Screening Room: The Best Man Holiday and Blue is the Warmest Color

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Shawn and Russ say the choices are good at the theaters this weekend. Here are their reviews of the new films:


Malcolm D. Lee’s popular 1999 romantic comedy “The Best Man” finally gets a sequel as the cast reunites for “The Best Man Holiday.” Taye Diggs, Nia Long, Morris Chestnut, Terrence Howard and their former college friends get together at Christmas time and their old conflicts are rekindled.

Funny. I didn’t love the “The Best Man.” And I never considered it a classic. Clearly that puts me in the minority among my peers. And the “The Best Man Holiday” isn’t a spectacular film either but it’s one heck of an event experience and completely entertaining. Easily the crowd pleaser of the year.

The cast is nothing short of terrific and the film is often funny, but it’s also overlong and overly maudlin. It’s a messy, but likable reunion.

The cast is actually incredible. Likable and very capable. The direction is workmanlike but it’s the story that I wish was tidier but the last third of the movie makes up for any imperfections. In the end, for many, this will be an instant classic and functions as one terrific reunion.

RUSS: 3 Popcorn Bags
SHAWN: 3 Popcorn Bags

IFC Films

“Blue is the Warmest Color” was the big winner at this year’s Cannes Film Festival, heralded as a masterpiece by some and as pornography by others. The truth lies somewhere in between. The story deals with young lesbian lovers in northern France.

And this is a movie about a lesbian not lesbians and it’s a breathtaking masterpiece.
It’s a rich, intellectually stimulating and deeply moving story of romance and heartbreak. Perhaps one of the best ever. I’ve got “Claudine” “Harold and Muade” “She’s gotta Have It” and this as the all time best.

The film’s graphic and highly controversial sex scenes have earned it the NC-17 rating it deserves, but the movie would have worked without them thanks to the brilliant performances by its young stars. It’s a heartbreaking account of the minefield of young romance. In this case, the idea of art or porn is in the eye of the beholder.

The non traditional storytelling aspect of the movie brilliantly works and the acting is superb. It’s sub-titled and features its share of graphic love scenes. But don’t let that scare you off. This is one of the best love stories you’ll see. So real. so raw, so emotional. It’s also a sophisticated, deeply-effecting near-perfect work of art for truly the grown, sexy and mature.

RUSS: 4 Popcorn Bags
SHAWN: 5 Popcorn Bags

Main Street Films

Charles Dickens classic coming-of-age novel “Great Expectations” gets the big screen treatment once again. Young Jeremy Irvine plays Pip, Helena Bonham Carter is the enigmatic Miss Havisham and Ralph Fiennes is the mysterious convict, Magwitch in this handsome adaptation directed by Mike Newell of “Four Weddings and a Funeral” fame. While it won’t make anyone forget David Lean’s exemplary 1946 version, it’s a well acted and workmanlike adaptation for newcomers.

RUSS: 3 Popcorn Bags

Also opening this week:

“God Loves Uganda” is a documentary from Oscar-winning filmmaker Roger Ross Williams about the evangelical crusade in Uganda that is bringing a backlash against homosexuals there. Some of the missionaries involved are from Kansas City’s International House of Prayer.

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