Posts Tagged ‘Colman Domingo’

Escaping in the Same Direction

Transformers: Rise of the Beasts

Director: Steven Caple Jr

Cast: Anthony Ramos, Dominique Fishback, Michelle Yeoh, Peter Dinklage, Peter Cullen, Dean Scott, Vazquez, Tobe Nwigwe, Ron Perlman, Liza Koshy, John DiMaggio, David Sobolov, Michaela Jaé Rodriguez, Pete Davidson, Colman Domingo, Cristo Fernández

Running Time: 2 hours and 7 minutes

Film Rating: 6.5 out of 10  

Creed II director Steven Caple Jr provides a fresh directorial vision for the new Transformers film, Transformers: Rise of the Beasts set in a pre-9/11 world in New York City in 1994 and in Cuzco in Peru.

Far removed from the days of Victoria Secret model Rosie Huntington-Whiteley hanging helplessly off a glistening yet menacing Autobot in Transformers: Dark of the Moon back in 2011, Rise of The Beasts has a completely new vision with two new rising stars featuring Anthony Ramos (A Star is Born, In The Heights) as the hero Noah Diaz, a struggling young Latino man trying to find a job and look after his little brother Kris played by Dean Scott Vazques and Dominique Fishback (Judas and the Black Messiah) as museum researcher Elena Wallace.

Together Elena and Noah must team up with the Autobots as they have to prevent a new Galactic catastrophe as the evil Terrorcon Scourge wonderfully voiced by the Game of Thrones star Peter Dinklage seeks to unlock a mysterious artefact to allow the ruthless Unicron voiced by Colman Domingo to devastate the Earth. Besides all this post-apocalyptic threat taking place ironically set before 9/11, Transformers: Rise of the Beasts has a really cool 1990’s vibe especially the scenes set in New York complete with hip music and a slightly retro production design.

For all Transformers fans, the really thrilling part of these films is watching the cars transform into robots and vice versa, but unfortunately in this version there isn’t enough of that. The script while interesting does go slightly off the reservation, actually way off as the action moves to Cuzco in Peru near the site of the ancient ruins of Machu Picchu in South America.

What is lacking in storyline or characterization in this version is definitely made up for in dazzling special effects which will help Transformers: Rise of the Beasts maintain its popularity throughout the 2023 American summer block buster season.

Noah has a better storyline in the film than Elena, although Anthony Ramos and Dominique Fishback do exceptionally well in a storyline in which 95% of the dialogue is with CGI robots.

Transformers: Rise of the Beasts needed some more human intervention even some quirky characters to spice up a rather clunky storyline, nevertheless it is an entertaining film saved by superb visual effects which will be sure to attract audiences to this film.

Transformers: Rise of the Beasts gets a film rating of 6.5 out of 10 and see it for the catchy music and imaginative visual effects.

Be kind to cinemas and watch Transformers: Rise of the Beasts on a Big Screen now.

Hot Rhythm Records

Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom

Director: George C. Wolfe

Cast: Viola Davis, Chadwick Boseman , Colman Domingo, Glynn Turman, Jeremy Shamos, Johnny Coyne, Dusan Brown, Taylour Paige, Joshua Harto 

This film is only available on NETFLIX

Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom is based upon a play by August Wilson and adapted for the screen by actor and writer Ruben Santiago-Hudson and August Wilson and stars Oscar winner Viola Davis (Fences) as the brash and take-no-nonsense Ma Rainey  who arrives in Chicago in 1927 to record a single for her song Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom.

Conceptualized on screen by the director of Nights in Rodanthe and The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, George C. Wolfe does a capable job of maintaining the tension in this film as the characters brim with talent, anger and the capacity for violence.

Blues Diva Ma Rainey is confronted by her band members particularly Levee the angry young man who has suffered years of racial abuse and injustice, superbly played by Chadwick Boseman (Black Panther, 21 Bridges) who unfortunately passed away in 2020 due to stomach cancer.

Boseman’s performance is mercurial, brimming with talent and anger, battling to control his emotions in a harsh world filled with segregation, racial hatred and mistrust which characterised American society in the late 1920’s just before the Great Depression happened in October 1929.

Nominated for Best Actor at the 2021 Golden Globes, Chadwick Boseman’s performance has already garnered critical acclaim and if he posthumously gets an Oscar nomination for Best Actor in 2021 and wins, he will only be the third actor in the Academy Awards history to win an Oscar after his death, the previous two being Peter Finch for Network in 1977 and Heath Ledger for The Dark Knight in 2009.

August Wilson’s play is a tightly constructed drama all taking place in a recording studio and once again Viola Davis steals the show as the demanding and outrageously talented Blues singer Ma Rainey who originally hailed from Georgia. Ma Rainey’s unconventional lifestyle was way ahead of her time especially her affectionate relationship with back up dancer Dussie Mae, coquettishly played with vibrancy by Taylour Paige last seen in the excellent Detroit crime drama White Boy Rick.

As tensions increase and tempers flare at the Hot Rhythm Records one hot summer’s day in 1927, the recording manager Irvin wonderfully played with complete exasperation by character actor Jeremy Shamos (Bad Education) is intent on getting Ma Rainey’s permission to eventually release the recorded song especially after so many setbacks including Rainey’s young nephew Sylvester played by Dusan Brown, who suffers from a terrible stutter.

The dialogue in Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom is filled with angst and despair, but if viewers can get past that, it is a fascinating period piece about Chicago in 1927 held together by two fine performances by Viola Davis and Chadwick Boseman.

Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom gets a film rating of 7 out of 10 and is recommended viewing for those that enjoyed Fences and enjoy play to screen film adaptations.

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