In "Miles Away," jazz trumpeter Michael DeVeaux (Sid Burston) and his attorney-bandmate-brother Byron (Spoon Alexander) confront their multimillionaire father (Michael Simmons) about a menacing stranger claiming to be their illegitimate half brother (Cully Dieter).
The synopsis posted on the film's website alluding to the travails of a modern jazz great bears little resemblance to the actual movie. Instead, it comes off like the filmmakers' wishful thinking of what could have been.
Though set in present day, the jazz scene depicted here seems stuck in the 1940s. Filled with gangsters, groupies and musicians on paths of self-destruction, it's nothing like the realistic — if exaggerated — musicianship and competitiveness shown in "Whiplash." It also doesn't sound like anyone involved in "Miles Away" has any affinity for jazz, aside from maybe the acid variety. For a film about a trumpeter supposedly worthy of comparisons to Miles Davis, the soundtrack sure could use more cool.
The moral of director Jimmy Jenkins' film echoes that of President Obama's 2008 Father's Day speech about absentee parents, but that's the last thing you'll think of during its tawdry delivery. "Miles Away" comes off like some low-budget take on "Trapped in the Closet" or a Tyler Perry movie, except it treats kitsch with all sincerity and seriousness.
MPAA rating: None.
Running time: 1 hour, 40 minutes.
Playing: Laemmle NoHo 7, North Hollywood.