Archive for the ‘Gabourey Sidibe’ Category


30 Nov

Precious — Directed by Lee Daniels. Tragedy. A bullied and beset teenager lives through it. 109 minutes Color 2009.

* * * * *

A beatuiful film — beautiful in all respects, particularly as regards the resplendent beauty of its leading player Gabourey Sidibe. Andrew Dunn’s filming of it is stunning from the first shot to the last, and always surprising, and always right. The editing of Joe Klotz is tells the story with a ferocious economy, letting us fill in the blanks, and thus participate to the fullest. It does not make any sense to say that the film is performed by great actors, but only to say that everyone is great in acting their roles, particularly when you consider that many actors come from the realm of entertainment rather than theatre. Paula Patton is a raving beauty, and its effect is felt as a mesmerizing force in the classroom where she teaches. Mariah Carey, whom I had never heard or even heard of, possesses plainness and homeliness and a tired Long Island City directness that is riveting as the social worker whose job it is to get to the truth. Mo’Nique plays the mother of Precious in a performance that won her an Oscar for supporting player. It is a performance that never takes-it-back. Seeing her go beyond these extremes, one wonders how the director ever decided to use her, or any of them, but use them he did, and he elicits from them great performances in a great story. His sense of detail is infallible – a pen being shared across an aisle as a camera retreats – and his devotion to and mining of the strength and character of Precious as he got it out of Gabourey Sidibe as the put-upon girl whose story this is. Her face is set in introversion and withdrawal as she moves through her life to survive its conditions. Her eyes seem closed half the time, so dreadful is her situation. But her stillness is a sonnet. There is nothing I or anyone can say to lure anyone to see this film. Except for one thing which supervenes all else: you will be enriched immeasurably as you watch it.


Tower Heist

09 Nov

Tower Heist — Directed by Brett Ratner. Heist Comedy. The employees of a fancy apartment high-rise plan to rob the Ponzi schemer who has robbed them. 109 minutes Color 2011.

* * * * *

Ben Stiller, a wonderful actor, is of the Buster Keaton School Of Comedy. His face remains still but what goes on behind it is alive, true, and funny. He does not need to put on the funny nose of physical comedy to make his comic point, and because of this inherent humor in him, which combines with a kind of modesty, one wants to be in his company often – even when he hands the focus over to the comedy of others. Once again we have him as the driving force behind a group of disparate males. Casey Affleck, he of the irritating voice, is at least perfectly cast as the unwilling go-along on this caper. Gabourey Sidibe is irresistible as the maid who can crack any safe in Christendom within fifteen minutes of fingering it. Alan Ada brings his terrifying affability to the part of the Madoff monster. Michael Pena plays the recent hireling to the building with remarkable address and presence. Stephen Henderson gives us a Santa Claus doorman whose stocking has been pilfered and whose dismay is the axel that turns the story around. Téa Leoni is perfectly cast as the FBI agent who slips the info to Stiller that saves the day. Matthew Broderick plays the dowdy accountant who can whiz-bang sums and whose fear of heights will make everyone want to leave their seats and head for terra firma. And finally we are given Eddie Murphy who sashays in as the ringer to coach the others into the deed of theft. Eddie Murphy’s chimpanzee smile is sudden, surprising, and sapient. As the low life hood who has never stolen anything over $1000 because to do so would be to commit a felony and now must prevail to steal 45 million, Murphy nails the entire structure of the role. He is a modern miracle as an actor. There seems to be no part of him that is not engaged in a given performance, and nothing seems difficult or unreal for him. Granted, he has taken over the low comedy slot vacated by Martin and Lewis, but so what? He brings true hauteur to a role, true authority, a kind of internal grandeur that is quite hilarious. When you find someone who has a genius for a thing, it is worth seeing him enact it. His eyes alone are worth the price of admission. The movie is closer to a cartoon of a heist movie than to a heist movie, so do not expect Rififi. Tower Heist spends time without wasting it.



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