On screen is the Brown biopic “Get On Up,” which jumps, swings and splits like Mr. Dynamite himself. Directed by Tate Taylor (The Help), Get On Up is a movie that moves, following the wild erratic life of Brown in no particular order. Up front and in your face are the performances that made Brown, “The Hardest Working Man In Show Business.”
As Brown, Boseman lip-sync’s the legend’s actual voice, but you’d never know it. The remixing of the original music, courtesy of music producer Jagger is nothing short of miraculous. Also miraculous are recreations of the gymnastic James Brown dance moves by Boseman. We see historic performances from London’s The T.A.M.I Show in 1964 (where he opened for the Rolling Stones) to the crowd-controlling night in Boston after the Martin Luther King assassination to troop entertainment in Vietnam, the Apollo Theater and on and on.
Get On Up shows that James Brown was no saint, with his wife-beating, drug-taking and sheer meanness to his musicians (he fined them for mistakes on stage). Also evident is his impoverished past, where his parents (Lennie James and Viola Davis) abandoned him and his understanding Aunt Honey (Octavia Spencer) raised him in a brothel.
Still, Brown did have one friend Bobby Byrd (Nelsan Ellis). A gospel singer, Byrd rescued him from jail and set him on the road to soul music superstardom.
Get off your butt and go see Get On Up. There’s nothing boring about James Brown or his biopic explosion.