When Jason Baldwin, Damien Echols and Jessie Misskelly were released from prison on 19 August, Joe Berlinger and Bruce Sinofsky were there. The filmmakers have been chronicling the story of the West Memphis 3 since 1993, when they were arrested for murdering three little boys in Arkansas. Following a set of sensational trials, all three teenagers were convicted and imprisoned, with Echols sent to death row. The filmmakers chronicled their ordeals, the hectic press coverage, and also the reactions of community members, including the parents of the dead children as well as the parents of the boys accused, in two documentaries. Now, as Berlinger and Sinofsky set to work on the “new ending” of their third documentary in the series, Paradise Lost 3: Purgatory, set to premiere on HBO in 2012 (and word is out that Sheila Nevins wants a fourth film), the first two are re-airing: Paradise Lost: The Child Murders at Robin Hood Hills (1996) on 29 August and Paradise Lost 2: Revelations (2000) on 30 August.
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The Jezabels is an anthemic pop band that creates soaring, hook-filled tunes that feel grandiose and aimed for large stages. Indeed, the band is focused on producing big tunes that can accentuate the aspect of melancholy and drama in musical performance. Leader singer Hayley Mary says, “I was always obsessed with that whole Brontë-esque gothic melodramatic thing Kate Bush did… I love the performance aspect of people like Freddie Mercury, David Bowie and Cyndi Lauper.” The group debuted with a series of three EPs and are now set to release their full-length, With Prisoner, on September 16 in Australia.
Today we present the US online video premiere of “Endless Summer”, a highlight from the new album. Mary says of the song, “‘Endless Summer’ is an ideal, a fantasy, the kind you can impose onto another person when you are lonely or when reality is dark and cold, like the boy in the film clip.” Check out the tune and catch the band on their European and North American tour (dates after the jump).
Estonian electro-goth-pop singer Kerli is set to release her sophomore album in the fall. Her hit song “Walking on Air” was brilliantly performed at Kanrocksas Music Festival. Nevertheless, the novel “Army of Love” was number one in Billboard. But “Supergirl”, among others, rock out too. Expect more from Kerli, especially considering her clear, cherubic voice.
The Muppets drifted out of coolness when they were relegated to children’s entertainment in the ‘90s. They came back with a vengeance though through the magic of YouTube and they’re hilarious take on Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody” (after the jump). On the eve of their new big screen release, is this OK Go rendition of The Muppet Show theme song. It’s muppet-tastic, filled with typical muppet hijinks, propelled into 2011 with “it” band OK Go. Make sure to catch the behind the scenes which is equally entertaining.
“What’s so neat about his business is, when the economy goes bad, people buy puppies.” So says Edwin, a Mennonite puppy breeder who’s showing his facility for the documentary, Madonna of the Mills. It’s like that Edwin wouldn’t describe his place as a puppy mill, but one look at the stacks of tiny cages full of whimpering and yelping dogs suggests that he’s not primarily concerned with the animals’ health and safety. Andrew Nibley’s film, which premieres on 24 August on HBO2, makes sure you know how monstrous these mills are, how the puppies they produce for sale at pet stores are typically diseased and how the female dogs, the breeders, live in misery for their entire lives. What the breeders do is legal, even “regulated” by the FDA, but, says a consumer and animal rights advocate named Karen, “Only to protect the farmers. No one is looking out for the dogs.” That is, except individual rescuers like Laura Flynn Amato, a dental office manager from Staten Island who makes it her business to travel through Pennsylvania’s Amish and Mennonite areas and pick up dogs. That she has to do so by registering as a breeder is not a little ironic, though she says that it helps her to maintain at least nominal relationships with other breeders, who will allow her to take dogs who have long been abused and traumatized. The film shows some of her rescues, now living with new owners and still suffering from physical and emotional injuries. The film, sometimes amateurish and always passionate, is organized around Laura’s efforts, with segments introduced by shots of her driving though beautiful country (with an assistant, “Laura, Too”) in search of dogs who are barely surviving, in heartbreaking conditions. Interviews with Laura’s family members underscore her resolve and her love of animals. (“You have to get used to coming in third,” says her husband, standing by the barbeque in their back yard. That is, behind her the rescue dogs and their own dog.) She’s saved some 2000 dogs so far. And Laura hopes that by exposing the problem—in this film and previously, on Oprah—she and her colleagues can save more in the future.