“Miles Ahead” (2016)
Audiences expecting biopics of traditional music legends like “Walk the Line” and “Ray” will love this portrait of Miles Davis by director, co-writer and star Don Cheadle. would be perplexed. Cheadle eschews the cradle-to-grave approach typical of these endeavors, instead building a narrative around the epic tale of Davis and a music journalist (Ewan McGregor) trying to recover stolen tapes of his latest album. ing. This mostly-fictional fabrication gave Cheadle the leeway to create playful, unpredictable, and unexpected works—works that cinematically reflected the music that made him famous. Emayatzy Corinaldi is heart-wrenching as Davis’ wife Frances, while LaKeith Stanfield and Michael Stuhlbarg stand out in memorable supporting roles.
“The Lure” (2017)
Polish director Agnieszka Smoczynska makes her feature directorial debut with this exhilaratingly bizarre mashup of cabaret musical, sex comedy and folk horror tale. Mihalina Olzanska and Marta Mazurek are gold and silver, and a pair of mermaid sisters chase handsome humans (the Little Mermaid shades) out of their comfy undersea homes and end up in shady nightclubs. You will end up bumping and scraping. Smoczynska enlivens this literal fish-in-water tale with unexpected genre flourishes. This is the kind of movie that, even if you don’t enjoy it, waiting for a few scenes makes it completely different.
The surly but lovable nerd, the impatient hardworking single mother, the prostitute with a heart of gold—the character types in Theodore Melfi’s comedy-drama are, charitably speaking, overused. But they’re so sensitively written and so nuancedly performed by Bill Murray, Melissa McCarthy, and Naomi Watts that the affable viewer won’t mind too much. In fact, with these all-too-familiar characters and the stock situations Melfi writes to them, these actors are able to give them a good old-fashioned, movie star-like sheen. All three pros are on top form, and McCarthy in particular excels with a lively, semi-dramatic turn that foreshadows her seminal work on “Can You Ever Forgive Me?” But it’s the young Jayden Martell who stands out, charismatic and charming as the kid who holds them all together.
“The Old Way” (2023)
With so much of today’s B movies consisting of Xerox action flicks and unimaginative horror, it’s easy to forget that Westerns were once a big part of the world. Directed by Brett Dono, this revenge melodrama is a reminder of the dynamism of the genre, even if it’s on a low budget. A flimsy script and distractingly modern direction make up for what the film lacks, but Nicolas Cage’s presence in the lead makes up for it – shockingly, he’s It was the first time in a career of more than 100 films that he appeared in Alter. He brings the gravitas of fierce battle to this old gunslinger character, with a familiar face sharpened by tired eyes and a deeply determined look reminiscent of good old Western stars like Randolph Scott and Audie Murphy. I have a line.
This Liam Neeson vehicle came out the year after John Wick, and in retrospect feels like the first of many imitations of the film. Neeson is a former mob enforcer who kills his boss’s trigger and risks his own life. happy son. Whatever its origins, the film does well thanks to an excellent supporting cast (including Vincent D’Onofrio, Ed Harris, Bruce McGill, and Lois Smith, plus their “John Wick: Chapter 2” co-stars). One of Neeson’s best late action films. Common) and a tightly focused Neeson performance. He has one particularly good scene with the face of a man who knows how much he’s let her down in her dying mother’s hospital bed.
“The Exiles” (2023)
Christine Choi, the first subject of this documentary by Violet Columbus and Ben Klein, is a foul-mouthed, chain-smoker, no-nonsense local legend who is so charming and versatile. She’s a character, and you could watch a movie that just tells her story. Talk and bitch barking. But Columbus and Klein are plotting more than that. In The Exiles, fellow documentarian Choi spends much of the summer of 1989 interviewing “political exiles” from China’s Tiananmen Square protests (and subsequent massacre) and discussing their events in the United States. It describes in detail how I participated in Decades later, she rediscovers the footage and attempts to reconnect with her subjects, but in the process, despite how their cause was adopted, was ultimately overthrown by the U.S. government. Whether it was discarded will cause deep remorse and righteous indignation.
“Call me Kate” (2022)
Netflix is notoriously reluctant to license movies from Hollywood’s Golden Age (and frankly, 20th century movies in general can be hard to find). But they’ve gone on to dazzle with ‘Five Come Back’, ‘Is That Black Enough For You?!?’ It will occasionally offer documentary studies of film history. Writer-director Lorna Tucker uses rare archive audio and home movies to elegantly compose a portrait that celebrates and solves the mystery of her great legend. Intimate and unapologetic, viewers gain a deeper understanding of who Hepburn is and who she is.
“Tim’s Vermeer” (2014)
With all the hype around AI and visual arts, it’s a perfect time to revisit this provocative and incisive documentary. The documentary was written by magicians and self-proclaimed revealers Penn and Teller, narrated by the former and directed by the latter. They detail the efforts of inventor Tim Jennison to explore and reproduce the methodology of Dutch master Johannes Vermeer. Vermeer’s realistic paintings have impressed fans and questioned skeptics for years. A powerful blend of the duo’s usual cynicism and curiosity, the film is a compelling journey into the past with implications for the future.