A trio of films is making news this week that all have a vocal theme of some sort — make at least one of these part of your summer movie-watching. (It will balance the blockbusters with something a little more relevant to the craft, with a nice little deduction to boot — It’s you’re a music pro, be sure to save your ticket stubs for tax time!)
Quartet, the BBC release that marks the directorial debut by Dustin Hoffman and stars the magnificent Maggie Smith and Billy Connolly, Michael Gambon and a bevy of retirement-age opera and stage performers, First released in December, this delightful singer-must-see is now available on DVD, Blu-Ray or streaming through Amazon (for Roku addicts like me). This film is a lovely tribute to abiding passion for music, the personalities behind the voices, and the hilarious, poignant and sometimes sad relationships that arise when artists collide. Get it on Blu-ray here.
Opening this weekend in limited release, Unfinished Song stars Terence Stamp, Vanessa Redgrave and Christopher Eccleston, and centers around a choir for seniors, led by the delightful Gemma Arterton. It’s at The Landmark, the luxurious and très hip theater at the western end of Westside Pavilion (just west of Westwood Blvd. — can it be more in West LA?). At this point, The Landmark has the exclusive engagement, and have arranged two Q&As with Stamp himself, both scheduled for Saturday night. Get details below.
Many of us have played second fiddle to celebrities at some point, and 20 Feet From Stardom chronicles the experience of the backup singer, in grand style. This documentary by filmmaker Morgan Neville features interviews with pop and rock greats, new and archival footage, and a story many will relate to and more will learn from. Q&A events available Friday to Sunday — see below.
Details from Landmark Theatres’ Film Club announcement appear below. Not a member of the Film Club yet? Sign up here.
Map & Directions to The Landmark
— 10850 W Pico Blvd., Los Angeles (Just W of Westwood Blvd.)
Stars & Filmmakers In Person!
UNFINISHED SONG, opening Friday, June 21 exclusively at The Landmark, is a funny and inspiring comedic drama about curmudgeonly pensioner Arthur (Terence Stamp), who is reluctantly inspired by his beloved wife Marion (Vanessa Redgrave) to join a highly unconventional local seniors choir. At odds with his son (Christopher Eccleston), it is left to the youthful and charming choir director (Gemma Arterton) to try and persuade Arthur that he can learn to embrace life. Arthur must confront the undercurrents of his own grumbling persona as he embarks on a hilarious, life-affirming journey of musical self-discovery. Actor Terence Stamp will appear in person at The Landmark on Saturday, June 22 for a Q&A after the 5:30pm show and to introduce the 8:10pm show.
Millions know their voices, but no one knows their names. The compelling new film 20 FEET FROM STARDOM, now playing exclusively at The Landmark, shines a spotlight on the untold true story of the backup singers behind some of the greatest musical legends of the 21st century. Triumphant and heartbreaking in equal measure, the film is both a tribute to the unsung voices who brought shape and style to popular music and a reflection on the conflicts, sacrifices and rewards of a career spent harmonizing with others. Along with rare archival footage and a peerless soundtrack, 20 FEET FROM STARDOM boasts intimate interviews with Bruce Springsteen, Stevie Wonder, Mick Jagger and Sting to name just a few. Director Morgan Neville will appear in person at The Landmark with performer Merry Clayton on Friday, June 21 for a Q&A after the 7:15pm show and Saturday, June 22 for a Q&A after the 7:15pm show. Merry Clayton (only) returns on Sunday, June 23 for a Q&A after the 5:00pm show. Director Neville has also written an exclusive letter to Film Club members about hearing new voices in his favorite old songs.