July 20

Winners and Losers: Drake’s Scorpion

Arguably the most anticipated rap album since who knows how long released not so long ago. Shattering records and failing to meet others. This album had the biggest hype train as well as one a very huge on-wax beef with Pusha-T that made waves everywhere. Easily this felt like one of the moments Jay Z capture when releasing an album so how did Drake fare here? Well, let’s just say a lot of parties carry weight here some of the biggest influencers of this album help pave the way for a very uneven experience.

Winners:

Clarity

We finally got answers here and responses (not anything worth mentioning about Pusha T though). The Puff incident and Meek beef were addressed in the 1st song. Took more shots at Kanye (who has yet to fully explain his bullshit antics/actions as of late). He goes in length about how the internet criticism is weighing on him and brags about his lifestyle to say the criticism is not affecting his success but it is. Drake is very miserable on this album and it shows through most songs on here. Most importantly, the rumors of his son are true and he provides context about the situation on March 14th. Drake did something more and more rappers have trouble doing: reveal.

Drake fans (Unaware of Pusha T)

Talk about being in the dark. Learning about Drake son through his music is EXACTLY the way Drake wanted this to be done. This album was a treat to them and maybe the easiest winner of them good for you folks to avoid the internet when it’s convenient for you.

40 and Ty Dolla $ign

MAKE AN ALBUM ASAP

J Prince

DO NOT MESS WITH THIS MAN’S MONEY JUST STOP HE’S NOT TO BE MESSED WITH

Seriously it’s great to have friends like him.

Women

Seriously the number of bangers for women on this album are countless. The amount of sample from Women artist ranging from Mariah Carey to Lauryn Hill to a freestyle of Nicki Minaj. Women played a major role in every Drake album (KiKi!!!!!), there’s nothing different. However, ONE lady gets the biggest praise and no it’s not KiKi:

Sophie Brussaux

Easily one of the biggest winners out of all this. From the being shamed as just another woman who tried trap a rapper, she got all the acknowledgment in the world and most importantly a big I TOLD YOU to the rest of the world. Kudos to you.

Pusha T

If we’re being honest side A was changed you can tell hell Drake admitted to doing so on 8 out of 10. No direct shots to Pusha and most importantly he took money out of his pocket. March 14th would’ve been huge if you never heard anything about this beer. Pusha won big here.

Drake

Still shattering records as of this writing. Most importantly still the talk of the hour

Losers:

Drake

Sorry, you still hid your son and most importantly you admitted to changing your album.

Kanye

Man did Kanye come off like the asshole of the year on this album. After the mediocre Wyoming projects, this album did him no favors in the public eye, in fact, it’s pretty damning to see how bad Kanye has fallen. I seriously recommend LISTENING to the lyrics and you’ll hear what I’m hearing here.

The Women in Drake’s life

Drake sounds upset more disappointed in women. He wishes to mold the potential in them and change their habits. Well, more than one woman spoke out on it. He embraced full heel on side B good for him.

Bad Line

I’m not with the ra-ra/I am a Dada

UGGGGHHHHHHH

BEEF

The biggest takeaway is Pusha and Drake beef is officially dead and we’re onto sub shots between Ye and Drake for good now. Sad the beef ended the way it did but it might be better it did end before it got worse but we’ll never forget the ‘you’re hiding your son’ line.

 

Overall a fun project that is growing still In My Feelings might be the song of the summer unintentionally as well.  An album that may not live to the hype by most but an album that will talk about for a while. Back to my rabbit hole I go.

 

Just Greg

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April 25

KOD won’t change your opinion on J Cole, but it is the album that will define him

If we’re honest, J. Cole has been a mixed bag for me.

When he’s on his high points, he’s incredible, but his low points are cringe-worthy. The same artist that can deliver powerful tracks like Be Free and False Prophets (his mixtapes are still unbelievable) is the same guy who made goofy downright stupid tracks like Folding Clothes and Wet Dreams (Workout too ugh). Ever since his verse on Jay-Z’s A Star is Born track, the world has been enamored with Jermaine Cole. However, his body of work regarding LPs has brought a divisive response. One side will consider him one of the best in this current generation the other side find him as a lifeless act in the rap scene that has received undeserved praise.  This disconnect has caused a massive question to many regarding Cole’s place in the best current act of rappers. A question Cole himself has no say because he refused to want to be placed in such superlatives. (Seriously Cole the person is way more fascinating than the Cole the rapper). Thus, bringing us to his new album KOD. After middling critical and fan reception 4 Your Eyez Only (I hated this album), this was the album a lot of skeptics (myself included) were waiting to hear to see if he would be able to bounce.  KOD in short for three phrases (Kids on drugs, king overdosed, and kill our demons) was released on 4/20 (great marketing tactic) covers the topic of addiction and what seems to cover the issue what plagues the new crop of artists and kids today (social media, drugs, and influence).

This is not the 1st time Cole has brought up addiction in his music. 2011’s song Breakdown, Cole details the addiction his Mother had to overcome and the absence of his father, but in a spiteful deposition, he attacks society and the dominant influence it had around that time as well as the culture that promotes drug use today like it is a way of living. 4 Your Eyez Only he tackled drugs in the eyes of his Childhood friend who was a drug dealer. He was murdered, and Cole tells the stories to the daughter he left behind. Where attack this issue in more seemingly direct response to the climate then, he takes a very satirical approach to the topic on this album before closing in on the problems similar to the way he did Breakdown. Based on the 1st 4-5 songs on the album everyone, will be able to gather some thought on this album. Each song Cole uses flow and cadence out of his norm and sound eerily similar to the new and popular wave of ‘Mumble” Rappers. Even the beats resemble their beat selection as well. The self-titled KOD plays into such a persona as brags about his skills as a dealer critiques the criticism surrounding him and bring up his introduction into the world of drugs. Photograph cover the impact/addiction social media have towards social interaction amongst the world.  The most radio-friendly on the album ATM discusses the more dilemma of chasing money and fame and the consequences of seeking such.

This 1st of half of this album covers the narrative in his eyes. I’m personally not sure he’s playing the kid in this current and hence why the songs sound as they do, but I found them brilliant in concept but lacking elsewhere. The track The Cut Off is one of the most cringe-worthy tracks on the album. Granted the message is strong regarding eliminating folks in his life due to his lack of trust and felt he was taken advantage of; with his alter ego (I’ll get to that later) telling him to deal with such problems based on the issues presented as Cole whole premise is against drugs. It’s a great idea, but man this song sounded horrible. The middle of this album from Motiv8 to Brackets (The first verse that is) is absolutely skippable.  I will say the second verse in Brackets is one of the best set of lyrics he has ever written and it is worth listening to the track just for that verse alone.

The album picks up at Once an Addict Interlude, a song discussing his mother’s addictions again this time discussing her mom’s drinking problems after her an affair by his step-father which led to a child being birthed. Cole brought up his time in College and believed he escaped her problems, but she eventually calls him at 1 am drunk, and he realized he wished he intervened in her problems more than run away. This was Cole’s most personal track and what I wanted the album to explore further in. More than often rappers bring up problems without specifying about their reason for being so against other than common knowledge. Once an Addict provided the layers most of this album lacked, and I hate the fact I have to treat this as an interlude.  Friends felt like a step backward based on how incredible Once an Addict was. Kill Edward returns but not as annoying as the previous track and the song just lacked for me. Now the two songs which are the best two on the album came at the end of the record with Window Pain (horrible title for a track) and 1985.

Window Pain provides an excellent story begins with a girl seeing her cousin get shot, and Cole begins to reflect on the all the actions and problems he presented in the 1st half of the album. Cole attempts to bring home a very up and down beginning and a middle that is mediocre. 1985 which led to rumors of a second album coming. Was initially seen as a diss to mumble rappers, but funny enough this wasn’t a critique more Cole is advising this new crop of Rappers to stop caving into these influences as well as take control of their lives before they are on Love & Hip-Hop in 5 years.

Coming someone who is diagnosed with depression, I can appreciate the effort here, but the results came off mixed. Cole needs features badly. I believe some of these songs would be better if he had someone who can you know sing do the hooks. Kill Edward was very corny I understand it is Cole’s opposition in his head (hi, I go through this every day), but it didn’t work for me. Cole brings about a very polarizing group of hip-hop fans, one side loves him to death, and on the other hand is bored to death by him. Both sides bring up valid points as disconnect on Cole’s placement in this current landscape of Hip-hop still grows massive. The problem with Cole will be replay value when it comes to an album. Will I return to this album two, three months from now? Probably not and that’s the problem with Cole. The lyrics and concept are excellent, but Cole’s way of creating songs have severely lacked for so long, and some of these songs would be better if he had help. You can make songs that ‘Bangers’ and have important messages in them Kendrick has proved this constantly. This album is a MASSIVE upgrade over 4 Your Eyez Only. But the album is mixed for me. His best songs are incredible, but the rest is inconsistent. I don’t like reviewing things after one watch or listen because overreactions are bound to happen which is why I wait after the 1st few days to talk about it.  If I honestly have to give this a score out of 5, it would be a very strong 3. This album was his most easy to listen to the album, and I would argue his best album to date. The issue here is some of the songs have no replay value outside of his core fan base that will treat this as gospel. Cole usually places in the top 3 in this current landscape. Drake’s popularity/impact is off the charts, and Kendrick’s critical acclaim and awards got him in the all-time arguments now, Cole is here which isn’t a bad thing, in fact, it’s needed for this generation. This album made me interested in what is next for him, and that’s good in my book.

 

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February 28

Black Panther | A Celebration of (Black) Excellence

You want to talk about a grand slam. This felt like the grand slam in the bottom of the 9th inning 2 outs and down by three.  This won the game and created a legacy of its own. Funny thing is, this film has been in the theaters for a matter of days and we are seeing numbers we would see a Star Wars film appear for a movie about an African King. Fucking Incredible.  I honestly have no clue where to start talking about this film.  Marvel films have been a juggernaut for a decade now delivering on films of different heroes and comic arcs. For me, Captain America Winter Solider was the greatest Marvel film to date. Cap 2 was able to blend the genre of a generic Comic Book film to a political thriller. The film even took risk and it payed off big time, delivering Marvel’s best film and one of the greatest comic book films ever. Since then, Marvel has been a mix bag for me.  Examining their current phase, Phase 3 has been ok for me.  From films that are good but not great (Spiderman-Homecoming, Doctor Strange), that are good but flawed (Civil War, Thor 3) to great in theory but meh in execution (Guardians of the Galaxy 2). Phase 3 has not impressed until Black Panther arrived. Black Panther actually move past Winter Solider for me in terms of best Marvel films, that is how great this film is. Seeing it in theaters four times (going on five now) is something I rarely do for any film.  There is nothing wrong with this film from the incredible cast and crew behind it, the soundtrack, and score were phenomenal and the topics this film covered made me forget this was a Disney film. Ryan Coogler delivered big time with this film.

Black Panther follows the events of Civil War where Prince T’Challa comes following the death of his father/king T’Chaka to anointed King of the fictional nation in Africa, Wakanda.  T’Challa prepares to take handle a burden of responsibilities and have a major dilemma that will alter the fate of Wakanda for the near future.  Right off the bat, I have to talk about the cast in this film. Chadwick Boseman was perfect for T’Challa/Black Panther. T’Challa has always been a hard character to write in comics because he is virtually perfect. Boseman channels the king well as a man who wants to honor tradition and as someone who distraught by the consequences from the actions of his father and past kings/queens of Wakanda. T’Chaka told T’Challa have a great supporting casts behind him and man did he.  Angela Basset plays the Queen Ramonda the mother of T’Challa and his sister Shruri (played incredibly well by Letitia Wright). Basset does great as she usually do but it is her daughter Shruri is the member of the Royal family that is the scene-stealer here. Shruri is incredible in the film she brings the comedy (which is not overbearing) and the brains of the film. She is going to be a massive inspiration to kids abroad. At the age of 16, Shruri brings Tony Stark to shame in terms of innovative and downright brilliance. The women in this film in general dominate. Lupita Nyong’o plays Nakia (who actually becomes a villain in the comics) as the (sort of?) love interests but with a twists. She is the one turning T’Challa down in the film and brining question to the tradition of Wakanda.  Instead of being damsel in distress, she is the one saving folks from harm and taking charge when needed (TAKE NOTES ON HOW TO WRITE WOMEN IN MOVIES).  Speaking of taking charge, I left her for last because she deserves all the praise here. Danai Gurira good God she was amazing here.  Gurira plays Okoye, leader of the Dora Milaje (an all-female special force unit whose task is protecting their king) and almost every scene she is in she owns it. Danai must have saw Gal Gadot’s Wonder Woman said thank you and went to work here.  Okoye was a blast to watch in this film she was fearless, noble, and knew when to talk.  Her dynamic with Nakia in the film plays a major role in this film as well as the overall tone of the film.  The women in this film deserve all the praise coming their way they brought it big time.

As for the villain in this film, FINALLY Marvel got it right and man did they get it right (this honestly deserve a deeper analysis than what I am about to do and will probably write it eventually). Michael B Jordan’s Erick Killmonger (In this film his last name is Stevens) is one of the best villains I have seen in a long time. This is not due to the underperforming villains of recent years either. He is has a reason to be the way he is, each line he drops could be a quotable for a social media post or t-shirt idea.  He symbolizes anger but in a place that has yet to be resolved in films period and the fact Disney let Coogler go there…..Bravo.  Killmonger is a product of his past but it is not crutch to him at all in fact the accomplishments he have under his name is damning and most will look past this but it needs to be brought up his past was more than what transpired in one scene it is his whole backstory that is fascinating. Killmonger is breath of fresh air for villains. There are so many arguments he makes are hard to refute, even T’Challa himself have a hard time disagreeing with him. He makes T’Challa challenge tradition and himself on what it will take for Wakanda to grow and evolve.  His stance on colorism is one of the most heart endearing aspect of the film. Each scene with him, you want to learn more about him, but you can see his side of the coin.  Great Villains always make the heroes they face better and in this film, T’Challa grows to become a better king, but it also bring up a real life issue to be addressed in a manner we have yet seen.  Again Bravo Marvel!

This film is a damn masterpiece the fact my only issue with this film was the fact I wished this film was 15 minutes longer for selfish reasons. Coogler and his crew knocked this film out of the park.  Ruth Carter costume designs are some of the best costumes created in a film. Hell, I want to buy some of T’Challa’s gear if it was possible. Wakanda is beautiful and thank god it tears away from the Africa is a “shithole” (this is still a cringe worthy quote by the President 45) Continent. Despite Wakanda being fictional, it does display a world where anyone would love to visit. To the members of the VFX team for brining Wakanda to life, I salute you.  Thank you for brining color to Marvel; seriously, the color scale in Marvel films can be a little dull in some films.  Ludwig Göransson composed the score for this film and what an incredible this was. Ludwig actually traveled to Senegal to and used their local musicians to record the soundtrack.  My favorite composed movie soundtrack since Man of Steel.  Even Kendrick Lamar had a Superfly moment and curated a movie soundtrack for this film as well. Both delivered great soundtrack that are worth listening to right now.  Which lead us back to Ryan Coogler, who is now 3 for 3 for great films. Coogler proved he belongs in discussion for great young directors. The fact he is only 31 is incredible and I am 100% interested in his next project.  Coogler brought energy to this film and gave this film a message that was refreshing for a Marvel. Marvel allow Coogler to make this film a FUBU (for us, by us) film, they let him create a message that Black people will relate to alongside its hero.

The issues in these films is that the ideologies of both the hero and the villain tends to lean one side over the other. However, this film made the line blurred. Killmonger and T’Challa battle of the minds using their fists is not anything new but they reason of these minds facing off has never been this fascinating.  Killmonger being somewhat of revolutionary ready to take what was stolen from us compared to T’Challa whose lifelong obligation is to the people of Wakanda and establishing the order there.  The way this conflict ends is one of the more beautiful, tear jerking moments in the films.

I must admit I cried at the ending more than once.  Reading about Black Panther around the age of 13, I never thought this day would come. I remember the failed Wesley Snipes attempt at bringing the character to life only for filmmakers to sway the material a different way and I mean DIFFERENT. The ending of this film bring us back to full circle of the film and present the world a new hero to inspire to be. Finally, I have to witness one of Marvel’s most underappreciated characters in mainstream media to make a debut worth applauding. This is not just another Marvel movie; this was an event unlike anything before. This was a celebration of blackness and a celebration of Comic book cinema.  Where the previous films I reviewed laid the groundwork (good or bad) for a film like Black Panther to grow.  The box office has responded to this film in a way no one imagined as it is on pace become a Billion dollar film which along with the records it has already broke will be a feat unheard of a decade ago.

I have no idea what this will means for the film industry, no one knows what will happen really. Hollywood can look at this as a blimp on the radar and there will be another #oscarsowhite moment or even worse, a Gods of Egypt catastrophe.  This film could finally open the eyes of Hollywood and show them that diversity in films is huge and people will respond to films that care about the culture it attempting to represent.  Mad Max Fury Road and Wonder Woman’s success led to a rise in female led action films to varying results (wished it did the same for female directors leading them). Where Black Panther success will lie is the future it help molds. (Please everyone go see Wrinkle in Time and support Ava for the same reason as Black Panther).  Black Panther may or may not be the reason of change, but this film provided a historic moment that no one thought would happen. This a celebration for us to remember and rejoice in the moment.  A love letter to comic book fan and a reason to feel kids of color to be proud of representation done right.

Marvel, Black Panther, Kilmonger, Wakanda forever,Marvel, Black Panther, Kilmonger, Wakanda forever,Marvel, Black Panther, Kilmonger, Wakanda forever,Marvel, Black Panther, Kilmonger, Wakanda forever

 

Bow to the King and WAKANDA FORVER.

 

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February 26

Hancock | A tale of 2 films

I really do not know what to make of this film. One minute I think the film is fine, then I see the glaring issues right behind it.  The beginning of this film worked really well, but then we got to the twist and that god-awful third act, I think this will be another film. There is so much that film to fail to offer from what was initially going well.  Will Smith plays John Hancock an alcoholic superhero (A parody of Superman if we are being honest here) who does not have memories of who he is and is frustrated of the world he lives in.  He screws up a lot often causing more damage than saving people (Something Zach Snyder failed to learn in Man of Steel). Hancock initially saves a PR consultant by the name of Ray Embrey played by Jason Bateman; which led to Embrey wanting to rehabilitate Hancock’s image as a Superhero. Seems like an easy plot with a story that can develop two characters in the process. Hancock learning and understanding humanity and Embrey discovers his blind optimism can create a change once he learns how to understand how life works. I personally love Bateman’s character in this film. I think he does a great job as the ignorant youthfully optimistic Embrey and takes that character to a familiar yet interesting route. Smith’s Hancock is great too in fact; I was shocked watching this at first, he stayed away from the charismatic person he has always been in films. He did have the occasional fun spots like never call Hancock an asshole, NEVER.  That remained a constant trend for Smith until the 2016 film Focus (I still like that movie, fight me).

 

However, the film takes an immediate turn once we get to see Charlize Theron’s character, Mary realize secrets of her own. I will not spoil her character arch but yeah it was umm interesting.  Mary is Ray’s wife and she knows quite a few things about Hancock. What made the twist and eventually change in narrative fail overall is how bad the execution was. Theron and Smith’s dynamic was not as fun, which is sad, considering how great both of them are at their craft. Theron is an incredible actress but she felt misplaced here.  The change in plot did her no favors and the same can be said for Bateman who took a backseat to Theron and Smith awkward on screen encounters. The villain was forgettable as well. Writing this review, I literally forgot about the villain in this film and I am writing a few hours after watching the film.

 

The third act of this film has to be one of the worst I have seen in a comic book film so far (The worst still goes to this god-awful which also stars Will Smith). The plot completely changes again and this time it completely killed the film for me. What started as a comedy/parody on superhero films made a dramatic turn that was so unnecessary it ultimately killed any joy I had in the film itself.  There was a good film here, an honest yet simple critique of Hero’s and the ones who admire them but we lose that film half way through for something unnecessary. What made the first act great was the dynamic between Smith and Bateman, but as soon as they moved away from one another the film suffered.  Charlize Theron deserved better and eventually do in a much better film.  Hancock is a film that split itself into two films one was worth seeing where the story would lead to, the other was worth not seeing at all.

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February 23

Catwoman and Blade Trinity | UUUUUUUUUUUUUGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!

Neither of these films deserve a review. My intelligence was insulted watching both of them. One for being hot pile of shit (Catwoman) and the other killing their franchise due to ego (Blade 3).  There is much wrong in both of these films I do not known where to start. To hell with a summary, neither film deserves it.  I only put these films together because I thought it would be easier to shit on both of them equally.  Yes, I reviewed Steel but Steel at least had some heart to it and flair. These two films either tried too hard to be funny or was embarrassing to sit through. To me, these films never existed and it will remain that way.  So, let’s get this over with.

Catwoman……good god was this shit awful. I can make a 30 page list on everything wrong with this film (I really got to 27) but I’ll go to 10 to be nice.

  1. No Selina Kyle new character named Patience Phillips sigh
  2. Hallie Berry hasn’t the last time to stop taking CBM roles
  3. This fucking scene
  4. 2004 Sharron Stone as 2004 Sharron Stone
  5. The plot is stupid
  6. This the directors 2nd film his first was a flop and his name is Pitof
  7. This film took 11 years to make 11!!!!!!!!
  8. The CGI made Spawn look like fucking Avatar
  9. Each fight scene gave me a headache
  10. EVERYONE PLAYS A STEROTYPE

This literally the worst CBM of all time there’s redeemable about it. Even the music in this film makes me want to throw up. Burn this movie BURN IT TO THE GROUND and never let it comeback. Hallie Berry said it best accepting her Razzie for this film First of all, I want to thank Warner Brothers. Thank you for putting me in a piece of shit, god-awful movie… It was just what my career needed.” At least she’s a good sport.  Sidenote THIS was the 1st black female led CBM. UGGGGGGGHHHHHHHH

 

Blade Trinity where I do begin with this film, oh wait I’ll let Patton Oswalt tell you instead.

 

Remember when I said Goyer is the problem 3 strikes and you screwed it all up Congratulations. Let’s play 10 list game

  1. Snipes is not the movie long at all
  2. Whistler will they won’t they ends with a pointless kill scene
  3. Dracula is in this and played by the boring one from prison break
  4. Ryan Reynolds ab libbbing jokes
  5. This line
  6. Jessica Biel being the only one who seems like she’s trying
  7. HHH licking dogs
  8. Parker Posey looks even more dead
  9. The action sucks
  10. What happened to the blood bank

Seriously what the hell happened here.  I never knew why Del Toro left after 2; I guess it was to direct Hellboy but man he was missed here.  David S Goyer has no business directing films and this film showed why. None of these actors wanted to be here. I will give it credit being the most enjoyable out of these 2 films but that is where line is drawn. Blade 3 had issues up and down from a narrative point to humans finally learning about vampire and it goes away with no resolution. This does not get and it shows.

 

Both films deserve a dumpster to put them in to never be seen again.  I am ready for the next film now.

 

 

 

 

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February 21

Blade 2, How to do a Sequel 101

Del Toro and Wesley Snipes what can go wrong? ok in production, Blade 2 looked like an uncertainty to happen. Four years after the first Blade with a director change and we have a sequel. In addition, this is the first sequel of a Marvel Property, another accomplishment for Wesley.  Bringing Del Toro in was a shot of life for the franchise as the visuals and overall tone of the film changed. The cast in this film was stellar with standout performances from Ron Pearlman, the returning Kris Kristofferson, Donnie Yen, Leonor Varela, and Luke Goss.  Luke in particular plays the main villain of this film, Jared Nomak. Nomak is a carrier of the reaper virus (a virus that turns vampires into zombies). Nomak was the 1st patient of the viruses due to the work of his father, Nomak’s path is due to the hate he has towards his family and virtually losing everything. He is easily the best villain I have covered so far and one of my comic book movie villains of all time.

Blade also has a fascinating story here too. Blade has to team with Vampires (a group known as the Bloodpack), led by Ron Pearlman’s Dieter Reinhardt in order to stop the reaper virus from killing off planet earth.  The Bloodpack is worried about what the reaper virus would do their kind. Blade is worried about the fate of humanity and the bigger picture of what this virus would to in general, thus, forming an unlikely alliance.

Right off the bat, I love this film. This film provides a very formula like sequel structure that the X-Men followed in their next installment but A LOT better than Blade same as Spiderman to a degree.  Blade added more to this world by incorporating the Reaper virus. The vampires also show range in the film. None of them trusts Blade and Blade does not trust them either, but they know what needs to done.  However, where the film falters is this relationship.

Where we should, had saw progression in how each side felt about the other, it resorted to the typical backstabbing/redemption arc in Act 3.  Which did lead to a kick-ass fight scene by Snipes. The fact Snipes and Yen did not fight in this a movie is a crime in itself. Back to the narrative of who and who not to trust, the films does a good job of showing of the Bloodpack members and their personalities. Not each of them were able to get in-depth with their characters, which is fine most of them were cannon fodder.  The side story between Whistler and Norman Reedus’s (Hi Darryl) Scud was not fascinating but it served its purpose here narrative wise.

Honestly, with a better writer this film would be a grand slam. David S Goyer really is the problem again. Del Toro did put a lot of work in this film and it shows.  This film did have allot going for it. The cast brought their A game, amazing villain, and Snipes being Snipes. Throw in some great action pieces and one-liners and you have Blade 2.  A blueprint on how to make sequels fun.  Side note: The soundtrack for this film is fun to listen too as well.

February 19

Spawn | Should’ve been better

Pre-Production issues ruined what should have been a classic. The most popular black comic book hero in the 90’s and 00’s did not reside in Wakanda, fought off vampires or swore an oath to the Green Lantern Corps,  he was a man who made a deal with the devil to be one of his solders as Spawn. Al Simmons was a pure badass a former Recon Marine who eventually went to the CIA and then to Black Ops. He eventually saw the corruption in his squad and called them out for it; leading to his eventual death. However, once making a deal with the devil to bring him back to life, Al returned as a disfigured man whose wife moved on after his “death.” Spawn eventually learned how to use his power for himself and took back the city he once loved.  Where Blade proved to be a hit and saved the Comic Book Movie genre, Spawn had some issues. Granted this film had a lot to live up to, but it suffered through its own issues.

No Spawn film should be PG13 ever, EVER. This film had the ingredients of an R rated film, and the after the success of Blade this would have been the perfect time to strike again. Another huge issue was the casting.  Michael Jai White was the right guy to play Spawn; I would say it was perfect casting. The rest of the cast, not so much.  John Leguizamo plays the Violator, the main villain of the film is a demon who guide hell spawns. Leguizamo was horrible in this role. He was overbearing in most of his scenes and I was ready to fast forward through them. The rest of the cast added nothing to the film; Martin Sheen, Theresa Randle and D.B. Sweeny all could’ve been replaced and the film would not miss a beat.  However, the biggest crime of the film was it’s CGI and good god it is awful.

The villain, Malebolgia (Basically the devil) looks horrible and is dubbed horribly. The DEVIL MOUTH IS WIDE OPEN EVERY SCENE HE IS IN…. yikes.  Spawn’s suit CGI is great but the devil and the violator has some of the worst I’ve ever seen in a film.   Re-watching this film, I know there would be problems like this but goodness this was bad.

What is sad is that I enjoyed this film growing up. This film did not age well and it had potential. Spawn is a property that is worth bringing to the big screen, but it needs the right team behind them.  If anything, watch the HBO series, it is a million times better and is one of the best animated Cartoon series to date.   I know there is plans for a possible reboot this year and I hope it gets done for the sake of Todd McFarlane and his series itself.

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February 14

Blade | the Love Letter to Black Comic Nerds

Marvel must’ve saw Steel and laughed their asses off. Marvel was in a tough state around this time. Marvel was in financial problems, and it was selling their properties to different (a move they would soon be a blessing and curse for them). Wesley Snipes was hellbent on making a Black Panther film but due to preproduction, he decided to take on Blade instead, and thank you lord for this choice.

Blade IS the film that proved Marvel can create a blockbuster and it set up the future for Comic Book films. Blade started it all and helped right the ship in Comic Book Movies after the Batman films went downhill.  This movie can be summed up by one scene, the intro. The introduction to this is the best 10 minutes to a comic book film to date.  Seriously, the introduction to Blade is one of the best introductions to a Comic book character ever.  Blade in a brief description about Blade killing vampires, Blade is a half breed human and vampire sharing their strengths and weaknesses but also have enhanced abilities like being able to withstand sunlight. Blade being able to walk during the daytime, granted him the nickname Daywalker by his foes. Wesley Snipes was perfect for this role not do you see how much fun he is having in this film but how much he enjoy this character. In addition, the actions scenes were a blast with him whether by sword, shotgun, or hand to hand, Snipes was just kicking ass throughout the film.  For every good hero there has to be a strong villain, but I feel this was a misfire not on the actor’s behalf. Stephen Dorff plays Deacon Frost, a Vampire who strives for power. He was not born a Vampire, which did not give him a seat at the table, but he felt deserved one. Frost’s main objective in this film was to become La Magra, the vampire blood god and rid the world of humans.

Dorff does a good job doing a Modern take on Frost; the comic book portrayal was an elder German scientist. However, the writing team mostly David s Goyer (a guy you will hear brought up a few times in the Blade reviews) failed to really claw on his character and do some really goofy things. Perfect example is wearing a Motorcycle Helmet and gear to avoid the sunlight but in a later scene, he’s able to walk freely in the daylight (did he have on mad sunscreen??). Stuff like that goes against writing not the actors.  Speaking of the rest of the cast all the major players did great.  Kris Kristofferson plays Abraham Whistler, Blade’s mentor and the person who raised him to fight for good.  Whistler is in all 3 films (which really hurts the impact of one scene in this film), and plays a major part in the Franchise.  I enjoy Whistler as the wise cracking asshole who is not afraid to fight anyone and Kris does a great job here playing him as he do for the rest of the franchise.  N’Bushe Wright, who was drop dead gorgeous in this film, plays Karen Jensen, a Doctor hell-bent on finding the cure to end Vampires after a Vampire bit her. The most surprising and most awesome part about her character is the fact she was not the love interest in this film but someone with the same objective as Blade to stopping Vampires (TAKE NOTES ON THIS).  Ms. Wright does well here and it is a shame this was the last big role for her. Sanaa Lathan plays a very important role in this, but I will not further into that. I will say her role was underutilized and it could had played a bigger role here.

As much as I love this film, there are some problems.  The writing sometimes lacks logic in this realm and loses sight of the narrative.  How many times do we have to see Blade allow a Vampire to escape and cause more harm, one Vampire in particular at that.  The CGI is god awful to downright disturbing but those flaws get a pass because of how well the actors did their roles with what they had.  Blade is a blast to watch and a fun time. This felt like a film that could have failed but had people behind it that refuse to see that happen. This film saved Marvel big time and was the 1st to spawn a trilogy. X-Men and Spiderman will get the accolades but Blade opened the door.  The best way to describe to this film, “some motherfuckers always try ice skate uphill” (seriously how can anyone hate that line?)

 

 

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February 12

Steel | Who greenlit this shit?

Congrats DC, you did it before Marvel but you played yourself.

This was rough like really rough, it took 6 tries to watch this and shockingly, this is not the worst on this list. Before Hollywood knew better Shaq kept getting starring movie roles.  Granted, Blue Chips is one of the best Basketball films to date and personally take a look (granted a melodramatic look) inside the NCAA. After taking his talents to Hollywood and leaving Orlando, Shaq was destined to follow up on role in Blue Chips with starring roles. First came Kazaam and thank god that doesn’t count; I would’ve threw my laptop.  Kazaam was a flop, but Hollywood did not listen and gave Shaq a DC comic property to work with in Steel.

Steel was never a huge character. In fact, he was a side character to Superman and eventually tried and failed to carry his mantle after Supes defeat to Doomsday. The character John Henry Irons (yes, his name is a pun) was the 1st black comic character to get a Hollywood blockbuster film not Black Lightning, not John Stewart’s Green Lantern, or even Static Shock ugghhhh damn you DC for this!!!!

The film changed certain aspects of his character instead of being a weapons engineer for the fictional AmerTek Industries like he was in the comics, he was a weapons engineer for the military in the film. Also, there is no Superman in this film and thank fucking god for that.  Shaq who plays Irons is discharged from the military due to how dangerous his weapons are and paralyzing one of his comrades in a practice run.  By the way, Shaq in a Military uniform is as ridiculous as it sounds.  Long story short, Shaq sees his weapons on the street and he goes under the guise of Steel to take the bad guys and get the weapons off the street. This film doesn’t deserve a breakdown, fuck that don’t see it. Don’t ask me to elaborate. Judd Nelson plays the villain and he’s just being himself here.  THIS FILM RUINED SHAFT FOR ME. Dammit Mr. Roundtree how could you?  Ray J was in this film as Shaq’s brother, son, nephew I don’t fucking know nor care, but I enjoyed him in this film. This film is bad on all levels and I’m ashamed it took me 6 tries to finish it. Don’t watch it, save yourself.

February 9

Blankman | the Unexpected Cult Classic

This film should not work by any means but somehow it did.

I have a love/hate relationship with the Wayans family. For every film and show I enjoy by them (I’m Gonna Get You Sucka, In Living Color, Mo Money, Don’t a Menace, first two Scary Movies, The Wayans Bros., White Chicks) there is those films that I cannot (Little Man, Every Marlon Wayans led film,). However, this film, wow, surprisingly I love a lot. Now, there is a lot to be concerned with most particularly the main character as a mentally disabled figure (still a genius); which could be a death sentence for film but here, it actually worked. Damon Wayans (my personal favorite of the Wayans) played his role as Darryl Walker really well here. It did not come off as an annoying but a very sympathetic figure that you can root for.  When he attempts to save people, or use his inventions for the greater good makes him someone you can actually root. He does have scenes I can live without one in particular (more on that later).  Then there is David Alan Grier’s character Kevin Walker who is the more mature one between him and his brother Darryl. He also wants Darryl to grow the hell up. As a cameraman for the News station, Kevin seems to no time for his brother’s inventions and foolishness until he see Darryl’s persistence as Blankman, he eventually joins as his sidekick Other Guy (I love that name. The Walkers have a very standard backstory; they lost a very close relative (their grandmother), Darryl becomes inspired by Batman to help others and his brother, Kevin becomes a hero in own right being inspired by Darryl.  Their interactions are genuine and sometimes hilarious. Being cast mates in living color help shows their chemistry and they play well off one another.  The funny part is they were not the stand out in this film.

That belongs to Jason Alexander wheel-chaired character Larry Stone. Alexander is prefect here as the perverted yet selfish boss. Robin Givens plays the love interest in this film, Kimberly Jonz and there’s nothing wrong with her in this movie but being of apart of that one scene (I’ll get to it don’t worry). The villain is just another one of those trope villains with a gang of mobster. Each character shine in their own right even Darryl’s robot J-5 is memorable here.  There are scenes that went a little to far here. Most particularly the premature ejaculation scene after Darryl’s kiss with Kimberly and him not knowing what boobs are. Darryl’s nerdiness can be too much but the stereotype itself is a bad one.  One that I’m happy we can move away from. This film has its bad moments but it’s a fun film at heart and entertaining. Just like, Meteor Man this film should not be seen as a critical viewpoint but a casual viewing.  This film is a spoof/satire on the genre itself and the film plays to all the tropes most films still follow today. What made this film was the fact it should not work at all, but shockingly it does. This film is still funny and have a charm to it.

While flawed, it’s a great film if you know how to approach watching this film. Thank goodness they went this route instead of bringing the In-Living Color sketch Handiman to life that would be worrisome. As it was initially hated it came to grow into cult classic that is admired today.  This is worth watching and one you come to appreciate after each viewing.

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