Posts Tagged ‘LaKeith Stanfield’
Thursday, December 9th, 2021
THE HARDER THEY FALL (no relation to THE HARDER THEY COME) is one of the better movies I’ve seen this year, and definitely one of the better made-for-Netflix ones. It’s a western with an all-Black, all-star cast, and the opening title card says, “While the events in this story are fictional… These. People. Existed.”
That hand clap emoji type cadence makes me think they’re talking to doofuses who don’t know basic history and/or Mario Van Peebles’ POSSE and think there weren’t Black people in the Old West. But also They. Existed. in the sense that most of the main characters are based on – or at least named after – actual historical figures. But writer/director Jeymes Samuel and co-writer Boaz Yakin (THE PUNISHER , THE ROOKIE, FRESH, FROM DUSK TILL DAWN 2, PRINCE OF PERSIA, SAFE) have no qualms about putting together people who never would’ve crossed paths, giving them totally new origin stories, killing them young in a gunfight even if they died of old age. But think of it as a LEAGUE OF EXTRAORDINARY GENTLEMAN type team-up fantasy. It’s a good western story.
Jonathan Majors (HOSTILES, DA 5 BLOODS) ably stars as Nat Love, the legendary outlaw whose tragic backstory opens the film. He’s a kid (Chase Dillon from The Underground Railroad) at the dinner table with his parents when Rufus Buck (Idris Elba, PROM NIGHT) and another guy come in, blast them away with golden pistols for some unexplained debt, and carve a cross into little Nat’s forehead. So, like Harmonica in ONCE UPON A TIME IN THE WEST or Ellen in THE QUICK AND THE DEAD, this kid’s got a pretty good revenge mission to get to when he grows up. (read the rest of this shit…)
Tags: Boaz Yakin, Chase Dillon, Damon Wayns Jr., Danielle Deadwyler, Delroy Lindo, Deon Cole, Edi Gathegi, Fela Kuti, Idris Elba, James Lassiter, Jay-Z, Jeymes Samuel, Johnny Yang, Jonathan Majors, Julio Cesar Cedillo, Keith Woulard, LaKeith Stanfield, Lauryn Hill, Lawrence Bender, Martin Whist, Mihai Malaimare Jr., Regina King, Richard Bucher, RJ Cyler, Zazie Beetz
Posted in Reviews, Western | 1 Comment »
Monday, March 29th, 2021
JUDAS AND THE BLACK MESSIAH is one of this year’s best picture nominees (plus best original screenplay, best cinematography, best original song, and its two title characters were confusingly both nominated for best supporting actor). It’s from director Shaka King (NEWLYWEEDS) and it’s about the true story of an informant pressured by the FBI to go undercover in the Illinois chapter of the Black Panther Party, an operation that culminated in police murdering Fred Hampton in his bed with two shots to the back of his head. (And getting away with it, obviously.)
The movie opens with a familiar scenario: an officer interrupting a group of Black men to hassle them. They’re in a bar, at a pool table, he makes them empty their pockets, asks about the car out front, claims it was stolen. They’re outraged but obviously used to this shit, then they notice his badge says FBI so why is he asking about a car, and he’s kind of hiding his face and he looks really young…
As he’s about to drive away using their keys they realize it’s a scam. He’s not an FBI agent, but a clever and/or weird car thief named William O’Neal (LaKeith Stanfield, THE PURGE: ANARCHY). But after he’s caught with the car a real FBI agent named Roy Mitchell (Jesse Plemons, BATTLESHIP) comes after him. He obviously doesn’t really give a shit that some kid impersonated a federal officer, but he knows he can threaten jail time to force him to do undercover work. So like Ron Stallworth at the beginning of BLACKKKLANSMAN, but under duress, O’Neal is sent to spy on black militants, specifically Fred Hampton (Daniel Kaluuya, JOHNNY ENGLISH REBORN), the chairman of the Illinois chapter of the Black Panther Party. (read the rest of this shit…)
Tags: Black Panthers, Charles D. King, Daniel Kaluuya, Dominique Fishback, Fred Hampton, J. Edgar Hoover, Jesse Plemons, Keith Lucas, Kenneth Lucas, LaKeith Stanfield, Martin Sheen, Ryan Coogler, Shaka King, Terayle Hill, Will Berson
Posted in Drama, Reviews | 13 Comments »
Monday, January 20th, 2020
UNCUT GEMS is the latest and highest profile movie from writer/director brothers Josh and Benny Safdie. I recently caught up with their previous movie GOOD TIME and I loved it, so I would’ve been excited for this even without the hype.
It’s the story of Howard Ratner (Adam Sandler, CONEHEADS), a New York jeweler who specializes in making ridiculous necklaces for rich musicians and athletes. His claim to fame is a blinged out Furby medallion he once made for some rapper to wear in a video. His shop is a tiny room behind a security door and he depends on people with connections like affiliate Demany (LaKeith Stanfield, THE GIRL IN THE SPIDER’S WEB) and employee/mistress Julia (Julia Fox) to hook him up with VIP clients. Julia is using her hotness and her side career as a photographer to hook that singer The Weeknd, and Demany brings in Boston Celtics power forward Kevin Garnett. (read the rest of this shit…)
Tags: Adam Sandler, Benny Safdie, Eric Bogosian, gambling, Idina Menzel, Josh Safdie, Judd Hirsch, Julia Fox, Kevin Garnett, LaKeith Stanfield, Oneohtrix Point Never, The Weeknd, Wayne Diamond
Posted in Drama, Reviews, Thriller | 30 Comments »
Monday, December 2nd, 2019
I was a Rian Johnson skeptic for years. I can’t deny it. I recognized BRICK as original and well directed, but couldn’t swallow its stylized world of teen noir (“in my day a dude walking around with a duck cane was in for a serious ass beating, he would not be running a drug empire,” I wrote), skipped the second one because I thought it was gonna be bootleg Wes Anderson, liked LOOPER but recoiled at people talking like it was the Second Coming (“I feel a little out of step here. I mean I like it, but I don’t want to fuck it”), and this may be out of line but I have always thought his credits should read “Written and directed by Rian [sic] Johnson.”
Then STAR WARS: THE LAST JEDI came along – a movie I didn’t think he was qualified to direct, but it turned out to be so much better than I expected, and so reinvigorating to a trilogy I thought was going in an emptier, more obvious direction. All the sudden I wanted to hear everything the guy had to say, listened to interviews, started spelling “Ryan Coogler” as “Rian Coogler,” and even considered maybe seeing THE BROTHERS BLOOM some day.
So I was much more open-minded for his new laughdunit mysteryblast KNIVES OUT, which sure enough is a fun time for all without anything that felt too corny, forced or self conscious for me. Only in the last shot did I think “oh, this is kind of Wes Andersony.” And by then it wasn’t gonna bother me much. (read the rest of this shit…)
Tags: Ana de Armas, Chris Evans, Christopher Plummer, Daniel Craig, Don Johnson, Frank Oz, Jamie Lee Curtis, Katherine Langford, LaKeith Stanfield, M. Emmett Walsh, Michael Shannon, Noah Segan, Rian Johnson, Toni Collette
Posted in Comedy/Laffs, Mystery, Reviews | 42 Comments »
Thursday, February 14th, 2019
It’s fair to say that earlier in the century The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo was a pop culture phenomenon. Stieg Larsson’s three novels, posthumously published starting in 2005, were worldwide hits. I enjoyed the stories through their 2009 Swedish movie adaptations (THE GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO, THE GIRL WHO PLAYED WITH FIRE, THE GIRL WHO KICKED THE HORNET’S NEST) which launched their star Noomi Rapace (PROMETHEUS, PASSION, DEAD MAN DOWN, THE DROP, CLOSE) into international movie stardom, and their leading man Michael Nyqvist into spending his last years playing bad guys in Hollywood movies including ABDUCTION, MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE – GHOST PROTOCOL and JOHN WICK (where he delivers the best syllable: “Oh.”). David Fincher’s 2011 English language take on the first book was pretty great and even got Rooney Mara an unlikely but well-deserved Oscar nomination.
But it wasn’t a big enough hit to justify a sequel budgeted for Fincher, Mara and Daniel Craig, so after years of haggling they went with plan B: a lower budget sequel with new director and cast, based not on the next in the trilogy but a continuation written by new author David Lagercrantz. And nobody really seemed to be waiting for that.
Except me! Selling point #1: director Fede Alvarez, who really impressed me with EVIL DEAD and DON’T BREATHE. Selling point #2: less grim and rapey, more fun and actiony. You still got the trademark fucked up and fetishy shit of the snow-bitten Larssonverse, but in this one our heroine is never sexually assaulted, but does have high speed chases on multiple vehicle types. Hot move: ditching police cars by jumping your motorcycle onto a frozen lake. (read the rest of this shit…)
Tags: Camron Britton, Claire Foy, David Lagercrantz, Fede Alvarez, Jay Basu, LaKeith Stanfield, Mikael Persbrandt, Stephen Merchant, Steven Knight, Stieg Larsson, Sverrir Gudnason, Sweden, Sylvia Hoeks
Posted in Action, Reviews, Thriller | 36 Comments »
Monday, July 23rd, 2018
SORRY TO BOTHER YOU is an absurd, inventive new comedy that’s so playful and funny that its acidic satire of soul-crushing capitalism comes across a little more like an inspirational rallying cry than blind fury at a seemingly insurmountable wall of corporate greed and dehumanization. Though it’s that too.
If I was required by law to describe it in terms of movies that already exist, I’d say “low-wage OFFICE SPACE by way of Michel Gondry.” But fuck the law, because it feels like something very new, distinctive and of the moment, from the cast headed by Lakeith Stanfield and Tessa Thompson to the soundtrack to even the cool fonts and logos by children’s book illustrator J. Otto Seibold. Stanfield plays Cassius Green (yes, it’s a pun), who lives in his uncle (Terry Crews, STREET KINGS)’s garage until he finds his calling (oh shit, another pun) at a new telemarketing job. I mean, the place is a hellhole on the verge of a strike led by Squeeze (Steven Yeun, formerly of The Walking Dead), but he turns out to be really good at it after co-worker Langston (Danny Glover, PREDATOR 2) teaches him the secret of the “white voice.” It’s not mere code-switching, but a near supernatural channeling of a voice with no worries that he manifests by being dubbed by David Cross (ALVIN AND THE CHIPMUNKS). It’s a broad and hacky joke made almost profound by its layers of subtext and power to creep out his friends and loved ones. (read the rest of this shit…)
Tags: Armie Hammer, Boots Riley, Danny Glover, David Cross, Jermaine Fowler, Kate Berlant, LaKeith Stanfield, Oakland, Omari Hardwick, Patton Oswalt, Steven Yeun, Terry Crews, Tessa Thompson
Posted in Comedy/Laffs, Reviews | 22 Comments »
Tuesday, February 28th, 2017
GET OUT is a crazy, racially themed horror-thriller written and directed by Jordan Peele of the comedy duo Key & Peele. And you know how sensitive I am about this, so I’ll just say right here that I consider this a horror movie that’s funny, not a horror-comedy. That’s how I prefer it. There are some big laughs, but they come out of the characters and situations, not at the expense of taking them seriously.
Chris (Daniel Kaluuya, SICARIO) is a young photographer who’s going on a trip with Rose (Allison Williams from Girls), his girlfriend of five months, to meet her parents. One thing he’s nervous about: she hasn’t told them he’s black. She swears it won’t be a big deal. Swears it. (read the rest of this shit…)
Tags: Allison Williams, Betty Gabriel, Bradley Whitford, Caleb Landry Jones, Catherine Keener, Daniel Kaluuya, Jordan Peele, LaKeith Stanfield, Lil Rel Howery, Marcus Henderson
Posted in Horror, Reviews, Thriller | 43 Comments »