Music mogul captures late-'60s SoCal music scene in documentary
Here are some interesting new releases available now from cable and digital providers.
Video on Demand
"Echo in the Canyon": Andrew Slater has spent the last few decades as a music mogul (he was the president of Capitol Records from 2001 to 2007) and artist manager (working with the Beastie Boys, Lenny Kravitz and the Wallflowers, among many others). One evening while hanging out with his friend and former client Jakob Dylan they watched Jacques Demy's 1969 film "Model Shop," and the way the late '60s in Southern California were depicted on-screen inspired them. It triggered a conversation about all of the artists who sprung out of the Laurel Canyon scene at that moment in time when the folk-rock scene was blossoming into its next phase. The two men then got the idea to record an album of covers from that era and put together a tribute concert, both of which intersect in this documentary that Slater also directed. They managed an impressive list of people to interview including Eric Clapton, Brian Wilson, Michelle Phillips, Ringo Starr, David Crosby, Roger McGuinn and even the late Tom Petty. They are featured along with the contemporary artists who joined Dylan onstage for the concert including Beck, Cat Power and Regina Spektor. There are a lot of really magnificent performances alongside some very honest and heartfelt memories; David Crosby talks about being fired from the Byrds and Brian Wilson goes into detail about why he recorded "Good Vibrations" in multiple studios. It would be impossible to cover every artist from the scene, but it is disappointing that Joni Mitchell and Carole King are absent here (King shows up once in a photograph). Ultimately, people who love artists from this scene will be delighted, and even casual fans will learn a lot. Simply put, this is one of the most entertaining music documentaries in recent memory. (Cable and digital VOD)
"Vita & Virginia": The unlikely romance between author Virginia Woolf and socialite Vita Sackville-West is depicted in this new feature from Chanya Button. Both Elizabeth Debicki ("Widows") as Virginia and Gemma Arterton ("Tamara Drewe") as Vita really go above and beyond the script they're given, but something just feels off. For me, it was partially because the film takes place between 1925 and 1928 using the releases of "Mrs. Dalloway" and "Orlando" as our reference points for the relationship, but we are given an outrageously anachronistic electronic score from Isobel Waller-Bridge (yes, Phoebe's sister) that consistently took me out of the movie. (Cable and digital VOD)