Directed by Nelson George.
Written by Nelson George, Jim McKay and Hannah Weyer.
Starring Queen Latifah, Wendell Pierce, Rachel Nicks and Evan
Release Year: 2007
Review Date: 1/31/07
Now THIS is what Sundance is all about--a
world premiere of a sorta-big film with big stars, big publicity and
a standing ovation. This was the only film I saw at Sundance
where not only the director was present for a Q&A, but also the lead
stars and the executive producer, Jamie Foxx.
HBO Films is the producer of "Life Support"
(which might actually go straight to cable, as opposed to theaters),
an AIDS drama about Ana (Queen Latifah), an HIV-positive advocacy
worker who struggles with not only her disease but her family life,
including her relationship with her husband Slick (Wendell Pierce,
from "The Wire")--Slick is the one who gave Ana the virus in the
first place--and her two daughters, Kelly (newcomer Rachel Nicks)
and Kim (Rayelle Parker). All of this, mixed with the drama of
trying to find Kelly's gay best friend Omori (Evan Ross), makes for
one hell of a summer in New York City.
Directed by Nelson George, "Life Support" is
a good mix of drama and sex education movie; George has a few scenes
in the support center where Latifah's character and her co-workers
educate fellow Brooklynites about the dos and don'ts of sex in
today's world, all of which feel right from a realism perspective
even as they are a bit preachy. The performances of everyone
EXCEPT Latifah are excellent, especially Nicks, who (as we learned
after the screening) auditioned for this role two days before her
graduation from Julliard, got the part, then graduated...she has
real potential as an actress, as she's the best thing about "Life
Support." Latifah actually is the only slightly-weak link
here; her character's emotions and situations seem a tad bit forced
in some of the movie's vital scenes, but it is nothing too
distracting, it's just not quite right.
The film overall is good, not great, mostly
because it spends too much of its second half on the Omori sequences
as Kelly, and then Ana, try to find him. But otherwise, "Life
Support" should perform well either on TV or in theaters when it
gets picked up.
Rating: $9.00 Show
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Bellview Rating System:
"Opening Weekend": This is
the highest rating a movie can receive. Reserved for movies that
exhibit the highest level of acting, plot, character development,
setting...or Salma Hayek. Not necessarily in that order.
"$X.XX Show": This price
changes each year due to the inflation of movie prices; currently,
it is the $9.50 Show. While not technically perfect, this is a
movie that will still entertain you at a very high level.
"Undercover Brother" falls into this category; it's no "Casablanca",
but you'll have a great time watching. The $9.50 Show won't win any
Oscars, but you'll be quoting lines from the thing for ages (see
"Matinee": An average movie
that merits no more than a $6.50 viewing at your local theater.
Seeing it for less than $9.50 will make you feel a lot better about
yourself. A movie like "Blue Crush" fits this category; you leave
the theater saying "That wasn't too bad...man, did you see that
Lakers game last night?"
"Rental": This rating
indicates a movie that you see in the previews and say to your
friend, "I'll be sure to miss that one." Mostly forgettable, you
couldn't lose too much by going to Hollywood Video and paying $3 to
watch it with your sig other, but you would only do that if the
video store was out of copies of "Ronin." If you can, see this
movie for free. This is what your TV Guide would give "one and a
"Hard Vice": This rating is
the bottom of the barrel. A movie that only six other human beings
have witnessed, this is the worst movie I have ever seen. A Shannon
Tweed "thriller," it is so bad as to be funny during almost every
one of its 84 minutes, and includes the worst ending ever put into a
movie. Marginally worse than "Cabin Boy", "The Avengers" or
"Leonard, Part 6", this rating means that you should avoid this
movie at all costs, or no costs, EVEN IF YOU CAN SEE IT FOR FREE!
(Warning: strong profanity will be used in all reviews of "Hard