Archive for "Morris Chestnut"

Movie Review: “The Call”

Published by Clay Cane on Friday, March 15, 2013 at 10:00 am.

(Photo: Emergency Films)

Summary: Jordan Turner (Halle Berry) is a veteran 911 dispatcher.  After hearing a brutal murder, she becomes emotionally involved with a teenager who is kidnapped and is determined to save the girl.

Review: The Call is not a cinematic masterpiece, but formulaic thrillers never are — the most important, after years of indie flicks and flops, Halle returned to number one at the box office, proving the Oscar winner still can deliver a crowd pleaser.

Directed by Brad Anderson, the film maintains suspense, keeps the viewer excited and includes clever plot twists that are interesting enough for the genre. The Call is a movie you want to see in theaters with an animated audience who comment on everything from Halle’s “I’m Your Baby Tonight” Whitney Houston wig to Abigail Breslin’s fighting-for-her-life character to Morris Chestnut still maintaining his sexy at 44. No, The Call won’t be a film we’ll remember five years or even a year from now, but the popcorn flick isn’t meant to rock the souls of viewers, it’s meant to entertain.

Clearly not set out to bring strong performances, but Halle Berry, Abigail Breslin and Morris Chestnut were surprisingly realistic, which helped redeem the flick that could’ve easily got lost down cheese-ball lane. These are character you are routing for and up until the weak ending, The Call keeps you on the thrill ride.

Due to an abduance of clichés, the last 15 minutes nearly ruin the film: walking in dark basements, thinking the villain is dead when he isn’t it and the overzealous hero.  It appeared the writer and director weren’t sure what to do with the characters so they sloppily tied the plot together with a girl-power message. Nonetheless, the ride of The Call is so worth it.

The Call is on DVD June 25.

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Movie Review: “Identity Thief”

Published by Clay Cane on Thursday, February 7, 2013 at 7:25 pm.

(Photo: Universal Pictures)

Summary: Sandy Bigelow Patterson (Jason Bateman) hunts down a crafty criminal (Melissa McCarthy) who steals his identity.  The two form an implausible bond.

Review: Melissa McCarthy is a refreshing “It” girl in Hollywood. She is talented, attractive, but not the norm for Tinsletown. However, the Oscar nominee’s shining star is not immune to a bad movie — which is exactly the result in the annoyingly ludicrous Identity Thief.  As most road trip comedies go, McCarthy and Bateman fight, love, fight again and reconcile with eye-rolling clichés.

An audience must suspend disbelief in most comedies, but Identity Thief was wildly illogical — ruining the film’s handful of chuckles. Directed by Seth Gordon and written by Craig Mazin, it’s one of those films where you scratch your head and whisper to the person next to you, “This doesn’t make any sense. Why don’t they just …” fill in the blank.  For example, McCarthy’s thievery crosses state lines — she resides in Florida and Bateman is in Colorado.  Law enforcement (one being the always smooth Morris Chestnut as Detective Riley) cannot pursue her, so Bateman volunteers to go to Florida (leaving his pregnant wife and two kids behind) to abduct McCarthy with handcuffs and bring her back to Colorado where she’ll magically be inspired to confess.

Why not call the credit card company?  Hire a lawyer?  How would abducting someone across state lines be possible or legal? Oh! And Bateman only has one week to complete the impossible task or his boss will fire him for his deteriorating credit rating (he works in the financial industry and somehow he wasn’t intelligent enough to not give his social security number over the phone to McCarthy, who was fishing for victims).  This is just one example of an unfunny jumble of absurdities.

McCarthy stumbles along with stereotypical big girl shenanigans: loud, eating, hyper-sexual and can’t find a man. Bateman plays his usual — all American family man who is shaken up by an edgy sidekick. While the two work well on-screen, the awful script guts out the comedy. T.I. and Morris Chestnut have disposable roles.

A scoop of one-liners, McCarthy’s likability and the polished comedy chops of Jason Bateman cannot save Identity Thief.  Hollywood is in a comedy recession; making a laughable comedy is as hard as making a scary horror movie.

Identity Thief is in theaters now.

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Morris Chestnut Joins T.I., Melissa McCarthy and Jason Bateman for Identity Thief

Published by Smriti Mundhra on Friday, May 25, 2012 at 10:00 am.

(Photo: Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images)

The cast for Universal Pictures’ caper comedy Identity Thief (can you guess what it’s about?) is getting more interesting. Morris Chestnut just signed on for the film, about a woman (Melissa McCarthy) who steals a rich guy’s (Jason Bateman) identity. Havoc ensues, naturally.

Chestnut and T.I. are on the right side of the law, as a Boston cop and bounty hunter, respectively, hired to chase down the culprits.

McCarthy is a hot property after earning an Oscar nod for her breakout role in Bridesmaids last year, while Bateman is…just Bateman. King of quirky-indie-comedies. The film will be directed by Horrible Bosses helmer Seth Gordon.

Look for an early spring 2013 release.

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This Day in Film: ‘The Best Man’

Published by Clay Cane on Friday, October 22, 2010 at 11:38 am.

Eleven years ago today, The Best Man opened in theaters nationwide.  The film starred Nia Long, Taye Diggs, Morris Chestnut, Terrence Howard and Sanaa Lathan, and was directed by Spike Lee’s cousin, Malcom Lee with Spike as a producer. The Best Man was the last of the classic Black films of the ’90s, solidifying Nia Long and Morris Chestnut (who starred in 1991’s Boyz N The Hood) as forces in Hollywood.

The film follows the story of Harper, whose autobiographical book is about to be released. He is the best man to Lance, but the book reveals that he slept with Lance’s bride-to-be. Drama ensues with commentary on relationships and friendships.

With only a $9 million budget, The Best Man grossed over $34 million. At the 2000 NAACP Image Awards, Nia Long and Terrence Howard won awards. The film nabbed Outstanding Motion Picture. Of course this was the time when every film needed a killer soundtrack, and The Best Man soundtrack had songs from Beyonce, Faith Evans and Maxwell.

Check out the video for “Turn Your Lights Down Low” by Lauryn Hill and Bob Marley, which was the first single from the soundtrack.

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Movie Review: ‘Not Easily Broken’

Published by Clay Cane on Friday, January 9, 2009 at 12:00 pm.

noteasilybrokenSummary: A struggling married couple is faced with challenges of love, relationships, jealousy and family.

Review: “Not Easily Broken” is being promoted as a love story from a man’s point of view, which it certainly is. But, in its stride to be a reversal of gender roles, it sometimes comes across as demonizing women for their successes. If only women weren’t this independent… if only women would listen to their man more… if only women could be Donna Reed. Just like chick flicks are fantasies for women, “Not Easily Broken” is a fantasy for men.

Even though “Not Easily Broken” gets the side eye from an emotional perspective, the story is told well. Yes, the flick is not too original and the terribly trite dialogue is sometimes painful, but the movie works and only excels because of the cast. Taraji P. Henson, back in her first role since “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button,” is passionate with a comical edge as the independent wife. There is not a line that feels forced, even if the writing is not stellar. Read the rest of this entry »

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