A little over a year ago I was in London. I went to the legendary jazz club Ronnie Scott’s. At one point during a jam session a young Russian man in a thick coat and scarf (despite the warm weather) ran up on stage, blew his alto like it was nobody’s business, then promptly disappeared despite calls for more. I knew that if I had a crew with me and access to that man’s life I’d have the winner at next year’s Sundance.

There’s something wonderfully cinematic about a musician’s life. If they are any good, they are usually half in our world and half in their own. Yet they are fluent in another language. Plus, unless they are playing the ukelele, they look really cool.

Here are eight of my favorite movies about musicians that aren’t as well-known as they should be. Once isn’t on the list. I’m assuming you saw that already. But if you saw the headline and were hoping to see a clip to that masterpiece, here’s the “When Your Mind’s Made Up” recording scene, which ranks alongside the final 45 minutes of Avengers as the most exhilarating piece of cinema from the last ten years. Read More »

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Trailers are an under-appreciated art form insofar that many times they’re seen as vehicles for showing footage, explaining films away, or showing their hand about what moviegoers can expect. Foreign, domestic, independent, big budget: I celebrate all levels of trailers and hopefully this column will satisfactorily give you a baseline of what beta wave I’m operating on, because what better way to hone your skills as a thoughtful moviegoer than by deconstructing these little pieces of advertising? Some of the best authors will tell you that writing a short story is a lot harder than writing a long one, that you have to weigh every sentence. What better medium to see how this theory plays itself out beyond that than with movie trailers?

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