Gimme the Loot
Director: Adam Leon
Starring: Ty Hickson, Zoe Lescaze, Joshua Rivera, Tashiana Washington
For decades graffiti artists have toiled in the underground as talented artists who create beautiful works of art on unsuspecting buildings worldwide. Operating under the secrecy and a sort of anonymity that would makes most pirates envious, graffiti artists have always been looked upon as a nuisance to society, vagrants that that pop up like rodents and do damage to buildings that don’t belong to them. Director Adam Leon is set to put his new age spin on the art form that has been around since Egyptian hieroglyphics. The film, Gimme the Loot, is a film that revolves around the characters Malcolm (Ty Hickson) and Sofia (Tashiana Washington), two teenage graffiti bombers with a dream of spewing paint upon the famous New York Met Apple at Citifield in Flushing, NY. On the low end of the bomber spectrum, Malcolm and Sophia find themselves the victims of a more experienced artist ruining the work and leaving the tags of Woodside Kings crew. Not to be discouraged from their ultimate goal, the duo commits just about every tiny NYC crime you can imagine, from shoplifting to stealing marijuana from smalltime drugs dealers in the hopes of raising the $500 cash it takes to sneak into the stadium and become infamous. Add a plethora of comedic failures along with the pure innocence of teenagers set to the backdrop of NYC and you get classic indie Mecca feel. Gimme the Loot proved at Cannes Film Festival that is a movie that legendary bombers like King Banksy, Robbo, SaBer, and Revok would be proud of.
Director: Rick Roman Waugh
Starring: Dwayne Johnson, Susan Sarandon, Harold Perrineu, Michael Kenneth Williams, Benjamin Bratt, Nadine Velasquez
2013 is going to be a very big year for Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson. After spending the last couple of them doing family films Johnson finds himself back inside the arena that has helped make him a top five leading face in action films. Snitch is based on a true story of a father who goes undercover for the DEA after his son is set up in a drug deal gone bad. With his son unwilling to testify against the gang of men who set him up, Johnson goes in deep to infiltrate a dangerous Mexican drug cartel and it leader played by Benjamin Bratt. Under the watchful eye of the US attorney played by Sarandon, Johnson goes from being a driver for the cartel into a highly respected member of the organization. The pressure from the cartel heats up as Johnson, his best friend, and their families are in imminent danger with the constant awareness that at any moment his cover could be blown leaving everyone exposed. Snitch moves along as a steady pace and picks up to a feverish pace. The acting from Johnson is much evolved as he does show considerable vulnerability as a straight laced dad who just wants his son home. He is not waving a 2×4, nor is he kicking in a door waving a .44, he is believable and that’s why this film will be entertaining for fans who appreciate a thrilling movie filled with action and suspense.
Stand Up Guys
Director: Fisher Stevens
Starring: Al Pacino, Christopher Walken, Julie Marguiles, Alan Arkin
Hollywood has never been particularly kind to aging actors. As our favorites of yesteryear grow older, the number of scripts that run across their agent’s desk decrease significantly. While a few great actors (Deniro, Freeman, Eastwood) seem to always find recycled roles, other greats fade into oblivion. Three actors destined not to meet the fate of their contemporaries star in the Fisher Stevens directed comedy Stand Up Guys. A film that makes fun of, and hits back at the idea of growing older. The film takes place in modern day as Val (Pacino) is just released from prison after serving twenty-eight long years in prison. Upon his release he is picked up by partner Doc (Walken), and naturally Val is up to his wise guy antics in the anticipation of indulging in everything he has missed over the years. But oh things have changed. Doc no longer has the appetite for a life of crime and spends his time as an artist who spends his days painting. Nevertheless, after some serious coaxing from Val, Doc decides to get the crew back together for one more run even going as far as to break his old driver Hirsch (Arkin) out of a nursing home. The mob boss however has other plans for Val, who owes a significant debt to him after a botched robbery that sent him to prison. The reason Val went to prison has always ached his mind and as they continue their good fellas crime spree, more comes to light into why the incarceration happened. When you’re at the point that the old lame out of touch scenes begin to stall you get just enough sobering moments that takes this film to the finish line. Stand Up Guys is a pretty good change of pace film that is light and a departure from the all action films that drown theatres and take themselves too seriously. So after you’re emotionally spent from all those big budget films of the holiday season, this movie will be a nice change of pace. Just a simple old fashioned comedy.
Director: Sheldon Candis
Starring: Common, Michael Rainey, Jr., Dennis Haysbert, Danny Glover, Charles Dutton, Michael Kenneth Williams, Meagan Good
Although mostly known as one of the best conscience hip hop artists, Common dons plenty of other hats these days as successful motivational speaker, working television actor and now after numerous supporting roles in some major films, he can add lead actor to his impressive resume. The rapper known formerly as Lonnie Lynn, stars as Uncle Vincent, a hard luck hustler with a plan to change his life around, under the impressionable eyes of his eleven year old nephew, Woody (Michael Rainey, Jr). Wanting to set a positive example for his protégé, Vincent decides to allow him to miss a day of school so he can give young Woody a one day tutorial of what it takes to be a man. With Woody’s mother struggling with drug addiction, the fatherless boy takes an immediate liking to Vincent, and his longing to have a role model resonates with the ex-con. Together they take to the streets of Baltimore in an adventure which features Woody getting a parking lot driving lesson, his first real suit and a taste of his first oysters. On his last stop Vincent gets some news from a local bank that leads him to a choice that brings him face to face with his past in a decision that may change the rest of his life. Will Woody follow his own hero or will he be his own man?
A hit at the Sundance Film Festival, LUV, is the feature film debut of Director Sheldon Candis, who drew extremely high marks for assembling such an esteemed cast of actors for a debut film. Despite a limited budget, LUV represents a coming of age film that most people in the African American community will be able to relate to. With true Renaissance man Common as the film’s star, Common is officially earning his SAG card baby. He’s an actor.
Hansel And Gretel: Witch Hunters
Director: Tommi Wirkola
Starring: Jeremy Renner, Gemma Arterton, Famke Janssen, Ingrid Bolso Berdal, PeterStor-mare, Thomas Mann
Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters takes us into the ancient fable, where the two almost get eaten up, but end up surviving. this is the continuation 15 years after the siblings’ incident at the gingerbread house. obviously this experience had a dramatic effect on the two, and they decide to become bounty hunters. as hired hands, Hansel an Gretel begin to wreck havoc on fable land! as they have vowed to put down the crackling black-hat set. This film provides mystery, revenge and comedy, all rolled into one!