Listen to Austin 360 Radio

Food for thought: Streaming movies examine personal mistakes, political climate

Matt Shiverdecker Special to the American-Statesman
Rory Kinnear plays Henry Hunt in "Peterloo." [Contributed by Simon Mein, Amazon Studios]

Here is an interesting new release available now from digital providers as well as a title that has recently become available for streaming.

Video on Demand

"The Man From Mo'Wax": In this debut documentary from director Matthew Jones, he chronicles the career of producer, musician and label owner James Lavelle, From growing up in rural England to forming the legendary electronic record label Mo’Wax in 1992, he helped to usher in a new genre called trip-hop. The 1996 release of DJ Shadow’s debut album “Endtroducing…” changed everything and ushered in an era when Mo’Wax earned an infusion of cash by becoming a major label imprint. Watching the footage from this time period, especially as DJ Shadow and Lavelle teamed up for the pioneering U.N.K.L.E. collaboration in 1998, is utterly fascinating as Jones had access to previously unseen footage from their personal archives. But what goes up must come down, and the second half of this documentary shows Lavelle trying to catch that lightning in a bottle again and again to diminishing returns. In fact, we see firsthand how history repeated itself, switching out collaborators until they couldn’t deal with working with him any longer. Rapidly losing money and destroying the creative process (and myriad relationships) but not seeing that until it’s too late. He made a complete and utter mess of his life and business dealings, but then we start to head into a redemption story for the film’s last act, and it all comes back around to remind you of Lavelle’s charm and, ultimately, his talent. Asking for forgiveness is never easy, and Jones doesn't shy away from interviewing people who aren't sure if they can overlook their dealings with the label and the man himself. The film stands as a cautionary tale and should be required viewing for artists getting started in the music business. It offers many prime examples of how not to treat people when you’re on the come-up and some hard lessons for how to handle your mistakes. (Digital VOD)

Also on streaming services

"Peterloo": After decades of making intimate, mostly improvised British dramas, director Mike Leigh found the funding through Amazon Studios to make a very expensive war movie to honor the 200th anniversary of the Peterloo Massacre. In mid-August 1819, a riot occurred after nearly 100,000 British citizens peacefully protesting the government in a fight over voting rights were attacked by armed government militia members. With one the biggest budgets of his career and the expertise of his frequent cinematographer Dick Pope, Leigh was able to pay respect and re-create this historical battle while also offering some food for thought for the current political climate. (Amazon Prime, available in 4K Ultra HD)