Cohen Media Group offers two more gems, must-see looks at Julian Schnabel and Bertrand Tavernier

We are always delighted whenever we hear what treasures Cohen Media Group will be releasing on DVD and Blu-ray. The duo of November treats makes us tell the fine folk at Cohen thanks, yet again!

First up: He has been one of the art world’s most successful and controversial figures of the past 30 years. And a new film offers an intimate look at his life and work.  Julian Schnabel: A Private Portrait arrives on Cohen Media Group Blu-ray and DVD, as well as digital platforms, on November 7.

The flick chronicles the personal life and public career of the celebrated artist and filmmaker. Written and directed by Italy’s Pappi Corsicato, the film details the Brooklyn-born Schnabel’s formative years in Brownsville, Texas; the beginning of his professional career in New York City in the late ’70s; and his rise in the ’80s to superstar status in Manhattan’s art scene as well as international acclaim as a leading figure in the Neo-Expressionism movement.
As the film details, Schnabel came to be acknowledged for his extroverted, excessive approach to his work and life (frequently seen in silk pajamas, he lives and works in Montauk, Long Island, and in a 170-foot-tall pink Venetian-styled palazzo in Manhattan’s West Village) as he moved into filmmaking with 1996’s Basquiat. He has since directed four other films, including the award-winning Before Night Falls (2000) and The Diving Bell and the Butterfly (2007).

With a kaleidoscopic blend of material from Schnabel’s personal archives, newly shot footage of the artist at work and play, and commentary from friends, family, actors and artists including Al Pacino, gallery owner Mary Boone, Jeff Koons, Bono and Laurie Anderson (not to mention Schnabel himself) Corsicato creates a fascinating and revealing portrait of the modern art world’s most boisterous and provocative maverick.

Then there’s My Journey Through French Cinema, in which Bertrand Tavernier, one of modern cinema’s most revered directors, gives a personal guided tour of his country’s film history. The mammoth, stirring and widely acclaimed undertaking will arrive on Cohen Media Group Blu-ray and DVD, as well as digital platforms, on  November 21.

Tavernier became an internationally acclaimed director with his first feature, 1974’s The Clockmaker, and in the more than four decades since, he has created such classically rigorous masterpieces as The Judge and the Assassin, Coup de Torchon, A Sunday in the Country, Life and Nothing But and It All Starts Today. Now, in My Journey Through French Cinema, he looks back over his nation’s rich, complicated legacy in a deeply rewarding and highly personal documentary that is both educational and revelatory.

He discusses and shows copious clips from films he enjoyed as a boy to those of his contemporaries and his own early career. The three-hour-plus film is told through portraits of key creative figures, including such towering directors as Jean Renoir, Marcel Carné, Jean-Luc Godard, Francois Truffaut, Claude Chabrol and Jean-Pierre Melville, as well as Jean Gabin (regarded by many as the “French Spencer Tracy”) and the composers who’ve added so much to the films.

Leonard Maltin perhaps raved the best: “This is a tapestry of French cinema like no other.  Bertrand has given film lovers around the world a gift that can never be repaid.”

“Indiscretion” is a stylish, steamy thriller. Mira Sorvino is sizzling!

What a professional woman expects will be just a quick and harmless tryst with a handsome young artist becomes her worst nightmare in the sizzling new drama Indiscretion, starring Mira Sorvino. The seductive, steamy thriller arrives on MPI Home Video on November 14.

While her politician husband (Cary Elwes) and precocious teenage daughter (Katherine McNamara) are away, New Orleans psychiatrist Veronica Simon (Sorvino) enjoys a weekend fling with Victor (Christopher Backus), an alluring young sculptor. But after Veronica calls off the affair, Victor refuses to let go . . . and will stop at nothing to have Veronica for himself. Just how far will Victor go to get what he wants, and is there anything Veronica can do to stop his mad obsession before it destroys her family?
 
From filmmaking team Laura Boersma and John Stewart Muller (Fling) and guaranteed to appeal to fans of Unfaithful, Enough and Unforgettable (and perhaps Harvey Weinstein) this stylish psychological thriller reveals a woman pushed to the edge–who finds she must fight for what’s truly important to her or lose it all trying.

For the first time, all of Ella and Louis’ classic duets are in one neat package: “Cheek To Cheek: The Complete Duet Recordings”

By the time Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong collaborated on their first duet together, they were each already jazz giants. Fitzgerald was an acclaimed solo artist for Decca with many hits and more than 200 songs under her young belt, first with the Chick Webb Orchestra and then as leader of her own big band. Armstrong, known affectionately as Pops, was one of the leading singers, trumpet players and entertainers of the day; a star of both sound and screen. Together their talent knew no bounds and propelled them further to stardom, and today are some of the biggest highlights of both of their extraordinary careers.

For the first time, all of Fitzgerald and Armstrong’s classic duets are in one place: Cheek To Cheek: The Complete Duet Recordings, a new 4-CD and digital set will hit shelves November 10.

 

Part of Ella 100, Verve Records/UMe’s yearlong celebration of Fitzgerald’s centennial, the 75-track collection gathers their three timeless Verve albums–newly remastered versions of Ella and Louis, Ella and Louis Again and Porgy and Bess–along with all of their Decca singles, live recordings from Jazz at the Hollywood Bowl, recorded as a warm-up for Ella and Louis, plus several alternates and false starts from the Decca and Verve eras, illuminating their craft and good humor. Cheek To Cheek also includes unreleased material:“The Memphis Blues,” with Bing Crosby, from his radio show; several takes of Armstrong’s solo showcase, “Bess, Oh Where’s My Bess;” and an instrumental mix of “Red-Headed Woman.”

The comprehensive collection is rounded out with extensive essay by Ricky Riccardi, the world’s leading authority on Armstrong, plus detailed annotations and rare images from the archives.  Need it fast? Pre-order Cheek To CheekUMe.lnk.to/CheekToCheek4CD

In addition to gathering all of Fitzgerald and Armstrong’s duets, Cheek To Cheek also gives a unique opportunity to hear what it was like to be in the studio with these two titans. The closing disc is rife with a bevy of alternate takes and false starts, displaying their camaraderie, with many previously unreleased, until now.

We love them, Yeah Yeah Yeahs. And we have a story to tell

We love ’em . . . yeah yeah yeah.

The group is a bit hotter now than ever: They have released a vinyl reissue of their seminal, ground-breaking debut, Fever To Tell,  through Interscope Records/UMe. The album will be available as a Limited Edition Deluxe Box, Standard LP and Digital deluxe and standard remastered editions.

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“A friend of a friend kept asking if we were ever gonna put Fever To Tell out on vinyl as it hasn’t been on vinyl in 10 years,” all three guys said at the same time. “That’s not right. So here it is on vinyl for the first time in 10 years plus a time capsule of photos, demos (such as our first ever recorded), a mini film documenting our near downfall and other fun memorabilia, from the turn of the century NYC, made with love plus the usual blood, sweat + tears of Yeah Yeah Yeahs.”

One of the finest debut albums of recent times, Fever To Tell was released in 2003 and was influential in shaping the sound of the early aughts and beyond. Prior to its release, Karen O, Nick Zinner and Brian Chase had already established themselves as a ferocious live force; the recording introduced a band who could play thrilling and frenetic rock’n’roll one minute and captivating, hushed ballads the next. Its meld of scuzzy riffs, angular grooves and hypnotic hooks set a template that was often imitated over the next decade but the album’s rare chemistry isn’t easily replicated. It’s a snapshot of an era that sounds just as mesmerizing as it enters its 15th anniversary in 2018.

In celebration of and in addition to the reissue, the band has announced shows; a full list of dates is below.  More info and ticket links at yeahyeahyeahs.com

Oct 28             Long Beach, CA         Growlers 6 Festival

Nov 7              Brooklyn, NY             Kings Theatre

Nov 10             Austin, TX                 Sound on Sound Festival

Spirited teen Anne of Green Gables returns with a few Good Stars

She’s back. And as spirited a teen as ever. On November 7, PBS Distribution will release Anne of Green Gables: The Good Stars on DVD. This is the second installment of the classic best-selling Lucy Maud Montgomery story returns after the successful Thanksgiving 2016 premiere, which reached more than 3.2 million viewers.

In this installment, Anne Shirley turns 13 and faces complex situations with friends, learns from inspirational adults, and experiences an escalating friendship with Gilbert. Her free-spirited nature is challenged by her perceived need to be sensible, a journey fraught with confusion and some unfortunate—albeit amusing—(mis)adventures.

The program, written and directed by John Kent Harrison will once again star a trio of good stars: critically-acclaimed Martin Sheen as Matthew Cuthbert, along with the return of Ella Ballentine as Anne Shirley and Sara Botsford as Marilla Cuthbert.

Also starring:  Prince Edward Island.

 

“Craft in America” proves there are strong connections between the U.S. and Mexico

Despite what some idiots insist, there is a strong connection between America and Mexico. The proof can be found in Craft in America: Borders & Neighbors. PBS Distribution releases the DVD on November 21; the programs will also be available for digital download.

Craft in America, the Peabody Award-winning documentary series, is an inspirational journey to the artists, objects, techniques, and origins of American craft. Borders & Neighbors delve into the artistic heritage of Mexico and how it has contributed to our country’s creative landscape. These episodes will shine light on personal stories, cross cultural perspectives and historic context and will provide new avenues for community and understanding, stimulating critical thinking about the relationships between the U.S. and Mexico.

Borders explores the relationships and influences that Mexican and American craft artists have on each other and our cultures. We begin in Los Angeles with the Day of the Dead celebration, master altar builder Ofelia Esparza and Self Help Graphics & Art, the organization that first brought this event to the U.S. in the ’70s. We travel to Oaxaca, Mexico to experience Día de Muertos and to meet the Vásquez family of weavers who have revived and continue centuries-old methods in their craft, integrating ancestral Zapotec motifs into their work. American artist Jim Bassler, who lived and worked in Oaxaca for many years, takes us to the Oaxaca Textile Museum where we see contemporary and historical weavings made with feathers.

Craft in America: Borders and Neighbors [DVD] - Front_Standard

Jim and his wife, potter Veralee Bassler, then lead us back to Los Angeles, to the colorful Oaxacan Guelaguetza festival and parade. We visit with Jim and Veralee at their home studio in Palm Springs, which is filled with Mexican folk art, long connected to the mid-century design aesthetic in America. Back in Oaxaca we meet Chicago artist Kiff Slemmons who works with maestro Francisco Toledo to create innovative and beautiful paper jewelry at the Art Paper Workshop, where artisans are practicing the ancient art of papermaking using local plants. This episode reveals that art is without borders. It is a pathway for creativity and the connections that make us all human.

Neighbors takes viewers to and from the U.S. and Mexico, exploring the people, history, traditions and crafts, noting how aesthetics cross over from one country to another and back again in a living and ongoing cultural exchange. We meet California ceramic artist Gerardo Monterrubio, whose work is inspired by murals as well as contemporary art forms such as graffiti and prison tattoos and drawings. We travel to Oaxaca, Mexico to meet ceramic artist Magdalena Pedro Martínez at work on her series of black clay female figures dressed in traditional indigenous attire. We also watch as her brother, world-renowned artist Carlomagno Pedro Martínez, creates clay figures of Zapotec characters and stories. Los Angeles glass artist Jaime Guerrero, born of parents who emigrated from Mexico, creates life size glass sculptures that represent children at the border. We film him at his studio in L.A. and at the state-of-the-art facilities at the Corning Museum of Glass in New York.

We return to Mexico where in the ’30s, Taxco became a center for jewelry production through the entrepreneurship of American architect and designer William Spratling. We meet a new generation of jewelry designers, including Carmen Tapia, Miguel Angel Ortiz Miranda, Cristina Romo and Eduardo Herrera, who are carrying on the art of silversmithing in new and modern ways. We explore murals in Los Angeles with Judy Baca and other artists who carry on the traditions of Mexican maestros Diego Rivera, David Alfaro Siqueiros and José Clemente Orozco.

Cecil B. DeMille’s 102-year-old silent finds a “Captive” audience among cinema fans

Olive Films, truly a company to be revered for its interest in restoring and releasing films thought lost, has come up with yet another real winner.  The Captive, directed by a 34-year-old Cecil B. DeMille, is an amazing time capsule, showing a film maker’s early steps to understanding and exploiting  the new art form.

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This is not a sword-and-swashbuckling lust-and-religion epic that modern audiences have come to expect from DeMille, but a small and delicate story about the triumph of love against all odds.

Older brother Marko, younger sister Sonia and cute little brother Milos live in a Balkan country at war with the Turks.  The older brother is killed. However, the conflict goes against the Turks, and prisoners are forced to aid families of the country where the older sister and little tyke live.  A Turkish nobleman, Mahmud Hassan, Bey of Karvan, is charged with serving Sonia and her young brother.  Yet DeMille steers the film into compelling territory: The sister and the nobleman fall in love, the Turks attack their cottage, threaten to kill and eat the tyke’s baby goat, as well as the usual rape and pillage.

How else can this end? The Turkish nobleman saves the day, clobbers a couple of Turks, and proposes to Sonia, who rejects him because he is of noble birth and she a simple peasant. Crushed, the Turk returns home, only to be stripped of all honors because of the aforesaid clobbering, so he hits the dusty road. Our heroine’s home is destroyed by more marauding Turks, and she hits the same dusty road with tyke and adorable goat, and, with the magic of cinema, they meet, embrace and  live happily ever after.

This rather ponderous detailing of what is an amazingly fast film— well under an hour—shows DeMille’s narration pile scene upon scene to construct the narrative.  The realism is amazing, the Turkish hoards are of reasonable  size, and the characters and relationships are developed, like building blocks, with nary a tease or  jump in logic, clearly the touch of genius is there.
Blanche Sweet and Page Peters (no relation to House), who plays her older brother.

The now-forgotten Blanche Sweet is a revelation in realistic film acting. The camera adores her; she is radiant in her every scene . Neither cloying nor plucky, she is completely convincing as the peasant girl who grows up and finds love.  The amorous Turk is played by House Peters, and the little tyke by Gerald Ward, two names perhaps even more obscure than Sweet.  The goat is suitably sympathetic.

For a film made 102 years ago, Olive has done a masterful job recreating the original color tinting on what appears to be a complete print thought lost for years. The Blu-ray is brilliant. If you enjoy silent films, get this, and if you have little experience with these period films you’d go far to find a better film reproduced in better condition.

Luke Hemsworth gives a star turn as “Wild Bill” Hickok, the actor’s first lead in a feature film

You’ve heard of the infamous legend.  Now you can meet him. Sort of.

Welcome to Hickok.

Following its theatrical release, the action-packed saga of the “Wild Bill” Hickok has rolled onto 4K UHD + BD and DVD. In the hopes of escaping his past as a notorious outlaw,  seeks redemption as a small town lawman.  Unfortunately, as the titular gunslinger discovers, the past has a way of catching up with you in Hickok, a frontier thriller starring Luke Hemsworth in his first leading role in a feature film; the period Western from Cinedigm and Status Media also stars Bruce Dern and country cronners Trace Adkins and Kris Kristofferson.

The story of the West’s most notorious gunslinger and his road to redemption, Hickok finds the infamous, hard-drinking outlaw (Hemsworth) in 1870’s Abilene, Kansas, seeking to start a new life.  Captivated by Wild Bill’s unparalleled gun skills, the mayor, George Knox, (Kristofferson) quickly ropes him in as the town marshal.  Recognizing the need to clamp down on the wildest cow-town in the west, Hickok soon finds himself at the center of a controversial ordinance while dispensing his own brand of frontier justice.
His attempts to protect Abilene, however, are quickly challenged by a band of outlaws led by powerful saloon owner Phil Poe (Adkins).  And when Poe places a bounty on Wild Bill’s head, the marshal, with the help of outlaw turned lawman John Wesley Hardin, makes a stand for Abilene and his new life, while putting his reputation as the fastest draw in the west on the line.
Shot on the dusty, turn-of-the-century sets like Melody Ranch (also home to HBO’s Westworld), the action-packed HICKOK, directed by Timothy Woodward Jr. and written by Michael Lanahan, is filled with gritty authenticity.  Variety calls it “a respectfully sincere retelling of a familiar legend,” and of Hemsworth’s star turn, The Hollywood Reporter declares, “following in the footsteps of such actors as Gary Cooper, Jeff Bridges and Sam Elliott, among many others, the burly Hemsworth proves more than credible with his portrayal of the iconic gunslinger.”

Dolly Parton at 71: Her first kiddie album and so much work she looks like a kid (of sorts)

That bosom buddy Dolly Parton is doing another first. No, not another breast reduction. (The last time we spoke, she confided her 40DD bust were “hurting my back”.)

We’re not kidding around when we reveal the 71-year-old is releasing  I Believe In You, her first album written and recorded for kids (and those young-at-heart). A digital release of the new album on Dolly Records/RCA Nashville will be available September 29; the physical CD hits shelves October 13.  We ask that Dolly accepts aging and stop the plastic work.

Dolly Parton: I Believe In You
“My first album was released 50 years ago and it’s been an amazing 50 years since then,” Dolly coos. “I am very excited that now I’m coming out with my first children’s album in all of those 50 years. I’m proudest of all that all of the proceeds from this CD will go to the Imagination Library. It’s been 20 years since the Imagination Library was launched. We’ve seen 100 million books get into the hands of children and hopefully there will be many more.”
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Since its beginning in 1996 in Dolly’s hometown of Sevierville, Tennessee, the Imagination Library has expanded into four countries serving more than one-million children by providing a brand new, age-appropriate book each month. In North America, every child’s first book is the classic Little Engine that Could.

I Believe In You Track Listing

  1. I Believe in You
  2. Coat of Many Colors (new recording)
  3. Together Forever
  4. I Am a Rainbow
  5. I’m Here
  6. A Friend Like You
  7. Imagination
  8. You Can Do It
  9. Responsibility
  10. You Gotta Be
  11. Makin’ Fun Ain’t Funny
  12. Chemo Hero
  13. Brave Little Soldier
  14. Bonus track spoken audio: Coat of Many Colors (book read by Dolly Parton)

Let us now steer you to “The Art of Mopar: Chrysler, Dodge, and Plymouth Muscle Cars”

Let us steer you to the history of Chrysler Corporation. In many ways, a history of a company recaps its floundering from one financial crisis to the next. While that has given shareholders fits for nearly a century, it has also motivated the Pentastar company to create some of the most outrageous and collectible, cars ever built.

Let us now detour you to The Art of Mopar: Chrysler, Dodge, and Plymouth Muscle Cars (Motorbooks, $50). 

The Art of Mopar: Chrysler, Dodge, and Plymouth Muscle Cars

From the moment Chrysler unleashed the Firepower Hemi V-8 engine on the world for the 1951 model year, they had been cranking out the most powerful engines on the market. Because the company pioneered the use of lightweight unibody technology, it had the stiffest, lightest bodies in which to put those most powerful engines, and that is the basic muscle-car formula: add one powerful engine to one light car.

When the muscle car era exploded onto the scene, Chrysler unleashed the mighty Mopar muscle cars, the Dodges and Plymouths that defined the era. Fabled nameplates like Charger, Road Runner, Super Bee, ‘Cuda and Challenger defined the era and rank among the most valuable collector cars ever produced by an American automaker.

Featuring cars from the incomparable Brothers’ Collection, The Art of Mopar: Chrysler, Dodge, and Plymouth Muscle Cars celebrates these cars in studio portraits using the light-painting process perfected by Tom Loeser. It is the ultimate portrayal of the ultimate muscle cars.

 

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