The blues wouldn't be the same without B.B. King and he wouldn't be the same without the blues.
His stage name is even a nod to the genre he helped define (B.B. stands for blues boy) and the guitar virtuoso's well-known mug – straining and pursing, writhing and twisting with each echoing pluck and vibration – is a familiar sight to even the most casual music fan.
But Jon Brewer's excellent doc B.B. King: The Life of Riley, making its North American debut during the 2013 NXNE Film Festival, gives viewers a candid look at King's early life as an extremely poor child and lets us peek into the pain and struggles that would eventually give birth to his powerful songs.
We recently spoke with the director and music industry insider about his experiences making the man, the myth, the legend come alive in B.B. King: The Life of Riley.
The tender, sensual lesbian romance Blue is the Warmest Color: The Life of Adele won the hearts of the 66th Cannes Film Festival, taking its top honor, the Palme d'Or.
The jury, headed by Steven Spielberg, took the unusual move of awarding the Palme not just to Tunisian-born director Abdellatif Kechiche, but also to the film's two stars: Adele Exarchopoulos and Lea Seydoux (Midnight in Paris, Mission Impossible - Ghost Protocol). The three clutched each other at the Sunday ceremony as they accepted the award, one of cinema's greatest honors.
"This film is universal, as it's a love story, so it's not important if it's two women," said the 19-year-old Exarchopoulos. "If it can show everyone tolerance, than that's gratifying."
The idea of Michael Douglas playing Liberace might seem nearly as outrageous as Liberace himself.
Liberace, forever hailed as "Mr. Showmanship," was the excess-to-the-max pianist-personality whose onstage and offstage extravagance were legendary, and who wowed audiences in Las Vegas and worldwide to become the best-paid entertainer on the planet during his heyday from the 1950s to the 1970s.
He was the forerunner of flashy, gender-bender entertainers like Elton John, David Bowie, Madonna and Lady Gaga even as he kept a tight lid on his gay private life, which he feared could have ended his career had it come out. (His fans never seemed to get wise.)
The Cannes Film Festival is entering its final star-studded days. With the veritable who’s who of Hollywood and beyond invading the south of France for the eleven day festival, critics have been treated to a number of future awards contenders including Joel and Ethan Coen’s Inside Llewyn Davis, Roman Polanski’s Venus in Fur, The Bling Ring directed by Sofia Coppola, and Only God Forgives, the latest pairing of Ryan Gosling and Nicolas Winding Refn.
A few actors are stepping behind the camera at Cannes including Keanu Reeves and James Franco. Reeves is in town to shop his directorial debut, the martial arts-based Man of Tai Chi. Compared to Reeves, Franco is a seasoned veteran when it comes to directing with a number of short films, documentaries and features under his belt. He’s in town for his latest attempt, As I Lay Dying, an adaptation of the William Faulker novel.
Get the latest from the Cannes Film Festival after the jump!
Joel and Ethan Coen had almost given up on casting the lead for their film Inside Llewyn Davis. The part, a folk musician in early 1960s Greenwich Village, demanded the elusive combination of someone who could both carry a movie and perform the songs central to the film.
Then they met Oscar Isaac.
"It just didn't happen until he walked in the room," says Joel Coen. "There was a point at which we wondered if we'd written something that was essentially impossible to cast."
The Coens have long been known for their casting acumen, but they may have outdone even themselves with Isaac, a 33-year-old, Juilliard-trained actor with a few notable credits to his name but nothing on par with a major Coen brothers release. The film was greeted ecstatically at the Cannes Film Festival at its Sunday premiere, with Isaac hailed as the festival's breakout star and a possible Oscar nominee.
Before Fruitvale Station, Michael B. Jordan was glimpsed sporadically in supporting roles on TV shows like "The Wire" and "Friday Night Lights," and in films like Chronicle and Red Tails.
That changes emphatically with Fruitvale Station, a Sundance hit that premiered Thursday night at the Cannes Film Festival. In the film, he plays Oscar Grant, the 22-year-old victim of the infamous 2009 police shooting on the Oakland, California, transit system.
To humanize Grant, first-time filmmaker Ryan Coogler fashioned the movie around his last day: Jordan hardly leaves the frame.
Hollywood has invaded France - no, not like that - and with A-listers making their way to La Croisette for the 2013 Cannes Film Festival, there's been plenty of gossip and glamour, with Leo's The Great Gatsby providing the requisite glitter and Sofia Coppola's Emma Watson-led The Bling Ring shining bright like a diamond.
Many celebs are still commenting on the news of Angelina Jolie's preventative double mastectomy and Zach Braff's somewhat ill-received Kickstarter movie funding campaign with breakout stars and ones to watch starting to make themselves known as the fest gets underway.
Here now is a compilation of what's been Seen & Heard so far at the Cannes Film Festival.
It's the big Cannes question - what will catch Steven Spielberg's eye?
The king of Hollywood heads the jury that will decide who wins the Palme d'Or and other prizes at the French Riviera film fest, and artistic director Thierry Fremaux can't wait to find out what takes his fancy.
"We know (Spielberg) the director, but we don't know who he will be as a spectator," Fremaux said Tuesday.
"Take the two Japanese films" in competition. Will the director of Jaws, E.T. and Saving Private Ryan root for Takashi Miike's action-packed crime drama Shield of Straw or for Kore-Eda Hirokazu's intimate family story Like Father, Like Son.
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