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First Rave Review For Don Cheadle’s 'Miles Ahead'

Brian Douglas

The New York Times has dubbed Don Cheadle’s “Miles Ahead” an Academy Awards contender, along with that other film shot in Cincinnati last year, “Carol” starring Cate Blanchett and Rooney Mara.

“Anyone who wants to get a jump on possible Oscar nominees for 2017… should check out ‘Miles Ahead,’ the closing-night film” Sunday at the New York Film Festival, wrote A. O. Scott.

Cheadle made his directorial debut and starred as iconic jazz innovator Miles Davis in the film shot here in July 2014. He also co-wrote the script, set in 1979, about the trumpeter and a Rolling Stone reporter (Ewan McGregor) trying to recover an unreleased recording stolen from the musician’s home at the end of his five-year, self-imposed “silent period” out of the public eye. The Times said:

“Blending musical biopic standards (ill-starred marriage, drug addiction, record-company shenanigans) with caper-movie riffs (pistol-whippings, car chases, sketchy deals with shady characters), “Miles Ahead” at its best is as witty and knowing as Mr. Cheadle’s sly, whispery performance. The music is pretty good, too.”

Grammy- and Oscar-winner Herbie Hancock, who recorded with Davis, provided the “Miles Ahead” music. The publicity photo of Cheadle as Davis was shot by WKRQ-FM's Brian Douglas. 

The Times also joined the growing chorus predicting Academy Award nominations for “Carol” and its stars, Oscar-winner Blanchett and Cannes Film Festival best actress Mara, as I reported in my Wednesday blog. The 1952 lesbian love story set in New York was filmed here in March-April 2014.

Credit The Weinstein Company
Rooney Mara and Cate Blanchett star in "Carol," which screens Oct. 9 at the New York Film Festival

“The festival, which ends on Sunday, wraps up with a possible preview of the battle for best actress. “Carol,” starring Cate Blanchett and Rooney Mara as two women falling in love with each other in the repressive environment of middle-class America in the ’50s, has renewed the critical infatuation that began at Cannes in May,” Scott wrote.

“A contrasting but perhaps complementary view of female desire in the postwar era can be found in “Brooklyn”…. (which) stars Saoirse Ronan as a young woman from a small town in Ireland who immigrates to the titular borough and finds loneliness, romance and a new, hybrid identity.”

Local premieres are being planned for “Miles Ahead” and “Carol” by the Greater Cincinnati & Northern Kentucky Film Commission.

“Miles Ahead” will be distributed by Sony Pictures Classic after Sunday’s New York premiere. “Carol,” screening Friday at the New York festival, is scheduled for a limited release Nov. 20 before Thanksgiving, followed by a larger distribution in December.