Category Archives: Music

IN THE HEIGHTS (2021): The Things I Liked…

In The Heights (2021), Warner Bros. Pictures
In The Heights (2021), Warner Bros. Pictures

In the Heights is a musical film I’m happy I watched, and that’s not something I say very often. Especially since what usually happens with me musicals is, I get annoyed with all the singing, how annoyingly simplistic the lyrics are and I have to stop. 

Luckily, this time director Jon M. Chu and Lin Manuel Miranda, the man in charge of creating the film’s music delivered a movie that has more good/great songs than not.

Impressive and energetic dance choreography, an engaging story and all the colourful summer costumes helped to keep me watching. In other words, ‘A sweet, moving, and joyous two-and-a-half hours’ is how I see In the Heights.

The experience of the movie is, I imagine, more heightened for Latin American audiences, since it’s focused on their multi-generational stories of life in the United States – specifically Washington Heights, New York. Still, all you need to appreciate Chu and Miranda’s movie is to be open to a good musical film; one that you’re very likely to enjoy. You may even catch yourself singing ‘In the heights…! Because the title song is catchy in a non-regrettable way. 

Happy Film Loving

G

IN THE HEIGHTS (2021): new Trailer Starring Anthony Ramos, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Dascha Polanco, Corey Hawkins…

In The Heights (2020), Anthony Ramos, Warner Bros. Pictures
In The Heights (2020), Anthony Ramos, Warner Bros. Pictures

Lin-Manuel Miranda, Corey Hawkins, Dascha Polanco, Anthony Ramos and director  Jon M. Chu’s musical, In the Heights finally has a full trailer.

Set in Washington Heights, New York; the story focuses on a bodega owner’s mixed feelings about closing his store to retire to the Dominican Republic.

The reason I intend to give this a chance, even though I don’t love musicals is the thought that maybe this one won’t be so bad. Additionally, I tried but couldn’t sit through more than ten minutes of Hamilton 2020 because it moved too fast. My thought is that maybe this Miranda production will be different. Maybe.

Susan Pourfar, Melissa Barrera, Daphne Rubin-Vega, Olga Merediz, Ariana Greenblatt, Stephanie Beatriz, Marc Anthony, Leslie Grace, Ken Holmes and Julia Harnett also star.

In The Heights Release Dates: June 18th, 2021 (US & UK)…

Happy Film Loving

G

MOXIE (2021): New Trailer From Amy Poehler, Josephine Langford, Josie Totah, Marcia Gay Harden, Ike Barinholtz…

Moxie (2021), Hadley Robinson, Alycia Pascual-Pena, Netflix
Moxie (2021), Hadley Robinson, Alycia Pascual-Pena, Netflix

Directed by Amy Poehler; starring Hadley Robinson, Josephine Langford, Marcia Gay Harden and Poehler herself, Moxie is a new comedy/drama about a teenager who publishes a zine that sparks a school-wide, coming-of-rage revolution.

Additional key cast includes Alycia Pascual-Pena, Clark Gregg, Patrick Schwarzenegger, Josie Totah and Ike Barinholtz.

At first I thought this was a new Netflix series, not that I’m mad it’s a movie; one directed by Poehler no less. I’m in for the Poehler experience and the clearly talented young cast, plus the pertinent subject matter.

Also, I rather like the word moxie, meaning energy, courage or determination. A word that makes me think of Captain America. He must have used it in one of the movies.

Sydney Park, Kevin Dorff, Anjelika Washington, Nico Hiraga, Ji-young Yoo, Lauren Tsai and Gracie Lawrence also star.

Moxie Release Dates: March 3rd, 2021 Netflix, (US & UK)…

Happy Film Loving

G

THE UNITED STATES VS. BILLIE HOLIDAY (2021): New Trailer From Andra Day, Trevante Rhodes, Garrett Hedlund, Natasha Lyonne…

The United States vs. Billie Holiday (2021), Andra Day, Hulu
The United States vs. Billie Holiday (2021), Andra Day, Hulu

Andra Day, Natasha Lyonne, Trevante Rhodes and Garrett Hedlund are the stars of director Lee Daniels’s latest music/biography/drama, The United States vs. Billie Holiday.

The story follows the American soul/jazz singer during her career as she’s targeted by the Federal Department of Narcotics with an undercover sting operation. An operation led by Federal Agent Jimmy Fletcher, a man with whom Holiday had a tumultuous affair.

I knew Holiday was targeted by the Federal Department of Narcotics but I didn’t know that a Federal Agent ex lover was the one behind it.

Even though I’m not very familiar with Holiday’s music, I’m into her boldness, style, strength and unique voice. Plus, it looks like a good performance by all, especially Day is coming our way.

Lastly, I can’t say that I don’t suddenly have an urge to start wearing flowers in my hair, because I do.

Tyler James Williams, Evan Ross, Rob Morgan, Tone Bell, Da’Vine Joy Randolph, Dana Gourrier, Melvin Gregg, Erik LaRay Harvey, Miss Lawrence and Tristan D. Lalla also star.

The United States vs. Billie Holiday Release Dates: February 26th, 2021 (US); March 12th, 2021 (UK), Internet…

Happy Film Loving

G

THE BEATLES – GET BACK (2021): Sneak Peak Of Peter Jackson Documentary About THE BEATLES…

The Beatles - Get Back (2021), Ringo Starr, Paul McCartney, Walt Disney Studios
The Beatles – Get Back (2021), Ringo Starr, Paul McCartney, Walt Disney Studios

The Beatles – Get Back is the latest documentary film from The Lord of the Rings director Peter Jackson.

Featuring footage of all four band members; John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Ringo Starr; The Beatles – Get Back presents in-studio footage of the band making music in early 1969 and more.

Additional key cast includes Yoko Ono, George Martin and Mal Evans.

Thanks to this well-edited ‘non-trailer,’ I can say that for the very first time, I’m genuinely interested in The Beatles and their music.

A change I can only really attribute to how the above video has opened the door to the bands’ personalities; plus the brotherhood and fun they seem to have had together while making music. I’ve always been a sucker for beautiful bromances/friendships.

I’m guessing that once I watch this film in August 2021, the answer to the question: ‘Can you name a single Beatles song?’ will no longer result in me pausing for a long time, only to then say: ‘Imagine.’ As most people know, Imagine is a John Lennon song, not a Beatles song.

What’s your relationship with The Beatles?

The Beatles – Get Back Release Dates: August 27th, 2021 (US), Disney+…

Happy Film Loving

G

MARIAH CAREY’S MAGICAL CHRISTMAS SPECIAL (2020): The Things I Liked…

Mariah Carey’s Magical Christmas Special (2020), Mariah Carey, Apple TV+
Mariah Carey’s Magical Christmas Special (2020), Mariah Carey, Apple TV+

Mariah Carey’s Magical Christmas Special has Christmas music, seasonal cheer and beautiful decorations. Yet, the main reason it left me disappointed is, I’d been mistakenly expecting a party. A get up and dance because the beat is irresistible kind of party. 

It may well be that I simply wasn’t fully paying attention to the trailer. Or, maybe I can blame the presence of Snoop Dogg and Jermaine Dupri (two of hip/hop’s greatest), for my confusion about the special. I’m sure that seeing Dupri and Snoop simply took me back to a time when they ruled the charts with well-produced party music. I digress.

Visually speaking, the production quality of Mariah Carey’s Magical Christmas Special is beautiful. I enjoyed the costumes and Christmas-rich surroundings. I even appreciated the one or two moments when Carey’s lesser-known but anecdotally ‘great sense of humour’ surfaced, but for a second.

Mariah Carey’s Magical Christmas Special (2020), Ariana Grande, Apple TV+
Mariah Carey’s Magical Christmas Special (2020), Ariana Grande, Apple TV+

Mariah Carey’s Magical Christmas Special is supposed to be a universally heartwarming story designed to bring us all together in 2020. Only, the story element is the ‘barely there’ kind. Meaning, don’t go expecting anything too sophisticated, because what you’ll get feels more like a bunch of Christmas themed music videos, many of which you’ll enjoy if you’re into Christmas and or Carey.

As for what’s in between the music, you’re unlikely to miss it if it weren’t there. That is except Tiffany Haddish’s spirited narration and Heidi Klum’s perfectly delivered comedy line: ‘Gone out? Out of the house? I don’t understand.’ 

Upon a second viewing of the special, I gladly skipped to my favourite four/five Christmas songs, which of course includes Carey’s super famous classic All I want for Christmas is you.

A few other things I enjoyed include Carey’s super glamorous appearance in the gold sequin dress and the unexpected animation based on themes that speak to how many of us may approach the festive season in 2020. Then there’s the performance that included Ariana Grande and Jennifer Hudson. It would have been great if they performed in more than one song. But, I’ve decided to stop fantasising about what Mariah Carey’s Magical Christmas Special could have been and instead keep on skipping to my favourite moments within it. 

Give directors Roman Coppola and Hamish Hamilton’s special a chance if you’re curious. Also do so if you’re a Carey fan, enjoy Christmassy surroundings/classic Christmas songs you can sing along to. You may just love it even though I didn’t completely.

Happy Film Loving 

G

MARIAH CAREY’S MAGICAL CHRISTMAS SPECIAL (2020): New Trailer Starring Mariah Carey, Jennifer Hudson, Snoop Dogg, Tiffany Haddish, Ariana Grande…

Mariah Carey's Magical Christmas Special (2020), Mariah Carey, Apple TV+
Mariah Carey’s Magical Christmas Special (2020), Mariah Carey, Apple TV+

Read my spoiler-free movie review of  Mariah Carey’s Magical Christmas Special (2020).


Mariah Carey’s Magical Christmas Special is a Holiday special that promises music, dancing and animation. All of which is driven by a universally heartwarming story to bring us all together in 2020.

Directed by Roman Coppola and Hamish Hamilton; Mariah Carey’s Magical Christmas Special also stars, to name just a few, Jennifer Hudson, Snoop Dogg, Tiffany Haddish, Ariana Grande and Jermain Dupri.

I’ve personally been in the Christmas spirit for a while now, and this film right here is going to send me right over the edge. And I’m not mad about it.

As a Carey, Snoop, Haddish, Grande, Dupri and Hudson fan, I can’t wait to experience the seasonal spectacle, humour and oh, so beautiful voices.

Mariah Carey’s Magical Christmas Special Release Dates: December 4th, Apple TV+

Happy Film Loving

G

MA RAINEY’S BLACK BOTTOM (2020): New Trailer From Viola Davis, Chadwick Boseman, Colman Domingo, Glynn Turman…

Ma Rainey's Black Bottom (2020), Chadwick Boseman, Netflix
Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom (2020), Chadwick Boseman, Netflix

Produced by Denzel Washington; starring Viola Davis, Chadwick Boseman and based on a play by Pulitzer Prize winner August Wilson; Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom is a new drama/music film directed by George C. Wolfe.

Set in 1927 Chicago; tensions rise during a recording session between Ma Rainey (Davis), her ambitious horn player (Boseman) and the white management determined to control the uncontrollable ‘Mother of the Blues’.

The story telling talent involved here is fantastic and I’m excited to experience the full results of Davis’s transformation. Also, considering that this is the last movie the late Chadwick Boseman made, I’m sure this is going to be a bitter sweet viewing experience. It took me a while but finally, I’m ready to go on this journey with the characters as they fight for autonomy and their dreams.

Colman Domingo, Glynn Turman, Taylour Paige, Jonny Coyne, Michael Potts, Jeremy Shamos, Joshua Harto and Dusan Brown also star.

Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom Release Dates: December 18th, 2020 (US), Netflix…

Happy Film Loving

G