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SXSW 2014 Review: Take Me To The River
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Take Me to the River
Directed by Martin Shore
Cast: Terrence Howard, Mavis Staples, William Bell, Snoop Dogg, Otis Clay, Lil P-Nut, Bobby “Blue” Bland, Booker T. Jones, Yo Gotti, Frayser Boy
EGBA Entertainment

Directed by Martin Shore, Take Me to the River is a documentary celebrating the inter-generational and inter-racial influence of the Memphis sound in the face of pervasive discrimination and segregation.

Take Me to the River brings multiple generations of Memphis and Mississippi Delta musicians together, documenting the creative process of recording a new album. This historic album, which features artists like Snoop Dogg, Mavis Staples, and Charlie Musselwhite, re-imagine the utopia of racial and generational collaboration of Memphis in its heyday.

Narrated by Terrence Howard, the film features performances from William Bell, Otis Clay, Bobby “Blue” Bland, Yo Gotti, Bobby Rush, Frayser Boy, The North Mississippi All-Stars, and many more.

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SXSW 2014 Review: Beginning With The End
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Beginning with the End
Directed & Produced by David Marshall
BSP Films
Release date: March 10, 2014 (SXSW)

“I wished to live deliberately, to confront only the essential facts of life… and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived.” – Henry David Thoreau

At the Harley School in Rochester, New York, a group of high school seniors enroll in an elective class called “Hospice,” where young people tend for those whose lives are ending before their very eyes – and they know it.

On the first day of class, the students share their own experiences with death. From there, the students learn practical skills such as how to fluff a pillow, how to turn a person from their back to their side, and how to assist with feeding and giving care to those who are unable to care for themselves.

Beginning with the End, directed by Emmy Award-winning filmmaker David Marshall, follows teacher Bob Kane (not to be confused with the creator of Batman) and a group of teenagers who are volunteering as caregivers to dying patients at local comfort care homes.

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SXSW 2014 Review: That Guy Dick Miller
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That Guy Dick Miller
Director: Elijah Drenner
Cast: Dick Miller, Joe Dante, Roger Corman, William Sadler, Corey Feldman, John Sayles, Mary Woronov, Robert Picardo, Zach Galligan
World Premiere | End Films
Not Rated | 91 Minutes
Release Date: March 7, 2014 (SXSW)

Dick Miller is the last of the great American character actors. Whether sharing the screen with Nicholson, Hanks, Schwarzenegger, or The Ramones, Dick has been stealing scenes since his screen debut in 1955.

Miller has worked with some of the great directors: Scorsese, Corman, Dante, Cameron, Demme, and more. If you’re an avid moviegoer, you definitely know his face, but few know his name and even fewer know his story: an aspiring writer turned accidental actor.

Directed by Elijah Drenner, That Guy Dick Miller documents Miller’s funny and unexpected story, featuring interviews from the directors, producers, co-stars, and friends who have helped make him Hollywood’s leading “that guy.”

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DVD Review: The Captains Close Up
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The Captains Close Up
DVD
Directed by William Shatner
Starring William Shatner, Patrick Stewart, Avery Brooks
Entertainment One
Release Date: August 13, 2013

No one ever involved with the Star Trek franchise has benefited from its enduring popularity and cultural legacy as much as William Shatner. And why shouldn’t he? This is Captain James Tiberius Kirk we’re talking about here, one of the most popular and recognizable heroic figures ever created. Shatner saw his own fortunes as a struggling young actor with great talent and promise rise considerably in the 1960’s when he signed on to play Kirk after the original pilot episode of Trek with Jeffrey Hunter as Captain Christopher Pike was poorly received. The show may have only lasted three seasons in the first place, the third of which was made possible by one of the most effective fan letter-writing campaigns in the history of civilization, but its countless television and feature film spin-offs helped the franchise become the cornerstone of a geek nation that stretches to every corner of the planet and one day possibly to worlds yet unexplored. Shatner is one of the show’s greatest champions, its most iconic character and star, and to this day continues on as a tireless promoter for Star Trek‘s undying themes and the power of its fans and alumni to inspire greatness in themselves and others. Plus, those residual checks must be pretty nice.

Most recently Shatner wrote and directed The Captains Close Up, a 5-part series for the cable channel Epix that expanded on the intentions of his 2011 documentary feature The Captains. Each of the five episodes were devoted to interviewing and profiling the actors who played Starfleet captains in the original Trek and its four television spin-offs and multitude of big screen sci-fi adventures. The entire series has been released on DVD courtesy of Entertainment One, and with a combined running time of two-and-a-half hours on one disc makes binge watching essential and well worth the time of any Trek devotee.

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SXSW 2013 Movie Review: ‘Medora’
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Medora
Director: Andrew Cohn, Davy Rothbart
Cast: Dylan McSoley, Rusty Rogers, Robby Armstrong, Chaz Cowles, Justin Gilbert, Corey Hansen, Logan Farmer, Josh Deering, Rudie Crane, Dennis Pace

In the small town of Medora, Indiana, life revolves around high school basketball – but what happens to a community when their beloved team can’t win a single game?

Decades ago, Medora was a booming rural community with a thriving middle class, but the factories and farms have since closed and the population has dwindled. Medora has become something of a ghost town, riddled with trailer parks and abandoned businesses and one of the smallest schools in the nation.

Directed by Andrew Cohn and Davy Rothbart, Medora follows the down-but-not-out Medora Hornets, capturing the players’ stories on and off the court as they seek to avoid another winless season.

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