Total Pageviews

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Get On Up

did james brown really hold up with a gun in Georgia bathroom
Can a brand new bag of tricks reinvent the rock biopic?

In his follow-up to the Academy Award-nominated blockbuster The Help, director Tate Taylor aims to defy the rocker bio-pic cliché formula with the story of James Brown. It’s a good bet; “The Hardest Working Man In Show Business” defied the music business norm for six decades.

The choices made to break out of the rise-to and fall-from stardom movie cliché ultimately affect what’s both good and bad about Get On Up.

To create energy, Tate utilized non-linear storytelling — to a fault. In the first few minutes of the film, we dash across three decades of James’ life to witness some oddly cartoonish versions of Brown’s rural childhood, visit to Vietnam and 1988 meltdown. And yikes, as a crutch, the film shows the current year on the screen in a bold font so that we can follow this madness.

However, once the story kicks in, the flashbacks are simplified and the parody performance yields to a positively electric one by Chadwick Boseman (42).

Everything starts to go right once Boseman hits the stage as Brown. Although recent biopics have had original voices, director Tate had Boseman lip-synch to the real recordings. It’s this offbeat choice that fuels the film with the funky energy of the Godfather of Soul.

Tate did the unthinkable and gave us film versions of iconic performances. Like that famous night at the Apollo, the performance after MLK’s death and the 1971 Paris concert. I felt like I was there.

Boseman is a funktastic James Brown. It’s a riveting interpretation that becomes a riveting film.

Simply put: This film doesn’t explore why James Brown was important, but it does makes you feel like you were there for everything that happened.

Award potential: You can feel good that Boseman will be considered around Oscar time. It’s as good or better than Jamie Foxx’s Ray. He, Viola Davis, Nelsan Ellis and this film will have an easier time scoring Golden Globe nods in the Comedy/Music category. Dan Aykroyd delivers another flaccid performance.

The ten buck review: Worth ten bucks.

No comments:

Post a Comment