Monday, December 27, 2010

Frank's Top Ten of Everything 2010 : Day Two


The Wild and Wonderful Whites of West Virginia - USA - Julien Nitberg

I can tell you I never expected a documentary from Jackass production company Dickhouse to be one of my favorite movies of the year. The idea of following around a family of backward hillbillies (self confessed) sounds like a subject ripe for exploitation. Surprisingly the film does it's best to showcase the eccentricities of this very large family with out glorifying their self destructive lifestyle. With out getting too sanctimonious here, these people are scum. While I would never want to hang out and pop prescription drugs with these folks, it is fascinating to be a fly on the wall at a family dinner. I never got a sense that the White's were playing to the camera, the kind of trashy they embody can not faked. 


Nite Jewel - Am I Real?

Fantastic little E.P. that sees Ramona Gonzalez  beefing up the Nite Jewel line-up by adding two additional band members. The inclusion of new blood really helps to flesh out Nite Jewel's output which in the past had me banging my hear against the wall in my bedroom just as mush as it had me dancing. The songs retain the hazy navel gazing vibe heard before but  have been beefed up courtesy of clean production and funky bass lines. Can't wait to see them at Nx35 this year.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Frank's Top Ten of Everything 2010 : Day One

So the idea of trying to stay on top of movie releases in Dallas didn't work out. It was a pretty dumb idea to begin with. Fear not! I have decided to move on with the site, but now it will be a general purpose blog about my favorite things happening in movies and music and shit. This new format will not be ready until February due to my time restraints but I whipped together this best of everything list for 2010. Everyday until January 1st I will be posting a new batch of my favorite things from the year, in no particular order. Hope you get turned on to something you weren't cool enough to know about yet. Please endure any and all typos (the nog is flowing free in the Phosphate house!) and thanks for reading!


The American - USA - Anton Corbijn

This the first film for director Anton Corbijn since his acclaimed Joy Division bio-pic Control. In place of the once thought un-filmable Ian Curtis, the French director takes on the not so difficult roll of filming George Clooney as the titular death dealing international Playboy. Audience members expecting another Bourne like high octane romp will be very disappointed by The American's slow, methodical pace and deliberate with holding of exposition. Unlike the herky-jerky Greengrass cam that has permeated the international intrigue genre, The American is composed of beautiful, fixed shots across the high definition worthy Swedish and Italian country sides. The events play out like a Mellivile or Antonioni film, very slow but with an attention to detail that drives the plot instead of ham fisted story telling. Even though I am making it sound like the film consist of Clooney reading Proust under a Spruce tree, there is still a healthy amount of gun play and nudity to be found. You can sell it to your Dad by referring to it as a "thinking man's" action movie. This is one of the few films recently to actually live up to the often thrown about label.


Mark Ronson and the Business International - Record Collection

Mark Ronson has gained a reputation in Europe as a snide bastard and a ruthless Playboy, which is totally understandable after listening to his second solo release. The dude's got it going on. Through out the course of the album, Ronson and crew make their way through nearly every pop music genre and sub genre of the past 30 years. Some how in this mish mash of retro styles, Ronson created an album that sounds totally contemporary at the same time. Having read more about his exploits in Rolling Stone than actually hearing his music, I expected the album to be more of a megalomaniacal outing than it is. Yes, Ronson does sing on a few tracks and the production can be more than a little showy, but it is the strength and variety of guest artist such as Q-Tip, Ghostface Killah, Simon LeBon, Boy George, ex-Pipette Rose Dougall and Spank Rock among others that elevates this album from ego-trip to party record of the year. I think the scatter shot nature of the album threw some reviewers off leading to a lackluster release when the album hit stateside. It's a shame smart and fun pop music like this will never stand a chance on the U.S. pop charts.


Cuckoo Byrds

For the past couple of years Time Bandits owners and all round Denton power couple David and Lisa have been soaking in the sights and sounds of the local music scene while quietly banging away at their instruments in the back of their vintage clothing/record shop which also doubles as their home. What the duo have created in that time is some of the freshest and genre defying music the scene has seen in awhile. Of the many Cuckoo Byrds' performances I had the pleasure of attending, my favorite would have to be the infamous Mabel Peabdodys performance which literally brought the show to a stop. The music may be difficult, but it is just what the music scene needs right now. The recent addition of Christian Teenage Runaway/Orange Coax vocalist Sashenka Lopez with her  kinetic stage presence and anarchist pen, will without a doubt  lead to great things for the Byrds in 2011.


Bored to Death Season Two - HBO

The first season of this half hour detective comedy series never really grabbed me. I appreciated the dark humor and perfectly cast ensemble, but something about the underlying premises fell flat for me. Series creator really stepped it up this season by focusing more on the 'side-kick' characters played by Ted Danson and Zach Galifinakis. The wacky trio, rounded out by Jason Shwartzman, find themselves getting into all kind of adult themed situations centered around solving mysteries for celebrity guest stars. The surprise plot turn that Ted Danson's character took this season was a great touch and helped to level the show which frequently becomes too wrapped up in the absurd.

(any format)

The Larry Sanders Show: The Complete Series

The funniest show ever created finally on DVD. Wish the transfer on this release wasn't so poorly done, but they still look much better than my worn out VHS copies. 

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

At the Movies Friday Nov. 5

On Wednesdays I will be posting films that will be opening the upcoming weekend that I feel are worthy of note. The films will be listed by my interest in seeing the films in descending order. Meaning the movie at the top of the post is the one to see if you are making plans and the one at the bottom is worth noting but more than likely is lame. If anyone is looking at this and has any feedback to offer please do so in the comments section. Still trying to think of a clever name for this feature, please help.

Opening Friday

Genius Within: The Inner Life of Glenn Gould
2009 - Michèle Hozer & Peter Raymont
Angelika Dallas

I wasn't too familiar with the titular composer before seeing the amazingly well crafted film Thirty-Two Short Films about Glenn Gould. Gould is an interesting subject because even though he had all the trappings of a tortured artist, in reality the guy was pretty down to Earth, if not with out his quirks. The aforementioned film while informative was no where near a complete picture of the man as a person so I hope this documentary will fill in some of the gaps that us classic music nativities might have about the man and his work.

A Film Unfinished
2010 - Germany - Yael Hersonski
Angelika Dallas

Oh great another documentary about Nazis. If you happen to frequent the documentary section of your local library I am sure you are familiar the amount of titles focused on those scum bags. I am a sucker for archival/restored footage, no matter how depressing the subject matter. Did you happen to check out Hidden Fuhrer: Debating the Enigma of Hitler's Sexuality, I really felt like that should be the release to close the book on the Third Reich reflections but the subject seems to be as omni-potent as the natural gas pockets being tapped across central Texas.

Inside Job
2010 - USA - Charles Ferguson
Angelika Dallas, Plano

Oh great another movie about how fucked up our financial infrastructure is. I doubt this will be news to any one who reads the Washington Post on a somewhat regular basis but hopefully the narrative of the film is told with enough style to get some of the less enlightened into the theater seats. I'm sure having Matt Damon do the voice over work doesn't hurt either.

Tamara Drewe
2010 - England - Stephen Frears
Angelika Dallas, Plano

I picked up the collection of Tamara Drewe comics for a buck or so at a Half Priced Books bargain counter after reading some positive press over the English soap-comic. This trailer looks pretty horrific and paints the movie to be a stereotypical cheeky rom-com, but to their credit the English do seem to do them better for us. You can also tell by the American accented voice over that the trailer might be dumbed down for our collective marketing demographic. Another possible saving grace is the director Stephen Frears who also directed High Fidelity. Seems like a great movie to take a date to, but the way things have been going for me recently I will probably be waiting for the DVD release.

At The Movies - Thursday Nov. 4th

WELCOME! Every Wednesday I will be posting notable movie openings and special screenings that are taking place through out the metro-plex. This week I will be doing a special Thursday only post to highlight one awesome screening in Dallas and another awesome one in Denton, brought to you by yours truly. So here are the two things going on Thursday night, other movies opening this weekend will be posted later. See you at the movies!

Loki - Paulo Henrique Fontenelle - 2008
Texas Theater 7:30pm - free

The Texas Theater will be having a special screening of Loki, the Brazilian made for TV documentary over Os Mutantes member Arnaldo Baptista. I sat down virtually with Texas Theater man behind the scenes Jason Reimer and asked him a couple of questions about the screening which is happening Thursday at 7:30pm.

FP: Will there be subtitles?

Jason Reimer: yes it's got English subtitles.

Is it fair to assume that this screening was planned to coincide with the Os Mutantes show?

Definitely. I've known they were coming for some time but it was very difficult to find a film about them. That's the main reason we haven't been able to promote it as heavily as I would've liked. I actually thought I was going to have to cancel until the DVD arrived yesterday.

I read that this was originally a documentary produced for Brazilian television in 2008, did the film ever have a theatrical run or DVD release stateside? I was hard pressed to find info about either.

To my knowledge it played at a function for David Byrne who's largely responsible for their comeback on his record label - and at a south american festival in California but outside of that it's not around. I read somewhere that Universal may pick it up for US distro but nothing yet.

Can we look forward to more of these one night, left of center screenings? Specifically ones that are tied into local happenings like this presentation.

Sure as much as possible. Kris Youmans is doing lots of good work trying to get cool shows in the Dallas area so anything I can do to help I'd gladly do.

Have you seen the film yet? Do you think it will appeal to those outside of the Os Mutantes fan base?

I watched some of it to make sure the disc worked but honestly i'd like to watch it at the Theatre for the first time. It's mostly about Arnaldo obviously as an artistic force. I would think anyone interested in wildly creative minds would like it.

What is your favorite Os Mutantes song?

oof. that is incredibly hard to answer. When those records came out it was all I listened to for the better part of a year.

I think the question should be the reverse... did they ever record a song you didn't like? ... no.

How much does the event cost? Is there alcohol?

I made the showing Free to help promote the Texas Theatre and the live show without costing fans more money. I'll gladly take a loss to get a few folks in to see what's happening at the theatre and help Kris and Gorilla vs Bear out in some small way.

We are still waiting for our official license so yes there will be "refreshments" on hand for free or people can BYOB if they wanna.

sidenote: our brand new popcorn machine kicks major ass.

Stop Making Sense - Jonathan Demme
The Hydrant Cafe
7:30pm - Brought to you by Phosphate on Film and We Denton Do it

The nice folks at wedentondoit invited me to co-host a new movie night starting up at The Hydrant in Denton and begging this Thursday the 4th. This first week's feature is arguably the greatest live concert film ever made, The Talking Head and Jonathan Demme's Stop Making Sense. We will be watching the newly released blu-ray version of the film in stunning high definition. It will be like Byrne's sweat is flying right at you. This is a test run so we will see how it goes, if all goes OK you can expect to hear the announcement of next weeks films shortly. The party starts at 7:30 with some cartoons and shorts with the film starting around eight.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Opening this Weekend

On Thursday I will post all the movies opening over the weekend that I feel like are worthy of mentioning. Still thinking of a clever title for this feature.

Jean-luc Godard - Angelika Dallas

If you are visiting this blog I have a feeling you are all ready familiar with this, the poster child for the French New-Wave. This is the fiftith anniversary of the film with an all new restoration. The film will be released on Blu-ray via Criterion later next month. Highly recommended you check this out in the theater, it probably won't be here very long...

Jean Micheal Basquiat: The Radiant Child
Tamra Davis - Angelika Dallas

I'll have a review of this one up by the end of the weekend.

Cairo Time
Rubba Nadda - Angelika Plano and Dallas

Winnebago Man
Ben Steinhauer - Angelika Dallas

The Switch
Josh Gordon and Will Speck - Angelika Dallas and Plano

Now I know that this may seem a little out of place here but I thought I would include it because it has the potential of being a decent movie that is being packaged as a light rom-com to help spur ticket sales. Other than the likeable and taltented B-list cast, the script is based on a short story by Jeffrey Eugenides, author one of the greatest modern novels, Middlesex and one successful film adaptation (Virgin Suicides). This might suck but it might be an under the radar gem.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

(L) ost

This is a feature called (l)ost where I will post out of print soundtracks that you can listen to in the comfort of your own home. Unlike the Tuesday and Thursday new movie post these will be sporadic but hopefully frequent. If you are looking for a soundtrack and want me to put my best men on the team email at and I'll see what I can do.

OST - The Sun of Dracula
1972 - Harry Nilsson/Ringo Starr

The early 70's were a wild and wacky time in cinema as the independent visions of auteurs were defining the standard for independent cinema for years to come. There were also numerous celebrities/musicians begging to burn out from years of drug abuse and made the financial decision to breach into the world of cinema. One of the many gems to come out during this wave was Son Of Dracula starring Nilsson as the young Dracula who longs to be a human capable of love and Ringo Starr as Merlin the Magician. The soundtrack is essentially a rehashing of songs from Harry's albums "Nilsson Schmilsson" and "Son of Schmilsson" with dialog interludes from the movie. There is one original song on the album, Daybreak, which is a typically delightful take on the highs and lows of vampire life. Surprisingly the musical selections and clips flow well into one another making for a fairly cohesive re-telling of the story. The film was directed by respected 60's B-Movie horror director and two time Oscar winning (Glory 89'/Sons and Lovers 60') cinematographer Freddie Francis.

Despite the chops of the personnel and the world's never ending love of vampire movies, this one has remained out of print for the past 25 years. So much like the rest of the world I have not had the chance to see this movie, there is a VHS release out there but is extremely hard to find. If anyone has the hookup let me know. While it's hard not to be interested in a vampire movie starring Harry Nilsson, the dialog from the movie - while fascinating - sounds pretty drug addled and non-nonsensical. Of course this doesn't have to be a bad thing. I'm just not expecting something of the caliber of The Point, Nilsson's more highly regarded foray into film. If you really want to see Ringo Star in a decent movie from this time check out Ken Russell's Lisztomania one of the finest pop art films of the early seventies, and another soundtrack I will be posting in the future.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Celluloid at HomePhotobucket

Tuesday is the great day when new digital video disc and blu-ray disc are released. Sometimes they are good. Sometimes they are terrible. My job is to inform the greater North Texas movie freaks on all the releases YOU should be aware of if you truly want to be a film snob. Now remember truly being a film snob means that you have to know about everything that is going on in alternative cinema, not just what you think is cool. So you might have to open your minds up a bit.The name/format of this and all features in the coming days might change, if you have suggestions please leave a comment. We are in beta max here people. Not a very exciting week this week as far as releases go, hopefully next week will be better. So for August 17th the day of our lord 2010 the following films are not shit and available for consumption. They will be sorted by new, re-issue music and television.


The City of Your Final Destination
2010 - Director : James Ivory

The Merchant of Merchant and Ivory may have kicked the bucket a couple years ago but that hasn't stopped James Ivory from turning out ultra high brow adult dramas all by himself. The movie features Charollete Gainsbourg fresh off her clitoral mutilating performance in Anti-Christ. Some times these movies can be snooze fest but for the most part James Ivory films have an air of superiority about them that any film lover should appreciate.

Four Seasons Lodge
2008 - Andrew Jacobs

This documentary chronicles a group of wrinkly old holocaust survivors as they have their yearly get away in the cat skills. The cinematographer for this film is no other than Albert Mayles who has become an icon of filmster cool with such cinéma vérité classics as Gimmie Shelter and Grey Gardens.


1992 - Dir: Sally Potter

Now you may not win too many cool points with Titanic bad boy Billy Zane in the cast but the presence of a young Tilda Swinton more than makes up for it. Interesting adaptation of a Virgina Woolfe novel with some great visuals. This one has been out of print for awhile with copies going upwards of 100 bones on EBAY. I don't have any idea about the integrity of this release but hopefully it has a nice transfer and some bonus features.

Black Orpheus
1959 - Marcel Camus

Beautiful film both visually and spiritually (in the Atheist sense of course) that just received a remaster and lucky for us a Blu-ray release thanks to the good people at the Criterion Collection. I will be talking alot about Blu-rays on here because they are the only way to REALLY get the true cinematic experience of a film in the comfort of your own home. I'll have a post explaining why sometime.


Slayer - Live Intrusion
1995 - Live

One of the most heralded VHS tapes in many metal circles, this is documentary/behind the scenes journal Live Intrusion featuring Slayer at the tail end of their epic run as kings of extreme metal. The documentary features some great performance footage and some Heavy Metal Parking Lot moments featuring their devoted, flesh mutilating followers. You can watch the full thing here but I am looking forward to checking this out remastered sound on the DVD.Crank it.


Friday Night Light Season 4
2010 - Peter Weir/NBC

I get shit all thetime for my love of this series but I don't care because it is one of the most satisfying TV dramas ever created, especially for network television. It appears on the surface to be a fluffy teen drama but at FNL's core is a web of dynamic characters struggling against a society that is always working against them. It is The Wire of small town Texas. The show is filmed all around the Austin area so by supporting the show you are not only supporting fine art but local filmmakers as well. The show receives terrible ratings and glowing reviews, much like most of indie cinema. Unfortunately the lack of Emmy nods, horrible promotion, lame time slot and the stupidity of the American Television Viewer all contribute to this show not receiving the credit it deserves. I'll be writing more about this series in the future. I know that TV is not film but fuck you I am going to be writing about it anyways.