Viewing, reading and listening pleasuresBottom Highlights, The Media Closet Thursday, July 28th, 2011
The Media Closet
Do you like the film genre known as “teenage runaways who become prostitutes” with characters named Cookie and a pimp named Duke? How about unearthed and all-but-forgotten, work by actresses and actors that have gone on to award show glory? Or, perhaps, another female-based genre, simply known as “chicks who kick a**” is more or less up your collective alleys? You are in luck, as we have examples of both to add to your Netflix queue, and one to avoid at all costs.
Streetwalkin’ was made in the heady days of the 1980s (1985 to be exact) and stars future Academy award-winner Melissa Leo (Best Supporting Actress for The Fighter) in the aforementioned role of Cookie, a teenage girl who flees from her abusive stepfather (are there any other kind, really?) to the concrete jungles of New York City, with her younger brother Tim (Randall Batinkoff from For Keeps?) in tow.
As soon as she steps off the bus at the Port Authority bus terminal, she meets an actual white pimp named Duke (Dale Midkiff of Pet Sematary fame). Naturally, he is as charming as he is sadistic, and seeing that the girl is down on her luck, he inquires if she would like to come work for him.
Thus begins her descent into the brutal world of prostitution that is a far cry from Julia Roberts being wooed by Richard Gere in Pretty Woman. She encounters both the nitty and gritty in a cast of characters that includes Julie Newmar as Queen Bee and Starsky and Hutch’s Huggy Bear himself, Antonio Fargas as Finesse. Now available.
Sucker Punch: Extended Cut
Seeing as Sucker Punch has Watchmen director Zack Snyder helming a visually arresting tale of five young women escaping the harsh realities of their abusive lives by conquering a fantasy-based realm, it begs the cinematic question of “Why wasn’t this better?”
Case-in-point, the details about the quintet’s collective troubled background, especially that of lead character Baby Doll (Emily Browning), is at times relentless with the violence against women angle. Plus, the plot moves along at a pace that would make a snail say, “Hurry Up!” So the fact that 17 minutes of unseen footage have been added to this extended cut version is truly for those who are gluttons for punishment.
And then there is the acting, or rather overacting, by two characters that are not part of the five women attempting to bring their brand of girl power less effectively to the big screen than The Spice Girls did in 1997s Spice World, and that’s saying something. Scott Glenn’s (The Silence of the Lambs and who now resembles a handbag with his leathery skin) Wise Man character comes off as a low-rent Yoda, dispensing his inspiring bits of wisdom to help the ladies on their journey; some sage advice would have been to have gotten into character before production began to stop them for including this on their acting resumes. And then there’s Carla Gugino as Dr. Vera Gorski, whose accent comes off as if she is trying to find a way to capture moose and squirrel on an episode of Rocky and Bullwinkle. This one should have been rated “T” for “There goes two hours of my life I’ll never get back!” Now available.
The novel, which opens against the backdrop of the Names Project Quilt in 1989, features the tale of Randy Manning, his partner Sal, and parents Barbara and Ben as they navigate the news that Randy is not long for this Earth, and the collective and separate impact that the news has on each individual.
When Randy passes away, Patchwork stitches together the threads of aftereffects of his death on Sal, who is forced to re-evaluate his own existence, while it also chronicles the long lasting devastation for Randy’s family, as the tendrils of his impact on their lives stretches on throughout the decades.
Loughry utilizes elements of humor, insightfulness and frankness to highlight this tale of loss and ultimately hope that makes for a stunning literary debut. Available July 31.
The title track, “Strange Game,” is a club ready effort, complete with a pulsating beat. “Hi-Tech” sounds like a lost carryover from the ’80s, which is both reminiscent of the decade, yet original in its production with Katara’s voice overtaking the beats being thrown down.
“Push Back” opens with a great horn section that opens up the track with a bang, and crops up throughout the remainder of the four minutes of listening pleasure of this very infectious tune. “Find Our Way” highlights the aforementioned Adele reference, with its soulful rendition about love lost and love found.
Genius Lovers may have taken its cues from other musical acts, but Strange Game stands on its own two feet as an original effort. Now available.
Britain’s Grafitti6 is comprised of singer-songwriter Jamie Scott and songwriter-producer TommyD, who have been making beautiful music together since 2009. To prep music lovers for their upcoming album Colours, the pair have released an EP for download that features their eclectic blend of pop, R&B, and even a bit of the psychedelic thrown into their musical tastes blender.
The resulting concoction perfectly announces their brilliant efforts of melding together different genres. Their first single, “Annie You Save Me,” is pure pop perfection with Scott delivering an emotionally rousing performance over the din of drums and the melodic piano that accompany the track.
And, Scott is not afraid to lay his soul bare again on the acoustic effort, “Free,” and definitely has control of his unique vocal abilities that range from whisper tones to all-out belting of the lyrics.
The four-song EP also includes a remix of “Annie,” and a haunting acoustic cover of Blackstreet’s “No Diggity.” Now available.
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