The Last Resort. Before it became a destination spot for spring breakers and high end urban development, Miami Beach was a haven for elderly, Jewish New York transplants who found low cost of living, small, affordable apartments, a thriving cultural scene, and, of course, great year-round weather. Photographers Andy Sweet and Gary Monroe spend 10 years documenting the people who made up this community before it got swept away by an influx of real estate deals, youth culture and drugs. Now those photographs – along with many stories behind them – are the subject of this new documentary by Dennis School and Kareem Tabsch. To see Miami Beach at this sadly forgotten point in its history, with its array of seasoned, been there, done that, characters will blow you away. The film doesn’t look past the irony that the very thing that many of the people were looking to get away from – overcrowded cities, high costs and violent criminal activity – would be the very thing that would kill this community. A rich, entertaining doc that serves as time capsule, history lesson and warning. The Last Resort opens this weekend. You can also go to www.kinolorber.com for more information.
American Dream/American Nightmare. The rise and fall of Marion ‘Suge’ Knight is the focus of this new documentary from Antoine Fuqua (Training Day). While there’s been other docs and specials about how Death Row Records turned Dr. Dre, Snoop Dogg, and Tupac Shakur into cultural icons, this is the first time Knight has gone on record about his role in their creative arcs. We also hear Knight’s first person account about the Las Vegas shooting that killed Shakur and left him seriously injured. There’s also considerable time spent on how Shakur’s death sent the label – and Knight – on a downward spiral that ended with Knight being sentenced to 28 years in prison on voluntary manslaughter charges. It’s a fascinating, at times disturbing look at a hip hop icon who had -and lost – it all. American Dream/American Nightmare premieres Friday at 8:30 Eastern. You can also go to www.sho.com for more information.
They Shall Not Grow Old. Academy Award winner Peter Jackson is back with the incredible new documentary about the men who served on the Western front during World War I. Using state of the art restoration, colorization, 3D technologies, and audio from nearly 600 hours of BBC archival footage, film dating back nearly over a century is miraculously brought back to life, all but putting you there with the men who overcome tremendous odds to fight – and survive – The Great War. There’s been plenty of documentaries devoted to the soldiers who lived and died during WWI, but Jackson and his team have miraculously made this footage leap out on the screen, looking like it was shot yesterday rather than a century ago. The stories will move you and the visuals will blow you away. A must see and one of the year’s best. They Shall Not Grow Old will have a one day run in select theaters on December 27th. You can also go to www.theyshallnotgrowold.movie for more information.
Homo Deus by Deantoni Parks. Taking its name from the book by Yuval Noah Harari, the latest installment in Parks’ Technoself persona captures the drummer, songwriter, director, actor and record producer live at NUBLU in New York City. As with previous releases, Parks plays drum parts with one hand while playing a blizzard of sounds and samples with the other. It’s a sonic assault on the senses that rocks, rolls, grooves and moves. Another fantastic audio adventure from one of the best in the game. Homo Deus by Deantoni Parks is available now through deantoni.bandcamp.com, Itunes and all major streaming services.
Invicta by Karolina Rose. Sometimes you just have to chase the dream. That’s exactly what Karolina Rose decided when she left a promising – and lucrative – job on Wall Street to pursue her musical aspirations. After building a considerable following in the New York City club scene, she teamed up with Grammy Award wining producer/engineer/mixer Andros Rodriguez for her debut EP. The album features pulsating dance-pop (Going To Berlin, Move With Me), moody, Florence & The Machine-esque introspection (Don’t Look Down), bold declarations of independence (‘Crystal Gem’), and dark love songs (‘Love Crazy’). The album’s centerpiece is ‘Goodnight, Mr. Moon’, a gorgeous piece of dream pop about picking up the pieces after losing someone you love. With tracks that hold there own with anything that’s atop the pop canon, this is a strong, promising debut that will make you crave to hear a full length piece. Invicta by Karolina Rose is available exclusively at karolinarose.bigcartel.com.
Flowers By The Roadside by Whitney Tai & Michael Trainor. While she puts the finishing touches on the follow up to her album Metamorphosis, singer-songwriter Whitney Tai has teamed up with L.A-based composer and classical guitarist Michael Trainor to present two songs that they proudly call folktronica. The hypnotic title track showcases both Tai’s breathless, haunted vocals and the Trainor’s powerful, but delicate fretwork. Just in time for the holidays, Tai & Trainor put an entirely new spin on ‘Silent Night’, re-arranging both its arrangement and lyrics to make it more evocative, meditative, and much more mysterious. Tai has spent the better part of 2018 recording and blowing away audiences with her shows on the West Coast, but if this release is any indication, 2019 is poised to be a breakout year. Flowers By The Roadside by Whitney Tai and Michael Trainor is available now on Itunes and all major streaming services. You can also go to www.whitneytaimusic.com
New York City. In The Year Of The Grifter. Hollywood has always had a love for snake oil salesman, hustlers, confidence men, false prophets and the good old fashioned grifter. Now that fake has become the new real in every facet of American culture, Metrograph will be hosting a two-week retrospective dedicated to those seeking to master the art of the hustle. The films slated to be screened include The Wolf Of Wall Street, The Color Of Money, The Talented Mr Ripley, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, The Spanish Prisoner, House Of Games, Femme Fatale and, of course, The Grifters, among many others. Covering several generations and featuring a number of Hollywood’s biggest names, it’s a series that gives you a front row seat behind some of the seamiest deals. In The Year Of The Grifter will be at Metrograph through January 2nd. You can also go to www.metrograph.com for tickets, a full slate of films and additional information.