ECLECTIC ARTS

Tuesday, June 21, 2022

IP MAN: THE AWAKENING Film Review June 21, 2022 Eclectic Arts

IP MAN: THE AWAKENING

Well Go USA
Reviewed: 6/21/2022
Rating: 3.5 / 5

Available on Digital, Blu-ray™ and DVD June 21!


(Well Go USA)



The new film, “IP MAN: The Awakening” is a new attempt at telling yet another chapter of the Ip Man mythos.


This film focuses on a younger Ip Man, a martial art master, and the story is nothing new to HK film fanatics. When you have a legend like Ip Man, there are really limitless stories that can be told or made up to entice an audience.


The action scenes are strong which is the saving grace of the film. Miu Tse (Ip Man) shows why he is an up and coming star in HK action cinema.



(Well Go USA)



If you love the recent Ip Man films, this one is it’s own beast. So, do your best to go in with an open mind and there’s a good chance you’ll enjoy this film.


Thank you to Well Go USA for the opportunity!


Best,
Mark Sugiyama
Eclectic Arts

Connect with Eclectic Arts:  Social Media Links Here

Monday, June 20, 2022

TRIBECA FESTIVAL 2022 June 9, 2022 through June 19, 2022 (virtual through June 26, 2022) Eclectic Arts

TRIBECA FESTIVAL 2022
Tribeca At Home 2022


June 9, 2022 through June 19th, 2022 (In Person)
June 9, 2022 through June 26th, 2022 (Virtual)

TRIBECA AT HOME - More Information Here!






The fine folks at Tribeca Festival 2022 gave me the opportunity to partake in the festival once again this year. I requested the virtual option Tribeca At Home as travelling to New York just wasn’t in the cards for me this year. I do hope to be able to cover the festival in-person at least once before I die.


As they are well known for, Tribeca Festival 2022 brought a wide range of film and other media to the masses this year. Below are my reviews without grades for a change as I wanted anyone that reads this to make up their own minds about the films without relying on a grade from me.


Thank you to everyone at Tribeca Festival 2022 for the wonderful experience. I hope to return next year.


Best,
Mark Sugiyama
Eclectic Arts


* * *

(in no particular order)



The Resemblance (short)

I loved everything about this film. It stands on its own as a short film but there is also enough meat on the bone to be turned into a feature film. One of the standouts of the festival for me.




38 At The Garden

A short documentary about the night NBA star Jeremy Lin dropped 38 points. The documentary does a fine job breaking down some of the Asian stereotypes by using Jeremy’s NBA story as an example. Peppered with interviews from various Asian professionals, the film reminded me of an ESPN 30 for 30 - and that’s high praise.





Head Space (shorts block)

An interesting mix of five short films here. The one that stood out to me was, “Life Rendered”. A fascinating use of technology between present day and virtual reality. The story is moving and it was really done well.




Billion Dollar Babies

A full length documentary about the Cabbage Patch doll craze from the 1980’s. This was a solid film that was very informative and entertaining. Having lived through that era, I had forgotten many facts that they brought up, including the Black Friday shopping craze that started with the demand for Cabbage Patch dolls. One of the best features length films I reviewed for the festival.




Game Change Game

A look at the NBA during the begining of the pandemic in 2020. An interesting documentary that reminded me about the “bubble” in Florida and all the other things that went on in order to have the NBA season that year.




Inheritance (short)

A short film about a nature photographer who comes to grips with his family and his own way of looking at life. This was a solid film.




The Integrity Of Joseph Chambers

Read Review Here




Jerry and Marge Go Large

This was a film that debuted on Paramount+. It felt like a throwback to the Sunday night movies you would see back in the 70’s and 80’s. A rare, for lack of a better word, “clean” film that the whole family could watch. Bryan Cranston and Annette Bening were fabulous in this story based on true events about a couple who figure out that mathematically there is a flaw in one lottery game. They legally take advantage of that flaw and that’s where the fun begins.




Land Of Gold

This feature film was a real joy to watch. Basically based around two characters, a man who is married with a child on the way, and a young girl that he finds in his semi-truck. Character driven narrative with plenty to explore and ponder. One of my favorites of the entire festival.




McEnroe

A full length documentary about the tennis legend. The first half chronicles his amazing tennis career. The second half is even more interesting as the man himself tries to come to terms with his life, his reputation, and his family. Engrossing from the beginning to the end.




Nothing Compares

The incomparable Sinead O’Connor. This documentary utilizes one stand alone modern day interview with the artist and then edits in interviews from her past to tell her story. About as misunderstood of an artist as any that’s ever walked the planet, this film is a worthwhile viewing.




Sparring Partner

Two co-workers eat lunch in a park and have a massive dialogue fest until a phone call interrupts their chemistry.  Sharply written and it felt like watching a scene from a theatre play.  




A Wounded Fawn

A midnight movie can be a ton of fun when done right (or even when done wrong). There is no limit in the genre, really. This film had an interesting premise but then it went off the rails - and not in a good way - for me. I can see how others might revere it but it didn’t resonate with me to that level.




We Might As Well Be Dead

A fascinating feature that tells the story of an apartment building that is a safe haven for its residents or so it seems. How someone could come up with this story is really remarkable as the story encompasses so many different themes all at once. A film that will make waves in the future.




Rounding

A full length feature that was story and character driven. It was an interesting viewing but it didn’t connect with me as much as I thought it would.

Saturday, June 18, 2022

CAPRA Live in Seattle, WA June 12, 2022 Eclectic Arts

CAPRA

June 12, 2022
Seattle, WA
Chop Suey Seattle

(All Photos:  Mark Sugiyama for Eclectic Arts (c) 2022)


One of the best things to come out of doing 285 livestream interviews since 5/22/20 is finally meeting some of the livestream guests in-person. Sunday night in-person guests number two and three were added to the list in the form of Crow and Tyler from Capra.


Having lived with their Blacklight Media/Metal Blade Records album, “In Transmission” for over a year now, I was stoked to see them in their element: live on stage.


This was only my third time to Chop Suey even though I’ve lived here all my life, the wonderful Seattle traffic had delayed all the bands from arriving on time for load in. Subsequently the doors were opened late as well.


Capra took the stage around 8:45pm and went through a blistering 30-minute set, which included two brand new songs!


With not much stage room to utilize, the band kicked everything into gear and really never let up. Tyler was loud with both half stacks blaring out the riffs all set. They're normaly a two guitar band so playing through both half stacks made sense.  The PA in the very front had minimal vocals coming through (you could hear them when you stepped back from the stage, though) but you couldn’t tell with Crow giving it her all. Trevor, handling bass duties on this tour, whipped his hair around all through the set. Jeremy was beating the shit out of his drums and really impressed me with his precision and stamina.


Capra are a killer live band. That’s huge when you’re coming from the hardcore, punk, metal genres. You have to deliver live or you’re dead as a band. And they delivered in spades.


Now all they need is the opportunity to jump on some bigger tours to get them in front of their fans and to make new ones. It sounds like that’s in the works after talking with the band.


Speaking of which, all of the members are down to earth, approachable people. I met Tyler and Crow before their set, Tyler chopped it up with me a good while before they took the stage. I talked after the set with the whole band (see video interview link below). And I wasn’t about to leave the show without adding to my t-shirt collection (now up to 4) with the latest design.


Touring clearly isn’t for everyone. The road will separate the ones that want it badly enough and the pretenders. Capra aren’t pretenders. They’re on their way up and will prove it one show at a time. They’re an absolute must-see when they come through your town.


The band is currently on tour with Whores and Bummer - traveling all over the U.S. Check out the dates below.


Best,
Mark Sugiyama
Eclectic Arts

Connect with Eclectic Arts:  Social Media Links Here

IN-PERSON VIDEO INTERVIEW!




(All Photos:  Mark Sugiyama for Eclectic Arts (c) 2022)











(All Photos:  Mark Sugiyama for Eclectic Arts (c) 2022)





Tuesday, June 14, 2022

HOSTILE TERRITORY Film Review June 14, 2022 Eclectic Arts

HOSTILE TERRITORY

Saban Films
Well Go USA
Reviewed: 6/14/2022
Rating: 4 / 5

Available on Digital, DVD, and Blu Ray on June 14th!


(Well Go USA)


The new film, “Hostile Territory” is a western based on true events. Following the Civil War, a prisoner of war Jack Calgrove (played by Brian Presley who also wrote and directed the film) has been separated from his children. Since he was assumed dead, they were sent to live in an orphanage in hostile territory. Naturally, Jack will do anything to get them back.


Period pieces are always difficult to pull off as they require a certain level of budget to make things look authentic, let alone the other aspects that go into making any film. “Hostile Territory” does an admirable job of immersing the viewer into the world that Jack must deal with to reunite with his kids.



(Well Go USA)



The acting was solid and the film held my interest throughout.


I would have liked a bit more meat on the bone regarding the story and the subplots. The narrative is fairly straightforward, which isn’t a bad thing. I just feel the film could have benefited from more layers of emotional weight besides the family struggle.


Overall, “Hostile Territory” was a solid viewing and release from Well Go USA.


Best,
Mark Sugiyama
Eclectic Arts

Connect with Eclectic Arts:  Social Media Links Here

OFFICIAL TRAILER

Sunday, June 12, 2022

THE INTEGRITY OF JOSEPH CHAMBERS Tribeca Festival June 12, 2022 Eclectic Arts

THE INTEGRITY OF JOSEPH CHAMBERS

Tribeca Festival 2022
Reviewed: 6/12/2022

Rating: 3.5 / 5





The new film, “The Integrity Of Joseph Chambers” is an interesting thriller from director Robert Machoian.


The movie follows Joseph Chambers (played by Clayne Crawford) as a man that wants to learn how to survive in the great outdoors should there be a need (such as an apocalypse). He is clearly not an outdoorsman and as he makes his way through the private property he is hunting on, things go very awry and he is left with one morally tough decision to make.


Clayne Crawford is the star of the film. He is in every scene and has to carry much of it without dialogue. Co-stars Jeffrey Dean Morgan and Jordana Brewster have minimal screen time which is too bad as both actors added more emotional weight to the film when they were on screen.


“The Integrity Of Joseph Chambers” held my interest but overall it was a satisfactory film viewing but not one I would highly recommend.


Best,
Mark Sugiyama
Eclectic Arts

Connect with Eclectic Arts:  Social Media Links Here

BRUCE Seattle Rep June 10, 2022 Eclectic Arts

BRUCE

Music by Richard Oberacker
Book & Lyrics by Robert Taylor and Richard Oberacker
Based on the book The Jaws Log by Carl Gottlieb
Directed and Choreographed by Donna Feore

Seattle Rep
Seattle, WA
Opening Night Review: June 10th, 2022


("Bruce" at the Seattle Rep)



The world premiere of the new musical, “Bruce” took place on Friday June 10th at the Seattle Rep. The packed house was eager to see a new musical production take place to conclude the 2021/2022 Season for the Seattle Rep.


Being a fan of the first “Jaws” film and having seen many of the behind the scenes documentaries and extras, I was curious how this subject was going to translate to the stage as a musical.


If you’re familiar with the trials and tribulations Steven Spielberg went through to get the film made, then you can begin to understand how the story would take shape.


Before Steven Spielberg was one of the most well known film directors, he made his mark with “Jaws” but he came away scarred from the experience. Pretty much anything that could go wrong, did go wrong.


(Candice Song Donehoo, Justin Keyes, and Napoleon M Douglas in Bruce at Seattle Rep. Photo by Lindsay Thomas. Jaws sketches courtesy of Joe Alves: Designing Jaws.)



“Bruce” is the nickname of the mechanical shark that was created to be the so-called villain in the film. Well, “Bruce” rarely worked correctly so the production was forced to get creative to figure out how to tell the story without its lead character for most of the film.


The musical was unusual but done well. It kept my interest and the performances were strong across the board. I thought that I would feel inspired after the performance was over, overcoming the odds, etc., but that didn’t really happen. I left the Seattle Rep feeling that I was entertained by “Bruce” but not much more. It will be interesting to see where “Bruce” goes from here.


Judge for yourself after you’ve seen it.


“Bruce” runs through July 3rd. Tickets are available here:  TICKETS!


Best,
Mark Sugiyama
Eclectic Arts

Connect with Eclectic Arts:  Social Media Links Here

Wednesday, June 8, 2022

PRETTY WOMAN - THE MUSICAL Review June 7, 2022 Eclectic Arts

PRETTY WOMAN - THE MUSICAL
Premera Blue Cross Broadway At The Paramount
Seattle, WA

Opening Night Review: June 7, 2022


((L to R) Adam Pascaland Olivia Valli Credit: Matthew Murphy for MurphyMade.)


Directed and choreographed by Jerry Mitchell
Produced by Paula Wagner
Book by Garry Marshall and J.F. Lawton
Music and Lyrics by Bryan Adams and Jim Vallance


I was curious to see how the mega 80’s hit film would be transformed for the musical stage. The first national tour strutted into Seattle last night for the very first time and for the most part hit the mark.


The positives are that the musical definitely found ways to recreate the chemistry and magic of the film. I was surprised at how well they managed to capture the cute scenes, the endearing scenes, etc.


The leads Olivia Valli and Adam Pascal brought a different aspect to the characters compared to Julia Roberts and Richard Gere but they worked. While I enjoyed Olivia’s voice, Adam’s voice was too reminiscent of his character singing the songs if that makes any sense. I would have preferred they had him sing more in a musical theatre style.


The supporting cast in some scenes stole the show. Kyle Taylor Parker got much applause from the audience throughout the musical with his comedic timing and heartwarming portrayal of several characters.



(The Company of Pretty Woman: The Musical  Credit: Matthew Murphy for MurphyMade.)



The negative is very common for a new touring musical. It felt like they haven’t quite tweaked this musical enough yet to make it a high powered machine on stage. I think with a few changes here and there, it could go from good to great. While I enjoyed the show, it wasn’t a homerun (but it could be).


The audience was diverse and a great number of patrons showed up on a Tuesday evening which was fun to see - especially those decked out in red dresses or red anything to pay homage to the film.


If you liked the film, you’ll most likely enjoy the musical, perhaps with a few reservations. Go see for yourself and let me know what you think.


“Pretty Woman - The Musical” runs through Sunday June 12th. Tickets are available:  HERE!




Best,
Mark Sugiyama
Eclectic Arts

Connect with Eclectic Arts:  Social Media Links Here

Sunday, June 5, 2022

YOU'RE A GOOD MAN, CHARLIE BROWN Village Theatre Everett June 4, 2022 Eclectic Arts

YOU’RE A GOOD MAN, CHARLIE BROWN

Based on the comic strip “Peanuts” by Charles M. Schulz
Book, Music, and Lyrics by Clark Gesner
Additional Dialogue by Michael Mayer
Additional Music and Lyrics by Andrew Lippa

VILLAGE THEATRE
Everett, WA

Review: 8pm Performance on June 4, 2022

(Cast of Village Theatre’s You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown. Photo by Gabriel Corey.)



As someone that grew up with the Peanuts gang (like many others), the new Village Theatre production, “You’re A Good Man, Charlie Brown” intrigued me from the start.


The cast of six really embodied the beloved characters from the mind of Charles M. Schulz. Charlie, Sally, Lucy, Linus, Schroeder and Snoopy are the featured characters and that was more than enough to entertain the audience on Saturday evening.


It can be difficult to capture very well known characters as everyone in the audience will have their own idea of how the character should be portrayed. The actor can easily get caught in a catch twenty two situation where they can’t win. Major kudos to the cast for really giving each character the surface qualities of each character but additionally adding the heart to each character as well.


Arika Matoba as Sally Brown was especially spot on with her voice, comedic timing, physical gestures, and everything else that really brought Sally to life. This came as no surprise as I was fortunate enough to see her four years ago portray Lucy van Pelt in another production based on the Peanuts characters.


Each character has a spotlight piece as well as many numbers throughout the production as a cast. Each cast member embodied their respective characters and there were absolutely zero weak links in the cast.


With all the craziness going on in the world, a musical like, “You’re A Good Man, Charlie Brown” is a great way to escape for a few hours with its lighthearted approach based on iconic characters.


Recommended.


“You’re A Good Man, Charlie Brown” runs through June 19th. Tickets are available:  HERE!


Best,
Mark Sugiyama
Eclectic Arts

Connect with Eclectic Arts:  Social Media Links Here

Wednesday, June 1, 2022

WE ARE THE THOUSAND Film Review June 1, 2022 Eclectic Arts

WE ARE THE THOUSAND

Blue Fox Entertainment and Breaking Glass Pictures
Reviewed: 6/1/2022

Rating: 4 / 5


Arriving in theaters and VOD, digital on June 3!


(Blue Fox Entertainment and Breaking Glass Pictures)



The new documentary, “We Are The Thousand” depicts a group of Italian fans that try to get the Foo Fighters to play their (small) town. They decide to get one thousand musicians together to play a Foo Fighters song at the same time to possibly impress the band.


Any musician will find the film interesting. Of course, the footage of the Foo Fighters is bittersweet considering Taylor is no longer with us (and this was shot before that tragic day).


Without spoiling anything, “We Are The Thousand” is a fun look at fanaticism and anyone that has ever tried to meet one of their favorite bands will smile during certain scenes in the film.


Best,
Mark Sugiyama
Eclectic Arts

Connect with Eclectic Arts:  Social Media Links Here


OFFICIAL TRAILER





THE PASSENGER Film Review June 1, 2022 Eclectic Arts

THE PASSENGER

Darkstar Pictures and Bloody Disgusting
Reviewed: 6/1/2022

Rating: 4 / 5


THE PASSENGER in Theaters June 3, 2022 and On Demand and DVD June 28, 2022.


(Darkstar Pictures and Bloody Disgusting)



If you’re looking for a midnight movie, you found it. “The Passenger” follows a mother and daughter, along with another passenger, as they take a ride share of sorts in Spain. They run into something from outer space that has infected two human victims earlier in the film.


The rest of the film is centered around the ups and downs as they try to survive in one piece. The movie is interesting and over the top in parts which makes it fun.



(Paula Gallego as Martain the horror film,THE PASSENGER, a Dark Star Pictures andBloody Disgusting release. Photo courtesy of Dark Star Pictures and Bloody Disgusting.)



If you’re in the mood for a late night popcorn film, “The Passenger” will fit the bill nicely.


Best,
Mark Sugiyama
Eclectic Arts

Connect with Eclectic Arts:  Social Media Links Here


OFFICIAL TRAILER