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Dan the Man's Movie Reviews

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

Tag Archives: Wesley Snipes

Chi-Raq (2015)

Stop the sex, then you stop the guns, and then you stop the violence. Or something like that.

Lysistrata (Teyonah Parris) is getting absolutely sick and tired of her gang-banger boyfriend (Nick Cannon) taking advantage of her sexy body and using her just strictly for sex. After all, she wants him to stop all of the shooting, killing, and drug-dealing, but he just won’t. So therefore, Lysistrata steps up, bands her fellow friends together and start a revolt against allowing their men to use their bodies for sex. Because if these men don’t get their sex, then possibly, they may stop killing one another and things may be a whole lot safer in Chicago. Clearly, certain people aren’t happy about this, whereas others are, but mostly, it calls into question the rest of the community and how they’re willing to handle this whole change. Some people, like Father Mike Corridan (John Cusack), love it and wants to see all of the crime gone at last, whereas others, Cyclops (Wesley Snipes), doesn’t even care about the crime stopping and just wants his sex already! He may get it, after all, but he, along with the rest of his gang-pals, need to cut-out all of the shooting and killing if they want to get what they want.

Sadly, seen this one too many times in real life.

Sadly, seen this one too many times in real life.

Spike Lee has never been the most subtle writer/director out there in the world and for the longest time, that was alright – until it wasn’t. What seems to have been going on with Lee’s career as of late is that it doesn’t appear like he’s really fired-up or passionate about anything he’s making anymore. Sure, there’s clearly movies like Miracle at St. Anna, or more obviously She Hate Me, where it’s obvious that he has points to make and wants to say something, but he can’t keep himself away from getting all caught up in a bunch of other stuff, that eventually, it all just becomes a mess.

And although Chi-Raq finds Lee back to his old ways of being passionate about something, it’s still very much, in the end, a mess.

But an interesting mess is, in some ways, better than just a dull, uninteresting mess – which doesn’t seem like something Lee himself ever creates. This is why the idea of incorporating the Greek comedy “Lysistrata” into the modern day world and land of the violent and ruthless streets of Chicago, may seem rather weird at first, but eventually, it’s easy to get used to, even when it seems like certain dialogue comes off stranger and more stilted than others. That said, perhaps the most moving moment of Chi-Raq is when there’s no old-timey, stagey dialect anywhere to be found, in which John Cusack, playing a local priest, unleashes into a tirade about all of the murders, crimes, and guns in the world that he sees around him and it’s too hard to not get wrapped up in.

For one, it features Cusack’s best performance in the longest time (excluding Love and Mercy), but it also reminds us of the sort of power and beauty Lee’s “angry” writing can sometimes have. While he is most definitely preaching and yelling at his audience, he is also spelling-out truths about society that most movies tend to shy away from, or are too afraid of even bringing up. Rather than doing so and joining his weaker counterparts, Lee reminds the audience just what he’s talking out against and shows us why he is the first and last person to have a say on the matter.

And this is all to say that Lee has a lot to say in Chi-Raq, mostly all of which is great and uplifting to hear.

But at the same time, there’s also way too much going on around this central message. To say that Chi-Raq is “jam-packed”, would be an absolute understatement. Now, to say that it’s “filled with one too many subplots, all taking place in different movies, and seemingly having no way of connecting with one another”, then you’d be absolutely right, because that’s exactly what it is about Chi-Raq that makes it a hard movie to watch or get totally invested in. One second, you’ll see a character get plenty of attention and automatically assume that they’re the protagonists or characters you should be looking at the most, so you sit there, study them, get to know them, and take them all in – that is, until it turns out that Lee’s bored of them and their story, and is off to the next character/story to focus on.

John Cusack knows "the struggle", everyone.

John Cusack knows “the struggle”, everyone.

This happens at least five or six times and after awhile, it begins to be a bit tiresome. Casting a wide net for your film when you’re tackling such a big issue as violence in America isn’t a problem, but to do so and not really offer up much development to any of these points you want to focus on, is. Maybe Lee could have benefited from getting rid of one or two subplots, and devoting more of his time and attention on other, way more important ones, but really, it still doesn’t seem like that would solve any of these issues.

In other words, Chi-Raq is the usual kind of mess we’re used to seeing with Spike Lee, but feels like more of a missed opportunity, and less like a piece to solve the puzzle he’s trying to put together.

The only one of the cast who gets the most eyes from the Lee is Teyonah Parris. Parris has been putting in some solid work as of late in pieces like Mad Men, or in last year’s Dear White People, but here, she really gets her opportunity to light the screen up. Not only does she have presence, in terms of her beauty, but she’s the one who handles all of the stagey material to the best of her ability and shows that there may be something of a pulse underneath this, what appears to be, something of “a type”. And while there’s a huge cast featuring the likes of Jennifer Hudson, Wesley Snipes, Nick Cannon, D.B. Sweeney, La La Anthony, Dave Chappelle and Samuel L. Jackson, basically replaying his role as Mister Señor Love Daddy, nobody ever gets nearly as much to do as she does.

This is fine, but really, it would have been nice to see Lee give each and everyone a chance to do more, as well as remind the audience why it is that Lee himself is such a master at getting these crazy ensembles together and yet, make them work so well together.

Consensus: Lee is firing on all cylinders in Chi-Raq, and while he definitely makes his voice heard and his points understood, they’re sometimes tucked underneath a mess that’s hard to wade through and not feel frustrated by.

5.5 / 10

"Do the right thing, ya'll."

“Do the right thing, ya’ll.”

Photos Courtesy of: Indiewire

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Play It to the Bone (1999)

Only a movie that could have been made in the 90’s. Why? Because boxing was considered “cool and sociable”.

Former semi-famous boxers, Vince and Cesar (Woody Harrelson and Antonio Banderas) are now buddies living in L.A. after their careers fell apart. In other words, their has-beens, but still haven’t yet come to terms with that fact, still train, still long for the golden days, and hope to get their shots at being in the “big time” once again. All their dreams come true though, once two boxers who were originally scheduled to appear in an undercard match, seemingly can’t, giving the major-promoter (Tom Sizemore) nowhere else to go except to round these two up, have them fight one another, for a hefty-sum of $50,000 and a shot at the title. Sounds pretty good for these two, but getting there might be a problem, so they call-up gal-pal Grace (Lolita Davidovich) to give them a ride, but also to enlist some moral-support in both of them, considering that she’s banged them both, and is still banging one.

Without even knowing all about this flick prior to seeing it, I have to admit that the premise itself is pretty interesting and leaves plenty of room for fascinating questions, ideas, and themes, For instance, this is the tale of two friends that have to go head-to-head against one another, and basically beat the crap out of each other, just in hopes that they get more money and recognition than the other. That, and also the fact that it will probably ruin their life-long friendship from now, until forever. That’s got to be a pretty big risk to take for a friendship, no matter who the two friends are in question and it sets up some pretty intriguing, psychological questions about the limits of friendship, how far one goes to keep it lasting, and also, how far one will go to end it to better themselves.

Oh, the days when the Caesar-cut was still in style.

Oh, the days when the Caesar-cut was still in style.

All of these are thought-provoking questions, which also are never, ever addressed a single ounce in Ron Shelton’s flick.

Instead, we are subjected to two idiots who not only can sustain a normal conversation without getting into a meaningless argument about whatever’s on their mind, but a road trip with these buffoons as well. Yay for us! Actually, not “yay” at all, since practically the whole movie consists of us watching as these two just blow smoke out of each other’s ass, try to be funny, and try to make their characters seem like real people, with real feelings and emotions, but they never go any further than just, “meat heads who have a bit of a soft-side”.

That’s all there is to them. Well, with the exception that one is a firm believer in the almighty God and will make sure to let you know every time you mutter “Jesus Christ” in a sentence – and that the other also happened to be playing for the same team (if you know what I mean) for a little over a year. Why? Well, because he was depressed that he got his ass kicked in a boxing match and thought that there was nowhere else to go except for the Johnson. Now it totally makes sense why gay people are in fact, well, gay. It’s because they’re depressed. Thanks, Ron Shelton!

The insight you feature in your films, mainly this one, is unbelievable!

But not only is this movie stupid, it’s undeniably boring as well, which is a real shame for a boxing movie. Even the actual boxing match at the end is pretty dry because apparently we’re supposed to care for these characters, the outcome of their match, who’s going to win, who’s feelings are going to end up being hurt the most, and who’s going to get a shot at the title when all is said and done. Even worse, the movie loses its whole jokey feel and tone, and decides to get serious on us, but not without giving us some shots of naked women, dudes, and a guy dressed as Jesus. It’s all supposed to be hilarious, but dramatic at the same time, but instead, just feels rather odd, as if Shelton didn’t know where he wanted to take this material, so instead decided to just throw in jokes that weren’t ever funny to begin with and just resorted to cuing-up the sad, dramatic music, all before ending on a rather conventional, obvious, and totally care-free note that should infuriate you by how lame it is, but just doesn’t because you don’t care.

At least somebody's bothering to call their agent.

At least somebody’s bothering to call their agent.

Not even a single bit.

And despite Antonio Banderas and Woody Harrelson being two lovable, charming fellas, they can’t really do much with this crap script or their thinly-written characters. Banderas has a bit more to work with here as Cesar, mainly because the dude’s softer and more sympathetic than Harrelson’s outlaw Vince, but can’t hit the comedic-notes as well as Shelton wants him to. Not that the comedic-notes were funny to begin with, but it does get painful after awhile to see Banderas try to be humorous, while also trying to defend his character by denying the fact that he was “a fag for a year”. That’s the type of humor we’re dealing with here, and I use that word “humor” very loosely. Harrelson seems like he’s doing the same thing he’s been doing for his whole career and does it well as Vince, it’s just that his character is random.

First of all, he’s trying to be a nice, Christian-like dude that believes in the Holy Spirit, believes in a higher-power, and will do everything to ensure his spot up there all tucked-in and cozy in heaven, but is also a bit of a slum-bag. Take for instance when Lucy Liu’s terribly annoying character comes in, starts acting like a skank, and gets his eyes moving out of nowhere. Obviously, she’s good-looking and obviously, any dude in their right mind would take a whack at that, but after all of his Holy Father preaching of self-righteousness, he’s going to be one of them? Really? Okay, I guess I’m making more of a stink of it than it deserves but so be it. It was just odd to watch after awhile and I felt bad for Harrelson because the dude seems to be trying with all of his might, it’s just not working out well for him. And as for Lolita Davidovich, as pretty and charming as she can be, her role serves no purpose here other than giving these two dudes a ride, and trying to get them to reflect on their own actions and decisions. Or something like that.

Honestly, nobody should care.

Consensus: Peeps going in and expecting a sports movie that’s fun, entertaining, hilarious, fast-paced, quick, and witty, will probably be more than disappointed with Play It to the Bone because it’s so safe, meandering, and boring, you’ll wonder when the hell they’re just going to hit the year 2005 and all of the boxing world will practically be forgotten about because of even bigger idiots like these ones here.

2 / 10

Fight, or don't fight. I could care less.

Fight, or don’t fight. I could care less.

Photo’s Credit to: Goggle Images

The Expendables 3 (2014)

They’re old. Get used to it.

Barney Ross (Sylvester Stallone) and the gang are back and older than ever! Which means that with age, comes a lot more violence and harm in their way. And possibly, with their latest target, their lives could all be in actual danger. The baddie this time around goes by the name of Conrad Stonebanks (Mel Gibson) and he’s had a bit of a history with Barney. However, he takes mercy on him and instead, decides to injure the ‘eff out of Caesar (Terry Crews), leaving the rest of the Expendables wanting all sorts of revenge that they can practically taste it in their thyroids. And Barney knows this, which is why he decides to give his old crew a much needed rest, and start up with a new crew of youngin’s just waiting to throw their lives on the line for some under-paid mercenary job they know hardly anything about. Eventually though, the mission ends up getting a whole lot more complicated for Barney and his new rag-tag, which means he may have to bring in all the friends he can think of. Or, better yet, the ones who would agree to work in this for chump change.

It should be no surprise to anyone out there who has gotten to know me through the years that I’m a huge fan of the older action movies of the 80’s/90’s. They always hold a very nice place in my heart and will continue to do so, so long as I still maintain a sense of immaturity. Which is exactly why the Expendables movies, despite being an obvious ploy to get nostalgic-mother-humpers like me in the theater, have always worked for me. No, they aren’t perfect and no, they sure as hell aren’t nearly as good as the twelve-year-old inside of me would have thought it been, but they’re still fun movies that deliver on exactly what you want: Your favorite action stars from yesteryear, kicking ass and blowing shit up all over again.

"Grrrr."

“Grrrr.”

And here, with the third movie in this rather surprising franchise, that’s exactly what you get. But then again though, it’s what we should expect, so it’s hard to really judge a movie on what it’s supposed to be and clearly is. A movie should be followed and dissected on what it does with those expectations, and here, it’s something that isn’t nearly as fun and exciting as the second movie, yet, not nearly as lazy as the first. Somehow, this movie is stuck right in the middle and I think that’s fine.

Sure, would I have liked that there’d been less corny chit-chat between some of these strange duos on-screen? Of course. And while I’m at it, wouldn’t have I at least liked to seen more action scenes that didn’t just contain guns being shot, without ever really seeing what they do in the first place? Most definitely yes! But that’s just me being greedy and picky and all that bad stuff. And while I’m like that with most movies I see, there doesn’t seem to be a reason for any of that chicanery here.

So yeah, back to what I was originally saying – this movie’s pretty fun. And considering that were all stepping into what I know to be the “dog days of summer”, that means a whole heck of a lot. It means a whole heck of a lot that we’re getting a fun, action summer blockbuster, but it also means a whole heck of a lot that we’re getting it courtesy of some people we haven’t seen do stuff like this in quite some time.

I mean, well for Sly, Arnie, Statham, Crews, Couture, Lundgren, and whoever else shows up here that’s shown up in the past two, but as for the other “new breeds”, as I like to call ’em as I sees ’em, it’s great to just see actually working in something again. Even if the material that they are working with is pretty timid, run-of-the-mill stuff, it still makes my heart feel all warm and tingly knowing that, yes, Wesley Snipes may finally be in full comeback mode. Don’t worry, I won’t get my hopes up too high, cause you never know with him, but I will keep my fingers crossed because seeing him here, throwing knives, doing karate and whatnot, made me think of the good old days in which I’d sneak downstairs and watch Blade while everybody else in my house was asleep. The nightmares were terrible, but man, it was oh so worth it!

Come on, Wesley! Just pay your taxes for your gosh sakes!

But I digress, because this movie isn’t just about Wesley Snipes and his much needed return to the big screen; this is about everyone who is involved with the Expendables franchise as a whole. It doesn’t matter if they pop up just to wreck some mofo’s up like Chuck Norris infamously did in the second movie, or if they’re just around to be weird and wear other outfits, from other famous summer blockbusters, much like what Mickey Rourke did in the first movie. See, it’s the little pieces of this cast that make it all worth the while and even though the script is cheesy and at times, god-awful to listen to, it’s fun and it’s hacky for a reason, and it’s only made better because the cast totally seems in on the joke.

I would have dedicated a whole paragraph to him, but I think we all know that wouldn't have gone over quite as well.

I could have dedicated a whole paragraph to him, but I think we all know that wouldn’t have gone over quite as well.

Sure, I could totally do without Arnie self-deprecatingly yelling at people, “GET TO THA CHOPPAA!!”, but it’s something I take with me when I’m watching something like this. Sly and the rest of the clan have finally realized that instead of taking themselves so damn seriously all of the time, that they should just lighten up, crack a few jokes at themselves and move on. There’s no need for a super-duper heavy, melodramatic story about how we all need to get along and maybe even highlight some of the problems over in the Ukraine.

Nope, not here. Because here, it’s all about the guns, the blood, the violence, the shooting, the wise-cracks, the half-naked men, the sweating, the yelling, the constant “bro-ing”, the running, the helicopters, the tanks, the explosions, the bikes, the knives, the guts, the, well, everything that has to do with an action movie of this nature.

And Kelsey Grammar for some odd reason. But I guess we can just leave that as is. A little Frasier here and there never hurt anyone too bad.

Consensus: Everything you’d expect from an Expendables movie, yet, not nearly as good as the second, nor nearly as mellowed-out as the first. In other words, it’s just right if you’re hankering for some serious fun and nostalgia.

7.5 / 10 = Rental!!

More than half of who's pictured here could be dead in the next year, so they better get on the next movie quick!

More than half of who’s pictured here could be dead in the next year, so they better get on the next movie quick!

Photo’s Credit to: Goggle Images

Demolition Man (1993)

In the future, essentially, we’re all going to be a bunch of rich hippies. Tell me something I don’t already know!

It is the year 1996, John Spartan (Sylvester Stallone) is the LAPD sergeant that always gets the job done and solves crime because he has a pride for it. However, the only obstacle crime he can’t solve are the ones committed by known criminal Simon Phoenix (Wesley Snipes). However, on one fateful night, Spartan gets Phoenix cornered and ready for jail, until Spartan realizes that he accidentally just killed innocent hostages by doing so in the process. Though Phoenix is jailed for all of the bad things he’s done, Spartan is somehow thrown in the slammer with him, but since this is supposed to be “the future”, a simple “doing time” wouldn’t sit well with the powers that be. Nope, instead, both men are cryogenically frozen until their parole date comes up. When it finally does, some 30 years later, the men awaken to a world that’s full of sweet, sensitive people that don’t believe in the act of violence, cursing or wiping their rumps with actual paper. This is, essentially, the perfect world for Phoenix to raise all sorts of hell in, whereas for Spartan, he has a bit of trouble getting use to the calm way of handling things, even when it comes down to getting his man: PHOENIX!!

With mostly all of Sly Stallone’s flicks, you expect sure stupidity, but you also expect there to be a lot of fun thrown into the equation. Because surely, you can’t just have a movie that’s plain, old stupid, without it at least being a little fun as well, can you? I don’t think so, but that’s just me. Anyway, what I think what separates this flick from the many other, Sly-vehicles, is that there’s something “more enjoyable” to this material that makes it worth the while, even if you aren’t getting non-stop thrills and action.

"I'm yo cracka's nightmare!"

“I’m yo cracka’s nightmare!”

See, what works so well with this movie is that despite it being totally advertised as, and starting off as a full-on rated-R, action-thriller, the movie’s more of a satirical comedy on what our future would look like, had society had enough of all the nonsensical violence and inappropriateness that plagued our culture right around the early-to-mid 90’s. Can’t say that it’s really halted either, but that’s another discussion for another site. This is all about movies and reviews after all, so let’s get on with it!

Even though I was quick enough to actually call this a “satirical comedy” that doesn’t mean it’s smart in any way either. It’s a dumb movie, but has a bit more of an edge to it that has it be more than just a time-killer at the movies. It features funny moments in which the writers actually thought of something clever to use or say, in order to get a rise out of the audience, and it allows us to play around in our heads, whether or not a future like this would ever happen in a world/society such as ours? It’s strange to think that these are the types of ideas you could have rambling around in your mind during a Sly Stallone flick, but that’s what happens when you put more effort into your work, rather than just making it another “pay-day” job, done for the sake that you have cover for your hot-tub.

That said, don’t get me wrong, this movie is as silly as you can get with a Sly movie, and features all of the same type of action we know, and for some, love to see come from one of this guys’ movies. It’s over-the-top, campy, unbelievable, and breaks more laws of physics than it should, but that’s the point of this movie, even when the action’s not on the screen. Even then, the movie still seems to place its motives in the act of entertaining us, have us laugh and make us feel like we’re watching a movie that’s worth the trip, no matter how long or excessive it may seem. Which yes, it is excessive and rather long for its type, but it still worked well enough in holding my interest the way an action-flick of its very nature should.

But like I’ve been alluding to many, many times in this review: This is a Sly Stallone movie, and should not be taken seriously at all, and that’s mainly because he’s such a goof-ball to begin with. Sly’s skills as an actor may not be all that equipped with handling comedy well, but he’s able to poke some jokes at his own image, while also throwing some other, iconic action-stars under the bus as well. That “Schwarzenegger as president” joke? Pure hilarity, but only because of what we know as human-beings in the year 2013. 10 years ago, they probably weren’t laughing because it was almost too stupid, but nowadays, it was pretty damn close to happening. Whoever thought that Demolition Man would come close to predicting something in the future as ridiculous as the Terminator stepping into political office? Not me, that’s for sure.

"I am da law. Oh, different movie? Whatever, same premise."

“I am da law. Oh, different movie? Whatever, same premise.”

Sly’s good at pulling off this kind of material, and so is Wesley Snipes who is so over-the-top, that you have to begin to question just what the hell were in his Wheat Thins that he had before shooting? Seriously, the dude is total and complete bonkers, but rightfully so. The whole movie centers around him scaring the hell out of a every simple piece of white folk that he runs into, which is what Snipes does so perfectly and with so much energy and excitement that you just have to give him some credit, even though if he acted this way in another movie, it would be absolute torture to witness.

Same goes for Benjamin Bratt and Sandra Bullock who usually get on people’s nerves whenever they are seen in something nowadays, but were just getting their careers off the ground at, and around this time, making it a nice slice of history to see, or at least say you’ve seen. Bullock is as fun and vivacious as ever, and proves to be willing enough to play around with Sly and in ways, even bring out the best in his acting. Must have been a very rough challenge for an up-and-coming actress to attack, but it’s a challenge that she was up to, and not much has changed in the past 20 years or so. Good for her, probably not as good for Bratt, but hey, at least they both got the chance to bang one another for awhile thanks to this. And that has to account for something, right?

Consensus: While many will automatically see Demolition Man as another dumb action flick, it’s surprisingly more of a comedy, with a bit of a satirical edge that makes it more than just stupid fun, although I wouldn’t argue against those many who call it “dumb”, because it totally is, but there’s fun to be had in its dumbness.

7.5 / 10 = Rental!!

A series of bad career choices just await.

A series of bad career choices just await.

Photo’s Credit to: IMDBColliderJobloComingSoon.net

Jungle Fever (1991)

At least Spike Lee doesn’t totally hate white people.

Flipper (Wesley Snipes) is a successful, married architect. Angie (Annabella Sciorra) is a temporary office worker. When they meet, it’s Jungle Fever. Also, Flipper’s crack-addicted brother (Samuel L. Jackson) causes many problems as well.

Writer and director Spike Lee is a man who is most known for being very controversial with the things he has to say, and here he really talked about something that was actually kind of taboo way back when.

The one thing that Lee does so well here is create a script that shows two different races view points on the same subject of interracial dating and how everything all these people say only pops up when the actual idea of having this kind of dating is heard of. Lee brings up points that most just use it out of curiosity, and while both races don’t hate one another, blacks and whites still have problems when it comes to sex and how we don’t know how to be sexually intimate with each other.

It’s great to see and hear Lee hit this film with such honesty because we see both sides basically talk and there’s no real right or wrong side here, this is just basically two sides voicing their opinions on what they feel is the truth about interracial dating and the races. Lee is masterful here at bringing up these points as well as never fully telling us what we should and should not know about each race. I guess that’s something we have to do when it comes to being sexually attracted to another race.

Lee has a great script here but his problem’s lie within his direction because even though he shies away from the constant cliche romantic scenes once this couple gets together, Lee shows how both races feel which worked in it’s advantage for the most part. However, the problem is that we never actually see these two together too much and when we do the chemistry is just sort of piss-poor. It would have been a lot better if we saw how two actually felt for each other while all this craziness from everyone around them was going on.

Another problem here is that the film has way too many random sub-plots that by the end of the film kind of give it that cluttered feeling to the point of where the ending is actually a lot weaker than it could have been. The film also goes from character to character with no real idea as to who it wants to focus on the most and rather more about just being able to voice all of these other people’s opinions on the subject of interracial dating which made it seem more about the countless other characters that supported this story, and totally getting rid of the relationship that practically is the reason for this film.

Wesley Snipes is good as Fluffy Purify, but the problem with this character is that he is either incomplete as a character or just a total jerk that deserved all this bad crap to happen to him after this relationship starts. I don’t know what Lee was trying to show here but despite how much Snipes tries, this character just wasn’t that likable and a bit naive actually. Annabella Sciorra is also good as the smart-talking, and charming Angie Tucci who brings a great sense of likability to her character even though she is almost an unknown by the end of the film by how much they barely don’t focus on her. There’s also some very good performances from the likes of Spike Lee himself, Anthony Quinn, John Turturro, Ossie Davis, Ruby Dee, and Lonette McKee.

However, everybody in this film is actually over-shadowed from the amazing presence of Samuel L. Jackson as Flipper’s crack-addicted brother, Gator. Every time this guy is in the film he just totally lights up the screen (pun intended) and it’s just Jackson’s approach to the role is what makes it incredibly likable, a little funny, and kind of sad by just how messed up this guy really is. If you think about it, there’s actually no real purpose for Gator to be in this film but Jackson makes him incredibly watchable and is just a great performance all-around.

Consensus: Much more could have been focused on the actual couple as opposed to the numerous side characters and subplots the film also showed, but Jungle Fever shows Lee swinging for the fences and giving some frank and brutally honest talk about sex, race, and just how do we separate love and sex. A flawed film but still very well-made.

7.5/10=Rental!!

To Wong Foo, Thanks for Everything! Julie Newmar (1995)

Is it weird to say that I thought these guys looked good in make-up?

Three New York drag queens (Wesley Snipes, Patrick Swayze and John Leguizamo) on their way to Hollywood for a beauty pageant get stranded in a small Midwestern town for the entire weekend when their car breaks down. While waiting for parts for their Cadillac convertible, the flamboyant trio shows the local homophobic rednecks that appearing different doesn’t mean they don’t have humanity in common.

This film is basically an American rehashing of an Australian comedy called The Adventures of Priscilla. I actually really liked that film, this, well not so much.

I think the problem with this film was that it was all pretty stale. There was no hilarious moments that had me going crazy with laughing, and there was no big points brought up, that had me thinking: “Wow we should be so much nicer to drag queens”. This film does have a heart but the problem is that it rarely shows up in this film, and ends up being something I have seen times, and times before.

The campy approach to this material, I liked but I wish it was just more funny. I chuckled every once and awhile, but I was expecting so much more laughs. The movie is at its best when the girls are throwing insults back and forth, dressing to the nines, and decorating like, well, drag queens. Then, in true Hollywood style, it turns a promising farce into yet another lecture on love and kindness and family values, blah blah. Something I should have totally been expecting since this was indeed, a Hollywood remake of a classic foreign film.

The most enjoyable part of this film comes from the cast. Wesley Snipes is good as Noxeema, and brings out some hilarious moments with his always hilarious delivery of comedy. Patrick Swayze is awesome as Vida, and brings out the most heart out of the three, and it’s easy to see why he always could do everything so well. John Leguizamo was the funniest because he does a great job of adding that signature crazy Mexican act to this role, and it works so well as Miss Chi-Chi.

However, these guys try so hard to look and act like these three ladies, that it’s just a shame that they we can’t believe them as their characters. Their big, muscular, and pretty manly so when you see these rednecks reacting to these three as if their women, it’s an idea that’s a little too far-fetched. They try so hard to be funny, and in ways they do, it’s just that the script let’s these guys down, which is always a shame.

Consensus: To Wong Foo may feature some funny moments, much ado to the good performances from the three head-liners, but the script is a let-down, and never goes anywhere to make a point about sexual identity, or being accepted.

4/10=SomeOleBullShitt!!!

White Men Can’t Jump (1992)

This title is so false! They have obviously not seen me hoop it up on the courts.

Pretending to be a goofy white guy with no skills, Billy Hoyle (Woody Harrelson) earns his keep by hustling pickup basketball games in Los Angeles. But when one of Billy’s victims (Wesley Snipes) subsequently becomes his partner, the pair gets a taste of real success. They must also contend with some shifty characters — and their own competitiveness

A good sports comedy in today’s world is hard to come by, especially in today’s world. But when used right, it brings comedy lovers, and sports lovers together.

The best thing about this movie is that it comedy almost never seems to get taken out of proportion. A lot of the stuff they say in here is straight up laugh-out-load funny, but it never becomes one of those huge joke fests that you can’t take seriously. However, I will say some of the best yo-momma jokes come from here, ones that I have never heard, and will use soon on some sucker who’s trying to diss me and my game.

There is also a lot in this film that is real. The film shows these two guys’ lives, and how their own wives live with the fact that their two men, are just boyish characters. The film shows how if you make one decision on, or off the court, you never know what the out-come may be, whether it be good or bad. I had a problem with the film by the middle act, where it seems to get stale. The jokes are flying everywhere but they don’t seem to stick quite as well as the first act. Also, the little sub-plot with the gangsters trying to find down Harrelson and take over his debt, was kind of dumb, but hey it didn’t totally ruin the movie.

If your a huge b-ball fan, like me, your going to love the basketball playing sequences themselves. There shot in a nice style, with just the right type of music, to bring out the energy a lot in a film, that strives so well for it.

The trio of leads is what makes this film its best. Wesley Snipes is at his funniest, as big-time street baller Sidney Deane. he brings out all the charisma he has in his character, and it works in his advantage cause we actually end up liking him a lot more than you expect. Woody Harrelson’s character, Billy Hoyle, starts off as likable and smart, but then he kind of turns into a dick head, and you start to kind of dislike him, mostly cause you don’t know his intentions. But besides that he still gives a funny performance here. Rosie Perez almost steals every single scene she’s in, cause that high-pitched voice just works so well with this material, and really does have you laughing, even when the film is semi-serious. She played the same character in Do The Right Thing and every other movie after, but hey it always seems to work. The genuine chemistry between Snipes and Harrelson is what makes the film click, but also the message that the film brings up. Whites and Blacks, may never get along when it comes to the sport of basketball, and that is not racist, it’s just the truth on how both sides see the game differently.

Consensus: The plot may meander, however, White Men Can’t Jump is a great blend of fun, sports, and comedy, lead by a great trio of leads.

8/10=Matinee!!!

Brooklyn’s Finest (2010)

Reminds me of the good ole days when cops were just dirty, and nobody cared.

Antoine Fuqua directs this tense drama about three wildly different New York cops whose paths collide in a Brooklyn housing project, where each must make a decision that will change the course of their lives forever. Cynical, washed-up Eddie (Richard Gere) no longer cares about the job or the rules; cash-strapped Sal (Ethan Hawke) sees a shortcut to solvency; and Tango (Don Cheadle) is torn between conflicting loyalties. Ellen Barkin and Wesley Snipes co-stars.

The film directed by Fuqua, is much like his other police drama, Training Day. It also features that films rookie cop, Ethan Hawke, but is a big disappointment.

The film is written by Michael C. Martin, a one-time subway flagger from East New York. And I can already tell this is his first piece of work, mostly due to the fact it can’t quite find itself. The film has some very powerfully emotional moments, but also has way too many cliches as with its plot: the dirty cop, the aging cop, and the undercover cop fighting with his identity. I have seen this too many times before and wanted something new.

The film reminded me of Pride and Glory that also dealed with Police politics, but almost in a better way. The film does have the feel of one of those old-styled cop films, with its blaring grittiness, and over-the-top violence that comes at many times. The problem is that although Fuqua has got the right look and feel, he doesn’t give out the right emotion. I felt a little bored when these people were talking mostly because its all the same, and isn’t set as being too suspenseful.

Probably the best thing about this movie that really elevates it is its cast. Don Cheadle gives another powerful and realistic performance as the undercover cop, and you actually feel yourself rooting for him more and more. Hawke, once again, plays that bastard that is always causing trouble but plays it well here as well. Also, it was good to see Wesley Snipes back to the screen after a long absence, as he plays one of those lovable villains that we all know and love him for. I think Gere, who I obviously don’t like, didn’t have such a good performance here and I found his story to be the most confusing and actually weakest of the three.

Consensus: Though the signature grittiness and action from Fuqua lies within Brooklyn’s Finest, there are too many uninteresting moments, and difficult paces, but still are backed by great performances from its cast, minus Richard Gere.

5.5/10=Rental!!

Jungle Fever (1991)

A love between a black man and and white woman is something that can be hated but it’s all about the love.

Flipper (Wesley Snipes) is a successful, married architect. Angie (Annabella Sciorra) is a temporary office worker. When they meet, it’s Jungle Fever. A subplot considers the problems of drug abuse, with Flipper’s brother Gator (Samuel L. Jackson) a crack addict.

Director Spike Lee (as if you couldn’t tell), his main message is that both blacks and whites in America have been so bombarded stereotypes about each other to the degree that some relationships are transpired by Jungle Fever.The movie has many scenes of uncommon power, some with sure greatness, and others that just don’t work.

Lee as usual shows a great way of handling these characters of each race and in a way that doesn’t support these stereotypes. The one thing I liked mostly about this film that I didn’t see from his others is that hes not all against the whites and he shows how blacks can be wrong in decision making too. The one strong point of this film is the strong focus that Lee puts on the family’s reactions to this relationship.

The big problem with this film is the couple itself. Lee does not focus too much on the couple and we do not feel that these two people actually like each other. Lee misses the point that he’s trying to get at with in this film and the couple don’t seem believable. The chemistry between Snipes and Sciorra is not very strong and you do not feel the connection beating off of the screen like I would imagine in a film about relationships. The attraction seems to stem entirely from curiosity, which makes the background material – the relationships of each with their families and communities – the real point of interest.

Much of the writing and editing seems very tired as well. In all of Lee’s films his way of showing these characters actions and personalities through a clever and at times true script does not work so well. The whole movie’s script is mostly just conversations about racism and how one doesn’t prefer the other race. The editing also feels kinda lackluster as many scenes were put in just to be put in and kind of had no real meaning.

This is surely a great film for many reasons however despite the downs. I liked the little inter-stories that featured Samuel L. Jackson as a struggling crack addict who brings dismay to his whole family and John Tuturro’s story as he himself looks to start a relationship with a black woman. Those stories were very interesting and very well executed by the cast and Lee. Another great factor of this film is the set pieces that are shown in this film are surely great that feature a very breathtaking look at a crack house that is very graphic but very strong.

The chemistry as I said before between Snipes and Sciorra is not very strong. Though the acting from the rest is very good. Mostly Samuel L. Jackson does an amazing job at portraying a struggling crack addict and fully shows off his amazing acting chops and his performance stand out most importantly. The rest of the cast with John Tuturro. Spike Lee, Ossie Davis, and Anthony Quinn also do very good jobs at portraying their own respectable characters.

The resolution of this film is very gloomy and doesn’t seem as effective as it has in other films from Lee and I don’t fully connect to the message he was trying to get at with.

The film shows a good look at how interracial couples are viewed as and features some very good breathtaking scenes and performances but doesn’t have a very effective message and screenplay like many others from Lee.

7.5/10=Rental!!!!

New Jack City (1991)

“Crack Kills”, and that sure as hell is shown in this movie.

Nino Brown (Wesley Snipes), a drug dealer at the dawn of the crack cocaine epidemic, enriches himself and enslaves his people via an inner-city crack factory. Meanwhile, cop Scotty Appleton (Ice-T) will do anything to penetrate Brown’s empire.

The message of this main movie is that drugs will ruin your life and put you for the bad. The heart of this film lies within its ability to show the drug life and how it can screw you up in every way. Through director Mario Van Peebles constant sights of slum infested New York the message becomes clear and in effect.

When I first saw the trailer for New Jack City, I thought it was going to be one of those slam-bang action thrillers, but too be honest it is very honest and true in its depiction of the Crack epidemic and the people that lived it. In the film rehab is shown and how the drug life can affect your body but how your not totally out of the game and still get back up.

The one thing I mostly have to praise is how everybody talked in neighborhood language. The film takes dialouge that would be easily digestible to the natural audience, and sort of turn it on its side and make the viewer think about what that character said. This movie has that sort of authenticity and place that I enjoyed and thought was great.

Wesley Snipes creates the character Nino Brown and gives him this inventive attitude and loveable personality that he ends up being the bad guy that you still like. Without Nino Brown many films today about the drug trade wouldn’t have such an engaging character if it wasn’t for Wesley pulling this great character from under his hat.

There were some bad things I didn’t like in this film. The one thing that sort of got to me was how much of the film had many references to other gangster movies such as The Godfather and Scarface and many of them are pretty obvious. I just felt like this didn’t make them seem like their own film and it didn’t show its own independence. Despite Nino Browns great character none of the other characters are as engaging as him and this didn’t make me feel too close to them or have me relate to them. Also Ice-T is not a very convincing undercover cop having many of his lines feeling as if they’re forced and he wasn’t very believable.

This movie brings out all the stops to show off the message it has. This film works as an anti-drug movie and a drug-gangster movie that shows a lifestyle nobody should try to follow.

8/10=Matine!!!