“All Eyez On Me” Review

https://images.fandango.com/r1.0.40/ImageRenderer/300/0/redesign/static/img/noxsquare.jpg/125515/images/masterrepository/fandango/193741/fnd_mc_alleyezonme.jpgThis was a good movie & I’m glad I got to see it in the theaters…but it could have been better.

For the most part, the casting was done well in terms of balancing actors who look like the real-life people, but are also able to act. My only small gripe was that the chick they cast for Faith Evans was a little too light–I only bring it up because in combination with using her time-appropriate bleach blonde look, it just looked like a white girl & for a second I was like “who is this again” until they started referring to her as Faith. Not a big deal, it was just a little confusing. I was also a little amused at Bonnie Bennett as Jada Pinkett?? Like…let’s look at this…

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I’m not saying there’s no resemblance, but like…was Zoe Kravitz not available?? Let’s move on…

The way they were able to weave the hits into the fabric of the storytelling was well done. Not all music biopics do this well and it has the effect of feeling like a VH1 documentary rather than a cinematic endeavor. I also feel like, overall, they did a good job of showing Tupac as a complex man. This was really important to me because it is a huge part of what makes his music and message so meaningful.

One of my bigger gripes with the film were the general treatment of time transitions. They were spanning quite a lot of time, but they way they set up these cuts seemed a little disjointed. My other meh feeling is about the treatment of his death. Throughout this whole film, we see how his decisions to affiliate with the scarier members of the scene contribute to his untimely death. And yet, in the close of his death scene he has choruses singing like he was some fallen angel who was just in the wrong place at the wrong time, when in reality he was involved in a world full of gang members who killed people. Not only is it not surprising that he was murdered, but it’s painful to see his demise almost glorified. Was it terrible that such an amazing artist and poet died well before his time? Yes. But it’s not like he got hit by a bus or his plane inexplicably fell from the sky. He was murdered -very probably- due to his interactions with some very dangerous people. My concern is that young folks will watch this movie and see the glory and fame of the rap game and interpret this choral rise to God scene as a glorification of a gangster death. Like that is some sort of height to be attained. And what we don’t need is any more kids joining gangs and ending up in these same idiotic feuds that killed some of our most talented musicians because they are seeing the 90’s gangster aesthetic reinforced in this film.

If you haven’t seen it in theaters yet, it is at the very least worth hearing some great song bumped LOUD. Also the acting was pretty good. If you have to pay more than $10 to see a movie in your town, then you can probably wait until RedBox. : D

3.5/5

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“All Eyez On Me” Review

Hidden Figures

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Welp, this glorious thing happened…

My mother grew up a bi-racial kid in the 70’s. It was not normal or acceptable. It was hard. When I was talking to her about her experience this week, she told me that growing up her family talked about her blackness like it was a disease–mind you, that wasn’t their perspective or intention, she explained, just that it was always framed as “this is a thing you’re always going to have to live with, but don’t worry you’ll be ok.”

I wish she had had a movie like this. It might be presented in a more simple approach, but it is very reassuring and inspiring to women of color. You can be smart. You can be ambitious. You can stand up for what you have earned and what you deserve. We need more movies like this.

All of the actresses were stellar; moreover, I was really pleased with Janelle MonĂ¡e‘s acting skills as I have pretty neutral feelings about her music career. It was nice to see Taraji P. Henson deftly encompass both the sassiness that she’s known to excel in as well as the shy, vulnerability that is crucial to her character in this film.

Any attempt for me to critically analyze this film will probably just devolve into a diary entry, so I’m going to leave it with a “Go See This!!!” Show the movie industry that a film about amazing, nerdy black women can make MONEY. If movies are atrociously priced in your area, at least hit it up at the Red Box.

Film: 4.5/5

Black Girl Magic: We go to 11.

Hidden Figures

Assassin’s Creed Review

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I liked it. I will probably never watch it again, but if a friend had it on at their place I wouldn’t complain. I will also probably go see any future films of this series until they no longer bring me joy. : D

There were complaints on the interwebs about over-casting and over-plotting, but I find that confusing. Having spent more time watching people play this fucking game than I ever, ever, EVER would want to, I feel like this movie holds up pretty well for what it is. For point of reference I have also spent large portions of life watching people play Call of Duty and I had less than zero interest in seeing those movies after watching the trailer…

The cast was fine. I enjoyed Omar. I also enjoyed the totally unnecessary shirtlessness of Magneto.

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The action scenes were pretty alright and lined up pretty well with the gameplay.

If you’re not a total snob and like actiony-drama movies, you will probably enjoy this.

3/5

Assassin’s Creed Review

Rogue One Review *Spoiler*

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I enjoyed this movie in the most conventional sense. It had a plot, there was suspense and there were cheeky jokes.

I make a point to see the Star Wars movies in the theatres, but I’m not a like die-core fan. I legitimately enjoyed The Force Awakens, but this one was a little bit of a miss for me. This series has become much more racially inclusive over the years (and not to kick a dead horse BUT), can we have a POC as a female lead already?? Also, I know that everyone dying makes the plot more interesting but I didn’t WANT them to die! It’s not fair…they tried so hard, they got so far…

It was fun to watch, but to be honest it was more of a Red Box-er. Where I live, ticket prices are super cheap, but I would have been ticked if I had paid $12-15 to see this.

3/5

Rogue One Review *Spoiler*

Review: Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them

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I enjoyed this movie.

I would really recommend seeing this while it’s in theatres because of the special effects. The plot is pretty average, but the talent of the actors help get you to that emotional investment needed to keep you interested.

It would be a waste to spend time analyzing this film. It’s pretty. It’s fun. It’s the HP world. : D

 

Review: Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them

Embrace of the Serpent Review

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Every year the hubby and I watch a thoroughly depressing and/or hopeless film on Thanksgiving to underscore the “you need to be grateful” concept. It works. Embrace of the Serpent directed by Ciro Guerra was up to bat this year.

The cinematography in this film was excellent. Filming in black and white allows you to see the care taken in each shot. I also loved the recurring shots of the roaring river, which is like the life-force of the jungle.

This film offers a lot to swallow in terms of colonialism, indigenous rights and cultural development, and how people of modernity can or cannot return to the earth. I’m still processing a lot of it: both what the film presents and my own struggles living in a country with no respect for people of color and their respective cultures.

I would definitely recommend giving this a watch. It is long and quiet in pacing, so plan for that in terms of company (we had a chatty houseguest : I ) and snacks. I’m not sure this will make it into the Bleak Bible, which is our list of Thanksgiving-Acceptable films, but time will tell. Sometimes the hopelessness kicks in later ala Requiem for A Dream.

May your bellies always be full!

 

Embrace of the Serpent Review

Pete’s Less-Cool Dragon Story

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I watched this a few weeks ago, so the details are a little fuzzy buuut here we go!

Oakes Fegley is a truly talented kid. It was also fun to see how far we’ve come with special effects. The aerial shots were pretty cool too. : D That was about the extent of my enjoyment of this film.

I love. loooove. looooved the original Pete’s Dragon as a kid. I loved singing along to “Candle on the Water.” I loved the drunken grandfather. I realize that a lot of the things they had in kid’s movies way back when are no longer considered “ok” themes, but ugh it gave the plot so much more character.

This film felt a little hollow. It’s way more somber and has a lot more Ferngully-level save-the-forest subtext (which I don’t disagree with, it just was not at all a part of the original). The plight of Pete and Elliott in this new rendition just didn’t grab my heartstrings like the ’77 film. Maybe I’m too old and the magic is gone…but I also was a sob-fest during Finding Dory so I don’t really buy that argument.

Summary: If I could only pick one, I’d pick the older version.

 

Pete’s Less-Cool Dragon Story