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By Michael Sragow and Michael Sragow,Sun Movie Critic | October 13, 2006
In The Last King of Scotland, Forest Whitaker gives a performance huge in size and spirit and terrifying in its downward-spiraling momentum. As Gen. Idi Amin, the Ugandan dictator who deposed President Milton Obote in 1971, Whitaker embodies the explosion of energy and the urgent desire for legitimacy that comes with the violent overthrow of any government. Then the power surge dissipates and debauchery ensues as political self-preservation becomes Amin's only goal. He sets tribe against tribe and attempts to use warlord tactics and ethnic cleansing to unite the country behind him. He's a human shark, not just because of his ferocity, but also because he feels that if he stops moving and devouring his prey, he will die. From Whitaker's first entrance, this movie does what All the King's Men failed to do: It expresses the visceral connection of a popular demagogue and his people.
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August 27, 2008
Bloodsport 10 p.m. [Versus] Yahoo says: "Fact-based action tale about Frank Dux (Jean-Claude Van Damme), the first Westerner to win a deadly martial-arts contest." Can you believe this movie is 20 years old? Can you also believe Forest Whitaker is in the movie? Was this a step up or step down from Fast Times at Ridgemont High? RAY FRAGER
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By John Anderson and John Anderson,Special to Newsday | October 1, 2006
BURBANK, Calif.-- --Forest Whitaker still uses the occasional Britishism, a vestige of his part in Neil Jordan's gender-bender, The Crying Game. If it weren't so emotionally painful to pick up an alto sax, Whitaker could probably revisit Bird with a few jazz blasts from his Charlie Parker past. Ten years from now, he says, he may not be thinking about Panic Room, but he'll probably be able to drill a safe. The research and immersion in character that Whitaker has performed for the various roles he's created -- from the football star in Fast Times at Ridgemont High, to his Private Garlick in Good Morning, Vietnam, to his breakout role channeling Charlie Parker -- have left their traces on his own character, he says.
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By Michael Sragow and Michael Sragow,Sun Movie Critic | April 11, 2008
Street Kings is like a sideshow shooting gallery that wants to award you a Ph.D. in sociology instead of a stuffed toy or 10 free shots. It would be easier to take as gory, lowdown fun if it weren't giving you the third degree in more ways than one. But it may be the first effective audience-participation film of 2008. See it with people who take it for the trash it is, and you can cheer the baroque killings and laugh fondly with Forest Whitaker as he tries too hard to create a domestic sociopath to match his role as Idi Amin.
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By Milton Kent and Milton Kent,SUN STAFF | March 25, 2000
Forest Whitaker has a little secret that he'd like to share with as many of you as possible: He can do comedy. It hardly seems likely, given his super-serious body of work, including his current film, "Ghost Dog: The Way of the Samurai." But Whitaker swears it's true. "I love comedy," said Whitaker, during a recent visit to town to promote "Ghost Dog." "A couple of friends from college think that's the one area that people don't even know about me. That was the area that I was really good at, but I don't do it."
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By Ann Hornaday and Ann Hornaday,SUN FILM CRITIC | May 31, 1998
At first glance, "Hope Floats" doesn't look like a revolutionary film.The romantic drama stars Sandra Bullock and Harry Connick Jr., both young, attractive and appealing. Its setting is the all-American town of Smithville, Texas. Its subject matter - a young wife who comes to terms with a philandering husband by returning to her small hometown - doesn't exactly sizzle with controversy. And the film's director, Forest Whitaker, is a proven master of the "chick flick," having shepherded Terry McMillan's best-selling romantic novel "Waiting to Exhale" to the screen and big box-office returns.
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By Michael Sragow and Michael Sragow,Sun Movie Critic | April 11, 2008
Street Kings is like a sideshow shooting gallery that wants to award you a Ph.D. in sociology instead of a stuffed toy or 10 free shots. It would be easier to take as gory, lowdown fun if it weren't giving you the third degree in more ways than one. But it may be the first effective audience-participation film of 2008. See it with people who take it for the trash it is, and you can cheer the baroque killings and laugh fondly with Forest Whitaker as he tries too hard to create a domestic sociopath to match his role as Idi Amin.
SPORTS
August 27, 2008
Bloodsport 10 p.m. [Versus] Yahoo says: "Fact-based action tale about Frank Dux (Jean-Claude Van Damme), the first Westerner to win a deadly martial-arts contest." Can you believe this movie is 20 years old? Can you also believe Forest Whitaker is in the movie? Was this a step up or step down from Fast Times at Ridgemont High? RAY FRAGER
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November 17, 2006
THE QUESTION The award season is just around the corner. What movies and/or actors do you consider to be Oscar contenders? you're such a critic WHAT YOU SAY For my money, the Best Picture, so far, has been either L'Enfant or Lady Vengeance (best American movie has been Little Miss Sunshine), while the best acting awards, again so far, belong to Forest Whitaker (The Last King of Scotland) and Helen Mirren (The Queen). PETER MUNCIE, COLUMBIA In the acting realm, the compelling, carefully nuanced performance of Forest Whitaker, as a deranged dictator in The Last King of Scotland, gets my nod. In the film category, I'm going with Martin Scorsese's The Departed.
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By Lou Cedrone and Lou Cedrone,Evening Sun Staff | May 3, 1991
"A Rage in Harlem'' is an uneven combination of comedy and carnage. When it's good, it's very good. When it's not, it's simply bloody.The film, whose title is slightly misleading, begins on a harsh note, survives that, and for the next hour or so, is sound, broad comedy. Unfortunately, as the movie closes it becomes ugly again, destroying the mood and ending on a less than satisfactory note.''A Rage in Harlem'' begins in 1956 in a small southern town. There is a shootout between blacks who have stolen some gold, and whites, who had planned to betray the blacks and take the gold.
FEATURES
January 18, 2008
Capsules by Michael Sragow or Chris Kaltenbach. Full reviews are at baltimoresun.com/movies. Atonement -- The crush of an upper-class teen on her housekeeper's son (James McAvoy) catalyzes a devastating accusation that ruins his life and that of the girl's older sister (Keira Knightley). This beautifully acted, remarkably visualized adaptation of Ian McEwan's novel sums up the need for charity and generosity in art and life. (M.S.) R 123 minutes A The Bucket List -- A pair of dying cancer patients (Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman)
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By Michael Sragow and Michael Sragow,Sun movie critic | December 25, 2007
An optimistic movie set during the Great Depression, the fact-based The Great Debaters coarsens its inspirational story and powerful history with movie devices that date to the 1930s. Director Denzel Washington uses the cliffhanging climaxes and heartwarming turnarounds that made audiences 70 years ago want to stand up and cheer. But he also inserts the explosive racial material that Old Hollywood ignored - and social volatility doesn't naturally fit into these rah-rah forms. In the cliche-ridden script by Robert Eisele, the superb debate squad from all-black Wiley College in East Texas witnesses every indignity and injustice of the Jim Crow South in the course of one year (1935)
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By Chris Kaltenbach and Chris Kaltenbach,SUN MOVIE CRITIC | January 24, 2007
An African-American actor nominated for his portrayal of a Ugandan madman. A best-picture category that includes a movie filmed in Berber, Arabic, Spanish and Japanese (and another shot almost exclusively in Japanese). A Mexican director whose work could win seven awards. After frequently being dubbed too-white and too-clubby, the Oscars this year enthusiastically embraced diversity: The list of nominees for the 79th Academy Awards, announced yesterday, is the most diverse in its history.
ENTERTAINMENT
By Los Angeles Times | December 10, 2006
HOLLYWOOD -- The world is opening up, and it's taking Hollywood with it. Almost a year after the racially tinged Crash scored a best picture upset at the Academy Awards, deep explorations of nonwhite cultures have dominated the silver screen as have ethnic performers who have delivered penetrating portrayals. It's an expanding vision of storytelling that not only has taken audiences to Uganda, Morocco, South Africa, Spain, Japan and beyond, but also into areas of minority American culture.
FEATURES
November 17, 2006
THE QUESTION The award season is just around the corner. What movies and/or actors do you consider to be Oscar contenders? you're such a critic WHAT YOU SAY For my money, the Best Picture, so far, has been either L'Enfant or Lady Vengeance (best American movie has been Little Miss Sunshine), while the best acting awards, again so far, belong to Forest Whitaker (The Last King of Scotland) and Helen Mirren (The Queen). PETER MUNCIE, COLUMBIA In the acting realm, the compelling, carefully nuanced performance of Forest Whitaker, as a deranged dictator in The Last King of Scotland, gets my nod. In the film category, I'm going with Martin Scorsese's The Departed.
FEATURES
By Michael Sragow and Michael Sragow,Sun Movie Critic | October 13, 2006
In The Last King of Scotland, Forest Whitaker gives a performance huge in size and spirit and terrifying in its downward-spiraling momentum. As Gen. Idi Amin, the Ugandan dictator who deposed President Milton Obote in 1971, Whitaker embodies the explosion of energy and the urgent desire for legitimacy that comes with the violent overthrow of any government. Then the power surge dissipates and debauchery ensues as political self-preservation becomes Amin's only goal. He sets tribe against tribe and attempts to use warlord tactics and ethnic cleansing to unite the country behind him. He's a human shark, not just because of his ferocity, but also because he feels that if he stops moving and devouring his prey, he will die. From Whitaker's first entrance, this movie does what All the King's Men failed to do: It expresses the visceral connection of a popular demagogue and his people.
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By Judy Gerstel and Judy Gerstel,Knight-Ridder News Service | September 21, 1993
"Strapped," an HBO Showcase film directed by actor Forest Whitaker ("Bird," "The Crying Game"), won the award for best first feature in the category of First Cinema at the Toronto Film Festival.It beat 27 other pictures by first-time directors, including "Menace II Society," "Boxing Helena" and "Kalifornia.""Strapped" was broadcast on HBO as recently as last Saturday. No more broadcasts have been scheduled, but that could change with this surprise award."Strapped" is about a young African-American man trapped in a world of poverty and crime.
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By Michael Sragow and Michael Sragow,Sun movie critic | December 25, 2007
An optimistic movie set during the Great Depression, the fact-based The Great Debaters coarsens its inspirational story and powerful history with movie devices that date to the 1930s. Director Denzel Washington uses the cliffhanging climaxes and heartwarming turnarounds that made audiences 70 years ago want to stand up and cheer. But he also inserts the explosive racial material that Old Hollywood ignored - and social volatility doesn't naturally fit into these rah-rah forms. In the cliche-ridden script by Robert Eisele, the superb debate squad from all-black Wiley College in East Texas witnesses every indignity and injustice of the Jim Crow South in the course of one year (1935)
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