Talk to Me Reviews
The first act of this film sets up themes of negotiating "blackness," and set as it is during the Civil Rights era, this is an interesting question, pitting the executive against the ex-con. But the plot eventually degrades into thematically irrelevant and unfocused interpersonal dynamics that make the film as a whole more like My Week with Marilyn than Malcolm X, as Dewey Hughes, the radio executive, must keep Petey Greene, the host, from sabotaging both their careers.
The performances by Don Cheadle, whose antics are barely on the right side of believability, and Chiwetel Ejiofor are very good. I especially like Ejiofor whose reserve and intensity are characteristic of his fine body of work.
Overall, though the film has promise at the beginning, this biopic ultimately doesn't live up to expectations; it's just good enough to make me wish it were better.
In many respects the film made it appear that Petey was a bit player in his own life, which contradicts the ambition and drive that were evident in the early prison scenes and his determination to land a radio gig. I guess that was all he was really after, so once he achieved that he simply took a back seat to other peoples plans.
Have to mention that Cedric The Entertainer was perfectly cast as the late night "nighthawk" soul man and love machine. After fighting with Petey earlier, his embrace after Petey emplores the citizens to stop rioting was hearfelt and sincere, carrying all the emotion while still having the little hesitation that showed his embarassment for the earlier fight, and probably realizing that there were issues that far outweighed his petty jelousy.
Petey Greene: Well no offense, but the FCC can kiss my ass.
Don Cheadle stars as convict turn DJ Petey Greene in a film going over Petey's career during the 60s and 70s.
This film goes from a somewhat sitcomy approach into a dramatic biography about how one man always tried to stay true to himself.
Right on side of Petey is Chiwetel Ejiofor as Dewey Hughes, a man who respects how brave Petey is to talk like he does.
The highlights of the movie revolve around Cheadle on the air as Petey. Him as Petey in general is great to watch. We are not short on other actors either. I have been a fan of Ejiofor, and am glad to see him in all of these different roles. Cedric the Entertainer, Martin Sheen, Mike Epps, and Taraji P. Henson of Hustle and Flow round out the cast, providing good support.
The movie is also foul. The r rating provides for a lot of language to come out of Petey's mouth, all of which helping him to keep it real.
The movie looks and sounds great. Complete with hair and fashions of the time along with a great R&B soundtrack.
My gripe with the movie concerns its somewhat uneven pacing and its somewhat unorganized approach in establishing a time frame. We are given only two updates as to what year it is, with events occurring in between that make you feel somewhat lost when it comes to key moments.
Still, this is a well acted film, with a good soundtrack, some good laughs, and some dramatic punch.
Petey Greene: I'll tell it to the hot, I'll tell it to the cold. I'll tell it to the young, I'll tell it to the old. I don't want no laughin', I don't want no cryin', and most of all, no signifyin'. This is Petey Greene's Washington.
[font=Century Gothic]Even though there is the usual very fine work on display from Don Cheadle and Chiwetel Ejiofor, "Talk to Me" is a biopic about a potentially interesting personality which misses the mark, making it more about Dewey than Petey, even goong so far as to give Dewey the best scene in the movie. Told through Dewey's eyes, the movie is more about a black success story than either racism or capturing the essence of a time and a place, namely Washington, DC, from 1966 onwards.(Only one brief moment at the beginning and the 1968 riots attest to this...) Without any social criticism to ground it, the movie eventually goes off the rails completely with a message that it is best to play it safe. Is that the kind of message you want to express?[/font]
By the way, any good movies out lately? Saw the majority of both Away From Her and The Hoax on the flights out here, but not in their entirety (bleeping Air Canada's crappy in-flight electronics can be blamed for that). Both were excellent until being snapped away like a ghost line from my transfixed eyes. Bah.
And this film showcases how Taraji P. Henson is so underrated