Jazz, Brass, and Criminal Delights

Picking up where Rock Fresh left off, we've got a review of the new edition of Style Wars, the iconic documentary from 1983 that captures a pivotal period in New York City's transit history when it was trying hard to deal with the constant graffiti splattered on the inside and outside of transit cars.

Incorporating kinetic editing with rap music and break dancing, Style Wars also showed the creative designs that had started to evolve by the mid- to late-seventies, and for the new DVD, the filmmakers interviewed many graffitists in 2005 who reflect on their youth, and current careers in the art field. Previously released by Plexifilm in a 2-disc edition, MVD has streamline the menus and added new interviews, plus retained the extras from the first release, including a very cool looped stills gallery of long-gone graffiti from subway trains.

Also from MVD are the first two volumes of the Jazz Shots East and West Coast series, which assemble a broad mix of rare live TV appearances of veteran jazz masters from the fifties and sixties.

From high art to, well, Brassian art, we also dig into the first volume of Cult Epics Tinto Brass Collection, and review the first two films in the set, Miranda (starring the pneumatic Serena Grandi), and The Key, which stands as one of the director's best and most accessible erotic films (albeit larded with plenty of popos and deltas).

Also from the label is Vintage Erotica Anno 1920, which skips back over prior decades in the series and showcases the inventive narratives, mis-en-scene, costumes, and silliness of vintage XXX shorts largely made in France by rich naughty people who had other ideas for their first home movie camera.

Next-to-last is a review of Miami Blues, George Armitage's superb 1990 adaptation of Charles Willeford's first Hoke Moseley novel, starring Alex Baldwin, Jennifer Jason Leigh, and the colours of Miami. The tail-end of our review also comes with several Willeford links, so the curious can learn a bit more about this underrated crime author.

Finally, at the Music from the Movies website there's my detailed review of Vol. 4 in Scarecrow Press' ongoing and very excellent Film Score Guide series, with James Wierzbicki examining Louis and Bebe Barron's landmark electronic score for Forbidden Planet (1956). With Warner Bros.' 2-disc set of the classic sci-fi film coming out this month, the book functions as a perfect appendix to anyone keen on learning more about the composers, their influential score, and a concise history of electronic instruments.

Technorati Tags: DVD Reviews, New York Graffiti, Tinto Brass, Charles Willeford, Louis & Bebe Barron


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