Movie of the Day and Performance of the Day : THE BEAST

Rabbit Days (2016)

I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE a film that is an experience, that you do not know from the first frame, where the last frame will bring us. Blockbusters are by necessity a predictable commodity. They have to some extent give the audience what it is expecting. It has to inherently be predictable, so it can appeal to the largest possible audience, and bring the highest possible return.

There is nothing wrong with that, I love blockbusters as much as the next person. But there is something to be said for a film that does not live with our expectations, or perhaps even our world. Especially when it is done superbly well, when it is clear from the first frame you are, wherever the road takes you, in the hands of a visionary, a master filmmaker.

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That is the case with the LeBoeuf Brothers’, Ryan & Cody, THE BEAST. But any script hinges on a central performance, and Clarence Gilyard’s unhinged performance is nothing short of jaw dropping. At once so unhinged, and so good, and the other actors as various forms of straight men to him, also do a great job. Add in the atmosphere, and you are left with a nightmare landscape of a film, that eschewing sense, is brilliant.

The ending perhaps feels truncated, but perhaps is also just right. Depends on your patience for the surreal and absurd. But for fans of the films of Lynch and Bunuel, you will feel in THE BEAST… rewarded.

Grade: I loved it. Your Mileage may Vary. 🙂

Another home-run of a discovery courtesy of AMAZON PRIME. And hopefully we can expect a DVD or BLuray version, complete with Directors/Actors commentary. Streaming is great, but as a film fan, I love to own the films I love… in a less ephemeral and transient format than streaming.

Read the following after you view the movie. No real spoilers, I just feel going into this movie completely unprepared is the right way to go, to get the most impact out of it….Ok you’ve watched the movie! Great! now you can read the rest. 🙂

First, I am glad they changed the name of the movie, as the original one was too on the noise, and would have worked against the air of mystery they were building. This movie for me, has nothing to do with that original title (until possibly the very end), which made the appearance of carrots all the more bonkers and inexplicable and intriguing. I was picturing, something un-picturable as the menace throughout. And that worked to the movie’s benefit. BEAST therefore working much better as a title.

And regarding the lead, I knew he seemed/sounded familiar,  something about his voice, and his manner, but it wasn’t until after the movie that I placed him. Clarence Gilyard Jr, starred for years on WALKER TEXAS RANGER. He is almost unrecognizable, but  what really comes across is how fantastic of an actor he is here, and while always great on WALKER, you do get the feeling he was definitely underused on that show. His performance in THE BEAST shows an actor who should have been acting on the big screen for decades, rather than underused in a procedural. Though what we fans lost, the educational system gained with Gilyard being a lauded professor. And he has been keeping his hand in on the theater circuit.

Case in point, it is great to hear that he and other WALKER costar Sheree J. Wilson recently reunited to do a theatrical run of DRIVING MISS DAISY (what? these young-uns?!).  More on that here: https://www.thespectrum.com/story/entertainment/2018/04/03/tinseltown-talks-walkers-sheree-j-wilson-clarence-gilyard-jr-together-again/482336002/

Clarence Gilyard Jr as James Trivette and Sheree J.

Looking forward to more from these directors, and these actors.

And finally for more on THE BEAST, check out this podcast : https://www.piecingpod.com/2018/10/22/special-episode-the-beast-ryan-cody-leboeuf-interview/

Documentary Review: A BAND CALLED DEATH

“Try your best in life, to keep your promise to God; and give God time enough to keep His promise to you.” Bobby Hackney, quoting his Dad

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I am that most horrible of things. I am a collector and a romantic, and those two things together tend to make me… sentimental about certain things.

Those two things tend to make me extremely emotional about certain things.

And I try to avoid things that will make me either emotional or sentimental. But sometimes that’s not for you to say. Sometimes there comes along something worthy of both sentimentality and emotion.

The documentary A BAND CALLED DEATH is one of those things. The phrase ‘truth is stranger than fiction’ is oft heard, but little acknowledged; you’ll acknowledge it in the watching of this film, about three Black Brothers in a thriving early 70s Detroit, creating a hyper brand of rock, a punk music, years before punk; and the winding road that winding music… takes them on.

Just a brilliant, wrenching film, the feature film debut of Mark Christopher Covino and Jeff Howlett makes you want to scream, and create, and believe in family and generations, and believe in being a better man… and that confluence of feelings, is a rare and rarefied thing. A gift.

A highly recommended documentary, viewable free via streaming, that will spur you for posterity and for joy… to buy not just the documentary, but the cds associated with it.

A Band Called Death (+ Digital Copy) –

For the Whole World to See – Here is the long awaited CD/Album referenced in the documentary. Here music that was almost lost for all time, but for a man’s faith… that the world would come

Maximum Soul Power – And here the next generation, inspired and building upon what came before

Just riveting all around. Click the links, and for little, own much.

Today’s Recommended Roku Amazon Prime TV Guide Watch List

Recommended list of on-demand movies/programs to catch on Roku today:

AMAZON PRIME

THE PACT- this for most of its running time is far more interesting and compelling than your typical jump-scare ghost movie. I think the film would have been better without the cheap last shot it tacks on, but that acknowledged it is still an intriguing view up to that point. Grade C+.

VALHALLA RISING- Lyric and Brutal

THE BAY- Starts off intriguing, loses its way and ends up in bad parody territory. But still worth a look.

RECYCLE- A fantasy film, with horror trappings,  wonderful visuals elevate this tale that is equal parts Alice in Wonderland and Dante’s Inferno by way of Thai Mythology

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