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Posts about Movies

New movie channel debuts in Twin Cities

Posted by: Neal Justin Updated: July 1, 2014 - 11:51 AM

Movie lovers: There's a new player in town.

Starting Tuesday, Get TV is available on WUCW, 23.2. The channel, which launched nationwide in February, offers pre-70s classic movies like 'The Talk of the Town," "From Here to Eternity" and "Suddenly."

The channel is owned by Sony Pictures Entertainment.

The Twin Cities joined the family Tuesday morning,along with Oklahoma City and Madison. The channel is currently in roughly 35 markets.

Bobby Z's Purple Hearts Club Band at First Ave, Apollonia at Paisley Park

Posted by: Jon Bream Updated: June 30, 2014 - 2:21 AM
Brian Setzer and Cory Wong "Rock This Town"

Brian Setzer and Cory Wong "Rock This Town"

Why shouldn’t somebody celebrate “Purple Rain” this summer at First Avenue?

While Prince is adverse to celebrating anniversaries and looking back, his former drummer Bobby Z toasted the 30th anniversay of “Purple Rain” in a big way Saturday at First Avenue at his third annual Benefit 2 Celebrate Life for the American Heart Association.

Bobby Z, drummer for Prince & the Revolution, found an array of local guests – and one out-of-towner, “Purple Rain” co-star Apollonia – to play songs from “Purple Rain” as well as some of their own selections.

Four years ago, Bobby Z suffered a near-fatal heart attack. So he has organized an annual benefit to raise awareness about heart health. He gave a little speech and showed a quick video but the “educational” highlight was when one of his doctors, Dr. Uma Valeti, said: “It’s easier to save a man’s life than to put up a show like this.”

Amen. The scheduled opening act didn’t arrive on time. So, the music began with a surprise guest, pinch-hitting for a stuck-in-transit performer. Yes, Bobby Z called on Brian Setzer, Minneapolis’ most overlooked guitar hero, to open the show with the house band – which the pompadoured guitar man dubbed Bobby Z’s Purple Hearts Club Band.

And, apparently without rehearsal, Setzer and the the band tore through a rockabilly number and two Stray Cats classics, “Stray Cat Strut” and “Rock This Town.” Indeed, Setzer did rock this town. And to show you what kind of guy he is, he usually let Cory Wong from the house band take the first guitar solo - - and there were solo opportunities for the other band members, as well.

Then the expected kickoff act showed up: hip-hop hero Slug, of Atmosphere, just back from Milwaukee. He threw down a rap/sing version of “Let’s Go Crazy,” and then it started raining “Purple."

“American Idol” finalist (from Season 5) Paris Bennett declared “Baby, I’m a Star,” with some star-like testifying at the end. Her mother, Jamecia Bennett, raised the bar by taking “When Doves Cry” to church with the help of Sounds of Blackness.  The Grammy-winning choir stuck around for some of their own selections, including “Optimistic.”

Then it was star time with Apollonia offering “Take Me with U,” which apparently Apollonia 6 recorded before Prince reclaimed it for himself for “Purple Rain.”

Apollonia returns to First Avenue

Apollonia returns to First Avenue


Dr. Fink, formerly of Prince and the Revolution, showed why he has a PhD in keyboards, as he played “Do Me Baby” as a wedding march and offered “Father’s Song,” composed by Prince’s dad John Nelson for the movie soundtrack.

Then it was time for a little Purple detour, with G Sharp of Dr. Mambo's Combo, who does the best vocal impression of Prince of anyone in the Twin Cities, delivering “Dirty Mind.”

Paul Peterson took the stage next to ask: What time is it? If you can’t have Morris Day, then Peterson, a Time replacement member for “Purple Rain,” sang the Time’s “Cool” and “Jungle Love” that were featured in the movie.

The show concluded, of course, with the entire cast (save Setzer) doing “Purple Rain.”  Wong’s guitar defined the song as several vocalists took turns. But, in the end, when Jamecia Bennett wailed and Wong’s guitar kept rising, there were chills like when Prince himself performed “Purple Rain” at First Ave.

What do you do for an encore? Show “Purple Rain,” the movie, in its entirety on First Avenue’s big screen.

For her encore, Apollonia headed to Paisley Park where Prince and 3rdEyeGirl gave her a private concert at 3.a.m. plus a tour of his complex. She hadn't been in the Twin Cities since she filmed "Purple Rain" here in 1983. 

At 4:42 a.m. Sunday, Apollonia posted an item on her Facebook page but it was later taken down. Still, Consequence of Sound republished her post, which said, in part:

"They play loud and HARD. Heard new music that was dope! He had a cool chair for me on the stage at his side and I sat there transfixed on every note, every move, every vocal. After every song I yelled and clapped my ass off. It was so amazing it made me sweat. These ladies are so talented and beautiful. I was charmed. And Prince….my heart still skip’s a beat. Paisley Park is a fun place. He showed me all my images painted on the walls. 'Hey thats me!!!' I said, he just laughed in that cool way he that does. The biggest room will be The Purple Rain room….he will have us painted there, huge murals. 'My big head gonna be up there?' He just laughed and laughed."

 

Ambitious makeovers for local moviehouses

Posted by: Colin Covert Updated: June 24, 2014 - 2:20 PM
Photo: Science Museum of Minnesota.

Photo: Science Museum of Minnesota.

Local theaters are keeping up with the Joneses, and with the latest technology, in a round of significant renovations and upgrades.
 
The Science Museum of Minnesota is preparing to convert the William L. McKnight-3M Omnitheater from film to IMAX’s next-generation digital laser projection. The 370–seat St. Paul venue will be the first IMAX laser dome theater in the world, promising images with greater brightness and clarity, a wider color spectrum and inkier blacks.
The Omnitheater will close Sept. 2 – Oct. 3, reopening with “Flight of the Butterflies.” New carpeting and seats will be added next year, and the auditorium will begin testing the new laser projection system.
 
The St. Anthony Main Theater is in the midst of ongoing renovations. On Wednesday installation of its new rocker seats will be complete. With added aisle space, the five-plex’s capacity dropsfrom 1,000 to 790. As improvements continue through the fall, owner John Rimarcik promises refurbished “carpet, decor, and a new concession stand. It’s going to look like it did when it opened 35 years ago,” he said, including repairs to the existing marquee. After consulting with theater sign specialists in Los Angeles, he said, he opted to keep a consistent retro look from the lobby to the original marquee, “with the individual letters put up with sticks.” The theater’s digital projection and sound were upgraded in March and June of 2013.
 
The humongous Great Clips IMAX Theatre at the Minnesota Zoo Is upping its game as well. It recently added IMAX’s incandescent-bulb digital projection technology to complement the existing IMAX 70mm film projection system. The film setup will remain at least through November for the release of celluloid purist Christopher Nolan’s “Interstellar.” The 550-seat Zoo boasts the largest screen in the state, 63 by 86 feet, with a projection surface equivalent to the side of a seven story building. 

Adopt Films scores U.S. distribution rights to Cannes Palme d'Or winner "Winter Sleep"

Posted by: Colin Covert Updated: June 23, 2014 - 5:58 PM

Adopt Films, the art house distributor founded in Minneapolis, has acquired all U.S. rights to the 2014 Cannes Film Festival Palme d’Or winner, Nuri Bilge Ceylan’s “Winter Sleep.” 

Ceylan's strange and powerful films examine the dark side of human nature in a broad range of tones, from the bone dry comedy of early Jim Jarmusch to the spiritual angst of Ingmar Bergman. The Turkish writer/director is an unparalleled Cannes darling. His last five features have screened in competition at the festival, and each has scored big. In 2003 “Distant” won the Grand Jury Prize (Cannes’s second-place award) as well as Best Actor for its two stars. 2006’s “Climates” won the FIPRESCI Prize. In 2008 “Three Monkeys” won Best Director. 2011’s “Once Upon a Time in Anatolia” also won the Grand Jury Prize. 

Set in starkly beautiful rural Anatolia, “Winter Sleep” (whose title might be more strictly translated as “Hibernation”), is a Chekhov-inspired portrait of an ill-natured hotel owner (Haluk Bilginer) gradually dealing with the harm his hard-heartedness has caused to his family and world.

Adopt Films president Tim Grady said, “A film like this, so rich with ideas, dazzling dialogue, and intelligent characters, is one that is instantly unforgettable.” It’s slated for release during the year-end awards season.

Local talent produces a double feature

Posted by: Colin Covert Updated: June 20, 2014 - 5:59 PM

Notable deals from a couple of local filmmaker types.

Screenwriter Nick Schenk (of Clint Eastwood’s “Gran Torino”) has another Warner Bros. star project due in theaters Oct. 10. Robert Downey, Jr., Robert Duvall, Billy Bob Thornton and Vera Farmiga star in “The Judge,” Schenk’s story of a hotshot criminal defense lawyer who must defend his estranged father on a murder charge. David (“The Wedding Crashers” ) Dobkin directs.

Eric D. Howell, whose Minneapolis- shot short  “Anna’s Playground” was shortlisted for a 2009 Oscar is slated to make his feature debut with the psychological thriller “The Voice of the Stone.” Emilia Clarke from HBO’s “Game of Thrones” will star as a nurse in 1950s Italy helping a boy traumatized by the sudden death of his mother, a famed opera singer. She discovers that the family’s Tuscan castle harbors a malevolent force. "It's a ‘Sixth Sense’-like tale of how she’s ensnared, a slow-burn haunting,” Howell said. “Is it real or is it not?”

Clarke is a fast-rising star, slated to play Sarah Connor in the upcoming “Terminator: Genesis” alongside Arnold Schwarzenegger. The independently financed ghost story is scheduled to begin production near Siena in October, Howell said, with an eye to a debut on the following year’s fall film festival circuit.

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