Click to Skip Ad
Closing in...
5 Things You Didn't Know About Lars von Trier, Who's Going Back to Work 5 Things You Didn't Know About Lars von Trier, Who's Going Back to Work Digging Into the Cannes Lineup: More Vet Auteurs and Women, No Netflix Digging Into the Cannes Lineup: More Vet Auteurs and Women, No Netflix Ryan Gosling in Talks for 'Blade Runner' Sequel, Damien Chazelle's 'La La Land' Ryan Gosling in Talks for 'Blade Runner' Sequel, Damien Chazelle's 'La La Land' You Can Now Read Over 200,000 Leaked Sony Emails and Documents You Can Now Read Over 200,000 Leaked Sony Emails and Documents Watch: The New 'Star Wars: The Force Awakens' Trailer Has Landed Watch: The New 'Star Wars: The Force Awakens' Trailer Has Landed Watch: This Exclusive Tribeca Trailer Promises a Vérité Southern Gothic in Malick Vein Watch: This Exclusive Tribeca Trailer Promises a Vérité Southern Gothic in Malick Vein 7 Things to Learn from 'Mad Men' Creator Matthew Weiner About Compelling Storytelling (EXCLUSIVE VIDEO) 7 Things to Learn from 'Mad Men' Creator Matthew Weiner About Compelling Storytelling (EXCLUSIVE VIDEO) 'Queen of Earth,' Starring a Gloriously Unhinged Elisabeth Moss, Goes to IFC 'Queen of Earth,' Starring a Gloriously Unhinged Elisabeth Moss, Goes to IFC Cary Fukunaga Takes Over Long-Stalled 'The Alienist' as TV Series Cary Fukunaga Takes Over Long-Stalled 'The Alienist' as TV Series Why the Istanbul Film Festival Cancelled Its 2015 Competition Why the Istanbul Film Festival Cancelled Its 2015 Competition MTV Movie Awards 2015: The Highs, the Lows and the Winners List (Videos) MTV Movie Awards 2015: The Highs, the Lows and the Winners List (Videos) Arthouse Audit: 'Ex Machina' Leads Four Big Openers, Kristen Stewart Opens 'Clouds of Sils Maria' Arthouse Audit: 'Ex Machina' Leads Four Big Openers, Kristen Stewart Opens 'Clouds of Sils Maria' From 'Boyhood' to 'Boy Next Door,' the 2015 MTV Movie Awards Noms Are All Over the Map From 'Boyhood' to 'Boy Next Door,' the 2015 MTV Movie Awards Noms Are All Over the Map 25 Years Ago I Wrote: "Hollywood's Female Stars An Endangered Species" 25 Years Ago I Wrote: "Hollywood's Female Stars An Endangered Species" The New Ladder: Anatomy of Indie Women's Picture 'Farah Goes Bang' The New Ladder: Anatomy of Indie Women's Picture 'Farah Goes Bang' Here's the First Image of Emma Stone and Joaquin Phoenix in Woody Allen's 'Irrational Man' Here's the First Image of Emma Stone and Joaquin Phoenix in Woody Allen's 'Irrational Man' Reese Witherspoon Nabs 'Luckiest Girl Alive' with Lionsgate, with "a wily, intelligent, complex narrator" Reese Witherspoon Nabs 'Luckiest Girl Alive' with Lionsgate, with "a wily, intelligent, complex narrator" Kristen Stewart Explains How She Held Her Own with Juliette Binoche in 'Sils Maria'--and Won a Cesar Kristen Stewart Explains How She Held Her Own with Juliette Binoche in 'Sils Maria'--and Won a Cesar Scientists Choose the 10 Best Sci-Fi Movies Ever Scientists Choose the 10 Best Sci-Fi Movies Ever Ryan Gosling Reveals How and Why He Shot 'Lost River' Ryan Gosling Reveals How and Why He Shot 'Lost River'

Don't Miss Feminist Music Doc '20 Feet from Stardom'

Thompson on Hollywood By Meredith Brody | Thompson on Hollywood June 7, 2013 at 4:29PM

The irresistible, affecting, crowd-pleasing "20 Feet from Stardom," about largely anonymous and prodigiously talented backup singers, premiered at Sundance in January, where it was nominated for both the Grand Jury Prize in documentary and the editing award, and was acquired by Weinstein Co. boutique label RADiUS out of the fest. The film hits theaters June 14. (Clips below.)
2
"Twenty Feet From Stardom"
"Twenty Feet From Stardom"

The irresistible, affecting, crowd-pleasing "20 Feet from Stardom," about largely anonymous and prodigiously talented backup singers, premiered at Sundance in January, where it was nominated for both the Grand Jury Prize in documentary and the editing award, and was acquired by Weinstein Co. boutique label RADiUS out of the fest. The film hits theaters June 14. (Clips below.)

I caught the film opening night at the first ever Louisiana International Film Festival. "20 Feet from Stardom" features Merry Clayton, Darlene Love, Judith Hill, Lisa Fischer, Tata Vega, and Claudia Linnear, all of whom aspired to solo careers and released albums, but somehow never achieved the kind of stardom of the singers they sang backup to, including Mick Jagger, Bruce Springsteen, Bette Midler, who also appear, singing the praises (pun intended) of their lesser-known but equally gifted colleagues. It's moving both in its story-telling as well as the astonishing performances, shown in both vintage footage and scenes shot especially for the film.

Singer Judith Hill, who sang with Michael Jackson, has been pushing her solo career and working the talk show circuit (she's on Jay Leno Friday night June 7), see clip below.

Over a plate of charcuterie and drinks at New Orleans' Cochon Butcher, director Morgan Neville told me that his first film was 1995's "Shotgun Freeway: Drives through Lost L.A." Though Neville's impressive filmography includes movies on subjects including John Steinbeck and Los Angeles' modern art scene, he's most known for his many music films, including ones on the Brill Building, Leiber & Stoller, and Burt Bacharach, many produced through his Los Angeles-based  company Tremolo Productions.

After the movie, Clayton (famed for her collaboration with Mick Jagger on the iconic "Gimme Shelter") gave thanks to the late Gil Friesen, famed music executive who produced "20 Feet from Stardom" and died suddenly at the age of 75 a month before its premiere. She then sang "a song written and given to me by Leon Russell," "A Song for You," to a recorded backing track, and followed that with a moving a cappella performance of "You Are So Beautiful" by Joe Cocker, for which she brought her sister onstage to sing alongside her, dedicated to Alan Abrahams.

The film also played the San Francisco Film Fest. 

 


This article is related to: Reviews, 20 Feet From Stardom, Reviews


E-Mail Updates