Archives for posts with tag: Viola Davis

Back in 2005, when there was more of a distinction between theater movies and TV movies, longtime television star and second-tier cinematic leading man Tom Selleck began TV movie franchise based on Robert B. Parker’s detective novels. Although formulaic, “Jesse Stone: Stone Cold” benefits from Parker’s rich dialogue, as well as Viola Davis and Mimi Rogers in supporting roles. Selleck gets to play something familiar (a sleuth, this time as a small-town Massachusetts police chief) yet not (one with a drinking problem and a sordid past). It’s good, as far as TV movies go, back when there was a distinction.

If you skip your daughter’s cello recital to do big-time lawyer stuff, some CIA-trained psychopath is going to kill half of Philadelphia. That is the main lesson to be learned from “Law Abiding Citizen”(2009), in which Jamie Foxx is the big-time lawyer and Gerard Butler is the CIA-trained psychopath. I might be oversimplifying. I was too caught up in all the big, sloppy revenge Butler was taking on an American legal system that promotes expediency over justice (I am a long-time fan of big, sloppy revenge). If the sloppiness makes you feel guilty, the ending will bail you out.

I was expecting a typical biopic, but “Get on Up” (2014) is so much more entertaining, so much more creative. Is it lazy to say the movie matches the man? James Brown, because of the sloppy last years of his life, has been reduced to that of an entertainment industry cartoon character (I know. As a TV newsman, I once stalked him in a driveway as he was bused into Broad River Correctional Institution). But he was a musical genius and an innovator on and off the stage. No, it’s not lazy to say this quirky film does him justice.