A pot of gold can’t always been found at the end of the rainbow, as far as A Disturbance in the Force is concerned.
Playing May 6, 2023 at the Chicago Critics Film Festival (tickets)
Any fan of the original Star Wars trilogy will sense A Disturbance in the Force at the mere mention of that Holiday Special. Had the timing been better, I’m sure not everyone would want to watch it on May the 4th had it been offered. Most people tend to lament over where it fits in the canon and as for who are the advocates, this excellent documentary by Jeremy Coon and Steve Kozak dares to tell all!
I was amazed at all the arguments unearthed, past and present. It’s perfect at getting into the details of why this show was created and details how every segment came to fruition. Here, what’s delved into brings many generations of fans to speculate and discuss everything you want to know but were afraid to ask.
This author’s journey to the heart of rock and roll in Don’t Call It Hair Metal is the same as mine when when I discovered this genre at an early age.
May 16, 2023
Everything you want to know but were afraid to ask about what went on behind the scenes and in the evolution of heavy metal is well accounted for in Sean Kelly’s Don’t Call It Hair Metal. This deft exploration of the 80s music scene in 320 page book published by ECW Press is great at delving into the origin of many famous bands from the 70s onwards. From Slade to KISS to Ozzy Osbourne’s solo career after Black Sabbath, the examination even dives deep to reveal something new about each act that I’m a fan of.
This book isn’t about random bits of trivia. It’s an excellent scholarly study on why a lot of bands are still performing. What they produce is for the love of the sound, not the look, or even the glam that shook up the stage to draw in crowds. Alice Cooper is the godfather of the scene for a reason, and we get some great stories from various talents remembering those times.
Instead of exploring the decade as a whole, each chapter deals with a few years at a time. We get even more studies about how talents like Randy Roads developed their signature sound, and the interviews from industry observers and other fellow guitarists only add to the picture. Whether that’s about their heydays or something anecdotal, I’m certainly enjoying this read. It’s best not to power through this book, either, as there’s a lot of terrific quotes from the talents Kelly interviewed.
This author’s journey to the heart of rock and roll is the same as mine when when I discovered heavy metal at an early age. And to hear the stories about how some bands persevered is sweet. Also, to read about what this author believes are the best platinum hits only affirms why I loved one album over another. For me, Def Leppard‘s Pyromania will always be my number one album to put on the turntable. Twisted Sister never came into my radar until “We’re not Gonna Take It,” and watching them transform into a glam act; but after a while, they took the makeup off and went back to the sound that is their roots.
As this book insinuates, it’s not about the hair, but the intention of why each group wanted to make a dent in the industry. Poison and Ratt were huge during this time, and it’s not because of the acts put on stage, their life behind the scenes or something else. Regarding the former, Brett Michaels’ journey is a book in itself, and it’s been looked upon in those documentaries made by VH1.
Even MTV’s influence is recounted here, and without them and the music videos which showed these bands at their craziest (or best), I doubt this era would be remembered fondly. Kelly’s love for the genre and his personal journey makes for the perfect narrative device to move readers year to year, and I suspect writing Don’t Call It Hair Metal took more than a a year to craft. Although the preview edition doesn’t contain any snapshots, that may change when the hard copy finally comes out.
Not everyone will recall Hayao Miyazaki worked on various animated television shows before transitioning to making feature-length films. He provided key animation to films like Puss in Boots and Animal Treasure Island. Those haven’t received a Blu-ray upgrade yet, but with the release of Future Boy Conan, it’s safe to assume they will one day come. In the meantime, this product is a must to give to any collector of this filmmaker’s works. Christmas is coming.
GKIDS & Shout! Factory’s release of this whimsical post-apocalyptic style adventure can see how this first-time director whetted his feet as an up-and-coming director. Although he changed a lot of the story–it was supposed to be an adaptation ofThe Incredible Tide by Alexander Key–the problems that later arose meant that for a time, no North American release was possible despite having having an English dub stuck in storage for decades (it was redone for this release).
Usually wearing a twig or a leaf is not enough to protect a person from harm. But when you’re Tzod (Lucy Lawless, Xena: Warrior Princess), and you know this plant has mystical properties, I suppose it’s okay to wander the world mostly naked. Thankfully this animated movie inspired by Frank Frazetta and Ralph Bakshi takes its cues elsewhere as it’s very ambitious in its scope, and is not scared of getting bloody that’d make Conan the Barbarian mutter, “Crom,” as wannabe kings and corrupt soldiers of fortune seek out The Bloom. With this plant, they can rule the world.
The Spine of Night bestows untold power and protection. Not everyone can lay claim to it, and nor can just anyone wear it as a badge of honour than emblem of power. Tzod is trying to protect it, and is laying as low so nobody can track her. Perhaps that’s why we see her in some strange outback, climbing up hills and poking her head in places faraway from humanity until she can find shelter. However, there’s another resident in the cave she found. The Guardian (Richard E. Grant, Withnail & I), is inquisitive, and asks why she’s here. Tzod explains, and that’s where the real stories unfold.
The 70s is alive and well in Batman: Soul of the Dragon. This animated film is an original tale and thankfully, it doesn’t take any notes from the campy and beloved 60s television show. Instead, its influence is straight out of many James Bond and Bruce Lee films. This aspect is enjoyable to see. Even rarer to see is Wayne not as the feared hero with a cape. He’s got the skills but not the experience in this outing!