Old Lime Productions shows the big boys how it is done regarding the 2016 documentary "Ghostheads," which IMDb perfectly describes as "a look at the intense fandom for the ("Ghostbusters") media franchise." An interview with producer Tommy Avallone regarding his related film "Bill Murray Stories" reinforces that the guys behind the camera put their heart and soul into this film about folks who devote a great deal of their time and income celebrating the 1984 comedy and its sequel.
A personal perspective is owning all three films on Blu-ray. a long-discontinued deluxe collector's edition of the complete animated series being a desert island set, and recently buying a toy model of the Ecto-1 vehicle from the franchise. This is on top of regularly referring to not crossing streams, to dogs and cats living in harmony, and to telling a powerful evil entity who thinks that you are a god that you are one.
Additionally, a visit to the New York Public Library was a required destination during a Manhattan visit. Telling the lions out front to stay did not elicit any response from the jaded locals.
The high-quality of the Blu-ray version of "Heads" and the plethora of extras (including a HILARIOUS interview with "Ghostbusters II" star Kurt Fuller) screams for buying this release, rather than watching it on a streaming service that may drop it at any time. Taking shameless commerce one level further, a "Ghostbusters" fan WILL delight in getting this documentary along with the 4K releases of the original films.
The following YouTube clip of the Kickstarter promo; for "Ghostheads" PERFECTLY captures the spirit and the tone of the documentary. It will make you want to join your local chapter.
One of the nicest things about the profiled heads is that they keep their active fandom in check; none of therm are obsessed with "Ghostbusters" and do not wear their jumpsuits and proton packs on a daily basis. The furthest that some folks take things is to use their replica of Ecto-1 vehicle as their primary car.
The sense of moderation continues with one participant commenting that he is in the game for the sense of community, rather than out of love for the films. A man at the other extreme discusses the films helping him during a very emotional period.
The charitable aspect of the activity is another great aspect of this fandom; we see the local chapters suit and gear up to bring joy to folks who need it,
It additionally is awesome hearing from director Ivan Reitman, Dan Akyroyd, Harold Ramis daughter Violet, and others involved in the original films share their perspectives and memories.
The best segments have William Atherton, who plays the uptight bureaucrat in "Ghostbusters," and Fuller from "Ghostbusters II" tell their stories. Atherton shares the public still tormenting him based on that role; his successor Fuller tells a great Bill Murray story in the form of Fuller assuring Murray that Fuller does not mind a particular directed insult and Murray refusing to deliver that line because he wants to spare Fuller the abuse being heaped on Atherton.
The recent Paul Feig "Ghostbusters" movie gets its due; we see mutual love that extends to Feig flying Ghostheads to Los Angeles for a special event. Feig additionally goes above and beyond regarding helping two fans take their relationship to the next level.
All of this makes "Ghostheads" a genuine feel-good movie that achieves the documentary ideal of being equally educating and entertaining. You may not be ready to shell out big bucks for a proton pack but definitely will want to join those who do for a party-sized Twinkee. You also will receive confirmation that everyone connected with making the films have enormous regard and fondness for the projects.
The numerous extras extend well beyond the aforementioned Fuller interview. We get a tribute to a kind and sweet Ghosthead to whom the documentary is dedicated, a music video of the "Ghostheads" theme, and so much more.
Truly independent and innovative documentary DVD company Bullfrog Films picks a subject near and dear to the heart of millions regarding the release of "The Search for General Tso." This non-fiction movie provides an entertaining overview of the history of Chinese food in America in the larger context of the equally delightful study of the titular sweet and tangy dish that is the fave of so many people.
The following YouTube clip of the trailer for the film is so delightful by itself that you almost definitely will not say "Tso what" in response to this introduction to the production.
This behind-the-scenes look (complete with a tour of a fortune cookie factory) at the Chinese restaurant industry begins with a photo shoot that shows the origin of the pictures of food on the wall menus of many Chinese places. This alone should create a craving for the titular entree.
We soon meet the Guinness World Book record holder for the largest collection of Chinese food menus; this collection is from more countries than there are in the U.N. This aspect of this segment provides the element of "entertainment" that is part of any good documentary; the educational aspect includes learning of a method for determining the best meals in a Chinese restaurant.
Filmmaker Ian Cheney also takes us to the Hunan Province in China to learn more about the real-life general for whom the dish is named. The response of the locals on learning about the American concept of Chinese food is hilarious.
The history of Chinese food restaurants in America is almost as amusing; we learn about origins that include chop suey joints. A fascinating aspect of this is the huge disparity between the Chinese population in our country and the proliferation of restaurants that serve food from their nation, Other perspective comes via comparing the popularity of that cuisine to that of pizza.
The largest context of all this is that Cheney and Bullfrog focus on a subject that is of interest to the general public but receives little thought. The payoff comes when we realize our ignorance regarding a fascinating topic. This is comparable to learning the process for manufacturing shoe laces is worthy of a big-budget film.
A telephone conversation with filmmaker Tommy Avallone the day before the October 26, 2018 VOD premiere of his (reviewed) Gravitas Ventures documentary "The Bill Murray Stories: Life Lessons From A Mythical Man" aptly was mythical. "Murray' and an earlier Avallone joint "I Am Santa Claus," which chronicles the off-season lives of men who play St. Nick, show that this guy has equally strong imagination and curiosity levels that he exercises in a manner that enriches audiences in the same manner that Murray popping up at a kickball game or a college party enhances the lives of those who are there.
The titular urban legends in "Murray" are seemingly purely random visits by the titular star of "Saturday Night Live" (a.k.a. "SNL") and cult-classic '80s film comedies such as "Stripes" and the original "Ghostbusters" films. Hearing about those encounters puts the idea of "Murray" in the head of Avallone; obtaining the coveted toll-free telephone number that Murray uses in lieu of an agent or a manager created hope that the man the legend would participate in the film.
Scenes throughout "Murray" depict Avallone either rehearsing a message for the voicemail of Murray or recording and deleting one. We also see his mother get into the act. This illustrated the challenge of summoning Murray; he is like a cat in that he ignores those who attempt to entice him but literally or figuratively jumps in the laps of people who ignore him.
Of course, speaking with someone who had the highly sought-after number required asking Avallone to share it, His denial of that request was less surprising than if he had divulged that information. Avallone added that "I can't tell you how I got it; it was a friend of a friend." Avallone emphasized that that friend was not a celebrity.
Avallone added that he regularly called the number for a year-and-a-half to no avail; these calls continue at less frequently.
Truth or Fiction
Avallone stated that a reported Murray sighting that he included in the cold open of "Murray" was the first one that he heard. He then speculated that it was partially true.
This tale involved Murray coming up behind a man who was using a urinal at a bar; the rest of the story was that Murray put his hands over the eyes of the man. Avalllone opined that Murray did walk up to someone at some time and put his hands over the eyes of his "victim."
This led to discussing people making up Murray stories in reliance of limited documentation of many true one. Avallone provided a perfect response in stating that "I know people who do that; I don't like that. I am a documentary filmmaker; I like the truth."
This final word on this topic was that "What's great about the Bill Murray stories is that 99-percent of them are true."
Murray on Murray
Avallone shared that he has no indication that Murray has seen the film; he added that Bill's brother Joel has seen it and likes it a great deal. The documentarian added that he likes to think that Murray would like "Murray."
Avallone expressing the fantasy that Murray would show in the back of a theater and give him a thumbs up during a post-screening discussion expresses the thoughts of Murray fans everywhere.
Another expressed desire regarding the impact of "Murray" was that viewers "start to think more like Bill Murray." he added that Murray reminded him of Santa in that "he comes in and leaves them smiling."
Waldo on Weed
Only knowing that the latest project of Avallone is titled "Waldo on Weed" prompted asking if the title character was either a cannabis expert or a stoner. It turns out that Waldo is the son of a friend of Avallone; the title refers to the boy using cannabis oil to treat cancer.
The statements that "Brian and Waldo are really fun characters," and that the film is about "what a father would do to save a son" provide to good reasons to discover where''s "Waldo" when it is released.
The similarities between Avallone and Murray extend beyond sharing a great offbeat sense of humor; they both passionately pursue their bliss and seek to provide the rest of us with the same. There is no doubt regarding the truth of the tale that they both awesomely succeed.
'Cinemability: The Art of Inclusion' DVD & VOD: Everything You Always Were Embarrassed to Ask About Disabled People in TV & Film
The fact that virtually no one knows that October is National Disability Employment Month makes the October 5, 2018 VOD & DVD releases of the Gold Pictures documentary "Cinemability: The Art of Inclusion" to celebrate that recognition that much more important. This film being full of movie and TV clips and A-List participants (such as narrator Jane Seymour) meeting the genre ideal of being equally entertaining and educational is the icing on the cake.
The following YouTube clip of the official trailer for this movie by wheelchair-user producer/director Jenni Gold provides a strong sense of the comprehensive scope of the film in terms of the aforementioned clips and celebrity participants. This promo. having clips from "Freaks" and "South Park" shows that Gold does not pull any punches regarding telling how it is and how is was.
The overall theme of "Cinemability" is that the portrayal of disabled people in films and television series greatly influences how the general movie-going public perceives people who are different. It is believed that Jamie Foxx, who is well-known for playing blind music-legend Ray Charles, is the talking head who notes that using the media to depict people with a particular disability in a certain way is the first step toward obtaining support for legislation to address an issue that affects that population. Foxx also is the center of a notable scene in which he discusses allowing himself to be temporarily blinded for his Oscar-winning portrayal of Charles; "Ray" director/writer Taylor Hackford provides further insights regarding that film.
Oscar-winning deaf actress Marlee Matlin provides many of the most relatable and amusing ancedotres in "Cinemability." She discusses the positive impact of seeing a deaf character on the sitcom "Happy Days." Matlin further shares many other memories that include her hilarious portrayal of a deaf attorney on the sitcom "My Name is Earl."
A related aspect of this is watching Peter Farrelly and other filmmakers talk about simply not making a disability an aspect of a character. An even more controversial topic that Gold tackles is the practice of using an able-bodied actor to play a disabled character. Beloved producer/director/writer the late Garry Marshall perfectly addresses this by commenting that he solely bases his casting choices on the acting ability of the person auditioning for the role.
The tremendous time that Gold devotes to finding and incorporating the clips and getting the hardest-working people in show business demonstrates the love associated with this documentary; the degree to which it makes viewers think about disabled people in reel and real-life shows that it pays off.
'The Bill Murray Stories: Life Lessons Learned From A Mythical Man' Theatrical and VOD: When Legendary Comedian Crashes Your Party, You Tell Him He's A God
Gravitas Ventures fully embraces its awesome pop culture documentary side with the current theatrical run of "The Bill Murray Stories" Life Lessons From a Mythical Man" This film additionally hits VOD platforms on October 26, 2018. "Murray" perfectly represents similar fare that currently is reviewed on Unreal TV 1.0 and will make its way to Unreal TV 2.0 in November 2018.
Writer/director Tommy Avallone investigating reports of Murray being a modern-day Mary Poppins who shows up completely unexpected and spreads joy before vanishing into the night or the afternoon perfectly blends old and new school.
Tweens and teens of the '70s and '80s have fond memories of first watching Murray display his comedic nerdy and swarmy sides in the early days of "SNL" (Nee "Saturday Night Live.") We then see him join Tom Hanks in playing oddball goofballs in '80s comedy films that make us long for that Silver Age of big screen humor.
ANY boy born between 1960 and 1970 who does not include "Ghostbusters," "Stripes," "Meatballs," "Caddyshack," and "Groundhog Day" ("What About Bob" is optional) on his list of 100 favorite movies deserves to have his lunch money taken away and being given an atomic nudgie in 2018.
The new school element enters the picture (pun intended) regarding the manner in which the tales of Murray spread. Social media reports and online videos of Murray jamming with a band at a house party, reading poetry at a construction site, thrilling fans at a baseball game, etc. spread these urban legends faster than tales that involve a friend of a friend at camp or a guy who lives in the same college dorm as an older sibling. Canadian girlfriends from camp are an especially rich source of this lore.
The similarities between the Murray stories and the '70s and '80s sitcom "Alice" contribute another old school element. An occasional plot in that series revolves around a waitress being alone in the diner in which the show is set when a celebrity playing himself or herself unexpectedly stops by. The "com" related to this "sit" centers around the server trying to convince co-workers that the tale of the encounter is true,
A new school aspect is the current weekly NPR news quiz "Wait, Wait, Don't Tell Me." The central concept of this series is having contestants try to determine which of three news reports on a particular subject is true,
The Murray stories may have been a topic on "Wait Wait," If so, the following reports may have been the options. Murray appeared on a street in Cleveland on Halloween night and joined a family for trick-or-treating; Murray showed up at an Austin watering hole and began tending bar; Murray appeared at a Safeway in Bethesda, Maryland and began bagging groceries. The awesomeness of the Murray stories is that even the two that are not the intended correct answer may be true as well
The following YouTube clip of a trailer for "Murray" perfectly highlights the equally good entertaining and educational aspects of this documentary.
The good news is that most of "Murray" does the legendary subject justice; the bad news is that the painfully bad cold opens may want you to walk out of the theater or to stop watching at home. Candor requires sharing a strong desire to personally do exactly that and subsequent glee regarding sticking with the film. The neutral news is that throwing Avallone just a little shade is designed to encourage people to keep watching. The best news is that the stinger after the closing credits is MUST SEE. It reflects EVERY great aspect of the stories and leaves us wanting more.
The narrative that warrants scorn relates to "Murray" opening with a couple of groups discussing mysterious sightings that we soon learn involve Murray. These tales include the subject of the shock and awe showing up at a college party and doing the dishes and reading poetry at a building site. The one that prompted stopping the video was the story of a guy coming up behind someone at a urinal and placing his hands over the eyes of the man with his hands full. This leads to an image of grotesque looking Murray leering in the doorway of the men's room.
The armchair director advice is to COMPLETELY cut out the cold open and to start the film with images of the Woody Allen character Zelig, who pops up among historic figures. A "Forrest Gump" theme is an alternative. That would segue into the contrasting nature of the Murray stories.
"Murray" VASTLY improves after the opening credits, Avallone discusses the urban legends of the sightings and tantalizes viewers by sharing that he has the toll-free number that people use to contact this actor. Sadly, he blurs the digits.
We do see Avallone record and delete several voice mail messages that are designed to entice Murray to participate in the film. We also learn that Charleston, South Carolina being Ground Zero regarding Murray sightings prompts our host to take us there,
The first Charleston story is one of the best in "Murray." In true "Wait, Wait" fashion, we directly hear from someone with direct knowledge of the story. A wedding photographer discusses taking location photos of a happy couple when the future groom starts making odd faces. It turns out that Murray is behind the photographer and accepts his invitation to pose with the couple, Avallone shares one such photo.
Much of the rest of the film centers around stories in which Murray more fully literally and figuratively joins the party. This includes chipping in for a beer run.
Avallone presents all of this in the context of the philosophy that Murray espouses in his comedic and dramatic film roles. Although "Murray" does not address this, these clips further remind us that Murray agrees to do "Ghostbusters" in exchange for being allowed to star in the WWI period piece "The Razor's Edge."
We also get treated to insight by talking heads who know Murray; the icing on the cake is footage of the man of the hour doing improv. at Second City in Chicago. The context this time is how the improv. training shapes the psyche of Murray in ways that his visits reflect.
In addition to a decades' long love of Murray, a personal experience makes "Murray" special to your not-so-humble reviewer. A friend had coerced me into helping build a chicken coop at his hobby farm in a ruralish Boston suburb a few years ago. A lumber company had dumped all of the wood in the front yard.
I did not want to be there in the first place, and my friend would not get off his phone. I soon grabbed a big heavy piece of wood and started dragging it to the back of the house in an effort to move along the project. I could feel someone pick up the other end behind me a few minutes later.
Utilizing language that is inappropriate for this family friendlyish forum, I used just about every word previously banned on broadcast television in commenting on my friend finally hanging up and helping build HIS coop. The person behind me did not say a word.
I turned around after dropping the wood and saw Murray standing there, He had his trademark goofy grin on his face and asked "do you kiss your mother with that mouth?" I was equally shocked and embarrassed and profusely apologized. Murray soon put me at ease and helped us move the rest of the wood.
I turned around when we moved all the wood; I wanted to invite Murray to join us for soda and cookies, but he was gone. He said a few times that afternoon that no one would believe me if I told them about our encounter. I did not want to take video of it out of concern of offending Murray, and I got my friend to also refrain from doing so.
The bottom line regarding all this is that Murray is out there making our days. It clearly adequately delights him enough to keep him doing so. "Murray" helps skeptics believe us when we share our story.
The Lionsgate September 25, 2018 S11 V1 DVD release of the History Channel docuseries "Ancient Aliens" amazingly adds more credible evidence to the mountains of proof that "Aliens" uncovers regarding humans (and household pets) not being the only highly sentient beings in our universe and that visitors from other planets (and perhaps Pluto) are among us. The Unreal TV review on the recent MASSIVE S1-10 DVD set discusses the prior seasons of this popular program.
The overall theme of "Aliens" is that there is ample direct and indirect evidence of aliens coming here and helping us at least since King Tut was born in Arizona and moved to Babylonia. This extends well beyond sonogram-quality images of fuzzy glowing objects in the sky. The "Aliens" teams present their findings in a manner that makes anyone whose mind is at least ajar wonder about the existence of brothers from other planets. The bigger picture is the validity of the theory that it is unlikely that earth is the only planet on which a perfect storm makes a developed civilization possible.
The first of six episodes in the S11 V1 set is titled "UFO Conspiracy;" it opens with dramatic POV footage from a fighter jet. The small blurry object is relatively clear, and we hear the excited utterances of the pilot regarding this odd sight. The focus shifts to the history of the federal government funding investigations into UFOs; one can see the humor of the honesty related to using tax dollars to probe Uranus.
We soon getting a smoking gun in the form of a report on a 2017 New York Times article on the federal Advanced Aviation Threat Identification (AATI) program. Clinton Chief of Staff John Podesta, military brass, and MANY other talking heads discuss AATI,predecessors that go back decades before that program.
The analysis expands in a manner that evokes thoughts of the "Stargate" scifi franchise. That 'verse centers around the titular U.S. Air Force team that explores strange new worlds and that seeks out new life and new civilizations. That group often finds itself allied with or battling a private aerospace firm that helps create space-worthy tech. or utilizes or abuses the tech. of proverbial little green men.
An "Aliens" segment discusses the UFO-oriented work of Bigelow Aerospace. The scope of this coverage includes head honcho Robert Bigelow fully going on the record to assert that UFOS exist.
The second episode speculates about aliens influencing the work of Leonardo Da Vinci. The scope extends beyond the oft-discussed topic of Da Vinci being ahead of his time regarding modern inventions that include the helicopter. We get looks at his paintings from the perspective of an alien influence. This includes one work that speculates about the origin of Christ,
We additionally get a study of the "Last Supper" painting by Da Vinci. Tying this masterpiece into a Spielberg film is great fun.
The self-explanatory title of the third S11 V1 episode is "The Alien Protocols" This one studies the preparedness of the U.S. and the rest of the world for formal first contact. The spoiler is that we are not very prepared.
The other central focus is on close encounters that range from the region of the moon to the side of a rural highway, One of the more compelling tales is that of an Apollo astronaut reporting an odd craft accompanying him on solo lunar orbits.
The titles of the remaining three episodes in this set are almost as self-explanatory as the third. We get "Earth's Black Hole," The Desert Codes," and "Area 52." "Area" most likely expands on the segment on Area 51 in "Protocols."
As mentioned at the beginning of our program, "Aliens" makes a good case for "visitors" interacting with humans. Assuming that the films and other evidence is accurate, the rest of the story is that we simply do not know the truth about aliens and likely will not until a thoroughly independently verified "E.T." goes public.
A not-so-absurd alternate explanation for at least modern encounters is that hush-hush military or private projects literally or figuratively come on the radar or that scientists crack the pesky time-travel problem in the future and come back to check us out. The good news either way is that the tech, and/or help from the stars is a good thing until otherwise proven.
All you Moondoggies (or dudes who like duck diving during the day) and Gidgets (or regular-size wahines) should be totally stoked regarding the Film Movement September 11, 2018 release of the 2016 documentary "Between Land and Sea." Righteous dude Ross Whitaker, who is not a Barney or a Jake, shows us the year in the life of Irish surf town Lahinch.
Although the tubular vernacular above suggests otherwise, "Sea" entertains without depicting a California style surf scene; this film is much more "Waking Ned Devine" than '60s beach movies that include the totally awesome "Wet Side Story" about a romance between a biker chick and a surfer dude, A prime example of this is mood-apt instrumental music filling in for more rousing Beach Boys tunes regarding the copious footage of the surf.
The following YouTube video of the Movement trailer for "Sea" perfectly captures the charming and mellow vibe of this equal parts documentary, travelogue, and character study.
The concept that Ireland has a thriving surf culture alone is adequately surprising and compelling to warrant a film; the characters who are the subjects of the aforementioned studies not being airhead slackers contributes additional depth.
The stereotype of the California surfer is of a guy who fully embraces a dude lifestyle to the extent of only working hard enough to keep a minimal roof over his head and tacos in his stomach. He also usually does not have a steady Betty and even more rarely has rugrats.
The first man to whom Whitaker introduces us is a married mining engineer, who admits to practicing that profession just enough to provide his family a good life; he devotes much of the rest of his time to his passion for surfing. His English-transplant wife makes soap to contribute to the family fisc.
We also meet a farmer/surfer with a good sense of humor; his comment regarding the relative status between him and a English farm worker provides the only political commentary in the film.
We additionally get a look at a surf camp that allows a quimby to try to learn to shoot curls. Related fun comes via watching our subjects prepare their kids to hit the waves. A shoot of the face of a young girl when her 'rent tells her how her life jacket will activate if she goes under the water is priceless.
The bigger picture is the aspect of a tourist town that at least partially relies on a weather-dependent activity to bolster the local economy. Another aspect of this is working like a surf dog during the high season (no pun intended) and living a slower pace of life the rest of the year.
Whitaker encompasses all of the above by beginning "Sea" at the start of the calendar year as our Kens and Barbies prepare for (and otherwise anticipate) the upcoming summer; he concludes things with a wonderful community-oriented Christmas celebration.
The aloha regarding all this is that "Sea" indicates that surfers generally are the same the world over. Riding waves seems to keep their temperaments at an even keel regardless of what life throws at them. Further, these guys seem equally open minded and accepting of all.
The concept of the Margin Films documentary "Gay Hollywood Dad," which premieres August 2 2018 at the New York Asian-American Film Festival a day before debuting on Amazon Instant Video, is laudable and has great potential. The sad truth is that 29 year-old filmmaker/titular single parent Quentin Lee sacrifices the opportunity to share his unusual experience to promote his career. "Dad" also suffers from being produced with eye toward being a reality web series.
The following YouTube clip of a trailer for "Dad" shows how the film starts strong before becoming standard reality show fare. One can only fear Lee creating a series titled "The Real Toddlers of Los Angeles" featuring his son Casper.
The central concept of "Dad" is strong. As Lee states at the beginning of the film, his desire for a child that is biologically his prompts choosing surrogacy., We remain on course as we meet gestational carrier Crystal Primavera as she prepares to give birth in her home state of West Virginia.
The veering into reality TV territory roughly 5 minutes later is where things start taking a turn for the worse. The cast of stock characters include aptly named Adrian Ho, whom Lee identifies as his partner. The apparent reality is that Ho is not figuratively or literally prominently in the picture. His conspicuous absences include not accompanying Lee to witness the birth of the baby or on separate trips to meet the grandparents.
Further, Lee comments that Ho is more comfortable than him regarding going home with Mr. Right Now. All of this points to Ho being more fuck buddy than life companion.
The "plot" when the gang gathers at Chez Lee is that Lee wants a 100-day celebration of the birth of Casper. The explanation of the reason that Chinese people celebrate that milestone is interesting. The drama begins with debates regarding the venue and the budget for the event.
One uncomfortable TMI moment during the party involves Lee telling the group that his sperm was used in the process of that lead to the birth of Casper. This is contrast to the more appropriate option of stating that he is the biological father.
Lee comes across much worse minutes later as we see him in the back seat of a car sharing that he is too drunk to drive; he adds insult to injury by joking that he looks forward to Casper being old enough to be a designated driver. It also is presumed that this too polluted to operate a motor vehicle father of an infant does not have anyone staying at his home that night to help care for the baby.
The popularity of Lee further falls when he discusses not having as much time as desired to film babies on a prior film project. This creates an impression that his motives for having Casper include having as much time as needed with this "prop" for the upcoming horror short "In Halloween" that Lee heavily promotes to the extent of including most of that film in "Dad."
Things calm down from there as Lee brings Casper to Hong Kong to meet the grandmother of the child and celebrate her birthday. Not much drama ensues during that trip.
More drama ensues during a Christmas week Vancouver trip to meet the generally grumpy Grandpa. It is clear that this man is overdue for a visit from four ghosts.
Lee wraps up "Dad" with a discussion of taking Casper on the red carpet during a film festival. This ties into discussing the infant liking some restaurants better than others. Speaking as one who often comes close to grabbing a loudly beeping game console or a streaming device playing a children;s video from the hands of a toddler and smashing it on the floor at a restaurant, Lee should not drag his son to dinners as if the boy is a chihuahua in a Louis Vuitton purse. The general rule should be that no one under 10 should eat anyplace that does not advertise on Nickelodeon.
The bigger picture is that "Dad" is squandered on an affable man who clearly loves his son but seems to not have properly adapted to his new reality. An average 'mo with a 9-to-5 job and actually must let his bundle du joie greatly disrupt his life seems to be a better subject for this theme.
Lionsgate provides Father's Day procrastinators a gift in releasing "Ancient Aliens: 10th Anniversary Edition" on June 12, 2018. This mega-set of that History Channel docuseries is PERFECT for aficionados of ancient history, aliens. all forms of scifi, and conspiracy theories. The best news for everyone is that "Aliens" is a well-produced show that lacks the repetition, cheesy effects, and sensationalism of lesser offerings.
This aptly massive set contains all 135 episodes from the first 10 seasons of the series of literally Biblical proportions that recently wrapped up Season 13. The scope of the "bunking" extends from the dawn of civilization to modern efforts to prevent the hoi polloi from learning the truth. Presenting talking heads who seem sane and knowledgeable is a good thing; the only criticism based on the first two episodes of the series is that "Aliens" seems to exclude opposing views.
"The Evidence" starts things off with a primary focus on ancient Egypt. This episode is very reminiscent of the "Stargate" franchise on Showtime and Syfy. The concept of that show is that the Egyptian gods are hostile aliens who enslave humans to further their evil plans.
The "Evidence" topics include artifacts that strongly indicate that brothers from another planet share their flying technology, discussion of masonry work that seemingly requires advanced stone-cutting methods, and a way-cool segment that suggests that E.T. is to whom the wandering Jews owe thanks for manna.
We further see evidence of an early public airport system and that flying carpets are more than a thing of The Arabian Nights.
"The Visitors" is not a tale of hostile reptilian aliens in meat suits intent on conquering earth; it is a study of how genetic abnormalities and voluntary mutilation respectively reflect ancestors of ALF having terra fever and members of primitive culture worshiping aliens. This includes speculation that ancestors of King Tut are from much further away than either Arizona or Babylonia.
We further get a look at possible ancient forms of geothermal and microwave energy, as well what may be a wireless form of transmitting energy. The evidence this time includes possible explanations for structures that still are standing. We additionally see how language limitations may explain why the proof of inter-planetary interaction in that era is not better documented.
Of course, no discussion of visitors from other planets is complete without a segment on the Roswell crash; the main takeaway is that this may be the first use of an explanation that is comparable to "the dog ate my homework."
The strong parallels between religion and aliens is a highly interesting aspect of these episodes and the rest of the series. A belief in one or more god is the basis for explaining much of what seems to be beyond our capabilities at the time, and believing that a divine entity calls the shots requires as much faith as concluding the existence of advanced life on other planets. From that perspective, "Aliens" can be considered a video bible. This analogy extends to episodes being sure to convert non-believers.
The analogy extends to speculation regarding some Bible stories involving literal aliens.
[EDITOR'S NOTE: The recent DVD release of this entertaining and educational documentary makes this holiday season a particularly apt time to repost the following review of the February 2015 theatrical release of the film. The story of involuntary martyr Matthew Shepard is a true Christmas fable. This nice young man inarguably did nada to deserve his brutal fatal beating, and the incident prompted an almost literal world of good.]
"Matt Shepard Is a Friend of Mine," which begins the jump from film festivals to mainstream theaters with a February 6 2015 opening at the New York AMC Empire Theater and a February 13 2105 opening at the Laemmle Noho Theater in Los Angeles, nicely achieves the dual documentary objectives of being educational and informative. The well-executed premise of this Run Rabit Run Media production is that filmmaker Michelle Josue offers an intimate portrait in the best sense of that term of a close friend, who is well known as the innocent victim of an especially brutal hate crime.
Josue stating at the beginning of the film that she wants to share how her friend Matt Shepard becomes Matthew Shepard for whom most of us weep appropriately sets the tone for the movie. A spoiler is that Josue nicely achieves this objective to the extent that she makes this reviewer mourn not having the opportunity to spend an afternoon drinking coffee with Matt (rather than Matthew) and having a wonderfully quirky conversation.
"Shepard," which has won numerous festival awards, is a true labor of love in which Josue gives us a look at the 20-something guy who is a textbook victim of being at the wrong place at the wrong time. For the benefit of folks who do not know this story, Shepard was a sweet young gay guy who approached two not-so-sweet (or so gay) young guys at a Wyoming bar one night and ended up brutally beaten and left to die while tied to a fence for the offense of trying to befriend them.
Josue does her job well in not making any bias regarding her subject apparent; she merely documents the life of this all-American kid through sharing her own memories of this high school friend, home movies of our subject, and interviews with his parents and friends.
We also see still photos of Shepard and hear Josue read writings of his that include a wonderfully goofy list of his favorite things. One spoiler is that said inventory does not include raindrops on roses, whiskers on kittens, or brown paper packages tied up with string. A related spoiler is that we learn of periods of disabling sadness in the life of Shepard.
Josue shares the characteristically quirky way that Shepard introduces himself to her while they are at a Swiss boarding school for American students. Anyone familiar with a prep. school knows that living with your peers often creates life-long bonds; the element of being several thousand miles from your native country can only enhance that connection.
Highlights of the film include learning of Shepard having a particularly treasured stuffed animal, watching a home video in which a roughly 13 year-old Shepard playfully expresses annoyance at his younger brother filming him, and hearing the father of Shepard discuss his surprisingly loving response to Shepard coming out. It is incredibly sad that the elder Shepard will never get a chance to be an awesome father-in-law to the sweet and kind man whom Matt seems destined to have married if not prevented from reaching that stage in his life.
Josue further redirects public attention to a prior brutal attack on Shepard that is eerily similar to the fatal one and that arguably leads to circumstances that contribute to his death.
At the risk of this review becoming bloggy, a personal experience a few years before the attack on Shepard further shows how easily this type of thing can occur.
A group of us who were in the Dallas area for a business conference were walking back from a Rangers game when a very straight and ultra-conservative colleague completely innocently put his arm across my shoulder. Not knowing the rules, I returned the gesture without comment from anyone in our group. Apparently one guy making this gesture is a show of friendship but returning it is gay.
A few minutes later, a couple of guys driving past in a pick-up yelled "FAGS!" This prompted me to instinctively respond "it takes one to know one." ("I know that you are, but what am I?" would have been equally apt.)
The driver then immediately slammed on his brakes and put the truck in reverse. We ran across a field and fortunately were not pursued.
It is worth noting as well that the story of Shepard is comparable to that of civil rights icon Rosa Parks; it is well known that a compelling desire to sit (rather than any intent to buck the system) is the only reason for the famous act of Parks. Similarly, a desire to be social seems to be the only reason for the incident that makes Shepard an international figure. Another common characteristic is that both individuals are someone who would likely give up their seat on a bus to someone who needs it.
A recent telephone conversation with '50s-era actor/singer Tab Hunter in conjunction with his recent (Unreal TV reviewed) documentary "Tab Hunter Confidential" positively (and aptly) proves the Chinese adage regarding being careful what you wish for.
Hunter is as friendly and endearing as many of his roles convey, and that sincerity and warmth makes one want to respect his wish to treat him as an ordinary bloke. Such a desire requires tremendous restraint regarding wanting to portray him as the golden boy whom we all know and love from his films before meeting the awesome real man who detests labels.
The clear and understandable position of Hunter on the subject is "People always want to label people; I hate labels." In this case, this sentiment extends beyond the non-issue 60-year discussion of the sexual orientation of Hunter to early promotional nicknames that include "The Sigh Guy."
This respect also is behind our conversation focusing on the interesting life of a man whose own blessings and curses included natural movie star looks and charm combined with incredible shyness and being born gay at a time that knowledge of that orientation ruins the lives of most people who fall on that end of the Kinsey scale. This is in contrast with discussing those who dun him wrong.
A respect for folks who enduere the world-at-large identifying them as fictional characters and feeling free to accost them every time that they step out of the door always prompts asking if they prefer being addressed by their birth (rather than studio-given) name. The awesome response "The only people who call me Art know me as Art" this time got things off to a great start.
Hunter showed his further exceptional nature in politely expressing a desire to not discuss the highly public circumstances regarding the death of his former co-star Natalie Wood. He went on to express gratitude for Wood's widower Robert Wagner participating in the "Confidential" film and described that pair as a "fabulous couple" then stated that he felt "fortunate to work with exceptional people" throughout his career.
Hunter was equally sincere in discussing his shy nature and (well-compensated) discomfort in being thrust into the limelight based on (with sincere apologies for the label) being dreamy, The extension of this was his discussing being far outside his "comfort zone" regarding discussing such intimate aspects of his life.
The reason for his coming-out is discussed below and does not involve a desire for either fame or fortune. Like fellow (more apologies for the label) Hollywood royalty Greta Garbo, Hunter largely just wanted to be left alone.
A shared love of horses prompted asking Hunter about his filly Harlow, who appears in the "Confidential" film. Hunter responded she's fabulous" and shared that she's a new mother. Hunter added that he named this foal Skylark because he heard Hoagie Carmichael singing the song "Skylark" on the car radio when Hunter was was driving to meet the new arrival.
A question regarding whether the appearance of Hunter's mare Swizzlestick in three of his early films earned the horse a SAG card lead to learning that she was better on screen than performing as a show jumper. The sad reason behind the latter was that she had an ovarian cyst.
The horse talk continued with asking Hunter if he had wanted to guest-star on the talking horse sitcom "Mister Ed." He replied that he did not but that he called a mare whose mouth went a mile a minute while eating her mid-day treat "Mrs. Ed."
The subject of horses also provide the first of several opportunities for Hunter to share a philosophy that can be considered horse sense. He noted that he thinks of working with a horse as "educating," rather than "training," him or her. He added that "shoveling shit" and doing other horse-related chores "was where I got a touch of reality in the unreal world" in which he found himself regarding his acting career.
The conversation turning to the mid-50s article in Confidential magazine that gave the documentary and the autobiography their name started with asking Hunter if he thought that the magazine would have written a completely false story about him if it had not learned of his arrest essentially for the "crime" of associating with homosexuals at a "limp-wristed pajama party." Hunter responded that he did not know.
Hunter then shared a little of the enormous amount of wisdom that his mother had imparted to him. That advice noted the importance of "accepting things as they are, not as I want them to be." Related wisdom was "don't pay attention to that, remember the masses are useless" in the context of tabloid journalism.
Reason for Coming Out When He Did
Asking Hunter about deciding the timing of deciding in the mid-2000s to write "Confidential" prompted more wonderful wisdom. He shared that Ellen DeGeneres told him during appearing on "Ellen" that someone else was planning to write a book outing him. The awesome Hunter response (which presumably he did not share on the air) was that he preferred that the public got the story "from the horse's mouth, not some horse's ass."
Hunter further stated that "what you are as a person (rather than as a label) is the most important thing.
The private nature of Hunter appeared again when asked for the secret of maintaining a more-than-30 year business and life partnership with "Confidential" producer Allan Glaser. He did not share information regarding their personal relationship and stated "I leave the film work to Allan," whom Hunter described as "a damn good filmmaker."
Hunter amended his answer in stating that he and Glaser worked together on the HILARIOUS 1985 Hunter film "Lust in the Dust." A very proud Hunter further volunteering that Glaser single-handed raised the money for "Dust" provided a clue regarding the love that remains strong much longer than most straight marriages.
Pure speculation that the dislike of Hunter both for labels and the despicable treatment (including a horrendously maliciously false report of animal lover Hunter beating his dog in the late '50s or early '60s) of him by the press is the reason for Hunter not marrying Glaser.
The response of Hunter to the question "what's next" prompted the Huntersque response "I don't know."
Hunter next shared his interest in making a film about the "beautiful love story" regarding blind Irish harpist Turlough O'Carolan. The Wikipedia entry on O'Carolan supports the conclusion of Hunter.
Great Knight Hunter
Hunter concluded our conversation only after the publicist who coordinated the interview validly pointed out that we had run quite a bit over time.
The concluding portion of this conversation with this (final apologies for one last label) chivalrous horseman involved Hunter thanking your humble reviewer to speaking with an actor he has adored since seeing him in the 1981 John Waters film "Polyester" and who considers the Hunter musical "Damn Yankees" one of his favorite films.
The natural response to the thanks of Hunter was that he had no reason to thank me and that I had every reason to be grateful to him. This reply (almost certainly with his trademark smile) was that "We should all be thankful.
Icarus Films chooses wisely regarding selecting the 2012 Chinese film "Three Sisters" for the return to its roots of distributing "innovative and provocative" documentaries after releasing several equally stimulating fictional foreign films, such as the Unreal TV reviewed pitch black "Heathers" style "Alena." "Sisters" hits real and virtual store shelves on June 13, 2017. One of many terrific things about this movie is that it achieves the documentary ideal of equally entertaining and educating the audience.
The nine major film festival awards, including several "Best Film" wins, reflect the compelling nature of director Wang Bing turning his camera on the titular siblings and allowing the audience to watch them surprisingly happily go about their impoverished daily lives sans narration and talking heads. Additional praise comes in the form of "Sisters" being a New York Times Critics' Pick.
Ten year-old YingYing is the surrogate mother to 6 year-old Zhenzhen, and the baby in every sense 4 year-old Fenfen. The actual mother is completely out of the picture, and Dad is in the city trying to earn money. A nearby aunt provides some support.
Watching these girls living alone on an isolated farm in 19th century conditions as if doing so if normal is more fascinating than anything from Hollywood in the past several years. One scene in which uncomplaining children collect dung in baskets with their bare hands makes you want to rip the video game console out of the hands of every spoiled brat in the Western world who refuses to clean his or her room and drag that ungrateful cur out to live in the garden shed for a weekend.
The roughly 2:30 run time and the 2.5 years of filming in "Sisters" provide a great deal of ground to cover. It starts well with an opening scene that perfectly introduces the concept of the documentary in a relatable manner. YingYing is getting everyone ready in the morning; Zhenzhen is picking on Fenfen. That meanness prompts Fenfen to cry, which requires that YingYing scold one sister and comfort the other.
Another relatable segment has YingYing have a schoolyard conflict and attend a typical Chinese-style class a short while later.
One of the more amusing moments relates to a baby goat misbehaving. Other memorable ones include Dad and his father discuss the former hiring a matchmaker to find him a new wife. Dad stating that he wants any potential mate to fully know what she is getting into contributes a fun "Seven Brides for Seven Brothers" element.
A scene in which Dad and the younger children board a bus provides a good sense of the bureaucracy of China; suffice it to say that this event fully illustrates the regimented style of life in that country.
Politics only directly comes into play once. The agenda of a meeting that Dad attends includes discussing the expansion of electric service. The gist is that the government is pursuing what seems to be a standard policy of benefiting the haves at the literal and figurative expenses of the have-nots.
The special feature includes a comprehensive 16-page booklet on both "Sisters" and Bing. The insights in an essay provides a strong "You Are There" sense.
The 36 minutes of bonus interviews in the recently released (and spectacularly produced) Blu-ray edition of (the Unreal TV reviewed) documentary "Tab Hunter Confidential" scream for this separate review. These additional comments by Hunter, several big stars/friends of the era, and other Hunter admirers can be considered the missing link between the theatrical version of "Confidential" and the Hunter biography of the same name. These people showing Hunter arguably even more love in the extra footage than they show in the film further validates that Hunter always being kind to both people and animals has its rewards.
Before getting to the primary topic du jour, the graciousness of Hunter deserves special mention. The documentary enhancing long-time regard for Hunter, his being very nice in an Unreal TV interview, and Hunter showing immense gratitude for the ongoing love for his film is behind a request for an autographed copy of the "Confidential" Blu-ray. Rather than ignore such requests or say "no," Hunter considerately has his PR rep. reply that Hunter either has to give all of us signed copies or none to any of us one. This makes the related disappointment very palpable.
Hunter himself remains the star of the show in the extra scenes, which approach the depth of the Hunter autobiography of the same name as the film. His numerous topics include more insight into his relationship with his challenging mother. telling his "where I was when Kennedy was shot" story, and great humor related to fellow teen idol (sorry Tab; I know that you HATE labels) Troy Donahue.
Other "Confidential" information that Hunter shares from the book relates to his first sexual encounter and his secret romance with Anthony Perkins.
Seeing uber-awesome film historian Robert Osborne throw in his two cents regarding lecherous Henry Wilson and his stable of hot young studs. Fellow Wilson stallion Robert Wagner (of the soon-to-be-reviewed 1967 caper film "Banning") shares his memories both of Wilson and of Wagner's deceased wife (and Hunter's very close friend) Natalie Wood.
Awesome gay rights poster boy George Takei shares his memory of being a young closeted man who learns of Hunter on seeing a shirtless photo of this blonde Adonis (sorry again, Tab) on the cover of a fan magazine. Seeing the eyes of Takei light up as he discusses subsequently rushing to see his first Hunter movie and watching every one that comes out (no pun intended boys) after that is terrific. Takei offers the true bonus of uttering his catchphrase.
Other household names who share memories of Tab in the bonus feature are Debbie Reynolds, John Waters, and "Lust in the Dust" co-star Lainie Kazan.
The only way to end this personal tribute to Hunter is to say that I casually know Tab Hunter and no one in Hollywood today is Tab Hunter. Thank YOU for your graciousness throughout the few months of my helping spread the word about your story and the kind and caring man underneath the oh-so-stunning packaging.
The Film Movement July 5, 2016 DVD release of the documentary "Imber's Left Hand" takes an aptly creative approach to the life story of 21st century Boston-area artist Jon Imber. One of may elements that sets this story apart from other biodocs of painters is that Imber developing progressively disabling ALS requires switching from painting with his right hand to using the titular appendage.
The numerous accolades for this film about a mensch whose likability matches (if not exceeds) his talent include Audience Awards at several Jewish film festivals.
The following YouTube clip of the extended trailer for "Imber's" nicely includes scenes from each portion of this true profile in courage (and humor).
The disturbing opening images of friends propping up an essentially limp Imber soon transition to images of a much healthier Imber 14 months earlier. He knows that he has ALS but is determined to live life to the fullest for as long as possible.
Filmmaker Richard Kane also illustrates the progression of the ALS through a montage of still images of paintings that show the deterioration of the motor skills of Imber. Ongoing interviews with Imber additionally document the course of the disease.
The most uplifting portion of "Imber" focuses on the final summer that he and longtime companion/fellow artist Jill Hoy spend in the artist community in Deer Island, Maine. They are much loved among their friends there, and the summer-long trip provides Imber a chance to continue his practice of showing his love for those near and dear to him by painting their portrait in his unique style. Imber also showing his earlier works includes a hilarious moment regarding great expectations for his (now very charming college student) son.
The most insightful look at the creative process relates to watching Imber paint with his left hand during what seems to be an early stage of his disease and decide that he prefers a landscape, rather than a portrait, orientation of the piece. In doing so, he displays the same humor that makes one mourn losing any chance of sitting down for a cup of coffee with him.
The comprehensive scope of "Imber's" further include the artistic and other memorable element of the childhood of this subject, discussion of his mentor, and the story of his adorable and sweet courtship of Hoy. For her part, Hoy is whom you would want by your side during any hardship.
The DVD extra consists of an uncut interview with Imber.
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