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Thursday, February 14, 2013

DVD+Digital: Game of Thrones, 30 Rock and TV binge watching

Posted By on Thu, Feb 14, 2013 at 12:28 PM

courtesy of HBO Home Entertainment In the days before DVD/VHS, Netflix and endless online options — back when we had a little sanity left — TV binge watching was confined to weekend basic cable marathons. If you wanted to see all the episodes of a particular show in sequence, this was your sole option. Only the most dedicated souls braved those 24- and 48-hour endurance trials. I tried it once, years ago, with David Lynch's serial freakout Twin Peaks. Like an idiot I went in without a game plan or any training regimen at all. Amateur move. By Episode 15,...

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Thursday, February 7, 2013

DVD+Digital: Denzel Washington, DVD extras and Flight

Posted By on Thu, Feb 7, 2013 at 11:12 AM

courtesy of Paramount Pictures After nearly a decade of experimentation with motion-capture animation, director Robert Zemeckis returned to live action filmmaking last fall with Flight, starring Denzel Washington. The film tells the story of commercial airline pilot Whip Whitaker, who must confront his demons after crash landing a airliner while drunk on vodka and high on cocaine. (You can read Neil Morris' full review here.) Flight is a fascinating piece of filmmaking and a kind of stealthy movie business maneuver. The marketing and advance trailers for Flight highlighted the film's boffo action sequence — the plane crash — and the...

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Wednesday, January 30, 2013

DVD+Digital: Colors, shadows and Tales of the Night

Posted By on Wed, Jan 30, 2013 at 4:18 PM

courtesy of Cinedigm In recent years, I've become fascinated with animated foreign films for kids. There's so much good stuff out there — some recent examples include The Secret of Kells (Ireland), Chico & Rita (Spain), A Cat in Paris (France) and Ponyo (Japan). These are movies you're unlikely to see in theaters, so you have to track them down on DVD, Blu-ray or digital download. While I certainly appreciate the artfulness of these films — each has earned various world cinema awards — I have very practical reasons for keeping them on the shelf. I have two young kids...

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Thursday, January 24, 2013

DVD+Digital: South Central, found footage and End of Watch

Posted By on Thu, Jan 24, 2013 at 4:01 PM

courtesy of Universal Pictures End of Watch — the intense police drama new to DVD, Blu-ray and digital this week — truly is a different kind of cop movie. I know, I know. They all say that. But director David Ayer (writer of Training Day) executes an interesting game plan here and gets big results by going small. He narrows the focus radically by following two L.A. cops and their day-to-day experiences in a notorious South Central neighborhood. Jake Gyllenhaal headlines as Brian Taylor, a young patrolman for whom the term "gung-ho" was apparently invented. As stated in the film's...

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Wednesday, January 16, 2013

DVD+Digital: Distance, despair and Detropia

Posted By on Wed, Jan 16, 2013 at 1:01 PM

courtesy of Docudrama Films Family lore holds that my mom and dad met as teenagers during Detroit's heyday in the 1950s, when the Motor City was an enviable American metropolis. Mom worked at a diner downtown. Dad raced hot rods up Telegraph Road. She calmed his ass down and we settled in the suburbs, six blocks from Detroit's famous 8 Mile Road. My dad worked as a truck driver in the city for the next 40 years, often shuttling parts between auto plants. A dedicated union man, he clocked overtime pretty much every day and made enough money so that...

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Thursday, January 10, 2013

Closing Sunday at NC Museum of Art: Project 35: Volume II

Posted By on Thu, Jan 10, 2013 at 5:48 PM

NC Museum of Art"Despair" by Stephen SutcliffePROJECT 35 — Volume IINorth Carolina Museum of ArtPart II closes Jan. 13Part III Jan. 20-March 24Part IV April 2—June 2 Heading: Return to the Small Dark RoomSub-heading: In which our itinerant arts writer catches the second installment of NCMA’s global video festival at the last possible moment --> When it comes to good art, sometimes late is better than never. In August of last year I wrote about Volume I of Project 35, Independent Curators International (ICI)’s collection of new video works, 35 artists chosen by 35 curators from all over the globe,...

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Wednesday, January 9, 2013

UNC School of the Arts graduate Craig Zobel gets under your skin with Compliance, now out on DVD

Posted By on Wed, Jan 9, 2013 at 11:42 AM

Photo by Ben EngebrethCraig ZobelIt’s not every Hollywood résumé that includes multiple Southern art films, a flash animation about a tiny Luchador and an award-winning feature about an interrogation in the back room of a fast-food restaurant, but UNC School of the Arts graduate Craig Zobel is not your typical filmmaker—and his latest film Compliance, which hit DVD this week, is anything but your typical film. In its premiere at last year’s Sundance Film Festival, Compliance proved one of the most controversial films there, prompting multiple walkouts in its initial screening. And last month, INDY Week's Neil Morris called it...

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Tuesday, July 3, 2012

DVD+Digital: It's indie quirk madness with Jesus Henry Christ

Posted By on Tue, Jul 3, 2012 at 12:30 PM

courtesy of Entertainment One The Fourth of July holiday is traditionally a slow week for DVD releases. Studios and distributors assume everyone is out grilling or watching fireworks, and not interested in home videos. I'm what you call an indoorsy person, though, and so have dutifully gone through this week's slim pickings. JESUS HENRY CHRIST is an indie comedy in the Little Miss Sunshine vein, featuring eccentric family relations, flamboyantly dark humor and precocious little kids. It's quirk overkill, frankly, and painfully self-conscious. But if you can get past all the conspicuous indie-ness, you'll find a sweet minor-key comedy with...

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Tuesday, June 12, 2012

DVD+Digital: Suicide solutions as Harold and Maude gets the Criterion treatment

Posted By on Tue, Jun 12, 2012 at 10:30 AM

Paramount Pictures The original indie quirk movie, director Hal Ashby's HAROLD AND MAUDE has been re-issued this week on DVD and Blu-ray by the Criterion Collection, whose boutique home video releases are little artifacts of film goodness in and of themselves. The special edition features new digital restoration, a remastered soundtrack and a booklet of archival interviews and essays. Watching the movie again for the first time in 20 years, I must admit my first thought was, “Hey! Wes Anderson made a movie in 1971!” Anderson has long acknowledged Ashby as an influence, but the connection is never more conspicuous...

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Tuesday, June 5, 2012

DVD+Digital: Machine Gun Preacher and Curb Your Enthusiasm

Posted By on Tue, Jun 5, 2012 at 10:14 AM

20th Century Fox Home Entertainment One of the great joys of home video is inducing cognitive dissonance by scheduling an ambitious double feature night. Pick the right two films, and you can work alchemical wonders in your own mind. I was once talked into a Halloween double feature bill of Monsters, Inc. and The Exorcist. My dreams that night put me on medication for the next three years. Still, it's good fun. This week's Cognitive Dissonance Double Feature begins with MACHINE GUN PREACHER, among the stranger movies to see semi-wide theatrical release last year. Despite the title, this is no...

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Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Baby steps: Learning to love anime at Animazement

Posted By on Tue, May 29, 2012 at 4:32 PM

File photo by Jeremy M. LangeThe scene at the 2010 Animazement conventionStuck in the doorway outside the Raleigh Convention Center on a rainy Sunday, I'm at least treated to the spectacle of a small army of middle school-to-college-aged individuals communing in makeup, corsets and the odd Pokemon hat. It's the last day of Animazement, the popular Raleigh event that attracts thousands of fans of Japanese animation or "anime," and I'm on a mission—to join in on their fandom. Anime represents a blind spot in my nerdity, but its sense of community and wide variety of colorful series have long piqued...

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DVD+Digital: Ralph Fiennes' violent, modern version of Shakespeare's Coriolanus

Posted By on Tue, May 29, 2012 at 3:03 PM

Larry D. Horricks/ The Weinstein Company In the rather startling CORIOLANUS, new to DVD, Blu-ray and standard digital platforms this week, actor-turned-director Ralph Fiennes smuggles an obscure Shakespeare tragedy into the contemporary war movie genre. Epic and bloody, Coriolanus tells the tale of Caius Martius (Fiennes), a fierce military general in “a place calling itself Rome.” In the Bard's original play, Rome is actually Rome (and Martius a historical Roman general). In Fiennes' update, though, Rome is a depressingly modern and familiar sight: a city in the midst of war, coming apart at the seams. Time and place are deliberately...

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Wednesday, May 23, 2012

DVD+Digital: Perfect Sense

Posted By on Wed, May 23, 2012 at 11:26 AM

Photo by Neil Davidson/ IFC FilmsGood science fiction premises are hard to come by. It's just math, really. Ever since Mary Shelley kicked it all off with Frankenstein, countless authors and screenwriters have mapped the terrain of speculative fiction—examining issues, projecting trends and otherwise scouring the collective superconsciousness for story hooks. So when you find a new science fiction movie with a relatively fresh concept, it becomes a kind of commodity in and of itself. Such is the case with the apocalyptic romance PERFECT SENSE, new to DVD and various digital platforms this week. Starring Ewan McGregor and Eva Green,...

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Tuesday, May 15, 2012

DVD+Digital: Norwegian Wood

Posted By on Tue, May 15, 2012 at 4:36 PM

Soda PicturesBased on a hugely popular 1987 Japanese novel, the quiet drama NORWEGIAN WOOD is a haunting coming-of-age story that explores love and loss against the backdrop of 1960s Tokyo. As his fellow students protest and march—Tokyo had its '60s radicals, too—brooding college student Toru Watanabe (Kenichi Matsuyama) falls into a romantic affair with the delicate, damaged Naoko (Rinko Kikuchi). The two come together in unspoken grief after the suicide of their mutual friend, Kizuki, who was also Naoko's first love. The young couple's first sexual encounter leads to a emotional breakdown for Naoko, who retreats to a countryside sanitarium....

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Saturday, February 25, 2012

Why you should know about Sara Benincasa, who appears at Flyleaf Books on Monday

Posted By on Sat, Feb 25, 2012 at 12:51 PM

Photo by Lauren GoldbergSara Benincasa is a gal you really need to know more about. There's her tendency to reveal personal, rather gross things on stage and her occasional desire to e-hot-lesbian-conservative-hate-sex-with-michelle-malkin" target="_blank">hook up with female, conservative bloggers, but also because she is quite funny on YouTube. Since she’s coming to Flyleaf Books in Chapel Hill on Monday to promote her memoir Agorafabulous! , Artery rounded up 10 of her funniest moments on YouTube. (For more, look through ol’ girl’s YouTube page.) Sara Starts Beef with Rapper Jean GraeIn what has to be one of the funniest celebrity co-signs of...

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Saturday, January 22, 2011

red, black and GREEN: a blues redefines environmentalism in hip hop culture

Posted By on Sat, Jan 22, 2011 at 3:18 PM

photo by D.L. AndersonMarc Bamuthi Joseph, in "red, black and GREEN: a blues," in the Process Series at UNC-CHred, black and GREEN: a blues (rbGb)Marc Bamuthi JosephThe Process SeriesGerard Hall, UNC-CHJan. 22, 8 p.m. Multi-media artist Marc Bamuthi Joseph noticed that there wasn’t a lot of overlap between the environmental movement and the people actually living in some of the most compromised environments in America. It got him to wondering why—and wondering if increased communication, exchange and cooperation between these populations were possible. “Obviously, folks of color and folks in low-income communities have had survival practices for generations that have...

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Thursday, July 1, 2010

Preview: Pilobolus and Art Spiegelman's
"Hapless Hooligan in 'Still Moving'"

Posted By on Thu, Jul 1, 2010 at 2:39 PM

The news is already breaking on the new Pilobolus Dance Theater collaboration with cartoonist Art Spiegelman, creator of In the Shadow of No Towers and the ground-breaking graphic novel, Maus. Laura Collins-Hughes' June 20 article in the Boston Globe first tantalized us with descriptions of the working process and still images from the work. Then Dartmouth, where the ADF co-commission work premiered, released three juicy minutes of highlights from the work, on YouTube: About the same time, Pilobolus published a ten-minute featurette on the work, including behind the scenes intervews with Spiegelman, chhoreographer Michael Tracy and animators Dan and Jason...

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Eiko & Koma: 36 Works

Posted By on Thu, Jul 1, 2010 at 1:13 PM

Eiko & KomaIf you couldn't make the screening of Eiko & Koma: 36 Works this week at ADF, the film is also viewable on the web, here. Created as part of their Retrospective Project (2009-2012), and edited by Eiko Otake Yamada with assistance from designer Tara Kelton and videographer Shoko Letton, the 37-minute film "shows the trajectory of Eiko & Koma's career through short excerpts" from works created since the duo moved to the United States in 1976....

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Saturday, October 31, 2009

Thrill the world: A tribute to Michael Jackson

Posted By on Sat, Oct 31, 2009 at 8:24 AM

DURHAM—At 8:30 Saturday night, Oct. 24, Michael Jackson fans gathered at The Pavilion at Durham Central Park for a tribute to the late entertainer calledThrill the World. It was a part of a worldwide event meant to synchronize participants at 12:30 a.m. UTC/GMT doing a dance similar to the one in Jackson’s “Thriller” music video. The first“Thriller” dance took place in Toronto in 2006, in an affair that drew 62 people and set the Guinness Book of World Records' "record" for most “Thriller” dancers in one place and time. By last year, the event had gone global and attracted more...

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Wednesday, October 21, 2009

A sort-of preview for Decasia: Light Is Calling

Posted By on Wed, Oct 21, 2009 at 3:18 PM

Tonight at 7, N.C. State’s Campus Cinema is showing Decasia, Bill Morrison’s hypnotic collage of decaying film stock from the early days of motion pictures. For lovers of the visual arts it’s a must-see, well worth a trip to Raleigh if you don’t live there. For a preview of sorts, check out this short Morrison made two years after Decasia. Using the same methods and collaborating with the same composer (Michael Gordon of Bang on a Can), Light Is Calling is an 8-minute feast of images and sound that someone was thoughtful enough to post on YouTube in high definition...

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Friday, August 14, 2009

Raleigh dancer Lea Ved's next step: Juilliard

Posted By on Fri, Aug 14, 2009 at 5:12 PM

Each year, thousands of young ballerinas dream of entering The Juilliard School, the pre-eminent conservatory in the United States for professional training in the performing arts. Of those, only hundreds actually work up the resume—and the nerve—to show up for one of nine regional auditions held annually across the country. The day begins with an advanced ballet and modern dance class—where three-fourths of the applicants are weeded out. The survivors from that round present a two-minute solo they’ve prepared: two whole minutes to show your full range and achievement as a performer. In New York, 22 members of the...

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Monday, July 20, 2009

Past/Forward at 2009 ADF

Posted By on Mon, Jul 20, 2009 at 7:36 PM

Footage of the 2009 American Dance Festival program Past/Forward with performances of Faye Driscoll's There's So Much Mad in Me and Laura Dean's Infinity, as reconstructed by Rodger Belman. The piece Various Stages of Drowning: A Cabaret by Rosie Herrera is not shown here, but will also be performed. Produced by Belem Destefani and Sarah Ewald....

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Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Slideshow Preview for Doug Elkins and Friends: Fraülein Maria

Posted By on Tue, Jul 14, 2009 at 3:13 PM

Images of Doug Elkins and Friends performing Fraülein Maria at the 2009 American Dance Festival. Commentary and production by Belem Destefani and Sarah Ewald. Frequent Indy contributor Kate Dobbs Ariail saw the show Monday night and just published this review at cvnc.org. ...

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Thursday, July 9, 2009

Slideshow Preview for Pilobolus: 2b

Posted By on Thu, Jul 9, 2009 at 8:57 PM

Images of the world premiere of 2b by Pilobolus at the 2009 American Dance Festival. Commentary by Belem Destefani and Sarah Ewald....

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Monday, June 29, 2009

Slideshow Preview for H. Art Chaos: Flowers of the Bones and The Rite of Spring at ADF

Posted By on Mon, Jun 29, 2009 at 9:34 PM

Images of the world premiere of Flowers of the Bones and a performance of The Rite of Spring by H. Art Chaos at the 2009 American Dance Festival. Commentary by Belem Destefani and Sarah Ewald. Produced by Byron Woods. ...

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