Critics' Pick

We Are Kings (NR)

Musical 90 min. September 19, 2014
By Chuck Wilson
We Are Kings is that rare thing: a film about musicians where you actually look forward to the next song. Mississippi bluesman I.B. King (Sammy Blue) is struggling to get from Chicago to Mississippi, where his bar is about to be auctioned off by the bank, and where his wife, Lilly (Rita Graham), a legendary blues singer, has fallen ill. On the long ride home, I.B. finds himself taking on, one after another, three young musicians, whose musical talents inspire the old master to find a new sound.

Shooting on location in the South, writer-director Toby Hubner displays a light comic touch and a gift for melding character and landscape, especially in sequences where the band puts on parking-lot concerts to raise cash. As the three vagabonds who end up in I.B.'s ratty old Winnebago, singer Bianca Ryan, guitarist Boogie Long and rapper Pryce each get a solo number; they're all so bursting with talent that it's impossible to pick a favorite. This movie is only 75 minutes long, so it's too bad that Hubner rushes the finale — too much triumph, too little emotion — but when the grooves are this rich, all is forgiven.
Toby Hubner Bianca Ryan, Sammy Blue, Pryce D. Watkins Toby Hubner


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