It's almost Halloween, so thankfully, the list-making folks at Britain's FACT magazine have assembled an amazing collection of the "100 Greatest Horror Soundtracks," with selections from "Flesh for Frankenstein" to Goblin's legendary score for "Suspiria." Even better, you can stream the playlist via Youtube (or selections on Spotify).
It's remarkable what Jimmy Fallon gets his guests to do and this time, it's Daniel Radcliffe demonstrating his ability to speed-rap, skillfully taking on Blackalicious' "Alphabet Aerobics."
The original, for comparison.
While the movie-going situation here in Tucson does seem to get a bit better all the time, we're still a little slow to get some movies, so while the big city folks have been raving about Dear White People for a few weeks, we've had to be patient. Thankfully, we only have to wait until Nov. 7, since the satire of race-relations in modern America opens at the Loft that week (along with The Tale of Princess Kaguya, the Daniel Radcliffe horror film Horns and the documentary Last Days in Vietnam).
All that said, the writer-director is also not afraid to polemicize and let his characters stand on soapboxes, even address the camera. It works because — like Spike Lee in Do the Right Thing and even Jean-Luc Godard back in the 1960s — he knows to playfully challenge his characters’ stridency. At one point, in a scene you can also view in the film’s teaser trailer, Samantha and other kids from the Black Student Union confront a movie-theater employee over the offensive stereotyping in Tyler Perry movies. “Can we have a movie with, you know, characters in them instead of stereotypes wrapped in Christian dogma?” Samantha asks. “Uh, most people are here to see Fang 9,” the nervous employee replies, helpfully adding, with a shrug, “It’s got 2 Chainz in it.” Sometimes, a little undercutting helps to prove your broader point.
Okay, I’ve thrown a lot of big names around — Spike Lee, Godard, Kubrick — but I’m genuinely wowed by Simien’s ability to juggle big ideas while not losing sight of his characters, by his gorgeously assured filmmaking, by the little pirouettes of dead-on observation that dance between the film’s broader strokes. Dear White People and its director are the real deal. This is one of the best feature-filmmaking debuts of recent years.
As a bonus, the Dear White People YouTube channel is turning out some hilarious short videos to promote the film:
If you're getting psyched for Halloween (AND WHO ISN'T?), the world of Tucson film has plenty to offer you this week. First off, I'm not sure how anyone could possibly pass up the opportunity to see Jim Henson's "Labyrinth," starring David Bowie and a magnificent leather jumpsuit/codpiece combo, as part of their on-going Late Night Cult Classics series. Sure, you've probably seen the creepy tale of a 15 year old who wishes her little brother away and heads off on a quest to retrieve him, but how much better will it be on the big screen? The 1986 film shows three times over the weekend: Friday, Oct. 24 at 10 p.m. and Saturday, Oct. 25 at 11 a.m. and 10 p.m. Tickets are $6.
If you've been waiting for an opportunity to share the joy of cinema with your dog (sure, ok), Friday, Oct. 24 is the night you've been waiting for as the Loft is screening Tim Burton's "Frankenweenie" outside. The evening kicks off with a doggie costume contest at 5:30 p.m. then the movie at 6:30 p.m., with food trucks supplying food for the humans in attendance and free dog treats for the canines. Tickets are $6, although I think the dogs are free, with a portion of the proceeds benefiting Pets Are Worth Saving.
More info on those films and the wide variety of other on-screen options this week (including "The Internet Cat Video Festival 2014") at loftcinema.com.
We didn't have room in this week's story to touch on all the great films this weekend at the Loft Film Fest, but one documentary that has caught my eye is I Am Big Bird, featuring Carroll Spinney, who has performed the role of Big Bird and Oscar the Grouch since 1969.
Zach Breneman tells The Range: "Sesame Street pretty much molded the childhoods of Generation X and the Millennials. What’s great about this documentary is that it traces the history of a cultural touchstone through the eyes of a really good person. You will fall in love with Carroll Spinney like you did with Big Bird."
I Am Big Bird plays at 11:30 a.m. on Sunday, Oct. 19.
The Loft Film Fest kicks off tonight with an appearance by Larry McMurtry and a screening of The Last Picture Show. The schedule for the whole fest can be found here.
The whole Modern Streetcar thing seems to be working out better than nearly anyone (other than Steve Farley, perhaps) expected and part of that seems to be the fact that our city has embraced the vehicle's ability to make the corridor that it travels seems like one cohesive place. When you don't have to get in and out of your car, find a space to park, etc. etc., Main Gate Square and the Mercado basically seem adjacent to each other.
In that spirit, the super clever folks at Brink put together a short film featuring the slice of Tucson along the Streetcar route, themed around a Harold Lloyd-style silent film romance. It's as charming as it sounds.
When we first were approached to pitch a concept for a video about the Tucson Streetcar, we were just one month away from opening day (which was slated for July 25th).
On June 26th, we met with the Friends of the Streetcar and collectively decided we couldn’t just do a slideshow. Whatever we did had to have “big city sizzle.” So what was originally just a gig that required collecting unique images had now become a huge project.
We hashed out some ideas, hit some roadblocks with the approval process and then finally on July 14th we got the green light for a proposed film (a slapstick comedy, following a smitten boy’s mad dash along the streetcar route). Now the big work would really begin. Our team was tasked with permitting, casting, scripting, filming and editing a film that highlighted each of the Sun Link stops, captured the character of the city and showcased the streetcar experience, to be viewed on projectors at the launch parties.
The result of our efforts would be a 10 minute film that used storytelling and humor to introduce the streetcar to the public. It had the charm only a local firm based in the city could capture and we executed it at a pace few could match.
Not that you don't have enough to see in movie theaters in the next week or so (Skeleton Twins! Kill the Messenger! Gone Girl! The Loft Film Festival! Left Behind...well, maybe not that one), but if you want to see Harmontown, a documentary about Community creator Dan Harmon and the "concert" tour he embarked on after being fired from the show he created (before eventually getting it back).
The AV Club gave the film a B, if that helps:
In a cliché so pronounced it couldn’t work anywhere but in a documentary (and even then, it’s sometimes a stretch), it turns out that Harmon only wants to be loved. So after being fired from Community after its third season, he decides to take his warts-and-all podcast on the road in order to connect with his small but very worshipful fan base. The shows come across as shambolic but somehow magical: Harmon is joined onstage by his co-host Jeff Bryan Davis and a fantastic, plucked-from-obscurity sidekick named Spencer Crittenden, whose chief job is Dungeon Master for onstage Dungeons & Dragons games. The shows are frequently drunken revelries, with Harmon talking about whatever pops into his head, unfiltered, as well as doing some impromptu singing and crowd surfing. It feels like an inclusive celebration, with a beloved, drunken ringmaster at the center.
An exhibition and digital archive, "The Documented Border" is a collaborative initiative at the University of Arizona… More