Friday, March 8, 2013

Kingdom Come (2001)

I just finished watching this Christian drama comedy with remarkable cast. Directed by Doug McHenry and music by Tyler Bates and original songs by renowned Gospel R&B singer Rev. Kirk Franklin this movie will offer a delicious and absorbing watching experience for both Christians and atheists. At first I felt the story line started opening slowly but now I actually feel like it ended too quickly. The movie tells about a family that has lots of issues! When mean and surly Bud Slocumb keels over at breakfast, his family gathers for the wake and funeral; long-suffering widow Raynelle (Whoopi Goldberg), unemployed son Junior whose business went belly-up and who's cheating on his wife Charisse (Jada Pinkett Smith), son Ray Bud (LL Cool J) who holds a job and has a loving wife Lucille (Vivica A. Fox) but struggles with alcoholism and their difficulty having children. There's younger daughter Delightful who constantly eats; religious Aunt Marguerite (Loretta Devine) and her wayward son Royce; and, there's Juanita (Toni Braxton), their wealthy cousin's wife. They all descend on the town of Lula, struggle to say something nice about Bud, and face the challenge of sorting out their relationships with the living.   

The previous three Christian movies that I've reviewed in here were purely music movies but Kingdom Come is a seriously taken acted movie because apart from Kirk Franklin's soundtrack on the background, a short scene with the gospel choir of the church and Jada Pinkett Smith's short singing solo in the closing scene music doesn't play any part in this. In fact the characters don't even come up deeply religious to me and that's why I think that even an atheist would enjoy watching this without the fear of awkwardness of mentioning 'JC' too many times.

Whoopi Goldberg comes up with a dignified performance as a widow but in this movie her character Raynelle is one of her most boring ones she has done on screen. I love Whoopi Goldberg but she doesn't shine her light in this movie as bright as she usually does. But actually Jada Pinkett Smith does my favourite performance in this movie with so much passion, misery and attitude that it's bittersweet; she's Charisse, a mother of three whose husband is cheating on her. I even love the way Charisse and Junior ended up dealing with the cheating but I won't tell how they did it, you have to watch the conclusion they made yourself. Also Loretta Devine does a brilliant performance as energetic and amusing Aunt Marguerite who to me seems to be the only character that comes up as deeply religious. She is one of the best characters in the film. LL Cool J does it charismatically as always only with a little better than mediocre performance but he does beat Toni Braxton as an experienced rapper-turned-actor. Also Vivica A. Fox comes up with a mediocre performance as a charming housewife fulfilling her only task in the movie which is being pretty as a doll. All in all all leading actors and actresses do a great job but entertaining supporting roles such as Juanita and Royce are sugar in the bottom.  

l was also curious to watch this because one of my long time favourite R&B vocalists Toni Braxton (below) has a minor role in this movie coming up once in a while during the last 35 minutes of the movie. She comes up snotty, sassy and attractive with her few lines as Juanita. Braxton of course is eloquent but at this point I can't give her yet too much props as an actress. It seemed easy and effortless but there's nothing challenging about making faces. This might be changing though as she has her first major role in a brand new gospel or Christian movie called Twist of Faith (2013) which seems to have been released only last month. If I'm lucky enough I'll provide a review of it sooner or later in here. In Twist of Faith, the fictional, cross-cultural, music infused love story tells the tale of Jacob Fisher (David Julian Hirsh), an Orthodox Jewish Cantor and amateur songwriter from Brooklyn, New York, who witnesses the senseless murder of his wife and three children.

Grade: 8/10. This is probably the best grade that I've given for a Christian movie yet and for reason. This isn't a music movie at all and so we could expect some seriously taken acting which this movie offered a whole lot thanks to some of its biggest names including Whoopi Goldberg, Loretta Devine and Vivica A. Fox. Even Jada Pinkett Smith shined in this. Everybody's acting performances came up as excellent, entertaining, extremely skillful, charismatic and charming. I enjoyed Kirk Franklin's mellow soundtrack. The jokes weren't the best of the best compared to some other movies that I've seen but after all this movie managed to make me laugh (it was hard but it did). The movie wasn't in any way boring, just opposite thanks to the eloquent and absorbing acting performances.    

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