User Reviews (61)

  • Greg22 March 2016
    The life and music of Miles Dewey Davis, better known as Miles Davis, is on display in the new bio-pic, Miles Ahead. Don Cheadle wears as many hats as afforded to him playing the title character as well as appearing in the credits as producer and director in a film that showcases Cheadle's talent and offers a strong case in ensuring the Oscar's have some color on the stage at next year's telecast.

    The film opens in the later years of Miles' life. He has already reached fame and fortune. But his drug addiction has turned him into a Howard Hughes recluse. And he has temporarily turned his back on music. The story opens with Miles alone in his home when he is aggressively approached by Rolling Stone magazine writer Dave Brill (Ewan McGreggor) who is interested in writing about Miles' new project. The opportunistic Brill gets swept into a fantastical series of events that include following Miles as he confronts his record label, procures cocaine and is chased through the streets in a hail of gunfire by unscrupulous folk looking to advance their worldly standing through the theft of Miles' still-in-progress demo tape.

    The events that unfold are not based on historical fact. But it doesn't matter. Miles Ahead is more a movie about the attitude and persona of legend Miles Davis than it is a straight up account of a fraction of the musician's life.

    By way of flashbacks, we get a glimpse into the more serene life of Miles Davis before drugs off-tracked his career. A clean cut Davis is seen rising in ranks through the Jazz clubs of America and eventually falling for Frances Taylor (Emayatzy Corinealdi) who would eventually become his wife of 10-years.

    The film doesn't dive too deeply into the domestic violence between the two lovers that became headlines back in the early 60's nor does it touch too intensively the racial tensions in America at the time. There is a scene where Davis is unprovokingly harassed by police officers and taken to jail for simply showing kindness to a woman of white skin, but the film has no message to present in terms of Miles' involvement with racial divides at the time. Instead, Cheadle keeps the camera focused on a single day in the broken down icon's history. This works largely to the films advantage but sacrifices giving us a glimpse into the life of the historic character.

    Don Cheadle is a revelation as Miles. The raspy voice, the trumpet playing, the belligerence. All are played exactly on key. The supporting cast does amply in tow but there is little to look at outside of Cheadle's performance.

    For this particularly story, things do work out well in the end. Relatively. We had hoped for end credit title cards that would have told us more about the man. Those unfamiliar with Miles Davis might have wanted to know if he was still alive or what became of Frances Taylor after their split. Even a short blurb unveiling Miles' nine Grammy Awards would have been refreshingly educational at film's end.

    Miles Ahead is not the be-all of musician movies. But I would categorize Cheadle's performance of the late trumpet player as one of the better performances of a real-life musician on screen. It's good enough to recommend the film to anyone. Jazz fan or not.
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  • Greetings again from the darkness. What would rate as the bigger challenge: defining jazz or describing the life of Miles Davis? In true "passion project" mode, Don Cheadle not only portrays the iconic trumpeter, but also directs, co-writes and co-produces. Cheadle's tribute to The Prince of Darkness is as open to interpretation as the hundreds of songs from Davis' recordings over thirty plus years.

    Having stated in numerous interviews that he had no interest in the usual "cradle-to-grave" biopic, Cheadle's odd blend of fact, fiction and hallucination are meant to capture the essence of Miles Davis, rather than the life and times of the man. Guns, drugs, music, girls, and art are all present throughout this trippy trip of a movie that plays like an impressionistic painting, and not a portrait.

    The bulk of the film is spent on Miles Davis during his self-imposed six year drug-fueled hiatus in the 1970's when he secluded himself in Howard Hughes fashion. There is an odd and ill-fitting plot involving the "secret" master tapes that Davis has recorded while waiting for his manager (Michael Stuhlbarg as Harper Hamilton) to pay him the money he is owed. Mixed in is a "Rolling Stone" writer named Dave Brill (Ewan McGregor) desperately trying to get an interview with Miles and listen to the tapes. This mad caper-ish core benefits greatly from the quick cuts to the past … especially those featuring Frances Taylor (Emayatzy Corinealdi) as Miles' beautiful, talented and supportive wife.

    Of course, we shouldn't expect linear story-telling from a man whose life was anything but linear. After all, we are focused on the man who claimed his music was not "jazz", but rather "Social Music" … and that "it takes a long time to play like yourself". The car chases and gunfights might seem out of place, but do capture the essence of a man fueled by drugs and a possible (temporary) loss of his creative genius. Perhaps, as the movie suggests, Miles was remorseful for how he treated Frances. Or maybe it was simply the pressure of being Miles Davis …. The coolest of Cool Jazz.

    Mr. Cheadle does a nice job in portraying Davis, and is spot on in the trademark raspy whisper which Miles was known for (the after-effects of a larynx operation in the 1950's). Ms. Corinealdi (to appear in the new "Roots" project later this year) is outstanding as Frances Taylor, and is the one character we latch on to in hopes of maintaining our bearings throughout.

    Taking its title from a 1957 Miles Davis album, the movie offers a glimpse into the mind of a musical genius who didn't always fit into "proper" society, and would be the perfect pairing for a head-scratching trumpeter double-bill with the recent "Born to be Blue", a look at Chet Baker.
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  • jencliff28 April 2016
    Warning: Spoilers
    Don Cheadle plays a good part as the young and older Miles Davis, Ewan McGregor as usual in my opinion is poor and an expert at dumbing down all of his roles. How does he get the work I ask myself ? I, My friend and I are keen Miles Davis fans, his wife is not, to quote her " I know less about Miles Davis than before I saw the film " The storyline is poor, only showing a a brief chapter of Mile's life when he retired for five years, and the record company " stole " his new tape. An episode of the Keystone cops ensues with car chases and gun toting ....... Very uncool, very unMiles. I don't believe a word of it. OK,be different,but to only mention one of his 3 wives ( and imply he only had one wife) is downright ridiculous, and not one word about any of his many children and grandchildren I mean ...... Really ! I was really looking forward to this film but we all left the movie " Kinda Blue "
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  • Absolutely stunning! Attended the world premiere at the NewYork film festival this past weekend. As the film ended, my mind felt entranced. The film's rapid clip style and dramatic ending made me film as if I had viewed one of Mile's mind blowing paintings. Somehow, it all seemed to come together as one mental image at the end. An ingenious portrayal of both Miles music and painting style. Along with the fabulous music throughout, the movie even included a clip of miles working on one of his paintings, as if the cue us in on the films approach.

    The music of Miles Davis provides the background for many of the scenes and it is performed in many scenes. As Miles was also an accomplished abstract painter, he is also featured creating some of his artwork. His challenges, triumphs and failures in love, the music industry, music composition, health, etc. compose a collage that comes together like one of his abstract paintings. At the end, a stunning scene brings it all together and emphasizes the phenomenal impact of the Miles music through today, for all time, and across many genres.
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  • "Miles Ahead" (2015 release; 100 min.) is a movie about the jazz legend Miles Davis. As the movie opens, we are in 1980, and Miles is being interviewed, and comments to the reporter: "Don't call my music jazz, it's social music!". It's not long before another reporter, Rolling Stone's Dave Braden, chases down Miles, to write a "come-back story in Miles' own words". We then go back to the 1950s, as Miles is breaking big. One day he meets Francis, and he is immediately smitten with her. To tell you more would spoil your viewing experience, you'll just have to see for yourself how it all plays out.

    Couple of comments: first and foremost, this movie is a labor of love AND a tour-de-force by Don Cheadle, who stars in the title role and directs, and he also co-wrote the script and co-produced. His performance as Miles Davis is spot-on, and towers above everyone else. Sorry Ewan McGregor (as the Rolling Stone reporter), and sorry also Emayatzy Corinealdi (as Frances). Cheadle's brilliant performance covers up the somewhat confusing back-and-forth between the "present" (i.e. late 70s) and the flashbacks in the 50s. Please note that "Miles Ahead" is not a bio-pic, nor is it intended as one. Cheadle (whose vision for the film was fully supported by the Miles family) simply picked two periods of Miles' life and attempts to give us a flavor of what Miles Davis the man was like. At that, I think Cheadle succeeds. If you don't care for the music of Miles Davis (?), by all means avoid this film, as it is chock-full of outstanding music (check out the excellent soundtrack, available here on Amazon). The very last scene of the movie is a live performance with participating in the band none other that Herbie Hancock, Gary Clark Jr. and Esperanza Spalding, just to name those. Just fantastic. Last but not least, I would be remiss if I didn't point out that 95% of the movie was shot on location here in Cincinnati. Yes indeed, just like Todd Haynes' film "Carol" a few months ago, there are certain sections of Cincinnati that apparently easily stand in for New York back in the day.

    "Miles Ahead" finally opened this weekend on two screens at my local art-house theater here in Cincinnati, and the Sunday early evening screening where I saw this at was attended quite nicely. I doubt that this movie is going score huge at the box office, but hopefully it'll find some legs at the art-house theater circuit. If you are curious to find out more about Miles Davis, or simply want to admire the stellar performance of Don Cheadle, you cannot go wrong with "Miles Ahead", be it in the theater, on VOD, or eventually on DVD/Blu-ray. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED
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  • This film had wonderful music, but I thought it incoherent and self-indulgent. If someone who doesn't know a lot about jazz, and thinks this film would be a good place to start, they will probably be put off, and worse, will deduce that many jazz musicians are druggies and nasty people.

    It isn't a biopic. It is a sketch of a very small part of Miles' life. Even though I know he was a difficult person, this film emphasized the negatives in his personality rather than the positives.

    It is a wasted opportunity to make a memorable film about this great musician.
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  • Miles Ahead (2016) 1hr. 40 min.

    Miles Davis is one of the best jazz musicians of all time. Davis was one of those musicians that really conveyed great talented passion and emotion in his trumpet playing. Miles made a great album in particular his 1959 masterpiece" Kind of Blue". Which Rolling Stone magazine voted it as one of the best albums of all time, regardless of genre of music. His life should've been made ages ago, unfortunately it took 2016 for a Davis film to be made, with Don Cheadle playing the great musician and also making his directorial debut.

    The film takes place in 1980, where Davis hasn't made an album in five years and has recorded on but does not want the album released without his permission. He would prefer to snort his new drug of choice, cocaine than work on any releasable music. He is also hates to do interviews but a persistent one from Rolling Stone writer Dave (Ewan McGregor) who wants desperately to interview the legend and follows him to his record company at Columbia records and talks to a the President of Columbia, Harper (Michael Stahlberg) whose ethics are not honorable and demands Dave to coax Davis to send his most recent work to work with a talented musician (Keith Stansfield), who is also a junkie heroin addict. The one drug that Davis was once addicted to. Miles has no desire to give his boss anything and threatens his boss with a gun to leave him the hell alone.

    Dave decides to take matters into his own hands with questionable ethics, to get his dream of an interview with a legend and says he know someone who can give him good coke. On the basis of drug use they become good friends. The first part of the movie is about a cat and mouse game of Davis music recording becomes of tug of war of who has the upper hand in who will eventually get Davis most recent recording. Another main subplot is more interesting is the relationship between Davis and his greatest love and muse Frances Taylor (Emayatzy Corlneaidi) which takes place in the 1950's. The film deals with their courtship, marriage and Davis wanting Frances to give up her career as a dancer when they marry. To all of the predictable, nonetheless interesting because it is well acted are the relationships of Davis girlfriends and his infidelity and his addiction to a drug that makes him paranoid. The film contends that the relationship with Frances gave him the greatest creative musical prowess and his music was at its great peak when Davis dated and married Frances.

    The film other subplot is also not very original but the car chase sequences back and forth between Davis and Dave vs. Harper and is crooked associate's is not very interesting and lacking in energy. Miles Davis deserved a better treatment in a subplot that is right out of the many car chases we have seen in the movies since the standard of car chases in the great 1971 action cop movie The French Connection. A car chase still can be entertaining if those scenes can offer something thrilling, this film action scenes are rather dull and pointless. The other love story is predictable but well-acted with Corlnealdi a standout as Davis's greatest love. Don Cheadle is very good as the great trumpeter, I just wish it was in a movie that dealt with a more interesting story of Davis life, maybe coming to terms with his coke addiction and his marriage to the great actress Cicely Tyson. Cheadle does a very good job of directing his first feature, but as it stands, more should have been made of his personal struggles with addiction and more of the great jazz that people love with great intensity.
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  • Warning: Spoilers
    I really was looking foreword to this film, i love classic jazz and Miles Davis stands with Charlie Parker as the best of the best, but oh dear this film is just dreadful and on so many levels it is a disaster from first to last. Where to begin, well the films scrip and plot revolves round his Howard Hughes like recluse years when he withdrew from performing and casts what i believe to be a purely fictitious chase all over town after a stolen session tape, with a writer looking for a story hugging his heels.cue loads of bad language as Don Cheadle who has a passing resemblance to the jazz genius profanes crudely and engages in crazy gun fights and threatens all and sundry with a gun to there face. Now we know Miles Davis had a dark side but where is the evidence for this nonsense that seems straight out of a "blackspoiltation" B movie of the seventies complete with stilted dialogue glibly uttered. Clint Eastwood gave us "Bird" a masterful film on Charlie Parker, Miles Davis deserves a film of equal stature not this all together embarrassingly wooden fiction that is all together empty. At last over the end titles we get to listen to some Miles Davis jazz, i at least i enjoyed these moments as the small audience silently walked out.
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  • MILES AHEAD --. World Premiere at Berlin 2016. Non competition special reviewed By Alex Deleon

    An Incandescent reincarnation of legendary American Jazz Musician Miles Davis by Don Cheadle, directing, producing, playing trumpet, and playing Miles himself in bushy Afro hairdo in a multi-faceted one man tour de force. This very special biopic took the Paying non-professional German audience in the cavernous Friedrichstadt Palast by storm, arousing enthusiastic ten minute ovations (two of them! -- once at end of the film itself and again after the end credits finish rolling).

    On stage after the screening Mr. Cheadle, a little guy (but a giant on screen, like Japanese samurai star Toshiro Mifune) was evidently taken aback by such an unexpectedly thunderous reception from a foreign audience which he acknowledged with extreme modesty. This is not exactly a full biopic in the ordinary sense of the word as it concentrates on a mere couple of days in the life of the black American jazz legend, but these are explosive enough to convey a full picture of the angry arrogant wound-up artist who lived behind the trumpet. Don Cheadle has come a light year in the movie business since his screen debut as a G.I. in the Viet Nam war film, Hamburger Hill, 1987, or Boogie Nights as a porn star opposite Burt Reynolds and Julianne Moore in 1997.

    In the press conference which preceded the screening Cheadle said that this film which he worked on for six years, learning to play the trumpet in the process, is practically a lifelong dream come true. He grew up on the music of Davis and ever since entering the business has had such a project in mind. However, in the event, he states that he did not want to make a film "about Miles Davis" but rather a film in the skin of Miles Davis, as if the gangsterlike trumpet virtuoso had come back to life to present himself in his own words. Speaking in the role with a typical negro mushy mouthed style identical to the way Miles actually spoke, not cleaned up for a middle class audience and foreign to the perfect "white" elocution that is natural to the black actor in every day life, this is a film that pulls no punches and is loaded to the gills with the F-word and the MF-word, translated into German in the subtitles as the much weaker "Wikser" (habitual masturbator) -- clearly German has no real equivalent for the standard American ebonic Mutha-f****r. No matter. Powerful unexpurgated trashy dialogue all the way and a fiery angry arrogant gun toting performance by Cheadle which accomplishes the artistic task he has set out for himself in this Magnum Opus of his Hollywood career.

    The story Cheadle chooses to tell focuses on the period in Miles's life when, already a living legend but having been out of action for five years addicted to cocaine as well as booze, he is about to stage a comeback to perform once again live on stage. An extreme sleaseball of a Rolling Stone reporter (Ewan McGregor) comes knocking at his door demanding an interview, and will not take No for an answer even if this puts his own life at stake. Obviously at this point in his fame and notoriety any live interview with Miles Davis would make the career of any obtrusive little known jerk of a journalist. The Rolling Stoner works his way into Miles' marginally "good graces" by supplying him with oodles of Coke and becomes his companion in a wild run around town to recover a private tape of Davis's latest music from a bunch of sleazy music producers who have commandeered it. The background music is largely from the best selling Davis album "Sketches of Spain" and we see Cheadle actually blowing trumpet in flashbacks. Along The way we learn that Miles did not like the term Jazz for his music -- "I make "Social Music" he says pointedly in the picture -- and we also see that he can play the piano and is very familiar with modern classic composers such as Stravinsky and Eric Satie. No musical slouch, Mr. Miles Davis! But when confronting the A-holes who have stolen his music he waves a menacing gun at them and we have little doubt that he will use it if necessary. In this compact segment from a desperately lived life Cheadle even finds time for a little romance in the person of a beautiful black actress with the tongue twister name, Emayatzy Corninealdi, who accompanied Don to Berlin.

    Over All the film is very violent with a few tender moments between Cheadle and Corinealdi, and a jittery hand held camera may throw some viewers off in spots but reflect the hectic pace of the chase. Pic ends up with Cheadle/Davis back on stage blowing his axe in patented inimitable Milesian style. Miles Davis died in 1991 at age 65 universally recognized as one of the most influential and innovative American musicians of the XXth century, jazz or-nojazz. Unquestionable Oscars in 2017 when the pic will become eligible for consideration.
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  • Don Cheadle Directs Himself as Miles Davis, Nice Job on what If I remember correctly is his directorial debut. The film ping-pongs back and forth from the early 80's, right before Miles comes back from a 5 year or so hiatus to the 50's/60's era when he was married to dancer Frances Taylor.

    The film has a madcap side to it with Ewan Mcgregor in a fun turn as a Rolling Stone reporter out to interview Miles and almost doubling as Miles' sidekick in a romp through the city (New York?) in the early 80's.

    I don't want to give much away but I recommend the film, it is pretty amusing and jazz + biopic fans will find much to enjoy!
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  • LeonardHaid20 March 2016
    As the reviews of Miles Ahead amass on the Internet I'll be interested to read all the different ways people will have to describe Don Cheadle's electrifying performance as jazz great Miles Davis. Or should I say "social music" great, a term Mr. Davis preferred to jazz, according to this biopic. I'd never heard this term before, looked it up online after the movie ended, but couldn't find any definition that fit what I thought Mr. Davis might have meant. What it meant to me though, after being treated to a sumptuous sampling of Miles Davis music in the film, is that there's no better musical expression of the human soul than jazz if done right. In Miles Ahead, Don Cheadle seems to be able to relate to that. As for his portrayal of Miles Davis in general, he plays a man who lays everything on the line in everything he does. Total honesty. Total this feels right so I'm going to do it. No-bs, no-putting-up-with-bs attitude. From violence and crudeness to stunning beauty - this is humanity unadulterated. The movie's high points, to me, are the stunning beauty scenes - when Mr. Davis plays the horn. That is the culmination of everything.

    Still, it's ironic that while Don Cheadle seems to get not only jazz, but the concept of creativity - starting off the movie with the Miles Davis quote "When you're creating your own sh**, man, even the sky ain't the limit" - Miles Ahead is limited by being formulaic. In other words, the movie itself is not jazz, though at times it tries to be and wants you to think it is. For example, there is too much clichéd man/woman relationship drama in the film, and while I get that Miles' love of women is necessary to portray for the all-important character development, Miles Ahead gets a little schmaltzy at times, if only because I'd seen the same kind of drama scenes more or less so many times before in so many Hollywood movies.

    Overall, Miles Ahead is a passionate tribute, beautifully done, and the love that Don Cheadle had for the project and for Miles Davis really shines through.
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  • "Miles Ahead" is chaotically put together, difficult to follow, and difficult to care about. Miles Davis (Don Cheadle), the main character, is depicted as a repugnant human being. The film plays shopworn musician biopic tricks in nasty ways to manipulate the audience. In interviews, Don Cheadle has said that he needed to get a big white star to appear in the film, and thus he built the film around the MacGuffin of Davis being interviewed by Ewan McGregor, allegedly the big white star. My guess is that Cheadle's funding didn't come through not because he is a black actor playing a black musician. My guess is that the funding was hard to find because the script was not a commercial script, no matter the color of the main character.

    The film opens with a confusing mishmash of images. Miles Davis is being interviewed. We don't see the interviewer. There is film in the background of the Jack Johnson fight. This confused me. I know the fight took place over a hundred years ago and I did not know that anyone filmed it – meaning I was losing focus on the movie I was watching, and drawn into thinking about the movie in the movie. Not a good thing.

    The scene is shot in extreme close-up. We see Don Cheadle's mouth and fingers as he smokes a cigarette; we also see an ashtray. This extreme close-up gives the film a claustrophobic feeling. As the film went on I began to wonder if the tight close-ups were used because there wasn't enough of a budget to create a set that reflected the time periods of the film: the 1970s and the 1950s.

    The unseen interviewer asks Davis about jazz. Davis interrupts the interviewer and commands, "Don't call my music jazz." He insists that calling his music "jazz" stereotypes it. That's one of the dumbest and most petulant things I've ever heard a character say. Of course Miles Davis was a jazz musician. Ordering someone not to call jazz jazz is the demand of a petty dictator who wants control of language. The film was just beginning and I already hated the main character. And I was really sick of all that focus on his cigarette and his ashtray.

    Ewan McGregor, the big white star meant to offer his magical powers to get purportedly rich whites to underwrite the movie and buy tickets to see it, shows up as Dave, a Rolling Stone reporter. He knocks on Miles Davis' door. Davis opens the door and immediately sucker punches Dave, a visitor he has never met. At this point, the film has offered me no reason to like Miles Davis, and lots of reasons to dislike him. There's more. He has a receding hairline and he wears his hair long – an older man's unsuccessful attempt to look young. And he dresses like a blind pimp. He's wearing a hip-length, turquoise and black jacket made of fabric best reserved for upholstery in houses of ill repute.

    Davis has already proved he's cool by sucker punching a white man. He also proves he's cool in other cheap, manipulative ways. The film consists of a jumble of scenes shot in the 1970s and flashbacks to the 1950s. In the 1950s scene, Davis is in a car with a young white woman. The young white woman behaves foolishly. The young black woman in the front scene rolls her eyes at this white girl's buffoonery. So, Davis is cool because he can get a white girl.

    The car pulls up to a house. A very beautiful young black woman is on the street. This is Frances Taylor, whom Davis will marry. He asks his white date for a twenty dollar bill. She gives him one. He writes his phone number on the bill and hands it to the black girl. Again, Davis is cool because he can mistreat white people, in this case a woman.

    In more jumbled together, plot-less scenes, we see Frances dancing. She is exquisitely beautiful and the camera adores her. We see Frances and Davis making love. We don't see Miles Davis beating his wife. He did. He also made her quit her dancing career. What a guy.

    More jumbled, plot-less scenes whose only point is to show what a boss Miles Davis really was, because he could mistreat white people. Miles Davis marches in to the offices of Columbia records. There is a man there who is obviously meant to be Jewish. He is smarmy and oily and condescending and power trips Davis. Davis pulls out a gun and shoots at him. He takes the man's money and uses that money, in a subsequent scene, to purchase cocaine, from yet another worshipful, star-struck white man he mistreats, while a white girl, partially undressed, sits on a bed. Davis, of course, must tell her to move over so he can sit next to her.

    You get the idea.

    What the movie does not show you is that Miles Davis grew up comfortable and privileged. Davis' father was a dentist who owned a couple of homes and a ranch. His mother was a musician. Davis received music lessons as a teenager, on daddy's dime. Davis was no gangster. He was a brat and a creep and an abuser of himself and others. I learned nothing about his appeal or his talent from this movie.
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  • Warning: Spoilers
    Miles Ahead

    The film focuses on the five year period that jazz great, Miles Davis had disappeared from public view, when he had stopped touring, recording and playing the trumpet. It is known that during that period of time, he had engaged in painting, and subsequently some of this work has been exhibited and even become collectable.

    There is much speculation as to the reasons for Miles Davis' withdrawal from playing and performing. It has been suggested from various sources that this can be attributed to health problems, partly due his lifestyle and then leading eventually to artistic burn-out. Pressures of touring and producing work, were to take their toll. Before this break in playing, his last recorded material was on the Agharta and Pangaea albums, which are recordings of the same concert in Japan in 1975, which includes contributions from musicians; Sonny Fortune and James Mtume. These recordings are long, trumpet-led, intuitive jams, which display Miles Davis' vast experience, and mastery of the jazz improvisation art-form. He has a unique trumpet voice, and musical direction. One would say a natural leader.

    The film takes up, the story from this period. The film touches on the issue of Miles Davis' problems, during this period, maintaining creative control of his previously recorded music (discography) in a changing relationship with the record company. His output had stopped and questions were being asked, re- issued recordings were being planned by his old record company, to exploit his back-catalogue and artistic legacy and for commercial gain. Naturally, Miles was not happy. Also there was the emergence of young star trumpeter, at the time, whose name is fictionalised in the film. In fact the youthful emergent trumpeter in the movie does have a strong resemblance to a young Freddie Hubbard.

    Miles Davis' disputes with his old record company, and record company CEO's were the subject of articles in the music press at the time.There were combative interviews with The Face (magazine) and US TV current affairs programme, 60 Minutes. Those are widely seen as hostile interviews, or "ambush interviews". Depending on your perspective, the film could be said to have trivialised these serious issues, but there was a decision to make some of the issues lighter and even comedic. The film can work on different levels.

    There are lots of sources elsewhere for those who would like to know more, and also the Miles Davis' autobiography, edited by Quincy Troupe. The film also has the contemporary Miles Davis reflecting on a past love, in Emayatzy Corinealdi (as Frances), and looking back on this relationship, and his earlier success as a jazz artist, with the great quintets that he formed. There are suggestions of a hedonistic lifestyle that spiralled out of control, and was destructive to personal relationships, but that should not detract from the enormity of his contribution to jazz as an art form. Ewan McGregor, plays a reporter, whose character could be based on, several real life characters. He is is depicted as having inveigled his way into Miles Davis' home, in order the get "the comeback story".

    The film is in the genre of, creative non-fiction i.e. The director takes artistic licence, in a very creative way. Within the scope of what was intended it is a great achievement.

    By the end of the film, Miles had started his comeback, which we know is the year 1981. He has his "chops" back and will go on to be active, recording and playing for another decade all over the world with successful new material. This film, Miles Ahead, will perhaps urge those who don't know much about Miles Davis, to look into his music and his wide-reaching legacy.
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  • On Miles Ahead

    Miles Ahead is not a documentary. Neither would I call this film a biopic. It doesn't describe Bee Bop, nor does it exhibit the thrills of live vintage performances once showcased at one of the world's most famous Jazz venues, The Village Vanguard. It's not about Mile's many addictions and never explores his International acclaim. Miles Ahead is a moment in Jazz History. It details a passionate protest, an objection to or disapproval of something, either formally or publicly. In this case, Don Cheadle's Miles Ahead is about both. Throughout the film, Miles's only mission is to reclaim a master copy of his Music of which Columbia Records subsequently owns. Columbia's mission, on the other hand, is to have complete ownership of Mile's music and that included 'Someday My Prince will Come', the album which features a picture of Frances, the love of his life (or so we think) on the cover. Knowing this, Davis quickly demonstrates his objection by reminding Columbia's executives that 'HIS MUSIC' was truly his and for this reason, Don Cheadle as Miles Davis stops at nothing in order to take back and control what he believed was rightfully his own.

    If you come out of the theater knowing one thing about Miles Davis, Let it be that Mile's music was sacred to him, more important than his marriage, his reputation or his many addictions.
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  • Unfortunately, this movie really missed the mark. It seemed from the credits that there was an opportunity to use archive footage of Miles' life which was only used sparsely.

    The actors did a great job, but the movie launched right into all of Miles' life challenges, his down fall points and never showed how her started, no context of his life and the many years that led up to his addictions. And, then, only five minutes or so at the end showing his "come back." It left me in disbelief that he died of the conditions cited--curious if he actually died of a drug over dose, or if conditions were related to his life style choices.

    The man was a genius and I wouldn't want to see a sugar coated version of it, but surely there was something positive to share and an integration of actual footage of his life--would have made it all more believable.

    I'm really sorry that I went. I almost walked out several times and did not because I didn't want to offend anyone else in the theater.
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  • Lee Eisenberg21 August 2016
    Don Cheadle's Miles Davis biography is a fictionalized look at the jazz great's drugged-out period in the 1970s. "Miles Ahead" depicts the man (whom Cheadle also plays) as a damaged genius. Watching Ewan McGregor's reporter try to interview Davis, I got the feeling that Davis didn't want to be viewed as a celebrity, resulting in his reclusive phase. Moreover, he insisted that people call his music not jazz, but social music.

    The movie is worth seeing. I guess that the limited focus and fictionalized story weaken it. The only look at race relations is when a cop turns aggressive after watching Davis escort a white woman to a car. But for the most part, this is a fine piece of work. It looks as though Davis was truly a complex character, even if he did have a not-so-nice side. I'll have to listen to his music to see what I think. After all, when you create your own s**t, not even the sky's the limit.

    Worth seeing.
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  • I attended the Cincinnati premier on March 26, 2016. I found the film to be dark and discombobulated. Cheadle's acting was impressive, but trying to follow the story between modern day and the flashbacks was confusing. Not knowing where the time line was going left me confused. Did all the craziness in Davis' life really happen? or was it Hollywood license.

    The sound of the film made me feel as though it was recorded on "Mute" I couldn't hear much of the whispering voice of the main character. It also didn't bode well that when I saw Don Cheadle and tried to shake his hand, he ignored me as though I was a ghost. Not good when you are promoting a film.
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  • I watched Miles Ahead and the acting was superb by Cheadle. However there were key things about Miles that were left out. There was no mention of his marriage to Cicely Tyson. There was no inference to Miles Tutu project which was one of the avante garde "Miles Ahead" projects. I was disturbed that Cheadle had to add a fictional character to get this movie out front and to the public with funding. Miles was a very complex man, and he let his music talk for his journey through life. The overplay on drugs and violence all feeds into a negative stereotype that is seen played out in the media propaganda tool. Almost everyone was aware of Miles drug problem. I was really disappointed and expected more. Cheadle captured the "chemical side" of Miles but never that true duality and desire to create while also disconnecting from the world to create a masterpiece influenced by the actions of the world. The young lady that played his wife Frances Taylor was mesmerizing and helped to make this movie palatable. Miles was Miles, but this was not Miles who regrouped and did great music after a five year hiatus up until his death. I have always loved Don Cheadle's work. I have listened to Miles since a child, and remember how much I loved Sketches of Spain. Also You're Under Arrest. Too much was left out of this complex man's life. Cheadle did a good job of depicting the conflict that is raging within creative geniuses such as Miles Davis. He could have gone a little deeper. Miles was not your typical "jazz" musician. A lot was missed. It would have been a lot better if it would have been from 1980 until 1991 when he died. He created a lot of great music and had many transitions that should have been included. This would have made Miles Ahead a step ahead of this production. I give it three stars due to the fact that I have been a musician all my life and an avid listener of the innovative styles of Miles Davis and have seen all of the contextual contours of the changes in his music as he went through various life changes. I applaud Cheadle for this effort. I look forward to a production that gives a much more thorough examination of Miles Davis. I applaud Cheadle. I know what he was up against to try to make this movie. Maybe Cheadle can reboot and do a much more comprehensive cinematic examination of Miles Davis. This movie only captured the year that Miles came back and the series of flashbacks. Emayatzy Corinealdi was stunning. I liked her energy. Her resemblance to Lela Rochon is uncanny. I see her going to many great places in the near future. Miles Ahead fell a little flat for me. Good effort.
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  • "Don't call me music jazz, it's social music." Health complications has forced Miles Davis (Cheadle) into a type of forced retirement. When Rolling Stone reporter Dave Braden (McGregor) shows up to interview Miles Dave is met with resistance. He begins to see just how crazy Miles really is, and then when one of Miles' private recordings goes missing he really gets a taste of the mad genius that is one of the greatest musical minds of all time. This is a different type of bio-pic. Like the special features say this is not a cradle to the grave movie, its a heist movie involving Miles Davis. As weird as that sounds it really works and breathes new life into this genre. That said Cheadle really inhabits this person. He co-wrote, directed and starred in this and really hits it out of the park on all three. The movie flows like Miles' music. It is very loose and not structured like a normal film is but it works and you wonder why everyone can't do things like this. The movie is really good but the real reason to watch is for Don Cheadle. He gives a career defining performance and I would not be surprised to see him nominated for many awards for this movie. Overall, a movie much like Miles' music, at first you are trying to catch up to what is going on but when you finally settle in you just sit back and enjoy watching the madness unfold. I recommend this. I give this a high B.
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  • -Miles Ahead is a 2015 American biographical film directed by Don Cheadle, which Cheadle co-wrote with Steven Baigelman, Stephen J. Rivele, and Christopher Wilkinson, based on the life of jazz musician Miles Davis. The film stars Cheadle, Emayatzy Corinealdi, and Ewan McGregor, and closed the New York Film Festival on October 11, 2015. The film takes its title from Davis' 1957 album.

    --Reception: -Miles Ahead received generally positive reviews from critics. Metacritic, which assigns a normalized rating in the 0–100 range based on reviews from top mainstream publications, calculated an average score of 64, based on 21 reviews. Based on 83 reviews collected by Rotten Tomatoes, the film received a 72% approval rating from reviewers, with an average score of 6.4/10. The site's consensus reads, "Miles Ahead is worth watching for Don Cheadle's strong work on both sides of the camera, even if this unconventional biopic doesn't quite capture its subject's timeless appeal".

    -In The New York Times, Manohla Dargis wrote that while Davis purists may complain about the imagined sequences in the film, but "they'll also miss the pleasure and point of this playfully impressionistic movie." She was particularly impressed by Cheadle's ability to shift between "times, moods and modes effortlessly".
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  • Warning: Spoilers
    Whether you're a fan of 'jazz' music or not, you can't escape or deny knowing what/who Miles Davis was. Unless of course, you're of a certain young generation that hasn't discovered him yet. It'll come, and Don Cheadle will help do exactly that with this semi-fictional biopic of the legendary yet destructive great.

    You can tell Don Cheadle has put his heart and soul into his project, writing, directing and starring himself as the Prince of Darkness. He tells a tall story of Miles Davis during his hermit years in the mid seventies when he rested for five years whilst ignoring everyone, reporters and his contract obligations with Columbia Records.

    It's not about how Miles Davis came about, it's not about his climb to fame and fortune or his education and early friendships with greatness. It's not about his death, in any way which is refreshing. But it is about a story with attitude, and attitude is something both Davis and this film has as the tag line suggests.

    The story gives great opportunity in displaying Davis' darker, nastier side and his self- destructive nature which wasn't a big secret. However you might grow to like his bad attitude and being to understand why.

    Ewan McGregor's cunning yet fictional reporter seems to be the anchor whilst the story flips between flashbacks and he can almost be mistaken as a figure of Davis' imagination, almost like a fight club. "First rule of jazz club..." McGregor does good, and good in not drawing too much spotlight off our star. It's good they have chosen up and coming actors to co-star like Emayatzy Corinealdi, Michael Stuhlbarg (Steve Jobs) and Keith Stanfield (Selma). All of them playing exceptional parts. They're certainly people to watch out for.

    It's brilliant and especially for Don Cheadle's Directorial debut, it's well shot, well paced and edited, it's almost trippy, loaded with snippets of Miles' trademark sound which you might come to appreciate if not already doing so. Just remember, it's not just about the music but more about him. Cheadle has done what James Mangold/Joaquín Phoenix did for Johnny Cash. #socialmusic

    Running Time: 9 The Cast: 9 Performance: 9 Direction: 7 Story: 7 Script: 8 Creativity: 7 Soundtrack: 8 Job Description: 8 The Extra Bonus Points: 5 for Don Cheadle, he does good in every aspect.

    77% 8/10
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  • 'MILES AHEAD': Four Stars (Out of Five)

    A mostly fictional biopic on jazz music legend Miles Davis, starring Don Cheadle as Davis. Cheadle also directed the movie (marking his feature film directorial debut), and he co-wrote the script as well; with Steven Baigelman (who also wrote the recent James Brown music biopic 'GET ON UP'), Stephen J. Rivele and Christopher Wilkinson (Rivele and Wilkinson have also co-written other hit biopics, like 'NIXON', 'ALI' and 'PAWN SACRIFICE'). The film also costars Ewan McGregor, Emayatzy Corinealdi and Michael Stuhlbarg. It received a limited indie theatrical release in theaters, and it's gotten mostly positive reviews from critics (although not that positive). I enjoyed it more than I thought I would.

    The story takes place at multiple different times in Miles Davis's (Cheadle) life, and it jumps around between them. The bulk of the film takes place in the 70s, and it revolves around a fictional adventure that Davis goes on, in an attempt to get a stolen tape recording back (of his recent music) from a greedy record producer (Stuhlbarg). He has help from an ambitious music reporter (McGregor). The movie also heavily focuses on Davis's troubled relationship with his wife (Corinealdi).

    I'm not a big fan of biopics (because of how aimless, long and boring they often are) but I enjoyed this movie, because it's not a traditional biopic. A lot of the film is more like a fictional caper flick, with Miles Davis in it, and I think that makes for a much more entertaining movie (as a result). Cheadle is also fantastic in the lead, and he shows a lot of talent as a director here. I think the film is definitely worth seeing, whether you're a big Miles Davis fan or not.

    Watch our movie review show 'MOVIE TALK' at: https://youtu.be/mFAp0zxR-lY
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  • jazzfi24 February 2017
    Warning: Spoilers
    Actually, pretty good.. I usually hold so much disdain for all Hollywood movie portrayals, whether they be jazz, doo-wop, rhythm and blues.. I always find them so over the top, ridiculous, more than often inaccurate both chronologically and factually. I thought Bird and Round Midnight were quite disappointing, but this montage of the life of Miles Davis was done artistically well. It's not a biography in the traditional sense with a beginning, a middle, and an ending, but rather selected incidents from the trumpeter's life with flashbacks-- a montage, as it were. Excellent performances, particularly by Cheadle, and especially impressive was the fact that Mr. Cheadle took the time to learn the actual trumpet fingerings and give true realism to this work, as a special treat to the trumpeters in the audience. Worth seeing a least once, maybe twice...
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  • ReneWirtz21 December 2016
    Miles Ahead is a good movie (8 out of 10), as long as you understand as the viewer that this is not a biopic or biography. Nothing much but peripheral things are based on true events. However, this movie is to try to shine a light on the tight rope the eccentric genius Miles Davis had to walk: spotlight or recluse, fame or art, music or painting, love or lust. Don Cheadle is near perfect as Miles Davis and Emayatzy Corinealdi is a great counterbalance as Miles' muse. I'm unsure of Ewan McGregor's overall arc in this story, although he does play his dubious character with gusto. The music is great, still cool after more than half a century!
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  • rzajac11 December 2016
    Lots of user reviews saying "Miles Ahead" ("MA") attempts to elevate filmic cubistic hash to high art... and fails. I don't think he fails.

    Cheadle made his decisions, and stuck with 'em. He decided to go with a groundwork of a slice of Miles's life during a lost period, punctuated with flashbacks, and the whole thing riven with sudden, jarring, splintered, surreal touches. Worked for me.

    Other factors. Heard 5h1t said about McGregor, but I think he was pitch perfect... and I figure he took direction well from Cheadle. Though one never knows. Loved Cheadle's direction; warm, direct, honest; and yet also with a touch of caricature here and there.

    Technically, it's a delight. The colors are intentionally stark and bright, the camera-work is great, the music is great. By now, there's no excuse for the film representation of musicianship not to feel genuine, convincing, inspiring. The edits are expert, the pacing just fine.

    There are countless moments which showcase a view of Miles as a deeply feeling man. This is a wonderful counterpoint to pop, post-modern, swanky press representations of Davis as a guy with a lizard soul. I love that Cheadle did that. There's a moment when Miles lovingly caresses the shoulder of his pianist as he walks by (Evans?). The lovingness and respectfulness of that moment filled my own heart. It's kinda funny: I often hold myself back from movies that are trying to reach out to push my buttons. There was something about the way Cheadle manages the tone of his portrayal--and that's through the entire movie, not just moment-by-moment--that invited me to open up and feel those moments of connection *with* his Davis.

    Anyway... Great film product! Lots of fun to watch. Nice balance of menace and connection.

    Check it out
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