By Dennis Tkach. The World Of Entertainment According To Me.
Anyone who has followed my past rants and rails will know that I rarely go to the movie theatres anymore. I am so tired of shouting into the wind about the ridiculous escalating costs involved of admissions and the even more ludicrous expense incurred when visiting the smiling minimum wage youth brigade across the confectionary counter who take great pleasure who follow their unseen masters Machiavellian decree to sodomize your wallets and purses.
I would like to offer reviews of current movies, but please forgive me if I offer up my recommendations based on a thorough, meticulous process of researching what others have to say.
I listen to the comments of friends and family who are willing to pay the big screen robber barons for their digital date nights. I also read the reviews of critics for whom I have great respect, (who never have to pay for their admissions.) I will endure delays in feeding my eyes, albeit at times with patience strained to the max, until I can ‘rent’ them at my local ‘red box’ for a couple of bucks, or wait a few months until they pop up on Netflix. Yah, I may be cheap, but I am also principled.
Ergo, on the subject of recommended movies that have fled the big screen for DVD or digital-ease: my humble nod of approval goes to the following big three from this summer’s fare. Star Trek – Into Darkness, World War Z, and ‘The Lone Ranger’.
A fickle mistress. She can slap you in the face with a seemingly endless stream of repetitive commercials designed, by en large, to cause one to blow chunks rather than inform. This Babylonian trollop recreated by ‘the networks’ loves to infect you with their own designer form of mind cancer. It attacks by slowly creeping up the minutes of advertising per hour until we will all soon be able to take as many fridge or toilet breaks as we want without missing any of an actual show. Believe me 30/30 is well on it’s way.
Video Vampirella will also voraciously suck at your intelligence with banal, brain numbing reality shows that seek (and unfortunately succeed) in convincing you that trailer trash people like the Kardoucheans are actually luminaries to be admired and idolized. AND, just when we, the minority intelligentsia of couch potato land wake up and start screaming ‘enough already!’ and stand ready to throw the remote at her 1080 DPI face, this same pixilating vixen will suddenly blow in your ear, curl your toes, cause you to pop a mental woodie and intoxicate you with a masterpiece of mesmerizing magic.
Such was the case with a BBC offering entitled “Broadchurch”. If you never had the opportunity to catch this amazing 8 episode (6 hour) murder mystery the first time around, do your self a huge favor and catch it when it reruns on Netflix in October.
I love the telly story-makers from Britain, who for the most part, have never subscribed to the ‘Hollywood’ ‘New York’ or ashamedly, ‘Vancouver’ image making belief that Barbie Doll cookies and Pierce Brosnan clones, actually resemble real people who live on your street.
In this gem of film noir, “Broadchurch”, like Season One of ‘The Killing’, you will find people that look like real people to whom we can actually relate. “Hey, that beer bellied, crooked toothed guy really does look like my neighbor!” The story swirls around messy haired, unshaven faces, bleary-eyed cops and townspeople who don masks of raw and sincere emotions. Emotions stretched to the breaking point by the seemingly senseless murder of a young boy. We find ourselves captivated by the revelations of ordinary people who have more skeletons in the closet than Vincent Price.
There are no ‘Dirty Harrys’ in Broadchurch, telling villains to ‘make my day’. Instead we are introduced to two of the series’ central characters, a pair of diametrically opposite but very ordinary looking, emotionally and physically flawed police officers. Throughout the almost entirely unrecognizable ensemble cast of actors, I could not find one, major or minor, who did not masterfully play their parts as the townspeople of this hitherto sleepy town located on the picturesque coast of Dorset. ‘Hitherto sleepy’ until the body of an eleven-year old boy is found strangled on a deserted stretch of beach.
I know that Hitchcock in his heaven would give his jowls a jelly shake of deep approval for what I consider to be the finest ITV/BBC offering since The Killing. When the last episode unfolds, I guarantee the identity of the murderer and the motive will catch you completely off guard. Watch for it and remember that the bubbles that will tickle your fancy come from the champagne flute of your favorite entertainment critic. Me. :o)
Because of wonder years I had the privilege of working in the music and entertainment industry, and of recent vintage, due to the fact that I have a son who is an integral part of one of Canada’s hottest rising indie bands, my interest and thirst for tapping into what is currently filling the music scene has remained unabated (despite the encroachment of the curmudgeonary stamp of age.)
Recently in scanning the ethernet through the marvelous powers of my iMac, I have watched and listened to dozens of single artists and groups, purveyors of all manner of melodial substance. I have, like all well versed talent scouts with a golden ear, attuned my senses and sensibilities to sifting through the dross and mediocrity of music land in search of those whom I truly hope that the fickle finger of Fate will bless with celebratory recognition.
Here then are some names of artists who have truly interested and at times, amazed me. Google them and see if you do not agree. If you don’t, what can I say, other than call your musical taste buds into serious question. Remember the key to success in the field of music lies in the artist creating what is known as ‘hooks’. Repetitive, interesting, captivating, either in lyrics, melody, sounds that ‘hook’ your interest and stroke your ‘like’ zone. It also helps to have a distinctive voice that will separate one from the choir.
Hip-Hop. This has never been one of my favorite genres of music, but I would draw your attention to an artist by the name of ‘Waymond’, aka ‘Apollo Flow’ from Norfolk, Virginia. His roots are definitely R & B and his ability to blend this into hip-hop is quite unique.
Southern Rock. In the tradition of Z Z Top and Creedence Clearwater Revival, give a listen to a group from San Antonio, Texas called The Heroine. Listen to ‘Comin’ Home’ off their latest album ‘Playing For Keeps’.
Pop / Dance. From Stockholm, Sweden, comes a duo by the name of Jos and Gab. Yah, they are typical blonde Scandinavian types, on the face of it, slickly being promoted as pretty faces. BUT, this ABBA influenced pair really do have a blend of talent and chops that have made them a big name on the European pop and dance club scene. Perhaps one day this Viking catamaran will set sail for the Americas. Until then, google them out and find out why I give them four groovy stars.
Country. Probably the most competitive of all fields of music, especially when one considers the size and relevance of America’s heartland in the music scheme of things. This past week I listened to a dozen new, aspiring country artists. Each have their local followings, and each has enjoyed a certain level of success to date. BUT, of all those whose internet hopefuls searching for star recognition there is only one who I feel with the proper management could become another Garth Brooks. His name is Jessie McPherson, a man who has obviously paid his dues on a well-traveled circuit around the town of Iron River, Michigan. His song, “Let It Burn” is memorable and I sincerely wish him well.
Talent is not enough to make it to the bigs. One must also be kissed by serendipity, being in the right place at the right time. It is also critical that hopefuls can capture the interest and abilities of razor sharp mentors and effective career shaping managers like Bruce Allen or David Foster. Oh yes, there is also that enigmatic quantum factor known as ‘the public’. Only they, todays Caesars of the entertainment arena are capable of flicking thumbs up… or thumbs down. For me, the aforementioned artists are definitely worthy of holding the digit on high, towards an entertainment heaven that always has room for more stars.
Until next time, let’s all give a cheer for good old hedonism!
Dennis Tkach is a Chilliwack resident, currently residing in Fort McMurray, who is well-traveled and has a long history in the entertainment business. A music aficionado, a voracious reader and world traveler, his columns can be found on all three Today Media Group community websites regularly.
If you have something you think Dennis should write about send him an email at: Dennis@TodayMedia.ca