Friday, April 06, 2007

For your weekend entertainment

A couple of weeks ago, I made a half-assed commitment to review the Children of Men DVD once I’d had a chance to examine its extra features. The movie, as I reported in January, is brilliant. But the DVD extras are somewhat disappointing. There is no feature-length commentary of any kind, and that certainly would have been appropriate for this film. There are a few unremarkable deleted scenes. The short “making of” documentaries do a good job with what little they offer, but they mostly whet your appetite for more, which will likely be presented down the road on an inevitable “Special Edition” DVD. The hotly anticipated “The Possibility of Hope” featurette, directed by Children of Men director Alfonso Cuaron, is not much more than 30 minutes of social critics and philosophers blathering about why — well, shit — there really is no possibility of hope; ironically, the movie is a tad more optimistic than this documentary. All in all, though, I think Children of Men is worth repeat viewings, and for that reason, I recommend adding the DVD to your film library.

My best purchase of the past few days, though, is a British double-CD import called Last Flight. It’s a live full-concert recording of Jefferson Airplane’s final appearance at Winterland in San Francisco, September 1972. This is the Airplane on life-support, touring after two so-so albums and without founder-vocalist Marty Balin and drummer Spencer Dryden, just weeks before the band split up for good (that is, until a brief, lackluster reunion in 1989). The big surprise is that the band sounds great on this CD. The set list is, of course, dominated by songs from the final two lukewarm studio LPs, Bark (1971) and Long John Silver (1972). But these live versions have a sizzle missing from those albums. And the few classic Airplane standards — “Somebody to Love,” “Wooden Ships, “Crown of Creation” — are performed admirably; Balin even drops by to add his vocals to “Volunteers.” Very good stuff. I don’t understand why something like Last Flight wasn’t released in 1973 instead of RCA’s poorly cobbled-together “official” tour LP, Thirty Seconds Over Winterland. Ah well... Last Flight is a nice postscript to the Jefferson Airplane story. If you love the old 1960s band as much as I do, this CD is well worth hunting down.


At 5:19 PM, Blogger Max Konwal said...

Yes, I was hoping for an Alfonso Cuaron commentary but I think he believes like Spielberg that the movie is all an audience needs rather than a lecture from the director. I think he might add a commentary in the next issue of the DVD perhaps.

Max K


Post a Comment

<< Home