This Week in the Mercury

Annie Is Dead, Long Live Annie

Film

Annie Is Dead, Long Live Annie

Chill Out, Grownups—Annie's Not for You


The Road Goes Ever On

Film

The Road Goes Ever On

Hey Everybody! The Hobbit Is Finally Over!



Movie

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

A Peter Gabriel Concert Movie Is Screening in Portland Tonight

Posted by Ned Lannamann on Wed, Apr 23, 2014 at 9:47 AM

backtofront-poster.jpg
Has anyone been to any of these Fathom Events? They're basically like Pay-Per-View at the movie theater—one time events that everyone in the world watches live, at the local cineplex. In the past they've done plays and opera and ballet and fights and the William Shatner one-man show.

Tonight they're showing Peter Gabriel: Back to Front at movie theaters across the country, fresh off Gabriel's induction into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. It's not a live broadcast; rather, it's a concert film of a show at London's O2 arena filmed back in October.

The press info I have says the show "celebrates the 25th anniversary of his landmark album So and reunites Peter with his original touring band from 1986"—a little confusing, since 2013 minus 1986 equals 27 years, not 25. But So remains a really good album, probably Gabriel's fourth best (after 3/"Melt," Security, and Passion), and while we're three decades past Gabriel's solo prime, he has always been an excellent live performer. Since he's coming to Portland probably never ever, this may be the closest thing to a concert experience we'll get. So I'm intrigued.

Back to Front screens tonight at 7:30 pm at the following locations. Tickets are $15 and are on sale here.

Cinemark Cedar Hills Crossing 16 (3200 SW Hocken, Beaverton)
Cinemark Clackamas Town Center with XD (12000 Se 82nd, Happy Valley)
Regal Lloyd Center 10 with IMAX (1510 NE Multnomah, Portland)
Regal Wilsonville 9 Cinema (29300 SW Town Center Loop E, Wilsonville)

Friday, March 28, 2014

You Don't Have to Like the National to Love Mistaken for Strangers

Posted by Ned Lannamann on Fri, Mar 28, 2014 at 10:34 AM


Mistaken for Strangers, the terrific documentary on the band the National, finally receives a proper engagement in Portland starting today. You can read Ezra's review here, and you should; also, here's what I wrote when the movie played at last year's Reel Music film festival:
[It's] a hilarious and heartwarming documentary from Tom Berninger, younger brother of the National's lead singer Matt Berninger. Tom, an amateur filmmaker who still lives with mom and dad, is enlisted to join the National's tour as a roadie. He brings his camera along, intending to make the definitive backstage tour documentary—but most of what he captures is his own failure to fulfill the simple tasks assigned to him. While the younger Berninger's initial buffoonery is roll-on-the-floor hilarious, watching him mature on film and deal with sibling rivalry turns Mistaken for Strangers into something far better than another rock 'n' roll road doc. The result is a thoughtful, transformative, honest, immensely loveable movie.
Maybe you're a fan of the National, maybe you're not. I truly don't think you need to be one to love Mistaken for Strangers. It's barely about the National's music, for a start—actually, the overriding theme of Tom Berninger's movie is that of sibling rivalry, as rich and thorny a subject as could be asked for in a documentary. Most of all, though, this movie is just fucking funny. I'm glad Portland audiences have a chance to check it out in theaters this week. It opens at the Hollywood tonight, with screenings nightly at 9:45.

Friday, October 18, 2013

Brothers, the National, and Mistaken for Strangers

Posted by Ned Lannamann on Fri, Oct 18, 2013 at 10:10 AM


Here's the trailer for Mistaken for Strangers, which screens tomorrow at the Whitsell Auditorium (basement of the Portland Art Museum) as part of the Northwest Film Center's Reel Music festival. I loved this movie. Here's what I said about it in last week's paper:
[It's] a hilarious and heartwarming documentary from Tom Berninger, younger brother of the National's lead singer Matt Berninger. Tom, an amateur filmmaker who still lives with mom and dad, is enlisted to join the National's tour as a roadie. He brings his camera along, intending to make the definitive backstage tour documentary—but most of what he captures is his own failure to fulfill the simple tasks assigned to him. While the younger Berninger's initial buffoonery is roll-on-the-floor hilarious, watching him mature on film and deal with sibling rivalry turns Mistaken for Strangers into something far better than another rock 'n' roll road doc. The result is a thoughtful, transformative, honest, immensely loveable movie.
While I am a fan of the National (and I was slow and reluctant about it, but good god, have you heard "Mr. November" and "I Need My Girl"?), I don't think you need to like the band at all to like this movie. There's barely any National music in it, for starters. And it's more about brothers and family and growing up and sibling rivalry and failing to live up to expectations and, you know, real shit than it is a glitzy rock-doc. Tom Berninger (who will be present at tomorrow's screening UPDATE: NW Film Center says he is unable to attend after all) is nine years younger than his brother Matt, so the two were far apart enough in age to perhaps miss some of the typical brotherly conflict that comes with growing up together. When they go on tour together, there's a lot of catching up to do. Better than practically any film I can think of, Mistaken for Strangers captures what it's actually like to have a brother (I have two). It's vicious, moving, and so, so funny.

Mistaken for Strangers (introduced by director Tom Berninger), Whitsell Auditorium, 1219 SW Park Sat Oct 19, 7 pm, $9

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Check Out This Trailer for CrazySexyCool: The TLC Story

Posted by Wm.™ Steven Humphrey on Thu, Jul 25, 2013 at 2:58 PM

Maybe I'm getting myself too worked up over this, but this trailer for CrazySexyCool: The TLC Story set to debut in October on VH1 looks awwwwwwwesome. The actresses look a lot like Chilli, T-Boz, and Left Eye (some more than others) and they have got the dances NAILED. Check it out!

Advertisement

Friday, July 19, 2013

The Big Star Documentary Opens Tonight

Posted by Ned Lannamann on Fri, Jul 19, 2013 at 11:04 AM

BIG STAR: Alex Chilton, Jody Stephens, Chris Bell and Andy Hummel
  • BIG STAR: Alex Chilton, Jody Stephens, Chris Bell and Andy Hummel
The Big Star documentary, Big Star: Nothing Can Hurt Me, opens this weekend, and it's been getting very good reviews. I liked it, too, even if I ultimately felt it wasn't interested in doing the thing that a wide-release music documentary about a great, overlooked cult act should do: introduce the band to a substantially bigger audience. The film, thorough though it was, contains a lot of insider baseball from talking heads (some of whom are difficult to keep track of), and big chunks of the Big Star story are neglected or dealt with cursorily—for instance, Alex Chilton's time in the Box Tops, and Chris Bell's tragic death at age 27. You'll need to bring knowledge of the Big Star story to get the most out of the documentary.

That said, Nothing Can Hurt Me gets a lot of things right—most significantly, the lingering, weird sadness that surrounds almost every aspect of the band's story. They made truly excellent music, and the lack of response they received took its toll. (All things being relative, of course: #1 Record sold around 10,000 copies upon its release in 1972, and 1974's Radio City sold twice that; they'd be outright hits in the internet age.) The documentary also examines Big Star's relationship with Stax Records, which I found interesting; Stax's focus on their own acts like Isaac Hayes meant the white boys in Big Star were sidelined, and when the label went bankrupt in 1975, Big Star—whose albums were released on Stax subsidiary Ardent—and their legacy were caught in the undertow.

I suppose I'm nitpicking, because I think every Big Star fan will enjoy Nothing Can Hurt Me. And actually, that almost unconditional adoration for the band—from fans, from critics, from musicians—is a big part of the Big Star story. The film does a great job of depicting that whole element of the story, which has nothing to do with the band members' personal lives. There is a lot of footage of old, weird, nerdy rock writers (good god, what is going to happen to me?) rhapsodizing about Big Star songs, which is fine, except it comes at the expense of filling in some of the details of the band's actual history. As someone who knows the Big Star story moderately well, I felt at sea during the movie a few times, wondering "who's this lady talking?" and "did we just skip over a major section?" and "what happened to...?"

Still, if you love Big Star—and if you've heard Big Star, you love Big Star—go see Nothing Can Hurt Me, which opens tonight at the Hollywood. Also: Following tomorrow evening's screening, Ken Stringfellow (who was in the reunited lineup of Big Star) will play some Big Star songs. He'll be joined by a couple special guests whose names haven't been revealed, but if you know Stringfellow's work you can probably guess which musicians-about-town will be joining.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

A Folk Singer with a Cat

Posted by Erik Henriksen on Tue, Jul 2, 2013 at 11:10 AM

It's going to be another hot shitty day, everybody you know is already trying to boss you around, you just had to pay too much for rent, and you have absolutely nothing to look forward to in life. Oh wait! Except the new Coen Brothers movie! THANK CHRIST FOR THE COEN BROTHERS.

Well, that looks predictably awesome. If you want more, the Film Stage has a rundown of the soundtrack, complete with audio:

Set for a release by Nonesuch Records in September, the score features fourteen tracks, four of which are new recordings (i.e. mostly covers) for the film. Also including songs from Dave Van Ronk, there’s a previously unreleased track from Bob Dylan, recorded during his sessions creating The Times They Are A-Changin’ and much more. With a bulk coming from Collider, we’ve rounded up different versions of all the tracks, some including live takes from producer Marcus Mumford, as well as original songs that will covered.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Go See Beware of Mr. Baker

Posted by Ned Lannamann on Fri, Jan 25, 2013 at 9:13 AM


I get to watch a lot of music documentaries, and Beware of Mr. Baker is probably the best I've seen since either Searching for Sugar Man or Shut Up and Play the Hits. From this week's Film Shorts:
Ginger Baker, the flame-haired madman drummer for '60s British power trio Cream, is given the documentary treatment by journalist Jay Bulger. Bulger's just as much of a scoundrel as Baker, lying about being a writer for Rolling Stone in order to gain access to Baker's secluded South African compound. As it turns out, Bulger's piece actually did get published in Rolling Stone, and Baker, a seemingly nasty, bitter, violent old man—at one point he smacks Bulger in the face with his cane, causing the filmmaker to bleed profusely—has a soft spot for his many dogs and polo horses. He's also one leaping fuck of a great drummer. The must-see Beware of Mr. Baker is the evil flipside to the uplifting Searching for Sugar Man, but it's perhaps even more fascinating. NED LANNAMANN
It starts tonight at the Hollywood.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Documentary of Ethan Rose's Between Rooms & Voices

Posted by Ned Lannamann on Thu, Mar 22, 2012 at 1:04 PM


If you missed Ethan Rose and the Flash Choir's performance of Between Rooms & Voices—they performed it several times at Portland City Hall in December 2010—you'll want to check out this striking, 15-minute documentary from director Kyle Eaton and producers David Cress and Bernadette Spear. Actually, if you did see the performance, you'll want to watch it too, as it was a stunning, strange event that both soothed the ol' earholes and tickled the mind with its examination of spatial acoustics. It was something, to be sitting there in a government building and have it be overtaken by a choir of droning singers clad in cult-like white. Definitely dug up some ghosts from that building for sure.

And there's also some gorgeous Portland porn in the video for good measure. My god, we live in a good-looking city.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Tour the Nation with Talkdemonic in 24 Minutes

Posted by Ned Lannamann on Tue, Mar 20, 2012 at 8:53 AM

Bands can get a little nutty on the road. For proof, here's a homemade tour documentary of TalkyD—perhaps you know them as Talkdemonic—on the road through February, following them down the West Coast, through the South and Midwest, and back home again. There's snippets of performances, including Talkdemonic's brain-trippin' light show, but there's also all that other stuff that goes into touring: plenty staring out the window, waiting backstage, amusing yourself by doing embarrassing things in front of your friends (and in this case, the camera). There's also a day off in Reno where violist Lisa Molinaro wins a karaoke contest, proving that if Talkdemonic ever wanted to switch gears and become a Pat Benetar cover band, they'd probably do just fine. Basically, it's a bunch of stupid shit on the road, and that's why it's so much fun to watch.

Advertisement

Friday, November 18, 2011

The Ballad of Mott the Hoople Is a Phenomenal Rock Doc

Posted by Ned Lannamann on Fri, Nov 18, 2011 at 5:51 PM

I've already mentioned the great new documentary on Mott the Hoople, but it's worth mentioning again. The Ballad of Mott the Hoople, just released this week on DVD, would probably work well for certain reasons regardless, simply because of its subject matter: One of the greatest, most underappreciated, interesting bands of the past 50 years, and one that hasn't been exhumed and discussed to death either in books or on film. But Ballad triumphs for being far better than it needed to be. It's simply a terrific documentary, telling nearly the full tale of Mott the Hoople, from their somewhat manufactured birth at the hands of madman producer Guy Stevens to their splintering under pressure at the height of their career in 1974.

Continue reading »

All contents © Index Newspapers, LLC

115 SW Ash St. Suite 600
Portland, OR 97204

Contact Info | Privacy Policy | Production Guidelines | Terms of Use | Takedown Policy