The feature length docuseries Laurel Canyon spotlights a time and place where musicians shared their lives and art up in this windy and fabled stretch of Los Angeles. Directed by Alison Ellwood (History of the Eagles), Laurel Canyon features newly unearthed footage and audio recordings from the celebrated artists as well as new interviews with Jackson Browne, Don Henley, Michelle Phillips, Graham Nash, Linda Ronstadt, Bonnie Raitt, and Roger McGuinn.
For Ellwood, the unique atmosphere of Laurel Canyon is not just relegated to the past. “I think it’s alive to some extent,” said Ellwood. “I don’t think you can ever recreate quite what happened then because it was just so organically and people just happened to be flooding there and meeting there. And then word of mouth (spread). It was cheap, it was above the fog line, it was right near the clubs so it was a magnet to the artists at that time. There have been attempts over the years – Father John Misty is trying to sort of bring the Laurel Canyon vibe back. I don’t think it will ever be quite the same but I have to hope and believe that there is generosity of spirit alive and well in the music industry. The business part of it I think took over much more so than it was back at that time.”
Click on the media bar to hear Ellwood talk about why she approached Laurel Canyon as more than just a talking head documentary:
Laurel Canyon premieres on EPIX and EPIX NOW on March 31.
Craig Fairbrass’ team-up with Scott Adkins with Avengement received its share of accolades, and with Villain he is front and center as Eddie Franks, an ex-convict who is trying his best to get his life in order.
An irresponsible, drug addicted brother Sean (George Russo) has left Eddie’s bar in debt, and more importantly Sean is in trouble with a local crime boss (Robert Glenister). Directed by first feature filmmaker Philip Barantini, Villain has its action infused moments, but ultimately it’s a compelling drama about a man who is simply trying to make things right.
“Villain is a heavy duty movie on the emotions,” said Faibrass. “When I was a young man, wanting to be an actor, watching all of the old movies, that was a character that I would look at and dreamt as a kid and wonder if I’ll be lucky enough to play a man who is tough but who is also vulnerable, sensitive, (and) psychotic when he’s pushed. But ultimately he wants to do the right thing.”
Click on the media bar to hear Fairbrass talk about the “emotional thread” that weaves Villain’s intricate storyline.
Written and directed by Colin and James Krisel, Last Moment of Claritycenters on Sam (Zach Avery), a man who is haunted by the death of his girlfriend Georgia (Samara Weaving).
Living in Paris with a bar proprieter (Brian Cox) as his only trusted friend, Sam spots a woman in a movie who looks exactly like his late lover. Boarding a plane to Los Angeles, he attempts to track down the mystery woman and an old acquaintance (Carly Chaikin) helps him on his quest.
The filmmakers impressivly doubled Norfolk, Virginia for Paris and Los Angeles for their Hitchcockian thriller.
“I think these two brothers are rather clever,” said Cox. “I was impressed by their gift more than anything else. They were very nice guys. I also did it as a favor of a friend of mine – producer Stephen Israel who asked if I could do it and I said ‘okay.’ I had an idea about the character so it fit all very well.”
Click on the media bar to hear Cox talk about why Colin and James Krisel could be this generation’s Coen Brothers:
Last Moment of Clarity hits DVD, Digital and On Demand May 19 via Lionsgate.
Castle in the Ground, directed and penned by Joey Klein (The Other Half), is an uncompromising narrative that centers on Henry (Alex Wolff), a teenager who is understandably shaken by his mother’s (Neve Campbell) passing.
Filled with grief, Henry becomes addicted to his mother’s pills and his addiction is exacerbated when he gets caught up in the world of his next door neighbor Ana (Imogen Poots).
The feature’s big picture focuses on the opiod epidemic, and Klein’s up close and personal look at its devastating effect on Henry and Ana puts a human face to the crisis. Thankfully the film does not drift into over sentimentality and exploitation, and its lived-in atmosphere really gives views a sense of reality (amidst Klein’s subtle and arresting visual compositions).
Click on the media bar below to hear my review of Castle in the Ground as well as Capone and the Tom Berenger film Blood and Money on the latest episode of CinemAddicts.
Castle in the Ground is now available on Digital and Demand via Gravitas Ventures.
Director Josh Trank (Chronicle) teams with Tom Hardy in Capone, a surreal and creatively inspired look at the last year of the Chicago mob boss’ life.
Suffering from neurosyphillis in his Florida mansion and cared for by his wife Mae (Linda Cardellini), Capone’s physical and mental health is deteriorating at a rapid pace. Believing he has hidden $10 million somewhere in the nearby Florida swamp, Capone’s relationship to fantasy and reality has become blurred.
For Capone to work, the ambitious feature partly hinges on a successful collaboration between Trank and Hardy. “With Capone, I didn’t have anything to lose, and I was working with an actor in Tom Hardy who’s become one of my best friends,” said Trank. “I’ve known him now for almost four years. When you’re riding along with somebody like Tom, you know you’re they’re going to go all the way.”
Capone’s stellar ensemble also include Matt Dillon (he plays an old friend of Capone’s), and Trank talked about working with the talented actor.
Capone is now available on all major On Demand and Digital platforms.
Proximity centers on Isaac (Ryan Masson), a NASA JPL scientist who is abducted by aliens and returns to Earth several days later. Even though he uploads footage of his alien encounter, most pundits believe his account is a hoax, leading Isaac on a quest to bring his truth to light. Highdee Kuan and Christian Prentice are Sara and Zed, two new friends who aid Isaac in his quest.
Proximity is award winning VFX artist Eric Demeusy’s (Stranger Things) feature film debut (he also penned the script). Though the film exists on an expansive visual and narrative scope, Demeusy was armed with an indie budget for his ambitious project.
“With (Proximity), it’s about our character falling into obsession and searching for human connection,” said Demeusy. “That has to do with extra-terrestrials and not having to show them a lot but be able to focus on our main character and his journey through it. With a background in visual effects, I knew I would be able to incorporate some visuals and set pieces sparsely throughout the movie. Trying to focus on a stripped down narrative that you can put a supernatural twist on. That’s a hard thing to think of.”
Click on the media bar to hear Demeusy talk about the universal theme of human connection that is an integral aspect of Proxmity’s storyline:
Proximity hits On Demand and Digital on May 15 via Shout! Studios.