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So as you know, I stopped writing lengthy reviews on this site this year, keeping the blog as more of a film diary of sorts.  Lo and behold,...

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Movie Review - Get on Up

Get on Up (2014)
Starring Chadwick Boseman, Nelsan Ellis, Dan Aykroyd, Viola Davis, Craig Robinson, Jill Scott, and Octavia Spencer
Directed by Tate Taylor

Unfortunately, I can't say much good about director Tate Taylor's James Brown biopic Get On Up and that's mainly because I found his direction of the piece to prove laughable at times and the time jumping of the script to be more annoying than emotionally impacting.  While Chadwick Boseman does a pretty good impression of the famous singer (his dancing and lip synching are really top notch), he fails to bring any resonance to Brown's numerous plights.  In the end, that's really not the fault of Boseman and more on the script and director, both of which aid in devolving the movie to sitcom-like scenes and atmosphere at times.

Rather than follow a linear path, Get On Up jumps back and forth in time in an attempt to prove Brown's adult life was shaped by his childhood, but never once does the early life of Brown create any impact on the grown man and his story.  Taylor attempts this technique multiple times, but it never works and instead reeks of desperation in terms of the writers and director.  In addition,  decisions have been made to have Brown speak and look directly to the camera at times, breaking the fourth wall.  This endeavor to be cool falls flat on its face and feels cheap rather than clever.

James Brown certainly came from nothing to achieve admirable success, but Get On Up doesn't really give the man the proper send-off he deserves.  I give the flick credit for deciding to show the later years in which Brown went off the deep end into a bit of a crazed life, but it's too little too late (and the make-up on Boseman at this stage in the film is horribly rendered).  As mentioned, the sole reason to watch is for Chadwick Boseman who really does nail the performance aspect of the piece with Brown's gyrating and iconic dance moves really coming to life during the reenactments of his stage performances.  Unfortunately, the movie crafted around these moments is pretty abysmal and full of the typical biopic movie clichés.

The RyMickey Rating:  D

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