It seems uniquely ironic that in the same week T3AM decides to introduce our new Film Review Blog, we see racial tensions mount throughout Hollywood after Oscar Noms were announced. Let's be clear, our intention is to highlight what is happening currently in film, what movies to go and watch, not ignite racially polarizing topics like this, but in the same breath, why not?
It became evident the Hollywood Foreign Press made a huge public relations blunder when its members (comprised predominantly of Caucasian males in their early 60s) neglected to show recognition to many minority filmmakers even though there seemed to be a wealth of films with minorities in key roles to choose from. The issue has magnified as celebrities and the general public alike showcase their dismay, exampled here by renowned black actress Jada Pinkett-Smith (who can be seen in Fox’s popular show Gotham), urging minorities to “use their power” and boycott the Academy Awards. Other celebrities have taken to social media and spoken out in interviews, like Director/Producer Spike Lee, who was at the 2016 Sundance Film Festival premiering his new documentary film "Michael Jackson's Journey from Motown to Off the Wall", but took a moment to voice his disappointment in his interviews seen here. However, the purpose of this blog is not to debate the validity of this protest, because personally, speaking as a minority, if I had a film in Oscar contention (like director Ryan Coogler for the film "Creed"; not nominated for 'Best Director') best believe I’d still be attending the show! It’s not everyday you get a chance to go to the Oscar’s or be recognized for your achievements in this film industry-- for many it can take years of strenuous fervent work, so Hell Yea I’d--- let me digress.
Our purpose today is to highlight a film, which I thought was worth viewing this past year and even more worthy of recognition, even if the Academy won’t do so. I’m speaking of no other than director F Gary Gray’s biopic film "Straight Outta Compton" released the summer of 2015. Many have heard or seen this film, but for the few that haven’t, I’d suggest you crawl out of your hole in the ground and do so!
#SOC details the inception and rise of the influential hip-hop group NWA and its members during the 1980s and early 1990s in the dangerous streets of Compton, a period some describe as the ‘best age of hip-hop music”.
Produced by former members Ice Cube and Dr. Dre #SOC portrays a favorable, almost mythic view of its former members, along with a not-so-favorable depiction of police violence/public hatred, sentiments that seem all too familiar today. Many prolific film critics such as “Matt’s Review”, will assert that the film did audiences a disservice by failing to recognize the negative aspects of its members; such as, Dr.D re’s repeated assaults on women or Ice Cube’s overtly misogynists lyrics. I understand their disappointment, and can't blame anyone for having that sentiment. BUT they must realize any producer would rather showcase their incredible innovation and contribution to Hip-Hop, than their unrelated domestic past, especially if they feel the incidents don’t further the protagonist 'Dr. Dre', who was brilliantly depicted by Corey Hawkins. Plus, hey-- we got to admit Dr. Dre has made hits! He is widely responsible for “West Coast” sound in Hip-Hop and this film makes you appreciate his brilliance from start to finish.
We are yielded only 147 minutes of running film time to cover some truly iconic figures, played by a surprisingly successful cast. Since, this T3AM Film Review is intended to be short (and I can talk film for days), I won’t go in-depth about all aspects of the film, actors, and key scenes but I will say the overall cast got a “T3AM- A - Grade” of an ‘A’, highlighted by ‘A+’ performances by Paul Giamatti as brash manager Jerry Heller, as well as Jason Mitchell as explosive iconic rapper Eazy-E. In my opinion, I’d say CHECK OUT the film review by Christie Lemire’s and Rotten Tomatoes. They have opinions that differ from mine in many ways, but still make some valid points...
Regardless, if you haven’t, GO SEE #SOC and tell your friends here at T3AM what you thought! And Stay Up on the latest BlogV or Film Review every week!