This past Tuesday, Aug. 11, saw the DVD release of a little film called Lonely Street. This information is of special note to Albuquerque residents because it’s based on the book by former Albuquerque Tribune columnist Steve Brewer. It was directed by Albuquerque native Peter Ettinger (whose short “The Phoenix” captured first place in the 2000 Alibi Short Film Fiesta). Part of it was even shot right here in the Duke City. The film is based on the first of Brewer’s popular Bubba Mabry mystery/comedy novels. Lonely Street stars comedian Jay Mohr as gullible Albuquerque P.I. Bubba Mabry, who’s hired by a still-living Elvis Presley (Robert Patrick) to recover some long-lost demo tapes. Order the film from Amazon.com, rent it from Netflix or just head to your local movie retailer for a copy. You can check out the trailer and get more info at www.lonelystreetthemovie.com.
Thanks to the ever-increasing worldwide domination of the Hollywood product, we don’t see a lot of films coming out of Mexico these days. Science-fiction films even less so. You’d have to go back to ... I don’t know, Santo vs. the Martian Invasion in 1967 to find a notable piece of Mexican sci-fi. (Nacho Vigalondo’s excellent 2007 flick Timecrimes was Spanish.) That alone makes writer-director Alex Rivera’s debut feature Sleep Dealer something of a must-see. Despite its micro budget, this intriguing experiment in south-of-the-border cyberpunk hits some definite high notes.
For the last year or two, famed New Zealand filmmaker Peter Jackson (The Lord of the Rings trilogy) and unknown South African digital effects wizard Neill Blomkamp had conspired to produce and direct (respectively) a film based on the Halo video game franchise. For whatever arcane Hollywood reasons, the collaboration fell through. Unwilling to sit on their thumbs, Jackson and Blomkamp opted instead to shoot a feature-length version of Blomkamp’s celebrated short sci-fi film “Alive in Joburg.”
Last week, ABC Media Productions announced it was firing the hosts of the long-running cinema review series “At the Movies.” It wasn’t a particularly shocking announcement. Since the departure of original hosts Gene Siskel and Roger Ebert, a string of co-hosts have worked their way through the show’s balcony seats. Ben Lyons and Ben Mankiewicz—collectively known as “The Bens”—were only the latest, added to the show last season. Ratings took a drop, and the duo will now be replaced by A.O. Scott, co-chief film critic of the New York Times, and Chicago Tribune critic Michael Phillips. No big deal. Happens all the time. So what’s with all the celebratory cheering?