The Miles Davis we find in Miles Ahead, Don Cheadle's punchy, impressionistic take on the great jazz trumpeter and composer, is an ornery recluse. Camped out in his smoky New York den, he's "jazz's Howard Hughes." He hasn't performed in years. He's hobbled by chronic pain. He's high on drugs. He's low on funds. The genius behind Kind of Blue, behind Sketches of Spain, behind Bitches Brew - who knows what's happened to the guy?
As a service to ticket-buyers who find themselves in the dark (and empty?) theater watching the egregiously silly, generic espionage thriller Criminal, the filmmakers have taken the trouble to ID just about every character, their names and occupation typed in dossier-style font on the lower corner of the screen.
Born to Be Blue Ethan Hawke dives into the role of cool-cat jazzman Chet Baker in this half-tribute/half-speculative exploration of the great musician's life. Carmen Ejogo (Coretta Scott King in Selma) is terrific as an actress cast opposite Baker in a movie within the movie. Against her best instincts, she takes up in real life with the trumpet player, singer and junkie. R
Krisha A study in family dysfunction and the damage wrought by addiction, Trey Edward Shults' unnerving indie drama stars the filmmaker's aunt Krisha Fairchild in a performance that calls to mind Gena Rowlands at her nerve-rattling best. It's Thanksgiving, and the title character returns to the family fold after a long estrangement. Let the horror (and horror movie sense of dread) begin! R
Miscast and cratered with missed opportunity, I Saw the Light - a biopic of country-and-western legend Hank Williams - offers the feeblest kind of costume drama, where the costumes have more impact than the drama and where the period details serve only as distraction, reminding audiences that things looked different back then and not much else.
Yes, My Golden Days is a prequel, but it isn't necessary to know Arnaud Desplechin's My Sex Life . . . or How I Got Into an Argument, now 20 years old (and still great) to grasp what's going on as the director revisits his soul-searching protagonist, Paul Dédalus.
"What's Kryptonite?" the little kid in the backseat asks the two men in the front of the car, bearing down a Texas highway in the middle of the night. The boy, wearing goggles and wielding a flashlight to read his Superman comic, seems preternaturally calm. The men are bottled up with urgency. There are guns by their sides.