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“Get On Up” – Review (POSITIVE)

August 3, 2014

Screen shot 2014-08-03 at 9.54.03 AMTate Taylor is not my favorite director, he can cast a movie well, but his films just come off as generic, bland, Oscar bait wannabe films. So, it was nice to see him stretch it out just a tad with his biopic about the great James Brown. The movie does follow many musical biopic tropes, and then it takes the time to break them, literally. However, the real reason people are going to see this movie is for Chadwick Boseman’s hypnotic performance as the Godfather of Soul.

Boseman is a rising star, after his success in 2013’s “42”, I could see the skies the limit for this gent; he truly is a great actor. There’s something about him, there’s almost this old Hollywood charm hidden inside of him, I can’t quite place it, but the appeal is apparent. Much like how Jamie Foxx portrayed Ray Charles, Boseman literally disappears inside James Brown, all I saw for the (near) two and half hour runtime was Brown, NOT Boseman.

The movie takes a few liberties to paint Brown in a not so kind light, and that’s good because the man himself was sometimes hailed as a sonofabitch, that is if you really didn’t know the man, or was apart of his inner circle. It’s been said in the past that Brown had major trust issues, whether you work at a record label or you’re apart of his band, and how the movie shows this almost justifies this behavior, but not to a full extent.

The best moments are when Boseman’s Brown breaks the fourth wall, defending his attitude, his choices, and his general point of existing. The real James Brown, I feel, would do something like that, he had this I don’t give a fuck kind of way of doing thing. It’s either HIS way, or no way.

Problem is, Tate Taylor does push the movie to go into these “The Help”-style territories, and that’s when the bland pacing falls into place, not for long thank goodness, but it’s simply a reminder that this is a Tate Taylor film, and we should not forget it, why? OSCAR BAIT!!!

Screen shot 2014-08-03 at 9.54.27 AMThough I make an exception for Chadwick Boseman, I see him being a frontrunner so for this year for the Best Actor nomination, probably not a win, but I’d like to see him nominated. I’m still a little irked that he was passed up on a nomination for “42”. And hey, Dan Aykroyd is in this movie too, as James’ long time manager. Aykroyd and Boseman are a great pairing in this film and bring us some of the best dialogue driven scenes in the film.

“Get on Up” has a groovin’ soundtrack, that will surly make you toe tap the entire time you’re in the theater, the films dynamic range of bizarre tempos and scene transitions will definitely make the film an interesting watch, when it’s not playing the generic biopic moments. You know how they say that editing makes the movie? The editor seems to be having a good time here.

GRADE: B+

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