All Is By My Side

The Boxtrolls

Summer 2014 has come to a thudding close. These past four months have had their ups and downs, but overall this summer wasn’t as bad as the headlines are making it out to be. Despite a significant dip in attendance, there were all kinds of good movies. If you were disappointed by a film this summer, odds are that whatever film you saw next likely left you satisfied. Plus, even though there wasn’t a ton of originality this summer, at least there was variety. This fall is packed with both variety and originality. The remainder of the year should get any film fan excited since we’ll be seeing films from Paul Thomas Anderson, David Fincher, Christopher Nolan, Ridley Scott, Bennet Miller and other beloved storytellers. We’ll have reviews for some of those films as festival season rolls along, so keep an eye out. All of that kicks off this month. So let’s get started with the 10 must see movies this September.

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Meat Loaf and a member of the KISS Army in STAGE FRIGHT

Seems like just two months ago we were knee deep in Sundance coverage, but already we’ve moved on to the next big thing in film festival coverage. SXSW is the annual film/music/interactive extravaganza that draws film, music, and interactive(?) fans from all around the country to descend into Austin, TX for one hell of a good time. We here at FSR come for the movies (and the food and the friends), and this year our team is four strong and ready to rock. And by rock we mean sit in theater seats of varying levels of comfort, enjoy the culinary wonderland that is Austin’s food scene, and hang out with other like-minded characters. This year’s fest features a lot of titles we’re excited to devour with our eyes, but of the dozens of films we’ll be seeing this coming week we’ve narrowed down our top fourteen below. Neil Miller had to be talked out of putting The Raid 2 on here multiple times, Christopher Campbell moved outside his comfort zone to show interest in some narrative films, and Jack Giroux failed to realize that “anticipated” should really refer to movies he hasn’t seen yet. Keep reading to see which fourteen films we’re anticipating most at SXSW 2014.

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All Is By My Side

With the stunning schedule that TIFF just released comes a nice surprise in the form of Andre 3000 (aka Andre Benjamin) grooving as Jimi Hendrix in John Ridley’s All Is By My Side. The resemblance is sort of insane, but there’s still a looming question of whether Benjamin has the acting chops to dive as deep into the character as is necessary to pull out a meaningful biopic. Adding to that, Ridley is a strange beast who is relatively untested as a feature director. He also wrote All Is By My Side, as well as earning a screenplay credit on 12 Years a Slave (which is also playing at TIFF), but this marks only the second movie he’s directed beyond a middling drama from the late 90s. The film follows Hendrix before he earned his fame and icon status. It co-stars Ruth Negga, Imogen Poots, Hayley Atwell, and a guy who looks exactly like young Keith Richards playing Keith Richards. There’s no telling what stories the movie will tell, but the lack of anyone playing The Beatles in the cast list makes me worried that my favorite Hendrix story — that Paul McCartney and John Lennon saw Hendrix cover Sgt. Pepper’s at a small club a day after they released the album — will be left out. Even if it didn’t make the cut, here’s hoping for an excellent film about a towering musical figure.  

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Jimi Hendrix

There are a lot of things that writer/director John Ridley’s upcoming biopic of rock great Jimi Hendrix, All Is By My Side, has going for it. The most obvious asset being its star, André Benjamin, who has shown potential as an actor, has a ton of experience being a musician, and looks pretty much exactly like Jimi Hendrix once he’s all dressed up in costume and letting his afro roam free. There’s one huge stumbling block that has a lot of people questioning what the point of making this movie is at all though: the Hendrix estate didn’t sign off on letting them use any of the musician’s music in the film. How do you make a movie about Hendrix’s music career without showing him playing any of his music? Rolling Stone has the scoop. Apparently the biggest strategy Ridley and company are employing when it comes to getting around the issue of not being able to use any of Hendrix’s copyrights is that they’re going to focus on an isolated part of the musician’s career, the period where he was just emerging onto the scene in ’66 and ’67. Or, as producer Sean McKittrick puts it, “This is the story of Jimi being discovered as a backup musician and how he went to London and became Jimi Hendrix.” In McKittrick’s opinion, focusing on just the early part of Hendrix’s career is smarter than making a movie that covers his whole life, because, “That would be like making a movie […]

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