Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Ranjit Arapurakal

Interview with Kam Williams

Jersey-Raised Rocker on World Tour Takes a Pause for the Cause

Born in his mother's hometown of Trivandrum, India, the terra cotta-colored capital of Kerala, Ranjit Arapurakal spent his infancy in Vienna and Frankfurt before being raised in New Jersey from the age of 4. Today, the versatile vocalist, composer, multi-instrumentalist and music educator is based in Goa, India, and is currently on an extended tour across Russia.

The Jersey boy started playing rock music in high school and never stopped, except for slowing down a bit to earn a bachelor's degree in Literature with honors at Rutgers University. After graduating, he migrated to NYC where he honed his stagecraft, while working as a jazz singer, session musician, bartender, open mic host, dance accompanist for Alvin Ailey, Juilliard and several other leading dance academies, and as a music teacher for infants and their parents.

Visit Ranjit's recently-launched Patreon page to help enable folks all over the world to follow and support "Ranjit Arapurakal's World Peace Tour."

Kam Williams: Hi Ranjit, thanks for the interview.
Ranjit Arapurakal: It's my pleasure. Kam. Thanks for reaching out.

KW: When did you develop an interest in music?
RA: I started singing in the church choir when I was 7 years-old, and I enjoyed it from the start. But I was drawn to the mysteries of sound even before that. There was a lot of music in the house.

KW: How would you describe yourself, musically?
RA: As a psychedelic singer/songwriter. But it changes all the time. As a multi-instrumentalist, I get to play with many different musicians in many settings. My comfort zones include Funk, Groove, Soul, Reggae and Rock & Roll. And I'm delving into Psychedelic Rock and live Techno at the moment.

KW: Do you prefer playing solo or with a group?
RA: I don't have a preference. Both have their own unique charms as well as limitations. When you can communicate with other musicians the same way you can communicate with yourself, you get the best of both worlds.

KW: I enjoyed listening to a lot of your songs, especially "Lonavala," "That's My Name" and "Since the Start." What is the source of your inspiration when creating a tune?
RA: The songs usually just bubble up from my subconscious or inner voice or paramatma. Some songs are about love and some are about the environment, from fracking to the Dakota Access Pipeline. I also have a penchant for post-apocalyptic love songs, as a genre.

KW: You hail from New Jersey, but perform in India and elsewhere around the world. Where do you like playing the most?
RA: I have been based in Goa, on India's west coast, for the last three years. The music scene there, as well as the audiences and the beautiful nature, are what made me stretch out what was originally meant to be a two-week holiday.

KW: You play both guitar and piano. What is your favorite instrument?
RA: My favorite instrument is the human voice. It's easy to transport and can touch, directly, the soul of any listener.

KW: Who are some of your musical influences?
RA: Lenny Kravitz, The Doors, Blues Traveler, Caetano Veloso, Michael Jackson, James Brown, Fela Kuti, Ella Fitzgerald, Stevie Wonder, Chopin, Fauré, Monteverdi, Frank Sinatra, The Band, The Beatles, Antonio Carlos Jobim, Santana, Terrence Trent D'Arby, Bob Marley and the Wailers, Gil Scott Heron, Motorhead, The Cure, Tom Petty, Jeff Lynne, Phish, and Dave Mathews Band, to name a few.

KW: What was the last song you listened to?
RA: It's been ages since I listened to a song. I was recently exposed to some Russian minimal techno, but these are not songs; more like moody soundscapes.

KW: What is your earliest childhood memory?
RA: I remember my nursery school at All Saints Church in Princeton, NJ. Mrs. Weatherall had a pair of gray rabbits in a cage in the garden. And apple juice and graham crackers. It was paradise!

KW: What is your favorite dish to cook?
RA: Most recently, carrot-ginger soup.

KW: When you look in the mirror, what do you see?
RA: I see a guy who's ready for showtime!

KW: What's the craziest thing you've ever done?
RA: Aside from being born yet again on this plane of reality? Nothing.

KW: If you could have one wish instantly granted, what would that be for?
RA: A global end to state-sanctioned violence against the vulnerable and the environment.

KW: Is there any question no one ever asks you, that you wish someone would?
RA: Yes. Whether I have any ideas about how we can help save our planet. Yes I do! I think that we need to raise awareness about pollution and sustainable habits in daily life and in industry. I believe in volunteer community clean-ups. And in sharing resources. I believe in a sustainable way of life that seeks to be in tune with nature on a local, planetary, and cosmic level. I believe that just as we can receive healing from the Earth and Nature, so can we give them healing back. And so we should!

KW: Finally, as Samuel L. Jackson asks in the TV ad, what’s in your wallet?
RA: IDs, ATM cards and Russian rubles.

KW: Thanks again for the time, Ranjit, and best of luck on your Russia tour.
RA: I enjoyed this very much, Kam. Cheers!

Ranjit named one of India's best dressed musicians by GQ magazine:

Tuesday, May 29, 2018


Film Review by Kam Williams

Cured Quadriplegic Crime Victim Seeks Revenge in Futuristic Sci-Fi Thriller
Mechanic Grey Trace (Logan Marshall-Green) is a dying breed. He's an an old school, grease monkey who can roll up his sleeves and repair classic cars without the help of diagnostic computers.

One fateful day, he asks his wife Asha (Melanie Vallejo) to follow him in her car so he can return the Pontiac Firebird that he's just finished working on to its owner, high-tech mogul Eron King (Harrison Gilbertson). The eccentric billionaire has a subterranean laboratory hidden just beneath the ocean shoreline. He proudly tells the Traces about his company's latest invention, an implantable computer chip with a mind of its own.

On the way home, Asha's self-driving sedan inexplicably-malfunctions and drives them to a seedy side of town where it crashes after careening around a corner. The couple is subsequently set upon by a sadistic gang that murders her and leaves him a quadriplegic.

When Eron learns of Grey's misfortune, he offers the grieving widower an opportunity to walk again. All that's involved is installing a tiny, talking, computer circuit in his spinal cord called Stem (Simon Maiden). The only hitch is that having Stem inside is like sharing your body with another brain. 
The operation successfully transforms Grey from a bed-ridden cripple into a superhuman vigilante capable of tracking down and exacting vengeance on his muggers in a bloody reign of terror. But to get even with the creeps, he has to temporarily allow Stem to take charge.

The plot thickens when Stem seems to have a hidden agenda. Might this powerful entity be attempting to wrest total control of Grey's body permanently? And towards what end?

That is the engaging premise of Upgrade, a riveting, revenge thriller written and directed by Leigh Whannell, creator of the Saw and Insidious horror flick series. As this timely film further unfolds, it magically morphs right in front of your eyes from a futuristic sci-fi into a thought-provoking, exploration of the hidden dangers of artificial intelligence.

A timely cautionary tale you don't want to miss!

Excellent (4 stars)
Rated R for profanity, graphic violence and grisly images
Running time: 95 minutes
Production Studios: BH Tilt / Goalpost Pictures / OTL Releasing
Distributor: Blumhouse Productions / Universal Pictures

To see a trailer for Upgrade, visit:

Monday, May 28, 2018

Black Panther

Blu-ray Review by Kam Williams

Chadwick Boseman Rises to the Occasion as African King/Marvel Superhero

Chad Boseman has already made quite a career out of portraying a variety of prominent African-Americans, from football star Floyd Little (The Express), to baseball great Jackie Robinson (42), to Godfather of Soul James Brown (Get on Up) to U.S. Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall (Marshall). The versatile actor's efforts have been appreciated by the NAACP which has seen fit to nominate him for five Image Awards. 
Although Black Panther is a fictional character, the role is ostensibly of no less significance than the historical figures Chadwick has played in the past. That's because black kids have rarely had a superhero that looks like them to root for, even in Africa, where the Lord of the Jungle, Tarzan, was white, too.

Consequently, sales for this Afrocentric origins tale have been through the roof, and it's still in theaters! For, the film not only features a dignified protagonist and a socially-relevant plotline, but it's also a worthy addition to the Marvel Cinematic Universe franchise. 
The picture was directed by Ryan Coogler (Creed) who made the most of his $200 million budget, between visually-captivating special effects and an A-list cast which includes Academy Award-winners Forest Whitaker (for The Last King of Scotland) and Lupita Nyong'o (for 12 Years a Slave), Oscar-nominee Angela Bassett (for What's Love Got to Do with It), as well as Michael B. Jordan, Daniel Kaluuya and Sterling K. Brown. 
At the point of departure, we learn that in ancient times the five tribes of Africa went to war over vibranium, a meteorite which imbues its holder with superhuman powers. Fast-forward to the present and we find T'Challa (Boseman) being summoned home to the fictional nation of Wakanda to assume the reins of power in the wake of the passing of his father, King T'Chaka (John Kani). 
Complicating matters is the fact that a number of other warriors covet the throne and that a South African arms smuggler (Andy Serkis) is trying to get his hands on some vibranium. Not to worry. T'Challa has a capable CIA agent (Martin Freeman) and a trio of loyal females on his side in his 16 year-old sister (Letitia Wright), his ex-girlfriend (Nyong'o) and a two-fisted bodyguard (Danai Gurira). 
What ensues is an edge of the seat roller coaster ride every bit as entertaining as any Spider-Man, Wonder Woman or other superhero adventure. Simply 'Marvel'-ous!

Excellent (4 stars)
Rated PG-13 for pervasive violent action sequences and a rude gesture
Running time: 134 minutes
Production Studios: Marvel Studios / Walt Disney Pictures
Distributor: Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures
Blu-ray Extras: Director's Intro; Director's Commentary; From Page to Screen: A Roundtable Discussion – Delve into the film’s making; Crowning of a New King – Explore the world of Black Panther in all its color and complexity; The Warriors Within – Get to know Wakanda’s women and the actors who portray them; The Hidden Kingdom Revealed – Wakanda’s diverse people; Wakanda Revealed: Exploring the Technology; 4 Deleted Scenes: N. Meet and Greet, Okoye And W’Kabi Discuss the Future of Wakanda, T’Challa Remembers His Father and Voices from the Past; Gag Reel; Exclusive Sneak Peek at Ant-Man and The Wasp; and Marvel Studios the First Ten Years: Connecting the Universe. 
To see a trailer for Black Panther, visit:

To order a copy of Black Panther on Blu-ray, visit:

Sunday, May 27, 2018

Top Ten DVD List for May 29, 2018

Image result for The Legacy Collection: Great Changemakers in America

by Kam Williams

This Week's DVD Releases

The Legacy Collection: Great Changemakers in America

Jurassic Park: 25th Anniversary Collection [4 Films]

Jackass: Complete Movie and TV Collection

WWII: Through the Battles

Frontline: Weinstein

American Patriots: Documentary Collection

East West 101: Series 2


Detectorists: Series 3

Honorable Mention

Marx Reloaded

Drama: 4 in 1 Collection
Paws P.I.

Friday, May 25, 2018

Wim Wenders

Pope Francis: A Man of His Word”
Interview with Kam Williams

The Three-Time Oscar-Nominee Delivers a Reflective Homily

Wim Wenders came to international prominence as one of the pioneers of the New German Cinema during the Seventies and is considered one of the most important figures in contemporary German film. In addition to his many prize-winning feature films, his work as a scriptwriter, director, producer, photographer and author also encompasses an abundance of innovative documentary films, international photo exhibitions and numerous monographs, film books and prose collections.

Wim lives and works in Berlin, together with his wife, Donata Wenders. He studied medicine and philosophy before moving to Paris in 1966 to study painting. Though ostensibly pursuing an apprenticeship in the studio of the graphic designer and engraver Johnny Friedlaender, he spent his afternoons and evenings in the Cinémathèque Francaise. This “crash course in the history of film” would become the most important stage in his education, as he soon began to think of film as an “extension of painting by other means.”

Wim's career as a filmmaker began in 1967, when he enrolled at the newly founded University of Television and Film Munich. While studying there, he also worked as a film critic. Upon graduating from the academy, he founded, together with 15 other directors and authors, the Filmverlag der Autoren, a film distribution company for German auteur films, which organized the production, rights administration and distribution of their own independent films.

He proceeded to embark on an impressive career, during which he has netted a trio of Academy Award nominations for three feature-length documentaries: Pina, The Salt of the Earth and Buena Vista Social Club. Here, he talks about his new film, Pope Francis: A Man of His Word, a poignant portrait of the People's Pontiff.

Kam Williams: Hi Wim, I'm honored to have this opportunity for an interview.
WW: I’m happy to do it, Kam.

KW: What interested you in Pope Francis?
WW: Already, his choice of name blew me away. It takes a lot of courage to take up the name of one of the great reformers and saints of the church, Saint Francis. It stands for a real and radical solidarity with the poor and the outcast, for an entirely different and new attitude towards nature and “our Sister Mother Earth,” as he called our planet tenderly, as well as for a strong stance in creating peace among the religions. No pope had ever dared to address that legacy, and adopting the name of Francis meant nothing less. From the beginning, Pope Francis made it clear that he’s willing to stand up for all these issues and take them all utterly seriously.

KW: How were you able to gain access to him?
WW: That came along with the invitation. You know, it would not have crossed my mind to make a film with Pope Francis, if the Vatican hadn’t approached me, asking if I’d be open to discussing that very task. All filmmakers probably take it for granted that this would be an impossible thing to ask, so they don’t even ask. I guess that’s why Dario Viganò, at the time Prefect of the Secretariat for Communication, wrote that letter to me, asking me if I could imagine making a film about Pope Francis, and if I could possibly come by and talk about it. I was flabbergasted, yes, but I definitely could imagine it, yes, as well. When we then talked, it became clear that he meant a film that I would develop on my own, that we would have to find independent financing for, [no, this is not a Vatican production] that I could indeed shoot with access to Pope Francis, and that I would also have full access to the Vatican’s archives. And finally, that this should be entirely my film, and that the Vatican was not going to interfere with it. How could I resist?

KW: How much traveling did you do with him?
WW: I only shot the long interviews sessions with Pope Francis, the re-enactments involving Saint Francis, and everything around the city of Assisi. Traveling along would have completely blown up our small and modest budget. For all the travel footage, I had access to the Vatican archive and to the footage produced by the two really great cameramen who follow Pope Francis on all his journeys. And we used footage from TV stations from all over the world as well.

KW: Did you find his dedication to the poor to be authentic?
WW: No question about it, definitely. He lives and impersonates this dedication. And he makes it clear that he’s not just asking us to consider getting by with less, he does show how it can be done, giving an example by refusing to live in the luxurious apartment where all his predecessors lived and by refusing to drive in big limousines. His modesty and humble appearance are not a show. He IS that person and doesn’t have to fake his dedication to and affection for the poor. It is genuine, and he proved that already, from when he was a young priest and then a bishop.

KW: Do you think that he has raised the bar for popes in terms of following in Christ's footsteps?
WW: Yes. By following the example of Saint Francis, who did the very same in his time, really revitalizing the figure of Christ back then. Many thousands of young men soon followed him.

KW: What message do you think people will take away from the film?
WW: Of course, this is up to each and everybody. But Pope Francis has an enormous emotional power of conviction and of reaching people deeply. With his contagious optimism and positive outlook on life, on spirituality, on our ability to change the world for the better, I haven’t seen anybody who could resist his appeal. I’ve seen non-believers, even hardcore atheists, deeply moved by his words and his sincerity. They all agreed how much truth there is in Pope Francis’ simple message of fraternity and mutual respect.

KW: What was the last book you read?
WW: The last book by Richard Rohr, “The Divine Dance.”

KW: Ling-Ju Yen asks: What is your earliest childhood memory?
WW: [Laughs] I must have been 3 or 4, coming out of a church service with my parents, holding what I thought was my father’s hand. But when I looked up to ask him something, I saw to my utmost scare, that a stranger was looking down at me. He was smiling and pointed back, and there were my parents following us, laughing. Especially my mother continued giggling forever, and I was mad at her for that. I didn’t think that was funny. Actually, I had nightmares over that situation, and maybe I even remember these nightmares more than the actual event.

KW: What is your favorite dish to cook?
WW: I’m a hopeless cook. Apart from pasta with ready-made sauces, please, or a vegetable soup, I can’t handle any dish. However, I’m a dedicated breakfast cook, doing all sorts of eggs to perfection, from boiled exactly the way you want them, to poached to scrambled to sunny side up to omelets and even soufflés.

KW: Sherry Gillam would like to know what is the most important life lesson you've learned so far?
WW: As a young man, Sherry, I came close to death once. In fact, for myself, I had accepted that I was about to die. I entered a realm of light and sheer joy and only remember that my last thought was, “If only I could tell my parents that they don’t have to be sad!” And the next thing I remember was waking up in an all white hospital room, glad when I understood I was still alive, but also with a strange taste of being almost disappointed. I can safely say that, ever since, I have not been afraid of death. Later, I accompanied my father during the last months of his life, and seeing him face his death with full consciousness, almost looking forward to it, confirmed my absence of fear. And my faith.

KW: When you look in the mirror, what do you see?
WW: A man of seventy-two years old, somehow resembling my father more and more as I get older, but with big bags under my eyes, like my mother had.

KW: What's the craziest thing you've ever done?
WW: A film called “Until the End of the World.” A sci-fi road movie that literally made us travel around the globe, took about one year altogether, and was so stressful and demanding that not all of the crew members had the strength to go “until the end.” It was also a love story, except that the two actors playing that loving couple didn’t even speak to each other anymore. It was hard on everybody, on everybody’s family, too. And when we finally had arrived at the finish line, we were all at the end of our ropes. I swore to never repeat anything like it, even if I’m quite proud of the film as such.

KW: If you could have one wish instantly granted, what would that be for?
WW: For others or for myself? If it could be for others, I’d need to know for how many. If the wish were just for myself, I’d say: More time! A couple of extra hours every day would be great. Or an extra day per week, especially if that time came with the condition of not working. When God rested on the seventh day and recommended it – better, ordered it – He knew what He was doing. It is just such a hard thing to keep in the digital age. Our time is being stolen from under our feet.

KW: Is there any question no one ever asks you, that you wish someone would?
WW: I’m looking forward both to the question and to the answer. But I’m not going to spoil it before! But hey, how about someone asking me if I’d like a dark chocolate sorbet?

KW: Finally, like Samuel L. Jackson asks in the TV ads, what’s in your wallet?
WW: Taxi receipts. Wait, I just need to look. The insurance paper for my e-bike. And money. Boring.

KW: Thanks again for the time, Wim, and best of luck with the film.
WW: After each of our two-hour sessions, before leaving, Pope Francis always said to the entire crew, “Please pray for me.” Who needs luck when you can have a prayer!

To see a trailer for Pope Francis: A Man of His Word, visit:

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Kam's Kapsules for movies opening June 1, 2018

Weekly Previews That Make Choosing a Film Fun  
by Kam Williams



Action Point (R for profanity, sexuality, brief nudity, crude humor, drug use and underage drinking) Daredevil Johnny Knoxville stars in this stunt comedy as the crackpot owner of a daredevil theme park where the rides and attractions have been designed with danger in mind. With Brigette Lundy-Paine, Johnny Pemberton and Susan Yeagley.

Adrift (PG-13 for peril, profanity, partial nudity, mature themes, injury images and brief drug use) Tale of survival recounting the real-life ordeal of a young couple (Shailene Woodley and Sam Claflin) who encountered one of the worst hurricanes in recorded history while sailing in a small boat from Tahiti to San Diego. With Jeffrey Thomas, Elizabeth Hawthorne and Grace Palmer.


All Summers End (Unrated) Tale of overwhelming regret about a guilt-ridden teenager (Tye Sheridan) trying to hide from his girlfriend (Kaitlyn Dever) that he was the person who pulled the prank that killed her big brother. Supporting cast includes Paula Malcomson, Annabeth Gish and Austin Abrams.

American Animals (R for pervasive profanity, drug use and brief crude sexuality) Fact-based crime caper about four young men (Evan Peters, Barry Keoghan, Blake Jenner and Jared Abrahamson) who hatch a plan to pull off one of the most audacious art heists in history. With Ann Dowd, Udo Kier and Lara Grice.

Discreet (Unrated) Revenge drama about a traumatized victim of sex abuse (Jonny Mars) who returns to his Texas hometown to confront the pedophile (Bob Swaffar) who had molested him years ago. With Atsuko Okatsuka, Joy Cunningham and Bill Johnson.

The Doctor from India (Unrated) Reverential retrospective chronicling the career of Dr. Vasant Lad, the holistic health pioneer who brought the practice of Ayurvedic medicine to the West in the late Seventies. Featuring commentary by Deepak Chopra, Robert Svoboda and Claudia Welch. (In English and Marathi with subtitles)

A Kid Like Jake (Unrated) Transgender baby-maybe drama about a Brooklyn couple (Claire Danes and Jim Parsons) who find themselves at odds over whether or not their precocious 4 year-old son's (Leo James Wheeler) interest in playing with dolls and dressing up like a girl is just a phase. With Octavia Spencer, Ann Dowd and Priyanka Chopra.

Rodin (Unrated) Vincent Lindon portrays Auguste Rodin in this romance drama, set in Paris in 1880, revolving around the famous French sculptor's scandalous affair with a teenage protege (Izla Higelin) less than half his age. Cast includes Severine Caneele, Bernard Verley and Anders Danielsen Lie. (In French with subtitles)

Social Animals (R for profanity, drug use, graphic sexuality and crude humor) Midlife crisis comedy about a promiscuous, broke stoner (Noel Wells) who finally falls in love after a series of one-night stands. Trouble is, he's a married man (Josh Radnor). Featuring Aya Cash, Carly Chalkin and Samira Wiley.

Upgrade (R for profanity, graphic violence and grisly images) Sci-fi horror comedy about a cured paraplegic (Logan Marshall-Green) who embarks on a revenge-fueled reign of terror after a billionaire inventor (Harrison Gilbertson) implants an experimental computer chip in his spinal cord enabling him to track down the muggers who'd murdered his wife (Melanie Vallejo) and left him for dead. With Betty Gabriel, Benedict Hardie and Richard Anastasios.

Monday, May 21, 2018

Carter & June

Film Review by Kam Williams

Bank Heist Dramedy Has Shades of Baby Driver

Baby Driver was this critic's pick for the #1 movie of 2017. It never takes very long for idea-bereft Hollywood to imitate a big hit. Exhibit A: Carter & June, a bank robbery flick which fails to measure up to Baby Driver, whether or not that cinematic masterpiece served as the source of director/co-writer Nicholas Kalikow's inspiration. 
A la Baby Driver, Carter & June revolves around a waitress and mobster under the thumb of a Machiavellian villain. But where the former film featured an A-list cast with Jamie Foxx, Jon Hamm, Kevin Spacey and Ansel Elgort, the latter's ensemble doesn't have any matinee idols.

Michael Raymond-James and Samaire Armstrong co-star as the title characters Carter & June, respectively, an action-driven dramedy set in New Orleans. Like the protagonist of Baby Driver, Carter is a small-time crook looking to go legit. Trouble, is he's indebted to Spencer Rabbit (Timothy Omundson), a vicious crime boss operating with impunity in the city because so many crooked cops, including the police commissioner (Paul Rae), are on the take. 
At the point of departure, we find Carter losing a load of Rabbit's cash during a drug deal gone bad. That means the only way to get back in the kingpin's good graces and out of his unsavory line of work once and for all is to participate in an elaborate heist of a cool half-million dollars from the New Orleans Bank & Trust. Of course, that will prove easier said than done. 
Unfortunately, for the audience's purposes, the screen is littered with more sidebars and support characters than you might care to keep track of. For instance, there's a compromised cop (James Landry Hebert) with a greedy wife (Lindsay Musil) who's secretly sleeping with a local preacher (Will Beinbrink). And June just happens to be in the midst a bitter custody battle with her vindictive ex over their young daughter. 
An overplotted mess that throws everything but the kitchen sink up on the screen.

Fair (1 star)
Running time: 87 minutes
Production Studios: Sacred Bull Media / Octane Entertainment
Distributor: Freestyle Digital Media

To see a trailer for Carter & June, visit:

Sunday, May 20, 2018

The Gospel According to André

Film Review by Kam Williams

Riveting Retrospective Chronicles Career of Flamboyant Fashionista

André Leon Talley was born on October 16, 1949 in Washington, DC, but raised in Durham, NC by his maternal grandmother, Bennie Davis. Even though she was a housekeeper who scrubbed floors at Duke University to keep a roof over their heads, she was also aristocratic in the highest sense of the word. 
Through Mamie, André cultivated the values and sense of dignity which would serve him well once he made his way out of the Jim Crow South. For, after earning his BA at North Carolina Central University and an MA at Brown in French, he headed to New York City to begin what would be an incomparable career in the world of fashion. 
That impressive accomplishment is chronicled in very compelling fashion in The Gospel According to André, an intimate retrospective directed by Kate Novack (Eat This New York). A profusion of pop icons pay homage to the flamboyant fashionista in the biopic, including, supermodel Isabella Rossellini, designer Diane von Furstenberg and Sean "P. Diddy" Combs, who kisses his hand. 
However, the cameos pale in comparison to André's own revealing account of how he overcame his modest roots with the help of his mentor, doyenne Diana Vreeland, as well as Andy Warhol, Karl Lagerfeld and Vogue editor-in-chief Anna Wintour. We learn that he arrived in the Big Apple a diamond-in-the-rough, given how he'd been appreciating style since childhood. 
He explains that he'd been treated to a weekly fashion show by the ladies in his church's congregation. While many of these proud black women might have toiled as lowly domestic servants during the week, they would invariably arrive decked out on Sunday. André's thirst for haute couture was further whetted by magazines like W and Vogue which enabled him to mentally escape the limitations of life in racist North Carolina to a fantasy universe filled with pleasant and beautiful pictures. 
On his way up the ladder, the 6' 6" tall trailblazer studiously avoided the traps of drugs and indiscriminate sexual liaisons that destroyed the future of so many others in the Seventies and Eighties. André does confess to being a regular on Studio 54's dance floor, but he just never participated in any of the self-destructive behavior. 
Instead, he parlayed successes at the Metropolitan Museum of Art , Warhol's Interview magazine and Women's Wear Daily into a gig as Vogue's Fashion News Director. In that capacity, he became a fixture on the front row of leading runway shows, cutting an imposing figure in his signature flowing capes. 
And what sage advice does the trendsetting André have to offer today? "Fashion is fleeting. Style remains. Create your own universe, and share it with people you respect and love. Beauty comes in many forms. It could be a flower. it could be a gesture."
Precious pearls of wisdom, indeed, from a legendary gentle giant.

Excellent (4 stars)
Rated PG-13 for mature themes and some suggestive content
In French with subtitles
Running time: 94 minutes
Production Studio: RossVack Productions [Andrew Rossi/Kate Novack]
Distributor: Magnolia Pictures

To see a trailer for The Gospel According to André , visit:

Saturday, May 19, 2018

Top Ten DVD List for May 22, 2018

by Kam Williams

This Week's DVD Releases


Game Night

I Kill Giants

Wild at Heart

A Fantastic Woman

Big Box of Kids' Favorites

The 15:17 to Paris

The Fastest Guns of the West: 8 Films

Arming America: The Untold History of U.S. Gun Culture

Honorable Mention

Mary Higgins Clark: 14 Film Collection

Call the Midwife: Season Seven

Sunny Day

Masterpiece: Little Women

The Loud House: It Gets Louder [Season 1, Volume 2]