Black and White [R] 
Overall movie: **
EJW content: Who?
In commenting on this movie, I have the disadvantage of being hopelessly ignorant regarding the world of music as it existed in 2000, in which the story's set, and I'm sure a lot of things in it go right past me. As with any of these movies, if you click through on one of the amazon.com links below you can read what other viewers have to say about it.
It was shot in a choppy, hand-held video camera style, which fits the movie's overall story line of the making of an independent documentary (by Brooke Shields and her character's gay husband, played by a scene-stealing Robert Downey, Jr.).
Much of it is difficult to watch emotionally, with people's ignorance, fear, greed and, in some cases, the traps society has set for them, causing tragedies that didn't have to happen. In other cases the characters aren't tragic--just sad. At the close of the movie, nothing's resolved and still more disaster is looming on the horizon. If any film on this list shows more hopelessness than The Ice Storm
, it's this one; in The Ice Storm
there's at least a hint that some of the characters may have learned something. No one seems to here. In giving B&W
even two stars, I'm judging it on how well the movie did what it was trying to do--not on how much I liked it. This movie doesn't want
you to like
Elijah's character belongs to a group of high school hip-hop music fans who are the focus of one of the sub-stories in the documentary. The girls in this group are more important to the story than the boys, who mostly react to what the girls do. I'm not saying this as a negative statement about the movie, as I think it's what the filmmakers intended. It just makes it difficult to comment on Elijah's acting, because there isn't enough material to make a real judgment. It's a different acting style for him, with a fair amount of improvisation, and I give him credit for trying something new, but it's not at the level of most of his other work.
R-rated for sexual content (including nudity and simulated sexual activity) and strong violence. Both are shown in dehumanizing ways, which are displayed graphically but not glorified. Compared to some of the other R-rated movies on this list, such as The Faculty
, I'd definitely give this one a "hard" R because of those areas. Elijah's character isn't involved in those parts of the story, except in the general way that fans' adulation can sometimes contribute to a celebrity's belief that he can get away with anything, including murder.