Review by Carla Renata for  and


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!

Straight Outta Compton

IMG_0816 March 3, 1991,  in Los Angeles, South Central resident Rodney King was repeatedly beat by numerous LAPD officers.  The incident was captured by video and broadcast nationally.  However, when the cops were tried by the courts...they were all acquitted.  Sound familiar?

Gangsta rap was in full effect and a west coast group called N.W.A. (NIggas With Attitude) were at the forefront of the controversy along with many of their cuts including F*&k the Police!   N.W.A. was made up of Compton teens Ice Cube, Dr. Dr,  Eazy-E, DJ Yella and MC Ren, who at the time had no idea that they were changing the trajectory of hip-hop music for a whole new generation.


They spoke up and out, which thrust them into the spotlight making them the poster children (along with west coast rapper Ice-T, and his controversial hit Cop Killer) for gangsta rap and any negative stereotype associated with black men, violence and gangs.   Unfortunately, like most groups, money was at the forefront of their demise and the label they formed - Ruthless Records.

Straight Outta Compton is smacking you in the face with the realities of being a young black man in America (especially South Central LA), AIDS (being a disease that was striking straight men, women and gays), the ugly side of the music industry and how escaping the choice of being a gang-banger or being an inspiration for these kids to move in a more productive direction.

Paul Giamatti is having a great year in film and this is the second time he has played a smarmy music manager.  However, he easily takes what could've been a one-note performance and layered it like one would do to stay warm in a winter storm.  Brillance at its best - for sure!

O'Shea Jackson (Ice-Cube's son) bears an uncanny resemblance to his Dad and is a natural actor in his first feature film.


But, it is the performances of Jason Mitchell as Eazy-E and R. Marcos Taylor as Suge Knight that are going to be the talk of tinsel town.  They are equally stupendous in their respective roles and it would be nice to watch these brothas get their props come awards season. Corey Hawkins as Dr. Dre and Lisa Renee Pitts as Dr. Dre's Mom are letting us have too!!  Their scenes together are simultaneously heart-wrenching and heart-warming, as a mother and son trying to defy the odds of what society dictates where their lives should be.

The film has already grossed close to 56 million dollars and has aided Universal Pictures in already securing 2 Billion dollars for 2015, making it the most successful film to have an August release in quite some time.  Not bad for a film that police across the country were positive would insight rioting and gunfire.  Too bad...too sad for them.  Sorry...not sorry.

In addition, Dr. Dre is donating all of the proceeds from his latest release Compton:   A Soundtrack by Dre toward the completion of a performing arts center for the City of Compton. iTunes reported album garnered more than 25 million downloads n its first week of release.

So, the next time you see a group of young black men hanging out on a corner or on a stoop...don't be so quick to judge and typecast.  Not all black men are a threat to society.  Many of them during the course of history have made America a better place like Martin Luther King, Jr., Jesse Jackson, Julius Bond, Roland Martin, Bryant Gumble and of course The President of the United States...Barack Obama.

N.W.A. may have been unorthodox in their tactics to express their message, but it was heard and people listened.  We are still listening and waiting for a change to come.

Check out my video review blog, as well as, the trailer for Straight Outta Compton