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The Making of Motown, the Making of Hitsville

Motown Records was the soul of a city, the rhythm of a nation

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Few cities are as American as Detroit, be it for their rich automotive history or for their unique place in America’s music lore. There are few record labels as enshrined in American history and culture as Motown Records, the famed Detroit soul label famous for releasing a string of Top 10 hits by The Jackson 5, Stevie Wonder, The Supremes, The Four Tops, and Marvin Gaye through the 60s. Founded by Berry Gordy, Motown is more than just the incredible records they released in the 60s, it was the immense cultural impact the label had on America.

Famed songwriter Smokey Robinson, who was the founder and frontman of Motown artists The Miracles, once said of the label’s impact;

“Into the 1960s, I was still not of a frame of mind that we were not only making music, we were making history. But I did recognize the impact because acts were going all over the world at that time. I recognized the bridges that we crossed, the racial problems and the barriers that we broke down with music. I recognized that because I lived it. I would come to the South in the early days of Motown and the audiences would be segregated. Then they started to get the Motown music and we would go back and the audiences were integrated and the kids were dancing together and holding hands.”

A new documentary detailing the history and legacy of Motown Records is being released on Showtime titled Hitsville: The Making of Motown. Featuring a host of historical footage as well as interviews with label founder Berry Gordy, Jamie Foxx, John Legend, Smokey Robinson and more, the documentary will tell the story of the label, its formation, and its continued impact and influence on American music and culture. Directed by Benjamin Turner and Gabe Turner (The Class of 92), the documentary will air August 24th on Showtime.

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Anarchy in the desert in Desolation Center trailer

An old kind of lawlessness in the desert

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Long before music in the desert meant Instagram models, hipsters, and shitty pop music, it was about something more transgressive. During Reagan America, music was thrust into action as a voice for frustration and disappointment at the state of the union and was the catalyst for many social movements within music. Desolation Center is a documentary detailing part of that 80s rebellion, telling the story of music and performance art that took place in the (at the time) lawless confines of the desert.

Featuring interviews with an array of musicians from punk, rock, alternative, and industrial music, Desolation Center hopes to shed light on a little known movement that paved the way for countless music festivals like Lollapalooza. Interviewees include Jane’s Addiction’s Perry Farrell, Sonic Youth’s Thurston Moore, and Minutemen’s Mike Watt, while rare live performance footage features the likes of Meat Puppets, Red Kross, Einstürzende Neubauten, and Sonic Youth.

The documentary was written and directed by Stuart Swezey and has been hitting the festival circuit this year. Desolation Center will open in US cinemas September 13th.

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Answering the call of duty in 1917 trailer

There is only one way this war ends

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What is it about the Great War that continues to draw our interest? Director Sam Mendes’ (American Beauty, Skyfall) latest, titled 1917, continues Hollywood’s fascination with the “war to end all wars”, and the harrowing first trailer has made its debut.

The film takes place over the course of one day and tells the story of soldiers tasked with sending a message to forces on a doomed mission. The crux is that one of the soldier’s brother is amongst those seemingly on the suicide mission (sounds a little Saving Private Ryan no?);

“At the height of the First World War, two young British soldiers, Schofield (George MacKay) and Blake (Dean-Charles Chapman) are given a seemingly impossible mission. In a race against time, they must cross enemy territory and deliver a message that will stop a deadly attack on hundreds of soldiers—Blake’s own brother among them.”

Directed by Mendes, the film is based off a screenplay he co-wrote with Krysty Wilson-Cairns (Penny Dreadful). 1917 is set for limited release December 20th before it is set to open wide January 10th, 2020. The film co-stars Benedict Cumberbatch, Mark Strong, Colin Firth, and Richard Madden.

Rumors abound that the film may be one long continuous take, but regardless, the trailer makes for an exhilarating reveal of what should be one of the most interesting war films in recent times.

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