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American excellence and Top Gun theme return to Top Gun: Maverick

The return of old school American excellence and exceptionalism

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What is old is new again, and as the current trends would dictate, still much better. An ageless Tom Cruise returns to helm Top Gun: Maverick, the sequel to the 1986 classic. The long awaited sequel sees Cruise return as Pete “Maverick” Mitchell, 34 years after the original. Now a flight instructor, Maverick is tasked to train and teach the son of Nick “Goose” Bradshaw (played by Anthony Edwards in the original). Goose’s son is played by Miles Teller in the sequel, and rounds out a cast that features a Jennifer Connelly, Jon Hamm, Ed Harris, and a returning Val Kilmer.

The official blurb details the plot;

“Top Gun: Maverick takes place 34 years after the events of the original film and pits legendary Captain Peter “Maverick” Mitchell as the new flight instructor of Top Gun, in which he guides Bradley, Goose’s son, who seeks to become an aviator much as his father was.”

Top Gun: Maverick is directed by Joseph Kosinski (Tron: Legacy, Oblivion) and is being released by Paramount Pictures. It is set to hit cinemas June 26th, 2020.

What’s got me excited? The return of Maverick and Iceman, the return of old school American excellence and exceptionalism, the return of that Top Gun anthem (“Danger Zone” is nice and all, but that anthem…), and the return of fighter jets. Give us all the fighter jets. (After seeing the original, I remember visiting my nearest bookstore to find any book they had about fighter jets. I found one, it just had pictures and stats. But what more could a 7-year-old want?)

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Miles Davis and The Birth of the Cool

Can one distill cool into one documentary?

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If there is one thing that has been indisputable about the legacy of Miles Davis is that he was the personification of ‘cool’. And it seems like there was no decade where he was making music that he wasn’t ever cool. We once said about Miles Davis and his cool that “no matter how scrupulous your selection – one cannot distill cool into thirteen tracks, no matter how good“. Now the unenviable task of distilling that cool into a succinct document falls into the hands of Miles Davis: Birth of the Cool, a new documentary detailing the life, music, and legacy of Miles Davis.

Directed by Stanley Nelson Jr. (Freedom Riders, The Murder of Emmett Till), Miles Davis: Birth of the Cool premiered at this year’s Sundance Film Festival before hitting the festival circuit through the year. The film chronicles the rebellious nature of Miles Davis, detailing his desire to constantly break from the norm, with director Stanley Nelson saying;

“He was an extraordinary artist celebrated for his restless artistic aesthetic and his ceaseless innovation.  He changed the course of music five or six times.  By unpacking his upbringing, his methodology, his relationships, and his demons, we begin to understand the man who redefined the original American musical genre, jazz, and continues to influence generations of rock, funk, and hip-hop artists.”

Abramorama will screen the film today, August 23rd in New York with director Stanley Nelson taking part in a Q+A. Tickets for this screening, along with future screenings, can be found here.

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Bruce Springsteen gets cinematic with Western Stars

“Life’s mysteries remain and deepen, its answers unresolved”

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“We all have our broken pieces … nobody gets away unhurt. We’re always trying to find somebody whose broken pieces fit with our broken pieces and something whole emerges”

On the heels of the release of Bruce Springsteen’s nineteenth studio album Western Stars, Warner Bros Pictures has announced the release of the cinematic experience accompanying the album. The new film features Springsteen performing all 13 tracks from the new album, accompanied by a full orchestra in his 100-year-old barn. The film will also showcase old home footage as well as Springsteen’s life-earned ruminations we’ve seen through his career- brought to life recently with his stint on Broadway and on his Netflix special.

Warner Bros. exec Toby Emmerich has said about Western Stars and Springsteen;

“Bruce lives in the super rarified air of artists who have blazed new and important trails deep into their careers. With ‘Western Stars,’ Bruce is pivoting yet again, taking us with him on an emotional and introspective cinematic journey, looking back and looking ahead.”

Western Stars will premiere at this year’s Toronto International Film Festival, kicking off September 5th. The film was produced by Jon Landau, Barbara Carr, and George Travis with Springsteen executive producing it. Western Stars was co-directed by Springsteen and longtime collaborator Thom Zimny.

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