Thursday, December 11, 2014

Top Five Is So Much More Than a Comedy - Hooray Chris Rock

Top Five – Movie Review by Anne Brodie

Top FiveWritten and Directed by Chris Rock
Stars Chris Rock, Tracy Morgan, Rosario Dawson, Gabrielle Union, Kevin Hart, Sherri Shepherd, Jerry Seinfeld, J.B. Smoove
Genre: Comedy
Rating 4.5 / 5
Chris Rock has always struck me as a cut above 99% of contemporary comedians in terms of talent, wit, observation and situational propriety. And proof is here in Top Five, his masterwork, a brilliant piece that moves like jazz with intelligence and delicacy.
It has a jazz-like framework; that is, “increasingly complex styles, generally marked by intricate, propulsive rhythms, polyphonic ensemble playing, improvisatory, virtuosic solos, melodic freedom, and a harmonic idiom ranging from simple diatonicism through chromaticism to atonality”*.
It won’t sit well with some viewers. There is an unconventional magic about it, and an intellectual power, so viewers must listen and pay close attention. The reward is huge with recognition that he is preternaturally gifted. I hope he makes more “serious” films. It mirrors the story in that it’s a comedian tiring of his work, wanting to do serious material.
Top Five opens with an extended riff on an unnamed Franklin Delano Roosevelt, the “disabled president’ whose condition sparks a conversation between a comedian (Rock) and a journalist (Dawson) about the diverse types that should become president in an ideal future. Other riffs, as seemingly obscure may frustrate some, and completely beguile others. Rock, clearly a polyglot, displays a wide range of knowledge and curiosity and slots in plenty.....

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