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Behind the Scenes of Metal's Funniest Band
24 March 2008
D-Tour is a traditional-style tour documentary following Kyle Gass and Jack Black on tour in conjunction with the release of their film Tenacious D and the Pick of Destiny. This doc was largely filmed, produced and edited by Jack Black's assistant Jeremy Konner during the first half of 2007. The main focus is tension in the band - Pick of Destiny flops in theaters and Kyle is ignored by the media in favor of Jack.

This is an amazing opportunity to see all the hard work and genuine feelings that go into creating Tenacious D – a band that on the surface might appear to be a silly novelty act. Highlights include Kyle tutoring Jack Black on several D songs as they try to get their chops back for the tour, a hilarious "chariot" that's not exactly up to speed, some very dark moments for Kyle as he gets shoved aside in interviews and a lot of killer Tenacious D tunes – especially the improv by Jack & Kyle over the ending credits (worth the price of admission!) If you like the band, you'll love this doc. If you're into music docs, check this out for different look at an act that's often called "tired". The Tenacious shtick still has a lot of charm.
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Rollergames (1990–1992)
loved it as a kid
26 March 2006
As a kid, I was a big fan of pro wrestling, and this show would loosely fit into the same genre. I thought this was the greatest when I was 12! Rollergames featured performers in roles of "good guys" and "bad guys" and, much like pro wrestling, the outcomes were predetermined. The fun is in the performance. Also like pro wrestling, the performances were loosely scripted and performers improvised upon a theme.

The basic premise of the show was old-school roller derby with some cartoonish twists. Each team has four blockers and a jammer, who scores points by passing opponents on the rink. Blockers line up and whip their jammer for speed. However, old-school roller derby is just an oblong or circular rink. Rollergames added the wall and the ramp.

On Rollergames, shortly after the starting line was a "thiry foot" wall with three scoring zones. The higher the jammer could get up the sharp incline the more points they would score. Coming down from the wall with high velocity, the jammer would hit the ramp. The ramp also had scoring zones for distance. Then the whole thing would loop and start again. Rollergames also had lots of planned skits.

Rollergames featured cohesive teams of bad guys and good guys (or heels and babyfaces, if you like). Face teams were the all-American T-birds, Hot Flash with some hot girls in neon spandex (this was 1991), and the Rockers. The heel teams were the evil Violators in all black, the Maniacs, and Bad Attitude. Each team had a gimmick and a look. There were also story lines, like in pro wrestling. I remember an angle with two blonde twins from a "good" team who were split up, and one was put on a "bad" team. The Thunderbirds had a big William Perry-esquire character called "Icebox". In sudden death, a pool was filled with alligators. Characters were featured in backstage pre-taped vignettes as well as interviews on the field. I recall the show ending with a cliffhanger, where a member of the Violators had flipped off the top of the wall, and everyone freaked out. I never got to see how the story ended.

I wish I could revisit Rollergames, but other than the NES game there are really no remnants. It was obviously not popular at all, and I don't expect it to resurface on DVD any time soon.

EDIT After writing this review I was compelled to go out searching on the web, and I found a wonderful online group dedicated to Rollergames. Check out http://sports.groups.yahoo.com/group/rocknrollergames/
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Be Cool (2005)
5/10
Barely amusing
3 March 2005
Be Cool was amusing, but not really very good. From the first scene it was filled with silly references to other movies-especially Pulp Fiction. I'm usually a fan of clever reference, but in Be Cool they mostly fell flat. This movie had four music numbers, a dance sequence, and a montage. It was less a whole film, and more a meaningless parade of cameos. The writing was pretty bad, and most of the performances were desperate and awkward-notably Steven Tyler. Duane Johnson stood out in a movie full of celebrities, as he obviously had a really good time acting, and he was fun to watch. All told, I would have a hard time recommending this film.
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2/10
shockingly bad
25 January 2005
I was honestly surprised by Alone in the Dark. It was so bad, I could hardly believe what I was seeing. There are no characters, just a few stereotypes wandering around and getting killed. The extent of the character development was giving each character a name and an occupation, and that's about it. There was no real plot, and none of the characters seemed to have any motivation. In fact, many action scenes just began on their own, coming from nowhere with a pounding techno track. While I was watching this movie I kept asking "Where is this happening? What's going on?" The acting was high school drama quality, with stiff wooden delivery, as though the actors were reading from cue cards without comprehending their lines. Their trouble delivering lines was made even more obvious by horrible sound design. ADR sounded like it was recorded in an open room. The actors were constantly taking obvious care to hit their marks, looking almost robotic in their movements. So, these listless automatons are whisked through a series of implausible and confusing scenarios, often without even the benefit of transition scenes. They were here, now they're there. This was happening, now that's happening. Random scenes with little rhyme or reason. I had a lot of fun watching it. Definitely not worth nine bucks though.
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6/10
very genuine, young-adult fantasy
14 October 2004
The Dust Factory is a very cute fantasy film that obviously comes from the heart. Young Ryan has been scarred by the death of his father, and no longer speaks. An accident transports him to a fantastic world called The Dust Factory, where Ryan regains his voice. He is soon reunited with his Grandpa, whose Alzheimer's keeps him from communicating in the real world. Ryan also meets the precocious Mel, an adorable tomboy who idolizes Peter Pan. The relationship between Mel and Ryan is the core of the film, with Grandpa providing sage advice. This film has very "indie" production values, but it is very ambitious for a small budget film, and the special effects come off well. The writer/director obviously wanted to tell this story, and hard work pays off in a very enjoyable independent fantasy film.
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