Saturday, August 16, 2014

Get on Up

Plot: Get on Up is a bio-pic about the R&B singer James Brown (Chadwick Boseman) -- it starts with his lonely, poor childhood, his struggling early career, the early hits, and then the pitiful, wash-up, egotistical, old man. [imdb]    [photos]

Review: James Brown's story is told in a powerful way with many times-out for funky R&B. The music has its hits and misses. The best songs are great, and some seem dated and sleepy. 

Chadwick Boseman is the center of the action as his character is on screen continuously either singing or acting. He handles the lip-syncing flawlessly -- no doubt helped by flawless editing. 

James Brown is shown as a larger-than-life music and business genius who does not seem to owe his success to anyone. It would have been interesting to see who his musical influences were. Brown has passions and genius, but he seems too monomaniacal to be realistic. 

The supporting performances by Nelsan Ellis and Viola Davis helped carry the dramatic scenes, and the dramatic scenes are the binding glue to keep us interested. It would have been nice to see the relationships with women played out more -- aside from just abusing or ignoring them.

Highlights were the early childhood scenes which edged on being "poverty porn," as well as the faster songs. Lows were the photography which was not so artistic, the old-age make-up which was distractedly bad, and the music toward the end of the movie -- which dragged on.

Cast: Chadwich Boseman, Nelsan Ellis, Dan Aykroyd, Viola Davis, Jamarion & Jordan Scott as young James.

Directed by: Tate Taylor

Rating: 2.5 - stars: often fun to watch, but it had its dull parts too. Seemed stale -- too much like other musical bio-pics.  Chadwich Boseman was great though. 

More of the Real James Brown: