Archive for "Morgan Freeman"

Movie Review: ‘Transcendence’

Published by Clay Cane on Friday, April 18, 2014 at 12:00 am.

(Photo: Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images)

(Photo: Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images)

Johnny Depp disappointingly returns to the big screen in a flick that is destined to sweep the Razzies — Transcendence. Directed by Wally Pfister (his directorial debut), the film cannot transcend its weak sentiments, implausible scenarios, unlikable characters and painfully boring pace. The only truly transcendent element of the film is how Johnny Depp, now 50 years old, transcends all signs of aging!

Transcendence starts off promisingly with commentary on a world obsessed with social media and technology. We are all connected and disconnected. The idea is nothing original — you can read ruminations on the ills of our society on any random Facebook status — but for an alleged sci-fi thriller, it’s expected that the 120 minutes running time will be a joy ride. Not at all. Outside of Depp’s ageless beauty, Transcendence is another example of how A-list is not always the best.

Depp plays Dr. Will Caster, a prominent researcher in Artificial Intelligence who believes we all “create a God.” After his unexpected death, his wife Evelyn (Rebecca Hall) uploads his brain, which manifests a digital but dangerous version of Dr. Caster. He must be destroyed, as should everything he created. But the doctor fights back and the rest of the film all leads up to the one-liner, “We’re not going to fight them. We’re going to transcend them.” This “fight” happens an arduous 90 minutes into the epic 120 minutes. By this time, the audience is trying to transcend sleep.

Scene after scene, Transcendence stumbles with a troublesome script and unlikable characters. One epic low is Rebecca Hall’s character having a Lifetime movie moment, arguing with digitized Johnny Depp about her emotions — things aren’t what they seem! He is controlling her! She wants out. The theater busted out in laughter.

There are small roles with Morgan Freeman and Cory Hardrict. But even with a solid cast and the high-profile direction of Pfister, the film is a dud on every level of filmmaking. In one scene, Freeman gives Rebecca Hall a note that reads: “Run from this place!” If I could transcend time, I would hand the cast and crew a note that says: “Run from this movie!”

Transcendence is in theaters now.

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This Day in Film: “Lean on Me”

Published by Clay Cane on Thursday, March 3, 2011 at 12:00 am.

leanonmeOn this day back in 1989, Lean on Me debuted in theaters nationwide. The biographical drama was loosely based on the story of Joe Clark, a principal from Paterson, New Jersey, who turned a troubled school around. The film starred then Oscar nominee Morgan Freeman, who portrayed Clark as a passionate, arrogant, angry, but still likable figure. The film was met with strong reviews, mainly because of Freeman’s amazing performance.

While Lean on Me was based on the true story of Clark, much of it was fictional. Contrary to its portrayal in the film, the school was never in trouble of being shut down, and test scores did not go up, but violence did decrease. Nonetheless, Lean on Me gave an insightful look into urban schools and how they are often ignored by the public school system, given no motivation, funding or even faith that they can succeed.

The film, which had a predominately African-American cast, was a hit, garnering over $5 million opening weekend and grossing nearly $32 million. In 1991, Lean on Me won NAACP Image Awards for Outstanding Motion Picture and Outstanding Lead Actor.

Check out the vintage trailer below.

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Tyler Perry Is The New Morgan Freeman?

Published by Clay Cane on Wednesday, February 2, 2011 at 12:00 am.

Morgan Freeman’s film credits are endless. Two of his biggest films are 1997’s Kiss The Girls and 2001’s Along Came a Spider where the Oscar winner played detective-psychologist Alex Cross in the James Patterson created crime franchise. Now, word is out that Tyler Perry will be the new Alex Cross for the film I, Alex, Cross, which will be directed by Rob Cohen, who was behind The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor.  Rumor has it Perry has signed on for three films.

Supposedly, Idris Elba was the original choice for the role — there are no details on why he is no longer on the project.

For awhile I’ve been saying I wanted to see Tyler Perry in a film that wasn’t directed or written by him. I think he might surprise audiences in this completely new genre that isn’t comedy.


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Freeman and Washington Are America’s Favs

Published by Clay Cane on Wednesday, January 27, 2010 at 12:00 am.

denzelMovies like Avatar and Twilight bring in the big bucks, but according to the American people — their heart is still with serious and respected actors.

Every year the Harris Poll conducts a survey of America’s favorite movie stars and this year the people said actors like Morgan Freeman, Denzel Washington and Clint Eastwood were their favs.  Denzel, who held the number one spot since 2006, clocked in at number three. The Book of Eli star also rocked number one with Democrats.  Morgan Freeman hit number 9, beating out Julia Roberts.  Nope, there is no Brad Pitt, Angelina Jolie, or Robert Pattinson on the list.  Here is the complete list below:

1. Clint Eastwood
2. Johnny Depp
3. Denzel Washington
4. Sandra Bullock
5. Tom Hanks
6. George Clooney
7. John Wayne (tie)
7. Meryl Streep (tie)
9. Morgan Freeman
10. Julia Roberts


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Movie Review: Invictus

Published by Clay Cane on Friday, December 11, 2009 at 11:50 am.

invictusSummary: Based on the true story of Nelson Mandela’s first year in office.  One of the keys to racial unity in South Africa is the hugely popular, but historically color struck, rugby team. After joining forces with the team captain, Mandela encourages them to win the World Cup, hoping for a shift in the country’s consciousness.

Review: Expect this argument shortly after Invictus is released — after all these years, why is there finally a major film released about Nelson Mandela, but it revolves around soccer? Not Mandela’s amazing life, which is full of pain, resilience and bravery. Imagine a biopic on Ray Charles that was just about one performance. How about a film on Malcolm X that focused on his trip to Mecca and nothing else? This would clearly be a disappointment, especially if you were anticipating learning more about Nelson Mandela. The viewer, no matter how little they know about the leader who unjustly served 27 years in prison, will not learn anything new about this civil rights activist after watching Invictus.

Now that I got that out of the way, directed by 80-year-old Hollywood icon, Clint Eastwood, Invictus is a solid film with award potential.  The story is told extremely traditionally but packed with undeniable inspiration. Invictus could’ve easily moved along as another sports film, but with the backdrop of Apartheid and the constant humility from Mandela’s character, one cannot help but be moved, considering the politically divisive times we are living in today here in the U.S.

The crazy glue that holds Invictus together is the beyond flawless performance from Morgan Freeman as Mandela. His performance is better than the entire movie. However, what do you expect from Morgan Freeman? The two-time Oscar winner is the Tina Turner of film — he never disappoints.

Matt Damon, who plays the team captain of the rugby team, gives a wooden portrayal as Francois Pienaar that never gels in such an emotional flick.  Pienaar is supposed to be stoic and emotional, which are traits stereotypically given to White Africans, Damon seemed a bit lost — maybe he was in awe of Morgan Freeman.

No big shockers in Invictus. No amazing plot twists. No dose of the unexpected. You know the ending by the beginning credits. On the other hand, one can’t help but walk away feeling inspired, hopeful and confident that not only can our government change for the better, our people can change with it.

Invictus is in theaters today.

Click here to check out Morgan Freeman’s history in film!

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Morgan Freeman pulls a Woody Allen?

Published by Clay Cane on Thursday, June 18, 2009 at 12:00 am.

morgan-freemaWell, Morgan Freeman may never “get some” with his characters in movies, but the National Enquirer is throwing out some lofty allegations that the Oscar winner is getting it big time with his step granddaughter.  Morgan is 72 and his granddaughter, E’Dena Hines, is 27.  Hines is the granddaughter of his wife, Myrna Freeman, and they are going through a tough divorce.

The sources are Mediatakeout and the National Enquirer — so take this with a grain of Lawry’s Seasoned Salt.  That’s like relying on George Bush to do the Halle Berry dance while bumping and grinding with 50 Cent — pretty farfetched.  Nonetheless, here it is from

[Morgan’s ex-wife] Myrna said E’Dena told her that when she was a teenager, she and Morgan went to dinner at a friend’s house one evening. Both had been drinking, and when they returned home, Morgan attempted to have sex with her.

They stopped just short of having intercourse … E’Dena explained to Myrna that she stopped Morgan from going any further.

E’Dena called Myrna [one day] in tears and “freaking out,” then allegedly blurted:

“We had sex when I was in California in his hotel room, and I just can’t handle it anymore.”

E’Dena told Myrna that she’d given Morgan sexy photos of herself as a substitute for his needing to be intimate with her, but that was not enough for Morgan, according to the insider. “Edina said she was trying to get him back to being her grandpa and not her lover.”

There are also allegations that Myrna claims they had an “open marriage.”  These are all rumors…

Now, as far as having an affair with the step granddaughter, that’s very All My Children.  It recalls the legendary Woody Allen who married his adoptive daughter, Soon-Yi Previn — he allegedly fell in love with her while he was married to screen legend Mia Farrow. When Allen was 57 and Previn was 22, their affair was made public and it was a media sensation — nonetheless, the two are still married 17 years later.

Until proven otherwise, these are all rumors!  Whatever the case, I am so looking forward to Invictus, which is directed by Clint Eastwood and Freeman will play Nelson Mandela.

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Freeman and Jones to be honored

Published by Clay Cane on Thursday, April 16, 2009 at 12:50 am.

Morgan Freeman and James Earl Jones will be the third and fourth African-American actors inducted into the Actors Hall of Fame. The only other Black actors inducted are Hattie McDaniel and Paul Robeson (no Sidney Poitier?). According to the Hollywood Reporter:

“The Actors Hall of Fame honors career achievement in theater, film and television. Criteria for nomination include peer recognition and awards, humanitarian contribution to the dramatic arts and education and a demonstrated advancement of the craft of acting.

Honorees are voted for by members of the Actors Hall of Fame’s board of electors, who are dramatic arts educators representing more than 100 accredited colleges and universities.”

Morgan Freeman is known for legendary films like Driving Miss Daisy, Shawshank Redemption and Million Dollar Baby, where he won an Oscar for best supporting actor. James Earl Jones is an Emmy winner, Golden Globe winner and an Oscar nominee. He is best known for films like The Great White Hope, Claudine and the voice of Darth Vader in Star Wars.

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