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Octavia Spencer

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  • Film Review: 'Get On Up'

    Is it possible for a single movie to capture James Brown in all his multitudes, contradictions and reinventions? Probably not, but "Get On Up" makes an admirable, fitfully successful stab at the life of the brilliant but volatile funk-soul legend who wore at least as many personalities and personas as he did nicknames and honorary titles. Arriving at the end of a high season for biopics of black historical and cultural figures ("42," "Mandela," "Lee Daniels' The Butler"), "Get On Up" runs shorter on the pandering simplifications and sanctifying airs that plagued those films, while still delivering a very digestible, authorized portrait that might best be described as "warts and some." A strong marketing push by Universal and a dearth of adult-skewing fare bodes well for this Brian Grazer-Mick Jagger production, which clearly has its sights set on the late-summer sleeper success of both "The Butler" ($116 million) and director Tate Taylor's previous "The Help" ($169 million).
  • 'Get on Up' revives the funk, and James Brown

    "Get on Up" is a movie of uncompromising soul, unadulterated funk and unalloyed joy. Dazzling, witty and emotional, this warts-and-all musical biography of James Brown rides on the able shoulders of Chadwick Boseman. It turns out that his terrific if...

    Is Toronto Film Festival Losing Its Awards Mojo?

    Toronto's lineup, announced Tuesday, has awards pundits drooling in anticipation, but here's some free advice: Wipe away the drool and manage your expectations. A few years ago, the Canadian fest was the focus of many awards campaigns. But the...

    Toronto Film Festival Lineup Includes Denzel Washington's 'Equalizer,' Kate Winslet's 'A Little Chaos'

    The Toronto Film Festival has announced more than 40 titles -- a mix of awards contenders, star-powered indies, and international arthouse fare -- screening in its Gala and Special Presentations program this September, including Denzel Washington's "The...

    'Red Band Society' takes its cues from 'The Breakfast Club,' 'My So-Called Life'

    It's easy to view Fox's "Red Band Society" as a tearjerker given its premise -- it centers on a group of teenagers with serious illnesses who form unlikely bonds while living in a pediatric ward of a Los Angeles hospital. But don't be surprised if the...