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This Week In Film History…

On September 6, 1967, a documentary titled Don’t Look Back opened at an old ramshackle theater in San Francisco. It was hard to imagine why this old pornographic movie theater had a line of people extending out the door and around the corner, but once you found out it was about Bob Dylan, it was no surprise at all. The September 6th release was the first large-scale screening of the film that documented Bob Dylan and company’s whirlwind 1965 European tour. Joining him on tour were the likes of artists like Joan Baez, Donovan, and Allen Ginsberg, along with the standard parade of press, crew, police, fans, and everything else that came to epitomize Rock n’ Roll in the 1960s.

Bob Dylan, in particular, was an iconic figure in his own right. He had risen to fame in the early-60’s folk scene in New York City’s Greenwich Village, developing his own songwriting skills and capturing fans around the world with songs like Blowin’ in the Wind, A Hard Rain’s A-Gonna Fall, and The Times They Are A-Changin,’ his so-called early “protest era” catalogue. Continue reading

New Amy Berg Documentary ‘Janis: Little Girl Blue’ Opening In Theaters Friday November 27th

A new music-documentary from director Amy Berg (West of Memphis, An Open Secret) titled Janis: Little Girl Blue is opening in theaters this Friday, November 27th. The last we heard news of this project was back in October, when it was to be headlined (among other contenders like Trumbo, Black Mass, and Spotlight) at the Toronto International Film Festival, where it was an Offical Selection winner. The film also received Official Selection at this years Festival de Rio and BFI London Film Festival. Featuring Cat Power (V for Vendetta, Boyhood) as the narrator, the film takes a close look at the life of blues/rock-n-roll star Janis Joplin and her roll as a woman and key figure in the Rock-n-Roll movement through personal letters she wrote to friends, family, and fellow musicians. A barrage of home-movies, interviews, and documentary footage accompanies the letters read by Power to give us a touching and intimate look at the life of the twentieth century icon. If you’re a fan of Joplin’s, classic rock, blues, or the 60s in general, I would definitely recommend seeing this one if you can. For other great concert footage of Joplin, check out Woodstock: The Director’s Cut, which documents the famous Woodstock Music Festival held in the summer of 1969 and featured some of the most popular artists of the time, including Jimmy Hendrix, Joan Baez, The Who, Santana, Joe Cocker, Richie Havens, Arloo Guthrie, Sly and the Family Stone, and Crosby, Stills, and Nash, among many more. Enjoy!

Legendary Rock Band The Rolling Stones Playing Live In Milwaukee, WI Tonight

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The Rolling Stones pose with their Sticky Fingers LP in 1971: (left to right) Charlie Watts, Mick Taylor, Bill Wyman, Keith Richards, and Mick Jagger.

Tonight fans of the legendary rock n roll band The Rolling Stones will get to see the band play at the Marcus Amphitheater Summerfest in Milwaukee, WI. The group was originally slated to appear in Chicago for their 2015 tour, but due to scheduling and location conflicts they had to move 90 minutes north to Milwaukee. That, however, didn’t stop iconic bluesman Buddy Guy, who just appeared at the Chicago Blues Fest, from opening for the group. Chicago fans will be making the trip this evening for the 8:00pm showtime. The show is part of the Stones’ Zip-Code Tour; they have thus far appeared in Pittsburgh, Nashville, Orlando, Dallas, Minneapolis, and Columbus, and still have dates set for Indianapolis, Kansas City, Detroit, and Buffalo. Rolling Stones fans can also catch the re-issue of their 1971 LP Sticky Fingers, featuring new unreleased material and studio out-takes, now available on iTunes, Spotify, Compact Disc or Vinyl. The album is regarded as one of the Rolling Stones best LPs, featuring songs like Brown Sugar and Wild Horses, and a cover photo that was originally conceived by iconic artist Andy Warhol; it is also the first album the Stones released to not feature founding member Brian Jones, who died in 1969 in his swimming pool shortly after being asked to leave the group due to his drug addiction, and subsequently the first LP to feature new member Mick Taylor on an entire album, and Mick Jagger playing acoustic and rhythm guitar. Pretty monumental for the Stones history, so be sure to check it out. Enjoy!

New Documentary ‘I Am Big Bird: The Carroll Spinney Story’ Coming Soon


A new documentary from the collaborative team of writer/director Dave LaMattina (Brownstones To Red Dirt, Kei) and co-director Chad N. Walker (Kei, We Must Go) is coming this May. The film is titled I Am Big Bird: The Carroll Spinney Story, and follows the life of Carroll Spinney, who has appeared on Sesame Street as both Big Bird and Oscar the Grouch since 1969. Lending interviews to the footage include puppeteers Frank Oz (Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back, Muppets Treasure Island), and Sesame Street “muppeteers” Jim Henson, Sonia Manzano, Emilio Delgado, and Jerry Nelson, among others. I Am Big Bird first premiered last May at the Montclair and Seattle International Film festivals, and will be showing on screens in New York City this May 6th. We’ll keep an eye out for a nationwide release date.

Mark Wahlberg Eyeing Martin Scorsese To Direct Feature-Film Adaptation Of ‘Boardwalk Empire’

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Now that the popular HBO gangster-drama Boardwalk Empire has come to an end, producer Mark Wahlberg is looking to take the material to the big screen. In a recent interview, Wahlberg expressed interest in having Empire’s producer Martin Scorsese direct a film adaptation of the series, the only question is would Scorsese be interested? The legendary filmmaker already trying to balance a full schedule; he is currently filming a rock n’ roll series for HBO, wrapping up production on an upcoming Bill Clinton documentary, and is also expecting to produce and direct a biopic about actor/singer Frank Sinatra, so needless to say he is quite busy. Considering the way that Boardwalk ended on HBO (I won’t give anything away), a film adaptation would most likely involve a different perspective on the already existing story, or a continuation of the story after the fact. Whatever the case we’ll have to wait to see if this gets picked up. Mark Wahlberg currently has a new season of Wahlburgers coming out, and the film-adaptation of his other popular series, Entourage, with original actors Adrian Grenier, Jeremy Piven, Kevin Connolly, Jerry Ferrara, and Kevin Dillon, is expected in theaters on June 5, 2015. Stay tuned.

Djimon Hounsou Joins Cast Of Upcoming King Arthur Film ‘Knights Of The Roundtable’

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Variety recently reported that actor Djimon Hounsou (Gladiator, Blood Diamond) is set to join the cast of the upcoming King Arthur movie Knights of the Roundtable: King Arthur. The film is expected to be the first in a series of six films that depict the story of Arthur, with a cast that will be lead by Charlie Hunnam (Sons of Anarchy, Pacific Rim), Astrid Burges-Frisbey (Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides, I Origins) as Guinevere, and Jude Law (Enemy at the Gates, Sherlock Holmes) as the primary antagonist. Guy Ritchie (Snatch, RocknRolla) will direct the film from a screenplay by Joby Harold (Awake, Edge of Tomorrow). Warner Bros. and Village Roadshow Pictures will distribute the movie, which is expected to hit theaters in 2016.

‘Fury’ Claims Top Spot At Box Office During Opening Weekend; ‘CitizenFour’ Opens To Limited Release

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The new World War II drama, Fury, with Brad Pitt and Shia LaBeouf opened last weekend and effectively knocked Ben Affleck’s Gone Girl from the top-spot to a close second. The film hit theater audiences with just under $24 million in opening weekend box-office sales alone, and the pace doesn’t seem to be slowing down. The highly advertised, but apparently unpopular animated feature The Book of Life with Channing Tatum only brought in $17 million, also falling behind Gone Girl‘s third week of release. This week will see another set of uninteresting features, including the Keanu Reeves action flick John Wick (no rhyme intended), and the new horror movie Ouija. There are some pretty interesting projects coming out, however, that will unfortunately only see limited releases. One of these include director Greg Araki‘s dramatic thriller White Bird in a Blizzard with Shailene Woodley, Eva Green, and Christopher Meloni, but the more intriguing release is the documentary Citizenfour, which features interviews with Edward Snowden in Hong Kong with documentarian and reporters Laura Poitras, Glen Greenwald, and Ewen MacAskill. “Citizenfour” was the alias used by Snowden when he contacted Poitras in 2013 via encrypted emails containing Snowden’s evidence of the NSA’s covert surveillance program. Wiki-leaks founder Julian Assange is also featured in the documentary. So if you don’t want to waste your money on another terrible movie about ghosts or featuring Keanu Reeves, put these down on your list. Other limited features to look out for include writer/director Justin Simien’s dramatic comedy Dear White People, the high school football drama 23 Blast, and directors Wai-keung Lau and Andrew Loo’s Revenge of the Green Dragons, a crime-drama following young men involved with the Chinese mafia in 1980s New York City. Enjoy!

Director Martin Scorsese Planning A Grateful Dead Documentary With Director Amir Bar-Lev

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Recent news reports have surfaced about director Martin Scorsese serving as executive producer for an upcoming feature-documentary about the psychedelic rock band The Grateful Dead. Although the project has yet to be titled, Amir Bar-Lev is already set to direct the film, which will cover the entire span of the band’s career from 1965-1995. Biographer/archivist David Lemieux will be lending a hand to The Tillman Story director, who hopes to have the film ready by the time we reach the Grateful Dead’s 50th Anniversary. The documentary will include lots of archival footage and interviews with late band members Jerry Garcia and Bob Weir, plus additional footage from surviving band members Mickey Hart, Bill Kreutzmann, and Phil Lesh. The Grateful Dead were formed in Palo Alto, California in 1965 and became well known for their psychedelic sound of rock, folk, and reggae fusion. Scorsese, himself, is well known for covering rock n’ roll icons. His last rock project was the George Harrison documentary Living in the Material World, but he has also covered groups like Bob Dylan, The Band and The Rolling Stones. We’ll keep an eye out for more news on this project. Scorsese is currently working on an upcoming rock n’ roll project for HBO featuring Olivia Wilde from a screenplay by Terence Winter (The Sopranos, The Wolf of Wall Street), so it will really fall to director Bar-Lev to get the project rolling, but we’ll keep an eye out for more news.

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‘Saturday Night Live’ Documentary From Director James Franco Will Be Released On HULU

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Actor/director James Franco has had a behind-the-scenes documentary of the long-running comedy series Saturday Night Live ready for release for several years now, and according to a recent tweet by the director, the film is about to be released by Netflix competitor HULU. The film was part of Franco’s graduate work while he was attending New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts, and was even played for audiences at the SXSW festival in 2010, but then saw a transfer of ownership and has been held for release ever since. Now, however, HULU will be releasing the documentary film (titled Saturday Night) this Friday (September 26th), although I’m not positive as to whether or not you’ll be able to watch it if you’re not a HULU subscriber. The documentary itself follows the cast and crew of SNL as they prepare for a December 2008 episode that was hosted by John Malkovich. If you already have HULU Plus then you should be able to watch it with no problem; if you don’t then you may be shit-outta-luck for now!

Paul McCartney Will Finally Acquire The Rights To The Beatles Catalogue In 2018

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If you want a reason to support your local and underground artists like we make a point of doing here on MADE, here’s another you can add to your list. Fifty years ago a guy named Paul McCartney formed a rock n’ roll band with John Lennon that called themselves The Beatles, and wrote a catalogue of songs that would set and influence record sales for the remainder of the twentieth century. John Lennon was killed in 1980, at which time McCartney became the only living composer of the majority of The Beatles music, but since 1985 the singer/songwriter has seen virtually no revenue from sales, covers, or modernized use of Beatle music ranging from The Beatles Rock Band to director Julie Taymor’s psychedelic-60s musical Across The Universe. That’s because the rights to most of those songs were purchased by pop star Michael Jackson in 1985, when he paid $47.5 million for the Associated Television Corporation‘s backlog of record music, including countless Beatles songs. The kicker is that the U.S. Copyright Act of 1976 stipulates that the rights to all songs written before 1978 (those that are copyrighted by a record label at least) will go back to the songwriters after a period of 56 years, so even though he went through a fairly bitter feud with Jackson over the rights to the music (which lead to an ultimate falling out), McCartney would still most likely not have been able to acquire the rights to his music before 2018 anyway. Sony Music purchased half of the rights from the Michael Jackson Estate in 2005 for $95 million, so they have and will continue to cash in on them until that time, but 2018 is only four years away now, so McCartney is about to really cash-in. The point is, record companies have been corporately running the major music industry since the time of The Beatles, and they continue to turn an otherwise great industry that has the power to bring popular art to the masses into a financial prison fenced in by clauses in contracts that turns otherwise great collaborators into business adversaries. We are here to support the artists who have found a way of sharing and promoting their work without the restraints and bullshit financial bickering that has ruined so many great musical acts in the past Keep supporting our local artists here on MADE!