ECLECTIC ARTS

Wednesday, June 30, 2021

CIVIL WAR (OR, WHO DO WE THINK WE ARE) Film Review June 30, 2021 Eclectic Arts


Civil War (Or, Who Do We Think We Are)

Peacock
Reviewed: 6/30/2021

Rating: 5 / 5





The old saying if we don’t learn from history then we’re doomed to repeat it has been around for ages. But, what if the historical facts aren’t what they seem? Then you’re basing your viewpoint on skewed information at best or false information at worst.


The new documentary from Rachel Boynton “Civil War (Or, Who Do We Think We Are) is a fascinating look at the civil war from many different viewpoints. Families, teachers, students, professors, activists, and many others are interviewed to give their insight into why the civil war happened, but also the aftermath, which is still being felt all these years later.


The film is timely with the BLM movement last year as well as the other issues of today including the presidency issues this last election. It’s always difficult trying to understand someone’s viewpoint that is the polar opposite of your own. It’s much easier to dismiss them and stay in your lane. But if we don’t take the time to understand the other side, how do we ever move forward? It’s something I’ve wrestled with for quite some time.


If your family has many generations in the southern states of the U.S., you most likely have direct lineage to the civil war. So to a modern day family member, they may (emphasis on may) have the mindset that the union tried to impose their will on the confederate states and ultimately killed their family member(s) who fought in the war. Slavery may be minimized into a small reason for the conflict.


And the opposite for a family from the union states. They may look at slavery as being the key reason the war took place. Mix in states that didn’t even exist back then or weren’t directly involved and you get one complex issue with tons of side issues as well.


“Civil War (Or, Who Do We Think We Are)” is compelling from beginning to end. It will absolutely make you think, potentially make you angry, but ultimately it will force the viewer to reconsider their way of looking at the civil war.


Recommended.


Best,
Mark Sugiyama
Eclectic Arts

Connect with Eclectic Arts:  Social Media Links Here


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Tuesday, June 29, 2021

WE'RE ALMOST THERE - Help ECLECTIC ARTS! June 29, 2021

Greetings,

Many of you know that I have been conducting live-stream interviews since May 22, 2020.  As one way to keep EA active during the time of the pandemic lockdown around the world, the YouTube channel has gained a steady stream of supporters over the last year and some change.

We are nearing the milestone of 1,000 subscribers.  What this means is that between subscribers and viewership, we can now move to the next level on YouTube where monetization may become a reality for Eclectic Arts.

As of today we are only 17 subscribers short of this goal.  If you go to our channel and hit the subscribe button, it would be a great help in supporting our goals.  It doesn't cost you anything and it won't send anything to your inbox (if you want to know what's coming up on the YouTube channel - hit the little notification bell but be forewarned - that will send emails to your IN box).

Thank you so much for your support!  I have a giveaway planned once we hit that magical number!

Best,

Mark Sugiyama

Eclectic Arts


ECLECTIC ARTS YOUTUBE CHANNEL

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HERE ARE THE YOUNG MEN Film Review June 29, 2021 Eclectic Arts


Here Are The Young Men

Well Go USA
Reviewed: 6/29/2021

Rating: 3 / 5


Debuts on Blu-ray™ & DVD June 29 ~ Available on Digital Now!



(Well Go USA)



The new film “Here Are The Young Men” is an Irish coming of age story. Three high school students are looking at their uncertain futures after graduating from public school when a freak accident occurs. Each of them handle the incident in different ways and in doing so they have to deal with their own personal issues as they try to move on from it.


The movie has some definite positives to it. The cast is strong and the narrative is relatable in terms of that unknown feeling one gets about an uncertain future.



(Well Go USA)
 


Some of the subplots were a little confusing and took away from the overall drama of the story.


The relationship between Matthew (Dean Charles Chapman) and Jen (Anya Taylor-Joy) is the most captivating as they struggle to communicate and understand each other.


Ultimately, “Here Are The Young Men” delivers on the overall feel of being lost and uncertain. However, the film feels like something that is somewhat of a lost opportunity.


Best,
Mark Sugiyama
Eclectic Arts

Connect with Eclectic Arts:  Social Media Links Here


TRAILER


Friday, June 25, 2021

TRIBECA FESTIVAL 2021 - Film Reviews ECLECTIC ARTS

Greetings!

I had the pleasure to review several films for the Tribeca Festival 2021.  The hybrid model allowed media like myself the chance to partake in the festivities on the other side of the country.  Below are my reviews (each opens in a new window).  

The programming was stellar and there wasn't one bad film in the batch.  Thank you for the opportunity to Tribeca and the team behind it.  I can now see why it's considered one of the top festivals around the world.

Best,

Mark Sugiyama

Eclectic Arts



POSER

INDIA SWEETS AND SPICES

SHAPELESS

ACCEPTED

CATCH THE FAIR ONE

THE CONDUCTOR

BITCHIN - THE SOUND AND FURY OF RICK JAMES

AILEY

SEE FOR ME

THE GOD COMMITTEE

WOLFGANG


LIVESTREAM VIDEO INTERVIEW:  Deepti Gupta from "India Sweets and Spices"



LIVESTREAM VIDEO INTERVIEW:  Kali "KO" Reis" from "Catch The Fair One"


TRIBECA FESTIVAL OFFICIAL SITE

Wednesday, June 23, 2021

WOLFGANG Film Review Tribeca At Home 2021 June 23, 2021 Eclectic Arts


Wolfgang

Tribeca (At Home)
Reviewed: 6/23/2021

Rating: 4 / 5





(Tribeca 2021)




When you hear the name Wolfgang, many people will think of the classical composer but even more will think of Wolgang Puck - the superstar chef and restaurateur that was the first celebrity chef.


In this incredibly watchable documentary, “Wolfgang” the audience gets to see the story of Wolfgang, his family issues (with his stepfather who constantly berated him), and his rise to fame in the U.S.


With interviews with Woflgang, his family, and those that know him best, the film is really a story of the American dream. The ups and downs, the risks, the failures, and ultimately the empire that Wolfgang built worldwide.


“Wolfgang” is an inspired film and the man himself is an inspiration to all to go after your dreams.


Best,
Mark Sugiyama
Eclectic Arts

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Tuesday, June 22, 2021

THE GOD COMMITTEE Film Review Tribeca At Home 2021 June 22, 2021 Eclectic Arts


The God Committee

Tribeca (At Home)
Reviewed: 6/22/2021

Rating: 5 / 5


MORE INFORMATION



(Tribeca 2021)



The issue of healthcare in the U.S. has been tackled many times over in cinema. There is inherent drama within the system which can make for fine filmmaking. “The God Committee” takes things up a notch.


The story follows a committee at a local hospital that routinely decides which patients are the best candidates for organ transplants. Many different issues arise as one can imagine when making such decisions. Bureaucracy, red tape, professional vs personal feelings, are just but a few aspects that affect their decisions.


Kelsey Grammer and Julia Stiles head up the cast and they do not disappoint. Their performances suck the audience into their respective medical worlds and they do not let up until the film is over.


“The God Committee” will have you questioning what you would do if you were in a similar situation. It will leave you with lingering thoughts long after the film is over.


Recommended.


Best,
Mark Sugiyama
Eclectic Arts

Connect with Eclectic Arts:  Social Media Links Here!

Sunday, June 20, 2021

SEE FOR ME Film Review Tribeca At Home 2021 June 20, 2021 Eclectic Arts


See For Me

Tribeca (At Home)
Reviewed: 6/20/2021

Rating: 3.5 / 5


MORE INFORMATION


(Tribeca 2021)



The film “See For Me” has an interesting premise - a visually imparied woman is using her impairment to commit robberies in homes. The only problem is that her latest target is also the target of other thieves.


No spoilers here but the film is intriguing and it definitely becomes a cat and mouse game inside the home.


The narrative stays the course throughout the film, only dipping in certain scenes where things drag on a bit. But, overall the performances and the execution make “See For Me” a worthwhile viewing.


Best,
Mark Sugiyama
Eclectic Arts

Connect with Eclectic Arts:  Social Media Links Here!



AILEY Film Review Tribeca At Home 2021 June 20, 2021 Eclectic Arts


Ailey

Tribeca (At Home)
Reviewed: 6/20/2021

Rating: 4 / 5


MORE INFORMATION



(Tribeca 2021)



Alvin Ailey should need no introduction to anyone in the dance world, perhaps even the arts world as a whole. His name is synonymous with dance, choreography, and trendsetting leadership that continues to inspire to this day.


From humble beginnings in Texas, the documentary follows Alvin Ailey’s career which eventually led him to New York.


His school for dance, the tours, and the ups and downs of a legendary artist are all documented here.


With the issues of today front and center after the tragedy of last year’s murder of George Floyd, films like “Ailey” remind us that there were leaders fighting this fight decades ago. It is also a reminder that while we’ve made strides toward better representation, acceptance, and equality, we still have an extremely long way to go.


Best,
Mark Sugiyama
Eclectic Arts

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Friday, June 18, 2021

BITCHIN - THE SOUND AND FURY OF RICK JAMES Film Review Tribeca At Home 2021 June 18, 2021 Eclectic Arts


Bitchin - The Sound and Fury of Rick James

Tribeca (At Home)
Reviewed: 6/18/2021

Rating: 4 / 5





(Tribeca 2021)



The new documentary “”Bitchin - The Sound and Fury of Rick James” caught my eye as I, like many, didn’t know much about Rick James other than his megahit “Superfreak”.


The film uses narration from Rick James himself intercut with many interview pieces from his daughter, family, and others in the industry that knew him.


What becomes clear is just how musically gifted he was. Beyond the look and lifestyle that he was known for, his foundation was rock solid in music. It’s easy to forget just how popular he was with his early albums and tours. His shows were spectacles of the highest order.


Drug use was eventually his downfall as it has sadly been with other musical legends. But the lasting influence of Rick James continues to reverberate today.


Best,
Mark Sugiyama
Eclectic Arts

Connect with Eclectic Arts:  Social Media Links Here!



Thursday, June 17, 2021

THE CONDUCTOR Film Review Tribeca At Home 2021 June 17, 2021 Eclectic Arts


The Conductor

Tribeca (At Home)
Reviewed: 6/17/2021

Rating: 4 / 5



MORE INFORMATION




(Tribeca 2021)



The new documentary “The Conductor” is a fascinating look at maestro Marin Alsop. A protege of Leonard Bernstein, she was the first woman to conduct a major US symphony - ever.


The film depicts her humble beginnings, born to two professional musicians. As an only child, Marin followed in her parents musical footsteps.


Her struggle to be accepted into graduate programs for conducting is headshaking. The backlash from some of the musicians she was working with (and their union) is also eye opening. Whether intentional or not, Marin Alsop became a leader and pioneer in the classical world.


Her story is as relevant today as ever. It is so disappointing to see the bias, the good old boys club patriarchy, and the other assorted bullshit she had to endure to get to where she is today.


But what’s absolutely lovely about all of this is that maestro Alsop doesn’t let those experiences cloud her judgement. Instead, she is a positive force for women, for young aspiring conductors of all races and genders, and continues her fight to include more females in the professional conducting world wherever she can.


If you’re not inspired by her story, then perhaps, you’re part of the problem.


Best,
Mark Sugiyama
Eclectic Arts

Connect with Eclectic Arts:  Social Media Links Here!


CATCH THE FAIR ONE Film Review Tribeca At Home 2021 June 17, 2021 Eclectic Arts


Catch The Fair One

Tribeca (At Home)
Reviewed: 6/17/2021

Rating: 4.5 / 5





(Tribeca Festival 2021)



The Tribeca Festival has not disappointed thus far. Every film has been of a certain level of quality and “Catch The Fair One” is no exception.


A bleak film based on current (and past) social issues such as MMIWG (Murdered and Missing Indiginous Women and Girls), human trafficking, and BIPOC equality, the plot revolves around Kali (played by Kali “KO” Reis - a real life world champion boxer) who’s younger sister goes missing one evening.


Kali spends her time and energy trying to find out where her sister may be so she can rescue her. Of course along the way she encounters brutality, personal demons, and a nearly non existent support system.


The film is compelling and immerses the audience in Kali’s dark world as she gets closer and closer to finding her lost sister.


Kali “KO” Reis” is in basically every scene of the film. She has a commanding presence (no doubt honed from her real life battles to become a world champion in the boxing world) on screen and she shows her future in the film world is bright. She is one new talent to watch out for.


Director Josef Kubota Wladyka keeps the narrative sharp and realistic at all times. There is a synergy with his cast, particularly Kali “KO” Reis, that really raises the bar of the film. In another director’s hands this could have been a cliche’d mess but thankfully Josef created a vision that is impossible to ignore.


“Catch The Fair One” is a film that deserves a large audience. I hope they find the right home for it to do it justice.


Best,
Mark Sugiyama
Eclectic Arts

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TRAILER

Wednesday, June 16, 2021

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


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

Saturday, June 12, 2021

PACIFIC NORTHWEST BALLET REP 6 June 10 - June 14, 2021 Eclectic Arts

PACIFIC NORTHWEST BALLET

Rep 6

6/10/2021 - 6/16/2021



It goes without saying that this digital season has been something of a miracle for the Pacific Northwest Ballet. Where some other ballet companies floundered during the pandemic lockdown period, PNB put their collective artistic heads together to create art during the most trying of times. And my goodness did they succeed.


Rep 6 is here and it features two world premieres in this last performance for the digital season.


It’s interesting for the novice (which I still very much consider myself to be) viewer/reviewer to have something like in-person and virtual performance to compare. Clearly I would much rather be at McCaw Hall watching the grace, power, and storytelling of the PNB dancers in person. However, the virtual stage presents a different perspective on any given performance as well.


Being a fan of the classical full length ballets, the mixed bills have been at times harder to consume. The more time I invested in the high art that is ballet, the more I slowly started to understand what was going on at any given performance pre-pandemic.


During this digital season I’ve found myself either much more entertained by any given piece or the opposite - my attention span began to wander. Perhaps it’s the ease of hitting the pause button or munching on a loud and messy snack that normally would never happen at McCaw Hall. I’ll never really know until I’m back at an in-person performance so I can compare and contrast again.


It’s so nice (as of today) to be able to say in-person performance. I know I, like many, will not take certain things for granted moving forward. I also know I’ve come to appreciate more things in my life and I’m intentionally ready to improve in other areas of it.


Rep 6 reminded me of the feelings I had at the end of the PNB season in 2019. A bit nostalgic, tremendously grateful for the media opportunities, and hopeful and excited about the upcoming 2019-2020 season. I was finally going to be experiencing my first full PNB season. And we all know what happened to half of that season.


Watching the Tisserands (Jerome and Laura) dance one last time for PNB was truly beautiful and emotional. Seeing other PNB dancers like Leta Biasucci that I’ve come to learn and appreciate was like seeing your favorite extended family member again after a long unplanned break. And the newer PNB talent showed that there is much to look forward to with the return of in-person performances in September 2021.


Similar to the feeling one gets when graduating from high school or college, Rep 6 of the digital season for the Pacific Northwest Ballet has been a joyful yet tearful reminder of just how much the PNB accomplished this season.


Bravo!


Best,
Mark Sugiyama
Eclectic Arts

Connect with Eclectic Arts:  Social Media Links Here!


Rep 6 is available to purchase through Monday June 14th.  Visit:  https://www.pnb.org/season/rep6/

Monday, June 7, 2021

UNDERCOVER PUNCH & GUN Film Review June 7, 2021 Eclectic Arts


Undercover Punch & Gun

Well Go USA
Reviewed: 6/7/2021
Rating: 3.5  / 5

Available on Digital, Blu-ray™ & DVD June 8 with an All-New English Dub



(Well Go USA)



The new film, “Undercover Punch & Gun” delivers an interesting mix of new and old style martial arts action.


The story leaves something to be desired but with a film like this, it’s the action that makes or breaks it. And for the most part - it makes it.


Philip Ng stars and also serves as the action director. His style of choreography is modern and fast paced. I would have liked a few more long shots with less editing but overall he is an effective action director.


(Well Go USA)



The comedic aspects of most Chinese based films is lost on me but that’s nothing new. It’s been like that since the 80’s and 90’s films I used to watch. It may just be a cultural difference. What’s funny to some isn’t funny to others.


The movie arrives on Tuesday June 8th on Digital, Blu-ray, and DVD from Well Go USA.


Best,
Mark Sugiyama
Eclectic Arts

Connect with Eclectic Arts:  Social Media Links Here!



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Tuesday, June 1, 2021

SPARE PARTS Film Review June 1, 2021 Eclectic Arts


Spare Parts

RLJE Films
Reviewed: 6/1/2021
Rating: 2 / 5


(RLJE Films)



The film, “Spare Parts” seemed right up my alley. A midnight movie tale wrapped up with a dash of horror and action ala Road Warrior. Unfortunately, the movie came up short for me.


The basic plot centers around a punk band called Ms. 45 whose members are captured, sedated, and transformed (one hand is replaced with a weapon) so they can fight for spectators.



(RLJE Films)



The story is flimsy at best and the acting is about what you would think for a film like this. But, that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Sometimes a bad film can be a “good” bad film.


The gore elements after a kill were the highlight of the film for me. The rest of it was just a waste of what could have been a cult level film.


Maybe you’ll think differently after you watch it.


Best,
Mark Sugiyama
Eclectic Arts

Connect with Eclectic Arts:  Social Media Links Here!



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DEADLY ILLUSIONS Film Review June 1st, 2021 Eclectic Arts


Deadly Illusions

Dark Star Pictures
Reviewed: 6/1/2021
Rating: 4 / 5


AVAILABLE ON DIGITAL PLATFORMS ON JUNE 1



(Dark Star Pictures)



The new erotic thriller, “Deadly Illusions” will please some and perhaps confuse others. It is a throwback to a storytelling technique of leaving things to the imagination. For those with creative minds, this will delight and enrich the viewing experience. For others who take things quite literally like black and white, well, it may be too much to break down in one review.



Mary (played by Kristin Davis) is a best selling author living a supposedly dream life with her husband and two children. When she is asked to write a new novel that she isn’t quite comfortable with, she encounters writer’s block, and at the suggestion of a friend - hires a nanny Grace (played by Greer Grammer) to help her with the children.


A relationship develops between Mary and Grace that is explored throughout the film and things take more than a few twists and turns.


What I liked about the film was that it not only held my interest but it kept me guessing as to what was really going on in the film. Is this real? Is this all a figment of Mary’s imagination (she is a writer after all)? The film allowed, again, the creative minded to fill in the gaps and it was almost like a choose your adventure type film (or book if you remember those).


Eroticism in film is always going to be subjective. What titliates one viewer may disgust the other. While the film definitely has the allure and the build up in certain scenes, director Anna Elizabeth James never goes into the flesh for flesh sakes arena. Instead, she handles the eroticism with restraint when needed but also lets the temperature rise as well. A very nice balance.



(Greer Grammer as Grace in "Deadly Illusions".)



Greer Grammer absolutely shines in her role as Grace. Without any spoilers let’s just say her range is really something to behold in this film.


Kristin Davis is the savvy veteran on screen and makes the difficult look easy. It was also nice to see Dermot Mulroney as Mary’s husband.


If you’re the type of viewer that only notices plot holes but can’t fill them in on your own then this film will be a challenge for you in my opinion. For the rest of you, like myself, you’ll enjoy the deadly ride.

The film was released earlier this year via Netflix and is now heading to digital on June 1st.


Best,
Mark Sugiyama
Eclectic Arts

Connect with Eclectic Arts:  Social Media Links Here!





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