Impressions on Miles Ahead (a film by Don Cheadle)

Do not fear mistakes. There are none.” – Miles

What follows are my first impressions of the movie Miles Ahead. I watched it and immediately wrote this down. I usually write a review and post it here on my blog when I get a chance. But I didn’t do that this time. I wrote this.

Miles Ahead (Sony Pictures Classics)

Miles Ahead Poster

Directed by Don Cheadle

Written by Steven Baigleman, Don Cheadle, Stephen J. Rivele and Christopher Wilkinson

Starring Don Cheadle, Ewan McGregorEmayatzy CorinealdiLaKeith Lee Stanfield & Michael Stuhlbarg

Impressions.

From Jazz. To Fizz. To Junk. To Funk.

Don Cheadle in Miles Ahead

Like the man’s music it flowed through variations on a theme. Chopin. Chopin. Different eras in the life of a man. Interconnected. Interspersed. The work of a god. Pretty. Ugly. Inconsistent. Drugs and violence and mental illness. Cool and cruel and beauty’s bitch. Love’s fool. Forever love’s fool.

Miles Ahead Don Cheadle and Ewan McGregor

Music’s master and her slave and her master again. But what difference does it make? Really. Nasty. Like just all kinds of nasty. But GORGEOUS. Gorgeous and engorged. Like the throbbing musicianship on some of the best music ever made. By master craftsmen. With craftsmanship. And artistry.

Miles Ahead Miles

Early Spike Lee without the bullshit. Melvin Van Peebles without the n-word. Nigger Poetry mixed with prose and professionals like Don Cheadle and Ewan McGregor and film-making like Godard. Jean Luc fucking Godard. Like music on film. Sketches of Spain. Kind of Blue but also kind of red and black and pink and pink and flesh. And gorgeous.

Miles Ahead

You made a portrait of the man where all the ugly still shows. And it’s wonderful. It’s wonderful. But it’s hard to look at times. And he’s hard to hear. The hidden notes within the charts. And I could barely understand it all. Don’t play what’s there, play what’s not there.” All the elements that make up the dream and the life and the work of art. Dripping paint on the canvas like blood on the ropes.

Don Cheadle from Miles Ahead

A fighter who isn’t down for the count. He’s far from out. A punch in the face. A standing eight count. A cold splash. A warm breeze. A single note. A wake up call to those of us stuck in a rut. Reliving the past failures. And fearing the future. The parts that gradually make up the hole. From the whole.

Don Cheadle and Ewan McGregor in Miles Ahead

First a scratch. Then a screech. Now a scream. An impossible scream. A scream in A flat minor. A scream from the bottom of a deep dark. A scream from a place where beauty falls and fails and never screams again. A scream from a hole a thousand Miles wider than the horizon. A beautiful musical dancing scream from the movie screen.

Miles and Trane from Miles Ahead

“Sometimes you have to play a long time to be able to play like yourself.” – Miles

– Mel

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Spared or Spoiled Review: Ghostbusters

The rules are smiple. The good get spared. The bad get spoiled.

Ghostbusters (Columbia Pictures)

Ghostbusters

Directed by Paul Feig

Written by Katie Dippold & Paul Feig  Based on Ghostbusters by Ivan Reitman, Dan Aykroyd & Harold Ramis

Starring Melissa McCarthyKristen WiigKate McKinnonLeslie JonesCharles DanceMichael Kenneth Williams & Chris Hemsworth

The 2016 Ghostbusters reboot is a family fun time at the movies. Extremely funny. But it is nowhere near as good as the original. I think the main reason is the pacing. Paul Feig is no Judd Apatow. The jokes don’t come fast enough. There is too much time to catch your breath in between laughs. And Paul Feig is no Ivan Reitman. The action isn’t big enough. And there isn’t the grand city-wide spectacle of the original. But there are decent laughs, cool action and a number of surprise cameos of good guys and bad guys from the original film. The new cast is amazing. I’ve never been big fans of either McCarthy or Jones. Though both are very funny women, they’ve been known to take it a little too far. However Kate McKinnon is fantastic. Outrageously funny and very cool. And of course Kristen Wigg is amazing. She is so incredibly likable. Why is she not in everything? She’s like Drew Barrymore at her peak cuteness, if Drew Barrymore had comic timing, could do physical comedy and weren’t, well, Drew Barrymore (I like Drew. I don’t know why I said that). But you guys, Kristen Wigg should be in everything. She’s so fucking cute.

Kristen Wiig

Verdict: SPARED

And while you’re at it spare me from all the misogyny and sexism and awful comments and aggressive attacks from the petty little masculinity deprived angry little man boys who keep harassing famous women. You guys need to lose your internet privileges.

Slimed

Ghostbusters 2016 is far from perfect. I think one of the annoying things about the new Ghostbusters is that the screenwriters set up moments from the original movie and you can’t help it, if you watched the first one as many times as I have, you can’t help but hear the original dialogue in your head. And you almost hope that the new cast use some of the old words. It’s a strange phenomenon. And of course they do not, and it’s sort of a letdown. There’s one point in the movie where I wanted to shout in my best Bill Murray, “Dogs and cats living together! Mass hysteria!” But I didn’t.

Kate McKinnon

I also wanted the movie to be sillier than it was. The cast, all four of these women, are notoriously silly. I wanted more silly. This cast is like if John Belushi and Garrett Morris were in the original movie with Aykroyd, Murray, Ramis & Hudson. This is a murderer’s row of funny women. The movie made me laugh but it should have even more. It needed more ad-lib scenes. It needed more Apatow. But in my opinion, with the exception of Bill Murray, who is one of the funniest people to ever walk the Earth, these ladies are even more talented than the original cast. That’s right I said it.

Bill Murray

Still I wanted the movie to be a little more crowd-pleasing. Ivan Reitman is the master of the crowd-pleasing action. Like in the first movie where the city hates them and then loves them and the cheers. I wanted more hero shit. But the action in the new Ghostbusters is full of holes. And the city of New York should play a greater role and doesn’t. It’s like Paul Feig didn’t know my city at all. But I kind of liked seeing his people popping up in small roles throughout the movie. You can tell they had a lot of fun making this.

Ghostbusters Kristen Wiig

Because Ghostbusters is a lot of fun. The movie is very funny. I think I just wanted it to be more over-the-top. More ad-libs. More craziness. More of all four of the new cast members playing off each other. Because what there was of that was amazing. The best parts are when there are just riffing with each other. Very funny. Very cute. Very silly. I just wanted more. I wanted more of everything. It just wasn’t enough for me.

Ghostbusters Kate McKinnon

Ghostbusters is a good reboot of the series. I hope they make a sequel and this time they let the stars stretch their comedy muscles. I definitely want to see these girls again.

– Mel

Ghostbusters 2016

“I ain’t afraid of no ghost.”

Photos From Around The Block: Times Square Today

I went to Times Square last weekend. Mostly to see Mockingjay part 2 but also to get some pics of the square. I used to live in the neighborhood when I was in college. It was cool to be able to roll out of bed on New Year’s Eve and step right out into the world’s biggest party. This was back before the Disney take over or the high security after 9/11. This was back when you could still go to sex shows in the neighborhood and to seedy movie theaters that showed martial arts films and bootlegged versions of blockbusters days before release.

When I was in High School I used to work on Times Square in one of the bigger movie theaters, The Embassy. But that was even further back. Way back in the days of drug dealers, hustlers and prostitutes on every side street. I put up an old picture I took from those days a while back. Here it is again.

Embassy Times Square

Yes. I’m old. And Times Square had completely changed by the time I was in college and it’s changed even more today. I hadn’t been back to my old neighborhood in well over a decade. There are fewer cars and more people. More lights. More ads and more vendors. A ton more cops and a lot more theaters. Just a lot more of everything I think.

And oh boy has it changed.

To the pics…

Chrysler

The Chrysler Building in the distance.

The Chrysler is a big ass building. So that’s pretty far away. You can also see the time. It’s 4:25. The sun will be setting soon. I was hoping to get the full Times Square light show.

Reflection and Jets on a screen

Reflection and Jets on a screen

You can see the window cleaners. Another clock in the distance. It’s 5:05. And fighter jets flying by on a big screen. I remember when Times Square had just one screen.

NYPD of Ads

NYPD of Ads

Today there are at least a hundred screens all over the place. All moving ads and TV and News. It’s overwhelmingly active.

Buildings

Old Buildings

The old buildings are still there but surrounded and suffocated by new ones.

Reflected Ads

Reflected Ads

The new ones are slick and sleek and ugly and piled one on top of the other. Hotel after hotel after hotel. And having lived there I get it. But still, you can’t go home again.

Heads Up

Heads Up

In my day, the streets were filled with characters. And they still are. Hustling and bustling. (What the hell is bustling anyway? I know a hustler when I see one. But a bustler?)

Lyric

Lyric Theater

But the old theaters are still there and they’re still as beautiful as ever. Timeless.

Shubert Majestic

Shubert Majestic

I used to go see lots of plays and musicals and concerts. It’s all about how early you get in line and since I lived there I was often first in line.

Planet Hollywood

Planet Hollywood

Booth Schoenfeld

Booth Schoenfeld

They used to have half-priced tickets to fill the houses. They’d go on sale right before curtain but the line would be miles long well before. I doubt they even need to do that anymore. I think every show sells out every night. (I could be wrong)

The Big Screen Helicopter and Plane

Helicopter and Plane passing overhead

Deep Grey Sky

Deep Grey Sky

Times Square Construction

Times Square Construction

Crosswalk

At the Crosswalk

Crazy Ex-girlfriend

Crazy Ex-girlfriend Billboards

Times Square Today

Times Square Today

Friedman Barrymore

Friedman Barrymore at dusk

I haven’t seen a Broadway show in over 20 years. I barely get out to the movies these days. So the theater is just wishful thinking. Maybe one day.

Radio City Music Hall

Radio City Music Hall

My first movie was at Radio City Music Hall. Lawrence of Arabia on a giant screen. I was too young to know what was going on but it was still magical. Absolutely breathtaking.

Subway Station

Subway Radio City Fridays

The Lights of Times Square

The Lights of Times Square

It took me over an hour to walk the eight blocks through the massive crowd. But of course I kept stopping to take pictures. But since I’m a New Yorker, I knew to step out-of-the-way before I stopped. If only tourist knew to do the same.

I may feel nostalgic for the way it was but Times Square is still gorgeous. And it is truly a feast for each and every one of the senses.

And speaking of feasts…

Happy Thanksgiving,

– Mel

What’s Good? (Late Summer)

Hello again and welcome to this the fourth What’s Good? installment. A top ten list (without numbers) of things I’m enjoying or have enjoyed recently. In TV, Movies and life and junk. You get the picture. I wish I could do one of these every month but some months, I’m telling ya, ain’t much good. But that’s just my opinion. I don’t want to fight about it. My EmotionsIf you haven’t heard yet, I had a run-in with my local launder/dry cleaner dude and put my foot through two of the panels on his doors. He had me arrested and the whole thing has sent me into a depressive funk. I hadn’t had an incident in more than a decade and I was getting out more. Hitting the museums and stuff. I felt like I was improving. But he said something to me. I said something back and then he said something else and I did what I did. In the past I would’ve punched him. So maybe it should feel like progress. But police, court dates and the fact he’s right on the corner and I’m not allowed to walk that way anymore has sent me to self-pity city (population one). And it goes without saying that self-pity city is pretty shitty. (the reason it goes without saying is… well you try to say it)

StrangeloveAnyway, I don’t want to get you all down too. So I’m gonna talk about the good stuff

We got mostly TV this time around. And the Mets. The Mets are looking really good. And if all goes well I may even talk about Donald Trump. Everybody else in the world is.

To the list…

WHAT’S GOOD?

I’m glad you asked.

The Brink Poster

The Brink on HBO was really good. It was a half hour comedy about the U.S. and Pakistan almost starting world war three. I love Tim Robbins and this has Tim Robbins written all over it. His film Bob Roberts is one of my all time favorites.

Tim Robbins

The Brink stars Jack Black as a government official who gets caught up in an international incident. It’s zany and silly but the messages resonate in our modern society. The fragile state of international diplomacy in the digital world. Very funny and eerily possible. Except the real thing wouldn’t be as comical. Think Dr. Strangelove meets…well  Dr. Strangelove. The Brink is the modern-day Dr. Strangelove. And I loved every minute of it.

Strike Back: Legacy was pretty good. Strike Back is a show that airs on Cinemax in the US. In its fifth season it’s still exciting and they still don’t mind killing off any character at any time. One of the best things about the show is that the main characters get killed off all the time. Nobody is safe. Espionage and military action with the occasional sexiness thrown in for good measure. I mean, it is Cinemax.

Two men playing chess

Chess w/ Friends app is good because I live alone, so I usually play chess against the computer but I’m good, so I’ve burned a few CPU’s. You never realize how hard a good game of chess pushes a processor until you start smelling the smoke. So it’s good to play humans who don’t overheat. And I get beat on occasion which is good because as long as I play mistake free (huge caveat) I can beat or stalemate (usually stalemate) any chess program. But I’m no Carlsen Magnus. Plus I can’t play a speed game. That’s why I love this app. You’ve got six days to make your move before it forfeits for you. The one thing I don’t like about Chess w/ Friends, because I play 10 to 15 games at a time, is sometimes I get weaker opponents and it weakens my game then some novice beats me and gloats. I hate that. I usually beat them on the rematch then put ’em on ignore.

Netflix Originals are very good and get better with repeat viewings. Daredevil, Sense8, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, Orange is the New Black are four of my favorite TV shows. I watched Sense8 again and it was better the second time. Then I re-watched Daredevil and it was better for the second time as well. Netflix is making some good TV.

Catastrophe

Amazon Prime (not anywhere near Netflix level) has a few good shows and a couple of promising ones coming soon. Catastrophe is very funny and original. The soft insults between the two lead characters are so funny. And I can’t wait for The Man in The High Castle and the return of Mozart in the Jungle and Transparent. Plus, you know, free shipping and music and movies and stuff. And it goes well with my Kindle Fire.

Yoenis Cespedes and Juan Lagares in Colorado

New York Mets Trade Deadline Moves and storming into first place is good. I said a couple of months ago that all we needed was a right-hander with some power and they went out and got Yeonis Cespedes (somebody reads my blog) and since they got him they have gone from the worst offense in the league to the best offense in the league. A really good power hitter in the middle of the line-up makes everybody around them better because they all see more fastballs. They also picked up Juan Uribe, Kelly Johnson and called up Michael Conforto; a young player with some pop. They were five games behind before the trades and now the Mets are in first place and have an eight game lead. And then… David Wright, the captain, came back. Woo Hoo!

Daily Show with Jon Stewart Finale was very good. By the end, the Daily Show was a shadow of its former self. But the last episode was a trip down correspondent memory lane with a touching tribute from Stephen Colbert, a great last rant from Jon, and Bruce Springsteen sent the show off with a couple of songs. It was a nice finish for one of my all-time favorite talk shows.

humans-amc

Humans on AMC was creepy good. Here is an intriguing and interesting show but it kind of got bogged down in the second half of the season. I liked it though, and hope it comes back for a second season. It reminds me of that zombie show that I eventually had to give up on except swap robots for zombies. In The Flesh. AMC is doing fine work. They have several of my favorite shows including my absolute favorite, the amazing Halt & Catch Fire and the promising Fear (The Walking Dead) which wasn’t amazing but could get there if it can distant itself from the main show while still keeping its audience.

mr-robot-banner

Mr. Robot stayed good the entire way through. I know I mentioned this in my Early Summer What’s Good? but it needs a re-mentioning. Mr. Robot is fantastic. I read a bad review that said the thing they didn’t like was that they thought it would be impossible for them to keep up this level. That was a bad review. If “I don’t think they can stay this good for very long” is the worst thing you can say about a show, it’s got to be good. Truly amazing. With more than a few episodes in the first season that make you want to watch again from the beginning to see what you missed. They delayed the finale because it was disturbingly similar to something that happened here at a news station (more gun violence what else). But judging just by that, it will probably be disturbingly amazing.

And since I’m mentioning shows I talked about last time.

Halle Berry Extant

I need to apologize to Extant on CBS (also on Amazon Prime). The reboot in the second season is really working for me now. The whole robots versus aliens thing is awesome. The show is sort of about the extinction of the human race but you don’t know from which way it’s coming. There are aliens and there are robots and neither group likes humans very much. Extant can be light and fluffy and sometimes it takes itself too seriously but it’s actually pretty good. I really like the direction they’ve taken the story.

This is where I usually put up a new song that has me playing it on repeat. I’m waiting for Chris Cornell’s new one (also Puscifer) in September but what I can’t stop listening to right now is this shit right here. But it just came out a couple of days ago.

Dr. Dre – Compton (A Soundtrack)

Compton A Soundtrack

There is so much good on this soundtrack. Anderson .Paak. I can’t even begin to… Anderson .Paak. Kendrick Lamar is all over it. Anderson .Paak As well as all the usual suspects. Snoop, Eminem, Cube. Anderson .Paak

But honestly, the album serves as Anderson .Paak’s coming out party. Anderson is a drummer from Cali that raps and sings and makes hella weird videos. I love the guy. This is something he did with Knxwledge that is nasty as all hell called Suede…

My boy is fittin’ ta blow up.

And now… for everything there is a dark side.

WHAT’S NOT so GOOD?

Or 5 things that really disappointed me.

Let’s get right into the suck…

harvey_birdman

My Day in Court… sucked. even though they let me go home. They made me wait all day to find out if I signed in for a community service job from 23 years ago. TWENTY THREE YEARS!! It made my stomach ache. I brought money with me thinking I would just pay my fine and get on with my life but they wanted to first find out how much the door panels cost before they figured out what my fine would be or if I had to do jail time. And after making me wait a month and a half in anxiety and paranoia, they tell me I have to wait another month and a half while they get their shit together and find out what the damage is. Meanwhile I’m going through all the scenarios by which I end up in prison and I lose my apartment and all of my stuff gets ransacked by whoever puts it in storage. And they’re making me come back for more humiliation. Because the ADA just has to point out that the argument was about my underwear while stifling a giggle. She’s quite literally a child.

Airing my Dirty Laundry

On a related note… After my run in with Mr. Huang, my local launder, I haven’t left the house at all and that sucks. I’m back to being afraid to interact with people and I feel like everybody in the neighborhood thinks I shit my pants. It wasn’t feces. It was blood. And the fact that I have to explain that to anyone causes me pain. (I know I just posted it here but at this point it’s part of the public record) It was black underwear and it was dried blood. And what really annoyed me is that he had to discuss it with the whole laundry.

“Your honor, there’s a reason ‘to air ones dirty laundry’ is synonymous with indiscretion. It is the very definition of indiscretion. Hasn’t he been humiliated enough? Your honor, I move that all charges be dropped and my client be allowed to leave the courtroom with what’s left of his dignity.” (thunderous applause)

This Man Is A Fool

Donald Trump as a legitimate candidate for president of the United States, surprisingly, doesn’t suck. This is what the Republican party has become. This is what the election of Barack Obama has done to them. 30 million Donald Trumps without a clue. And they can’t deny it. He shares all of their traits. Anger, Racism, a weak grasp of reality, an entitled attitude based on skin color alone, the lies and the Insults about the government, the rampant misogyny… the list goes on. But I’m enjoying this. Truly I am. It serves as a last chance for the few sane Republicans to abandon their party and their hateful ideology. When you see yourself bigger than life, this giant ugly version of yourself, it should serve as a wake-up call. The party of lies and hate has found their mascot. But what really sucks is how it makes us look to the world. We were just getting over the image George Bush created. Now we’re not just stupid, we’re angry racists as well.

Wet Hot American Netflix

Wet Hot American Summer: First Day of Camp on Netflix was not so good. I think I just expected more. I’m not saying there wasn’t some funny moments but the entire thing played like a series of cameos. It was nice seeing Janeanne Garofalo on my screen again. (I had the biggest crush on her back in the day) but I wasn’t amused by this star-studded prequel to the cult classic about counselors at a summer camp. I wanted more. Even though the entire series taking place in one day is pretty fucking funny.

Hannibal

Hannibal finally returned to form after going way off course with its European excursion. But it’s too late to save the series. Not good Hannibal. You should have never ended last season with total carnage and then basically took it all back. Like saying, we apologize. No one died. I loved the second season. I just hated the way it ended and coming back like nothing happened made me hate it all the more.

Coming Soon to What’s Good:

Minority Report

New Fall Show Leaked Pilots are good. And these are the ones I liked: The best of them was Minority Report which looked cool but had a lot of effects and we all know those shows never last on the major networks. But I also liked Lucifer which looked good because of the title character being unbelievably awesome and sexy. And there was Supergirl which looked super cute and fun even though the pilot needed work. But what I’m also looking forward to is the return of my doctor. That’s right I called him MY doctor. Peter Capaldi is my favorite doctor on Doctor Who. And one day, if I ever get out of this funk, I will do a post about why Peter is my favorite doctor. It will be amazing.

Coming Soon to What’s NOT so Good:

Chance_go_to_jail

But seriously I wish I could get out of this Funk. In the old days I would just buy some Cocaine and that would do it (I wouldn’t even know who to ask… and I don’t want to know). Coffee just doesn’t work on it. It’s a coffee proof funk. Alcohol doesn’t make it go away, it just makes it darker and more creative. Which is fine temporarily, I guess. Hopefully the day after I find out my punishment I’ll be back to normal… for me. And my new court date isn’t helping. So if there’s no Jail Time, I’ll see you guys in September.

Speaking of funky… and so as not to leave you with a bad taste in your mouth. I will leave you with this great song from my boy Anderson .Paak (the dot goes there). This song is about every relationship I ever had when I was on drugs. It’s called Drugs. Enjoy.

Nice. But the video is weird right?

Later Gators,

– Mel

Photos from Around the Block: Ant-Man Friday

I went to see Ant-Man on Friday. Took some pictures before the movie. Took some pics after the movie. I’ve been up to Lincoln Square a lot and have taken more than a few pictures in that area, so this time I concentrated more on people. I took a lot more photos of people on the street and the reflections of buildings off of other buildings. So, once again I picked the twenty best ones and I’ll post them here. I really like these. Especially the late afternoon reflections and the people.

I'm Ant-Man

I’m Ant-Man

Plus Ant-Man was a good movie. So that usually means, when the movie is good, I get better pictures. Good movies make me happy.

To the pics…

This lady here is checking out the pics on my blog.

This lady here is checking out the pics on my blog. She clicked LIKE and so should you.

The many layers of a New York Subway Station

The many layers of a New York Subway Station

Hat Lady was a good pic because I couldn't see her face and her dog was checking me out.

“Are you checking out my owner’s hat?” Hat Lady was a good pic because I couldn’t see her face and her dog was checking me out.

The Fountain at Lincoln Center in Repose

The Fountain at Lincoln Center in Repose

"Stop in the name of love..."

“Stop in the name of love…”

The  Fountain at Lincoln Center Explodes

The Fountain at Lincoln Center Explodes

Fruit Vendor

Fruit Vendor and an Old Asian Couple

I think I'm going to do a whole book of just the reflections of buildings off of other buildings.

I think I’m going to do a whole book of just the reflections of buildings off of other buildings.

A guy on a ladder

A guy on a ladder

A Bird on a head is worth  three in that bush... nevermind.

A bird on the head is worth three in that bush… never mind.

Box Office (I don't know why I like this picture so much)

Box Office (I don’t know why I like this picture so much. There’s really not much going on)

Ladies...

Ladies… They look cold. It’s 27 degrees out… Give them your jacket.

A building reflection with a refracted rainbow.

A building reflection with a refracted rainbow.

On The Chow... New York style.

On The Chow… Outdoors… New York style.

Gum Balls

Gum Balls in Seven Colors (but just one flavor)

Sometimes you can't see the fountain through the trees.

Sometimes you can’t see the fountain through the trees. (that guy knows what I’m talking about)

Columbus Circle Globe from underneath

Columbus Circle Globe from underneath

Focus Pull

Focus Pull

A reflected building

A reflected building distorted and fractured.

The Plane Above The Building

A Plane, High Above The City, Going North… that’s my ride.

And that’s all the pics I got.

Until next time,

– Mel