While the Lifetime and Hallmark networks will duke it out for weeks ahead of Christmas, airing competing schmaltzy movies in which divorcees find love under the mistletoe, there has long been a tradition of Christmas movies intended for the kiddies. These movies usually assume that no adult will even attempt to watch the flick, and so all bets are off when it comes to bothering to appeal to anyone with more than two digits to their age.
Fela Kuti is considered the founder of the musical style known as Afropop, which employs a very large band with a jazzy horn section and African rhythms. Kuti is not only a composer, but multi-instrumentalist, human rights advocate and political agitator.
The Fela Kuti Double Feature Documentary and Concert DVD is hypnotic watching, beginning with the chain smoking Fela introducing himself.
Among movie musicals, “Singin’ in the Rain” stands as the greatest of them all. Its nearest competitors, “The Band Wagon” with Fred Astaire, or even Gene Kelly’s “An American in Paris,” produced a year before “Singin’ in the Rain,” are also just as entertaining today as when they were first released six decades ago. But something about “Singin’ in the Rain” gives it a snap that remains timeless.
The 1960s and 70s were a time of great experimentation and revolt. New and different were in, and young musicians, artists and filmmakers’ battle cry was “why the hell not?” In a similar vein, a Parisian film maker hired a race driver to tear across Paris in the early morning in a Ferrari at speeds up to 120 mph with a 35mm camera strapped to the hood. In that same go for broke manner the producers of the film “The Girl on a Motorcycle” approached their task.
If you collect DVDs, you probably come across titles that are no longer in print. Netflix won’t rent these, and looking for them online can give you a case of sticker shock--prices can be 8 to 10 times what they cost new. The problem is money: studios gear up for production, and to recoup their investment they have to sell lots of units of a popular film to make a profit. This means that titles with limited commercial value usually don’t reach the market.
It’s not the music of Rachmaninoff, but that of Sir Edward Elgar that informs the brief encounter depicted in "Mademoiselle Chambon." The music, performed by the titular character in this Cesar-winning (Best Adapted Screenplay) film, appropriately communicates the longing for human connection and experience that draws Jean (Vince
Whenever I’m asked to name my favorite Disney movie, I usually hesitate for a moment before answering “Fantasia.” Not because my love for the film is any less than, say, Dumbo or Bambi, but because “Fantasia” is so strikingly different than any Disney film before or since, except for—you guessed it—"Fantasia 2000.”
"The Red Shoes," the rapturous 1948 British film by Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger, is not just a great backstage film, it’s about the burning hunger that great artists have within them to create. In fact, "The Red Shoes" even goes as far as to suggest that art is something worth dying for. In the freshly post-war England, this must have been a daring thematic choice. After all, citizens for years had been dying for crown and country, and now, for dance? But for the artists of "The Red Shoes," dance they must.
Editor’s Note: When I received a review copy of the new direct-to-video movie Santa Buddies in the mail, I knew exactly who to call. My own buddy Ryan, whom I’ve known since college, tolerates excruciatingly bad movies well, for what reason I cannot tell. I figured that reading his review of the movie would be much more fun than sitting through 88 minutes of CGI-assisted talking dogs. I wasn’t disappointed. Without further ado, here’s the longest analysis of Santa Buddies you’re likely to read on the Internet. Now, I dare you to watch the movie. –Nathan Cone