No, this is a much better character. "The Nutty Professor"? Eddie Murphy hasn’t had a role he could sink his teeth into with this much feisty glee since…it’s hard to say when. He was fine and dandy in those films, but "Dreamgirls"?
nightclub, where he gets five minutes a night if he’s lucky, and no one could care less about his bad jokes. But now he’s working as an MC at an L.A. He’s a has-been who never was, the sort of middle-aged crank who disses Marvin Gaye and Redd Foxx for being lucky enough to get the breaks that Rudy deserved. He recorded some R&B singles in the '50s and early '60s, like the Little Richard knockoff "Ring a Ling Dong," and he did some comedy as well. It's 1970, and Rudy is a Los Angeles record-store clerk in his doughy mid-40s who has had a few mild flings with show business.
Rudy Ray Moore, played by Eddie Murphy with a motormouth brashness that won’t quit (and a twinkle of sweetness behind it), is dealing with his own version of slim pickins'. Soul food grew out of the fact that slaves were given the lowliest cuts of meat (pigs’ feet, etc.); they took those leftover slabs and turned them into America’s greatest homegrown cuisine. He longs to be a star, but what he lacks, at least in any major discernible way, is talent. One definition of soul, given the history of racism in this country, is that it's about the art of making more out of less. As its title character might put it, "Dolemite Is My Name" is a total motherf—kin’ blast. And it turns the story into a celebration of the effrontery of African-American showbiz. It tells the story — all true, all outrageous — of one of the most successful blaxploitation films of the '70s, the insanely over-the-top and borderline inept "Dolemite" (1975), and of how that movie came to be.
The other is "The Disaster Artist," James Franco’s delightfully depraved comedy about the making of the too-awful-to-be-believed midnight movie "The Room." (He's also got a few sleazy backers.) "Ed Wood" is the "Citizen Kane" of this genre, yet as Rudy begins to make his movie, "Dolemite Is My Name" becomes more reminiscent of two films that Karaszewski and Alexender didn’t write, but that owe a deep debt to their aesthetic. The movie becomes the story of how Rudy, in 1974, takes his Dolemite character from the stand-up comedy stage to the big screen, all by putting together a so-slaspdash-it’s-nutty independent blaxploitation crime-thriller production that he finances, to a degree, out of his own pocket, using the proceeds from his comedy-album sales. One of them is "Badasssss!," Mario Van Peebles' enthralling drama about how his father, Melvin Van Peebles, made "Sweet Sweetback’s Badasssss Song," the 1971 independent landmark that changed the course of African-American cinema (and, arguably, of American culture in general).
With a cover that feature his own shameless nude portly self, along with a buxom sister, all to make the statement that Rudy is an entertainer who’s ready, in every way, to get it on. Onstage, Dolemite speaks in couplets that sound like X-rated nursery rhymes ("He heard your daddy’s a pimp, and your mama’s a whore! And he delivers them with such lip-smacking bravura that the crowd goes wild. As a straight-up comedian, he’s third-rate, but as Dolemite (his version of a folklore hero like Richard Pryor’s Mudbone), he’s a deliriously foul-mouthed cult hit. And so he sets about recording an album. He saw you in the jungle selling your ass door-to-door!"). It’s pure vaudeville street burlesque, and Rudy knows how to sell it. At home.
At the same time, the movie he’s making is no "Sweetback." It’s more like an unintentional parody of "Sweetback" — a what-the-hell riff on the whole blaxploitation cosmos, with Rudy playing his own version of Black Caesar or Willie Dynamite: a guy who’s got the killer attitude and the mac-daddy wardrobe, but is basically an out-of-shape fake actor pretending, not very hard, that he knows kung fu. "Dolemite Is My Name" tells the story of a black man trying to make and market a film in a world full of shut doors, so it’s about a struggle that’s on some level heroic.
Martin doesn’t do much besides slurp from his flask and yell "action" and "cut," but Wesley Snipes plays him with an exquisitely weary faux-aristocratic contempt that turns him into a cross between James Baldwin and Huggy Bear. The tale of how the movie gets shot will be candy for a certain kind of movie buff, because it’s all about the details — the way Rudy converts a druggie-squatter hotel into a film studio, or hires Jerry Jones (Keegan-Michael Key), a socially conscious playwright, to do the script (Jones has to keep convincing himself that the gonzo trash they’re making is a movie that’s "keeping it real"), or the way that he hires D’Urville Martin, a professional actor who had a small role in "Rosemary’s Baby," to direct.
Only now, hiding behind a "character," Rudy has got the confidence of a superhero. But he’s a fearless hustler, always pushing himself, spinning tributes to his own greatness out of thin air. Rudy, unlike the stars he’s jealous of, isn’t an artist. (That, in its way, is talent.) After a homeless spieler comes into the record store jabbering about "Afro-American history" and the legend of Dolemite, Rudy gets an idea. Rudy reaches into his closet and finds a green jacket that looks like it was made out of upholstery from an old couch, puts on a wig that’s like a pre-Jheri curl 'fro, and struts up onto the stage as a "pimp" named Dolemite who tells tall tales in unprintable rhyme. He’ll hang out for a night with the local "liquor-store wise men" (i.e., vagrants) and trick up their obscene patter into an act. It’s an act feeding on fumes.
He takes nothing and turns it into something. He’s got few opportunities, thanks to the built-in racist barriers of the American system, but the way he triumphs could only happen in America. When Rudy stands on stage, in full cry, and delivers a rhyme like “I once walked from New York City to the Deep Deep South, just to slap a mother—er in his mother—in’ mouth,” you giggle at the sheer balls-out crazy joy of it. He plays Rudy as a cheap but priceless carny barker of his own ego. But Murphy also gives Rudy a hunger that’s about more than success. He’s a middle-aged loser who’s got nothing, who wants to be a star so that he can exist.
more pow!). (It’s a Netflix film, so we’ll never know.) Yet it tells a tale that’s at once uproarious and inspiring. Rudy Ray Moore, putting on his pimp suit, had an instinct for strutting hyperbole that was honest in its very fakery. As delectably done as "Dolemite Is My Name" is, the movie, at a solid two hours, goes on too long, and based on the modest proceeds generated by films like "Ed Wood" and "Badasssss!," I doubt it will appeal to a very wide audience. more fantasy! The rest, though, is history, and irresistible history at that. Rudy, in a funny way, thinks like a corrupt studio executive (he wants more explosions! Not a shabby legacy for someone who created a piece of ludicrous grindhouse trash but invested it with soul.” /> "Dolemite" wound up grossing $10 million (the equivalent of $50 million today), and as "Dolemite Is My Name" suggests, audiences laughed at it and with it at the same time. Yet even when his movie is completed, he has to fight to get it distributed — the fate of his entire career comes down to one four-walled midnight show in Indianapolis. And his penchant for badass couplets made him, along with Muhammad Ali, one of the forerunners of rap.
"Dolemite Is My Name" was directed by Craig Brewer, the gifted director of "Hustle & Flow" and "Black Snake Moan" (who then got lost in the kitsch nostalgia of his misbegotten "Footloose" remake), and though he does a meticulous job here, the film’s true auteurs are Larry Karaszewki and Scott Alexander, the screenwriting team that created — and, for 25 years, have specialized in — the genre I think of as Biopics About the People You Wouldn’t Make Biopics About. outer-fringes-of-pop ironic celebration. People like Edward D. "Dolemite Is My Name" falls right into that tasty offbeat tradition of can-you-believe-this? Wood Jr. Andy Kaufman. Larry Flynt. Walter and Margaret Keane.

You felt the connection.” /> They want to hear about screening rooms, those mythical posh bunkers. There were no trimmings, nothing there — except, on occasion, the person’s head in the seat in front of you — to get between you and the movie. What those rooms, in their la-di-da way, represent is the reverence for cinema. And at Magno, you always felt the purity of that reverence, maybe because the room itself was so ordinary. But I know that’s not the answer they’re looking for. Of all the questions I routinely get asked as a film critic, the one that always comes up — it’s second only to "What’s your favorite movie?" — is "Where do you see the movies?" I usually start off by saying that those of us who are New York-based critics see movies in a variety of places, including, nearly every week, the Times Square megaplexes where “all-media screenings” are held for blockbusters and other commercial releases. What you felt at Magno was primal.
But one of the reasons that the Magno Screening Rooms are closing down, apart from the perpetual scandal of over-the-top rents for New York commercial real estate, is the rise of link culture. And though there are a handful of independent screening rooms left in New York that, theoretically, can take up the slack (the stately and inviting Dolby 88, the elegant Park Avenue Screening Room), the closing down of Magno has to make one wonder how long they’re going to be around. Independent film companies, the kind that have always used Magno for several hundred dollars an hour, may increasingly think of links as a way to cut costs.
They’ve been there for 68 years, and for those of us who are lucky enough to include watching a movie in the middle of the day as part of our jobs, and who have spent more of our daily lives watching movies in those two rooms — especially the main one, Magno 1 — than we have anywhere else, it feels like the curtain is coming down on something. This Wednesday, the famed Magno Screening Rooms in New York, at 729 7th Ave. I wonder if it’s one more telling, creeping example of the metaphysic of movies transitioning from a shared experience to a solitary-viewer-fixed-on-the-small-screen transaction. (near the corner of W. Apart from the boilerplate end-of-an-era nostalgia that always accompanies a moment like this, I wonder, in a way, if it is the end of an era. 49th St.), will close their doors for the very last time.
The greatest film I ever saw in that tiny room was "Ed Wood," and to this day, when I think of "Ed Wood" (which I’ve seen a dozen times), the first thing that flashes into my head is watching it at Magno 2. I saw "Reservoir Dogs" there, and "Boogie Nights," and "The Piano" and "The Wrestler," and "Menace II Society" and "Mulholland Drive," and "Lost in Translation" and "Memento" and "A Separation" and "Birdman." The screening room across the hall, Magno 2, was the one you thought of as "too small," and it was, but if you sat in the back row, as was my insistent custom (there were, I believe, only five rows), it gave you an ironically panoramic view of a screen that loomed up before you. In so many ways, though, it was the place.
As someone who periodically reviews films off links, because that’s the only available way to see them ahead of time, I treat them as a necessary evil and do all that I can to level the playing field of my own perceptions. At any moment, you’re a click and a password away from watching that indie Greg Kinnear thriller or documentary about human-rights abuses in Syria on your computer screen. Now, instead of DVDs, there are links. At least the movie is getting reviewed — and, after all, it isn’t a perfect world.
The joke is that for a place that hosted screenings of many of the most vital films around, it has always been a notably flawed venue. It was a ritual, a second home, a connection to the past, and a rather perverse joke. The nine or ten rows of seats are raked ever so slightly (imagine stadium seating as first designed in 1890), but the screen itself, which is a perfectly good size, is sunk down a bit too low, so that if you’re sitting in, say, the third row (or the fourth row, or fifth row, or just about any row), and the place is at all full, you’re liable to find yourself tilting to the side to see around the person in front of you and take in the whole screen. It is, for one thing, a little grubby. I suspect I speak for more than a few movie critics when I say that Magno wasn’t just a screening room.
The studios, like Fox and Warner Bros. They became an additional way to “pre-screen” a movie (the DVDs were called "screeners"), and though this was a convenience I held out from partaking in as long as humanly possible, believing that it wasn’t fair to the movies (a film you "screened" on DVD wasn’t being experienced on a level playing field with a movie you saw in a screening room), the battle was doomed. What began to change in the 2000s was the introduction of DVDs to film-critic culture. and Universal, always tended to use their own screening rooms, and still do, though every so often they would use Magno.
But the comedy of Magno is that it’s a New York phenomenon that no one even bothered to complain about, because it’s just something that you accepted, like the tourist hordes of Times Square or the sound of Michael Savage blaring from a cab driver’s radio. That the most widely used screening room in New York had the worst sight lines of any screening room you could imagine is one of those quirks that make life interesting.
Other rooms were notably cushier, like the Broadway Screening Room in the fabled Brill Building, with its plush wide seats and womb-like aura of inner-sanctum exclusivity, or Todd-AO, a sprawling, high-ceilinged facility that had the greatest sound of any of them. Yet in the last decade, as those rooms closed down, Magno, though it isn’t quite the last of them, became the last New York screening room that felt like a hub. Magno was created in 1950 (it also had a Sound and Recording Studio, which will continue on in another location), and in the '80s, when I first started coming to New York for screenings, it was one of a handful of screening rooms that were rented out to show a mixture of studio and (mostly) independent features. With its shaggy accessibility and center-of-midtown location, it seemed to take the very idea of watching a movie before it came out, in a hobbit-hole chamber sprinkled with media and film-world people, and democratize it.

The cast also includes Simon Baker, Taylor Kinney, Jacqueline Bisset, Waleed Zuaiter, and Gus Birney.” /> "Blue Night" is directed by Fabien Constant ("Mademoiselle C") and written by Laura Eason ("House of Cards").
"Blue Night" is Parker's first film in three years. In addition to her work on HBO's "Sex & the City" and "Divorce," Parker has appeared in "Failure to Launch," "Ed Wood," and "The Family Stone." Zellweger is an Oscar-winner for "Cold Mountain" and has appeared in "Bridget Jones' Diary" and "Jerry Maguire." Common won an original song Oscar for writing "Glory" for the film "Selma." He has also appeared in "Wanted" and "Run All Night."
It unfolds over the course of a day as she prepares for an upcoming world tour, navigates various personal and professional relationships, and reflects on her successes and failures, all while trying to find a private moment to share with others the news she has received from her doctor. The film follows Vivienne (Parker), a singer in New York City, whose world is shattered after she receives some bad news.
With a cast that includes Sarah Jessica Parker, Renee Zellweger, and Common, "Blue Night" is one of the hottest projects at this year's Tribeca Film Festival. Variety has an exclusive first look at the film's moody poster, which features a forlorn-looking Parker in a sea of anonymous city dwellers.