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2019 ERNIE LADD MEMORIAL BLACK HISTORY MONTH REVIEWS

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I'm already picking 3 Tough Guys for next year~!

James

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1 hour ago, J.T. said:

I love how James waxed philosophically on Shaft as it he'd been watching some epic length motion picture like Lawrence of Arabia or Ben-Hur.

Shaft and Enter The Dragon are two of the bravest movies that Hollywood ever made as far as casting decisions go. .

 

Two movies I love to pieces. I remember in like 92, TNT was promoting Black History Month and there were like a thousand ads to not miss "TNT's SPECIAL Black History Month Presentation of... SHAFT!"

Of course they equally hyped the same thing the next night for Car Wash

James

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6 hours ago, J.T. said:

You could right a thesis on the idea of the black revenge fantasy as shown through the Truck Turner or Slaughter movies.

Or you could just put Mafia 3 into your video game console.

But then you'd actually have to play Mafia 3.

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ATTACK THE BLOCK (Cornish, 2011)

attacktheblockbg.jpg

IMDB

ROTTEN TOMATOES (90% C/74% A)

SELECTED BY: @J.T.

REVIEWED BY: @driver

We see comet shooting towards Earth and then fireworks in a country where they drive on the wrong side of the road. Judging by the accents and that everything looks wet and cold the setting has to be England. As Doctor Who is surrounded by a group of teens(led by Moses) and robbed("You wanna get merked, innit?") said comet crashes into a Volvo.  A critter breaks free and makes a run for it and gets chased by said ruffians. And it gets merked, innit. And here come more comets(but no Vixens or Blitzens or it would've been a Christmas movie).

The lady who was robbed takes refuge in the flat of a kindly old lady whilst Critter Merkers carry said alien critters body around and scare some birds with it. The Merkers arrive at their apartment block(Wyndham Tower). These kids have probably been friends all of their lives and have each others backs no matter what. They take the alien to renowned alien expert/weed dealer Ronnie(Nick Frost)("He watches that National Geographic shit, innit!").  Here we get to meet Hi-Hatz, local kingpin/aspiring rapper.

As more comets crash to the earth and the Merkers watch them crash to earth Moses(the leader of the group) decides its time to fuck them up. Cut to a montage of the different kids going home and getting their weapons together to prepare for battle. The aliens are called everything from Gremlins to Golems. 

They did a great job with the creature design. The glow in the dark teeth are a great touch. 

As Moses gets arrested aliens close in and shit gets real. Moses, a mate and Doctor Who are able to make their escape in a police van. They have a quick run in with local kingpin Hi-Hatz and a mate and Big Gorilla Wolf Mother Fuckers show up and Hi-Hatz' mate is no more. 

Everybody ends up in The Doctor's flat and she is chastised by the kids for having a potty mouth. Fucking hilarious. After a Big Bear Gorilla Gremlin Golem Mother Fucker crashes into the flat The Doctor, Moses, Jerome, et. al. decide to make a break for it. They head to Tia's apartment("Why are we headed there?" The Doctor asks and the reply is "If she seen these girls fight, she wouldn't be askin' that question." ) Great response.

One character believes that the aliens were bred by the government and sent to kill them because the drugs and guns they had sent in previously had failed.

After a quick alien assault on Tia's flat Hi-Hatz is back and he's still a little pissed at Moses and his mates. Can't imagine why. 

Another thing that commons up is that actions have consequences. In killing the first alien Moses' actions have brought about the consequences of an alien invasion.

Everybody heads for Ronnie's apartment("It's like Fort Knox in there, innit"). They finally make it there and shit gets very fucking real really fucking fast.

One of the things that stands out to me is how easily the aliens are dispatched. No giant scientific solution, just fireworks and the odd bolo knife or samurai sword. It works.

When it comes time for the final showdown it is Moses and a flat full of Big Gorilla Wolf Mother Fuckers. As Moses hangs on for dear life from a Union Jack it makes me wonder if there was supposed to be some symbolism in that or maybe I am just reading way too much into it.

I enjoyed this movie the first time I saw it shortly after it came out and I enjoyed it even more this time around.

On a scale of 1-10 Big Gorilla Wolf Mother Fuckers, I am giving this a solid TEN Big Gorilla Wolf Mother Fuckers.

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Fuck. Yes. 

Attack the Block is the shit. 

Sorry for the potty mouth...

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"What's Ron's weed room?" "It's a big room full of weed. And it's Ron's."

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I really need to make time for Attack the Block.  I remember seeing the trailers and being excited, but it came out as I was moving halfway across the South and had other shit going on; by the time it hit video it'd fallen out of the back of my head.

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Attack The Block is fucking awesome!

I still find Moses's aside about how he felt that the British Government created the Big Gorilla Wolf Mother Fuckers and sent them to finish the job that drugs and black on black violence couldn't to be depressingly sobering, as I have heard similar sentiments expressed dozens of times in other movies made in America like Menace 2 Society and Boyz N The Hood.

Same with Pest chiding Samantha about her boyfriend for going to Africa to help children as if kids in Britain weren't in equally dire straits.

It is sad to see that some things are tragically universal.

My younger brother's crush on Paige Meade aka Paigey Cakey (Dimples) is legendary. She was cute.  I hit up the Google to see what she looks like in present day and HOLY FUCK~!

It cannot be stressed enough what an amazing ensemble cast this movie has.  The dialogue is infinitely quotable (if you can decipher the slang and account for the accents :)) because everyone gets to say something thought provoking or completely fucking hilarious.

And mad props for somehow sneaking mother fucking KRS-One onto the soundtrack!

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8 hours ago, Cliff Hanger said:

I really need to make time for Attack the Block.  I remember seeing the trailers and being excited, but it came out as I was moving halfway across the South and had other shit going on; by the time it hit video it'd fallen out of the back of my head.

Just go watch it. GO FUCKING WATCH IT!!!

 

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See, I'm glad I sat this out and am just going to sweep through and watch stuff put here, because about the only thing I might've chosen is The Last Dragon.

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BONUS REVIEW BY @odessasteps

FILLMORE!

ABC, 2002-2004

IMDB

One of my favorite 21st century cartoons, Fillmore is a wonderful juxtaposition of old references in a contemporary setting. Primarily an homage to 1970s cop shows, it stars Cornelius Fillmore (Orlando Brown), a former troublemaker who is now the lead member of the X Middle School safety patrol. Fillmore’s new partner is transfer student Ingrid Third (Tara Strong), a brainy goth in the Winona Ryder/Christina Ricci mood. The cast is filled out by a collection of other kids (including Lauren Tom and Horatio Sanz) and Principal Folsom (Wendie Malik). 

Created by Scott Gimple (now part of the Walking Dead production team), the show does a great job of mixing in a diverse cast with being stereotypical. And so much metatext, starting with all the characters being named after streets of San Francisco and the spot-on Quinn Martin-style credits.

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That's "without being stereotypical."

Stupid writing reviews at 0300.

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BONUS REVIEW BY @Execproducer

WHEN WE WERE KINGS (Gast, 1996)

IMDB

ROTTEN TOMATOES (98% C/93% A)

When I was a kid, there were two sports followed in our house: Football and boxing. Despite living in Florida, we were Dallas Cowboys fans. Tom Landry, Roger Staubach, Lee Roy Jordan, Billy Joe DuPree, Drew Pearson, Ed "Too Tall" Jones, these were Titans in our house. And why in the actual fuck isn't Drew Pearson in the HOF anyway? Bullshit!!!

But I digress.

This was also the era when boxing was on network TV pretty much every weekend. And the King of Kings, The Greatest, was Muhammad Ali. I was too young to remember a time when America hated Ali. I only remember when Ali Ruled The World. I'm sure there were still Americans (meaning white Americans) that resented Ali up to October 29th, 1974 but he would soon take a step that  put him forever in rarefied air.

When We Were Kings (1996) is the story of the "Rumble in the Jungle", the  Heavyweight Championship fight between Muhammad Ali and  Heavyweight Champ George Foreman that took place in Kinshasa, Zaire (now the Democratic Republic of Congo) on October 30th, 1974. Originally intended to highlight  Zaire 74, the music festival that was supposed to precede the fight, with the Rumble playing a secondary role, everything changed after Foreman was cut above the eye during sparring, causing a delay of six weeks. The fight, and Ali in particular, inevitably became the docs focus. We get a brief history of Ali's life up to that point. There have been several docs since that cover that ground much more in depth but if you know absolutely nothing about Ali it is a pretty good primer. We get plenty of footage surrounding fight preparations and get to see Don King in the infancy of his fight promotion career, already full of business acumen and complete bullshit. We get Spike Lee reflecting on the importance of Ali, the man  the athlete, and the symbol. We see Ali sparring with a young Larry Holmes, the ruler of the post-Ali era. We see surly George Foreman, one more 'unbeatable fighter' like Sonny Liston before him and Mike Tyson after, destined to be more famous for falling to Ali than for destroying Joe Frazier and Ken Norton. We get contemporary (1996) talking heads Norman Mailer and George Plimpton regaling us with their memories of being ringside, played along with clips of the fight. Mailer is almost the star of this thing weaving a narrative of Ali fearfully facing an impossible task and willing himself to conquer the monster before him. Whatever you think of his fight analysis, it is a good story. But actually watch the fight. There is a reason why Ali was leading on the score cards before the 8th round. Plimpton talks about fixes and witch doctors. Oooh eee oooh ahh ahh ting tang walla walla bing bang.

And we see Ali in Africa. Make no mistake, the reasons for the fight happening there are all business but Ali is clearly caught up in the adulation he receives from the citizens ( Ali, boma ye!!) and being there no doubt helped him grow into the role of Icon that was about to happen to him. Regaining his title that he never lost before his fight with Uncle Sam (though he did lose a decision to champ Joe Frazier in 1971), he would move to superhero status, selling posters, action figures, t-shirts, records, and fighting Superman in the comics. And he would go on to nearly being deified after meeting Frazier in Manila.  

Tied up due to legal and financial reasons, it took 22 years to complete the film, by which time the Rumble had already developed its own mythology and Kings seems to have been edited to follow it closely. Still, it's a great doc that every boxing fan should see

The music portion that was bumped to a supporting role because The Greatest, fills that role nicely. Clips of James Brown, B.B. King, The Spinners and others make you long for a complete concert dvd. Until that actually happens, you're just going to have to settle for this.

 

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If we had ever done that Greatest Documentary of All Time ballot - I think I would have When We Were Kings at #1

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14 minutes ago, RIPPA said:

If we had ever done that Greatest Documentary of All Time ballot - I think I would have When We Were Kings at #1

I presumably would have aggravated a lot of people by probaly picking Olympia (or maybe something by Errol Morris.)

Keeping with the theme here, even as an old white guy, I loved that Chris Rock documentary Good Hair. (Speaking of topics that gets segments of the DVDVR family wound up) 

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I have been debating doing a bonus review on Good Hair but I really would need to rewatch it first

I think half the fun is I am SOOOOOO the last person who should be reviewing it

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I remember liking it when I saw it. As another old white guy I found it informative and would be interested to learn what it got wrong.

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Somebody really needs to pick Good Hair next year. I'd do a bonus on it if I owned it, too. 

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I think, next year, I'm doing a bonus review.  This has been a fun concept and hope it comes around next year.

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I like that people are already thinking in terms of next year and we won't have a situation where we are reviewing Four Weddings and a Funeral or Bed of Roses

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9 minutes ago, Execproducer said:

I like that people are already thinking in terms of next year and we won't have a situation where we are reviewing Four Weddings and a Funeral or Bed of Roses

Since there is no more movie club, this is a cool replacement. And doing it 3 or 4 times a year hopefully people won’t get burnt out. 

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2 hours ago, nate said:

I think, next year, I'm doing a bonus review.  This has been a fun concept and hope it comes around next year.

It's only the 10th. I presume there's still time. :) 

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6 hours ago, RIPPA said:

I have been debating doing a bonus review on Good Hair but I really would need to rewatch it first

I think half the fun is I am SOOOOOO the last person who should be reviewing it

Good Hair is fucking awesome.  You need to make that bonus review happen.

Good on Mark for reviewing Filmore.  My kid and I pretty much stopped watching Disney Channel when Filmore and Kim Possible went away.

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7 hours ago, RIPPA said:

If we had ever done that Greatest Documentary of All Time ballot - I think I would have When We Were Kings at #1

You mean that you would put Hoop Dreams at #2?

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