From the DVD bin: "Punk: Attitude"

Promo text for Punk: Attitude:
"From London's 1970 mod scene to Sonic Youth, punk music has always been about attitude and anarchy. This comprehensive rockumentary traces the roots of punk, from The Velvet Underground and the New York Dolls to the Sex Pistols and The Clash. Punkers Henry Rollins, Jello Biafra, Tommy Ramone and David Johansen share their wild stories, and there's vintage performance footage of the Sex Pistols, the Ramones, The Clash, The Damned and much more."

I was pleasantly surprised with the production values on this documentary. Director Don Letts appears to have done his research, indicated in part by coverage of bands such as the Dictators and the Screamers. I've seen plenty of punk docs that have never so much as mentioned these bands, even in passing. It's also nice to see punk doc go-to commentators like Legs McNeil, Henry Rollins, etc. presenting information and commentary that they haven't spewed a dozen times in other films of this sort.

Letts did a nice job of compiling a fairly comprehensive overview of the influence punk has had on the musical landscape. Seeing as how the intention of the film was to explore the attitude of punk, and not it's history, I can't really complain about a lack of coverage of any given band or artist. There is a nice extra feature on the first disc entitled "Where are they now", where you can catch up on a bevy of prominent figures seemingly lost to the dustbin of punk history.

The second bonus disc is chock-full of extras and includes:
Henry Rollins Interview
Dave Goodman Feature
Women In Punk
Record Companies
The Attitude/Spirit of Punk
Punk on Culture and the Arts
UK Versus the US
Punk Evolution
The Gigs/Performance
The Punk Sound
Feature Length: 88 minutes
Subtitles: English, Spanish, French
Language and Sound: English: Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo
Original Release Date: 2005

[Official Site]
[View Trailer]


New Art: Geronimo!

Just posted my latest piece: the Real Native American hero, Geronimo.

I wanted to capture his nobility and dignity, yet with a modern sensibility to the color scheme and style. I have no idea if I've achieved this, but I'm fairly happy with the way it turned out.

Added to the "Miscellaneous" gallery on my site.

click the image for a closer look.

DVD review: loudQUIETloud: A Film About the Pixies

Promo text :
"When college rock darlings the Pixies broke up in 1992, their fans were shocked and dismayed. When they reunited in 2004, those same fans and legions of new listeners were ecstatic and filled with high hopes. loudQUIETloud follows the rehearsals and the warm up shows for the full-fledged, sold out reunion tour. It also catalogs, in the cinema verite style of the Rolling Stones' "Gimme Shelter" and Bob Dylan's "Don't Look Back", the less glamorous side of the touring band lifestyle, getting as close to this enigmatic act as anyone is ever likely to get. LoudQUIETloud captures the Pixies, their families and their fans in what seems to be a once in a lifetime chance at rock n roll redemption."

Unlike the previously released Pixies documentary simply titled "Pixies", loudQUIETloud takes a more intimate look at the individual members of the Pixies as well as their group dynamic. This film follows the reunion tour of the four original members (Charles Thompson aka Frank Black, Kim Deal, Joey Santiago and David Lovering) from their first rehearsal to their final reunion tour show.

This approach makes the film worth adding to your DVD collection right along with Pixies. Both films are essential viewing for Pixies fans. loudQUIETloud also differs in that we are presented with "subplots" for each member. Frank's solo work and family; Kim's battle with sobriety and her band, the Breeders; David's magic, drug use and his dying father; and Joey's career as a composer and his family life.

Obviously, family was a large part of painting a more intimate portrait here. Both Frank and Joey are new fathers, while David loses his. An interesting balance is underscored by these two events.

The Pixies seem very aloof with each other backstage, but while on stage, their synergy is undeniable. There is some great concert footage here- the kind of stuff that makes you wish you were there to witness and partake in the energy created not only by the band, but by their fans.

The reunion, as we all know, ended up being a critical and commercial success, but this film shows the doubt of such an outcome was prevalent in each member's minds before the initial show. They persevered, overcame and conquered.

Frank Black had a few choice words to say about the producers of this documentary. Honestly, I was a bit surprised, as I found the film to have a professional quality to it. Apparently, Frank didn't feel quite the same. [article]

The special features on this disc are pretty sparse. There is a batch of deleted scenes, which upon viewing, reveal just why they were deleted scenes. There is also a pretty good commentary track on it that is articulate and informing. Many times, a commentary track on a documentary seems redundant, but given the lack of narrative devices used within the film itself, that isn't the case here.

Report Card: B-

Length: 120 minutes
Rated: NR

View Trailer


Pan's Labyrinth...

...rocked! Seriously, I knew very little about this movie going into it. I knew it was directed by Guillermo Del Toro. I knew it had fantasy elements in it. I knew it was a darker kind of fantasy, along the lines of the Grimm's Fairytales of old.

I did not know, however, that it was set in WWII era Spain, or that it was Spanish-language with English subtitles (of which I am very glad!). Nor did I realize that the fantasy elements were going to be balanced so deftly with a straightforward tale of conflict, deceit, suspense, love and tragedy.

The cinematography was beautiful. The acting was top-notch, the violent elments were staged very realistically, and the CGI work was simultaneously compelling, realistic, fantastic, creepy and beautiful.

Go see this movie if it's still playing at a theater near you. If not, rent it when it comes out on DVD (release date is TBD).

Snowed in!

Man, the snow is coming down here in Springfield, IL. Don't believe me? Here is a photo my wife took from our front door earlier today. (clicky click)

We've got well over a foot now, and it doesn't seem like it's going to stop anytime soon.

BRRR....... Luckily Pumba (our pug pictured here) can keep warm in his styling winter coat.