Top Of The Lake. The new limited series event “Top Of The Lake” starts Monday at 9pm on Sundance Channel with the first two episodes of a 7 part drama thriller set and filmed in the raw natural beauty of New Zealand. “Top Of The Lake” is the creation of Academy Award winning screenwriter and director Jane Campion and stars Elisabeth Moss from TV’s “Mad Men” and Holly Hunter reuniting with Campion from “The Piano”.
Better Mus’ Come. Storm Saulter wrote and directed this gripping tale of personal and political unrest in Jamaica in the late 70s. Sheldon Shepard stars as Ricky, a gang leader trying to balance being a single father, a neighborhood mediator and trying to romance new interest Kemala. Ricky has a crisis of conscience: The only way to secure a better life for him, his son and his new girlfriend is to engage in the violent activities that he’s growing weary of doing. Saulter’s crisp direction captures the energy and the danger of the period, while also conveying a powerful message about the brutal effects violence has on a nation. Better Mus’ Come opens in New York on Friday.
30 for 30: “Survive and Advance”. Airs on Sunday, March 17 on ESPN at 9pm Eastern. ESPN’s 30 for 30 series debuts a brand new documentary in time for the start of the NCAA Tournament. “Survive and Advance” is the amazing story of Jim Valvano’s 1983 NC State Wolfpack and their insane run to the Final 4 and the NCAA title. Jimmy V’s pack of underdogs faced 9 must win games in a row and 7 of those, NC State was losing in the last minute of the game on their way to the title. And they did it facing opponents featuring Michael Jordan, Ralph Sampson and University of Houston greats, Hakeem Olajuwon and Clyde Drexler.
The Office Revisited: David Brent is back! Tomorrow, March 15th, is known in the UK as Red Nose Day; basically the British version of Comic Relief. In honor of this, the beloved cringe-inducing boss character from the OG UK series The Office will be revisited by Ricky Gervais. The result will be a short, one time special feature, which delves into what’s been happening with David Brent during the decade it has been since we saw him last. Though the short will air Friday on BBC One in the UK, it will be available to one and all, online that very same day on Ricky Gervais’ YouTube channel. Let’s just put this out there: Brent has been really focusing on his music career these past years. There will be a performance of his, “political reggae song called ‘Equality Street.'” It’s sure to be a beaut.
This is Not a Film. Now available on DVD. Acclaimed Iranian director Jafar Panahi secretly shot this documentary during his house arrest in his Tehran apartment. Filmed, for the most part, with his iPhone, Panahi captures a portrait of his exile as he attempts to appeal his sentence: up to six years in prison and in addition to a twenty year ban from filmmaking. The documentary is a reflection of the meaning of art under a repressive regime, and the fact that it can be seen at all is pretty remarkable as the secret footage used in This is Not a Film had to be smuggled into France, hidden in a cake for a last-minute submission to Cannes.
I Dreamed I Was A Very Clean Tramp by Richard Hell. Richard Hell played a crucial role in the development of the New York – and global – punk scene. He was the founder member of Television, The Heartbreakers and The Voidoids – all of which turned CBGBs from a dive bar until a cultural institution. Now in this warts and all autobiography, Hell recalls growing up in the Kentucky suburbs, coming to 1970’s New York City and his interactions with now legendary figures Patti Smith, Tom Verlaine, Debbie Harry, The Ramones, The Clash and more. There’s also tales of drugs, bottoming out and ultimately, a sense of redemption. It’s an outstanding look into the roots of the punk movement, but also a unique look at what it was like to be living in a city that was on the brink of collapse.
Love for Levon. Dozens of luminaries from rock, soul and country gathered at the Meadowlands Arena on October 3, 2012, for an incredible tribute to Levon Helm who passed away in early 2012. The concert, directed by bassist Don Was, was an opportunity to say a final farewell and, in the process, raise money for the ongoing Midnight Ramble series of concerts still held at The Barn, Helm s famous home-studio in Woodstock, New York. The music from the evening is now being released on DVD, Blu-ray and CD on March 19. The concert is also being broadcast on PBS THIRTEEN TONIGHT, Friday March 15 at 9pm.
She by Alice Smith. Alice Smith’s 2006 debut album, For Lovers, Dreamers and Me received glowing reviews with its eclectic blend of country, rock, funk – all wrapped around a powerful four octave voice. Her song ‘Dream’ received a Grammy nomination and was featured on the end credits on an episode of on the hit HBO series Entourage. After a fierce bidding war, Epic Records signed Alice and re-released the album, where it again, received critical acclaim worldwide. Numerous changes at the label (and attempts to pigeonhole her wide-ranging sound) led to her 2nd album being shelved. She also became a mother and re-located to L.A. Now, seven years after her astonishing debut, Alice Smith is back with She, a wide-ranging collection of songs that reveal of new songwriting/production depth and maturity. Standout tracks including the title track, ‘Ocean’ (which is also the single) and a full-blown vocal workout on Cee-Lo’s ‘Fool For You’. Simply put, the lady’s got real vocal chops. A much-needed and welcome return for one of the best young voices on the scene. She will be available on Itunes on March 19th.
Everywhere: Celebrate St Patricks Day Without the Hangover. You don’t need to get wrecked to enjoy St. Patrick’s Day. Here are 11 ways to celebrate that have nothing to do with booze. #1: Watch The Quiet Man this weekend. In Chicago? Go see them die the river green. In Arizona? Check out Flogging Molly. In Boston? Go see the Dropkick Murphys. In New York?
New York City: The Films of Stanley Kubrick . The IFC Center is will spend a week screening all 13 of director Stanley Kubrick’s feature films. Wednesday kicks off with “A Clockwork Orange”, “The Shining” and “Fear and Desire”. And the week is filled with Kubrick classics including “Dr. Strangelove”, “Spartacus”, “Lolita”, and “Full Metal Jacket” among others. This is all leading up to the release of the new documentary “Room 237” about the possible theories in Kubrick’s “The Shining” opening on March 29th. Wednesday, March 20 through Thursday March 28. The IFC Center is located at 323 Sixth Avenue at West 3rd Street in New York.
New York City: Foxy, The Complete Pam Grier. March 15-17 at the Film Society of Lincoln Center. Throughout the 1970’s, Pam Grier was the undisputed queen of blaxploitation film. It must also be noted that this period, Pam Grier was one of, if not, THE top Hollywood action stars in film, male or female. Women wanted to be like her and men wanted to be with her. This weekend, The Film Society Of Lincoln Center will present ‘Foxy: The Complete Pam Grier’ a retrospective of her 40 plus years in film. All of the iconic films (Coffy, Foxy Brown and Sheba, Baby) will be screened alongside early starring vehicles (The Big Bird Cage, Black Mama, White Mama, Scream Blacula Scream) and movies that featured Grier in supporting, albeit extended, roles (Greased Lightning, Something Wicked This Way Comes, Above The Law, Escape From L.A). A Pam Grier retrospective would not complete without showing Jackie Brown, Quentin Tarantino’s homage to blaxploitation films that introduced Grier to a new generation of fans. Grier will be on hand to introduce several of the films, take part in an extended Q&A session, and will be signing copies of her book, Foxy: My Life In Three Acts. It’s a rare chance to get up close and personal with one of our beloved screen queens.
Dallas: Texas Pinball Festival. Over 300 vintage and new pinball machines, classic arcade games and slot machines for sale and set on free play plus tournaments throughout the weekend.
Elizabethtown, Pa: Marian Wright Edelman. Marian Wright Edelman, the civil rights and children’s rights activist, is speaking at Elizabethtown College on March 20 at 7:30 p.m. Tickets for the lecture are free, but must be reserved by calling 717-361-4757.
Milwaukee, WI: Leonard Cohen: Old Ideas World Tour. Hear one of our greatest living singer-songwriters perform live at Milwaukee Theatre, 500 W. Kilbourn Ave. Night after night, Leonard Cohen and his band of expert musicians have earned five-star reviews and left audiences spellbound. Friday March 15, 2013 at 9pm.