Batman & Bill (2017)

For a long time, debates have raged in the art world about what can be considered creating a property and who can be credited as a true creator of a creative property. For decades, Stan Lee and Steve Ditko were feuding over who were the rightful mind behind Spider-Man, as Lee insisted Spider-Man was his idea, while Ditko insisted he conceptualized Spider-Man, thus making him the creator. What “Batman & Bill” seeks to do is boldly putting an end to the debate that’s been raging in the comic book medium for almost a century. Directors Don Argott and Sheena M. Joyce simultaneously tells the tragic and often heartbreaking story of Bill Finger, the long uncredited creator of Batman, and how a man named Bob Kane stole everything Finger ever had from the credit, and the massive profits, right down to the very essence of his self-respect.

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X-Rated Alley: 100 Girls By Bunny Yeager (1997) [Blu-Ray], Nurse Diary: Beast Afternoon (1982) (DVD)

Many Nikkatsu Roman Porno films tend to integrate sub-genres within their basic frame works of being soft core pornography. While their movies inject frames like crime thrillers, dramas, and romance comedies, every one of these installments garner some long and drawn out sex scene involving petting or molestation. The same can be said for Impulse Pictures’ “Nurse Diary: Beast Afternoon” which is from the Roman Porno library but is deep down a pinku version of a giallo film. Folks that are typically turned off by Nikkatsu films just may find this in their interest.

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Blackhearts (2017)

As Norway prepares for one of its epic black metal festivals, 3 bands prepare to go and play their set there for the first time.  The film follows closely Hector from Columbia (leader of the band Luciferian), Sina from the Middle East where playing black metal is a jailable offense, and Kaiadas and his band mates (band Naer Mataron) through their preparation for the festival and what pushes them to play this type of music.  The film also explores the history of black metal in Norway, including a visit to the Rockheim museum in Trondheim, interviews and moments with members of bands such as Keep of Kalessin, Mayhem, and a few others.  Through seeing the lives of these musicians, what they believe in, and what they want to accomplish, the viewer can get a good idea of what black metal is all about and also learn about its history.

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Working Class (2011) [San Diego Film Week 2017]

Using A Tale of Two Cities, this documentary tells the story of Mike Giant in San Francisco and Mike Maxwell in San Diego who are both artists and friends who connected through tattoos the first put on the second.  Throughout the film, their lives are paralleled and compared until it eventually brings them together.

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Country: Portraits of an American Sound (2015)

This documentary made in 2015 and released in early 2017 explores how the image of country singer is developed through photography and has been since the very start of the music genre.  Through interviews with photographers, artists, singers, and musicians, the history of country music is explored and the emphasis on how image can help make or break an artist’s popularity are explained as well as the process behind some memorable photographs done by various photographers, some specializing in country portraits and other specialized in portraits.

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A Second Glance at 2016’s Oscar Animated Shorts

Time seems to be the central theme of the animated shorts for the Oscars this year, as all of the animated shorts have some semblance of the theme of time. Most of the shorts spend their story examining the beauty of the past and the present, while others examine the tragedy of the past, the present, and the future. As with most years at the Oscars, you won’t always find typical animated entries, but this year’s crop have been quite special and incredibly thought provoking. I take a second glance at the shorts this year, and what I am voting to win come February 26th.

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