Starring Jamie Foxx, Kerry Washington, Regina King, Curtis Armstrong, Larenz Tate, Richard Schiff, Terrence Dashon Howard, Warwick Davis, Rick Gomez
Written By: Taylor Hackford, James L. White.
Directed By: Taylor Hackford
Studio: Universal Home Video
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I never really seem to appreciate someone’s music until it’s too late, and then they pass away. It’s not until that happens where I truly realize how great that person was. That happened for Frank Sinatra, Johnny Cash and now Ray Charles. Jamie Foxx has been getting praise for his role as Charles, and now I can see why.
Ray is about jazz/R&B pianist Ray Charles Robinson and how he became a music legend. Ray led a difficult life but also led a very successful one. Being blind since around the age of 7, bad drug problems, and other incidents made his life a bumpy ride. Ray Charles wasn’t always blind though but an incident when he was little caused him to have hysterical blindness. Years later, Ray heads to the north to play in jazz bands and makes a name for himself. Atlantic Records takes notice in him and makes Ray a star. During his successful part of his career, Ray Charles was high on heroin, and had a tough time breaking the addicting habit. Plus he cheated on his wife with a lot of the female singers in his band. Let’s be honest, the man was messed up but wouldn’t you be if you were blind and had some skeletons in your closet? But Ray Charles was genius when it came to his music and there really isn’t anyone else like him.
From not knowing too much about Ray’s life, I was kind of shocked to know what he did and went through. I never knew he was screwed up on drugs like that, but realistically, who wasn’t in the 60’s! I never got into Ray Charles music but i’m starting to come around and actually listen to his stuff. Ignorantly, I just thought he was the Pepsi/ don’t come back guy who sang some popular songs that were okay. I listen to oldies all the time but I never appreciated his music til recently. I thought the movie was excellent and was made really well. I liked how the story started from the beginning of his career to the point of him breaking his drug problem. The flashbacks to his childhood with his brother & mother were good because it showed why he was like the way he was. Though I’m not sure if this is what happened in real life or it was that dramatic. One thing I didn’t really like in the movie was when Ray Charles was dreaming of being back home with his mother and he isn’t blind anymore. That point you go, that’s Jamie Foxx! Because before and after that scene, you think that’s Ray Charles. Or that’s how I felt anyway. It’s kind of weird to watch and it feels out of place. The film seemed a little long too. But the overall movie still works well.
I didn’t even mention the best part of this movie yet, and that’s the performance of Jamie Foxx. He was truly perfect as Ray Charles. He has his mannerisms and style down to a T. Wanda has come a long way folks. It’s very true that comedians make the best actors because they can do both comedy and drama. They have a broader acting range instead of one dimensional. Unless they get pigeoned hole as the comic relief. What was also great, Jamie Foxx is classically trained on the piano and went to college for a piano scholarship. He can also sing as well but out of respect to Ray Charles, he lip synced Charles tracks. Jamie Foxx truly deserves the Oscar for this role. Beside Foxx, a lot of other character actors were in this film. A lot of people who you know their faces, but don’t know their real names. Booger was great as Ahmet Ertegun, and I was surprised/happy to see Warwick Davis get a role where he wasn’t in some makeup in a fantasy movie. Regina King is a terrific actress, and Kerry Washington as Della Bea was good as well. The whole cast was just really great.
This 2 disc DVD set contains a good amount of extras. Some fair better than others. I think the deleted scenes were good, there’s certainly a lot of them. The movie is long enough as it, so i’m surprised there is still a lot of scenes cut from the movie. You can watch the movie in the extended edition option, but the film doesn’t flow too well. All of a sudden it’s a deleted scene with no continuity. There’s uncut performances in the movie of Jamie Foxx performing as Ray. There’s a featurette where you see Ray Charles playing along side Jamie Foxx and it was a treat to watch. It’s sad that Ray Charles passed away and not know how well Jamie Foxx is doing and all the praise the film is getting. Deep down inside, I’m sure he knows though. From watching the short featurettes with Jamie Foxx and director Taylor Hackford, you can see it in their eyes how passionate they were about this movie. You can also see how sad they were of the death of Ray Charles. There’s a featurette called Ray Remembered and it features quotes, and interviews with some famous musicians and singers that have worked or were friends with Ray Charles over the years. There’s a few other things on the DVD set but that’s all I watched so far.
Ray is a magnificent movie, mainly because of the performance of the soon-to-be Oscar Winner Jamie Foxx. The film was shot well, and the supporting cast is great. Any music fan would appreciate this movie so I recommend you go out and watch this.
14 never before seen deleted scenes
Complete uncut music performances from the movie
– Including Ray & The Raelettes performing “Hit the Road Jack” Walking in his Shoes
– A revealing look at Jamie Foxx’s incredible transformation into Ray Charles
– including a jam session between the actor and the legendary musician himself! Ray Remembered
– Friends and fellow musicians remember Ray Charles.
Feature commentary with director Taylor Hackford.
ENGLISH: Dolby Digital 5.1 CC
FRENCH: Dolby Digital 5.1
Widescreen 1.85:1 Color (Anamorphic)
Favorite Scenes: All the scenes where Ray was singing and playing music was a joy to watch.
Rating: Rated PG 13
Running Time: 153 minutes