You Have to See This! NY77: The Coolest Year in Hell (2007)

“New York wasn’t burning. It was burnt!”

Director Henry Corra’s exploration of what New York was in 1977 is quite fantastic and a surprisingly rare chronicle of the political and economic turmoil that ironically bred timeless art and music. As a born and bred Bronxite, 1977 is a mythical year, and a period of the decade that I’ve heard about very often from elder family members. In particular, the night of the infamous black out of New York, my mom and uncle were stuck in the edge of downtown Manhattan and had to brave their way home during the mass looting and rioting. “NY77” garners a very unique tone that balances out the inherent importance of the year, the depressing living conditions of the city, and the obvious fun that was had by most, who managed to endure poverty with laughs and creativity.

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Baby Driver (2017)

Edgar Wright has proven himself to be one of the most unique and creative living directors today and the man has only honed his craft to deliver a great spin on a classic crime tale about love, and redemption. “Baby Driver” is a remarkable turn for Wright who creates a pulp masterpiece. “Baby Driver” is a powerful and emotional tale about a truly engaging protagonist who is sinking in to a world of violence and murder, and has no idea how to get out. We’ve seen movies about getaway drivers before, but “Baby Driver” works to the benefit of Wright’s strengths including dynamic characters, sharp humor, and amazing editing.

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No Place to Fall (2017) [Dances with Films 2017]

Normally, this reviewer covers films, short and feature lengths, but this time and exception was made and a pilot for a hopeful TV series is being reviewed.  Why the exception to this old curmudgeon’s habits?  The short film “Survivor Type” by the same director was absolutely fantastic so viewing and reviewing more of his work had to happen.

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Buena Vista Social Club (1999): The Criterion Collection [Blu-Ray]

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.

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8 Mile: Dealing with Pain through Music

It’s hard to believe that “8 Mile” arrived in theaters fifteen years ago and took the world by surprise. That’s essentially what Eminem’s career has always been about: Surprising people who have always doubted him. After the stigma of white hip hop artists permeated music for years, Eminem stomped on to the world of hip hop. He didn’t just make a name for himself, but he challenged everything about the world he was in, the music he performed, and the people he ran across every single day of his life. Here was a man who kind of tore through the façade of fame, and also challenged the conventions of hip hop, which by the late nineties, was more about fame and wealth than hardships and confronting a harsh society.

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