Tag Archives: Music

New Day Christian Distributors & Word Entertainment Announce New Distribution Relationship

Posted by Larry Gleeson

By Herb Longs

New Day Christian Distributors and Word Entertainment are pleased to announce an expanded distribution relationship. Effective January 2, 2017, all titles from Word Entertainment will be exclusively distributed in the physical format to Christian Retail by New Day. The agreement encompasses Word Entertainment’s record and film partners and all artists on the Word and Curb Christian rosters, including: Meredith Andrews, Chris August, Francesca Battistelli, Big Daddy Weave, Blanca, Castro, Everfound, Family Force 5, for KING & COUNTRY, Natalie Grant, Group 1 Crew, Mallary Hope, Love & The Outcome, Dara Maclean, Steven Malcolm, OBB, Plumb, Sarah Reeves, Selah, Sidewalk Prophets, Todd Smith, Stars Go Dim, VERIDIA, We Are Messengers and Zealand Worship.

“The first major label relationship we established after starting New Day in 1981, was with Word Records,” shared Dottie Leonard Miller, President & CEO of New Day. “Serving Christian Retail is our entire focus at New Day. To be able to exclusively represent Word Entertainment and Curb Records to Christian Retail, along with products from their distributed labels and film partners, is a career highlight. We are humbled by Mike Curb’s and Rod Riley’s trust in New Day.”

This exclusive distribution arrangement brings together two great, independent, Christian-owned companies. According to Nielsen Music’s SoundScan, combined Christian music market share YTD for New Day/Word exceeds 16%.

Rod Riley, President & CEO, Word Entertainment, adds, “I have been a big fan of Dottie, Ed, and the New Day team for many years now, and it is an honor to bring our companies together as we effectively move forward into the future of the music industry. As we sharpen our focus on content creation while continuing to be committed to Christian Retail, this new relationship will strengthen how we are able to serve our artists and our catalog of 65 years.”

Today’s announcement comes on the heels of New Day signing the TillyMann (Tamela Mann) label for Christian Retail distribution, and extending its exclusive Christian Retail distribution relationships with Reach Records (Lecrae, Andy Mineo, Trip Lee, Tedashii, KB) and Tooth & Nail/BEC/Solid State Records (Kutless, 7eventh Time Down, Disciple, Demon Hunter, David Dunn). New Day will now exclusively represent a historic collection of independent Christian labels and artists under one roof with artists representing all styles of the Christian genre, including: AC, Hip Hop, Rap, Rock, Gospel, Southern Gospel, Jazz, Bluegrass, Country, and Inspirational. Also, for the first time, New Day will offer Word performance tracks, adding to the market leadership of their Daywind line which features over 4,400 titles across genres.

Anna Biller’s ‘The Love Witch’ Screens Tonight

Posted by Larry Gleeson

Come see the Love Witch and a Q & A  with Director Anna Biller at the Los Angeles Nuart Theater!

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THE LOVE WITCH

Actress Samantha Robinson
Plus Principal Cast Members
Fri Nov 11, 7:00pm show w/Q&A*
Sat Nov 12, 7:00pm show w/Q&A
Sun Nov 13, 4:00pm show w/Q&A
*With Filmmaker Anna Biller

Viewed by Larry Gleeson.

The Love Witch is the second feature film from Anna Biller and it recently received distribution from Oscilloscope Laboratories. Biller’s first feature was Viva(2007), a dramedy about two Los Angeles suburbanites who experiment with drugs, sex and bohemia in the 1970’s. Both films are shot in 35mm. Biller wrote, directed and produced The Love Witch and also made many of the props and paintings and is credited with Costuming and Production Design. Biller also devoted time and efforts to the film’s musical score and composition and has quickly become known for using classic and outdated film genres to communicate the feminine role within contemporary culture. Interestingly, with The Love Witch Biller creates a visual style that pays tribute to the Technicolor thrillers of the 1960’s while exploring aspects of female fantasy along with the repercussions of pathological narcissism.

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In the film’s opening, blood-red, gothic text provides introductory credits. Soon we see the film’s protagonist Elaine, a stunningly, good-looking young witch, played by the svelte Samantha Robinson, driving in a mint-condition, red mustang convertible from the mid-to-late 1960’s. An inner voice-over narration informs the viewer Elaine is leaving the city (San Francisco) driving into the redwoods where no one will know her. A flashback to the scene of her former husband Jerry’s death and more voice-over indicate Elaine suffered a nervous breakdown after he “left her” and she’s under suspicion.

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As Elaine is driving the Mustang convertible in the first scene Biller appears to pay homage to Hitchcock’s Psycho  with some nice camera work from cinematographer M. David Mullen with a police cruiser appearing in the rear view mirror coupled with a closeup of an eyeball. Other closeups are provided in this sequence of a Tarot deck and a heart card with swords through it as well as an opened pack of cigarettes. It becomes quite clear Elaine is hell-bent on having a man to love her.

Without much adieu, Elaine moves into a small-town (presumably in or near Eureka, California) and holes up in a three-story, royal purple Victorian home. Her friend Barbara, another witch, played by Jennifer Ingrum, has made available an apartment space within. The apartment décor seemed rather peculiar to the interior decorator, Trish, played by Laura Waddell, who welcomed Elaine and showed her the place. Trish commented she had decorated the apartment with the peculiar color scheme from a soft tarot deck while Barbara and “her students” provided the occult paintings and other similarly styled wiccan décor adornments.

The costuming and visual colors are alluring and highly feminine complete with a golden-haired harpist maiden and large pastel-colored hats in a Victorian Tea Room for ‘Ladies Only.’ Here Elaine reveals she has fairy princess fantasies and that all women are just little girls underneath with dreams of a prince carrying them off on a white horse. Trish agrees she has those fantasies too – commenting about how ridiculous it all is. After a slight pause Elaine confides she doesn’t think she’s found her Prince Charming yet. However, she believes she’s discovered the formula as she’s been studying parapsychology and now knows everything there is to know about men.

Her “formula” are spells and potions she conjures up in her apartment. She then proceeds to pick up her unsuspecting male victims, seduce them and leaves them forlorn and hapless. Finally, she at last meets her Prince Charming. However, her overriding and desperate need to be loved drives her to the edge of insanity and to murder.

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The Love Witch is a beautifully lush film with its lavish, fetish costuming and meticulous set designs. It also has a 1960’s look and feel despite its contemporary setting and it makes extensive use of high-key lighting as it delves into female culturally defined roles with entrancing scene work. These filmmaking techniques and production design attributes allow Biller to encode feminist ideas within the frames of cinematic aesthetics and visual pleasure. And even though Biller was making a film for women, I can tell you after seeing this film, it’s a film made for men, too, with what could arguably have the longest running female tampon joke. The Love Witch is wholeheartedly recommended and dare I say…. “a film to die for.” It’s intriguing and, in my opinion, it’s fun!

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Again, the film will be screening in Los Angeles at the Landmark Nuart on November 11th and in New York on November 18th, with additional screenings in select theaters across the country. Hope to see you there!

(Press materials provided courtesy of Marina Bailey PR)

La La Land ‘Dreamers’ trailer released

If there’s only one movie you can see this year make it La La Land. With an early limited release scheduled for December 9th in Los Angeles and New York followed up by a nation-wide roll-out, put on your seat belts for this emotional roller-coaster.

Brilliantly conceptualized from the Damien Chazelle team, La La Land tells the story of two young Los Angeleans, Mia and Sebastian seeking fulfillment through the entertainment industry. Mia is an aspiring actress and Sebastian is a classical jazz pianist who doesn’t believe in compromising his convictions for anyone or anything. Mia, on the other hand, can’t seem to finish an audition without being interrupted. It’s only when their paths cross and the stars align do these two traverse the path of fulfillment.

As performances go, Emma Stone as Mia delivers an all-encompassing performance delicately balancing the drama of her personal life with an expressiveness she’s honed over the last twelve years as an actress in Hollywood.  Ryan Gosling as Sebastian delivers an understated performance that matches his character. Together, the two have made cinematic magic in the spirit and image of Ginger Rogers and Fred Astair, Gene Kelly and Debbie Reynolds.

La La Land is a film for the ages. Exceptional camera work, ardent choreography, exquisite production design, catchy, melodic musical score, strong direction and over-the-top performances catapult La La Land to the top of the year’s best films. La La Land is the stuff dreams are made of.

 

FILM REVIEW: Chuck (Falardeau, 2016): USA

Viewed by Larry Gleeson at the Venice Film Festival.

Philippe Falardeau, the acclaimed director of The Good Lie and the Oscar nominated Monsieur Lazhar comes forth with a period piece of New Jersey in the 1970’s with a new film, Chuck, The Chuck Wepner Story, a drama, starring Liev Schreiber, known for his television role as Ray Donovan in the Showtime series “Ray Donovan,” and as Marty Baron in last year’s Oscar-winning Best Picture, Spotlight. Schreiber portrays boxer Chuck Wepner, the heavyweight champion of New Jersey, and often known more colorfully as the Bayonne Bleeder.

When he wasn’t in the ring, Wepner was a liquor salesman on the mean streets of New Jersey who managed to last 15 rounds in a professional boxing match with the greatest fighter of all-time – Muhammad Ali. Legendary boxing promoter Don King wanted a race fight and sought out a white fighter to get into the ring with the Champ, Muhammad Ali.

Wepner seemed to be a good choice to be Ali’s punching bag. Wepner had a reputation for being able to take a punch. And, true to King’s intention, Wepner took a beating. Not as though it was anything new for Wepner. In his ten years as a boxer he had his nose broken eight times, had 133 stitches, suffered fourteen losses and two knockouts. He was once pummeled so badly by Sonny Liston suffering both a broken nose and a broken cheekbone that required extensive stitching to heal.

Yet, Wepner had managed to put together a string of good fights and began to believe and have faith that his dream of getting a title shot was in reach. While not a great fighter, Wepner was known for his big heart, his ability to take a beating and come back for more. As a matter of record, Wepner became the first man to knock Ali off his feet inside the ring during a title fight. A furious Ali got back up and pulverized Wepner without mercy culminating in the fight ending 19 seconds into the 15th round. Sylvester Stallone based his Rocky franchise on Wepner’s life.

Director Falardeau exquisitely turns what might easily have been another boxing movie into a relationship piece illuminating Wepner’s most difficult moments outside the ring. He depicts the 1970’s much like Martin Scorcese’s Taxi Driver – seedy, wild women, drugs, booze – along with exceptional highs and disastrous lows.

After Rocky became the hit of 1976 garnering ten Oscar nominations and three wins for Best Picture, Best Director and Best Editing, Wepner began letting the world of New Jersey nightlife know he was the real life Rocky and to many he was. Jim Gaffigan plays Wepner’s best friend John Stoehr and loyal steward who is shown as mostly living vicariously through Chuck. A most telling scene occurs when Cinematographer Nicolas Bolduc takes the audience down inside the clubbing world of the honkytonk, disco era of the 1970’s with the fur coats, gold chains, silky rayon tops, sequined gowns, costume jewelry and the dance music of the Bee Gee’s. Here Wepner not only succumbs to the temptation of the drugs, booze and casual sex, he ultimately seems to confuse his own life with the screen life of Rocky Balboa while John looks on in giddy bewilderment.

Soon Wepner confronts Stallone about Rocky. Stallone, played by Morgan Spector, seems genuinely flattered and invites Wepner to audition for a real-life role in Rocky II. A drug infused, boozed up Wepner blows the audition as his life is now in a virulent downward spiral. Finally, after he shows up late and misses his 2nd grade daughter’s Parents Day, his wife, Phyllis, played by Elisabeth Moss calls it quits. Wepner knows he’s falling. Yet, he finds a glimpse of hope with a local bartender, Linda, played by Schreiber’s real-life wife, Naomi Watts. The two hit it off with some playful banter before the bottom drops out for Wepner and he’s sent to prison for drug trafficking. This becomes Stallone’s impetus for his 1989 film Lock Up. Wepner is called upon to be a consultant and is shown in shackles and prison garb. Yet, when he sees Stallone staging the story, he realizes his life is not Stallone’s version. This is the turning point of the film and for Chuck Wepner. He reconciles with his brother John, played sharply by Michael Rappaport and eventually marries Linda and the two spend the rest of their lives together in close relationship.

Chuck, full of rich costuming and fine cinematography, is at its core a period piece of the 1970’s including the role boxing played in the public domain. It is also a strong narrative of the trials and tribulations of Chuck Wepner’s life. Moreover, it’s a life affirming story as Wepner goes the distance and gets the girl in the end. Warmly recommended.

(Featured photo courtesy of ASAC Images/Biennale Cinema di Venezia)

29th Tokyo International Film Festival Unveils Full Lineup

The Tokyo International Film Festival (TIFF) held a press conference to announce lineups in the all sections, jury members, and this year’s topics and highlights at Toranomon Hills Forum in Tokyo.

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From left: Daigo MATSUI, Yu AOI, Munetaka AOKI, and Mamoru HOSODA ©2016 TIFF

Yasushi SHIINA, Director General of TIFF & TIFFCOM, made opening remarks and announced that the festival muse for this year is Haru KUROKI, one of the most accomplished actresses in Japan. TIFF’s programing directors then took the stage to introduce the lineup for each section of the 29th edition, as well as to reiterate the prior announcements of the Opening film, Stephen Frears’ Florence Foster Jenkins and the Closing film, Yoshitaka MORI’s Satoshi: A Move for Tomorrow.

In the Competition section, 16 films were selected from among 1,502 titles from 98 countries and regions. Representing the two Japanese titles in this main competitive section, director Daigo MATSUI and actress Yu AOI from Japanese Girls Never Die, and actor Munetaka AOKI from Snow Woman were welcomed on the stage and made remarks.

Click here for the Full Competition Lineup.

Acclaimed director Mamoru HOSODA, who is being honored this year with “The World of Mamoru Hosoda” in the Animation Focus section, greeted the audience after the retrospective lineup was announced. He will appear for stage talks during TIFF with such special guests as director Hirokazu KORE-EDA and filmmaker Daisuke “Dice” TSUTSUMI.

This year’s International Competition Jury members were also announced. French director/writer/producer Jean-Jacques BEINEIX will serve as President, working with director Hideyuki HIRAYAMA, actor Valerio MASTANDREA, producer Nicole ROCKLIN, and director Mabel CHEUNG.

During the 10-day celebration, more than 200 films will be screened and there will be unique film-related events every day at the festival venues, including stage appearances, Q&A sessions and symposia featuring celebrated guests from around the world.

The 29th TIFF will take place October 25 to November 3, 2016 at Roppongi Hills, EX Theater Roppongi (Minato City) and other theaters, halls and facilities in Tokyo Metropolitan Area.

(Source:www.tiff-jp.net)

 

Nashville Film Festival 2016 April 14-23

Founded in 1969, the Nashville Film Festival (NaFF) has been voted one of the top 25 film festivals worthy of the entry fee by MovieMaker Magazine and was highlighted as One of the Best Film Festival Prizes by Film Festival Today. In addition, Brooks Institute named it one of the top 5 festivals in the United States.

NaFF stated mission is to amplify “collective and individual awareness by bringing the world to Nashville to celebrate innovation, music and the many voices of the human spiritthrough the art of film.”

With Academy Award status, the festival is a draw for up-and-coming directors, first-time filmmakers and veterans alike. Programming includes the best in World Cinema, American Independents, documentaries and shorts. Past films screened include 13 Assassins, (500) Days of Summer and Academy Award nominees I Am Love, Dogtooth and Ajami.

Known widely as Music City, Nashville is proud of its musical heritage and has showcased numerous memorable songs from its plethora of songwriters and musical artists.  Consequently, NaFF provides workshops that foster collaboration between music makers and film professionals from Hollywood and from around the globe.

With a strong commitment to independent and innovative filmmaking, NaFF offers distinctive and unique awards including cash and prizes totaling $37,000 along with television broadcasting contracts.  Other special awards include prizes for the best LGBT film, best film by a black filmmaker, best Hispanic film, as well as awards for Tennessee directors.

As one of only 17 film festivals worldwide share this special designation with its winners of Short Documentary, Short Narrative and Short Animation competitions automatically qualifying for Academy Award consideration.

And, NaFF gets more than its fair share of celebrity guests. Celebrity honorees and participants have included Oprah Winfrey, Susan Sarandon, William Shatner, William H. Macy, Al Gore, Danny Glover, Vincent D’Onofrio, Joey Lauren Adams, Rob Thomas, Craig Brewer, Harmony Korine, Ashley Judd, Kiefer Sutherland, Joshua Jackson, Brad Paisley, Kimberly Williams-Paisley, Peter Falk, Paul Reiser, Patrick Swayze, Rick Schroder, Christine Vachon, John Waters, Matthew McConaughey, Robert Redford, James Cromwell, Harry Belafonte, Barbara Kopple, Michael Moore, D.A. Pennebaker and director of the upcoming The Amazing Spider-Man, Marc Webb.

Stay tuned for more information on this exciting, fun-filled and musically infused festival. Until then, I’ll see you at the movies!