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JUNE 2016

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ARS ★ 2 E Y 4 2 1992 ★

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VOL. 24, NO. 11 FREE

Weird Al

BBQ Dining Dana Carvey

r e m m Su e d i u G

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Dragon Con Night at The GA Aquarium

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SUMMER FUN.

Dig into summer at the downtown Decatur Beach Party June 17 and other seasonal events in Atlanta’s Eastside indie hub – Decatur. decaturga PGdecatur-insite-beach-party-10x7.indd 2 • June 2016 • insiteatlanta.com 1

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CONTENTS • JUNE 2016 • VOLUME 24, NO. 11 1992 ★

S★ 24 YEAR

2016

Atlanta’s

Bring down the house with the 2016/17 season.

Entertainment Monthly

INTERVIEWS 10 Weird Al 10 16 Laughing Skull Fest 17 Peter Wolf 19 Peter Asher 19 Folk Uke Jayhawks 20 Attic Abasement 20 Hurry 20 Sunset Shipwrecks 21 Dana Carvey 21 Ed Asner 16

ALLIANCE STAGE SERIES season tickets starting as low as $68.

AUG. 18–SEPT. 25, 2016

OCT. 12–30, 2016

JAN. 18–FEB. 12, 2017

FEB. 22–MAR. 12, 2017

HERTZ STAGE SERIES season tickets starting as low as $54.

FEATURES 08 08 10 11 12

Continuing Ed Summer Guide Travel to Asheville ATL’s Best BBQ Summer Movies

COLUMNS 04 05 06 07 14 18 22 22

SEPT. 16–OCT. 9, 2016

DEC. 2–24, 2016

FEB. 4–26, 2017

MAR. 24–APR.15, 2017

FAMILY SERIES season tickets starting as low as $32 for kids.

17

Around Town On Tap Atlanta on a Dime Under The Lights Movie Reviews Album Reviews Station Control 19 New Releases

NOW–JULY 10, 2016

NOV. 5–12, 2016

NOV. 25–DEC. 24, 2016

MAR. 19–APR. 9, 2017

KATHY & KEN BERNHARDT THEATRE FOR THE VERY YOUNG season tickets starting as low as $10 for kids.

insiteatlanta.com STAFF LISTING Publisher Stephen Miller steve@insiteatlanta.com Art Director / Web Design Nick Tipton nick@insiteatlanta.com Managing Editor Lee Valentine Smith lee@insiteatlanta.com Local Events Editor Marci Miller marci@insiteatlanta.com Sports Editor DeMarco Williams demarco@insiteatlanta.com

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Music Editor John Moore john@insiteatlanta.com Contributing Writers / Interns: Alex. S. Morrison, Steve Warren, Dave Cohen, Benjamin Carr

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2016/17 Season Tickets

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Jan. 10–Feb. 19, 2017

Mar. 14–Apr. 9, 2017

Buy today to get the best seats at the best prices. SEASON TICKET OFFICE 404.733.4600 alliancetheatre.org/seasontickets Single tickets on sale July 5, 2016

Plus "Find" Our Annual Summer Movie Preview ! Mayor’s Office of Cultural Affairs

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EVENTS HAPPENING FOR SMALL CHANGE IN ATLANTA

Know of a low cost event happening? Event@AtlantaOnADime.com By Marci Miller

Saturday, June 4 & Sunday, June 5

Sunday, June 12; 4:00 - 8:00 p.m.

$12 General Public; $8 CNC Members Chattahoochee Nature Center chattnaturecenter.org

Piedmont Park; Free; Tickets reserved atlantastreetsalive.com

BUTTERFLY FESTIVAL

A world premiere play with original music, Pancakes, Pancakes! is a delightful tale for all ages inspired by the beautiful and iconic book by Eric Carle.

e expanded "Butterfly Encounter Exhibit” allows visitors to the festival to handfeed more than 250 free flying butterflies. Enjoy the show when masses of butterflies fly free and land on kids and flowers after their release in front of the Ben Brady Lakeside Pavilion. Meet Ms. Chrysalis as she explains how these magical creatures metamorphosize. Learn about the ways you can help bring more butterflies to your garden. All ages will enjoy this fun event featuring live music; entomology exhibits; arts and crafts; face painting, butterfly parades and more.

Saturday, June 4 & Sunday, June 5

VAHI SUMMERFEST

Virginia-Highland Neighborhood Free to attend; vahi.org e Virginia-Highland Summerfest offers an Artist Market featuring works of over 200 artists from all over the Southeast. e Kidsfest offers games, crafts and activities for children of all ages. Live music will be held on stage and will feature a variety of local musicians along with nationally acclaimed singer songwriters. Over a 1,000 runners will compete in the Summerfest 5K on Saturday through the neighborhood streets of Virginia-Highland.

Thursday, June 9 - Sunday, June 12

THE TOXIC AVENGER

Piedmont Park; Free; Tickets reserved online; horizontheatre.org

NOW–JULY 10 Kids r 5 & unde FREE!

Child tickets only $8!

BY KENNETH LIN ADAPTED FROM THE BOOK BY ERIC CARLE MUSIC BY PHILLIP D e POY DIRECTED BY DAVID de VRIES

Presented in conjunction with the High Museum of Art exhibition I See a Story: The Art of Eric Carle.

Combo tickets starting at $10 Illustration from PANCAKES, PANCAKES! Copyright © 1990 by Eric Carle. Collection of Eric and Barbara Carle. Support for Pancakes, Pancakes! is provided by the Lettie Pate Evans Foundation.

e Toxic Avenger was a runaway hit for Horizon eatre in Little Five Points this past winter. Critics and audiences couldn’t get enough of e Toxic Avenger so they’re bringing it back. It’s fun, upbeat, smart and silly at the same time with a hugely energetic and talented cast, fantastic rock music and a live band. Everyone leaves smiling every night, so it is the perfect show to bring together Atlantans and perform under the stars this summer. Tickets are free but must be reserved online in advance.

ATLANTA STREETS ALIVE

On June 12th, Atlanta Streets Alive takes over Peachtree Street from Edgewood to 17th Street. e event kicks off at 4:00 p.m. with a bicycle parade and continues until 8:00 p.m. Enjoy biking, skating, walking and rolling down the streets and take part in this fun, free, family-friendly event. Atlanta Streets Alive opens streets for pedestrians by temporarily closing them to cars.

Sunday, June 12; 6:00 - 8:30 p.m.

CONCERTS BY THE SPRINGS Heritage Green in Sandy Springs Free; atlantastreetsalive.com

Concerts by the Springs is free and open to the public. Concerts are held one Sunday evening each month during the summer through September in what has become a celebrated community tradition. Convoy performs at 7:00 - 8:30 p.m. with special guest Across e Wide opening at 6:00 p.m.

Sunday, June 12; 1 - 4 p.m.

WOODRUFF FESTIVAL DAY Heritage Green in Sandy Springs Free; woodruffcenter.org

Sundays are for families at the Woodruff Arts Center this summer. Explore, play, learn and create art in an interactive, family-friendly environment including free activities from 1:00-4:00 p.m. June 12th is Festival Day and offers tickets to see Pancakes, Pancakes, Babies in Space, acting workshops, costume making and more! To participate in the free activities happening each Sunday, make your reservation online.

Sunday, June 19

FATHERS DAY CAR SHOW

Free w/ Park Admission; $15 per vehicle parking; is vintage car show features Camaros, Mustangs, Chevys from the 1950s among others. Adventure Pass grants you access to all of the following attractions: Summit Skyride, Scenic Railroad, Yogi Bear 4D Adventure, SkyHike, Geyser Towers and more.

Butterfly Festival

Free Admission Saturday & Sunday, June 4 & 5 chattnaturecenter.org

GET TICKETS! alliancetheatre.org/pancakes BOX OFFICE 404.733.5000 GROUPS 404.733.4690

1280 Peachtree St NE // Atlantas, GA 30309

Mayor’s Office of Cultural Affairs

PG 6 • June 2016 • insiteatlanta.com

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Under The Lights ON STAGE THIS MONTH ON STAGE THIS MONTH

PANCAKES, PANCAKES! PANCAKES

Through Through July 10 Hertz Stage Alliance Alliance Theatre (404) 733-5000 AllianceTheatre.org/pancakes AllianceTheatre.org/pancakes Pancakes, Pancakes, Pancakes! is a delightful tale for all ages ages inspired by the beautiful beautiful and iconic book book by Eric Carle. Featuring Featuring original songs songs and a stunning design, Pancakes, design, Pancakes! explores Pancakes! the process process of cookthe ing, and celebrates ing, the joy joy in the labor the and in in the final feast. and Adapted from Eric Carle's beloved book of Adapted the same same name, this new play is written by the Alliance favorite Kenneth Lin. Pancakes, Alliance Pancakes! is presented in conjunction with Pancakes! the High High Museum of Art exhibition.is desire the for success success with his true calling. for

CITY OF CONVERSATION

Through June 26 Horizon Theatre Through (404) 584-7450 HorizonTheatre.com (404) The Off-Broadway smash hit The City of The Conversation, a rousing story of a political Conversation, family over three decades of change by family Anthony Giardina, makes its Atlanta preAnthony miere at Horizon miere Theatre Company. Theatre Washington DC was Washington once aa place place where where once people actually people actually talked to to each each talked other… savvy maven other… savvy maven Hester Ferris Ferris opens opens Hester her home home for for political political foes foes to to lay her lay down down arms and raise a glass. But that is arms and raise a glass. But that is all all about about the change. change. Colin, Colin, her her beloved beloved son, the son, brings brings home aa Reaganite Reaganite girlfriend girlfriend and and aa shocking home shocking new conservative conservative world world view view rocking new rocking Hester’s world. Follow the Ferris family Hester’s world. Follow the Ferris family from the the end end of of the the Carter Carter presidency from presidency through the the Reagan Reagan era era and and into into Obama’s through Obama’s game-changing inauguration. game-changing inauguration.

SIGNIFICANT OTHERS OTHERS SIGNIFICANT

Through June June 19 19 Actor's Actor's Express Through Express At the King Plow Arts Center At the King Plow Arts Center (404) 607-7469 607-7469 actors-express.com actors-express.com (404) Jordan Berman Berman is is looking looking for for Mr. Mr. Right. Jordan Right. As As each of of his his close-knit close-knit girlfriends girlfriends begin each begin coucoupling off, off, he he navigates navigates the the uneasy uneasy transition pling transition from gay best friend to bridesman. from gay best friend to bridesman. Through itit all, all, he he wades wades through through aa string Through string of of workplace crushes, awkward first dates workplace crushes, awkward first dates and and romantic misadventures misadventures of of his his own, romantic own, wonwon-

dering if he’ll he’ll ever ever find find true true love. love. Actors Actors favorite Joshua Joshua Harmon Harmon goes goes from from Express favorite to bad bad dates dates in in this this criticallycriticallyBad Jews to acclaimed comedy comedy about about searching searchingfor forlove love moving on. on. and moving

AVENGER THE TOXIC AVENGER

12 Piedmont Piedmont Park Park June 9 - 12 584-7450 HorizonTheatre.com HorizonTheatre.com (404) 584-7450 Theatre’s runaway runaway hit hit from from this this Horizon Theatre’s winter The The Toxic Toxic Avenger Avenger returns returns for for past winter four free concerts concerts at at Piedmont Piedmont Park Park June June 99 - 12. It’s isis aa laughlaughout-loud rock rock musimusical with an an unlikely unlikely hero, the mild-manmild-mannered scientist, scientist, Melvin Ferd Ferd the the Third, whose whose crucrusade to stop stop the the corcorrupt mayor mayor gets gets him him dumped dumped in in toxic toxic waste. From From the the smoke smoke emerges emergesour ourgreen, green, gooey superhero superhero with with mega-strength mega-strength The The Toxic Avenger. Avenger. He’s He’s here here to to save save his hishome home town from from toxic toxic waste, waste, win win the the love love of of the the beautiful blind blind librarian, librarian, stop stop global globalwarmwarming and bring bring aa brand brand new new day day of of clean clean air air and harmony harmony to to New New Jersey Jersey and and the the world. world. Park performances performances begin begin at at 7:30 7:30 PM, PM, and and audiences will will provide provide their their own ownblanket blanketor or low beach chair. chair. Grounds Grounds open open for for picpicnicking at 66 PM. PM. General General admission admission tickets tickets are available available for for free free for for each each performance, performance, but must be be reserved reserved online online in in advance. advance. Reserved Seating tickets close to Reserved Seating tickets close to the the stage stage can can be be purchased purchased for for $15. $15.

THE WIZARD OF OF OZ OZ

ON SALE NOW!

June 21-26 • FoxTheatre.org/Wizard 855-285-8499

June June 21 21 -- 26 26 The The Fox Fox Theatre Theatre Tickets Tickets (855) (855) 285-8499 285-8499 FoxTheatre.org/Wizard FoxTheatre.org/Wizard Click Click your your heels heels together together and and join join Scarecrow, Tin Scarecrow, Tin Man, Lion, Man, Lion, Dorothy Dorothy and and her her little little dog dog Toto, Toto, as as they journey they journey through through the the magmagical ical land land of of Oz Oz to to meet meet the the Wizard Wizard and and obtain obtain their their hearts’ hearts’ desires. desires. Watch Watch out out for for the the Wicked Wicked Witch Witch of of the the West West and and her her winged winged monkeys monkeys as as you you rediscover rediscover the the real real story May 31–July 10treat story of of Oz Oz in in this this fantastic fantastic musical musical treat for of for the the whole whole family. family. This This production production of child The Wizard of Oz is an enchanting adaptatickets The Wizard of Oz is an enchanting adaptaonly $8! tion songs tion of of the the all-time all-time classic classic including including songs Get tickets! May 31–Julyall 10 the from the Oscar winning movie score, from the Oscar winning movie score, all the favorite characters and iconic moments, favorite characters and iconic moments, child plus way. plus aa few few surprises surprises along along the thetickets way.

Join the Club • Become a Member

A world premiere play with original music, Pancakes, Pancakes! is a delightful tale for all ages inspired by the beautiful and iconic book by Eric Carle.

A world premiere play with original music, Pancakes, Pancakes! is a delightful tale for all ages inspired by the beautiful and iconic book by Eric Carle.

kids 5 & under FRee!

By kenneth lin AdAPtEd from thE BooK By eric carle muSIC By phillip d e poy dIrECtEd By david de vries

Presented in conjunction with the High Museum of Art exhibition I See a Story: The Art of Eric Carle.

Illustration from PANCAKES, PANCAKES! Copyright © 1990 by Eric Carle. Collection of Eric and Barbara Carle.

Receive Deals at Retailers and Win Free Tickets to Movies, Concerts, Theatre Shows & Events

alliancetheatre.org/pancakes

BoX oFFice 404.733.5000 s 404.733.4690 kid Groups r 5 & unde FRee!

1280 Peachtree St NE // Atlantas, GA 30309

By kenneth lin AdAPtEd from thE BooK By eric carle muSIC By phillip d e poy dIrECtEd By david de vries Mayor’s Office of Cultural Affairs

only $8!

Presented in conjunction with the High Museum of Art exhibition I See a Story: The Art of Eric Carle.

More info at www.cinemoms.com

Illustration from PANCAKES, PANCAKES! Copyright © 1990 by Eric Carle. Collection of Eric and Barbara Carle.

Get tickets! alliancetheatre.org/pancakes BoX oFFice 404.733.5000 Groups 404.733.4690

The Off-Broadway

“Smart, literate, and funny.”

-THE NEW YORK TIMES

Smash

1280 Peachtree St NE // Atlantas, GA 30309

Mayor’s Office of Cultural Affairs

City of Conversation The

by

ANTHONY GIARDINA

THRU JUN 26 EUCLID & AUSTIN AVES. IN LITTLE FIVE POINTS

404.584.7450 • HORIZONTHEATRE.COM

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PG 8 • June 2016 • insiteatlanta.com


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OPEN TO THE PUBLIC Saturday, June 18th 11am-6pm Sunday, June 19th 10am-5pm WESTIN Buckhead, Atlanta, GA

Swine time... BBQ LIVE MUSIC CRAFT BREWS Check us out online for details

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JUNE 10 FERRIS BUELLER’S DAY OFF

JUNE 30 BREAKFAST AT TIFFANY’S

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The Stuffed Deep Dish Pizza is the invention of Rocco Palese, who reinvented his mother’s recipe for "scarciedda," an Easter specialty cake into his own pizza. Today, we prepare this award winning pizza just as Nancy & Rocco did back then. Our dough is made fresh in-house with 26 pizza ingredients to choose from including fresh-cut vegetables & premium meats. Then we top it off with Nancy’s Original Recipe Sauce, fine imported cheeses & olive oil.

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FILM

Dominating Blockbusters?

BEST SUMMER MOVIES

BY BRET LOVE

T

JUNE 17

here are three things you can count on every summer in Atlanta: The kids will be out of school, the temperatures will soar, and big-budget blockbusters will dominate at your local multiplex. Here’s a look str a few dozen of the season’s most eagerly anticipated titles…

JUNE 3

POP STAR: NEVER STOP NEVER STOPPING

The Stars: Andy Samberg, Jorma Taccone, Akiva Schaffer The Scoop: This musical mockumentary comes to us from the twisted minds of Lonely Island, the trio behind viral Saturday Night Live smashes such as “Lazy Sunday” and “D— In a Box.” Samberg stars as hiphop icon Conner4Real, who is naturally bold, brash, and sillier than a Looney Tunes cartoon. The Skinny:

They premiered a Conner4Real music video (about a woman who wants to get “f@#$ed like Bin Laden”) during the SNL season finale. It was no “D— In a Box,” but the raunchy blend of clever double entendres, visual gags, and wacky Samberg facial expressions left us surprisingly optimistic about this reedonkulous comedy.

JUNE 10

NOW YOU SEE ME 2

The Stars: Jesse Eisenberg, Woody

Harrelson, Dave Franco, Daniel Radcliffe, Lizzy Caplan The Scoop: The illusionist team known as the Four Horsemen return for another caper, this time squaring off against Daniel Radcliffe as a wealthy recluse who resents his past as a failed magician. Masters of Sex star Caplan replaces Isla Fisher (who was pregnant during filming), playing a gross-out magic specialist. The Skinny: The first film had its moments, but is anyone really dying to see the sequel? Not I.

WARCRAFT

The Stars: Travis Fimmel, Paula Patton, Dominic Cooper The Scoop: Duncan Jones (a.k.a Bowie’s son) directs this ambitious video game adaptation, an epic Tolkienesque fantasy about an orc invasion of our human realm that’s told from both sides (just like World of Warcraft). The Skinny: Quick, name the last awesome film adaptation of a video game you’ve seen? Yeah, us neither. But Jones, who showed an impressive Stanley Kubrick-influenced style on the sci-fi thriller Moon, is no ordinary director. We’re eager to see how his distinctive vision will bring the W.o.W. universe to life. PG 12 • June 2016 • insiteatlanta.com

FINDING DORY

The Stars: Ellen DeGeneres, Albert Brooks,

Idris Elba, Ed O’Neill, Ty Burrell The Scoop: It took seven years for director Andrew Stanton to come up with the story for a sequel to Finding Nemo. He came up with the concept, in which DeGeneres’ forgetful Blue Tang goes on a quest to find her parents, after a 2010 screening for a 3D conversion of the original. Look for scene-stealing turns from O’Neill as a grouchy Octopus, Burrell as a neurotic Beluga Whale, and Elba as a lethargic sea lion. The Skinny: The 2003 Pixar classic grossed over $930 million worldwide and set the standard for family fare that appealed to kids and their parents in their equal measure. If you don’t think this eagerly-awaited sequel will be a box office blockbuster, you don’t know Pixar.

SWISS ARMY MAN

The Stars: Paul Dano, Daniel

Radcliffe

The Scoop: Coming off his excellent turn as Brian Wilson last year, Dano plays a depressed desert island castaway who discovers his raison d’être after the bloated corpse of Harry Potter washes up on shore. Could their unlikely human-dead guy bromance possibly lead to rescue? The Skinny: The Sundance buzz on this offbeat adventure paints it as an instant indie classic that’s equal parts Castaway and Weekend At Bernie’s. The trailer is completely bonkers. We can’t wait!

CENTRAL INTELLIGENCE

The Stars: Dwayne Johnson, Kevin Hart,

Aaron Paul

The Scoop: Hart and Johnson star as high

school rivals who realize their roles have been reversed when they reconnect at their reunion. The Rock (a chubby-cheeked nerd who now works for the CIA) and the diminutive comedy powerhouse (a BMOC-turned-accountant) ultimately form an unlikely partnership to– wait for it– save the world. The Skinny: Arnold Schwarzenegger and Danny DeVito spun their outrageous size differences into box office gold. Director Rawson

Marshall Thurber’s (DodgeBall, We’re The Millers) summer comedy seems like a Twins– Bad Boys mash-up, which could spell a sequel if the script plays to its stars’ considerable charms.

JUNE 24

INDEPENDENCE DAY: RESURGENCE

The Stars: Jeff Goldblum, Bill Pullman, Liam Hemsworth The Scoop: Speaking of Bad Boys, it still feels weird to have summer without a Will Smith flick, especially when there’s a sequel to one of his biggest hits on the schedule. Director Roland Emmerich returns for the story of alien revenge, which involves a big-ass Mothership unleashing holy hell on Planet Earth. The Skinny: The effects possible with CGI have evolved exponentially in the 20 years since the release of the original, and the trailer showcases some aweinspiring images of wanton destruction. But Emmerich (2012, White House Down) hasn’t had the best track record in recent years for finding scripts worthy of the 9-figure budgets spent to make them.

FREE STATE OF JONES

The Stars: Matthew McConaughey, Gugua Mbatha-Raw, Mahershala Ali, Keri Russell, Brendan Gleeson The Scoop: McConaughey stars in the true story of Newton Knight, a farmer from Mississippi who led a biracial rebellious uprising of poor whites and local slaves against the Confederacy during the Civil War. Writerdirector Gary Ross (The Hunger Games) suggests the lead actor’s Texas roots made his emotionally charged performance considerably better than “alright, alright, alright.” The Skinny: Releasing a 12 Years a Slave-style drama in the heart of summer blockbuster season could very well prove savvy counterprogramming, and perhaps generate some early Oscar buzz.

THE SHALLOWS

The Stars: Blake Lively, Óscar Jaenada The Scoop: Alexander isn’t the only one having

a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day. Lively (a.k.a. Mrs. Ryan Reynolds) stars as pro surfer Nancy, a young woman who decides to go surfing alone off the coast of an island in the South Pacific while grieving the death of her mother. Things take a turn for the worse when she unknowingly paddles into a feeding ground dominated by a 20-foot long Great White Shark. The Skinny: Directed by Jaume Collet Serra (NonStop), this story will need to be handled masterfully to avoid unkind comparisons to sharkattack classics such as Jaws and Open Water. We’ll be curious to see whether Lively has the acting chops to carry a summer thriller almost entirely on her shoulders.

2016 JULY 1

THE BFG

The Stars: Ruby Barnhill, Mark Rylance, Bill Hader, Rebecca Hall The Scoop: Based on Roald Dahl’s 1982 children’s novel, Steven Spielberg’s latest directorial effort follows the story of 10-yearold Sophie (Barnhill), an orphan girl who befriends a big, friendly giant (Rylance), who must protect her from the mean giants who bully him. This marks Spielberg’s final collaboration with E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial screenwriter Melissa Mathison, who passed away from cancer last November. The Skinny: Spielberg + Dahl + Mathison+ Rylance (who won an Oscar for his last Spielberg collaboration, Bridge of Spies)= Box Office Success.

THE LEGEND OF TARZAN

The Stars: Alexander Skarsgard, Margot Robbie, Samuel L Jackson, Djimon Hounsou, Christoph Waltz The Scoop: In his first outing since the end of the Harry Potter series (of which he directed the final four films), David Yates casts Skarsgard (True Blood) as Lord Greystoke. Rather than focusing on Tarzan’s origins, the film finds him a London aristocrat married to Jane (Robbie), lured back to the Congo in a colonialist conspiracy that threatens his African home. The Skinny: Yates has proven a knack for combining blockbuster-budget spectacle with dramatic storytelling and dynamic character development. Based on the trailers we’ve seen, we’re excited to see this one.

THE PURGE: ELECTION YEAR

The Stars: Frank Grillo, Elizabeth Mitchell,

Kyle Secor

The Scoop: Writer/director James DeMonaco completes his sci-fi/horror trilogy about a futuristic America in which all crime is legal for one night a year. This time, Leo Barnes (Grillo) is guarding a Presidential candidate (Mitchell) who wants to end the annual purge once and for all, putting her life in grave danger. The Skinny: DeMonaco turned a meager $12 million budget into two films that grossed over $200 million at the box office despite a slew of negative reviews. With real-life election year drama at an all-time high, we see no reason to bet against a successful three-peat.

JULY 8

CAPTAIN FANTASTIC

The Stars: Viggo Mortensen, Kathryn Hahn, Frank Langella, Steve Zahn The Scoop: Written/directed by Matt Ross (a.k.a. Gavin Belson on HBO’s Silicon Valley), this charming indie sleeper stars Mortensen as an exasperating-but-caring father of six who attempts to reintegrate into society after living in isolation in the natural splendor of the Pacific Northwest for a decade. The Skinny: After premiering at Sundance and the Un Certain Regard portion of the Cannes Film Festival, the buzz is that this is Mortensen’s best performance in years, with a surprisingly strong supporting cast playing his kids.


MIKE & DAVE NEED WEDDING DATES

The Stars: Zac Efron, Adam Devine, Anna Kendrick, Aubrey Plaza The Scoop: Devine and Efron star as the titular juvenile brothers, whose family insists they bring dates to their sister’s wedding in Hawaii. When Kendrick and Plaza respond to their online ad, they seem like perfect girlsnext-door. But of course appearances are not what they seem, and the ladies prove to be hell raising delinquents the likes of which the boys have never seen. The Skinny: “Crazy,” “mayhem,” and “inappropriate behavior” are the words cast and crew use to describe this brash, blue comedy. You’ve been warned.

THE SECRET LIFE OF PETS

The Stars: Kevin Hart, Louis C.K., Bobby Moynihan, Lake Bell, Eric Stonestreet The Scoop: The latest animated film from the studio that brought you Despicable Me casts Louis C.K., as Max, a devoted dog whose life is turned upside down when his owners adopts a lesser mongrel (Stonestreet). With the Big Apple as the 3D backdrop, the story explores what domesticated animals get up to when us humans aren’t around. The Skinny: With Hart as an abominable rabbit, Moynihan as a plucky Pug, and Bell as an over-it-all feline, the voice cast couldn’t be more perfect. But when it comes to storytelling, director Chris Renaud has a middling track record. Here’s hoping the humor makes up the difference.

JULY 15

GHOSTBUSTERS

The Stars: Leslie Jones, Melissa McCarthy, Kate McKinnon, Kristen Wiig The Scoop: The Internet went batshit over the trailer for this female-driven reboot of the classic comedy, and NOT in a good way. McCarthy and Wiig play two scientists who wrote books about ghosts in college, but have grown apart. McKinnon plays the oddball engineer behind their high-tech gadgets, while Jones is a transit employee who knows NYC like the back of her hand. The Skinny: We’re as much against retreads as anyone. But director Paul Feig (Bridesmaids) and his leading ladies all have great track records. Though film buffs are betting it will bomb, we’re hoping it proves to be an exception to the “reboots suck” rule.

JULY 22

ABSOLUTELY FABULOUS: THE MOVIE

The Stars: Jennifer Saunders, Joanna Lumley,

Julia Sawalha The Scoop: Long before Paris Hilton or the Kardashians came along, Edina (Saunders) and Patsy (Lumley) were finding humor at the intersection of trend-setting fashion, selfcenteredness, and over-the-top partying. This story finds the perpetually hungover duo broke and trying to get their groove back in the South of France. The Skinny: It’s been well over a decade now since this influential Brit-com went the way of the dodo. We’ve no doubt Saunders, Lumley, and director Mandie Fletcher (Deadly Advice) can deliver the goods. The question is, are there enough AbFab fans left who care enough to spend $12 at the multiplex?

ICE AGE: COLLISION COURSE

The Stars: Ray Romano, John Leguizamo,

Keke Palmer, Neil deGrasse Tyson The Scoop: Manny the Mammoth, Sid the Sloth, and company return for the fifth film in the Ice Age franchise. This one tells the story of an asteroid headed for Earth, with science rock star Tyson as an astrophysicist weasel who counsels the gang on how to stop it. The Skinny: July brings tough competition for family films, but also summer-weary parents looking for a break. Don’t expect this one to reinvent the wheel, but it probably won’t be the end of the Ice Age world either.

STAR TREK BEYOND

The Stars: Chris Pine, Zachary Quinto, Zoe Saldana, Simon Pegg, Idris Elba The Scoop: Stranded on a hostile planet after a relentless attack forces them to abandon ship, Kirk, Spock and the Enterprise crew find themselves confronted by a merciless alien entity known as Krall (Elba), who loathes the Federation and everything it stands for. The Skinny: With J.J. Abrams focusing on Star Wars, Justin Lin (Fast & Furious 2-6, True Detective Season 2) was brought in to direct the Simon Pegg/Doug Jung script. I’m not a huge fan of Lin’s previous work, so fingers crossed Abrams kept a hand on the wheel as producer.

JULY 29

BAD MOMS

The Stars: Mila Kunis, Kathryn Hahn, Kristen

Bell, Jada Pinkett Smith, Christina Applegate The Scoop: Like most moms, Amy Mitchell (Kunis) juggles a marriage, kids, home, and career until she’s exhausted and ready to explode from stress. And when a film’s tagline is “Party like a mother,” it’s not hard to guess the chaos that ensues when she and her similarly overworked friends (Bell and Hahn) decide to cut loose and wild out. The Skinny: Writing/directing team Jon Lucas and Scott Moore scored a box office bonanza with their Hangover trilogy, and recent years have shown women AND men will flock to see female-driven comedies. We expect this one to be a raucously irreverent smash.

JASON BOURNE

The Stars: Matt Damon, Alicia Vikander, Julia Stiles, Tommy Lee Jones, Vincent Cassel The Scoop: The world has changed considerably since Damon last played the amnesiac super-spy in 2007’s The Bourne Ultimatum. This sequel finds Bourne/David Webb reuniting with Julia Stiles’ Nicky to confront new threats, in a top secret story that filmed in Spain’s Canary Islands (standing in for Athens) and Las Vegas. The Skinny: Damon refused to make a fourth Bourne film without auteur Paul Greengrass. The fact that they co-created a storyline aimed at our post-Edward Snowden world makes this our most eagerly anticipated film of the summer.

AUGUST 5

THE FOUNDER

The Stars: Michael Keaton, Laura Dern, Nick Offerman, John Carroll Lynch, B.J. Novak The Scoop: Director John Lee Hancock’s latest tells the true story of how Illinois salesman Ray Kroc (Keaton) subtly positioned himself to take control of the Southern California hamburger joint owned by Mac and Dick McDonald (Offerman and Lynch), which is now known around the world as McDonald’s. The Skinny: With Birdman and Spotlight, Michael Keaton’s comeback can’t get much hotter. Could this pairing with Hancock (The Blind Side, Saving Mr. Banks) finally earn him a well-deserved Oscar?

SUICIDE SQUAD

The Stars: Will Smith, Jared Leto, Margot Robbie, Viola Davis, Joel Kinnaman, Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje The Scoop: The third film in the DC Extended Universe stars Davis as the tough-as-nails head of a secret government agency named ARGUS. She recruits imprisoned super villains such as Deadshot (Smith), the Joker (Leto), and Harley Quinn (Robbie) to “Task Force X,” offering them clemency in exchange for executing dangerous black ops missions that will help save the world. The Skinny: Batman v. Superman scored a 27% rating on Rotten Tomatoes and a 44/100 on Meteoritic. DC needs writer/director David Ayer (End of Watch, Fury) to craft a summer smash if they hope to rival Marvel’s ongoing box office domination (see: X-Men, Avengers, Guardians of the Galaxy, etc).

AUGUST 12

FLORENCE FOSTER JENKINS

The Stars: Meryl Streep, Hugh Grant, Simon Helberg, Rebecca Ferguson The Scoop: Stephen Frears (The Queen, Philomena) directs Streep in this true story of the title character, a wealthy heiress in New York who became an opera singer known for her laughable lack of singing skills. Grant’s portrayal of stage actor St. Clair Bayfield, Jenkins’ partner and manager, is being hailed as the best performance of his career. The Skinny: Frears directed Helen Mirren (The Queen) and Dame Judy Dench (Philomena) to award-worthy performances in biopics on fascinating women. With Streep as his leading lady, we can’t imagine this one will be anything less than summertime Oscar bait.

SAUSAGE PARTY

The Stars: Seth Rogen, Kristen Wiig, Jonah Hill, Bill Hader, James Franco, Paul Rudd The Scoop: Writer/ producer Rogen leads this animated comedy about a sausage named Frank and his grocery friends, who dream of being taken home by a customer. That is, until a woman buys them and they watch their friends being tortured (cooked) and killed (eaten). With the help of his hot dog bun love interest (Wiig), Frank and his friends plan their great escape. The Skinny: Outside of Team America and the South Park movie, R-rated animated comedies are a rarity. Rogen and best pal Evan Goldberg seem to have all the right ingredients to make this a hilarious comedic stew.

AUGUST 19

BEN-HUR

The Stars: Jack Huston, Morgan Freeman, Toby Kebbell, Rodrigo Santoro The Scoop: For his first new film in four years, Timur Bekmambetov (Wanted) tackles a new interpretation of the 1880 novel BenHur: A Tale of the Christ. The story follows a nobleman (Huston) falsely accused of an assassination attempt who is enslaved by the Romans, which leads to a series of encounters with Jesus. The Skinny: Co-writer John Ridley’s last script, 12 Years A Slave, won the 2014 Academy Award for Best Adapted Screenplay. Even if this remake isn’t Oscar-worthy, it sounds like better-than-average fare for the dog days of late summer.

KUBO & THE TWO STRINGS

The Stars: Matthew McConaughey, Charlize Theron, Rooney Mara, Ralph Fiennes, George Takei The Scoop: The latest animated film from Laika (Coraline, ParaNorman, The Boxtrolls) is a 3D stop-motion fantasy set in ancient Japan, where a young boy named Kubo cares for his mother. When a spirit from the past renews an ancient vendetta, Kubo must evade myriad monsters and local a magical suit of armor once worn by his Samurai father. The Skinny: This marks the directorial debut of Laika President/CEO Travis Knight, son of Nike founder Phil Knight and lead animator on all the studio’s previous films. With its anime-inspired look and left-of-center story, consider our curiosity piqued!

WAR DOGS

The Stars: Jonah Hill, Miles Teller, Ana de Armas, Bradley Cooper The Scoop: Based on a Rolling Stone article, this biographical war comedy tells the true story of two stoners-turned-amateur arms dealers who somehow managed to land a $300 million contract from the Department of Defense to supply ammunition to the Afghanistan military. Unfortunately, they bought cheap surplus ammo from Balkan gunrunners and we caught by the Pentagon in a scandal landed them on the front page of the New York Times. The Skinny: This was the film writer/director chose as his follow-up to The Hangover trilogy. With the truth-stranger-than-fiction storyline and impeccable cast, it sounds like a left-ofcenter sleeper hit in the making.

AUGUST 26

HANDS OF STONE

The Stars: Édgar Ramirez, Robert De Niro, Usher, Ellen Barkin, Jurnee Smollett-Bell, Ana de Armas The Scoop: Based on a true story, this film follows the relationship between boxing legend Roberto Durán (Ramirez) and his longtime trainer, Ray Arcel (De Niro). It highlights his victory over Sugar Ray Leonard (Usher) to win the WBC Welterweight title in 1980, and his “no más” defeat at Sugar Ray’s hands later that year. The Skinny: The film was written/directed by Jonathan Jakubowicz, the Venezuelan filmmaker whose Secuestro Express was nominated for Best Foreign Language Film in Britain and was a New York Times Critic’s Pick in 2005. This one could help him make a name for himself here in the U.S. insiteatlanta.com • June 2016 • PG 13


MOVIES

Movie Reviews BY STEVE WARREN

ME BEFORE YOU (PG-13)

In Theatres June 3 Starring: Emilia Clarke, Sam Claflin, Janet McTeer Oftentimes you find love where you least expect it. Sometimes it takes you where you never expected to go…Louisa “Lou” Clark (Emilia Clarke) lives in a quaint town in the English countryside. With no clear direction in her life, the quirky and creative 26-year-old goes from one job to the next in order to help her tight-knit family make ends meet. Her normally cheery outlook is put to the test, however, when she faces her newest career challenge. Taking a job at the local “castle,” she becomes caregiver and companion to Will Traynor (Sam Claflin), a wealthy young banker who became wheelchair bound in an accident two years prior, and whose whole world changed dramatically in the blink of an eye. No longer the adventurous soul he once was, the now cynical Will has all but given up. That is until Lou determines to show him that life is worth living. Embarking together on a series of adventures, both Lou and Will get more than they bargained for, and find their lives—and hearts—changing in ways neither one could have imagined.

THE LOBSTER (R)

Now in Theatres Starring: Colin Ferrell, Rachel Weisz, Jessica Barden In this highly imaginative, delightfully absurdist comedy from visionary director Yorgos Lanthimos (Dogtooth), Colin Farrell stars as David, a man who has just been dumped by his wife. To make matters worse, David lives in a society where single people have 45 days to find true love, or else they are turned into the animal of their choice and released into the woods. David is kept at the mysterious HOTEL while he searches for a new partner, and after several romantic misadventures decides to make a daring escape to abandon this world. He ultimately joins up with a rebel faction known as The Loners, a group founded on a complete rejection of romance. But once there David meets an enigmatic stranger (Rachel Weisz) who stirs up unexpected and strong feelings within him

NOW YOU SEE ME 2 (PG-13)

In Theatres June 10 Starring: Jesse Eisenberg, Woody Harrelson, Dave Franco, Lizzy Caplan The Four Horsemen return for a second mindbending adventure, elevating the limits of stage illusion to new heights and taking them around the globe. One year after outwitting the FBI and

X-MEN: APOCALYPSE

PG 14 • June 2016 • insiteatlanta.com

winning the public’s adulation with their Robin Hood-style magic spectacles, the illusionists resurface for a comeback performance in hopes of exposing the unethical practices of a tech magnate. The man behind their vanishing act is none other than Walter Mabry [Daniel Radcliffe], a tech prodigy who threatens the Horsemen into pulling off their most impossible heist yet. Their only hope is to perform one last unprecedented stunt to clear their names and reveal the mastermind behind it all.

THE CONJURING 2 (R) In Theatres June 10 Starring: Vera Farmiga, Frances O’Connor, Patrick Wilson Director James Wan brings this supernatural thriller to the screen with another real case from the files of renowned demonologists Ed and Lorraine Warren. Reprising their roles, Oscar nominee Vera Farmiga and Patrick Wilson star as Lorraine and Ed Warren, who, in one of their most terrifying paranormal investigations, travel to north London to help a single mother raising four children alone in a house plagued by malicious spirits. X-MEN: APOCALYPSE (PG-13)

 Like the latest Star Wars movie, X-Men: Apocalypse mixes new characters with familiar ones – so many in total that we don’t have space to list them and still comment on the film itself. Unlike Star Wars, X-Men’s prequel trilogy is not a big letdown from the originals, even if this isn’t the best of the lot. It begins in Egypt in 3600 BCE, as eternal villain Apocalypse (Oscar Isaac) transfers his consciousness into a younger body to ensure his longevity and perhaps pick up some new powers, a process he repeats until the story picks up (after a title sequence that’s like 2001 on steroids, justifying the 3D surcharge) in 1983. Setting out to cleanse the earth of everything humans have wrought on it, Apocalypse is assisted by Magneto (Michael Fassbender) and opposed by Professor Charles Xavier (James McAvoy), each with a coterie of mutants and their powers, including telekinesis, telepathy, teleportation and assorted teleweaponry. Some of the mutants deserve more screen time because their stories are more interesting than the mundane main plot about saving the planet from some great evil. Director Bryan Singer, spinning his fourth X-Men tale, knows the territory but doesn’t slack off. Considering the series’ concern about diversity, someday they’ll have to address the term “X-Men,” which just sounds wrong when Mystique (Jennifer Lawrence) proclaims it in the finale.

ALICE THROUGH THE LOOKING GLASS ALICE THROUGH THE LOOKING GLASS (PG)

 ½ If you didn’t like what Tim Burton did to Alice in Wonderland, you’re not likely to applaud the work of Tim Burton wannabe James Bobin on the sequel. It owes less to Lewis Carroll than to Hollywood formula. Alice (Mia Wasikowska) is portrayed as a proto-feminist who returns in 1875 from a three-year voyage captaining her late father’s ship, the Wonder, to find her mother liquidating their assets. She follows a butterfly through a mirror to Underland, where the Mad Hatter (Johnny Depp) is depressed over the loss of his family. His depression sets the tone for the film, which is visually terrific (though 3D doesn’t add much) but neither amusing nor exciting. Alice tries to help her friend by taking a chronosphere back in time, upsetting Time himself (Sacha Baron Cohen) in the process. Helena Bonham Carter chews the scenery again as the Red Queen, while Anne Hathaway is wasted as her sister, the White Queen. Pink’s remake of “White Rabbit,” the highlight of the trailers, is nowhere to be heard; her new song is saved for the credits. In short, this is a bore-y Alice.

A BIGGER SPLASH (R)

 ½ Though not as awful, its seaside setting and sexy, troubled characters make A Bigger Splash reminiscent of last year’s By the Sea. (It’s actually based on a 1969 French film, La Piscine.) Tilda Swinton stars as Marianne Lane, a rock singer who can still bring a stadium full of people to their feet but is currently recovering from throat surgery and can barely whisper. Paul (Matthias Schoenaerts), her lover of six years, is in another kind of recovery, after attempting suicide a year ago. Their life is idyllic in an Italian villa until they get a surprise visit from Harry (Ralph Fiennes), her former lover and record producer, who basically passed Marianne on to Paul. He brings along Penelope (Dakota Johnson), the daughter who recently discovered him. The past is filled in gradually while the present develops even more gradually. There are many scenes of people staring at someone and wondering what they’re thinking, while we wonder what they’re both thinking. Essentially, Harry wants Marianne back, Penelope is interested in Paul, and everyone thinks Harry is sleeping with his daughter. The one thing I’ll give director Luca Guadagnino credit for is pulling off an ending that shouldn’t work but does. I’m not sure it’s worth sitting

through the rest to get to, but it’s a stunner.

WEINER (R)

 It was a great gift to comedy writers when a politician named Weiner got caught tweeting a picture of his – er, weiner. (Had Donald Trump been campaigning at the time he would have said, “Mine’s more like a kielbasa.”) Actually it was a photo of his bulging underwear that ended the congressional career of Rep. Anthony Weiner (DNY) in 2011. Josh Kriegman and Elyse Steinberg’s documentary, which doesn’t ignore the humorous aspects of the situation (including TV clips and tabloid headlines), dispenses with that part quickly and moves on to Weiner’s attempted comeback, his 2013 campaign for New York City mayor. His “good wife,” Huma Abedin, who’s also closely allied with Hillary Clinton, is at his side for most of the campaign, as are the film’s cameras. Things are looking good for Weiner until later, more explicit photos surface, sexted by Weiner under the name “Carlos Danger.” Very much a New Yorker, Weiner fights on, promising to work for the middle class if he’s elected. He confides to the film camera that he wants to be “more than a punchline.” Considering the access the filmmakers had the most surprising thing about the documentary is its lack of surprises. Despite a very brief “two years later” epilogue it should have come out right after the 2013 election, but it’s still a good ride for those who haven’t had their fill of politics lately – a cross between Dog Day Afternoon, The Candidate and Boogie Nights.

THE MEDDLER (PG-13)

 The latest in a virtual subgenre of films that have given mid-career boosts to Lily Tomlin, Sally Field and – well, Helen Mirren didn’t need a boost - The Meddler proves Susan Sarandon’s continuing viability, even as she’s celebrating the 25th anniversary of Thelma & Louise. Marnie (Sarandon) is the kind of hover parent who puts the “mother” in “smother.” After her husband’s death she moves from New Jersey to L.A. to be near her daughter Lori (Rose Byrne), a struggling screenwriter who’s depressed and wants to be left alone. When Lori brushes her off Marnie finds other lives to interfere in. She might even have a life of her own, as two men (J.K. Simmons, Michael McKean) take an interest in her. She resists at first, but this is a movie so writerdirector Lorene Scafaria may do some meddling of her own. She’s done a good job of telling a


DHEEPAN

story one suspects is largely autobiographical, and Sarandon is the perfect choice to play a mother only a mother could love.

DHEEPAN (R)

 ½ Efron fans will enjoy the Zaksploitation aspect of the locally-filmed Neighbors 2. He’s offered as a counterpoint to the dozens of nubile young females in a movie whose message is “Girls are worse than boys.” At least that’s one of the messages, all presented with even less subtlety than the comedy in this continuing tale of Geeks v. Greeks. The fraternity has abandoned the house next door to “the old people,” Mac (Seth Rogen) and Kelly (Rose Byrne), and their baby daughter. With another child coming they’re moving to a bigger house in the suburbs, but first they have to sell this one. At the beginning of a 30-day escrow period during which the buyers can back out, a trio of rebellious freshwomen led by Chloe Grace Moretz rents the adjacent house to start an unauthorized sorority. After a strong start, sequelitis sets in, with mostly futile attempts to top the original’s outrageously raunchy comedy. Watering it down further is the baby factor, with one onscreen and two on the way. There are enough big laughs to satisfy undemanding viewers, but if there’s a Neighbors 3 it may as well be subtitled Dead in the Water.

 Even Donald Trump would have compassion for the immigrants in Dheepan, if only because they’re France’s problem, not America’s. You don’t have to know who’s fighting whom in Sri Lanka’s civil war to understand why our hero, introduced on a body-burning detail for his army, wants out. He gets out by assuming the identity and passport of the late Dheepan and recruiting a fake wife and nine-year-old daughter to complete the man’s (also late) family. Although the woman, Yalini, would rather go to England, where she has a cousin, they’re dispatched to France, even though only the girl, Illayaal, speaks any French at all. They’re sent to live in a dicey-looking apartment block where “Dheepan” will work as caretaker. The place is run – and overrun – by a young gang of drug dealers. Again, you don’t need to know the details when the inevitable shooting starts. Just as inevitably, the faux family, unable to relate to or communicate with anyone else, move toward becoming a real family. While the ending may go down easy with focus groups, it seems a bit facile and unfair to filmmaker Jacques Audiard’s (A Prophet) native France. Still, it’s the right conclusion after two hours of brilliant suffering in the film that won the Palme d’Or at last year’s Cannes Film Festival.

DARK HORSE (PG)

SUNSET SONG (R)

NEIGHBORS 2: SORORITY RISING

 Horses are my favorite animals, so I’m as much of a sucker for a documentary like Louise Osmond’s Dark Horse as you are for cat videos, or whatever your thing is. This one’s a winner by any standard. It’s a Disney sports movie waiting to happen, but the dramatized version won’t be any better, except for the racing footage. It takes a Welsh village, a coal mining village where the mines are closing, to breed and raise a horse that can compete with the steeds of the wealthy. It begins in 2000 when Jan, a local barmaid whose father raced birds, gets the urge to race a horse. She connects with Howard, an accountant who had owned a racehorse and lost money. They concoct a plan for a syndicate open to all the villagers, 23 of whom participate. They buy a mare, rent a stud, hire an expensive trainer – and they’re off to the races. They name the horse Dream Alliance. (I thought they were saying Dream o’ Lions – the accents are somewhat problematic until you get used to them.) The horse has a rollercoaster career, including a major injury that requires expensive surgery and 16 months of rehab to get him back on track. The villagers cheer every victory, as well as their own in getting to mix with the upper crust as horse owners. I hate to call a film inspiring because I don’t usually like inspirational films, but I couldn’t help feeling a little bit inspired by Dark Horse.

SUNSET SONG

 ½ Some films that stand the test of time are shown in museums. Terence Davies’ films look like they escaped from one, and that’s not a bad thing. He specializes in lovingly crafted period pieces with impeccable attention to detail, plots often being secondary. Sunset Song is never quite boring but hardly ever quite interesting either. It’s set in Scotland a century ago and details the coming of age of Chris Guthrie (Agyness Deyn), a farm girl with a brutal father (Peter Mullan). Deyn is a decent actress, considering her modeling background, but she couldn’t pass for a high-schooler on Glee or in Grease; and while the character ages some she’s only 18 when the movie’s more than half over. Around that time she’s marrying Evan (Kevin Guthrie), who’s lacking in money and personality; but by then Chris has inherited the family farm. Then, as Downton Abbey fans know, World War I comes along and upends everything. Although the accents are rarely hard to understand, the film is subtitled, which would have been more helpful in translating some slang words instead of spelling them out. At times Chris’ love of the land (which is beautifully photographed) makes one think of Gone with the Wind, but she’s no Scarlett O’Hara. Like Sunset Song, she’ll have to get by on her looks. See the rest of our movie reviews at insiteatlanta.com/movies.asp

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COMEDY

PROVENZA WITHOUT A NET SetList Live Host Brings the Improvised Show to the Laughing Skull Festival

BY LEE VALENTINE SMITH

W

IDELY HAILED BY PERFORMERS and fans alike as pure “comedy in the moment,” SetList Live is a quick-witted showcase of stand-up skills. The guests are given a “set” of outrageous topics to riff on as the audience sees the list projected on a screen. Hilarity (usually) ensures. The simple and easily-portable premise has proven popular with audiences around the world, in live settings, on television (UK’s Sky Atlantic) and on You Tube’s Nerdist Channel. Currently touring festivals worldwide, host/comic/actor/ filmmaker/historian Paul Provenza is bringing the fast-paced event to this year’s Laughing Skull Festival for a rare competition-based round. He spoke with INsite before a recent SetList show in Los Angeles. You and Marshall Chiles of the Laughing Skull go way back. Yeah, and he’s got a really top-notch reputation in the comedy community. He gets the difference between a comedian who knows the art and someone who’s just trying to manufacture a product. He’s in the business of comedy but he approaches it from the artistic side of comedy. I hear you helped with the selection of the iconic comics on the front of the club. I did! Marshall and I have a lot of similar tastes in what really matters. We had a limited number of windows and we decided who was going to represent what we care about. We were dancing on the head of a pin about how to show either this kind of value or that kind of vibe, and then we zeroed it down to the ones that are on there now.

last year really turned me around. It’s unique. I’ve never seen a competition where the talent is so uniformly strong - and it’s curated brilliantly with high standards. That’s a big compliment considering you’ve seen most of the comedy festivals all over the world, including the influential Edinburgh Festival. I’ve gotta say, I’ve never seen that level of quality at a competition before. The comedians were all tremendously supportive of one another. Obviously they’d all like to win, but it’s more the overall experience of doing it, and everyone there was really getting something from being in it.

The usual SetList Live show is generally not a competitive event. Right, the thing that makes it unique is that the comedians aren’t competing against each other, they are competing against the list. That’s what sets it apart from any other similar format. We have some many It’s good to have that comedians who enjoy JUNE 7–12 mini-history up there, doing it, and partially and it’s a bit scary that laughingskullcomedyfestival.com because they aren’t people may walk by and competing, they are not know who Jonathan just working out, really. Winters is, for example. Maybe those images They’re just going for their own best work. It’s will help them understand a bit of the history. almost like a gym for comedy. But the Laughing That’s right. I think it’s part of the Laughing Skull Festival is so strong, there’ s really not a bad Skull’s agenda to encourage comedy literacy. comic in the line-up. It’s not about what’s hot right now, because that doesn’t last. Clubs that survive are the ones that You and Penn Jillette conceived and directed maintain a sense of quality and a dedication The Aristrocrats (2005) which addressed to artistry. comedy and freedom of speech within the genre, but so much has changed in the past 11 years. I’ve never had a bad time at the Laughing Skull and I can’t say that about any other club How do you feel about the whole “p.c.” in comedy debate now? I’ve been to anywhere else in the country. The whole point of art is being free to express Well that’s because he cares about what’s on an idea no matter what it is. It can be an stage and he cares about the audience. Some expression that is completely made up or at clubs are all about selling quesadillas and least exaggerated. You can write a fiction novel chicken wings. They don’t really care about and nobody has a problem with it but when what’s going on as long as they get those asses you express opinions in comedy and you’re in the seats. People are just dollar signs walking around in the room. Marshall would rather have open to being “taken to task” for anything you say. When people get upset with comedians people come to the club and maybe not even know who’s going to be playing, but they’ll know about something they said, I tell them if you’re upset about racial issues, gay rights or that whoever is there is going to be worth their abortion or whatever it is, the comedian really time to go. And that’s all too rare, especially in has nothing to do with the situation. They are comedy clubs. expressing themselves as a comedian and I think So your visit last year eventually led to bringing that’s great! the Set List show to the festival and into The Laughing Skull Festival runs June 7 – 12 the competition? at various venues around town. SetList Live will Yeah, I was a judge last year and that directly led be presented at the Relapse Theater. Visit www. to us incorporating it. I’m generally not a fan of laughingskullcomedyfestival.com for showtimes competition in comedy, it’s usually something I find distasteful. But seeing the vibe of the festival and tickets and www.SetListshow.com for classic clips from the series.

LAUGHING SKULL COMEDY FESTIVAL

PG 16 • June 2016 • insiteatlanta.com


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Remember When ROCK WAS YOUNG Elton John Tribute with Atlanta Pops Orchestra

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MUSIC

HARMONIOUS & HILARIOUSLY PROFANE Folk Uke Offers Traditional Music with a Warning Label

BY LEE VALENTINE SMITH

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Amy: We’ll just follow them around like Dead-heads after this tour is over.

F YOU’VE EVER CRINGED AT painfully sensitive Besides loving the Jayhawks, what was the original goal of singer-songwriters who string one tired James Taylor forming Folk Uke? With famous last names, you have a bit cliché after another Jackson Browne ripoff, Folk Uke of an advantage and a disadvantage at the same time. is the band for you. The antithesis of staid traditional Amy: That’s true, when we first formed the band, we country-folk, the duo is a backporch pickin’ party where discussed what we wanted from it. We’ve seen our dads not the spirits of Emmylou Harris and Rodney Carrington even be able to go into a restaurant without being mobbed, trade licks with Flight of the Conchords and Reformed and that’s not our idea of success. Our idea of success is to Whores. have the people we admire think of us as The sweetly harmonic music of Amy peers. People actually think we’re a real Nelson and Cathy Guthrie, daughters band now and that’s success for us. of music iconoclasts Willie and Arlo, FRI, JUNE 24 • 8PM Cathy: We’ve fooled everybody! respectively, isn’t for the easily offended Buckhead Theatre p.c.-conscious crowd. As you can tell by the titles of their newest single “A BJ to A thebuckheadtheatre.com Your albums have parental warning labels on them. Do you ever tailor the content of DJ,” and greatest hit to date, “Motherf--the live show to the demographics? Got F---ed Up” they don’t shy away from Cathy: When we first started, were playing WoodyFest and I double-entendres or compound-swear-words. remember thinking, “Oh there are all these kids!” So we were Currently halfway through recording a new album, the gonna do more of the sweeter songs. Amy, was it my dad who band’s music can be heard in the film “G7” and in the came up to us? season four premier of Orange Is The New Black this Amy: He said, “You’ve leavin’ out the good stuff?!” month. On a day off from a two-month tour with The Cathy: Yeah, he said, “You can’t change the show; you have to Jayhawks, the duo called from Austin. go out there and do what you do.” Both of our dads have been so supportive from day one, and very encouraging. Never any How’s the Jayhawks tour going so far? “don’t mess up the family name” warnings or anything. Amy: This is like a vacation for us. We get to play and then we get to see our favorite band every night. I mean Father’s Day is coming. Do you have any special Father’s that, they’re literally our band’s favorite band. One of the Day traditions with two very iconoclastic dads? first things we bonded about was loving the Jayhawks. Cathy: It’s probably more typical than most people think. Cathy: I don’t know what we’re going to do after this. Amy: Much more typical than birthdays. In my dad’s case, This might be the greatest thing we’ll ever do. it’s hard to get birthday time with him because people want to

FOLK UKE

do a TV special around his birthday or he ends up having ten birthday celebrations because everybody wants to celebrate with him. But nobody cares about Father’s Day with him but his kids, so that’s about the best day for some “dad time.” You’ve both been on tour with your fathers. How does a Folk Uke tour differ from the Willie Nelson and Family or Arlo Guthrie organizations? Cathy: It’s a little different, definitely. It’s usually just the two of us. We set up our own stuff and sell our own merch and get our own food and settle up at the end of the night. This summer, my daughter, who is 9, will help us sell merch. She’s old enough now. She’s got the pouty face and goes, “I can’t eat unless I sell enough CDs!”

PETER ASHER: THE GROOVY MOGUL

At 72,Vet of Swinging London and Mellow California Scenes is ‘Busier than Ever’

BY LEE VALENTINE SMITH

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HE LAST TIME I SPOKE WITH Peter Asher was after a show with his old friend and foil Gordon Waller on a British Invasion tour stop at a rural south Atlanta shed. Peter and Gordon were on a package show with Herman’s Hermits, Joey Molland and Terry Sylvester. It was a solid performance and the musicians were in a jovial mood, a fond memory turned bittersweet by the untimely death of Waller a few months later. From the cinders of that final performance

Asher could have taken a well-deserved break and enjoyed compiling reissues of all the classic British rock and southern California gold he’s recorded and guided over the years. But now at age 72, he’s busier than ever with management, music supervision and production duties for a myriad of artists including Steve Martin, Edie Brickell, Elton John and Hans Zimmer. He’s also back on tour in a new duo configuration with renowned guitarist Albert Lee. During a recent early morning call, Asher spoke at length with INsite about his storied career and why he has no desire to retire. The new duo with Albert Lee is a great pairing. What brought you two together? Was it your mutual admiration of the Everly Brothers? I suppose so, yes. We’ve known each other for quite a long time. You know Albert played with Linda Ronstadt off and on and they were friends and I’ve always been a huge fan of his playing. As is every guitar player in the known universe, of course. We first started singing together at a couple of events. We were just sort of thrown together at a benefit or a party or something. But when we decided to try to play together, it was fun and sounded OK. We know a lot of the same songs and definitely part of it is that we share an adoration of the Everly Brothers, for sure. You produced some of the greatest pop records of the early ‘70s, including James Taylor and Linda Ronstadt. What is your most recent production project? Recently, I’ve been working a lot with Steve

Martin and Edie Brickell. I’ve produced two albums with them. One was a few years ago and one was just a few months ago, and those, of course, have turned into the play Bright Star. The Broadway cast album of the show is just out and it’s doing remarkably well. We’re number two on the cast albums list.

anymore. The whole vinyl craze that’s going on does make sense, but only for people who wipe down their records and carefully put them back into plastic sleeves. I was never that kind of person.

It’s very healthy that you’ve so totally embraced modern technology. Many people With Hamilton holding down the number in your position would be strictly of the one spot, of course. “back to mono” and “analog is the only way Yes and we’re up for a to go” mindset. Tony against Hamilton Yeah some people so good luck with come up to me and go, that! The Best Musical “Oh you’re so lucky, award at this point is a you made all those foregone conclusion. records back when it TUESDAY, JUNE 21 was all on tape” and all CITY WINERY ATLANTA Since you’ve been that. Generally, I have CITYWINERY.COM/ATLANTA active in the industry to interrupt them. The for so long, what do digital domain is so easy you consider to be the biggest change in the to work in and all the things that we’d hoped music business? we could do back then, we can actually do I love the way making records has changed now. with the modern technology. And the way people listen to music has also changed and That same technology enables anyone and everyone to do a record in their own home. will continue to because streaming is the future. That has changed the economics of Yes and unfortunately they all do. Now the access to new music is total. The hard part is the business in a massive way. I suppose the biggest change is people have stopped buying trying to decide what to listen to. records! But it is easier to bring your music to With your history, many people would just the attention of everyone now. kick back at this point and say, “I’ve done enough for three lifetimes.” Streaming is great but you can’t get that Yes, but I feel absolutely no inclination to tactile rush of actually holding a file or take up golf or anything like that. Or move a link. to Florida or whatever you’re supposed to do Correct but I don’t miss records, actually. when you’re my age. I really enjoy working I was never one of those collector people and for whatever reason I’m busier now than so when albums were done I got rid of my vinyl collection. I don’t even have a turntable I’ve ever been.

THE PETER ASHER AND ALBERT LEE

insiteatlanta.com • June 2016 • PG 19


MUSIC

ATTIC ABASEMENT

Back with First LP in Nearly Six Years BY JOHN B. MOORE

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T’S BEEN MORE THAN FIVE YEARS since the guys in Attic Abasement last put out a full length record, but that doesn’t mean they were taking a break. They spent that time playing live here and there, writing and recording (including a split LP with Nod in in 2014) and ultimately working on new material that made its way onto “Dream News,” their latest LP and first for Father/Daughter Records. We caught up with singer/guitarist Mike Rheinheimer to talk about what the band’s been up to since the last album. It’s been more than 5 years since your last full length. What has everyone been up to? Well, we’ve spent the past 4 or 5 years playing Attic Abasement. We wrote & recorded the last release - a split LP with Nod - in 2013. That came out in 2014. We’ve been steady playing the whole time. Not touring a bunch but working on new songs and reformulations of old songs and reformulations of the band line-up. Between Dancing is Depressing/Don’t Hate Fuck until then was only about a year. I was playing my friend David’s band Paleo for about 6 months there (2011), but that’s really the only break there’s been in my mind. Did you always know you’d come back to Attic Abasement? In my mind there never was any sort of hiatus. The songs are always churning. How would you describe this record compared to the last full length? I guess first off, “Dancing is Depressing” was primarily a solo effort whereas “Dream News” is truly a band endeavor. Joe and Keith both helped with the arrangements and part writing. “Dancing” was self- recorded

and self-released where “Dream News” was recorded in a studio and has Father/Daughter support, which is fantastic. There’s a little more first person desperation apparent in “Dancing,” I think, content-wise. I’d say “Dream News” is more observational, detached, and dreamy. Was this record the band’s first foray in a proper studio? No. I read somewhere that it was but that ain’t true. We recorded the Carbon Records Nod Split LP at More Sound Studios in Syracuse, NY with the great engineer Jocko back a few years ago. Aside from the sound, did being in a studio vs. laying down tracks in your bedroom have an effect on the band? Hard to compare. Mainly because when self-recording there was no band, really. On “Dancing” and earlier records, with the exception of Werewolf, I played all the instruments. Here and there some friends and I would get together to play a few local shows or do a short tour but for the most part the recording was the main purpose. Now, the live shows and working out the songs as a group has equal significance. Any plans to tour once the record comes out? Can’t do a big tour but we’ll probably do a few short northeast ones. What else are you working on? My wife and I just had a baby in January so that’s an awesome priority. I stay pretty busy with work and the house and other normal life stuff, you know - I’m 33. What’s next for the band? Well, we get together to work out new songs and work on different ways of playing the old ones to keep things crispy. Got some fresh ones almost ready for the light.

SUNSET SHIPWRECKS Forms Out of American Steel

BY JOHN B. MOORE

A

merican Steel put out five full lengths and a handful of 7”s and EPs over their nearly 15 years of existence, winning over fans across the globe and earning a reputation as of one of the most consistently great punk bands in the Bay Area. So when the band folded and half of the group went on to record a new album, you’d think they would have kept the name. “Well, first and foremost, this is a completely different band playing a different style of music,” says Ryan Massy, formerly of American Steel. He plays guitars and shares vocal duties in the new band Sunset Shipwrecks. “But beyond that, I am a big believer in band chemistry- that something in the interaction of a group is what makes it special and greater than the sum of its parts,” he continues. “You could replace the least capable musician in a band with someone who was supremely talented and still mess the whole thing up. So when John (Peck, bassist) moved to Berlin, we pretty much just all looked at each other and said ‘well, that’s that.’” So with a new band to his resume, Massy spoke with us recently about the new record, sharing song writing duties and what’s next. This was your fist time writing most of the songs. How was the experience? Everyone in the band pitches in on songwriting, but this was definitely the most I have ever done. Rory (Henderson) from American Steel is a songwriting machine, and so there was never really any pressure for the rest of us to bring in ideas. I mostly wrote my few songs per album because it was the only way I ever got to sing leads. This record is very much a straight up rock

MATT SCOTTOLINE On His New Band, Hurry BY JOHN B. MOORE

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hen his band Everyone Everywhere started to close up shop a few years ago, Philly local Matt Scottoline finally found the motivation to take the songs he’d been working with on his own and finally do something with them. A bassist in Everyone Everywhere, he switched to a six string guitar and took over vocals for his own songs. He named the new endeavor Hurry and over time evolved from a solo project to a trio. Scottoline took time recently to talk about growing his band, the new record and the musical influences that shaped this album. Just to get this out of the way, is Everyone Everywhere still together? We are good friends who rarely play music together. Why put a label on it? How did Hurry first start out? It was really just me writing songs. I had always been writing, but when Everyone Everywhere was more active I didn’t really pursue it. I didn’t see the songs going anywhere. They just PG 20 • June 2016 • insiteatlanta.com

scratched an itch. As that band began to wind down, I started taking it more seriously. I made a bandcamp page, and put my home demos up there. Eventually I had so many up that I decided to challenge myself and record them in a real studio, alone, playing all of the instruments myself. Once you’ve been in bands for long enough, it feels weird when you aren’t. It kind of drives you crazy. Hurry started as me trying to medicate that. The new record sounds a little more streamlined, maybe a little less cluttered. I can understand that. The first LP, “Everything/Nothing,” was recorded under the idea that I just wanted to make a really raw pop album. I basically got in the studio, turned every amp up as loud as I could, and played the songs in as few takes as possible. I was fascinated by the idea of making sugary pop songs and just drowning them in noise. Was there a conscious decision to change the sound a bit? Yeah, for sure. I didn’t want to be known as the “fuzzy” band. “Everything/Nothing” had a really distinct aesthetic to it, and I’m happy with that, but I didn’t want to try and repeat it, or do the same thing again. So much of the music I love -- bands like The Verlaines, The Bats, Teenage Fanclub - make these beautiful,

record. Was there a conscious decision not to sound too much like American Steel? This music is just where my head is at - old rock and roll and soul music have always been at the center of my musical universe. We get to be a bit more dynamic and I get to sing in more of a variety of styles, which I love getting to do. And when I feel like letting loose and screaming my lungs out, I still get to do that too. You moved out of San Francisco. Not too long ago. Did the move shape any of the songs on this  album? Getting evicted from San Francisco definitely had a huge bearing on this band existing period, and the experience wove its way into many of the songs too. I was incredibly depressed when my wife and I were forced out of the house we had rented for a decade and getting to play music with the guys in this band helped keep me afloat. As I say in the liner notes, the album is dedicated to idea of community, and communities in the Bay Area are being completely gutted by the tidal wave of irrational capital that has crashed down upon us. I think everyone knows that rents in San Francisco are bat shit crazy now - a house like the one we used to rent could easily run $5,000 a month - but rents in Oakland and the surrounding areas are skyrocketing too. While the problem is particularly acute here, it is not a local problem- this is where everyone can expect to end up unless we raise our voices against the rampant avarice, corporate control and neoliberal bullshit that are the order of the day. What’s next for you and for the band? Getting out into the world and playing as many shows as we can!

clean, sparkling records. I wanted to try and make something that sounded a little more timeless, but also had character. You can definitely hear some cool power pop bands influences on this record, bands like Teenage Fanclub and Big Star. Is there specific music you were listening to when you were writing this one that had an influence on you? Yeah! Absolutely the two bands you mentioned. Additionally, lots of bands from the Flying Nun catalog (The Bats, The Verlaines, Sneaky Feelings). And then stuff I grew up with, like Matthew Sweet, The Lemonheads. What’s next for you? I’m hoping to make a lot of money on this album, tour on it for the next 30 years, and then retire to Naples, Florida at the age of 60 where I will continue to write very popular tweets on twitter, which will certainly still exist at that time.


TV

A GOOD FIRST IMPRESSION

SNL’s Dana Carvey Returns to TV with a New Limited-run Series

BY LEE VALENTINE SMITH

D

ANA CARVEY IS BEST-KNOWN for his man-of-1000 voices stint on Saturday Night Live. His army of beloved characters include The Church Lady, Garth from Wayne’s World and muscleman Hans. His over-the-top impressions of noted pop-culture celebrities such as Johnny Carson, George H. W. Bush and Ross Perot helped establish him as the preeminent impressionist of the ‘80s and ‘90s. Currently he’s bringing his comedic skills back to television as he mentors a batch of upand-coming impressionists on the USA’s Network’s new First Impressions. The limited-run competition series began last month and co-stars Freddie Prinze, Jr. What qualities were you looking for in the contestants? Basically it really was our first impression of them. Since we were doing six shows, we’re doing three contestants on each show, so there’s a total of 18 contestants. And you know, there are thousands of different types of impressionists. From a ten-year-old in his room doing stuff on YouTube to here, there, and everywhere. So in LA we had a nice collage of different styles. We tried to mix it up and we found some really talented people. Has there ever been an impression that you’ve had a lot of trouble mastering? Oh yes, most of them. I’d say George Bush Sr. was really difficult. I was assigned that when I was on Saturday Night Live and everyone said, ‘What are we going to do with him?’ And I was just kind of going, “Hey, if you can’t do an impression, then you just

have to say the name, like ‘This is George Bush Sr.’” Basically that one took a year to really make something interesting and funny. Obama was also especially difficult because he has this deep voice, very much down here on the range. And the ones that are kind of higher up, like W. or Clinton, the ones that are kind of caught up in your throat, are just easier to do.

This show reminds me a lot of a show that I watched growing up called The Kopykats on ABC. Do you remember that one? Oh God yes, absolutely! I was glued, I mean, in the 60’s between Frank Gorshin and Rich Little and the others, I was glued to those guys. That was about taking like four or five well-known impressionists and kind of having them do a variety show. Was it a half-hour or an hour? It was on the ABC Comedy Hour. In many ways you’ve always reminded me of Fred Travalena who was also on that show and I mean that as the highest possible compliment. Was he an early influence? Oh I knew Fred, yes. I remember seeing Fred on television and he and Rich Little were very influential as far as just pure impressionists go. Then I think a lot of the sort of what you would call generic voices, I probably got from Jonathan Winters, like a lot of people. Then later on came Carlin and Pryor for the pure stand-up. But you know, I love magicians too. I love watching someone do an impression and it seems like a magic trick to me, especially when I can’t do it. In the ‘60s and ‘70s, variety shows were the main way to see impressionists. That was the heyday of variety, man! There

was so many variety shows on in the ‘60s and all the way through most the ‘70s. Then pretty much that was it. I mean for primetime network variety. But now we have the competition shows like The Voice, and I think those are the new variety shows.

Are there any current-event impressions you’re working on at the moment? Everyone’s doing - or trying to do Trump. And I have actually been working on a Hillary. Right now, since her voice has gotten kind of hoarse, I was able to just kind of find that angle. But a lot of the younger impressionists, they’re doing Seth Rogans and trying to get Sofia Vergara. Basically, they’re doing people that aren’t really from my age group. Can almost anyone do impressions or is it a learned art form? I think everyone’s an impressionist on some level. I really do. I mean, I think there are people with, you know, crazy gifts and then I think most of us can do somebody whether it’s your uncle or school teacher. How did your own personal gift evolve? I did stuff from everyone I could. If I’m doing Church Lady, I’m not sure where that rhythm came from or maybe it was from five different influences. I remember once I said to Tommy Smothers that there’s a little bit of his influence in Garth, even though that character was based on my brother. But there’s that little hesitant nerd character in it. You never know where it’s all coming from, so it’s interesting. But yes, you steal from the best and take everything you can. Robin Williams was a huge influence on me because he was from San Francisco and he

I THINK EVERYONE’S AN IMPRESSIONIST ON SOME LEVEL. was like the godfather of comedy. I tried to be him for five years until I figured out no one was as fast as him. First Impressions airs Tuesdays at 10:30 p.m. on USA Network. Fans can catch-up on all of Dana Carvey’s greatest hits and highlights from the show via NBCU’s new digital subscription comedy service Seeso. www.seeso.com.

ED ASNER IS LOU GRANT

Groundbreaking Television Series Gets the Deluxe Treatment on DVD

BY LEE VALENTINE SMITH

O

NE OF THE MOST INTELLIGENT and wellwritten television shows of the late ‘70s was Lou Grant. It featured an excellent ensemble cast and bold depictions of contemporary concerns. Debuting in September of 1977, it paved the way for the gritty realism of adult-oriented fare such as Hill Street Blues and the CSI franchise. As the title character, Ed Asner reprised his role from The Mary Tyler Moore Show and was joined by Mason Adams, Robert Walden and Nancy Marchand for a fiveseason run that concluded in 1982. Audiences were initially surprised to see that unlike the lighthearted Moore sitcom, Lou Grant was an hourlong drama - featuring Asner as the gruff city editor of the Los Angeles Tribune. His interaction with the staff and community was the focus, allowing the production to

examine a number of societal issues. Interestingly, Asner’s own outspoken activism is said to be a factor in the ultimate demise of the award-winning series. Since Shout! Factory is currently reissuing the MTM Productions program in new deluxe sets, INsite called Asner at his home in California to discuss the show.

“Lou Grant” was about the expression of ideas yet your own public communication of ideas actually led to its termination. Well that’s very well put. Very well put. There’s a limit to “freedom of speech,” I guess. Or freedom of ideas or freedom of association. They all run up against some wall finally. Especially when sponsors are involved. Do you think a show could be pressured off the air in today’s climate? The people who run into trouble with high management, it’s generally not on ideas but on personal attitudes. I don’t see any badminton games going on [today] in terms of ideas or associations so I guess it’s worse now, until the next hero crops up. But where’s that hero coming from? Everyone and everything is so scattered and separated. Yeah but isn’t that old phrase “divide and conquer’? They’ve done a good job dividing us and it becomes a comedy of dunces. Like that book by the guy who committed suicide, A Confederacy of Dunces. And if we live in a confederacy of dunces, who’s gonna buy this series that deals with ideas?

Exactly. Who is the target market for a well-made show such as this? Well, I don’t know.

When it spun off from Mary Tyler Moore, Lou Grant made a very unusual transition from comedy to drama, with Emmys for both genres. [Asner is the first actor to win “Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series” and “Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series” for playing the same character.] Well for the first two weeks, TV Guide had it listed as a comedy. And we lost some people initially; viewers who were looking for a comedy and found that such was not the case. But eventually the characters and the ideas began to bring people to the cause. What is your favorite memory of it? I think it was brilliant in that no matter what the cause, it always presented the minority view. I think that rarely happens nowadays or it’s much more subtle if it is. But we did that and it helped us sell the main view even better. It’s perfect for today’s habit of binge-watching. What do you think about the whole segmented nature of television and entertainment in general today? There are so many choices and channels. I know and I think the actor gets cheapened with every new addition. I can remember during Lou Grant, I got hold of some papers that were stuck in the drawer in the prop department. And it was contracts for Casablanca. Please see Asner on page 22 insiteatlanta.com • June 2016 • PG 21


HOME THEATER

NEW RELEASES

THE LATEST DVD, BLU RAY & VOD RELEASES By John Moore

BALLERS: THE COMPLETE FIRST SEASON (HBO Films) Surprisingly, Duane Johnson has found a role that requires no physicality whatsoever and as a result ends up proving to be a pretty solid actor. The HBO series Ballers pairs Johnson, an ex-football player, with go-to comic foil Rob Corddry, as part of a wealth management firm in Miami where the duo specialize in signing NFL players. Created by Stephen Levinson (Boardwalk Empire, Entourage) the show has created a nice balance of soft-handed drama and tight, smart humor. And despite being produced by Mark Wahlberg and Levinson and centering around the sports world, there is a surprisingly low bro-factor with Ballers. SYNCHRONICITY (Magnolia) Synchronicity wants to be a smart, gripping sci-fi feature that uses time travel as a warning. In reality, the movie is a pretty tepid exercise in predictability with zero suspense and eye roll-inducing dialogue. The movie centers on three scientists that turn to a rich businessman to fund their experiment in time travel. The evil businessman (one of many clichés

TV in the movie) tries to take over the rights to the invention as one of the scientists goes back in time to try and prevent this from happening. I can’t help but think there’s a joke here about going back in time to get back the 90 minutes spent watching this movie. THE DAMNED – DON’T YOU WISH THAT WE WERE DEAD (Cleopatra) As the filmmakers of this doc prove with the opening segment of the film, a series of man-on-the street interviews asking punk fans if they know The Damned (most don’t), the British godfathers of punk rock never really got the respect they deserved. They were the first punk band from the UK to release a single but never got the fame that followed bands like the Sex Pistols and The Clash. This doc does a commendable job of tracing back The Damned’s beginnings as well as the fractured state of relationships between original band members now. Told through interviews with members as well as fellow musicians (including Lemmy, Chrissie Hynde, Mick Jones and many, many more), Don’t You Wish That We Were Dead is a great tribute to a band the deserves to be remembered.

Asner from page 21

so that’s where he learned his lesson in practice.

That was stuck in the drawer? Yeah it was just in the junk papers on my desk! I think it said Humphrey Bogart got 37 grand a week, at least that’s what it was on paper. I came here in ‘61 and my first trip to MGM was like the magic city on the hill. Beautiful, spacious and hallowed. Marlon Brando was in the cafeteria when I went for lunch. I was in awe. Then a very short few years later, it had become dingy and grey and the streets were crowded with baggage and equipment. The city on the hill had been exterminated. I find that the industry itself is of that same nature now. Bottom line, bottom wage. The religion of America which was film, has been tremendously diluted.

Let’s talk about some of your new projects. You’ve gotten a lot of mileage out of the one-man FDR show. I have, but it seems to have run out of steam after four or five years. Now I’ve embarked on a new one-man show by Ed Wineberger who was producer-writer on Mary Tyler Moore and Taxi and a bunch of other stuff. It’s a personal account oneman show called A Man and His Prostate.

Yet there are still some great projects going on. Oh yeah, if I had the time - my hearing doesn’t allow me to do much listening - I would watch shows like The Good Wife and Law and Order and Criminal Minds all day. And all the great specials on cable. And that brings us back to the matter at hand, Lou Grant paved the way for a lot of the Steven Bochco type shows, for example. Well Bochco was an MTM producer, PG 22 • June 2016 • insiteatlanta.com

You have a string of new projects with intriguing titles. Oh you mean “Getting Ed Laid”? That one and Caio Caio Bang Bang, too. And Supersex. Well, Caio Caio I havent done yet, I’m waiting on the call for it. Supersex is a Matthew Modine caper, starring his daughter. You know it’s based on the old joke. The kids decide to give their ol’ dad a thrill, so they hire a hooker. She goes to the old man’s door, knocks on it. He opens it up and she goes, “I’m here to give you super sex!” His response in the joke is, “I’ll take the soup.” Is this a short, or is this a full-length feature? No pun intended. Hey, now! Ok, it’s a short. Season One of Lou Grant is now available from Shout! Factory www.shoutfactory.com and via online and retail outlets.

Station Control

LUNACY ABOUNDS THIS SUMMER Lady Dynamite

BY BENJAMIN CARR LADY DYNAMITE (Netflix)

PREACHER (AMC)

Lady Dynamite, Netflix’s new sitcom from the makers of Arrested Development, is a showcase for star Maria Bamford, who is an incredibly successful stand-up comic whose career was sidelined when she was diagnosed with bipolar disorder. In the show, Maria is attempting to rebuild her life in Los Angeles with the help of her agent Bert Ben-Bacharach (Fred Malamed). The structure of the sitcom though, flashes back to Maria’s life before her diagnosis where she worked with a cutthroat agent named Karen Grisham (Ana Gasteyer) and her time in recovery living with her parents (Mary Kay Place and Ed Begley Jr.) in Duluth, Minn. Scenes from every time period in Maria’s life are shown in every episode which should be jarring but viewers can quickly adapt to the story and just go with it. And this show rewards its viewers exponentially. The show is inventive, strange and funny. Some episodes revel in being odd or silly, with Maria imagining herself in hair commercial or breaking the fourth wall by talking about whether she should actually show stand-up comedy on her show. At another point, she’s providing voices for an animated show called “Foxcatcher Babies,” which seems to be a cute animal version of the Channing TatumSteve Carell true-crime movie. And there is a break-up scene joke in the second episode that makes the entire series worth watching. More than anything, though, Lady Dynamite attempts an in-depth investigation of what depression and mental illness are truly like and what someone fighting to maintain their sanity can truly achieve.

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VOL. 24, NO. 11 FREE

Weird Al

BBQ Dining Dana Carvey

Summdeer Gui

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For more brazen insanity, look no further than AMC’s new drama Preacher, based upon the Vertigo Comics title. Starring Captain America’s Dominic Cooper, Preacher is an intensely violent blast of shock and awe - beginning with some kind of invading force from outer space attempting to possess a Christian minister in Africa, who immediately and spontaneously explodes in front of his entire congregation. Cooper plays Jesse Custer, who has returned to his hometown in Texas to oversee a flock of his own sinners, but Jesse has a dark, sordid past and a history of violence. There are bone-crunching fight scenes galore, femme fatales beating men to death in speeding cars, vampire attacks on airplanes. It’s stunning and it’s the sort of show that leaves you with questions that you absolutely must tune in again to see answered. This show should easily fill the void left by the hiatus of The Walking Dead. It’s fantastic.

BLOODLINE (Netflix)

On a more downtrodden note, Netflix has also brought back its Florida family noir series Bloodline, where a group of siblings who committed a murder during the first season now must fight off drug lords and human traffickers while trying to stay out of prison. Starring Kyle Chandler and Sissy Spacek, it’s still dark, filled with characters you don’t really like, but viewers invested in the Rayburn family should remain transfixed as their situation only gets worse. It’s a compelling show, filled with sad family dynamics and the idea that you can never completely recover from the pain of the past.

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INsite Atlanta June 2016 Issue  

Atlanta's Entertainment Monthly featuring our annual Summer Guide, celebrity interviews, and more!

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