John was a housemate of mine in college. There were four of us, and about the only thing we had in common was that we were all USC film students. Different music always flowed from each bedroom, and the only music that John ever listened to was classical. Years later, when John was in the hospital dying of AIDS, all he wanted to listen to was Aretha. That is the image of him that I hold dear; a beatific smile on face as Aretha's heavenly voice touches his soul in his last hours.
And a soul-stirring performance is what Jennifer Hudson delivers in RESPECT, the new biopic based on Aretha's life and music. The movie "succeeds in doing exactly what is expected of it...it gives you a sense of Franklin as a historical figure...[and] mostly it gives you her music...and in the end, it is the music and your love for her that keeps you going and watching. With their hooks and oceans of feeling, Franklin's songs worked on you and worked you over. They entered our bodies and souls, our cultural and personal DNA, becoming part of the soundtrack for our lives." (Excerpted from Manohla Dagis's New York Times review). "Jennifer Hudson as Aretha is the whole deal." -Observer
Four movies are being added to our Film Library this week - NOT GONG QUIETLY, AIMEE & JAGUAR, MAIDENTRIP and BILL CUNNINGHAM NEW YORK. NOT GOING QUIETLY is a new release and a remarkable story. A rising star in progressive politics, Ady Barkan's life is upended when he is diagnosed with ALS. But Ady and a crew of activists ignite a once-in-a-generation political movement to empower people to confront their elected officials to demand healthcare justice. Through his journey Ady discovers that collective action and speaking truth to power offers hope for his family and millions of others. "A pure shot of inspiration." -RogerEbert