Monday, April 13, 2009

A Day Late and a Dollar Short

I know I'm a little late to this, but I finally caught up with Notorious tonight. Notorious was not what I expected it to be. What I was expecting, I'm not entirely sure. I've always been a fan of films with music themes, whether it was The Five Heartbeats, The Commitments, Cadillac Records, or Ray. But the musical performances were Notorious most glaring weakness. It wouldn't have been fair to expect newbie Jamal Woolard to rhyme like Biggie, but other than the early battle scene, actual scene viewable here, Woolard has zero stage presence. He has plenty of range and he covers all aspects of Biggie's life through the years, but neither the concert or studio scenes are shot in a way to hide this glaring weekness.

Angela Bassett is great as Voletta Wallace. Derek Luke plays a decent Puff Daddy. Marc John Jefferies is too young to play Lil Cease. Jefferies character left me wondering if he had his parents' permission for the role. Naturi Naughton didn't have the range for the naughty Lil Kim later in the film. Naughton never looks comfortable exposing herself as Kim and for that reason you feel sorry for her and not Kim.

The music supervisor Barry Cole did an admirable job, picking the perfect Biggie tracks to tell his complete life story. I'd watch Notorious again, but only in the company of a friend who'd never seen the film. And that's probably the most disappointing aspect of the film. It had all of the lements of a movie I'd purchase and watch over and over again. Instead I'll put in my VHS copy of Rhyme & Reason for a better portrayal of Biggie.
Now playing: Notorious B.I.G - I Love The Dough feat Jaÿ-Z & Angela Winbush

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