discovering and sharing music, films and art with fans around the world

Tag: hbo max

The Life and Tragic Death of Adrienne Shelly Examined in New HBO Documentary (Review)
Film, Reviews

The Life and Tragic Death of Adrienne Shelly Examined in New HBO Documentary (Review)

There was a moment in the early 90s when it looked like actress Adrienne Shelly would become one of the biggest stars in Hollywood. She burst onto the scene with extraordinary leading roles in two independent films by Hal Hartley. 1989's "The Unbelievable Truth" and 1990's "Trust" were wildly unique and quirky comedies that became minor hits on the arthouse circuit and ended up finding larger audiences thanks to home video. As an actor, she was struggling by the late 90s to be cast in the kinds of movies she was really passionate, so she started to make her own. A 1997 feature called "Sudden Manhattan" is nearly impossible to track down these days, but she made a much bigger splash with what turned out to be her final film. Shelly wrote and directed the 2007 feature "Waitre...
James Wan’s “Malignant” is Magnificently Brutal (Review)
Film, Reviews

James Wan’s “Malignant” is Magnificently Brutal (Review)

Over the course of his directorial career, James Wan has launched the successful horror franchises for "Saw," "Insidious," and "The Conjuring." His latest effort is unlikely to spawn any sequels (famous last words for this genre, I know), but it does deliver a wildly imaginative and terrifically blood-soaked thrill ride. Annabelle Wallis ("Peaky Blinders") stars as Madison Lake, a pregnant woman living with an abusive husband. Early on in the film, he throws her against their bedroom wall during an argument and nearly knocks her unconscious. She is able to lock him out of the room, which sends him to the living room couch for the night. Madison wakes up hours later with her head bloodied to the sounds of an intruder. By the time she makes it downstairs, she finds her husband ...
Spike Lee Tackles 9/11 Anniversary and Much More in HBO Doc Series (Review)
Film, Reviews

Spike Lee Tackles 9/11 Anniversary and Much More in HBO Doc Series (Review)

Spike Lee has been directing for over 35 years. In addition to his many feature films, he has released multiple documentaries for HBO over the years including the Oscar-nominated "4 Little Girls" and last year's stage recording of "David Byrne's American Utopia." After Hurricane Katrina struck New Orleans, he won three Emmys for "When the Levees Broke," a 4-part HBO documentary series that examined the impact and fallout from the storm. As we approach the 20th Anniversary of the terrorist attacks of 9/11, Lee has again turned to the cable network for another 4-part documentary that is as powerful as it is difficult to watch. "NYC Epicenters 9/11→2021½" may have began as a way to pay tribute to those who lost their lives twenty years ago, but it became so much more along the...
“MR. SOUL!” Now Streaming on HBO Max (Review)
Film, Music, Reviews

“MR. SOUL!” Now Streaming on HBO Max (Review)

I hope that, by now, you have taken some time to sit down and watch Questlove's magnificent documentary "Summer of Soul (…Or, When the Revolution Could Not Be Televised)" on Hulu. If you enjoyed that film as much as I did, you're also going to want to add Melissa Haizlip's monumental "MR. SOUL!" to your watchlist. It's great to see that the film is continuing to find an audience. It premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival in 2018 and made the festival circuit throughout 2019. And, as happened to so many other films, it got derailed a bit by COVID and ended up having a proper release delayed until late last year. Haizlip turns a spotlight on a slice of American music and cultural history that many may be unaware of - a revolutionary public television series hosted by her uncle. ...
Tribeca 2021: “Roadrunner: A Film About Anthony Bourdain” (Review)
Film, Reviews

Tribeca 2021: “Roadrunner: A Film About Anthony Bourdain” (Review)

Anthony Bourdain rose to fame after his bestselling book "Kitchen Confidential: Adventures in the Culinary Underbelly" was released in 2000. By that point, he had already spent over two decades working in restaurants all over New York City. As a celebrity chef he was reluctant, but it did open the door to opportunities he previously could have only dreamed of. News of his death by suicide in early June of 2018 was simply shocking and still hard to fathom. No matter how famous or how rich you become, addiction and depression can feel insurmountable. Director Morgan Neville ("20 Feet From Stardom," "Won't You Be My Neighbor?") never had a chance to meet Bourdain. When this project was conceived, the one thing that made it simultaneously easy and overwhelming to tackle was the fa...
Almodovar’s English-language “The Human Voice” Streaming Now on HBO Max (Review)
Art, Film, Reviews

Almodovar’s English-language “The Human Voice” Streaming Now on HBO Max (Review)

I've been a huge fan of Pedro Almodovar's work since I saw his Academy Award-nominated 1988 film "Women On The Verge Of A Nervous Breakdown" as a teenager. Prolific and always provocative, the Spanish director has never made a feature film in English, but now he has delivered a rather experimental 30-minute film that is. During the COVID lockdown he teamed up with the brilliant Tilda Swinton to create the short based on a play by Jean Cocteau. Swinton is credited simply as "Woman." Her lover has left and she is in their shared apartment with his packed suitcases and dog, who has slowly begun to realize that his master isn't coming back. Distraught and unsure of how to manage an animal who wants nothing to do with her, we observe her grief, anger, sadness, and ultimately a phone ...
“Godzilla vs. Kong” is a Quickly Forgotten Battle (Review)
Film, Reviews

“Godzilla vs. Kong” is a Quickly Forgotten Battle (Review)

There were a few reasons why I was looking forward to checking out "Godzilla vs. Kong." For starters, 2017's "Kong: Skull Island" was legitimately pretty damn fun to watch and gave a great cast the opportunity to ham it up against some beautiful locations and solid effects work. Full disclosure: I have not seen the 2014 "Godzilla" reboot nor its 2019 sequel, "Godzilla: King of the Monsters," but when I saw that Adam Wingard had been secured to direct this new battle-centric sequel, my interest level piqued. His 2011 home-invasion thriller "You're Next" is one of my favorite genre films in recent memory, so I was interested to see what he would do with two of the most legendary cinematic monsters of all time. It's unlikely that any filmmaker could have given this lackluster effo...
COVID-19 Documentary “The Last Cruise” Hits HBO Max (Review)
Film, Reviews

COVID-19 Documentary “The Last Cruise” Hits HBO Max (Review)

Before most of us were even aware of the dangers presented by COVID-19, a group of cruise ship passengers and crew members were trapped in a living nightmare. The first cases of coronavirus were reported in late-December 2019. The Diamond Princess set sail from Yokohama, Japan to begin a trip across Southeast Asia on January 20, 2020. With over 3,700 on board from all over the world, it became one of the earliest lessons in how the virus could spread rapidly. Director Hannah Olson (“Baby God”) has constructed a fascinating documentary almost entirely of footage shot by people who were on board. Some of these clips captured on cell phones are shaky and difficult to watch, but also give us a historic glimpse into how things went from bad to worse.  The crui...