Aretha Franklin 1942-2018

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Aretha Franklin, the eternal Queen of Soul passed away today at the age of 76, after a battle with pancreatic cancer. A pioneering influence on virtually every soul singer who came after her, and a crusader for civil rights as well as a brilliant artist. My favorite Aretha songs: 1) "You Make Me Feel Like a Natural Woman" 2) "I Say A Little Prayer For You" 3) "(Sweet Sweet Baby) Since You've Been Gone" 4) "Until You Come Back to Me (That's What I'm Gonna Do)" 5) "Respect" 6) "Do Right Woman, Do Right Man" 7) "Baby, I Love You" 8) "Think" 9) "Spanish Harlem" 10) "Chain of Fools"

In tribute to her career, here she is stealing the 1980 movie The Blues Brothers out from under the stars:

Here she is performing at the Kennedy Center Honors in 2015 (and bringing President Obama to tears):

And finally, performing at Barack Obama's inauguration in 2009:

Stunning New Teaser for Alfonso Cuaron's 'Roma'

I love Alfonso Cuaron, so this is definitely my most anticipated movie of the fall. After a few films dealing with big budget special effects and studios, Cuaron decided to go back and make this deeply personal film about a middle class family living in Mexico in the 1970's, and amazingly, shot it himself. It's going to premiere at Venice on August 30th, but will debut on Netflix December 14th. 

Michael Moore is Back with 'Fahrenheit 11/9'

I guess this is the spiritual sequel to Fahrenheit 9/11, one of the highest grossing documentaries ever made, but will this one have the same impact when we as a culture are constantly being shit on with Trump dominated media coverage every single day? It's like being trapped in a house with a domestic abuser who won't stop beating on you and destroying your house bit by bit. I guess this time, for me, I don't need Michael Moore to tell me anything I don't already know about what a sick, traitorous criminal Trump is and how the only thing we can do is vote in November for Democrats who will put a check on him and stop this shit, hopefully get rid of him. Funnily enough, Moore is the demographic of a typical Trump voter, yet I'm not sure how he could win over people who haven't made up their minds at this point. But good on him for trying.

See the Trailer for Barry Jenkins' 'Moonlight' Follow-Up 'If Beale Street Could Talk'

Another awards season contender is upon us, with this film based on the James Baldwin novel, which will be premiering in Toronto in September. Barry Jenkins is fresh off winning Best Picture for Moonlight in 2016, and this is his new film, which gets a pretty stunning trailer. It's set to come out in limited release November 30th.

Tom Hardy is Terrifying in New 'Venom' Trailer

Well, I guess this new trailer solves the problem of not seeing the actual Venom enough in that first teaser. He's definitely all over this one and he's creepy as hell. I don't know if they're going for a sort of horror movie element with him, but since he's not exactly a hero, I guess they could be. I'm intrigued, but Sony hasn't made a decent comic book movie in many years, so we'll have to see.

See Teaser for Mike Leigh's 'Peterloo'

The great Mike Leigh (Vera Drake, Secrets & Lies, Mr. Turner) has a new historical epic coming out this fall, and it looks like it'll be making its debut in competition at the Venice Film Festival. Leigh's movies are sometimes too inscrutable for the Oscars, but they're always worthwhile. This one is being distributed through Amazon Studios and coming out in theaters November 9th.

Jude Law is the Young Dumbledore in 'Fantastic Beasts 2' Trailer

From the Young Pope to the Young Professor, Jude Law takes over as the iconic wizard in The Crimes of Grindelwald, although word is he and Johnny Depp won't have many (or any) scenes together. The first film in this Fantastic Beasts franchise was utterly forgettable (seriously, I remember watching it, but I can't remember what actually happened in it), so despite Law's casting, I have no real hopes for this one either.

Millie Bobby Brown Joins the Franchise in 'Godzilla: King of the Monsters'

The last Godzilla movie was kind of divisive (I pretty much hated it), but there were some fans of its direction by Gareth Edwards. He's not doing this sequel, although it looks like they're trying to keep his dark, moody style. I don't have much of a reaction to this though. I mean, I guess if you liked the last one and are really into Godzilla movies, this is for you? I probably won't be seeing it.

WB Reveals 'Aquaman' Trailer at Comic-Con

Aquaman wasn't exactly a dynamite character in the lame Justice League movie, so I don't know how many people were looking forward to his solo outing (from director James Wan, of The Conjuring fame). But it turns out to be WB's only superhero movie this year, so I'm sure they're hoping for the best. Most of this trailer just looks dumb and bad. And there's an awful lot of surface action going on for a character that's supposed to be underwater most of the time. Meh.