Latest Lifestyle

Latest from Lifestyle

February 21, 2019

Dating While Fat

by Cassandra Appleby
February 19, 2019

My Daughter Came Out!

by Ask AC
February 08, 2019

The Amazing Dog Nose

by Bethany Wilson
February 06, 2019

Teaching Your Child about Money

by Lillian Appleby
February 04, 2019

Interior Design - 2019 Color of the Year

by Christopher Porikos
February 01, 2019

Free Monthly Intuitive Angel Readings - February

by NoHo - North Hollywood
January 22, 2019

Fanny Packs = Freedom

by Mia
January 15, 2019

Ringing in the New Year in Havana, Cuba

by Jack Witt
January 10, 2019

The One New Year’s Resolution You Need to Make

by Cassandra Appleby
January 09, 2019

Puppy Training Time!

by Bethany Wilson
January 07, 2019

Handling Market Volatility

by Lillian Appleby
January 03, 2019

Your FREE Angel Card Reading - January 2019

by Annmari Love
December 31, 2018

What does fast food do to my body?

by Connor Coman
December 28, 2018

Free Monthly Horoscopes - January 2019 - Capricorn

by Maya White
December 21, 2018

FFF - Fabulous Faux Fur

by Mia
December 18, 2018

Anne Frank Inspirations for a Peaceful 2019

by Ask AC
December 17, 2018

2018 Holiday Décor

by Christopher Porikos
December 13, 2018

Teaching Your College-Age Child about Money

by Lillian Appleby
Monday, 18 April 2016 02:50

Reviews - Miles Ahead; Born to Be Blue

Written by
Rate this item
(1 Vote)

Film Reviews - Miles Ahead; Born to Be Blue

miles ahead

It’s rare that you get a film biography of one jazz legend, let alone two, but music fans have a relative embarrassment of riches with the release of two, shall we say fictionalized looks at two eminently talented jazz artists, Miles Davis in Miles Ahead, and Chet Baker in Born to Be Blue.

Shootouts, heists, car chases…these may not be the first things that come to mind when you think of jazz trumpet icon Miles Davis, yet they’re all present in Miles Ahead, Don Cheadle’s somewhat fanciful look at a period in the late 1970s when Davis was on a self-imposed retreat from recording and performing. The premise here is that some unsavory players in the music business have made off with a tape of a rare Davis studio session—and Davis, along with his would-be Rolling Stone interviewer (Euan McGregor), try like the dickens to get it back. The film shifts between the foreground action (an amalgam of the buddy movie and 70s crime drama), and flashbacks to Davis’s 1950s romance and subsequent troubled marriage to dancer Helene Taylor (Emayatzy Corinealdi), which falls apart partly because of Davis’s infidelity (and occasional brutality)—and partly because of his demand that she give up her own career.

Cheadle, who also directed and co-wrote (with Steven Baigelman), does a good job of nailing down Davis’s signature raspy delivery, as well as conveying a not-so-peculiar blend of arrogance and neediness that seems to be par for the course for somewhat tormented artists. Cheadle’s Davis is as passionate and uncompromising when it comes to his “social music” (as he calls it), as he is about scoring cocaine (the film suggests that Davis finds it necessary to alleviate his troublesome hip condition). Cheadle’s acting chops go a long way but a little more music and a little less intrigue might have helped create a fuller picture of the artist—and convince the uninitiated that they should care more about the hunt for Davis’ missing music.

Miles Davis also plays a role in Born to Be Blue, a haunting look at trumpet player/singer Chet Baker’s struggles in the 1960s—after a vicious beating (over drugs) left him toothless and struggling to regain his musical artistry, all the while trying to maintain the love of a good woman—and overcome his addiction to heroin. Like Miles Ahead, the film shifts between this pivotal time in Baker’s life, and his period in the 1950s when he was considered handsome and hip, but not yet a true artist since, in Davis’ view, he hasn’t lived enough.” (Davis is not the central character here, but the portrait in this film is a little unflattering, as he comes off as an envious, powerful and manipulative figure—kind of like a capo in the jazz world).

Like Miles Ahead, Born to Be Blue plays loosely with the facts, but comes out as a truer picture of the artist and the man. Ethan Hawke does his best work yet as the soft-spoken, intensely driven singer/musician who will do just about anything to be able to play the music. Hawke’s Baker also possesses a self-destructive streak that won’t ever allow him to enjoy five minutes of happiness, and a needy side (like Davis) that demands full devotion from his girlfriend (nicely played by Carmen Ejogo), even at the expense of her own career. The film captures the flavor of the East Coast jazz scene in the1950s via stylized smoky black and white flashbacks, and the West Coast of the 1960s where Baker is testing his chops in the idyllic California sunset (and low-rent clubs). For Baker, it’s all about the music, and if it means adjusting his style (to suit the facial muscles smashed in the wake of his beating)—and breaking some promises to recapture his artistry—so be it. The final section, depicting his comeback at Birdland in NYC, hits all the right notes—and is eventually devastating. While it’s not for all tastes, if you have an interest in jazz or Baker, Born to Be Blue might be the film for you.

Read 3179 times Last modified on Monday, 18 April 2016 02:57
Mike Peros

Mike Peros is an author whose new book, DAN DURYEA - HEEL WITH A HEART, the first biography of classic Hollywood's iconic villain, was recently published by the University Press of Mississippi.  He is  also an educator with a passion for movies ever since he saw John Wayne riding toward the bad guys, reins between his teeth, in TRUE GRIT.  Some of his favorite films include THE BAND WAGON, THE WILD BUNCH, OUT OF THE PAST, THE SILENT PARTNER, IT'S ALWAYS FAIR WEATHER ( a great musical--if you're a Gene Kelly fan, what are you waiting for?), and KONGA with the great Michael Gough.

Leave a comment

Do you have an event, video or news to share?  Drop us an email and you may see it on