Hitmaking funk studio celebrated in rousing music doc ‘Muscle Shoals’
Musical heroes don’t come much more unsung than the so-called Muscle Shoals Swampers. A handful of young, white hometown boys, session musicians at the FAME recording studio in backwoods Muscle Shoals, Ala., they were responsible for laying down some of the funkiest R&B and soul tracks to come out of the 1960s and ‘70s, behind such stellar artists as Aretha Franklin, Percy Sledge and Wilson Pickett. Pretty much unknown to the public, they finally get the recognition they deserve in Muscle Shoals, Greg “Freddy” Camalier’s raucous musical documentary on the founding of FAME studio and the distinctive brand of funk produced there.
Gripping, intense, emotional ‘Gravity’ will put you in orbit
It’s the perfect set-up. A couple of astronauts on a routine mission outside their spacecraft for repairs suddenly find themselves adrift in space, tethered to each other, and no longer in contact with mission control. Where can they go? What can they possibly do?
Romantic, parental relationships at heart of engaging 'Enough Said'
In her last two films, writer-director Nicole Holofcener's sensibility was way off the mark. The characters in Holofcener's Friends With Money and Please Give were distinguished by their fuzzy motivations, unconvincing friendships, and often baffling behavior. But the filmmaker is back on track with Enough Said; her focus is sharper and the results far more rewarding in this wry, engaging, life-sized modern comedy about refreshingly real people. And it doesn't hurt that Holofcener had the wit to cast the late, beloved James Gandolfini in a rare romantic role.
Beatles secretary and fan-wrangler celebrated in irresistible 'Good Ol' Freda'
Talk about a dream job. Freda Kelly was just 17 when she landed a job as personal secretary to The Beatles in 1962. No one had any idea how big the band would become, and Liverpool homegirl Freda rode that colossal wave with them for the next 11 years. But unlike so many others with even the most tenuous claim to having known The Beatles back in the day, Freda never tried to cash in—no rounds of chat shows, no tell-all autobiography. Her unique story has remained untold—until now.
Art, life, past, present merge in meditative 'Museum Hours'
If you've ever been to the venerable Kunsthistorisches Museum in Vienna, you're in for a nostalgic treat with the film, Museum Hours. But you need not have ever been to Vienna to be drawn into the odd, languid spell cast by this Austrian-American co-production. Anyone who has ever haunted any Old World museum with a rich collection of Late Middle Ages and Renaissance paintings may find herself strangely beguiled by this meditation on art and life, past and present, and the many ways and places in which they intersect.