The Filtered Excellence: November 22, 2012

Bob Geldof once asked us, “Where is the filtered excellence!?” It’s right here. Here are this weeks picks of what to WATCH, what to DO what to TRY what to READ what to LISTEN TO and more:


Well it’s Thanksgiving and since most of you are already set with your plans for the weekend —  travel, eat, shop, have leftovers, go back home — and since most of our staff is taking the day off to enjoy time with their families, this week’s Filtered Excellence is a short one.  But there’s plenty to see and do in our What We’re Recommending Now list on the front page of our site.  Happy Holidays!


 The Central Park Five.  This searing documentary looks at the so-called Central Park Jogger case in which five Black teenage boys were arrested and convicted for the rape and assault of white investment banker Trisha Meili – despite having no DNA evidence linking them to the crime. They were convicted based on videotaped confessions each of them made after hours of undocumented interrogation. The case brought national attention to the rampant crime problem that plagued New York City at the time, as well as the deep racial divide that affected the city and brought the NYPD’s investigation and interrogation methods into question. The Central Park Five wouldn’t be cleared of the charges until 2002, when Matias Reyes, a convicted rapist and murderer serving life in prison confessed to the crime. DNA evidence confirmed his claims. Sarah Burns, along with her father Ken, and David McMahon use interview footage and conduct new interviews with some of the Central Park Five, their relatives, defense attorneys, journalists and former mayors Ed Koch and David Dinkins, to recall the paranoia, rage, and racism that surrounded this case. It’s a biting tale of justice delayed and denied and the roles that politicians, the media and law enforcement played to insure that it happened. A brilliant, uncompromising snapshot of a very different New York City. The Central Park Five opens this Friday at The IFC Center and other theaters. and will be available on demand on December 7th.

The Incredible Mel Brooks DVD Set.   Described as a  wonderland of television appearances, short films, documentaries, tributes, songs and genuine rarities, this is not a box set of Brooks’ great films, but instead, it’s a collection of things you probably haven’t seen before.  Some highlights include In The Beginning: The Caesar Years Mel takes us back to his colorful days as a writer for Your Show Of Shows;  Vintage Appearances on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson and The Dick Cavett Show; Mel And His Movies, a New Five-Part Look Back; Excavating The 2000 Year Old Man The PBS documentary on the origin of one of comedy’s most celebrated routines;  and Mel Brooks And Dick Cavett Together Again: The 2011 Emmy-nominated HBO TV Special.
Oliver Stone’s Untold History of the United States.  From Academy Award®-winning writer/director Oliver Stone, this ten-part documentary series looks back at human events that at the time went under reported, but that crucially shaped America’s unique and complex history over the 20th century. From the atomic bombing of Japan to the Cold War and the fall of Communism, this in-depth, surprising, and totally riveting series demands to be watched again and again.  Mondays at 8pm on Showtime.  You’ve already missed episode 1 (focusing on The Birth of the American Empire, WWII) but you can catch it on demand.  Episode 2, airs again Friday at 10pm, and Episode 3 premiers on Monday.



Celebration Day by Led Zeppelin.  This epic 2-CD set documenting the band’s 2007 one-off reunion as a tribute Atlantic Records founder Ahmet Ertegun will finally wipe away all bad memories of their ragged 1985 and 1988 reunion shows. The surviving members – Robert Plant, Jimmy Page, John Paul Jones with Jason Bonham, filling in for his late father John, on drums, are all in fine form as they roar through classics such as ‘Black Dog’, ‘Whole Lotta Love’, ‘Ramble On’, along with extended pieces such as ‘Dazed & Confused’, ‘No Quarter’ and ‘In My Time Of Dying’. It’s a fitting epitaph for one of rock’s most influential and beloved bands. Celebration Day is available now on CD and DVD through Amazon, Itunes and all major digital outlets.

Into The Future by Bad Brains.  The legendary hardcore band roars like a hungry lion on their first album of new material in over 5 years. All of the elements are still there: Bone crushing riffs, lightning fast tempos, quirky time signatures, the best reggae this side of Babylon and of course, plenty of PMA (positive mental attitude for the newbies). The CD is aptly named because it firmly shows the band – 30 plus years strong, ready to push forward into another decade of greatness. Into The Future is available now on Itunes, Amazon and all digital outlets.

AC/DC on iTunes.  Its hard to believe that AC/DC, one of the most celebrated and beloved bands in rock history, is finally has the entire recording output available on Itunes. It’s also received a sonic makeover so you can hear every monster Angus/Malcolm Young riff, every swinging groove laid down by Brian Williams, Phil Rudd, Chris Slade and Cliff Williams, and trademark snarls of the late Bon Scott and Brian Johnston in all of its ragged rock n roll glory. You can buy the entire catalog as a whole or as individual albums/songs. This is as rock n roll as it gets.



America’s Test Kitchen Equipment Buying Guide 2012.  With over 200 product reviews, this $8 guide tells you everything you’ll ever need for your kitchen from pots and pans, to cutlery to funky little gadgets.  Use it as the world’s best gift guide too with ideas for anyone who loves their kitchen, bar, or grill. Find it in supermarkets and magazine stands near you.



New York City:  Graham Parker & The Rumor @ Tarrytown Music Hall November 24th; The Concert Hall at The New York Society For Ethical Culture December 1st.  One of rock’s most consistent – albeit most unsung – singer-songwriters is back with his band The Rumour after a 30 plus year hiatus. Expect to hear a ton of their excellent new album Three Chords Good, alongside material from the classic albums Howlin’ Wind, Heat Treatment and the brilliant Squeezing Out Sparks. This is a great chance to see a top notch songwriter perform with his best band. Three Chords Good is available on Amazon, Itunes and all major digital outlets.

Brooklyn:  Chuck Amuck @ BAMcinematek .  The films of Chuck Jones – the creative force behind the classic Warner Brothers cartoons featuring Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, Wile E. Coyote, The Road Runner, Pepe LePew and Marvin The Martian – will get a much deserved retrospective to coincide with what would have been his 100th birthday. For the first time in over a decade, all of his Warner Brothers output will be featured in their original 35mm format, so bring the family and expect to laugh – a lot. Chuck Amuck runs November 23rd through the 26th.

Philadelphia:  Winter Beerfest Philadelphia PA 11/24 2 sessions, at Union Transfer.  We know it’s gonna be hard to say goodbye to all those great Autumn pumpkin beers you’ve been drinking non-stop, but rejoice! Wintertime brings some excellent craft brews. Over 100 seasonal beers will be available for the sampling: strong ales, spiced ales, stouts, doubles triples, IPAs and even ciders, many limited released varieties too. Winter Beerfest is a festival that is dedicated to providing the best beers available from many of the country’s finest craft brewers. Check it out this Thanksgiving weekend at Union Transfer.

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  1. RonsCigar

    November 23, 2012 at 6:03 pm

    Sara Burns trying to pull a Sophia Coppola? I will check it out. And I’m all in with Bad Brains.

  2. RonsCigar

    November 23, 2012 at 6:03 pm

    Sara Burns trying to pull a Sophia Coppola? I will check it out. And I’m all in with Bad Brains.

  3. Gretchen Hooks

    November 29, 2012 at 3:06 am

    But there’s plenty to see and do in our What We’re Recommending Now list on the front page of our site.  Happy Holidays!