Combustible Celluloid
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With: Danny Glover, Lisa Gay Hamilton, Yaya DaCosta, Charles S. Dutton, Vondie Curtis-Hall, Gary Clark Jr., Mable John, Stacy Keach, Nagee Clay, Absalom Adams, Arthur Lee Williams, Ruben Santiago-Hudson, Davenia McFadden, Daryl Edwards, Sean Patrick Thomas, Eric L. Abrams, Kel Mitchell, Keb' Mo', Tom Wright, Donnie L. Betts, John Sayles, Larry Coker, Mary Steenburgen, Brian D. Williams, Santana Shelton, Danny Vinson, Brent Jennings, Steve Holmes, Albert Hall
Written by: John Sayles
Directed by: John Sayles
MPAA Rating: PG-13 for brief violence and some suggestive material
Running Time: 123
Date: 09/10/2007

Honeydripper (2008)

3 1/2 Stars (out of 4)

Rhapsody in Blues

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

After a nearly four-year absence, John Sayles returns with another literate, professional, yet highly enjoyable film, Honeydripper. This one is set in 1950s Alabama, and once again Sayles shows his gift for effectively representing all types of cultures and eras. Here the black cotton pickers, guitar pickers and frequenters of juke-joints have their own humanity and unique rhythms of speech; it's easy to get lost in their world. Danny Glover stars in a wonderfully comfortable performance as 'Pine Top' Purvis, a former piano man who now runs his own place, the Honeydripper. His old-fashioned live music can't compete with the hoppin' juke box at the competition, so he attempts to bring in a young guitar hero to liven up the place and hopefully, prevent the landlord from ousting him. Meanwhile, a young ex-army man, Sonny (Gary Clark Jr.), arrives in town with a guitar case in hand. All the pieces fit together neatly, and it's actually a bit frustrating waiting for the characters to figure out what's all too obvious, but it's Sayles' relaxed flow that really matters here. Charles S. Dutton helps a great deal with the mood as Pine Top's right hand man, Maceo. And Yaya DaCosta plays Pine Top's pretty daughter, who just happens to be about the same age as Sonny. Lisa Gay Hamilton, Vondie Curtis-Hall, Mary Steenburgen, Stacy Keach and others provide able support. The great-sounding music, which has the same resonance as a live performance, is the final bit of frosting.

Best Buy Co, Inc.