HBO Original review: Heed the warning and relive the trauma as never before seen footage in Ed Perkins’ stunning doc ‘THE PRINCESS’ flags the danger of history repeating itself.

‘The HBO Original documentary film THE PRINCESS is an intimate and immersive look at the life of Princess Diana, directed by Academy Award® nominee Ed Perkins (“Black Sheep” “Tell Me Who I Am”) and produced by Lightbox, Academy Award®-winning Simon Chinn (“Man on Wire” “Searching for Sugar Man”) and Emmy®-winning Jonathan Chinn (“LA92” HBO’s “Tina”). The film debuts on SATURDAY, AUGUST 13 (8:00-9:50 p.m. ET/PT) on HBO, coinciding with the 25th anniversary of Princess Diana’s tragic death, and will be available to stream on HBO Max. THE PRINCESS had its world premiere at the 2022 Sundance Film Festival. HBO Documentary Films presents THE PRINCESS, in association with SKY, produced by Lightbox. Directed by Ed Perkins; produced by Simon Chinn and Jonathan Chinn; editors, Jinx Godfrey and Daniel Lapira; co-producer, Vanessa Tovell. For HBO: coordinating producer, Anna Klein; executive producers, Nancy Abraham and Lisa Heller.


The precise moment I realized what was happening in the opening footage of The Princess, my blood ran cold. The tragedy of Diana, Princess of Wales is something I’ve always held close to my heart. I remember the morning of her death like it was yesterday. My mother entered my bedroom, speechless, holding up the headline on the front page. I had Princess Diana paper dolls as a child. The booklet contained a replica of the crown she wore at her wedding. I mourned her like so many across the globe, understanding her cultural impact even more as my father and I watched her funeral live. I’d never seen him weep before that day. 

The film chronicles Diana’s life in the media from the days before her engagement until her horrific death. There are no talking heads, no overarching narration, simply thousands of hours of archival footage edited together with care and great intention. Studying the body language of Diana, Charles, and the royal family is fascinating. The commentary comes in the form of media voiceovers that are equally adoring and scathing. Feeling as if we know Diana and understanding the revelations that have since come to light, I was seething as I witnessed the treatment of an uncaring husband and the fickle media. 

The score is breathtaking. The editing is an award-worthy triumph. Watching the downward spiral of a young woman thrown to the wolves is daunting. I found myself shaking my head, filled with sadness and anger at those who failed spectacularly to protect her. And therein lies the double-edged sword of this film. Our obsession with a woman so special and fascinating makes us accomplices. The Princess is a cautionary tale as relevant today as it was then. Maybe more so. Harry and Meghan deserve more respect than we ever showed his mother and equal parts adoration for the change they are trying desperately to implement in a family stuck in the dark ages. We, the audience and fellow human beings, must remind ourselves to take a step back and let them live their lives in peace. 

HBO ORIGINAL DOCUMENTARY THE PRINCESS 
Debuting SATURDAY on HBO & HBO Max (8:00-9:50 p.m. ET/PT)

Bentonville Film Festival 2022 reviews: Short films ‘Anniversary’ & ‘The Syed Family Xmas Eve Game Night’ celebrate sisterhood in all its messy glory.

ANNIVERSARY

Laugh out loud funny short film Anniversary finds two best friends and next-door neighbors getting glam together in preparation for what Carla thinks is a surprise 25th-anniversary dinner with her husband.

This unapologetic and unfiltered look at friendship is hysterical. The film possesses timeless energy. The costumes are bright, and the camera work is notably fun. Actresses Johnnie Mae and Lin Tucci have magical chemistry. Director Lain Kienzle highlights the importance of female bonding. In the end, it’s pure delight.


The Syed Family Xmas Eve Game Night

Three very different sisters collide during holiday festivities. Seeking the approval of her eldest and feistiest sister, Noor hopes her partner Luz makes a good impression. 

The cinematography and editing are super fun. Instagram-style stories add a modern touch. It is what I do with my siblings during game nights. The cast is spectacular. For a short film, these characters are lush and eclectic. Director Fawzia Mirza and writer-producer Kausar Mohammed absolutely nail the family dynamic. The Syed Family Xmas Eve Game Night will make you laugh, cringe, and nod your head knowingly. Bentonville Film Festival 2022 audiences will love it.


 

Let’s Do The Time Warp Again! Happy Anniversary ‘Rocky Horror Picture Show’ (a day late but never a boa short)

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Happy 29th Anniversary of the UK theatrical release of this cult classic. Rocky Horror Picture Show was sort of a flop by today’s standards, but once midnight screenings began in NYC, there was no stopping this raucous and infectious work of madness.

Originally a stage play, it hopped from stage to screen with Richard O’Brien’s script. It was meant to be a tribute to the science fiction and B horror movies of the late 1930s through early 1970s. The costumes are now iconic and shadow casts around the county work painstakingly to imitate them. It’s been said that the film’s costumes were a big influence on the punk music scene with it’s ripped fishnets, dyed hair, and glitter makeup. Rocky Horror is the right balance of shock and camp. It’s difficult not to sing along and no matter if you’re a die hard fan or not, you’ve been hearing quotes from this movie for ages. And speaking of quotes, when attending a midnight screening, the audience is encouraged, dare I say, required to quote along. It’s an immersive experience to say the least.  

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  • Tim Curry as Dr. Frank N. Furter, a scientist
  • Susan Sarandon as Janet Weiss, a heroine
  • Barry Bostwick as Brad Majors, a hero.
  • Richard O’Brien as Riff Raff, a handyman
  • Patricia Quinn as Magenta, a domestic
  • Nell Campbell as Columbia, a groupie
  • Jonathan Adams as Dr. Everett V. Scott, a rival scientist
  • Peter Hinwood as Rocky Horror, a creation
  • Meat Loaf as Eddie, an ex-delivery boy
  • Charles Gray as The Criminologist, an expert
  • Jeremy Newson as Ralph Hapschatt
  • Hilary Farr as Betty Munroe Hapschatt (as Hilary Labow)

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Track list

  1. “Science Fiction/Double Feature” – The Lips (those of Patricia Quinn; voice of Richard O’Brien)
  2. “Dammit Janet” – Brad, Janet, and Chorus
  3. “There’s a Light (Over at the Frankenstein Place)” – Janet, Brad, Riff Raff, and Chorus
  4. “The Time Warp” – Riff Raff, Magenta, The Criminologist, Columbia, and Transylvanians
  5. “Sweet Transvestite” – Frank
  6. “The Sword of Damocles” – Rocky and Transylvanians
  7. “I Can Make You a Man” – Frank with Brad, Janet, Riff Raff, Magenta, and Columbia
  8. “Whatever Happened to Saturday Night” – Eddie and Transylvanians
  9. “I Can Make You a Man” (reprise) – Frank, Janet, and Transylvanians
  10. “Touch-a, Touch-a, Touch-a, Touch Me” – Janet with Magenta, Columbia, Rocky, Brad, Frank, and Riff Raff
  11. “Once in a While” (deleted scene) – Brad
  12. “Eddie” – Dr. Scott, Janet, Frank, Rocky, Brad, Riff Raff, and Magenta
  13. “Planet Schmanet Janet (Wise Up Janet Weiss)” – Frank, Janet, Brad, and Dr. Scott
  14. “Rose Tint My World” – Columbia, Rocky, Janet, and Brad
  15. “Fanfare/Don’t Dream It, Be It” – Frank with Brad, Janet, Rocky, and Columbia
  16. “Wild and Untamed Thing” – Frank with Brad, Janet, Rocky, Columbia, and Riff Raff
  17. “I’m Going Home” – Frank and Chorus
  18. “The Time Warp” (reprise) – Riff Raff and Magenta
  19. “Super Heroes” (only present in the original UK release) – Brad, Janet, and Chorus
  20. “Science Fiction/Double Feature” (reprise) – The Lips

Once you finally make it to a screening, you’re going to want to be prepared to get up and shake it. Here is a quick refresher for the all important audience participation Time Warp.

TimeWarp