Review: Talk to Me

I wanted to see this movie this weekend and much to my surprise it still wasn’t playing at AMC. This movie probably has been the most advertised movie of this summer, and every time I went to see a movie at AMC for the past few months it has been playing as a preview. I went to the Dedham Community Theater, one of my favorites due to its low prices and the low attendance. I also love that about 90% of its attendees are probably older than the theater itself.

Anyways, I caught the movie we’ve all heard about and it’s a wonderful blending of comedy, drama, tragedy, and soul that sticks with you for the rest of the day. I couldn’t get this movie out of my head, and I recommend it with high regard. This movie belongs to Don Cheadle. He plays Petey Greene Jr., a recently released ex-con who has a knack for speaking his mind on the radio and connecting with the African American community. The film chronicles Petey’s rise to fame and his relationship with his manager. I’ve always been a fan of Cheadle, noticing both his dramatic side and his comedic side. This film takes both of them, throws on a James Brown record, and lets Cheadle loose and he not only gives his best performance but also the best performance I’ve seen from an actor in a film this year. He became a completely different person (much like in the “Ocean’s” films and Hotel Rwanda) and I got lost in yet another terrific film. His performance is superior than the film itself, but the film is still a very entertaining look back at the 60s and 70s, on par with films like “Boogie Nights” and “Ray”.

Not only does this film offer Don Cheadle’s best performance, it also has Chiwetel Ejiofor. Chewy (I don’t know if that’s really a nickname) happens to be one of my favorite actors on the screen right now, and he really scores another great role with this film. He plays the Petey’s friend and manager Dewey Hughes, the man who believed in Petey more than anyone else. Ejiofor sadly has to deal with some unfortunate fake facial hair throughout the film (that spans a few decades) but he still works through it. Ejiofor makes the screen feel cool, even when you see the stupid things his character is doing. Other supporting roles from Martin Sheen (as the Station Manager) and *gasp* Cedric the Entertainer (as the super sexy night show radio host), make the film even more entertaining to watch.

Underneath the story of Petey Greene’s rise to fame, the movie is really about the friendship between Greene and Hughes. Films often have this theme and don’t offer what feels like a real friendship between its characters. This film succeeds. From beginning to end I actually cared about these characters. The most memorable part of the film takes place during the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr. This part of the film is not that long, but it really stands out and is extremely moving. Petey Greene takes all the anger and sadness of the people and just cools them down and I really felt that, at this point, Don Cheadle had fully realized his character. The film also breaks the convention of the modern biopic, and doesn’t use any exaggerations of Petey Greene as a character (something I attribute to both the acting and writing) unlike Jamie Foxx in “Ray.”

My biggest problem with the film had nothing to do with the film itself. This release date is ridiculous. This movie deserves to be released in the Oscar season of November-December when you are almost guaranteed a nomination. Cheadle is a surefire contender but the rest of the film will be completely ignored (especially the much-deserving Ejiofor). I also thought that the title was a little weak but didn’t take too much away from the film. The music is wonderful, the acting is top-notch, and I didn’t find anything disappointing about “Talk to Me” in the least. I give “Talk to Me” an:



Filed under Review, Talk to Me

6 responses to “Review: Talk to Me

  1. Matt M.

    I want to see talk to me! I love Chewie and Cheadle! Oh well, now I’ll read the article and pretend that I’m there…

  2. Matt M.

    oh yeah Chewie is his nickname (but it’s with an -ie, i’ve wikipedia-ed his shit)

    Now that i post comments i feel awesome!

  3. matt m

    do you want to see rocket science?

  4. Sean

    I will say Don Cheadle is the man but nothing can top is roll as a bleached blond lackey in “The Meteor Man”.

  5. Josh

    Yes Matt, I can’t wait for that movie. It was the huge hit at Sundance and I’ve been waiting for its release ever since. My favorite film from last year was the Sundance hit (Little Miss Sunshine) so I’m hoping this is good. It looks a lot like “Thumbsucker” so that could be good (but may come off as unoriginal).

  6. matt m.

    i haven’t seen thumbsucker though the cast seemed relatively impressive for an indie (actually i think i just remember vince vaughn, but i think on the poster he was like listed as the 6th person down). Yeah i had a friend with a thumbsucker poster back at school so i remember this little stuff…
    Little Miss Sunshine though was a fantastic movie, i saw it opening day at the west newton cinema and i was with boyajian, robert, and ted lavin because they were the people i knew who wanted to see it and so before the show they all got high while i walked down the road and found a trader joes and there i bought a cheesecake that i fit into my pants and snuck into the theater and enjoyed erstwhile the movie played. It may have been the highlight of my life (though it definitely wasn’t).

    Otherwise yeah, i need to see the darjeeling limited, and its you who showed me the trailer so i wanted to thank you for that much. and yeah if you want to put something together for rocket science I am very down, i’m glad and maybe a little surprised to hear about it’s sundance pedigree but i just know it sounds pretty awesome.

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