Film Review: Rammstein “Rammstein: Paris”

“Rammstein: Paris”
Rammstein
Spinefarm
Director: Jonas Akerlund
Runtime: 128 minutes

Our score: 4 out of 5 stars

German industrial metalers Rammstein are set to release a new concert film on May 19th titled “Rammstein: Paris”. Shot over the course of two nights at the Palais Omnisports arena in Paris in front of 17,000 by Swedish director Jonas Åkerlund the film features 22 songs from the band’s expansive repertoire. The end result is not only the most spectacular collection of imagery from one of Germanys most successful bands, but also a masterpiece of music cinema, capturing Rammstein’s energy as a unique visual and sonic experience.

Being no stranger to Rammstein’s concert films featuring the bands over the top theatrics I was very eager to check out the band’s latest release “Paris”. Needless to say I was not disappointed. From the bands over the top entrance which has them walking through the crowd in a stoic procession like fashion before being lifted up to the rafters by industrialized scaffolding to the closing number “Pussy” which features front man Til Lindemann mounting a phallic like device only to douse the crowd in a mystery substance as it moved across the front of the stage. No one does a live show quite like Rammstein and I am sure attempting to film a show this immense was no small feel however director Jonas Akerland and his crew nailed it making this one of the better live releases from the band.

Though I found some of the special effects used to be a bit too much causing portions of the film to be difficult to watch due to their frantic nature “Rammstein: Paris” is a film fans of concert DVD’s have to check out. Having seen a large amount of live films from all different genres I don’t think I have seen any other band take such a cinematic approach with their filming. Lots of different angles and top notch sound made up any short comings I may have found. With the variety of formats the concert is set to be released in you owe it to yourself to check one out.

Track Listing
1.) Intro
2.) Sonne
3.) WOLLT IHR DAS BETT IN FLAMMEN SEHEN
4.) Wollt Das Bett in Flamm
5.) Sehnsucht
6.) Asche Zu Asche
7.) Feuer Frei!
8.) Mutter
9.) Mein Teil
10.) Du Riechst So Gut
11.) Links 2 3 4
12.) Du Hast
13.) Haifisch
14.) Buck Dich
15.) Mann Gegen Mann
16.) Ohne Dich
17.) Mein Herz Brennt
18.) Amerika
19.) Ich Will
20.) Engel
21.) Pussy
22.) Fruhling in Paris

CD/DVD Review “Ministry: Last Tangle in Paris Live 2012”

“Ministry: Last Tangle in Paris Live 2012”
Number of discs: 3
Rated: Unrated
Director: Zach Passero
Producer: Angelina Lukacin Jourgensen
Studio: UDR Music/ 13th Planet Records
DVD Run Time: 105 minutes
CD Tracks: 18

Our Score: 4.5 out of 5 stars

“Ministry: Last Tangle in Paris Live 2012” was recorded primarily at the Vic Theatre in Chicago, IL during the bands 2012 “DeFiBriLa Tour“. The disc’s feature a variety of live performances, in-studio, rehearsal and backstage footage, and one-on-one interviews with the “godfather of industrial metal”, Al Jourgensen. Produced by Angelina Lukacin Jourgensen and Directed by Zach Passero “Last Tangle in Paris” is being released via UDR Music/ 13th Planet Records on a number of formats including 2 CD/DVD Digi Packs, BluRay, 2-CD Amaray, 2 X vinyl Gatefold, digital audio/video and standard CD.

Announced as the “last live Ministry release” “Ministry: Last Tangle in Paris Live 2012” fires on all of its industrial fueled cylinders. Candid behind the scenes footage blends with flawless live performances giving the viewer/listener a package they can really sink their teeth into. After the death of longtime Ministry guitarist Mike Saccia in December of 2012 founder and lead vocalist Al Jourgensen disbanded the group in 2013 following the release of their 13th studio album titled “From beer to Eternity”. This package marks Saccia’s last run with the band and stands as a fitting tribute to his musical legacy. Everything from the explosive “Ghouldiggers” to “Psalm 69”, New World Order (NWO) to “Just One Fix” is featured on the DVD portion of this film.

When you get in to the audio portion of the release which is spread over 2 discs you are thrown further into the realm of Ministry as it features a retrospective of live tracks dating back to 2006 including live versions of “Rio Grande Blood”, Let’s GO and “So What” among many other Ministry staples.
The only thing I found to be missing from this release is the always entertaining “Jesus Built My Hotrod” however hardcore Ministry fans probably already have several live versions of this popular track tucked away in their closets next to their studded black leather boots. With the absence of that track aside you really couldn’t ask for a better release to go out on. The audio tracks on all three discs leap out of the speakers while the visual elements of the DVD keep your attention even after multiple viewings making “Ministry: Last Tangle in Paris Live 2012”a must have!

DVD Track Listing:
1.) Ghouldiggers
2.) No “W”
3.) Senor Peligro
4.) LiesLiesLies
5.) 99%ers
6.) Life Is Good
7.) Relapse
8.) The Last Sucker
9.) Psalm 69
10.) New World Order
11.) Just One Fix
12.) Thieves

Disc 1 Track Listing:
1.) Ghouldiggers
2.) No W
3.) Senor Peligro
4.) Rio Grande Blood
5.) LiesLieslies
6.) 99 Percenters
7.) Life Is Good
8.) Relapse
9.) The Last Sucker

Disc 2 Track Listing:
10.) Psalm 69
11.) New World Order (NWO)
12.) Just One Fix
13.) Thieves
14.) Khyber Pass
15.) Fear Is Big Business
16.) Let’s Go
17.) Watch Yourself
18.) So What

DVD Review “Christopher Cross: A Night In Paris”

Christopher Cross: A Night in Paris
DVD + 2CD
Eagle Rock Entertainment
Total Running Time: 97 minutes

Our rating: 1.5 out of 5 stars

“What’s your favorite guilty pleasure song?” Well…while I always have to spend some time thinking about which 10 albums I’m going to be stranded on a desert island with or which 25 had the most impact on my life, the numero uno guilty pleasure song question has always been an easy one for me to answer: “Sailing” by Christopher Cross. Sure, many may think all copies of the song should be permanently exiled to the jukebox of cheese, but there’s no denying that it’s a perfectly crafted and superbly produced pop gem. It’s lush orchestral strains in tandem with that gently-picked guitar line always help me to find tranquility for the entirety of its four-minute jaunt – as does much of music he’s produced over the past 30+ years.

So why is it that, barely 15 minutes into watching his latest live DVD, “A Night in Paris”, I found myself with an aching headache, desperately wanting to grab the remote so I could eject the disc? Is it because Cross’ voice sounds so weak and strained that he’s butchered all of vocal lines in all of the songs he’s performed up to that point? No. Is it because the concert lighting is so flashy and overdone that it in no way matches the musical content or demeanor of the performers? No. Is it because, despite the fact that the show was allegedly shot using nine HD cameras, the picture quality looks like a bad bootleg copy that was obtained at a local flea market? No. Ahhh…but it does have something to do with the visuals. Quite a lot, in fact.

“Paris” is easily one of the most poorly filmed and shoddily edited live concert DVDs I have ever seen. For starters, the small, non-descript, dimly-lit stage doesn’t allow for much movement of either the musicians themselves or the camera crew. As a result, the resulting individual shots – including ones from a camera that’s inexplicably mounted on a tripod that’s located directly behind the drummer – are fairly static and bland.

In an effort to make up for lack of kinetic energy in both the individual shots and the overall performance itself, director Sebastien Bonnet has to cut the film together using rapid fire editing techniques that make it impossible to focus on any one visual for more than just a few seconds. Many music videos employ this style – and, luckily, they end after 3 to 4 minutes. But “Paris” runs a full 97 minutes. Mon dieu.

For example, the third song of the show, “Leave it to Me” (from Cross’ most recent studio outing, 2011’s “Doctor Faith”), times in at 3:49 and is 125 beats per minute (think Sting’s “If You Love Somebody Set Them Free” or Suzanne Vega’s “Luka” and you’re right on the money). By the time the band had hit their final flourish, I had counted 115 video cuts. That averages out to a staggering one cut every two seconds. Sure, that won’t induce epilepsy, but, trust me, it will make you reach for the Advil.

The 2CDs that are included in this set contain all 17 tracks contained on the DVD with most of the in-between song banter omitted. While the recording is solid and the tracks do represent a fair cross-section of Chris’ body of work, the performance is so lackluster and the quality of Cross’ vocal delivery is so awful that one would be far better off listening to 1999’s “Greatest Hits Live” CD or watching the “An Evening With Christopher Cross” DVD also from that same year. Both are much better of examples of why Cross’ career has spanned far beyond that “Best New Artist” Grammy win in 1979.

Cross mentions at various points throughout “A Night in Paris” that the performance is being recorded for a DVD so he can document this particular point in his career. Clearly, it’s an important evening to him. Hopefully, he’s pleased with the end results – because, frankly, it’s hard to imagine that anyone else would be.

3D Blu-ray Review “A Monster in Paris”

Actors: Adam Goldberg, Jay Harrington, Bob Balaban, Sean Lennon, Vanessa Paradis, Danny Huston and Catherine O’Hara
Directors: Bibo Bergeron
Rated: NR (Not Rated)
Studio: Shout! Factory
Release Date: April 16, 2013
Run Time: 87 minutes

Film: 3.5 out of 5 stars
Extras: 1/2 out of 5 stars

“A Monster in Paris” is beautiful animated film from the director of “Shark Tale”, Bibo Bergeron. The film was a very successful French animated film from 2012. It never given the proper attention it deserves until now, thanks to Shout! Factory. The film also boasts an impressive voice cast including Adam Goldberg, Jay Harrington, Bob Balaban, Sean Lennon, Vanessa Paradis, Danny Huston and Catherine O’Hara. The film is looks quite stunning in 3D and ends up being a fun experience for the whole family. Some of the content is a little higher level for some kids but still should be attracted to the sharp animation and the colorful cast.

Official Premise: Paris, 1910. Panic sweeps the city as floodwaters rise and a monster is on the loose! Meanwhile a wacky inventor, his camera-crazy best friend, and a madcap monkey are on a mission to protect the beast, Franc, as he holds a rare and special talent. With the help of the beautiful but feisty singer Lucille, the team harbors the monster to keep him from the ghastly wannabe Mayor, Commissioner Maynott, who has a plan to capture Franc and reveal him to be nothing more than a monstrous danger to the people of Paris.

Shout! Factory delivered all the goods for this release.  They have the film available as a combo pack with a Blu-ray 3D + Blu-ray + DVD + iTunes Digital Copy.  They have all their options covered here for various viewings.  Both the 2D and 3D 1080p transfers are presented in 1.85:1.  The animation and colors for the film look impressive in both transfers.  I preferred the 3D since it really created some impressive depth and there is just something about animation always looking better to be in the third dimension. The DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track also delivers the goods and some impressive music, which was also co-written by Vanessa Paradis. The most disappointing aspect of the release is the special features since there is only a trailer included.

Book Review “Paris: A 3D Keepsake Cityscape”

Author: Sarah McMenemy
Reading level: Ages 5 and up
Hardcover: 20 pages
Publisher: Candlewick Press
Release Date: March 13, 2012

Our Score: 3.5 out of 5 stars

I personally have never been to Paris there is something about this city that really creates intrigue. This book is aimed at children and succeeds to educate. The book is tiny and only runs 20 pages but delivers some decent information throughout. Once you remove the book from its slipcase, it almost turns into a classic pop-out book with each page contains a famous site from Paris.

Some of the famous sites included are Notre-Dame De Paris, Moulin Rouge, The Opera and of course, The Eiffel Tower. The colors used in the book have a pastel feel but still are simply enough to not feel cartoonish. If are looking to find out or educate your children on the beauties of Paris, this would be a good place to start. I wasn’t sure what to expect from a 3D cityscape for a book but this beautiful designed accordion-fold book really left me satisfied .

DVD Review “Midnight in Paris”

Director: Woody Allen
Starring: Owen Wilson, Rachel McAdams, Kathy Bates, Kurt Fuller, Mimi Kennedy
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Studio: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
Run Time: 94 minutes

Overall Score: 4.5 out of 5 stars

I have always been a fan of Woody Allen’s work through his career but have been picky with his work in the last 10 years. I originally wasn’t interested in this film until it became Mr. Allen’s biggest grossing film to date since 86’s “Hannah and Her Sisters”. Let me tell you, I was missing out as this is easily one of the best film of the year. The acting is phenomenal and each player works perfectly off the next. The story is very sweet and light yet fantastical and heavy. Stephane Wrembel’s score accompanies the film very well and takes us on the midnight journey through Paris.

This is a romantic comedy about a young people Gil and Inez (Owen Wilson & Rachel McAdams), who are vacationing in Paris and are engaged to be married…but they are two completely different people. Gil has such a great love for Paris and wants a very simple life like in the 1920’s and Inez is very driven and cares a lot about appearance and status in society. After a night of drinking, Gil ends up getting in a car with strangers and finding himself transported back into a simpler time in time through the streets of Paris. Along his journey he comes in contact with various legends from our past including Pablo Picasso (Marcial Di Fonzo Bo), Salvador Dalí (Adrien Brody), Gertrude Stein (Kathy Bates), F. Scott Fitzgerald (Tom Hiddleston) and Ernest Hemingway (Corey Stoll) and they help Gil get his life into perspective.

The casting like I mentioned earlier is so rich and full of different types of talent. I really enjoyed Marion Cotillard performance as Adriana. Corey Stoll is also fantastic and funny as Ernest Hemingway. Owen Wilson is definitely the star of this film really breaking out of his recent rut and gives this performance his all. Although the film is so great the special features are not as spectacular as it only includes a brief panel interview, called “Midnight in Cannes” with a few of the cast and runs about five minutes. I would have loved to get some commentary and more behind the scenes from Woody Allen. Despite that, this is a must watch! Do not miss it.

“Midnight in Paris” Becomes Woody Allen’s Highest Grossing Film of All Time in North America

MIDNIGHT IN PARIS BECOMES WOODY ALLEN’S HIGHEST GROSSING FILM OF ALL TIME IN NORTH AMERICA

NEW YORK, NY (JULY 17, 2011) – Sony Pictures Classics announced today that MIDNIGHT IN PARIS has become Woody Allen’s highest grossing film of all time in North America.  MIDNIGHT IN PARIS has grossed $41,792,695 to date. This is Allen’s 42nd feature film that he has written and directed and his 4th film with Sony Pictures Classics.

Sony Pictures Classics’ upcoming releases include THE GUARD; HIGHER GROUND; RESTLESS; TAKE SHELTER; THE SKIN I LIVE IN; CARNAGE; and A DANGEROUS METHOD.

ABOUT SONY PICTURES CLASSICS

Michael Barker and Tom Bernard serve as co-presidents of Sony Pictures Classics—an autonomous division of Sony Pictures Entertainment they founded with Marcie Bloom in January 1992, which distributes, produces, and acquires independent films from around the world.

Barker and Bernard have released prestigious films that have won 27 Academy Awards® (23 of those at Sony Pictures Classics) and have garnered 114 Academy Award® nominations (93 at Sony Pictures Classics) including Best Picture nominations for AN EDUCATION, CAPOTE, HOWARDS END, AND CROUCHING TIGER, HIDDEN DRAGON.