ECLECTIC ARTS

Monday, May 30, 2022

ROW 19 Film Review May 30, 2022 Eclectic Arts

ROW 19

WELL GO USA
Reviewed: 5/30/2022

Rating: 2.5 / 5


On Digital and Blu-Ray May 31st!

(Well Go USA)



The new film, “Row 19” is billed as a horror-thriller. The movie tells the tale of a young girl whose past may be responsible for the present day deaths of several passengers aboard an airplane.


I love a good horror film - no budget to big budget, I will always have a soft spot for the genre. But, that doesn’t mean I’ll accept anything as a worthy addition to said genre. “Row 19” looks decent as the narrative unfolds and the deaths are somewhat interesting, but overall, the story just leaves a lot to be desired.



(Well Go USA)



I wish there was more to write about this film, particularly from the positive side of things. But, there really isn’t in my opinion. The creatives behind “Row 19” could have done much better.


Best,
Mark Sugiyama
Eclectic Arts

Connect with Eclectic Arts:  Social Media Links Here


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CRADLE OF FILTH May 25, 2022 Eclectic Arts

CRADLE OF FILTH

Showbox At The Market
Seattle, WA

May 25, 2022

Nox Novacula Bandcamp


(All photos by Mark Sugiyama for Ecelctic Arts (c) 2022)



I was looking forward to finally being back covering a live concert in-person. Forced to take a break for over a month due to a health issue, arriving at the Showbox on Wednesday evening was like a breath of fresh air.


Also, in some ways, this gig was like a full circle moment for me as well. I last reviewed Cradle Of Filth in 2016, when I was new to the concert coverage portion of Eclectic Arts. To the point that I didn’t even have the gear or the knowledge to take concert photos at the time. So, to go back to the same venue to cover the same band six years later was a satisfying reminder of just how far I’ve come with my media outlet.


The band was a guest on the Danzig string of recent dates, so a headlining run was added to their schedule to make the most of their resources (touring is expensive).


As the familiar fog drifted over the stage and the backlit lights turned the Showbox into a sea of red, blue, and purple, “The Fate Of The World Is On Our Shoulders” blared over the PA as the fans went nuts.


The band turned their backs as they always do to the audience until the first notes of “Existence Is Futile” were played. At that point, Martin, Daniel, Ashok, and new (touring) members Zoe and Donny locked in and original member Dani Filth shrieked as only he could.


The circle pit went into overdrive and rarely let up (only if the music dictated so). The setlist was a nice mix of old and new. Of course the band played a few more tunes from their newest album but they also pulled out such songs as “Nocturnal Supremacy” and “Lustmord and Wargasm (The Lick Of Carnivorous Winds)” from their late 90’s output (my favorite era of the band).


Considering that both Zoe and Donny were on their first tour with Cradle Of Filth, you really couldn’t tell. Both looked and performed admirably and if there were any mistakes, I didn’t notice them.


Ashok has really turned into a showman while he plays the guitar. Constantly striking poses throughout the set, he has come a long way from his first tour with the band in 2014.


Martin is a fucking beast and I said it back in 2007 when he joined the Thornography tour. I actually said to my friend at the time “that new drummer is a beast”. His style of drumming is so much better suited to the band than his predecessor. And he absolutely does justice to the Nick Barker era material which speaks volumes about his playing.


Dani is basically a living legend in the extreme metal community at this point. The fact that I first bought “Dusk and Her Embrace” back in 1997 says a lot. At that time, I never thought the band would become as popular as they have but they have certainly earned their place. I would also add that they are a fine live band to boot. Many black metal bands back in the day were really lacking when they took the stage (compared to death, thrash, or traditional metal bands). But over time a certain group of black metal bands have become formidable live threats and Cradle Of Filth is absolutely one of them.


The band ended their 90 minute set with the perennial favorite, “Her Ghost In The Fog” from the “Midian” release.


A highly satisfying show at the Showbox. Cradle Of Filth has a few more shows left on the North American tour and a European tour is already scheduled for this coming Fall.


The show was supported by Cleveland, Ohio band Frayle. The four piece played a ritualistic brand of doom metal that went over well with the crowd. I think they could have done even better if they had been on a bill of similar type bands but even still they left a positive impression on me.


The show was opened by locals Nox Novacula who were a last minute replacement for thrashers Misfire who had to drop off the tour for a week due to the damn C****. A solid set from the goth alternative rockers. Much like Frayle, I think their brand of music would have gone over even better had they been on a bill with similar-sounding bands. But, they clearly were in touring form (since they’ve been on their own tour) and they were a great way to start the night.


Best,
Mark Sugiyama
Eclectic Arts

Connect with Eclectic Arts:  Social Media Links Here


(All photos by Mark Sugiyama for Ecelctic Arts (c) 2022)





















CRADLE OF FILTH

(All photos by Mark Sugiyama for Ecelctic Arts (c) 2022)







FRAYLE

(All photos by Mark Sugiyama for Ecelctic Arts (c) 2022)

MILWAUKEE FILM FESTIVAL 2022 4/21/22 - 5/5/22 Eclectic Arts

14th Annual MILWAUKEE FILM FESTIVAL 2022

April 21st through May 5th, 2022


OFFICIAL SITE



5/31/22  As an update, I spent the last month and some change dealing with a serious health issue (not hospital level serious but serious nonetheless).  Thankfully, I am finally back on my feet and feeling like myself again.  My sincere apologies to everyone involved with the Milwaukee Film Festival.  I always hold myself to a certain standard but with the health issue I fell completely short of that standard this year.  I hope to make it up next year should I be given the opportunity.  Thank you for your patience and understanding along the way.    - Mark/EA


* * *


I thoroughly enjoyed last year’s Milwaukee Film Festival.  I was overjoyed when I found out I was credentialed again for this year’s Festival as well.  Just like last year I am participating virtually from my home in Seattle, WA.  


Having just wrapped up the Seattle International Film Festival, doing both in-person and virtual work, I was looking forward to the programming that this year’s Milwaukee Film Festival had in store.




Messwood 


This documentary was really fascinating as two high schools combined their student athlete pool to have enough players for one football team.  It is a story of have and have nots, race relations, and never underestimating your opponent.  


Any fan of sports will find something that resonates with them about this film.  Recommended.


4.5 out of 5




892


A fictional drama based on an actual event.  “892” started off strong but then began to get long in the tooth.  Since it is basically stuck in one location, it made for a real challenge for the creatives to make the story interesting.  


The performances were noteworthy but as a whole, “892” was average.


3 out of 5




Grain


As a photographer, “Grain” was a fascinating look at the continued use of standard film photography VS digital photography.  Any photographer knows the positives that come from mastering film but the film does a wonderful job of showing many aspects that the mainstream viewer would also come to appreciate about the format.  Recommended.


4 out of 5




Joy Womack: The White Swan


I am always intrigued by the world of professional ballet and “Joy Womack: The White Swan” was another prime example of why ballet is such a fascinating topic for film.  


The documentary follows Joy Womack as she becomes the first American to graduate from the prestigious Bolshoi Ballet Academy.  


Her career takes unexpected turns but it also shows the amount of sacrifice, dedication, and strength she possesses to pursue her dream of being a professional ballet dancer.


4.5 out of 5




Ali & Ava


I’m always impressed by dramatic films where the narrative feels so genuine that you forget that you’re watching a fictional movie, not a documentary.  “Ali & Ava” is one such film.


The day-to-day lives of the two characters, how they eventually meet, and then begin a relationship is as relatable as anything in recent cinema.  


If you’re looking for a film that is a slice of life that you can see yourself in, “Ali & Ava” will do just fine.


4 out of 5




Anonymous Sister


The opioid crisis has been front and center in some ways, while brushed under the carpet in others.  In today’s society, most at least know about the issue.  But twenty years ago (or more), no one really knew about the crisis that was setting up shop all across America (and the world).


“Anonymous Sister” is a documentary that sheds light on the people affected by this crisis.  It’s not all homeless folks or people with mental illness issues.  It’s “normal” families in middle America, too, that are affected.  


The director tells the story of her own family's struggle with the opioid crisis in such a natural way that when things take a turn for the worse, the viewer can’t help but be sucked into their world.  And wish for them to recover.


Then anger takes over as the rich get richer while the rest of us develop addictions, meet untimely deaths, and break apart familial relationships.


“Anonymous Sister” is a tough watch but an absolutely necessary one.  Recommended.


4.5 out of 5




Daughter Of A Lost Bird


This film is a compelling documentary about a young woman who learns about her ethnic and cultural heritage.  The history behind her people, the movement to basically “cleanse” her race from the planet, and everything else that came with it.


Identity is something everyone can relate to and “Daughter Of A Lost Bird” examines this topic in a direct and educational way.  Worth checking out.


4 out of 5




For The Left Hand


This was one of my favorite films of the entire festival.  The story of the life of a music teacher who only has the use of his left hand.  Norman Malone is the focus of this wonderful documentary.  A one handed pianist that strives to create music in a world where many had told him it couldn’t be done.


The importance of belief, the effect of any one teacher, and a positive attitude really come through in this documentary.  


Mr. Malone is an engaging and compelling figure throughout the film.  Absolutely recommended.


5 out of 5




Hockeyland


I love sports documentaries but I know next to nothing about the game of hockey.  “Hockeyland” is a documentary about high school hockey and the rivalry that almost every district has at the high school level.


The film was interesting to a point but then began to lose focus.  Typically, as a season progresses, the film becomes more interesting, not less.  Perhaps the creatives needed more time to edit the film and/or rethink their vision.


3 out of 5




One Pint At A Time


The craft beer industry is something I’ve been a part of for over twenty years.  “One Pint At A Time” focuses on BIPOC brewers and owners in America.  The film also touches on the pandemic, the Black Lives Matters movement, and other areas of today.  


If you’re looking for a fun film about craft beer, this isn’t necessarily it.  However, if you’d like to learn about the growing sector of BIPOC brewers and owners and learn about their journey’s, then “One Pint At A Time” will go down easy.


4 out of 5




Shorts:  The Best Damn Fucking Midnight Program Ever.  Shit.


I always recommend checking out at least one shorts program whenever you participate in a film festival.  Some of the shorts are some of the most creative films you will see and in many cases they are starting points for eventual feature films based on the shorts' material.


This particular shorts block was intriguing from beginning to end.  I’m a lover of horror and midnight movies so it was right up my alley.  Recommended.


4 out of 5


* * *


Much like last year, the virtual component of the Milwaukee Film Festival featured top notch programming.  There were a few films that overlapped with other festivals but that is to be expected.  


I really enjoy the diversity in the programming and not only that but just the flat out quality.  Some festivals seem to go for the most art house type of films which isn’t my cup of tea.  Some are fine but not an entire festival.  


MFF always strikes a balance that keeps me coming back for more.  


Best,

Mark Sugiyama

Eclectic Arts


Connect with Eclectic Arts:  Social Media Links Here


Friday, May 27, 2022

THERE ARE NO SAINTS Film Review May 27, 2022 Eclectic Arts



THERE ARE NO SAINTS

Paramount Pictures and Saban Films
Reviewed: 5/27/2022

Rating: 2.5 / 5


Releasing May 27th In Theaters, On Digital and On Demand!


(Paramount Pictures and Saban Films)



The new film, “There Are No Saints” has a lot going for it on paper. The writer of “Taxi Driver” for starters. Known actors such as Ron Perlman and Tim Roth. A premise of drug cartels, action, and exploitation. But, in the end, these factors can’t save this film.


When action and exploitation thrillers are done right, they are a lot of dirty fun. The plots have holes in them but that gets overlooked by the seriousness of the action and (at times) the razor sharp dialogue.



(Paramount Pictures and Saban Films)



“There Are No Saints” would have fit comfortably on the video store shelves back in the 80’s and 90’s. In today’s market, it’s available on digital to watch from your home and even then there are many better options out there for your viewing pleasure.



Best,
Mark Sugiyama
Eclectic Arts

Connect with Eclectic Arts:  Social Media Links Here


TRAILER

PARAMOUNT PICTURES OFFICIAL SITE

Tuesday, May 24, 2022

SINCE I BEEN DOWN Film Review May 24, 2022 Eclectic Arts

SINCE I BEEN DOWN

Reviewed: 5/24/2022

Rating: 4.5 / 5


(Scene from "Since I Been Down")


The new documentary film, “Since I Been Down” takes a direct look at the gang and drug issues that overflowed in the streets of Tacoma, WA in the 1980’s and 1990’s (and one could argue are still present today in 2022). Having lived in WA state all of my life, this was not news to me. In a very strange way, it was like going down memory lane, a horrible memory lane, of what many young men and women got caught up in.


But the film is much more than that. It also takes a look at the three strikes law here in WA. It also takes a look at the prison system with direct interviews and footage with many of the young people that were locked up during the “Hilltop” years.


Many social questions are raised throughout the film. The generation of young people of color that were locked up, and the effects that had on their families. How some of the prisoners are trying to better themselves behind bars through education (educating themselves). How the system failed many of these young people in more ways than one. And perhaps most importantly - how there is no one right answer for any of this.


The drug issue is rampant everywhere. And I mean everywhere. From big cities to rural communities, the drug epidemic is just out of control. Society as a whole is getting further and further away from a moral center. The layers and complexity of the issues that “Since I Been Down” addresses run deep and the answers run even deeper.


I spent over ten years working with what society has deemed “at risk” youth. I am keenly aware of the issues some of our young people face, and the circumstances many are born into. However, the average viewer doesn’t have this background to fall back on. Give “Since I Been Down” a view and I guarantee you will have an opinion about the subject matter.


Recommended.


Best,
Mark Sugiyama
Eclectic Arts

Connect with Eclectic Arts:  Social Media Links Here

THE NERD Taproot Theatre May 21, 2022 Eclectic Arts

The Nerd
by 
Larry Shue

Taproot Theatre Company
Seattle, WA
Review: Saturday 5/21/22 8pm Performance


Performances run through June 18th, 2022


(Kate Jaeger, Conner Nedderson, Valerie Ryan Miller, and David Quicksall in The Nerd at Taproot Theatre Company.  Photo by Robert Wade)



“The Nerd” is the first non-holdover show for the Taproot Theatre’s 2022-2023 season. The earlier shows this season were a part of the programming for 2020 and beyond that were delayed for very known and understandable reasons.


With “The Nerd”, we get a comedy that has been around for decades now. A very quirky comedy at that. As always, I don’t like to go through much of the plot, preferring for the patron to see a performance for themselves.


The role of Rick - the guest who overstays his welcome - as played by Matthew Posner - was the highlight of the show. Matthew’s performance was a sight to behold as he sucked the audience right in with his character’s behavior, comedic delivery, and acting chops.


The rest of the cast were strong as well, something of a trademark of all of Taproot’s productions (save for one that I reviewed four years ago). I think as the cast gets more performances under their collective belts, the show will come together even better.


For all that it had going for it, I still found the show odd. Professionally delivered but it just didn’t resonate with me. There were laughs from some of the audience at my performance but overall as I looked around, there was more perplexity on peoples faces than anything so I don’t feel I was alone.


The show has its moments but overall I found it to be a specific type of humor. Unfortunately, it just didn’t match up with mine.


Perhaps you’ll feel differently after you’ve seen a performance.


“The Nerd” runs through June 18th. Tickets are available:  Here!


Best,
Mark Sugiyama
Eclectic Arts

Connect with Eclectic Arts:  Social Media Links Here

Tuesday, May 10, 2022

THE SHEPHERD Film Review May 10, 2022 Eclectic Arts

THE SHEPHERD

SABAN FILMS
Reviewed: 5/10/2022

Rating: 3 / 5


In Theaters May 6th / VOD & Digital May 10th


(Saban Films)



The new film, “The Shepherd” is a bit of a slow burn movie in the horror genre. A man looks to basically hide away from the world after the death of his wife. He accepts a job on a remote Scottish island as a shepherd. As soon as he arrives, things are not what they seem.


The film has a real atmosphere to it that permeates the entire movie. As a viewer you’re waiting for something to happen and when it does, some of it works, some of it doesn’t.


The supernatural element is also there which may or may not be to your liking. I could have done without it myself but, again, it did add to the atmosphere.


Overall, while I enjoyed aspects of it, the execution at the end of the day left me strangely unsatisfied. Perhaps you’ll feel differently.


Best,
Mark Sugiyama
Eclectic Arts

Connect with Eclectic Arts:  Social Media Links Here


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