The Aretha Franklin biopic, “Respect” ends with footage of the real Queen of Soul bringing down the house at the Kennedy Center Honors tribute to Carole King. Re plays the piano and sings “(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman,” the composition King co-wrote. At the climax of this performance, Re tosses her fur coat to the stage floor with a true diva’s reckless abandon. Having a biopic close with its actual subject is an expected trope, perhaps the only one not viciously mocked by the superb parody “Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story,” and I usually find it to be an unnecessary swipe at the actor who’s spent the last two-plus hours trying to convince you they were that person. Any spell cast by the performance is suddenly broken by the arrival of the genuine article.
Here, the real Re shows up just after her portrayer, Jennifer Hudson, swaggers into that Los Angeles church to record Franklin’s biggest album, Amazing Grace. I remembered that moment from the 1972 documentary film of the concert, which sat unfinished for almost 50 years before its world premiere in 2018. In my review, I said that movie took me back to church. Watching Hudson sing the title song, decked in the same outfit and hairstyle, I felt similarly transcended. Casting a fellow belter from the church as one of the great products of a gospel upbringing is an incontrovertible requirement, especially if the actor is going to be singing her own songs. And Hudson doesn’t just sing; if I may use the vernacular, Jennifer Hudson sangs. But it’s in her recreation of that church entrance that she finally goes “full Aretha,” that is, we see everything we know and love about this icon. So when director Liesl Tommy switches to that Kennedy Center footage, it feels less like a usurping and more like the final scene in an origin story.
“Respect” reminded me of “Lady Sings the Blues,” the 1972 vehicle where Diana Ross portrayed Billie Holiday. As an analogy, this is to that film what Cynthia Erivo’s Franklin miniseries "Genius: Aretha" is to last year’s “The United States vs. Billie Holiday.” (Full disclosure: I disliked Erivo’s show intensely despite her being an incredible singer.) Like Ross’ film, this is a pure Hollywood treatment of its material that benefits from its shiny presentation as much as it benefits from a spectacular lead performance. I don’t think there’s a scene in Sidney J. Furie’s movie where I didn’t know I was watching Diana Ross as Billie Holiday—and Hudson wisely follows Ross’ lead in not attempting an imitation of her character’s unmistakable voice. But, I felt the essence of Holiday being channeled onscreen.
Hudson does something similar here, and admittedly that may not be enough for some to save “Respect” from the genre trappings it adheres to. I tend to prefer interpretations like Anthony Hopkins in “Nixon” to the slavish imitation of something like Rami Malek in “Bohemian Rhapsody.” But there is only one Aretha Franklin, and as a lifelong fan, I wasn’t sure I would be able to surrender here. Plus, the screenplay by Tracey Scott Wilson has some clunky and overfamiliar dramatic moments, and occasionally keeps her lead character’s pain at an arms’ length that weakens just how triumphant the real story is. Yet, Hudson is this film’s savior. She puts it on her shoulders like a wounded comrade, carries it off the battlefield to safety, and nurses it back to health. The tagline says “Jennifer Hudson is Aretha Franklin,” but in truth, it should say “Jennifer Hudson is this movie.”
Laying the groundwork for Hudson is Skye Dakota Turner, who plays the young Aretha in the early scenes of “Respect.” In her short screen time, she skillfully telegraphs both the joys and the trauma that will influence the adult version of her character. A born performer, she holds the audience in the palm of her hand when Re’s father, Rev. C.L. Franklin (Forest Whitaker) drags her out of bed to perform at a party filled with Black performer royalty like Dinah Washington (Mary J. Blige in a short, effective cameo). “She’s only 10, but her voice is going on 30,” we’re told. Turner’s reactions to Audra McDonald (in an underwritten part as Franklin’s mother) make a later scene between Hudson and McDonald more powerful than anything in the script. Her performance appropriately haunts the film.
There’s a fair amount of ugliness in Franklin’s story—sexual assault, domestic abuse, alcoholism—and it’s to the film’s credit that it resists the temptation to treat these issues salaciously. But “Respect” never goes deeper than a surface-level exploration of how these traumas affected Franklin. They’re referred to as “the demons,” and kind of left at that. This makes it harder to understand something like her relationship with the abusive Ted White (Marlon Wayans), a man her father immediately tags as bad news because he correctly sees a reflection of his own egregious sins. Wayans is a better actor than films like “A Haunted House” indicate, but he’s not adept at balancing a charming exterior with a rotten core; someone like Larenz Tate would have brought that more effectively to this role. Like so many things, White is best summed up by an Aretha Franklin song lyric. In this case, it’s the succinctly brilliant opening lines of “I Never Loved A Man”: “You’re a no good heartbreaker, you’re a liar and you’re a cheat. And I don’t know why I let you do these things to me.”
That song features in one of those biopic tropes where the singer seems to pull a song out of thin air. Except here, it works because “Respect” uses it to frame Franklin’s improvisational and arrangement skills. The one moment we see her writing a song, it’s only the skeleton of her bluesy masterpiece “Dr. Feelgood.” Hudson captures the humble side of Franklin in the scene where she sings “Ain’t No Way,” a composition by her sister, Carolyn (Hailey Kilgore). “Show me how to sing your song,” she says, fully immersed in the collaboration. (This performance is also the closest Hudson comes to an approximation of the real thing.) There’s so much music here, being written, arranged, and performed onscreen, that “Respect” almost plays like a musical.
Though this is the lead actor’s show all the way, a few supporting performance stand out. Tituss Burgess seems like an odd choice for Rev. James Cleveland until you remember the mischievous twinkle in the late legend’s eye. And Marc Maron makes for a very good Jerry Wexler, but he didn’t endear himself to me as much as Curtis Armstrong’s portrayal of fellow Atlantic Records alum Ahmet Ertegun in “Ray.” Whitaker is pretty much a caricature, but he masterfully captures the pious, bougie hypocrisy that emanated from every preacher I’ve ever met in my life.
These actors keep things moving while you’re marking off your “Walk Hard” trope bingo cards. You won’t have enough spaces to yell “BINGO!” but no matter. Jennifer Hudson can sing and “Respect” is at its best when it lets her do just that. Whether it’s in a nightgown or in the full, glorious regalia Aretha Franklin adorned in her concert appearances, Hudson performs with the same tireless intensity Re was known for throughout her career. It’s a damn good performance and this is a damn entertaining movie. It’s going to be a hit, and like many a flawed but beloved classic, it’s gonna play on cable for decades.
Now playing in theaters.
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Will Ferrell and Kevin Hart make an ace comic team that calls to mind the best team-ups of Gene Wilder and Richard Pryor. It’s clear Ferrell has been re-energized by working with Hart. However, the stereotypes, outrageous behavior, crude homosexual references, and foul language are frequent. The movie’s moral resolution and less offensive humor can’t make all that go away. So, GET HARD ultimately is not acceptable viewing.
GET HARD is an incredibly raunchy comedy about an investments kingpin who gets convicted of fraud and has 30 days to get tough enough to survive prison and the black man he hires to teach him. Despite a better, cleaner second half, GET HARD has a very strong mixed pagan worldview with lots of foul language, brought even lower by heavy, very crude homosexual content played for comic effect.
GET HARD stars Will Ferrell as James King, a blueblood investments kingpin who gets charged with fraud. Kevin Hart plays Darnell, the deluxe car wash owner, who King hires to teach him how to survive prison despite the fact he’s never been there. Along the way, the movie sets new records for scenarios involving humorous racial paranoia and homosexual panic.
The movie’s opening credits offer a savvy, fast-paced contrast between the daily lives and experiences of King and Darnell, and by extension the wealthiest in LA and those who have to hustle to survive. Darnell needs $30,000 for the down payment on a new house in a better neighborhood so he can send his young daughter to a safer, better school. Meanwhile, King makes $28 million in a day for his investment firm.
King is also engaged to the money-chasing daughter of his boss, Marty (Craig T. Nelson). He has the world on a string until federal agents crash his engagement party and charge him with over 40 counts of fraud and embezzlement. When he refuses to cop a plea, maintaining his innocence, King is sentenced to 10 years in maximum-security prison and given 30 days to get his affairs in order.
Knowing nothing about prison other than he’s guaranteed to get raped by fellow inmates, King turns to Darnell to teach him how to prepare – or “get hard” – for prison. His reason for selecting Darnell is simply that he’s the one black guy he knows. Thus, he’s so casually racist that he assumes Darnell has been to prison simply because of his skin color.
King agrees to Darnell’s request for the $30,000 he needs for Darnell’s down payment, so the lessons begin. At first, the lessons focus on getting King ready to take any kind of sexual assault thrown at him. However, King can’t manage to bring himself to try performing bathroom-stall oral sex on a homosexual guy Darnell introduces him to at a brunch hotspot. So, Darnell decides to teach King to toughen up, or “get hard,” once and for all.
Thus begins a series of outrageous training sequences, from ridiculous exercises to locking King into a fake prison cell in his own lavish mansion, to teaching him how to trash talk. King also tries to get various street gangs to agree to protect him, with disastrous results. Along the way, he also has to figure out who framed him so he can clear his name.
Ferrell and Hart make an ace comic team that calls to mind the best team-ups of Gene Wilder and Richard Pryor, in SILVER STREAK and especially STIR CRAZY. It’s clear Ferrell has been re-energized by working with Hart, the hottest standup comic on the planet right now and a fast-rising movie star to boot.
However, the stereotypes and outrageous behavior and profanity are frequent, and a bathroom-stall scene goes completely over the line of bad taste. Aside from that, GET HARD is often funny in spite of itself. In fact, the movie’s second half, which drops the frequent homosexual jokes, is much funnier as it broadens the humor to poke fun at the contrasts between criminal gangs and business leaders, and white versus black behavior and stereotypes.
That said, the foul language and vulgar comedy in GET HARD is definitely excessive. The movie’s moral resolution and less offensive humor can’t make that go away.
1 hr. 40 min.
Year of Release:
March 27, 2015 (wide—3,150+ theaters)
DVD: June 30, 2015
white collar crime—fraud
prisons and jailers in the Bible
one-percenter assumptions about hard-working small business owner
homosexuality in prisons / What about Gays needs to change? Answer
It may not be what you think.
“VOTING” FOR BAD MOVIES—Every time you buy a movie ticket or rent a video you are casting a vote telling Hollywood “That’s what I want.” Why does Hollywood continue to promote immoral programming? Are YOU part of the problem? Answer
|Featuring||Will Ferrell … James King|
Kevin Hart … Darnell Lewis
Mariana Paola Vicente … Alissa's Friend #3
Dan Bakkedahl … Rick
T.I. … Russell
Divine Prince Ty Emmecca … Coffee House Patron
Taryn Terrell … Aryan Chic
See all »
Paul Ben-Victor … Gayle Burns
|Producer|| Gary Sanchez Productions|
Here’s what the distributor says about their film: “When millionaire hedge fund manager James (Will Ferrell) is nailed for fraud and bound for a stretch in San Quentin, the judge gives him 30 days to get his affairs in order. Desperate, he turns to Darnell (Kevin Hart) to prep him for a life behind bars. But despite James’ one-percenter assumptions, Darnell is a hard-working small business owner who has never received a parking ticket, let alone been to prison.
Together, the two men do whatever it takes for James to ‘get hard’ and, in the process, discover how wrong they were about a lot of things—including each other.”
Hard Rain (film)
Hard Rain is a 1998 action thrillerdisaster film produced by Mark Gordon, written by Graham Yost, and directed by former cinematographer-turned director Mikael Salomon. It stars Christian Slater, Morgan Freeman, Randy Quaid, Minnie Driver, and Ed Asner. It is an international co-production among the United States, the United Kingdom, Denmark, Germany, and Japan. The plot centers around a heist and man-made treachery amidst a natural disaster in a small Indiana town.
During a heavy rainstorm, Tom and Uncle Charlie, two armored truck drivers, are collecting money from banks in the town of Huntingburg, Indiana, which has been evacuated due to flooding. They are ambushed by Jim and his gang of armed robbers, Kenny, Mr. Mehlor, and Ray. Charlie calls the National Guard and is shot dead by Kenny as Tom escapes and hides the cash in a cemetery.
The gang chases Tom, who takes refuge in a nearby church. There he is mistaken for a looter by Karen who knocks him out. Tom wakes up in a cell and tells Sheriff Mike Collins about the gang and the money. Sheriff Collins and Chief Deputy Wayne Bryce leave him locked up and investigate, whilst Deputy Phil is ordered to take Karen out of town. Karen pushes Phil out of the boat to return to protect the church, which she is restoring.
The town's dam operator Hank is forced to open a spillway, causing a large wave and deeper flooding. Tom is trapped in his cell as the water rises. After protecting the church, Karen rescues him and they hide from the gang. Kenny is electrocuted. They enter a house and are mistaken for looters by the elderly residents Doreen and Henry Sears, who have refused to evacuate and are protecting their property. Henry is persuaded to give Tom their boat to return to the armored truck. Resurfacing from the submerged truck, he finds the gang holding the elderly couple hostage. Tom says he will tell them where the money is.
Jim reveals to Tom that Uncle Charlie was in cahoots with the gang, and did not actually call the National Guard; he was only killed because Kenny was not told Uncle Charlie was on their side. Tom finds the money has disappeared. They are ambushed by Sheriff Collins and his deputies plus Hank, who have found Karen and intend to keep the money for themselves.
Mr. Mehlor and Ray are killed in the shootout, and Jim and Tom escape and hide in the church. Wayne takes Karen to her house intending to rape her. The others petrol bomb the church and drive their boats through the stained glassed windows. Karen stabs and kills Wayne. Hank shoots Phil for not shooting Tom when he had the chance.
The dam overtop alarm sounds. Collins suggests Tom and Jim should let Hank and him go with a couple of the bags of money. Tom agrees, but Jim does not. Tom leaves to try to save Karen, before Collins shoots Jim with a revolver he was hiding, although Jim isn't badly hurt. Collins and Hank escape in a boat. Hank is pushed out by Collins and is killed in a gas explosion.
Tom finds Karen handcuffed to a banister. He frees her and they climb to the roof to avoid the water where they are caught by Collins. Jim comes from behind them in a boat. Collins shoots at him, disabling the steering, forcing him to go over the roof. As he does so, the engine breaks off and collides with the sheriff, knocking him into the water. Collins tries to shoot Karen as he grabs a bag of money, but Tom and Jim shoot the corrupt sheriff dead. Tom tells Jim he should leave, just as the State Police arrive. Jim picks up Collins' bag of money and rows away, as Tom tells Karen the fire damage to her church was not too bad and can be repaired.
The production of the film was a collaborative effort among numerous film studios, one of which was the British Broadcasting Corporation. Christian Slater himself served as co-producer. At one point, John Woo was attached to direct the film, but he left the project to direct Face/Off instead and the project was taken over by Mikael Salomon.
The film was originally titled The Flood, but it was changed because the film-makers did not want audiences to assume it was primarily a disaster film and not a heist-thriller. A massive, deadly flood the previous year from the Ohio River that caused millions in damages was still fresh in the minds of moviegoers also prompted the name change. However, the film still retained that title in numerous other countries.
The film was shot in Huntingburg, Indiana, where the film is set (in reality there is no major river or dam nearby, although there are two reservoirs near the town), as well as a $6 million set in an aircraft hangar in Palmdale, California where the B-1 Lancer bomber was manufactured, and some exteriors in Etobicoke, Toronto, Canada.
As of April 2016, upon speaking with the Huntingburg City Office, film historian Adam Nichols was informed of and shown a museum located upstairs in the city office where several props, costumes, media, and production stills are displayed featuring this film and the 1992 film A League of Their Own that was also partially filmed in Huntingburg.
About the ending, Morgan Freeman said: "I played a bad guy in a movie and they showed it to an audience – and we're letting an audience tell us what to do now – y'know, and the audience said, 'Well, I don't want him – Morgan can't die!' And I was a thief. 'He should get some money'. We went back into the studio and re-shot it so that I didn't die and I did get some money."
The film features the song "Flood" by the Christian rock group Jars of Clay, which launched the band into the mainstream music scene.
Hard Rain opened on Martin Luther King long weekend in 1998 earning fifth place with $7.1 million from Friday to Sunday and $8 million including the holiday Monday. In the end, the film made $19.9 million in the US on a $70 million budget.
Due to its poor box office performance in the US, the film was released straight to video in most countries. In the UK, a 2004 showing on BBC One was very well received. The film gained a significant following in the video rental market.
Hard Rain received polarized reviews, some very positive and some very negative. A positive review was on timeout.com favorably compared the plot of Hard Rain to writer Graham Yost's earlier and more financially successful project, Speed, and suggested that it could be considered a spiritual sequel to Speed. Another review, on starpulse.com, praised the action scenes of Hard Rain yet criticized the plot, calling it "mindless" yet "entertaining". One particularly negative review came from Roger Ebert of the Chicago Sun-Times, who gave the film one star out of a possible four and stated: "Hard Rain is one of those movies that never convince you its stories are really happening. From beginning to end, I was acutely aware of actors being paid to stand in cold water. Suspension of my disbelief in this case would have required psychotropic medications." Although he criticised the plot and the casting of Morgan Freeman as the criminal, he did praise the special effects. On the TV show Siskel & Ebert & the Movies, he and his colleague Gene Siskel gave the film "two thumbs down". Commenting on its commercial performance, Total Film called it the "biggest flop of 1998" but said it deserved to perform better because of its "fun tension-cranking moments". Christopher Young's score was praised.
On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 30% approval rating based on 44 reviews. The site's consensus states: "Hard Rain is an implausible heist movie soaked in disaster movie trappings." Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of "B-" on an A+ to F scale.
- ^ abcde"Hard Rain". AFI Catalog of Feature Films. Retrieved June 1, 2016.
- ^"Hard Rain (1998)". Danish Film Institute. Retrieved July 26, 2021.
- ^ abhttp://www.bbfc.co.uk/releases/hard-rain-1998-2
- ^"Hard Rain (35mm)". Australian Classification Board. Retrieved September 24, 2021.
- ^"Hard Rain". filmportal.de. Retrieved July 24, 2021.
- ^ ab"Hard Rain". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved June 1, 2016.
- ^Van Gelder, Lawrence. "FILM REVIEW; Outlook: Stormy (It's Raining, Too)". The New York Times. Retrieved June 28, 2017.
- ^Shaffer, R. L. (February 9, 2010). "Hard Rain Blu-ray Review". IGN. Retrieved June 1, 2016.
- ^Collins, Andrew (December 1, 2015). "Hard Rain Review". Empire. Retrieved June 1, 2016.
- ^Jobson, Richard (July 14, 2000). "Morgan Freeman". The Guardian. London: Guardian Media Group. Retrieved March 24, 2018.
- ^"Weekend Box Office Chart for January 16th, 1998". The Numbers (website).
- ^"Daily Box Office Chart for Monday January 19th, 1998". The Numbers.
- ^"Hard Rain (1998) – Financial Information". The Numbers (website).
- ^"Hard Rain". Time Out. Archived from the original on October 13, 2012.
- ^"Hard Rain". Starpulse. Archived from the original on February 4, 2005.
- ^Roger Ebert. "Hard Rain movie review & film summary (1998)". Chicago Sun-Times. Retrieved November 6, 2019.
- ^"Spice World, Hard Rain, Fallen, The Gingerbread Man, Phantoms, Star Kid, 1998 – Siskel and Ebert Movie Reviews". SiskelEbert. Retrieved November 6, 2019.
- ^"The 50 biggest movie flops that deserved better". Total Film. Retrieved January 10, 2017.
- ^"Hard Rain (1997)". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved June 1, 2016.
- ^"CinemaScore". cinemascore.com. Archived from the original on December 20, 2018.
Christian review hard get
But seriously, you are completely finished, but I will not give to any professor, with any member in my life. I have my own professor, and his penis is just right, not like those old shriveled leeches. -And something I haven't seen him for a long time, those whores didn't tear him out there. Come on, show me, Lerochka asked mysteriously, grabbing onto her husband's penis.
- Lera, let him go, otherwise he will get up, it will be uncomfortable.THE PURSUIT OF GOD BY A W TOZER - Ch.1 review: FOLLOWING HARD AFTER GOD // MY BLOOMING TV
Probably was predisposed. And Lech chose me because he noticed my predisposition. What does it mean, there is no elevator here. - my hands suddenly felt the whole weight of the monitor.
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To scare Vera.doctor, I will obey you. ", the girl assured me.