The Get Down trailer

Last month, HBO cancelled Terence Winter and Martin Scorsese’s Vinyl after already having renewed it for a second season. But if you’re mourning the loss of your window into the 1970s New York music scene, fear not — Baz Luhrmann‘s The Get Down is arriving in just a few weeks. Though to be fair, this 1970s New York-set music drama looks pretty damn different from that other 1970s New York-set music drama.

The Get Down unfolds at the dawn of punk, hip-hop, and disco, following the “young, scrappy, and hungry” types at the forefront of those movements. The cast is loaded with intriguing up-and-comers like Justice SmithHerizen GuardiolaShameik Moore, and Skylan Brooks, most of whom are trying to make it in music one way or another. Watch the first The Get Down trailer after the jump, but be warned it may make you really frustrated that you can’t watch the show right freakin’ now. Read More »

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The Get Down trailer

Rick Famuyiwa’s Dope had a lot going for it, but one of the very best things it did was introduce the world to Shameik Moore. The relative unknown immediately won us over with his charming, moving performance, and had us eager to find out just what he was going to do next.

As of today, we have our answer. Moore is part of the sprawling ensemble cast of Baz Luhrmann‘s new Netflix drama The Get Down, about the rise of hip-hop, punk, and disco in 1970s New York. Which, yes, sounds a lot like a certain other drama premiering on HBO next month — but the perspective couldn’t be more different, and in any case we live in an age where streaming and DVR allow us to watch as many ’70s music dramas as the industry is willing to churn out. The Get Down looks like a must-watch no matter what other shows exist out there. Watch The Get Down trailer after the jump.  Read More »

The Inevitable Defeat of Mister and Pete

There comes a moment in every person’s life when they realize that life just isn’t fair, and there’s fuck-all they can do about it but survive the best they can. Unfortunately, part of that injustice is that some folks are forced to learn that lesson much sooner than others.

Like the title characters of George Tillman Jr.‘s The Inevitable Defeat of Mister and Pete. Mister (Skylan Brooks) is a 13-year-old whose recent flunking of the eighth grade is the least of his worries. His mom (Jennifer Hudson) is a drug addict who gets arrested and taken away, and he’s left to take care of the 9-year-old Pete (Ethan Dizon), a neighbor kid in a similarly sad situation.

Desperate to avoid being put in foster care by child protective services, Mister and Pete struggle to survive on their own in Brooklyn, while working toward Mister’s goal of moving to Beverly Hills to land a TV role. Watch the first trailer after the jump.

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Produced by Grammy winner Alicia Keys and co-starring Oscar-winner Jennifer Hudson and American Idol Jordin Sparks, The Inevitable Defeat of Mister and Pete might sound like a kiddie movie. Quirky title, popular names, and two child leads make that assumption easy. But this one, written by Michael Starrbury and directed by George Tillman Jr. (Notorious, Faster), is anything but kids’ stuff.

While the film dramatizes the ultimate childhood wish fulfillment, spending a summer without parental supervision, it does so with brutal honesty in the harsh realities of modern Brooklyn. Mister (Skylan Brooks) and Pete (Ethan Dizon), two young boys whose mothers are both MIA drug addicts, decide that living on their own and scavenging for food, medicine and soap, is better than being brought to a boys home.

The Inevitable Defeat of Mister and Pete features two beautiful lead performances and solid supporting turns by Hudson, Sparks, Anthony Mackie, Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje and Jeffrey Wright. It is an emotionally effective, if not particularly resonant addition to the 2013 Sundance Film Festival. Read more after the jump.

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