Thursday, October 06, 2005

The Warriors 25th Anniversary

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The Diplomats, Crunk Muzik

Juelz Santana, Clockwork

That's right, this year is the 25th Anniversary of the release of a classic of modern cinema, The Warriors. You got it, one of the truly great movies of all time is being re-released, in celebration of its birthday and complete with a nice, new transfer. Hopefully, this cult classic will get the attention of thousands and thousands of new fans, as I couldn't ask for much more.

Unfortunately, looking at the release, Paramount has shit the bed. This edition has little different from its original offering, except for the better picture. No specials, no commentaries, no behind the scenes featurettes, nothing. That's a shame, a real disgrace, especially in light of the wonderful packages that Criterion puts together, or the treatment that movies like Scarface, Seven and Memento received. Why not honor this beloved movie with a package that reflects the great movie inside? Perhaps worse, it sounds like the director's cut is a disaster, fixing something that ain't broke. Buy it here and let us know what you think.

I am not trying to say that this movie is Citizen Kane, but it doesn't pretend to be. What it does represent to me is a great urban movie, a NYC classic that must be mentioned with the films of Woody Allen and Martin Scorcese, Laws of Gravity and Pi, Little Odessa and Last Exit To Brooklyn, film noir and gangster films. Director Walter Hill here, more than anyone, takes the city as a site for fantasy, creating a surrealist masterpiece from the urban landscape. It's a film that takes the look and feel of the urban jungle, but is not limited to gritty realism. Instead, we get a highly stylized, fantasy of a movie, one that tries to be both ancient Greek mythology and science fiction. It's that confluence of the past, present and future that is the most urban aspect of all in the movie.

Everyone needs to read this piece by Eric Ducker over at The Fader blog, as he does a far better job of discussing the movie and its importance. I remember reading this piece in the last film issue in The Fader, and am so happy to have it available for everyone. It's amazing that they could put together such an informative piece, while Paramount and Walter Hill could only think of a measly intro for the re-release. It is great reading the thoughts of the people involved, especially Hill's obsession with comic books and their influence over this movie, the stories of real gangs confronting the actors and books read by those putting this movie together. Really great stuff.

-A Silent Flute has fashion-related news on the The Warriors front, as Adidas has put together a Warriors contest for everyone. It's actually connected to the video game coming out on Rockstar Games later this month, and so the contest has trivia related to the game. Nat also lets it be known that Adidas will be bringing out some gear inspired by the movie, which Imma keep an eye out for. FYI, I'm trying to step my fashion game up. A Silent Flute shall be my guide. Plus, MC and MF, who have taken me on as a client.

-R.I.P. August Wilson. Mr. Wilson was one of the great 20th Century American playwrights, a towering figure of drama over the last 3 decades or so. I never had the good fortune of seeing his plays on stage, but have read a few works. He chronicled the impact of race and racism over the entire century, writing a cycle of plays that covered each decade of the 20th Century. It is a monumental work, which put him in the ranks of O'Neill, Stoppard, and Pinter. What struck me about his work was that he set almost all of his plays in the same neighborhood he grew up in (the Hill District in Pittsburgh), taking a forgotten place and forgotten people and creating drama and art. He showed the dignity and grace of those who lived in the cities, who struggled with poverty and bigotry. He will be missed, but not forgotten.

wayne&wax has already discussed this, in a far more eloquent way (more to come on that blog, one of the best, which I've added to the links list on the right). Ben Brantley, New York Times theater critic, has written a wonderul article on Wilson and music, highlighting the importance of blues music for the writer. Go here for a, and here to buy his published work.

-Finally, go to the ubuweb's sound section for the chance to download DJ Food's "Raiding the 20th Century: Words and Music Expansion". It takes a look at the cut-up technique, following its influence on the music of the past century. [via U Mean Competitor]

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