Tag Archives: Reviews

As Above, So Below is Cinematic Gold


My pal Travis said this movie As Above, So Below would be right up my alley so, when my wife decided to go to bed early the other night, I fired up the cable box and gave it go.

Travis knows me a lot better than I thought he did.

This movie is really smart.  Writer/director team the Dowdle brothers know their stuff.  They understand what alchemy is at its heart, they’ve read their classics (including especially Dante’s Inferno), and they grasp the idea that salvation is not achieved but realized, not earned but consummated.

This is a horror movie firmly on the creepy-eerie end of the spectrum, low on gore with a smattering of good startles, filmed in jiggly-camera-docu-horror-found-footage style.  Scarlett is the heroine, set a little too firmly the Laura Croft-Indiana Jones mold, picking up her father’s research where he left off.   She assembles a team of explorers to venture into the catacombs that lie beneath the streets of Paris to find the Philosopher’s Stone.  And here’s a plus — this is the first and only feature film ever actually shot in the famed Paris catacombs.  And boy is it creepy down there.  And the ending is pure genius.

So if this movie is so good, why does it only have 6.2 stars on IMDB and a score of 39% on Rotten Tomatoes?  Probably because horror fans want gore not chills, everybody is sick and tired of found-footage flicks (honestly I simply refuse to watch them, and I only gave this one a chance because I got a recommendation from a friend), the set-up is rather cliche, and most folks probably aren’t smart enough to appreciate the depth of what they are looking at.

If you’re into the Western Mysteries, alchemy, inner or esoteric Christianity or Dante’s Inferno, and if you like creepy-eerie horror movies, you’ll love this film.

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Rating: R (for bloody violence/terror, and language throughout)
Genre: Documentary, Mystery & Suspense, Special Interest
Directed By: John Erick Dowdle
Written By: Drew Dowdle, John Erick Dowdle
In Theaters: Aug 29, 2014 Wide
On Disc/Streaming: Dec 2, 2014
Runtime: 93 minutes
Studio: Universal Pictures

 

Jerry Lee’s “Last Man Standing”

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The cover of Jerry Lee Lewis’ “Last Man Standing”

My mother’s favorite recording artist was Jerry Lee Lewis.  I was raised hearing Jerry Lee on the stereo.  Lots and often.  So, although I’m not a massive fan, I’m still a fan.  I know his catalog very well, really love and can sing along with many of his songs, and respect him very much as an artist who helped define Rock’n’Roll and Country.

Mom passed away a couple of weeks ago, and in the cleaning up process I found a CD in her things — I had given it to her as a gift on her 78th birthday last year.  Mom’s health, and her move into an assisted living facility, had curtailed her ability to dance around with the music blaring, and she hadn’t been able to go out and shop or anything.  So, although the record came out in ’07, she had never heard it until I gave it to her last year — and neither had I until just the other day.

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From the CD Jacket of “Last Man Standing” this is the so-called “million dollar quartet.” From left: Jerry Lee Lewis, Carl Perkins, Elvis, and Johnny Cash.

The title of this record comes from the fact that, of the four great members of the “million dollar quartet” (see photo at left) only Jerry Lee remains alive today.  His double album The Session is an excellent record, a true milestone.  Last Man Standing is a call back to that collaborative achievement.

Only better.

This is a collection of duets with some of the greatest Rock’n’Roll, Blues, and Country artists ever to step in front of a microphone.  Take a look at the track listing below and see if you don’t see at least a few artists that you love.

Music is very subjective of course, but in my opinion, the only dog on the record is his duet with Kid Rock (they butcher the hell out of Honky Tonk Woman).  But overall, this is an excellent record.  This is Jerry Lee’s highest selling album to date, and that’s true for a reason.

Highly recommended.

Track Num Title/Credit/Length Duet with
1 Rock and Roll (John Paul Jones, John Bonham, James Patrick Page, Robert Plant) – 2:14 Jimmy Page
2 Before the Night Is Over (Benjamin Peters) – 3:39 B. B. King
3 Pink Cadillac (Bruce Springsteen) – 3:55 Bruce Springsteen
4 Evening Gown (Mick Jagger) – 3:57 Mick Jagger and Ron Wood
5 You Don’t Have to Go (James Matcher Reed) – 4:00 Neil Young
6 Twilight (Robbie Robertson and David Campbell) – 2:48 Robbie Robertson
7 Travelin’ Band (John Fogerty) – 2:01 John Fogerty
8 That Kind of Fool (Mack Vickery) – 4:14 Keith Richards
9 Sweet Little 16 (Chuck Berry) – 3:04 Ringo Starr
10 Just a Bummin’ Around (Pete Graves) – 2:43 Merle Haggard
11 Honky Tonk Woman (Jagger/Richards) – 2:21 Kid Rock
12 What’s Made Milwaukee Famous (Has Made a Loser Out of Me) (Glenn Sutton) – 2:39 Rod Stewart
13 Don’t Be Ashamed of Your Age (Cindy Walker, Bob Wills) – 1:59 George Jones
14 Couple More Years (Dennis Locorriere, Shel Silverstein) – 5:13 Willie Nelson
15 Old Glory (Paul Roberts, Shelby Darnell, Jerry Lee Lewis) – 2:05 Toby Keith
16 Trouble in Mind (Richard M. Jones) – 3:49 Eric Clapton
17 I Saw Her Standing There (John Lennon, Paul McCartney) – 2:21 Little Richard
18 Lost Highway (Leon Payne) – 2:59 Delaney Bramlett
19 Hadacohl Boogie (Bill Nettles) – 3:18 Buddy Guy
20 What Makes the Irish Heart Beat (Van Morrison) – 4:12 Don Henley
21 The Pilgrim Ch. 33 (Kris Kristofferson) – 3:00 Kris Kristofferson