I liked SELMA. And I thought it suffered a bit from the usual standard biopic pitfalls of not digging more deeply into the complex areas inherent in its story and characters, as well as not trusting actual events to be powerful enough of a story to not have to alter history to create extra drama or to paint a more “desirable” picture. That said, I still found the film effecting and it stayed with me longer than either THE IMITATION GAME or THE THEORY OF EVERYTHING, the other 2 biopics from last year made in a similar mold.
For me, these kinds of linear tellings of stories with historical beats that need to be hit always feel too manufactured. Which isn’t to say they don’t have impact or are not good films. Many are, and this one is. But there’s a deeper level of human experience, the human condition, that these types of films never quite manage to reveal for me. More often than not, this begins at the script stage. These films often feel like the events themselves were strung out in a line with index cards and the characters’ personal struggles inserted to up the drama instead of revealing and exploring the many layers and complexities of the human beings and their struggles being portrayed. For me, the film MR. TURNER was the only biopic I saw from last year that transcended this issue. Perhaps because the filmmaker/writer, Mike Leigh, knows that it’s the characters’ inner journeys that dictate the “events” that unfold and not the other way around.
Continue reading “Does “SELMA” Shine A Light On More Than Just Its Story?”
I post the below article written by Stewart Sallo in the Boulder Weekly titled LADIES AND GENTLEMEN, NOT THE GRATEFUL DEAD not because I agree with it, but to represent part of the experience Dead-Heads are having. This article is far more cynical than I am. I would prefer to believe the remaining members of the Grateful Dead had the best of intentions here in trying to satisfy the many needs involved. And I think it turned out to be a far greater beast than any of them anticipated.
Perhaps that’s naive, I dunno. I can certainly see it as an opportunity to both celebrate the Grateful Dead’s 50 years AND make some money. This is, after all, one of the ways in which these guys earn their living. And they’ve hit retirement age now. They still play music, but they no longer tour and they rarely cut albums. So yes, this was also a chance to make some money. I hold no grudge with that. Artists should be paid and paid well. It’s just unfortunate that this event has also created much heartache and disappointment for many.
Continue reading ““NOT THE GRATEFUL DEAD” Even More Cynical Than I”
Republicans are fond of being the first at things. The first to invade a country that didn’t attack us. The first to undermine a sitting President’s authority by inviting another world leader to speak before Congress AGAINST the U.S. President’s foreign policy initiative in the midst of negotiations…
Like most things these oversized children enact, it failed miserably. Were they trying to win the Jewish vote? They probably succeeded in the more orthodox sectors, but they already had them, so it’s not quite a win. Anyone else with open eyes and even the slightest sense of politics can see just what a disastrous idea this was. Disrespectful, yes. Damaging, dangerous and irresponsible? Absolutely.
Continue reading “Puerile Endeavors: Netanyahu’s Speech”
I’m not gonna lie. This sounds just awful. In truth, I can’t see any way it could be anything but. Not in today’s filmmaking climate and not with whatever oversized budget this puppy’s gonna have. I suppose it’s a good thing that Ridley Scott isn’t directing again since the original BLADE RUNNER was the last film he directed that I liked and his ALIEN prequel (PROMETHEUS) suggested once again that the man who made Scott’s first three films no longer inhabits the body and mind of the man who now calls himself Ridley Scott.
Too harsh? Probably. But the promise and talent exhibited in THE DUELLISTS, ALIEN, and BLADE RUNNER never returned to the screen with any of Scott’s subsequent projects. Yes, I include the Best Picture Oscar-winner GLADIATOR in that group. I didn’t like it at all. For me, Scott’s signature “style” lost its substance and seemed to revert more to what pleased the eye than what best told the story.
Continue reading “Churning Pessimism: Harrison Ford To Star In “BLADE RUNNER” Sequel”
It is such a treat to have an ongoing series of full-show releases of Grateful Dead concerts released by Rhino and the Dead (4 a year). Most of these shows were not originally recorded with the intention of commercial release, so many are imperfect insomuch as the mixes are not as precise as one might be used to on your typical “Live album.” But this is nothing new to even the most newbie of Dead-Heads.
The Grateful Dead were one of the few bands who not only allowed their shows to be taped by audience members, they actually encouraged it! As a result, different quality sound recordings are part of the Grateful Dead listening experience. And soundboard recordings, also of varying quality –not to mention generations (from back in the ol’ tape cassette trading days)– have always been with us, either through the generosity of folks at the board letting tapers plug in, or in those unintended releases that found their way into unofficial circulation like the famed “Betty Boards.”
Continue reading “Dave’s Picks Vol 13: Winterland, Feb. 24, 1974”