Tag Archives: Billy Dee Williams

Sidney J. Furie – Lady Sings the Blues [+ Commentary] (1972)

Lady Sings the Blues, like many enjoyable biopics, has little to do with presenting fact and everything to do with presenting the essence of a life. It has been both rightly and unfairly reviled by passionate fans of Holiday’s music as being highly fictionalized—and so it is, just as Amadeus, Funny Girl, and St. Louis Blues also use seeds of fact to grow fanciful tales of their respective subjects’ lives. It is also true that Diana Ross has little in common with Billie Holiday; their singing styles are markedly different, and Ross is far too slender and beautiful to believably imitate Holiday; to her credit, she does not try. Read More »

Abel Ferrara – Fear City (1984)

Brass-balled, Bronx-born auteur Abel Ferrara is one of those two-fisted screen bards that always follows through on each sucker punch, his heart beating with Sam Fuller’s blood. His scorching morality plays and tainted-psyche humanizations are raw nerves exposed and chewed through, like a naked tornado called Hyde to Scorsese’s more calculated risk-taker Jekyll. However, what makes an Abel Ferrara film for me isn’t plot or casts of meaty, dilemma-torn characters. It’s in the gritty city itself, a filmmaking toybox for tones, textures, sounds, music and aesthetic. When Ferrara looks at New York City, he knows its tourist-trap beauty is bullshit and the lurid truth is in the blackened gum on the bottom of the postcard rack. He’s the director who would probably kick my pasty ass all the way to Chinatown if he heard this flowery praise. Read More »