Overdue Biopic Belatedly Pays Tribute to Jazz Pioneer

Buddy Bolden was born in New Orleans, where he took up the cornet at an early age. His unique approach to the instrument involved a novel form of improvisation while playing a combination of gospel, blues, and ragtime.

Long before the emergence of Louis Armstrong, Buddy was a popular bandleader credited with creating a new genre of music: jazz! Sadly, this genius has mostly been forgotten by history because no recordings or arrangements of his songs have survived.

However, thanks to legendary trumpeter Wynton Marsalis, in collaboration with writer/director Dan Pritzker, we now have Bolden, a brilliant biopic painting a poignant portrait of what Buddy’s life might have been like. Marsalis composed, arranged, and played on the soundtrack, relying on what scraps of his subject’s work he could unearth.

Similarly, Pritzker cobbled together a speculative storyline based on the few facts available about Bolden. What we do know is that his career ended in 1907, when he was committed to a mental institution, and would spend the last of his days in obscurity.

Bolden is basically a flashback flick unfolding from the surreal perspective of a patient struggling to make sense of his life. The film stars Garry Carr who delivers a riveting performance as a black man whose spirit has been broken by racism, and a host of other maladies flowing from that oppression.

Don’t miss this overdue tribute to a forgotten jazz pioneer!

Excellent (4 stars)

Rated R for sexuality, graphic nudity, profanity, ethnic slurs, brutal violence and drug use

Running time: 108 minutes

Production Companies: King Bolden LLC

Distributor: Abramorama

 

OPENING THIS WEEK

Kam’s Kapsules

Weekly Previews That Make Choosing a Film Fun

For movies opening May 10, 2019

 WIDE RELEASES

 The Hustle (PG-13 for profanity and crude sexuality) Unlikely partners in crime comedy ostensibly based on Bedtime Story (1964) and revolving around a low-brow (Rebel Wilson) and a high-class con artist (Anne Hathaway) who join forces to fleece a naive, young billionaire (Alex Sharp) of his fortune. With Tim Blake Nelson, Meena Rayann, and Ingrid Oliver.

Pokemon Detective Pikachu (PG for action, peril, rude and suggestive humor, and mature themes) Kid-friendly whodunit finds a wisecracking Pikachu (Ryan Reynolds) teaming with the 21-year-old son (Justice Smith) of his partner in order to solve the veteran detective’s mysterious disappearance. Voice cast includes Bill Nighy, Kathryn Newton, and Ken Watanabe. 

Poms (PG-13 for profanity and sexual references) Female empowerment comedy about a resident of a retirement community (Diane Keaton) who recruits a few fellow residents to form a cheer leading squad. Co-starring Pam Grier, Jacki Weaver, and Rhea Perlman.

Tolkien (PG-13 for war violence) Nicholas Hoult portrays J.R.R. Tolkien in this biopic chronicling the fellowship the legendary fantasy writer forged with prep school classmates during his formative years. With Lily Collins, Colm Meaney, Patrick Gibson, and Anthony Boyle.

INDEPENDENT & FOREIGN FILMS

All Is True (PG-13 for profanity, mature themes, and suggestive material) Kenneth Branagh directs and stars as the Bard of Avon in this biopic revisiting the last days in the life of William Shakespeare. Cast includes Judi Dench, Ian McKellen, and Jack Colgrave Hirst.

The Biggest Little Farm (PG for brief profanity and mature themes) Eco-documentary about a couple that decides to develop a sustainable farm on 200 acres in Ventura County after being evicted from their tiny L.A. apartment. 

Charlie Says (R for disturbing violence, graphic sexuality, frontal nudity, profanity, and drug use) Crime drama revisiting the infamous Manson family murders as seen through the eyes of the three female cult members (Hannah Murray, Sosie Bacon, and Marianne Rendon) who participated in the slaughter. With Grace Van Dien, Matt Smith, Chace Crawford, and Suki Waterhouse.

My Son (Unrated) Vigilante thriller revolving around an anguished father (Guillaume Canet) willing to take the law into his own hands upon learning from his estranged wife (Melanie Laurent) that their 7-year-old son (Lino Papa) has suddenly disappeared while on a camping trip. Supporting cast includes Antoine Hamel, Mohamed Brikat, and Marc Robert. (In French with subtitles)

The Professor and the Madman (Unrated) Literary biopic chronicling Professor James Murray’s (Mel Gibson) work on the first edition of the Oxford English Dictionary with the help of a patient (Sean Penn) from a criminal asylum who provided over 10,000 entries. With Eddie Marsan, Steve Coogan, and Natalie Dormer.

Serengeti Rules (Unrated) Climate change documentary following the pioneering work of five scientists whose decades-long study of the Amazon Rain Forest, the Serengeti Plains, the Arctic Ocean, and the Pacific Tide Pools has led to some surprising conclusions, offering hope for restoring the planet.

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