Once known as the Emerald Island of the Caribbean, Montserrat was devastated by a volcano eruption in 1995. The volcano is the enduring theme in this rock documentary by Gracie Otto. Following the break-up of the Beatles, their producer George Martin built several AIR studios in London and then one in Montserrat in 1979. A who’s who of mostly British stars recorded there over the next 15 years, including The Police, The Rolling Stones and Mark Knofler. Unlike your typical urban music studio, this was set in the jungle with a pool on the deck and a view of the sea. Idyllic on the surface, deep down some musicians like Duran Duran’s Nick Rhodes couldn’t handle the solitude. Others, such as Stevie Wonder and Elton John, found little clubs on the island to jam at. Mostly, the film depicts a high-spending era in the music industry when MTV stepped in and record sales boomed. But that darn foreboding volcano had to ruin everything. Actually, by 1995, recording techniques had changed significantly and budgets for such luxuries like home studios were slashed. AIR now sits in the “exclusion zone” that ropes off two thirds of the island. It’s abandoned and has gone back to the jungle after becoming “the pinnacle,” Sting says, “the rock star’s dream.”
Weediatrics: A Covert Medical Mission
The story of seizure-ridden children using cannabis has been told many times, such as in in last year’s Waldo on Weed and several Weed specials on CNN. The families seeking help in Ehrard’s film are on a mission to save their children's live with the help of pot.
What Happened, Brittany Murphy?
Cynthia Hill’s series about the death and short life of Hollywood starlet Brittany Murphy works hard to blame her husband Simon Monjack, who died five months after her. They both had similar causes of death: pneumonia and anemia. They both took a lot of prescription drugs. After a run of success in films like Clueless, Girl Interrupted, 8 Mile and Just Married, the quality roles began to dry up and Murphy fell for Monjack, described as a British “con man” who dabbled in the film industry. Over two episodes, Hill provides reenactments, interviews with reporters and bloggers like Perez Hilton and of course plenty of film clips to piece together a portrait of the spunky actress from New Jersey who passed at just 32.
Garret Price's doc tells the story of the ill-fated 40th anniversary Woodstock event in 1999. That year, Columbine happened, Pres. Bill Clinton was impeached and Y2K had people frazzled about the future of the world. Kurt Cobain was dead and Nirvana had been replaced by angry nu-metal bands that merged hip-hop with hard rock. Most of the Woodstock ’99 crowd was young men, characterized as frat boys, looking for a good time. Many were out of control all weekend, preying on young women, some of whom were assaulted and raped. By the final day, with supplies dwindling, people ripped off the little that was left and set a number of fires during the Red Hot Chili Peppers’ closing set. Fire trucks were called and the concert ended in a blaze. You could say the hippie history of the original festival went up in smoke that weekend on an airport tarmac in upstate New York. It would be the final Woodstock commemoration.
Wu-Tang: An American Saga
In Season 2 of this 10-episode series, Wu-Tang Clan rise up from the mean streets of New York’s Staten Island with their 1993 debut album, Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers).
You’re Watching Video Music Box
Rapper Nas is making a name for himself as a director. His follow-up to SMOKE: Marijuana + Black America pays tribute to the New York-based Video Music Box and the program’s host DJ Ralph McDaniels. From 1983 to 1996, the show featured a who’s who of hip-hop and R&B acts, many of whom went onto worldwide fame. Rep. Hakeem Jeffries, Mike Tyson, Sean Combs, Fat Joe, Sway Calloway and Raekwon weigh in. But it’s all about “the hardest working man in hip-hop,” McDaniels, the true star of this fun film.
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