“Straight Outta Compton” Review

straight outta compton

For fans of rap music, “Straight Outta Compton” takes the cake for one of the best film adaptations I have seen. The film is amazing, destructive, and an honest story of the rise of the group NWA. The film has many moments that will blow viewers out of the water. The story is enticing, the characters are ruthless, and it is not afraid to go over the limits on terms of music content. Director F Gary Gray makes his mark on one of the best films I have seen this year.

The film is set in the mid 1980s. Artists from the streets of Compton are coming out of their shells and showing their talent through their music. The artists are Ice Cube (O’shea Jackson), Dr. Dre (Corey Hawkins), and Eazy-E (Jason Mitchell). Cube is the poet, Dre is the one who makes the music, and Eazy-E is one of the singers. They collaborate their life events into spectacular music that holds tons of publicity. The popularity is vast where the more truthful they are to their lyrics, the more fans they get. But do they want to be that honest?

Their music tests authorities of California. This happens when subjects in regards to how they are treated is misinterpreted by the Federal Government. This basically goes for vulgar music towards police officers. However, they state, “Our art is a reflection of our reality.” Therefore, they believe they have the right to speak on terms of what goes on in their life because it is freedom of speech. However, this starts up numerous riots and lawsuits to name. I am not going to explain this because I want to elaborate more on what I enjoyed about this movie. I can probably talk all day about what I loved so much about the movie.

On terms of music, the scoring kept my attention. I’m not a fan of rap music really, but I found the music to be captivating. Joseph Trapanese is the man who did the music for “Straight Outta Compton.” I remember he did the music for “Tron: Legacy” (2010). “Tron: Legacy” had a really good soundtrack that I would listen to consistently day in and day out because of its beat track in its music. “Straight Outta Compton” beats is now what I’m listening too in my spare time. Just the rhythm puts you in the mood to want to feel like you are losing yourself into that rhythmic beat that is so intense where you can feel your chest beat.

The cinematography also was spellbinding. Just its color and all makes viewers feel like they are right in the 80s of this intense story. The cinematographer Matthew Libatique has a reputation for capturing great visuals with films he has been on. He does will with cinematography and photography in “Black Swan” (2010) “The Number 23” (2007) and “Everything is Illuminated” (2006). In all of these films including this one, viewers are really moved by the visual prints, however with “Straight Outta Compton” it is visually stunning where viewers will not believe their eyes.

Despite, the hard times these men go through in this movie, it is a brilliant one. I will even watch it again. I walked out of the theater with my mind blown by how spectacular the movie was. Four stars.


“Iris” review


With me, I am not a person who is into fashion. I am a nerd. I collect tons of movies, I have everything in alphabetical order, fancy gadgets to make my life easier, and I have no taste for fashion. The movie “Iris” however is cleverly done. I did not find myself enthralled by the fashion portions of it, but by the moving documentary set on Iris Apfel who is a fascinating, elderly lady where fashion and art is her life.

Iris Apfel is someone who has been in the New York fashion scene for many years. However, the plot of the movie is not really fashion. The purpose of the movie (which I like) is set on creativity and how Iris remains to be inspired by her fashion and art at such an old age. She even states what motivates her as she says in her brilliant words, “If you’re lucky enough to do something you love, everything else follows.” Her followers, her life, her inspirations are what is the key to film’s positivity.

I liked how the movie had a variety of interviews and tours done by Iris. This gave us an idea of how certain portions of her life built upon her creativity. An example of this is a scene where matching jewelry plays an importance to her. Her vast and to-the-point knowledge of her life’s work immerses viewers to how important matching clothes can be in one’s life. I even am about matching my clothes, and watching “Iris” makes me curious now if my clothes always match before I get ready for the day.

The film is directed by Albert Maysles. He just passed away in March 2015. So sad, given this was an artistic movie he did well with. It would have been more positive if he can live to see more of his success. Anyway, most of his movies geared on arts. Examples are “Time Piece” (2006), and “The Gates” (2007). He made anything along the lines of art be a focus in his films. I feel he did this because art played a part in his life, especially among terms of directing; may he rest in peace.

Despite arts and crafts not being my thing, I enjoyed “Iris.” Learning about someone’s passion in a movie can move viewers positively for inspiration. That inspiration does not even have to be art; it can be many things. Just you got to start somewhere.

“The Living” Review

the living

Recently, I was thinking of a movie to watch. What came to my mind right away among that topic was a suspense movie. Therefore, I came across “The Living.” This is an independent thriller that is captivating, has good character structure, a great screenplay, and a twisted plot with a rather odd climax. However, the film is not that brilliant. Given the conflict in the movie is kind of silly and gets blown completely out of proportion. However, the surprising part is that the fact that the gruesome violence comes across a teenager.

The film stars many unknown actors and it takes place in Auburn, Pennsylvania. The film begins with bringing viewers to a damaged room with clues that domestic violence occurred before hand. The married couple is Teddy and Molly (Fran Kranz and Jocelin Donahue) and they are having serious problems. Teddy abuses Molly badly where her face is bruised up. This makes Molly’s brother Gordon (Kenny Wormald) resent Teddy entirely. Gordon has a big grudge on Teddy and wants to protect his sister. Teddy’s behavior makes Gordon want to end Teddy.

For a guy like Gordon, he does not have the guts. He is just a nerd who works in a grocery store and does not really have faith in his own self to be protective. For Wormald, his shyness he portrays does not do it for me. Just he carries his shyness to an extent where his pride to being the big guy in a scary situation does not seem to add up to the film’s suspense. Suspense is built though with this nerd actor as the film progresses on. I will elaborate more on the premise of what makes the film suspenseful. Then you will have an idea of what I mean on terms of the characterization of Gordon.

With Gordon being defenseless, he hires an ex-con to kill Teddy. He arranges to meet with the guy in person before the events happen. However, he has no idea of what he is getting himself into. The ex-con’s name is Howard (Chris Mulkey). As soon as Gordon and Howard meet, Gordon realizes he put himself in a major, yet terrifying mess upon him. Howard wants the money before he kills Teddy. Wait that is not all. He also wants Gordon to be in his site at all times before the killing even takes place. This makes Howard ride with Gordon all night long to the location of where Teddy lives.

There are times on the car ride where Howard is disturbing. He kills a few people along the way, seriously questions Gordon uncomfortably, and even threatens to hurt him if he attempts to run. This is a major disaster to the point where viewers will wonder why Gordon did not just talk to Teddy instead of putting himself into this array of violence, regret, and possibly death.

Writer and director Jack Bryan is interesting with how he has the movie setup. I like the scenery of Pennsylvania, the very few characters elements, and one twisted plot. I will say this is like an independent version of The Hitcher, however, with no car chases, less, but strong violence, and an extremely gruesome conclusion (that is something you will have to find out if you watch the movie). Overall, I will say three solid stars.

Treating cinema in many forms of art!

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