Chadwick's final role. I know Viola won't disappoint. Looks to be a stellar supporting cast as well
Semi-related, I've been telling myself I'm going to buy the century cycle of plays for months now. Can't see giving Amazon $150+ for it, but I checked a Black owned bookstore and they asked for $250 :/
8. "I adore Wilson" In response to Reply # 0 Sun Dec-20-20 01:07 AM by jane eyre
...but this adaptation didn't do it for me. When I finished watching this adaptation, I had the same feeling I get when I'm excited to see a Wilson production in the theater and it falls flat. A Wilson play is, strangely, a spiritual experience. His plays are a clear, specific, unmistakable phenomenon.
--Ma Rainey didn't feel like Wilson to me. Sometimes the pace of the play started to get into a groove but it was never sustained.
--Viola's makeup and that fat suit was a bizarre choice. I refuse to believe August Wilson would've signed off on that.
The best Wilson adaptation for tv/movie I've seen is the "Piano Lesson." But Wilson himself did the screenplay. It's excellent. Fences wasn't a bad adaptation, either, and all of the performances hit the right mark.
Boseman did better than I expected. It wasn't a bad performance at all. But I think I have a thing where I feel like it's hard to find actors and actresses to enter the space Wilson is vibrating at. It's always fascinating to me, for instance, to listen to Phylicia Rashad talk about this...
I love Wilson, and there were parts of this adaption that I liked. But overall, this didn't feel like a Wilson play, but like people performing Wilson. Even when I watch Wilson plays that don't do it for me, I can always find a moment that's beautiful. For instance, in this play, I was moved to hear echoes and connections between characters in the cycle as it related to Ma Rainey, but also as it related to their own circumstance. The voices speaking in the cycle across the years was especially poignant for me in this production. I could hear Boy Willie, Doker, Troy, Aunt Esther, Gabriel....it was quite moving.
I also love the idea that people are trying to bring Wilson's entire cycle to the big screen. I hope the project will be something that introduces people with new talent and gifts...
12. "I think structurally, it is a hard play to adapt to film" In response to Reply # 8
the lockerroom/band rehearsal space was excellent, but the recording studio and everything else was difficult for Wolfe.
Boseman was great. I think most actors would get caught in that Charles Dutton bag, where the stage goes EVERYWHERE. Boseman and Davis gave us moments from the stage, but they also gave us Ma and Levee on film too. That is what made it powerful for me. Everyone else felt like they were simply on stage.
14. "Yeah, the shot that really stuck out to me was when Slow Drag" In response to Reply # 12
***spoilers*** I guess, for a 30+ year old play? ***spoilers***
Turns to the wall and takes his hat off after Levee kills Toledo while Cutler just kind of...looks at Levee and Toledo and then the lights fade.
I can imagine how powerful that is on stage with the echo of the theater and the fullness of the stage, the sudden silence and dropping of the lights, but the way it was shot it just felt like they faithfully adapted the play (assuming that's basically how the play is staged) but didn't consider how it'd present as a single camera compilation of reaction shots.
It's hard to adapt this play to the big screen! I thought the stronger scenes happened in the band rehearsal space, too.
Ha @ the Charles Dutton stage goes everywhere comment...so true.
I'm not a super fan of what Ruben Santiago-Hudson did with the script, plus Wolfe's sensibilities sometimes came off heavy-handed/preachy to me.
I'm beyond excited that the cycle will be on film, though. I really really really really really really hope that it will open the door for new and developing talent of all kinds, not just re: acting.
Hilton Als wrote an interesting review of the film and mentioned a few things about Viola's performance that made me go: huh. Just. Food for thought. Anyway. I'm good if she takes a break from playing Wilson women for this project.
11. "Don't know how it stacks up to the play, but a very good film" In response to Reply # 0
...that had that old Netflix feeling of not quite all the way there-ness. I'm kind of learning to enjoy that for what it is (it really helps dreamy stuff like I'm Thinking of Ending Things) but still dulls movies like this a bit.
Structurally, it feels like a mirror image of one of my favorite movies, Glengarry Glen Ross, but it doesn't always let its symbolic moments really sing - when Levee breaks through the door to find a dead end, or does Toledo in, there's nothing cinematic about it really it just happens.
Any negative takes should be full of nitpicks or familiarity with the source material though, 'cause this is a fundamentally well done play-as-movie with great performances from everybody; it's hard to look past the symbolism of this being Chadwick's final role. I hope it helped him through the end.