Favorite

**1/2

Chadwick Boseman, utterly convincing as baseball legend Jackie Robinson in 42, now wallops another home run with his work as music legend James Brown in the biopic Get On Up. In fact, Boseman is so formidable that, were the film itself just a bit better, he would eventually be basking in the same sort of year-end accolades that greeted Jamie Foxx as Ray Charles and Joaquin Phoenix as Johnny Cash. Who knows, he may yet.

At any rate, Boseman is the reason to see Get On Up, a movie that retains just enough of the controversial parts of Brown's life in an effort to convince audiences that they're watching a truthful, warts-and-all examination. In actuality, the movie is the screen equivalent of a slap on the wrist, rightly extolling the man's musical genius but wrongly sweeping his demons under the rug. Perhaps mindful that Brown's fanbase dwindled after he announced he was supporting Richard Nixon for president (a pair of facts not mentioned in the film), director Tate Taylor (The Help) and his trio of writers wanted to avoid a similar exodus and therefore cast their movie to the widest possible audience - packed auditoriums of folks desiring to hear good music but preferring to not be bothered with such pesky matters as domestic violence and drug abuse (both severely downplayed in the picture).

Then there's the film's tendency to present events out of chronological order, a structural decision that in this case proves more annoying than illuminating.

Still, Boseman and Nelsan Ellis (as Bobby Byrd, Brown's put-upon friend and partner) keep us engaged even when the storyline doesn't, and Taylor does a good job of recreating historical moments like Brown stealing The Rolling Stones' thunder at the T.A.M.I. Show and performing a concert immediately after the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King.

In the end, Get On Up is the sort of standard musical biopic (like Clint Eastwood's recent Jersey Boys) that will soon fade from memory even as its soundtrack CD briskly climbs up the charts.

Favorite

More by Matt Brunson

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Latest in Film Reviews

  • Review: The Happytime Murders
  • Review: The Happytime Murders

    If watching felt characters get felt up sounds like a winning proposition, The Happytime Murders might just be the ticket.
    • Sep 4, 2018
  • Review: Crazy Rich Asians
  • Review: Crazy Rich Asians

    This is finance porn raised to an absurd level, which actually plays into the film’s general view that life’s a party and everyone should be invited.
    • Aug 21, 2018
  • Review: Christopher Robin
  • Review: Christopher Robin

    Ever the perpetual money machine, Disney is stumbling over itself in its attempts to make new versions of seemingly every property it has ever owned.
    • Aug 7, 2018
  • More »

Movies This Week

More Filmtimes

or

Right Now On: Twitter | Facebook

Copyright © 2018, Connect Savannah. All Rights Reserved.
Website powered by Foundation