Everybody’s Chattin + A tribute to Prince… a towering music icon gone too soon

Oh what a day it’s been… It’s another sorrowful day for music lovers as another music icon just passed away. I had prepared this post for community links & highlight some new trailers, but in light of Prince’s death, there’s obviously a change of plans. But before we get to that…

Let’s get to those awesome blog posts…

My friend Cindy posted her monthly series sharing music, books, and films that absorbed her

The Minneapolis Wizard World is coming next weekend. Well, Mikey posted some fun cosplay pics from the recent Edinburgh Comic-con!

My pal Mark is hosting another Decades Blogathon, I urge y’all to take part!

Rodney just reviewed the Aussie-set drama The Dressmaker, which I’ll rent for Kate Winslet!

One of my fave films that premiered at TCFF last year, It’s Already Tomorrow in Hong Kong finally got a wider release. Check out what Nostra thought about the film.

Alex talked about music covers that are better than the originals

Steven reviewed his April Blindspot pick, Killer (1989)

Zoë reviewed a 90s classic, Good Will Hunting 

Allie of the lovely duo Flick Chicks blog just posted a trio of reviews

Last but not least, Margaret posted another great ‘Hit Me With Your Best Shot’ entry on her boy du jour Harrison Ford’s earlier work, Witness.


RIP_Prince

It’s a sad day for music lovers… well sad year really given that we just lost David Bowie in January. But given that I’m practically a Minnesotan, this is an especially tough day and I haven’t quite processed it yet. In fact, it’s just before lunch that my colleague shouted that Prince had died and then he retracted saying, ‘no, someone died on the premise of his Chanhassen studio.’ But of course minutes later it was confirmed that it was Prince himself had died and my heart sank.

My hubby drove to Paisley Park after work today to take some photos. Even the gloomy sky seemed to have mourned the icon. There had been traffic jam in the area since the news broke early afternoon and it apparently hadn’t let on. First Avenue, the club appeared in his film Purple Rain, is currently hosting an outdoor concert tribute for him as I’m typing this.


Though Paisley Park is less than 20 miles away from my home and I used to drive by his studio every week as my church was within 5 minutes from it, I’ve never actually met Prince in person. I haven’t had the privilege of seeing him live in concert either [yes I know, bummer!] but I’ve heard many stories of my friends/colleagues’ encounter with him, whether at First Avenue or at Caribou Coffee house (which is as numerous as Starbucks in my neck of the woods). One of my good friend Tom actually bumped into Prince, literally, and said how he only came up to his chest. Tom wasn’t even 6 feet tall so Prince must not have been wearing his high heels then.

PurpleRain

Despite his small stature, Prince was a giant in terms of his contribution to the music industry. On my way home today, MPR was covering the death of an icon by interviewing journalists, as well as First Avenue’s general manager Nate Kranz, and even they had a hard time defining the Minneapolis Sound is that Prince pioneered. Apparently it’s a hybrid mixture of funk, rock, pop, synthpop and new wave…well whatever it was, it certainly sounds cool to me.

I feel so inadequate posting a tribute for him… there are far more qualified people who has followed his career faithfully from the late 70s and has been influenced deeply by whether directly or indirectly. But at the same time I still want to honor his amazing legacy as an artist and what better way than to feature even just a tiny sampling of my favorite Prince’s music.

Dearly beloved, we are gathered here today to celebrate Prince’s music… 

https://vimeo.com/150445815

And of course, this being primarily a film blog, I had to include this clip from Tim Burton’s 1989 BATMAN, as the music is certainly one of the best parts about that movie.


Rest in peace, Prince Rogers Nelson.
Thank you for your gift of your timeless music
that shall forever live on.


Do you have a certain story about Prince you’d like to share? What’s your favorite Prince’s song(s)?

Random Thoughts: How do you feel about DVD commentaries?

I was having lunch with my good friend Becky (a.k.a Prairiegirl) a couple of weeks ago when all of a sudden, we started talking about DVD commentaries. Now, prior to this conversation, I have not seen ANY dvd commentary before, ever. In fact, I think I must’ve accidentally hit the ‘play movie with commentary’ button by mistake once, but as soon as I heard people talking I went back to the menu again.
Well, the following day, Becky lent me her Tristan + Isolde dvd and that’s the first time I discovered the dvd commentary feature (the screenwriter’s version) and I gotta admit, it was actually quite interesting to listen to. I definitely appreciate the whole movie-making process a whole lot more. And since it was from a screenwriter’s perspective, I got a glimpse of what it took from a draft script to an actual feature film and how much alterations have been made from the writer’s original version. Fascinating stuff, for me anyway.
Anyway, here’s Becky’s comments about her discovery and experience on DVD commentary:
I don’t remember the first time I noticed something called a Commentary, usually found bundled under Special Features along with the likes of The Making Of [movie name], Deleted Scenes and Trailers on a movie DVD. And once I discovered it, I was amused. Does someone really talk over the ENTIRE movie, while you watch it all over again, and for the most part, sans original sound? Well, yes indeed, they do.
So one day I gave it a try. But after about 15 minutes of listening to a combination of directors, producers and actors commenting about the most trivial stuff, and who weren’t even in sync with what was happening at the moment on screen, I hit the Eject button. I’m sure it wasn’t a movie I was in love with, maybe that’s why all the drivel made no sense, and was not entertaining or enlightening in any way.
PurpleRain20th
But then one day I must have seen one that was interesting from beginning to end, so then I got hooked. Most DVD’s don’t have any type of commentary, so when I found a movie I really liked and that did have one, I started to check them out. I still nixed several right in the bud, but a few stand out as gems. One of the best isn’t that recent, and had no commentary on the original. The Purple Rain 20th Anniversary Edition (2004) commentary by director Albert Magnoli, producer Robert Cavallo and cinematographer Donald E. Thorin was everything a commentary should be. Their vivid recollection of filming 20 years earlier was remarkable, and satisfied almost every curiosity I had about the film.

I love this film, partly because a large part of it was shot here in Minneapolis and at the real First Avenue (here I go, dating myself on this blog again, but a college friend used to drag me there with her in the mid to late 70s to see Prince in person all the time. I didn’t care much for his music at the time, but “oh, who cares about the music, just go to watch his sexy dancing!” was her excuse to get me to go with her). So their comments about the characters, story, sets, locations, weather, and extras enhanced the movie more than I ever thought a commentary would.
And more recently, one of the best commentaries was by the screenwriter of Tristan and Isode (2006), Dean Georgaris. This is an excellent film, and I fell hard for Rufus Sewell in it, so that was an excuse for me to glow over the commentaries. Dean heartwarmingly tells what stayed the same, and what changed (for better or worse), and when he was involved in the changes and when he was not, of his original screenplay. And when he praised Rufus’ acting skills for his part as Lord Marke, he confirmed what I already knew. And this DVD is unusual because it includes two commentaries, with another one by the producer and coproducer, who paint a completely different picture of the movie, also quite well done. Although with two or more commenting throughout, there’s inevitably some tangents they go off on and private jokes that go over your head, so that’s a negative, but when it’s kept to a minimum you tend to forgive.

So, from now on, I will keep testing the commentary waters, looking for more diamonds in the rough.


What thoughts do you have about commentaries? Let us know.