April 17, 2013

42, The Jackie Robinson Film....mai review

coon.  jungle bunny. tar baby. nigger.


I have to mentally prepare myself before I go to see films like The Help, Django Unchained...and now 42.  If not, the bad place it takes me to will undoubtedly have me looking cross-eyed at every white person, innocent or not, that I see.  So I prepared myself for the worst.

To me, this film was about a few basic things:

1.  The man and his courage to walk through the door that was presented to him.
2. His true strength...which was spiritual and emotional.
3. And lastly, his LEADERSHIP.

This film, once again, confirmed it for me.  Leaders have to have the courage to ultimately walk alone....just them and God, period. If you cannot, no love lost but take a seat...with the rest of the crowd and be regular.  

My fav shot was when the camera followed him, Dodgers 42 on his back, walking through the tunnel, heading to the field...alone.  Mr. Robinson had his wife, Rachel, who supported and adored him...he had the owner of the Dodgers, Branch Rickey played by Harrison Ford, who God used to present the door to him and open it from the inside out.  But ultimately, he was the one who had to go in the locker room with some resentful white players...he had to walk on that field as the only African-American (we were Negroes then) and play in an unbelievably hostile environment.  I believe the film only touched the surface of what he went through.

Simply put, Chadwick Boseman did an excellent job.  I BELIEVED he was Jackie Robinson, much like I BELIEVED Denzel was Malcolm X in Spike Lee's X.  He showed us the strength, the determination and the vulnerability of the man. And the skill.  I must say, I found myself being reminded of Derek Luke and Anthony Mackie while watching him...which is both good and bad.  Luke & Mackie are great actors so to be compared to them is not an insult.  However, no actor wants someone watching their performance and visualizing another PEER actor in that same role.  Now, if I was reminded of a younger Denzel or Sidney Poitier...no problem.

Same thing with Nicole Beharie, who play Rachel Robinson.  I kept getting glimpses of Kerry Washington...and even Regina King in her performance.  King, who played the ULTIMATE supportive ride or die wife in Jerry Maguire, has not been topped yet, in my humble opinion. Beharie did a fine job, however, I did feel at times she was holding back.  There were times that were intimate, face to face and then it seemed she would break it in a "no, my make-up!" moment and just kinda mug prettily, even if emotionally, for the camera.  Um...no.

My only major complaint would be that Jackie's character seemed to ask Branch Rickey one too many times "Why?  Why are you doing this?"  At one point, I almost felt like a "Massa..why for little ole me? In your graciousness, why?" might be thrown.  I admit, that might be my own issues and not how it was actually portrayed.  But it did seem that the writer and/or director wanted to HIGHLIGHT that it was Branch Rickey that made everything happen...that Jackie kind of deferred to him.  

Once again, it may just be my "internals". lol!  BTW - I can't say anything bad about Harrison Ford.  He always brings the goods.  Love him....since Han Solo. Crushin' seriously. :-)

bite of the day ~ I really enjoyed the film.  I was there with Jackie emotionally.  But of course, see it for yo-self and let me know what you think. :-)  


April 2, 2013

Tyler Perry's Temptation...mai review.

I've seen all of Tyler Perry's films.  Not because I think they are the greatest because clearly, some of them could have used further development.  Regardless, I am a TP fan.  Yes, I said it... for all you "REAL" filmmakers that studied the craft in classrooms and can discuss all of the technical and methodical and blah blah-ical of the whole filmmaking process.  It amazes me that some people (BLACK PEOPLE)  hate on this man, who has done something that no other BLACK filmmaker has done in this generation...#2 highest paid in Hollywood, due to a SOLID audience, due to HIM.  His story.  His humility. His faith.  Some of those who get on Facebook & Twitter & Instagram and all the other social media sites and blast TP...if given the opportunity, would  be IN one of these so-called "sub-par" films...or better yet, the same filmmakers dogging his work would quickly take a check from him to produce their own project...without hesitation.  There's a difference in analyzing a person's work and straight hatin'.  So for those folks...um...just hush.

Now, for my honest thoughts on TEMPTATION. :-)

First of all, I did not know that it was based on his stageplay "The Marriage Counselor"....perhaps because I wasn't paying that close attention...and also because of the way it was marketed. (More drama, than dramedy)  Nevertheless, when I saw the opening credits, I knew immediately what I was in for as far as storyline...it was just a matter of how they would translate it to film. 
The Pros?

Jurnee Smollett is an awesome actress...have loved her since Eve's Bayou.  She's beautiful and natural and BELIEVABLE.  She never seems like she's trying too hard to be happy or sad or sexy or naive.  She just is whatever IT is...effortlessly. I will say, she did look like she needed a hamburger...or TWO.  I'm just sayin'.

As far as the leading men, I was so happy to see some CHOCOLATE on the screen. 

Lance Gross is always delicious to look at and although I had never seen or heard of Robbie Jones...I believed him in the part as the Tempter.  He was attractive (LOVED the eyes) and he gave us glimpses of the brewing "offness" under the surface, if you were paying attention. 

Quite frankly, the supporting cast were non-issues to me.  Vanessa Williams with that hideous accent (which made it hilarious when she dropped it to cuss ole girl out near the end), Kim Kardashian was not horrible nor great...and the same thing for Brandy.  Actually, Brandy has looked much better on screen...not sure if that was on purpose due to her character or what.

Lastly, on the cast, Ella Joyce who played the mother was under served in this role.  I last saw her live in the Goodman Theatre's stageplay "Crumbs from the Table of Joy" and she is no doubt a phenomenal actor.  This role, as the Bible thumpin' overly religious and overbearing mother....did not best utilize her gifts.  It wasn't necessarily her.  It was the role.

Which leads me to the CONS.  I am so tired of seeing these played out cliche depictions of THE CHRISTIAN in these films.  They are always over the top and unattractive as a personality.  The person you DON'T want to be like.  As a Christian myself, I'm like "really!?!" It's old and played.  Can we please get an attractive, fun, down to earth, unconfused Christian in one of these doggone movies???  Sigh.  Guess that's why I'm a writer. :-)
I also don't know if I would have allowed the lead to go all the way in the gutter with ole boy with the drugs etc.  I mean, the sex was definitely believable...but the drugs?  And the obvious orgy (with the girl on girl/guy on guy action in the background) that was about to pop off when the husband came to the Tempter's house to get the wife?  It just seemed like EVERYTHING she stood for went out the window, when she started out so strong-willed.  Lastly, the aging of the husband.  Um...no.  That hair and makeup was sooo unbelievable onscreen...plus as someone pointed out, everybody aged except Brandy.  So...again, no.

Bottom line, I did enjoy the film, primarily due to the lead actors plus the obvious make-you-think message.

bite of the day ~ Don't take my word for it.  Go see it for yo-self and let me know what YOU think. :-)