I did something a little different this week on my “Movies” list for The Chris Vernon Show. Rather than do five video recommendations based on something new in theaters, I previewed the five fall releases I'm most anticipating.
This list is restricted to titles opening in September, October, and the first two weeks of November. I'll come back before Thanksgiving with a separate holiday-season preview.
5. Seven Psychopaths (October 12): Writer-director Martin McDonagh earned a huge cult following for his 2008 debut In Bruges, a dark comedy about a couple of assassins stuck in the title city. This follow-up tracks a gang of oddballs caught up in the Los Angeles criminal underworld. With Colin Farrell, Sam Rockwell, Woody Harrelson, and Christopher Walken, among others.
Tomorrow night (Wednesday, August 29) the Hi-Tone Cafe offers an intriguing mid-week bill, as Connecticut indie-rockers Mercies join forces with a pair of promising local acts, the Sultana and Among the Cranes.
Mercies is currently touring in support of a debut album called Three Thousand Days, which was recorded in a restored barn that serves as a homebase of sorts for the group. Here's a clip of the lads playing live in "the Barn":
This week's “Movies” list, broadcast yesterday on The Chris Vernon Show, is inspired by current box-office champ The Expendables 2, in which a multi-generational cast of action “icons” blow a bunch of stuff up — or something like that, I haven't seen it.
But it gives me an excuse to recognize cinema's finest action teams:
5. Team America: World Police (2004): South Park creators Matt Stone and Trey Parker's flagrant puppet satire on American militarism, celebrity culture, ridiculous foreign dictators, and whatever else you've got.
Are you excited like we’re excited? You know how football people don't shut up about football even when it's the off-season? That's how we are about the Oscars.
It would be foolish to try to predict what the 2013 Best Picture nominees will be, especially since it’s likely most of the films that make the cut haven’t even been released yet. Maybe Oscar bait like Steven Spielberg's Lincoln will actually be un-nominatable crap.
But since when did foolishness stop us?
So here's our annual exercise in early award-predicting.
The prediction of nominees goes 10 deep, but there's no way to know if the real final nominee list will include as many as 10; could include as few as 5.
2013 Best Picture Oscar Nominee Predictions 1.0 (In order of certainty):
After more than a decade on the road and in the studio, local rockers Lucero today debuted their first ever band-created video, for the title track of the band's current album, Women & Work.
The clip was directed by Ardent's Jonathan Pekar and was shot earlier this year in Mississippi. It captures a backwoods bacchanalia that features moonshine, mud, roller derby, water-based hijinks, many scantily clad ladies (including one doing a muddy-water version of some classic Phoebe Cates), and the symbol-laden destruction of the band's tour van.
Check it out:
After an unexpected 8-month hiatus, the Nothing To See Here podcast returns to the interwebs this week with a brand new home - the Shut Up And Listen network - and a dynamite first guest, actor/comedian (and Memphis native) Chris Parnell.
NTSH creator/host Kirk Rawlings spoke to the Flyer this week about re-launching the podcast and more.
Memphis Flyer: Tell me how the idea for doing this podcast started.
Rawlings: Two years ago I got heavily into podcasting as a listener. I had a new job sitting on my ass in a cubicle all day so I needed something to kill time after having gone thru all my music. They were pretty great on many levels. They helped kill the time, but they helped in a lot of other unexpected ways. It was refreshing to hear people be themselves instead of some stuffed version for radio, television, or print. So, I wanted to try it.
The landmark hip-hop and graffiti documentary Style Wars screens at the Brooks Museum of Art tonight, with co-director and graffiti chronicler Henry Chalfont on hand to address the crowd. Pre-film festivities, which start at 6 p.m., will include a break-dancing exhibition and Hot 107's DJ Superman on the wheels of steel.
For more on the film, see our review.
Here's a taste:
This week's “Movies” list topic for the Chris Vernon Show is very similar to last week's: What can I do? Summer is all about action movies.
Last week was “Man on the Run,” based on the remake of Total Recall. This week, the theme doubles up for “Lovers on the Lam,” based on current box-office leader The Bourne Legacy, where Jeremy Renner and Rachel Weisz are on the run together. (Okay, they aren't lovers — yet.)
I usually try to throw the radio audience a bone and have at least one or two semi-recent films on the list. I strongly considered the current Moonrise Kingdom, but with five unassailable classics of the genre all pre-dating the Carter Administration, that just wasn't possible here:
5. Gun Crazy (1950): Classic “B” movie sometimes known as Deadly is the Female. Directed by Joseph Lewis and starring John Dall and Peggy Cummins as a married couple who go on a wild crime spree, in which the wife, an Annie Oakley-style shooting ace, turns out to be the most dangerous and aggressive part of the team. A technical marvel considering the budget, full of superb long takes.
Memphis-bred filmmaker Ira Sachs (The Delta, Forty Shades of Blue, Married Life) has returned this year with his fourth feature, Keep the Lights On, a decade-spanning love story that also deals with drug addiction.
The feature, which Sachs co-wrote with Mauricio Zacharias, has done well on the festival circuit, debuting to strong notices at the Sundance Film Festival in January, winning the Teddy Award as best LGBT-themed feature at the Berlin International Film Festival in February, and winning the Grand Jury Award for Outstanding U.S. Dramatic feature last month at Outfest, the Los Angeles Gay and Lesbian Film Festival.
Keep the Lights On begins a theatrical run on September 7th via Music Box Films. Though the schedule has not been confirmed, look for the film — and Sachs — to be in Memphis for the Indie Memphis Film Festival in early November, where it will likely screen as part of a retrospective of Sachs' work.
Learn more about the film here.
Train is coming to Mud Island Amphitheatre on Wednesday, September 12th, with Mat Kearney and special guest Andy Grammer and we've got tickets.
We're giving away a pair of tickets each week on Friday. You can enter as many times as you like and winners will be notified via email. Good luck!
I’m not much of a sports fan, but I love the Olympics. I know, I know —the International Olympic Committee is a bloated, corrupt institution; the amateur athletics label is outdated and hypocritical; it can royally suck to live in a city where the games are being held, and all the cool kids are watching NBA basketball. But I don’t care. The Olympic games are awesome. They are a celebration of humanity at its finest. The Olympic motto Citius, Altius, Fortius—Faster, Higher Stronger—is as pure a distillation of the Enlightenment ideal as has ever been written. And even though the games are rife with nationalism, the gathering of our disparate tribes to compete with each other inevitably leads to the conclusion that humanity is all one big tribe, as the sportsmanship of the athletes surface to show that our commonalities clearly outweigh our differences.
As an Olympic fanboy, I was naturally excited as the 2012 London games approached. I believe it’s important to have goals, so, inspired by the Olympian ideal and given my current state of underemployment, I decided that this time around, I would watch ALL of the games. Of course, that’s pretty much impossible, given that there are 26 sports divided into 39 individual disciplines. So I refined my goal. I would watch at least one game-unit of each sport. Given that NBC was devoting 16 hours a day of their airtime on four different TV stations and streaming the entire games live on the internet, surely this would be possible. And if Michael Phelps could devote most of his life to his attempt to become the greatest Olympic athlete of all time, devoting a couple of weeks of my time on the couch with the iPad and cable TV was the least I could do, right?
I got started a day before the opening ceremonies when I accidentally caught a soccer game while trying to figure out exactly which channels I would be frequenting over the course of the Olympics. Its seems that the soccer tournament has to start early in order to fit a complete tournament in before the closing ceremonies. I filled in my first two entries in my Olympic journal: Men’s and Women’s Soccer. Cool, I thought. I have a head start!
5. Minority Report (2002): Like Total Recall, this futuristic man-on-the-run film is based on a Philip K. Dick story. Directed by Steven Spielberg, this one stars Tom Cruise as a cop who arrests people for future crimes they might not even know they're going to commit, until he finds himself implicated and on the lam. I'm not sure how great the mystery plotting is — I don't remember it very well, at least — but the action pacing and futuristic visual design are first-rate.
Memphis electronic-rock band Fast Planet made their live debut only a couple of months ago, but the video for the band's single “Lost” is already in the mix for a potential rotation spot on MTVu.
The video is among five “freshmen” spots competing in an online vote that's open now and closes on August 17th.
You can vote here.
The video was directed by local filmmaker Matt Weatherly and won the Audience Award at Live From Memphis' last Video Music Showcase this spring.
Here's the clip:
For this week's “Movies” List, which I first counted down this afternoon on The Chris Vernon Show, I did the best films featuring lead performances by young children. This topic is based on the indie sensation Beasts of the Southern Wild, which opened in Memphis last week (my review here) and which boasts a very strong central performance from Quvenshané Wallis.
Wallis was five or six years old when Beasts was filmed, so, with that in mind, I limited myself here to performers who were 10 or younger when the movies were shot. Middle-schoolers and teens can have their day another time.
5. Ponette (1996): Four-year-old Victoire Thivisol plays the title role as a girl trying to make sense of her mother's death through her interactions with her father, her aunt, her young cousins, and her school mates. I haven't seen this since it's 1996 release, so I'm not sure how well it holds up, but I remember it as an unusual, wrenching, but non-exploitative experience.