Every year, Sundance outdoes its extravagant film banquet of the prior year’s feast, or else, as filmmaking becomes more accessible to emerging artists, it correspondingly grows more substantive and satisfying.
Catching up with the latest new releases this month, Oscar-nominated and Oscar-winning titles are the biggest arrivals for new release Tuesdays on both January 14 and 21. Topping the list of new releases is the Oscar-nominated Captain Phillips, and Oscar-winners In the Heat of the Night and Sunrise. Other new releases include Machete Kills, Carrie, and You're Next.
Happy New Year, and welcome to the first new Blu-ray column of 2014. This year's first edition is essentially dominated by the latest from television--most notably, two Canadian-made series that are well worth mentioning.
As a lifelong admirer of Bruce Lee and his lasting legacy--both on film and as a writer of some of the best books on martial arts techniques and philosophies--I am always eager to see whatever is released about him. Even though Lee died at the ridiculously young age of 32 in 1974, there is still validity in new versions of his stuff, repackaged or reprinted, as the benefit of each is that it exposes a new generation of potential fans to his still relevant body of work.
Peter M. Lenkov's Rest In Peace Department oozes with really fantastic ideas, and that's probably why Universal Pictures wanted to make it into a blockbuster franchise. The problem with the adaptation is that is misfires at almost every plot turn, and never seems to decide if it's going to be dark, funny, or just plain weird. That's also why it's very unlikely we'll see a sequel to R.I.P.D.
At first glance, Black Rock looks like a blend of Deliverance, mixed with the female-powered revenge horror of I Spit on Your Grave. While Black Rock earnestly tries to balance the two, it comes across as overly ambitious and never really finds the right tone while simultaneously falling prey to predictable horror tropes (hot girls in horror films are contractually obligated to run around naked at least some point during the movie).
The third day of the Calgary International Blues Festival brought electric guitars and lots of slow dancing. The acts were more varied than the previous two days, straying from traditional blues including a cajun band. Each one brought something new and wonderful to the table that was completely different from whatever came before it.
The second day of the Calgary International Blues Festival brought another batch of three excellent mainstage acts. Despite repeatedly threatening to rain, the skies stayed clear. The night began with some blues based music that dipped into various other genres including funk and rock, followed by beach inspired blues, rounded out with some excellent Motown.
On Thursday, August 1, the Calgary International Blues Festival kicked off at Calgary's Shaw Millennium Park with three mainstage performances. The festival promises to bring lots of good electric guitar playing, patterned button-up shirts and quality blues music.
The annual Calgary Folk Music Festival took over Prince's Island Park for four days--July 25 to 28--as 13,000 spectators, volunteers and musicians took part in the eclectic and wonderful mix of music on offer. This year's event was even more impressive given that the island was submerged by water during the floods that hit the city five weeks ago.