If you have an hour to spare this holiday weekend, please allow us to suggest David Bowie and the Story of Ziggy Stardust, a wonderful recent BBC4 documentary on everyone’s favorite alter ego. Narrator Jarvis Cocker begins in appropriately heavy terms, booming out, “Forty years ago, in millions of living rooms across the British Isles, a strange alien creature was beamed onto our television screens. With bright red hair and multi-colored space suit, his unearthly appearance shocked the nation. But for many teenagers who experienced this televisual visitation, it would change their lives forever… Music on Planet Earth would never be the same again.” We can’t argue with that. Click through to watch the documentary, with talking head appearances by everyone from Elton John to the remaining Spiders from Mars. … Read More
Screamin’ Jay Hawkins, the bizarre shock rocker known for his insane on-stage theatrics and powerful, guttural roarings, also happened to pen one of our favorite love songs of all time, the freaky 1956 sleeper hit “I Put a Spell On You.” But since we can never get enough of Hawkins, we were psyched when Dangerous Minds clued us into a terrific documentary on the musician entitled I Put A Spell On Me, directed by Nicholas Triandafyllidis and shot during Hawkins’ tour of Greece. As Dangerous Minds points out, it’s difficult to believe that only four months after this concert footage was shot, the 70-year-old Hawkins would die of a heart attack. Featuring Jim Jarmusch, Bo Diddley and Eric Burdon, as well as tons of one-on-one time (and philosophical musings) from the man himself. A pretty good use for any lazy Sunday afternoon, we think. … Read More
Well kids, summer blockbuster is in full swing, and though we love a good blow-’em-up as much as the next moviegoer, it’s easy — particularly in this season — to overlook the smaller and more challenging flicks that are rolling into your local multiplexes and arthouses. So it’s time for another installment in our new monthly feature here at Flavorwire, where we take a look at some of the exciting indies of the month to a come, and a few smaller titles from previous weeks that you might’ve missed. Check them out after the jump! … Read More
Every Friday here at Flavorwire, we like to gather up the week’s new movie trailers, give them a look-see, and rank them from worst to best — while taking a guess or two about what they might tell us (or hide from us) about the movies they’re promoting. It’s a bit of a light batch after last week’s Cannes-fueled riches, but we’ve got new titles from Anne Hathaway, Robert DeNiro, Bruce Willis, Russell Crowe, Sigourney Weaver, Hugh Jackman, and Catherine Zeta Jones, as well as a Cannes winner and one of our favorite docs of the year. Check ‘em all out after the jump, and share your thoughts in the comments. … Read More
Back in February we reported that Foo Fighters’ frontman Dave Grohl would be producing an FX sitcom about a troubled band trying to keep it together while on the verge of becoming famous. While we wait to hear an update on the TV comedy project, Ain’t It Cool delivered more news about Grohl’s offstage career.
It looks like he’ll be directing and producing a feature-length documentary called Sound City — which we heard chatter about not that long ago — centering on the legendary Van Nuys, California recording studio. He conceived of the project after buying a Neve 8028 recording console — built in 1972 — from Sound City last year. For those unfamiliar with the famous device, a press release describes it as the “crown jewel of analog recording equipment,” having been used by many musical legends over the past 40 years. Grohl’s connection to Sound City really began with the 1991 recording of Nirvana’s Nevermind, however. The film will take a look at the studio’s history via interviews with the artists that spent time there, and hopes to “discuss the human element of music in an age of technology, and feature performances from many of the artists that called it ‘home.’”
Grohl wrote a letter to fans sharing more about his personal connection to the doc, calling Sound City “America’s greatest unsung recording studio … home to a special few, intent on preserving an idea.” Read the rest of the letter, and watch a trailer teaser past the break. Grohl hopes to release the film early next year. … Read More
Thank God, the joke is finally over. On Sunday, the Tribeca Film Festival premiered Francophrenia (Or Don’t Kill Me, I Know Where the Baby Is), actor/artist/writer/student/whatever James Franco’s look at his stint on General Hospital, as seen through a prism of navel-gazing and self-conscious artiness. It’s a bad film, pretentious and irritating, mistaking preening for candor and self-indulgence for insight. But it’s more than that. Arriving when it does — a good year-plus after our Franco saturation point — it’s like looking at a shameful old yearbook, where you can’t believe that you used to do your hair like that, or wear that sweater-vest. We used to care about this?
The film was shot entirely on the evening of June 24, 2010, as Franco made the final episode of his General Hospital arc at a staged event at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles. “The episode was never completed,” the opening crawl insists, ominously. (That’s false, by the way.) On the show, he was playing a deranged artist named “Franco” (presumably so he could adopt the habit, in interviews, of referring to himself in the third person); the episode concerned the opening of “Franco”’s big art show, which was happening simultaneously with a kidnapping or something back at the GH. Roughly the first half of the film is comprised of Franco going to the shoot, getting into hair and makeup, having awkward conversations with fans (“I love your signature!”), and wandering around in his tux. It’s all walking and waiting; the camera holds on Franco’s face, often in dead silence, looking intense. It’s a voyeur’s dream — the movie basically consists of the opportunity to stare at a celebrity for 78 minutes. … Read More
Disney’s forgettable 2000 film The Emperor’s New Groove came with a lot of baggage. Originally titled Kingdom of the Sun, inspired by The Prince and the Pauper, and directed by Roger Allers, it was completely overhauled midway through production. Allers quit, the script was rewritten, and Sting — who had already recorded several tracks tailored to the movie — was told that his songs had been cut. Meanwhile, Sting’s wife, Trudie Styler, had been following the production for a making-of feature that was intended to be a DVD extra. Styler documented the project’s devolution into chaos, portraying a pair of Disney executives as the main villains. Of course, Sweatbox, which premiered at the Toronto Film Festival, never saw release alongside The Emperor’s New Groove or otherwise, because Disney owns the rights to it. The full, 95-minute version has, however, appeared on YouTube and is bound to make fascinating viewing for those who are curious about how their Mickey Mouse sausage gets made. … Read More
Legendary LA graffiti artist Tony “TEMPT 1″ Quan was diagnosed with Lou Gehrig’s Disease back in 2003. Today, the degenerative nerve disorder has left him unable to move, speak, or breathe on his own. But thanks to a pair of seriously souped-up sunglasses (and some teamwork by an international crew of artists, tech geeks, and hackers) TEMPT is still creating new art — using a gadget now known as the Eyewriter. “Our writing culture was born of making something from nothing,” he explains. “I lay in bed exploding with ideas… that’s when I knew that I wasn’t done yet.” Click through to watch the trailer for Getting Up, an inspiring new film by TEMPT’s wife, Caskey Ebeling, which documents her husband’s incredible journey and had its world premiere at Slamdance earlier this month, where it won the Audience Award for Feature Documentary. … Read More
Hey there, film lover. How’s your January? I know, I know, not much in the way of new movies worth seeing this month, what with January being the Hollywood dumping ground and all. How’s about just staying in and streaming some Netflix? What’s that? You dropped your subscription because they raised the price by five bucks? Way to take a stand! Okay, so, go hit the Redbox. Yeah, you’re right, it’s pretty cold out. No need to bundle up and head all the way over to the Walgreens, only to go find that they’re all out of Fast Five. So what now?
Well, come to find out, your old pal YouTube has a surprisingly excellent collection of feature-length flicks streaming for the bargain price of zero dollars. I know, right? And, sure, a lot of them are junk, or the same public-domain titles that have been turning up on bargain DVDs at the Dollar Tree for years now. But there are some gems in there, and (being a service-oriented organization), we’ve sifted through their offerings to find the best of the bunch. Check ‘em out after the jump. … Read More