The Other Side Of The Wind. Nearly 50 years in the making, Orson Welles’ final feature film will finally get its theatrical release. Welles started filming in 1970, and, as funding would allow, would continue shooting off and on as late as 1976. Battles over who owned the hundreds of hours of footage raged on well past Welles death, with Netlifx finally stepping in to finance its completion and distribution. The Welles estate then hired a team of archivists and editors with extensive knowledge of the project to get it across the finish line. It stars John Huston as J.J ‘Jake’ Hannigan, a legendary Hollywood director who has returned from a self imposed European exile to get financing on his next film. The film centers around a birthday party for J.J. ‘Jake’ Hannigan (John Huston), legendary film director who has returned to Hollywood after a self-imposed European exile. Hannigan shows reels of his uncompleted film while looking to secure funding for his next project. While a film crew is there shooting Hannigan for a documentary, he’s also being peppered with questions and observations about the state of his life and career by his protege, Brooks Otterlake (Peter Bogdanovich) and film critic Juliette Riche (Susan Strasberg). At the same time, Hannigan is also being filmed for a potential documentary. Whether or not he will get the money – or even survive the night – remains to be seen. Thematically, the film is autobiographical, with Huston – whose career arc eerily mirroring Welles – channeling Welles’ frustrations with Hollywood wonderfully. It’s also amazing to see Bogdanovich and the late Dennis Hopper – both of whom were at the peak of their own creative ascension – gleefully join in to honor the man who was ‘the new Hollywood’ 25 years before the term was coined. It’s a wild, weird ride by a true cinematic iconoclast. The Other Side Of The Wind will be available now on Netflix and in select theaters nationwide.
House Of Cards. In the wake of sexual assault allegations against series star Kevin Spacey were made public, the chances of a new season of the acclaimed Netflix series were between slim and none. But co-star Robin Wright was able to convince the brass to continue the show with a number of changes. Wright’s character Claire is now the nation’s first female President and even her husband Frank is no longer in the picture, she’s still feeling the weight of his absence. This really comes into focus when she has to contend with Annette Shepherd (Diane Lane), a former prep school classmate who is now part of a powerful family with ties to media, military contracting and industry. She knows many of Claire’s secrets and has a relationship with Vice President Usher (Campbell Scott). Also pulling strings is Annette’s brother Bill (Greg Kinnear) and son Duncan (Cody Fern), who is working to expand the family’s business empire. Wright has always been one of our best actors, and to see her front and center is long overdue. Lane and Kinnear are also on their A game and the cold, and conniving sister and brother team looking to have a foothold in the White House. Given the current political climate, this show is needed more than ever. The final season of House Of Cards is available now on Netflix.
Watergate. On June 17, 1972, police arrested five men at the headquarters of the Democratic National Commitee in Washington, DC. The men, dressed in business suits, were in the process of installing bugs and photographing documents with the hopes of getting secrets ahead of the upcoming Presidential election. It kicked off Watergate, the most exploding scandal in American history that led to the resignation of President Richard Nixon and sent over 40 people to jail. Over three nights, The History Channel will look back at the events that forever altered the American political landscape. It covers the events leading up to the break-in – the civil unrest of the 1960s, Vietnam, The Cold War, the contentious 1968 Presidential campaign that put Nixon in power and how his administration went overboard to make secure re-election. It uncovers all of the dirty tricks, government surveillance, firings, and sabotage that was used by the Nixon Administration, and how an unlikely group of journalists and political figures on both sides were able to uncover the deception and ultimately bring down a President. Playing out as a political thriller as much as a history lesson, this series really shows how the events from this period helped shape our current political landscape. Watergate premieres Friday at 9pm on The History Channel. You can also go to www.history.com for more information.
Shut Up And Dribble. Named after a jab by FOX News host Laura Ingraham, LeBron James executive produced this new three part Showtime series that looks at athletes who have spoken out against various social issues. Directed by Gotham Chopra and narrated by former ESPN anchor Jemele Hill, it covers when Bill Russell became the first black NBA head coach – at a time when the league was still restricting the number of Black players on rosters; how Jim Brown joined forces with Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and other athletes to support Muhammad Ali’s anti-war stance; Colin Kaepernick’s silent protest against police brutality; the price that Craig Hodges and Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf paid for overtly talking political stances (in Rauf’s case, refusing to stand for the anthem); players who embraced hip hop culture and had to fight being labeled ‘thugs’; how players stood a stand in the wake of former Clippers owner Donald Sterling’s racist remarks; and players’ reactions – and actions – during the rise of the Black Lives Matter movement . With appearances by Kareem, Steph Curry, and LeBron James, this is a series that informs as much as it inspires. Shut Up And Dribble premieres November 3rd on HBO. You can also go to www.sho.com for more information.
More Blood, More Tracks: The Bootleg Series, Vol. 14 by Bob Dylan. The latest installment of the acclaimed Bootleg Series looks back at what is considered one of his greatest works: 1975’s Blood On The Tracks. It features every surviving take from the recording sessions – including the highly bootlegged version of the album that was cut over a four day period in New York in the fall of 1974. There’s also a replica of the 57 page notebook containing handwritten working lyrics, photographs and much more. To hear the creative arc of such classics as ‘Tangled Up In Blue’, ‘Shelter From The Storm’, and ‘Simple Twist Of Fate’, you really get an intimate look at a genius at work. An exceptional look at an album that has transcended time. More Blood, More Tracks: The Bootleg Series, Vol. 14 by Bob Dylan will be available this Friday through Amazon, Itunes, and all major streaming services. You can also go to www.bobdylan.com for more information.
Beastie Boys Book by Michael Diamond and Adam Horowitz. Four years after the passing of Adam ‘MCA’ Yauch, the surviving members of the Beastie Boys tell their story about a group of white city kids who loved hip hip ended up becoming one of the most beloved bands ever. Spread out over 500 pages, they discuss their formative years as a hardcore band playing at such iconic venues as CBGB and Max’s Kansas City; the eventual transition into hip hop; how the release of Licensed To Ill turned into global superstars – and a lightning rod for controversy; the messy fallout from leaving Def Jam and producer Rick Rubin; re-locating to L.A and making the groundbreaking Paul’s Boutique; how the group evolved as a band making Check Your Head, Ill Communication and Hello Nasty; and how the Beasties shifted from a mind boy mindset to being more socially conscious and politically active. There’s also a ton of rare photos, original illustrations, a cookbook by chef (and major Beastie Boys fan) Roy Choi’s a graphic novel, a map of some of the favorites New York City haunts, and essays by Amy Poehler, Wes Anderson, Spike Jonze, Colsen Whitehead, Luc Sante and much more. It’s as much of a love letter to their fallen band mate – and to New York City – as it is a band retrospective. Beastie Boys Book by Michael Diamond and Adam Horowitz is available now through Amazon, Barnes & Noble and all major book retailers.
New York City: The Coen Bros Go West. As a primer to the upcoming film, The Ballad Of Buster Scruggs, The Museum Of The Moving Image will host a two week retrospective that showcases The Coen Bros fascination with the American West. Using clear blue skies, vast terrains and sly twists on American mythology, The Coen Bros were able to create classic after classic with material ranging from Texan noir (Blood Simple), road movies (Raising Arizona) and transformative takes on the western (No Country For Old Men, True Grit). Whether you are a hardcore fan and want to introduce someone to the Coen Bros, this series is for you. The Coen Bros Go West will be at the Museum Of The Moving Image through November 18th. You can also go to www.movingimage.us for more information.