An energetic cast and some terrific music make up for the rather hackneyed plot of this Dreamgirls-style drama. Remade from a 1976 film, the story is that familiar trajectory of musicians who achieve fame only to fall into a string of ugly problems. It's just about watchable, but what makes it notable is that it features Whitney Houston in her last film role.
It's set in 1968 Detroit, where Sister (Ejogo) is determined to become a star. Her singer-songwriter sister Sparkle (Sparks) is the one with real talent, but she's happy to stay in the background with their other sister Dee (Sumpter). As Sister and Her Sisters, they are managed by Stix (Luke), a fast-talking charmer who falls for Sparkle. But the girls' intensely religious mother (Houston) is under no illusions: she has been there, done that and continually warns her daughters that they shouldn't go the same way she did. But of course, they have to live their messy lives themselves.
Since it's such a familiar story, the film has a cheesy, soapy feel to it, playing on the sisters' rebellion against their religious upbringing. Of course, danger is represented in the men they fall for. While good-girl Sparkle tries to keep Stix at arms' length for awhile at least, Sister must choose between two men: the poor but nice Levi (Hardwick) and the flashy but drug-addled Satin (Epps). Since we know that she will choose the wrong guy, we know it's not going to be a happy journey for her. But this trawl through the dark side gives Ejogo a chance to steal the film with a much more emotionally charged performance.
Continue reading: Sparkle Review
Sparkle is our eponymous star, set to shine in this tale of rags to riches as she rises to achieve her ambition of becoming a musical force. A musical prodigy from an affluent area of Detroit, Sparkle must overcome issues that are tearing her family apart whilst following her own musical ambitions. One of three sisters to a single mother, Sparkle tries to balance a new romance with music manager Stix whilst dealing with the unexpected challenges her new life will inevitably bring as she and her two sisters, Sister and Dolores, strive to become a dynamic singing group during the Motown era.
Continue: Sparkle Trailer
Dave (Johnson) is a shy New York teen who wonders why no one sticks up for each other. So he creates a secret alter-ego, Kick-Ass, and sets out to make a difference. Of course he gets beaten to a pulp. But he also catches the city's imagination. The problem is that gangster Frank (Strong) thinks he's to blame for a series of setbacks and helps his son (Mintz-Plasse) create a rival hero, Red Mist. But Frank's nemesis is actually a man (Cage) who has turned his 12-year-old daughter (Moretz) into a killing machine.
Continue reading: Kick-Ass Review
Donald Faison, I assume, was on hiatus from his steady television gig on Scrubs and needed a project to bridge the gap. He ambles his way through this laughless dud as Leo, a marijuana-addicted employee of Next Day Air who mistakenly delivers a cardboard box filled with cocaine to the inept bank robbers in apartment 302 instead of the waiting drug dealers in 303. That's a tough floor.
Continue reading: Next Day Air Review
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