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‘Respect’ review: Jennifer Hudson stars in bland Aretha Franklin film

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You’ve seen “Respect” before.

Slivers of this sleepy biopic about the life of singer Aretha Franklin can be found all over the place, from “Ray” to “Jersey Boys.”

There are the early scenes of little “Re” wailing gospel music in church in 1952, just like those of “Tina — The Tina Turner Musical” on Broadway.

There’s the lightbulb moment in which the soon-to-be Queen of Soul discovers the hook to the hit 1967 song “Respect” while improvising around a piano with her sisters. It instantly brings to mind the “We Will Rock You” recording session in “Bohemian Rhapsody,” which I continue to hate despite your angry emails.

movie review

Running time: 145 minutes. Rated PG-13 (mature thematic content, strong language including racial epithets, violence, suggestive material, and smoking.) In theaters.

Franklin’s self-destructive alcoholism, fueled by the competing pressures of fame and family, was most recently seen as experienced by Judy Garland in “Judy.”

Of course, you can’t ding a film for presenting facts about a person. All of these things happened to Franklin. But it’s a movie — not a Wikipedia post. What we crave is to see events interpreted creatively rather than a straightforward telling that feels exactly like what came before it. “The United States vs. Billie Holiday” was adequate, to be sure, but it wisely focused on Holiday’s struggles with the law and the controversial song “Strange Fruit.” That movie had a point of view.

“Respect’s” point of view is that Franklin was a legend. We already knew that. You can’t excitingly fill two and a half hours with the obvious.

Jennifer Hudson plays singer Aretha Franklin as she goes from little girl to superstar in "Respect."
Jennifer Hudson plays singer Aretha Franklin as she goes from little girl to superstar in “Respect.”
©MGM/Courtesy Everett Collectio

However, it’s clear from the credits that nobody made this film to advance the art of cinema. This is the first movie by director Liesl Tommy, who is better known for her stage work such as “Eclipsed” on Broadway. “Respect” was made because Jennifer Hudson was available.

Hudson is at her best, surprisingly, during intimate dialogue scenes in her apartment with her abusive husband and manager Ted (Marlon Wayans). You fear for her and resent her inability to leave behind the controlling, untethered men in her life, such as her father (a scary Forest Whitaker). It’s moving as we watch her become empowered to take ownership of her career and her music. Franklin finally begins to raise her voice above a whisper somewhere beyond the recording booth.

Oddly enough for the big-voiced Hudson, those sections are more gripping than the music sequences.

Jennifer Hudson plays Aretha Franklin as she tours the world in "Respect."
Jennifer Hudson plays Aretha Franklin as she tours the world in “Respect.”
©MGM/Courtesy Everett Collectio

When the title song arrives, sung in 1968 in front of a sold-out crowd at Madison Square Garden, we anticipate the same energy and passion the actress brought to “And I Am Telling You I’m Not Going” from the movie “Dreamgirls.” That explosive number, which takes your breath away, won her an Oscar. The singing here, though, is more pretty than punchy. She doesn’t fully embody the fire inside Franklin until she sings “Amazing Grace” at the very end.

The supporting voices are sublime. Alongside Hudson are Audra McDonald, Tituss Burgess and Broadway’s Hailey Kilgore and Saycon Sengbloh. But the music, absent a believable 1960s sense of place or real concert atmosphere, doesn’t rouse so much as please, not unlike the familiar movie it’s a part of.

“Respect” settles for being respectable.

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What Time Will ‘Riverdale’ Season 6 Be on Netflix?

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The season finale of Riverdale aired in late July on The CW. Notice we said season finale? Thankfully, the beloved series will return for a seventh season, but, unfortunately, Season 7 will be the final installment of Riverdale.

If you already streamed the current season, make sure to read Alex Zalben’s interview with Riverdale showrunner Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa on Decider. If you’re waiting to binge Season 6 on Netflix, well, you better clear your calendar because all 22 episodes are about to drop on the streamer. What time will the sixth season of Riverdale debut on Netflix? What time does Netflix release shows? Here’s everything you need to know.

WHEN IS THE RIVERDALE SEASON 6 NETFLIX RELEASE DATE?

Riverdale Season 6 premieres Sunday, August 7 on Netflix.

HOW MANY EPISODES ARE IN RIVERDALE SEASON 6?

The sixth season of Riverdale consists of 22 episodes.

WHAT TIME DOES NETFLIX RELEASE NEW SHOWS?

Netflix releases new episodes at 3:00 a.m. ET/12:00 a.m. PT.

WHAT TIME WILL RIVERDALE SEASON 6 BE ON NETFLIX?

Netflix is based out of California, so Riverdale Season 6 will be available to stream at 12:00 a.m. Pacific Standard Time (3:00 a.m. Eastern Standard Time) beginning Sunday, August 7. If the clock strikes 12:00 (or 3:00 a.m. for folks on the East Coast) and you don’t see the new episodes, give it a moment, hit refresh, and then enjoy the show!

WILL THERE BE A SEASON 7 OF RIVERDALE?

Yes! Decider recently covered that very topic.

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Actress Anne Heche Suffers Severe Burns After Crashing Car Into Los Angeles Home

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Actress Anne Heche, known for her roles in such films as Donnie Brasco, Volcano and I Know What You Did Last Summer, was involved in a fiery car crash in the Mar Vista area of Los Angeles on Friday.

According to TMZ, Heche was driving a blue Mini Cooper and had first crashed into the garage of an apartment complex. Residents of the apartment complex tried to get her out of the vehicle but she backed up and sped off.

Footage of Heche speeding down the streets of her neighborhood had been obtained by TMZ as well as her initial encounter at the apartment complex.

In the first clip, you can hear her car crash towards the end. It has been reported that the actress crashed into someone’s home, causing her vehicle and the house to erupt into flames. Heche suffered severe burns and was resisting being taken away in a stretcher. You can also view footage of this via the TMZ article.

It has not been confirmed whether alcohol has been involved in the incident since her condition prevents doctors from performing any tests to determine if she was driving under the influence. She is currently intubated in the hospital but expected to live.

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These are the vulgar license-plate requests the DMV has rejected

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Stay CL4SSY, New York!

The state Department of Motor Vehicles nixed 3,752 requests for vanity license plates in the last three years because it deemed them too raunchy, radical or simply ridiculous.

New York’s personalized plates go for $60 initially, and then $31.25 annually for renewal. You can get any plate as long as no one else has it and it’s not offensive.

Odds are a request for a plate that marks a wedding anniversary or shows your allegiance to a team — like METS86 — will pass muster with the DMV gatekeepers.

Vulgarity won’t get you to first base.

So plates with the phrase LFGM — the acronym for Pete Alonso’s “Let’s F–king Go Mets” rallying cry — did not make the cut.

And you won’t see anyone driving around with the custom plates MILFDAD, AS5M4N and WLHUNG.

Crude meanings such as “MILFDAD” are unacceptable by the DMV.
Crude meanings such as “MILFDAD” are unacceptable by the DMV.
New York DMV
NYC123
New York state Department of Motor Vehicles denied more than 3.5 thousand requests for license plates deemed inappropriate.
New York DMV
“AS5M4N” was rejected for referring to “Ass man.”
“AS5M4N” was rejected for referring to “Ass man.”
New York DMV

The DMV also put NICEBUNS, FATFANNY, GOTAPOOP and BENDOVER in the rear-view mirror.

One player unsuccessfully tried to score the plate YESDADDY, to no avail.

The DMV also shot down such dark requests as DEADGIRL, GENOC1DE, S8TAN, DETONATE and MURDERM3.

“SUM8ITCH” is not allowed.
“SUM8ITCH” is not allowed.
New York DMV
The DMV thoroughly nixed a request for “CNNLIES.”
The DMV thoroughly nixed a request for “CNNLIES.”
New York DMV
BOOBIE is prohibited.
BOOBIE is prohibited.
New York DMV

Getting political is a dead end too — FJOEBIDN, FDTRUMP and CNNLIES were nixed.

LUDEDUDE, NARCO, GOT METH and BLUNT also went up in smoke.

Staten Island attorney Bill Dertinger said his blue 1995 Jaguar SJS was tagged with ESQLTD after his company and his 2014 Porsche had the plate GHOSTGTS because the sleek sportscar was white.

“The plates can make you stand out — which can be a curse or a blessing,” the 54-year-old Dertinger said. “Make sure you don’t cut anybody off.”

A man attempted to sneak in “YESDADDY” onto his license plate.
A man attempted to sneak in “YESDADDY” onto his license plate.
New York DMV
The DMV stopped a request for “FJOEBIDEN.”
The DMV stopped a request for “FJOEBIDEN.”
New York DMV
The DMV also rejects any license plates referring to politics.
The DMV also rejects any license plates referring to politics.
New York DMV

There must be a New York Jets fan playing referee at the DMV because a request for the seemingly innocent plate GASE was sidelined. Ex-Jets head coach Adam Gase had an offensive 9-23 win-loss record during his forgettable two-year tenure.

The DMV would not reveal who gives the final yea or nay.

“The DMV reviews all custom license plate requests and works hard to ensure that any combinations that may be considered objectionable are rejected,” said agency spokesman Tim O’Brien.

“GLOCKS” referring to guns is not accepted by the DMV.
“GLOCKS” referring to guns is not accepted by the DMV.
New York DMV
“FLYMOFO” is not approved by the DMV.
“FLYMOFO” is not approved by the DMV.
New York DMV

He said guidelines on what plate combinations are restricted can be found on the DMV website: https://dmv.ny.gov/learn-about-personalized-plates. Approximately 50,000 personalized and custom plates are sold per year, O’Brien said.

Bagged Tags

The state DMV has rejected 3,752 requests for custom license plates in the last three years because it deemed them potentially offensive. Here are some:

YESDADDY

FJOEBIDN

FDTRUMP

GLOCKS

FLYMOFO

BOOBIE

AS5M4N

BUDLIGHT

DEADGIRL

SUM8ITCH

GENOC1DE

S8TAN

CNNLIES

DETONATE

MURDERM3

MILFDAD

WLHUNG

Source: NYS DMV

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