The Book of Eli is another post-apocalyptic films. However, this one leaves you with some pungent reflections. The movie follows Eli, Denzel Washington, as he heads west on a divine mission. The world is now 30 years after the big war and the planet is inhabited by gun-toting, motorcycling riding, violent, illiterate desperados. Picture Road Warrior and Fahrenheit 451 meet Border town from Beyond Thunderdome. The camera work in this film is excellent and it is good to see the Hughes Brothers back directing. With a backdrop of crushed building, abandoned towns, and sun bleached road, our hero Eli walks west.
Eli happens upon a small broken down town run by Carnegie, Gary Oldman. Carnegie runs the desperados I mentioned earlier. Carnegie’s life long quest has been searching for is one rumored sacred book, the book of power. He daily sends out these road warriors to collect books and of course kill. And wouldn’t you know it Eli just happens to be carrying the very book Carnegie has been seeking all these years. It is at this moment that The Book of Eli’s brilliance and it’s faults come into play. Eli escapses Carnegie’s clutches, but he has now picked up an extra traveler, Solara, Mila Kunis, and they head west together. The movie up until this point is quite simply amazing, really. I won’t say that the addition of Solar as eye-candy was unnecessary, but Hollywood’s tradition of marketing action films with a minority lead by populating movies with youthful looking mainstream additions is so Pre-Obama. So instead I will say that Solara was miscast.
With the addition of Solora the story struggles to regain its brilliance. This movie gets 15 out of 10 for simply having the guts to deal with religion on this level. Sure we get Carnegie’s name from the Latin root, yes we get the mission that Eli is on, of course we get the zealotry and social commentary, but what we don’t get is how the characters run out of bullets but never gas. I hazzar to say that this movie is more biblical than The Ten Commandments. The ending of the movie will leave you with questions, but the themes that run through the movie will stay with you long after the movie is over. High powered explosions, computer generated creatures, over the top villains be damned this is the type of movie Hollywood should be making. Denzel Washington’s low key performance is simply one of his best. If it weren’t for pandering to mainstream America this movie would have gotten 10 out of 10, but as it is MG give it 8 of 10.

The Book of Eli is in theaters now

transformers2

Transformers :Revenge of the Fallen

I am not going to really review this movie. Why because no matter what it will make money and opinions of it will vary greatly. But I will say this it has spectacular explosions, a senseless story and that’s about it…frankly it is not worth my $11. That being said I agree that Transformers 2 is rife with many disturbing images and themes. Blogs are screaming racist, racism and the like. So what if Skids and Mudflap speak in slang and admit that they can’t read….but when did illiteracy become a Black stereotype? Michael Bay knows what he is doing so it is o.k. for an ice cream truck to randomly drop the B-word. Robots with gold teeth, buck teeth and bad grammar honestly I have been insulted far better in movies not as bad, maybe it’s me but robots are not made to be that flawed. This brings up the question I have been asking for the last 7 years… Can anyone make a good novie anymore?

This Michael Bay film makes fun of Blacks, Asians, Latinos, our over sexualized culture, and it offends our delicate sensibilities. Michael Bays seems to believe that these types of stereotypes and inappropriate language somehow make the movie more accessible to children. I don’t know where he got that idea, mostly likely he got that answer out of our wallets. I can’t believe that Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman are the same writers of the brilliant Star Trek movie, which again only points back to Michael Bay. Maybe Mr. Limbaugh’s writers wrote some of those parts because they not only dehumanize of African-Americans but just about all other groups as well. Or does the robot animation make it o.k. to say things like “…we don’t really do much readin’!” I mean really who wrote that line? Black people we have enough progressive minstrel shows…right Spike? These stereotypes and more are really present in this film. And no the movie is not criticized because we lack of imagination, or that we are not a child a heart, there is no way to spin this Paramount…This is way worse than Jar Jar Binks did.

Right now many people are also yelling about the sexual themes and tone of this movie, the racial component is perhaps the overcompensation effect of having a Black President. But it is not an over reaction these films and more need to be taken to task. The directors need to do better and we as a people need to be better than this in a so-called “Post-Racial America”. This is not the first Michael Bay film with racial stereotypes so why are people upset now? The first Transformers Movie (which is a better movie by the way) has autobot Jazz, a break dancing, slang talking robot, who also happened to be the first robot killed. That robot also use the B word in it’s first lines as well. I was surprised he was eating chicken(maybe that was edited out)… still the audience would have laughed. You see it isn’t the stereotypes it is the fact that this film was made without intellect. If the movie itself were better everyone overlook the abundant flaws and would be talking about how good the acting was, or how well done the story was, or how surprised they were about this or that. It is the complete lack of those things as the only reason we are even having these discussions.

So let’s recap:

Violence, Inappropriate sexism, stereotypes, but the most disturbing thing of all is the more innocuous of all…. Bad Acting. I mean Shia Labouf is a star, but no one really knows why, can he please show some acting range. And Megan Fox is cute, you only call her hot because the media says so. Her acting is so sub par in this film I think Angelia Jolie is laughing her ass off saying “replace me….never.” Who listens to critics? They are hardly right, well they have this one right. Well it is the summer and we all need something to do, why go to the park when we could pay to be offended?

If you really want to see this movie great but don’t take anyone younger than 14, seriously. Because if you listen closely you’ll here the guys behind you enumerating all of the things they would like to do to Megan Fox. Note to Megan: Is this how you want to really be viewed? These questions and more will only be answered by the weekend box office tally.

Optimus Prime is the early favorite for Best Actor.

Jay Z could do a Death to Autobots track as a bonus.

Star Trek

It has been 40 plus years since the original Star Trek aired and some would say that the series has grown old maybe even stale. But the series has sparked so much imagination over the years that someone inevitably comes along and tries to perform CPR on it. Star Trek’s days of being socially conscientious are over, as well as its days of innovation. That being said I decided to go to see a movie it took me two weeks to get up the nerve after being utterly disappointed by Wolverine. So I decided to pull the usually empty lever of the Studio Film slot machine once again. The obvious choice would be for me to see Angels & Demons, but the buzz on Star Trek compelled me spend two hours with them.

I have to say that this so-called prequel is in a word “Brilliant”. Many reviewers throw around terms like “Superb”, “Excellent”, “Visually Stunning” much too loosely. However, for J.J. Abrams’ vision of Star Trek those terms actually do apply. Most people will think that this film is a testosterone filled  heartless movies, but they couldn’t be more wrong. This film has something in it for everyone, and I mean everyone. Yes, there will be those who have issues with completely minor errors like, time travel, or the inherent danger of indiscriminate singularity creation, but I digress.

This film begins with James T. Kirk’s birth in deep space with his father sacrificing his own life so that his son and others could live. Kirk is later seen as a rebellious Iowan youth (think Rebel Without A Cause). Then we are treated to see how a young Half-Vulcan, Half-Human Spock’s is developing on the planet Vulcan. The young Spock is having trouble wrestling with those pesky emotions (Vulcan’s suppress them) while the other Vulcans believe that having a human mother is some type of handicap. Director J.J. Abrams plays Kirk’s father and Spock’s mother off of one another the entire movie and rightly so. Spock (Zachary Quinto) rebels at the high council when a crack is made about his mother and he decided to join the less prestigious Starfleet. Next we see an older Kirk (Chris Pine) as he continues to pursue women and a life built on destruction, but during a bar room brawl he catches the eye of Capt. Pike, who was an admirer of his father, who convinces him to join Starfleet. And from there we are introduced in order to the central characters of Star Trek: Nyota Uhura (Zoe Saldana), Leonard McCoy (Karl Urban), Hikaru Sulu (John Choo), Montgomery Scott (Simon Pegg), Yuri Chekov (Anton Yelchin). Choosing lesser-known actors allows the director to focus less on glamor shots and more on the acting. It takes a lot of guts to pull off that kind of trade-off clearly this movie was made with purpose. The casting on this film is topnotch except for Spock’s Mother (Winona Ryder), but she only has five lines. But casting Eric Bana as (Nero the Romulan Commander) was genius.

The script by Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci from plot to sub plot is impeccable. All of the cliches and themes are there, but they are beside the point because this script does more than offer a great tale… it offers insight and back story to the characters themselves. They took a risk switching out the well-known and traditional enemy the Klingons for the lesser known Romulans, but it was a magnificent choice that opened up many more possibilities for the future of the franchise. There are some surprises, an unusual love interest (and I don’t mean between Kirk and Spock), and a slightly more emotional Spock.

Quite simply J.J. Abrams has accomplished what George Lucas could not by trying to reignite the Star Wars series. Frankly this movie puts the last ten-years of retread, rehashed, comic-book, sci-fi movies to shame. How: Story Development, Character Development, New Worlds, Surprise Guest Stars, Amazing Effects, and a Love Story. This movie has it all, yet it moves along so well you’ll think that it was 3- hours long instead of a run time of 127 minutes. Interestingly enough if you are a Trek fan that watched the movie and really paid attention you will realize that this is not the Star Trek you grew up with. What the writers have slyly done is created an Alternative Universe Star Trek, which couldn’t be done if the canon was discarded or the script was sub par. If you didn’t notice that then you really need to see it again and this one of those rare movies that is worth seeing again. Superstar actors be damned this is the kind of movie Hollywood should be making! J.J. Abrams should get very serious consideration for an Oscar and credit the writers. Whatever the case, the history of Star Trek has been forever changed.

10/9.5

 

 

EVERY DAY LIFE is the true story of a young man’s out-of-place experiences as he journeys toward reaching his pinnacle. The uniqueness of EVERY DAY LIFE is that it is a play. Hardie sets the scenes, exposes the plot and encourages readers to interact with the characters. The main character, ‘L’ is a young African-American man living in one of the forgotten ghettos of America. He was steps away from a lucrative career in sports, when an unjust prosecution landed him in prison and relegated him to harsh ghetto life. He now struggles with drugs, gangs, and dramatic friends.In the company of three male buddies and several female friends, ‘L’ spends his days smoking, for perspective, and delving into endearing games of the ‘The Dozens’. But that wears thin and ‘L’ realizes there is something better for him; he makes a life-altering metamorphosis.EVERYDAY LIFE is contemplative as it shares the lives of these four men and how they relate to love, societal expectations, and self-worth. The influence of the hip-hop generation is very visible as their conversations visit occurences in every day life. This story gets its energy from the great strides Hardie made in his life, and his insatiable desire to depict urbanism with a positive twist.

Reviewed by aNN
of  The RAWSISTAZ(tm) Reviewers

 
 
5.0 out of 5 stars AAMBC Book Reviews

Everyday Life is just what the title says. It touches on so many issues about life that you get lost in the discussions. Hardie is hard core when it comes to telling it like it is. Not only does he speak from the African American point of view, he makes sure he tells it how we see it. Each page is filled with truth, passion, and reality. The characters are more then relatable, you know someone just like them. Reading Everyday Life was not only a fresh breath of air; it felt good to have a new voice for our people. From politics, relationships, education, the hood, to the nature of our world were all expressed in depth. You will praise these characters; you will laugh at them, relate to them, and wish you were in the book just to say your two cents. M G Hardie is a talent within it self. I strongly encourage you to get EveryDay Life, take in the message and embrace it. It is a must read. Mr. Hardie you get five stars from AAMBC.

Tamika Newhouse
AAMBC Reviewer