“The Dungeon Masters” Blonde Redhead Soundtrack and DVD Release

“The Dungeon Masters” Blonde Redhead Soundtrack and DVD Release (photo)

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With a new Blonde Redhead release on the horizon, I decided to re-visit “The Dungeon Masters” after a conversation with the film’s editor, Christine Khalafian, who kindly reminded me that the NY trio scored it. The doc, which centers on three hardcore D&D players and their troubles during the economic crush of 2008 is getting an expanded edition DVD release August 3 too. You don’t have to own dice with more than six sides, have a thing for chicks with elf ears, or have Blonde Redhead on your iPod to appreciate this film and the exceptionally strange people it follows either.

I asked director Keven McAlester why he approached Blonde Redhead to do the score, hoping to reveal some secret LARP coven they all rolled with but the choice had more to do with a fan seeking a band he loved to create the right mood for a film that treads a fine line with it’s subjects. Not that “The Dungeon Masters” ever seeks to mock, but even when you treat a Sphere of Annihilation, or a girl wearing elf ears seriously, there’s the risk of tipping into total farce. “When it came time to approach people, Blonde Redhead seemed like a perfect fit,” McAlester told me. “We had an initial conversation that made me even more excited to work with them — they had really smart ideas, they were incredibly nice, and Kazu Makino kept referencing Georges Delerue’s music for ‘Contempt,’ which is probably my favorite film score ever.”

There was a lot of great music in the film already — including the songs “Folios” by The New Year, “Dirty Knives” by Bangs, “When Company Comes” by the Feelies, and “Ghosts of a Different Dream” by Guided by Voices — but Blonde Redhead agreed it needed more and went to work on various pieces for about six weeks. They also agreed that some of the existing music was “too obvious, a hat on a hat is the current jargon for that, I think,” McAlester added.

After some ideas back and forth, McAlester convened with the band for a week in their Brooklyn studio space. “I’m sure the last couple of days drove them crazy, as it would any serious musician,” he said of the final recordings. “Because that final push involves stuff like moving a drumbeat three seconds earlier to hit an edit cue, and so on. Regardless, the results were genuinely great. They made the film miles better.”

There will be a limited-edition vinyl release of Blonde Redhead’s compositions for the soundtrack in the near future, perhaps around the time their next record, “Penny Sparkle,” hits in September. If you’re interested in being notified about the exact release date, email tdm@antidotefilms.com to request. And hit up Netflix on August 3rd if you’ve not seen the film yet.

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Weird Roles

Anthony Michael Hall’s Most Rotten Movies

Catch Anthony Michael Hall in Weird Science on Friday at 8P on IFC.

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Photo Credit: Universal/Everett Collection

Anthony Michael Hall was the quintessential ’80s nerd. We love him in classics like The Breakfast Club and National Lampoon’s Vacation. But even the brainiest among us has his weak spots. In honor of Weird Science airing this Rotten Friday, we analyze Hall’s worst movies.

Weird Science (1985) 56%

A low point for John Hughes, Weird Science is way too wacky for its own good. Anthony Michael Hall’s Gary and his pal Wyatt (Ilan Mitchell-Smith) create the “perfect woman.” Supernatural chaos ensues. The film costars a young Bill Paxton, floppy disks, and a general disconnect from all reality.

The Caveman’s Valentine (2001) 46%

This ambitious drama starring Samuel L. Jackson couldn’t live up to its rich premise. Jackson plays Romulus, a Juilliard-educated, paranoid schizophrenic who lives in a cave. Hall co-stars as Bob, a rich man, who wants to see Romulus play the piano. The plot centers around Romulus investigating a murder, but with so much going on, the movie never quite finds its rhythm.

All About the Benjamins (2002) 30%

Ice Cube plays a bounty hunter who teams up with Mike Epps’ con man to catch diamond thieves. Hall plays Lil J, a small-time drug dealer. It’s definitely a role we’ve never seen Hall in, but overall the movie isn’t funny or original enough to justify its violence.

Freddy Got Fingered (2001) 11%

This showcase for Tom Green’s goofy gross-out comedy is often hailed as one of the worst films of all time. Green plays Gord, a 20-something slacker, who dreams of having his own animated series. Hall is Dave Davidson, a CEO of an animation studio who eventually helps Gord find success. Too bad Tom Green wasn’t so lucky.

Johnny Be Good (1988) 0%

Hall plays against type as Johnny Walker, a star quarterback. Robert Downey Jr. is his best friend and Uma Thurman plays his devoted girlfriend. Despite the support of a future A-list cast, the movie lacks central conflict and charm. Or, as TV Guide put it, “Johnny be worthless.” Ouch.

Catch the “Too Rotten to Miss” Weird Science this Friday at 8P on IFC.

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Season 6: Episode 1: Pickathon

Binge Fest

Portlandia Season 6 Now Available On DVD

The perfect addition to your locally-sourced, artisanal DVD collection.

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End of summer got you feeling like:

Portlandia Toni Screaming GIF

Ease into fall with Portlandia‘s sixth season. Relive the latest exploits of Fred Armisen and Carrie Brownstein’s cast of characters, including Doug and Claire’s poignant breakup, Lance’s foray into intellectual society, and the terrifying rampage of a tsukemen Noodle Monster! Plus, guest stars The Flaming Lips, Glenn Danzig, Louis C.K., Kevin Corrigan, Zoë Kravitz, and more stop by to experience what Portlandia is all about.

Pick up a copy of the DVD today, or watch full episodes and series extras now on IFC.com and the IFC app.

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Byrning Down the House

Everything You Need to Know About the Film That Inspired “Final Transmission”

Documentary Now! pays tribute to "Stop Making Sense" this Wednesday at 10P on IFC.

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Photo Credit: Cinecom/courtesy Everett Collection

This week Documentary Now! is with the band. For everyone who’s ever wanted to be a roadie without leaving the couch, “Final Transmission” pulls back the curtain on experimental rock group Test Pattern’s final concert. Before you tune in Wednesday at 10P on IFC, plug your amp into this guide for Stop Making Sense, the acclaimed 1984 Talking Heads concert documentary.

Put on Your Dancing Shoes

Hailed as one of the best concert films ever created, director Jonathan Demme (Silence of the Lambs) captured the energy and eccentricities of a band known for pushing the limits of music and performance.

Make an Entrance

Lead singer David Byrne treats the concert like a story: He enters an empty stage with a boom box and sings the first song on the setlist solo, then welcomes the other members of the group to the stage one song at a time.

Steal the Spotlight

David Byrne Dancing
Cinecom/Everett Collection

Always a physical performer, Byrne infuses the stage and the film with contagious joy — jogging in place, dancing with lamps, and generally carrying the show’s high energy on his shoulders.

Suit Yourself

Byrne makes a splash in his “big suit,” a boxy business suit that grows with each song until he looks like a boy who raided his father’s closet. Don’t overthink it; on the DVD, the singer explains, “Music is very physical, and often the body understands it before the head.”

View from the Front Row

Stop Making Sense Band On Stage
Cinecom/Everett Collection

Demme (who also helmed 1987’s Swimming to Cambodia, the inspiration for this season’s Documentary Now! episode “Parker Gail’s Location is Everything”) films the show by putting viewers in the audience’s shoes. The camera rarely shows the crowd and never cuts to interviews or talking heads — except the ones onstage.

Let’s Get Digital

Tina Weymouth Keyboard
Cinecom/Everett Collection

Stop Making Sense isn’t just a good time — it’s also the first rock movie to be recorded entirely using digital audio techniques. The sound holds up more than 30 years later.

Out of Pocket

Talk about investing in your art: Talking Heads drummer Chris Frantz told Rolling Stone that the members of the band “basically put [their] life savings” into the movie, and they didn’t regret it.

Catch Documentary Now!’s tribute to Stop Making Sense when “Final Transmission” premieres Wednesday, October 12 at 10P on IFC.

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