This documentary tells of the life and work of playwright Terrence McNally, who during his 60 years of career wrote many plays including Ragtime and Master Class. The film also tell of the LGBT rights movement, his life through addiction, recovery, love, and a desire to be more, to work more, to be his best possible at all those things.
After the sheer duds that were “Jersey Boys,” and “Sully,” I was definitely ready for “The 15:17 to Paris” to be a riveting and emotional tale of true heroism in a dark world. The story of the Sacramento Hometown heroes is one of the great modern stories of heroism and courage in the face of sheer danger. And I could have thought of at least a dozen ways I would have loved to learn about this tale rather than a glorified television movie that’s pretty much a huge misstep in every direction. “The 15:17 to Paris” teeters back and forth between pure saccharine nonsense and baffling choices in filmmaking that kept me rolling my eyes and groaning throughout its run time.
Steven Tyler, lead singer of Aerosmith, judge on American Idol, multi-soundtrack participant, actor, and generally interesting human being is followed here by filmmaker Casey Tebo who had previously spent a decade with Aerosmith, recording their travels and work. Here the camera and focus is on Tyler and his new work as a country singer. His new band that he handpicked talked about how they were selected and offered the jobs they have now, famous fans from Slash to horror director Adam Green discuss the impact of Tyler, Aerosmith, and their music on them, on the music industry as a whole, and why it makes sense for Tyler to now be turning to country music. The film shows that this genre move is more than just a stunt or an ego trip, it’s a genuine project from the heart, for the love of music, and for the love of performing. The film is a good look into Steven Tyler and who is.
A young Amos is losing his sight, as he becomes blind and discovers his voice, he has to surpass obstacle after obstacle to reach his goal of singing professionally on the international stage. Through this biography, the life and start of the career of Andrea Bocelli are explored in a way that sheds light on his difficulties and triumphs.
Now with the acquisition of FOX studios by Disney, X-Men is set to have a new renaissance in film and the media and “Chris Claremont’s X-Men” is available to audiences and comic book fans in a brand new feature length edition. Director Patrick Meaney adds over thirty minutes to his biography of Chris Claremont, featuring brand new interviews, extended interviews and even insights in to the franchise. From the comics, to the animated series, and movies, both old and upcoming, we manage to garner some keen and interesting looks in to the mind of Claremont, the man who made the X-Men as we know it.
I vividly remember watching “Rockin’ with the Chipmunks”back in the very early nineties where I recall loving the scenes of Alvin dancing along with Michael Jackson to “Beat It” and “Smooth Criminal.” Mostly a cash grab for the fans, “Rockin with the Chipmunks” is a brief history of the novelty group, spliced in with comedy skits and the members singing vintage rock and roll in their modern animation. The animation for the most part is dicey and fuzzy at best, allowing for a hazy series of music videos, but back then if you were a Chipmunks fanatic, you didn’t care.
The only reason to watch “Go, Johnny, Go!” is if you want to see some of the best rock and roll artists of all time do their thing on the big screen. Other than that, “Go, Johnny, Go!” is the story of the boring, milquetoast Johnny Melody, a bright eyed, blond white boy who rose from the slums as an orphan to become a rock and roll singer. It’s surprising that a movie featuring Ritchie Valens, and Chuck Berry would only focus on the most uninteresting individual, as when the movie stops to spread its paper thin premise with performances, it ironically becomes worth sitting through.