As a list junkie and an old school fan of WWE, “The WWE Book of Top 10’s” is a great new compilation for fans of the sport that tackles all areas of the WWE for fans to debate about. Of course with all lists and books about lists, there is bound to be some anger and or controversy, but first and foremost DK publishing’s “The WWE Book of Top 10’s” is a book meant for fun and intended to evoke conversation among wrestling buffs that can appreciate the novelty of this kind of guide.
Wim Wenders’ ode to the music of Cuba and the Buena Vista Social Club is a brilliant and poetic documentary that depicts the art of music as something that’s soothing to the soul and can ease even the most tumultuous situations. Wenders’ documentary is very much about music with a lot of performances, but it’s also a thoughtful and deliberately paced meditation on the meaning of music. It defines something within the subjects we meet in “Buena Vista Social Club.” And even in spite of the economic turmoil, it’s kept people within the society of Cuba going forward and doing their best to show their love for the art form.
Back in the eighties and nineties, I spent much of my youth in and out of video stores. During the weekends when there was a guarantee there’d be nothing on television we’d trek to the video store in our neighborhood and I always drifted to the horror section. One of the highlights of going through the horror section was perusing through the boxes and gaping in disbelief at all the amazing and often creative box art. Back then artists had to sell a movie with one striking image, and they often did it very well. The box art was only a small result of the art of movie posters, and how once upon a time movie posters were a symbol of a movie that were used to sell their respective cinematic properties, and create lasting memories.
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.
It’s important that we look back on the history of physical media, since the beginning of physical media for movie collectors was never Hollywood’s biggest plan. Since the creation of the home reel projector, studios have been working hard to fight the appeal of physical media, and now with its decline, we’re reverting to digital copies of films that can be monitored. With its introduction, comes the potential decline of honest independent filmmaking, and filmmakers that have an even playing field with Hollywood. That becomes an uphill battle as the physical media that does exist is nothing but overstocked Hollywood dribble, with stores openly refusing to stock independent cinema.
In the US (and other countries), when mass casualties happen, people and organization plan the payouts and how much each person gets. This person often times, in the biggest cases, is US attorney Ken Feinberg. Playing God is a documentary about him and his life, working on some of the toughest cases in the country including 9/11, the BP oil spill, and a case of pension funds being taken away. Through the film, his persona is slowly shed to reveal the man behind the cases, making him more human and more relatable.
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.
Don Glut is a lover of the golden age of monster movies, and his 1994 documentary explores Hollywood’s fascination with apes. Though “King Kong” popularized the giant ape in film, the idea of giant apes have been around for quite a while and even showed up every so often in silent films. Even by 1994 standards, “Hollywood Goes Ape!” isn’t the most polished documentary, but it does offer a no frills exploration in to ape cinema of all kinds. There are looks at giant ape films like “King Kong” and “Konga,” and odd ball ape movies like “The Ape Man,” and “Superman vs. The Gorilla Gang.”