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    17 years


River Runs Red

Decent premise, nice setup, current issues - relevant, good list of actors - then thud. The movie fell with a hard clunk. John Cusak should have been used way more and giving another dimension to his I.A. character. Taye Diggs path for redemption should have been more clear and thought out. He was a Judge for goodness sakes - his resources and partnership with Cusak could have been way stronger. Seems an unlikely path. Wife was wooden and her lines were horrible. The corrupt cops were cornball. The guilty cops suffering wife had some of the best lines and acting and she wasn't in that many scenes! Was not well written. I could have done 100% better and I do write screenplays lol. I kept constantly thinking, I would have done it 'this way'. And the climax, really? So, nothing solved. Waste of time. Then, what was up with the lighting and weird edits? Had to mess with the tracking trying to light up the flick. Frustrating film altogether.

The Heat

Gracie Hart redux
Too curious why Ms. Bullock just didn't make this another Miss Congeniality sequel or just use the Gracie Hart character? I mean this latest incarnation as 'Ashburn' was generally the same exact loner, uptight, sheltered, out of touch, no relationship having person Gracie was. She played another FBI type agent disrespected by her male peers again! I mean really? So Gracie had a lil fame from the pageant, so what? It's years later, she's a had been celebrity. They could have played into that. If you wanted to bury the Gracie Hart character why introduce her twin? I'm just saying. Was cute but predictable film, just like the Congeniality series.

Gun Hill

Decent film w/a few flaws
Ran into this on Netflix and not a bad lil flick to be a BET original Lorenz Tate put his foot into this and carried the film nicely keeping you on the edge of suspense with his con-man turned good guy character.

Not that he was without serious flaws which made him more compelling.

Was odd they started off with an unnecessary narration at the beginning which became an afterthought further in the film. Complete waste of time.

The main villain the suspense worked up too nicely and then was a total letdown once revealed. Wanted to see a real bad ass represented and give Tate's character a challenge. None of the villains seemed worthy, like part time office jobs or something.

His cop co-workers had more dynamics than the villains but their stories seemed incomplete.

Also, okay, I realize it was made for TV but really was a full length film - so what the what was going on with the 'to be continued'?? I noticed they had left a sideline story out and when they finally brought it back up it revealed a confounding 'TBC' Really?? This film came out in 2011 - its 3 years later and nothing has been completed! Yo, that's foul!

The Confidant

I caught this B flick on cable and the marketing does a good job of hyping up the film as an intriguing suspenseful murder mystery story. Unfortunately that was far from the case. Besides the poor acting out of a usually reliable group, the plot/storyline was essentially non- existent. David Banner as 'Daniel', one of the latest rappers turned 'attempting to act' was an interesting choice for the antagonist, he relished in playing a generally good guy turned bad (his boiling point scene was quite convincing!) but his efforts seemed wasted in this disappointing film. Possibly he may get another chance worthy of his efforts, this was not it. The premise was the most confounding, not enough effort was put into establishing the two main characters with this so-called 'bond' they was supposed to cherish. Boris Kodjoe's surprisingly weak performance as 'Nigel' never established his character as more than an acquaintance with David's. His blowing off of the crimes he committed lacked any sustenance, oh poor guy he has an addiction, he didn't give a what what, you never felt anything from him. A so-called 'best friend' like him would not be worth cherishing whatsoever! He was supposed to be some uber-talented athlete/businessman, um, really? You didn't see him do crap! He looked confused most of the time! Only time he was sincere was when he was losing to the convincing Bai Ling's character 'Black' who got all in his grill. She should have had more screen time, that's a creepy lady not to double cross! It was wack how they took her out, unconvincing! This film made obvious Boris' best acting is when he vibes off of decent peers. Sorry Boris, seems you was just in the flick to be eye-candy for the females, you was the weakest link! Billy Zane, talented, wasted, barely in the movie, Richard Roundtree, talented, wasted, barely in the movie. If they had built an arc around these characters, building up the conflict more adequately this would have been a more intriguing feature. Oh, and the actor who played the young version of Nigel? Unconvincing, didn't even favor his looks! Sex factor, sorry Kenya Moore, the hottie Brazilian actress Camila Alves stole the tantalizing scenes away! Like to see more of her! And Ms. Moore, as producer, please put your money on better scripts, directors, actors and maybe you'd shine better in the unforgiving movie industry. You're only as good as your last flick! Come see me if you need suggestions! :)

All Things Fall Apart

Flawed but Noble
I'm generally pretty hard on rappers turned actors because for one, they are placed in movies because of their notoriety and star power; i.e. they can sell a movie. BUT do they bring any artistic value as a true thespian? Most cases no. Curtis '50 Cent' Jackson is in this odd area of filmdom right now - he's obviously is interested in the craft, writing and producing features - putting his 50 cents in, this movie 'Things Fall Apart' was actually based off of a friend he knew. Kudos to bringing a heartfelt and meaningful story to the screen. Jackson was so committed he lost weight and abused his body to look like an actual cancer patient! Have to give him kudos for that also! Well done! BUT - did he bring it like a well trained actor could have done in the same role? UM... no, sorry. Jackson would have been more interesting playing the brother Sean, then the main character Deon who goes through this horrific life change. Jackson doesn't look that old, but really, a young 20 something football star? NOT - he looked cheesy, grinning constantly with those fake dreads and being a jerk with women, even stealing his brothers love interest. Didn't make you feel sorry for him when he ended up with cancer.

Coupled with a weak script and okay acting, this film could have done way better with this important subject. My man Melvin Van Peebles is one of my favorite directors, so I was expecting a little more flair with this, but he kept it straight forward and pretty safe. And what is it with modern films to rush through them so fast? Is it budget constraints? There was many flaws in the production and on set, with Jackson's obvious wealth from his investments he could have dropped some more 50's on this. I would have appreciated more build up, more concentration on the emotions that people go through with this horrific disease and subsequent fall out from grace. The silent confusion as he tried to find his place was done well, until he opened his mouth! Lynn Whitfield did her thing well, was one of the standouts as Deon's distraught and confused mother. Cedric Sanders who played his brother Sean did a decent job, but I would have appreciated more background with them as brothers. Sean has a chip on his shoulder and obviously is not in tune with Deon's flamboyant football lifestyle, but besides the failed football game in the beginning, it was hard to figure out why exactly he was so uptight. Deon actually would look out for him more then not. It was a guessing game which emotion he was feeling towards big brother. If Deon had stole his love interest earlier on, that would have made more sense. As said, I appreciate this attempt at mello-drama but overall it's a disappointment. The oddball ending and Chariots of Fire leap for victory death dance didn't add any grace, just led to more confusion. As Jackson continues his quest in mainly sub-par wanna be gangsta flicks, I sincerely hope he hires a GOOD acting coach and spends some time away from films for a minute, getting his craft on. Get your chops on in community theater or something. Maybe he can rise like fellow rappers Mos Def or Will Smith and be an actual actor to contend with. For now, mediocre is his motto.


Frustrating Flick
This flick straight aggravated me - from about 10 minutes into the film I started questioning what I was seeing, how things didn't match up, how incoherent the story goes. Sequences don't match up and they never get summed up later in the film.

The acting was downright horrible, as if the people (note, didn't say actors) come in to work, read their lines, go home. There's no actual acting in the movie sans Bruce Willis! And if you come to see Brucie as a crazy Mob Boss, you're in for a disappointment because not only is he not a significant character, he's barely in the flick! Granted, the few times he does grace the screen its about the best lines - like when his boys are torturing a Russian Mob agent, he says 'This defeats the whole point of f--- interrogating somebody, how are you going to get anything out of him when he's dead? You brought me all the way down for this? Now you have to go get another Russian!" Classic!

Ryan Phillips presented another dull performance similar to others he's done recently, Curtis 50 Cent Jackson merely played another version of himself he does in all his movies. Have no idea why they always have him do unnecessary narration in every film he's involved with? He mumbles mainly, might as well had him rap the narration, would have been more fitting. He's trying to act, but obviously needs lessons.

Newer gangsta oriented flicks seem to be stuck in the doldrums, same ol' plot, same twist, same backstabber's. You knew who was snitching, you knew who was chasing from the moment you saw them. And no police, anywhere? All this blatant crime going on, chases and gunshots raining down on the streets of Detroit - and no police anywhere? Come on, like a vampire movie with no fangs.

And not to mention the story line moved along like peanut butter swimming in milk, lumpy and chunky. They skip certain things that would have gave the characters more dimension, hurried up dramatic scenes to push in some more action, and put in unnecessary stuff to draw away from the horrible script (Such as the butcher character - really?)

The friendship between Sonny and Vinnie wasn't even close to being believable, I would have never picked them out as buddies, as dull as both of their performances were. Funny, Sonny's relationship with Dave was stronger and Dave well... does not last long lol. Note to new filmmakers, if you want to do classic gangsta flicks study Godfather, The Untouchables, Goodfellas, Scarface, even Boyz in the Hood - and don't copy the formula - make something new, innovative, build the characters, give us something or somebody to root for! This piece, for all the hoopla, fails miserably!

The Joneses

Keeping up with the Joneses
Clever is the first thing to come to mind after watching this amusing piece of consumer satire. Being in the marketing business I believe this story is all the more compelling with its intriguing premise! Makes me curious if there is really 'units' or 'cells' like these fully functioning in the same or similar vein across the country! How trustworthy are our neighbors really? How well do we know them? What are they trying to sell us?? The social impact of going to great lengths to 'extreme' lie to us seems so unethical but then so realist... The film hit home with the social and mental angst the main characters are going through selling this lie - for a small unit, living side by side, in traditional roles, for so long, their is bound to be some conflict and challenges no matter how 'luxurious' they showcase to their unsuspecting neighbors. David Duchovny in the 'father' role is brilliant, keeping the 'unit' reality and emotionally balanced and his 'real' affection for 'boss' Demi Moore who brings about one of her best performances in years, conflicted with her strive for perfection and her natural wants and feelings. You can just see in her eyes she wants David but her brain keeps her focused on the prize @hand. Gary Cole pushes the edge, envious of his neighbors and the ironic plunge with the cherished lawn tractor -even though grim - cracked me up! If you're in the PR business or similar definite recommend P


Decent Attempt
I have never seen so many enthusiastic responses that were obviously staged when the film first came out in 2006 - LOL had a good laugh with them. The film had its merits, a decent attempt at a crime/drug thriller but what bothered me was the source - are there really people like this - have decent jobs, great girlfriends, lives seem together and accidentally find some drugs and then track down the big time dealers to offer their services? That's a serious WTF moment right there! I know some folks idolize the bad guys but usually they are impoverished and see it as a way out. Well to do folks that dabble in crime are in it for the thrill but go about it smarter. If they had come from a different angle it might have been more plausible. Chad Lindberg from Fast and the Furious tried hard in his role but I kept seeing the vulnerable character he played in that film. Chazz Palminteri did great as usual in a small role, but would have been better as the bad guy. Michael Rappaport was excellent as usual and Charlotte Ayanna while gorgeous, needs some acting lessons as much as the rest of the unknown cast does. Decent attempt at Drama but filled with so many script, acting, editing, and production flaws I would have sent them back to the lab!

Kill Bill: Vol. 2

One Point
Interesting - in post 9/11 I found the most unrealistic point of this movie (KB1 and 2) is that "The Bride" can move so effortlessly from the USA to Japan and back to the USA and then to Mexico and back not only slaying dozens of people in her wake - with no police on her trail - but more amazingly she's relaxing on the plane rides with a huge Hanoi Sword!!!! They arrest you @ the airport now with a letter opener!!! What - did she slay the Marshalls and stewardess and hijack the plane to get to her destination?? Why wasn't the Air Force and Marines waiting for her when she landed?? Homeland Security failed us on this one! But then we would still have Bill running around. Oh well, I guess it's all for the best! :)


Picture Perfect
Very intelligent and emotional portrayal of life in the hood through a starry eyed Hollywood semi-profession photographer. When Robert takes Marcus a young boy with a good eye for photography under his wing Marcus older brother Keith initially rejects the Robert's good intentions. Proving his worth Robert tags along with Keith to prove to his lose ensemble of thugs he has noble intentions and to get an honest portrayal of the hood. Of course things get out of hand and new relationships are tested and tested well. Very well acted and decent cinematography for a low budget film.

The Matrix

Animation Origins
Okay- Loved the Matrix and Reloaded and will probably love Revolutions just like plenty of others. Only complaint would be thinking to hard with some of the blabbo mind job talk. My reason for adding this is a funny trivial antidote for some of the philosophical questions surrounding the origins of this fairy tale. Anybody remember the old Ray Bradbury cartoon "Little Nemo"? Was watching with my child the other day and busted a gut when Nemo goes asleep and enters "Slumberland" and meets up with King Morpheus!

I'm thinking -- Okay back in grade school the little Wachowski brothers read the same book and said "Hey! Sounds like a great idea for a full blown sci-fi epic, let's add some cool dance music and jazzy special effects and add deep meaning to Nemo (now NEO) journey into Slumberland (now the MATRIX) and save King Morpheus (Uh, MORPHEUS). Pretty ironic huh? Have to probe the brothers next time I run into them at the Quickie Mart. :)

I wrote this in October of 2003 highly expecting a debate over my uncovering of this little known comic which looks to be the muse for the Matrix series. Looks as if nobody even researched or counter-reacted my findings so I have to ask again in 2010 - did the Wachowski brothers watch Little Nemo and come up with the Matrix - and if they did unfortunately they are not original! Nonetheless I still regard Matrix series as one of my all time favorites just seeking the white rabbit...

A Good Night to Die

A good title to rent
Not bad -- Don't really think it's a clone of Pulp Fiction, it's more a nod to Japanese gangster filmaking with the morality frustrated hitman with his dimwitted protege tying him down. Good acting from all involved, Michael Rappaport annoyed the hell out of me but that was what he was supposed to do, Gary Stretch was impressive first time seeing him, Robin Givens didn't annoy me as usual and the Ralph Macchio/Ally Sheedy assassin team!! They were hot, I could see a sequel concentrating on their bizarre hitman team easily. Good to see Ralph back, I had actually assumed it was somebody else till I traced his acting credits on here. Similar to Japanese filmaking the quick flashbacks/thoughts in the assassin's heads was a nod to that as well as the gritty New York landscape that didn't gloss anything in the grungey city. Kudos to the excellent cinematography The weird cutaway to the claymation scene also was a nod to Japanese films. Albeit could have been cut out it added to the weirdness. (Why would one remember their past in claymation?!) And that was a penthouse where dude had the chickens?? Au' vey! Weird but cool!

Not a bad film but wish the plot could have been tweaked not knowing what the hell was going on most the time. I concentrated on mainly the character development and interaction then cared what the hell they were doing concerning the plot most the time. Would have been an excellent movie they beefed up the storyline. Think, how original can you get these days after thousands of films are available! Good luck to those who can. I'm writing scripts myself and it is no easy task!! As for now, tired of main frame fair @ the local video store try this kooky little gem with no plot and have fun.

Deadly Wordz

Clue Up In Da Club
Intriguing low-budget drama with unknown actors. I give them credit for developing intriguing characters revolving around a club holding a poetry contest. Would have appreciated a little more character development instead of filling in time with too many flashbacks. Many of the flashbacks were a complete waste of time. Promising actors included the lead who played Wurdz and the police officer. Lots of intriguing aggressive poetry that matched well with the story. Good cinematography from b- budget and attractive sets. Nice urban flick to watch that is intellectually intriguing without a lot of violence.

The Transporter

Top Notch Stunts
I agree this movie is the equivalent of fast food-quick satisfying and fulfilling but nothing to last substance wise. A little more input could have been developed between Jason and his "Package" but it's okay how they quickly built it up. What does last is the out of this world action scenes. A leadfoot like me did not need to see what new tricks to do with a stick shift. And is it just me or is all these new actions flicks in Europe such as XXX, Bourne Identity and Transporter all of the driving is on the driver left side and the right side of the road like America. This some type of common glitch from American directors or do they really switch what side of the road they drive on? Very confusing.


Compelling but Preachy
Getting past the cheap straight to video bad editing and even more horrible lighting the story was decent and slightly believable. While it's not uncommon for a rags to riches family to suddenly lose their wealth and return humbly to the roots which they began the focus on the teenage main principal dissension from school book nerdness to half way hip drug dealer leaves one to question reality. Was expecting his new found unruly peers to want to forcibly take advantage of his smarts in their drug distribution routes but instead the naive principal suddenly wants to be down and join the process himself. Not only is this hi fetched but unreasonable to believe that a bookworm could even survive the intended thugs of the hood. Good intentions but overtly preachy towards the end in an odd showcase of concern from complete strangers. Even further to bring the point home the language AND music was edited to give the film a PG-13 rating. For the message to reach the intended viewers needs a stronger language that they will understand versus trying to attempt to bridge the family viewing hour. Hopefully the Bridge Brothers work harder on their next attempts.

Brown Sugar

Old School To the New School as the New is the Old
I so got this movie. Okay so the general story line has been done before with the principals knowing each other from childhood and denying their love for each other for years until fate intertwines and brings them back together again for the tearful ending. Yes, that was highly predictable and I knew that just looking at the DVD box!

What did it for me was the merging of the love of hip-hop with the time old love story. No matter what they say hip-hop is a global phenomenon that touches the island of Japan and the jungles of Brazil and the desert of the Sudan. My girlfriend grew up on Trisha Yearwood and Elvis but I believe finally understood me and my own personal love of hip-hop. I was reminiscing along with the characters even though I didn't grow up in NY, I was ears plugged to my radio vibing to Grandmaster Flash's "The Message" and "NY, NY", Whodini's "All in Just the Magic Wand", Jonzun Crew's "Pack Jam", Sugarhill Gang's "Rappers Delight" and most important the emergence of Run DMC and "It's Like That" (R.I.P. JMJ!) I've dedicated my life to hip-hop and along with the characters and now that I'm a grown ass man I'm frustrated with the current state of it. I've always been frustrated with the wanna be's and the flossing and the unnecessary violence that was not a part of hip hop's infancy. Listen to Missy Elliot's or Nas new disc as they take it back to the basics. Missy in the dance and get your groove on tip while Nas takes the more revolutionary approach.

Those attached to hip-hop and (of course) have the desire to mate understand the importance of your significant other molding with who you are and where you came from. You can be from different cultures, backgrounds, economic status but as long as you can understand and appreciate your other's vibe then the match can be good. Taye Diggs wifey Nicole Ari Parker was the mergence of underground hip-hop with mainstream. She did not understand his passion and motivation and it drove them apart. Sanaa Lathan even as suburban as she is, represented the real and it came out in her compassion to hip hop via her writing. The wooing of Sanaa from Boris Kodjoe seems all to real in the world of entertainment looking for that soulmate, Sanaa was just not it, there was not a once of chemistry. Nice big up to Sanaa's bigger romantic flick with her beau Omar Epps "Love and Basketball." The inspirational grounding of this flick Common (Sense) "I Used to Love Her" kept this from being another tired syrupy love tale.

Would have been nice to see a new actress in the Sanaa's role considering she's been typecast since "The Best Man," "Love and Basketball" and "Disappearing Acts." The only movie I can think of where she was completely different was the first "Blade"! Taye Diggs reprises his roles from "The Best Man" and "The Wood." Boris and Nicole were hilarious to watch together since they are seen regularly as a couple on "Soul Food" on cable! Low and behold Mos Def was most comfortable in a role similar to his own coming up as a rapper and actor!

Not the greatest love story by far but I felt really represented hip-hop well and gave outsiders a view of why people live and breath the lifestyle. It wasn't any gats and gloss (The out of touch A&R rep who hired the stereotype Rin & Tin showed how outrageous the industry can be in the wrong hands!) just real people in everyday situations attempting to keep their love alive with the music and each other. If you understand the humanity of the lifestyle of hip-hop or want to understand better then this is a good introduction. Other videos of noteworthy are the classics "Krush Groove" and "Breakin."


Anti-Wedding Film of the Year!
This movie totally made me weary of the best friend with wife turning into insane psychopath played brilliantly by an eerie Blair Underwood!

Great execution, excellent acting, excellent directing. Hope to see more films of this genre come from this studio! Surprised more people haven't voted on this film but that should change with the advent of it coming to video. Still fresh even from 1998 to 2002! Tell a friend!

The Bourne Identity

Bourne Good
Extremely engaging thriller! Completely captivating action sequences that were believable and went well with the drama entrenched plot. You feel the main protagonist confusion and desperation as he struggles to gain control of his upside down life. Definitely more satisfying than other unbelievable recent action pictures such as XXX. Franka Potente was an excellent choice as the damsel in distress and love interest.

As superb as this movie was put together it also notoriously has the biggest glitch I've ever seen overlooked! Especially now on DVD you can freeze frame and study the scene to witness what I did.

Follows: The scene where William Wombosi is angrily discussing the attempted assassination attempt on him with his trailing behind aide and a security guard. Wombosi walks quickly through his house in a tight black mock turtleneck that shows his massive belly. His holds his sport jacket over his right shoulder. We make a turn into a hallway not only does the security guard dissapear so does Wombosi's jacket! Wombosi descends the stairs still ranting about getting Bourne's head for a lawn ornament and he passes the open window! Bamm! The window shatters and I'm thinking the sniper hit the aide! No - Wombosi now fully wearing the jacket, seems to have been facing the window, twists and spills his glasses and somehow makes it all the way down the stairs in his aides arms! Unbelievable the editors missed this but yes rent or buy it today and catch it!

Like Mike

Snoop's Little Bro does well
Extremely funny, lighthearted kids romp with a positive message and enduring theme. Was pleased seeing a young rapper placed in a non-stereotypical role that valued family and teamwork themes. The basketball player "big brother" Morris Chestnut worked well as a trouble gifted basketball player who reluctantly takes Bow Wow under his wings and albeit predictable softens up in his parental role with the youngster. The scene where they paint geometry lessons on the side of his mansion was hilarious and keep up the importance of school! Kids do the darnest things and I can see a youngster after a pair of magical shoes clinging to a tree in a thunderstorm. Okay, as a parent thats dangerous and would not want to see my youngster dangling from this tree BUT I do remember my own exploits as a child doing much of the same type of daring challenges. Kids will be kids so this gives excellent opportunity for the parent to talk with their child about keeping it safe! The NBA should be elated to have been giving a more good-guy image then their typical bad boy look. Very satisfied with this film portraying a positive image for my children to watch. Go Ohio! :)

King Rikki

Shakespere's King Richard in the Hood??
I admit the updating of one of Shakespeare's classics to modern day storytelling is intriguing but it takes the right cunning mastermind to achieve the same heights the master storyteller did. Not many Shakespeare's updates come close. Giving the reins to Mr. Bedford better known for smutty sexapades such as the Red Shoe Diaries and Wild Orchid further kills all hopes. King Rikki or The Street King whatever you want to call it is clouded by the fact it plays itself as a typical street gang film. With plenty of killings and violence it fits the bill but with main character Rikki Ortega (Jon Seda) running continuous humorous commentary to the camera gives the film a more comedy somewhat dark feel. There is nothing here to feel for the characters or identify with them in any respect. Rikki's sole purpose to become crime boss and leader of his dwindling family is because his mother had traded him to cousins when he was a child because they were poor. So sorry so sad - that happens sometimes but at least she kept it in the family and sent for him when ready. Hell he could have gone to a foster home. Then would he want to kill everybody?

When his brothers started to make money they send for Rikki to come back home. Intervening muddling of the woes of notorious gang rivalries The Crips and The Bloods doesn't even make a difference in Rikki's vendetta. Not wanting to spoil the movie but Rikki's motives is weak and not even tied to those gangs. What family is he trying to run after he kills them all off? His mother and girlfriend don't even trust him with right not too! The only likable thing about Rikki is he's funny! Even with him explaining his motives this movie still didn't make a bit of sense and stank all the way through. Mario Lopez's cop/old friend/quasi gang member character was completely unbelievable and didn't add anything to the picture. No wonder this minimal actor dwells in b-movie franchises, he adds nothing. The whole thing was distorted and extremely annoying. No wonder this movie churned out with little to no fanfare in it's straight to video and down a path to obscurity.

It's too bad because Jon Seda and quite a few of the other unknown actors, particularly, the young newcomer Tonantzin Carmelo that played Anita have lots of potential. This numb wanna be Shakespearean Barrio Boys in the Hood epic does not work! Somebody please recommend a good barrio gangster flick done by people who know their subject matter!


If you like this copycat
I recommend instead the based on true life drama of Ike and Tina Turner "What's Love Got to Do With it". There you can see the building of the tension and remorse of Ike to his more successful wife Tina. You see the living hell Tina lives in to try to survive and protect her children.

Not this 5 minutes of quick matrimonial happiness then wham bam thank you ma'mn he starts to clock out of nowhere. Was this ever a real marriage? No development whatsoever, no emotional attachment to the characters, convulted scenarios, improbable ending. Sure we get to see a little butt kicking but in this case as time and time before - 2 wrongs don't make a right. Sad

The Playaz Court

Compelling street update of classic "Clue" whodunit
For an extremely low-budget flick this work has all the elements of a mini-masterpiece. With two different sub-plots working together we watch how a typical game of basketball evolves into a murder-mystery and life altering experience. At first dismissing as another typical straight to video "hood flick" I appreciated the direction it took with using the basketball court as a way to work out internal family and neighborhood problems. In the mix was two divided brothers (one an aspiring lawyer- comes in handy! - the other an aspiring thug!), a wayward violent cousin, an older man (veteran actor Sy Richardson), a tomboy girl (butt of female jokes), a loser, a comedian friend, and a down white boy with ball skills (core of racial tension).

Everybody brings their elements to the table when after a heated game of basketball, money becomes missing then the main propagandist on the court winds up a poster icon for "stop the violence". Things build quickly, violence ensues and in "Clue" whodunit style fingers start flying all directions. Now the trick here is the basketball COURT ends up a makeshift justice COURT of peers. Justice will be served but the questions of who, what, where, when, and why must be answered under a tense barrage of Q & A.

Imagine the butler, candlestick maker etc. etc. chillin' in the hood when things went down? That's the Playerz Court! Flaws I felt were a little too heavy handed tension giving to the racial element. While these stereotypes do figure in unfortunately in everyday environments they were drawn out a little too much in the building of the film. Tension could have been evenly divided with the competitive sports element that athletes inhale off of. Also I believe to keep the dialogue going there was way to much unnecessary bickering that distracted from the overall flow. Some MTV-style shooting was annoying as well.

A few flaws aside this movie will keep you gripped with nary a slow moment. I keep imagining the potential the burgeoning makers of the film could have had with a larger budget! I definitely recommend checking out this captivating film!

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