THE SEDUCTION OF MIMI (1972)

Written & Directed By: Lina Wertmuller
Cinematography: Daria DiPalma
Editor: Franco Fraticelli 

Cast: Giancarlo Giannini, Mariangela Melato, Agostina Belli, Luigi Diberti, Elena Fiore 

After voting against the powerful Mafia candidate in Sicily, in what seemed like a secret ballot, impecunious Mimì finds himself with his back to the wall. Desperate, and having no one to turn to, Mimì abandons his wife, Rosalia, and relocates to the bustling city of Turin, only to fall for the beautiful Trotskyist, Fiore. One child later, and as one thing leads to another, Mimì gradually realizes that he is not ready to accept the new social morals that prevail in the industrialized north, catching, once more, the Mafia’s attention. Now, political beliefs, loyalty, infidelity, and revenge become inextricably intertwined, and once again, Mimì is left with nothing, having no other choice but to return to Sicily. But, can he keep his life in Turin secret?


This film has the set-up of a comedy with a cowardly protagonist who it’s hard to feel sorry for as he keeps getting himself in trouble out of machismo, Revenge, and sex. Where somehow he usually fails up. Getting promotions and more money. Though supposedly anti-government.

Once he finds true love he works for it. But continues to fail. As he can’t even be loyal to a political party, but that is More due to pressure and assassination attempts. So that is understandable. This is truly the tale of a man who stands for nothing and pays the price for it.

I was introduced to the tale years ago watching it’s American remake “WHICH WAY IS UP?” Starring Richard Pryor abs tailor-made for his talents. Dipped into the politics at the time as background. The only difference is that Pryor played different characters In his version. 

This film is also dipped into politics. We watch as the main character gets what he wants but keeps messing. It up due to hubris and when threatened quickly shows how cowardly he is. Along the way, he is never truly satisfied.

The third act at first makes no sense but as you learn more about it, it feels ridiculous though also, in the end, feels like a punchline. As it is all about foolish pride. Which truly becomes his undoing and exposes his character losing all he has.

Mariangela Melato again is a screen goddess. Still as amazing and fiery as in SWEPT AWAY co-Starring with Giancarlo Giannini again. 

you can understand and see why he gets obsessed and tries to seduce her. Why he is willing to risk it all for her. Even as she makes her rules clear though amazed she stick by him. So thoroughly throughout and why she leaves after such a minor betrayal compared to his many others that She can forgive. He has no loyalty to anyone, including his family 

Some scenes seem there to just add to the artistic surreal quality of the film and while there are build-up and reasons for these scenes. They also feel like episodic escapes. 

The film is lively and ridiculous, but so artistic that it feels naturalistic and beautiful constantly and comes across deeper than it actually ends up being. Though it is heartbreaking. It is a comedy at heart, though so sad.

One of my favorite classic iconic directors to keep discovering her movies. Who might happen to be one of my favorite directors, who happens to be female (at least next to Nicole Holofcener) she has truly outdone herself here. 

In the end, the film plays off like a grand comedy of morals and cowardness. That feels gross and political all at the same time.

Grade: B-

CANDY (1968)

Directed by: Christian Marquand 
Written by: Buck Henry 
Based on the Novel Written by: Terry Southern & Mason Offenberg 
Cinematography: Giuseppe Rotunno 
Editor: Giancarlo Cappelli 

Cast: Ewa Aulin, John Astin, James Coburn, Marlon Brando, Richard Burton, John Huston, Walter Matthau, Sugar Ray Robinson, Charles Aznavour, Ringo Starr, Anita Pallenberg, Elsa Martinelli, Lea Pedoucni, Judith Malina 

Governed by a mysterious and utterly delicious fate, the innocent high-school student, Candy, summons up the courage to embark on a life-changing journey of enlightenment, eager to discover the elusive meaning of life in the four corners of the world. Little by little, the open-minded girl unlocks the secrets of the world, as a seemingly endless parade of unusual characters–including an eccentric drunkard poet; a Mexican gardener; a chaste U.S. Army general; an overzealous surgeon from hell; a filmmaker, and a smug, all-knowing wandering guru–are more than willing to lend a hand. Will Candy’s scandalous journey of sexual awakening bear fruit? Is there a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow?


This film has gained cult status over the years as an adaptation of a controversial Terry Southern novel. That has buck Henry as the screenwriter but even he was challenged by this film.  The film went into production before he could finish the script. Had to keep adapting to avoid problems. 

Will admit never read the books. One can understand the allure of the film. It’s all-star cast making a comedy as most were more dramatic actors. Not to mention making a sex comedy of the new generation in 1968. But as usual when studios get ahold of something challenging and youthful. It seems they take all the cool factor out of it in trying to market it and figure it out and by the time they do make it. It all feels too late and like they are just off 

As exploration satire with little to no sex or nudity. Just implications of it and once there is sloppily edited so that you can barely tell what if anything happened.

The film is an all’s tar extravaganza which is truly it’s Calling card and the only reason why anyone would be interested In watching it. Even though Marlon Brando’s involvement in it as a favor to the director is what got the funding and other stars interested in the first place. Even as most would fully admit it was the worst film they made or appeared in.

The film is stylish and creatively filmed. It’s nice to look at.

The lead played by Ewa Aulin is given nothing to do but look attractive but it comes off as not understandable why she is so desired by all. As she seems to have the intelligence of a 10-year old in which the film seems to want to show innocence. So that throughout the film Offers so any other characters to be more interested in which might be by design. It might also offer how many evils there are in the world out to victimize those trusting innocents and how easy youth was at the time to influences without much research. How they discover just how corrupt and empty those influences are in the end and those who seem to be heroic icons are easily susceptible.

It also works against what the story might be trying to say by making the men who are powerful and yet misogynistic. It shows them as driven only by list as she offers nothing else but beauty to really keep them interested and short changes her as that seems to be the only quality she has even though she is kind of our hero.  

James Coburn gives one of the better performances. As well as John Astin In a dual role it’s obvious he is having fun and relishing the role. Richard Burton has the most entertaining scenes as his character has a constant air about him. As wind seems to always be blowing his hair and clothes like he has a personal wind machine.

The film ends up being Boring and dull as we watch respected actors embarrass themselves 

Personally felt more interested in some of the side characters who were more entertaining played by Anita Pallenberg and Elsa Martinelli. 

The whole motivation of the film was to show how powerful influential men. Who act above it all and are enlightened,  who have the same misogynistic attitude behind closed doors. Only one thing in mind that leads them to ruin or that she is that desirable that she makes men weak and lose it. As they know this certain woman has that power over them so they must conquer.

The material might have been shocking at the time. It’s rather tame now. Though definitely, a time capsule of it’s time. When Hollywood allowed psychedelic free-thinking movies made of climate and culture which was more freewheeling but shows Hollywood in trying to exploit didn’t quite get it and this film feels over the top and indulgent in it’s thinking. Like a bunch of older people trying to look hip. As the film tries to be profound but feels embarrassing and funny in an unintentional way. 

Remember when the film was released on DVD. As it seemed to be a film That was lost, again more a film that seems better remembered for some than experienced it better In Theory and legend rather than once you see it.

It seeks to be artistic and smart it what passed for it at the time. Though comes off as juvenile. 

What is more disturbing is that some of the actors are doing brown face and being culturally inappropriate that certainly is distasteful and raises eyebrows under a current lens. Where Ringo Starr plays a Mexican character and Marlon Brando plays middle eastern not in any way tasteful.

This feels like a case of catching a bunch of well-known actors with their pants down. Choosing to be I in this film for whatever reason, be it a paycheck, a chance to act amongst other big names, trying to appeal to youth, attracted to the star of the film, Whatever. Only here it’s not as funny or entertaining as you hoped, instead it’s just embarrassing.

The film ends like a Fellini film. As all characters come back for a surreal scene and a kid. If reveal that this is all a production 

GRADE: D

2 OR 3 THINGS I KNOW ABOUT HER (1967)

Directed by: Jean-Luc Godard
Written by Jean-Luc Godard & Catherine Vimenet
Cinematography: Raoul Coutard
Editor: Francoise Collin & Chantal Delattre

Cast: Marina Vlady, Anne Duperey, Roger Montsorat, Raoul levy, Jean Narboni 

In this film, ‘Her’ refers to both Paris, the character of Juliette Janson, and the actress playing her, Marina Vlady. The film is a kind of dramatized documentary, illustrating and exaggerating the emotionless lives of characters in the new Paris of the 60s, where commercialism mocks families getting by on small incomes, where prostitution is a moneyspinning option, and where people are coldly resigned and immune to the human nightmares of Vietnam, and impending Atomic war.


When it comes to the films of Writer-Director Jean Luc Godard you never know what you are going to get. Sometimes you get absolute masterpieces at other times you get films you respect but might not love and then you get his more experimental films that can go either way. Sort of what it seems like Modern director Steven Soderbergh attempts.

Though both of their films can be off-putting for certain audiences. It might feel like most of those cinema comes off as pretentious.

This is one of the later films. Where he fills the film with beautiful women who keep your interest especially in close-ups but then the rest of the film is pretty much philosophical notions and existential discussions that become quite boring and superficial.

Where the genius lies is that he puts all of these speeches and interviews. While following certain characters. So that we examine their day-to-day experiences and living conditions. Then inserts the interviews and discussion. As well as his own whispered narrations asking us to question what we see and ponder them in different ways.

This is pretty much an experimental film all around. At times we see the characters off the wall characteristics. Like reading randomly from a stack of books while a friend writes down what they are quoting. Or a photojournalist dressed in an American flag t-shirt interviewing two women he has paid to undress in front of him while he asks questions and boats of his adventures. 

All of this is indebted to the politics at the time. Which instantly dates the film and radicalizes it to a degree. While trying to add cinematic tricks and observation. That it comes off more like a lesson than an experience.

As even at times the director seems to interview people off the street who we never see. Where the footage becomes a scattershot. Other than showing constant construction.

Which we never see what came before or after.

It/‘a a film that is full of ideas and its heart seeks to be in the right place but to a degree feels empty. Where emotions should be.

The film seems to try and show it’s Characters are used to their lives. So they have no reason to emote or seem like they are seeking to strive or escape. They just deal with the everyday. 

Even with a title that seems like the film will focus on the lead female.  As we try to get to know her and become obsessed with her. Showing her in all her glory. Instead, she is just part of the overall who we occasionally see. Though she is the most constant. 

The film or filmmaker wants us to know certain things about her but also expose her to the audience in all aspects. So that while we might fall for her we also know her. So that here is some kind of relatability but the end. Even if it just feels like a movie of expression wanting to say something yet cramming as much different stuff that connects into the tale and trying to decipher it all. 

Grade: C+

SPUN (2002)

Directed & Edited By: Jonas Akerlund 
Written By: Will De La Santos & Creighton Vero 
Cinematography By: Eric Broms


Cast: Jason Schwartzmen, Mickey Rourke, Brittany Murphy, John Leguizamo, Mena Suvari, Josh Peck, Patrick Fugit, Debbie Harry, China Chow, Charlotte Ayana, Julia Mendoza, Eric Roberts, Nicholas Gonzalez, Larry Drake, Rob Halford, Tony Kaye, Ron Jeremy, Billy Corgan 

A drug dealer introduces one of his customers, a ‘speed freak’, to the man who runs the meth lab. A crazy three-day adventure ensues.


This film is just a dirty as the characters it portrays it seems to be trying to send the message of drawing you in with the visuals and showing you the life of a tweaker so you can see how pathetic and disgusting the life is but at times it seems to also make some characters mythically cool like the character of the cook played by Mickey Rourke.. 


Worse all the bad things seem to be played more for comedy than anything else like telling a story. I wanted to like the film but only found a few things noteworthy or fascinating.


Like most movies that involve drugs as central to the plot and addicts as most of the main characters, there is a lot of misadventures that you think are going to add up to something like a plot but it ends up the movie doesn’t really have anything to say. 


Sure visually it is great and the cast is likable but they need better material they inhabit the characters but if the characters are just there with nothing to do then it’s just like the life of tweakers a waste.

The movie is directed by Jonas Akerlund who has directed videos for Madonna, He certainly has an eye for visuals but he needs to find material that matches his eye here he doesn’t find it. There seems to be an epidemic with foreign directors when they make American movies they seem to like to direct stories that focus on the underground and the downtrodden there are little joy’s and mostly bleak existences which is there right to do but at least make it dramatic or interesting that would be nice instead of making it seem like a photoshoot with a theme no substance and all deteriorating gloss. 


 There are some really gross scenes like Mena Suvari having a bowel movement or John Leguizamo’s constant masturbating or the castration of Patrick fugit I can understand the need to be shocking with your dark comedy to be noticed and make a statement.

A drug dealer introduces one of his customers, a ‘speed freak’, to the man who runs the meth lab. A crazy three-day adventure ensues.


it’s just a wasted endeavor here, in fact, the most interesting character is in the movie but really doesn’t do too much and that is Mickey Rourke the movie isn’t all bad it‘s worth a watch but it’s not as good or revolutionary as it thinks it is. 


You get to see The strippers, The dealers, Porn shops, and all the usual taboo material. But for some reason it seems rather tame and not cutting edge. 

The film has a certain hyper stylization in a kind of trash culture. Trying to glamorize it. It’s distracting though while the film tries to offer characterizations to give us in the audience, people to care about and follow. It also uses then and their pathetic was as folly for humor more than anything else.

It also was the beginning of what seems to be Brittany Murphy’s third act where she seemed to play floozies, addicts and simpletons. Ladies who just seemed off. As she is attractive but seems so out of it that you wonder if it is method acting.

As depending when you were introduced to her as an actress. At first she was a child star then she grew up and played supporting characters and then leads that were more romantic comedic or comedic then she changed her look a bit and became more dramatic. Then the third act of her career came in films like THE DEAD GIRL and SIN CITY. If you watched her grow from a Child actress to here. You wondered if this was a new phase in her career or developing a type to play. As she went fro. Cute to sexy to skanky. Though still walking to the best fi her own drummer.


The film was originally intended to be a documentary on Meth Cooks. Instead, they just took the story of a meth addict (Co-Writer Will De La Santos) and his experiences chauffering a meth cook around town in Eugene, Oregan for three days. They just embellished the stories to be more cinematic. 


 GRADE: C-

THE RECRUIT (2003)

Directed By: Roger Donaldson
Written By: Robert Towne, Mitch Glazer & Kurt Wimmer
Cinematography By: Stuart Dryburgh
Editor: David Rosenbloom 

Cast: Al Pacino, Colin Farrell, Ron Lea, Bridget Moynahan, Gabriel Macht

In an era when the country’s first line of defense, intelligence, is more important than ever, this story opens the CIA’s infamous closed doors and gives an insider’s view into the Agency: how trainees are recruited, how they are prepared for the spy game, and what they learn to survive. James Clayton might not have the attitude of a typical recruit, but he is one of the smartest graduating seniors in the country – and he’s just the person that Walter Burke wants in the Agency. James regards the CIA’s mission as an intriguing alternative to an ordinary life, but before he becomes an Ops Officer, James has to survive the Agency’s secret training ground, where green recruits are molded into seasoned veterans. As Burke teaches him the ropes and the rules of the game, James quickly rises through the ranks and falls for Layla, one of his fellow recruits. But just when James starts to question his role and his cat-and-mouse relationship with his mentor… 


The film could have been a good espionage spy film. If it had made any sense. This is one of those films that starts off well then wants to be different than the rest of these types. So that it induces a twist into the plot then another one, Then another one. Soon there are so many double-crosses that you forget who is on whose side. There is no reason to justify any of the double-crosses.

When the film ends it tries to tie everything together in a neat little bow. Hoping you forget all the nonsense that went on before it and just say the plot was all a conspiracy. If the point of all of the confusion was to make the film and characters’ paranoia seem truthful and make the audience question everything then it had achieved what it set out to be. 

Though it is not exciting at all with Basic runoff the mill action sequences. The shameful this is that this movie could have been good. You have a director Roger Donaldson who hasn’t had any luck with Hollywood films (The Getaway) but is actually a skilled director (The Bank Job). 

He shows a great deal of talent with his projects that are independently funded, but here he just makes things look sharp and nice but with no real input. It has the feel of an espionage film and the look. The film just falls short so that you stop caring due to confusion and what ends up not making any sense. 

At first, what is interesting in the film becomes tedious as the movie goes on. Colin Farrell is what I consider his blue period where he made a bunch of Hollywood projects in roles that any actor could have played. He was a struggling actor who was thrust into the limelight and was taking any lead that was offered to him. He has tremendous talent, yet he brings nothing really to the film or role. He is just going through the motions. 


The shocking thing is that the script was written (And I suspect heavily rewritten) By 3 Highly talented Screenwriters and script doctors. I don’t know what went wrong exactly but other than the clever Kurt Vonnegut references the film is heavily disappointing. 

Al Pacino is clearly having fun as Colin’s Machiavellian mentor who is chewing the scenery left and right with his overacting. Al Pacino has been doing this overacting schtick. So long he has turned it into his own art form. That only he can do. It’s like a one-man show. It used to be just his acting now his hair and all of its different outrageous styles and size are just as distracting. I respect him he is still a good actor who shows the talent we all know he has once in a while.

I guess as he gets older if he knows the project is beneath him or is just really a paycheck. He doesn’t really bother giving it his all he just has fun with it. It just seems like he is damaging his brand, His career is legendary and once you could always give a movie the benefit of the doubt if the film was bad you could rely on his performance being good. Now it is all a wild card. 

 Skip it 

 GRADE: D

THE GHOST WHO WALKS (2019)

Directed By: Cody Stokes
Written By: Cody Stokes & Ben Bostick
Cinematography: Michael Lockridge 

Cast: Garland Scott, Frank Mosley, Alexia Rasmussen, Gil Darnell, Dasha Nekrasova, Nattalyee Randall, Peter Mayer 

After five years in prison, guards lead Nolan to his freedom. But Nolan’s ticket out came courtesy of ratting on his former boss. A death sentence for any man. His goal: find Lena and Amy-his ex and their five-year-old daughter he’s never met-and get them out of the city, to a new life together, before the ghosts of his past can track him down and kill him.


I Hadn’t heard anything about this film and decided to take a chance Was pleasantly surprised. 

This film doesn’t have a cast of well-known actors. Which leaves the audience not necessarily having any expectations. It’s nice to go into certain films blind from time to time. Though makes it more thrilling than anything goes. There are no rules. No one is safe. 

The film is a done and dirty pulp tale of love, escape and revenge. While it doesn’t offer much you haven’t seen before it does hold your interest and wishing the lead character the best.

The film feels like a film that was adapted from a short story or a graphic novel. As there seems to be much more left unsaid or hinted at than shown at times. That gives the audience a hint that the material is deeper than what we are presented with. 

Everyone the main character comes across or comes into contact with and actually helps him. Seems to pay their own price.

The action scenes feel realistic and not too glamorous or showing off. Though oddly they do contain a bit of humor. The only time the film seems to show any.

The film, like the main character, gives it a try and is successful more times than not. Even as the villains feel familiar and one-note, but you can understand most of the character’s points of view and motivations.

The film is impressively done with a more limited budget. What is achieved is good even in the middle of the film’s Limitations and of him, bonding with others helps the film feel more earnest at times. As it takes time to build moments and characters. 

Though familiar the film never feels monotonous. Though it is a dark and bleak tale as by the end it truly shows itself to be a tragedy. 

Grade: C+

SLEEPLESS (2017)

Directed By: Baran Bo Odar
Written By: Andrea Berloff 
Based in the film “NUIT BLANCHE” Written by: Frederic Jardin, Nicolas Saada & Olivier Douyere 
Cinematography: Mirai Malaimaire Jr.
Editor: Robert Rzesacz

Cast: Jamie Foxx, Michelle Monaghan, Dermot Mulroney Jr., Scoot Mcnairy, Tip T.I. Harris, David Harbour, Gabrielle Union 

Undercover Las Vegas police officer Vincent Downs finds himself trapped in a web of corrupt cops, internal affairs and violent gangsters. When a failed heist leads to the kidnapping of his son, Downs must race against time during an intense and restless night to save him and bring the criminals to justice.


I can admit this film already seemed D.O.A. When the trailers for the film hit. As nothing in the trailer came across as new or even exciting and watching the film it pretty much felt the same. While plenty of things happen on screen and in the story. It still all feels basic and familiar and the film, not performances add any excitement to it.

I will admit I liked the French original version of this film SLEEPLESS NIGHTS very much, but in the American translation, a lot of fresh and maybe foreign cultural elements are dropped. Making the film come across as more of a big-budgeted longer episode of a police procedural. 

As the original film Offered complications that felt essential and consequential. Here the film just seems to throw complications that seem more here to be filler than anything. Else 

Scoot McNairy’s villain is the only memorable thing in the whole film. Who would have been great in a better movie? 

The film feels like for a recognizable cast who do try there is really Little effort put into the film at all to feel special or set itself apart. So that by the end it feels basic yet disappointing. Which is a shame as Jamie Foxx has proven to be a versatile and charismatic actor who can be funny, dramatic and tough when he needs to be and this film offers only the later but like most of the roles. Never feels specific enough to their talents so that virtually anyone could have played these roles.

The only Element that felt somewhat exciting was the ending that leaves room for a sequel or alludes to an even bigger conspiracy. 

This just feels like a lost opportunity. Where all this film seems to offer is more a stylish music video technique to the story without really adding anything worthy dramatically or even character-wise. 

It just simply he’s out all the originality out of the original. Truly making this a Hollywood byproduct. If anything it feels like an audition for the director to show what he can do with so little. 

Grade: F

MEAN JOHNNY BARROWS (1975)

Directed & Edited by: Fred Williamson
Written By: Jolivett Gato & Charles Walker

Cast: Fred Williamson, Roddy McDowall, Stuart Whitman, Tony Caruso, Jenny Sherman, Luther Adler, R.G. Armstrong, Elliott Gould, Mike Henry 

A G.I. is unjustly thrown out of the service, and winds up being a gas station attendant. A gangster wants to hire him as a hitman. He agrees, with disastrous results.


Now while this film isn’t great. One can understand the appeal Of films like this. Especially at the time. Getting to see representation on-screen does feel empowering for certain members of the audience and makes them feel seen, represented, and honored by what you can be Or want to be. That there is a chance at success

Usually, the films that were made in the day were action films or more genre films. As those were the ones that were most popular and sold to make money to other studios and markets. 

It also might be the films that most of the audience it was targeted at were more interested in watching also. Even though this film has some African American characters, Fred Williamson is usually the only one especially the only one who is more than one Dimensional and inter-gal to the story 

The film’s direction is flat and engaging. The film unfortunately is Nothing like the poster. There is no excitement. The poster makes it seem like an action classic, but the film ends up being more of a drama than anything that involves a mob war and the Main Character getting dragged into it and we see how low he has to get in life to accept an offer that more goes against his normal decency.

In The third act, the film becomes more of an action film that is built out of revenge. All that came before was the build-up and this is the release. Even then the film just doesn’t deliver what seems promising.

The film has way Too many montages that seem to make up half of the movie. Where nothing happens. It just shows us in slow motion real-time and the situations the character is going through. As there is nothing really too engaging in the filmmaking or acting 

The montages seem more done to add frantic weight but also showcase the soundtrack more and more. 

Can see this as maybe mroe personal to Williamson and wanting to show more of his dramatic chops and talents more than being an action hero or being cool 

The major big-name stars of the film are barely in it Roddy McDowell and Elliot Gould who is only here in one scene mroe as a cameo and done as a favor to the writer/director/star. 

Roddy McDowell seems here more like stunt casting. As the mobsters softer son who seems to be a mastermind 

Was hoping this would be one of the better blaxploitation films of the past but can see why it is more remembered just for its name and star. Rather than quality or reputation. 

At least what it offers is plenty of predictable double-crosses and more a character pulled into this who was never part of it’s origins. As it should never be really his problem but who is forced more out of desperation and a kind of payback to those who helped him. 

You know the action is going to pick up once Williamson gets a better wardrobe than the one he wears throughout most of the film. He is teased to kill literally. 

In the end, this is less a blaxploitation film other than In budget and presentation and more just an action drama that involves a black lead more than an Fred Williamson extravaganza production, but good for him. As he offers himself a chance most directors didn’t seem willing to do, but in a kind of role, he usually plays only here given more depth and a chance to see what brings him to this point.

Grade: C

BLUE STREAK (1999)

Directed By: Les Mayfield 
Written By: Michael Berry, John Blumenthal & Stephen Carpenter 
Cinematography By: David Eggby 
Editor: Michael Tronick 

Cast: Martin Lawrence, Luke Wilson, William Forsythe, Peter Greene, Olek Krupa, Nicole Ari Parker, Dave Chappelle, John Hawkes, Tamala Jones, Richard C. Sarafin, Julio Oscar Mechoso, Jason Kravits, Octavia Spencer 

Miles Logan is a jewel thief. Things go awry while he’s stealing a huge diamond in downtown L.A.: a thief, Deacon, tries a double-cross, the police arrive, and Miles is arrested, but not before he hides the jewel in an air duct of a building under construction. Two years later, he’s out of prison and he heads for the site: it’s L.A.’s new police headquarters! Posing as a reassigned cop, Miles gets into the building, but before he can recover the swag, he’s partnered with a naive detective and sent out to investigate burglaries. With Deacon on his trail, he must recover the diamond, keep the cops fooled, and do a few good deeds as a detective who can think like a criminal.


Before BIG MOMMA’S HOUSE and seeming I he typecast after that to a degree. Martin Lawrence was a hot popular comic, who had a pretty successful film career. This film while not his best was one of the films that was successful.

I will admit to skipping it in theaters to me the only noteworthy aspect of the film was the Jay-Z song on the soundtrack. It was an exclusive single at the time. The whole dressing up as a bad toothed pizza delivery guy in the trailer reeked of bad situation comedy and had no interest. 

Then once it came out on DVD I was working at a video store and had a co-worker who loved to put on African-American cinema all the time which wouldn’t have been so bad  if he had the sense to choose good movies of African American cinema and not the seemingly same 5 films, this was one in rotation. The other I remember being what’s the worst that could happen which I have seen more times he. Necessary probably even more then the people who made it. BLACK KNIGHT . In fact the only good film he ever python was MALCOLM X.

This film was one of the least films he put on and finally one day just to keep it outbid the store I rented it so that I could watch it completely with. Interruptions and have a few days of peace.

What followed was a typical popcorn blockbuster that really offered up no real surprises and to tell the truth you don’t really expect any the film is pretty cut and dry. It’s funny and entertaining and to will forget it pretty soon after watching it. It’s no classic but a good time waster. It keeps the formula of mistaken identity and fish out of water combining them.

The film stocks with the comedy. It flirts with a romantic story line though is quickly abandoned for more of a buddy comedy.

One of the few things that fascinates me about this film ad it’s type is that the stars of the film are supposed to handle all the comedy and everyone else around is kind of the straight men, but usually the supporting characters are so over the top in the personeas hey seem cartoon-ish or comedic themselves. Throwing the film off a bit. Luckily the wackiness ensues when Dave chappelle shows up in a supporting role.

Martin Lawrence is funny and for all his Foul mouthed at times humor. His most graceful aspect is his physical comedy. Even when telling jokes the energy, the faces and his movements all are in-synch to sell his humor ad make you marvel at his talent. I mean he has funny jokes too, but his true talent is in all the other skills he brings to the table.

The film Was supposed to be a hard R rating until they found the film and material worked better as a pg- 13 film. Leaving it open to more all ages access for the audience. As most of the humor seems more inclined for a younger audience. So the plot, Dialogue and characters had to all be rewritten Screenwriter, John August was the last minute Script Doctor for the script

The film introduces Nicole Ari Parker’s character as a strong rival for his character. Though she adds to the story. It almost seemed like a set-up for a kind of love interest. Though the film never seems to quote go there. As his character doesn’t have that much time for that. Nor would the ending make any sense if he still has her as baggage.

This is the first Martin Lawrence showcase where he is the entertainment the real Lead. Even though he is partnered up with Luke Wilson. It seems more like Wilson is a co-star and not another name above the title who Martin Lawrence is the co-star or buddy of. Instead here Lawrence gets to be the one who the camera never leaves and who the story is based around instead of being just he comic relief or the supporting character that he had been relegated to in films such as HOUSE PARTY, HOUSE PARTY 2, BAD BOYS, NOTHING TO LOSE.

He was kind of my first introduction to really following stand-up comedy and comedians. I remember him from HOUSE PARTY then hosting DEF COMEDY JAM. I got his albums and when his career blew up I followed him. I remember classic comedians before him line Eddie Murphy, Rodney Dangerfield, Billy Crystal, George Carlin, Redd Foxx, Richard Pryor, Sam Kinison, Andrew Dice Clay but he was he first I could relate to a point and groin watching him and other comedians on DEF COMEDY JAM, I started to pay attention to stand-up even broadening my admiration for more comics.

They were rebellious (especially after NBC banned Lawrence for his routine on Saturday night live) Comics have been like rock stars to me ever since i mean examine it. they have a talent that looks easy, but once you actually try it realize how hard is to master if you ever really do. Your style and skill is constantly in transition. You spend most of your time on the road in front of crowds. Though there are many in your field somehow your voice and brand manages to stand out and be noticed and admired. You have die hard fans and groupies. Everyone tries to do it, but only the strong survive as you pretty much are open and. Are your soul and ate at the mercy of the crowd.

According to Dave Chappelle, a scene was written during filming in which his character was to wear a dress while disguised as a prostitute. Chappelle adamantly refused. The writers complained to the producers who then tried to convince Chappelle to do the scene but he still refused. According to Chappelle, he felt that it was part of a disturbing trend in which African-American men wear dresses in films.

There were plans to do a sequel which never materialized.

It’s a worthy rental

Grade: C+

SOUTHSIDE WITH YOU (2016)

Written & Directed By: Richard Tanne 
Cinematography By: Pat Scola 
Editor: Evan Schiff  
Cast: Tika Sumpter, Parker Sawyers, Vanessa Bell Calloway, Taylar Fondren 

The film chronicles the summer 1989 afternoon when the future President of the United States, Barack Obama, wooed his future First Lady, Michelle Obama, on a first date across Chicago’s South Side.


The focus on what it’s not for once as it is a black romance that is not totally comedy.

It’s a very ambitious film a film that mixes fact and fiction, but tries to keep the subject matter simple and charming while sticking to most of the facts. Trying to keep the material fresh even though we know how it will end.

Nor is there an emphasis on sex at hooking up as a major part of the romance. We See the characters as smart and well respected. Even if at times the film falls into cliche perils as part of it’s story line and charm though at least the film tries to give it more of a mature aspect to them.

It’s something that is different a mature and more adult look at romance that is simple and complex. That deals with the future and more about making their way in the world. Through lifestyles and career ambitions.

Doesn’t suffer the same fate as many it seems cliche romantic movies which have already been in the decline over the years. We are more served with romantic comedies which already usually weaken some movies by putting more emphasis on the comedy and then having a romantic scene here or there when we already have plenty comedies that have romantic scenes as side, LOVE story. I guess when it comes to romantic comedies at least half of the film will revolve around dating and romance or the love interest will be more than one dimensional and have character

Though unfortunately it seems in African American based ones it seems the focus is on the couple arguing most of the film which is meant to be seen as funny then finally get romantic towards the end or one or both characters being sex crazed. Which automatically feels more like something out of a sitcom rather than needed for a feature.

Which is why when a film like this feels like a rarity and it shouldn’t it is so noted. When there are and should be plenty of films and stories like this out there. Like the individuals it portrays. As there are plenty of people out there like this but unfortunately only a few get the spotlight or more people get to know

Which might be why the Tyler Perry movies are so successful as they serve an audience that feels disenfranchised and that no one makes films for that audience as his are films that they see themselves not only represented in, but also speak more directly to them and their community. As his films at least seem tailor made or meant to be representative of his audience.

An imagined history based on The few facts we know about the Obamas first dates. That gives this film more of a pop culture glow but also a hook as to why audience might want to see it and is a little different than some others.

According to director Richard Tanne, all of the main events of the film did actually occur on the Obama’s first date with the exception of the community meeting which happened at a later date. Obviously another BEFORE SUNRISE influenced film. as it is more about conversation, character and emotion. Though generalizing it that way would easily be a cop out as the film also adds it own touches to the romance as their day is more adventure filled.

As some romantic films have to be shown and filmed that way to showcase that initial spark and see the chemistry while the chemicals mix and start to bond. We understand why in the future even as challenged and frustrated they might be with one another. Why they stay together. So that there are plenty of situations to observe there differing opinions and points of view

While also showcasing it’s own version of romance that is traditional and not necessarily

The same old. As every person’ love story is similar but different and special to the couple or individual and this films honors that We get glimpses of their future greatness. For her we see the roots of it. How she wants to have her own career and be great. How he hasn’t exactly decided what he wants to do but his belief in people, communities and America and how people naturally gravitate towards him. Both actors are believable as the Obama’s

Michelle comes off as someone trying to carve her own niche and life. Be independent and make her way in the world. Not looking to be defined by someone else. Not have anyone but herself take charge of their life

Barack as a confident young man who has taken the for rallying people and charismatic. It still not exactly sure about his future and defining himself

Grade: B