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"Instead of taking a break from music, we just take a break from one band, and start another one."
--Joshua Wells (Black Mountain)

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Royal Thunder - Crooked Doors PDF Print E-mail
Written by Jeff Clark   
ImageRoyal Thunder
Crooked Doors

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Breakups are a bitch, in case you didn’t know. Which is a rather flippant way to state an obvious truth that all of us (at least those of us dumb enough to fall in love) (which is to say, all of us) know all too well. Breakups are the absolute worst. I’ve been ditched, dumped, deserted and denied so many times in the last dozen or so years, I feel as though my heart’s beyond repair. You try to numb yourself. You try to shrug it off, laugh about it, cry about it. You try to forget it. You try to fake it. You try to bury it. It doesn’t matter. It doesn’t help. It’s still there. You’re still crushed.

Maybe if I had a kickass rock band in which I could scream it all out at the top of my heaving lungs, it would help ease that lingering pain. But what if the love of my life is also in the band, only all of a sudden she’s no longer the love of my life?  I’ve never been able to comprehend how bands with couples in them are able to stay together when the couple splits up, especially when all the new songs inevitably have to chronicle said breakup in uncomfortably naked detail. I just don’t think I could do that, but obviously some people are more emotionally mature than I am, or something, because it seems to happen all the time. And, granted, it can make for some deeply affecting records.

So yeah, this is a breakup record, and it was an inter-band breakup, and now the band plays on. I’m not going to go into the details, but you can probably figure it out.

Royal Thunder have a terrific knack for starting their albums out just right, and sure enough, side one song one of Crooked Doors, “Time Machine,” is downright tremendous. More than many bands of their general ilk, lyrics play a major, personal role in Royal Thunder’s songs, and matched with the musical performance, this song’s firsthand dispatch from the depths of a turbulent, defiant soul is majorly gripping. Just cracking seven minutes, it’s also the album’s longest track but unlike a few of the other lengthy jams it’s never less than thrilling. It includes some of Mlny Parsonz’ best vocalizing of an album chock full of it, and it climaxes with a blistering shriek that would make Robert Plant envious.

Josh Weaver is one hell of a maestro on those guitars of his, but one thing I’ve always loved about his playing is that he always serves the song. He never goes off on unnecessary wankoff solos or makes things more complicated and show-offy than they need to be. So you may not immediately notice what he’s doing in these songs, but trust me – it’s just right. And when he really shines, you will notice. And the drummer, Evan Diprima… which drummer is he? Third? Fourth? I sorta lost track. Anyway, dude sounds great. Actually, the whole band sorta brings to mind Soundgarden on a lot of these songs, which I’ve never really noticed before. Is that a good thing?

This is a heavy record, and it just gets heavier the further in you get. Not necessarily musically – no, in that regard, it’s a tidal thing throughout, and actually it lets up toward the end. No, it’s just heavy with dark emotion and turmoil. There’s a point a few songs in where you sorta get this suffocated feeling, like you’re just being dragged through a bog of molten tar. And that feeling doesn’t really start to dissolve until the last two or three songs. Unlike CVI, there aren’t any real fist-pumping upbeat kickass rockers that make you just drop everything to play air guitar and drums like an idiot. Well, “Time Machine” sorta comes close. But it can be a chore, making it through this whole kabob in one sitting. Overall, it’s kind of a bummer, but it’s also kind of beautiful at the same time.

Speaking of beautiful, the final song, “The Bear II,” will catch you off guard. Tender and sublimely touching, it does away with the power rock setup to only feature Mlny on piano and vocals, accompanied by a cellist. “Some will rise,” she sings softly, “some will fall. Some will run away. But I will fade and die without you….” Yeah, it’s still pretty bleak, but after 50 minutes of fury and tumult, it’s a window of peace I’ll gladly take.

Hey, it’s better than a whole album of mushy love songs, right? I hope she feels better now.
Georgia Film News 07/01/15 PDF Print E-mail
Written by Jeff Clark   
ImageJosh Brolin (pictured) and Danny McBride (HBO’s Eastbound & Down) will star in The Legacy of a Whitetail Deer Hunter, set to shoot in Georgia beginning in October. McBride, one of the film’s executive producers, co-scripted – with director Jody Hill (Eastbound & Down, Observe and Report) and fellow exec producer John Carcieri – the tale of a father attempting to bond with his 6th grade son during a hunting trip.

Reps for Passengers, a sci-fi romance starring Jennifer Lawrence and Chris Pratt, and Zelda, a pilot for a potential Amazon series starring Christina Ricci as Zelda Fitzgerald, are both actively scouting locations in Atlanta and Savannah, respectively. While neither project has set up an office, it’s looking likely that they’ll shoot in Georgia.

Location scouts for Neighbors 2, a sequel to last year’s Seth Rogen/Zac Efron/Rose Byrne comedy, are looking at both Atlanta and New Orleans for that project. Production is set to get rolling in early September, and indications are that Atlanta’s got a heavy edge. Keep your fingers crossed.

New Zealand-born actor Martin Henderson, who had a role in the Atlanta-filmed Sundance Channel series The Red Road (which the network has declined to renew for a third season), and Queen Latifah (most recently in the locally filmed HBO biopic Bessie) have joined Jennifer Garner in the cast of Miracles from Heaven, which begins filming this month in the Atlanta area.

After a much-buzzed-about series of screen tests involving multiple hopefuls, 19-year-old British actor Tom Holland has been picked by Marvel to be the new Peter Parker/Spider-Man in their Cinematic Universal, and will make his debut as the character in Captain America: Civil War, currently filming in metro Atlanta.

HBO’s Lewis & Clark miniseries, starring Casey Affleck, will be doing some shooting in Conyers and surrounding Rockdale County when the production moves to Atlanta later this summer/fall.

ABC has decided not to proceed with the Revenge spinoff The Kingmakers. The pilot was shot in the Rome area this spring.

Atlanta-based company Sixthman, who are behind most of those music-themed cruises that have become such a thing, have teamed up with the Walker Stalker Con folks for a Walker Stalker Cruise sailing from Miami to Nassau, Bahamas January 15th through 18th, 2016. Norman Reedus, Chandler Riggs, Emily Kinney and Sonequa Martin-Green are among the Walking Dead stars currently scheduled to participate via autograph sessions, Q&A panels and photo ops. More info at walkerstalkercruise.com.

Marvel’s greatly anticipated Ant-Man, starring Paul Rudd as the title character, opens in theaters on July 17th… The Vacation reboot with Ed Helms and Leslie Mann as Rusty and Audry Griswold, along with Chevy Chase and Beverly D’Angelo as their parents, opens on July 29th… Noticed Killing Winston Jones among the titles offered at Redbox the other evening. The Richard Dreyfuss flick was filmed in Savannah a few years ago but as far as I know never made it to theaters. Anyway, it’s out there if anyone’s interested in watching it.
Jurassic World PDF Print E-mail
Written by David T. Lindsay   
ImageJurassic World [PG-13]: It makes a helluva lot more sense than any of the three previous movies, like when the T-Rex tippy-toes in to scare us at the end of the first one. But this reboot still makes one glaring misstep from the earlier franchise in that it has people co-mingling with “herbivore” stegosaurus and triceratops who were never around when people existed and would likely be tempted to take a bite outta them just to see if they tasted good! But there are even bigger concerns looming as the re-fitted theme park, reopened after 22 years, proves to be just as deceptive as its predecessor when a new attraction backfires! Chris Pratt is brought in as a dino-trainer when the “Indominus” Rex, a hybrid creation, shows signs of superior intelligence that threatens to shut things down. As the day-to-day administrator, Bryce Dallas Howard obviously has a history with Pratt and it becomes a run through the jungle, a la “the Most Dangerous Game,” to avoid being trampled. Director Colin Trevorrow previous film Safety Not Guaranteed was surprising, well-paced science fiction; this one isn't.
Spy PDF Print E-mail
Written by David T. Lindsay   
ImageSpy [R]: “I warned you, you gummy sick Swiss motherfucker!” Now that's dialog not usually heard from most secret agents, but then Susan Cooper isn’t most secret agents. In fact, she’s tied to her desk in the basement at CIA headquarters as an analyst for agents, specifically the swoony field operative, Bradley Fine, played by Jude Law. Circumstances lead to her going deep cover as a Mary Kay sales rep to thwart an international weapons deal where Rose Byrne is selling a nuke to terrorists. OK, its a Bond spoof with Melissa McCarthy as Cooper, aka Amber Valentine, sometimes called Karen Walker, that poses the question what would happen if Miss Moneypenny became a field agent?  Its an upbeat role with Jackie Chan-style kitchen utensil fights, help from Miranda Hart as her gawky sidekick with a 50 Cent fascination but the only problem is believing for one second that this matronly duo have a chance against villains capable of busting ankles or blow-torching opponents. Still, it’s one of McCarthy's more tolerable roles along with St. Vincent.
Dope PDF Print E-mail
Written by David T. Lindsay   
ImageDope [R]: Straight-A student Malcolm along with bandmates Diggy and Jib are outcasts in the Bottom, a rough-ass neighborhood in Engelwood, California. Interested in old school rap and skateboarding and Manga comics, their days are spent contemplating college and practicing their brand of punk rock while Bloods steal tennis shoes and dope dealers swipe bicycles. Asked to attend a dealer’s birthday bash, they find themselves in possession of a backpack loaded with Molly (Ecstasy), instructed to sell it off! Hoping to enter Harvard, Malcolm isn’t one to let the world get the best of him and proceeds to navigate around the limits imposed by the community. Part Ferris Bueller, part Breaking Bad, both Shameik Moore (Malcolm) and A$AP Rocky (the dealer) make their mark.
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