Giddy over not being sick anymore + writing one love story + editing another love story + the Weekend = enjoy super duper romantic Malik while it lasts people.
Whether you consider Nas too be overrated or one of the best lyricists in hip hop history, Time Is Illmatic is a great documentary that captures a specific moment in hip hop history and how the artist and the album influenced so many who came after it.
The story proper begins with Nas’ father, who as many hip hop heads know, was a quality jazz musician in his own right. Olu Dara instilled his boys Nasir and Jabari with a deep respect for music, as well as a healthy library of books that clearly built the vocabulary of the young rapper in training.
Another great chapter of the documentary covers how Roxanne Shante is credited for putting Nas in his crew ‘on’ initially, in the middle of rap/New York’s early rap battles. Hearing the story of ‘The Bridge/South Bronx/The Bridge is Over’ from young Nas’ point of view provides good humor for the middle portion of the doc. One of the surprises of Time Is Illmatic is ‘Back to the Grill Again’ and MC Serch’s meeting with Nas comes at the halfway point: the album that gives the doc its name is really only the second half of the story.
But when we get there, man. The diehard Nas fans will go nuts; even if you only know the bigger hits (‘The World is Yours’), you’ll come alive when you relive those songs. And that producer list! Pete Rock! Q-Tip! Little wonder why the album is considered by many to be the first 5 star hip hop classic.
I’m giving you the broad strokes; the doc clocks in at little more than an hour and it’s worth your time if you’re a fan. Now streaming on iTunes.
I Am Ali is the newest documentary on one of the Great American lives. The early great ones (When We Were Kings) gives you an insight into his athletic greatness, last year’s fantastic The Trials of Muhammad Ali finally broke new ground on analyzing his role in the politics of his time. But just, as a man, flawed and imperfect like the rest of us, who was he?
This is the successful angle I Am Ali takes. Primarily structured through tapes of Ali talking to his children, we see the Champ as less as the everlasting icon, and more in a role most of us can relate to: husband trying to provide for his family, father trying to instill self confidence and worth into his children. We do of course get glimpses of the public figure; in this case it’s important in showing us how his children viewed ‘Muhammad Ali’ as Daddy turning his silly, charming personality up to 11.
That voice. It’s good to hear from his family that Ali doesn’t seem ready just yet to leave us, but hearing his voice in its youthful, playful, powerful peak here. You all know how I feel about appreciating the people you love while you have them.
Nice 2 hour documentary, now streaming on iTunes and other outlets.
And so this week is the first but not definitely not the last week that will be full of movie reviews in this space.
Interesting part of being around as long as I’ve been around: I’m a proud voting member of the guild I belong to, then I have friends who have projects out or on the verge of coming out, I have friends of friends who have projects coming out, and this year I’ll be as open to criticism as anybody I criticize since I have my own short that will be done…soon… (and I’m taking a cue from Beyonce and going fairly tight lipped about my own baby until it’s ready for the world, thus the above pic.)
I like to believe my constructive criticism voice has evolved to the point where I can talk about other films and filmmakers in a way that says ‘not for me’ more so than ‘that sucks’. But I guess time will tell over the next few months.
In the meantime, the songs will get in where they fit in this week (if at all).
(Fade the theatre lights…)