Eat That Question: Frank Zappa In His Own Words
While it’s been over 20 years since the great Frank Zappa left the planet, there’s been surprisingly little in the media about his life and times. Director Thorsten Schutte finds a nice way of getting Frank back in the public eye, through a solid documentary featuring Zappa interviews, concert footage and appearances. Like The Beatles Anthology before it, Eat That Question tells the artist’s story by using his own words. I’m a big fan, so I’ve seen some of the footage Schutte uses, like Zappa playing bicycle with Steve Allen, and Frank’s final interview before dying from cancer. Thankfully, Schutte, with help from the Zappa Family Trust, has unearthed a lot of rare footage—footage even the most ardent fan might not be familiar with. This isn’t a concert film, but it does have some great concert moments, enough that fans of his music will be satisfied. The fact that Zappa was a brilliant philosopher and extremely wise man was sometimes lost in the controversy he could cause with his lyrics, especially in the late ’70s. Schutte’s film gives us plenty of Zappa talking, and he’s simply one of the most engaging speakers who ever walked the planet. It’s also quite a kick to see this gathering of interviews and interviewers, some of whom Frank didn’t exactly hit it off with. If he didn’t like the interviewer, he still made the session interesting. I found myself missing the man very much when the movie was over.
3 Star Trek BeyondWhile the latest Star Trek film lacks a little bit in soul and story cohesiveness, it scores high on the zip factor and introduces a creepy new villain. The third film in the franchise’s reboot might be the weakest chapter featuring the newish cast, but it’s still a lot of fun. J.J. Abrams stepped down from the conn to direct his revamped Star Wars, relegating himself to a producer’s role. In stepped Justin Lin, best known for making cars jump between skyscrapers in the Fast & Furious franchise. It’s no surprise that Lin’s take lacks a certain depth that Abrams managed to bring to his two installments. It’s also not a surprise that some of the action scenes motor along with the efficiency of a Dodge Challenger Hellcat. The film picks up with James T. Kirk (Chris Pine) and his crew in the midst of their five-year mission. Kirk, as he did in Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, is starting to get a little bored. He’s up for an admiral’s position, and might soon find himself grounded to a desk job. The movie has barely started when the U.S.S. Enterprise is attacked by thousands of marauding spaceships, and the crew finds themselves shipwrecked on a sparsely inhabited planet. Unfortunately, one of those few is Krall (Idris Elba), a nasty looking alien with evil intentions involving an ancient weapon. The crew must reform to band against Krall, get off the foreboding planet and save the Federation. What follows is a slightly above average Star Trek adventure that will satisfy fans while not necessarily blowing them away.
3 Into the ForestA couple of great actresses make a fair script movie-worthy in this apocalyptic thriller from writer-director Patricia Rozema. Ellen Page and Evan Rachel Wood star as Nell and Eva, two sisters living with their dad (Callum Rennie) in their home deep in the forest. One routine evening, they are enjoying the luxuries of modern civilization when, for some unknown reason, the power goes out. They react as people usually do to a power outage at first, busting out the flashlights and planning a trip for supplies. A mishap involving a car battery delays their trip, and when they finally make it into town, they discover the city has been swept of food and gasoline, with no end to the power outage in sight. Situations develop that lead to the girls living on their own, learning how to hunt for their own food, and fending for themselves. Page and Wood, two actresses who haven’t gotten many roles to match their talents lately, rip into this movie with everything they’ve got. Their work here is a major triumph, even though the movie feels a little routine at times. (Available for download and rent on iTunes and Amazon.com during a limited theatrical run.)