Get on Up (2014) Movie Review

Director: Tate Taylor

Writer: Jez Butterworth, John-Henry Butterworth (Screenplay) Steven Baigelman, Jez Butterworth, John-Henry Butterworth (Story)

Starring: Chadwick Boseman, Nelsan Ellis, Dan Aykroyd, Viola Davis, Lennie James, Fred Melamed, Craig Robinson, Jill Scott, Octavia Spencer

Plot: A chronicle of James Brown‘s rise from extreme poverty to become one of the most influential musicians in history.


Tagline – The Funk don’t Quit

Runtime: 2 Hours 19 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Strong Performances

Story: Get on Up starts as we see James Brown (Boseman) in different stages of his life, the older famous one, the time he was just starting up and his childhood, where he was raised by his mother Susie (Davis) in a remote cabin in the woods, before his aggressive father Joe (James) returns, once James gets out of his cabin, he makes a good living, before ending up in prison for stealing a suit.

We see the rise of James Brown, with his push to always be seen the biggest name on the show and how his genius for music made him an icon, even if his personal life shows a much darker side to his way of thinking in life.

Thoughts on Get on Up

Characters – James Brown is one of the most influential musicians of the last century, there is no doubt what he did will live on forever. We get to see how James started with nothing, in an abusive childhood with no education, before learning to take the chances thrown his way, trying to make a difference to the world in the spotlight, even if he doesn’t always keep the crowd around him, not always as loyal as he should be. This doesn’t make James look like the most integral person behind the spotlight. Bobby Byrd is the man that gave James a chance to get out of prison, to start something with his singing in gospel, he will stand by James through all the troubles he faces, the bands he goes through, knowing James is the main talent and just being part of this would make him remembered. Ben Bart makes everything happen for James, he tries to help him navigate difficult moments in history, but will help him make the right choices which sees the friendship grow as the success does. Susie is the mother of James, she is forced to leave because of her partner and once he becomes famous wants to come back into his life, while James isn’t willing to let this happen.

PerformancesChadwick Boseman is fantastic in the leading role, he shows that his biopic man, he can bring James Brown to life on stage and in his personal life with ease. Nelsan Ellis is great in his role, showing us that he could provide excellent supporting performances in the film. Dan Aykroyd is strong too, with Viola Davis making a big impact in her scenes in the film.

StoryThe story here follows the life of James Brown, from his poverty like childhood, to his international success in the music industry, we see his ideas on wanting to make a change and just what it will do to the people that helped him get to the top. One of the biggest weaknesses in the film here comes from the early time jumps, we are constantly jumping between moments, which doesn’t help the story telling process. This story also doesn’t paint James as a nice person away from the spotlight, even if he was always trying to achieve something more from his career. The story does try to ram too much into the film, which does make it hard to understand each moment of his life.

Biopic/MusicThis does show a lot of his life, it doesn’t help us get invested in just how much of an impact each moment was. The music can’t be questioned with his hits playing through the film with every beat we know.

SettingsThe film creates some of the biggest stages of James career, never looking like we aren’t in the correct time period.


Scene of the Movie – The performances.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – The time jumps.

Final Thoughts This is a by the book biopic, it has wonderful performances and the music you would expect to see, though we do cram too much in for everything to run smoothly.

Overall: By the Books Biopic.

ABC Film Challenge – Sci-Fi – E – Europa Report (2013)

Director: Sebastian Cordero

Writer: Philip Gelatt (Screenplay)

Starring: Daniel Wu, Sharlto Copley, Christian Camargo, Karolina Wydra, Michael Nyqvist, Anamaria Marinca, Embeth Davidtz

 

Plot: An international crew of astronauts undertakes a privately funded mission to search for life on Jupiter’s fourth largest moon.


Tagline – Fear. Sacrifice. Contact.

Runtime: 1 Hour 30 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Smart Idea of Found Footage

 

Story: Europa Report starts as we meet the international crew William Xu (Wu), James Corrigan (Copley), Daniel (Camargo), Katya (Wydra), Andrei (Nyqvist) and Rosa (Marinca) who have been selected for mission to Europa, the fourth largest moon of Jupiter, one that has been studied to be considered in real life as a location to visit, because of its liquid surface.

Dr Under (Davidtz) is reporting on what was discovered on the recording upon the spacecraft, which saw it go off the radar unexpectedly.

 

Thoughts on Europa Report

 

Characters – We need to look at the whole crew as one unit here, William, James, Daniel, Katya, Andrei and Rosa, they have come from different countries, to be part of this big mission, we do have level headed members of the team, which does take away any sort of individual characteristics to make them feel real. The crew all know how big this moment will be and will discuss the problems they come to face on it.

PerformancesThe cast does have some well-known names including Michael Nyqvist and Sharlto Copley who along with the rest of the cast do make use believe the mission we are following, nobody is over acting or being a hero, they are grounded scientist.

StoryThe story here is one of the most interesting ideas for a found footage film that I have seen, the idea follows a space mission to Europa one of the moons of Jupiter, but something goes wrong and we are watching the recordings. Now. Firstly, I want to point out that the idea of travelling to Europa has been one the scientific community has been talking about for years, every piece of information about the moon in correct (for the time of the film being made), this is what makes this such a fascinating story. the problem with this story comes from the fact that we know it is a found footage story, so you can guess how this all pans out. I did like how we were presented this story like a documentary of the events being revisited though.

Mystery/Sci-FiThe mystery in this film comes from the ideas of what could be found on Europa, what the crew might have found and what happened to the crew. The sci-fi side plays hand in hand with this as we go into space to search for a potential new home.

SettingsThe film is set mostly inside the spacecraft which sees the science being discussed, it shows the beauty of space and how the crew must have full trust in each other.

Special EffectsThe effects are part of the weaker point of the film, they don’t look as flawless as other space based movies.


Scene of the Movie –
The final footage.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The clichés the film falls into in the end.

Final ThoughtsThis is an enjoyable sci-fi mystery, it uses the real idea of a space mission to add the horrors of what could happen if things went wrong and answers are required.

 

Overall: Smart, interesting sci-fi found footage film.

Rating