Admit it, 2013 was terrible for music biopics (let’s not even think about the sinking ship that was CBGB). Good news is on the horizon now that N.W.A. ‘Straight Out of Compton’ finally has been given a release date for August 2015. That’s too far away for me, so while we wait for next year’s most anticipated biopic, here is a list of what music films you can catch this summer:
Release June 20
Director Clint Eastwood
Cast Christopher Walken, John Lloyd Young
The Lowdown Yes, it is that musical, but this Clint Eastwood directed film could give some much needed edginess to what could be tacky and boring Broadway fluff. Jersey Boys follows the same rise-and-fall (and rise again) of the New Jersey quartet the Four Seasons. The movie has been lucky enough to nab Broadway star John Lloyd Young, who won a Tony award for his portrayal of Frankie Valli in 2006. Young’s singing chops are as close to Valli as you could get without dragging the real thing in front of the camera. The clean-cut meets dark appeal should make this an impressive film about pop-geniuses the Four Seasons.
2. Get On Up
Release August 1
Director Tate Taylor
Cast Chadwick Boseman, Nelsan Ellis, Tika Sumpter
The Lowdown Chadwick Boseman has already proved his chops as an actor for biopics. He played famed American baseball player Jackie Robinson’s in last year’s 42 and absolutely nailed it by avoiding becoming a stereotype and giving a complex portrayal of a black athlete during a racially tense time in American history. The young actor should have no problem portraying the Godfather of Soul. Here’s hoping he knows how to groove half as well as James Brown could. If he can, it is guaranteed to be a memorable biopic. Brown’s life was incredibly fascinating and will be a pleasure to watch on screen.
3. All is By My Side
Release August 8
Director John Ridley
Cast Andre 3000, Hayley Atwell, Imogen Poots
The Lowdown Imagining Andre 3000 as an actor can be a bit of a stretch, but early footage and praise from the SXSW premier of the musician playing icon Jimi Hendrix makes us think otherwise. The film doesn’t document the guitarist’s most famous moments. Instead writer and director John Ridley (12 Years a Slave) gives the viewers a focus on the early years of Hendrix’s rise to fame in London during the mid-60s. The most worrying bit is that the family estate would not allow permission to the rights to any of his original music. No music in a film about the most memorable guitarist of all time? Worrying.