STRAIGHT OUTTA COMPTON
Straight Outta Compton comes off as a sugar sprinkled rap video with splashes of gangsta life as icing on the infested unequal racially charged prejudices aimed at black teenage boys growing up in Compton, California. Specifically this particular group of boys who later changed the history of music and popularized gangsta rap as the new hip hop better known as West Coast Hip Hop.
Director, F. Gary Gray teams up again with Ice Cube (from the Friday movie) along with Dr. Dre, as producers, to bring to life the story behind the birth of N.W.A. (Niggaz Wit Attitudes) as an entertaining biopic that only teases you as to the real struggles and challenges of growing up in “da hood” and fulfilling the dream of stardom, women and money. It’s the vanilla version to Boyz In Da Hood.
Admirable in its attempt to honor and celebrate the 27 year anniversary of the debut album, Straight Outta Compton, this film seems like a two and a half hour throwback Thursday. At best it should’ve ended at 100 minutes or less. Sitting through this 2 hour movie and you’re still left with so many unanswered questions, especially if you know anything about the persons being portrayed in this film.
The young stars cast to play these iconic characters did an admirable job but not so well of a job that makes you forget that they are play acting. O’Shea Jackson, Jr. playing his dad, Ice Cube, was a younger, more handsome counterpart and could yell and scream like his father, but nonetheless a weak imitation. Corey Hawkins as Dr. Dre was equally mediocre but better at representing the musician as opposed to just Dr. Dre the “man.” The most pleasant surprise came from Jason Mitchell as Eazy E, the former drug dealer turned record label owner of Ruthless Records along with co-owner Jerry Hiller (Paul Giamatti). Wanting to get out of the drug business he invested his drug money into the label and thus N.W.A was born. The group included two other members, Neil Brown, Jr. as DJ Yeller and Aldis Hodge as MC Ren, both pretty much forgettable. This film exposes the ups and downs, the break-ups and make-ups, up to the death of Eazy E due to complications with AIDS at 31 years old.
What this movie gets right is the production setting as you feel that you are transported back to the late 1980s. Jerri curls, low-riders and racist policemen infect the atmosphere trying to create a world of racial tension so that the inflammatory language of such songs as “F*$k tha Police” and “Gangsta Gangsta” are meant bring awareness to the police brutality and racial profiling during the era of Rodney King. With everything that’s going in our country today barely grazes the heartstrings.
If you’re a fan of N.W.A you’ll enjoy this ride down memory lane with its small bursts of familiar characters, albeit brevity of story referring to Eazy E, Dr. Dre and ice Cube’s involvement with Suge Knight, Snoop Dogg and Tupac. For a movie that’s almost 3 hours long a more in depth exploration of the hidden gems behind those curtains would’ve made for a deeper, more compelling and thrilling ride.
On the whole this is a nicely told story, more salt than pepper and it could’ve been so much more spicy. We caught a glimpse into the early days of life growing up in Compton. Yet, the reality is not much of it is on screen in this movie. Dr. Dre and Ice Cube comes off more confused, bratty and meekly adorable than more gangsta and rebellious. Either way you’ll sing along and bop your head to the music … straight outta your seat.
Starring: O’Shea Jackson, Jr., Corey Hawkins, Jason Mitchell, Paul Giamatti
Director: F. Gary Gray
Company: Universal Pictures
Now Showing: In Theatres
MPAA Rating: R (violence, strong language, nudity and sexual content)
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KUNG FU & TITTIES – MVD
Richard Titties, an out-of-shape martial arts wannabe, is shot into an alternate dimension after his girlfriend Cynthia is kidnapped. Her captors are a group of tittie obsessed madmen led by Zeefros, the master of the supernatural realm. Z2eefros kidnaps women for the sole purpose of seeing their titties. Richard joins up with his sister Raine Brown, a Gorilla and a gaggle of other strange characters, in order to save his girlfriend. He must search inside, overcome his futile martial arts skills, and find the kung fu fighter within if he is to save himself and all those that dwell in the alternate world.
LITTLE BOY – Universal
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NCIS NEW ORLEANS: Season 1 – CBS Paramount
A spin-off of “NCIS” that is set in the Crescent City. The cases and lives of the Naval Criminal Investigative Service’s New Orleans branch, which consists of Senior Special Agent Dwayne Cassius “King” Pride, Special Agent Christopher LaSalle, and Special Agent Meredith Brody.
NCIS LOS ANGELES: Season 6 – CBS Paramount
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NCIS: Season 12 – CBS Paramount
World Class Action. Fielding cases from local cyber-terrorists to international pirates and elusive serial killers, the NCIS team keeps adventure in the line of fire. Led by Special Agent Jethro Gibbs (Mark Harmon), this expert squad hunts down humanity’s most notorious enemies in the name of freedom and justice for all. Co-starring Michael Weatherly, Sean Murray, Pauley Perrette, Rocky Carroll, Brian Dietzen, David McCallum and Emily Wickersham, this 6-disc, 24 episode set showcases suspense at its nail-biting, pulse-pounding best.
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Synopsis used with permission