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.
A painter may paint a picture, a composer may write a beautiful melody for solo piano, but in the world of the theater (and here I count motion pictures as well), one person may have a vision, but production is a collaborative art. W. S. Gilbert and Sir Arthur Sullivan worked together on a total of 14 comic operas, of which “The Mikado” is far and away the most popular, and arguably the best. Two new releases from the Criterion Collection highlight the work of Gilbert and Sullivan in different ways.
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
A seemingly simple film that reveals deeper levels of profundity upon further reflection, Roberto Rossellini's "The Flowers of St. Francis" is basically a series of vignettes that takes Italian neo-realism back to the 13th century.