Billie

She had an enigmatic presence. A unique, restrained voice with distinctive phrasing. Wrote and sang the iconic protest song “Strange Fruit.” That’s her. Billie Holiday. Lady Day. Died too young and now a faint memory. Eleanora Fagan was born on April 7, 1915 in Philadelphia and died July 17, 1959 at the age of 44 […]

Tripping with Nils Frahm

In the age of COVID, live performances are taking a real hit. If you’ve been longing for a night out at a concert listening to a vastly talented musician, this very eclectic and energizing film could be the ticket. At least for now. A select group of pianists have built an international following of legendary […]

Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom

Who’s the Mother of the Blues? Better say Ma Rainey! 1927. It’s a steamy Chicago summer, just like the rest. Hot. Humid. Even the streets are sweating. Ma (Viola Davis) comes up from Georgia to Chi-town to make an album. Her quartet arrives before she does, practicing in a cramped recording studio rehearsal room. Cutler (Colman […]

Sound of Metal

It’s a struggle. Losing one of your senses can be devastating. But that’s the reality a punk-metal drummer faces. Hearing loss. He’s banging drums he can no longer hear. Ruben (Riz Ahmed, Nightcrawler), a percussionist, and his lover Lou (Olivia Cooke, Me and Earl and the Dying Girl), a lead singer and guitarist, form a two-person metal […]

Jingle Jangle: A Christmas Journey

What a nice surprise. David E. Talbert, a playwright (Love in the Nick of Tyme) turned filmmaker (First Sunday), lets his musicality fly and creates a viable family Christmas movie that’s as strong as any Disney film. Inspired by musicals like Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, Dr. Dolittle and Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory and motivated by his son’s desire […]

The Life Ahead

Upon hearing the premise of this film, involving an 86-year-old Jewish Holocaust survivor and a 12-year-old Senegalese immigrant, you might think you’re in for 94 minutes of sentimental drama. In some ways, maybe so. In others not. But out of an abundance of caution, keep a box of tissues handy. The origin of this story […]

Spell

Omari Hardwick’s and Loretta Devine’s performances elevate this horror/suspense/thriller in ways the script may never have imagined. Devine, especially, steals scenes and makes her venomously evil character devilish beyond redemption.  Think back to the 1990 film Misery, which was based on a Stephen King novel. A famous author (James Caan) is in a car crash in […]

Synchronic

Should partygoers put down their Molly and try a tab of Synchronic? This cautionary sci-fi/fantasy/thriller suggests not.   Synchronic is a drug that hurls its users back in time. Time travel with a seven-minute limit. That’s the concept created by co-directors Justin Benson and Aaron Moorhead, one that forms a storyline and characters that are further developed […]