Mo­town at heart of Stone Soul Cinema re­vival

The Commercial Appeal - Go Memphis - - GO SEE MOVIE REVIEWS, CAPSULES -

A pair of briefly over­lap­ping se­ries de­voted to African-amer­i­can film­mak­ers and per­form­ers is set to bring what might be called “stone soul cinema” back to Mem­phis.

The first, hosted by the Stax Mu­seum of Amer­i­can Soul Mu­sic and In­die Mem­phis, is the lat­est Soul Cinema se­ries, a re­vival of a mu­seum pro­gram of that name that was in­tro­duced ear­lier this year.

The orig­i­nal Soul Cinema pro­gram fo­cused on the 1970s film work of Isaac Hayes. The four-film se­quel se­ries is de­voted to movies as­so­ci­ated with Stax’s glossier and more pop-ori­ented Detroit ri­val, the Mo­town Records la­bel. The films will be screened monthly through Novem­ber, in con­nec­tion with the “Mo­town Black & White” ex­hibit that opens at Stax this week­end and will re­main on dis­play through Nov. 8 (story on Page G3).

In each case, doors open at 6:30 p.m., and the movie screens at 7 at the Stax Mu­seum, 926 E. Mcle­more. Ad­mis­sion is on a do­na­tion, pay-what-you-want ba­sis. Here’s the lineup: Aug. 29 — “Stand­ing in the Shad­ows of Mo­town”: Win­ner of the best doc­u­men­tary award from the Na­tional So­ci­ety of Film Crit­ics, the New York Film Crit­ics Cir­cle and nu­mer­ous other or­ga­ni­za­tions, di­rec­tor Paul Just­man’s 2002 film ex­am­ines the ori­gins, ca­reers and lega­cies of the sto­ried stu­dio mu­si­cians known as “the Funk Broth­ers,” who la­bored in rel­a­tive anonymity even as they played on the great­est record­ings of the Temp­ta­tions, the Supremes, Smokey Robin­son and the Mir­a­cles and the other hit Mo­town artists.

Sept. 19 — “Trou­ble Man”: Marvin Gaye com­posed the sound­track (which was re­leased on Mo­town’s Tamla Records sub­sidiary) for this 1972 “blax­ploita­tion” film di­rected by Ivan Dixon (best-known as one of the Amer­i­can pris­on­ers in the cast of “Ho­gan’s He­roes”). Robert Hooks stars as “Mr. T,” an el­e­gant but tough “ghetto fixer” who op­er­ates out of a South Cen­tral Los An­ge­les pool hall.

Oct. 24 — “The Mack”: Max Julien stars as a king pimp named Goldie in di­rec­tor Michael Cam­pus’ 1973 film, which fea­tures mu­sic com­posed by Mo­town star Wil­lie Hutch.

Nov. 21 — “Soul! Fea­tur­ing Ste­vie Won­der and Won­derlove”: Pro­duced by New York tele­vi­sion sta­tion WNET, this stu­dio con­cert film show­cases the 22-yearold for­mer “Lit­tle Ste­vie Won­der” at the height of his young-adult power, per­form­ing songs from his al­bum “Talk­ing Book.”

Mean­while, in con­nec­tion with its 42nd an­nual Stone Soul Pic­nic, to be held Sept. 3 at the Le­vitt Shell, ra­dio sta­tion WLOKAM 1340 has or­ga­nized the first WLOK Black Film Fes­ti­val, set for Sept. 2-4 at the Mem­phis­brooksmu­se­u­mof Art in Over­ton Park. Ad­mis­sion is free. The lineup in­cludes: Sept. 2, 3 p.m. - “School Daze”: Spike Lee fol­lowed his break­through “She’s Gotta Have It” with this 1988 cam­pus com­edy-drama in­spired by the di­rec­tor’s ex­pe­ri­ences at such his­tor­i­cally black col­leges as More­house and Spel­man in At­lanta. Juanita Moore was Os­carnom­i­nated for her role in “Imi­ta­tion of Life” (1959), which screens dur­ing WLOK Black Film Fes­ti­val week­end.

Sept. 2, 7 p.m. - “Wattstax”: Some of the Stax la­bel’s great­est artists — in­clud­ing Ru­fus Thomas, the Sta­ple Singers and Isaac Hayes — con­vened on Aug. 20, 1972, at Los An­ge­les Memo­rial Coli­seum for this fa­mous con­cert film, re­leased in 1973.

Sept. 3, 11 a.m. - “Life”: Wrongly con­victed Ed­die Mur­phy and Martin Lawrence are sent to a 1930s Mis­sis­sippi prison camp in

film­ Thelma & Louise (R, 130 min.) A 25th an­niver­sary re­vival of di­rec­tor Ri­d­ley Scott’s em­pow­er­ing ac­tion­drama about a wait­ress (Su­san Saran­don) and a housewife (Geena Davis) who shoot a rapist and hit the road. 7 p.m. Wed­nes­day, Par­adiso. Tick­ets: $13.50. Visit Time Warp Drive-in: Mar­tial Arts May­hem! An all-night pro­gram of “chop­socky” cinema, in­clud­ing “En­ter the Dragon” (1973), “Kung Fu Hus­tle” (2004), “Iron Mon­key” (1993) and “Black Belt Jones” (1974). Movies start at dusk. 7:40 p.m. Sat­ur­day, Sum­mer Quar­tet Drive-in. Ad­mis­sion: $10. Visit face­book. com/time­warp­drivein. this hard-times com­edy.

Sept. 4, 3 p.m. - “Imi­ta­tion of Life”: Juanita Moore earned an Os­car nom­i­na­tion for her per­for­mance as a mother whose light­skinned daugh­ter (Su­san Kohner) chooses to “pass” as white in this 1959 mas­ter­piece of pro­found melo­drama from di­rec­tor Dou­glas Sirk. Lana Turner and San­dra Dee co-star.

So­lu­tion.” Cor­dova Cinema. Bad Moms (R, 101 min.) They’re en­gaged in “comedic self-in­dul­gence,” and they in­clude Mila Ku­nis, Kathryn Hahn and Kris­ten Bell. Cine­planet 16, Col­lierville Towne 16, Cor­dova Cinema, De­soto Cinema 16, For­est Hill 8, Hol­ly­wood 20 Cinema, Olive Branch Cinema, Par­adiso, Stage Cinema, Sum­mer Quar­tet Drive-in. The BFG (PG, 117 min.) HHH Work­ing from a 1982 chil­dren’s novel by the late Roald Dahl, di­rec­tor Steven Spiel­berg seems to iden­tify more with the wiz­ened fan­tas­ti­cal out­sider (a sad-faced Big Friendly Gi­ant, por­trayed through mo­tion-cap­ture an­i­ma­tion by Mark Ry­lance) than with the small child (an or­phan, played by Ruby Barn­hill) who be­comes the ini­tial-id’ed ti­tle char­ac­ter’s friend and sav­ior. Bartlett 10. Blood Fa­ther (R, 88 min.) Ex-con Mel Gib­son bat­tles the drug deal­ers try­ing to kill his teenage daugh­ter. Hol­ly­wood 20 Cinema. Café So­ci­ety (PG-13, 96 min.) HHH Vit­to­rio Storaro (“Apoc­a­lypse Now”) seems

able to trans­mute light into molten gold, and his bur­nished cin­e­matog­ra­phy is among the mul­ti­ple at­trac­tions of wri­ter­di­rec­tor Woody Allen’s 47th (!) the­atri­cal fea­ture, a rue­ful tale about ma­te­rial suc­cess and ro­man­tic com­pro­mise that stars Jesse Eisen­berg as a 1930s Bronx Jew who trav­els to Hol­ly­wood to run er­rands for his pro­ducer un­cle (Steve Carell) and pitch ten­ta­tive woo at the un­cle’s smart, wary sec­re­tary (Kris­ten Ste­wart) be­fore re­turn­ing to New York to run a night­club with his gang­ster brother (Corey Stoll). Ridge­way Cinema Grill. Cap­tain Amer­ica: Civil War (PG-13, 147 min.) HHH Like guest star Ant-man (Paul Rudd) in his new Gi­ant-man iden­tity, this some­what un­gainly Mar­vel se­quel al­most col­lapses un­der its own weight; it’s as much a credit to the good will gen­er­ated by the ac­tors in pre­vi­ous films as to the jug­gling skills of brother di­rec­tors Joe and An­thony Russo that the en­ter­prise — crowded with at least a dozen he­roes — holds our in­ter­est, even though its po­ten­tially provoca­tive premise is no longer novel (as in “Bat­man v Su­per­man,” the author­i­ties want to con­trol “en­hanced peo­ple”), while its Cap­tain Amer­ica (Chris Evans)-ver­susIron Man (Robert Downey Jr.) free­dom-of-choice de­bate be­comes drowned out by the din of (ex­tremely well-staged) spe­cial-ef­fects bat­tle. Steal­ing ev­ery chaotic scene is the Black Pan­ther (Chadwick Bose­man), a cool new hero whose cos­tume­with-claws is the cat’s meow; less con­vinc­ingly slung into the melee is Spi­der-man (Tobey Maguire look-alike Tom Hol­land), re­stored to teenage­dom so he can spin off into his own re­booted se­ries. Bartlett 10. Cap­tain Fan­tas­tic (R, 118 min.) Af­ter a long vol­un­tary ex­ile from main­stream so­ci­ety, a Pa­cific North­west free spirit (Viggo Mortensen) must take his home-schooled brood of six chil­dren into the big bad outer world. Cor­dova Cinema. Cen­tral In­tel­li­gence (PG-13, 114 min.) Star­ring Kevin Hart and Dwayne John­son. Bartlett 10, Wolfchase Gal­le­ria Cinema 8.

HFind­ing Dory (PG, 103 min.) More finny fun from Pixar. Par­adiso. Florence Foster Jenk­ins (PG-13, 110 min.) Meryl Streep in a biopic about a New York heiress with a ter­ri­ble voice who is de­ter­mined to be an opera singer. Col­lierville Towne 16, Cor­dova Cinema, De­soto Cinema 16, Ridge­way Cinema Grill, Stage Cinema. Ghost­busters (PG-13, 116 min.) HHH This fe­male-cast re­make of the beloved 1984 hit is an over­due re­buke to the “fan­bro” idioc­racy but also a win­ning ex­am­ple of an “event” ac­tion-com­edy, with Kris­ten Wiig, an atyp­i­cally fam­i­lyfriendly Melissa Mccarthy, a flirty Kate Mckin­non and Mem­phis-born Les­lie Jones as next-gen­er­a­tion pro­ton­pack­ers.? Col­lierville Towne 16, Cor­dova Cinema, De­soto Cinema 16, Par­adiso. Hil­lary’s Amer­ica: The Se­cret His­tory of the Demo­cratic Party (PG13, 107 min.) con­ser­va­tive con­spir­acy the­o­rist Di­nesh D’souza fol­lows his 2012 “Obama’s Amer­ica” with its in­evitable se­quel. Col­lierville Towne 16, Wolfchase Gal­le­ria Cinema 8. Ice Age: Col­li­sion Course ( PG, 94 min.) The fifth en­try in an an­i­mated se­ries that seems to have lasted as long as the Pleis­tocene epoch it­self. Col­lierville Towne 16, De­soto Cinema 16, Hol­ly­wood 20 Cinema, Ma­jes­tic, Wolfchase Gal­le­ria Cinema 8. In­de­pen­dence Day: Resur­gence (PG-13, 119 min.) ½ Dopey but watch­able, the ac­ci­den­tally prophetic first “In­de­pen­dence Day” of­fered sneak at­tack from the sky. Twenty years later, in the era of Trump and Brexit, the movie’s apoc­a­lyp­tic para­noia is com­mon­place while its one-world-united op­ti­mism seems quaint and naive. Re­turn­ing di­rec­tor Roland Em­merich has de­liv­ered a real dud, filled with wheel­spin­ning call­backs to the orig­i­nal cast (Bill Pull­man, Jeff Gold­blum), dull new­com­ers (Liam Hemsworth, Jessie T. Usher and Maika Mon­roe as the heroic off­spring of fight­ers from the first film), ridicu­lous sit­u­a­tions and a will­ful dis­re­gard for physics — and nar­ra­tive co­her­ence.. Bartlett 10. In­dig­na­tion (R, 110 min.) Long­time in­die pro­ducer James Schamus di­rected this adap­ta­tion of a Philip Roth novel about a work­ing-class Jewish stu­dent (Lo­gan Ler­man) in Ohio. Ridge­way Cinema Grill. Ja­son Bourne (PG-13, 121 min.) Re­united with di­rec­tor Paul Green­grass, Matt Da­mon again acts the role of Amer­ica’s fa­vorite am­ne­siac ex-as­sas­sin. Cine­planet 16, Col­lierville Towne 16, Cor­dova Cinema, De­soto Cinema 16, For­est Hill 8, Hol­ly­wood 20 Cinema, Ma­jes­tic, Olive Branch Cinema, Palace Cinema, Par­adiso, Stage Cinema, Stu­dio on the Square, Sum­mer Quar­tet Drive-in. The Jun­gle Book (PG, 105 min.) HHH ½ Du­bi­ously de­scribed by most re­view­ers as a “live-ac­tion” adap­ta­tion of Rud­yard Ki­pling’s late-vic­to­rian story, this ex­tremely en­ter­tain­ing and some­times mov­ing Dis­ney episodic ad­ven­ture fea­tures re­mark­ably re­al­is­tic an­i­mals, trop­i­cal fo­liage and ex­otic Asian land­scapes. Bartlett 10. The Leg­end of Tarzan (PG-13, 109 min.) HHH The first ma­jor live-ac­tion Tarzan movie in three decades re­habs the prob­lem­atic and omits the in­de­fen­si­ble as­pects of Edgar Rice Bur­roughs’ story about a white baby raised by apes who proves to be the nat­u­ral lord of both jun­gle an­i­mals and black-skinned Africans; at the same time, the film em­braces the se­duc­tive “noble sav­age” fan­tasy of a new cen­tury-old West­ern pop myth that of­fers end­less, thorny av­enues for sex­ual, ra­cial, po­lit­i­cal and his­tor­i­cal anal­y­sis. Bartlett 10, Wolfchase Gal­le­ria Cinema 8. Mohenjo Daro (Not rated, 155 min.) A Hindi-lan­guage epic set in 2016 B.C. Hol­ly­wood 20 Cinema, Wolfchase Gal­le­ria Cinema 8. Nerve (PG-13, 96 min.) Emma Roberts and Dave Franco par­tic­i­pate in a mo­bile on­line game even more danger­ous than “Poke­mon Go.” Cine­planet 16, Col­lierville Towne 16, Hol­ly­wood 20 Cinema, Ma­jes­tic, Olive Branch Cinema, Stage Cinema. Nine Lives (PG, 87 min.) Self­cen­tered busi­ness exec Kevin Spacey learns to be a bet­ter fa­ther when he mag­i­cally is trans­ported into the body of the fam­ily cat. Col­lierville Towne 16, De­soto Cinema 16, Olive Branch Cinema, Par­adiso, Wolfchase Gal­le­ria Cinema 8. Pete’s Dragon (PG, 82 min.) An or­phaned boy (Oakes Be­g­ley) be­friends a dragon named El­liott in this live­ac­tion Dis­ney film. Robert Red­ford and Bryce Dal­las Howard co-star. Cine­planet 16 (in 3-D), Col­lierville Towne 16, Cor­dova Cinema, De­soto Cinema 16, For­est Hill 8, Hol­ly­wood 20 Cinema (in 3-D), Ma­jes­tic, Olive Branch Cinema, Palace Cinema, Par­adiso, Stage Cinema, Sum­mer Quar­tet Drive-in. Rus­tom (Not rated, 150 min.) A Hindi drama based on the true story of naval com­man­der K.M. Nana­vati, fo­cus of a no­to­ri­ous 1959 mur­der case. Wolfchase Gal­le­ria Cinema 8. Sausage Party (R, 83 min.) HHH Ex­is­ten­tial howl of de­spair meets stoner belly laugh in the lat­est pro­ject from writ­ing/pro­duc­ing part­ners Seth Ro­gen, Evan Gold­berg, Kyle Hunter and Ariel Shaf­fer, who fol­low the apoc­a­lypse an­tics of “This Is the End” with an­other clever if of­ten ju­ve­nile high-con­cept com­edy that re­duces its char­ac­ters to meat. That’s lit­er­ally so in the case of this very un-pixar, very R-rated com­puter-an­i­mated “party,” in which a sausage (voiced by Ro­gen) who yearns to be united with a comely bun (Kris­ten Wiig) dis­cov­ers that the “Great Be­yond” wait­ing out­side the gro­cery store is not the par­adise promised by food­stuff the­ol­ogy but a dead end, where he and his friends (a sap­phic taco voiced by Salma Hayek, a mis­shapen hot dog voiced by Michael Cera) will be peeled, chopped, sautéed and de­voured. Col­lierville Towne 16, Cor­dova Cinema, De­soto Cinema 16, For­est Hill 8, Hol­ly­wood 20 Cinema, Ma­jes­tic, Olive Branch Cinema, Palace Cinema, Par­adiso, Stage Cinema, Stu­dio on the Square, Sum­mer Quar­tet Drive-in. The Shal­lows (PG-13, 87 min.) HHH Un­pre­ten­tious and ef­fi­cient, this taut “B” film makes the best of its lim­ited re­sources and geog­ra­phy, milk­ing thrills and sus­pense from the sim­ple premise of a lone Amer­i­can surfer (Blake Lively) trapped on a small rock in an iso­lated Mex­i­can cove by a great white shark. Star Trek Be­yond (PG13, 122 min.) HHH The mul­ti­cul­tural esprit de corps that mo­ti­vated Justin Lin’s “Fast & Fu­ri­ous” movies proves a nat­u­ral fit for the can-do outer-space op­ti­mism of the late Gene Rod­den­berry’s long-run­ning science-fic­tion saga; the re­sult is the sum­mer’s most con­tra-trumpian block­buster, as swash­buck­ling Cap­tain Kirk (Chris Pine), Vul­can science of­fi­cer Spock (Zachary Quinto) and the other stal­warts of the star­ship En­ter­prise again demon­strate that team­work beats ego­driven strong­man ag­gres­sion. Cine­planet 16, Col­lierville Towne 16, Cor­dova Cinema, De­soto Cinema 16, Par­adiso, Stage Cinema. Sui­cide Squad (PG-13, 130 min.) HH As dark and danger­ous as the sales rack at Hot Topic (Jared Leto’s tat­ted-up, bling-bran­dish­ing Clown Prince of Crime is more Jug­galo than Joker), this brand-ex­tend­ing DC Comics ori­gin saga about a team of ruth­less, brutish and de­ranged su­pervil­lains re­cruited as pre-emp­tive pro­tec­tion against rogue “meta-hu­mans” stim­u­lates the rep­tile brain with shame­less ef­fi­ciency (Mar­got Rob­bie’s scene-steal­ing Har­ley Quinn cer­tainly knows how to rock the baby-doll tee and the shorter-than-a-grizz-girl’s shorts), but oth­er­wise in­duces cere­bral at­ro­phy. The premise is ir­ra­tional, the plot­ting is in­co­her­ent and the in­ces­sant, dis­tract­ing nee­dle drops are so ob­vi­ous or dumb­found­ing, they’re as painful as ac­tual nee­dles. Still, writer-di­rec­tor David Ayer (“Sab­o­tage,” “Fury”), whose foes in­cluded a rushed pro­duc­tion sched­ule and in­ter­fer­ing stu­dio ex­ecs, con­jures enough vivid im­agery to suggest that the ace as­sas­sin Dead­shot (Will Smith), the pryoki­netic gang­banger, El Di­ablo (Jay Her­nan­dez), and the im­mor­tal En­chantress (Cara Delev­ingne) would work well in their own ve­hi­cles, es­pe­cially if those films also show­case Vi­ola Davis as con­niv­ing gov­ern­ment in­tel­li­gence op­er­a­tive Amanda Waller, whose cold stare and char­coal pantsuits are more in­tim­i­dat­ing than Croc’s pointy teeth and scaly skin. Cine­planet 16, Col­lierville Towne 16, Cor­dova Cinema, De­soto Cinema 16, For­est Hill 8, Hol­ly­wood 20 Cinema (in 3-D), Ma­jes­tic, Olive Branch Cinema, Palace Cinema, Par­adiso, Stage Cinema, Stu­dio on the Square, Sum­mer Quar­tet Drive-in. X-men: Apoc­a­lypse (PG-13, 144 min.) HHH Set in 1983, the sixth Mar­vel Comics “X-men” movie (ex­clud­ing “Wolver­ine” and “Dead­pool” spinoffs) casts Os­car Isaac — buried be­neath rune-etched pros­thet­ics and Pharaonic “Starlight Ex­press” cos­tumery — as a res­ur­rected Ur-mu­tant who re­cruits Mag­neto (Michael Fass­ben­der) and three other su­per­pow­ered “horse­men of the apoc­a­lypse” in a plan to de­stroy and re­make the world. Bartlett 10.

“Trou­ble Man” screens dur­ing the “Soul Cinema” se­ries at the Stax Mu­seum of Amer­i­can Soul Mu­sic.




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