New Releases for the Week of June 28, 2019


ANNABELLE COMES HOME

(New Line) Patrick Wilson, Vera Farmiga, McKenna Grace, Madison Iseman, Katie Sarife, Steve Coulter, Michael Cimino. Directed by Gary Dauberman

Ed and Lorraine Warren, professional demonologists, have collected some dangerous artifacts over the years but none so perilous as the doll Annabelle. When a friend of their ten-year-old daughter releases the doll from her prison, she begins to reawaken the demonic spirits slumbering in those artifacts, leading to a night of incalculable horror.

See the trailer, clips and a video featurette here
For more on the movie this is the website
Genre: Horror
Now Playing: Wide Release
Rating: R (for horror violence and terror)

Article 15

(Zee) Ayushmann Khurrana, Isha Talwar, Kumud Mishra, Manoj Pahwa. An Indian police officer, raised mostly in Europe, struggles to reconcile the traditional caste system with his own values of right and wrong. This is based on actual events.

See the trailer and clips here
For more on the movie this is the website  
Genre: Drama
Now Playing: AMC West Oaks
Rating: NR

Echo in the Canyon

(Greenwich) Jakob Dylan, David Crosby, Roger McGuinn, Brian Wilson. From 1967 to 1969, rock music and pop culture would undergo a startling metamorphosis and the epicenter for it was a small community of musicians headquartered in Laurel Canyon in North Hollywood. This Florida Film Festival favorite celebrates the music and the musicians of the era with vintage clips and a tribute concert featuring modern artists influenced by the era. This was previously reviewed in Cinema365; you can read the review by clicking on the link below under “Scheduled For Review.”

See the trailer and video featurettes here
For more on the movie this is the website  
Genre: Musical Documentary
Now Playing: Enzian Theater
Rating: PG-13 (for drug references and suggestive content)

The Last Black Man in San Francisco

(A24) Jimmie Falls, Jonathan Majors, Tichina Arnold, Danny Glover. A young man dreams of reclaiming the beautiful Victorian home his grandfather built in the heart of San Francisco, but the City isn’t what he remembered it to be.

See the trailer here
For more on the movie this is the website  
Genre: Drama
Now Playing: Regal Winter Park Village
Rating: R (for language, brief nudity and drug use)

The Other Side of Heaven 2: Fire of Faith

(Good Deed) Christopher Gorham, Natalie Medlock, Russell Dixon, Joe Folau. A Mormon missionary returns to Tonga – this time with his family – only to face a crisis of faith when his son is born with a serious illness.

See the trailer here
For more on the movie this is the website  
Genre: Faith-Based Drama
Now Playing: Regal Pointe Orlando, Regal Winter Park Village, Rialto Spanish Springs Square
Rating: PG-13 (for some thematic material including violence)

Yesterday

(Universal) Himesh Patel, Lily James, Ed Sheeran, Kate McKinnon. A musician ready to give up on a career in music wakes up one morning after a bus accident during a mysterious global blackout to discover that nobody can remember the Beatles or their music. This leads him to an ethical dilemma as he takes the sure path to stardom.

See the trailer, clips, interviews, video featurettes and B-roll video here
For more on the movie this is the website  
Genre: Musical Fantasy
Now Playing: Wide Release
Rating: PG-13 (for suggestive content and language)

ALSO OPENING IN ORLANDO/DAYTONA:
Being Frank
Brochevarevavura
The Command (Kursk)
Framing John DeLorean
Holy Lands
Kalki
Ophelia
Rainbow’s Sunset

ALSO OPENING IN MIAMI/FT. LAUDERDALE:

Brochevarevavura
The Fall of the American Empire
Kalki

ALSO OPENING IN TAMPA/ST. PETERSBURG:

The Fall of the American Empire
Killers Anonymous
The Last Whistle

ALSO OPENING IN JACKSONVILLE/ST. AUGUSTINE:

Brochevarevavura
Kalki

SCHEDULED FOR REVIEW:

Annabelle Comes Home
Echo in the Canyon
Yesterday

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Echo in the Canyon


This concert is for the Byrds.

(2018) Music Documentary (GreenwichJakob Dylan, David Crosby, Roger McGuinn, Jackson Browne, Tom Petty, Beck, Michelle Phillips, Lou Adler, Stephen Stills, Eric Clapton, Ringo Starr, Brian Wilson, John Sebastian, Graham Nash, Fernando Pedromo, Regina Spektor, Cat Power, Matt Tecu, Norah Jones, Fiona Apple, Justine Bennett, Jade Castrinos. Directed by Andrew Slater

One of the mysteries of music is how often it coalesces in a single location – Liverpool and Greenwich village in the early 60s, Minneapolis in the 80s, Seattle and Manchester in the 90s – where all the right conditions of talent and opportunity create a marvelously creative Petri dish that gives birth to a new sound, reinvigorating the now 60 year old hoary beast that is rock music.

For an astonishingly narrow era – 1965 to 1967 – one such place was in Southern California and specifically, Laurel Canyon. Today the Canyon is a tony mixture of trendy hipsters and wealthy consumers that frequent coffee houses and boutiques at the base of the Canyon. Back then, however, it was a musician’s colony and bands like the Byrds, the Mamas and the Papas, Buffalo Springfield and even the Beach Boys (who were already big stars dating back to the surf era) were headquartered there. They would hang out at each other’s houses, share meals and drugs as well as play stuff they were working on for each other. The cross-pollination of the music that started with the Byrds’ foray into electric folk – which came to influence Folkie Number One Bob Dylan himself – and changed pop music forever, paving the way for seminal albums like Pet Sounds and Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band.

Dylan’s progeny Jakob, himself a rock star with the Wallflowers, undertook the documentation of that scene after watching a French film called The Model Shop that starred Canadian actor Gary Lockwood as a Vietnam draftee wandering around L.A. and taking up with a French model who was trying to get back home to Paris. He started out interviewing the movers and shakers of the scene – David Crosby and Roger McGuinn of the Byrds, Stephen Stills of Buffalo Springfield, Michelle Phillips of the Mamas and the Papas and Brian Wilson of the Beach Boys. He also spoke with some of those who were heavily influenced by the so-called California Sound – Eric Clapton (then of Cream), Ringo Starr of the Beatles, John Sebastian of the Lovin’ Spoonful, Jackson Browne and Tom Petty in one of his final interviews before his untimely death in 2017.

This is a movie that had to be made now as most of those musicians from back then are in their 70s and 80s and so many of those who shaped that scene are no longer with us. Director Andrew Slater – a former music journalist and CEO of Capitol Records – peppers the soundtrack with some of the most amazing music of any era, showing off close harmonies, and the simple yet unforgettable sound of a well-played 12-string Rickenbacker.

Dylan would organize a tribute concert in 2015 at Los Angeles’ Orpheum Theater in which contemporary stars like Beck, Fiona Apple and Regina Spektor played the hit songs of that era. Rehearsal footage and concert footage of the upstarts playing the iconic music of their predecessors illustrates how timeless that music remains.

My only real problem with the movie is that you begin to wonder if this is a labor of ego more than a labor of love. Dylan conducts all the interviews and is often nodding sagely at the remarks of his subjects. He is front and center at the tribute concert and much of the time the camera is focused on him. Dylan’s career has hit a plateau of sorts and one wonders if this isn’t a means for him to re-energize it. A little less Jakob Dylan and a lot more anecdotes from the original musicians would have been much more appreciated. Also, the film focuses on the more successful bands of the era. There were plenty of other bands in the Laurel Canyon scene whose music could have also been shared. Strangely, the Doors – who also lived in the Canyon – are not mentioned at all. I suppose their music wasn’t folk enough to mix with the ethos Slater and Dylan are creating here.

The movie’s demarcation point is Neil Young’s decision to leave Buffalo Springfield in 1967 which would see Crosby follow suit. Just two years later the innocence of the era would be cruelly shattered when a group of cultists went to the home of actress Sharon Tate in neighboring Benedict Canyon and brought the Sixties crashing to a halt. Still, the music that came before those grisly events remains and continue to influence artists to this day. The contributions of those who made it deserve to be properly acclaimed and recognized for what it was – the beginning of real innovation in rock and roll.

REASONS TO SEE: The music is, of course, fantastic. The stories that the musicians tell are mainly more compelling than the rehearsal and concert footage.
REASONS TO AVOID: At times feels more like a labor of ego than a labor of love.
FAMILY VALUES: There are some drug references, sexual references and a bit of profanity.
TRIVIAL PURSUIT: Clips from the 1969 movie Model Shop were used to add a sense of what it was like in Laurel Canyon and Los Angeles in the late Sixties.
CRITICAL MASS: As of 5/24/19: Rotten Tomatoes: 100% positive reviews: Metacritic: 78/100.
COMPARISON SHOPPING: Concert for George
FINAL RATING: 8/10
NEXT:
Little Woods

Pick of the Litter – May 2019


BLOCKBUSTER OF THE MONTH

Godzilla: King of Monsters

(Warner Brothers) Millie Bobby Brown, Vera Farmiga, Charles Dance, Sally Hawkins The awakening of Godzilla has led to a return of other titans, many thought to be myth. Rodan, Mothra and King Ghidoreh all vie for supremacy opposed by the mighty Godzilla with the fate of the human race hanging in the balance. May 31

INDEPENDENT PICKS

Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile

(Netflix) Zac Efron, Lily Collins, Angela Sarafyan, John Malkovich. The story of notorious serial killer Ted Bundy as seen through the eyes of his girlfriend Liz Kendall. This was one of the big pick-ups at this year’s Sundance and it also played Tribeca this past month. May 3

Non-Fiction

(Sundance Selects) Guillaume Canet, Juliette Binoche, Vincent Macaigne, Christa Thėret. A Parisian author details his marital infidelities in a new book in an effort to re-energize his career, including an affair with the actress wife of his editor. The French excel at sexy comedies and this bright and breezy concoction is directed by Olivier Assayas, one of the finest directors working in France currently. May 3

Ask Dr. Ruth

(Magnolia/Hulu) Dr. Ruth K. Westheimer. In the 1980s, a tiny German woman, a survivor of the Holocaust, became a household name because she spoke frankly and openly about all things sexual. She essentially became America’s sex education teacher, letting people know it was okay to ask questions about such a natural yet taboo act. Even today when she is in her 90s, Dr. Ruth remains first and foremost an educator, preaching the gospel of good sex. May 3

Tolkien

(Fox Searchlight) Nicholas Hoult, Lily Collins, Colm Meaney, Derek Jacobi. Author J.R.R. Tolkien changed literature and indeed the entire world with his tales of Middle Earth. This film explores his formative years as the orphaned outcast makes a fast group of friends in school, then undergoes the horrors of the First World War that would later inform his work. May 10

The Professor and the Madman

(Vertical) Mel Gibson, Sean Penn, Natalie Dormer, Ioan Gruffud. The compiling of the Oxford English Dictionary was a mammoth job that many felt was impossible; the language was changing at a faster rate than the researchers could keep up with. Salvation though came from an unlikely source; an inmate at the Broadmoor Prison for the Criminally Insane. May 10

The Serengeti Rules

(Abramorama) Greg Kriek, Ashlyn Jade Lopez, Jonathan Newport, Mary Power. In the 1960s, a group of scientists set out into some of the most remote places on Earth to examine how nature works. Their discoveries turned our understanding of ecology upside down and may hold the key to saving our planet in the wake of climate change. May 10

Mosul

(Gravitas Ventures) Ali Mula, Anouar H. Smaine. The incredible story of local militias, international forces and uneasy allies who banded together to liberate Mosul, Iraq’s second-largest city of over a million people, from the clutches of ISIS amidst rumors of sectarian violence among the ranks. May 14

Trial by Fire

(Roadside Attractions) Jack O’Connell, Laura Dern, Emily Meade, Jason Douglas. Cameron Todd Willingham is accused of the most heinous crime imaginable; of deliberately setting his house on fire and burning his three daughters alive inside of it. He proclaims his innocence but the forensic evidence points to his guilt, so he’s convicted and sentenced to death. Nobody believes his protestations until he befriends a writer who begins to suspect that the evidence might not be pointing in the right direction. May 17

Echo in the Canyon

(Greenwich) Jakob Dylan, David Crosby, Jackson Browne, Michelle Phillips. In the 1960s a group of musicians found a home in Laurel Canyon near Los Angeles. The music that they made would change the direction of rock music forever, influencing even the Beatles themselves. This played the Florida Film Festival in April. May 24

Funny Story

(Blue Fox) Matthew Glave, Emily Bett Rickards, Jana Winternitz, Reginald VelJohnson. A dad in the midst of a raging midlife crisis decides to reconnect with his estranged daughter by visiting her at her Big Sur cabin. Along the way there he offers a ride to a young woman in the midst of a crisis of her own and ends up bonding with her in ways that will upset the lives of everyone around them. May 24

Deadwood: The Movie

(HBO) Timothy Olyphant, Ian McShane, Kim Dickens, Brad Dourif. The critically acclaimed revisionist Western returns in a movie that brings back together the denizens of Deadwood, Montana as a corrupt senator seeks to take over the town.. May 31

Free Trip to Egypt

(Kindness) Adam Saleh, Ahmed Hassan, Jenna Day, Tarek Mounib. An Egyptian-American seeks out random Americans who harbor a fear of Islam and offers them a free trip to Egypt to get a better understanding of the people who live there. May 31