Chadwick Boseman just can’t find a solid prestige picture

Marshall PosterPoor Chadwick Boseman. First he played Jackie Robinson. Then he portrayed James Brown. Now he’s NAACP lawyer Thurgood Marshall. This is the third prominent figure of 20th Century African American history he’s gotten the chance to play. And yet in each case, the movie he’s stuck in is a bland, insipid and worst of all whitewashed prestige picture.

Apparently Thurgood Marshall’s crowning achievement worthy of a biopic isn’t a story of how he became a lawyer or the racism he faced in his career. Reginald Hudlin’s “Marshall” cluelessly focuses on the one story in which Marshall is forced to be silent and cede his courtroom victory were it not for the one white man who stood up to save the day. Continue reading “Marshall”

Beauty and the Beast

Bill Condon’s live action remake of Disney’s animated classic is recreated with true loving care

BeautyandtheBeastPosterBravo Disney! Take a bow. If you’re going to make a shameless, expensive remake of one of your all time classic animated films, do it as well as this new “Beauty and the Beast.” Make it as explosively colorful, graceful and charming as Bill Condon’s film.

The new “Beauty and the Beast” lovingly and painstakingly recreates the original as though it were a shot for shot fan video. That may sound like a step down from the animated film’s originality, but Condon devotes such loving care that it’s not hard to get caught up in the magic. Continue reading “Beauty and the Beast”


“Jobs” reduces Steve Jobs’s visionary ideas to melodramatic monologues and Apple’s greatest hits.

Steve Jobs was an inventor, innovator and artist, but he was a businessman, and he sold and marketed computers for a living. He was not a filmmaker, painter, sculptor, musician or anything of the sort, and yet people would not bat an eye at calling him the Michelangelo or the Picasso of our day. The biopic “Jobs” is set only on portraying him as that mad genius. It replaces what he stood for with glossy eyed monologues and his backstory with Apple’s greatest hits.

Jobs (Ashton Kutcher) as seen here was a tyrant, a brilliant tyrant who demanded perfection and dreamed up the non-existent but was held back by the investors who didn’t applaud him, the shareholders and board members who ousted him and the team members who didn’t share his lofty ambitions. He hastily fired those who disagreed with him, neglected his friends like Steve Wozniak (Josh Gad) who helped him build Apple in his parents’ basement and infuriated the people like Mike Markkula (Dermot Mulroney) who showed up on his doorstep one day and bankrolled his visionary ideas.

Joshua Michael Stern’s film acknowledges that Jobs was a controversial figure, even an asshole when it came to management, but it never doubts that he was a mastermind. It begins with Jobs introducing the iPod to his staff. Lens flares abound, an orchestra swells, and at the mention of having created a music player, the room bursts into applause. Continue reading “Jobs”