Quincy. Rashida Jones co-directed to this extraordinary documentary dedicated to her father – legendary musician, producer, and humanitarian, Quincy Jones. It covers every facet of his life – from his troubled childhood in Chicago and Seattle; joining Lionel Hampton’s band when he was barely out of his teens; moving to Paris to study music composition; his ‘day job’ as Vice President of Mercury Records; his ascension as an in-demand composer for films, TV; to become a hit making producer from jazz, R&B and hip for some of the music’s greatest entertainers. It also dives into how his intense work ethic affected his home life; his complicated relationship with his mentally ill mother and overcoming a number of serious health scares. It wouldn’t be a Quincy Jones doc without the music and there’s plenty of it, with stories by Jones and a number of the best entertainers of the 20th and 21st Century. Told with candor, warmth, introspective and love, Rashida Jones has put together the ultimate portrait of an entertainment iconoclast. Quincy is available now on Netflix.
Stan & Ollie. The latest from director Jon Baird is a love letter to the first great comedy team. John C. Reilly and Steve Coogan and John C. Reilly play Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy, the iconic comedy team who would be a major influence on such future greats such as Abbott & Costello, Martin & Lewis, among many others. It picks up in 1953, where the two, despite fading popularity, financial setbacks, long standing resentments and Hardy’s ongoing health issues, press on through a European tour. Coogan and Reilly are terrific as Laurel & Hardy, capturing all of the nuances that made their on and off stage relationship so endearing. Shirley Henderson and Nina Arianda steal the movie as Lucille Hardy and Ida Laurel whose banter and personalities with each other and those around them are on par with their husbands. With deft direction from Baird, this film is a fitting salute to two comedic titans. Stan & Ollie is in theaters in New York and Los Angeles now. You can also go to www.sonyclassics.com for more information.
Vice. After tackling on the financial crisis with The Big Short, writer-director Adam McKay sets his sights on former Vice President Dick Cheney in his new feature. Christian Bale portrays the 46th VP, as he quietly rises on the Beltway from White House intern under Nixon, to political operative under economic advisor Donald Rumsfield (Steve Carell); White House Chief Of Staff under President Ford; to Wyoming House Of Representative, Halliburton CEO, to Vice President Of The United States. Sam Rockwell plays President George W. Bush, who, in order to get Cheney on the ticket, gives him control over energy and foreign policy – unaware that it would have dire effects on his Administration, the nation and the world. Amy Adams co-stars as Cheney’s wife Lynne, who pushed him from being a drunken Yale dropout to being a heartbeat away from the Presidency. Adding of adding a fictitious Iraqi War vet named Kurt as the narrator, McKay sticks with the facts making Cheney’s rise to power even more incredible. Bale absolutely crushes as the former VP, capturing all of his distinctive mannerisms – right down to packing on the pounds – to an astonishing effect. It’s a performance that will make him an sure bet to win Best Actor at the Oscars. Amy Adams shows yet again why she’s one of the best actors working today with another outstanding performance as Lynne Cheney, the true power behind the throne, rescuing her husband from a personal and political abyss. Rockwell is lights out as President Bush with Carrell just as good as former Defense Secretary Rumsfield. Entertaining, informative and, at times, outright disturbing, there’s a reason why this film is generating major awards season buzz. Vice is in theaters now.
New York City. Winter JazzFest 2019. Now in its 15th year, Winter JazzFest has grown from a one day, single-location event to a week-long program covering over a dozen venues. This year’s lineup includes critically-acclaimed singer, songwriter, producer and arranger Meshell Ndegeocello as this year’s artist in residence; performances by the Zig Zag Trio (featuring Melvin Gibbs and Living Colour’s Vernon Reid and Will Calhoun); Christian McBride’s Brother Mister; Gary Bartz’s performing ‘Another Earth’ with the one and only Pharoah Sanders; Medeski, Martin & Wood, and much more. In addition, there will a tribute to the late trumpeter Roy Hargrove, and Word Rock Sword: A Musical Celebration Of Women’s Lives featuring Toshi Reagan, Allison Miller, Ganessa James and other special guests. Always a great way to kick off the New Year and chase away the cold weather blues. Winter JazzFest runs January 4th through the 12th. You can also go to www.winterjazzfest.com for tickets, a complete rundown of events and additional information.
New York City. Complete Cuarón. With his latest film Roma, getting universal accolades and strong award season consideration, The Film Society Of Lincoln Center will present a four day retrospective of Alphonso Cuaron’s outstanding and diverse film output. It will include his debut feature, the screwball comedy Solo con tu pareja; his bold reinterpretation of Great Expectations starring Ethan Hawke, Gwyneth Paltrow, Chris Cooper and Robert DeNiro; the raunchy breakout hit Y tu mama tambien; the dark dystopian Sci-Fi thriller Children Of Men; the Oscar-winning film Gravity – in 3D; the global blockbuster Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban and much more. Cuaron will also be on hand to do a pre-show conversation before the January 8th screening for Y tu mama tambien making this a rare chance to here directly from one of cinema’s most versatile auteurs. A must see series for any true film fan. Complete Cuaron will be at The Film Society Of Lincoln Center January 4th through the 8th. You can also go to www.filmlinc.org for a complete rundown of films, tickets and additional information.
Los Angeles. Manifesto. After blowing away audiences in New York, Canada, Germany and Australia, Manifesto, a 13-channel film installation by Julian Rosefeldt makes its way out West. Using ideas and musings from such artists as Jim Jarmusch, Cales Oldenburg, Yvonne Rainer, Kazimir Malevich, Andre Breton Rosefeldt creates a ‘manifestos of manifestos’ regarding art and expression. Cate Blanchett then acts out these thoughts using 13 personas – including a school teacher, a puppeteer, a newsreader, factory worker and homeless man – to really hammer it all home. It’s an exhibit that will challenge, inform, but best of all, inspire. Manifesto will be at Hauser & Wirth through January 6th. You can also go to www.hauserwirth.com for more information.