Chi-Raq

Spike Lee has been in the news a lot lately for #OscarsSoWhite, his love-letter documentary that premiered at Sundance - Michael Jackson:  The Journey From Motown to Off The Wall and  Chi-Raq.  With Chi-Raq, Spike puts a modern spin melting gun violence in America with the ancient Greek play “Lysistrata.” which results in a classic battle of the sexes with women putting a lockdown on that sweet spot.

So incase y'all are not hip to Lysistrata...homegirl persuades the women of the Spartan and Trojan gangs to swear off sex with their men until the fighting ceases.

It wouldn't be a Spike Lee joint without some war council scenes with the women or trash talking scenes with the men.  All of that is enhanced tied together with Samuel L. Jackson's narration and a raw, original score by Nick Cannon who stars alongside the beautiful Teyonnah Parris.

What I adore about Spike is that he always keeps it real and cast actors that are not only at the top of their game, but are physically reflective of the people of color I see when I walk out my front door.  It's written in prose just as the Greek fables are told and your really have to pay attention to catch the ingenious quips in the dialogue.  Trust me it is well worth the journey.

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It was also refreshing to see some old Spike Lee Joint fav's who quite frankly without Spike  casting them in "Do The Right Thing", "Mo Better Blues", "Jungle Fever" and more it may have taken us a little longer to be introduced to their talents (Wesley Snipes, Samuel L. Jackson, Roger Guenveur Smith).

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My favorite scenes involve a full-scale musical version of the women kinda breaking it down for the men about their chastity belts and a eulogy given by Father Mike Corridan (John Cusack).  Cusack is so compelling in this scene and proves once again why he continues to work in this medium on a grand scale.  Jennifer Hudson's moment as grieving  Mom Irene reminds us all that her Oscar win for "Dreamgirls" was not a fluke.  Mama got chops all day long!!!!

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Chi-Raq received four NAACP Image Award nominations and was honored by #AAFCA landing in its TOP TEN and a Best Actress nod for its leading lady Teyonnal Parris is arriving now available for purchase at all Digital HD retailers as well as, select digital platforms such as Amazon, Vudu, Xbox, Playstation, Google Play and MGO. Blu-ray + Digital HD and DVD + Digital.

Click below to watch the trailer...

Chi-Raq Trailer

BARBERSHOP: THE NEXT CUT

  Review by Carla Renata for UBNRadio.com  and CarlaRenatasCorner.com

 

Rapper turned actor/producer Ice-Cube is already having a great year!  AAFCA (African-American Film Critics Association) honored his film 'Straight Outta Compton" and now he's back in the third installment of his hit film "Barbershop".

This one takes a serious tone focusing more on the unprecedented violence in Chicago than on the jokes.  Even Anthony Anderson's character is a little more straight-laced.

Faced with the violence finally hitting the block where the barbershop is, Calvin (Ice-Cube) is once again faced with the decision of moving the shop or giving it up altogether.  As it that weren't enough, the son who was a baby in the first installment is now a teen on the verge of joining a gang just to fit in.  So, the shop gets the gangs to hold s truce for 48 hours in hopes of getting the violence under control if only for a little while.

Barbershop wouldn't be the same without its old standby's Eddie (Cedric The Entertainer),       Terri (Eve) , who is now married to Rashad lushly played by my celebrity crush Common and the young politician/barber trying to make a difference Jimmy (Sean Patrick Harris).  However, the new blood infused fits right on in like my girl Nicki Minaj as Draya, Regina Hall as Angie, Margot Bingham as Bree, Tyga as Yummy, Jamal Woolard as Marquis is giving you Suge Knight in look and presence, Deon Cole as that one customer that don't know how to go home (Dante) is hilarious, New Girl's Lamorne Morris (Jerrod) and Raja (Utkarsh Ambudkar)  and JB Smoove as One-Stop provide much of the comic relief this time around.

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The young men playing Jalen (Michael Rainey , Jr.) and Kenny (Diallo Thompson) are turning in some stellar work and their scenes are some of the most poignant and heartwarming of the film

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Barbershop:  The Next Cut drives home the point of the senseless shootings when one of the "good ones' happens to be in the wrong place at the wrong time.

This wasn't my favorite in the franchise, but I applaud the efforts of the cast, Cube, directors Malcolm D. Lee and "Black'ish" writer Kenya Barris for throwing this issue in America's face and making them think if only for a minute what they could do to curb the problem instead of adding fuel to the fire.

Barbershop:  The Next Cut is in theaters NOW!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l2vPDGStL4k