Posts by Nick Spacek

Documentaries RED WHITE & WASTED and DTF Provide a Dark View of Human Behavior

Over the last couple of weeks, I’ve found myself diving into each and every oddball suggestion that finds its way into my inbox. Bigfoot movie? Sure. Weeklong festival coverage? Let’s do it. Potentially awful theatrical release? Fuck it. However, what seems to keep grabbing my attention are the numerous documentaries I’ve seen over the last month. Given the fact that many of them deal with social situations, I’m guessing the appeal is simply viewing experiences which, right now, seem like visiting another planet. Granted, there is a bit of a sliding scale. It’s a vast difference between the recent Vinyl
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Shawn Foree of Digital Leather on the Sonic Change-Up of New Wave Gold

The latest album by Shawn Foree under the name Digital Leather, New Wave Gold, comes as the musician is approaching two decades of making music. It’s a bit of a change-up from the more raw, electronic garage punk for which Foree has become known, with a warmer, more organic feel to the recordings. Digital Leather hasn’t necessarily mellowed, but it’s definitely had some of the rough edges rounded off on this album, out Friday via No Coast Recordings. I hopped on the phone to speak with Foree about the new album. Do you even know what number album New Wave
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Fantasia 2020: The Paper Tigers is a Charming Kung Fu Redemption Story

Last week saw the world premiere of The Paper Tigers, Tran Quoc Bao’s debut feature, at Fantasia Fest. The film is a kung fu comedy with real heart behind all the kicks and jokes. Like a combination of Mystery Team and Crippled Avengers, with a soupçon of every “coming out of a retirement for one last fight” film ever made, it’s a real delight. “Three childhood Kung Fu prodigies have grown into washed-up, middle-aged men – now one kick away from pulling their hamstrings. But when their master is murdered, they must juggle their dead-end jobs, dad duties, and overcome
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ANALOG ADVENTURES: Jackpot Records’ Record Store Day Releases

I get a lot of random records, tapes, and books in the mail, because publicists forget that outlets for which I used to work aren’t around anymore, or someone finds the address hidden on my website, or… whatever. This is a way to keep them from piling up uselessly in the corner of the office. For those unaware, Record Store Day was pushed back from April, then again to June, and now it’s a series of “drops” taking place at the end of August, September, and October. This allows for greater social distancing for those who want to join in
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ANALOG ADVENTURES: ORG Music’s Record Store Day Releases

I get a lot of random records, tapes, and books in the mail, because publicists forget that outlets for which I used to work aren’t around anymore, or someone finds the address hidden on my website, or… whatever. This is a way to keep them from piling up uselessly in the corner of the office. For thems what isn’t aware, Record Store Day was pushed back from April, then again to June, and now it’s a series of “drops” taking place at the end of August, September, and October. This allows for greater social distancing for those who want to
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Fantasia 2020: The Oak Room Tells, Rather Than Shows, and That’s a Good Thing

The Oak Room, director Cody Calahan’s film from a script by Peter Genoway, is a very small movie with big results. The Canadian blue-collar noir features only five actors with any major dialogue, yet feels grander than the two bars in which it takes place. “On a snowy night in a small Canadian town, Paul (Peter Outerbridge) has just closed up his bar when a young man named Steve (RJ Mitte) walks in the door — carrying a lot of baggage. The shared history between the two results in significant tension before Steve says he’s got a hell of a
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Director Steve Rudzinski on his Low-Budget Gem, CarousHELL, Now on Tubi

My favorite recommendation for lists of underseen genre movies is always director Steve Rudzinski’s 2016 slasher, CarousHELL. The absolutely nutso film is about Duke, a carousel horse who’s fed up being sat on, and decides to escape and seek vengeance on people of his town. It’s hilarious, weird, violent, and clever, but up until recently, you couldn’t track it down without picking up a copy directly from Rudzinski’s website. Thankfully, it’s now out of DVD from Wild Eye Releasing, and is streaming on free-with-ads service Tubi, so I took the opportunity to reach out to Rudzinski to talk all things
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Fantasia 2020: Shinichiro Ueda’s Special Actors Is Fun, Joyous Entertainment

Special Actors, director Shinichiro Ueda’s follow-up to the surprise smash hit, One Cut of the Dead, channels that film’s energy and spirit of joie de vivre while being something else entirely. Those expecting a repeat of One Cut‘s halfway flip might be disappointed, but thankfully, Ueda’s not interested in turning himself into an M. Night Shyamalan, reliant on recreating his early successes through increasingly-convoluted surprises. Hopefully. I’ll explain why in a minute. “Kazuto is not a typical actor…actually, he’s not an actor at all! He’s just a timid young guy who regularly faints from stress, hopelessly impressed with the psychic
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Fantasia 2020: Survival Skills Plays With All Sorts of Conventions

Writer/director Quinn Armstrong’s Survival Skills is exactly the sort of VHS worship which I can absolutely get behind. Taking the visual aesthetic of grainy, worn-out video, replete with tracking issues, and combining it with acting which contrasts overt enthusiasm with wooden roboticism, Survival Skills uses its opening scenes to set you up and flip you around. “Survival Skills is a lost police training video from 1988, which tells the story of Jim, a rookie cop who gets in over his head when he tries to resolve a domestic violence case outside the law.” Armstrong’s film is all about the set-up,
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Fantasia 2020: Clapboard Jungle Offers Insight Into a Different Aspect of Filmmaking

Director Justin McConnell’s documentary, Clapboard Jungle, tackles the side of filmmaking not frequently explored – the financial and business aspect of an industry most usually looked at from the creative angle. Thanks to McConnell’s many years in the indie horror trenches, along with the wide swathe of individuals with which he manages to speak, the end result is something that’s both personal and a series of lessons for the burgeoning filmmaker. “An emotional and introspective journey following five years in the life and career of an independent filmmaker, supported by dozens of interviews, posing one question: how does an indie
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