Friday, September 8, 2017

JAY-Z’s Tell-All 4:44 Interview [VIDEOS]

Last month, JAY-Z sat down with Elliot Wilson and Brian 'B.Dot' Miller of Rap Radar to share exclusive details about his newly released 4:44 album. The TIDAL podcast was broken into two parts that aired on August 18 and August 25.

In the interview, he spoke about his relationship with Kanye West, how Blue got behind the mic for that legendary freestyle, and much, much more. JAY-Z recently uploaded the entire interview on YouTube so non-TIDAL subscribers finally have access to the rare, in-depth discussion.-Sydney Gore, Fader

WATCH both parts below.

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Tuesday, August 29, 2017

'Everything Everything' Review

#EverythingEverything is #WonderfulWonderful! Yes it's one of those "teen love story" movies based on a YA (Young Adult) novel but it's not heavy on the saccharine–even though of course it's there. I learned about this movie from the great #CinemaInNoir #podcast. Teen love stories based on a YA novel ain't exactly on my radar.🤷🏽‍♂️ But the African American ladies that host the podcast STRONGLY recommended the film and I trust their opinions. [More on that in the comments below] THE STORY: A teenager (Maddy) who's spent her whole life confined to her home because of a rare disease falls for the boy next door (Olly). As you can tell, this love story is the definition of "It's complicated". Maddy's mother is a doctor (played to great effect by ANIKA NONI ROSE) so she is best able to take every precaution to make sure her daughter is totally safe from the outside and of course that means boys. Director STELLA MEGHIE does a #TerrificTerrific job @ showing how these two interact without you know—touching, in clever and inventive ways—and I'll leave it at that. NICK ROBINSON was cool as the boy next door. He was charming enough without seeming overbearing. The film though belongs to AMANDLA STENBERG. After so many supporting roles she is the LEAD here and as she is in almost every scene she LEADS the picture. With a film that spends so much time on the main character, who's a medically imposed shut-in, you need an actor to hold the audiences attention—and she does! She exudes just the right amount of intellect, strength and vulnerability. A #MarvelousMarvelous performance. Straight up and down, I wanted to see this film based on the podcast review, the actor Stenberg and director Meghie—but I didn't know I would enjoy it as much as I did—and I did.😊 I rented @everythingeverythingfilm from #RedBox and it's available #EverywhereEverywhere 😉
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Monday, June 26, 2017

'Can't Stop won't Stop: A Bad Boy Story' Review

'#CantStopWontStop: A Bad Boy Story' Review: This #documentary was really good. Any #HipHopHead who grew up with this music already know the history of Bad Boy Entertainment and even though it's recounted here it's not overwhelming. It's there for the people who had zero knowledge of how it started. This doc is not a total "fluff piece" and it's not all Puffy pontificating, even though there's a healthy dose of the latter. They do show some intimate scenes of Puff—but not a lot. It's all about Bad Boy. The film is framed around the 2016 "Bad Boy 20th Anniversary" concerts in New York and captures a lot of the rehearsal and #BehindTheScenes effort it took to pull that off. This is NOT a "Behind the scenes featurette" you might see on a DVD, it's just a framing device to tell the history of Bad Boy. It was great to see all the Bad Boy artists from back in the day reunite for the first time, as one person put it, in "16 years". These scenes BEAUTIFULLY photographed in Black & White were the highlight of the picture. The film also doesn't heavily rely on Biggie—even though as you can imagine he's a large part of the history, especially his death. I really liked the direction and #cinematography of DANIEL KAUFMAN on this film. Aside from the beautiful Black & White, he used some techniques later in the film that I enjoyed. Nice touch.👌🏾 I think any fan of Bad Boy's music throughout the years will enjoy this documentary as you not only witness a music history reunion but a work ethic by Puffy and staff especially "The General" LAURIEANNE GIBSON that seems unparalleled and always striving for what Puffy says throughout and often—#BlackExcellence ✨ For now this film is streaming exclusively @AppleMusic.
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Sunday, June 18, 2017

'All Eyez on Me' Opening Weekend Box Office

Tre'vell Anderson
June 18, 2017 

Fellow new release, Lionsgate-Codeblack’s “All Eyez on Me,” is the weekend standout however, pulling $27.1 million in its debut weekend. Though only a third-place finish, it far surpassed analyst expectations of $17 million to $20 million, an unsurprising feat considering the industry's historical inability to properly track films targeting black audiences.

“All Eyez on Me” is the long-awaited biopic about Tupac Shakur, the Harlem-born hip-hop hit maker who, in just 25 years of life, came to define a generation through his music, acting and poetry before that fateful 1996 drive-by shooting. Starring first-time actor Demetrius Shipp Jr., a doppelganger for the “California Love” rapper, the film is titled after Tupac’s final album released before his death. It also stars Danai Gurira as his mother and former Black Panther Afeni Shakur, Kat Graham as Jada Pinkett (Smith) and Annie Ilonzeh as Kidada Jones.
A film that according to producer L.T. Hutton finally got made because of the massive success of 2015’s “Straight Outta Compton” — despite countless biopics about black musicians doing well at the box office before the film charting N.W.A’s rise — “All Eyez” is an audience favorite. Moviegoers (53% male; 62% 25 and older) gave the picture an A-minus CinemaScore. Just about every critic review however is negative, leaving the film, directed by Benny Boom and shepherded through a 20-year gestation period by former Death Row Record producer and Pac confidant Hutton, at a 24% Rotten Tomatoes rating.

Friday, June 16, 2017

'All Eyez On Me' Review

#AllEyeszOnMe Review: I'll be straight up, I enjoyed this film way more than I thought I would. Same for the actor playing #Tupac, DEMETRIUS SHIPP JR. I thought his performance was solid. His remarkable resemblance to Pac aided that a lot. But he also did well with Tupac's cadence and the way he talked—patna. LOL The film dealt a lot with Pac's revolutionary upbringing from his mom and step-dad, more than I thought they would. In those scenes and every one she had DANAI GURIRA gave her all and was really good. The rest of the story was pretty much what any #2Pac fan knows about his life. I liked BENNY BOOM'S direction even though the picture was a little long and it seemed like it was contractually obligated to squeeze in every track from '2pac's Greatest Hits'—and I mean every track, into the film. I'll probably tweet more thoughts about the film ( as they occur to me, but I liked 'All Eyez On Me' and I think Tupac fans will too. #danksreview
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Read a TON MORE about the development of this film on this blog HERE

John Wick 1 & 2 Reviews

The original John Wick (2014) was NOT on my radar, but good buzz led me to see it and WOW! Of course I was right there opening weekend for its sequel John Wick: Chapter 2 (2017) and bother reviews, via Instagram, are below.

First up, my review of the original from November 2014

Next, this is what I said about the sequel
#JohnWick2 Review: Can a sequel to a #KickAssCrazy flick, 2014's #JohnWick, be any good? Hell yeah it can! Of course the film wastes no time getting to the action. From the start Wick is kicking ass and taking names.📝 This sequel though does A LOT of "world building". We get to know a lot more about the secret world of assassins ⚒🌍⚔️ and how it works. We get to know a lot more without it being redundant. It takes everything to the next level without suffering from sequelitis trying to make everything bigger and grander. Wick is still every bit the same badass, he just takes his skills on tour.🌏✈️ LOL Without saying much, Wick's bloodletting this time isn't entirely personal, more of that world building I spoke of earlier, and you get to see that he's very much about his business and if you know JOHN WICK, that business isn't sitting behind a desk.☠️😱 Great sequel and DOES NOT disappoint. If you loved the first one, you gonna love this one too!
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All of my recent reviews are on Instagram at hashtag #DanksReview

Friday, May 19, 2017

Before The Defenders: The Worst Parts Of Netflix’s Marvel Series

From the article "Before The Defenders: 15 Worst Parts Of Netflix’s Four Marvel Series" by Michael Natale
April 13, 2017

Below are the LUKE CAGE related excerpts. You can read the entire piece at the link above.

Suffice it to say the info below contain SPOILERS from the Marvel shows so...


When Ben Urich, the wise older black man who served the community through his journalism while proving a mentor to “Daredevil’s” main cast was killed, it was absolutely heartbreaking. When Detective Oscar Clemons, the wise older black man who served the community on the force while proving a mentor to Jessica Jones was killed, it was sad but oddly repetitive. When Pops, the wise older black man who served the community through his barbershop while proving a mentor to Luke Cage was killed, a handful of folks likely took a step back and said “Wait, now hold up a minute…”

Look, if Obi-Wan taught us anything, killing the wise old mentor can be a powerful narrative tool, but repeat the trope too many times and you’ve not only got yourself diminishing returns, but also a real weird trend in your programs. Killing these characters, particularly Ben Urich who is an integral part of Marvel’s comic book microcosm, shuts down a lot of narrative opportunities going forward.


We love the jaded, broken, noir-ish Luke Cage from “Jessica Jones,” who’d rather polish a bar or pick up a broad than punish a bad guy, who spends every waking hour trying hard to suppress the memory of his dead wife; for whom the equally damaged Jessica Jones provides a lifeline and an answer. We also love the upbeat, friendly force for good hiding out in a barbershop, helping his community, looking after the youth, quick with a joke and a smile and always ready to kick a little ass if it means cleaning up the mean streets of Harlem. The Luke Cage whose heart is captured not only by the badass Misty Knight, but also by the nurturing Claire Temple.

The problem is it’s near-impossible to wrap your head around both being the same man. The disparity is so vast that one can’t help but see Luke Cage as a prequel, easier to see this as Luke’s life before the breaking point than believe he somehow magically healed from the broken, brooding man he was throughout “Jessica Jones.”


Our previous installment declared Mahershala Ali’s Cottonmouth to be the #6 best part of the entire MCU/Netflix undertaking, so you can imagine how heartbreaking it was to see such a charismatic character killed off. Yet often, ending such an engaging antagonist can often propel the plot forward, provide much needed catharsis or fundamentally affect our main hero, as we’ve seen with characters like Kilgrave.
However, looking back, Cottonmouth’s untimely end seems superfluous and downright silly, and it’s hard to see why the team thought taking him out would benefit the show as a whole.

Sure, the initial shock of Cottonmouth’s sudden death created an “anything can happen” sentiment towards the show, akin to Ned Stark’s dramatic end in “Game of Thrones'” game changing first season. Yet, looking back, the building territorial conflict between the cool, kingly Cottonmouth, the overly ambitious Shades and the flamboyantly fierce Diamondback would have made for far more intriguing TV than Diamondback’s unencumbered and abrupt takeover, playing out like “The Wire” or “A Fistful of Dollars,” with Luke Cage caught in the middle of two undesirable outcomes. Ultimately, what we lost out on in favor of a “shock” moment hardly feels worth it.


“Daredevil” Season 1 established a tone and structure, and the subsequent shows barely departed from that. That is, until “Luke Cage” took a big leap with bold choices regarding the series’ big bad, Diamondback. Those very attached to the established aesthetic derided Diamondback for being garish and over-the-top. However, fans of blaxploitation cinema teased by the obvious homages to the genre by the soundtrack were satiated by the grandness of Erik LaRay Harvey’s villain, who could spit Bible quotes alongside “The Warriors” references, who would fit perfectly in cult treasures like “Dolemite” and “Truck Turner.”

Ultimately, the division over Diamondback amongst fans represents a larger identity issue “Luke Cage” suffered from. It wasn’t that “Luke Cage” was doomed if it embraced the blaxploitation genre it owed its origins to, but rather that it did so too late. The show seemed unsure what it wanted to be, prestige drama or B-Movie, and decided to do both. The problem, it seems, is that in order to embrace the latter, it shed the weight of its previous socially conscious grounded melodrama, and trying to give the same narrative heft to such heightened proceedings proved too much, and the wheels came off towards the end.


Ranking the Solo Defenders Series

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