Short Ends and Leader

Get Me to the Church on Time: 'Seven Chances': Ultimate Edition

One of Buster Keaton's beautiful creations.


Seven Chances

Director: Buster Keaton
Cast: Buster Keaton, Ruth Dwyer
Distributor: Kino Lorber
Rated: Not rated
Year: 1925
USDVD release date: 2011-12-13

The premise combines simplicity and absurdity. A man in financial trouble (Buster Keaton) is notified that he'll inherit seven million dollars if he's married by seven o'clock tonight. He's got a sort-of-girlfriend, but she's offended by the implication that he just needs to marry a warm body for the cash. So the first half of the film concerns Buster's attempts to propose to a series of women at a posh country club, and the last half is an epic chase involving hundreds of women in bridal veils who read about the story in the newspaper.

This one-hour lark is one of Keaton's beautiful creations, marred only (as is sometimes the case with Keaton) by a few minutes of blackface Negro-stereotype lampoonery; let it serve to remind us, in the Buddhist manner, that everything has a flaw to keep it from perfection. The film opens with a sequence in early two-strip Technicolor, and this version restores it to its loveliest look yet; there's a bonus on the restoration of this sequence. There's also scholarly commentary, a comparison of the film's original Los Angeles locations with how they look today, and two shorts with the same premise: a simple but lovely 1904 chase from Edwin S. Porter at the Edison Company, and a late Three Stooges short scripted by Keaton's co-writer Clyde Bruckman. Kino is releasing this edition as both a DVD and a Blu-Ray.

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To be a migrant worker in America is to relearn the basic skills of living. Imagine doing that in your 60s and 70s, when you thought you'd be retired.


Nomadland: Surviving America in the Twenty-First Century

Publisher: W. W. Norton
Author: Jessica Bruder
Publication date: 2017-09
Amazon

There's been much hand-wringing over the state of the American economy in recent years. After the 2008 financial crisis upended middle-class families, we now live with regular media reports of recovery and growth -- as well as rising inequality and decreased social mobility. We ponder what kind of future we're creating for our children, while generally failing to consider who has already fallen between the gaps.

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TV

Inane Political Discourse, or, Alan Partridge's Parody Politics

Publicity photo of Steve Coogan courtesy of Sky Consumer Comms

That the political class now finds itself relegated to accidental Alan Partridge territory along the with rest of the twits and twats that comprise English popular culture is meaningful, to say the least.

"I evolve, I don't…revolve."
-- Alan Partridge

Alan Partridge began as a gleeful media parody in the early '90s but thanks to Brexit he has evolved into a political one. In print and online, the hopelessly awkward radio DJ from Norwich, England, is used as an emblem for incompetent leadership and code word for inane political discourse.

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The show is called Crazy Ex-Girlfriend largely because it spends time dismantling the structure that finds it easier to write women off as "crazy" than to offer them help or understanding.

In the latest episode of Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, the CW networks' highly acclaimed musical drama, the shows protagonist, Rebecca Bunch (Rachel Bloom), is at an all time low. Within the course of five episodes she has been left at the altar, cruelly lashed out at her friends, abandoned a promising new relationship, walked out of her job, had her murky mental health history exposed, slept with her ex boyfriend's ill father, and been forced to retreat to her notoriously prickly mother's (Tovah Feldshuh) uncaring guardianship. It's to the show's credit that none of this feels remotely ridiculous or emotionally manipulative.

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Here comes another Kompakt Pop Ambient collection to make life just a little more bearable.

Another (extremely rough) year has come and gone, which means that the German electronic music label Kompakt gets to roll out their annual Total and Pop Ambient compilations for us all.

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Winner of the 2017 Ameripolitan Music Award for Best Rockabilly Female stakes her claim with her band on accomplished new set.

Lara Hope & The Ark-Tones

Love You To Life

Label: Self-released
Release Date: 2017-08-11
Amazon
iTunes

Lara Hope and her band of roots rockin' country and rockabilly rabble rousers in the Ark-Tones have been the not so best kept secret of the Hudson Valley, New York music scene for awhile now.

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