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With an unforgettable Chadwick Boseman in the starring role, Get On Up offers the Godfather of Soul a fittingly dynamic homage.
All Critics (161)
| Top Critics (46)
| Fresh (128)
| Rotten (33)
| DVD (2)
The music gives you some big, sugar-rush moments, but it's a disappointing response to one of pop culture's most brilliant and complicated figures.
Chadwick Boseman gives a startling and galvanic performance.
In Boseman's hands - and his feet, and his entire body, for that matter - he demands and earns our attention.
Somewhat sanitized and over-directed biopic saved by Boseman's electric performance.
Though "Get On Up" never congeals into a satisfactory whole, its fragmentary portrait of the singer at the height of his fame - intercut with his troubled single-parent childhood - effectively shows his invasive power in popular culture.
More often, the film skates along the surface of Brown's contradictory character. Now if it skated like Brown's dance moves glided onstage, that really would have been something.
Whenever producers weakly say they couldn't find good Black actresses for roles that usually end up going to white women, I can't help thinking of all the talented Black women going to waste in films like this one.
[Get On Up] is also consistently entertaining and intermittently moving, but by the end, we realize that it hasn't been all that illuminating.
[Chadwick Boseman] gets the mannerisms right, and builds a volatile character who's opportunistic, frightening and vulnerable, like a funky Klaus Kinski.
An arresting encapsulation of Brown's dichotomy of being at once a soulful singer and at the same time a man incapable of showing affection.
Get On Up struggles, at times, to surprise us.
[Chadwick] Boseman captures the volatility, on and offstage, of the entity we recognize as James Brown, the flamboyance, the fierce ambition, and the uncompromising determination to be treated with respect.
Boseman is closer to a caricature of James Brown than of the real man in this infuriatingly disjointed mess full of jumps in time that follow no cohesion or logic, and it doesn't offer any insight whatsoever into who the man was or what made him a "genius" besides being a complete douche bag.
Chadwick Boseman is impressive as James Brown. He fully embodies the man in vocal inflections, attitude and behavior. Boseman gets James' signature raspy voice spot on, extending beyond mere mimicry. And when James sings! The musical performances are the best part. All of his hits are here including "Get Up Offa That Thing", "Papa's Got A Brand New Bag, Pt. 1?, and "I Got You (I Feel Good)". The presentation relies on lip synching to actual James Brown tracks and personally I'm glad that decision was made. The singer's idiosyncratic musical style would have been extremely difficult to duplicate. Chadwick Boseman gets the electricity of James' delivery down pat, complete with the dancing, the splits and the sheer athleticism. People in my theater actually got up and danced. I've never seen that happen. Get on Up isn't a deep film. It samples from the highlights of a very intricate life with a slapdash approach. I suppose the disjointed sampling is appropriate in an ironic way. It's how his music is often manipulated today. However, it doesn't lend itself to a dramatically affecting story arc, just a well acted one. Chadwick Boseman is indeed an actor to watch.
Chadwick Boseman is turning into the king of tame African America biopics. Not to say that his performance wasn't astonishing; capturing everything from James Brown's raspy, sometimes undecipherable, Southern twang, to his often mimicked but never duplicated dance moves, Boseman absolutely nails it, giving an Oscar worthy performance. That said, it's the choppy, redundant and consistently PG-13 direction from Tate Taylor (The Help) and the overall lack of emotional connection that had my enjoyment level taking a nosedive a little after the first hour.
Read the rest of my review at: http://www.examiner.com/article/get-on-up-a-2-star-movie-a-5-star-performance
Follow me on Twitter @moviesmarkus
James Brown: If it sounds good and it feels good, then it's musical.
There is a level of familiarity to musician biopics at this point that tends to keep me from becoming too excited about the prospect of a new one. With varying degrees of separation, they mostly tend to follow a formula, much like any film that hits similar beats as its predecessors within the same sub-genres (just look at the Guardians of the Galaxy, which opens on the same day, as it is supremely entertaining, but still following a proven formula). Keeping that in mind, I am also a big fan of James Brown and was happy to go in to this film pretty open-minded (as I generally do). If there is one way to express how much I ended up enjoying Get On Up, it would have to be by stating that no musician biopic has ever made me want to dance as much as Get On Up did. While the film only occasionally falls into some familiar trappings, Chadwick Boseman's lead performance is terrific in a film that tries to be fair to its main subject, and add plenty of soul to the genre.
read the whole review at thecodeiszeek.com
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