Jamie Foxx delivers in ‘Soul’; Film Evokes The Importance of Purpose and Passion

Death is a raw, touchy subject, especially now more than ever.

There are zero degrees of separation when identifying someone you know or love who has been affected by the coronavirus.

Death is also typically a conversation had amongst adults, so when Kemp Powers, Mike Jones and Pete Docter decided to create an animation film about life’s finale, I was more than skeptical.

But after 100 minutes of tear-jerking, feet-tapping, life-thinking reactions, I can proclaim that “Soul” is one of the best things this crazy year has produced.

Ironically, with the many people we have lost during this global pandemic, the movie is a sweet reminder about the true meaning of life, love and finding your purpose.

Pixar finally presents its first feature film with an African American leading role. Academy Award-winner Jamie Foxx lends his voice talents for Joe Gardner, a jazz enthusiast and music teacher whose soul gets separated from his body right before the biggest gig of his life.

“Soul,” like jazz music, is beautiful, smooth and a delightful keepsake of both time and life.

“You already have a pretty fantastic life and sometimes that’s hard to see,” said “Soul” writer and director Pete Docter in a roundtable discussion hosted by the African American Film Critics Association.

Docter told me that when he’s on his death bed, he’s not going to be thinking about finishing the film on time or making sure it’s under budget, but Docter, Pixar’s chief creative officer, wants to reflect upon “family friends, and…everyday moments that I could easily take for granted.”

“I hope that people will have a gratitude for what they have.”

Out of all the undertones that resonated in “Soul,” the idea of purpose lingered at the top of the list. As Joe Gardner seeks to live for his love of jazz, we, too, crave to fulfill our destiny and walk in our purpose even though at times we seem to live aimlessly. If anything, life’s true purpose is the fuel to taking full advantage of your time here on Earth.

That is some deep stuff for a kids movie.

For the full review, please visit The New Pittsburgh Courier, Jamie Foxx delivers in ‘Soul’

Name a better comedy duo than Martin Lawrence and Will Smith. I’ll wait. ‘Bad Boys for Life’ delivers

After 17 years, Will Smith and Martin Lawrence finally grace us with the third installment of the “Bad Boys” series. The infamous Mike Lowery (Smith) and Marcus Burnett (Lawrence) are still chasing bad guys and causing trouble when an old case resurfaces in “Bad Boys for Life.”

I thought Martin Lawrence’s weight gain and Will Smith’s age were going to be a distraction. And clearly, movie makers were thinking the same thing. However, instead of covering up their flaws with great makeup and advanced technology, they made it part of the storyline. Genius!

Each “Bad Boys” installment has been consistent with the right balance of comedy, action, and drama. That’s a testament to the on-screen chemistry Smith and Lawrence have built over the years. In my opinion, there’s no better comedy duo in any film series.

WILL SMITH AND MARTIN LAWRENCE star in the new movie, “Bad Boys for Life.”

The third installment of a film series is difficult to overcome. It establishes whether a movie has longevity and success over an extended time span. A good example of how you can royally destroy a film series is “Home Alone 3” (1997). If Macaulay Culkin, who was 17 at the time, no longer fit the little kid mold, then just let it go. On the other hand, there are great movie series like “Fast and Furious” and “Friday” where the third time really was a charm.

As for “Bad Boys for Life,” it truly delivers in this latest chapter. It is a guaranteed ticket of nostalgia and good entertainment. Many of the stars from the original cast, like Joe Pantoliano and Theresa Randle, have returned, making it that much more enjoyable.

Read more at the New Pittsburgh Courier, Name a better comedy duo than Martin Lawrence and Will Smith. I’ll wait. ‘Bad Boys for Life’ delivers

New movie ‘Like A Boss’ has great chemistry between Haddish, Byrne

Tiffany Haddish and Rose Byrne are an unlikely best friend duo in the year’s first comedy, “Like A Boss.” Mel (Bryne) and Mia (Haddish) are in major debt with their cosmetic company when a makeup mogul (Salma Hayek) tries to buy them out and take over the company.

The movie overall seemed to be missing something and I can’t quite put my finger on it. I think the promotion and marketing was grand. Maybe too grand, because I thought that the movie was going to be gut-busting hilarious. In reality, “Like A Boss” gave me a couple chuckles at most. I was definitely expecting more.

Salma Hayek’s character, Claire Luna, was cliché, almost satire. Not only was the character not believable, but it put a huge damper in the storyline. It was a poor attempt at “Devil Wears Prada” (2006). The orange wig and porcelain teeth was too much.

The film’s biggest takeaway was the value of a long-lasting friendship. What seemed like a strange pair, Haddish and Bryne actually meshed well together and brought the key messaging to life. Their chemistry was evident and rubbed off as authentic. Haddish was over the top and loud, while Bryne was bland and reserved. The pair was an out-of-the-box balance.

A small piece of Pittsburgh was in “Like A Boss.” Pittsburgh native Billy Porter plays Mia and Mel’s spicy production assistant, Barrett. He was wonderful. The “Kinky Boots” star almost played himself—bubbly, zesty, and quick-witted.

Read more at the New Pittsburgh Courier, New movie ‘Like A Boss’ has great chemistry between Haddish, Byrne

Imagery is Everything in ‘A Wrinkle in Time’ (March 14)

African Americans in film are having the best year ever! We are barely over 70 days into 2018 and “Black Panther” tops the box office for the fourth week in a row ($41.1 million), and right behind it this past weekend is another Disney movie, “A Wrinkle in Time” ($33.3 million).

Directed by a Black woman, Ava Duvernay, “A Wrinkle in Time” is based on a 1962 novel about a sibling duo who searches through space and time for their missing father. The film stars Oprah Winfrey, Chris Pine, Reese Witherspoon, Mindy Kaling, and newcomer Storm Reid.

Although Oprah did sprinkle massive amounts of the greatness in this film, it was 14-year-old Reid who stole the show. Reid, who had a small role in “12 Years a Slave,” plays main character and big sister, Meg Murray. She is amazing, filling really big shoes with a small amount of effort. Her role is very important for little Black girls. It changes the imagery of what it means to be a young Black student.

Source: New Pittsburgh Courier, Imagery is Everything in ‘A Wrinkle in Time’ (March 14)

Blog at WordPress.com.

Up ↑