Author Archives: Jeffrey Lamar
Some people, when they want to advertise for their company, go on Groupon or Facebook, but not the New York based advertising firm Leroy and Clarkson. No, they gathered some serious funds and put it all into a really well done spoof of the AMC hit MAD MEN and called it DON-O-MITE. Don, as in Don Draper, and it doesn’t stop there. Every single character from the original series got the Soul Train treatment and, not for nothing, it is seriously funny. It reminds me a lot and I mean a lot, of Black Dynamite, but it’s still very well done. Let me know what you think.
I’m not ashamed to admit that a lot of my history lessons, of late, have been through graphic novels. I find that lately a lot of authors are using this medium in order to tell the world their stories and although most are a blend of fact and fiction, there’s no denying some of the irrefutable truths about our past. Such is the case with author Max Brooks (World War Z) latest endeavor The Harlem Hellfighters. It’s an exhausting and brutally real account of a world unlike our own, but was once very real.
In 1919, the 369th infantry regiment marched home triumphantly from World War I. They had spent more time in combat than any other American unit, never losing a foot of ground to the enemy, or a man to capture, and winning countless decorations. Though they returned as heroes, this African American unit faced tremendous discrimination, even from their own government. The Harlem Hellfighters, as the Germans called them, fought courageously on—and off—the battlefield to make Europe, and America, safe for democracy.
Having seen a lot of movies that cover such topics, it’s approach wasn’t a huge surprise. Most African Americans are well aware of the struggles our boys went through to become soldiers back in the days and because of this, I found it tremendously difficult to hone in on the books true voice. As a forty year old black male, seeing and reading about the indignity the 369th infantry faced on the front lines and abroad, was like watching a Netflix film. Been there done that. Not a lot of new ground to be broken here, but I will say this, it is a great read for someone completely unfamiliar with this part of history and other stories of black infantry’s in American wars, but for me I was a bit disappointed in the lack of clever dialogue. Unlike Max’s masterpiece, World War Z, THH is a graphic novel through and though, what I mean is, flash was substituted for substance. It’s very thematic in it’s approach and although he claimed that this was a labor of love that he’d been sitting on for decades, it didn’t quite feel that way for me. To me THH would have been better as an actual story and not a graphic novel. This is one of those rare cases when I feel like turning this story into a graphic novel, dumb down a very important part of American history. That being said, I understand his reasoning for doing it. One, to make it appealing to a young demographic and two, to pitch this as a film, which incidentally, Sony Pictures has already picked it up and Caleeb Pinkett and James Lassiter under their Overbrook company, will produce it. You can checkout that story here.
There are some good things about this story like the illustration by Canaan White, whose work with Marvel is unparallelled. His art takes this story one step further with “in your face” violence and believe me the story wouldn’t have been nearly as good without it. While reading, I was often times reminded of Dave Gibbons work in The Watchmen. Canaan incorporates a lot of the eye-bulging and entrail-flying, that I saw in that beloved 80′s graphic. On the downside, I did find it hard to follow the characters and yes, I know, not all brothers look a like, but they kinda did in this graphic or at least their stories were so inconsequential that the marriage of character and art got slightly blurred from time to time.
I know I’m coming down on this book HARD, but it left me half cocked. I’m sure when it’s turned into a film they’ll fill in some of those holes left by Max, but as for the read, it’s worth it. The story does tend to go off in different directions a lot though. It felt as though Max desperately needed to squeeze these historical tidbits in, but forgot to focus on the characters. Honestly, the book felt like I was watching Forrest Gump. Especially the pages where Max and Canaan are telling us about the role blacks played in every war. It was kinda funny.
I recommend this book for it’s art more than the story, but as I said before, it’s a stellar read for the uninformed.
If you are interested in some other World War graphic novels we reviewed CHECK THESE OUT!
ONWARDS TOWARD OUR NOBLE DEATHS: http://wp.me/p2ge4g-CG
ALAN’S WAR: THE MEMORIES OF G.I. ALAN COPE: http://wp.me/p2ge4g-zh
Merrill Garbus of Tune-Yards is “hands down” one of the most talented musicians of our times. This New England native continues to change her style and isn’t afraid to move into new directions with her sound. On May 5th the Tune Yards will release their new album Nikki Nack through 4AD, but they’ve released an awesome jam off of it to wet our appetite for the time being. Wait For A Minute is a little less weighty than most Tune Yard jams, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t stellar. Merrill is laid back on this track, but still funky and unpredictable. Let me stop talking…just listen to it.
Okay, so I got pretty giddy inside after watching this beautifully edited trailer for Zach Braff’s sophomore film Wish I Was Here. It’s an easy sell seeing as how it somehow involves a young girl (with a debilitating disease), her fanboy little brother and a granddad played by the legendary Mandy Patinkin, on his deathbed in a hospital and the whole thing is set to The Shins “A Simple Song” . I’m checking right now for the official synopsis to see how much of what I just said is true and…..I wasn’t that far off, but here’s the official synopsis. It’s a bit long winded, but then again, so is this trailer.
Zach Braff stars as a thirtysomething family man wrestling with his disapproving father, an elusive God, and adult responsibility. Pursuing acting has landed him and his wife (Kate Hudson) in a tough spot, so when his grumpy father (Mandy Patinkin) can no longer pay for the kids to attend Jewish Yeshiva, Aidan opts for homeschooling, much to the chagrin of his hyperdisciplined, religious daughter (Joey King) and the delight of his less-than-studious son (Pierce Gagnon), The film premiered at the Sundance 2014, hits theaters in NY and LA on July 18th, and expands on August 1st.
A great website Dangerous Minds , just posted an amazing short film on their site. It’s called The Delian Mode, it’s about electronic music pioneer Delia Derbyshire who created by splicing magnetic tape together what musicians can do today with a press of a button. Her most notable credit is the iconic Dr. WHO theme. This film came out about four years ago and received a lot of awards, but unfortunately I’m just hearing about this film, as well as this pioneering woman. I hope you can forgive me. It’s interesting watching and learning about what this woman did and how she created, with tape, what musician “nowadays” still struggle to wrap their minds around with computers.
Directed by music video director Kara Blake under the name Philtre Films, The Delian Mode pays homage to someone most people know very little about, but whose works are responsible for the way we listen to music today. Below I’ve embedded the trailer for The Delian Mode, but you can watch the entire film HERE at Dangerous Minds.
The Delian Mode is a a short experimental documentary revolving around the life and work of electronic music pioneer Delia Derbyshire, best known for her groundbreaking sound treatment of the Doctor Who theme music. A collage of sound and image created in the spirit of Derbyshire’s unique approach to audio creation and manipulation, this film illuminates such soundscapes onscreen while paying tribute to a woman whose work has influenced electronic musicians for decades.
The film features interviews with Brian Hodgson and Dick Mills of the now defunct BBC Radiophonic Workshop, the founder of Electronic Music Studios Peter Zinovieff, musicians Peter Kember (Sonic Boom), Adrian Utley (Portishead) and Ann Shenton (Add N to X) as well as other friends and colleagues of Delia.
Skrillex is known for his love of science fiction. He uses samples from anime, science fiction and horror films to create his heart pounding dubstep, so when he teamed up with South African director Terence Neale, for his latest video “Ragga Bomb”, you know it’s going to be magic. This video for “Ragga Bomb” featuring the British jungle mainstays Ragga Twins , is highly imaginative sci fi, to say the least. The video was shot in Johannesburg and Alexandra, South Africa and even features a lightsaber battle at the end. I don’t know if George Lucas is gonna come at him for this, but my guess is that he will (cause George Lucas can be a dick like that).
I’ll be honest, I had gone past the point of purchasing Mj albums a long time ago, but it’ll be interesting to hear what they do with these yet unreleased tracks. Posthumous…it’s a funny word, that always seemed to me like grave robbing for greedy family members or big corporations and let’s be honest, it’s, for the lack of a better term, “morbid” curiosity…isn’t it? I digress.
XSCAPE is executive produced by Epic CEO L.A. Reid, who was given access to Jackson’s archives by his estate. After curating a list of recordings, he worked with lead producer Timbaland, along with producers Rodney Jerkins, Stargate, Jerome “Jroc” Harmon, and John McClain, to “add a fresh, contemporary sound” to them, according to a press release. A deluxe edition will include all of the sourced recordings in their original form.
“Michael left behind some musical performances that we take great pride in presenting through the vision of music producers that he either worked directly with or expressed strong desire to work with,” Reid said in the press release. “We are extremely proud and honored to present this music to the world.”
Firstshowing.net just posted this fabulous “SXSW” science fiction short on their site and I was compelled to post it on ours. It’s a brilliant exercise in subtlety and restraint. PROSPECT is a father and daughter story about hope in a very bleak future. Directed by Zeek Earl & Chris Caldwell and starring Callie Harlow & Tony Doupe, it’s got a lot of that vintage seventies, science fiction, appeal, but with a bit of the modern thrown in there for good measure. The marriage between acting, music (compliments of the amazingly talented Daniel Caldwell) and cinematography, is flawless and believable. Not unlike films like MOON, Primer, Another Earth or HER, Prospect fits snugly among them and adds to the ,stripped down arsenal of great science fiction films, that have been getting much needed attention. This project, that was funded on Kickstarter, premiered at SXSW 2014 and has since been gaining steam. Let us know what you think.
For more info on PROSPECT checkout the links we embedded after the jump.
The soundtrack is available for free at:
Given the high gloss treatment Star Wars has seen over the previous years, it doesn’t take much to reinvent the look of a franchise and I’d say artist Richard Lim pretty much nailed it. This conceptual artists take on Star Wars, takes it a step further, by making it a real war. With blurred hand to hand combat, epic fire fights and blood. Yes blood, something Star Wars could stand to see more of. These beautiful images are done in such a photo-realistic way that I pray to God J.J. is watching. These images were created for Star Wars: First Assault, which is a cancelled game from LucasArts, so who knows maybe we will see these images turn up again in the future.
I’ve been listening to this haunting soundtrack for about twenty minutes now and I couldn’t imagine a more appropriate soundscape. Reminding me a little of Johnny Greenwood’s work on The Master and There Will Be Blood, Mica Levi, known by her stage name Micachu, is bringing that same level of abstract to this project. It’s not a soundtrack in the sense of songs, but it’s more or less provides, hopefully, what is needed to take us along this trip bizarre trip.
Under the Skin is directed by Jonathan Glazer and stars Scarlett Johansson. The film hits theaters April 4, with Levi’s soundtrack dropping April 1 in the U.S. and March 31 in the UK via Milan. The entire soundtrack is streaming now on Pitchfork Advance