Thursday, March 29, 2012

The Gentleman’s Club Talk Radio 3-22-2012

In recent weeks, I have become part of the Gentleman’s Club Talk Radio family.  Gentleman’s Club Talk Radio is a virtual lounge hosted by Torrey Fields, Iron Lion, and the lovely Ms. Raven “EthioAmerican” Alexandria. Every week they cover a wide range of topics from sports to current events and everything in between.  They always manage to do so with humor, wit, and intelligence.  I appear sporadically as my alter ego “Malice Intended” to cover Hip-Hop and movie related topics.  The party jumps off every Thursday from 9pm EST to 11pm EST.  All are welcome as long as you keep it grown, sexy, and smart!

Movie Trailer: ‘Unlucky Stars’ Teaser Trailer

Upon initially discovering Hong Kong Action cinema, I turned my nose up at the Kung-Fu comedy stylings of Jackie Chan and company.  I gravitated to much more serious fare like “Heroic Bloodshed.”  I made a rare exception for the offerings of Lau Kar Leung, but that’s where I drew the line.  Since then, I have gradually been shedding such prejudices. It would appear to be too late, as the golden age of Hong Kong cinema has long since passed.  Fortunately for me, traces of its DNA can be still found in action cinema from around the world.  

Short Film Review: Make a Choice (War or Peace) Trayvon Martin

A young brother heads out to a march in honor of Trayvon Martin.  He invites his roommate to join him.  Thinking the march a futile jester, the roommate refuses, and an emotionally charged debate results.  One side believes that peaceful protest is the answer, while the other side prefers street justice.  It’s a complex question that has plagued Black America for centuries, and the Trayvon Martin shooting has only intensified such sentiments on both sides.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

High Octane: An Interview With Author and Action Film Expert Eric Lichtenfeld

Action is a vital ingredient to today’s Blockbusters.  It’s a universal language that crosses all cultural boundaries.  People all over the world love to watch fistfights, car chases, and shootouts.  Unfortunately, such things often come at the expense of character and story, which is why genre has been largely dismissed by critics and cineastes in the past.  Over the last decade or so, that perception has been slowly changing. A handful of well-made actioners have shown critics just what the genre is capable of in the right hands.  In addition, a few historians have been proactive about pointing out the genres merits to their peers.

Photo by Juliet Turback
One such fellow is Eric Lichtenfeld.  He is the author of ‘Action Speaks Louder: Violence, Spectacle, and the American Action Movie.’  It is one of the few, if not the only, scholarly tomes ever written about the genre.  It isn’t simply an extended list of its high points, but a true reference guide.  It identifies and examines the underlying themes common to most action pictures.  It also puts things into historical perspective.  Being the action junkie that I am, I sought out Mr. Lichtenfeld so I could pick his brain a bit.  I ended up getting much more than I’d bargained for, as he proceeded to school me on my beloved genre.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Movie Trailer: ‘Prometheus’ Official Full Trailer

The anticipation for Ridley Scott’s Prometheus is reaching Phantom Menace levels of hysteria.  Usually, the marketing campaigns for summer blockbusters are exercises in overkill.  They leave the viewer feeling browbeaten and overwhelmed before they even set foot in the theater.  Thus far, the Campaign for Prometheus has had the opposite effect.  The more people see, the more they want to know.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Short Film Review: Ruin

During a scavenger hunt in an abandoned city, a lone warrior is set upon by a flying death machine. Armed to the teeth with heavy weaponry, this mechanical bird of prey will not be deterred from its mission. The high speed chase that results has the hero using all of his skills and resources to evade capture while navigating the treacherous cityscape.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Movie Review: 21 Jump Street

Morton Schmidt (Jonah Hill) and Greg Janko (Channing Tatum) occupy different rungs of the social ladder at their High School.  Greg is a popular jock, and Morton is unpopular nerd.  Years after graduation, their paths cross again at the local police academy.  Morton has the brains, and Greg has the brawn. Finding that they complement each other nicely, a bond grows between the two.  Unfortunately their performance leaves a lot to be desired.  In hopes of salvaging their careers, a superior decides to assign them to 21 Jump Street, where they will serve under the belligerent Captain Dickson (Ice Cube).  They are then required go deep cover as high school students to infiltrate a drug ring operating out of their old alma mater.  To their chagrin, high school turns out to be even more of a challenge the second time around.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

New Music: Nas -The Don

Once upon a time, those outside of the New York tri-state area saw Nas as just another NY rapper benefiting from east coast bias.  That was nearly 18 years ago, and the chipped toothed kid from Queensbridge has long since proved his lyrical worth in spades.  He’s now a respected elder statesman, and these days new music from him is seen as manna from heaven.  About an hour ago, he blessed fans with his latest work, a song titled “The Don.”  It’s the second single from his forthcoming tenth album Life is Good.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Happy Birthday Ash: ‘Evil Dead II: Dead by Dawn’ Turns 25

In the late 1980’s, the Horror genre came under heavy fire from detractors.  Slasher and Splatter films had become very popular with the teen demographic and seemed to be skewing younger by the day.  The home video market had made such extreme fare more widely accessible to small children than ever before.  Buckling under public pressure, the MPAA began cracking down on envelope pushing horror films.  As is often the case with such crackdowns, certain films were unfairly persecuted.  One in particular suffered the same fate at the hands of the MPAA as far more grisly fare.  This was despite the fact that it was essentially a slapstick comedy.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Short Film Review: Chase

Early one morning on the I-95, an apocalyptic high speed chase is underway.  The entire police department is in hot pursuit of four sexy speedsters.  Given the manpower involved, these ladies shouldn’t be hard to snare.  However, they have more than a few tricks up there sleeve.  The interstate is their playground.  

Happy Birthday Riggs and Murtaugh: ‘Lethal Weapon’ Turns 25

By 1987, the "Buddy Cop" film had been around for a couple of decades.  During the opening half of the decade, it was redefined by Walter Hill’s racially charged 48 Hours.  However, times were changing, and the gospel of high-concept filmmaking was spreading rapidly through Tinsel Town.  Producer Joel Silver, a huge proponent of that particular approach, would apply it to a rather dark screenplay by a UCLA graduate.  The resulting film was a bit lighter, but retained much of the script’s ferocity. In the process, a franchise was spawned and the "Buddy Cop" film was changed forever.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Short Film Review: Street Fighter X Tekken: The Devil Within

Ryu (Dan Southworth) is at war with himself, literally.  Having recently uncovered the “Satsui no hadou” ("Surge of Murderous Intent") within himself, the karateka struggles against its immense power.  This epic battle attracts the unwanted attentions of Kazuya Mishima (Mark Mushashi), who has fully embraced his own dark nature.  Kazuya takes advantage of Ryu’s weakened stake and moves in for the kill.  Ken Masters (Rueben Langdon) happens upon the fight and rushes to the aide of his troubled comrade.  As these warriors collide, the “Devil Gene” threatens to completely overtake its host.

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

In the world of drug trafficking, Frank “Black Caesar” Matthews was the first of a new breed.  Born during the waning days of WWII, he spent his childhood in Durham, NC as a chicken thief.  He decided to cut his education short in the seventh grade, and eventually made his way to Philadelphia, PA.  After making a name for himself in the local numbers racket, he relocated to Brooklyn, NY.  While working as a barber, he continued collecting numbers, but eventually decided to try his hand in the smack trade.  Feeling that they had enough Black dealers under their employ, La Cosa Nostra refused him sponsorship.  Undeterred, Matthews soon made the acquaintance of a Cuban Cocaine supplier.