Green Band Trailer

Trailers are an under-appreciated art form insofar that many times they’re seen as vehicles for showing footage, explaining films away, or showing their hand about what moviegoers can expect. Foreign, domestic, independent, big budget: What better way to hone your skills as a thoughtful moviegoer than by deconstructing these little pieces of advertising?

This week we get on the bus, get horrific in the wild west, get ready for a new baseball season, pay respect to Aretha Franklin’s greatness, and get weird while trying to play Pac-Man. Read More »

Amazing Grace Review

That the Aretha Franklin concert documentary Amazing Grace exists at all is something of a miracle. It was originally filmed by Sydney Pollack to accompany the recording of her live 1972 gospel album of the same name. Franklin’s album would go on to sell two million copies. The film, however, went unseen for 46 years. Pollack failed to use clapper boards during the filming process, making it almost impossible to sync up the sound and the image. Filmmaker Alan Elliott bought the footage back from Warner Brothers in 2007 and fixed it up, but legal troubles with Franklin pushed the release of Amazing Grace further and further back.

Finally, a 90-minute version of Franklin’s two-night show at the New Temple Missionary Baptist Church has seen the light of day, and the result, thank goodness, is glorious. Much like another long-embattled music doc, Les Blank’s film about Leon Russell, A Poem is a Naked Person, Amazing Grace provides not only dynamic music, but a detailed glimpse into the time and place in which it was made. The music is moving, Franklin is stunning, and the church is full of characters.

Read More »