Rocky’s Review
Miles & Give Me Liberty

We've got a great line-up of movies for you starting Friday, and a special perk for Rose Theatre Members*.       The summer of great music documentaries continues this Friday with MILES DAVIS: BIRTH OF THE COOL. From director Stanley Nelson: "Miles was a man apart - in life, in love, in music - and there has never been a major documentary about this man who never looked back, rarely apologized, and changed everything we thought we knew about jazz, about music. Miles was ever-evolving, and it was up to the rest of the world to catch up.In unpacking the mythology that surrounds him - using his own words - I think we'll be presenting the definitive, nuanced account of Miles Davis, the man behind the legend." 

     *If you're a Rose Theatre Member coming to see MILES DAVIS: BIRTH OF THE COOL, present your membership card and say the secret password to the person at the concession - "Sketches of Spain" - and your Finnriver cider will be $3 instead of $5. 

     Kirill Makhanovsky is a Russian immigrant whose family landed in Milwaukee after the collapse of the Soviet Union. One of his jobs was driving a medical transport for people with disabilities. GIVE ME LIBERTY, his second feature, is a deadpan comedy that evolves into a romance. Working close to home, the story is about a guy who drives a medical transport in Milwaukee for people with disabilities. With its contrasting moods, it pushes and pulls you, rocking you back and forth like one of the passengers, creating an agreeable uncertainty. You're never sure where its headed as it careens all over the place. That scarcely matters, as Makhanovsky settles on a budding relationship within the van. "It's moving and sincere, suffused with tenderness and marked by a quiet that suggests that each has found a safe harbor in the other. That may sound corny; it's not - it's irresistible." -Manohla Dargis, The New York Times

     "A glorious comedy of chaos, solidarity and unsung heroism." -The Hollywood Reporter. "The debut of a fresh vision of the all-American crowd-pleaser." -RogerEbert.com

     When I discovered PAT STEIR: ARTIST, I wrote a rather effusive letter to the director, Veronica Gonzalez Pena, asking for permission to play it as part of our Community Arts Film Series. To my surprise, she promptly forwarded my letter to Pat Steir, and Veronica wrote the following to me. "It is truly an intimate documentary, and Pat gave so willingly of herself. We early on decided that we wanted to make something different, and so I structured the film like a first-person novel, with Pat slowly revealing herself throughout; its unique, and different, as I said, and it is very rewarding when someone appreciates the artistry of it." PAT STEIR: ARTIST plays Saturday and Sunday at 1:45.

     SEA OF SHADOWS plays like a Hollywood thriller. This National Geographic documentary - executive produced by Leonardo DiCaprio - follows a team of dedicated scientists, high-tech conservationists, investigative journalists, and courageous undercover agents as they put their lives on the line to save the last remaining vaquitas and bring the international crime syndicate to justice. "A heart-grabbing expose." -Variety. SEA OF SHADOWS plays Saturday and Sunday at 1:15.

     Just added to our line-up of classic films in the Starlight: Doris Day and Rock Hudson in PILLOW TALK (11/13), and WEST SIDE STORY (9/4). WEST SIDE STORY will have a second showing in the Rose on 9/7, but the show time won't be set until November.

     The 20th Port Townsend Film Festival takes place next weekend, and on 9/27 we'll be opening BRITTANY RUNS A MARATHON and THE BOWMAKERS. Be sure to check out the free member event on Saturday, September 28th.

--Rocky