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by Cynthia Fuchs

13 Dec 2011

The Brazilian-born racecar driver Ayrton Senna was a phenomenon. And as such, he was filmed, interviewed, and photographed repeatedly throughout his career, images now assembled as the documentary Senna. Available for iTunes rental now via FilmBuff, Asif Kapadia’s film is phenomenal in its own way, as it cuts together multiple images of Senna, under a series of interviews with those individuals who knew and observed him.  The documentary’s brilliance lies in its mix of then and now, both haunting and immediate. In part, this effect is a function of Senna’s own story: his life was famously cut short when in 1994, when his car crashed during Italy’s San Marino Grand Prix. But it’s also produced in the texture of the documentary, the grainy TV clips, the point-of-view driving shots, the footage of drivers, crewmembers, and journalists at work and on display. There’s not a moment of the film that feels staged, but of course, that’s the ingenious fiction of celebrity: by turns thoughtful and frustrated, generous and arrogant, Senna appears here always past and ever present, an image constructed out of dreams and needs, an image that’s simultaneously made up and sincere, abstract and irresistible, history and myth.

See PopMattersreview.

by Cynthia Fuchs

12 Dec 2011

Breathing. When you watch bodies in Wim Wenders’ Pina, you hear and see them breathing. In a movie about dancers—about the work of dancers, their efforts to tell stories, to move audiences—this is no small thing. And in this, the 3D imaging is actually more helpful than distracting: it focuses your attention on what the dancers’ bodies do, in space, in relation to one another and in relation to the costumes and props they use, which range from chairs and tables (in Café Müller) to dirt (Rite of Spring) to water (Vollmund). And in this, the film is a revelation.

by PopMatters Staff

8 Dec 2011

Enter for your chance to win a copy of Michael Jackson: The Life of an Icon on Blu-ray along with a Blu-ray disc home theater system (prize pack valued at $375)!

All entries will also be qualified to win the national grand prize package which includes:

+ 46” LCD HDTV
+ Blu-ray Home Theater System
+ Michael Jackson: The Life of an Icon on Blu-ray



by Jessy Krupa

7 Dec 2011

Last week, the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences announced the nominees for the upcoming 2012 Grammy Awards on both a lavish concert special (that was slightly better than last year’s event) and their official website. Many of this year’s nominees are new artists, and some of the categories have been changed, but one thing hasn’t changed: people are already making predictions. Here’s a look at some early guesses on who will win in the biggest categories on February 12th, 2012.

by PopMatters Staff

6 Dec 2011

Photo: Patti Perret

Florence Reece, the wife of Harlan County, Kentucky union organizer Sam Reece, penned the classic protest tune “Which Side Are You On?” back in 1931 and it’s never lost a touch of relevance in all the ensuing years and likely never will given the state of human nature. Pete Seeger recorded the most famous version, which you can sample on his greatest hits album from 1967, and now contemporary folkie Ani DiFranco updates the tune in a bit of perfect timing to coalesce with the Occupy Movement. It’s a rousing version with marchlike beats, punchy horns and DiFranco’s pleading vocals for people to join the fight for justice. It’s also an inclusive call to arms, reaching out to everyone as DiFranco chants, “come on people of privilege… it’s time to join the fight.” “¿Which Side Are You On?” is also the title of DiFranco’s upcoming album, releasing this coming 17 January on Righteous Babe Records.


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