The Dressmaker


Rated: R | Running Time: 119 Minutes
From: Broad Green Pictures
Available on Blu-ray, DVD, Digital HD, and VOD:  December 27, 2016
Get it via : Amazon | iTunes

The DressmakerIn terms of some extra weirdness, “The Dressmaker” is right up there with the best of them, especially in the dark comedy genre. I mean, eventually most of the townsfolk women are walking around dressed in “designer” dresses, which wouldn’t seem that odd except it’s the 1950’s in a dirt-road, little town in Australia. Then there is the town Sergeant (Hugo Weaving), traipsing around in all of the flashiness of a matador at a bull fight. Clothes, however, aren’t really what brings Tilly (Kate Winslet in all of her sassiness) back to her hometown. Nope, she has to find out the truth about her past, a past that tarnished her reputation and left her as the town pariah.

As it is Tilly returns to town with a flash, at the rugby game, dressed to the nines which thoroughly distracts the rugby dudes. Enter Teddy (Liam Hemsworth), one of the team members, who tells Tilly she is distracting everyone causing Tilly to change outfits to something even more distracting.

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Violent Femmes in Concert

  • When: January 22, 1994
  • Where: Hermann Hall @ Illinois Tech, Chicago, IL
  • More stuff here:
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To the Review….

Violent Femmes in ConcertFirst off, there was the first major concert in the HUB Auditorium in years, and that was, in case you didn’t hear about it, the Violent Femmes. I can’t really say I’m a big, giant, Femmes fan, but I have to admit the show was pretty cool. From the grandiose entrance down the aisle, to the “mosh pit,” to the variety of different musical instruments, I as pretty impressed.

The played, from what I’m told, a good mix of past favorites, and the crowd was rather reserved, just kind of sitting back and enjoying the music – yea right – the crowd was all over the place. Dudes and Dudettes were being hoisted in the air and carried across on a sea of hands (alright, some people crashed into a big wave and dropped to the bottom like a rock), people were slam-dancin’, bouncin’ off the security, and acting like a bunch of rowdy rioters – how cool!

But more about the show. Like I said before, they played what the crowd wanted – “Blister in the Sun, “Add it Up,” and this really cool song titled “Dance, Fucker, Dance.” But that wasn’t all. What really impressed me was the use of strange objects as instruments. From the “wash-basin” drum, to the big long tube/reed, I didn’t know how easy it really must be to find an instrument in the garage. And then, I must say, I’ve never seen anyone play a conch before. It was great.

So, the Violent Femmes get the coveted TWO BIG OL’ THUMBS UP from this reviewer. Everyone had a great time (well, almost everyone), and I’m sure some people felt just how much fun they had in the morning. It was good to see a major act here on campus, and I hope it doesn’t take billions and billions of years to happen again.

Next we hit the opening band for the Femmes, a group of talented buys called Rhodes and Craven. These guys have been at IIT before, and kept the crowd rockin’ in the Bog, but it was just unfortunate the crowd didn’t get into these guys until the end of the show.
Playing a good mix of some covers and originals, the band showed talent, but it’s just too bad they were cut a little short because it was at the end the crowd started really enjoying these guys.
Not too much else on these guys, but they do get TWO THUMBS UP for putting on a great show.
Alright, I’ll mention it even though I hate giving credit to people, but Jud, you did a good job in getting the Femmes here. Just goes to show what a little selfish initiative can do! And now to last Thursday.

Well, well, well. What do you get when you put one original member of White Summer, two guys from a band called Prezence, and some from a band called Innuendo? Quite a surprise! Alright, I really probably shouldn’t have told you all that, but hey, when something kinda good and neat happens, it should be noted. Yep, it was supposed to be White Summer, and kinda was – hell, they played a lot of Zeppelin, but there was more – and the crowd loved it. Things were a little fishy from the start when the lead singer, Todd McGuillary, botched a few lines here and there on some of the Zeppelin tunes, and got more fishy when he started singing “We Will Rock You/We Are The Champions” by Queen at the end of the first set and I said to myself, “Self, this guy should be singing in a Queen tribute band instead of a Zeppelin band.” Little did I know. Second set featured some more Queen, and back into Zeppelin. But more should be said about the rest of the band too (I guess with a show like this it’s the individual talents of the members that could pull off an excellent show and have most of the crowd fooled). Anyway, on lead guitar was a guy called Roger Alison, and he would have done Mr. Page pretty proud. He had more guitars than God, and God has a lot of guitars. He even pulled out the bow and sounded great and had some really cool acoustic work. Of course there was Steve Albue on keys and bass. A talent in his own right, he’s no stranger to playing at IIT. Years ago, he was with this really cool Blues Brothers band that played for this crazy “Hermann All Night Long” party upstairs by the DOSL office. So he’s been spanning the globe of musical variety in his career, and now keeps things going in whatever band he’s playing in. But then, then, then, there was this crazy guy. He was going nuts the whole show, and this guy just so happened to be one hell of a drummer. He had a gong, a timpani drum, and a hell of a lot of energy.

So, all in all, a pretty cool evening, even if it wasn’t really what it was supposed to be. I guess I really can’t rate the “Bohemian Rhapsody” by Queen and cause that to ruin their rating since they sort of pulled it off out of nowhere. They tried to give some healthy advice to get along, hoped, as Todd kinda put it, “his advice didn’t bounce off their (the crowds) head like a Whammo Ball,” and even through in a Supertramp song for the hell of it. Well, well, well, I just can’t decide. As a Zeppelin tribute band there were OK (bring Prezence to the Bog), as a Queen band, they were OK (bring Innuendo to the Bog), but as a band kinda thrown together I was really impressed. So, I’m going to flip a coin (the easiest way to solve a tough decision). And the answer is—TWO THUMBS UP! Well, I guess fate decided that!!

Good to see the Bog crowds keeping up even on a slippery night like last Thursday. I just hope the crowds keep coming. So stop on by the Bog this week, have some fun, and just remember to Party Smart. And, as always, Rellim Reeb, Rellim Reeb!!!


Greater


Rated: PG | Running Time: 130 Minutes
From: Well Go USA Entertainment
Available on DVD, Blu-ray, and Digital Platforms:  December 20, 2016
Get it via : Amazon | iTunes

Greater on DVDI will not lie – at the end of “Greater” i got a little weepy. The thing is it wasn’t really “sad” weepy, it was more of “what a great life, even if it seemed too short” weepy.

Yes, I will come right out of the gate and let you know Brandon Burlsworth died.

It’s not really a spoiler, I mean, if you do any quick Google search about him it’s right out there, but I had no idea. The press release didn’t mention it, the DVD case didn’t mention it, but instantly, as the movie opens with a stone slab for a tombstone my first thought, followed by Google confirmation was “Crap, he dies? So much for an uplifting movie.” But it is, even with his death.

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Chicken People


Rated: Not Rated | Running Time: 83 Minutes
From:Sony Pictures Home Entertainment, Samuel Goldwyn Films and CMT
Available on DVD and Digital Platforms:  November 22, 2016
Get it via : Amazon | iTunes

Chicken PeopleThis is what I call a “Who knew?” documentary? Who knew there were so many kinds of chickens? Who knew there was a National Poultry Show? Who knew there was a Standard of Perfection, a book that details the perfect chicken? Who knew you could be an engineer and systematically breed chickens to try to produce a champion? And yes, who knew there was an Ohio National Poultry Show, the chicken equivalent of the Westminster Dog Show?

The chicken people do.

“Chicken People” is a documentary following the lives of three people over the course of about a year, and their quest to raise a perfect chicken, at least as rated by the Standard of Perfection, and win the National Poultry Show. Yes, that means that they have the best of 9,700 birds entered in the competition. And yes, that’s right, 9,700 birds are entered, one will win.

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Uncle Nick


Rated: Not Rated | Running Time: 81 Minutes
From: Dark Sky Films
Available on DVD, Blu-ray, and Online:  November 1, 2016
Get it via : Amazon | iTunes

Uncle NickI guess I was at that age when I was old enough to like baseball, but too young for my parents to explain to me what happened at the Ten Cent Beer game, a legendary debacle of fan sportsmanship resulting in a bunch of drunk, unruly fans ruining a lovely day at the ballpark for those who just wanted to see a ballgame.

Who knew you could build a Christmas movie around the progression of events at the Ten Cent Beer Game, but the folks of “Uncle Nick” did a pretty good job.

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The Dark Horse


Rated: R | Running Time: 124 Minutes
From: Broadgreen Pictures
Available on DVD, Digital HD, and VOD:  July 12, 2016
Get it via : Amazon | iTunes

Sometimes all you need to find is that purpose in life to overcome your personal challenges. Genesis Potini did just that. “The Dark Horse” tells that story.

Based on the true story, “The Dark Horse” weaves the history of Genesis Potini (in the movie played wonderfully by Cliff Curtis), a chess champion in New Zealand battling with mental illness who discovers his passion in teaching others the glory of chess, and in doing so is able to calm many of the demons in his head.

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Back in the Day


Rated: Not Rated | Running Time: 121 Minutes
From: Virgil Films
Available on Blu-ray and DVD: June 28, 2016
Get it via: Amazon | iTunes

Anthony (William Demeo) does it, he finally wins the boxing championship, and his life is now complete. What to do now? Anthony sits down with Larry Merchant (played by Larry Merchant) to tell his life story. His life story is “Back in the Day,” a fictional boxing movie like many others, mixed with overblown mafia stereotypes.

Well, crap, I could give you the story, but that’s really about it, and that’s too bad.

I guess I’ll expand a bit…

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Bachelor Games


Rated: Not Rated | Running Time: 87 Minutes
From: Gravitas Ventures / Strike Films
Available on Digital Platforms July 8, 2016

The publicity material for “Bachelor Games” touted the movie as a horror-comedy. I understand the horror part, sort of, but I’m still waiting on the funny.

Let’s get to the basics…

A bunch of dudes get together for a bachelor party. Sounds like a fun time, right? Where are they headed? Vegas? The Bahamas? No, our group is heading to the Andes mountains in Argentina. Yup, they are on their way to a secluded town where they do some drinking, some drugs, and there is even a stripper. There is also local lore about “The Hunter” who protects the land. What are our boys going to do? Go hiking in the land of course!

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Get A Job


Rated: R | Running Time: 84 Minutes
From: Lionsgate
Available on Blu-ray, DVD, and Digital HD on June 14, 2016
Get it via Amazon | iTunes

As I was watching “Get a Job,” one prevailing sentiment kept occurring between the jokes that seemed to be trying too hard, and that was “Hey, thats…,” and “That’s the dude from…,” and “She was in…,” and “I remember him.” Then, at the end of it all, all I could really wonder was “How did most of these bigger-name people, folks like Christopher ‘Superbad’ Mintz-Plasse, Marcia ‘in a whole bunch of everything’ Gay Harden, John ‘Harold and Kumar’ Cho, Jorge ‘Lost’ Garcia, Jay ‘Saturday Night Live’ Pharoah, Anna ‘Pitch Perfect’ Kendrick and Bryan ‘Breaking Bad’ Cranston get in this pretty average ‘coming of age’ kind of movie?”

Let’s get to the story, I suppose…

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Andron


Rated: R | Running Time: 90 Minutes
From: Momentum Pictures
In Theaters, VOD and Digital EST on June 3, 2016
Watch it via: Amazon | iTunes

I will say this about “Andron,” it has one of the longest plot developments of all time, especially for a movie that is about an hour and a half. The thing is that even if I understood the entire plot earlier, it wouldn’t have helped. I’ll help you out a bit with the story.

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