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PCR # 335  (Vol. 7, No. 34)  This edition is for the week of August 21--27, 2006.

This Week's PCR
Movie Review

Movie review by:
Michael A. Smith
Three stars

Movies are rated 0 to 4 stars

theater seats

The DoubleTree Inn Con; C. P. Indie Film Fest for August  by Nolan B. Canova
La Floridiana Tidbits  by William Moriaty
"Idlewild"  by Mike Smith
Tampa Comic Con....Cracked Magazine Makes News....VHS Grindhouse: "Legend of the Werewolf"  by Andy Lalino
Ducks on a Pond....It's Only Money...Movie News....My Favorite Films, Part 34: "Tombstone">  by Mike Smith
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Starring: André Benjamin, Antwan Patton, Paula Patton, Terrence Howard and Ben Vereen
Directed by: Bryan Barber
Rated: R
Running Time: 2 hours

A young woman comes to a new town to pursue her dreams as a singer. A quiet, thoughtful young man who writes music in spite of his overbearing father. Sound familiar? If you said "Purple Rain," you're about 22 years off. The film I'm talking about is "Idlewild," and it's guaranteed to get your toes tapping.

Rooster (Antwan Patton) and Percival (Benjamin) have been friends since they were kids. Loud and boisterous, Rooster is the kid your mother told you to steer clear of. Percival, who lives with his father (Vereen) and helps out at the family funeral home, is almost invisible in the way he blends in. Now adults, Rooster is the featured act at a juke joint called the Church. Hoping to put some excitement into Percival's life, Rooster gets him hired as the house piano player. Enter Miss Angel Davenport, a much heralded singer from St. Louis. While she and Percival make beautiful music, Rooster divides his time between his jealous (with reason) wife and the new bad guy in town.

As someone who still has albums by Barry Manilow and Rick Springfield on his shelf, I'm not that up to date on the music called "hip - hop." That being said, I should also mention that for about six months the ring tone on my cell phone was OutKast's "Hey Ya!" I mention this because André Benjamin and Antwan Patton are best known as André 3000 and Big Boi, the talented duo that comprise OutKast. Both have appeared in other films ("Be Cool," "ATL") but here they step into the spotlight. Both have great presence on screen. Antwan Patton shows a flair for comedy in many scenes while Benjamin scores dramatically. Musically, of course, both men lead the way in production numbers which, with the exception of one, blend seamlessly into the film. It helps that the on screen action was choreographed by the great Hinton Battle ("The Wiz," "The Tap Dance Kid") and that director Barber features much of the dance floor action on slow motion, showing the beauty and fluidity of the movements.

The two stars are backed up by an incredibly talented cast of both veterans and newcomers. Singer Macy Gray adds humor (and singing voice) to the film while Terrence Howard, who exploded last year in "Hustle and Flow" and "Crash," is downright frightening as Rhame's henchman. Cicely Tyson, Bill Nunn, Ving Rhames and Patti LaBelle shine in supporting roles, while Ben Vereen, who I consider a national treasure, adds another outstanding character to his resumé. As Percival's father, perpetually in grief since his wife's death and surround by misery daily, Vereen does his best to make the character human and not a caricature. The music, which sounds like a collaboration between Cab Calloway and Run DMC, keep the story flowing.

On a scale of zero to four stars, I give "Idlewild"  Three stars

This week's movie review of "Idlewild" is ©2006 by Michael A. Smith.  All graphics this page are creations of Nolan B. Canova, ©2006, all rights reserved. All contents of "Nolan's Pop Culture Review" are ©2006 by Nolan B. Canova.