MOVIE REVIEW: IDLEWILD
Last night I took the plunge and braved the "urban" theater to venture out to see Idlewild (see Random Rant: Idlewild post). I will say early on in this post that I'm glad I did.
Set in the 1930's, Idlewild is the story of two childhood best friends, Rooster (Antwan "Big Boi" Patton), married father, slick-talking, tough, womanizing, speakeasy performer at a club called "The Church" and Percival (Andre "3000" Benjamin) the sheltered, shy son of a mortician (Ben Vereen). Percival's dad is determined to keep his son under his wing, but Percival's first love is music. He acts out that fantasy by playing piano at The Church in the evenings. The Church is owned and operated by Ace (Faizon Love) and the strong arm of the Church's operation is Spats (Ving Rhames) and his associate Trumpy (Terrence Howard). One night while Rooster is stuck in the back seat of a car after having relations with Ace's main girl Rose (Paula Jai Parker), he witnesses the murder of Spats and Ace at the hands of Trumpy. Since Rooster would be next in line to take over Spats' business ventures, Trumpy extorts and blackmails him. Now here is where we insert the love story...no movie would be complete without one. Percival falls for the mysterious Angel Davenport (the breathtaking Paula Patton). She is hired by Ace to perform at the Church. Percival and Angel have an immediate attraction for one another. She encourages him to pursue his dream of becoming a musician, he encourages her to conquer her stage fright. Together they take the town of Idlewild by storm, edging out popular songstress Taffy (Macy Gray). As their love for one another grows, the tension between Trumpy's crew and Rooster continues to brew. Angel receives a telegram offering her a singing gig in Chicago and encourages Percival to join her. Will he join her? No more spoiler's from me y'all!
I will stop here with details from the movie because many have not yet seen this movie and I don't want to give away any more details. I understand there are raging debates over this film. I for one absolutely ENJOYED this movie. For a first-time writer and director (Bryan Barber), I thought he did an amazing job. Some of the plot was predictable at times but it is that way for tons of movies so I will not judge it based on that fact. The cinematography and choreography were stellar. I loved the use of animated characters to detract from the dark details of the film but be advised that this movie is not for children. The costumes were top-notch, award-worthy even. I felt that most of the actors did a fantastic job with the exception of Faizon Love, why people keep casting this guy in movies is beyond me because he is totally not funny. It would have been nice to see Bruce Bruce in the role of Ace IMO. Macy Gray is a great character actress, she may have a better chance at acting than a singing career at this point. Both Andre 3000 and Big Boi gave great performances. I never would have thought Big Boi could pull of being the lead in a film but he proved me wrong. Terrence Howard is always great, never a dull moment from him, and boy is he a treat for the eyes! And so is Ms. Paula Patton, the woman is absolutely gorgeous! The cameos from legends Patti LaBelle, Ben Vereen, and Cicely Tyson were terrific as well.
Overall I think Idlewild is a great movie. Not a perfect movie, but still a great film in my eyes. This movie was simply to entertain, I don't think it was made to look that deeply into. A lot of people are complaining about the use of rap in the score...well in the jazz era we did rap...we just didn't call it that. Some refer to it as "call and response". Rap has always been around, it just wasn't considered a true art form until the late 1970's. Cab Calloway, James Brown, Gil Scott-Heron and a few others had been doing a form of rapping in their music way before it had an actual name. In a perfect world I would love to see Idlewild get some form of recognition at this year's Grammy or Oscar awards but I'd been shocked if that were to happen. I can see this film becoming a classic film many years later such as The Cotton Club or The Wiz. Both films were dismissed as garbage upon initial release but are now looked at as classic films. BTW, I LOVED both The Wiz and The Cotton Club.
VERDICT: 4 Soul Claps
Labels: Movie Reviews