Nina Simone has always been a figure covered in mystique: a one-of-a-kind voice in music history that seemed so burdened by feeling she could barely keep it in. What Happened, Miss Simone? certainly lifts the veil to a large degree: a film so filled with archive footage it is impossible not to get a three-dimensional view of Miss Simone. Most music documentaries celebrate the good moments in the subject’s career, and while What Happened, Miss Simone? certainly has a couple
Category Archives: Films
Brian Wilson is surely one of rock’s most interesting characters, a troubled genius that faced incredible creative opposition in his own mind, family, and band. I wrote a review of Love & Mercy, the new Brian Wilson biopic that avoids the usual music biopic storylines, for Books & Culture. You can check it out here.
Shake the Dust In the past forty years, no music form has had a bigger impact on American culture than hip hop. But what we don’t often think of, is how hip hop has impacted people across the globe. Director Adam Sjöberg turns his attention to this global aspect, specifically how it empowers youth in the third world. Hip hop since the beginning has taken four forms: rapping, turntablism (or DJing), graffiti art, and b-boying (or breakdancing). Through some incredible
Jazz: The TV Mini-Series Directed by Ken Burns I’ve heard people talk time and time again about Ken Burns documentaries, but I’m actually not sure I’d ever seen one. Burns is sort of PBS’s documentarian extraordinaire, as he has done documentary series on everything America including baseball, the Civil War, national parks, and much more. Burns is so patriotic in his work, I bet there is a 12-part series on apple pie coming soon. Describing jazz as the only true
Music biopics are cat nip for Oscar voters. Biopics like Ray, Dreamgirls and Walk the Line have been showered with love from the Academy, but for whatever reason, Get On Up, Tate Taylor’s (The Help, Winter’s Bone) James Brown biopic, is getting very little Oscar buzz, and I wouldn’t be surprised if it got completely snubbed. Why is this the case? Well I have three reasons I think Get On Up isn’t getting the attention it deserves. 1. Get On