Tremendously Taraji (Movie Thoughts: What Men Want)

wwwI never saw the original ‘What Women Want’ movie because I pride myself in not seeing Mel Gibson movies. I knew way back when that he is a homophobe so I just refuse to give him back support. I knew the movie’s premise and I know that in ‘What Men Want,’ now directed by Adam Shankman, the gender has changed on the story and now Taraji P Henson now stars as Ali, a young woman who can hear men’s thoughts. This helps her as she tries to navigate her way into the world of sports management, as she gets being passed as a partner in the film. The film weaves the character in and out of sticky and funny situations, and for me, the conceits only worked half of the time. But Henson is funny, is game, and gives her all here that you can’t help but just give her a big sparkling A. I wish The film was as good as she was, but it’s fine enough for a Saturday afternoon matinee for me. I don’t know if I would recommend this, but if you are a Taraji fan, then I would say you will have a fine time.

It’s All In The Math (Film Thoughts: Hidden Figures)

514-film-page-largeIt is not surprising that ‘Hidden Figures’ has been the Number One movie for the past two weeks, and is 2017’s first big box office hit. This movie tells three beautiful stories that make you feel good. Add to that three outstanding performances and really, it’s a surefire formula for success.

Taraji Henson plays Katherine Johnson, a gifted Mathematecian who played a key role in John Glenn’s flight in space. This was during the time when segregation was still enforced in the state of Virgina, and we see her struggle with it – as she had to walk a mile to go to the colored bathrooms, and as the lone black in her department, was given a small coffee pot so she wouldn’t have to share with the whites. But her boss, Al Harrison (Kevin Costner) is progressive so we scenes wherein Harrison singlehandedly jackhammering the colored signs in the bathroom. It makes for good cinema.

Octavia Spencer’s Dorothy Vaughan was responsible for having her whole department learn FORTRAN, a system for punch cards for the IBM machine in order for them to stay relevant as they were facing extinction from the calculating machines. Spencer here is more subdued, but just as effective.

I thought the whole film was engrossing from beginning to end, with just the right amount of drama and suspense to keep my at the edge of my seats, even though more or less I knew the outcome to these conflicts. The film is solidly written, solidly directed, and deserves its success.