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Sunday, December 16, 2007

Black Cinema At Large......

Your Black Cinemist At Large was on her j-o-b this weekend, having seen both "The Perfect Holiday" and "I Am Legend". Since I am not up to 100% yet, I'll write about the former one today, as I'm sure it's still a little too early to give spoilers on the latter. Plus I have a lot more to say about "I Am Legend", so I'll wait a couple more days.

I went into "The Perfect Holiday" with zero expectations, to say the least. I mean, I'm not afraid to say it, I am not the biggest Latifah fan, and the director's last handiwork was "The Cookout", what I consider to be possibly the most abysmal black film ever made in history. Lance "Un" Rivera started his career as a rap mogul, whose most famous claim to fame was being supposedly stabbed by Jay-Z....but I digress.

I find it very unfortunate that this film had a dismal showing at the box office, (early predictions were less than $3 million total), 'cause to my very great surprise, I actually enjoyed it. Seriously. No one was more surprised than me.

Since it's easier for me to give observations as opposed to reviews, I'll just do that. It is, I guess, in a way, a sort of capsule review....and also kind of a lazy mini cop-out, haha.

-One thing that bowled me over was that Charlie Murphy, playing a self centered Jay-Z type rapper, is now officially funnier in every way than his brother Eddie. Who saw that coming?

-Speaking of funny, Faizon Love is finally returning to his earlier promises of hilarity he touched on with "Big Worm" in "Friday". My man got in some serious zinger time.

-Gabrielle Union is not much of an actress, but she is starting to grow on me, and sometimes I find her pretty charming, and definitely a pleasure to look at...she has the most marvelous skin I've ever seen. Pass that secret on, girl!

-There were only a couple instances of side-eye; the soundtrack could sometimes get very loud and out of place (a la "The Cookout", work on that, Lance), and also the stylist in me noticed and was distracted by a couple of wildly inappropriate outfits...but when I saw the "Costume Designer" was Misa Hilton-Brimm, Puffy's first baby's mama, it made more sense. She is singlehandedly responsible for the whole 'ghetto fabulous' look, beginning with Lil' Kim and continuing on from there.

-Morris Chestnut is so fine, he is almost painful to look at. Gawtdayum! Nuff doesn't even matter what came out of his mouth or how he performed (satisfactorily, by the way).

-I really, really, like Rachel True (Half & Half). She seems so cool, sweet, and "peace and love". You can even believe her being cool enough to get with Faizon Love, which she does in this.

-Gabrielle and Morris had real and genuine on-screen black love chemistry...VERY refreshing to see.

-The kids had just the right amount of sassiness, without being brats or getting on your nerves; (can anybody say "Are We There Yet?"-yikes) they almost seemed like real-life children.

-My man Katt Williams was in it, with only one or two hair processes instead of six, haha.

-King Latifah and Terrence Howard seemed to be there strictly for marquee value only...they had absolutely nothing to do with the story, tho Terrence was just as surly as ever....and he literally had about 2 lines of dialogue. I mean, why bother?

Lance Rivera either went to film school after that "Cookout" travesty, or he sat down and watched every holiday and Doris Day film ever made back to back, and copied their look and feel verbatim. And lo behold, it worked.

I was talking to someone the other day about how I would absolutely love to see a film with an all black cast, that didn't make a whole big deal about being "BLACK". That it just told a story, but the cast could easily be replaced by any ethnicity. This is one of those films; it reminded me of any garden variety Doris Day/Rock Hudson film that I used to watch growing up, and I loved it. All of the characters of this film were interchangeable with any of those in Doris' movies, and I enjoyed every minute of it.

That is the exact reason why I feel so bad about how this film is performing....there was a crystal clear bootleg copy available to the public the same day it opened, and since this movie doesn't have the crossover appeal of "American Gangster", it was doomed to fail, as a whole household can pay to see it for $5.00.

Bootleg can be the devil folkses.

I mean, we have a film that is charming, minimal coon, fairly intelligent, that looks like some actual money and effort were put in. A film that has good looking, positive, articulate folks; a family oriented script with a little sexiness thrown in, with a production value that is crisp, clean and beautiful, not to mention well-edited. Isn't this what we've been saying over and over we want to see?

And guess what? It's going to do buttkist at the boxoffice.

So next time those of you who buy bootleg before paying box office, think about where the problem lies when we can't get the "YT" studios to support and distribute black film. It called C.R.E.A.M.**

And it's as simple as that.

**c..r.e.a.m.=cash rules everything around me


Marcus Langford Is The Name said...

Great review here, but I still think I would much rather wait for it to hit video store or Netflix.


DB said...

i won't pay to see it. then again i won't pay to see to many movies, but i will check it out at some point. i know you like Morris Chestnut...but i put his acting abilities on par with the likes of Malcolm Jamaal Warner and Ice T. dude has not developed his craft. just my opinion.

Bygbaby said...

I just heard a very bad review on the thumbs up/thumbs down guys. I mean they ripped this movie a new one.

I did not plan on seeing it because it does look coon-a-licious.

Have have to do the video on demand when it hits cable.

Bygbaby said...

I've not seen either. I'll see Perfect Holiday via Netflix and prolly will see Legend around Xmas.

Cassandra said...

Thanks for the review. I did not know if I wanted to pay $8.26 to see Perfect (I still may not), but then again to see Morris Chestnut flash that smile...

I am upset that my $8.25 was not among the $76.5 mil Will got this weekend.

Invisible Woman said...

@marcus, darkbrotha, and blackactor; yeah, I agree--it is probabbly a rent type of movie, but better that than bootleg on this one...and darkbrotha--admittedly, I couldn't care less about Morris Chestnut's acting abilities! haha

@bygbaby: I see what you mean, but if you read my profile, you know that is one of the very reasons I started this give "our" voice a say in what's really thumbs up and down in Black Cinema, acording to "US"...

@cassandra: $8.26? Where do you go to the movies? lol (I'm sure it was a typo) I'm also sure your $8.25 will go to the other $500 million it makes, if you know what I mean.

Cassandra said...

the $8.26 is a typo.

lol. Right.

O Hell Nawl said...

//So next time those of you who buy bootleg before paying box office, think about where the problem lies when we can't get the "YT" studios to support and distribute black film. It called C.R.E.A.M.** //


Jenn said...

Thank you for such a detailed review. I was wondering about this film and why I haven't seen a trailer for it. I am a sucker for any thing with Terrence but I think I'll wait for the DVD this time.

Jennifer said...

Your review alone makes me want to see it although this is not a typical film that I would be intrigued to see but I try to support black films that aren't too over the top and degrading. However, I adore a lot of the artists in this film so it would be great to see how their chemistry worked out together on screen. And, ditto to you last sentence. U hit that on the nail! Can you please consider making that your motto on your website! =)

Big D said...

Lord, if there was a way I could unsee this movie. I just didn't like it.

MsMarvalus said...

No way you just called her King Latifah...ROFL!!!

I'll wait for the DVD, thank you...

But I AM LEGEND...I am so there this weekend...I missed it this past weekend due to other would think that my family would understand that Will was in the theatre waiting on me but they didn't...

Invisible Woman said...

@OHN: ya know? Y'all can pretend all you want, you know whats up when you buy off that blanket/dvd case off the street.

@jenn: welcome...glad you're not afraid to step in, lol :-) But I think you're on your own with Terrence....

@bigd: hilarious! haha

@jennifer: if you don't recognize it, that is a reat song title and lyric from The Wu Tang Clan.

@ms. m: gots to see Will-he brings it. And yeah, Latifah...not one of my faves...

Jennifer said...

Invisible Woman - duh! When I was reading my rhythmn was not with me. My bad?! C.R.E.A.M. was the jam while I was in college. Dang, I am REALLY showing my age and how I did not "hear" the lyrics until later. Tells you the power of being entranced by the rhythm and beat and not appreciating the lyrical content. Thanks, sis!

Had to give u the tunes:

Urban Thought said...

Murphy was very funny. I associated his character more with Diddy than Jay-Z.

The story was good, well put together. As I was sitting there I thought to myself damn, this movie would be on point if the sound wasn't so bad. But you've pointed that out as well.

I could have done without Howard. Yeah, it was about two lines he had. But I saw what they were trying to do with King Latifa (as you put it) and T Howard. Yes, we could have done without them.

Over all it was good. Great message. I like how Murphy made it clear to his son that Mom had it together and how important family is.

hottnikz said...

Gabby is becoming unbearable to watch. Instead of getting better as an actress I think she gets worst. She was not convincing as a mother, a single one at that. Morris Chestnut is yummy as usual but he needs to step up the game too. It's been a long time since Boyz In The Hood. I love Rachel True, I agree she seems very laid back and cool. The kids gave the best performance imho, the oldest kid & the little girl has promise. And yes I've been saying for years that Eddie's older brother is way more hilarious!

Invisible Woman said...

@jennifer--I know! haha I really didn't know the lyrics to that song for the longest, just listening to the overall sound. Thanks for the clip :-)

@UT: you're right, he was more like Diddy, but for some reason he didn't come to mind when I wrote it. Terrence just wasted space, but I too see what they were trying to do--just felt it wasn't really needed. Overall, it was a positive pic.

@hottnikz: was trying to be kind and positive with Gabby. I've definitely seen her do worse tho. The kids were ok--I think we'll be seeing them again.