Workhorse Queen (2020) [Slamdance Film Festival 2021]

It’s been a long, rough journey for drag queens to become accepted among modern society. After decades of being pushed in to the underground to celebrate their art form, now we’re at a rare moment in time where the drag profession is now being celebrated. After RuPaul’s efforts to inject the drag queen lifestyle in to the world with her hit series “Drag Race,” drag queens went from being pushed in to darkness, to now taking pictures with awe struck children, and hosting concerts with families and children.

And yet, after all of it, there’s still so much more to be done.

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The Go-Go’s (2020)

It’s shocking how punk the background of The Go-Go’s is and ended up being. For a band that is known as one of the biggest pop acts of the 1980’s, their roots are deeply embedded in punk rock and heavy metal. Whether or not you think it was homogenized is up to you, but The Go-Gos have a great story, even if you were more of a Bangles or Banana Rama fan.

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Bill and Ted Face the Music (2020)

Yet another year, yet another legacy sequel from a movie franchise that we all thought was dead for so many years. It’s a cynical approach but so many of these decades later sequels have stunk—which is probably why it’s shocking to see that “Bill and Ted Face the Music” doesn’t actually suck. In all fairness while it’s not a laugh riot, I appreciated its genuine message about love, the power of music, and appreciating what we have while we have it.

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Stoned (2005)

“Stoned” recalls the life of Brian Jones from his forming of The Rolling Stones (With some rather shocking body doubles), his rivalry with his band mates, his weariness towards fame, and his inevitable downfall which led to his early death. “Stoned” is a typical, just passable enough, chronicle of yet another man’s downfall in the black hole that is fame through rock and roll, and the enabling of his friends and family.

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Girls Rock! (2008)

While “Rock School” was one of my favorite documentaries of 2005, it was a missed opportunity. Arne Johnson and Shane King’s “Girls Rock!” almost get the love of music and rock and roll it right. Almost. What the directing duo of Johnson and King explore is this collective ability of these different women to create music in the confines of this limited space and show how they can sometimes fall apart at the seams due to typically creative conflicts and arguments about band names.

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Uncle Peckerhead (2020)

Director Matthew John Lawrence’s horror rock comedy is probably one of the best films about the punk rock experience since “The Green Room.” While nowhere near as dark as the aforementioned film, it’s a movie with a silly title that is shockingly complex, heartfelt and injected with a sharp message about how if you’re willing to do “anything” to make it big, it can come back to haunt you. While the title might be something of a turn off to some, “Uncle Peckerhead” really packs in so much heart and genuine characterization.

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Suzi Q (2020)

Suzi Quatro managed to leave a remarkable influence on female rockers, and how they operated in a world where men dominated, and women were objectified. Suzi Quatro has left such an indomitable stamp on the rock and music world, and “Suzi Q” offers keen insight not just in to the life of such an edgy musician, but in the oddly common conservative lifestyle of rock musicians.

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KISS Meets the Phantom of the Park (1978)

I think even during my days when I was all about KISS (1997-2003), I would have probably found “Phantom of the Park” kind of banal and run of the mill. It’s not so much that it’s a bad movie, but it’s kind of monotonous and tedious, even for the most forgiving fanatic. I mean forgiving as in you even accept their lame attempt at disco: “I Was Made for Loving You.” It’s so void of narrative or substance that not even the great rock music and theatrics from the band at the height of their fame can save what is a ton of filler and about twenty minutes of actual narrative.

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