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by Oliver Ho

8 Dec 2009

Using nothing but background sounds from the original Night of the Living Dead, 400 Lonely Things made one of the most atmospheric and engrossing albums of the year with Tonight of the Living Dead. Here’s the first video from the project, for “Tonight”:

by Shaun Huston

8 Dec 2009

Akira Kurosawa, who directed 30 films in 50 years, is widely regarded as one of the most important and influential filmmakers in film history. Any student of film worth their salt knows the minutia of Kurosawa’s obsessions and the timeless grandeur of his symphonic productions. In addition to being a vital element to the film canon, Kurosawa’s films have been fundamental to the development and expansion of The Criterion Collection, as well. The Seven Samurai (1954) is the second title in the Collection, followed by other critically important works such as Yojimbo (1961) and Sanjuro (1962)..

In honor of the brilliant director’s forthcoming 100th birthday, Criterion just released this prized limited edition boxset, AK 100: 25 Films of Akira Kurosawa. The set includes world renowned and previously released works, such as those noted above, and films previously unavailable in the US and new to the collection: Sanshiro Sugata, The Most Beautiful, Sanshiro Sugata pt II and They Who Tread on the Tiger’s Tail.

In addition to the films, AK 100 also features a 96-page hardbound book on the director and his work. This will be a truly appreciated life-time gift for the serious film aficionado.

by Bill Gibron

8 Dec 2009

Anvil: The Story of Anvil is truly one of 2009’s treasures, a brilliant distillation of how the fleeting flicker of the limelight just can’t destroy the hard work and determination of two incredibly dedicated and legitimately likable guys. In Sacha Gervasi’s genius undertaking, we get to know these middle-aged men: Steve “Lips” Kudlow works for a Canadian caterer supplying meals to school children. Robb Reiner dabbles in construction while pursuing a personal passion for painting. Both have families that are supportive but specious. After three decades and 13 albums, they’d hope the boys would see more mainstream acceptance. Balancing these beliefs with other individual insights, we get a true, more telling Behind the Music portrait of greatness struggling to survive.

by Mike Schiller

8 Dec 2009

Here’s a turn-based role-playing game that might actually appeal to those who feel as though we’ve outgrown such games.

Think about the prototypical protagonist of an RPG. This character is usually a teenage (or maybe early-20s) boy who sulks most of the way through the game even as women find him irresistible and important people whisper things about prophecies to him, taking him for some sort of hero. He’s utterly unlikable, yet we come to identify with him given that spending 40 hours with anyone will cause an attachment of some sort to take hold.

This takes the tropes of turn-based RPGing and mocks them mercilessly

by Timothy Gabriele

8 Dec 2009

Spiritual jazz was perhaps the ideological opposite of the self-destructive motions of free jazz. Rather than obliterate the self, it sought to link in body and spirit with others. Spiritual Jazz, which holds the surname Esoteric, Modal, and Deep Jazz From the Underground 1968-1977, stresses this globalism and represents it not only through Westerners looking outward, but outsiders looking in.  Artists like Sengalese percussionist Mor Thiam, Egyptian military bandleader Salah Ragab, and South African Ndikho Xaba (whose group the Natives refers to the Americans in the band, flipping the Orientalist perspective on its head) found themselves more than willing to bridge cultural barriers by adapting a shared sonic language.

As a result of a DIY aesthetic, the musicians who made this incredible music seem nearly as interesting as the tunes themselves. The folkloric liner notes themselves are worth the price of the CD to learn about which artists met after one of them escaped from prison or which one played for Richard Nixon. With the odds against them, it’s frankly inspirational that we’re still listening to them today. It’s like they had some force, beyond archival and excavational ones, ushering them into the modern world. You could call it God or simply the power of some seriously groovy music. Perhaps they’re even the same thing. Either way, it’s us who are blessed for this music’s continued presence. Spiritual jazz isn’t for everyone, but this collection is the perfect fit for anyone who fancies the genre.

//Mixed media
//Blogs

NYFF 2017: 'Mudbound'

// Notes from the Road

"Dee Rees’ churning and melodramatic epic follows two families in 1940s Mississippi, one black and one white, and the wars they fight abroad and at home.

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