Film Review: FIST FIGHT

Deadlines to Submit your Screenplay, Novel, Story, or Poem to the festival: http://www.wildsound.ca

fist_fight.jpgDirector: Richie Keen
Writers: Van Robichaux (screenplay), Evan Susser (screenplay)
Stars: Ice Cube, Charlie Day, Tracy Morgan

Review by Gilbert Seah

As the title suggests, the climax and the soul purpose of the film is the FIST FIGHT that will happen at three o’clock after school at the school parking lot between the film’s two lead characters.

This is a pretty thin premise for a full length feature, so a running time of 90 minutes is not surprising. The goal of the script is to keep the audience attentive for the rest of the movie before the FIST FIGHT.

The beginning of the film sets up the incidents leading to the provocation of the challenge of the fight. This takes 15 minutes or so. It all boils down to a silly excuse of one teacher, Andy Campbell (Charles Day) telling on his fellow teacher, Ron Strickland (Ice Cube) as one of the two will be fired by the principal (Dean Norris).
Strickland challenges him to a fight after school in the parking lot. The news goes viral, in this modern day and age. The actual fight also takes a full 15 minutes. To director Keen’s credit, the fight choreography is well executed with a solid blend of excitement and hilarity.

The script by by Van Robichaux and Evan Susser introduces an assortment of weird characters to the comedy mayhem. Some work and some don’t. Miss Monet (played by Christina Hendricks, who has been voted before as America’s sexiest woman), the sexy drama teacher who has the hots for Strickland is one that works. She brings spice and unpredictability to the proceedings and her gait and mannerisms are priceless. Jillian Bell as the meth taking Councelor Holly who is constantly on the look-out for sex with her students is also funny.The principal’s (Dean Norris) role could have been funnier. A lesson could be taken from another adult school comedy STRANGERS WITH CANDY’s principal, who is the funniest bumbling idiot ever.

The film takes a while to land on its feet. Charles Day, playing the protagonist Andy Campbell is all over the place, partly due to the script. For the audience to root for him, he is given too many ‘vices’ for his character to be liked. For example, he is deemed a coward and snitch. To escape the fight, he plans to plant drugs on Strickland.

Ice Cube, has prove his mettle in comedy in the past, particularly in the JUMP STREET movies, and proves himself a better lead than Day.

It is hard to figure the film’s target audience. The language is quite foul with lots of swearing and references to sex and drug use. I am assuming the filmmakers take their audience to be partying teens in or just out of the school system. As one characters says in the film, “The best place to buy drugs is in an American high school.” School kids know more than adults give them credit for.

As the saying goes, if one does not have ones hopes up too high, one will not end up disappointed. I chose the screening of FIST FIGHT over A GREAT WALL as the last thing I would want to see is a pretentious movie about a glorified white man in China directed by Zhang Yimou who has turned exciting martial-art movies into boring pretty pictures (HERO). At least, FIST FIGHT is unpretentious. Crass though it may be, I got what is expected – silly, raunchy and adulterated entertainment.

Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9aIzXYo6VCE

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Happy Birthday: Ice Cube

icecube.jpgHappy Birthday actor Ice Cube

Born: June 15, 1969 in Los Angeles, California, USA

Married to: Kimberly Woodruff (26 April 1992 – present) (4 children)

MOVIE POSTER NEW YEAR’S EVE
dir. Garry Marshall
Stars:
Sarah Jessica Parker
Jessica Biel

movie reviewsXXX: STATE OF THE UNION
2005
dir. Lee Tamahori
Stars:
Samuel L. Jackson
Ice Cube

MOVIE POSTERRAMPART
dir. Oren Moverman
Stars:
Woody Harrelson
Ben Foster

MOVIE POSTERRIDE ALONG
2014
dir. Tim Story
Stars:
Ice Cube
Kevin Hart

MOVIE POSTER21 JUMP STREET
dir. Phil Lord
Chris Miller
Stars:
Jonah Hill
Channing Tatum

MOVIE POSTER22 JUMP STREET
2014
dir. Phil Lord
Christopher Miller
Stars:
Channing Tatum

THREE KINGSThree Kings
1999
dir. Russell
Starring
George Clooney
Mark Wahlberg
Cube

ARE WE DONE YET?Are We Done Yet?
2007
dir. Steve Carr
Starring
Cube
Nia Long

Movie Review: BARBERSHOP – THE NEXT CUT

Deadlines to Submit your Screenplay, Novel, Story, or Poem to the festival: http://www.wildsound.ca

barbershop_the_next_cut.jpgBARBERSHOP – THE NEXT CUT (USA 2016) **
Directed by Malcolm D. Lee

Starring: Ice Cube, Regina Hall, Anthony Anderson, Cedric the Entertainer, JB Smoove, Common, Nicki Minaj, Sean Patrick Thomas

Review by Gilbert Seah

The fourth instalment of the BARBERSHOP films (counting the spin-off BEAUTY SHOP) has Calvin’s Barbershop in South side Chicago doing their usual shenanigans. Calvin’s Barbershop is owned by Calvin (Ice Cube), of course with his partner Angie (Regina Hall).

This time around, the all male barbershop has incorporated female hairdressers as well. This gives the script an excess to lots of verbal battle of the sexes – all mediated of course by Calvin. The ensemble cast has lots of comedic material here to show their stuff.

As there are many characters in the film, the film includes several parallel stories in the plot, all of seemingly equal importance.
The main one involves Calvin relationship with his coming-of-age son.

Calvin’s son is about to join a gang, obviously not realizing how fortunate he is tom have his parent’s love and care. Another tied-on plot addresses the violence of Chicago. Too many kids are killed everyday due to gang related crimes. The barbershop decides to do something about it by offering free weekend haircuts to create a ceasefire. Other subplots involve Rashad (Common) fooling around with Draya (Nicki Minaj) under the eyes of his suspicious wife. Calvin is also in the process of buying property north and to move his barbershop to a safer place. All these plots are loosely tied together and are intercut as if the director is a traffic cop.

The blend of drama and comedy does not mix well. Ice Cube appears to be in Tyler Perry mode, being too preachy and trying to be goody-two-shoes in the African American community.

It takes a full third of the film to get its footing. The first third clumsily re-introduces all the characters of the barbershop, most of whom the audience have forgotten as the last barbershop film was made about 10 years back. The last part gets too sentimental and preachy and all the good intentions appear a bit too much.

But the film contains a few good comedic set ups. When the film just lets the actors loose and do their thing, it generates the most laughs. One is Nicki Minaj shaking and showing off her booty. The bit where all the employees in the barbershop break out into an impromptu dance is extremely well done with Common stealing the show with his break-dancing. Cedric the Entertainer is always very funny and is the funniest barber in the shop. Ice Cube proves again he can do both serious and comedy.

But the film should cater more to African Americans. For others, the accent is a bit difficult to follow and a few jokes will go above the heads on non-black audiences. But BARBERSHOP fans should not be disappointed with this entry. The film is tagged to be number two this weekend following THE JUNGLE BOOK.

 

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Movie Review: RIDE ALONG 2 (2016)

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ride_along_2RIDE ALONG 2 (USA 2015) ***
Directed by Tim Story

Starring: Ice Cube, Kevin Hart

Review by Gilbert Seah

More of the same are the four words that best describes RIDE ALONG 2. Same director and same two stars Ice Cube and Kevin Hart playing cops. If you disliked RIDE ALONG 1 or do not find Kevin Hart funny, then avoid this one.

Ice Cube has proven his comedy mettle by being most funny in the two JUMP STREET films. Together with comedian and standup comic Hart, they form quite the dynamic duo. Ice Cube plays detective James Payton who takes under his wing his future brother-in-law Ben Barber (Hart) who wants to become a detective. In the film, Ben and James venture to Miami to work on a case that involves a mysterious and dashing figure named Serge Pope (Benjamin Pratt). While there, they team up with Maya (Olivia Munn), a smart and beautiful detective. Ben looks forward to proving himself and hopes the case runs smoothly so that he can return to Atlanta in time for his wedding. Tika Sumpter plays the bride.
Ice Cube is the straight man and Hart the clown. The angle is that Ben needs to stay focused while James has to become less uptight and more human. James gripes while Hart clowns. And this occurs countless times throughout the movie – so be prepared!

But on the plus side, the duo is quite funny. The sequel has the addition of Ken Jeong who plays A.J., a computer hacker that Pope is after and the cops want information from. So, if one can ignore the simplistic plot, the film is actually quite fun like the RUSH HOUR, Jackie Chan Chris Tucker films. “Do you ever watch the shit that is coming out of your mouth,” says James to Ben in one of the film’s funnier moments, and a nice nod to the RUSH HOURS buddy cop action comedies.

Besides the comedy, the action sequences are aptly put together. So, an additional plus over the RUSH HOUR films is that RIDE ALONG 2 is quite exciting. The car chase is also funny with James signalling as he tries to escape from the bad guys. Why are you signalling?” asks James. “Habit” is the answer. Ice Cube who co-produced the film too, and a well known rapper ensures a solid rap soundtrack to the film, including a catchy song during the end credits called Sound of da Police.

The funny bits that work include subplots involving Ben constantly arguing with his wedding planner, Cori (Sherri Shepherd) who contradicts whatever Ben wants for his wedding and the impressively edited segment which blurs a car chase and a video game. The part of A.J. being a sex pervert while computer hacking, however, generates few laughs. The final bit involving Ben and the speedboat has too much effort for the laughs generated.

The film’s romantic interest is the one between Ben and his bride (Sumpter). He has to get back from Miami to Atlanta in time for the wedding.

RIDE ALONG 2 is posed to be number one at the box-office this weekend. Never mind the poor critical reviews on Rotten Tomatoes! The audience knows what it wants.

Also, Free logline submissions. The Writing Festival network averages over 95,000 unique visitors a day.
Great way to get your story out: http://www.wildsound.ca/logline.html

Deadlines to Submit your Screenplay, Novel, Story, or Poem to the festival:http://www.wildsound.ca

Watch recent Writing Festival Videos. At least 15 winning videos a month:http://www.wildsoundfestival.com

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