It’s Tuesday which can only mean one thing and that is that it is time for Based on a Truesday Story. Based on a Truesday Story is a segment I did on my other blog where we watch films that are based on a true story and for today we are doing American Gangster. Frank Lucas (Denzel Washington) is an African American drug lord from Harlem, New York who decides that the best way to take over the competition is to fly directly to the source in Vietnam. He quickly becomes the drug kingpin of New York, but that attracts the wrong kind of attention. Richie Roberts (Russell Crowe) is an honest cop who gets put on the case to track down Frank Lucas and shut him down completely and anyone else corrupt as well. The film also stars Chiwetelu Ejiofor (12 Years A Slave) as Huey Lucas, Josh Brolin (The Goonies) as Trupo, Lymari Nadal (The Blackout) as Eva, Ted Levine (The Silence Of The Lambs) as Lou Toback, Roger Guenveur Smith (He Got Game) as Nate, John Hawkes (Lincoln) as Freddie, RZA (The Man With The Iron Fists) as Moses Jones, Carla Gugino (Watchmen) as Laurie, Idris Elba (Thor) as Tango, Common (Selma) as Turner Lucas, TI (Ant-Man) as Stevie Lucas, Armand Assante (Judge Dredd) as Dominic Cattano, and the film was directed by Ridley Scott (Alien).
What happens when you put Denzel Washington in a leading role of a film? Well, I hope that you are preparing yourself for one hell of a performance because that is exactly what you are getting with this film. The thing I loved about this film is that you sort of get two stories in one where you have one guy who wants to make his teacher and his family proud by being at the top of his game while you have another who feels that honesty is the best policy and it will lead him over the dirty cops. I have to be honest in saying that if I found a million dollars as a cop, I may skim a few off the top of it. It’s kind of the story of the two roads with the one less traveled and you can guess who took which road in this film. There are so many actors that appeared in this film that I couldn’t fit above that deserved honorable mention like Cuba Gooding Jr., Ruby Dee, Jon Polito, John Ortiz, and many more who do a terrific job in the film. Now we all know that Hollywood takes some civil liberties with their films, but this one seems to have a lot according to an article on historyvshollywood.com. One story is that Frank says in the film that he drove for Bumpy for 15 years. Reports indictate that Bumpy was released from prison in 1963 and he died in 1968 leaving only a five year window. Check out more of the facts vs fiction in that article that I provided. The film is excellent with a very good story, amazing cinematography, and it’s the kind of gangster movies we love here in the states. So, what more could you possibly ask for? I am going to give the film an A- for a final grade.
There are moments that happen in the world that are just magical and if you don’t capitalize then you lose out. The Lonely Island was one of those moments that Andy Samberg (Hot Rod) needed to capitalize on and he did just that with today’s film Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping. The mockumentary style film follows former Style Bros member Connor4Real (Samberg) as he is about to embark on one of the biggest world tours of his career alongside his best friend Owen (Jorma Taccone) and his other 32 members of his entourage. Soon though, Connor will learn that fame doesn’t last forever as the problems begin to pour in for the popstar. He’ll have to dig in deep to try and figure out a way back to the top, but that could mean conjuring up some skeletons in the closet. The film also stars Akiva Schaffer (The Watch) as Lawrence, Sarah Silverman (Wreck-It Ralph) as Paula, Tim Meadows (Mean Girls) as Harry, Maya Rudolph (Bridesmaids) as Deborah, Joan Cusack (Say Anything…) as Tilly, Imogen Poots (Need For Speed) as Ashley, Chris Redd (Empire) as Hunter, and the film features cameos from Ringo Starr, Usher, 50 Cent, RZA, Nas, Justin Timberlake, Carrie Underwood, Mario Lopez, Simon Cowell, and so many more.
If I had to find the right way to describe this film in one sentence it would be that the film is this generation’s This Is Spinal Tap or CB4. What This Is Spinal Tap did for the 80’s, CB4 did for the 90’s, Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping is going to do the same for this generation that worships popstars who do not write their own material and take themselves way too serious. The film itself was based off of Justin Bieber’s life according to one report that I read and it certainly makes sense after seeing the film. Just as This Is Spinal Tap had hilarious and outrageous songs, this film certainly had it and they were hilarious. One of my favorite songs from the film is Finest Girl (Bin Laden), the song is so outrageous that I couldn’t stop laughing, but I was also singing along too. There’s also plenty of funny moments in the film like Justin Timberlake’s cameo as Connor’s soft spoken personal chef and some of the testimony from the celebrity cameos. One of the scenes that I thought was funny at first, but then in my opinion they dragged it out too long was the CMZ (instead of TMZ) segments. It was cool at first like I said, but they kept the joke going too long in one of the scenes leaving me wanting them to move on. They also tried hard to put in some drama in the film like Connor hitting rock bottom, but even that was too funny not to laugh at like Seal getting attacked by wolves. Nonetheless, I am proclaiming that this is a contender for Comedy Movie Of The Year in the Monster Entertainment Awards next year. I am going to give the film an A- for a final grade because I loved it for what it was.
One of my favorite Martial Arts films from 2012 was The Man With The Iron Fists which starred Wu-Tang Clan member and now actor RZA (Brick Mansions) as Thaddeus, the man with the iron fists. The film was an ode to the old martial arts films about Shaolin monks and he is back for the sequel The Man With The Iron Fists 2. Thaddeus is now sort of a man on the run, but from his past. He is trying to make it to a temple so that he can ask for forgiveness and cleanse his soul of the violence. He takes a detour when he is attacked and found by some mining villagers who have a problem of their own. The villagers are being controlled by an evil man and villagers are dying left and right. So, with Thaddeus’s help, the villagers leader Li Kung (Dustin Nguyen) will revolt against the evil faction to gain their freedom. The film also stars Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa (Mortal Kombat) as Mayor Zhang, Kowit Wattanakul (Only God Forgives) as Jia Hang, Grace Huang (The Man With The Iron Fists) as Gemini Female, Pim Bubear (Ninja II) as Innocence, Carl Ng (New Police Story) as Master Ho, Charlie Ruedpokanon (Only God Forgives) as Li Guang, and the film was directed by Roel Reine (The Marine 2). To see the stats and the review of the film, please visit the site here.