The real value in Greenfield-Sanders’ film, which goes into limited theatrical release this weekend before coming to PBS in 2020, is in Morrison’s struggles with the white patriarchy of American letters.
There are laughs, here and there, and bursts of fun. But picking over one’s notes and picking apart a picture which offers no real third act surprises (Well, Seth Meyers shows up.) and not an over-abundance of laughs one is left grasping at the depressingly obvious moral to the tale.
It’s easily the weakest of the four iterations of that title. If Disney and Pixar really needed to revisit a tale that they had gracefully ended, it should have been more of a victory lap. This, whatever its modest charms, has the feel of an end zone dance — crass, unnecessary, and a slightly pale reflection of the glories that warranted it.
The aliens are far more lifelike than they ever were in the Will Smith/Tommie Lee Jones “MIB” movies, but the shiny ray guns are as generic as ever and the shootouts surprisingly dull, if expensive looking.
I appreciate the direction they wanted to take this, but the jokes needed work, the ridicule should be more directed at Jackson’s character’s various blind spots and intolerances — “This is my ‘Puerto Ricans I don’t trust’ file.” — and disrespect for human rights.
The Black Godfather is filmmaker Reginald Hudlin’s love letter to Avant, a major figure in music, politics, concert promotion, the star making machinery of Hollywood and the friendly ear and — when needed — megaphone with connections who can “get you paid.” It’s a film of warm remembrances and salty anecdotes, deals made with just a phone call, “power” wielded almost always behind the scenes.
By turns glorious and thrilling, revealing and well — mythic and fictional — Martin Scorsese’s “Rolling Thunder Revue” joins the ranks of epic concert tour documentaries, capturing an epic moment in American roots music and the icon who conjured it.
Baldwin lets us see glimpses of a movie that might be — on cable or streaming, a mini-series of “The People Vs. O.J. Simpson” style. Baldwin gets the tall, ungainly gait down and the makeup looks like that of a vain, egotistical “winner” who’d had work done to give him that profile.
It’s just that the whole affair feels winded, an argument — Will humans finally accept the mutants among us? — that’s exhausted everybody concerned, with many involved somehow knowing that those “Days of Future Past” are returning.