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A Revlock Review: AMY

Sunday, July 12, 2015

I think most people are aware of the ill-fated 27 Club which includes: Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, Jim Morrison, Kurt Cobain and quite a list of other lesser known musicians, all of whom died at the age of 27. British jazz artist, turned pop sensation, turned tabloid joke, Amy Winehouse joined the 27 Club July 23, 2011. And like many of the others, never managed to tame personal demons and the downside of fame before leaving the world; yet leaving an indelible impression in a short life span of time; and leaving us to wonder how much more would she have contributed musically, if having reached 28. - Le Anne Lindsay, Editor

Amy Humanizes the Artist and Legitimizes Her Art

By Mikhail Revlock

Rarely does a music documentary pack the emotional wallop of Asif Kapaida’s AMY. The self-destructive rock star is such a familiar cliché; the news of Amy Winehouse’s alcohol-induced death circulated with a dull feeling of inevitability. Inured to the fatalistic antics of the embattled chanteuse, few batted an eyelid when paramedics carted her lifeless body out of her Camden home. By 2011, she was better known for her debauched lifestyle than her music.

Kapaida’s documentary succeeds in simultaneously humanizing the artist and legitimizing her art. Early home videos reveal the singer’s passion, whimsicality, and wit, strengths that were already dissipating by the time Winehouse entered the public eye. The linear arrangement of the footage emphasizes the stark nature of her transformation. Though she abused substances for most of her life, these pre-stardom clips exhibit a functional alcoholic whose love for music remained the most powerful antidepressant in her arsenal.

Anyone who dismissed Winehouse as a novelty act will come away from Amy with a newfound appreciation for her musicianship. For every song she recorded, there were dozens that she penned and rejected. She believed that great music was the product of emotional honesty, and she scoffed at pop music that was obviously composed by teams of industry songwriters. She was a consummate jazz aficionado, enamored with Tony Bennett, Sarah Vaughan, and Dinah Washington. Her desire for musical expression was pure, unbiased (as much as possible) by the allure of fame and fortune.

When these seductive forces finally intersected with her life in 2006, they played as pivotal a role in Winehouse’s downfall as the nefarious men in her social/professional circle. Numerous scenes follow her as she steps out of her car only to be assaulted at all angles by the blinding flashbulbs of the paparazzi. As word of her troubles spreads, we see the same late night hosts who championed her rise take cheap shots at her expense. A friend relates that Winehouse said she would take back all her success if she could walk down the street in peace.

That said, it is unlikely that many moviegoers will discount the combined impact of Mitch Winehouse and Blake Fielder-Civil on Winehouse’s fate. The former, her father, abandoned their family when she was nine and conveniently reappeared as she started making a name for herself. The latter, her husband, inspired such infatuation that she longed to mirror him in every way: if he smoked crack, she smoked crack; if he cut his arm with a bottle, she cut her arm with a bottle.

Neither man supported her efforts to resolve 
her substance problems. 
Both of them made a living from her misery.  

AMY is devastating, yet essential. In shedding light on the many facets of Winehouse’s personality, the film reveals our tendency to vilify and ostracize our troubled public figures. We see how the media manipulated the data of Winehouse’s tumult to produce sensationalistic headlines and photographs, and how eagerly the public devoured the signposts of her decline. It is too easy to disregard the vulnerability of our maligned celebrities. By illustrating Winehouse’s complexity, Kapaida’s documentary restores the humanity of a fallen idol.

T &T's LAMB Score: 4.5 outta 5

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is about discovering what I find pleasing in screening & eating - in case you missed it, the name is a play on Tinseltown using the Tines of a Fork.

Feel free to send me info on a film or new restaurant you'd like me to highlight.

Will there ever be a cap on movie prices?

Will we one day pay $20 a pop?

Why don't we pay on a scale?

A crap movie like everything Adam Sandler has ever done should cost about $4.50.
Big action movies like"Lord of the Rings", "Iron Man," "Transformers" are worth $10.
Woody Allen movie or something like "Silver Linings Playbook" $6-$7.
A chick flick or light comedy $5.75 and most Indie Films $5.25.

You could even do it by seasons - all summer block busters from May to August - $10
Sept - November 15th $3.50 - $4
Back to $10 for Thanksgiving and Christmas etc...

Or you can do it by A Actors ($9 - $10), B Actors ($6 - $7) TV actors on the big screen ($3.50 - $4)

Surely I'm not the first person to realize this makes sense. Has it been voted on in the Motion Picture Industry and then vetoed? If so, why?
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