Posts Tagged ‘R.E.M.’


Richard speaks to “CTV News at 11:30” anchor Andria Case about television and movies to watch this weekend including the musical  drama “The Cuban,” the meta horror film “Random Acts of Violence” and the rock ‘n’ roll documentary “Creem: America’s Only Rock ‘N’ Roll Magazine.”

Watch the whole thing HERE! (Starts at 18:50)


Richard sits in on the CFRA Ottawa morning show with guest host Matt Harris to talk the new movies coming to VOD and streaming services including the soulful drama “The Cuban,” the meta horror film “Random Acts of Violence,” the rock ‘n’ roll documentary “Creem: America’s Only Rock ‘N’ Roll Magazine” and the new Nicolas Cage movie “Primal.”

Listen to the whole thing HERE!


Like much of the music it chronicled in its 1970s heyday, Creem Magazine was rough n’ rowdy and self-destructive. “Creem: America’s Only Rock ‘N’ Roll Magazine,” a new documentary, now streaming courtesy of Virtual Cinema, has a close look at the magazine that embodied an irreverent but fervent rock n’ roll attitude. “Nearly fifty years after Creem’s first issue published, it still stands for something,” says JJ Kramer, son of the founding publisher Barry Kramer. “Either you’re in on the joke, or you are the joke.”

Creem began as something different than the scrappy, politically incorrect screed that once so savagely reviewed a Runaways album that Joan Jett stormed the offices looking for revenge and created the term “punk rock.” Under guidance of co-founder Tony Reay the Detroit magazine was conceived as a blues-rock forum but within a few issues Reay was on the curb and publisher Barry Kramer had hired Dave Marsh, a rock n’ roll misfit who brought a blue-collar street cred to the magazine’s content.

A fiercely opinionated champion of the take no prisoners approach to music journalism Marsh became the cornerstone of a gritty group of writers, like Lester Bangs, Jaan Uhelszki and Robert Christgau, who redefined how the music was discussed in the press. “It was like it was written by a bunch on convicts in Joliet State Prison,” says artist and musician Lamar Sorrento.

As a poke in the eye to the staider Rolling Stone, the renegades even subtitled their mag “America’s Only Rock ‘N’ Roll Magazine.”

Their distance from taste makers on the coasts and proximity to Motor City music scene gave them a unique take. Working above a rundown record shop in inner city Detroit, and later on a rural commune, Kramer and Company created music journalism fuelled by passion, drugs and physical disagreements. Fights over content were not uncommon. Envelopes were pushed, breasts were exposed, leading former fan Jeff Daniels to say buying the magazine was like “buying Playboy, you didn’t want your parents to see either one of them.”

The unconventional group advocated for Alice Cooper (despite labelling their debut LP “a waste of plastic.”), MC5 and The Stooges, bands with a similar swagger and anti-commercial instincts as the writers themselves. Members of R.E.M., Red Hot Chili Peppers, Pearl Jam and many others appear in the movie and were fans, and later went on to create idiosyncratic music like the punk, new wave and hard rock they read about in Creem.

The deaths of Kramer and Bangs and the defections of Marsh and Christgau to rival Rolling Stone spelled the end of the mag’s influential run and by 1989 it had been bought and sold, and ultimately shut down, leaving behind yellowing pages of some of the best rock n’ roll  writing of the 1970s.

To capture the counter-cultural impact of Creem director Scott Crawford has assembled many of the original players, including the iconoclastic Jaan Uhelszki, one of the first female rock writers and now, one of the co-producers on the film. It’s slickly produced, makes good use of archival footage and zips along at a rapid pace. Perhaps too rapid. Crawford covers two decades of history in under eighty minutes, briskly walking us through the tumultuous timeframe. It is entertaining, particularly for those old enough to have bought the magazine on the stands, but although complete, it feels rushed. This cast of characters feels like each could warrant their own movie, and hell, I’d pay to see a movie about the contentious relationship between Lou Reed and the gonzo Bangs alone.

“Creem: America’s Only Rock ‘N’ Roll Magazine” isn’t as rough around the edges as the magazine it documents, but it does display why a scrappy upstart from Detroit was able to make and leave its mark. In the film legendary rock photographer Bob Gruen says that rock ‘n roll is about the freedom to express yourself very loudly. “And I think that’s what Creem did.”

Starting July 31, 2020, support independent Canadian cinemas closed due to COVID-19.

Proceeds from virtual ticket purchases of CREEM:  America’s Only Rock ‘n’ Roll Magazine will help sustain programming and support efforts to reopen these participating theaters:

Toronto – The Royal

Winnipeg – The Winnipeg Cinematheque

More locations soon-to-be-announced

Access Virtual Cinemas

Point your browser to: and select the cinema you wish to support.

The cost to purchase the film is $9.99 (CND).


2012: 2 ½ STARS

john-cusack-in-2012“It’s the end of the world as we know it… and I feel bored.” Nothing like a quick paraphrase of a classic R.E.M. song to sum up my feelings toward the latest end of the world CGI spectacular from Roland Emmerich. Unlike the 1970’s disaster genre, which tended to focus on one particular mishap, like a boat sinking or an office tower bursting into flames, “2012” is an all-purpose disaster movie. Emmerich lays it on thick, utilizing earthquakes, tsunamis and every other natural catastrophe in the Master of Disaster Handbook, to bring life as we know it to a screeching halt.

The film centers around a global doomsday event coinciding with the end of the Mayan Long Count Calendar’s current cycle on December 21, 2012. In other words, four days before Christmas, 2012, the world goes boom. California falls into the sea, the South Pole ends up somewhere in Wisconsin and the Himalayas are submerged underwater. Staying one step ahead of the devastation is divorcée Jackson Curtis (John Cusack), who pulls out all the stops to get his ex-wife, kids and a handful of stragglers to a lifesaving Noah’s Arc in China called Genesis.

The fifteen year old boy in me enjoyed watching the world blow up real good; the adult in me, however, wanted characters I could believe in. Or at least care about a little bit. It’s not exactly the actor’s fault that I didn’t warm to / care about anyone on screen, they were simply doing their best with a script that had been run through the Cliché-O-Matic before filming began.

Occasionally the cheesy dialogue raises a smile. During a lover’s spat one character says to another, “I feel like something is pulling us apart,” as an earthquake splits the floor between them but more often than not each and every character is saddled with dialogue that would make Ed Wood Jr beam with pride. As all hell is breaking loose the president says to his daughter, “you look just like your mother when you get mad,” and everything is the “most important (insert event here) in the history of mankind!” A thousand monkeys banging away on a thousand typewriters for a week could probably write this script.

But clever wordplay is not why we go see movies like this. We go to revel in a make believe orgy of destruction. Nothing much happens in the first forty minutes however—we meet the large cast, but by the time George Segal shows up the cameo quotient begins to resemble an episode of “The Love Boat”—but when the earth’s crust begins to destabilize at the forty minute mark many spectacular scenes of world demolition follow. Hope you have a huge appetite for destruction because for the next two hours that’s pretty much all there is. “2012” becomes an end of the world spectacle to end all end of the world spectacles, which, works if a doom boom is all you’re interested in, but after a while the elaborate special effects becomes visual white noise.

Emmerich could have kept up interest by adding some real drama beyond timers counting down to zero or placing the hero in life or death situations that he is most certainly going to survive, or by shortening the running time—at a butt numbing 2 hours and 40 minutes “2012” feels like the end of the world is playing out in real time—but instead was content to fill the screen with flashy CGI and little else.