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QUICK REVIEW: Straight Outta Compton

Howdy ladies and gents, time for another new film review, and today I’ll be talking about a film I’ve been waiting to see for a good while now; Straight Outta Compton.

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The story can be summed up as the following:

“The group NWA emerges from the mean streets of Compton in Los Angeles, California, in the mid-1980s and revolutionizes Hip Hop culture with their music and tales about life in the hood.”

I thought the story was great, as someone who really wasn’t aware of what was going on at that point in time, this film serves as an interesting history lesson as to what was going on in America at that time, why NWA were such a big deal and how they changed music and the world with their presence. Obviously there will probably be some dramatized elements or stuff that gets left out, however for the most part everything felt real, authentic and was handled with a great deal of care. I like how the film gave enough time to focus on each of the three key characters (Eazy-E, Dre and Cube), but also sprinkled in references to other rappers and projects they’d be working on, and some of those references are hilariously well-placed. The story doesn’t hold back much, there’s nudity, death, violence, racism and it can be brutal and intense, and it’s just crazy to believe that the world used to be that way with the abusive police and turf wars between gangs. At the same time, like Selma and Fruitvale Station, this film sort of depicts some of the crazy shit that’s still going on today which makes it even more relevant.

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As for the cast, they were all great and there really wasn’t anyone who gave a best performance in my eyes. Firstly there’s O’Shea Jackson, Jr. as Ice Cube, damn! If there was ever someone who was cast perfectly to play a real life character in biopic, it would be this guy. Jackson does really well portraying his father with his body language, mannerisms and the right amount of sass and aggression, it’s almost completely uncanny. But beyond that Jackson does well playing this creative individual who has dreams and aspirations, but wants things to be equal and the guy has a bit of temper too. Corey Hawkins as Dr. Dre was really good too. While Hawkins looks nothing like Dre, the guy does one hell of a job acting like him. In the film Dre is someone who is really into music in terms of the rhythm, composition and overall sound and you can tell that he’s got talent and aspirations to change the world of music. But the person who steals the film is Jason Mitchell as Eazy-E. I’d heard a lot of hype about Mitchell before seeing this film, but even I have to admit that guy was great. Eazy is a fun and smart individual, however he doesn’t always have the right kind of ideas and because of the nature of the stuff he gets involved with he goes on a really crazy, destructive and tragic journey, and I have to say that Mitchell killed it offering a performance that was handled really well. I also enjoyed Aldis Hodge as MC Ren and Neil Brown, Jr. was hilarious as DJ Yella.

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And then of course there’s Paul Giamatti as Jerry Heller, Giamatti was really good here offering a character who was funny and loyal, and yet sneaky, manipulative and questionable.I also have to say that R. Marcus Taylor who played Suge Knight was awesome, that guy, bloody hell, he was scary, he could be all calm one minute and then would explode if the littlest thing pissed him off. Oh and shout out to Keith Stanfield who did a great job as Snoop Dogg.

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In conclusion Straight Outta Compton is pretty badass film. It has such a great sense of pride, brutality, intensity and realism, and it also helps that the story was compelling, the acting was excellent and the music was awesome.

Rating: 8.5/10

So have you seen Straight Outta Compton and if so what did you think? Please be sure to comment below and I’ll see you on the next review, laters! 😀

 
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Posted by on September 2, 2015 in Film Reviews, Films, Media, Reviews

 

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QUICK REVIEW: San Andreas

Howdy ladies and gents, time for a more recent film review and today I’m going to be talking about San Andreas. Now when I heard about this film and saw the trailers, I wasn’t sure if I’d want to see it or not. I mean it was just another disaster film right? And I’ve seen plenty of those, would the addition of Dwayne Johnson sway me? Probably not. But since my dad wanted to see it the other night we gave it a shot and now I’m ready to pass judgement.

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The plot can be summed as the following:

“In the aftermath of a massive earthquake in California, a rescue-chopper pilot makes a dangerous journey across the state in order to rescue his daughter.”

The story in this film is familiar and yet serviceable. I got a lot of The Day After Tomorrow vibes from this film as there are very similar story elements and if we’re talking just in general, then I was also reminded of 2012 too. But those previous films aside, this film is about a rescue mission in addition to the seismic activity, earthquakes and people caught in middle of these crazy situations. as usual there’s an emotional aspect added to the main character and the people surrounding him, it’s not bad but it’s not great. I think the one thing that bugged me was the forced romance that I saw a mile off as soon as said characters laid eyes on each other. There is also a fair amount of humour too, some of it works and some it really feels forced.

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Now let’s talk about the cast. Dwayne Johnson was awesome as Chief Raymond “Ray” Gaines, the film mainly works because of him. Johnson has this natural charm, charisma and a muscular body that helps draw us fans in, but beyond that the man is becoming a better actor and with each serious role he shows his talent more and more and I bought his character, his troubles, his occupation, he sold it well and it helps that he’s just magnetic presence on-screen. Carla Gugino was good as Emma Gaines, Emma has history with Ray and while its nothing we haven’t seen before Gugino handles her material well enough. Alexandra Daddario as Blake Gaines was fine too, I’m not going to lie I was distracted by Daddario’s beauty in this film, but otherwise she was charming and fine in her role. Also Paul Giamatti was good as Dr. Lawrence Hayes, I liked his character, he seemed very smart and looked like he wanted to use his knowledge to save the lives of many people in danger.

Ioan Gruffudd was pretty good as Daniel Riddick, this was the first major film I’ve seen him in for a while and he was fine in the film, though his character was a douche though. Hugo Johnstone-Burt as Ben Taylor was alright, but his character felt quite annoying and dull at times. Art Parkinson, who played his brother Ollie Taylor fared a little better, this guy had some comic relief moments and some worked well and others not so much. Archie Panjabi was good as Serena Johnson. I was surprised to see Kylie Minogue as Susan Riddick, but she was fine too, but my biggest surprise was seeing Colton Haynes as Joby. I kept looking at his face but I couldn’t pinpoint where I’d seen him before until I got some and realised it was Roy from Arrow, the frigging blonde hair threw me off! 😛

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When it comes to the presentation, its pretty damn good. Visually the film boasts some kick ass action sequences thanks to some well-crafted CGI to demonstrate on this destruction and chaos whether it is buildings falling, a rock slide, earthquakes or a tsunami, it looks very cool. I would say however that some of the special effects look a little blurry and not as polished as some other scenes. Also the soundtrack by Andrew Lockington is quite nice with a good sense of energy and power.

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In conclusion San Andreas is pretty good disaster film. While it does have all of the standard codes and conventions of this genre of film and it does get a bit dull during some of the talking moments, the film mainly succeeds thanks to the central performance of Dwayne Johnson and some pretty cool action sequences. I was surprised by how much fun I had with this one and I would recommend it to all that are interested.

Rating: 7/10

So have you seen San Andreas and if so what do you think of it? Please be sure to leave your thoughts on in the comments below and I’ll see ya on the next review, laters! 😀

 
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Posted by on June 2, 2015 in Film Reviews, Films, Media, Reviews

 

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12 Years A Slave Review

Last night through the power of my Cineworld unlimited card I got to see an advance screening of 2013’s critically acclaimed film, 12 Years a Slave. After this film dropped in the US there was a lot of Oscar talk, so I was expecting a hell of a lot prior to watching it. So does it deliver or not? Well read on and find out!

The story can be described as the following:

“In the pre-Civil War United States, Solomon Northup, a free black man from upstate New York, is abducted and sold into slavery. Facing cruelty at the hands of a malevolent slave owner, as well as unexpected kindnesses, Solomon struggles not only to stay alive, but to retain his dignity. In the twelfth year of his unforgettable odyssey, Solomon’s chance meeting with a Canadian abolitionist will forever alter his life.”

I thought the story was a dramatic piece of work that was emotional and intense from very early on. There are themes of racism, slavery, love, trial and endurance. Solomon’s journey is one that takes place over a longs space of time, in a number of locations and the film does well to cover everything thanks to its non-linear storytelling. The film doesn’t hold back on the level of cruelty and violence, it is in your face and even after seeing a lot of film depicting the hardships of people of the black variety, this film still finds a way to be shocking and hard to watch. As I’ve said before on this blog, as a black guy, watching films like this is always kind of hard because this kind of stuff happened in real life many years ago, it’s part of my people’s history, so to see adaptations of what they went through is difficult at points.

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When it comes to the cast they were all incredible offering up some truly lovely performances. Chiwetel Ejiofor pretty much gives the performance of his life as Solomon Northup. Solomon is well-spoken, talented and a respected man in his community before being bought into slavery where he has to endure hardships of the hardest kind, where he suffers at the hands of many white people while longing for his family and freedom. Ejiofor’s performance is stellar throughout, it is a sight to behold and there is a point where his acting make me tear up too, it was really emotional. The next great performance comes from Michael Fassbender as Edwin Epps. The best way to describe Fassbender in one word is: monster. He is a monster. Edwin Epps is disgusting, cruel, intimidating, doesn’t like anybody who isn’t on the same page as him, has no respect from black people and treats them like disposable objects. Since X-Men: First Class Fassbender has excelled in every role he’s been in, but I feel like this is his best role to date as it was so real and aggressive, hopefully he’ll get noticed for some awards.

Lupita Nyong’o makes her film debut as Patsey here and she is REALLY good, her character gets put through so much drama Nyong’o handles her material with a great deal of emotional depth. Sarah Paulson as Mary Epps is pretty good as Edwin’s wife, she has her own issues and levels of cruelty towards black people. Benedict Cumberbatch is great as William Ford being one of the kinder variety of white people who interacts with Solomon on his journeys, it was weird to hear Cumberbatch in an American accent but I thought he was really good in his role.

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I really liked Brad Pitt as Samuel Bass, his character was this perceptive man who could see the injustice in slavery and wasn’t afraid to speak out about it. Paul Dano is very good as John Tibeats, a subordinate on William Ford’s plantation, he was another horrible guy who took pride in his hatred for black people and had no toleration for disobedience. Paul Giamatti as Theophilus Freeman was another horrible, unsympathetic and horrible character who is impossible to like. Not too long ago I enjoyed seeing Giamatti as a lovely man in Saving Mr Banks and here he’s on the opposite end of the spectrum which just shows how talented he is. Oh and a shout out goes to Scoot McNairy as Brown and Michael K. Williams as Robert as they were good in the film too.

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In conclusion 12 Years a Slave is simply put, a beautiful and painful beast of a film which has some of the best performances from the actors/actresses involved. I was still thinking about the film on the walk home as my heart was still beating It is dramatic and very intense and if you can handle the level of violence then I recommend the film very highly, if this had come out last year for us in the UK it would be at number 2 or 1 on my top ten list.

Rating 9/10 (If I gave it a rating any lower I feel like I would be doing this film a disservice)

So for all those who have seen 12 Years a Slave what did you think of it? Whatever your thoughts drop them in the comments below and I’ll see ya on the next review yo 🙂

 
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Posted by on January 8, 2014 in Film Reviews, Films, Media, Reviews

 

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Paul Giamatti Up for Rhino Role in The Amazing Spider-Man 2

Okay now out of all the news coming out surrounding The Amazing Spider-Man 2 this has to be the most surprising to me, way more than Jamie Foxx’s involvement as Electro. When I saw the headline for the article I was totally like “What? No way!” Totally took me by surprise. Anyway here is the article from superherohype for you to read:

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“It looks like Marc Webb’s upcoming sequel to The Amazing Spider-Man will be getting another new villain! The Hollywood Reporter says that Paul Giamatti is in talks to play the Rhino in the May 2, 2014 film. It’s also being reported that Felicity Jones is in talks for an undisclosed role.

The alter-ego of Aleksei Mikhailovich Sytsevich, the Rhino first appeared in 1966’s “The Amazing Spider-Man” #41. A former low-key thug, an experiment grafted a nearly-indestructible polymer to Aleksei’s skin, making him nearly unstoppable.

Giamatti appeared last in year in a variety of projects like Rock of Ages, Cosmopolis and John Dies at the End. Jones, meanwhile, is well known for roles in films like The Tempest and Like Crazy.

Already set to star Andrew Garfield, Emma Stone, Jamie Foxx, Shailene Woodley, Dane DeHaan and Martin Sheen, the new chapter in the Spider-Man saga was already confirmed to see the debut of Electro (Foxx) and Mary Jane Watson (Woodley).”

Now while Rhino isn’t really one of my favourite Spidey villains, I do have respect for certain incarnations of the character like in Spider-Man: The Animated Series or The Spectacular Spider-Man TV Series. But to have him put into live-action? No, no, no. That just doesn’t sound like a good idea, I can just imagine the suit and the character being butchered. Plus what’s the deal with getting Paul Giamatti involved with this role? Now don’t get me wrong Paul Giamatti is a great actor and from what I’ve seen him in he is very versatile, but as someone like Rhino I couldn’t see Giamatti taking on that kind of persona especially because he’s so dimwitted. As for Felicity Jones I’m not familiar with her but there’s a rumour of her potentially playing Betty Brant, if that’s the case then that be badass because she looks the part although a bit young in appearance for my liking. But otherwise she’s fine.

 
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Posted by on January 29, 2013 in Films, Media

 

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