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Archives for : biopic

Movie Review: “Elvis” & “Mr. Malcolm’s List”

This week I review Baz Luhrmann’s biopic over “The King” of rock & roll, Elvis and a Jane Austen style romantic comedy, Mr. Malcolm’s List.

“Elvis” and “Mr. Malcolm’s List” is currently playing in theaters.


Movie Review: “Whitney”- I will NOT Always Love your Lifetime Biopic

If you thought that Lifetime’s new Whitney Houston biopic, directed by Angela Bassett, would be filled with excitement and thrilling drama; you thought wrong.  Whitney is just another unnecessary biopic that reveals no real insight into the singer’s life.  This story strictly focuses on Bobby Brown and Whitney Houston’s tumultuous relationship.

The film might as well air on Valentine’s Day as it feels much more like a romance.  Up until the last 15 minutes (when the real drama begins), we are forced to endure a painfully cheesy love story about how Bobby Brown was never good enough for “The Whitney Houston.”  Oh, but don’t worry, Whitney doesn’t care what her family or anyone else thinks!  She loves Bobby.  The audience will be constantly reminded of that love through the numerous amounts of times that it is said in the film, and by watching their ridiculous, soap opera styled sex scenes.

From what I have gathered from this biopic, Whitney was already into drugs before she met Bobby.  The two were, apparently, a very happy and cute couple.  It wasn’t until Bobby Brown realized Whitney Houston was more famous than him (Duh) that it all went downhill.

For all the Whitney Houston fans out there, the film is not entirely miserable.  Though Houston is played by Yaya DaCosta (America’s Next Top Model), her vocals are actually beautifully sung by Deborah Cox.  She sings all the favorite hits, “The Greatest Love of All,” “I’m Your Baby Tonight,” “I’m Every Woman,” and “I Will Always Love You.”

Whitney Houston on the left. Yaya DaCosta on the right.

Since America’s Next Top Model, DaCosta is slowly making a name for herself in the Acting Biz by making small appearances in notable films.  Whitney is a solid breakout performance for the rising actress.  Despite a few overly dramatic moments, DaCosta nails this role.  She embodies Whitney “from head to toe,” as Tyra Banks would say.  And even though it’s not her vocals in the movie, her movement and expressions would have you believing otherwise.  Not to mention the many times DaCosta strikes an uncanny resemblance to the singing sensation.

Even after all my ranting, I still recommend fans to give Whitney a one-time watch.  I think you will be pleased with the casting.  And if anything, you can turn your viewing into a fun sing-along.

“Whitney” premieres on Lifetime Saturday January 17.

Movie Review: “Get On Up”- Chadwick Boseman Fires Up the Screen as James Brown

Get On Up may confuse with it’s non-linear timeline, but there is no misunderstanding the brilliance of Chadwick Boseman.

In last year’s 42, Boseman played baseball legend Jackie Robinson as a man suppressing his pride and bottling up his anger.  It was a strong breakout performance by an actor we knew we’d be seeing again very soon.  He then made a small appearance in the underrated Draft Day, as hopeful pick for the NFL draft.  In Get On Up, Boseman gets the chance to let loose in a firehouse of passion, funk, and intense ferocity.

The story itself may not have audiences captivated, as the constant back and forth jump from one year to the next tends to scramble the brain.  I understand not wanting to follow they typical bio-pic formula but in an attempt to be different, they might have lost track of what is more effective to moviegoers.  Getting emotionally wrapped up in one scene only to be abruptly pulled away to a moment that occurs 5 years later is not only frustrating, but it is distracting.  You don’t want to to forget what you just saw because you know they will be coming back at some point to finish the scenes they just started (confusing, I know).   So instead of concentrating on the current sequence, you are bookmarking everything you watch.  Luckily, this film isn’t about the story, it’s about the performances.

Chadwick Boseman’s phenomenal portrayal as James Brown and his A-list supporting cast is all you need to remember about this movie.   The Help alums: Octavia Spencer, who plays Brown’s brothel-owning aunt, and Viola Davis, who plays Brown’s neglectful mother, slides in for the film’s most emotional scene.  But it is Nelsan Ellis, who plays Bobby Bryd-Brown’s loyal best friend, that proves once again, he is more than the flamboyant comic relief as seen on True Blood every week.  Boseman and Ellis share great chemistry on screen and complement each other extremely well.

In comparison to the recent bio-pic/musical, Jersey Boys, Get On Up wins by a landslide.  The acting, the story, and most importantly the ability to have us care for the characters.  Had the story just been slightly more chronological I would have given the film a much higher rating, but none of the faults in Get On Up deteriorates from the sensation that is Chadwick Boseman.

Rating: 3.5/5

“Get On Up” Official Trailer HD