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            Showing posts with label AB Goes To The Movies.
            Showing posts with label AB Goes To The Movies.

            Friday, May 31, 2013

            AB Goes To The Movies: Fast & Furious 6

            Before my wife and I settled in to catch the latest installment in the Fast & Furious franchise, I made a mental note turn my brain off. Then I turned off my brain's backup generator. Then I turned off my brain's backup-backup generator. If you want to actually enjoy a movie of this sort, you'll prolly need to do the same.

            F&F, not to be confused with the faux Conservative controversy involving gun-runners, appeared to be on life support a few years ago when the franchise bottomed out with Tokyo Drift, one of the 10 worst movies I've ever personally seen. Someone finally realized that putting the fate of your multibillion dollar business in the hands of Lil' Bow Wow wasn't a great idea, and the producers ponied up to reunite the original cast for 2009's comically titled Fast And Furious. They added The Rock to the cast of 2011's Fast Five, and lots of millions later, the entire ensemble (Lil' Bow Wow and that white guy from Tokyo Drift excluded) is back for more automotive shenanigans in Fast & Furious 6.

            I don't typically try and summarize the "plot" for action movies, but this one actually tried so I suppose I should. After pulling off a major heist in Brazil last go round, Dom, Brian, Mia, and Co. have dispersed around the globe to enjoy the fruits of their labor and bask in the glow of retirement. But when Agent Hobbs (The Rock, who appears to have been on a steroid IV since the last movie) informs Dom that his presumed dead girlfriend Letty (Michelle Rodriguez) is actually still alive, the whole gang reunites to help take down a gang of Russian arms dealers.

            Okay, so now that I've got the "plot" outta the way, let's talk about the real reason you pay good money for F&F flicks: Action!!! And lemme tell you, this is about as jam packed a 130 minutes as you're gonna get.

            Cars race. Cars crash. Cars blow up. Cars fly off bridges. Cars fly. Cars get crushed by tanks. Cars drive into moving airplanes. Cars drive out of moving airplanes. There is so much sh*t here that defies all rules of physics, mechanics, and common sense, but it's so freakin' incredible I can't wait until the blu-ray comes out. This is a movie made for big screens and/or 北京体彩网官方网站 theaters. It's that good. There are also some unexpected villains, some unexpected deaths, and a totally unexpected ending that perfectly sets up the next movie, F&F7, coming next summer.


            As for the cast, it's hard to believe we've been watching these meatheads for an entire decade now, and the signs of age are obvious. Vin Diesel's hairline now starts at the back of his neck. Paul Walker still can't act, and looks like someone's Dad (maybe because he actually is, in one of this movie's comical throwaway side-plots). Ludacris plays the straight guy to Tyrese's borderline coonery. Luke Evans stars as an ex-soldier turned villain, and is perhaps the most metrosexual, not-threatening bad guy in the history of bad guys. Ex-MMA star Gina Carano joins the franchise, but is sadly underutilized. And while many in Hollywood are hailing The Rock as the franchise's savior, he's mostly relegated to a supporting role. Doesn't matter, cause the cars are the stars here.

            And the plane. Definitely the plane.

            Final Verdict: Turn all your brains off, and enjoy this pointless, yet exciting 2 hour diversion from life. I'd even spring for the 3D/IMAX version if you can. This movie's that good. Pay full price. 4 Stars (Out Of 5)

            Question: Have you seen Fast And Furious 6? What did you think?

            Monday, May 7, 2012

            AB Goes To The Movies - Think Like A Man.

            In post-Tyler Perry America, the romantic comedy is a staple that seems headed the way of the BetaMax VCR. While the 90's and 00's boasted such solid romcoms as Love and Basketball, The Best Man, Brown Sugar and Two Can Play That Game, the genre has fallen on hard times of late. Every film's either got some misplaced Come To Jeeezus!!! undertone, or a crusty, grown-assed black man in a dress and pumps. I'll pass.

            For these reasons and many others, I was less than enthused when I started seeing the ads for Think Like A Man pop up during NBA broadcasts. Okay, I'll just keep it two hunned: I'm not the biggest fan of Steve Hightower Harvey. I think it's beyond comical that a man with more ex-spouses than Elizabeth Taylor has somehow convinced black women that he's a love doctor and relationship expert by releasing a ghost-written book full of common freakin' sense. Now that sh*t cray is funny. Still, Harvey-hatin' aside, I guess I have to admire the man's hustle. When he realized his days as the (self-proclaimed) King Of Comedy were coming to an end, he did a complete 180 and rebranded himself. His book "Think Like A Man, Act Like A Woman" is a New York Times bestseller, and the basis for said film. I'm blogging about said film, basically giving it free pub.

            Advantage: Hightower Harvey!

            That said, the movie itself is actually good. Surprisingly good. Shockingly good. So good that you're left scratching your head during the closing credits, wondering "How in the hell did something associated with Steve Hightower Harvey turn out that good?" Honestly, this might (keyword: might) be the best black romantic comedy since Boomerang.

            Yes, I said it. This movie's that good.

            I haven't read the book (shocker!) but the film inadvertently (or perhaps, blatantly, depending on how you look at it) serves as an infomercial. 10 Los Angelenos with relationship statuses in varying states of disarray try to resolve their differences in a game of cat and mouse that revolves around the wit and wisdom contained in Harvey's aforementioned book.

            Kevin Hart plays a recently divorced man trying to re-adjust to life as a single guy. Michael Ealy is a "Hapless Dreamer"[1] whose lack of ambition clashes with Taraji P. Henson's high powered corporate status. Romany Malco is the stereotypical "player" who falls prey to the charms of a newly chaste Meagan Good. Gabrielle Union cannot seem to get her fratboy, action figure-obsessed boyfriend Jerry Ferrara to grow up and commit. Mama's boy Terrence J juggles the demands of his two most favorite women when he falls for single mother Regina Hall. BET comedian Gary Owen is happily married with kids, but for some odd reason has permission time and energy to hang out with a bunch of single dudes playing basketball and barhopping every night. A boatload (and boy do I ever mean a boatload!)[2] of D-List ancillary characters helps move the storyline along at a brisk pace. Harvey (predictably playing himself) provides relationship advice while a guest on an Oprah-like show at plot-intensive intervals, all the while smiling and oddly filmed with a soft-focus lens.[3]

            If this sounds like entirely too much going on for one movie, you'd technically be correct. Emsemble casts are usually a recipe for complete disaster, but somehow it works quite well in this Tim Story (Barbershop, Fantastic Four) helmed flick, which was somewhat confoundingly written by two Jewish guys. There isn't a single incapable actor performer, yet there's no real star either. This cast is kinda like the Memphis Grizzlies. Each couple gets equal airtime, and although Ealy is the nominal headliner, Kevin Hart is actually the show stealer here, providing well-timed comedic relief. I'm not 100% sure if this is the star vehicle that propels Hart into the Eddie/Martin/Richard Hollyweird stratosphere, but he clearly shows that in the right context, his brand of humor translates to the big screen. Good for him.

            None of the couples dilemmas is actually too deep/complex, and thankfully, for once, the movie's plot culmination does not involve childhood rape(!) Anyone else who has seen a black film in this century will probably breathe a huge sigh of relief after reading that. The movie is well-written, steers clear of any annoying coonery, and even the dialogue is relatively cliche-free. My wife and I laughed a lot, and well, that's sorta what a romantic comedy should be about.

            Final Verdict - This movie was actually very good. Surprisingly good. Shockingly good. I'm sure Steve Harvey and his ultra-white veneers will be laughing all the way to the bank. And hey, for once, I'm actually laughing with him. Eff' a matinee, pay full price! 4 Stars (Out Of 5)

            Question: Did you see Think Like A Man? What'd you think? Was it actually as good as I'm saying, or am I grading it on the Tyler Perry Scale Of Dramatically Lowered Expectations?!?

            [1] Lightskinned, green-eyed handsome guy who can't hold a steady job in the movies = "Hapless Dreamer". Not-so-handsome, not-so-green-eyed guy who can't hold a steady job in real life = "Jobless Loser".

            [2] I'm literally talking every black person not named Denzel or Angela that's ever appeared in a movie or UPN TV show. All of em'. Seriously, the cameos and bit parts just kept coming and kept getting more and more absurd.

            [3] That "Barbara Walters" camera trick that makes her look younger than the 82 years she actually is. Yeah, it was kinda weird.

            Sunday, April 1, 2012

            The Worst Movie I've Evar Seen... Evar!!!

            It was a $1 rental from RedBox. I was on the road. I was bored. Don't point fingers at me if you've ever paid to see a Tyler Perry movie. You don't know me, you don't know my situation.

            But yeah, this "movie"[1] really, really, really sucked. Then again, I guess Angel Lola Luv "acting" >>>>> Angel Lola Luv "Gangsta B*tch" rapper.

            Question: What's the worst ghetto straight-to-DVD film you've ever seen?!? [1] It's more like "hey, we rented this cool HD cam for the weekend, let's buy a case of brews and do something stoopid" than an actual "movie".

            Tuesday, March 13, 2012

            AB Goes To The Movies - HBO's Game Change.

            Maybe some of you with real lives were out having fun Saturday night, but married, 2 1/2 kids having political nerds like me were 北京体彩网官方网站 watching HBO's Game Change. The movie, much like Recount, is HBO's retelling of an election from a behind the scenes perspective. Whereas the prior movie was about the much disputed 2000 election, Game Change focuses on the 2008 election, specifically the McCain/Palin ticket.

            If you saw the movie, share your thoughts below. If you didn't, here's the trailer.

            A few things about this movie stuck out.
            1) You can try and spin it anyway you want, but this isn't a movie that makes Sarah Palin look good. Perhaps if nothing else, you feel a bit more sympathetic to her, since it's clear she was thrust into a situation she was not prepared for, at all.

            2) Then again, the movie confirms everything we already knew about Palin. She's shallow. She's prideful. She's catty.

            3) The McCain camp didn't discover her via YouTube. That's a dramatization. She'd been on the campaign's radar for months.

            4) The McCain camp, did, however, only spend 5 days vetting her. The book goes into this in more detail than the movie, but either way, it's somewhat scary that the people "vetting" her didn't bother asking her questions about basic knowledge of history, foreign relations, or her background. Perhaps more scary than Vice President Palin is the fact that most of these same people who didn't vet her would have been high ranking officials in a McCain White House. Thank you, Jesus!

            5) Ed Harris as McCain... didn't quite do it. He looked the part, but his voice and mannerisms were like 2 decades too young. We don't know enough about Steve Schmidt, but I know the guy's grossy overweight. Which is why Woody Harrellson's portrayal is only about halfway there. As for Palin, well, I don't know what award they give for TV movies (Emmys?!?) but I'm pretty sure Julianne Moore's getting one. She became Palin. It was scary at times.

            6) Some on the right are complaining that this movie wasn't focused on Obama/Hilary or could have instead taken on John Edwards' obvious issues. Prolly true, but I don't see anyone stopping Conservatives from making their own movies. Actually, after drivel like Media Malpractice, and The Undefeated, it's probably better that they just stick to trashing Obama via cable news and radio.
            Final Verdict - This movie wasn't perfect, but I'm sure it wasn't intended to be. It's a piece of disposable entertainment that probably would have seemed more timely had Palin run this year. Instead, it's just low key pro-Obama propaganda. Not that there's anything wrong with that. 3 Stars (Out Of 5)

            Question: Did you see Game Change? Was the movie a fair portrayal? Is there such a thing as a fair portrayal?!?

            Monday, March 12, 2012

            AB Goes To The Movies - Still Standing

            , Lamar Tyler presents his latest film, Still Standing. Check it out.

            From the creators of BlackandMarriedWithKids.com, Happily Ever After and You Saved Me comes the next installment of timeless love stories. A diverse group of couples provide transparent, insightful conversation about what it takes to have lasting power in current day marriages. Through infidelity, chronic illness, financial crisis and more these couples explain WHY and more importantly HOW they are STILL STANDING. Starring Kindred the Family Soul, Speech (Arrested Development) and Yolanda Thomas and Dr. Sherry Blake.

            Advanced Screening Info.

            HOU Advance Screening 4/27/12
            DAL Advance Screening 4/28/12
            ATL Advance Screening 5/3/12
            Still Standing is available on May 1st, and we'll be having a contest for free copies later, but .

            Thursday, September 15, 2011

            AB Goes To The Movies - Jumping The Broom.

            One of the unfortunate side effects of The Tyler Perrification of American Negro Cinema™ is how his success has basically ethered that of other black directors. As Spike Lee would attest, it's damn near impossible for a brotha to get a movie greenlit right now. If you aren't adhering to that low-budget, high-coonery, church-friendly format Perry's perfected, you're prolly headed straight-to-DVD, which is a real death sentence because nobody buys DVD's anymore. One guy who's actually managed to stay eating in this climate is TD Jakes, and his latest production Jumping The Broom (now on DVD!) shows how two men's variations on the same Christian-centric theme can be so dramatically different in quality and content.

            Jakes' prior cinematic offerings 2004's Woman Thou Art Loosed and 09's Not Easily Broken wove stories of Christian redemption into dramas about everyday people with real (sometimes too real) issues. While Perry depends on hamhanded preachy asides and ear-shattering gospel sangin' to make his point, Jakes' characters seem to come to their own revelations in a far more subtle (and thus realistic) form. Those were both quality films, serious dramas with good dialogue, good actors, and realistic depictions of how spirituality plays out in the real world. I loved em' both, but neither did particularly well at the box office. I'm not sure what that says about Black America, but it surely says something. The fact that Jumping The Broom basically caught a brick at the box office also says something about Black America. Sadly, we missed out on a pretty good movie here.

            Jumping stars Paula Patton as a lawyer who swears off giving up her cookies until marriage after a series of pointless flings. When she meets an equally successful investment banker (Laz Alonzo) by accident (literally) a love affair is quickly sparked and a shotgun wedding on Martha's Vineyard is lined up mere weeks later. One little problem: The bride and groom's families haven't ever met, which sets up some predictable fish-out-of-water hijinks as his ghetto fam mixes with her upper crust family.

            I don't want to give away much more of the plot here, you'd really just have to see the movie yourself because telling much more throws us into spoiler territory. The usually deplorable Loretta Devine keeps on working, and she's quite effective here as the groom's mother who just can't let go of her son. Angela Bassett plays the bride's angry, secretive mom with equal aplomb. A bountiful cast (I mean, seriously, there's like 400 people in this damn movie!) of ancillary characters like Tasha Smith, Lil Romeo, Mike Epps, Meagan Good, and Gary Dourdan provide the requisite sideplots and background filler conversation without distracting from the main event. Cameos by Jakes and El Debarge (!) round out the lineup. Like the 2011 Memphis Grizzlies, this is a roster light on big names, but full of talent. The net result is a well-executed, smart drama that never takes itself too seriously.

            If there's one drawback it's how quickly and unrealistically the film's numerous (and deep!) issues get resolved. It's almost like director Salim Akil looked up and realized "oh sh*t, we only got 10 minutes of film left?" and tried to tie up everything at the last moment. It somewhat took away from the overall enjoyment of a really good film, but that could just be me.

            Final Verdict - Stop complaining about the lack of quality black films and go rent this movie now. This is a well-written, well-acted, well-directed drama with an all black cast. It (only) pulled in $37M during it's theatrical release, which probably ensures Jakes Woman Thou Art Loosed : On The 7th Day (due out later this year) will see the light of day. Still, Perry's Madea's Big Happy Family made almost that much on opening weekend. I'm not sure what that says about Black America, but it surely says something. 4 Stars (Out Of 5)

            Question: Did you see Jumping The Broom?!?

            Monday, September 12, 2011

            AB Goes To The Movies: Madea's Big Happy Family.

            You should already know what you're getting into when you decide (willingly or otherwise) to sit down and watch a Tyler Perry movie. If it's a non-Madea affair (For Colored Girls, Why Did I Get Married?, Daddy's Little Girls) there's a chance it might be a decent watch. Certainly not great, but good. On the other hand, if the word "Madea" is anywhere in the title, you should probably just shut your entire brain off and pretend to enjoy it. My wife likes his movies and my wife isn't a moron. I watch these along with her in the name of marital fidelity. If anyone has a problem with this, meet me outside.

            The most recent in this series of outstanding American cinema is called Madea's Big Happy Family. Assuming you're a newbie to this genre, Happy Family is like a case study in why Tyler Perry should really hang up the dress and pumps for once and for all. The eponymous protagonist finds herself trying to rescue the tattered family of her niece Shirley (Loretta Devine) after she gets diagnosed with terminal cancer. And boy is Shirley's family screwed up. Byron (Lil' Bow Wow) is a barely legal jailbird with baby mama (Teyanna Taylor) drama and an antsy golddigging girlfriend (Lauren London) who keeps urging him to give up the 9 to 5 and go back to the traaap. Kimberly (Shannon Kane) is a bitterly angry woman who looks down on the very family that raised her and treats her husband (Isaiah Mustafa from those Old Spice commercial) with equal contempt. Tammy (Natalie Desselle) browbeats her henpecked husband (Rodney Perry) to the point of emasculation and can't control her mouthy preteen kids.

            None of the kids gets along with each other either, which makes Shirley's task of informing them of her impending demise that much more difficult. It's waaay too much drama for one dying woman to handle, so Madea steps in with her patented brand of 北京体彩网官方网站spun wit and wisdom. And physical threats of course, because other than Jesus, slapping a child silly is clearly the only way to make a 10 year old act right. Madea-regulars like Cora, Mr. Brown, and Aunt Bam round out the cast of characters with their own special blend of coonery. It's like Amos and Andy reincarnated.

            It's hard to objectively critique a movie like this, given its target demo and total lack of pretense. A Madea movie isn't meant to be taken seriously, so trying to hold it to some level of celluloid standard is pointless. But it's hard to watch a movie so terribly written with such outrageously one-sided characters and not want to throw your iPad out the window. It's like Perry simply says "f*ck effort, n*ggas is gon' pay to see this anyway!" The dialogue is so bad a 3rd grader could have written it. There are too many "message!" moments about getting tested for prostate cancer, raising your own damn kids, and being a "real man!" that the whole thing felt like a ghetto after school special. Like every TP movie, someone gets raped, because incest is obviously at the root of each and every problem plaguing the black community. Either that, or TP's simply devoid of any other vaguely original dramatic foil. And of course the damn sermonizing and gospel sangin'... Jesus, would they stop with the churchlady pandering already? Come on, Tyler, just try a bit harder.

            Strangely the one thing that was dramatically different from every other Madea movie ever made was the whole noble man/cruddy woman dynamic. I actually didn't see this one coming. Every man in the movie is the victim of a shifty, selfish woman. They coulda renamed this one Tyler Perry Presents... B*tches Ain't Shit" and it might have been a bit more accurate.

            Of course, watchin a Madea movie isn't meant to be a serious moviegoing experience, so even I realize how pointless my critiques are. These flicks are meant to be a somewhat uplifting 90 minute break from reality, and there's really nothing wrong with that. They have their core audience, and that core audience isn't stupid or uncultured because they want a somewhat uplifting 90 minute break from reality. Maybe it's critics like me who need to fall back and just pretend to laugh.

            Because a happy wife makes a happy 北京体彩网官方网站, after all.

            Final Verdict - We didn't see this in the movies so I'm probably going to be a bit extra generous with my rating because this only cost a few bucks as an iTunes rental. Don't expect greatness because no such thing exists here. If you need a cheap laugh, diversion, I suppose this might could[1] do the trick. 2.5 Stars (Out Of 5)

            Question: Did you see Madea's Big Happy Family?!? Am I over analyzing this?

            [1] Yes, I said "might could". Got a problem with that? Meet me outside.

            Tuesday, August 23, 2011

            Probably The Corniest Movie Scene Evar, From The Corniest Movie Evar.

            The seminal 1979 film The Fish That Saved Pittsburgh holds a lot of sentimental value with me. My Pops (RIP Daddy) used to literally make my and my brothers watch this movie everytime (every. time.) it came on 北京体彩网官方网站 Box Office[1]. I thought it was corny then, and when I saw it playing on NBA TV the other night, I thought it was corny still. And yeah, I tried (unsuccessfully) to get my kids to watch this with me. You know, on some circle-of-life sh*t. They wanted to see Ni Hao Kai-Lan instead.

            Kids nowadays.

            If you've never seen this movie, I'd recommend Netflixing it. It's so horrible, it's actually good. And no scene typifies the awful greatness of this movie better than the infamous playground scene where Dr. J seduces a sweet young paramour with some signature dunkage.

            Let's examine the pure terrible brilliance of this scene, shall we?
            The woman tells Dr. J she's concerned about him influencing her little brother to play ball at the expense of studying. He replies to her by... wait for it... dunking, of course. Yeah, that makes perfect sense.

            This bama is dunking in slacks and dress shoes.

            What's up with that music. It's great, but it has nothing to do with the scene.

            Clearly this would have been better accomplished as a bonin' scene. I mean, the slow mo, slow music, and dunking of the ball as about as sexual as you can get.

            Well, she looks satisfied. Eff' the little brother.
            Bonus Clip: Here's the championship game team intros. Some NBA team should try this. And that music for LA is freakin' awesome!!! I also love how they're just called "The Los Angeles Team". No Lakers. No Clippers. No Kareems. Just "The Los Angeles Team". Gangsta. BTW, anyone else catch the hip-hop sample here?

            Question: Do you remember The Fish That Saved Pittsburgh (whoa whoa)?!? Got any other particularly bad movies your parents forced you to watch?

            [1] It's not TV, it's 北京体彩网官方网站 Box Office.

            Monday, August 8, 2011

            Jumping The Broom, Now Available On DVD.

            I was sent a screener of the movie Jumping The Broom to review in advance of tomorrow's release on DVD. Clearly that didn't happen, so I'm putting up a friendly reminder for anyone who didn't get to see this (surely) great movie during its theatrical run.

            Eventually I'll get around to watching and reviewing this. Till then, enjoy the trailer, and go hit Redbox/Netflix/Blockbuster.

            Question: Did you see Jumping The Broom? What did you think?

            Tuesday, May 3, 2011


            FF finds the usual suspects (minus Michelle Rodriguez, who got murked in the last movie) destitute and down on their luck in the slums of Brazil. When a routine (yeah, routine. Just suspend all common sense if you wanna make it through 5 minutes of this one) heist of exotic cars from a high speed train (yeah, a train) goes awry, Toretto (Diesel), O'Conner (Paul Walker, wooden as ever) and Mia (Jordanna Brewster) find themselves at odds with a ruthless drug kingpin (how original!) who wants them dead. Quicker than you can say "unrealistic plot machination", the crew recruits a gang of "experts" (Tyrese, Ludacris, and Tego Calderon, but oddly, no Lil' Bow Wow.) from prior movies in the series to help pull off a $100M robbery of the drug lord's drug money. And oh yeah, just to up the testosterone ante, Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson shows up as a federal agent on Torreto and Co's tail.

            I'm actually amazed I was able to regurgitate the "plot" of this movie, given how flimsy and completely unrealistic most of it is. Mia is supposedly pregnant, yet she's able to jump 300 feet from a rooftop and doesn't even lose the scrunchie on her ponytail, let alone the precious child. Ludacris was a bit character in 2F2F who did little more than tinker with cars, but now he's a computer whiz who can crack industrial grade cast iron safes with a Macbook pro and some Saran Wrap. Torreto goes all Incredible Hulk on us, and literally bursts through a brick wall. The Rock survives the impact of a two grenade SUV explosion, and barely has a speck of dust on his Under Armor muscle shirt. Stock Dodge Chargers can tow 500 ton projectiles (at high speed!) down the streets of a city of a heavily populated urban city without encountering so much as a single traffic light. Paul Walker and Vin Diesel both actually deliver a dramatic line that doesn't make you double over with laughter.

            Okay, so I made up that last one. Some things are actually impossible, even in movies.

            Reality is, nobody goes to movies like this for the compelling, heart-felt dialogue or carefully crafted, action scenes that stay within the bounds of physics and human reason. Nope, you plunk down money to see F&F movies because there are lots of cars, lots of crashes, and lots of tomfoolery. It is quintessential American "turn off your entire brain" cinematic junk food, and damn does it taste great.

            Just when you thought you'd seen the epitome of "wait, they aren't really gonna try that, are they?" moviedom, F5 reinvents the proverbial wheel with some stuff you couldn't even fathom. Sure, lots of what's going on here is CGI, but it's so cleverly pulled off that you don't ever feel cheated. From trains, to humvees, to Volkswagen Touaregs (no, really) no vehicle is left unturned, or unflipped. It's a veritable orgy of smash crash, smash crash that's so patently absurd at times you'd swear . And of course, that's what makes this franchise among Hollywood's best. I'm already anticipating Fast And Freakin' Un-Freakin' Realistic Six. And you will too.

            If there's one thing slightly odd here, it's the deliberate decision to deemphasize the drag racing scenes that served as the hallmark for the prior movies. This one's more of a heist/revenge flick than anything else. Street races are alluded to but not shown, and only serve as plot devices to provide the team with vehicles. It's an odd change, but it guess it shows the direction this franchise is evolving. And besides, you won't miss the street races anyway. The rest of the action is just that good.

            The Verdict: Turn your brain all the way off. Or don't. Fast Five is enjoyable either way.

            Rating: 4 Stars (Out Of 5)

            Question: Did you see Fast Five?!?

            Thursday, April 28, 2011

            The Most Eagerly Anticipated Film Of 2011.

            I realize most of my readers have no idea who 9th Wonder is, nor care. This post (obviously) isn't for you, so keep it movin'.

            For the rest of us hip-hop nerds, enjoy this trailer for the upcoming documentary , chronicling a year in the life of the legendary (yet still underground) producer as he gets his own record label off the ground. Who knows, maybe the fine folks at LRG will send yours truly a promo copy.[1]

            [1] Crosses fingers and awaits email...

            Monday, March 14, 2011

            Ashy Or Classy?!? - 50 Cent's Oscar-Worthy Performance.


            Uhhhh, boy, where do I begin with all the wrongness in this 2:28 "trailer"?!?

            Why is a college football team clearly playing inside of a basketball arena? (:10)

            Mario Van Peebles & Lynn Whitfield, cast as 50's parents? Uhhhh, seriously? (:12)

            Dreadloc wigs? Who's 50 posed' to be, Papa Doc?!? (:19)

            My eyes! My eyes! Surely these folks know about HD trailers, right? Or maybe the fuzziness is on purpose. (:25)

            Why are there cardboard cutouts masquerading as fans in the stands? Is it really that hard to get extras in Michigan? I'm guessing you offer enough people $5/hour to stand around and act enthused and you'd probably have some takers, given Detroit's economy. (:30)

            That was the worst cinematic fall EVAR!!! (:35)

            Lynn Whitfield is too good for this sorta nonsense. She played Josephine Baker for crissakes! BTW, does this woman ever age?!? (:46)

            Ray Liotta? Wow. It's been a looong time since Goodfellas. (:50)

            50 does his best . I'm impressed. (:52)

            Now that was a fall. I'm definitely impressed. Them actin' lessons is payin' off, Fif. (1:21)

            Anytime a Nelly song pops up at an inspirational moment, you know this movie's going straight to Redbox. (1:35)

            "Curtis 50 Cent Jackson... in the most critically acclaimed role of his career!" Wow, how many times did the voiceover guy have to do that line without bustin out laughing? (1:49)

            Where is he running to? (2:10)

            That image will be on a motivational poster in barbershops nationwide. Mark. My. Words. (2:13)

            And by "coming soon", they mean, as soon as Redbox tells us to ship the DVD's over. (2:21)
            Question: Ashy Or Classy?!? Is 50 winning an Oscar for this movie, or is this jawn headed straight for the bargain bin at Target?

            Wednesday, March 9, 2011

            AB Goes To The Movies: Big Mommas: Like Father, Like Son.

            I've never quite fully comprehended Hollyweird's obsession with putting black men (especially comedians) in drag. From Flip Wilson, to Eddie Murphy, to Jamie Foxx, there are few brothers who haven't had to resort to rocking pumps and panty hose to get ahead. Martin Lawrence is no exception to this sordid rule, and while his Big Momma franchise reached the point of diminishing returns long ago, it's not like Lawrence has had much box office success in his recent non-drag endeavors. Since child support and private school don't pay for themselves, Lawrence predictably bit the bullet and took the necessary pay cut to give us Big Mommas: Like Father, Like Son. Why they didn't just name it Big Mommas 3 is beyond me. Actually, why they even bothered making this case study in coonery is prolly a better question.

            BM3 finds FBI agent Malcolm Turner back in the bra once again, this time undercover at an all-girls prep school looking for a flash drive that... awww hell, who really cares about the superficial crime subplot?!? This movie, like the others, is all about Big Momma doing the running man and droppin' it like it's hot. Sadly, there is no Dougie-ing involved, but there is a crossdressing sidekick. The kid who played Malcolm's stepson Trent in the prior movies (un)wisely decided to back out, so now Tropic Thunder's Brandon T. Jackson takes the reigns, joining Big Momma at the girl's school to help find the flash drive. As if one brother in drag wasn't bad enough, Jackson more or less runs the show here, clocking more screen time than Lawrence himself. This clearly speaks of an intention to rebrand the franchise as a buddy film. So yeah, there will be more Big Mommas in the future. Personally, I blame Michelle Obama.

            The plot here is flimsy beyond the point of even remote believability. Side characters like Sherri Sheppard, Faizon Love, and Ugly Betty's Ana Ortiz would probably be ashamed of themselves for signing onto this nonsense if they had any dignity. Thankfully, Nia Long doesn't show up to reprise her prior role as Malcolm's wife, who is explained away as being out of town. Oddly, the children she was pregnant with in the last movie no longer seem to exist. Lucky for them.

            As if the whole crossdressing thing wasn't bad enough, Trent's obsession with a girl of undetermined ethnicity just strikes me as the worst kind of Hollyweird colorism. Would it have really killed them to make his love interest black? I realize this seems trivial in the grand scheme of f*ckery, but it was just so.... typical. Not that we should expect better. Again, this is after all a movie about black men in drag!

            The original movie cost only $30M to make, and grossed $173M when all was said and done. BMH2 raked in a cool $138M return on a $40M investment. BM3 cost barely $30M and has already made twice that. Whether I like it or not, there's a market for these movies, and as long 20th Century Fox can turn a huge profit, they're gonna keep makin' em'.

            The Verdict: This might possibly be the worst movie I've ever seen. The bootleg was pretty good quality though. I suppose that's worth something.

            Rating: 0.5 Stars (Out Of 5)

            Question: Did you see Big Mommas 3?!?

            Sunday, October 17, 2010

            AB Goes To The Movies - N-Secure.

            No need to lie, when I saw the limited television ads for N-Secure, as well as that hideous movie poster, my expectations were pretty low. Seriously, that is the worst, lamest, cheapest Photoshop job I've ever seen. But the old idiom says never judge a book by it's cover. Interestingly, N-Secure adds a wrinkle to that cliche. Never judge a movie by it's cheap assed poster and D-List cast, because it turns out this is actually a pretty good flick.

            Beautifully shot in the city of Memphis, N-Secure follows a very insecure and very rich man named David Alan Washington (Cordell Moore, whom even I've never heard of, but nails the role) who is incredibly controlling, jealous, and bordeline OCD. When his girlfriend (Essence Atkins from all those UPN sitcoms) cheats on him, Washington immediately dumps her and hooks up with another woman (Denise Boutte of Tyler Perry's Why Did I Get Married) whom he suspects won't hurt him. When Washington's jealous nature gets the better of him, the usual urban thriller hijinx ensue. And thankfully avoiding Negro cinema cliches, there's no contrived come-to-Jesus moment and no sangin'. I could probably tell you a lot more, but I'd likely ruin the movie.

            If there's one underlying message in this movie that sorta irked me, it's that every woman David encounters thinks he's a total jackass (and he is, make no mistake), but they all seem to stick with him because he's rich. As a result, it's kinda hard to find any likeable characters in this movie, which is usually a fatal flaw with any flick. Strangely, that doesn't derail N-Secure, but I sure hope nobody gets fooled into thinking this is a "positive" movie just because there are some nice cars being driven and all the women look fabulous. There's a dark undertone to this film that goes beyond the 107 minute running time.

            Well paced, although nearly two hours long, N-Secure is a rare quality black drama in post-TP America. With a solid supporting cast of folks (Lamman Rucker, Tempestt Bledsoe, Steve Harvey's weedcarrier Nephew Tommy) you probably know more by face than by name, it's the kind of movie that makes you yell to the screen repeatedly, but in a good way. Save yourself some trouble and don't go see this on in the hood' if you're the type who's easily annoyed by this sort of behavior.

            The Verdict: If you like compelling dramas, you'll probably like N-Secure. Don't let the cheesy poster and trailer fool you. This is a pretty good movie.

            Rating: 3.5 Stars (Out Of 5)

            Question: Did you see N-Secure?

            Tuesday, September 7, 2010

            AB Goes To The Movies - Why Did I Get Married Too?

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            Much like the first movie, which I also enjoyed, there's a lot of "didn't see it coming" plot twists here, and giving much more detail would drag us into "spoiler" territory, which is something I don't do. Still, take my word for it. The movie is well acted, the characters (except for Smith, who is just plain annoying) are multidimensional and flawed (except for Perry of course, who is always perfect), and the ending is shocking to say the least. Slickly shot and well paced, this movie's also a nice technical rebound from last year's disastrous I Can Do Bad All By Myself. For once, a Tyler Perry movie even I can't hate on. That's quite a feat.

            The Verdict: Hey, it's a rental. Even if you hate Tyler Perry with a passion, hit your nearest RedBox and give Why Did I Get Married Too? a look. You could do far worse things with a dollar.

            Rating: 4 Stars (Out of 5)

            Question: Did you see Why Did I Get Married Too? What did you think?

            Friday, May 21, 2010

            AB Goes To The Movies: Just Wright.

            Tuesday, March 23, 2010

            AB Goes To The Movies: The Blind Side.

            Much like Precious[1], it took me awhile to bring myself to watch The Blind Side. The reasons are many. I live in the midst of enough black dysfunction on the daily. Why would I wanna drop $50 to experience this nonsense on the big screen? Perhaps even worse is the "white Savior" aspect of both movies. Namely, poor, shiftless Negroes are rescued from themselves by White(ish) folks, largely by virtue of tough love and motherly nurturing. If you ain't seen this Hollywood staple before, then might I suggest you go rent Freedom Writers. At least that movie had a good soundtrack.

            For those utterly clueless, The Blind Side is about a wealthy white family that takes in a large, slovenly, mushmouthed black kid from the other side of the tracks, and magically teaches him how to perform pancake blocks to get himself drafted in the NFL. Of course, it's not this simple, but after watching this cliche-ridden piece of drivel, I can't say there's a whole lot more to it.

            Sandra Bullock plays Leigh Anne Tuohy, a Southern Belle married to a rich man, with two beautiful kids and a large suburban 北京体彩网官方网站. When Tuohy realizes that a new kid named "Big Mike" at her children's exclusive private school is 北京体彩网官方网站less, she and her husband take him in out of the kindness of their hearts and make him a part of their family. They bathe him, dress him, educate him, and motivate him to turn his life into something other than a statistic. In the end, "Big" Michael Oher goes on to play four years of college ball at Ole' Miss, and was drafted last year as a first rounder for the Baltimore Ravens. It's a true story that was inspired by a book of the same name, and provided you're able to turn off your third eye, this is a relatively entertaining movie.

            As ya'll know, my Negro Spidey Sense has no off button, so I couldn't watch this nonsense without wincing. Sure, much of what's here is true. The Tuohys did indeed take in Oher, and rightfully deserve much praise for helping out a kid who was headed nowhere. But come the hell on! So much of this movie is insulting, and borderline stereotypical for the sake of manufactured drama, it kills any good vibes I might have walked away with.

            Perhaps the most alarming is Oher himself, who is portrayed as a damn near a mute. Sure, Oher in real life is pretty soft spoken for an NFL player, but they movie makes him look like an imbecile. He is routinely tutored academically by his 3rd grader "adoptive brother", a child so comically obnoxious you want to punch your TV screen when he's on it. Leigh Anne reads "Big Mike" children's books for Crissakes. WTF? And in an act of fiction so egregious, I'm shocked Oher didn't sue for defamation, the movie basically shows him being taught how to play football by a 9 year-old and a 50-something white woman. In real life, Oher had been playing football since Pop Warner, but here, he somehow, thanks to the magical Tennessee twang of Sandra Bullock, goes from not even knowing what a snap count is, to being recruited by every SEC school in a matter of two weeks time.

            Even worser, there isn't a single black character in this movie that helps Mike. His real Mom is on drugs and has nearly 20 kids, so she willingly gives him up for adoption. His neighborhood is full of dope boys who ogle Tuohy and try to get Mike to join a gang. And even once he gets a scholarship, his dreams are nearly derailed by some evil sista who suggests that that Tuohys only allowed him to move in because they wanted to steer him towards playing college ball at their alma mater. Of course, when Mike finds himself in even more trouble, a pistol-packin' Leanne simply rides over to North Memphis and threatens some gangbangers to set him free.

            Holy Caucasian Jesus, who the hell wrote this crap?!?

            Again, this isn't a terrible movie, so much as its typical. You've seen it all before, and there's nothing new in The Blind Side, whatsoever. What's atypical is how successful this movie was, raking in a cool $200M, and giving Bullock the distinction of being the first female lead in a movie that did those numbers. That, more than anything else, is what I suspect earned her the best actress Academy Award, because it sure wasn't her performance in this movie. Yeah, Bullock captures the Southern drawl and overall presence of the real-life Leigh Anne Tuohy to the tee, but this movie is so cookie-cutter, and so full of cliches, I can't imagine why someone deemed this worthy of an Oscar.

            Final Verdict: Is The Blind Side decent "turn off your brain" entertainment if you have nothing better to do? Sure? But if you're like me, and find that "off" switch hard to locate, you might wanna pass. 2 1/2 Stars (Out Of 5)

            Question: Did you see The Blind Side? Is this "White Folks Save The Negroes From Themselves" genre of movie getting played out, or is it just me?

            [1] The review is coming soon.

            Saturday, March 13, 2010

            Finally, A Decent "Urban" Romantic Comedy.

            While I'm having a hard time buying Common as an NBA player, or for that matter, the New Jersey Nets with a packed house and actual cheering fans, I gotta admit, this looks pretty good. Somebody call the babysitter.

            Question: What do you think of the "Just Wright" trailer?

            Thursday, March 4, 2010

            AB Goes To The Movies - Cop Out.

            looks like a huge publicity stunt in retrospect) made things even remotely interesting, or gave Morgan an occasional funny line. Sure, Morgan's facial expressions and off-key riffs make for a laugh here or there, but this just ain't the right movie for him. As for Willis, it's sorta sad to see a once-proud movie star reduced to this sorta drivel. Throughout, her bears the facial expression and body language of a guy who has been sucked by his girlfriend into going to the mall to look for party dresses. It's clear he'd much rather be elsewhere, and so would we. He and Morgan have about as much chemistry as the 03'-04' Lakers. Which, for those of you who lack sports savvy, is not much at all.

            But probably the oddest thing about this lousy, instantly forgettable (I'm struggling to recall enough about it to complete this review, and I just saw it last night!) flick is the soundtrack and score. Perhaps in nod to movies like Beverly Hills Cop, Smith backs to film with 80's techno-pop (think The Pointer Sisters' "Doin' The Neutron Dance") throughout, even during shootout sequences when such music makes absolutely no sense. , and supposedly an homage to BHC and like-minded movies, but it's sorta stupid. I like Tracy Morgan just as much as the next 30 Rock fan, but he's no Eddie Murphy. There's no Axel Foley in this movie.

            Final Verdict - This is the sort of movie Redbox was invented for. It ain't worth your $40 ($60 if you go to , which you shouldn't), so just wait already. It'll be a rental soon enough. 2 Stars (Out Of 5)

            Question: Have you seen Cop Out?!? What's your favorite Black/White buddy flick?

            Wednesday, January 27, 2010

            AB Goes To The Movies - Black Dynamite.

            Sometime after I finished college, I really got heavy into those 70's blaxploitation flicks for a minute. I product of the (mid) 70's myself, I only vaguely recall this era of urban cinema, but somewhere along the way, I found myself very interested, and ended up buying dozens of DVD's of the best flicks. From Coffy, to Sweetback Badass Song, to Blackula, I got a bunch of these films in my personal stash, for reasons even I can't truly comprehend.

            Let's face it, these movies were routinely awful. The plots were all the same. The dialogue was laughably horrible. They were racist as all get-out. They were mind numbingly stereotypical. They were cheesy. The soundtracks was generally the sorta crap you hear in pRon. They were movies for us, about us, and made by Jewish people. About the only good thing to come out of this era was, of course, the lovely Pam Grier.

            In recent years, movies lampooning this special genre of film have sprouted up from time to time. There were movies like I'm Gonna Git You Sucka, Pootie Tang, and Undercover Brother, all of which were able to recapture the spirit of the era, but mostly for comedic effect.

            Black Dynamite, a movie that's been lurking about the internet for awhile in some form or fashion, is just now making it to movie screens. Unlike the other films, Dynamite is more of an homage to the long-deceased genre, and as such, I suspect it's a film that only folks who like these kinds of movies will enjoy.

            Wikipedia's short synopsis says "In 1972, Black Dynamite, a former CIA agent, is called back into the business when the mafia kills his brother, fills black orphanages with heroin, and floods the street with bad malt liquor. He soon discovers a vast conspiracy." And yeah, that's pretty much the extent of the plot.

            This movie, given the type of films it's mimicking, can only be so good, and it more or less lives up (or down, depending on your view) to that expectation. The plot's overly simplistic, the dialogue is hokey, and the fight scenes are outrageously cheesy. In other words, it's a dead ringer for the movies it's paying honor to. Perhaps even better is the extreme attention to technical detail. The slightly discolored hue, "fake scratches or digitally generated retro deterioration", are all authentic, because the movie was shot on film. Anyone familiar with blaxploitation flicks will appreciate this.

            I also happened to enjoy the cast, which is a who's who of Black Hollywood D-Listers. Michael Jai White (Spawn, Why Did I Get Married?) plays the title character with the same level of lousy acting chops as Richard Roundtree in Shaft, but given the material, this works perfectly. Other familiar faces like Salli Richardson, Kym Whitley, Arsenio Hall, Chris Spencer, and Tommy Davidson round out the cast.

            This definitely isn't a film for everyone, but if you're a fan of the genre, there's a good chance you'll appreciate Black Dynamite.

            Final Verdict - I liked it. Whether you do or not likely has a lot to do with your understanding of the point of reference. Skip the internet bootleg and go support this film. 3 Stars (Out Of 5)

            Question: Have you seen Black Dynamite? Got any blaxploitation favorites of your own?