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Dan the Man's Movie Reviews

All my aimless thoughts, ideas, and ramblings, all packed into one site!

Tag Archives: Anthony Anderson

The Big Year (2011)

These people care about these birds a lot; that is, until they find  that white stuff on their cars. You know what I’m talking about.

Three men (Jack Black, Owen Wilson, Steve Martin), each facing their own personal challenges, try to outdo one another in the ultimate bird-watching competition in 1998. However, bird-watching gets in the way of what’s best in their lives and has them rethinking their dedication and craft.

The whole idea and premise behind The Big Year? Well, it’s real. Every single year, a group of avid birdwatchers go around competing against one other to see who can spot the most birds in some set area. Doesn’t sound like the most happening thing to do on the street, but these people could all be doing something a lot worse with their time, right?

Either way, it makes you think: Did we really need a movie about bird-watchers?

Brian?!?

Brian?!?

Probably not and judging by all of the trailers/posters/ads, it’s made abundantly clear that everyone behind it were trying their damn near hardest to make sure that absolutely nobody knew this was a bird-watching movie, because really, who would want to go out and see that? Seriously. It doesn’t matter who you have, or how good the movie may be – movies about a group of bird-watchers, just isn’t all that exciting to the general audience. And it actually wouldn’t have been such a problem what the material was about, had the movie itself actually just been good, but that’s the icing on the cake, because it just isn’t.

Director David Frankel is your typical layman’s director who shows up to work and doesn’t do much, which probably made him the perfect candidate for the Big Year, a movie that’s so happy-go-lucky and cheerful, that it’s almost nauseating. Being cheerful isn’t always such a bad thing, though – sometimes, it can work in your movie’s favor – but the Big Year relies so much on its slapstick and humor, that it just doesn’t connect. The moments that the movie wants to be funny, just doesn’t work or even register as, well, “comedy”. It’s a problem that never ceases throughout the whole flick, making it all the more of a chore to sit through.

But trust me, it actually gets kind of worse.

Once Frankel takes this story into straight-on drama mode, things start to get really unbearable as all of these dumb stories converging together. The story behind Wilson’s character is probably the dumbest, because here he is being the #1 birder in the world (which is something he deserves credit for, I guess), and he can’t even choose whether he wants to be with the birds or with his wife. Need I remind you, his wife is played by the ever so gorgeous Rosamund Pike who always seems to always look the same as each and every single year goes by. So right then and there, the film tries to pull you into this story and give itself a dilemma – one that, mind you, would be solved if this dude was actually placed in real life. “Goddess or birds?”, seems to be the main dilemma and well, I think it’s pretty simple to figure that one out.

But it’s not just Wilson’s character who gets this type of treatment, everybody else gets it too and it’s only worse when you have three comedic stars like Steve Martin, Owen Wilson, and Jack Black, basically all kicking themselves in the ass just for anything resembling a laugh. Steve Martin used to be one of the funniest and most daring guys in comedy, but now, he’s stuck doing old-man, grandpa roles where his performances consist of him being ultra-serious, with his once-in-awhile signature dance. That dance is priceless, but when he pulls it out here, it comes out of nowhere and didn’t make me laugh at all.

Tim?!?!

Tim?!?!

Then of course, there’s Jack Black who everybody seems to hate, but I for one, don’t. I’ll give Black some love here and there because the guy can be good when he’s given the material to work with, but is really scraping the bottom of the barrel here. He plays his usual “zany” role where he does all of this wacky stuff, and says weird things and why is that, you ask? Oh, because he’s the 36-year old slacker that doesn’t have anything else better to do with his life or his money, instead of just waste it all on bird-watching. Black is probably the most bearable to watch out of the whole cast, but that is really not saying much.

 

But fine, Wilson, Martin and Black all putting in terrible performances? That’s fine. I can accept that because they’ve given terrible ones before and guess what? They’ll continue to do so. The real stab that hurts harder and harder that I think about it is the fact that there’s so many more people in this cast, like Tim Blake Nelson, like Dianne Wiest, like Brian Dennehy, like John Cleese, like June Squibb, like Anjelica Huston, like Rashida Jones, and like so many others, that honestly, deserve a whole hell of a lot better. Why they’re here, why they’re stuck with this crap material, why they needed the money so bad, well, is honestly a hard question to answer.

All I do know is that it’s over with and they’ve all moved on. For the most part.

Consensus: Unfunny, poorly-written, and a waste of everyone involved, the Big Year deals with an odd premise, takes it way too seriously and never knows just what to do with itself.

2 / 10 

"Nope. Not a good movie in sight, fellas."

“Nope. Not a good movie in sight, fellas.”

Photos Courtesy of: Aceshowbiz

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Barbershop: The Next Cut (2016)

No more haircuts. Just do them at your own house, dammit!

A little over a decade after we last left him, Calvin (Ice Cube) has now found his long-loved barbershop molded together with the beauty salon. Most of this is to keep alive and well in today’s economic times, but this also brings along some more unneeded craziness and drama, like with customers and co-workers. But for the most part, some of the same faces are back, along a few new ones like Rashad (Common), who is currently married to Terri (Eve), even if he can’t keep himself from flirting with co-worker Draya (Nicki Minaj); there’s One Stop (J.B. Smoove) who uses the barbershop as a front for all of his shady and underground dealings; and Dante (Deon Cole), someone who is there for sassy remarks. There’s plenty more where that came from, but for the most part, it’s the same old gang together, bickering and joking around like the old days. Except that now, there’s a new threat on the rise, what with gang violence become more and more relevant on the streets of Chicago. This leads the barbershop to think about how to address it, while also maintaining their sense of community and respect for one another.

The paw prints are back, but hidden beneath corporate America? No!!

The paw prints are back, but hidden beneath corporate America? No!!

There’s more laughs in the Next Cut than there are in either of the other Barbershop movies. While that isn’t to say that those movies aren’t “funny” to begin with, but here, while watching this, there felt to be a greater amount of laughs, in a row, as opposed to the other movies where they feel like their laughs a whole lot more scattered. That may have something to do with the direction and pace, as well; as opposed to the first two other movies, director Malcolm D. Lee feels like he’s in a more frantic mood to tell this story, these characters, and give us all the subplots imaginable.

That’s both good, as well as bad for the Next Cut.

By getting rid of the carefree, easygoing, and breezy feel of the first two movies, we now have a much broader, more obvious comedy than ever before. But what’s interesting is that the movie actually gains more laughs by doing this. There are certain tangents by Cedric the Entertainer that start, and hit their mark, whereas there’s other characters on the side who may not seem like they matter much in the grander spectrum of things, but still bring a little something to the movie with a laugh or a chuckle, as small as it may be. In fact, most of the laughs of the movie come from when everyone’s chiming in on a subject, allowing for their voices to be heard, making whimsical statements, and overall, reminding the audience that they’re characters in this movie, that they have a personality and hey, maybe remember them when all is said and done.

And because this is all taking place in a barbershop, yeah, it makes sense that people would actually get into some heated discussions about race, sex, gender, love, violence, gentrification, and all of that fine and fun stuff. Sure, the dialogue isn’t nearly as clever or as smart as it thinks it is, but is there is such a problem with that when it’s actually funny? Nope not really, which is why it was hard for me to really get on the Next Cut‘s case.

Even if, yeah, they kind of flub the ending a bit.

I admire those involved with the Next Cut in making it more than just your average, run-of-the-mill comedy with dirty jokes. Instead, the movie’s following the same them as the two others where it’s trying to be more about the importance of community and having a sense of feeling apart of something, especially what with all of the gang violence erupting in Chicago. It’s an interesting angle that the movie discusses and shows to great lengths (even if the gang scenes with Tyga are unintentionally hilarious and reminded me a lot of Gran Torino‘s equally laughable Hmong gangs), while also reminding us that it has a point and is trying to address something.

Red, white and phew!

Red, white and phew!

But at the same time, it doesn’t know what to do with that message, nor does it know what to say with it. To state, “hey, we need to stop the violence, guys,” isn’t enough. I know a movie like the Next Cut isn’t trying to be a piece of solutions-oriented journalism, meant to change the world for the better, but what it seems like the people behind it felt like if they just brought up gang-violence, talked about how bad it is to sweet, wholesome families still trying to make a life in Chicago, add a gimmick where the barbershop is now advertising some sort of a Cease Fire, and not really explain why the violence is happening, or explain to even further lengths on how to stop this sort of violence, then they’d be fine.

Hey, so long as they showed people that they knew about it, right?

And sure, you could make the argument that the Next Cut is showing us how to exactly stop the violence in the first place (what with the Cease Fire and all), you could also make the argument that it’s not really doing anything at all. In pure Hollywood terms, a Cease Fire is the cheap, easy and simple way of getting past actually answering issues of violence and gangs, without ever trying too hard to actually solve them to greater lengths like, in real life, they have to be. Also, it’s a little hard to take a movie like the Next Cut so seriously with its anti-violence stance, when it seems all involved with Nicki Minaj’s booty, who Common is banging, and whether or not if one character in the barbershop may be gay. All of this is fine to have as just subplots for your broad comedy, but when you try to plaster it together with a hard-hitting, heavy statement against drugs, violence and gangs, then it all seems too odd.

Next time, just stick with the dirty sex jokes. They tend to seem to work better.

Consensus: Even if its the funniest of the franchise, the Next Cut also feels like the messiest, with a statement about gang violence that deserves to be said, but perhaps in a much better, smarter and less messier movie.

6 / 10

It's West Coast vs. East Coast all over again! Except, not really. Everything's all good.

It’s West Coast vs. East Coast all over again! Except, not really. Everything’s all good.

Photos Courtesy of: Indiewire

Barbershop (2002)

Everybody likes to have a little conversation while getting a trim.

On the south side of Chicago. Calvin (Ice Cube) runs a barbershop that he inherited from his deceased father. Since it’s been struggling for the past few years with funding and whatnot, Calvin himself views the shop as nothing but a burden and a waste of his time that he absolutely can’t wait to get rid of so that he can go on and move on with his own life for a change. Granted, there’s other people in the barbershop who may be upset or disappointed with seeing it gone and dead, but Calvin is just thinking for himself and his own life. And now, after selling the shop to a local loan shark, Calvin slowly begins to see his father’s vision and legacy and struggles with the notion that he just sold it out for nothing more than pure selfishness. However, on this one fateful day, a lot of other stuff that happens that begins to affect the others who work in the barbershop, as well as those who come to it, day in and day out, expecting a fine cut, some good conversations, and a greater feeling that they did something right for their community.

Judging by that grin, somebody may be demanding their money back.

Judging by that grin, somebody may be demanding their money back.

Barbershop isn’t, by any means, a stone cold classic in the comedy genre. It is, if anything, a small, simple and easygoing comedy that has a nice, breezy pace, doesn’t ask the hard questions, doesn’t demand the hard answers and, at the end of the day, also doesn’t forget to make its audience laugh. Sure, you could say that’s the deal with a lot of other comedies just like it, but there’s still a special feeling with Barbershop that, even after all of these years, makes me feel like it’s legacy may forever live on, just by how good-natured it is.

Once again, does that make it “a classic”?

Nope, but it does make it a perfectly watchable and fun movie.

This mostly all comes down to the talented cast and the fact that, a lot of them, all seem to get along and have a nice bit of chemistry between one another, even if their characters don’t always get along or seem like the best of friends. Ice Cube, for one, shows that he can be an awfully charismatic and fine lead when he isn’t glowering over those around him as Calvin, giving us a good enough character that we at least identity with him, but not too much of a presence to where he takes over the whole movie and makes us forget about everybody else. In a way, Cube is perfectly fine playing the straight man in this cuckoo’s nest of wild and crazy characters, and that’s why he deserves extra brownie points here.

If anybody is the one who steals the show away from everyone else, it’s Cedric the Entertainer as Eddie. Cedric is doing a lot of hamming it up here and while his character can definitely be taken in for small doses, those doses, as meager as they may be, are still fulfilling and healthy enough that they keep him funny, and the movie going at a fine pace. Much has already been said a lot about the tirades and rants that Eddie goes on and on with about Martin Luther King Jr., Rosa Parks, and more famously, Jesse Jackson, and with good reason – not only are they very funny, but they also prove to be some of the smartest comedy bits that Cedric has ever done (with the exception of everything he had to do or say in the Kings of Comedy).

Of course, some of that could have definitely been improved by Cedric and it would have been perfectly fine, but yeah, it doesn’t matter that he sort of steals the show. Everyone else here is still fine and charming enough that they at least make their presences known, even if they don’t take over the whole film. Peeps like Troy Garity, Anthony Anderson, Sean Patrick Thomas, Eve, Michael Ealy, Leonard Earl Howze, and plenty more all show up, do their things and remind us why they matter in a story like this.

Cover up those paw prints, missy!

Cover up those paw prints, missy!

Even if, you know, the movie itself sort of jumbles them around a tad too much.

Because Barbershop is such a small, relatively contained comedy, it almost feels like a disservice to the rest of the characters that there’d be so much plot and twists and turns that are, for the most part, as predictable as they come. It’s as if director Tim Story didn’t trust his comedy enough to move and tide things along, that he felt the absolute need to have a whole robbery-angle and a love-story to accommodate it. Sure, these things are fine to have if you’re trying to build up characters, but it can also hurt when it’s taking away from some real moments of fun and laughter. If anything, it just breaks up the joy that everyone’s having and making them all realize that, oh yeah, there’s something of a story here that’s supposed to be told and yeah, it’s kind of lame.

But at the same time, Barbershop isn’t trying to light the world on fire, so even if it does take a few pratfalls here and here, at least it gathers itself back up, brushes off the leftover hair from the ground and continue on with itself, as if it’s not fazed and just having fun.

Or yeah, something like that.

Consensus: Though its over-reliance on plot can become a bit much, Barbershop is still a funny and enjoyable enough movie to get through, if mostly because of its charming cast.

6.5 / 10

I'd take a seat in that chair.

I’d take a seat in that chair, provided laughs were involved.

Photos Courtesy of: Youtube, Qwipster’s Movie Reviews, Superior Pics

Transformers (2007)

Or, as I like to call it, “GIANT ROBOTS TEARIN’ UP SHIT!”

This film finds the planet Cybertron inhabitants engaging in a secret war for control of Earth’s natural resources, which they desperately need for fuel. But much of the action centers on young Sam Witwicky (Shia LaBeouf), an unlikely hero whose first car turns out to be an Autobot and helps him win over his dream girl (Megan Fox).

There’s a little story somewhere in this film, with characters but you know coming into this film that’s not what you want. You want action, and you want it now! Michael Bay knows it too.

Bay is the absolute king at burning off people’s brain cells over the course of two hours, and he does not back down once from showing of his “art” in this film. Bay knows how to film action and make some incredibly awesome-looking action scenes while being able to actually tell what’s going on. Even while staring deeply at the screen it’s impossible to see how the cars become robots and vice versa. It’s exactly as fast and as confusing as it should and would be. This is Bay in top form and I won’t go as far as to say that this is a master-piece by any stretch of the imagination, but Bay does a stellar job here and makes this film totally entertaining.

This is also incredibly funny and silly with good reason because it’s not really trying to be anything else. I actually caught myself laughing a lot at this material, and not your typical bad action-humor, it’s the humor that will actually have you laughing and wondering was that supposed to be funny. There are also some nice in-jokes for the fans.

It’s crazy that this was adapted from a bunch of action figures and people who grew up in the 80’s will probably get that nostalgia appeal and even for me, who wasn’t a really big fan of Transformers found this actually really fun and cool. The problem with this film is that I could see a lot of people hating this because it’s nothing more than just a loud and insane action film. Also, it’s probably about an hour too long. I liked the whole epic last 30 minutes but the film goes on a bit way too long and the story kind of drags a bit.

The human parts in this film, as well as the story, are kind of weak but I still didn’t mind them as much. Shia LaBeouf is good as the nerdy but funny Sam Witwicky and contributes a lot to the character’s key likability; Megan Fox is just there to look sexy and that’s fine; Josh Duhamel does that tough llok on his face a lot the whole film, but he’s not so bad either. The rest of the supporting cast is pretty good too with the likes of Anthony Anderson, Tyrese Gibson, John Turturro, Jon Voight, and the comedic legend that is, Bernie Mac. Good cast, even though the story isn’t really too dependent on them after all.

Consensus: Though it may be too loud and noisy for some viewers, Transformers is a Michael Bay action show with fireworks, robots fighting robots, shooting, exploding, running, chasing, hitting, special effects all-over-the-place, and everything a good action film needs to keep everybody entertained even if you aren’t a huge fan of the original material.

7/10=Rental!!

Scream 4 (2011)

Something I’ve been wanting for awhile now, and I wasn’t disappointed. Love when that happens!

Perennial survivor Sidney Prescott (Neve Campbell), now a successful self-help author, returns to her home town of Woodsboro. Sidney’s homecoming, however, coincides with a slew of unsettling new murders.

I have and always will be a huge fan of the Scream franchise. Scream was awesome, Scream 2 was almost even better, and although Scream 3 wasn’t as good as either, it still wasn’t terrible. Thankfully that this is just about in between all of them.

So finally about 15 years since the original, director Wes Craven and writer Kevin Williamson got back together and did what they do best, make funny effective horror films. Williamson keeps a lot of that self-referential talk here about the constant horror movie cliches, and what to do and what not to do, but there were also some great moments of actual comedy. I have always laughed at the Scream movies, but here I was actually “LOLing” all over the place much to my surprise. I won’t lie some of this smart talk does seem a little bit dated, because it has been done three more times, including this, and it may get annoying for some viewers. But for me, I had a ball with all this talk, and it really did assure me that Williamson hasn’t lost that touch.

Craven also brings back his horror hand back, and even though the times have changed since 1996, he still shows that he can go along with them. Craven does a great job of keeping the suspense with this story alive the whole time, and guessing just who the killer really is. In the first one, I had no idea but in the later two, I knew right away so it was a real treat to keep on guessing just who Ghostface really was. I must say you will be shocked by this twist, but it’s all thanks to Craven who actually made us guessing. It’s less scary as it is actually insanely suspenseful, but still works none the less.

The one thing about this film that really had me happy was that it seemed so much smarter than any other horror film has been in the past 10 years. The usage of cell phones and the internet works well here because it gives us more chilling and suspenseful moments, and keeps us on the edge of our seats the whole time. I’m not going to say that i could see any horror film actually happening, but this one is actually kind of believable with the things that happen. These characters know what to expect next, so sometimes they make a smart decision and live, others make a dumb decision and die, and then sadly others make smart decisions and still die. As the body count goes up, so does the blood and gore, and I must say that Craven hasn’t lost his knack for that either.

It was also good to see some of the old crew back together, even though it was only three of the original cast members. Neve Campbell still looks stunning, and can hold the role of Sidney Prescott like no other. David Arquette is still awesome as Dewey even though he is getting older, and looking creepier with that stash, but didn’t he have a limp in the third and fourth? Courtney Cox is also still sexy as Gale Weathers, and it’s such a shame to see her and Arquette’s marriage fall apart since they were the real heart of these films. But then again, I guess if you name your kid Cocco, you don’t have much luck anyway.

The rest of the uber young cast is solid too. Emma Roberts is still that spunky, little girl and isn’t fully grown-up yet to take these roles yet, but with what she’s given, she does her best. Hayden Panettiere is actually very smart and witty as Kirby, Rory Culkin as Charlie also has some good lines, and Erik Knudsen is also very funny. But let’s not forget the awesome Adam Brody and Anthony Anderson as the two bumbling coppers here, who literally have the best lines in this film, and I’m still laughing about one line, but I can’t say which one. Have to go and see for yourself.

Consensus: Scream 4 may have it’s fair share of annoying self-referential language, but the scares are well done, the suspense ins numbing sometimes, and the script is funny enough to keep you laughing. Overall, I’m just glad to see the franchise back, and glad to see it keeping me fully entertained.

8/10=Matinee!!

The Departed (2006)

Boston accents always create a good movie.

While an undercover cop (Leonardo DiCaprio) curries favor with the mob kingpin (Jack Nicholson), a career criminal (Matt Damon) rises through the police ranks. But both sides soon discover there’s a mole among them.

Martin Scorsese is a man among men. He always knows the perfect way to tell a story, and show it with his only little trade-marks. And even though this is based pretty closely to a Hong Kong film, it is still no exception.

Scorsese does a great job of keeping our attentions. This story gets a little crazy at points, but Scorsese handles it so well that we can’t help but to keep our eyes on the screen. That’s probably the best thing that Scorsese does, he can have anyone watch his film no matter how long, or sometimes ridiculous it may be. He has the perfect knack for capturing intense suspense and that constant moving back, and as well as the perfect tone for a gangster movie in the 21st century. There’s now cell-phones, texting, and internet, but not much has changed when it comes to gangsters, and Scorsese doesn’t lose his flavor.

I think my favorite element of this movie was the script. Judging from this plot, you would think that this is totally a super cereal gangster drama, however, it’s got plenty of comedy to have you laughing the whole way through. I actually caught myself laughing at plenty of these one-liners and probably because they happen out of nowhere, and when the films trying to be the most serious it can be. There is also a lot of interesting double-crossing, and morality themes here as well that totally seal the deal on this package.

The acting for the most part is actually pretty good here. Leonardo DiCaprio, as always does a great job with William Costigan Jr., keeping this film together with his signature toughness, with a tint of likability, that has us cheering him on the whole movie. Matt Damon is also good as Colin Sullivan, and is always good but he plays kind of a bad guy here and his decisions aren’t always the best, and you kind of start to hate him at points. Never thought I would start to hate him, but Matt sure can do it. Jack Nicholson plays mob boss, Frank Costello. He does a good job, but he doesn’t perfect the job which kind of had me a little bit disappointed, because with this role he could have totally been sweeping the Oscars. The problem is that he does a bit too much of ad-libbing, and over-acting, so we kind of get a little annoyed of his character and want him to do something a little bit more new, and cool. But he is still the man so don’t get me wrong. Mark Wahlberg got an Oscar nomination for his performance as Sergeant Dignam, and I’m glad he did because he really knocks his role out of the park. His character wasn’t even in the original film, so he had to basically make this character from scratch, and does a perfect job bringing so much comedy to this film, that he’s the character at the end of the film you probably remember the most. Vera Farmiga is also here and plays Damon’s love interest, Madolyn, and this is one of her earlier roles, and shows that she can hang with the big boys. There are others in this cast that are amazing such as Martin Sheen, Alec Baldwin, Ray Winstone, and randomly everybody’s favorite black man, Anthony Anderson.

This film is very very close to being perfect but its big problem comes in its last 15 minutes. I think the whole film had so much steam in its story that when the end actually had to come around, it didn’t quite know where to go so it just sort of lingered around. The film spends a great deal developing these characters so perfectly and well, that it was just a shame that Scorsese let them practically fly out the window by the end. I wish the ending was better, but I still can’t lie it was suitable, just could have been better.

Consensus: A fearless direction from Scorsese, perfect screenplay, and great acting makes The Departed a crime/mob classic for the ages. The ending may have not been the best way to go out for this film, but the whole film keeps your attention, and that is something that makes this a near-perfect film.

9/10=Full Price!!

Life (1999)

Finally these two all-stars meet up but in a jail.

It’s 1932; Ray (Eddie Murphy) is a small-time hustler, and Claude Banks (Martin Lawrence) is a bank teller with a taste for gambling. When Ray picks Claude’s pocket to pay off a debt, the two men are framed and land in the same jail for 60 years; trouble is, they can’t stand each other! Stuck in a work camp, they hope to be proved innocent someday — if they don’t kill each other in the meantime.

I first heard about this film and was interested in seeing it cause it had my two favorite African-American comedians finally together in a movie. I was just expecting on-going laughs from these great actors, and although I got that the story of this film was a lot more than I was even thinking about.

However, this movie has an inherent sadness to it. These two men have their dreams crushed and are trapped in prison their entire lives. And yet they always remain hopeful about getting out and starting their lives. It creates a weird balance in the movie between the comic and the tragic.

Life started to lose me cause I think the way the whole film acted around it’s setting didn’t seem like the place for comedic effect. The Louisiana prison they are sentenced to, the future there isn’t so bright and many moments are very serious but aren’t taken very seriously, and that’s what kind of threw me off this film. I think this story could’ve really worked if it was used in a 1999 prison instead a 1930’s one.

I liked the comedy though even without the serious parts. I felt like the comedy does get a little over-the-top, but overall succeeds in making you laugh. I enjoyed how the jokes weren’t really centered towards racism and crime jokes and they stood up between mature and sometimes immature.

Lawrence and Murphy really do shine in this film however. I hear that they didn’t really like their Director Ted Demme, but he must have done something to them cause they give out great little performances here. This is very different from a lot of their other work, because it has more of a serious side to it, but they do take the ball and run with this film every scene they get. There are also little supporting characters in this film that are good that feature Bernie Mac (R.I.P), Anthony Anderson, and if you don’t blink you can catch Ned Beatty.

Consensus: Life is set-up in a very strange way, but features great performances from Lawrence and Murphy, and a great life lesson on love and friendship.

7/10=Rentalll!!!

Hustle & Flow (2005)

What Terrence Howard can do best other than acting, pimping.

DJay (Howard) is a pimp with aspirations of grandeur — he wants to make it as a rapper — but he soon discovers that fame isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. Offering strong characters and notes of sweet romance amid the urban beats of its central plot.

The film reminds me so much of a similar film, called 8 Mile. The story of a nobody who wants to become an a rap-artist who just can’t make a break because of his personal issues, are in both films however, I would rather watch this one.

Director Craig Brewer steps away from a lot of the notable cliches about pimps, hoes, and drug dealers and really shows these characters in a new and enlightening but true way. These characters are not perfect and they do have problems with their lives. DJay hates being a pimp, and the hookers hate being call girls, and they all make mistakes, but they still learn from them.

Most people will be disgusted and taken away by the gritty look, but I think it creates a great and effective atmosphere. The way everything looks is so crummy, so torn-down, but yet so authentic in the way this little town in Memphis looks. The movie doesn’t try to overplay it’s setting and shows what type of atmosphere these people live with everyday.

Terrence Howard basically gives the best performance of his career right here. He is so good, considering I found him using the word “maine”, a little too redundant, but still very good, and he gives the strongest performance and highlights the struggles the type of person can deal with, in their own environment. Ludacris actually does show he can act with the little screen time he gets and shows some very impressive skills.

Though I’m not in love with rap music I felt without the music they had this film wouldn’t be what it is. As out of hand the songs are they are very memorable and actually add a lot of excitement to a film that did need it at some flat points.

The last 25 minutes of this film are just so perfect. Those minutes touch on so many subjects such as the rap culture, friendship, and most of all pride. This film shows a true conveying message that is perfectly executed.

The only problem that I had with this almost perfect film, was how these characters as messed up as they were never really had much of a resolution to their wrong-doings. All the sex that the hooker was having she was bound to get AIDS soon, and the baby in the story, what happened to the kid?

Consensus: Hustle & Flow is a very exciting take on the rap world that is gritty but insightful and produces an amazingly strong performance from Terence Howard.

9.5/10=Full Priceee!!!