movie list


 

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The Force Awakens is full of pomp and circumstance and it is not a particularly good movie but it is a good Star Wars movie. The Force is out of balance in this one. The CGI gets a B-, the diversity angle gets and A, the feminist angle gets an A+ and those angles weren’t thrown in the audience’s face. Everything else was rather sketchy the plot, the pacing, the dialogue, even the damn secrets.

Where to begin…Kylo Ren. This badass can freeze a laser blast with his back turned. He can sense his father’s presence when he lands on a planet, but he walks blindly down a scaffold searching for his father who is hiding 20 feet away from him. Ren spends half the film literally throwing tantrums while wearing a vocorder mask that he doesn’t need. Darth Vader had a mask on because he had asthma; Ren wears it try to be something he’s not. Even Han Solo says “Take off that mask, you don’t need it.”

The fact that Kylo Ren abilities allows him to kill Luke Skywalker’s Jedi pupils, but he battles the kindhearted storm trooper in a 5 minute lightsaber battle, should be enough to make any righteous Star Wars fan vomit in their mouth…just a little bit. Then Ren is bested by Rey, who may be strong with the Force but has never used the force, never been trained and who moments earlier said that the force was all a myth.

I know those are but minor quibbles…right, we finally got a good Star Wars film…just be happy. You could just be happy with your mediocre job, your mediocre car and your mediocre love life or you could want more, you could want better or you could just settle. That’s not all of the flaws you could take every major character and write a paragraph or two of WTF’s on them…really.

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The Star Killer base took forever to fire, and I mean forever. It was probably the longest 15 minutes in science fiction film history. A legend dies and their love ones just move on, you don’t even feel the loss.The dedicated Captain Phasma the platinum boss storm trooper just lowers the planet’s shields because, ex-storm trooper, Finn points a blaster at her while he asks her to.

After Han and Leia find each other Leia shows more warmth to Rey and Chewie than to her husband. Every scene Han with Leia seemed forced even that one tepid hug. Their chemistry is colder than the Hoth planet.

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Midnight: Rise of the Black Vampires is Part Novel, Part Graphic Novel, All Vampire

If the Republic was reorganized after Episode VI, then The First Order would be a ‘terrorist’ organization, and referred to as resistance. In The Force Awakens there are two separate resistance groups, one affiliated with the dark side of the force which can build starships, huge planet destroying machines and amasses great armies, the other affiliated with the light side of the force, which in 30 years haven’t changed the X-Wing fighter much, nor have they developed a missile, bomb or any other large scale weapon, also they seem to like to hide in jungles and dirty caves… So why are make a film about them again?

The Force Awakens foes produce an even greater respect for the first Star Wars films. All of the characters in The Force Awakens just seem conflicted; you don’t feel the evil just oozing out of Ren, just like you don’t feel the love coming from Leia. I don’t know why they needed Andy Serkis to play the Supreme Leader Snoke, he really doesn’t do much. I do know why…name recognition.

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Harrison Ford as Han Solo, Carrie Fisher as Leia and Mark Hamill as Skywalker all perform admirably when they aren’t on screen together…especially Ford. Daisy Ridley’s performance as Rey is strong and vulnerable. The Force Awaken is a remix and homage, perhaps too much, of the original films.

The Force Awakens is one big trailer for the new few films in the Disney franchise anyway. The film is nonsensical, predictable, it’s fun and it moves along quickly, but it’s not enjoyable the way the original “Star Wars” was. The dialogue, comaradery and witticisms are nowhere on par with The Empire Strikes Back. If the producers didn’t want The Force Awakens to be compared with those legendary films, they wouldn’t have borrowed everything this film is from them. After you see The Force Awakens go back and watch Episodes IV and V if nothing else.

The first half of the film is pretty much littered with bullshit and nostalgia. The second half is really the meat of the film. The film gets a solid C because it’s fun and all of the characters have their moments, especially Finn, played by John Boyega and Rey. There is a bit of hope that those two get together but political correctness already has Finn in a coma and Rey rolling around the galaxy with Chewbacca.

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No matter how dire the situation is Rey never really needs any help, think Richard B. Riddick in 2004’s The Chronicles of Riddick. Rey who has never flown can pilot a starship like an expert, Finn can shoot blasters and laser turrets like a pro. Rey can mind probe, mind trick and lightsaber duel better than Yoda…talk about being overpowered.

It will take a few more films for people to realize Luke Skywalker was really just some asshole living on an island planet, playing with people’s minds so he can use them as conduits for the force.

Through the prequels we have come to know the Jedi and the Sith as arrogant, ill-prepared bumblers, cowards and dark cloak wearing idiots… The best thing about The Force Awakens is that none of that exist here. There are moments in the second half of the film that manage to capture the magic of the original film, but even those moments are fleeting.

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Half way through the film Han Solo implores his new companions “Don’t stare!”, when all the director wants the audience to do is stare. This is how easy a mark the movie going public has become. Director J.J. Abrams wants to piss people off, he’s like Quentin Tarantino in a way. They both do things in a movies just because they can, not because those things are necessary. Abrams gives us views of  hollowed out AT AT’s, imperial cruisers wrecked in the desert and a mangled, burned and ripped up Vader mask as message to Star Wars fans; that message… you are boldly going where you haven’t gone before.

After seeing this film, you should realize that those singular Star Wars moments were never meant to be captured again.

 

For those that don’t know there have been many great Black movies. Many of these movies have enriched many lives. So, I have created this list to showcase some of these films. Many of these films you may not know and some you might, but they are all worth a look.  Feel free to comment on the list, but most of all enjoy. These movies will enrich any movie collection. This is part 2 of my list.

20. Fruitvale Station (2013)

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22-year-old black man Oscar Grant (Michael B. Jordan) is now trying hard to live a clean life and support his girlfriend and young daughter. The film uses flashbacks to reveal the last day in Oscar’s life, in which he accompanied his family and friends to San Francisco to watch fireworks on New Year’s Eve. On the way back home, he became swept up in an altercation with police that ended in tragedy. This story is powerful because it is sadly an everyday story.

19. Malcolm X (1992)

 

This is a biopic of the life, philosophies and transitions of Malcolm X, an influential American figure and Nation of Islam minister. Malcolm X is portrayed by Denzel Washington. This film is based on the book, The Autobiography of Malcolm X . For those who don’t know of Malcolm X this film, with the book, is a great teaching tool, to learn about the man and his life.

18. Antwone Fisher (2002)

 

A sailor prone to violent outbursts is sent to a naval psychiatrist for help. Refusing at first to open up, the young man eventually breaks down and reveals a horrific childhood. Through his therapy, he confronts his painful past and begins a journey to find the family he never knew. This movie is moving and heartwarming. This entire film is a journey of self-discovery, through the eyes of Antwone Fisher. This story is about the need to be loved and the need to forgive.

17. Boyz ‘n the Hood (1991)

 

This movie is a gripping tale of a group of childhood friends growing up in the ultra violent South Central Los Angeles. As far as modern urban dramas go this one has it all. This film makes important points regarding the struggles facing black boys in the inner cities. It is Simply Powerful.

16. Amistad (1997)

 

 

This film takes a little known chapter in African American history as gives it weight. This is the story of a bloody revolt of African captives on a Spanish slave ship off the coast of America in 1839, and the subsequent trials that followed. This story is as compelling as it is real.


 

15. Ray (2004)

 

This the true life story of legendary blues singer Ray Charles. The movie follows Ray Charles from the losing his eyesight in early childhood, to his rising career during the 1950s and 1960s, and his problems with racism, drug abuse, failed relationships and his revolutionary idea to change the pace music by combining soul and gospel music. This movie provides incredibly insight into a brilliant man.

14. Cooley High (1975)

 

This film follows a group of high school friends, who live on the North Side of Chicago, in the mid-1960. Life changes for two of the characters when they meet a pair of career criminals and get falsely arrested in connection with stealing a Cadillac. This is a coming of age film for young black men, as high schoolers deal with their triumphs as well as their struggles.

13. Soul Food (1997)

Mama Joe has held her family together for over 40 years around a traditional Sunday dinner of soul food. When diabetes hospitalizes her, the dinners stop and tensions among her three daughters start to break the family apart. This movie epitomized life in present-day America for many African-American families. Soul Food deals with multiple family issues, the struggles, the triumph, but most of all it portrayed African American family’s a real familial unit, with real problems.

12. Love Jones (1997)

The story revolves around a young poet in Chicago who starts dating a beautiful and talented photographer. This movie deftly deals with the differences between just kickin’ it, or are we really in love. This movie plays equally to men and women. This movie is similar in fashion to Brown Sugar, but this movie introduced Spoken Word to the world and that sets it apart. Love Jones is a real slice of African Americana.

11. Purple Rain (1984)

“The Kid” with a gift for music meets an aspiring singer and finds that talent alone isn’t all that he needs. This is a complicated loved tale with “The Kid” not wanting to repeat his father’s self destructive behavior. “The Kid” comes to grips with life, love and loss. This movie is usually overlooked as a glorified music video and it is music set on fire. Glorified or not this film positively burns long after you are finished watching it. After all, this movie made it possible for similar movies such as, ‘8 mile’ to be made.

Honorable Mentions: Hollywood Shuffle, Hoop Dreams, Within Our Gates, Eddie Murphy Raw, Lackawanna Blues, Boomerang, Precious, The Best Man, The Wood, Dream Girls,The Inkwell, Sparkle, I’m Gonna Get You Sucka, and New Jack City.

Part 1

Part 3

For those that don’t know there have been many great Black movies. Many of these great movies have enriched many lives. So, decided to created a list showcasing some of these films. Many of these films you may not know and some you might, but they all are worth a look.  Feel free to comment on the list, but most of all enjoy. These movies will enrich any movie collection.

30. House Party (1990)

The parents are gone and the Kids will Play. This film introduces people not only to Kid N’ Play, but also the new feel good Hip-Hop lifestyle.  This is a cheesy hip hop flick that was well cast, with endearing characters.

29. City of GOD (2002)

The images, sound and style are the most unique features of this film about Brazil. Honestly what you come away with is that the greatest violence of all, is poverty.

28. Fear of a Black Hat (1990)

This is a side-splittingly funny mockumentary about the imaginary hard-core rap group NWH (Niggaz With Hats). The documentary tracks NWH’s rise and fall from stardom. Be careful this movie is filled with parody and satire.

27. Hustle & Flow (2005)

A tale of a pimp in the middle of a mid-life crisis who decides he wants to be a rapper. Just when you think the film can’t get any better, it surprises you.  Just when you thought that it was safe to go into the hood they make a film like this one. This is an in your face unique portrayal of a hood film.

26. Hip-Hop: Beyond Beats & Rhymes (2006)

This documentary provides a riveting examination of manhood, sexism, and homophobia in hip-hop culture. This movie is a hip-hop tribute while challenging the rap music industry to take responsibility for glamorizing destructive, deeply conservative stereotypes of manhood.

25. Menace II Society (1993)

A young street hustler attempts to escape the rigors and temptations of the ghetto in a quest for a better life. This is another Urban Film, but much more hardcore than ‘Boyz N the Hood’. This movie is about drugs, gangs, and violence. It is as real a movies get with this subject matter.

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24. The Butler (2013)

After leaving the South as a young man and finding employment at an elite hotel in Washington, D.C., Cecil Gaines (Forest Whitaker) gets the opportunity of a lifetime when he is hired as a butler at the White House. Over the course of three decades, Cecil has a front-row seat to history and the inner workings of the Oval Office. However, this is a turbulent time for the black community and his role in the White House leads to tension at home, alienating his wife (Oprah Winfrey) and causing conflict with his anti-establishment son.

23. Krush Grove (1985)

This movie is based on the early days of Def Jam Recordings, up-and-coming manager Russell Walker has all the hottest acts on the record label Krush Groove records, including Run-D.M.C., Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde, and Kurtis Blow, while Rick (Rubin) produces their records. When Run-D.M.C. has a hit record and Russell doesn’t have the money to press records, he borrows money from a street hustler, and the Hip Hop industry is born. The movie outpaces other good movies such Beatstreet, and Breakin’ because it shows that music is a business.

22. This Is It (2009)

This film is a compilation of interviews, rehearsals and backstage footage of Michael Jackson as he prepared for his “This is it”. A tour he never began because of his unfortunate death. This film reveals the music, the talent, and the man that was Michael Jackson. This well-rounded look at the man who changed the entertainment industry forever, is definitely a must see, if for the music alone.

21. Friday (1995)

I would have loved to put this movie up higher on my list it one of my personal favorites. Friday lets the audience into the lives of two friends who sit around smoking weed on a Friday. Sounds simple enough, but then we are greeted to crazies, moral dilemmas, life lessons and gun battles. This movie is often real and always hilarious.

I would have liked to put stand up offerings in the listing, Kevin Hart, Chris Rock, Dave Chapple, Richard Pryor, Eddie Griffin, Tyler Perry…there are just too many comedies to include and still get a well-rounded list. i will say that Eddie Murphy’s “Delirious.” is probably the best stand up ever. If you look at a film like Boomerang you can see the early diversity of Mr. Murphy Boomerang is one of the first films to portray blacks in non-traditional urban roles.

Honorable Mention: Carmen Jones, Baby Boy, Poetic Justice, Jason Lyric, and the best of those type of movies was Set it Off


MG Hardie (join the fan page)

Part 2 Part 3