Bliss

Rated: Not Rated | Running Time: 87 Minutes
From: Dark Sky Films
Available in Theaters and VOD: September 27, 2019
Get it via : Amazon | iTunes

Just the other day I was saying to myself, “Self, whatever happened to George Wendt? You know, Norm from Cheers?” Sure, I could have Googled him, but it turns out I didn’t have to as it turns out Mr. Wendt was part of the cast for the horror flick, “Bliss.” I was excited to see where he fit in. As the movie is a horror film, I wish I could say things ended up well for “Norm,” I mean “Pops.”

Anywho, “Bliss” gives us Dezzy (Dora Madison). She is your basic starving artist, late on her rent, dropped by her agent, and fears she may have lost her painting mojo. Yup, she has painter’s block, and she likes to say every variation of “fuck” a lot.

What to do? Why go out for some drug-fueled partying, of course?

What should you have? Why, Bliss, of course?

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Echo in the Canyon


Rated: PG-13 | Running Time: 82 Minutes
From: Greenwich Entertainment
Available on Blu-ray and DVD:  September 10, 2019
Get it via : Amazon | iTunes

Fiona Apple from radio station concert, Q101 Twisted 3 in 1996.

A picture of Fiona Apple popped up on my digital picture frame the other day. It spurred a question in me, namely, “What ever happened to Fiona Apple?”

Then, there I am watching “Echo in the Canyon,” a documentary about the music that came out of Laurel Canyon in California in the 1960’s, and who shows up? Yup, Fiona Apple! Now I know, she is still making music! Yay!

Okay, let’s get to the documentary…

“Echo in the Canyon” is a look at how the California music scene of the mid to late 1960’s blew up, thanks mostly in part to many of the influential artists who would go on to make that music settling in a spot in Los Angeles called Laurel Canyon.

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Nekrotronic


Rated: R | Running Time: 99 Minutes
From: Momentum Pictures
In Select Theaters VOD, and digital HD:  August 9, 2019
Get it via : Amazon | iTunes

Monica Bellucci is Finnegan in Nekrotronic.

Apparently demons and necromancers (demon hunters) have been fighting each other for, well, forever. They used to use crude weapons, then more advanced weapons, then laser type blasters, but damn, don’t touch my Internet.

Guess what? They touched my Internet.

So, we get Howard (Ben O’Toole). He works in the port-a-potty business sucking up crap, literally. He’s got a bumbling partner, Rangi (Epine Bob Savea), who is obsessed with a new video game on his phone. Low and behold the demons, well, head bad person Finnegan (Monica Bellucci) has developed this game as a way to suck souls thereby increasing her power in demonville.

Continue reading Nekrotronic

Rick Springfield and Richard Marx

To the Review….

I wanted to yell to her, “Yes, he is going to play “Jessie’s Girl,” now will you please, you and your friend, shut up and enjoy the rest of the show, even if you don’t know the songs.”

I didn’t.

I also didn’t move my feet for about an hour and a half. They were firmly planted on the ground no matter how much said girl kept pushing her way into my space. My wife saw how she kept bumping into me and suggested I move closer to her (my wife), but I told her, “If I give this drunk girl any space, I’ll never get it back.”

Richard Marx in concert at RaviniaAnd so it was on a rocking, freezing night at Ravinia Festival near Chicago for the double bill of, as Richard Marx put it, “Two Dicks.” Yup, Richard Marx and Rick Springfield on a night when you would have thought it was the middle of October instead of mid-June.

None of that mattered, though, all that really mattered was the music, the hits, new stuff, and a great time through the mist and cold.

Richard Marx had the opening slot. Kind of a bummer for him with the weather because the pavilion was sparsely populated at this point. The weather wasn’t helping walk-up sales, and a lot of the crowd was there for the other Rick. That’s not to say the folks who were there didn’t have a great time with Dick #1, I mean, his initial call to the top of the charts was around the same high school years as that of Mr. Springfield.

Richard Marx in concert at Ravinia, Highland Park, ILThe interesting thing with Richard Marx, however, is that a lot of his more recent success has come in the shadows, as the songwriter and producer of tons of artists, many of whom you have heard of. Yup, remember “This I Promise You” from NSYNC? He was a part of that. Remember Luther Vandross’ “Dance With My Father?” A part of that, too. Keith Urban’s “Long Hot Summer?” Not just Keith, but Richard, too.

And the list goes on.

Richard Marx in concert - Ravinia in Highland Park, ILAnywho, Richard Marx’s set consisted of many of the hits you might remember from those 80’s, “Angelina” and “Hold On to the Nights” to name a couple. The crowd loved him, sang along as they should have, and appreciated his song “When You Loved Me” which he recorded with his sons as his “band” on video. He did a fantastic set, including stories of the songs he worked on with the other artists. His NSYNC story was pretty funny, and seeing a young Justin Timberlake in the picture he flashed was, well, actually just made me feel old.

Richard was fun. The crowd had fun. It’s Two Thumbs Up for Richard Marx. It is too bad he moved to the west coast, Chicago lost a favorite son, but with the weather we’ve been having, holy crap I understand the move!

Rick Springfield in concert, Ravinia, HIghland Park, ILA quick set change brought a video montage of Rick Springfield’s successes, but really, the crowd didn’t need a refresher, well, except maybe that intoxicated girl next to me. Out came Rick to the raucous “Light This Party Up,” and the crowd began to party.

Now, it’s been almost 20 years since I last song Rick Springfield in concert. Yes, I admit, it’s been way too long, especially for me who loves his music. Back then it was at a venue called “Joe’s Bar” in Chicago, on a cold, November night, and crap, it was nearly as cold this night in June.

Rick Springfield in concert at Ravinia, Highland Park, ILRick blew through a set consisting of the songs people wanted to hear and a few more recent ones the girl next to me didn’t want to hear. She was definitely in the minority.

You might remember the songs, like “I’ve Done Everything for You,” “Affair of the Heart,” and “Love is Alright Tonight.” He even did a great rendition of “World Start Turning,” explaining his ever-present demon of depression, but I’ll tell you what, if you miss rockin’ these days, and haven’t checked out Rick’s later offerings, may I suggest you give a listen to “The Snake King” from 2018. “Little Demon” kicked ass, and he even got crowd participation on a newer song, not the easiest of things to do, on “The Voodoo House,” a bluesy, rocker.

If you are Rick Springfield and have lots of hits people want to hear, what do you do so the concert isn’t a marathon? Why not a medley? So he did, with songs like “Bop ’Til You Drop,” the always fun to hear “Bruce,” “Don’t Walk Away,” “Rock of Life,” and “What Kind of Fool Am I?” in a mid-show medley.

Rick Springfield in concert at Ravinia, Highland Park, IL“Don’t Talk to Strangers” brought true crowd participation as Rick tossed a microphone into the audience for people to sing into, and “Human Touch” got Rick into the crowd, coming down the aisle, across the seats, and back up to the stage. Funny, or maybe sad, how the song, with lyrics like “Everybody’s talking to computers” and “I’m so scared and isolated in the modern world,” actually has more meaning, some 36 years after it was originally released.

With the evening wrapping up, and the girl next to me still blabbering for “Jessie’s Girl,” she would have to wait a few more songs as Dick #2 brought Dick #1 back to the stage for some duetting to each other’s tunes, with Richard Marx handling “Don’t Mean Nothin’” and Rick leading “Love Somebody.”

Yes, finally drunk girl got her wish. Yup, it was “Jessie’s Girl” time, as if Mr. Springfield wasn’t going to play it?

Sure, the weather completely sucked, but Richard and Rick brought a good time to everyone who braved the elements. There was reminiscing about the old songs, enjoying the new songs and Rick even had a sing-along of “Happy Birthday” for himself as his 70th birthday is approaching. Quick side note, as Rick was “questioning” the crowd how old they thought he was, the drunk girl next to me pegged him at late 50’s. When I told her he was 69 she seemed shocked, but then said something similar to “I’d still sleep with him.”

I do have to say that following the concert I felt a little down about myself. I mean, there he is, approaching 70 year’s old, coming off the flu, and bouncing around the stage with the energy that I, well, I don’t think I had that energy when I was in my 20’s. I have got to give the guy credit for continuing to put on a fantastic show and not just resting on his old hits but also making some great, new music.

It’s Two, Giant Thumbs Up for Rick Springfield. Go ahead, see him to relive the 80’s but enjoy the new stuff, too! All I know is one of these times I have to get real photo clearance for his show so I can get better pictures of the man. I just probably shouldn’t wait another 20 years to see him.

That’s it for this one! L8R!!

Bachman: Special Edition


Rated: Not Rated | Running Time: 78 Minutes
From: Filmrise / MVD Entertainment Group
Available on DVD and Blu-ray:  May 10, 2019
Get it via : Amazon | iTunes | MVD Group

I am embarrassed to admit that I didn’t realize Randy Bachman was a member of The Guess Who. Sure, I knew the songs “American Woman” and “These Eyes,” but I never knew Mr. Bachman was a part of that magic.

Enter “Bachman: Special Edition,” a documentary of Randy Bachman, out on Blu-ray and DVD.

Maybe you didn’t realize Randy Bachman was a part of The Guess Who, either. I’m guessing most of us think Bachman-Turner Overdrive when we hear his name. Also not realized might be that he is in his 70’s now, still making music (check out the most-interesting “By George – By Bachman”), and he was never the stereotypical partying kind of rock and roller. He just wanted to play guitar and make great music.

Which he does, and a lot of it.

Continue reading Bachman: Special Edition

White Chamber


Rated: Not Rated | Running Time: 89 Minutes
From: Dark Sky Films
In Theaters and VOD: March 29, 2019
Get it via : iTunes

I get so mad at myself when I don’t see the plot twist coming. I also secretly applaud the film folks when they pull it off. And so I must applaud the film folks of “White Chamber” when the big reveal came towards the end of the movie because I just didn’t see it coming.

It was a wonderful “Ahhh!”

I won’t give this moment away, so let’s get to the story.

It appears the United Kingdom is in a civil war. Somehow the military has taken over, led by General Zakarian (Oded Fehr). Enter Ruth (Shauna Macdonald), or whatever the woman’s name is. She wakes up in this white room, a.k.a. chamber, completely lit up, and with a bump on her noggin.

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Level 16


Rated: Not Rated | Running Time: 94 Minutes
From: Dark Sky Films
Available in Theaters and VOD:  March 1, 2019
Get it via : Amazon | iTunes

Strange things are afoot at the secret lab. Girls are locked away hoping for one thing, to be adopted by a nice family. That sounds nice and all, but as we watch the girls and their training, it appears something else might be going on. Hmm? I’m thinking the good Dr. Miro (Peter Outerbridge) and his assistant Miss Brixil (Sara Canning), may be up to no good. Uh oh!

Now, the press materials for “Level 16” have a number of references to the Hulu phenomenon, “The Handmaid’s Tale.” The problem for me? This means absolutely nothing. Most of my experience with said Tale is walking by the TV when my wife is watching it. Yes, it looks interesting enough, but I’ve got enough shows, I don’t need to get sucked into another one. Me, I’ll do my best to review the film without the comparisons.

Back to the girls in the “school.”

Continue reading Level 16

Possum


Rated: Not Rated | Running Time: 87 Minutes
From: Dark Sky Films
Available on DVD (Feb 12, 2019) and Digital Platforms
Get it via : Amazon | iTunes

“Possum” is not your “axe-wielding” kind of horror movie. Nope. This is one messed up, creepy film. It’s the kind of weird movie where grotesque things infiltrate the minds of the characters and turn them into crazy.

What a good time!

Let’s get to the basics of the story…

Philip (Sean Harris) is a puppeteer on the verge of insanity. I don’t know in what universe it would be thought that this grotesque spider puppet with an equally grotesque human head, named “Possum,” might be entertaining to children, yet here is Philip, carrying it around in a bag.

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Bohemian Rhapsody


Rated: PG-13 | Running Time: 135 Minutes
From: 20th Century Fox Home Video
Available on Digital Platforms:  January 22, 2019
Available on DVD: February 12, 2019
Get it via : Amazon | iTunes

While watching the movie, “Bohemian Rhapsody,” I had to chuckle when the scene arrived showing the various clips of reviews of the Queen album, “A Night at the Opera” and the epic song, “Bohemian Rhapsody.” Yup, critics really didn’t like the album, didn’t get it, and basically dismissed it. Enter “Bohemian Rhapsody” the movie, and sure enough the critics didn’t really like it, didn’t get it, and basically dismissed it. The problem? The people going to the theater appeared to love it.

This reviewer is in line with the people going to the theater, though I am disappointed with a few liberties the film folks took with the life of Freddie Mercury (played in the film by Rami Malek). More about that, later.

Me, I was seven years old when “A Night at the Opera” came out. I can’t say I remember it back then, but what I do remember is “A Night at the Opera” was the first album I ever bought. I remember riding my bike to Big Town in Lorain, Ohio, putting the album on my turntable, and there it was, a skip, during “Seaside Rendezvous.” I didn’t care. I loved the album, and listened to it over, and over, and over. It’s the only piece of vinyl I will not depart with, has a place on my knick-knack shelf, and when I bought the CD of “A Night at the Opera” I would still sing the “skip” during “Seaside.” Queen has always been one of musical influences of my life.

It was with much hope that I didn’t want to be let down by the movie, “Bohemian Rhapsody,” and I loved it.

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Fleetwood Mac

To the Review….

Excitement of a concert experience can come from a variety of ways. You can engross yourself in the people-watching, with your pre-show critiquing of concert-going attire and wondering if someone is a rebel or an ass for wearing a “No F%^#s Given” t-shirt (with the %^# being the actual “uck”). You also might notice a younger woman, in a sea of elders, sitting by herself, in a chair on the floor section, and wonder, “Why is she here by herself?” Don’t forget the groping couple, seemingly to never separate for two-plus hours, and you also might find yourself sometimes distracted by the drunk guy who can’t seem to understand the security folks simply trying to explain to him that his seats are on the other side of the floor, eventually resulting in his flipping-off said security folks, and the subsequent ending to his night as they lead him away.

Gosh, and don’t forget the concert, itself, as Fleetwood Mac filled the United Center in Chicago with hits everyone knew, some songs that had many wondering, “Is this a Fleetwood Mac song?”, and a touching tribute to Tom Petty.

Yup, just another evening at a concert!

Continue reading Fleetwood Mac