ECLECTIC ARTS

Monday, March 29, 2021

WAD - ACT Theatre Seattle, WA Review March 29, 2021 Eclectic Arts


WAD

ACT Theatre
Seattle, WA

Reviewed: 3/29/2021




("WAD" - ACT Theatre)



As we all know, the last year and some change has required everyone to reconsider what’s important to them during the pandemic. The arts world has pivoted to the virtual world (for now) and Seattle’s ACT Theatre is no different.


Their new production, “WAD” is a very interesting study in characterization during a lonely period of time for many.


The first thing that popped out was the approach to the material in a virtual setting. The two characters (Nyce and Jim) basically became their own film crews to shoot their scenes and then have things put together in post production. So, the audience is watching a mix of a play and a film.


There are many creative uses of the technology that really captured the imagination. Something as simple as continuity, for example throwing a wad of paper from one screen to the next, added a dimension that you don’t normally see in virtual productions.


The performances by Avery Clark and Rachel Guyer- Mafune manage to bring the material to life in a very real way. There were moments the scenes seemed like something you would see at an in-person performance at the ACT. Other times, the nuances of the play really came to the forefront because as an audience member you can see the details, you can see the facial expressions of the actors, and the sets really pop in the virtual world.


“WAD” is available through April 4th. Purchase tickets here:  TICKETS!


Best,
Mark Sugiyama
Eclectic Arts

Connect with Eclectic Arts:  Social Media Links Here!



Thursday, March 25, 2021

Academy Award Winner OLYMPIA DUKAKIS Press Interview March 25, 2021 Eclectic Arts




Greetings,

I am always grateful any time an artist takes the time to do an interview with me.  Written, phone, in-person (hopefully this will be an option again soon), and now virtually.  From a few written sentences to hours in the virtual studio and everything in-between, this thing called Eclectic Arts has afforded me more opportunities than I could have ever imagined.

The documentary about the Academy Award winning stage and screen legend Olympia Dukakis, "Olympia" - is now available on Apple TV and On Demand.  Below Ms. Dukakis took a few minutes to answer my press questions.



Eclectic Arts: With the documentary of your life and career, “Olympia”, you openly discuss your feelings from your childhood years to your early adult years of never fitting in. As a fencer at Boston University and getting denied parts in theatre as you were deemed too ethnic as examples. You eventually started your own theatre company to do the plays and parts you wanted to do. Do you feel looking back that you ever fit into the theatre system in the tri-state area or the film system in Hollywood? (why or why not)

Olympia Dukakis:  

It's extremely difficult to shake off the feeling of not belonging when you spent your childhood and early adult life feeling just that. I remember the very first time I felt I belonged was when I had my first child. I felt a connection to other women. Theatre and film came later but they did come. Once I was able to stand my ground as an actor, things started shifting. Of course Moonstruck changed a lot. I felt I finally arrived to the family party.



Eclectic Arts: There is a scene in the film when you are teaching a workshop or class where you tell the actor (that is off camera) that they’re in the basement of a room on such and such a street. You are trying to get them to basically go for it and stop being so timid (for lack of a better word) on stage. Having taught many students at NYU - what do you want up and coming actors to know to help them excel at the craft of acting?

Olympia Dukakis:

Being fearless.

Be true to yourself.

Bring your own unique self to the character.

Always be prepared.

Never stop being vulnerable.

This is your job. Do your job. No excuses.

Go out and create work for yourself.



Eclectic Arts: Throughout the documentary there are moments of great levity with family and friends but also a sharp directness where you are calling a spade a fucking spade. In 2021 - what are your thoughts on female empowerment, equity, and diverse populations such as the LGBTQ+ community?

Olympia Dukakis:

My thoughts on all of these important issues are exactly the same as they were 40 years ago. A functioning society needs equality. There is enough pie to go around. The idea that if someone else gets a piece of the pie, it will affect how much I will get, is a marketing tool of the ruling class. The first step is to recognize that we don’t have equality and then to go out and change the system so it protects everyone. I’m thrilled with the strives that we have achieved so far but we are far from having equality.


Thank you so much for taking the time, Ms. Dukakis.


Learn more about the film here:




Best,
Mark Sugiyama
Eclectic Arts

Connect with Eclectic Arts here:   Social Media Links Here


"OLYMPIA" TRAILER

Wednesday, March 24, 2021

BROOKLYN LOVE STORIES Film Review March 24, 2021 Eclectic Arts


Brooklyn Love Stories

Level 33 Entertainment
Reviewed: 3/24/2021

Rating: 4 / 5





I’d first like to apologize for the review for this film being well past it’s premiere date back in February. Fortunately, I was told there were no due dates on this film but still I like to keep to the premiere dates as best I can.


After viewing this film, I wished I had had the time to review it last month. I really enjoyed it.


The movie is in the anthology format with six mini films that all tackle the theme of unconditional love from very different viewpoints. I have to say the first three films I enjoyed immensely. Such creative ways to tackle the same theme. No spoilers here.


The last three films were good as well but they didn’t resonate with me as much as the first three. Still, well done and worth you time to view the entire film from beginning to end.


“Brooklyn Love Stories” shows what happens when an anthology is strong from beginning to end. You end up with one heck of a film!


Best,
Mark Sugiyama
Eclectic Arts

Connect with Eclectic Arts:  Social Media Links Here!


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OLYMPIA Film Review March 24, 2021 Eclectic Arts


Olympia

GIANT PICTURES in association with ELLA BEAN PRODUCTIONS
Reviewed: 3/24/2021
Rating: 5 / 5

OLYMPIA will will be available on Apple TV and Digital | ON Demand starting March 23, 2021.






It’s always interesting to see a documentary try to cover an artist’s life when that life has been as rich as Olympia Dukakis’ has. For decades now, she has been giving everything she has to the acting world. On stage, on screen, in the classroom, Olympia has really done it all.


The film shows incredibly candid moments from throughout her life. Her humble beginnings, her rebellious nature as a child, and her spirit that propelled her to start her own theatre company after college.


The roadblocks she faced as being considered too ethnic by casting directors when they hadn’t even met her, only going by her name. Yet, she persevered and continued to fight the good fight.


The anecdotes and scenes with her friends, former students, and family are really enlightening. When a group of people basically say the same things about a person, there’s most likely a lot of truth to them. And in this case the comments were not only positive but really spoke about Olympia as a person and as a professional.


She pioneered roles from diverse populations, particularly when they weren’t common, and most definitely not considered a “good” career move. She stuck to her guns for the love of the craft and her own personal values. Olympia helped pave the way for much of the diversity and equity we have available today in the theatre, television, and film industries.


“Olympia” made me want to watch all of her plays and every piece of television and film she has been a part of over the years. If only I had that kind of time in my schedule for the next few, oh, decades. What an incredible artist.


Highly recommended!


Best,
Mark Sugiyama
Eclectic Arts

Connect with Eclectic Arts:  Social Media Links Here!


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Sunday, March 21, 2021

DADDY LONG LEGS Taproot Theatre March 21, 2021 Eclectic Arts


Daddy Long Legs

Taproot Theatre
Seattle, WA

Reviewed: 3/21/2021

STREAMING ONLINE MARCH 12-APRIL 3, 2021

PURCHASE TICKETS HERE!


(Rheanna Atendido in Daddy Long Legs.  Photo by Erik Stuhaug.)



It’s interesting to see how the wonderful companies I used to review in person events for (pre-pandemic) have pivoted during these times. It’s a given that the experience will not be the same as seeing, in this instance, a play performed on stage at the theatre. Let’s not even go there.


But, when it comes to virtual productions, there are definitely pros and cons. Yes, there are pros.


“Daddy Long Legs” was produced following Covid-19 guidelines here in Washington state at the always charming Taproot Theatre Company. Taproot has been one of my favorite theatres to review live performances at for the last three years (well 2 and some change due to 2020).


The two person play is a musical that tells the story of Jersusha Abbott, a young woman that is a talented writer. Coming from humble means, she is overwhelmed to find out that a generous benefactor has offered to send her to college on their dime. The opportunity comes with a few quirky requirements - mainly that Jerusha must write letters to her benefactor that he will (supposedly) never read and that she will never meet her benefactor.


From this long distance agreement, feelings develop, and then trust becomes the center of attention when the curtain falls during the second act.


(Christian Quinto in Daddy Long Legs. Photo by Erik Stuhaug.)



Rheanna Atendido plays Jerusha Abbott and Christian Quinto plays Jervis Pendleton. Some may remember Rheanna from her role in “Bright Star” and Christian makes his Taproot Theatre debut with this role.


I mentioned earlier that there are pros to these virtual performances. With this production, multiple cameras were used, lav mics on the actors (just like in-person performances), etc. It gives the audience a viewpoint they normally wouldn’t get from sitting in the Jewell Mainstage theatre or the Isaac Studio (where this was filmed). Close-ups and multiple angles help create a more cinematic experience.


The production was filmed as if the ticket holder was venturing into the theatre in-person. POV footage to get to your seat, the show starts, an intermission countdown, and the second act. All of these were nice touches that I haven’t seen other arts companies use in their virtual productions as of yet.


It must have been a great but surreal time putting this show together. The casting, the rehearsals, and then the filming in front of an empty house (or near empty if you count the crew) must have been an odd experience. I know the many guests I’ve virtually interviewed for the last ten months have said something similar about not hearing the audience after a song or a scene was the hardest part for them.



(Christian Quinto and Rheanna Atendido in Daddy Long Legs. Photo by Erik Stuhaug.)



Taproot Theatre pulled off a fine production with all the earmarks you would expect from the company. From wardrobe, set design, performances, and storytelling, “Daddy Long Legs” hits the mark.


As we are now entering a new season, one can only hope that the virtual performances will continue until it is safe for everyone to be back at the theatre in-person. Thank you to the donors and sponsors that helped make this production happen. It was sorely needed and much appreciated by this reviewer.


Hope to see you all soon at the theatre.  Until then stay safe!


Best,
Mark Sugiyama
Eclectic Arts

Connect with Eclectic Arts:  Social Media Links Here!


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AMBER'S DESCENT Film Review March 21, 2021 Eclectic Arts


Amber’s Descent

Breaking Glass Pictures
Reviewed: 3/21/2021

Rating: 4 / 5




(Breaking Glass Pictures)



The new film “Amber’s Descent” tells the story of a musician that retreats to a house in the country to complete her latest symphony. As she continues to work on her music, strange things begin to happen in the home.


The lead character of Amber Waltz (played wonderfully by Kayla Stanton) is the selling point to this film. She is in basically every scene and the film rises or falls on her performance. Fortunately, she carries the film with ease and the rest of the storyline (somewhat) falls into place.



(Breaking Glass Pictures)



The pacing is slow and at times effective, other times not so much. The unraveling of the story and the characters mental stability is interesting throughout but the ending may leave some baffled.


I enjoyed “Amber’s Descent” but, again, that was due to the strong performance from Kayla Stanton. In the hands of a less accomplished actor, the end result would have come up short.


Best,
Mark Sugiyama
Eclectic Arts

Connect with Eclectic Arts:  Social Media Links Here!


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COSMOBALL Film Review March 21, 2021 Eclectic Arts


Cosmoball

Well Go USA
Reviewed: 3/21/2021

Rating: 2 / 5

Available on Blu-Ray and Digital on March 23rd!



(Well Go USA)



Any time there is a film that utilizes more effects than a video game, I’m hesitant about the results. Performance capture has taken cinema to new heights but the CGI game overall can be hit or miss.


“Cosmoball” is a sci-fi thriller that is visually very eye catching at first. Geared toward a mainstream, family audience, the storyline is convoluted at best, but the game of Cosmoball and the effects are designed to make the viewer suspend that disbelief at the door.


With a run time of about two hours, the visuals begin to wear off after the first thirty minutes and then the remaining film is just eye candy with little substance.



(Well Go USA)



Would a child or pre-teen enjoy this? Possibly. But, I would have much preferred a better screenplay and less effects. Without a solid foundation, any film will suffer from a lack of storyline.


“Cosmoball” could have been something great for all ages but instead it comes up short of the goal.


Best,
Mark Sugiyama
Eclectic Arts

Connect with Eclectic Arts:  Social Media Links Here!


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Tuesday, March 16, 2021

AULCIE Film Review 26th Annual Seattle Jewish Film Festival March 16, 2021 Eclectic Arts


Aulcie

26th Seattle Jewish Film Festival
Reviewed: 3/16/2021

Rating: 5 / 5

Streaming Timeframe: Thurs. March 18, 6pm - Sun. March 21, 6pm (sales end 2 hrs before; no grace period after 72-hour timeframe expires)








It’s always fascinating seeing a sports documentary based on an athlete I knew nothing about. The film “Aulcie” is about the life of Aulcie Perry, a basketball player that played in Israel. After being cut by the New York Knicks in the late 70’s, the opportunity arose for Aulcie to play overseas.


The film is narrated by Aulcie himself and it shows his heyday in Israel, the championships they won, and how he was elevated to rock star status. The NBA did come calling back but Aulcie was happy with his new home.


Unfortunately, at the height of his fame, substance abuse entered the picture and his downfall was basically guaranteed at that point. Aulcie was forced to leave Israel, he landed in the Netherlands where he was arrested for drug conspiracy, and ended up in prison.



(Aulcie Perry from the film "Aulcie".)



Meanwhile, the film also talks about his personal life back home in North Carolina. He had a son who went to live with him for a few years in Israel. He also had a daughter that he never knew. Aulcie spends one subplot in the film wanting to meet and connect with his biological daughter.


“Aulcie” is one of those films that will suck you in and not let go until the credits roll. It was eye opening, educational, and heartwarming.


Recommended!


Best,
Mark Sugiyama
Eclectic Arts

Connect with Eclectic Arts:  Social Media Links Here!


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Monday, March 15, 2021

PHOBIAS Film Review Vertical Entertainment March 15, 2021 Eclectic Arts


Phobias

Vertical Entertainment
Reviewed: 3/15/2021

Rating: 4 / 5


PHOBIAS in Theaters, On Demand and Digital on March 19, 2021.


(Vertical Entertainment)



The new film “Phobias” delves into the horror/thriller genre by way of an anthology that is interconnected. Five directors tell the story of different phobias that are a part of a government plan to weaponize fear.


Each part is not distinct where it feels like a different movie. They all flow together coherently within the storyline of the film.



([L-R] Leonardo Nam as Johnny and Martina GarcĂ­a as Almain the horror/thriller, PHOBIAS, a Vertical Entertainment release. Photo courtesy of Vertical Entertainment.)



“Phobias” held my interest and the last two chapters were particularly well done. There is a bit of a one note quality to how the film looks which may have been intentional. I would have preferred things to pop a bit more on screen instead of the dark tones used throughout.  

I did take notice that some of the main characters were bipoc which was nice to see.


The film could easily generate a sequel and if it’s as good as “Phobias” is, I’d be in line to watch it.


Best,
Mark Sugiyama
Eclectic Arts

Connect with Eclectic Arts:  Social Media Links Here


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Sunday, March 14, 2021

Support Eclectic Arts on YouTube!

Greetings,


If you would be so kind as to support Eclectic Arts via YouTube, that would be greatly appreciated!


There are over 140 virtual interview live-streams on our YouTube Channel since May 22, 2020.  We also have plenty of in person interview and live videos from 2015 to 2020.  


Please remember to subscribe when you're there, like the video(s), and leave a comment below.


Thank you in advance!

Mark Sugiyama

Eclectic Arts


ECLECTIC ARTS YOUTUBE CHANNEL (opens in a new window)

Saturday, March 13, 2021

ON BROADWAY Film Review 26th Annual Seattle Jewish Film Festival March 13, 2021 Eclectic Arts


On Broadway

26th Seattle Jewish Film Festival
Reviewed: 3/13/2021

Rating: 4 / 5


Streaming Timeframe: Sun. March 14, noon - Wed. March 17, noon (sales end 2 hrs before; no grace period after 72-hour timeframe expires)







With 2020 shutting down all live events, including Broadway in New York, the documentary, “On Broadway” is a fascinating look at the history of the area, the shows, and the revitalization before Covid-19 hit last year.


The theatres, the owners, and the ups and downs, really painted a picture of what Times Square was like in the early days, the 70’s when things were a cesspool, and how they eventually moved into an era where big money was being made.


The interesting aspect of Hollywood and film studios taking an interest in Broadway was particularly eye opening. It really sets up a “what if” scenario for the future where things have basically hit a peak and the future is unclear.


The rough cut that was released for the media showed the early days of getting the best seat in the house for just under ten dollars to the near one thousand dollar price tag for the best seat right now (before Covid-19).


“On Broadway” will not only entertain the musical and theatre enthusiast but also the cine-file for sure.


Recommended!


Best,
Mark Sugiyama
Eclectic Arts

Connect with Eclectic Arts:  Social Media Links Here!





Thursday, March 11, 2021

BREAKING BREAD Film Review 26th Annual Seattle Jewish Film Festival March 11, 2021 Eclectic Arts


Breaking Bread

26th Seattle Jewish Film Festival
Reviewed: 3/11/2021

Rating: 4 / 5


Streaming Timeframe: Thurs. March 11, 8pm - Sun. March 14, 8pm (sales end 2 hrs before; no grace period after 72-hour timeframe expires)


Available for Viewing in WA, ID, MT







The documentary “Breaking Bread” is a fascinating look at the A-Sham Arabic Food Festival in Haifa, founded by Dr. Nof Atamna-Ismaeel, the first Muslim Arab to win Israel's Master Chef Television competition.


The competition pairs Jewish and Arab chefs together to tackle traditional recipes.


If you’ve ever gathered over a table of amazing food, you know how it can be a transformative experience. “Breaking Bread” is similar in that through food and this competition, there is a focus on making social change.




 

The film is educational and entertaining at the same time. One plate at a time, the world can change.


Best,
Mark Sugiyama
Eclectic Arts

Connect with Eclectic Arts:  Social Media Links Here!


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Saturday, March 6, 2021

RUSSIAN RAID Film Review March 6, 2021 Eclectic Arts


Russian Raid

Well Go USA
Reviewed: 3/6/2021
Rating: 3 / 5



The MMA Action Thriller Hits Digital, Blu-ray™ & DVD March 9


(Well Go USA)



The new film “Russian Raid” from Well Go USA looks like an action film and delivers like an action film. The film stars some well known athletes from the world of mixed martial arts.


The plot is flimsy at best but with a film like this the viewer isn’t really going to mind. They want to see the action and, again, there is plenty here.



(Well Go USA)



I would have liked to have seen more of a storyline to enhance the action. Action for action's sake can only carry a film so far in my opinion. Much like seeing a band with a great stage show that only has marginal songs, tweaking the songs would complete the whole package.


The film was inspired by the action classic “The Raid” and there are similarities but “Russian Raid” is really its own film other than sharing a similar title.


Best,
Mark Sugiyama
Eclectic Arts

Connect with Eclectic Arts:  Social Media Links Here!


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DON GIOVANNI Seattle Opera Review March 5, 2021 Eclectic Arts


DON GIOVANNI
Seattle Opera

McCaw Hall (virtual)
Seattle, WA

March 5, 2021


Don Giovanni premieres on Seattle Opera’s website at 7 p.m. on Friday, March 19 and can be viewed until 11:59 p.m. on Sunday, March 21. Tickets are available online at seattleopera.org or by calling 206.389.7676 or 800.426.1619.



(Seattle Opera presents a new production of Mozart’s Don Giovanni. Staged and conducted by female artists, this timeless portrait of the ultimate predator includes the debut of bass-baritone Jared Bybee. Philip Newton.)



Greetings,


It is my pleasure to be back with a new performance review from the world class Seattle Opera. It has been fourteen months since I last set foot in McCaw Hall. It pains me to type that. Like many in the arts world, the pandemic turned everything upside down. The emotions, the withdrawals, and the like were all too real. The virtual experience will never replace the in-person event but it’s the way the world has pivoted during these unprecedented times.


Having spent the last ten months in the virtual live-streaming world myself, with over 130 interview live-streams to my credit, I was overly excited to see how the production of “Don Giovanni” would transfer to the virtual world.


It’s absolutely stunning.


Stage Director Brenna Corner and Maestro Lidiya Yankovskaya have taken the beloved opera and turned it into a breathtaking virtual experience for 2021.


When one attends the opera in person (which hopefully we all will be doing so again soon), you get one vantage point from your seat. With the virtual experience filming allows the viewer to not only see details but also a wide variety of perspectives from each character’s viewpoint.



(Seattle Opera presents a new production of Mozart’s Don Giovanni. Staged and conducted by female artists, this timeless portrait of the ultimate predator includes the debut of bass-baritone Jared Bybee. Philip Newton.)



The decision to go black and white with the filming of the performance is an interesting one. Influenced by a performance of Hamlet from the 1960’s filmed this way, the result strips down the storyline to a much more direct tale of the dastardly Don Giovanni and the women he takes advantage of.


I can see the argument for color to shine a light on such things as the costume and lighting departments which are always an integral part of any live Seattle Opera performance. But, for this reviewer, the decision was effective and didn’t detract from the overall visuals.


The performances were nuanced and expressive just like one would imagine from almost any Seattle Opera performance.


“Don Giovanni” is a welcome virtual return of the Seattle Opera. I have missed you these fourteen months and I hope we meet again in person.


Soon.


Best,
Mark Sugiyama
Eclectic Arts

Connect with Eclectic Arts:  Social Media Links Here


AMERICAN BIRTHRIGHT Film Review 26th Annual Seattle Jewish Film Festival March 6, 2021 Eclectic Arts


American Birthright

26th Seattle Jewish Film Festival
Reviewed: 3/6/2021
Rating: 4 / 5



Streaming Timeframe: Wed. March 10, 7pm - Sat. March 13, 7pm (sales end 2 hrs before; no grace period after 72-hour timeframe expires)







Many would consider religion a proverbial “deal breaker” when it comes to marriage. There are many facets to consider, regardless of what religion is being considered, prior to the marriage of two people.


At first glance the documentary, “American Birthright” appears to be tackling this sensitive subject. But, in reality, it isn’t.






It is a film about the director’s own personal journey to self identification and fulfillment as a Jewish woman.


Director Becky Tahel explores what it means to be Jewish with plenty of interviews with a wide variety of religious scholars. The film is fascinating as it really immerses the viewer into the director’s world on her quest for understanding and ultimately inner peace.


The film will make any viewer question what it means to be of any religious background and on a broader level - what it means to be human.


Recommended.


Best,
Mark Sugiyama
Eclectic Arts

Connect with Eclectic Arts:  Social Media Links Here!


Friday, March 5, 2021

SCHOCKEN, On The Verge Of Consensus Film Review 26th Annual Seattle Jewish Film Festival March 5, 2021 Eclectic Arts


Schocken, On The Verge of Consensus

26th Seattle Jewish Film Festival
Reviewed: 3/5/2021
Rating: 4 / 5


Streaming Timeframe: Mon. March 8, 7pm - Thurs. March 11, 7pm (sales end 2 hrs before; no grace period after 72-hour timeframe expires)







The documentary “Schocken” tells the story of Salman Schocken who at one time owned 22 department stores in Germany with 6000 employees. The racial laws and the war turned his life’s work into rubble.


But he persevered by way of a Jewish publishing house that rivaled anything the German publishers put out at the time.






The film depicts a time and a perspective lost on the mainstream non-Jewish culture. Salman was not educated per se but engrossed himself in free education once he moved to Germany. The fact that he had no desire to work in the department store business yet created an empire is fascinating (he wanted to pursue further education instead).


He owned over 60,000 rare books and continued that love of books with his publishing house. “Schocken” is a worthy look into one man’s life and how he made an impact on the world around him.


Best,
Mark Sugiyama
Eclectic Arts

Connect with Eclectic Arts:  Social Media Links Here!


Thursday, March 4, 2021

HEADSPACE Sydney Sherwood Music Review March 4, 2021 Eclectic Arts



Sydney Sherwood

“Headspace”
Reviewed: 3/4/2021
Rating: 5 / 5





It isn’t very often that a new release comes across my (virtual) desk that I take an immediate liking to. Normally my curiosity may be piqued or it may be an artist I’m already familiar with. However for an artist completely foreign to me to grab my attention; that’s really saying something.


Enter Sydney Sherwood.


Her second EP was just released on February 27th entitled, “Headspace”. Upon listening to the six tracks, the title is apt to say the least.






Based out of New Jersey, Sydney Sherwood betrays her youth with maturity. The opening track, “Wolves” transports the listener to Sydney’s world of transparency and mental health awareness. The song talks about keeping one's wolves figuratively at bay, whatever those wolves may be.


The uptempo “Let Me Down” finds Sydney mixing alternative rock with a sprinkling of country influence. Written about a person who eventually reminded the songwriter that she deserved better, the song is a radio ready anthem.


As a proponent for mental health awareness, the next song, “Creep” will resonate with anyone that has battled with anxiety or depression. The lyrics are haunting, reflective, and dead on accurate. This is perhaps the strongest track on the release.


“Born To Roll” comes up next with its swagger and attitude. The song reflects an attitude of never giving up, no matter how many times one is knocked down. Eventually, you fight on, and in the process, you live on as well.


The touching, “Horizons Edge” brings the listener on a sentimental journey about memories of a lost family member. The fond memories of a family pillar and the heartache as the end becomes reality.


The EP ends with, “All The Aces”. A song written about those insecure people in the world that look down upon others, only to change their tune when those same people start to become successful. It is quite clear that Sydney has a long memory. Naysayers you have been warned.






Sydney’s subject matter is personal and from the heart. When you add her resonant voice and songwriting abilities, there is much to rave about here.


Rarely is there a release without at least one so-so song on it. “Headspace” defies the odds and is strong from beginning to end. The EP serves as the perfect foundation for a future career that looks brighter than the stars on a warm summer's night.


Recommended!


Best,
Mark Sugiyama
Eclectic Arts

Connect with Eclectic Arts:  Social Media Links Here!




"Let Me Down" (Lampshade Session)


Creep (Lyric Video)


"Let Me Down" (EP Version)


Virtual Interview w/Eclectic Arts (3/3/2021)


Virtual Interview w/Eclectic Arts (2/3/2021)


Music Symposium (featuring Sydney Sherwood, Mariah Belgrod, and AVIV) w/Eclectic Arts (2/21/2021)




















COMMON GOAL Film Review 26th Seattle Jewish Film Festival March 4, 2021 Eclectic Arts


Common Goal

26th Seattle Jewish Film Festival
Reviewed: 3/4/2021
Rating: 4 / 5

Streaming Timeframe: Sun. March 7, 10am - Wed. March 10, 10am (sales end 2 hrs before; no grace period after 72-hour timeframe expires)

BUY TICKETS TO VIEW HERE!






The documentary “Common Goal” looks at the Israeli National Soccer Team. The dichotomy between Israeli players and Arab players is the crux of the storyline throughout the film.


It’s very easy to forget that professional sports in some countries are much more than just a sport. It is a representation of a people and a nation. 


The film expertly interviews the players on the team and interweaves news commentary from both sides of the debate. The racial bias and tension is hard to digest at times but very, very necessary. It illustrates the point that some people flat out do not like one or the other on the Israeli National Team.


“Common Goal” is much more than a sports documentary. It is a look at a cultural issue that has raged for many years. Recommended.


Best,
Mark Sugiyama
Eclectic Arts

Connect with Eclectic Arts:  Social Media Links Here!



 


SJFF 2021 TRAILER


Monday, March 1, 2021

SON Film Review March 1, 2021 Eclectic Arts


Son

Reviewed: 2/28/2021
RLJE Films and Shudder
Rating: 3 / 5

(RLJE Films)



Any time a horror film utilizes a child in it’s storyline, there is a fine line to walk. So many past horror films have used this tactic to great effect (The Omen and The Exorcist for example). However, it can also go into predictable territory if the director is not careful.


“Son” tells the story of a mother who gives birth to a child that she initially claims she doesn’t want. Fast forward some years and the mother and son are living in a nice suburban neighborhood. Everything seems normal.


One evening mom sees spirits in her son’s room. She gets the police involved but there are no traces of anyone having been in their home. At one point in the story, the son David ends up in the hospital. The doctors can’t explain what’s wrong with him.



(Andi Matichak as Laura in the horror film SON, a RLJE Films/Shudder release. Photo courtesy of RLJE Films.)



Mom then takes David away as she believes spirits are after her child.


“Son” works well between the two lead actors performances - Andi Matichak (mom) and Luke David Blumm (son). They keep the film engaging and interesting.


Overall, however, the finale leaves a lot to be desired. While there will be no spoilers here I felt the ending let down the rest of the film that had preceded it. A reshoot of the ending would have lifted this film from average to great.


Best,
Mark Sugiyama
Eclectic Arts

Connect with Eclectic Arts:  Social Media Links Here!


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DREAMCATCHER Film Review March 1, 2021 Eclectic Arts


Dreamcatcher

Reviewed: 3/1/2021
Samuel Goldwyn Films
Rating: 3 / 5

Samuel Goldwyn Films will release the horror / thriller film, DREAMCATCHER On Digital and On Demand March 5, 2021. 



(Samuel Goldwyn Films)



The new horror film “Dreamcatcher” started off interestingly enough. The first aspect that jumped out at me was the dialogue. Director and writer Jacob Johnston has a way with words and it works well throughout the movie.


DJ Dreamcatcher is a headlining performer at a music festival. A group of friends go to the festival and then within 48 hours things get turned upside down.



(Niki Koss as Pierce in the Horror/ Thriller film, DREAMCATCHER, a Samuel Goldwyn Film release. Photo courtesy of Samuel Goldwyn Films.)




The film has a specific look to it that was also intriguing.


However, the story as a whole got stretched out into something that should have been ninety minutes or less. There were too many scenes trying to establish characters that ultimately the horror fan just wants to see die a gruesome death.



(Travis Burns as Dylan in the Horror/ Thriller film, DREAMCATCHER, a Samuel Goldwyn Film release. Photo courtesy of Samuel Goldwyn Films.)



There was indeed promise from Mr. Johnston’s work and with some more tweaking, I believe a future film with his direction and writing could be a money maker.


Best,
Mark Sugiyama
Eclectic Arts

Connect with Eclectic Arts:  Social Media Links Here!


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