It’s summer blockbuster movie season, but for those of us interested in eschewing loud spectacles in favor of the smaller cinematic wonders, I’d like to recommend A Band Called Death for the top of your must-see list. In theaters on June 28, but available via iTunes VOD on May 24, the documentary tells the story of three teenage brothers—Bobby, David, and Dannis Hackney—from Detroit, Michigan, making punk rock before there was definable punk in the USA. Not only was this trio of misfits making killer original music at a time when disco and Motown were each having their respective moments, they were blasting the typical labels placed on artists at that time. And even though they disbanded before finishing their first album, going so far as to lock up their master tapes in an attic, they have since gone on to acquire the most unique semi-posthumous fame.
Let’s do launch! This week we’re serving up an intergalactic adventure from 1968 care of the hotel chain Howard Johnson, which gives a child friendly look at the film 2001: A Space Odyssey. John Sisson, on his blog Dreams of Space, recently scanned in a menu and comic book which was released by HoJo as a promotional tie-in, featuring iconic moments from the film.
Thoughtful filmmakers intent on making engaging experimental films in today’s cinematic climate are fearless. Only a handful of filmmakers, able to uncover the balance between formal abstraction and narrative fluff, succeed in making films that are a cut above the rest. Harmony Korine of course rules this utopia, as does David Lynch, Michel Gondry and to a certain extent Terrance Malick, with his rapturous depiction of regeneration. Hopefully, Shane Carruth, the writer, director and star, of his second film Upstream Color, will become the newest, most promising member of this crew.
If I were to take a guess as to what the next big fad in movies might be, I think I’d put my money on space. Last week saw the debut of two new trailers for films set in space, one which looks good, and one which looks extraordinary.
I am not a surfer but have always loved the sport. I remember watching and discussing movies like North Shore, Surf Ninjas, The Endless Summer, and Point Break with my fellow desert landlocked friends who pretended skateboards on cement were surfboards on waves. And I remember how exciting it was seeing girl surfers represented in films like Gidget and later Blue Crush. But aside from the plethora of documentaries like Step into Liquid and Riding Giants, I never realized just how many surf films were being made by independent filmmakers, enthusiasts, and devotees of the sport. Nathan Oldfield is one such filmmaker, and his cinematic vision of surfing and the lifestyle surrounding it is remarkable.