The Dead Don’t Die. After putting his own spin on the vampire film with Only Loves Left Alive, Jim Jarmusch now leaves his mark on at zombies in the follow up to the critically acclaimed Paterson. Bill Murray stars as Police Chief Cliff Robertson, who along with Officers Ronnie Peterson (Adam Driver) and Mindy Morrison (Chloe Sevigny) must defend their small town after ‘polar fracking’ causes zombies to rise from the dead. Jarmusch has assembled a ‘Who’s Who’ of actors from previous films including Steve Buscemi, Iggy Pop, RZA, Tom Waits, Tilda Swinton (as a sword wielding funeral director), along with Carol Kane, Rosie Perez, Sara Driver, Sturgill Simpson and Selena Gomez making appearances. There’s a lot of traces of George Romero’s Night Of The Living Dead, right down to not so subtle jabs as consumerism, climate change and our current political climate, but even as the body count rises, Jarmusch and the crew keep the dark comedy coming in steady doses. Another winner from one of the last true independent voices in cinema. The Dead Don’t Die opens this weekend.
Rolling Thunder Revue: A Bob Dylan Story. Martin Scorsese directs this new Netflix doc about Dylan’s short-lived, roving carnival of musicians, poets and playwrights that hit and ran throughout America from 1975 and 1976. Working with a ton of professionally shot footage, it captures Dylan – looking to reconnect with audiences after touring arenas with The Band – assemble a rock n roll traveling circus that would play smaller venues with little to no advance notice. Joni Mitchell, Joan Baez, Roger McGuinn, Ramblin’ Jack Elliot, Allen Ginsburg, Sam Shepard, Mick Ronson, and Scarlett Rivera are along for the ride, and they confront and reflect a country still reeling from Vietnam and Watergate. Many of the artists from the tour also appear in interviews done specifically for the project including the late Sam Shepherd and Dylan, himself, giving his most extensive interview in over a decade. Part time capsule, part fever dream, Scorsese delivers a side of Dylan that has been rarely captured on camera. Rolling Thunder Revue: A Bob Dylan Story premieres this Friday on Netflix.
The Black Godfather. The life and legacy of entertainment power broker Clarence Avant is the subject of this new Netflix documentary. Directed by Reginald Hudlin, it tells the story of Avant rose in the ranks from manager and agent, to independent record company owner, to a key advisor/mentor to some of the biggest names in TV, film, and music. It also points out how Avant successfully opened the doors for Black entertainers to receive equal opportunities – and compensation – for their talents. With full access to Avant and new interviews with musical giants (Lionel Richie, Snoop Dogg, Jimmy Jam & Terry Lewis), insiders (Clive Davis, David Geffen, Irving Azoff), family, friends, and former Presidents Bill Clinton and Baraka Obama), Hudlin has crafted a moving tribute to one of the biggest impact players in pop culture history. The Black Godfather is available this Friday on Netflix.
Blue Note Records: Beyond The Notes. Founded by German Jewish refugees Alfred Lion and Francis Wolff, Blue Note Records went from being a small independent label to becoming one of the most important record labels in jazz – and American music – History. As the label celebrates its 80th Anniversary, Sophie Huber looks back Blue Note’s illustrious history, releasing landmark recordings by Miles Davis, Thelonious Monk, John Coltrane, Bud Powell, and Art Blakely, among many others. It also covers how Blue Note’s artwork – most of which was shot by Wolff – pushed jazz and the nation into the album age. Huber also shows how the label is firmly planted in the present, with such hit artists as Norah Jones, Robert Glasper and Ambrose Akinmusire building on Blue Note’s already iconic legacy. Loaded with great archival footage and stories from Blue Note artists past and present, Huber has put together a loving tribute to a label whose musical impact is still being felt today. Blue Note Records: Beyond The Notes opens in New York and Los Angeles this weekend. You can also go to www.bluenoterecors-film.com for more information.
New York City. Movie Nights in Bryant Park. Now a summertime staple, Bryant Park is partnering up with Netflix to host a two month series of free films with the park and the city as its backdrop. Goodfellas, Coming To America, Carrie, Big, Anchorman, and Bad Boys are just some of the films scheduled to be screened, with two slots held for a movies that will voted on by fans. Bring a blanket and some snacks and prepare to spend a cool Monday night out. Movie Nights In Bryant Park runs through August 12th. You can also go to www.bryantpark.org for a completely rundown of films and more information.
New York City. Escape In New York: Outdoor Films On Governors Island. For the second year, Film At Lincoln Center teams up with the Trust For Governors Island to present a series of screenings of films that prominently feature New York City. It will kick off this Friday with School Of Rock starring Jack Black and directed by Richard Linklater; followed by Martin Scorsese’s After Hours in July, and closing it in August with Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind. Whether you in town looking to go beyond tourist traps or a Native New Yorker looking to enhance your movie going experience, this is a perfect way to kick off your weekend. Escape In New York: Outdoor Films On Governors Island runs June 14th though August 9th. You can also go to www.filmlinc.org for more information.