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Posts Tagged ‘Dave Chappelle’

Chi-Raq

Wednesday, December 9th, 2015

tn_chiraqCHI-RAQ (Chicago + Iraq, pronounced shy-rack) is the Spikiest Spike Lee Joint achieved so far. It seems like whatever itch Lee was trying to scratch with those musical numbers in SCHOOL DAZE has been building up for all these years until it exploded onto the screen like that inflating dude in BIG TROUBLE IN LITTLE CHINA. Lee must’ve woke up one morning and said fuck it, I’m gonna make a movie that’s so Spike Lee it turns into Baz Luhrmann.

Let me tell you a few things about how heightened and crazy this is. It has musical numbers. It has dance numbers. It has a rap number that breaks into a gun fight precipitated by an argument depicted in onscreen text messages. It has an army of women in chastity belts performing a sexy choreographed group lip-synch to “Oh Girl” by the Chi-Lites (maybe my favorite scene). The two rival gangs wear purple and orange, and are called the Trojans and the Cyclops Spartans, whose leader is Cyclops (Wesley Snipes wearing a red-sequined eyepatch). There’s an explicit reference to THE WARRIORS so you know Spike knows what this reminds us of. (Also Luther himself, David Patrick Kelly, is in it.) All of this is presided over by a fourth-wall-breaking narrator played by Samuel L. Jackson wearing fly suits, spinning a cane and reciting toasts and dirty jokes like Dolemite. That’s not just me reading into it, because he’s called Dolmedes and he references Shine and the Signifying Monkey.

Oh, by the way: all of the other characters speak in rhyme also. So that’s pretty different from most movies. (read the rest of this shit…)

VERN has been reviewing movies since 1999 and is the author of the books SEAGALOGY: A STUDY OF THE ASS-KICKING FILMS OF STEVEN SEAGAL, YIPPEE KI-YAY MOVIEGOER!: WRITINGS ON BRUCE WILLIS, BADASS CINEMA AND OTHER IMPORTANT TOPICS and NIKETOWN: A NOVEL. His horror-action novel WORM ON A HOOK will arrive later this year.

Dave Chappelle’s Block Party

Thursday, March 9th, 2006

DAVE CHAPPELLE’S BLOCK PARTY is the happiest, warmest, most joyful movie I’ve seen in a long god damn time. And not in a stupid way. The problems of the world are not ignored. There’s some light-hearted jokes about race issues, there’s a mention or two of the war, there’s some militant rap lyrics and a brief sermon by Fred Hampton Jr. All things I’m in favor of discussing. But mostly what this movie is is a whole bunch of people coming together to laugh and make beautiful music and have a good time together. In that sense it turns out it is kind of like WATTSTAX, the movie they mentioned as a model when they were filming this. I made fun of my ain’t it cool colleague Quint for writing that the trailer gives off a Wattstax vibe as if he came to that conclusion on his own. But there is a faint whiff of that vibe in the final movie I guess, if you’re really making a close examination of its vibes.

I saw this movie in what I consider a JASON X set up: the same big auditorium where I saw JASON X, mostly empty with only a few people peppered throughout, but sharing their love for the movie across the empty rows. At the end of the movie people clapped, like it was a live performance. I can’t remember the last time I saw that at a regular multiplex showing like this. (read the rest of this shit…)

VERN has been reviewing movies since 1999 and is the author of the books SEAGALOGY: A STUDY OF THE ASS-KICKING FILMS OF STEVEN SEAGAL, YIPPEE KI-YAY MOVIEGOER!: WRITINGS ON BRUCE WILLIS, BADASS CINEMA AND OTHER IMPORTANT TOPICS and NIKETOWN: A NOVEL. His horror-action novel WORM ON A HOOK will arrive later this year.