ECLECTIC ARTS

Wednesday, June 16, 2021

ACCEPTED Film Review Tribeca At Home 2021 Eclectic Arts June 16, 2021


Accepted

Tribeca (At Home)
Reviewed: 6/16/2021

Rating: 4 / 5





(Tribeca 2021)



The new documentary “Accepted” was too good to be true. I’ll just leave it at that.


The film follows the controversial prep school T M Landry in Louisiana. A school that at one time had a 100% acceptance rate into college for it’s graduates. And as if that wasn’t enough, at least 30% of its graduates were getting accepted into ivy league universities.


The film is incredibly engrossing. As the story shifts and turns, it becomes apparent that, based on what is presented in the film (clearly there is much more to this story), those who suffered the most were the students.


Having been on both sides of the education fence professionally, I’ve seen how broken the public education system can be, and the education system as a whole.


It’s clear that when some young people are led by charismatic adult leaders, they will do almost anything they ask. They will get caught up in the proceedings and go along for the ride. It is not their fault.


The adults, however, have to check themselves.


The methods used by the prep school were unorthodox and that can be okay. But if all you're looking at is the end result, the path to get there will unfortunately be overlooked and therein lies the real issue here.


It seems the school had some ways of working and fostering the community that worked well with their students. It also appears that the “do whatever it takes to make it” approach backfired once the New York Times piece came out.


There are serious allegations against the school to the point where a federal investigation is still going on. And in one particular student case - a very serious issue was brought to the authorities.


“Accepted” as a film is a recommended viewing. After you finish it you will most definitely have an opinion about the school and what the film portrayed.


As for the school itself, it is still running today. For better. For worse.


Best,
Mark Sugiyama
Eclectic Arts

Connect with Eclectic Arts:  Social Media Links Here!


SHAPELESS Film Review Tribeca At Home 2021 June 16, 2021 Eclectic Arts


Shapeless

Tribeca (At Home)
Reviewed: 6/16/2021

Rating: 4 / 5


PURCHASE TICKETS!


(Tribeca 2021)



One of the pleasures of reviewing films for the various film festivals this year is that I get a chance to not only see some films make their world premieres but I also get to explore the vastness and range of cinema styles.


“Shapeless” is an intriguing film.


The story centers around a jazz singer who works in a cleaners to pay the bills. But she is struggling with an issue that is all too real. As always I subscribe to the no spoilers here club in my reviews.


Kelly Murtagh plays the main character Ivy (and she is also credited as story by) and is superb. Here is yet another film where the main character actor either rises to the challenge or walks away. Ms. Murtagh is captivating, raw, and extremely believable as Ivy.


Yes, there are some horror elements in this film but they are really few and far between. This is not a horror film in my eyes (having seen a ton of them since VHS was first introduced). It is a film about an issue many people face and the horrors that come along with it.


We don’t see this issue in the headlines right now nor have we really ever. We know it’s there. We know it exists. But for many of us, that’s where it ends. But for others, who are dealing with the issue or have dealt with it, they know all too well what “Shapeless” refers to.


Best,
Mark Sugiyama
Eclectic Arts

Connect with Eclectic Arts:  Social Media Links Here!

INDIA SWEETS AND SPICES Film Review Tribeca At Home 2021 June 16, 2021 Eclectic Arts


India Sweets and Spices

Tribeca (At Home)
Reviewed: 6/16/2021

Rating: 4.5 / 5




(Tribeca Festival 2021)



It was with great anticipation that I sat down and viewed the brand new film “India Sweets and Spices” from Geeta Malik. A coming of age story that many audience members will connect with, the movie explores class, age, and cultural differences with humor and drama.


I’ve had the privilege of speaking with many film industry folks over the last year or so via the livestream interviews for my media outlet. One item that has been brought up more than once, even as recently as last Friday, is the issue of representation.


Yes, we all know that it’s become a forefront issue (rightfully so), particularly since last year’s societal outcries. But it’s good to remember - we’re not just talking about race. We’re talking about gender identity. We’re talking about age discrimination. We’re talking about class discrimination as well.


What I’m getting at is I really want creatives to express themselves and their artistry as they see it, the stories they want to tell. Geeta Malik does just that.


It’s far too easy to nitpick and compare this film to other films that had strong diverse representation. I’ve already seen other reviews do just that and it tells me many in the media world have learned basically nothing in the last year.


The story told by Geeta Malik should be taken in my opinion as a tale from her creative mind as not only a filmmaker but as


A woman.


A BIPOC woman.


A BIPOC woman in a CIS caucasian male dominated industry.


“India Sweets and Spices” is an entertaining film. But it also brings a different perspective to what some may see as another coming of age story. It’s so much more than that.


Sophia Ali is captivating throughout her performance. She is basically in every scene and the film rises or falls on her shoulders. And rise it does.


Manisha Koirala plays Sheila (Ali’s mom) and is a character you love to hate at the beginning of the film. But once her past is revealed (no spoilers here), and her character shift happens later in the film, she shows just how far her range goes as an actor.


Deepti Gupta (as Bhairavi Dutta) brings heart and warmth to the picture. Her character's working class background, honest and loving relationship with her husband and son, really bring the first half and the second half of the storyline together. In lesser hands, this character study could have also sunk the proverbial ship but in Ms. Gupta’s capable hands - the film only gets stronger and rises above the ordinary and ventures into the lands of greatness.


Do yourself a favor and check out this film. Watch it for what it is - but also watch it from the lens of the creatives involved with it - and perhaps you’ll applaud their efforts much like I did.


Recommended.


Best,
Mark Sugiyama
Eclectic Arts

Connect with Eclectic Arts:  Social Media Links Here!

Sunday, June 13, 2021

POSER Film Review Tribeca At Home 2021 June 13, 2021 Eclectic Arts


Poser

Tribeca (At Home)
Reviewed: 6/13/2021

Rating: 4.5 / 5







The world premiere of the film, “Poser'' was on June 10th at Tribeca. I was fortunate enough to see it once it debuted on Tribeca At Home - the virtual companion to this year’s 20th Tribeca festival.


The film is incredibly engaging. It’s been pitched as a indie music thriller about Lennon, a socially awkward young woman, that is infatuated with the indie music scene. She starts up a podcast and interviews the various artists that she sees around town.


Lennon starts a friendship with an indie pop duo Bobbi Kitten. It’s here that Lennon starts to find herself but at the same time, loses herself in a scene she thought she knew.


I don’t want to say much more than that.


Being a music nerd myself, and having worked in the media scene at shows for a number of years now, the subject matter was an instant plus for me. But that didn’t prepare me for the methodical and hypnotizing narrative that followed once I pushed play.


“Poser” in my eyes really isn’t a thriller at all. Yes, there’s an element of that genre but the film as a whole stands on it’s own legs just fine by being an indie music drama.


This film will find a home very soon, if it hasn’t already. Recommended.


Best,
Mark Sugiyama
Eclectic Arts

Connect with Eclectic Arts:  Social Media Links Here!

THE GREAT WAR OF ARCHIMEDES Film Review June 13, 2021 Eclectic Arts


The Great War of Archimedes

Well Go USA
Reviewed: 6/13/2021
Rating: 3.5 / 5


Debuts on Digital, Blu-ray™ & DVD June 15 with an All-New English Dub


(Well Go USA)



The film, “The Great War of Archimedes” tells the tale of the pre WWII Japanese supership “Yamato”.


The opening scene really teases a lot of action which isn’t necessarily true. The film is more of a drama with conspiracy sprinkled throughout the narrative.


In some ways, Toho, the company behind the legendary Godzilla films, could have taken a cue from their early franchise films, and started this off with the drama narrative, building up to the epic battle scene.



(Well Go USA)



Instead, the drama gets long at some points during the movie. I think if the action had been raised up a few notches, and the drama turned down an equal amount, this film would have been gold.


“The Great War of Archimedes” is an interesting film, with solid performances, but it could have been even better.


Best,
Mark Sugiyama
Eclectic Arts

Connect with Eclectic Arts:  Social Media Links Here!




TRAILER!



SEATTLE OPERA "TOSCA" Premiere's June 4th and runs through June 27th Eclectic Arts review - June 13, 2021


SEATTLE OPERA
Tosca

Premieres June 4th at 7pm
Available through June 27th



(Phillip Newton photo)



What can I say about this season for the Seattle Opera? It’s been filled with as many emotions as those that run throughout the final season ending digital performance of “Tosca”. Joy, sorrow, pain, suffering, resiliency, determination, and triumph all have a place at the table of this pandemic stricken season.


And yet the Seattle Opera has produced some of the most engaging content I’ve seen (or been a part of since I, too, have been riding the virtual wave with my own media work for the last year and some change).


It’s been a road of the familiar that eventually ventured into the new and intriguing. Of course I want to be back at McCaw Hall in-person but the feat the Seattle Opera has pulled off during this trying time has been nothing short of spectacular.



(Alexandra LoBianco (Tosca). Philip Newton photo)



Seeing a production of “Tosca” staged at an actual cathedral here in Seattle, WA is pure genius. Much like the production of “Flight” earlier this year, the onsite location for “Tosca” brings a whole other element to the proceedings.


The Seattle Opera really dug in deep and created a production worthy of the big screen. I love the fact that instead of scaling things back or taking the easier approach, the company grabbed the proverbial bull by the horns and just flat out went for it with this production.


The source material is already much beloved and strong as a rock. The foundation was already set for the company to tackle this opera in a new and unique way in 2021.



(Alexandra LoBianco (Tosca). Philip Newton photo)



I’ve had the privilege to watch and review many live-streams over the last fifteen months. From basic one camera live-streams to multi camera, pre-recorded, gems - the artistic community around the globe has really stepped up to the pandemic plate and swung for the fences. Not every stream was a homerun but trust me - there were a few - and the Seattle Opera’s “Tosca” is one of them.


As the drama played out, and the songs echoed throughout the cathedral, there were moments I felt like I was watching a top notch Hollywood film. Tremendous thanks and well wishes to the entire artistic company for pulling this production off with an exclamation point to the season!


I can’t wait to see you all in-person in October 2021 at McCaw Hall. Until then - stay safe and enjoy “Tosca”.


Best,
Mark Sugiyama
Eclectic Arts

Connect with Eclectic Arts:  Social Media Links Here!



ELLI BERLIN Interview June 13, 2021 (in English) Eclectic Arts (Seattle, WA USA)

(All Photos:  (c) Michael Roob)


Greetings,

Elli Berlin from Null Positv fame has a solo release "Lieb Mich" coming out on June 18th, 2021.  Elli took a few minutes to catch us up on the new record.

Best,
Mark Sugiyama
Eclectic Arts

Connect with Eclectic Arts:  Social Media Links

* * *

Eclectic Arts:  Hi Elli. What prompted you to record and release a solo album?

Elli Berlin:  Since we can't tour at the moment, I just used the time to write new songs. In addition to a new record for Null Positiv, there is also an Elli Berlin production which is very valuable, especially in today's world. Many nibble on the circumstances, with existential fears, become depressed and all the more need their moments to look forward to, culture and hope. That's what I write for.


EA:  What was the timeline for writing the songs and recording them?

EB:  I did them as fast and as well as possible.  I was not under pressure because you can't force creativity.


EA:  How do the songs on your solo album differ from Null Positiv?

EB:  The Elli Berlin songs are a bit more rock compared to the typical Null Positiv metal sound. More singing with lyrics that are a bit more remote from this world and yet in keeping with the spirit of the times. There is even a little story about the titles in the booklet.


EA:  “Lieb Mich” was recently released as the first music video from the album. Where and when did you record the video? What is the story behind it?

EB:  We shot the video near Berlin at the beginning of the year. I came up with the text because I have a lot of fans who give me their love on Instagram and Facebook, sometimes as subordinates. I found that exciting! What motivates a person to want to be someone's slave? I asked and got an honest, poignant answer. From this came "Lieb Mich"





EA:  You’ve recorded a few solo covers in 2020. Was this one of the ways you stayed creative during the lockdown pandemic?

EB:  The lockdown made it very difficult for me to get together with my band and so I was still able to sing for my fans and keep myself alive.  I can't exist without singing ;-)


EA:  What takeaways have you learned from putting out your solo album (things you learned that went well or things you would do differently next time)?

EB:  Once again I am fortunate to have a another great, creative person in my life, Benjamin Schwenen. I produced these songs with him, which is a tremendous enrichment. What did I learn from it? Nothing I didn't know beforehand, but you are perfecting yourself from album to album. It would be bad if not. ;-)


EA:  What advice would you give a young aspiring musician?

EB:  Do!!! No excuses, no "I can't", no tomorrow, NOW !!! Have something to say, believe in yourself and do it! Of course there are a lot of bands and great artists out there but there is only you once. Invent yourself, find your uniqueness, and make it your strength!






EA:  What’s coming up next? Will there be another music video? Any chance of any live shows or live-streams?

EB:  In any case, there will be more music videos. Of course I hope that it will start LIVE again soon. We plan and we will be there as soon as we can.


EA:  What do you think the future of music will look like in 2022 and beyond?

EB:  We are planning on a tour in May in 2022 and I hope the circumstances allow this to happen.  Thanks so much for the interview!




ELLI BERLIN "Lieb Mich" Official M/V