SAD VACATION: THE LAST DAYS OF SID AND NANCY
The doomed romance of Sid Vicious and Nancy Spungen is a tale of strong and iconic personalities that will always have a place in the punk mythos. Theirs was a romance that was wrapped in the throes of nihilistic passion and desolation. It was a huge contributing factor that led to the demise of the Sex Pistols and is unfortunately a story that has been done to death. In an attempt to revitalize interest in the myth and legend surrounding these two iconoclastic characters at punk, Danny Garcia sets out with newly released grand jury evidence and a host of interviews with people who knew the doomed Romeo/Juliet lovers. Interviewees included Stephen “Roadent” Conolly, Leee Black Childers, Bob Gruen and many others. Of particular interest were interviews with longtime Chelsea Hotel residents Victor Colicchio, “Neon” Leon Mathews and Ned Van Zandt.
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THE ADVENTURES OF BUCKAROO BANZAI ACROSS THE 8TH DIMENSION
Director: W.D. Richter
The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across The 8th Dimension was first released in 1984 and stars Peter Weller as the title character, Dr. Buckaroo Banzai. Banzai is a modern-day Renaissance man. He is a multi-instrumental rockstar, physicist and neurosurgeon, and he leads a crack company team, The Hong Kong Cavaliers. The film revolves around the unintended consequences of the testing of the oscillation overthruster—a device that allows one to travel through solid matter and into another dimension. Due to the oscillation overthruster’s immense power and dangerous appeal, Banzai and his gang, along with the help of the alien Black Lectroids from planet 10, must save the world from the evil from the eighth dimension, the Red Lectroids, led by the maniacal dictator Lord John Whorfin (John Lithgow).
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ANTIBALAS–LIVE FROM THE HOUSE OF SOUL
Director Phillip Di Fiore
MVD Entertainment Group
On DVD: 04.08
For this episode of Daptone Records Live from the House of Soul, the featured act is the afrobeat/funk/experimental group, Antibalas. This group was originally founded in December of 1997 and invokes nostalgia for the sounds of Fela Kuti. The video was recorded in the backyard of Daptone Records—the label famous for producing other contemporary soul acts like Sharon and The Dapkings, The Budos Band and Charles Bradley. This DVD celebrates the 2016 lineup with introductions from vocalist Amayo, Miles Arntzen (drums), Martin Perona (baritone sax) and Jordan Mclean (trumpet). Each member professes their deep appreciation for all things Kuti and soul, which is appropriate, as it gives the viewer a brief glimpse into the foundation of these talented musicians. They are the living and breathing embodiment of what they play, and it is clear after viewing this episode that everything they do channels the unique energy that comes from their funk/Afrobeat hybrid. Antibalas–Live from the House of Soul gives its listeners a real treat. The tracks featured are ‘Dirty Money,” “The Ratcatcher,” “Him Belly No Go Sweet” and “Sare Kon Kon.” Each track is jam-packed with energy that will get the viewer getting up and uncontrollably grooving to the infectious sounds of Antibalas.
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CHARLES BRADLEY & MENAHAN STREET BAND-LIVE FROM THE HOUSE OF SOUL
MVD Entertainment Group
Live from the House of Soul featuring Charles Bradley & Menahan Street Band is the first part of a series of live concert videos. This one celebrates the tenacity of Bradley and the Menahan Street Band. The video was recorded in the urban backyard of the independent label Daptone Records. The director, Poull Brien, seeks to capture Bradley’s ability to invoke soulful desperation from every song. Bradley brilliantly performs several highlighted tracks after giving a brief introduction. The highlighted tracks are “Love Bug,” “Where Do We Go From Here,” “Victim Of Love,” “Confusion,” “The World (Is Going Up In Flames,” “Crying in the Chapel” and “Strictly Reserved For You.” Just watching this, though, should only be a taste that inspires interest in the live acts themselves.
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Star Wars: Episode VII The Force Awakens
Director: J.J Abrams
Lucas Film LTD/ Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures
Release date: December 18, 2015
The newest Star Wars film is the ultimate Star Wars fandom experience. In its own style, The Force Awakens makes obvious nods toward the Expanded Universe— or what it is now known as Star Wars Legends—but takes no substance from it. Rather, this new film creates a story that is totally new. Without giving too much away, much of the story honors plot devices inspired by the other first films of the prequel and original trilogies—Episode I and Episode IV. And fans can still find the familiar plot guidelines that make a Star Wars film, such as the ominous presence of something evil lurking about and the good guys who face seemingly impossible odds but always manage to get the upper hand. In a valent attempt, The Force Awakens tries desperately to hold onto the magic that made the originally trilogy through the use of simple and quick scenes to nudge the story along. Unfortunately, there is a lot of ground to cover for our heroes, a lot of catching up to do and not a lot of time to do it smoothly. It also doesn’t help that some of the dialogue seems ridiculous and somewhat forced. That said and some quirkiness aside, The Force Awakens opens up the Star Wars universe again for those with big hearts and open minds to experience a universe full of wonder and intrigue. It’s not the expanded universe and nothing will replace the stories that made that universe up, In all honesty, though, The Force Awakens is a Star Wars movie, it just has a slightly altered taste— but it’s pretty damn good. — Nick Kuzmack
I NEED A DODGE! JOE STRUMMER ON THE RUN
Director: Nick Hall
On DVD: 10.16
Nick Hall’s I Need A Dodge! is a brilliant tale that documents the largely unexplored period of Joe Strummer’s escape to Spain during the fall of The Clash. It starts out in 1997 when a Spanish radio station interviews Strummer at the Glastonbury Festival. During the interview, he makes plea to the Spanish people to look out for a Dodge car that he had bought and misplaced in Madrid some 12 years prior.
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THE SAINT – SEASONS 1 & 2
TIMELESS MEDIA GROUP
The release of The Saint Seasons 1 & 2 begs nostalgia for an age of highbrow gentlemen and pleasant intrigue. The Saint stars Roger Moore as Simon Templar (a.k.a. The Saint)—a wealthy man of mystery, charm and persuasion who has an infamous—if only alluded to—reputation that defines his authoritative role in his adventures. Each episode is set up with Templar breaking the forth wall to explain his quaint surroundings before the episode’s plot comes to a full and obvious realization.
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Positive Force: More Than A Witness; 25 years Of Punk Politics In Action
Director: Robin Bell
It’s always good to see what is preached in song lyrics, then practiced through example. Director Robin Bell takes the viewer through the extensive history of DC based punk-activist group Positive Force. Bell explores the origins during the Reagan era, the establishment of their communal headquarters, the beginnings of Riot Grrrl, the modern-day controversial affiliation with the mainstream and what it means to be an underground movement.
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Looking For Johnny: The Legend of Johnny Thunders
MVD Entertainment Group
Brought to you by Danny Garcia (The Rise & Fall of The Clash), this film takes the viewer through the charismatically turbulent and legendary life of the rock n’ roll outlaw Johnny Thunders. Garcia navigates Thunders’ story through the testimonies of the people that knew him, like Walter Lure, Sylvain Sylvain (New York Dolls), the late Lee Black Childers and Alan Vega (Suicide).
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Dragon City: Punk Rock In China
Dragon City: Punk Rock In China tells the story of the Chinese punk group No Name as they navigate a post-apocalyptic world. On their journey they come across the white hippy burn-out equivalent to Mister Miyagi (David Nestor). Taking them to his secret hideout, the hippy tells the story of how the world crashed and burned. He outlines that there are three factions in Dragon City—the cannibals to the north, stubborn farmers to the south and the outcasts in the center of the city.
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