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Three days left to pledge support on Kickstarter for indie film “Durant’s Never Closes” starring Tom Sizemore

31 Jan
Director and crew for "Durant's on Film" in front of the iconic restaurant.

Director and crew for “Durant’s on Film” in front of the iconic restaurant.

Durant’s classic steakhouse in Downtown Phoenix is possibly the city’s most famous dining destination. Its late owner, Jack Durant, is certainly one of the city’s most mysterious and compelling figures. Books have been written about him, and plays, and stories in local media. Now, local filmmaker Travis Mills and his company Running Wild Films seek to bring a full-length movie on the legend to fruition. PHOENIX magazine ran a story about the movie in our January 2015 issue (Durant’s on Film), but the gist of it is: The cast includes Tom Sizemore in the lead role, with co-stars including Joe Don Baker, Pam Grier, Peter Bogdanovich, and Michael Richards. The majority of funding for production has been covered; however, additional funds to finish the film are being raised on Kickstarter. The campaign ends Wednesday, February 4. A trailer for the film is below.


The Royale Theater in Mesa Closes; Holds “Goodbye Open House”

28 Dec

The last film has been shown at The Royale.

The Royale Theater in Mesa closed suddenly on Christmas Eve, after just six months in business. Last night, December 27, there was a “Goodbye Open House” there, for people to just drop by and buy shirts, posters and VHS tapes from the indie cinema’s lobby. As much as media  and fans have lamented the loss of such a cool venue, the vibe at the open house was only mildly melancholy – probably because it seemed so inevitable, given the generally crappy economy. Mom-and-pop shop Evermore Nevermore – previously located right across the street from The Royale – closed earlier this month.

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RPM Orchestra’s Live Score to The Unknown at FilmBar (with Video)

7 Nov

RPM Orchestra takes forgotten audio and weaves it into a pastiche of Avant-garde folk music. By its own definition, their sound comprises “field recordings, lost & found sound, old phonographs, et cetera.”

It’s the “et cetera” part that makes things really interesting. Because RPM Orchestra isn’t just an amalgamation of sounds frozen and forgotten in time – it’s mutable, living music that puts a spontaneous spin on archaic audio. Sort of like pop culture archeology on acid.

Case in point: RPM Orchestra’s live score to the 1927 silent film The Unknown, starring Lon Chaney and Joan Crawford, which showed at the FilmBar in Phoenix on Friday, October 14. I previewed this event in a “Cheap Dates Around the Valley” roundup blog, and true to their word, RPM Orchestra showed up with a plethora of pipes, whistles, horns, rattlers, pans and other assorted implements of percussion. Audience members were encouraged to participate, and were divided into three “toy instruments” sections and given cues.

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Four Favorite Vampire Flicks

26 Oct

Film poster for “The Hunger”

‘Tis the season for vampires. Fortunately for fans of fanger flicks, there’s no shortage of movies about the bloodsucking undead. Granted, some of them suck in a bad soap opera-way (the entire Twilight series), and I can’t include Francis Ford Coppola’s Dracula because of Keanu Reeves’ typically atrocious performance. He made the character of Jonathan Harker seem like such a weenie (tip to Reeves: whoa, don’t try a “British” accent ever again, dude).

But there are a handful of other vampire movies I can really sink my teeth into. Here are four of my favorites.

Vamp (1986; Balcor Film Investors/Planet Productions): This entire film is an exercise in the abject. It’s about a strip club filled with vampires, led by the enigmatic (and heavily painted) Katrina. Some young, dumb, horny guys stumble into the joint and become dinner. That sounds more sexy than scary, until you see Grace Jones as Katrina, in white face with bright blue contact lenses and a big, red, bell-shaped wig. How many lines does Grace Jones need to be creepy? Not a single one. During the entire 93-minute film, she utters only animalistic syllables. The rest of the time, she makes eerie, jerky head movements and glowers. Vamp is too campy to pitch a metaphorical tent, but eye candy’s always sweet, even if it isn’t filling. In the video below (NSFW), Katrina performs an exotic dance that resembles Frank Auerbach and M.C. Escher in art orgy hell with Johnny Rotten and Casper the Friendly Fellatious Ghost.

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