Wednesday, July 23, 2008

AverageBro Goes To The Movies: Triple Matinee

[With an infant, I don't get to go to the movies at all nowadays. Pre-AverageBaby, I didn't miss an opening weekend. Now, Netflix is my best friend. So, I don't see things in a timely manner, but when I do, you get the best review in town right here.]

[Editor's Note: This weekend's weather in DC was a bit too hot, so I stayed in and caught up on some Netflix viewing. Here's a brief review of my triple matinee.]

Welcome Home Roscoe Jenkins

Martin Lawrence's career has been on the skids for some time now. Seriously, Black Knight? What's The Worst That Could Happen? Did we really need Big Momma's House II? He hasn't done anything of value since Bad Boys II, and we all know that was actually a Will Smith movie. So, when Roscoe Jenkins hit theaters last Winter, I resisted because the reviews looked like more coonin'. I haven't seen a trailer this bad since Friday After Next.

The movie centers around a Dr. Phill-ish talk show host named RJ Stevens (Lawrence, sporting the same haircut since 1992) whose agent recommends that he and his Survivor-winning fiancee (the always-captivating Joy Bryant) go to RJ's family reunion in Georgia to film a reality show. The whole thing is about raising RJ's Q-rating, and while he's hesitant, his young son begs him into going so he can finally meet his grandparents. It seems RJ has gone completely Hollywood and hasn't been home in nearly a decade.

The typical fish-outta-water stereotypes arise from the moment Roscoe arrives home. As somebody who grew up in the South and still loves it, I'm getting a big tired of these sorts of cliche'd black movies. Between Kingdom Come, The Fighting Temptations, Madea's Family Reunion, and this crap, you'd think all black people below the Mason Dixon eat fried possums and drink outta mayonaise jars. There may be some truth to that, but come on. I'm beginning to think there's some base level self-hatred in Black Hollywood (as it exists), because I know all these Negroes have grandmas in South Carolina.

Even worse, this has be to the most hate-filled and mean-spirited "comedy" I've ever wasted precious minutes of my life on. The way Roscoe's family speaks to each other is filled with dysfunction and animus. Watching proud actors like James Earl Jones and Margaret Avery (Roscoe's parents) reduced to dishing out such ignorance is bad enough. Adding on the comedic talents of Cedric The Entertainer, Mo'Nique, Michael Clarke Duncan (whose arms look frightening), and Mike Epps just pushes this baby over the cliff. I haven't heard so many black women disrespected and called bitches since The Chronic. Who exactly thought this was a good idea?

R.I.P. Martin's Career.

You (was) so crazy.

Final Verdict: Don't even waste a spot in your Netflix queue for this crap. Peep the bootleg in the barbershop. Or wait for TBS. It'll be there soon enough. 1 Star (out of 5)

The Bank Job

The more Jason Statham movies I watch, the more I wonder why this guy isn't a Hollywood action hero megastar. I mean seriously, peep the resume.

The Transporter. The Transporter II. The Italian Job. Crank. War. Cellular. Collateral. The One. Snatch. Chaos.

Eff' Ah-nold, this dude is The Last Action Hero.

The Bank Job is a hiest film (surprise), but with a bit more of a back story than your typical action caper. Based in 1970's London, Statham plays a shady auto mechanic whose mistress presents him with a foolproof get-rich scheme to rob a bank's safety deposit boxes of millions in cash and jewels. Cobbling together a ragtag bunch of specialists, the team goes about digging a 40 foot underground tunnel right into the bank vault.

The ancillary plot involves a black militant, corrupt cops, and politicians intent on keeping a royal family indiscretion secret. Somehow the plotlines all get confusingly intermingled, and in the end, you're left to wonder who exactly can trust whom?

I wasn't too crazy about the British accents initially, but you figure them out after awhile. There's goo-gobs of sex and violence in this movie, so put the kids to bed first. But if you're down for an action packed heist flick, I strongly recommend The Bank Job.

Final Verdict: Put this in your Netflix queue, like yesterday! 4 Stars (out of 5)


I'm a horror movie junkie. Sci-fi? Not so much. So I didn't really know how to size up Cloverfield, an apocolypic monster movie set in modern day Manhattan. It doesn't matter how the movie is categorized, because the special effects are so off the charts, it's hard not to like, regardless of genre.

Shot in handheld camera mode (think The Blair Witch Project meets Friends), Cloverfield (I still can't figure out the significance of the title) centers around a bunch of twentysomething Manhattan hipsters at a going away party (thus the camera). And you guys know just how much I love twentysomething hipsters. But just when you're ready to throw your BluRay player out the window, along comes the monster, and by golly, what a monster this thing is!!!


The flick then switches to the twentysomething hipsters, as they try and rescue a friend, and escape the destructive wrath of the monster, with the tape rolling all along.

I'm usually not too crazy about any movie shot on a handheld (even for artistic purposes, because this is no cheap movie), and even I'll admit that the results are sometimes dizzying. But the approach does add to the "what next?" fear factor, and since you're only given fleeting images of the monster, it all magically works. In the end, Cloverfield is more unnerving than it actually is scary, but if that sounds like your thing, you'll prolly like it either way.

Final Verdict: Rent it and watch it on a really big TV with the volume up high. 3 and 1/2 stars (Out of 5)

Question: Did you see any of these movies? What did you think? Is Martin's career toast? Why isn't Statham a bigger star? What does Cloverfield mean? Do you dislike twentysomething hipsters just as much as I do?

Welcome Home Roscoe Jenkins [Yahoo! Movies]

The Bank Job [Yahoo! Movies]

Cloverfield [Yahoo! Movies]

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