Straight Outta Compton definitely lives up to the hype. For the first time I actually see Hip Hop in a different light, I even think I might understand it a little. I never cared for it, sharing the opinion of many, that it’s just gangster rap with a lot of cursing, disrespect for women and Ebonics that no one could understand except the rappers. This still might be the case with a lot of rap but there’s so much more behind the words and the beats that’s worth exploring and understanding. Plus, one rap doesn’t fit all. Straight Outta Compton starts out in 1986 in a ghetto called Compton, located in Los Angeles, California that is equal to the old Watts neighborhood most of us have heard of. Crime, drugs, poverty, hopelessness, danger, murder and a bad place to be, let alone live. To emerge from Compton alive, clean, not on death row or a junkie is a miracle in itself. Hopelessness is a terrible thing. Being born into it is suicidal, to say the least. The attitude usually is “what do I have to lose?” These young African American men are harassed and disrespected by the police as well as the rest of the world. When rap came about, it was a way to make honest money but more importantly, it was a way to express what they felt, a way to let the world know what they go through every day. A way to achieve fame, dignity, respect and rise up out of an impossible situation. 5 young men, Ice Cube (O’Shea Jackson, Jr.), Eazy-E (Jackson Mitchell), Dr. Dre (Corey Hawkins), DJ Yella (Neil Brown, Jr.), ( and MC Ren (Aldis Hodge) formed a hip hop group called N.W.A. They worked hard to make great musical, hip hop tracks that would soon escalate them to stardom after hooking up with a manager named Jerry Heller (Paul Giamatti) and a record producer named Bryan Turner (Tate Ellington), at Priority Records . N.W.A. was enjoying their fame, traveling, continually on tour, partying and life was looking up but Ice Cube and the others had no contract. Easy seemed to be the only one who was offered a contract to sign. Ice Cube also noticed Eazy-E and Jerry Heller owned the company and was convinced he and the rest of the group was getting shafted. After much confrontation, Ice Cube would be the first to leave and go out on his own. Dr. Dre soon followed, leaving Eazy-E to carry his company alone with the two remaining members. After time, Eazy-E became broke and discovered Jerry had been cheating him all along leaving him in huge debt. As usual, I will stop here so I won’t spoil the entire movie for those of you who haven’t seen it.
Straight Outta Compton runs for 2 hours and 27 minutes and is worth every second. The language is harsh, the nudity is explicit, the violence is graphic and the theme is very street. The story is quite interesting and if you are unfamiliar with the history of the group N.W.A. or hip hop, you’ll certainly get much out of this movie. These are characters we are familiar with as Ice Cube is not only a rapper, but a successful movie actor who starred in films such as Barber Shop, Friday, Boyz n the Hood, Ride Along 1 and 2 and Are We There Yet? and many more. Dr. Dre is also well known for producing Snoop Dogg, Tupac Shakur, Kendrick Lamar, Eminem and 50 Cent. He also started Beats Electronics, which was bought by Apple in 2014 for $3 billion. BTW: Ice Cube’s real son (O’Shea Jackson, Jr.) played the role of his father and looks just like him. As a matter of fact, the casting company did an incredible job because the main actors closely resembled the real characters they were portraying. Straight Outta Compton is now on DVD and Blue-Rey and is more than worth seeing. Check it out, you won’t be sorry.
[STRAIGHT OUTTA COMPTON is nominated for Original Screenplay]
Posted in DVD MOVIE REVIEWS
Tagged aldis hodge, bryan turner, california, corey hawkins, dj yella, dr dre, eazy-e, hip hop, ice cube, jackson mitchell, jerry heller, los angeles, mc ren, n.w.a., neil brown jr, o'shea jackson jr, paul giamatti, straight outta compton, tate ellington
San Andreas is another natural disaster movie for which we can do nothing about. The story revolves around the broken family of a helicopter rescue pilot, a Caltech Seismologist, a reporter, 2 youngsters visiting from England, a real estate developer and most of California and Nevada. Dr. Lawrence Hayes (Paul Giamatti) and his his colleague Dr. Kim Park (Will Yun Lee) have discovered that their research has paid off when they are able to predict earthquakes. Hoover Dam was the first to be hit with a 7.1 earthquake, killing almost everyone in the area and destroying the entire Dam. Because of the quake, Raymond (Dwayne Johnson) was called in to assist in the rescue efforts, preventing him from accompanying his daughter, Blake (Alexandra Daddario) on a trip to San Francisco. Instead she hitched a flight with her wealthy step father to be, Daniel Riddick (Ioan Gruffudd). Once they arrived in San Francisco, Blake met Ben (Hugo Johnstone-Burt) and his little brother Ollie (Art Parkinson). Another earthquake hit and they were all caught in the largest recorded earthquake of 9.6 in history . The special effects were literally out of this world. The story was better than most of these disaster movies and the acting was excellent with many stars gracing the screen. Raymond spent his time trying to rescue his family but getting through all the debris and dodging the falling buildings is a whole other story. San Andreas is non-stop action with the usual destruction and problems one would encounter during such a phenomenon. Like most of these types of movies, a lot of the escape scenes were unbelievable but necessary to create the wow factor. Dwayne Johnson’s character is likable, which made the movie likable. San Andreas is good entertainment. I saw it in 3D because of all the special effects — I think it was worth the extra charge.
Posted in DVD MOVIE REVIEWS
Tagged alexandra daddario, art parkinson, ben, blake, california, caltech seismologist, daniel riddick, dr. kim park, dr. lawrence hayes, Dwayne Johnson, earthquake, hoover dam, hugo johnstone-burt, ioan gruffudd, nevada, ollie, paul giamatti, raymond, reporter, rescue pilot, san andreas, the rock, will yun lee
Power is a very intriguing story of a young Black male who is struggling to end his double life style. Ghost played by Omari Hardwick, is a Wealthy, successful Manhattan nightclub owner by night and a drug kingpin 24/7. Although he is suspected of being a drug dealer, it’s been hard for the FBI and police to pin him down, especially since his name, “Ghost” is renowned but no one has ever seen him, except his wife and a couple of friends. Before he is found out, Ghost who goes under the name of James St. Patrick wants to dump his ghetto wife, Tasha St. Patrick (Naturi Naughton) and life style upon opening a new night club in California. In the mean while, unbeknownst to Ghost, he’s having an affair with (Lela Loran, played by Angela Valdes) the very FBI agent who has been trying to find out what Ghost looks like and make the bust.
This thriller is pretty entertaining and the acting is superb. The first season has come to an end with a fantastic finale. Power airs on Showtime and is worth checking out!
Posted in Cable Series, Dramas, LOCAL TV & CABLE CRITIQUES, Thriller/Mystery
Tagged angela valdes, california, drug kingpin, fbi, Ghost, james st patrick, lela loran, life style, manhattan nightclub owner, naturi naughton, nightclub, omari hardwick, police, power, showtime, tasha st patrick, wealthy