Thursday, 27 November 2014



Funk Me!

139 Minutes. Starring: Chadwick Boseman, Nelsan Ellis, Dan Aykroyd, Lennie James, Craig Robinson, Jill Scott, Aloe Blacc, Viola Davis & Octavia Spencer. Director: Tate Taylor.

Get the funk up on this! They say this is a mans world, but right now it would be nothing, NOTHING without a Chadwick Boseman. After knocking it out the park, playing Brooklyn Dodgers legend and first professional, African-American baseball player Jackie Robinson in '42' this kid has made history. Now he's standing next to the likes of Robert Downey Jnr and Chris Evans and receiving scripts from Marvel, as he's beaten out the legendary likes of Denzel Washington to play the 'Black Panther' in his own movie and the highly anticipated Iron Man and Steve Rodgers face off in 'Captain America-Civil War'. The talented Anthony Mackie and his Falcon better watch out! There's a new soaring talent, swooping into town. Academy Award acclaimed Jamie Foxx be warned too. The impressionist star of 'Ali', 'Ray' and 'Redemption' may be rumoured to play everyone from Martin Luther King Jnr to Mike Tyson, but there's a new heavy hitter, biopic king in the ring ready to make that Oscar speech. He should have made the Academy home-run, purely off the one scene where he shows "the guts not to fight back" and breaks down along with a bat in a tunnel after hearing the worst racial abuse you've seen since '12 Years A Slave'. Still maybe its his time on the stage now with a biopic that walks the line with the Johnny Cash and Ray Charles ones, besting them all, even Clint Eastwood's 'Jersey Boys' this year. Papas got a brand new bag...and boy you're going to love it.

Chadwick Boseman is James Brown. No, really! Brown...James Brown! You see Brown, not the actor Boseman. Talking to the camera like 'The Wolf Of Wall Street', from the hair sprayed, legendary fade to the footwork of a funk genius. All the way to those screaming splits. Its a shame too, because you should really see just how great an actor this kid himself really is, if you weren't so distracted by how Jamie in 'Ray' uncanny it really is. Dynamite, superbad this performance is explosive. The walk, the talk, the dancing, the singing. It's all down like it was in this boys nature. He performs on stage in concert with this guys portrayal so well they may even give this guy an album deal like Terrence Howard's 'Hustle & Flow'. At least let Matthew McConaughey give him the 2015 Oscar. What did the 'Dallas Buyers Club' star say in his speech? "I didn't see a false note anywhere". Well alright, alright, alright! In harmony with the Godfather of Soul and mastering melody of chameleonic characterization, this is the best success since James Brown changed the face and feel of music. Chadwick even struggles and ages with him, through the unforgiving years and tears perfectly for a complete performance of a complex character. Every move, mannerism is to the set-list of this stats life script. From the explosive, epic Vietnam performance in the beginning (as a matter of fact the first act musical/action opening builds like a Sam Cooke/Will Smith crescendo for Michael Mann's classic and timelessly inspiring 'Ali') to his old hobbled swagger of age and out with the old school defiance, this man Boseman is responsible for making sure nothing can kill the funk. In another great year of movies after last years Oscar party there is no performance from this year more alive than this. Brad Pitt in 'Fury'? Jake Gyllenhaal in 'Nightcrawler'? Matthew McConaughey in 'Interstellar'? Just like Michael B. Jordan sitting next to all the top actors in a Hollywood roundtable for his 'Fruitvale Station' portrayal, Chadwick claims his place. Grounding every out of this world film with this years 'Gravity'.

With 'The Help' of Tate Taylor-a director no stranger to the Academy-this film and performance is a classic by any funk or film number. And by bringing some of his 'Help' stars into this music mix he has his own Lee Daniels 'The Butler' moment for a film that surely, cruelly shouldn't miss February too. After mothering Michael Jordan in 'Fruitvale Station', Octavia Spencer is on helpful hand and formidable form here as a guardian figure. Even in limited screen time she shines. Just like the always incredible Viola Davis, who as Brown's mother tormented by abuse and the alcohol she tries to wash it all down with, gives us a soulful, tortured performance. Again even with the spare change of an almost two and a half hour film she makes a play for the nomination. There's a complex cast of big names and unsung heroes here all making their notes from television to music. Even new Bernie Mac funny man Craig Robinson joins the band and shows more than his funny-side. Whilst from the 'Famous Flames' to the burn outs there is so much fire in this hot mess and mix. 'The Walking Deads' Lennie James is perfect as the opposite of that in character comes as a half-dead, neglectful father. But if the Oscar doesn't go to James Brown then it certainly should go to 'True Bloods' Nelsan Ellis as Bobby Byrd. A man and actor who defines the work 'Best Supporting' even when the lead defies. Ellis who has been making standout performances in musical biopics for years (see Jamie Foxx (again) in 'The Soloist') is two notes away from his own lead movie and spotlight moment. This picture of perfect portrayal truly has it all. Even adding the Godmother of modern day neo-soul Jill Scott to the matrimony side of the funk legend. Hey, even new soul star of the moment Aloe Blacc gets more of that dollar he's been needing. And if you need another legend, how about a real 'Blues Brother'? As Dan Aykroyd is as perfect here as the day he donned that suit, shades and hat. If that's not enough for you to rock and roll with then shine a light! Only Mick Jagger helped produce a movie about the papa that was already a Rolling Stone years before this kid would be loved by everyone, even those that hate the Beatles, whilst having magazines named after him. Still amongst all these big names and even the Godfather himself, the cover star here is Chadwick Boseman and heading towards his own trilogy this don is the man. The 'Black Panther' who changed the face of sport and music. For this man and his world it all feels so good. OWWWW! TIM DAVID HARVEY.

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