Film

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

TUESDAY TASTE: A second Trip and Funkadelic comeback

Posted By on Tue, Dec 23, 2014 at 11:15 AM


Even during the week of Christmas the entertainment biz is trying to find its way into your wallet with new music and DVD releases, and we're here to help you separate the good from the bad every Tuesday. 

MUSIC
Not much in the way of new music this week, with one notable exception. You got the funk? Funkadelic is releasing its first new music in 33 years on CD Tuesday (it came out digitally a couple weeks back), and First Ya Gotta Shake the Gate has all the usual suspects you want from a Parliament/Funkadelic release—George Clinton leading the charge, contributions from Sly Stone and a slew of bad mofos. Here's a tune called "Ain't That Funkin' Kind of Hard on You:"


MOVIES & TV
Remarkably, there are two worthy indie flicks newly released this week that you should consider for some holiday viewing. 

The Trip to Italy is the follow-up to The Trip, in which British actors Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon play exaggerated versions of themselves, bouncing through travel hotspots, exploring fine cuisine and lodgings while delivering their best Michael Caine impressions (among others). The original took them through their native Britain, while the follow-up leads them to, yes, Italy for visits to Pompeii and Sicily. 
Pride stars some seriously great actors (Bill Nighy, Imelda Staunton, Paddy Considine) in a true story about a group of gay and lesbian activists who join forces with some rough-and-tumble striking miners in mid-80s England. Pride was nominated for a Best Motion Picture (Musical or Comedy) Golden Globe. 

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Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Watch "Elf" tonight with us and be a good person

Posted By on Wed, Dec 17, 2014 at 3:37 PM

How about some more uplifting movie news, rather than read more about this confounding display of cowardice

And that good news is that tonight we're hosting a screening of Elf, a movie starring Will Ferrell as a man-sized elf who says nothing inflammatory about any dictator, foreign or otherwise. It's a totally safe movie and good for the whole family!

The screening benefits Catholic Charities Spokane and also features raffle prizes, a photo booth and a special appearance by Buddy the Elf! The party film is tonight at the Bing Crosby Theater at 7 pm. Doors open at 5:30 pm.

For the $5 entry, you'll also be treated to scenes like this, when Buddy the Elf gets super pumped about meeting Santa:
Or when Buddy the Elf finds the world's best cup of coffee.Or when Buddy the Elf says "Son of a Nutcracker!"
Or when Buddy the Elf unleashes an earth-rattling burp.
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Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Washington filmmakers plan to ask Olympia to boost tax incentive program

Posted By on Tue, Dec 16, 2014 at 3:45 PM

Z Nation was the first episodic series in Washington to receive funding from the state's film incentive program. - JENNA MULLIGAN
  • Jenna Mulligan
  • Z Nation was the first episodic series in Washington to receive funding from the state's film incentive program.

As the 2015 Washington state legislative session approaches, convening in Olympia on Jan. 12, interest groups all around are getting ready to make their cases for increased or maintained state funding. One of those is Washington Filmworks, the nonprofit tasked with managing the state's film production incentive program.

At an annual industry update last week at Nectar Tasting Room in downtown Spokane, Washington Filmworks' Director Amy Lillard, and Board of Directors Chair Don Jensen, shared successes of the year, and the organization's goals for the upcoming session.

Throughout this year, Washington Filmworks provided funding assistance for 13 TV episode (Z Nation), seven commercials, three projects at its Innovation Lab and one feature film (Captain Fantastic). That funding assistance was split roughly in half between projects in Eastern (51 percent) and Western Washington (49 percent).

Combined, projects in 2014 resulted in an estimated $33 million in economic impact for the state. 

However, Lillard pointed out that even with those notable successes, Washington Filmworks was forced to turn away five big projects that would have generated an additional $55 million into the state economy. That's because Washington Filmworks' annual $3.5 million film industry incentive cap was spent by May.

Washington's film incentive program works like a cash rebate for qualifying productions made in-state. Funded by a portion of the state's business and occupation tax liabilities (corporations/individuals can choose to contribute to this fund, getting a dollar for dollar tax credit, up to $1 million), qualifying productions can apply to get 30 percent of what they spent here back from the state. 

Washington's program to encourage filmmakers to work here is the fifth smallest in the nation, but interest in making films here is growing, Lillard told the group of about three dozen at the presentation last Thursday.

"We spent the summer looking to what we can do during the [legislative] session because it's hard to come up with the money," Lillard says. 

While Washington Filmworks plans to ask state lawmakers to increase its incentive budget, Lillard says no official request has been determined at this point. However, if the state were able to take advantage of all the projects interested in shooting here, an estimated $24.3 million in funding assistance would be needed. 

Anticipating the challenges ahead of legislators as they work to balance the 2015-17 biennium budget during the 2015 session, it's going to be a tough battle for everyone. The biggest priorities on the table are education, mental health services and the voter-approved class size reduction initiative.    

Still, Lillard and Jensen urged attendees last week to reach out to their legislators, and to ask them to fight for increased funding for the film incentives.  

"We know it's made a difference in employment," she adds. "We're committed to being transparent, and $24.3 million — is that feasible? I don't know."


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TUESDAY TASTE: Sample new D'Angelo and old Kinks; Stefon makes a movie

Posted By on Tue, Dec 16, 2014 at 12:05 PM


You might be tempted to buy your friends or loved ones some new music or videos just in time for the holidays. Before you do, let us help you separate the worthy from the waste of money with our Tuesday Taste. 

MUSIC

D'Angelo and the Vanguard, Black Messiah. With a gap between albums that would make Axl Rose blush, D'Angelo is finally back on the scene with new music, and people are pretty excited about it. At one point — around 1995 when his debut Voodoo took the world by storm — he was considered the baddest man in R&B and neo-soul. Will people still care about him in 2014? They probably should, judging by the sound of this one called "Really Love." I recommend you skip the first 1:30 of intro to get to the goods: 

The Kinks, The Anthology 1964-1971. The Brit-pop pioneers are criminally under-appreciated, and this five-disc set of their early years is a great introduction to a band who should be held in the same esteem of the Beatles, the Stones and the Who. They wrote "You Really Got Me," dammit! And this great tune: 

Charli XCX, Sucker.  The British star's sophomore album brings a bit of rock riffage to the mix that matches well with her snotty attitude, a nice contrast to the princess-like propriety of Ms. Swift's brand of pop. If you're looking for something for a young pop music fan, this can work: 

MOVIES & TV

The mainstream releases that will garner most of the attention of less-discerning film fans this week include the latest Woody Allen flick, Magic in the Moonlight, which got raked over pretty good by critics for its hard to believe chemistry (or lack thereof) between the 54-year-old Colin Firth and 26-year-old Emma Stone. Bad Woody can be very bad. The Maze Runner is another wannabe dystopian-future teen flick, so if you haven't had your fill of those yet, go to town. And, of course, there's the reboot of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles out on vid today, but the less said about that, the better. 

If you're looking for something with a bit more to offer, though, consider these flicks: 

The Skeleton Twins features long-time Saturday Night Live co-stars Bill Hader and Kristen Wiig, but this story of estranged twins forced into a reunion offers more drama than you might expect, along with some laughs. You might never look at Hader as merely "Stefon" anymore. Here's the trailer: 

This Is Where I Leave You is a slam-dunk on paper. Based on a best-selling novel by Jonathan Tropper, it stars an unbelievable cast including Jason Bateman, Tina Fey, Jane Fonda and Adam Driver. The actual film isn't all that it could have been, often leaving its cast with too little to do, but there are moments when it lives up to its potential — particularly when Driver is on screen. Here's a look: 


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Thursday, December 11, 2014

Bold predictions for silly awards: Today's Golden Globe nominees considered

Posted By on Thu, Dec 11, 2014 at 12:41 PM

Tina-Fey-and-Amy-poehler-GG-2014-.jpg

In case you missed it, the nominees for the 2015 Golden Globes awards were announced today, and we're not going to let the opportunity go by to comment on the generally meaningless, highly questionable "honors." The only guarantee for people tuning in to the awards on Jan. 11 is that co-hosts Tina Fey and Amy Poehler will be awesome once again. That, and that the voters of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association will serve up enough booze to make for some memorable award speeches.

Some film fans consider the Golden Globes a decent predictor of the Oscars, but the same film has won Best Picture honors only four of the past 10 years. Granted, the past three years have aligned nicely, but this year's race seems wide open. While some with weaker constitutions will wait to make their Golden Globe predictions in the days leading up to the telecast, we here at the Inlander are made of sterner stuff. We're not only going to make predications based on our first look at the nominees — we're going to make them having seen few of the films. We're working without a net here, people!

We'll check back in January to see how we did — feel free to play along. Let's do it. 

BEST MOTION PICTURE, DRAMA
The nominees: Boyhood, Foxcatcher, The Imitation Game, Selma, The Theory of Everything
Prediction: The Hollywood Foreign Press Association loves to remind Americans of our racist history, so Selma is the pick over Steve Carell's fake nose, Stephen Hawking's love story, Boyhood's near-three-hour running time, and the man I'll simply refer to as Cumberbatch! 

BEST ACTRESS IN A MOTION PICTURE, DRAMA
The nominees: Julianne Moore (Still Alice), Reese Witherspoon (Wild), Rosamund Pike (Gone Girl), Felicity Jones (The Theory of Everything), Jennifer Aniston (Cake)
Prediction: The Globes love glamorous stars who get a little grungy for a role. I don't know how much they liked Friends. Let's go with Witherspoon for her makeup-free job in Wild

BEST ACTOR IN A MOTION PICTURE, DRAMA
The nominees: Eddie Redmayne (The Theory of Everything), Cumberbatch! (The Imitation Game), Steve Carell (Foxcatcher), David Oyelowo (Selma), Jake Gyllenhaal (Nightcrawler)
Prediction: The Hollywood Foreign Press Association loves to remind Americans of our homophobic past, so it could be Cumberbatch! But the members also love stories of people overcoming addiction and/or physical challenges. Hello, Stephen Hawking! I'm going with Redmayne. 
Eddie Redmayne as Stephen Hawking
  • Eddie Redmayne as Stephen Hawking

BEST MOTION PICTURE, MUSICAL OR COMEDY
The nominees: Birdman, Into the Woods, The Grand Budapest Hotel, St. Vincent, Pride
Prediction: Globe voters might recognize Wes Anderson's Budapest since they know the Oscars never will, but Birdman seems like the sound choice. 

BEST ACTRESS IN A MOTION PICTURE, MUSICAL OR COMEDY
The nominees: Amy Adams (Big Eyes), Julianne Moore (Maps to the Stars), Emily Blunt (Into the Woods), Helen Mirren (The Hundred Foot Journey), Quvenzhane Wallis (Annie)
Prediction: Helen Mirren is English and gives a great awards speech. Emily Blunt is English and is in a movie with Meryl Streep. Tough call. Going with Mirren. 

BEST ACTOR IN A MOTION PICTURE, MUSICAL OR COMEDY
The nominees: Michael Keaton (Birdman), Bill Murray (St. Vincent), Ralph Fiennes (The Grand Budapest Hotel), Joaquin Phoenix (Inherent Vice), Christoph Waltz (Big Eyes)
Prediction: Whoa, talk about a powerhouse slate of nominees, damn! It could be a lifetime achievement award thing for Keaton, but I'm betting the Golden Globes would love to have Bill Murray give a speech on live TV. 
Bill Murray in St. Vincent
  • Bill Murray in St. Vincent

BEST ANIMATED FEATURE
The nominees: The Lego Movie, Big Hero 6, How to Train Your Dragon 2, The Boxtrolls, The Book of Life
Prediction: Do Legos transcend the global toy market? I have no idea, but I'm predicting The Lego Movie will win. 

BEST DIRECTOR
The nominees: Richard Linklater (Boyhood), Alejandro Inarritu (Birdman), Ava DuVernay (Selma), Wes Anderson (The Grand Budapest Hotel), David Fincher (Gone Girl)
Prediction: An African-American woman making a movie about America's racist history? Make way for Ava DuVernay's walk to the podium! Especially because it would take Linklater hours to get there if he wins. 
Selma director Ava DuVernay - INDIEWIRE
  • Indiewire
  • Selma director Ava DuVernay

BEST SCREENPLAY
The nominees: Birdman, Boyhood, Gone Girl, The Grand Budapest Hotel, The Imitation Game
Prediction: The Globes will find some way to reward Linklater for the remarkable task of filming a flick over a dozen years. He'll take this one.  

Let us know what you think of today's nominations. Who got the shaft? Who got an undeserved nod? Why should we have predicted the TV Golden Globes nominations? Stay tuned for either our victory lap or crow-eating session come Jan. 12. 
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Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Vote for our next Suds and Cinema movie!

Posted By on Wed, Dec 10, 2014 at 12:58 PM

There's this thing called Suds and Cinema that we do here at the Inlander. If you don't know about it, this should bring you up to speed. But briefly put, we bring a movie — typically one you've seen or your friends have been telling you to see for years — and then add a local brewery to the mix, making for a night of beer and laughs that has become a force unto itself in its brief year-and-a-half existence.

Coming off a schwing-tastic screening of Wayne's World, we thought we'd let you guys pick the film for the January 21 edition of the series. Here are five finalists the Suds and Cinema Brain Trust has presented for your choosing.

You have until next Wednesday (12/17) to get your votes in and we'll announce the winner shortly thereafter.

If you'd like to lobby for your film of choice, please do some in the comment section. We welcome informed debate, but please don't ask us to show Porky's. It's not gonna happen.

What movie should we show for the next Suds and Cinema on Jan. 21?
ALMOST FAMOUS
BILL AND TED'S EXCELLENT ADVENTURE
DODGEBALL
FERRIS BEULLER'S DAY OFF
THE ROYAL TENENBAUMS
polls

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Tuesday, December 9, 2014

TUESDAY TASTE: Giant heads rule! Smashing Pumpkins and indie-flick "Frank" among week's new releases

Posted By on Tue, Dec 9, 2014 at 11:33 AM


Every week the entertainment biz drops a batch of new music and videos on the masses, and every week we help you decide what's worth your time, and what's best left behind. Let's do this. 

MUSIC

The Smashing Pumpkins, Monuments to an Elegy. With Billy Corgan the only remaining original member, we continue to learn that he was really the only Pumpkin that ever mattered. Monuments sounds exactly like what you'd expect a new Smashing Pumpkins album to sound like — old Smashing Pumpkins, but not as good. Still, if you love the band, this nine-song set makes for a decent addition. You can hear new tune "Tiberius" right here: 

Cracker, Berkeley to Bakersfield. It's a double album that collects the original Cracker lineup for the first time in 20 years on the Berkeley half (the rock half), while delving into the rootsy country and Americana that founders David Lowery and Johnny Hickman have dabbled in through the years on the Bakersfield disc. Here's a live vid a fan shot of "King of Bakersfield:"

Ghostface Killah, 36 Seasons. As a member of the Wu-Tang, he deserves some blame for their middling recent release. As a solo artist, Ghostface Killah remains a remarkably consistent hip-hop force, and this one proves that point yet again. Here's a tune called "The Battlefield:"

MOVIES & TV

Obviously the biggest DVD release of the week is Guardians of the Galaxy, the winning sci-fi comedy that raked in serious coin this year while successfully straddling the line between action and slapstick. Even the soundtrack turned some young people who aren't old enough to know better into fans of garbage '70s soft rock hits. Chances are you've already seen that one, so perhaps you should give some of these smaller new releases a try: 

Calvary stars the brilliant Brendan Gleeson (The Guard) as a good priest in a small Irish town — but not good enough to keep one of his parishioners from threatening to kill him during a visit to the confession booth. It's more dark than comedy, but watching Gleeson do his thing is a treat — he just won a British Independent Film Award for this role. Here's a look: 

Frank was a Sundance hit, and it's inspired by a hard-to-believe true story of musician/comedian Chris Sievey, who created a character named Frank Sidebottom to lead a band with an unpronounceable name. The schtick, both in real life and the movie, is that Frank (played by Michael Fassbender) walks around his everyday life and performs wearing a large papier-mâché head. Take a look: 

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Tuesday, December 2, 2014

TUESDAY TASTE: New tunes from the Wu-Tang, AC/DC, She & Him, plus Broad City hits video

Posted By on Tue, Dec 2, 2014 at 11:32 AM


Each week we like to help you separate the awesome from the awful among the new music and home video releases. After all, no one wants to waste their hard-earned dollars. 

Here is what's new and worth a look this week: 

MUSIC

AC/DC, Rock or Bust. Granted, if you have one AC/DC album (and chances are you do—Back in Black has sold an estimated 50 million copies to date), you pretty much have all the AC/DC you need. But each new release comes with some new gems to the Aussie stomp-rock canon, and Rock or Bust comes with additional intrigue thanks to dementia in rhythm guitarist Malcolm Young and alleged murder-for-hire plots involving drummer Phil Rudd. It's all very rock 'n' roll. Here's a taste of the new AC/DC, via a tune called "Play Ball," and it's just as subtle as one might expect:
 
She & Him, Classics. Haters gonna hate, but this project of manic pixie dream girl Zooey Deschanel and uber-talented M. Ward has consistently delivered solid retro-sounding tunes touching on girl-group doo-wop, '60s blue-eyed soul and classic country. On this new one, the duo tackles a slew of covers ranging from the expected (Dusty Springfield, Aretha Franklin) to the surprising (Johnny Mathis, Herb Alpert). Here's their take on Springfield's "Stay Awhile:" 

Wu-Tang Clan, A Better Tomorrow. It's a little hard to believe that this new Wu-Tang album ever saw the light of day, given the hip-hoppers' utter dysfunction in how they work together (or don't). But they did a lot of live shows this summer, and here comes a new set of East Coast rhymes that ushers the one-time sonic pioneers into middle age. 

MOVIES & TV

This week's big mainstream release is the well-received Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, and those looking for something the whole family can enjoy, from Grandma on down to the kids, might want to check out the Helen Mirren foodie flick The Hundred-Foot Journey

If you're looking for something a bit more challenging, though, consider The Congress, a tripped-out look at Hollywood, aging and technology in which Robin Wright plays a version of herself who sells her digital likeness to "Miramount Studio" in order to care for her sick child, only to see that digital likeness become a star years later. Here's a look: 

As we all eagerly await Season 2 of Broad City to kick off on Jan. 14 (see the NSFW teaser trailer for the new season here), Season 1 appears on DVD to remind you that Ilana Glazer and Abbi Jacobson are making some of the funniest comedy on TV or the web (where this series got its start). 


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Tuesday, November 25, 2014

TUESDAY TASTE: New MST3K, Drunk History and Soundgarden rarities among new releases

Posted By on Tue, Nov 25, 2014 at 11:37 AM


Every Tuesday we let you know the best of the week's new music and video releases to help you decide how to spend your hard-earned cash. It's a slower week due to Thanksgiving, but there are a few things worth your consideration. Check 'em out: 

MUSIC

There are plenty of live sets, greatest-hits collections and "expanded editions" of old albums coming our way, as there always are this time of year. Two you might want to consider: 

Soundgarden, Echo of Miles: Scattered Tracks Across the Path. This triple-disc set is broken down into sets of originals, covers and "oddities," and will surely thrill long-time lovers of the Northwest crew more than introduce many new fans to their thud-rock sound. You'll get the full version of "Birth Ritual" from the Singles soundtrack, among other goodies. 

Rick Ross,
Hood Billionaire. The second release by the gangster poet follows on the drug-slinging themes of Mastermind from the Grammy-nominated MC. 

MOVIES & TV


We're not going to lie — it's pretty slim pickings on the new release front for home video. There's the testosterone fest of Expendables 3, featuring Sly Stallone and a bevy of action stars young and old (and older). There's the sci-fi of The Giver, Tyler Perry's attempt at blending Christmas mirth and his Madea character, and the "wait, wasn't that in theaters, like, last week" flick A Merry Friggin Christmas, but I prefer to pretend Robin Williams never made that one. 

For my money, the only worthwhile releases this week come from television. 

Drunk History, the web series-turned-Comedy Central hit is one of the most entertaining half-hour shows to hit television in a long time. It's a collection of increasingly drunk comedians waxing on about important moments in history, and their rambling is then re-enacted by performers ranging from Jack Black to Winona Ryder to Kristin Wiig — it's a who's who of funny folks. The concept might leave you skeptical, but give it a shot. Now you can get the first two seasons of the show on DVD. Here's a bit of what's in store: 

Mystery Science Theater 3000: Vol XXXI: The Turkey Day Collection captures four episodes of the show — two from the Comedy Central era hosted by Joel Hodgson, and two from the Sci-Fi Channel era hosted by Mike Nelson. The four movies included and skewered by MST3K's Tom Servo and Crow are Jungle Goddess, The Painted Hills, The Screaming Skull and Squirm. Here's a look: 

And if you're looking to drive any lingering relatives or friends from the house after your Thanksgiving meal, consider popping in the ridiculously lengthy Lars Von Trier flick Nymphomaniac, a two-parter being released on video as a "director's cut" this week. The overabundance of Shia LaBeouf should be enough to get you some peace and quiet in no time. Take a peek: 

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Tuesday, November 18, 2014

TUESDAY TASTE: Awesome animation and Lorde takes on The Hunger Games in this week's new releases

Posted By on Tue, Nov 18, 2014 at 11:33 AM


Every week we help you figure out how to spend your home-entertainment dollar by sifting through the new music and video releases and highlighting some of the best choices. Let's do this.

MUSIC

TV On The Radio, Seeds. Unabashed alt-rock experimentalists TV On The Radio have a slightly poppier sound on their first new release since 2011 and the death of long-time bassist Gerard Smith. 

Bryan Ferry, Avonmore. The sultry man-voice behind Roxy Music is back with his 14th solo set, featuring contributions from The Smiths' Johnny Marr, Chic's Nile Rogers, Red Hot Chili Peppers' Flea and more. 
Various Artists, The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1 soundtrack. The teens-killing-teens dramas have had some seriously strong soundtracks to date. The latest iteration is being "curated" by Lorde (whatever that means), and includes tunes from her as well as Chemical Brothers, Churches, Grace Jones and Bat for Lashes. Here's the "Yellow Flicker Beat" single from Lorde: 

FILM

The big releases this week include 22 Jump Street, the not-as-funny so-so sequel to the funnier-than-expected reimagining of the genuinely terrible TV show, and the sequel to Sin City, Sin City: A Dame to Kill For, which was pretty much reviled by critics and audiences alike.

Your time is probably better spent checking out these flicks:

The Wind Rises is reportedly the final film from the legendary Spirited Away animator Hayao Miyazaki, who tackles the tale of a Japanese aviation designer in this one, featuring the voices of Joseph Gordon-Levitt, John Krasinki and Emily Blunt. The 2013 release was nominated for an Academy Award for "best animated feature." 

20,000 Days on Earth is not a typical rock documentary, delving into the creativity of musician Nick Cave through a fictional "day in the life" paired with real interviews with musicians, actors and friends who have worked with the cult icon, and filmed sessions between Cave and his therapist. Thankfully, there are also some stirring live performance clips filmed at the Sydney Opera House with Cave and his band the Bad Seeds. 

Alive Inside is the Sundance Film Festival audience award-winner for "best documentary" for its engaging exploration of how music can help combat memory loss. The filmmaker follows social worker Dan Cohen as he travels the country for his nonprofit Music & Memory and tries to engage with the convoluted healthcare system. 


 
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