Tag Archive: wesley snipes


 

denzel

Still in a Denzel state of mind for a variety of reasons.  I know many of you won’t mind today’s song choice.

Enjoy.

 

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spikeartfradieu

Nope wasn’t in the room Saturday night, I was (literally) down the street.

But thank you internet (and the Academy) for letting us see this.  I’m big on letting people know you appreciate them while they’re here to feel your appreciation.

Your East Coast bias aside Spike, I can personally attest to two of the seeds you helped plant and nourish getting those standardized test scores high enough to grow into a movie producer and a movie director (and a LOT more).

And as you know there are hundreds if not thousands more. So thank you.

First, I could watch this introduction all day…

And then, his actual acceptance speech…

Enjoy!

Bleek_Gilliam_Quintet

A beautiful Terrance Blanchard composition.

And within this clip, Denzel, Wesley, Giancarlo, John Turturro, CHARLIE MURPHY!!!

And Spike…man.

(smiling)

Enjoy!

Brooklyn’s Finest

 

This morning I caught a movie I’ve been waiting for for months, Brooklyn’s Finest, and I have to say I wasn’t disappointed.  If I had to use one word to describe it, the word would be dark.  You can watch the trailer and know what type of world you’re getting into, but to watch how it all plays out, this film at times makes Training Day (also directed by Antoine Fuqua) look like Police Academy. 

The three central characters of the story are a cop played by Ethan Hawke, who willingly bends the rules to provide for his increasingly expanding family, an undercover cop played by Don Cheadle who is ready to get out of undercover work and wants his regular life back, and a retiring cop on his last week of the job, played by Richard Gere, who just wants to get to retirement without any trouble.  You don’t have to be as big of the fan of the crime genre as I am to know you’ve seen these character types; Donnie Brasco and Se7en immediately come to mind.  So as with any genre film, you judge it against how it takes these archetypes and give you an interesting take.

I thought in this case the cast of characters was stronger than the story that was told.  And is that a surprise?  Kansas City bias aside, I’d pay full price to watch Don Cheadle drink a glass of milk, he doesn’t disappoint. I’m not the first person to note the (deliberate?) similarities between the kingpin character played by Wesley Snipes here and his trademark role of Nino Brown.  The East Coast locale and type of story surely played into seeing a few familiar faces from a certain greatest TV show of all time that came on HBO and was set in Baltimore.  He looks the exact same, but the difference between Ethan Hawke’s LA cop in Training Day and his Brooklyn cop here gave me more respect for him as an actor. And much of the film revolves around Richard Gere’s character.  I think the best compliment I can give him is the man still has ‘it’: the ability to be the anchor in a ridiculously talented ensemble.  And there’s a few other ‘names’ who pop up but I won’t name who.

The crime genre (and its most lucrative subgenre, the gangster genre) have both hit that point where greatness is almost impossible to get to.  So when a film does a good job, you acknowledge how hard it was.  And Brooklyn’s Finest is a good film; worth checking out for the great acting alone.  

new_jack_city

Openly taking its cues from Scarface, New Jack City was an ‘anti-drug’ movie about a group of young brothers in New York rising to the type of the drug game in the early years of hip hop.  I openly admit this was a personal favorite of mine growing up as a teenager in the early 90s.  But this is about the grand scheme of things.  Anyway, on to the tale of the tape…

Relevance:  The movie was directed by Mario Van Peebles, son of the godfather of indie black cinema, Melvin Van Peebles.  While on the surface it’s a gangster film, the true ‘message’ of the film was how drugs (especially crack) was destroying the black community.  Hard to argue against the relevance of that.

Legacy:  There’s a lot of directions you can go in with this one.  The film that established Ice-T’s career beyond being a hardcore rapper?  Chris Rock’s best acting job (I would argue) as Pookie, the addict unable to perform?  The film that really put Wesley over the top as a headliner?  You could argue any of these and win.

Craft:  A lot of 90s black movies don’t age that well over time, but New Jack City is still watchable.  As mentioned with the Van Peebles connection (he also played one of the cops trying to bring Nino down) you had a man who knew the language of film and film acting.  It was made as a genre film and it worked well for what it was trying to be.

Crossover:  Um, the film, I don’t know.  But the soundtrack had some hits.  Pretty boy Christopher Williams “I’m Dreaming”, Ice-T’s “New Jack Hustler”, LeVert remaking their daddy’s “For the Love of Money.” I would say this was the best of the ‘hip hop soundtracks’ from this era, but as far as I’m concerned Above the Rim still holds that crown.

Apollo:  Again, I can’t pick one.  I’m preferential to the midnight Commission meeting (parodied so well on Martin), where Nino makes an example out of pretty boy Christopher Williams.  The obligatory (at the time) Wesley Snipes sex scene was also Wow-worthy.  Even the opening scene of the film, where Duh Duh Man and Nino drop a cat off a bridge was great, it let you know what you were getting into.  I just thought of three more scenes as I write; this was a well done genre pic, I’ll say again.

Next on the film countdown will be a film that could have made the list on the Apollo factor alone.  Back at the end of the month.