From their early days as The Detours, the friendship between Townshend and Daltrey, and their inevitable struggles along the way with Keith Moon, Paul Crowder’s “Amazing Journey” is the fantastic story of The Who and how they were formed into this opposite teaming of talented musicians. Like “The Kids are Alright,” Crowder examines the foursome as a more than human rock band whose music was only half of what made them so incredible on stage.
Very few films can manage to understand how music is a very important aspect of life and can sometimes drive us and move us in to aspirations, inspiration, and love. The other great music film released in 2016 was “Everybody Wants Some!!” While Linklater explored how music is the soundtrack of our lives, John Carney’s masterpiece “Sing Street” is about how music can launch us in to realms we never knew were there. Music can open up doors and allow us to see things about ourselves that are incredible, and sometimes very ugly. A beautiful amalgam of “Almost Famous,” and “Say Anything,” with a hint of “Once,” John Carney is again at his top conveying a musical drama centered on more impoverished characters.
Carney sets his film in the middle of 1985 in Dublin where our trio of protagonists is obsessed with music. For them music seems to be the only salvation in the drudgery that is their everyday lives. Conor is a teen approaching high school who manages to ignore his parents’ dying marriage and the failure of role models like his big brother and father with music. When we first see him he’s playing his guitar in his room attempting to tune out his mother and father arguing with one another, and then uses their rage to fuel his creativity. He reaches an epiphany when his older brother Conor helps him realize that music is what’s keeping the world in motion, as music videos cover the general stratosphere of local television.
Conor decides to form a band of his own as a means of coping with going to a public school run by his local church. The seams almost come together at once for Conor who begins to come of age through musical expression, all the while falling head over heels for unique beauty and aspiring model Raphina. “Sing Street” brings us through the journey of Conor and his band, as they try to create their own style of music all the while steering through a school that openly promotes conformity and is run by a very abusive head priest. Carney taps in to the magic of the eighties beautifully, revealing how they influence Conor and his friends to concoct their own unique style of music, while doling out the hits from bands like Duran Duran and The Clash.
Everything from the performances, to the narrative, right down to the music is incredible, while Ferdia Walsh-Peelo is pitch perfect as the awkward Conor who begins to blossom the more he embraces his individuality. Despite blunt violent rebuttals from the school bully, and the school’s staff, Conor inspires others to flash their individuality proudly. This helps him cope with the startling realization that failure and lack of fulfillment surround him, and he has to find a way to escape before he’s eventually dragged down in to the slums. Along with Walsh-Peelo, Lucy Boynton is excellent as enigmatic Raphina who becomes Conor’s virtual muse, and Jack Reynor the older brother and mentor to Conor who represents everything he could be, for better and for worse.
John Carney just continues impressing with brilliant, beautiful tributes to the magic of music and how much is represents the language of life. “Sing Street” is an absolute masterpiece. Featured in the release from Anchor Bay is the Digital Copy for consumers. There’s “Making Sing Street” a five minute exploration of the film’s story, how John Carney used his own experiences in the film, and how the film conveys his own wish fulfillment. Writer/Director John Carney & Adam Levine Talk Sing Street is a three minute discussion about the movie mixing music and film together and the realistic depictions of the 80’s. Finally, there is the Cast Auditions, which feature a slew of audition reels from the cast. There’s an introduction from John Carney, and footage featuring Ferdia Walsh-Peelo, Lucy Boynton, Mark McKenna, Ben Carolan, and more.
It’s difficult to explain “Streets of Fire” to anyone and make it sound coherent. Walter Hill’s action film has just about everything, and ends up creating one of the most vivid and exciting amalgams of genres and themes I’ve ever seen. “Streets of Fire” is a film you just have to sit down, shut up, and experience. It’s a post depression, mid-fifties, action, crime thriller and romance noir with a rock and roll and soul beat. See? I can’t sum this movie up in one whole sentence, and I’m not going to try to. I’m ashamed I took so many years getting around to watching “Streets of Fire,” but goddamn I’m very glad that I did.
“Madonna can go to hell as far as I’m concerned! She’s a dick!”
If aliens ever came down to Earth and wanted to know what the eighties were like, they could look no further than the time capsule that is “Heavy Metal Parking Lot.” It is, as many have described it, the viral video before viral videos existed. I’d love to see a documentary about this film some day, or perhaps an actual feature made around the events that occur in the fifteen minute documentary. It’s a hilarious and often absurd look at a certain time period where everyone wore mullets, walked around without shirts, bragged about doing drugs, and women were often very proud to admit they wanted to “fuck” certain band members’ “brains out.”
There was different energy behind David Bowie as Ziggy Stardust that ensured you were in for a whole other wild experience unlike any before it. Director D.A. Pennebaker keeps the mystique and wild tone of Ziggy Stardust alive from the opening title and then is quick to jump right in to the line outside Ziggy Stardust’s concert zooming in on the type of lovable oddities and weird wonders that worshiped Bowie and his adored his music, bringing us in to the full arena of the kind of minds and hearts David Bowie touched.
If you’re one of the many KISS fans that have always wondered what a sequel to “KISS Meets the Phantom of the Park” would look like, look no further. “Scooby Doo Meets KISS” should be more aptly titled “KISS Meets the Crimson Witch featuring Scooby Doo.” In all honesty, while this is primarily a cartoon for the Scooby Doo franchise, the majority of the film is based around KISS and their magical presences. Even the opening sequence is comprised of wonderful animated KISS montages with “Rock and Roll All Night” playing rather than the Scooby Doo theme song.
Next month is the release of the blockbuster action film “Guardians of the Galaxy,” and it’s every damn bit as great as you’ve heard. It deserves its high praise and big box office. One of the key elements of the film that make up the character of Star Lord is his mixed audio cassette “Awesome Mix Vol. 1” which includes his favorite songs from the mid seventies to late eighties from when he was a child. It’s the sound track that is the icing to an already fantastic film. Like every other music lover we have our own list of songs we’d include in an “Awesome Mix,” so without further ado, here’s our playlist.
Let us know the songs for your “Awesome Mix” in the comments!
The first time I ever saw “The Rocky Horror Picture Show” was back in 1993 when the FOX Network in New York decided to air it one Halloween. My brother and I sat down to watch it thinking we were in for a horror movie. And we tuned in to watch the cult musical with the audience following along with every single moment on-screen. Twenty minutes in it was the first time I literally asked “What the fuck is this?” Then I turned the channel and never looked back. Many years later, while I’m not rabid for “The Rocky Horror Picture Show,” I do tend to appreciate it for being so entertaining and daring.