16 October 2009


URBAN: Brian De Palma presents a film with more cultural currency than real scinematic excellence. An important film for understanding the times.

This film is the definition of eneven to me. It contains some of the most intense scenes (despite not having any particularly outstanding shots) while also containing some long stretches of downtime. The scene where Tony meets the first drug dealers that culminates in the chainsaw killing is completely breathtaking. The part where the guy gets thrown out of the chopper is the same way. The end is another example of this. However, the rest is kind of spacey. The scenes of them talking at the beach and the odd stuff with his sister are barely memorable. Unfortunately, this film has become intertwined with the first big GTA game, Vice City.

Very memorable. Better than a lot of people give it credit for. It's just not quite the achievement that the game was.

URBAN: Recommended
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14 October 2009


URBAN: If you want to know the man, you would be better off watching his VH1 special.

Notorious tells the story of Notorious B.I.G., Chris Wallace from childhood to his untimely death at the age of 25.

URBAN: The thing that was interesting to me about this film really had nothing to with what was caught on camera. The real story was simply: considering that both Biggie Smalls and Tupac have both had VH1 Behind The Music specials based upon their death, that this one made it to the big screen first. Seriously, I don't mean to recreate the East Coast-West Coast, Bad Boy-Death Row feud, but I think that it is pretty much universally accepted that Tupac was the better artist, and certainly possessed a more interesting story.

This film does not compare favorably to the other music biographies that have appeared recently-Ray, Walk The Line, etc. It's not necessarily that the subject matter has anything less to offer, but the method of telling the story here is lacking. Early on, the voice-over narrative does a decent job of explaining Biggie's motivations which allow the viewer to understand the action that he/she sees. Biggie wants to make money, but he also has enough respect for his mother that he wants to keep his extracurricular activity from her. As the film draws on, the motivations often lack explanation, and the viewer gets bogged down in the contradictions that the filmmaker depicts, but have no cause or relation to the major events of the story.

For example, the film depicts a young Chris writing rhymes and dealing drugs, the drugs are explained by the voice-over, but the rhyming,,,, just a throwaway line about how it made him feel better to write rhymes while he was in jail. While I would assume that rhymes would go on to become a big part of his life, the film really doesn't help me out here. Despite the fact that it is a biography, the film basically holds the audience at arms length.

In the second half of the film, this tactic really insults the intelligence of the viewer. This film would have us believe that the feud that laid Tupac Shakur and Notorious B.I,G in their graves began over a perceived jumping outside an apartment in Brooklyn. While undoubtedly, this would be a big deal, but it is never understood why, Tupac believed that Biggie was behind this incident. It goes even further after an affront by Tupac to Biggie in front of a music awards show, the voice-over confides, “ We should have gotten together somewhere and sorted this shit out, but it was too late for that.”


You see, everyone who has watched Tupac's Behind The Music knows that there was more going on than that.

In closing, this film fails because it refuses to deliver the depth of details. The voice-over is confusing, as it would have the viewer believe that this is Biggie telling us his story. But it depicts a lot of bad behavior he never apologizes for, and tells the story of a great lyricist without every getting close to the subject matter that inspired his greatest work—mortality.

URBAN: Not Recommended
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12 October 2009


It's harder to write a review of a good film than a bad film.
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08 October 2009

Power Issues

The power is working intermittently.

I really am only a step away from regular posts again. Be patient.
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03 October 2009

The Hangover

URBAN: I thought it was going to be stupid and sophomoric, but like Zach Galifianakis's character in the film, it's so sincere in doing these things that I couldn't help but like it.

The one and only destination for bachelor parties is put on display in this comedy that is equal parts Dude, Where's My Car, and American Wedding, but easily ten times better than both put together.

URBAN: The Hangover, one of the funniest movies of 2009, grabs the attention of moviegoers for no other reason than its setting. The premise is so simple, yet funny, that it can't help but strike the imagination of viewers. It holds that attention with outrageous details and excellent comedic performance by newcomer Zach Galifianakis.

Besides being one of the funniest movies of the year, for my money, it is also one of the hardest working. By this I mean that it stretches everything it has for maximum effect. Take the cast for example. With the exception of the guy who used to be the nerdy co-worker of Jennifer Garner or Alias (Bradley Cooper), none of three leads have much experience. Of the other two, one is a guy who used to do reporting on the Daily Show (Ed Helms) and the other is relatively unknown (Galifianakis). The mix works though because the star is really the story that unfolds in reverse. That, and it's loaded with impressive cameos that are worked for a lot of great, comedic scenes. Heather Graham, Mike Tyson, the doctor from Knocked Up (Ken Jeong), they all make the most of their chances to shine and also have the added benefit of moving the story along nicely.

One of the most underrated things about this film is the little piano song that Ed Helm's character plays while the guys wait for the tiger to go to sleep. It perfectly fits the surreal feeling of the film.

The main issue that I had with the film is rather silly: they really didn't mine all of the humorous material from that night. At the end of the film, when the men involved look at the pictures on the camera, it is clear that many other shenanigans occurred that would have made great comedy. I know it is a weak argument, but after seeing that reel of film over the credits, I really wanted to see a fight between the dentist and Wayne Newton.

URBAN: Recommended
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Flashback Fridays: Tropic Thunder

URBAN: Consistently very funny throughout.

A comedy dream-team makes this the funniest movie of 2008.

I was worried that this would be another Stiller-esque type of comedy, which, like Will Ferrel's films, all start to look the same after a while. This film does contain the typical amount of Stiller posing, but for the first time, it seems like it makes sense.

The story revolves around a group of prima donna actors taken to Southeast Asia to shoot a film about the Vietnam Conflict. They soon realize that their situation is simultaneously both more fake; The writer of the war memoir is a faker, and also more real; Real drug lords are attempting to kill them.

Along the way all of the actors have a chance to exercise the inner demons that are mainly results of the actors trying to internalize the psyches of the characters they play.

With the exception of Matthew McConaughey, all of the lead actors have their chance to give the audience some laughs. As it turns out, the real star of the film, and the only real hero, is Jay Baruchel. Stepping out of his roles as a nerd/slacker in Apatow comedies, it becomes apparent early on that he is the only functional person in the cast of the original Vietnam story. Tom Cruise, stepping away from the serious stuff, is heavily made-up, attempting to portray a Jewish studio exec. the result is highly entertaining. His dancing, while not exactly what we saw in Risky Business, is one of the highlights.

The film is unbelievably crass and politically incorrect. These facts all work to add to the humor, which is extremely sophomoric. Despite, this, it seems to be a real winner.

I can't tell you that this is a great movie. It doesn't have any deeper meaning, there is no message, it isn't as smart as the Apatow comedies,,,, its just really funny. If you want to laugh, give this film a look

URBAN: recommended
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