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Amazing Grace review – Soul-shaking gospel from Aretha Franklin

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A spellbinding performance by the singer is captured in Sydney Pollacks 1972 film

“The 1970s may have been the heyday of the rock concert film, but the genre was frequently marred by questionable performances and legal squabbles. Whether its Led Zeppelin going off the boil in the wrangle-ridden The Song Remains the Same or the Rolling Stones finding themselves stars of an unfolding horror movie in the Maysless Gimme Shelter, these movies are fraught with strife. Its significant that the most celebrated concert film of all, Martin Scorseses The Last Waltz, captured the Band as they were splitting up, cementing the genres long-standing funereal affiliations and serving as inspiration for Rob Reiners nail-in-the-coffin mockumentary This Is Spinal Tap.

The story of Amazing Grace, centring on Aretha Franklins two-night performance in 1972 which led to the biggest selling live gospel album of all time, is no less troubled. Apparently inspired by the financial success of Mike Wadleighs festival behemoth Woodstock, and with an eye on increasingly synergistic film/music/TV markets, Warners enlisted Oscar winner Sydney Pollack to direct multi-camera 16mm footage of the 29-year-old Franklin recording her next album at the New Temple Missionary Baptist church in Los Angeles.

Unfortunately, with his background in drama rather than music docs, Pollack failed to use clapperboards or markers, making it virtually impossible to synch the resulting picture with the recorded sound. Not even lip readers, who were reportedly enlisted to sift through hours of silent film, could solve the problem.

Instead, the footage languished in…………………………………………………………”

Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/film/2019/may/12/amazing-grace-film-review-aretha-franklin-sydney-pollack

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New Movie Reviews

High Life Robert Pattinson Movie Review

Charmaine Blake

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An astronaut on an odyssey to a distant black hole faces the challenges of parenting and existential panic in Claire Denis mysterious drama

“Claire Deniss deep-space trauma High Life is an Old Testament parable catapulted forward into the 23rd century, a primal scene in a pressurised cabin of sci-fi pessimism, suppressed horror and denied panic. As if in a recurring dream, Denis brings us repeatedly to the image of a cream-panelled spaceship corridor that curves sharply around to the right; the area is at first pristine and then, as the years go by, shabby and derelict, stained with what may be body fluids. And what is around that corner?

This is a bizarre new creationist myth for those of us who ever wondered in childhood, and then forgot to wonder, about the taboo-breaking involved in propagating a race from just two people in the Garden of Eden, or two species representatives in the ark. It is also a tale of imperial expansion and sexual beings under pressure, just as in earlier Denis movies such as Beau Travail (1999) or White Material (2009); this is written by Denis with Jean-Pol Fargeau, Geoff Cox and Nick Laird, shot with luminous mystery by cinematographer Yorick Le Saux, with an eerie musical score by Stuart Staples of the band Tindersticks.

At its centre is Monte, played by Robert Pattinson, who is evidently all alone on a spaceship that exterior shots reveal to be shaped entirely without the elegant streamlined curves of a craft designed for purposeful travel. It is huge and rectangular, suspended in space like a clunking great container unit full of rubbish. Actually, Monte isnt entirely alone. He has a tiny infant with him called Willow, whom he tends to and talks to conscientiously but unsmilingly.

Pure
Pure radioactive strangeness Juliette Binoche and Robert Pattinson. Photograph: Allstar/Alcatraz Films

Denis creates a grippingly unreadable dynamic right here. There is something adorable in the trusting baby and the adults care, and yet nothing else around speaks of gentleness and love. Its not at all clear, in fact, that Monte is capable of love, or if events have not rendered the emotion of love obsolete…………………………………………………………….”

Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/film/2019/may/08/high-life-review-robert-pattinson-claire-denis-juliette-binoche

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Netflix’s ‘Someone Great’ is a coming-of-age rom-com for twenty-somethings

Charmaine Blake

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“When Rolling Stone calls, aspiring music journalist Jenny (Gina Rodriguez) knows you have to answer even if it means moving across the country to San Francisco and jeopardizing her relationship with Nate (Lakeith Stanfield), her boyfriend of nine years.

In Netflix original Someone Great, Jenny is left heartbroken when Nate decides they should end the relationship. In hopes of leaving New York City with better final memories, Jenny gets together with her two best friends Erin (DeWanda Wise) and Blair (Brittany Snow)to have one last hurrah at the exclusive Neon Classic concert.

Someone Great

RELEASE DATE: 4/19/2019
DIRECTOR: Jennifer Kaytin Robinson
STREAMING: Netflix
The coming-of-age film explores turning 30 and saying goodbye to people and places that no longer belong in your life.

Someone Great tells a tale about life transitions and the growing pains that come with getting older. Its a coming-of-age story for twenty-somethings; its about turning 30, transitioning out of your twenties, and saying goodbye to people and places that no longer belong in your life. Someone Great is heart-wrenching because its relatable and challenges viewers with the concept that sometimes the best decision for yourself is the hardest one to make…………………………………………………………..”

Read more: https://www.dailydot.com/upstream/someone-great-netflix-review/

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‘The OA’ season 2 will break your brain

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Warning: This review contains spoilers for seasons 1 and 2 of The OA.

“Trying to describe TheOA to a person who hasnt watched the Netflix series is difficult. It’s got supernatural elements. It’s got science fiction elements. It’s got cultish elements. The main characters obsessively follow a theory about multiple dimensions, which includes choreographed movements to send people to these other dimensions. Nothing about TheOAseason 2, which debuted on Netflix last Friday, is clichd or predictable. Watching it feelslike being immersed in an interactive experience while taking psychedelics.

The OA season 2

RELEASE DATE: 3/22/2019
DIRECTOR: Brit Marling, Zal Batmanglij
STREAMING: Netflix
Brit Marling jumps into another dimension in this wonderfully bizarre series.

If you havent yet watched , which was released in December 2016, stop reading this review and go watch it now. To recap: Prairie Johnson (Brit Marling), a blind woman in her late 20s, mysteriously appears after being missing for seven years. But as her adoptive parents discover, her vision has been completely restored. Prairie was kidnapped by a scientist named Hunter Aloysius “Hap” Percy (Jason Isaacs), who is studying people whove had a near-death experience (NDE)……………………………………………………………..”

Read more: https://www.dailydot.com/upstream/netflix-oa-season-2-review/

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