Sparkle (2012): Reviews by Kyle Phoenix

We're all going to always attach this film to being Whitney Houston's last, we're going to be even more shocked and see it as prescient when she says in a lecture to her three daughters: "Was my life not enough of a cautionary tale for you?" There's also a scene where She as Emma, the very conservative Detroit middle-class church lady, whose current prosperity is in contrast to her daughter's memories of finding her passed out in her own vomit. The family now lives in a nice home where all three young women are ruled by mother Emma's curfews, her forced church attendance, and her rabid and stern warnings to any man who gets to close to her daughters, to their virtue. Of course there's no dramatic tension unless the bulwark that she represents isn't challenged. And it's challenged by the sisters becoming a singing group and the perils and pitfalls of the music/show business.

Sparkle, originally a 1976 American film directed by Sam O'Steen and released by Warner Bros. Pictures was inspired by The Supremes. Sparkle was a period film set in Harlem, New York during the late 1950s and early 1960s which follows the rough lives and careers of singer Sparkle Williams and her family and friends. This version is updated by the adherence to more show business dazzle and glitter and incredible musical numbers. Starring as Sparkle Jordin Sparks, Emma played by Whitney Houston, Stix is Derek Luke, Satin is Mike Epps, Sister is Carmen Ejogo, Dolores is Tika Sumpter, Levi is Omari Hardwick and as the scandalously villainous Black, Cee Lo Green.

This version is directed by Salim Akil with a screenplay by Mara Brock Akil, the married sensational production team. And it holds true to the original storyline of the medium classic original. But it's soaring delivery (not Dreamgirls level of delivery but close) is Whitney Houston's has a solo showcase in a church scene, singing "His Eye is on the Sparrow," and while we can hear and see that time has taken it's effect on her voice, her considerable presence makes the scene memorable. Jordin Sparks gets her chance to really stand out (still not Dreamgirls Jennifer Hudson level.......but really close) Sparkle/Jordin Sparks as a solo act (with backup singers, a gospel choir and a full pit orchestra) brings down the house in her fantastic spotlight piece.

It's a good movie. It's fitting tribute and swan song for Ms. Houston which her fans will not be electrified about (honestly, because it's not her movie per se, her death as simply increased the interest in watching her in the film) but it's a nice cap to her filmography. Ms. Houston was an accomplished actress probably because of it came naturally to her, easily to her. Often times the best actors are the one's from other disciplines who have a range of ability and presence to bring to a new venue. Though she only made a handful of films, in each she is substantially strong and genuine. The beautiful part of this is now the baton has been in a way passed to Jordin Sparks who's American Idol success along with Jennifer Hudson sugegsts that an Idol winner may have a range far beyond simply album sales.

Thank you, I look forward to your emails and comments. And as always check your local listings for The Kyle Phoenix Show broadcast times in NYC. You can always find more information about me, topics and tips on relationships, finance and life strategies on

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