With an appropriately jarring sense of energy, this James Brown biopic acutely captures the Godfather of Soul's iconic musical talents, although the fragmented script undermines any emotional kick in his story. The film also struggles to build up momentum, because it continually leaps between various chapters in Brown's life. Which means that it never quite connects these disparate episodes into one coherent narrative. Even so, Chadwick Boseman delivers an electrically charged central performance.
Boseman plays James from the time he was 16, thrown into prison for stealing a suit in 1949, until his comeback in the 1990s. Raised in a brothel run by his Aunt Honey (Octavia Spencer) after his parents (Viola Davis and Lennie James) abandoned him, James is in prison when he meets visiting gospel singer Bobby Byrd (Nelsan Ellis), who takes him in on his release. Together they form The Famous Flames, gaining small-time success as James catches the eye of a manager (Dan Aykroyd), a record executive (Fred Melamed) and the public. A string of major hits followed in the 1950s and 60s, then James went solo in the 70s before the usual issues of fame caught up with him: money, drugs and guns. But he returned to the stage in the 1990s.
The film completely skips over his Hollywood years in the 80s, which wouldn't be a problem if the decade was so notably missing from the film. As the story skips back and forth through the years, the audience is forced to make sense of the disparate scenes, filling in several holes along the way. Aside from one rather surreal scene in a Southern Gospel church, there's never much of a sense of how Brown found his voice or developed his inimitable style. It also never quite captures his impact on the music industry as a whole.
Continue reading: Get On Up Review
Since he was a child, he knew he'd become a star. He may not have had the easiest life growing up in a poor family and enjoying frequent brushes with the law (something that continued for the rest of his life despite his illustrious career), but he was a pioneer in what he did best. Following his first stint in prison as a teenager, he embarked on a musical career that would create a whole new way of looking at music. His funky rhythms, mind-blowing voice and effortless moves on stage would go on to inspire artists for generations even if his troubled personal life left much to be desired. He even took his soul magic to Vietnam during the 20-year conflict - a venture that demonstrated both his patriotism and his bravery. This is the story of James Brown.
Continue: Get On Up Trailer
The stars of the upcoming James Brown biopic 'Get On Up', Viola Davis, Nelsan Ellis and Octavia Spencer, talk about the legendary musician alongside artists Ice Cube, Pharrell, Mick Jagger, Cee-Lo Green and Aloe Blacc in a short featurette ahead of the film's release on September 26th 2014.
Continue: Get On Up - Featurette
James Brown didn't have the easiest childhood being born to two young parents who were so poor they could barely afford to live. After just a few years, his mother left him and he was raised by his aunt who, although was equally as financially insecure, resolved to love him as her own. Naturally, given his tough background, James turned to crime as a youth and spent time in a juvenile detention centre following an armed robbery conviction. It was there he took his passion for music seriously and decided to form a gospel band with some fellow inmates. Following his parole, he joined another gospel group and from there spiralled an illustrious career in funk and soul music that took the entire world by storm. Just as he dreamed, he became one of the music industry's most revered stars, but, alas, he also became one of the most troubled.
Continue: Get On Up Trailer
Gentle and very smart, this low-key comedy gets under the skin as it follows a smart young kid into the adult world. Without quite becoming either a frat-house comedy or coming-of-age odyssey, the film knowingly avoids cliches while telling a hugely engaging story with so much charm that it's virtually impossible to stop smiling.
The kid is 13-year-old frizzy-haired genius Eli (Wolff), who longs to attend Harvard but is instead stuck with 27-best choice Whittman College. His first friend there is the oldest freshman, 30-something Leo (Fraser), who is trying to reinvent himself and introduces Eli to the campus' party lifestyle. Then after a run-in with three Harvard snobs, Eli decides to teach his desired university a lesson: he joins Whittman's Mastermind team (alongside Bergman, Lee and de Jesus) and swiftly starts turning their losing streak around as they climb through the ranks and head to a showdown with Harvard at the national finals.
While the competition plot follows a fairly standard trajectory, writer Wierzbianski and director Kent refuse to indulge in trite formulaic melodramatics. Even the way Eli falls for a teen (Garner) from the local town feels fresh and unexpected. And while the humour is rarely laugh-out-loud funny, the smiles are earned because they are grounded in the characters rather than cheap jokes. It also helps that each character is a vivid bundle of complex energy and emotion, nicely played by an up-for-it cast.
Continue reading: Hair Brained Review
After playing comical sidekicks in rom-coms like No Strings Attached and What Happens in Vegas, Lake Bell emerges as a rising-star filmmaker with the smartest, funniest comedy of the year. Winner of the screenwriting award at Sundance, this script is painfully hilarious, drawing on the characters' personalities to take us into a previously unseen side of the movie industry. It's also a rare Hollywood movie that refuses to shy away from anything.
We're talking about voiceover artists here, specifically those who provide the rumbling commentary for movie trailers. The late Don LaFountaine was the voice behind all of those iconic "In a world..." trailers, and now a studio wants to revive them for a new epic quadrilogy. The top contender for the job is Sam (Melamed), a veteran who decides to let his protege, the egotistical womaniser Gustav (Marino), have the job. Then Sam's voice-coach daughter Carol (Bell) throws her hat in the ring, which is unthinkable because a woman has never narrated this kind of trailer. She prepares for the audition with the help of a love-struck sound engineer (Martin), but is distracted by issues between her sister and brother-in-law (Watkins and Corddry) and the fact that her dad's new girlfriend (Holden) is younger than she is.
Bell juggles all of these plot strands brilliantly as a writer, director and actor, generously giving her costars the most riotously funny dialog while Carol pings around between them. And since we see everything through her eyes, she emerges as a hugely engaging woman who is smart, skilled and also likeably flawed. Every performance is natural and amusing, with the kind of astutely witty dialog actors can really sink their teeth into. And there are some uproarious cameos along the way, including Offerman as a wry colleague, Davis as a studio head, Longoria as a vocal client and Diaz as the star of a Hunger Games-style saga.
Continue reading: In a World... Review
Lake Bell, who is usually cast as the quirky best friend in the majority of films she's in, comes into her own in this independent comedy about a struggling female voice over artist. She asks the question 'why are female voices so rarely used on film trailers?'
Lake Bell revealed in an interview with Yahoo! Movies that she was trying to address more than an inequality in the film industry with her new movie In A World, if we subconsciously associate power and a sense of omnipotence (which is needed for narrating film trailers) with manliness, thus culturally its preferable for us to hear a man narrating. Or that "resonance" makes it "easier and more authoritative to hear".
Another reason for doing the film is Bell's own strident stance on the power of speech and intonation she uses the insipid use of "sexy baby talk" as an example emphasising the importance of using your voice as it "is such a profound tool for communication and how you are perceived".
That all sounds terribly deep and philosophical yet that's not how it comes across in the trailer with Bell showing off her vocal skills (the Russian Star Wars impression is something to look out for).
Continue reading: 'In A World'...Where Lake Bell Talks About Voices [Trailer]
Carol is a successful vocal coach with an extraordinary talent for accents, even training the likes of Eva Longoria for acting roles. However, her one ambition remains practically unattainable - to become a voiceover star. With her father, a talented master of voiceovers himself, showing little confidence in her because of the fact that she is a woman along with her own struggle to sound foreboding and intimidating, Carol seems destined to coach people on accents for the rest of her career. Can Carol coach herself to become one of very few voiceover legends, or will her own talent fail her at the last hurdle?
Continue: In A World Trailer
General Aladeen is the ruler of a country called Wadiya. However, he is not a fair ruler, he is a dictator and his reign over Wadiya becomes cause for concern for the United Nations, who holds a meeting to discuss the future of the country. General Aladeen is told to attend, so he travels to America, determined not to introduce democracy into his country. While in America, he also wanders around in New York and ends up in bed with a shocked Megan Fox.
Continue: The Dictator Trailer
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