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  • 48 to film — behind the scenes at the 48 Hour Film Project

    By Amanda Mooney There’s a lot that goes into producing a film, and unless you are a filmmaker you really have no idea. Writing, casting, finding a location, shooting, and editing; each step of the process can take days, months, and sometimes years to complete. Can you imagine doing it ALL in just 48 hours? The 48 Hour Film Project is an annual competition that takes place all over the world in various cities. According to Mike Madigan, head of the Detroit 48 Hour chapter, the city is one of the largest participating in terms of the number of teams. The competing teams go in blind as to what kind of film they will be producing, with no creative planning beyond getting a cast and crew together, Madigan explained. “They pick a genre out of a hat, and they get a line, a prop, and a character. And they have to incorporate that within a short film, that’s usually between 4 to 7 minutes long. And they have the timeframe of doing it all within 48 hours,” said Madigan, “So all the creative process of it all has to happen within that 48 hour–writing a script, putting it together, editing–to […]

    The post 48 to film — behind the scenes at the 48 Hour Film Project appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • Passalacqua debut dark new project ‘Church: Revival’ at new Hamtramck performance space

    Church: Revival is the new project by local rap duo Passalacqua (aka Bryan Lackner and Brent Smith), but it’s more than just a new Passalacqua release. The rappers teamed up with siblings Jax Anderson (frontwoman of rockers Flint Eastwood) and Seth Anderson, who together form the songwriting team called Syblyng (naturally). The result is a cycle of songs that promises to be darker than Passalacqua’s material so far. The project will make a live debut on Saturday, July 26 at a brand new venue space at the Detroit Bus Co.’s building Eight & Sand, and they will premiere the Right Bros.-directed video for the track “Baptism” as well. Other performances include Tunde Olaniran and Open Mike Eagle, and DJ sets by Nothing Elegant, Dante LaSalle, and Charles Trees. We met up the two duos at Eight & Sand to check out the new space and to talk about the project with all parties involved. Metro Times: How long have you been working together? Jax Anderson: Seth and I are constantly writing songs together. We want to push in the direction of becoming songwriters more frequently. This is our first project that we took on to co-write everything together. We’re basically just a songwriting entity. We won’t play live that […]

    The post Passalacqua debut dark new project ‘Church: Revival’ at new Hamtramck performance space appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • PETA offers to pay overdue water bills for Detroiters willing to go vegan

    #150207742 / gettyimages.com As locals continue to flood Detroit streets to protest the city’s ongoing water debacle, one national organization is hoping to be part of the solution — that is, for a dietary price. People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, or PETA as the organization is more commonly known, has offered to pay outstanding water bills for 10 Detroiters who are willing to go vegan for one month. “Vegan meals take far less of a toll on the Earth’s resources,” PETA representatives said in a recent press release. “It takes about 2,500 gallons of water to produce just a pound of meat but only about 155 gallons of water to produce a pound of wheat.” PETA President Ingrid E. Newkirk adds, “Vegan meals are also a cost-effective way to help prevent health problems such as diabetes, high blood pressure, and heart conditions, the last thing that someone who is struggling financially needs to deal with.” Folks interested in participating are asked to send a copy of their most recent overdue water bill and their written pledge to go vegan for one month to PETA Attn: Detroit Water at 501 Front St., Norfolk, VA 23510 before Aug. 1.

    The post PETA offers to pay overdue water bills for Detroiters willing to go vegan appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • Dinner Club Does Brunch

    Sure, The Dinner Club, a regularly occurring pop-up that takes places at the Storefront Gallery  in Ferndale (and other locations, occasionally), usually happens around dinner time, but this Sunday, July 27, there will be a special edition: Brunch Chef Matthew Baldridge, who’s resume includes stints at such Detroit greats as Cliff Bell’s, The Rattlesnake Club, and Seldom Blues, has crafted a menu of French-inspired items that employ locally procured ingredients. Brunch includes four courses where guests will be treated to such delights as cocoa, cinnamon, chili-spiced creamy grits with pickled strawberries, cocoa puffs and strawberry-infused syrup, a smoked gouda potato gallette with Faygo Root Beer braised pork belly, quail egg and Faygo Root Beer syrup, banana marscapone-filled French toast with fresh raspberries, whipped cream and balsamic syrup, and champagne-soaked strawberries. It is also important to note that brunch is BYOChampagne. Baldridge, along with The Storefront Gallery’s Derek John and Lilacpop Studio owner and artist Janna Coumoundouros, curate the event that includes an art show, a great playlist, and visuals. Brunch services are at 10:30 a.m. and 1 p.m. and last about two hours, only 20 seats are available at each service. The cost is $25 plus a service fee. The Storefront Gallery […]

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  • Jurassic 5 holds onto what’s golden

      By Ashley Zlatopolsky It’s been a little over twenty years since iconic ‘90s alternative hip-hop group Jurassic 5 first formed in Los Angeles’ Good Life club. Widely regarded as a pivotal influence in the decade’s underground hip-hop movement by critics and fans alike, the six-piece crew consisting of two DJs (Cut Chemist and DJ Nu-Mark) and four MCs (Akil, Zaakir, Marc 7 and Chali 2na) were well on their way to becoming one of hip-hop’s greatest and most powerful acts of all time, ranking alongside names such as Public Enemy and N.W.A. with socially-conscious lyrics and smooth beats paired with smart sampling. But in 2004, Cut Chemist left the group to pursue a solo career, and in 2007 Jurassic 5 completely called it quits after nearly 15 years of music. And that was it for the crew until 2013. After almost seven years apart (nine for Cut Chemist), Jurassic 5 reunited and re-emerged stronger than ever before with a new flair, seasoned attitude, and more vibrant energy at Coachella Music Festival, the group’s first show with the original six members since Cut Chemist split. During their performance, Jurassic 5 gave fans a memorable concert revisiting all the classic feel-good tracks […]

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  • Detroit Riverwalk west extension opens from Riverfront Towers to Rosa Parks

    Dogs of Detroit have new territory to trot: Yesterday, the Detroit Riverfront Conservancy held a soft opening for a 20-acre westward extension of the Riverwalk. Part of a planned two-mile track of the West Riverwalk, the new span runs from the Riverfront Towers to Rosa Parks Boulevard, says Mark Pasco, director of communications for the conservancy. “It’s going to be great,” Pasco says. “It’s a wide open green space. It’s going to be great for activities.” The endgame for the Riverwalk, Pasco notes, is to extend the walkway from the Ambassador Bridge to Gabriel Richard Park, just past the MacArthur Bridge — about a 5.5. mile route. The new westward expansion is wider than most of the walkway, about 30 feet, says Pasco — a decision made by the conservancy to accommodate fisherman that previously frequented the area. “We knew … once it opened up they’d want to fish there again, so we made the Riverwalk itself wider,” Pasco says. The conservancy will hold a grand opening in late September, which will include “food and music and activities,” Pasco says, though no official date has been set.

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Review: Mama

Leap of wraith. Horror film is formula-filled

Photo: N/A, License: N/A

Mama: Not a real horror film so much as a sporadic and unmotivated series of jolts.


Mama C

If you kick your cinema spookfest off with a title card that reads “once upon a time,” you’d better deliver the fairy tale goods. Executive producer Guillermo del Toro’s own work (Pan’s Labyrinth, Hellboy) has mixed horror and fable to good effect, providing scares while enriching his fantasies with political subtext. Unfortunately, first-time feature filmmaker Andy Muschietti’s Mama isn't really worthy of the del Toro imprint. An expansion of Muschietti’s three-minute short, the movie (which Muschietti co-scripted with his sibling, Barbara Muschietti, and Neil Cross), while effectively creepy, is formulaic and woefully underdeveloped. In many ways, it feels like a modern update of last year’s Edwardian-era ghost story, The Woman in Black. But instead of a grieving and soulful Daniel Radcliffe, we get Jessica Chastain as a dark-haired, beer-swilling, tattooed anti-mom who wears a Misfits T-shirt and plays bass in all-girl punk band.

The film opens with a businessman killing his wife and fleeing into the snowy mountains with his two young daughters. Speeding along icy roads, the car crashes, stranding the trio. In the woods they find an abandoned cottage, oddly decked out with Eames-era furniture. Mad with despair, dad decides this is where he’ll put an end to his family —only to be stopped by a shadowy force. Flash forward five years. The girls, 8-year-old Victoria and 5-year-old Lily, are found in a dirty, feral state. Their dad’s twin brother Lucas (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, aka Jamie Lannister of Game of Thrones) and his girlfriend Annabel (Chastain) agree to take them in with the help of an ambitious psychiatrist, who sees a unique opportunity for research. Everybody assumes that the girls survived on their own and need only to be gently reintroduced to society. Unfortunately, that’s not quite the case. Something took care of them all those years, a possessive and vengeful wraith they call Mama, and it has decided to move in with them.

There’s a rich vein of maternal instinct and parental fear to mine here, but none of it is exploited —literally or allegorically. Lucas and Annabel are shallow characters who aren’t given much of an opportunity to explore, fight over, or fail at being care-givens. Similarly, Victoria’s guilt over embracing her new parents and the friction that results from Lily’s decision to remain loyal to Mama goes nowhere consequential. Instead, their apprehensions and worries are papered over with witless exchanges, story contrivances and unexplained events. The Muschiettis and Cross never convincingly expand on their original short, choosing to present a backstory we’ve seen before, plot mechanics that are beyond formulaic and supporting characters, like the psychiatrist, who serve only to explain what’s going on. As each contrivance piles on —a vindictive aunt, stolen files, a handy coma, a records office where dark secrets are kept, conveniently delivered dreams that fill us in on Mama’s origin —it becomes clear that the filmmakers are just padding an otherwise sporadic and unmotivated series of jolts.

In terms of scares, Mama is of the “what’s under the bed?” variety. There are vulvic orifices, big black moths, and sickening organic sounds. But the aesthetic mostly falls somewhere between the del Toro-produced Spanish horror The Orphanage and J-horror like The Ring or The Grudge. Muschietti does a decent job of conveying the sad eeriness of the situation, and strikes an effective balance between startles and suspense —even with his PG-13 rating. If a grotesquely contorted, bone-thin, scraggly-haired ghoul rushing at the camera gives you the heebee-jeebees, then Mama may provide enough creeps to justify a night at the cineplex. But if you’re looking for the kind of fantastical weirdness that del Toro is known for, the kind that haunts your dreams, you’re bound to be disappointed.