans may have had about Ian Curtis' story being mutilated by Hollywood. Buoyed by striking cinematography, outstanding performances and a script that aptly reveals the struggles of brilliant madness while mapping the difficult, determined rise of one of the more important bands inspired by the revelatory attitude of British punk rock Control comes highly recommended. Ryan Michael Painter

Joy Division
Weinstein Company
Street: 06.17.08
In theory Grant Gee's documentary about the "rise and fall" of Joy Division would make the perfect companion piece to Anton Corbijn's film. Unfortunately Joy Division, despite involvement from the majority of the principle characters (Deborah Curtis is noticeably absent) takes a fascinating story and makes an unwatchable mess of it. The interviews are spliced, paused and mutilated to the point where you can't remember if the film is talking about Manchester, the band or some other tangent. There are intrusive images that are to suggest atmosphere, but off as disjointed epistles. Were it not for the occasional archival footage from various live performances I might not have made it through the entire feature. Thankfully, as a bonus, the filmmakers have included an additional hour of interviews that hint towards what could have been if style hadn't commandeered the story. Ryan Michael Painter

Lamb of God
Walk in Hell With Me
Epic Records
Street: 07.01
According to the press release and Web page for this two-disc, five-anda- half-hour DVD, the justification for its creation is that fans wanted to know how Lamb of God spend the 22 and one half hours of the day they're not on stage. But it's difficult for me to imagine that even the most dedicated fan will be able to make it through more than an hour of this insipid, self congratulatory tripe. I haven't paid attention to Lamb of God since they changed their name from Burn the Priest and leaped out of the DIY circuit a decade ago, and I didn't think much of them then. But if you believe the press release, Lamb of God is now "the biggest band in metal." The genre is much worse off than I thought if that's true, because Lamb of God is a perfect example of the current uninspired hybrid of glossy, groove-based metal and "foodcourt mallcore" I've yet had the misfortune of hearing. What truly takes the cake, however, is that this is their fucking THIRD DVD! Hey, if you want to watch a bunch of aspiring rock stars whine about playing on borrowed equipment in Australia while their grotesquely untrimmed goatees wag, be my guest. But I'd urge you to put some fiber in your Heavy Metal diet and use the cash you'd spend on this two-disk exercise in masturbation to buy the new album by Japan's Coffins instead. Ben West

LOVE Story
Start Productions
Street: 07.21
The story of Arthur Lee and Love is shrouded in obscurity. This may be because they never had a hit song. It may also be that they never toured outside of California. Still, it could be because they were one of the first racially-integrated bands in rock history, at a time when people were still nervous about such details. The reality is that it was probably all of these thingscoupled with Lee's erratic behavior and the band's increasing troubles with heroin. Still, it is hard to keep a good band down, especially one that sounds like a punk version of the Byrds. This film does much to bring Love's story into the light. They were the first band signed to Elektra records, paving the way for later Sunset Strip bands like the Doors. They were the house band for Del-Fi records, were selling out LA clubs on a nightly basis and exuded a sort of ambition that inspired both Jimi Hendrix and Jim Morrison. All of that would ultimately make the film watchable, but the documentary's true strength is in its treasure trove of interviews. Several members of Love, including the late Arthur Lee, are given a considerable amount of screen time. We are walked through the band's historyfrom their formation in high school, to their masterpiece recording Forever Changes, to the addictions that would ultimately lead to their demise. LOVE Story is a fantastic film that recounts the tale of one of psych-rock's most overlooked bands. James Bennett

Noriko's Dinner Table
Facets Video
Street: 05.27
Sion Sono's sequel to his 2002 cultclassic, Suicide Club, veers from the traditional methods of story continuations and obtains the ability to stand alone as a solo venture. Modestly interweaving the plots and actions of its graphic predecessor, Noriko's Dinner Table tracks the ultimate breakdown of the Shimabara family's lives. When Noriko (Kazue Fukiishi) decides she has outgrown her small town of Toyokawa, she is persuaded by her online friend to runaway to Tokyo and start over, however, she soon finds herself brainwashed and working for a "family rental" service. Saddened yet interested in her sister Noriko's disappearance, Yuka (Yuriko Yoshitaka) follows suit and soon discovers the same ill fate. In the end, it's up to their journalist father (Ken Mitsuishi) to locate his two daughters in a city of 13 million residents. With a running time of 159 minutes, it's hard not to give this film some grief in the editing department. I'm sure Sono felt the film had a lot to say...it didn't. In reality, with accurate pacing, the film could be told in two hours or less, although, there is a lot of great content within the miles of unnecessary celluloid. The fact that 90f the film is told through narration is something you'll never see in American cinema. The voyeuristic sensation as though you're reading someone's diary completely encompasses the viewer into the characters' distorted mind-set. Providing you're primed to mold a couch cushion around your dimpled ass for three hours, and realize this is not the blood-fest that is Suicide Club, you should be good to go. Jimmy Martin

The Rocker
Twentieth Century-Fox
In Theaters 07.30
Remember when Tommy Lee was kicked out of Mtley Cre, but years later joined forces with three Mickey Mouse Club Mouseketeers and they all became pop-rock legends? No? Maybe it was a dream I had, or it's the central idea to Peter Cattaneo's The Rocker. Starring Rainn Wilson (The Office) and an array of other NBC sitcom personalities, the classic down and out story follows Robert "Fish" Fishman (Wilson) and his aging dream of making it into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Granted, there are a lot of laugh-out-loud moments (a good majority delivered by Jason Sudeikis' role as the band's manager... "John Lennon is rolling in his grave to hide the boner you just gave him."), but there are also too many dull scenes to keep the audience fully engaged. One minute it feels like you're watching Superbad, the next it's the last five minutes of an episode of Full House (remember when the cheesy music starts playing after Michelle had learned a lesson?). Don't get me wrong; overall, the good outweighs the bad. Wilson makes a great transfer from television to the big-screen, so it'll be interesting to see if his future projects contain more adult humor (fingers crossed) or if he'll be stereotyped into the Disney-brand giggles. Jimmy Martin