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Henning Goes to the Movies by Henning Ohlenbusch []



Please excuse the following burst of textual immodesty… Ahem. As founder and president (not to mention CEO, secretary, vice president & mascot) of the Forbes Film Club, I can safely say that I know a thing or two about the cinema. In addition, it was in college where I studied video and film, wrote lengthy ramblings dealing with issues within the worlds of documentary film and German cinema, composed pretentious screenplays and starred in some student produced shorts that feature poor lighting (often typecast as a chat show host, bud did sport a tricorne hat once for a period piece). I later found myself in Texas working in a video library/archive and spent most evenings devouring the collection and attending curated film festivals. To this day, little gives me greater pleasure than sitting in the theater, munching on popcorn and seeing something unfold on the big screen.

I have very personal connections to a handful of films and I believe movies we love can have a great impact on how we define ourselves. This is why Henning Goes to the Movies is so appealing.

Nine movies. Nine songs. Henning Ohlenbusch, lyricist extraordinaire/singer/songwriter of the group School For the Dead, is the architect (perhaps I should use director in this instance?) behind this wonderful album. He sings about the hilariously raunchy Super Bad, David Lynch’s quiet drama the Straight Story, the horror classic Poltergeist, the coming of age classic the Year My Voice Broke and more. His approach to these pieces is not a highlight of important plot points; rather he shares his personal experience with each film. Through introducing a specific character’s perspective or providing an overall sentiment of a movie, Ohlenbusch invites the listener to go on a cinematic journey.

His folksy pop songs are simply arranged to bring us close to the stories. He also tastefully sets the scene with appropriate backing. We find ourselves somewhere in the distant future in Logan’s Run with weaving backward electric guitar and at an old time carnival in Joe Vs. the Volcano. Though voice and acoustic guitar tend to be in the forefront throughout, keyboards, glockenspiel, subtle effects, electric bass, harmony vocals and percussion expand the mix.

This a great collection of songs, even without the movie theme. And I should mention that you really don’t need to have seen the films to appreciate the record. It is, however, even more of a gratifying listen for those of us who find that films are an important fabric of our lives.

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