Talk To Me Kasi Lemmons

Talk To Me Kasi Lemmons
Talk to Me is a fine film but its home release follows the same unfortunate pattern of other historically based biopics, leaving you hungry for more knowledge about the real-life protagonists. Depicting the rise of DC radio and television personality Ralph Waldo "Petey” Greene in the mid-’60s, the film has an amazing story to tell about an ex-con who became a pioneer of talk radio and possibly even the first "shock jock” — a young Howard Stern appeared on Greene’s TV show claiming he learned everything about black people from him. Though he occasionally comes close to sounding like Tim Meadows’ The Ladies Man character, Don Cheadle turns in another remarkable performance as Greene, a fast-talking hustler whose bravado masks great insecurity and an alcohol addiction. Almost shadowing Cheadle, Chiwetel Ejiofor plays radio programmer, manager and radio maverick Dewey Hughes with great fire and reserve. In a strong ensemble cast, Cheadle and Ejiofor are the dynamic core and Kasi Lemmons directs the film with few frills. Recreating a riot in DC after the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and a healing concert by James Brown shortly thereafter, Lemmons unobtrusively demonstrates how Greene and Hughes defused the tension in the city. There’s real skill in a recreation of Greene’s failed Tonight Show appearance, with Lemmons shifting between actual footage and a dramatisation of the disintegration of Hughes and Greene’s relationship. Though Greene died in 1984, Hughes was a consultant on this film and in featurettes "Who is Petey Greene” and "Recreating P-Town,” Lemmons discusses how inspiring it was to work so closely with Hughes. Unfortunately, Hughes himself never appears in any capacity and no footage or pictures of the real Petey Greene in action are included. While Talk to Me offers a sense of the man, this DVD gives the genuine article the short shrift, forcing curious viewers to scour YouTube for doses of the real thing. Plus: deleted scenes. (Alliance Atlantis)