No holiday movie season is complete without the dysfunctional family get together. This year, we're treated to writer/director Kasi Lemmons' and Langston Hughes' movie version of Hughes' popular play Black Nativity.
Here's a bit of back and forth. Unfortunately, the movie is not even close to Hughes' much more interesting live theater concept. Fortunately like most in the genre, this Thanksgiving treat is stuffed with terrific talent: Forest Whitaker, Angela Bassett, Jennifer Hudson, Mary J. Blige, Tyrese Gibson, Vondie Curtis-Hall and Jacob Latimore as Langston.
Unfortunately, the propped-up plot they're plopped into is packed with cliche family problems and characters.
Fortunately, it's a musical. Hudson, Blige and Latimore and others sing by themselves and together. The soaring vocals sometimes intertwine, each singing a different point of view and often from different locales. While that's not all that original, the music is and it's very good. And it is the music -- and nothing else -- that makes Black Nativity worth singing about.
Director: Kasi Lemmons
Stars: Forest Whitaker, Angela Bassett, Jennifer Hudson, Mary J. Blige, Jacob Latimore, Tyrese Gibson, Vondie Curtis-Hall
Mr. Movie rating: 3 stars
Rated PG for mature themes. It's playing at the Carmike 12 and at Walla Walla Grand Cinemas.
5 stars to 4 1/2 stars: Must see on the big screen
4 stars to 3 1/2 stars: Good film, see it if it's your type of movie.
3 stars to 2 1/2 stars: Wait until it comes out on DVD.
2 stars to 1 star: Don't bother.
0 stars: Speaks for itself.