Interviews with Jennifer Hudson and director Liesl Tommy, about the upcoming Aretha Franklin biopic, 'Respect' [VIDEO]
The long-awaited Aretha Franklin biopic movie is finally coming to theaters. Star Jennifer Hudson and director Liesl Tommy were in Detroit at the FOX Theater on Monday to discuss the new film.
For those that thought that the recent Fyre Festival was a sham, wait until your memory is jogged about the disastrous Woodstock '99. All of its ugliness is brought to light in the stunning and captivating new HBO Max documentary, "Woodstock 99: Peace, Love and Rage."
History is a funny thing, in that it takes blood, sweat and tears to sometimes set the record straight. We know what we are taught, and we don't know what we're not told about. And in some cases, history is simply lost to the winds of time.
Thank goodness then, for Ahmir "Questlove" Thompson, the prolific musician and frontman for the hip hop band "the Roots." He's the man responsible for preserving the memory of the Harlem Cultural Festival, a massive celebration of music, heritage, culture and Black Pride, that took course over six days spread out over the Summer of 1969. Questlove directs "Summer of Soul (...Or, When the Revolution Could Not Be Televised)" and in doing so, he has not only preserved an important piece of history, but he's unearthed a treasure trove of clips that will live on forever.
If you've never heard of the pop band Sparks, you're not alone. Heck, director Edgar Wright ("Shaun of the Dead") is basically counting on that.
"The Sparks Brothers" is a loving, light trip down memory lane with two real-life brothers, Ron and Russell Mael, who just so happen to be the most influential musicians you've never heard of before.
A play like "Hamilton" is a one-in-a-million sort of production. From the original cast to the costumes and choreography, to the unprecedented word-play and unforgettable lyrics from the mind of Lin-Manuel Miranda, to its cultural significance, "Hamilton" was lightning in a bottle...the stage play of our time and one of the few creations in the history of the stage or cinema that cannot be over-hyped regardless of how much praise is heaped upon it. It really is that good.
But before "Hamilton," there was "In the Heights," the debut production from Miranda that he originally wrote his sophomore year in college back in 1999. The play finally reached Broadway, from 2008 to 2011, scoring 13 Tony nominations (winning four, including Best Original Score for Miranda, the youngest recipient ever to win the category).
Now after a full year of postponements due to COVID-19, the big-screen adaptation of "In the Heights" reaches theaters (it is also available to stream on HBO Max). If you're familiar with "Hamilton," you know that "In the Heights" is a lesser overall production...how could it not be? But on its own it's a rich celebration of the immigrant experience in America, and one of the most joyous, unapologetic and optimistic films in quite some time.
"In the Heights" is no "Hamilton," but that is just fine.
Is the five-time Grammy-nominated techno artist and animal rights activist, Moby, a self-absorbed asshole or one of the modern geniuses of music? Whichever side you fall on (and yes, when it comes to whether or not people like Moby, there usually is no in-between), everyone should be able to agree that "Moby Doc" is just polarizing as its subject.
Near the end of the documentary, "Tina," the legendary, raspy-voiced superstar singer is escorted into a Broadway play based on her life, "Tina: The Tina Turner Story," with screaming, adoring fans mobbed all over the scene and surrounding her as she makes her way inside. On one arm is Tina's husband since 2013, Erwin Bach, and on her other arm is none other than her close friend, Oprah Winfrey.
It took me a few seconds to even realize that Oprah was there, and the fervorous fan-base chanting Tina's name also couldn't care less. Tina still has it...and is still such a force to be reckoned with that you don't even notice when she's standing next to Oprah Winfrey. Tina is larger than life, larger than Oprah...an icon and an inspiration to many. But arriving at that precise moment outside the theater, happy, content and in love, is really a tremendous testament to the endurance of Tina Turner. I'd say her rise was impossible, if only Tina hadn't in fact made it possible.
The tumultuous, incredible life of Tina Turner is on full display in the new HBO Max documentary film, simply titled "Tina." It takes what you may know about her and goes deeper than ever before, and is an emotional swan song for the now 81-year-old legend, who is deciding to slowly bow out of the limelight after all these years.
Billie Eilish is about the biggest star on the planet at the moment, the singer/songwriter sensation who at age 15, uploaded a song to SoundCloud ("Ocean Eyes") and went on to become one of the most iconic and beloved stars of her generation. Her second album, 2019's "When We Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go?" was one of the best-selling album of 2019, with her number-one hit "Bad Guy" going platinum ten-times-over.
She's won two American Music Awards, three MTV Video Music Awards and five Grammys...becoming the youngest and only the second-ever to sweep the four major Grammy categories - Best New Artist, Record of the Year, Song of the Year and Album of the Year - in a single year (if you're wondering who the first person to do this was, it was Christopher Cross in 1980).
Eilish did all this before turning 19...and the most fascinating part of her deeply-compelling, revealing new documentary, "Billie Eilish: The World's A Little Blurry" (debuting on Apple TV+ on Feb. 26th), is just how glaringly adolescent Eilish still is. Despite being responsible for lyrics and vocals far beyond her years, we see Billie having boy trouble, getting her driver's license, handling the tremendous physical and emotional pressures that come with fame and fortune, and obsessing about Justin Bieber.
In other words, she's just your average teenager, other than the fact that Billie Eilish's talents as an artist are anything but average.
The title: "The United States vs. Billie Holiday," implies a movie that will feature some sort of lawsuit against one of the greatest jazz singers of all-time. But this is no court-room drama. Instead, the title categorizes not only how Holiday fought against the norms of the time, but how the FBI tried desperately to silence her voice both literally and figuratively.
Shocking the world and making 2020 suck even more than it already did, Chadwick Boseman was announced dead this past August at just 43-years-old. Boseman had been battling colon cancer since 2016, despite continuing to work. What a life, what a career.
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