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Houston and Cast Shine in Sparkle!
Houston Shines in Sparkle.
Oh Whitney. Watching Sparkle over this weekend has reminded me that she has left us far too soon. I must say that she owned the role of Emma, the matriarch of the Anderson family. She was funny, sassy, scary and loving and I kept thinking she had so much more to offer us as an actress. Without giving any spoilers away, the dinner table scene gave me chills. Whitney was able to say so much without much dialogue at the start of the scene. She was acting with her eyes and I was so impressed with her. I must say the entire cast did a great job. This was Jordin Sparks first role and she held her own quite well. There were a few moments where you could tell she was a beginner but overall, she did her thing. My favorite Jordin moment had to be at the end when she finally gets her moment to shine and boy does she.
Carmen Ejogo as Sister was phenomenal! She really had big shoes to fill and she filled them with ease, sophistication and passion. I was completely mesmerized by her when she was performing on stage, every single time. She also really tapped into a genuine place as a broken woman, who really wants to be loved and accepted. Tika Sumpter did really well too. I was glad they fleshed out the character of Dee so well and she brought this fiery energy to her.
Mike Epps was incredible as the evil Satin and I couldn't keep my eyes off of him every time he was on the screen. He had this magic and creepiness about him that made you enjoy his evilness somewhat. Derek Luke and Omar Hardwick were also great in their roles as well. They had a really intense scene together, that they both played with such honesty and heart. I could relate to both of them and feel empathy for both. The ensemble cast was also really well rounded out. There was no weak link in this ensemble to be honest. I loved the Ceelo Green cameo, he kicked off the movie really well.
The music was great, as were the updates to the script. I really enjoyed how they fleshed out the characters and all the sisters had a real back story. There was a great twist that I was not expecting and really enjoyed it. I was taken a back by it at first, but it really worked in the remake and was happy that they included that. I was impressed that the writers kept the back bone of the story but were able to really expand on the characters, update the story to make it relevant for todays audiences but kept the grit and intensity of the original. The costumes were fantastic and really fit the era. I also really enjoyed the direction and cinematography. The movie is beautifully shot and the actors look great. You can tell the lighting know how to light black actors. Salim, the director, really added some nice transitions that really captured the essence of the 60's.I loved the record shop scene and how all of the performances were shot.
One complaint I had about the film was at some parts the editing and pacing were weird. Whitney's solo came at an appropriate time in the script, but I felt the transition into it could have been smoother. Also the ending transition could have been better after her solo as well. The end of the film came abruptly and I just wish they would have kept about 5-10 more minutes to flesh out the ending a little better. But the actual pacing of the film was great. There was not one point that I was bored.
Sparkle is obviously not a very original story, but features so much heart that you can't but fall in love with these characters. It reminds me of those classic feel good musicals that leaves the audience singing and dancing in the aisles. You can tell everyone went into this project with the intent of making a beautiful and well received film and they have succeeded.