We live in a time when spoiler alerts (and complaints about spoilers) abound. Still, some movies do rely on audiences knowing as little as possible beforehand, not because they are indicative of lazy storytelling methods, but because the journey itself is part of the enjoyment factor. This lack of foreknowledge favors the kinds of documentaries that allow the viewer to accompany the film’s narrator on his or her quest for some form of the truth.
Such narrative journeys can be suspenseful or downright creepy; witness 2011’s Resurrect Dead: The Mystery of the Toynbee Tiles, 2012’s The Imposter, or most famously, 2010’s Catfish. Comparing Fake Blood to Catfish makes me feel like this review is already giving too much away, but, Spoiler Alert! It’s a risk I’m willing to take. Read the rest of this entry
Mohawk is the story of a woman from the Mohawk nation, named Oak, taking on a platoon of American soldiers after they murder everyone she holds dear during the War of 1812. Shot on location in Syracuse, New York with actual members of the Mohawk tribe, the film is a bloody, deep dive into one of the many corners of American history we tend to gloss over in school. Read the rest of this entry
This week’s episode of The Alienist, “These Bloody Thoughts,” opens with a tense scene between Dr. Kreizler and a former patient (Mrs. Williams), a woman who reveals herself as a BDSM practitioner, although she doesn’t use those terms. She obviously relishes the control she has over Kreizler, who becomes increasingly fidgety as their conversation continues. What’s intriguing is how Kreizler then exerts control over both John and Sara in their subsequent interactions.
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Nicolas Cage is having quite the year. It’s only the beginning of February and he’s already had a lot of buzz: There is the high energy, pitch-black comedy about parents trying to kill their children which hit theatres in January (Mom & Dad), one of the best reviewed films at Sundance (Mandy), and a film festival dedicated to him in Glasgow.
Sadly, the least exciting thing about 2018 so far for Cage is Looking Glass, a thriller directed by Tim Hunter, a prolific TV director who also directed the 1986 Crispin Glover/Keanu Reeves film River’s Edge. Read the rest of this entry
Directed by Christopher Lawrence Chapman, 2017’s Inoperable stars Danielle Harris (Halloween 4 and 5) as a traffic accident victim who wakes up in a seemingly abandoned hospital, during a category 5 hurricane in Tampa, Florida. Dark forces have been awakened within the hospital by the hurricane and Harris’ character must find a way out before the hurricane ends or be trapped forever. Read the rest of this entry
But it’s the music that emanates deep within Egbo-Egbo’s soul – his piano as a constant appendage, his jazz, classical and pop leanings and the constant intermingling and pushing of musical genres – that reveals the creative standard of the man. As a Toronto-based pianist, composer, producer and sound designer, 2018 marks the official release of his new musical work, appropriately titled A New Standard.
The twelve-song album contains a wide selection of entries originally created by a number of legendary composers over the last two centuries. They are, naturally for Egbo-Egbo, culled from disparate genres: classical, jazz, and curiously, even rock music. In A New Standard, Egbo-Egbo lovingly performs a fun and up-temp version of Sigmund Romberg’s and Oscar Hammerstein II’s “Softly, as in a Morning Sunrise,” as well as a rollicking account of John Coltrane’s “Mr. P.C.” that merges brilliantly into the classically jazzy and beloved theme song from the 1967 Spider-Man cartoon by composers Paul Webster and Robert Harris.
In a more contemporary sense, Egbo-Egbo’s rendition of Bob Dylan’s”Make You Feel My Love” brings a wonderfully fresh and emotional sense of affection to the beloved classic, but surprisingly, there’s also a perfectly lonely interpretation of Radiohead’s “Exit Music (For a Film)” found on the new compilation, whose aural sense of isolation any fan of the band might expect and adore. This time, it’s just with a piano.
Biff Bam Pop’s consulting editor and regular contributor, JP Fallavollita, got the chance to steal Thompson T. Egbo-Egbo away from his busy schedule to talk music, his home city of Toronto, and the release of his latest album, the shimmering and wonderful A New Standard. Read the rest of this entry
“It’s not a remake. It’s not a sequel. And it’s not based on a Japanese one,” claimed the original poster for Adam Green’s 2006 horror comedy Hatchet. The movie revived the fun and gore of the best 1980s slasher films brilliantly and spawned two wildly bloody sequels. Hatchet III dropped in 2013 and since then everything in Honey Island Swamp has been quiet.
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This week’s episode of The Alienist (“Silver Smile”) explores more of the class distinctions and police corruption that are integral to Caleb Carr’s novel. It also presents versions of the characters that are markedly different from the ones in the novel, albeit in a rather intriguing way. Read the rest of this entry
While the crime procedural has existed on television since the 1951 premiere of Dragnet, the series that arguably set the tone was Law & Order, which began in 1990 and remained on the air for 20 years, spawning five spin-offs and countless impersonators. Just a few years after that series started, writer Caleb Carr would find enormous success with his historical crime procedural, The Alienist.
What makes The Alienist unique is the way it plays with the timeline, reaching about 200 years beyond its 1994 publication date. Blending fact (Teddy Roosevelt’s history as the Police Commissioner of New York City) and fiction (a series of horrific murders of child prostitutes), The Alienist provokes an odd sense of déjà vu for fans of Netflix’s Mindhunter and those who’ve followed Thomas Harris’ Hannibal novels (as well as the movies and TV shows spawned from that universe).
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The documentary D.O.A. was filmed almost guerrilla style, funded by High Times magazine, with director Lech Kowalski following the Sex Pistols on the doomed 1978 tour of America. The band didn’t want him there, Johnny Rotten was suspicious of High Times, and as it runes out, the Pistols would fall apart after just seven gigs. Despite all that, Kowalski captured an important moment in rock history and peppered it with a few other notable acts.