Miles Ahead

Miles Ahead

DVD - 2016
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In the midst of a dazzling and prolific career at the forefront of modern jazz innovation, Miles Davis disappears from public view for a period of five years in the late 1970s. Alone and holed up in his home, he is beset by chronic pain from a deteriorating hip, his musical voice stifled and numbed by drugs and medications, and his mind haunted my unsettling ghosts from the past.


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One of Don Cheadle's principal goals in making this movie, I think, is to introduce Millennials to Miles Davis' music. And in this I think he is successful. While criticisms of the film's historical accuracy might be on point, it is an entertaining picture. Ewan McGregor is good, and he's good with Cheadle. Mostly, though, this film is worth watching because it will make you want to go back and listen to the classic Columbia recordings from the late 1950s to the mid-1970s, which I did. I think if you can figure out what Miles Davis was up to from PORGY AND BESS and KIND OF BLUE (1959) through GET UP WITH IT (1974) , you can dissect the corpus of postwar American culture.

Sep 23, 2017

An odd, disturbing film; evidently Miles Davis is a standard black with little character and a penchant for wrongdoing. This is not what I call music. Pink Floyd is music!

Jul 03, 2017

Bizarre and terrible. A travesty.
A movie for people who don't know anything about Miles Davis.
They should love this movie if they liked Starsky and Hutch.
If you are familiar with Miles, if you've read his autobiography or any of the biographies, you'll hate it.
Very little fact, lots of fantastic fiction.
For some reason Don Cheadle learned trumpet in order to make this piece of crap. At least he had a good time making this.

If you already know a little bit about Miles Davis, this movie will make a lot more sense. Taken alone, it offers a look at a brief segment of his career. Not the most successful part of his career, but maybe the most interesting. At any rate, it is worth doing a bit more research on the man and his music if you want to really know Miles Davis.

Jun 23, 2017

This is a great movie about a man I knew nothing about, really. Don Cheadle did this movie very well, like art. It's a portrait of the music industry, of Don Cheadle and of course Miles Davis. Well done.

Apr 20, 2017

I understand and like Miles Davis better now that ive seen this movie. Good job Don Cheadle.

Apr 01, 2017

A film intuitive to the music.

Mar 19, 2017

Drugs and lies. Is that all?

SnoIsleLib_BrianH Mar 07, 2017

I took this one home to view with two thoughts in mind. One, to learn more about Miles Davis and his music. And two, hear a Grammy winning soundtrack recording. I'll keep looking for ways to learn more about Miles Davis and his music. This film gave me a glimpse into his character, I think. And I heard snippets of his music and saw moments of what he was like as a creative jazz (sorry Miles/Cheadles, it's jazz to me) genius. But it is really just a story based on Miles Davis' character. Nevertheless, I did enjoy the movie. It floats between drama/action/comedy as far as movie genres goes. The Cheadle/McGregor combo works for all three genres. The characters they play get involved in fist fights, shootouts, car chases, slapstick trading places behind locked doors and ultimate irony of chasing after what essentially turns out to be very little. The soundtrack does deserve the Grammy for being a very effective soundtrack to the movie with outstanding performances featured. It's one of those soundtracks best heard in conjunction with the movie.

Feb 28, 2017

"Sometimes you have to play a long time to be able to play like yourself."-Miles Davis
Given the importance of jazz in American music, there are a shamefully low amount of films about jazz. When a movie does feature jazz, it often treats it like a museum piece, such as in "La La Land," in which the white savior character (Ryan Gosling) pursues the "traditional" path and his peer (John Legend) corrupts it by adding contemporary influences. "Miles Ahead" also came out in 2016 and though it's about an actual jazz musician, it couldn't find much of an audience. It's a frustrating and flawed film, but I still wish it had done better, if only to introduce a larger audience to Miles Davis's music. His impact and influence transcended jazz and, really, anyone who cares about music should care about Davis. This is clearly a labor of love for Don Cheadle, who stars as Davis, but also directed, co-wrote, and produced. Cheadle alone is reason to see this, as he captures Davis's raspy growl, intimidating talent, and intense charisma. Cheadle took a different approach to the biopic, which is to be commended, but it ends up muddle. Hi picks up with Miles in the 70s, when he's quit performing in public and spent more time holed up in his house doing drugs then making music. It does flashback to earlier times, but the narrative is erratically constructed. Ewan MacGregor's journalist character is kinda pointless, as is the plot of Miles trying to get a tape of his music back. There's not enough music either, which is a pretty big problem, and I feel someone who came into this without knowing much of Davis would think of him more as a pistol packing, egocentric drug fiend than the groundbreaking musician that he was. Emayatzy Corinealdi plays Frances Taylor, his first wife, and Michael Stuhlbarg plays a sleazy record executive (Are there any other kind?). If you have any interest in Davis, you should watch this, but then pick up his records and his 1989 autobiography. He sure did like the word "motherf***er."

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