This Is It (PG) 121 min. Directed by: Kenny Ortega.
I am not a Michael Jackson fan.
Like many others, I listened to the music, sat there patiently waiting for the Black and White video to premiere on MTV, and found sadly I couldn’t turn away when the media circus went critical mass in the late 90s. But through it all, I always found following Michael to be more of a social obligation than the genuine interest of a true fan. When he died, I acknowledged the tragedy, but I didn’t think much more on it. Now, with Kenny Ortega’s ‘This Is It’, the bittersweet daydream of a concert that will never be, I’m finally beginning to realize why Jackson had rightfully earned the title ‘King of Pop’. Continue reading
Great Scot! It looks like George McFly himself is headed to Baltimore this month and he’s bringing some interesting work with him. The actor will be appearing at The Charles for one performance of his Big Slide Show at 7:30 p.m. on the 19th of November.
Crispin Glover, best known for his work in Back to the Future (arguably the most normal thing he’s ever done) is an actor who has always positioned himself just off-center from the norm. Glover, who proudly displays Helli0n as his middle name, has made eccentricity and outsider antics an art form. Literally, he’s made it art, and he’s bringing a portion of it to The Charles with him when he comes. Continue reading
Oct 6th, 2009–
A.J. Anila’s Sauna is an odd and challenging film. The Finnish horror feature is the second for its director and like his first, Jade Warrior, it’s a melding of genres; supernatural horror, historical drama and existential mystery. A grim, cold and foreboding movie, Sauna is really about the price of sin and the nature of guilt. I’ve watched it twice now over the past few days, and I’m still not quite sure what to make of it. Continue reading
Well, this is certainly great news, although I think it would be more surprising if we heard nothing regarding Studio Ghibli, the Japanese aimation studio that has been producing quality traditional hand-drawn films for decades. Headed by Japanese animation genius Hayao Miyazaki, Ghibli is responsible for such animated masterpieces as Nausicca:Valley of the Wind, Spirited Away, the recent Ponyo and Grave of the Fireflies. So, while it’s akin to learning that tomorrow pizza will still exist and it might taste more awesome than ever, the news that Studio Ghibli is preparing another animated release for 2010 is wonderful to hear. It’s expected , but it’s still comforting to know. Continue reading
Clive Barker’s Book of Blood (R) 108 min. Directed by: John Harrison Written by: John Harrison, adapted from the Clive Barker stories Book of Blood and On Jerusalem Street. Starring: Jonas Armstrong, Sophie Ward, Doug Bradley, Simon Bamford, Paul Blair. Cinematography:Philip Robertson Original music by: Guy Farley.
The dead have highways…running through the wasteland behind our lives, bearing an endless traffic of departed souls. They can be heard in the broken places of our world, through cracks made by acts of cruelty, violence and depravity. They have signposts, these highways–and crossroads and intersections. And it is at these intersections that the dead mingle and spill over into our world…The dead have highways….only the living are lost…
The above is the entire thematic gist of Book of Blood, the newest film adaptation of the work of horror maestro Clive Barker. In fact, that little bit of exposition is repeated no less than five seperate times in Book of Blood, as if the filmmakers want to constantly remind the audience that their film is about the nature of storytelling and mortality. After the third time, I wanted to shout at the screen “stop telling us and show us already”. This was to no avail. Dabbling in the darker corners of dark fantasy(and this is far more a resident of that genre than straight horror), television director John Harrison brings the framing stories of Barker’s Books of Blood anthology faithfully to the screen but he doesn’t seem to understand that all he brought along was the binding. The pages here are empty. What he fills them with ends up amounting to one of the most notoriously boring thrillers in recent memory. Continue reading
July 8th, 2009–
Well, I’ve finally got around to starting this one. From the very beginning of the blog, a few months ago, I had gotten an idea for a new column inspired by the fact that the nearby classic theater, The Senator, which stopped showing films in March, had been previously operational since 1939. 70 years! What a phenomenal span of time, and imagine how much the films and the industry have changed since then. I just turned 30 in April, and I haven’t even been around half that long, so it got me to thinking about all of the films, particularly those some 50 years old now, that I have never seen. And thus, this project was born.
Unfortunately, things are rather up in the air for the future of the old historic theater, and if you check the website you can learn more, including the date for the upcoming auction. Meanwhile, I’ll keep updates on the current situation linked right here in the column. Go to The Senator Theatre site HERE.
As for this column, the plan is this: Starting with 1939, and progressing through 70 years of films, I will cover one year a week(Wednesday to Wednesday). For each year, I’ll find 3 films that I haven’t seen, watch them, and write them up. That’s pretty much the whole gist of it. When I checked out 1939 for choices though, I discovered some egregious holes in my film knowledge; stuff I was sure I had seen, but upon further inspection I realized, no, I hadn’t. So, the 1939 segment of this column will feature 3 films that I probably should have checked out long ago, but for whatever reason, didn’t. Continue reading
June 26th, 2009-
My wife and I were standing in line for Public Enemies last night, up at the Muvico Egpytian at Arundel Mills, when cellphones started going off in unison, the tap-tapping of furious texting filled the air, and people were gasping loudly. My first thought was that Kim Jong Il finally pushed the button. And then I got wind of the real issue; Michael Jackson is dead at 50…heart attack. Continue reading