Wednesday, 27 August 2014
JAMIE FOXX Feature-THE IMPRESSIONIST
By TIM DAVID HARVEY
Everybody is laughing loudly! The jokes on the champ as this actor/singer shows he's the king of the comedy ring, knocking out the rib breaking high notes whilst playing the fool. Then we hear that famous lisp speak; "hey c'mon Jamie. Look I heard your jokes! I heard you talking shit". Except that isn't the pitbull punching proud Mike Tyson, but the testament to Richard Pryor and Red Foxx humour Jamie Foxx himself. A joke about the last time he ran into the heavyweight champ after the last time he impersonated him for some inspired gag reels. Think his influential imitation was spot on? Well seconds out for the next round that's going to go beyond and really make an impression. Recentely the former heavyweight champion of the world Mr. Iron Mike Tyson told press what some people years ago wouldn't have believed like the end of a LL Cool J/Foxx feud on 'Any Given Sunday'. "Jamie Foxx is going to play me" a hoard of dictophones taped for the record as cameras flashed like this was the champs next big fight to catch everybody's ears. Evander's safe though as after his raw and revealing autobiography, Tyson is penning someone else to tell his controversial but compelling life story. Now after all the impressions and biopics and some age defying C.G.I. to go with that forever young muscle (Foxx is only two grades younger than Mike) who else to pull this out the box than Foxx? Another one bites the dust.
This chameleon character who can win as many Oscars as Grammy's is truly 'Unpredictable' from music to movies and forget about being right there, or even above the poster boy Will Smith and legend Denzel Washington as best among African-American actors. In this modern day Hollywood he is one of the all-round and time best and most underrated, hardest working actors in the industry today. Most A-Listers would pray for his catalogues spare change that you can find with the classic offers on films like 'Law Abiding Citizen' and 'The Kingdom'. This is an Oscar nominated and victorious gold standard actor who showed he was more than a chauffer for megastar of the golden era Tom Cruise in the cab classic 'Collateral'. Arguably the only leading man better is our generations truest thespian Leonardo DiCaprio and these boys are about to duke it out and draw for another big picture. I mean this is Quentin Tarantino's 'Django Unchained' that we can only pray is in 'The Hateful Eight' for the good Lord's sake. This is the man who if you didn't dismissively think was not doing enough even electrified New York City and the neon entertainment core of the world Times Square for 'The Amazing Spider-Man' sequel like a member of the Blue Man group off Broadway. Showing like Dane DeHaan and the Sinister Six that true movie super power doesn't always lie with the heroes, even though Marvel did want him as Luke Cage back in the pre-Terry Crews day. Now about to play an anti one this man is about to flip both sides of the black history coin. It will get controversial with Tyson, but this pull no punches performance will send all this criticism to the canvas. Right before he takes the belt and then earns himself a seat next to the best set in stone as he moves towards what could be the making of his magnificent movie-scope yet. Some dreams just come true. Again and again over the years and Jamie Foxx may as well get another big speech ready as he's about to play one of the most iconic heroes in world history, in civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King Jnr.
In clinching one of the most sought-after roles in Hollywood, Foxx is about to make history for what could be his most captivating cinematic moment in his phone directory heavy, catalogue career (his cell is only going to keep ringing too). Much like Washington playing Malcolm X or anyone playing president. Even if Will Smith is lined up for Obama (its only fair after Foxx took Django while Smith was filming 'Men In Black 3'), here is a man that's already played the first fictional president under the protection of Channing Tatum for 'White House Down', an underrated throwback to the 90's big blockbuster that went a step wrong coming after 'Olympus Has Fallen'. Some just need to read the Channing all over your Tatum t-shirt, 'Go Jamie Foxx Yourself'. Oliver Stone's MLK picture may have been unfairly turned down but if Foxx is still set to climb the mountain this great man did this will make and mark for his careers greatest moment of significance and testament. From the love inspired by Dr. King to the hate Iron Mike received its quite the parallels and divergent paths for a man on the road to one of the most epic and eclectic filmography's these Hollywood Hills have ever seen. Man this is going to be something. A thread that most big name and game actors would be cautious to pull, but not the fearless Foxx. The only man that can do this is the one who has dead on, dead-pan imitated everyone from Bill Cosby to Luther Vandross to his own flattery. A man whose career the old and young greats from Morgan Freeman to Anthony Mackie wish they could have just a peek of a scene of. This mans art is impressionism. Just check the his career canvas.
The man that started his career live 'In Living Colour' made raw comedy leaving people as delirious as Eddie Murphy, before digging for musical Grammy gold with the likes of Kanye West. Blame it on the alcohol but this man is drunk off a desire to work his hardest at his craft through the night to a hangover. Still its the perfect portrayals of real life men in the characters he's captured that have truly made him iconic and are about to make his legacy that more legendary. Playing a real man of history is a dedication different than just playing a character. After playing a fictional NFL player in 'Any Given Sunday' for arguably his first big, leading picture, this man scored a touchdown with something that could have convinced as a portrayal of a real famous player. Foxx's sports world got as real as Freddie a few years later as he starred in Michael Mann's epic take on the greatest sportsmen and showmen of all time 'Ali'. Will Smith's definitive but unfairly critically dismissed performance as Muhammed Ali should have taken the Oscar gold it was nominated for, no matter how good Denzel Washington was in 'Training Day'. Still as greatest of all time that performance was, the Fresh Prince's old friend Jamie was in his corner as Drew Bundini Brown. It doesn't get much better than this for some ringside experience for Tyson with Foxx's first biopic take on a figure from the public eye...although a little to the right. From contagious charisma to alcohol addiction Foxx showed the red and blue corner of this mans own fight and the entertainer showed the world he was a real actor from the unmade day of a man dealing with waking up to a drunk depression. Acting like this paved the way like a well looked after back yard for the likes of Nick Cannon in 'Bobby' and rapper Common in every other film in 2010. Still as Chicago's finest M.C. rapped, "they couldn't tell it was me like Jamie in Ray", he Kanye and John Mayer before recording 'Go' off his classic 'Be' saw Jamie greatest portrait of singer Ray Charles. After Mann confinded in Foxx again for his cab drive 'Collateral', Foxx earned a 'Best Supporting Actor' Oscar nomination he should have won, making history as one of the only three to win both. History like his Barbra Streisand company of both Oscar and Grammy trophy cases. He did get an Oscar however for 'Ray' and with his sound a like and eye prosthetic look a like, perfect performance this is a brilliant biopic benchmark and until his Martin has a dream his greatest moment on silver screen.
Still in that same year of 2004 (his Oscar winning and career making year of 'Collateral', 'Ray' and 'Redemption' is a lot like Matthew McConaughey's one this 2014 of 'Dallas Buyers Club', 'True Detective' and his 'The Wolf Of Wall Street' stealing cameo) another nomination should have came for 'Redemption: the Stanley Tookie Story' as Foxx portrayed the noble peace prize nominated former Crip gang founder and leader to wide acclaim for a story as moving as the subjects anti-gang childrens books. Compelling catharsis, once again the true nature of Foxx's character itself captivated. Just like with 'Ray', Jamie communicated his time with the real man to bring his real deal character to life. So much so the pair became close friends. More disheartening than the fact that some in the mainstream dismissed this revolutionary movie was that Tookie himself was not pardoned from a tragic death row execution. Jamie was one of Stanley's last phone calls and as moving this is those in power should have made mountains for a man that showed more than just remorse and recovery. A cruel turn of fate saw Stanley executed no more than a year after the films release on December 13th, 2005, Jamie Foxx's birthday. Redemption may have not been given to this man from the state but this film and more importantly his inspiring story will live on from the justice of Jamie. Some 'Stealth' a 'Jarhead', a legendary fictional character from the hot-slick 'Miami Vice' remake reboot (also with Mann) followed, as did 'Dreamgirls' singing from the same playbook sheet as 'Sunday' , showed Foxx could step in the name of Motown as well as carry its tune alongside Beyonce's Dina Ross like diva. Still things got real supreme when he played a different instrument for 'The Soloist'. Just like with 'Redemption' this was another all too real life account that shows the proof this man can deal with crafting the controversy of Tyson. Playing Nathanial Ayers the homeless, schizophrenic cello player who went from New York's Julliard to skid row, Foxx delved even deeper and darker but brought some light and joy too, to a bittersweet tale. Pointing west to the story wrote by the Los Angeles Times journalist, Steve Lopez who re-discovered him (played diligently by the charismatic but also concentrated Robert Downey Jnr (who Foxx reunited for on 'Due Date' showing if Don Cheadle ever leaves the 'Iron Man' side like Terrence Howard he could play the War Machine Rhodes)) Foxx played both cello and cellist as beautifully as he did poignantly. Not only did he capture the look, he was also mindful to the issues of the oft-ignored problems of mental illness years before 'Silver Linings Playbook' won over an Academy. Forget a nomination, that should have been Oscar number two. Then again maybe that will be saved for Michael or Martin...or even Marvin because this singer could play anybody and that's no joke. He's even remaking 'Annie' with Jay-Z. No matter the hard knock life this man will take it on inbetween hilarious 'Rio' and 'Horrible Bosses' sequels like a motherf*****! When sticking to the script of others Jamie Foxx acts like he's wearing a mask, but still what makes him, him shines through and through and that is no disguise. Now hows that for an impression?