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"The Big Gundown" Screens at Balboa Theatre, 1/27

Posted by The Bay Area Crew, January 25, 2016 06:07pm | Post a Comment

The Big Gundown

-- By Brett Stillo

The Spaghetti Western is a paradoxical film genre. Highly imitative and repetitive, hundreds of Spaghetti Westerns were blasted out by Italian movie studios in the 1960s like bullets from a Gatling Gun, carbon The Big Gundowncopies of carbon copies of Sergio Leone’s groundbreaking Dollars trilogy. And yet, the derivative nature of these films is part of what gives them their pulpy charm. We know what we’re in for -- ruthless characters with dirty clothes and sunburned faces shooting it out on dusty streets in some nameless border town (AKA Southern Spain). We not only expect all of that, we want it.

The Big Gundown, from 1966, has all those elements and more. It’s arguably the greatest Spaghetti Western without Sergio Leone’s name in the credits. Ironically, another Sergio directed this film -- veteran Italian director Sergio Solima, who crafts an epic chase film in which the bad guys are pitted against worse guys.

And in The Big Gundown, the baddest of the bad is the one and only Lee Van Cleef, arguably one of the genre’s biggest stars second only to Clint Eastwood. Van Cleef is Satan with a Six-Gun, cutting an intimidating presence with his razor-sharp face and impossibly narrow eyes. Van Cleef’s foil is the dynamic Tomas Milan as a roguish peasant-thief who prefers the knife over the gun.

Solima keeps the action moving rolling along, set to the tempo of an operatic score composed by the legendary Ennio Morricone. This is an impressive restoration of a film that had languished for decades. It will be playing for one night only, this Wednesday, January 27th at San Francisco’s historic Balboa Theatre. If you miss this one, Lee Van Cleef might come looking for you.

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Ennio Morricone Feature Documentary In The Works

Posted by Billyjam, May 27, 2015 12:00pm | Post a Comment

Ennio Morricone's score for Sergio Leone's "Once upon a time in the West"

Good, it's about time! That seems to be the general reaction by fans of Ennio Morricone to the news that there will be a feature documentary on the iconic Italian composer whose vast body of work spans writing music for 500 plus films and TV shows, in addition to countless contemporary classical compositions. His Amoeba online store page offers almost 200 titles! There have been pieces done on Morricone, such as the 1995 BBC TV documentary, but never a full feature scale documentry.

As recently reported by Deadline, director Giuseppe Tornatore, who first worked with Morricone on Cinema Paradiso, will begin shooting the documentary on the life of the legendary prolific 86-year-old composer in two months. It will be a unique documentary structured to reportedly, "highlight a side of Morricone that has never been revealed."  

As a fan I cannot wait for this documentary. Amoeba.com's J.Poet so accurately noted; "Ennio Morricone is one of the few musicians to have invented a new genre. His soundtracks for a series of Italian western films by director Sergio Leone, many starring Clint Eastwood, created “spaghetti Western” music by mixing surf guitar, classical, pop, rock, electronic, avant-garde, and Italian music and sprinkling it with samples of birdcalls, gunshots, footsteps, animal noises, and whistling. The sound became as popular as the films they were part of." 

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New "What's In My Bag?" Episode With Mike Scott of The Waterboys

Posted by Amoebite, April 21, 2015 06:17pm | Post a Comment

Mike Scott

The Waterboys is the brainchild of Scottish-born singer-songwriter Mike Scott. The project blew up in the '80s with its Celtic-inspired rock and roll, including the hit song "The Whole of the Moon" from their 1985 album This Is the Sea. Ten years into the band's career, Mike Scott, the driving force behind The Waterboys,  went "solo" and the band were on hiatus for most of the '90s. The Waterboys came back in 2000 and have been releasing albums and touring the world since. 2015 has been very busy for The Waterboys, including two new releases, tour dates and their North American national television debut on the Late Show With David Letterman. The band's new album, Modern Blues  (Harlequin & Clown) hit shelves April 7th and was closely followed by Puck's Blues, (Harlequin & Clown) a special 10" vinyl for Record Store Day.

Be sure to catch The Waterboys when they're in Los Angeles next month to play the Fonda Theatre May 13th. You can purchase tickets in-store at Amoeba Hollywood with super low fees or you can get them online here.

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New "What's In My Bag?" Episode with Joe Begos and Josh Ethier

Posted by Amoebite, September 30, 2014 05:56pm | Post a Comment

Joe Begos Josh Ethier

Almost Human Blu-rayFilmmakers Joe Begos and Josh Ethier are the definition of multi-hyphenates. Begos, a writer/director/producer/cinematographer/camera operator/actor teamed up with his longtime friend Ethier, an actor/producer/editor/sound designer/composer to film Almost Human. The sci-fi/slasher flick, set in the pair's native New England and inspired by classic 1980s horror films, premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival.

The pair stopped by Amoeba Hollywood to share some of their top picks for movies and music. Begos starts things off with Brian De Palma's Snake Eyes, which he says is "De Palma's best movie since the '80s." Ethier shows off the beautifully-packaged Death Waltz reissue of John Carpenter's soundtrack to The Fog. Begos talks about the Blu-ray version of William Friedkin's Sorcerer and Ethier discusses Ennio Morricone's score for Dario Argento's The Bird with the Crystal Plumage.

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Behind the Scenes: Dave Gahan, Rich Machin and Serj Tankian

Posted by Rachael McGovern, July 27, 2012 05:40pm | Post a Comment

Amoeba Hollywood was buzzing with some recent "What's In My Bag?" guests.

Serj Tankian HarakiriFirst, we had Serj Tankian, solo artist and frontman for System of a Down. He was particuarly interested in film music, including composers Ennio Morricone and John Williams. His choices were mostly from the jazz room, although he did select a Sigur Ros album and Mondo Cane by his friend Mike Patton. Serj actually came in that day inquiring about the experimental section which is now located in the jazz room, so technically Mondo Cane is also a jazz room pick. As for the rest of his picks and what he said about each one, you'll have to wait for the video!

Serj just announced a North American tour in support of his new solo album, Harakiri. You can see him live in Los Angeles September 28 at Club Nokia.
 

Serj Tankian at Amoeba Hollywood

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