Cheer Up Charlies
"...Rarely has a movie been more urgently needed than Detroit, yet after delivering on its promise for nearly the entire first half, Detroit goes down in flames before it’s over. The film loses its way and its macrocosmic vision when it narrows its focus to tell a specific, factually based story about the hideous events that occurred at the Algiers Motel during the height of the Detroit riots in July 1967 – 50 years ago this summer..."
"...Starring: Edward Furlong, Giuseppe Andrews, James Debello, Sam Huntington, Lin Shaye, Melanie Lynskey, Natasha Lyonne and Shannon Tweed. Reactions to Detroit Rock City may fluctuate according to your degree of nostalgia for the Seventies..."
"...First released in 1973 and directed by a man who would later move on to the simple pleasures of Starsky and Hutch, this is grade-A prime silliness, a gooey dollop of cops and robbers Velveeta that manages to make Rudy Ray Moore's Avenging Disco Godfather look like an auteur-driven masterpiece by comparison. When a fundraising ball held by black gubernatorial challenger Clayton (the aptly named Challenger) is raided by a band of ski-masked hoods toting both CAR-15s and Luger pistols (how's that for diversity?), white Detroit Police Department Lt..."
"...Not that you can actually just “get the food part out of the way” when you’re talking about the Detroit-style pizza purveyed by Zane and Brandon, the Hunt Brothers. Because, listen, I haven’t checked to see what the Chronicle’s main food writers have to say about the subject in general, but, to me, there are several different kinds of pizza in this town and I have my favorites among them...."
"...Detroit has become TV's biggest body double. For years, thanks to Michigan's generous production incentives, the Motor City has attracted films and TV shows in production..."
"...Three years ago, we were asking, "Where in the world is Detroit?" It was then the drama of that title was hopscotching about the globe in noteworthy productions (Steppenwolf Theatre in Chicago, Royal National Theatre in London, Playwrights Horizons in New York City), racking up critical acclaim and significant honors for both play and playwright Lisa D'Amour: short-listed for the Pulitzer Prize, Obie Award for Best New American Play, Susan Smith Blackburn Prize finalist, co-recipient of the Steinberg Playwright Award. Since D'Amour honed her dramaturgical skills in our town in the late Nineties and early Aughties (The Shape of Air, 16 Spells to Charm the Beast, Nita & Zita, Anna Bella Eema, Slabber, Dress Me Blue/Window Me Sky), we were especially eager to see Detroit in Austin...."
"...5-ranked Texecutioners play host to No. 9 Detroit Derby Girls tonight..."
"...In a big boost going into next month's Western Regionals, the Texas Rollergirls' Texecutioners touring team ripped a hard-won 83-46 victory away from their No. 9-ranked guests, the Detroit Derby Girls last night..."
"...With a mayor fighting for permission to legally leave the state, a football team that just laid a goose egg on the 2008 season, and a once dominant auto industry now scraping their couches for quarters, Detroit’s hardly had the opportunity to stick out its collective chest and blow some smoke. That is unless you’re down with Detroit’s underground hip-hop scene, which has been fed a healthy dose of Black Milk's productions since 2005 and just hit the jackpot with the 25-year-old producer’s Tronic...."
"...Playwright/performance artist Lisa D'Amour is having a mobile year. Detroit, her play about backyards and entropy that was a Pulitzer Prize finalist in 2011, just opened off-Broadway, starring at least two actors you know well: David Schwimmer and Amy Ryan..."
"...Prepare to redraw all your maps. Starting next May, Detroit will be found in London..."
"...For years now, Detroit's name has been associated with urban decay, with the decline of American industry, and with desolation. It's almost too easy to forget it was once the fastest growing city in the world...."
"...It is this obsession that landed me in Detroit last month, despite a host of misgivings and the little fact that most of my belongings were on a truck somewhere between Austin, Texas, and New York City...."
"...St. Louis and Detroit – two honest-to-god sports towns, for the simple reason that without sports they would still be unsurveyed forestland with Native Americans and westward settlers doing battle atop bluffs and amid inlets, all quivers and gunpowder instead of beer and cars, preindustrial jerks instead of postmodern ones whose skirmishes would serve as sport themselves for the privileged few and their "aeroplanes" – will be watching baseball for the next week..."
"...Set in present-day Detroit, the film opens with a sequence that questionably foreshadows its ending, a ploy that backfires in terms of escalating the story’s overall suspense. Although it’s not exactly clear how things are going to end, it’s obvious from the get-go that the answer is: not well..."
"...Eve (Swinton) is living languorously in Tangier when she books a night flight to Detroit, to come to the side of her beloved Adam (Hiddleston), a musician who’s grown weary of the world and its sorry state. No new sounds or music please his ears, as might be fitting for a creature who’s heard it all before..."
"...It's a long way from Detroit to Austin. So when the Detroit Derby Girls came all that distance to take on the Texecutioners in their own house on Sunday, Sept..."
"...Starring: Michael Rapaport, Kevin Corrigan, Deshonn Castle, N'Bushe Wright and Ron Johnson. Winner of the 1992 Sundance Film Festival's Filmmaker's Award, Anthony Drazan's directorial debut is a scorching little story that examines the inherent hazards of an interracial romance that occurs in and around a Detroit high school..."
"...To their mutual disadvantage, both films come saddled with feeble scripts co-written by Luc Besson, the reigning auteur of mediocre action movies. The premise basically remains the same: Here, an undercover Detroit cop (Walker) and a street-smart convict (Belle, reprising his role in the first film) enter the no-man’s-land of the dystopian Brick Mansions – a walled-in neighborhood ruled by ruthless criminals – to detonate a neutron bomb stolen by a drug lord against whom both men harbor personal vendettas..."
"...There's a shadow hanging over the Detroit-born proto-punk band Death – but it's also the light that shines on it. Both light and dark came from David Hackney, eldest of the three Hackney brothers who formed the roaring outfit, and the one who never saw its rebirth...."
"...It’s a courageous but misguided move on Perry’s part; he has none of Freeman’s soulful, nuanced subtlety, and watching him display the gamut of emotions called for in Marc Moss and Kerry Williamson’s script is like watching the Hulk attempt Swan Lake. Set up as a prequel of sorts to the Freeman films, Alex Cross does make fine use of its Detroit locations, from tony Lakeview Drive mansions to the skeletal ruins of the former Michigan Theatre in debris-strewn downtown..."
"...Their heretofore anonymous riffs are now attached to faces and names. The movie gathers together the surviving band members -- Jack Ashford, Bob Babbitt, Joe Hunter, Uriel Jones, Joe Messina, Eddie Willis, and Johnny Griffith (who died earlier this week) -- to reflect and reminisce about those heady days of creating music in the tiny basement studio of Berry Gordy's Detroit “Home of the Hits” (until Gordy moved the operation to Los Angeles in 1972)..."
"...Rapper Emimen's film debut is, most notably, much better in almost every imaginable aspect than any of his hip-hop cohorts' previous efforts in the acting biz, but when you're up against the Bad Hip-Hop Film of the Month Club that's not saying much. The scrawny, adenoidal Em, with his blond buzz cut back to its natural muddy brown and looking for all the world like the most sullen teen ever to sneer his way across the bad side of the tracks to fame, fortune, and a car with more paint than rust, plays Jimmy “Rabbit” Smith, an aspiring rapper from the grim side of Detroit (is there any other side?) who, as 8 Mile opens, gets his chance to shine and rhyme at the local hip-hop club's weekly battle night..."
"...This scattershot movie mixes drama and comedy into an uneasy blend that muddles the honesty of each perspective and leaves behind a messy taste. The film wants to showcase the transcendent supremacy of the blood ties that unite a tempestuous Polish family in working-class Detroit..."
"...Forty-nine years and 11 months ago, five young Motor City musicians, high on LSD and communism, recorded one of rock’s most influential albums. Kick Out the Jams, captured live at Detroit’s Grande Ballroom, not only helped lay the groundwork for punk rock, it set the gold standard for music that’s loud and righteous...."
"...Supposedly set in an alternative world much like our own (I feel like we should just retire the word “dystopian” and call it a day), the film concerns one Cassius Green (Atlanta’s Stanfield), living in his uncle’s garage with his subversive girlfriend Detroit (Thompson, consistently stunning), and unemployed. When his friend hips him to a telemarketing gig, the title of the film becomes apparent as the scenes of his calls to annoyed recipients are hilariously depicted as he literally drops into their home..."
"...Releasing her first album in nine years on Feb. 3, Let Them Fall in Love, the Detroit gospel star tapes Austin City Limits on Sunday..."
"...”I can’t be pregnant. It’s not my style,” says perpetually bong, blow, and booze-loaded antiheroine Lou (Lyonne) to her presumed best pal Sadie (Sevigny) after a blotto night out at an abandoned Detroit warehouse bacchanal..."
"...After a prologue in which we see the gruesome effects of this curse, we meet Jay (Monroe), your average teenage girl living in the suburbs of Detroit. She and her sister Kelly (Sepe), and their small group of friends are whiling away the summer watching old monster movies and playing card games..."
"...The pointless reboot RoboCop is a castrated version of Paul Verhoeven’s grim, überviolent 1987 action film about a viciously murdered Detroit cop who is reconstructed as a machine that’s designed to bring law and order to a city on the verge of anarchy. Verhoeven’s film worked both within the genre – it may qualify as the best shoot-’em-up of the Reagan era – and as a subversive punch gleefully aimed at Eighties-era corporate greed, media manipulation, and political corruption, American style..."
"...The three Hackney brothers – Bobby, Dannis, and David – formed the band Death in the early Seventies, and it’s clear from the unearthed recordings that they were a proto-punk outfit that preceded the movement’s great outpouring later in the decade. That they were African-American minister’s kids from Detroit during an era when that city’s Motown Records ruled the pop airwaves only adds to the band’s legend as rock iconoclasts..."
"...Sparkle follows a music-industry hopeful getting her shine on, but there’s a more interesting movie percolating along the edges of the frame. American Idol alum Jordin Sparks plays the titular Sparkle, a sweet-tempered, churchgoing 19-year-old who writes R&B ballads on the sly in Detroit, circa 1968..."
"...(One bit of apocrypha had him committing self-immolation onstage.) Rodriguez was a bust in his native America. A Detroit street poet in cool-cat shades, whose music – sampled generously here – recalls Donovan, Dylan, and Nick Drake, was received rapturously by critics but never caught on..."
"...Macho men and their "fuel-injected suicide machines" (to quote Mad Max, which might as well be the bible on such matters) go head-to-head, again, only this time it's ecstatically, subversively gay: The barely coded transgressiveness of Fast Five is rambunctiously, jubilantly pro-mano-a-mano fun. It begins with a tasty-queasy dose of favela chic in Rio de Janeiro, where ex-con Dominic Toretto (Diesel) and his former FBI agent/now car-thief pal Brian O'Conner (Walker) angle to steal a trainload of priceless Detroit rolling stock for the promise of a fat payoff..."
"...Anyone expecting a free-pass date movie should be prepared to discuss weighty emotional issues, or, at the very least, Vaughn's crumbling career and this film's tentative resurrection thereof, after the credits roll. Vaughn plays Ronny, best friend and confidant to the high-strung Nick (James); together, they design greenish electro-car stuff for Detroit, but their company hasn't yet cracked Chrysler..."
"...It also benefits tremendously from Christopher Murphey's deliberate and fine script, which takes its time setting up the story and then hits all the right beats until it slips up in a puddle of sappiness mere minutes before the end of the film's lengthy running time. Jaden Smith, son of Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith, is fine and realistically precocious as 12-year-old Dre, who finds himself in Beijing after his mother (a smart, sassy, entirely momworthy performance from Henson) is transferred from their hometown of Detroit..."
"...In short, there aren’t many surprises here, and even if there were, they’d be low-lit and fuzzy (How She Move, which screened at last year's Sundance, wears its low budget on its sleeve; the upshot is a cast of unknowns who are naturals). Following the genre’s natural trajectory, this one culminates in Raya and Bishop teaming up for the annual Stepmonster Competition in Detroit, where the competition flies fast and furious in a montage that accents step’s astonishing meld of artistry and brute physicality (although any highlight reel must begin and end with a glorious slow pan of denim-clad booty)..."
"...Long is the film's saving grace in the acting department. Apart from the action sequences – which I am deliriously happy to report are many and fittingly involve old-school mayhem conceived and executed by real stuntmen and even more real Detroit iron (as opposed to the usual CGI trickery) – Live Free or Die Hard's appeal rests squarely on the interplay between Long and Willis..."
"...Starring: Anthony Mackie, Wesley Jonathan, Wayne Brady, Alecia Jai Fears, Kristen Wilson, Michael Kimbrew and Shelli Boone. Writer-director Preston Whitmore II's basketball film is a well-intentioned but utterly clichéd slice of Detroit life..."
"...Starring: Mark Wahlberg, Tyrese Gibson, Andre Benjamin, Garrett Hedlund, Terrence Howard, Josh Charles and Chiwetel Ejiofor. Considering that its principals are models, rappers, and model-rappers – and given that it’s scripted by a freshman and the writer of The Watcher (Paul Lovett and David Elliot, respectively) – you might not expect much from this late-summer actioner, which is neither fast nor furious and is set in snowbound Detroit..."
"...Ultimately, Cellular feels like a B-picture, but a smart, finely tuned one that wouldn’t have been out of place in Roger Corman’s mid-Seventies stable. The action here is literally nonstop, with enough twisted automotive metal to elicit shrieks of horror from Detroit, and the script surely can’t be faulted for not having enough nifty ideas jammed up its turbocharged backside..."
"...In its dark heart, Narc is a morality tale about the emotional dangers of going too far (in this case going too far in one's workplace), and the subtle shifting of identity and allegiance that idly bobs to the surface when focus is either ratcheted up too high or lost altogether. Make the workplace in question the Detroit Police Department's 4th Precinct and voila! -- disaster looms..."
"...They have become as much a part of his trademark as his punchy character names (here he plays Oren Boyd) and his signature ponytail (which he's shorn for Exit Wounds). The story is a Dirty Harry knockoff in which Detroit plainclothes cop Boyd saves the vice-president of the United States from a terrorist attack, although his questionable strategies (shoving the veep off a bridge into the water below) gets him bumped down to playing traffic cop in a lousy precinct..."
"...After all, everyone's heard of Sandy Koufax, the great Dodgers pitcher who was also Jewish. But the earlier, and perhaps more historically noteworthy, successes of Detroit Tiger Hank Greenberg are today not common knowledge outside of fans of the sport..."
"...Peter Weller must have realized that there was little for this RoboCop to do except lumber through scenes trying to figure out which side he's fighting on, so Weller was replaced by Burke as the titular hero. Once again, there's mayhem in the streets of Detroit but no one except the affected neighborhood seems to notice..."
"...It's the prototypical chase film, complete with a misappropriated suitcase full of cocaine and several groups of killers on the trail of our heroes. Slater is Clarence Worley, a Detroit comic-shop employee who suddenly finds himself caught up in a whirlwind romance with the blonde Alabama (Arquette), a gorgeous hooker (“I've only been on the job four days,” she tells him) and the object of his sudden, unprecedented True Romance..."
"...This is rock group the Cure's second feature-length concert film following The Cure in Orange. Filmed with 16 cameras over the course of two nights in Detroit during their recent “Wish Tour,” The Cure Show features many of the group's most popular songs...."
"...Matthew McConaughey may be one of Austin's favorite film stars, but he'll be bringing a little slice of Detroit here next month, with a special red carpet screening of his upcoming period crime drama White Boy Rick at AFS Cinema, plus a special conversation with AFS co-founder Richard Linklater...."
"...The third time was the charm for Lashonda Lester when it came to the finals for the Funniest Person in Austin Contest. The Detroit native, a third-place finisher in 2014, took the stage Monday like a force of nature and copped the crown – a win that was most timely, as Lester has been dealing with kidney failure and dialysis for the past year...."