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Posted October 1, 2010
“Idlewild" is a quirky and wildly entertaining!
Idlewild is truly a great musical film, either about music or featuring music, are not very common. HBO films deserves a lot of credit for making this one happen. Because this is not a typical film by any means. The written script was an amazing piece. This movie contains almost all genres of movies. It has the beautifying passion of Romance, the suspense of a drama, real good comedy, plus amazing music by Outkast. It will be outrageous for people to think that it is a bad movie. The film is going to have a generational promotional gap, not just the much-discussed racial one. It can't be dismissed as "the hip-hop Moulin Rouge," it's more akin to a "hip-hop Caberet", with Rooster (Antwan Andre "Big Boi" Patton of Outkast) as Sally Bowles. Director Bryan Barber may have modeled some camera work on Baz Lurman's spinning kaleidoscopic style, but it is more likely that his music video background was a stronger influence. While there are some similar plot points, this is not really "Moulin Noir." I wouldn't have wanted to see any other hip-hop artists or anyone else, for that matter making this movie. It wouldn't have worked. Outkast are so unique in their style and approach to music, and they took that same mindset to the big screen. Andre 3000 is no Luther Vandross, but he's just as great for being as good at what he does as well as the part he played in the film. Big Boi does a fine job as well. I kind of wonder if he was coaxed into the part by Dre, or if he did it on his own accord. Either way, I loved seeing the two of them on screen together. Big Boi shines, as does the rest of the cast. They are able to synthesize a lot of sources and come up with very new and wonderful sounding pieces that are just plain fun to hear. There is also the excitement of seeing so many great black actors on screen. The film has the feel of an ensemble piece-these wonderful faces haunt the screen with a warmth that is irresistible. It is pretty amazing that America's black actors are able to achieve real energy and passion in film after film. When greats like Ben Vereen and Cicely Tyson are little more than cameos, you know you have talent to spare. My one concern is that the music style may be too much fusion to keep the hip-hop fans happy, and the movie may be too hip-hop to attract the general audience it deserves. It is a tribute to craft and their perseverance. But the bottom line is this is a soulful movie. The film is not real, not a documentary of the times, and outside of any type of accurate historical context. But film art must grow and evolve for the medium to have any relevance at all. This movie places events, sounds and sights in the dimension of the here and now. And as such, it is a brave, powerful and loving fantasy. I thought the movie was great for what it was: a film made by Outkast. If you watch the movie with that mindset, and you feel like you really *get* the bizarre humor from their lyrics and skits, then you'll love the movie.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted October 1, 2010
Nothing New, Perhaps, But It Is So Much Fun To Watch!
IDLEWILD as conceived, created and directed by Bryan Barber is an all black cast version of the 1930s gangster/prohibition/big crime scene that bubbles over with energy and music and a lot of fun. While the story is not unique by a long shot, the technique of making it comes alive with some of our most talented actors around. Barber wisely incorporates hip hop music (a nod to his own career and talents of the two stars André Benjamin and Antwan A. 'Big Boi' Patton) resembles the way 'Moulin Rouge' was recently remade using contemporary music for a turn of the century story. It works and polishes off a snappy evening of entertainment The story is an old one: two young boys carry their friendship into adulthood, taking over their fathers' businesses (mortician and bootlegging) and encounter crime bosses, speakeasy snags in Idlewild, Georgia, snarls from wives and lovers, romance, loss of friends, surprise stardom, and learned lessons as they discover their own lives. The cast is overflowing with talent: Ben Vereen, Ving Rhames, Terence Howard, Cicely Tyson, Macy Gray, Malinda Williams, Paula Jai Parker and the gorgeous Paula Patton, to name only a few of the cast of many. The dance numbers are terrific, the music fits in well, and the exuberance displayed by the actors overcomes the rather weak standard of acting that Barber draws from these bonafide stars. For a period piece from the 1930s pepped up with some truly fine choreography and musical numbers, this tasty little film is a winner. Even the added cartooning for once complements the story. It is a film well worth a visit! Grady HarpWas this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.