Thursday, January 26, 2012

Short Film Review: Archetype

During a mission, a massive war machine known only as RL7 suddenly begins having memories of being human.  These visions become a hindrance to its intended purpose.  The corporation that created RL7 enters its robot consciousness in hopes of fixing the problem.  Such efforts prove fruitless.  To complicate matters even more, RL7 has developed other humanlike tendencies such as curiosity and rebellion.  The malfunctioning machine goes AWOL, hoping to find answers to the many questions that its troubling visions have brought about.  

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Three New Clips from ‘The Raid’ Take Action Choreography to Dazzling New Heights

Over the past few days, three new eye-popping clips from The Raid have surfaced.  Each one displays a slightly different aspect of the film’s action choreography.  From the looks of things, it’s a Frankenstein’s monster of an action flick (and I mean that in the most complimentary sense), assembling parts from a variety of different sources.  These scenes are the very definition of organized chaos, as they refine mindless carnage into a fine art.

Movie Review: Red Tails

As their white counterparts wage war with the Nazis over the skies of Europe, the Tuskegee Airmen wait patiently in the wings.  Uncle Sam, however, apparently sees them as something of a nuisance and would have them permanently sidelined as World War II rages on.  However, this particular band of brothers flat out refuses to let their talents wither and die on the vine.  With the help of powerful allies in the upper ranks of the military, the airmen eventually earn the right to fight and possibly die for a country that hardly values such a noble sacrifice.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

DVD Trailer: The Frank Matthews Story: The Rise and Disappearance of America's Biggest Kingpin

In the annals of African American organized crime, no one’s shadow looms larger than Frank “Black Caesar” Matthews.  His story bears an uncanny resemblance to that of the fictional character Keyser Söze from the film The Usual Suspects.  In the early 1970’s, he lorded over a heroin empire that stretched out over 21 states. His fearsome reputation preceded him, to the extent that even the Italian Mafia considered him a threat.  He sought to organize Black and Spanish gangsters into a nationwide network that would eventually push La Cosa Nostra completely out of the drug trade.  His dream was not to be, as he was apprehended before it could come to fruition.  U.S. authorities had him in their grasp, yet still he managed to disappear with nary a trace.  According to legend, he skipped the country in 1973 with 15 million dollars in tow.  He hasn’t been seen or heard from since.

Street Justice: An Interview with Michael Morrissey, Writer/Director of ‘Boy Wonder’

Vigilantes have long been a fixture on both the movie screen and the comic book page.  Many of the first action films focused on violent loners who take the law into their own hands. Many others have featured cops that play so fast and loose with the rules that they might as well be considered vigilantes.  Pretty much every superhero operates outside the confines of the law, regardless of whether they use super powers, gadgets, or guns.  Needless to say, such depictions of vigilantism rarely have anything to do with realism.  They usually serve as a springboard for cathartic, stylized bloodletting.  Everyone loves to see those that prey on society get their comeuppance.  

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Gina Carano Goes 'Haywire' in the Opening Scene of Steven Soderbergh's New Action Flick

The opening scene of Steven Soderbergh’s upcoming action film Haywire was recently posted over at Hulu.  It gives viewers but a taste of the brutal fisticuffs that await them come opening day.  It takes place in a diner, where Gina’s character Mallory Kane has her morning coffee interrupted by Aaron (Channing Tatum).  It starts out in a fairly mundane manner, with Tatum delivering his lines in drowsy fashion (I can’t tell if he’s doing so intentionally or if he’s simply being himself).  At the 3:07 mark, the things suddenly erupt into a brutal and destructive scrap.  The lead character is mercilessly beaten before turning the tables and her opponent and pounds him into the linoleum.

The Tuskegee Airmen Fly High and Hit Hard in 7 Minute Preview of ‘Red Tails’

Red Tails opens in movie theaters across the country in less than two weeks.  Screenings have been held, yet there is still no real word as to its quality.  That’s more than a little troubling when we are so close the wire.  Many want this film to do well, and for obvious reasons.  The immediate future of Black films not squarely aimed at the “Chitlin’ Circuit” crowd could very well hinge on how Red Tails performs on its opening weekend.    Black audiences are being encouraged to come out en masse, so as to show Hollywood that such films can be profitable.  If Red Tails is to receive the desired level of success, it would be nice if the movie itself was deserving of it.   The film will likely have to be exceptionally good to enjoy any measure of crossover business.

Monday, January 9, 2012

An Inquisitive Trio of Friends Explore the Unknown in a New Clip From ‘Chronicle’

I’ve pretty much ignored the “found footage” genre for the last year or so.  My skepticism is largely fueled by its rather gimmicky nature.  Even the best ones are one trick ponies with little to no repeat value.  What little novelty factor the genre has left is fast being squandered by unimaginative filmmakers who seem content on using it for a series of cinematic smash-and-grabs.  By the time audiences realize what they've been sold, the box office receipts have been tallied and production costs have been recouped.  From there it's on to the next one.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

DVD Documentary Review: Motown Mafia: The Story of Eddie Jackson and Courtney Brown

In the early 1970’s, Detroit Michigan was the setting of a bloody and ongoing underworld war.  The violence that resulted knew no bounds and claimed many lives.  Amazingly, in the midst of the maelstrom stood two of the most unlikely generals one could imagine.  Eddie Jackson and Courtney Brown lorded over a heroin ring that grossed millions of dollars while maintaining a virtually non-existent body count.  This made them stand out from other heroin kingpins of the day, who by and large preferred gunplay to diplomacy.  At a time when Black gangsters around the country began to firmly establish themselves in the dope game, Eddie “Fat Man” Jackson and Courtney “Field Marshal” Brown were playing from an entirely different playbook.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Mixtape Review: Raekwon - 'Unexpected Victory' (Includes Free Download)

Raekwon the chef has been on a serious roll for the past three years, seemingly making up valuable time lost in the late 1990’s and early 2000’s.  He now offers a mixtape to tide fans over until he can accommodate them with something a bit more filling.  The between meal snack is titled Unexpected Victory, and features plethora of shaolin soldiers in training, as well guest appearances from fellow lyrical kingpins.  The collection reveals its chief architect’s varied musical tastes, while also exposing his artistic limitations.