UrbanRhetoric

UrbanRhetoric

4.09.2015

Furious 7


They saved the best for last!  F&F fans have to like this one. [No one should count Tokyo Drift, but somehow they made it all work with this one.]  I never thought that subtracting the hottest Israeli exports since the Jericho Pistol, Gal Gadot (the upcoming, and some might say controversial, Wonder 
Woman in the forthcoming Batman/ 
Superman flick) would manage to yield a better movie.

VITALS

James Wan (Insidious, Saw) Directs
Chris Morgan & Gary Scott Thompson (Wanted, 47 Ronin) pen it.

Vin Diesel (Riddick, Boiler Room) is Dominic Toretto
Paul Walker (Brick Mansions, Takers) is Brian O'Conner
Jason Statham (The Mechanic, Expendables) is Deckard Shaw
Michelle Rodriguez (Avatar, Machete Kills) is Letty
Jordana Brewster (Annapolis, American Heist) is Mia
Tyrese Gibson (Transformers, Death Race) is Roman
Ludacris (Crash, RocknRolla) is Tej
Dwayne Johnson (Pain & Gain, Hercules) is Hobbs
Nathalie Emmanuel (Game of Thrones, Misfits) is Ramsey
Other notable appearances include Kurt Russell, Rhonda Rousey, and Elsa Pataky.

IF YOU MUST KNOW:

Furious 7 finds us not long after the events of Fast & Furious 6.  If you stayed for the teaser after F6, you know that the bad guy had a "big" brother - which was the BEST part of F6, then you already knew about that.  If you haven't seen F6 - go back and read the review.  I'm pretty sure ThatDude who wrote it would appreciate you doing so. 

Shaw is seeking vengeance for his not-dead but crippled and comatose younger brother which takes him directly in the path of Hobbs (Rock) and that leads him to the gang.  Han is killed (not a spoiler, technically, I think he's killed twice in the series).  Shaw hunts down the rest of them, but not until he introduces himself to Dom (Vin Diesel).  ASIDE: Vin Diesel's been around a long time and people in the theater were asking each other if he was biracial or black, or he "just seems pretty black for a white dude." Real words from a random kid in the theater.  I find that amusing; although I doubt Diesel does.  But then again he did this sh# - for serious.

Back to the flick... the hunt is on.  



<-- This happens and one would think the movie should be over, but it's really just getting started... and inexplicably doesn't result Statham's death (not Shaw, I mean real life Jason Statham survived) - look how little his fist looks compared to the Rock's vein...  That's why I always root for Statham.   Villain or not.  There's a shortage of tough little SOBs in this world and J Stat's one.  


Then, there's this whole side note thing.  Strike that.  This particular subplot happens to be fairly high on my list of babymamas.  If you know me, you know that I am not generally a fan of British accents, but I would certainly make an exception for this subplot. (See, FN)  So, the subplot is about a hacker called Ramsay (Emmanuel).  I love her in GoT, her brief stint on Misfits, and I love the writers and director for casting her to play the hottest hacker on the face of the earth.  It's because I like smart... and cute and I haven't any proof to the contrary about my subplot, so I'm willing to extend her the benefit of the doubt unless proven unequivocally wrong. 

So, the gang has to jump some hurdles to get to Shaw, this hacker gets thrown in the mix, all the while Shaw is trying to get to Dom's gang.  The rest of the flick is adrenaline on top of humor with sprinkles of humor (thankfully not left to solely Tyrese to deliver - go back to sangin, bruh.  Your good at that.)

Blissfully, there were only unbelievable fights (most were well choreographed, but still with unlikely results) and car chases that did not involve speeding planes on never ending runways, but did involve building hopping in the whip; overall, there's nothing to this movie but high octane and passable doses of humor and emotion.  This is a man's version of a movie with heart.  This is OUR version of Pretty Woman - you remember that ridiculousness that women loved in yea olden day - hooker with a heart of gold business.  Sure it is absurd from start to finish.  Sure you have to check some of your wit at the door.  But damn it was fun.  You wont feel like you learned anything about life, or yourself, and you shouldn't expect a family speech by Vin Diesel to evoke emotion (although Michelle Rodriguez gives it a good go).  However, it was worth saying once and now repeating.  Damn, this movie was fun.

FN:  About the accent thing, I generally feel it is still connected to imperialism, subjugation, and genocide, but cloaked in some new perceived erudition.  But that's another story for another day (accents I also have some negative feelings about - Lon G'Island, Souf Jerseyan, Minnesotan, Afrikaans, and hard-Gaelic.  Sorry, but tis true).  


IMTHATDUDE gives Furious 7: 4

RATING SYSTEM:


5 = You should be about halfway to the theatre by now… Well… GET!
4 = Definitely worth the bread. Niiice.
3 = I won’t cuss anybody out and demand my paper back.
2 = Somewhere SOUTH of under-whelmed./I know it has a pulse, but…
1 = Not a good look. They played me AND I played myself.



PEACE TO PAUL WALKER

3.14.2015

Jupiter Acending


Soooo... is it better to have peaked early in film than to never have peaked at all?  I haven't the foggiest, but it would be a solid question to ask Andy and Lana Wachowski (formerly known as the Wachowski Brothers).  Some close to this writer have suggested that the minds that arguably brought you the Matrix trilogy (although the first one was by far the best), seem to have done exactly that - peaked and fallen squarely off a steep precipice into the ever-widening abyss of movie-mediocrity.

VITALS

Andy and Lana Wachowski (The Matrix, Speed Racer, Cloud Atlas) - Writers/Directors
Mila Kunis (Black Swan, Third Person) - Jupiter Jones
Channing Tatum (21/22 Jump Street) - Caine Wise
Eddie Redmayne (My week with Marilyn, The Theory of Everything) - Balem Abraxas
Sean Bean (Lord of the Rings & Ned Stark in the Game of Thrones series) - Apini
Tuppence Middleton (Imitation Game) - Kalique Abraxas
Douglas Booth (Noah) - Titus Abraxas

IF YOU MUST KNOW:

Jupiter Jones (Kunis) is a young immigrant (by way of a boat from Russia - no joke).  Her father is some sort of astronomer and her mother does something else in Russia, blah blah blah... Pop dukes loves the Planet Jupiter, so he named his daughter after the planet much to the mother's chagrin.  In what must be the most random home invasion in the history of home invasions, pop dukes is killed over a brass telescope which appears to be the only thing of value in the whole apartment.  Fast forward, Jupiter grows up in the States and works with her mom and aunt cleaning houses.  She lives beyond her means and is trying desperately to figure out a way out of the life she hates (cleaning toilets of rich people and waking up at the b-crack of pre-dawn to do so).

Unbeknownst to her, it turns out she happens to be the potential heir to a huge interstellar estate.  Sweet, right?  But wait... a competitor has dispatched some mercenaries to shut off the possibility of Jupiter making any claims to it.  Sucks to be Jupiter.  Caine (Tatum), a human-canine hybrid, is tasked with tracking her down and dragging her back to through space to where she can stake her rightful claim to her inheritance from of cadre of ego-maniacal vampir-looking pale-faced relatives.

There's no helping this one.  Sometimes making something look cool is not enough to make it something watchable.  Jupiter Ascending was borderline unwatchable.  I had a crush on Mila Kunis since Black Swan... but... watching her walk weirdly down the hall in that space castle rockin her space stilettos in her space gown was disturbing.  Zero cool points awarded. What kind of directions were the Wachowskis giving when they filmed that segment - "Mila, try this, I want you to be as awkward as humanly possible.  Remember... walk like your feet hurt and keep your shoulders as high and close together as possible.  Go..."

Jupiter Ascending is what the Fifth Element would have been if you subtracted everything that was entertaining from it.  Eddie Redmayne (recent Oscar winner) is too good for this kind of ga'bidge (as my pops would have called it). Watching this latest Wachowski debacle, I got the distinct impression that somebody slipped a little ganga in the Kraft foods on set. The look on Redmayne's face is indicative of how this movie felt.


There were some charming segments in this movie that made me want to like it more, but they weren't charming enough to bring me to that point.  The best part of the movie was the fight choreography.  They did a great job making a lot of the fight scenes look pretty good and even the air-skating thing that went on entirely too long was visually enthralling.

This is the kind of movie that the audience not only does not applaud when the credits roll, but they silently applaud THAT the credits are finally rolling.  Sorry, Wachowskis, but this isn't the next Matrix.  That said, I would strongly recommend watching this on Netflix when it drops in a hot second.  It's just lame enough to watch on a slow Tuesday.  And if you're a movie buff... (SPOILER ALERT),  there's definitely a Soylent Green aspect that cannot be missed, but should have been.

IMTHATDUDE gives Jupiter Ascending: 1

RATING SYSTEM:

5 = You should be about halfway to the theatre by now… Well… GET!
4 = Definitely worth the bread. Niiice.
3 = I won’t cuss anybody out and demand my paper back.
2 = Somewhere SOUTH of under-whelmed./I know it has a pulse, but…
1 = Not a good look. They played me AND I played myself.

2.18.2015

50 Shades of Grey


Let me start with something positive.  That's a nice looking tie.  And now that all the pleasantries are done, I'm going to try not to be to harsh, so let me begin with a simple definition:




: not intelligent : having or showing a lack of ability to learn and understand things
: not sensible or logical
: not able to think normally because you are drunk, tired, etc.

That's right.  The word you're looking for is - stupid.  So VERY stupid - and I don’t just mean the movie.  The world is stupid.  On some level we all knew this movie would suck. (Actually, there really wasn’t that much of that in this flick either.) We knew it and still we flocked to theaters in great big sellout crowds to see it, defying all logic, normal thought, and ability to understand.  The world is a great bastion of voyeuristic morons; me included.  If only the world were collectively drunk... well, we’d still be pretty stupid, but at least it would be excusable that we spent over $260M in the first four days on a movie that was obviously a niche soft porn film at-best.  50 Shades of Grey did the impossible; it made me lose respect for myself.  Sure, I have enough to spare, but a loss of any self-respect for watching this movie is entirely too great a loss.

Puns like ‘whorrible’ and ‘whorrid’ are inescapable.  But, since I have a modicum of respect for whores - it being the oldest profession and all - it would be a disservice to all things whore-ish for me to use such terms to describe this flick.  Put plainly - 50 Shades is pretty damned bad.  Start to finish.  Bad concept.  Bad script.  Bad casting (despite having never read the books).  The best thing about the movie is being a producer.  It cost about $40M to make and that investment was quadrupled in the first four days of its release.

VITALS

Sam Taylor-Johnson (Nowhere Boy, Destricted) - Director
Kelly Marcel (Saving Mr. Banks) - Writers
E.L. James (50 Shades trilogy) - Source Writer
Dakota Johnson (21 Jump Street, The Five Year Engagement) - Anastasia Steele
Jamie Dornan (Marie Antoinette, TV’s Once Upon a Time) - Christian Grey
Eloise Mumford (In the Blood) - Kate
Max Martini (Pacific Rim, Sabotage) - Taylor
Marcia Gay Harden (Mystic River, Into the Wild) - Mrs. Grey

IF YOU MUST KNOW

Christian Grey (Dornan) is a young billionaire with a freaky sneaky secret. He meets Anastasia Steele (Johnson), a graduating senior from blah-blah liberal arts college - of course she has a 4.0 and is an English Literature major who happens to be a hopeless romantic and a virgin.  I’ll pause there and let the absurdity hit you... virgin in her senior year in Portland or Vancouver, Washington?  What the hell else are they doing in Portland/Vancouver besides drankin, smoking, and the niggityniggitynasty?  Looking for glittery-shimmery vampires?  Let’s be honest - by her sophomore year that virginity would’ve been about as nonexistent as a Kim Kardashian’s love of white dudes (or Ray J’s manhood, whichever).

ASIDE: I tried to read the sample of this book and it irked me sumthin’ awful.  EL James is English, so I foolishly expected her english and grammar skills to be better than a fifth grader.  SMDH!  50 Shades was nothing short of visual masochism with no safe words.  At least Anastasia got a damned car and a dope pad.  What did moviegoers get for our submission - 15 bucks lighter in the wallet and time-raped (I know that’s crass, but time-despoiled doesn’t have the same flow given the content of this movie).

Here’s the problem with the premise... this story is not a love story.  I would throw down good paper that says any woman who would subject herself to this kind of emotional and physical abuse isn’t going to do it for a dude that makes $75K a year even if he, unlike Grey, is emotionally available - the whole love thing falls apart because it is romanticization of finances.  She’s blown away by his bread and prestige, not by him.  Hell, she doesn’t even know him AFTER he gets the cookie.  I don’t have a clue if he loses everything in the books, but if he does, it doesn’t matter...  Anastasia doesn’t set foot in this cat’s creepy a$$ soundproof BDSM den if he was a teacher, garbage man, bus driver, cop, or firefighter (well, maybe the last one - I hear firefighters get all kinds of strange).

The movie lacked depth and had zero intrigue.  The dialogue was sub-sophomoric.  And although I was silently screaming for this woman to sign the damned contract already, the sheer volume of questions volleyed back and forth between the characters created negative dramatic tension.  Plus, the chemistry between Grey and Steele was almost completely imperceptible. Even post-coitus, it looked like they were on an awkward first date.  They looked like two young actors trying hard to find their motivation.  On the bright side, there was a such dearth of action that I almost fell into a much needed deep sleep during the Savannah, Georgia segment.

Dakota Johnson was good in her tiny piece of the Social Network.  She was memorable and I still think she has a career ahead of her despite this unfortunate yet financially successful film.  Dornan... I dunno his work outside of this, so I can't speak to it.  But I hope the next one is better written, and they find a stronger director.  Maybe holla at Jane Campion, Ava DuVernay, or if you want to go a bit more artsy/graphic - David Lynch, Mira Nair, Ang Lee, or Catherine Breillat.

SUGGESTIONS:  Next time, make your movie at least as compelling as the concession stand advertisements.  Also, if it is going to be soft core porn, make that joint NC17 - maybe that would have appeased the readers and pervs alike.  I’ll still pass.  RED (that’s the safe word, right).

POSTSCRIPT - Shout out to Charlie Hunnam for wisely rethinking this role and backing out.  Huge box office success but you're better than that script and novel.  Good man.

IMTHATDUDE gives 50 Shades of Grey: 1

RATING SYSTEM:

5 = You should be about halfway to the theatre by now… Well… GET!
4 = Definitely worth the bread. Niiice.
3 = I won’t cuss anybody out and demand my paper back.
2 = Somewhere SOUTH of under-whelmed./I know it has a pulse, but…
1 = Not a good look. They played me AND I played myself.

1.01.2015

Most Played [2014]

I always love putting this list together. It is so interesting to me to see what folks listened to the most
over the year....so, pop the champagne (or coconut water), sit back and consider what YOU rocked out to the most this year.

EVERYTHING Nicki put out this year, Uptown Funk, Man Of The Year, RTJ2, Black Messiah. ~@bumblebeenie

"Ms Fat Booty" [remix] Yasiin Gaye ~@jrm20k

"Show Me" Kid Ink. "Loyal" comes in second. And then this entire D'angelo album, especially "The Charade" and "Really Love" ~@missdtm

RTJ. RTJ2. Your Old Droog. ~@tatansai

"Just Different" Teyana Taylor ~k. lynx

"Yo Tambien" Marc Anthony + Romeo Santos ~pajone

"F*ckin Problems" A$AP Rocky, Drake, Kendrick ~pemora/@urbanrhetoric

"Triangle" Laura Stevenson ~dough

"I Want You 'Til The Summertime" Yasiin Gaye ~@KevFrumBK

"Tuesday" Makonnen ~IMTHATDUDE

"Show Me" Kid Ink ~@mooks19

See list below. ~@Starfishncoffee

11.28.2014

#ShopSmall.....by pemora


Every year, I work hard to feature small business owners. I am especially sensitive to this right now, when I think we truly need to support one another. I hope you enjoy the list of #ShopSmall products!


11.09.2014

Ruckus in B Minor – A Review by Savazhe

Ruckus in B Minor – A Review by Savazhe

Sometimes, it’s all right there in the title.  At first listen, I thought the recently-released single from the upcoming album A Better Tomorrow, by Wu-Tang Clan, was noisy and overdone.  After several more listens, I still think it’s noisy and overdone, but now I understand why.  Finding out from the track information that this is the first song on the album might remind you of “Bring Da Ruckus,” (the first song on Wu-Tang’s first album) but the title is also reminiscent of a symphony, and that’s the driving force behind this song.  The time RZA spent composing scores for film is on full display here, as he lays a common theme through the track that connects seemingly-random (at first) beat and tempo changes in a way that results in the hip-hop version of a symphonic opus.  After RZA’s spoken intro, the song features some opening hype by the late Ol’ Dirty Bastard (decide for yourself how you feel about that), and then progresses through a number of musical movements as each MC does his thing.  From Inspectah Deck’s opening verse, to the closing “bonus” Raekwon verse (musically representing the Reprise) it’s an innovative and ambitious sonic composition.  The Clan isn’t doing anything here lyrically that you haven’t heard before, but that’s not a problem because the excitement of hearing them together and still breaking ground should be enough to get any Wu fan amped.  I’d give it a “B” for being an overdone song, but what symphony isn’t overdone?

Grade: A-

10.13.2014

Parts Visited: Bronx....by pemora

If you are a true Bronxite, you tuned in to Anthony Bourdain's Parts Uknown: Bronx a couple of weeks ago. Not only was it a great episode but the live Twitter gathering was equally as epic. Shout to ProjectBronx for keeping us all organized and engaged.

As much as I loved seeing all of the places that Anthony visited (for a full list go here), I wanted more. So much more.

So, here is my humble list of places I love to eat at in the Bronx. It is my list and my list alone. If you don't like it, please make your own list and let me know. Let's put some shine on the Bronx.

1. Seafood City
I realize that Anthony visited a spot in City Island and I really like Sea Shore. But there is something so authentic, so gritty, so hood about Seafood City. Where else can you get deep fried lobster tails, wine in a plastic cup, kids play arcade games and an outdoor table? YASSSSS, just YASSSSS.

Note: this is a cash only spot. Don't ask why. Just get your money right.

2. Lloyd's Carrot Cake
Located in a hole in the wall spot across from Van Cortlandt Park, this is THE best carrot cake spot in all of the mothertrucking land. HEAR YE, HEAR YE, ALL OF THE LAND! A slice of this carrot cake will keep you full for 22 hours. It is family-owned and family-run, so feel free to talk to anyone about the history of the spot.

Note: parking sucks. Plan on coming here with a friend and park at the nearby fire hydrant while your friend sprints in and out. It is what it is. Do it for the carrot cake.

3. Bronx Ale House
I know this place has been highlighted in many places but that is because it is SO DANG GOOD. Besides hosting an amazing array of local and regional beers, their food menu is just nom nom nom. Seriously, nom. The surprise hit is the mac and cheese but you can order anything dang thing off the menu. Order it all. So good.

Note: while the food is family friendly, the space really isn't. Only high bar stools to sit. If you're like me, you tell your children to sit tight and hang on for dear life. Responsible parents might want to make this a date night spot only.

4. Frankie & Johnny
There are probably other Bronx Italian restaurants that true Bronxites love. This is a constant source of debate. Since this is my post, I will post about this restaurant because I love it so. I'm not sure what I love about it. It could be the backdrop of a brawl on Real Housewives of New Jersey (shout to table flipping Teresa) and cranks out the craziest array of music but this is the place I go to time and time again. Big personalities and even bigger dishes make for a great evening out.

Note: although hidden on the menu, the potato croquettes are the best thing EVAHHH. In fact, I would get a tattoo that says 'F+J Potato Croquettes 4eva' but I would be the only one amused. Which is probably the point of tattoos. But still...weird. And awesome.

5. Riverdale City Grill
The salads! The cheeseburger wrap! The sandies! Everything is so effing good! You can play trivia, watch sports, or dodge Manhattan College students. It is all so good. Another cash only place but worth it.

Note: get the yucca fritters! Trust and believe! Trust. And. Believe.

Honorable Mention: Bronxites also like to fight about their favorite cannoli spot. This is a tough one. I personally enjoy Palombo Bakery in Riverdale. But I think that as long as there is a hidden chocolate chip and a side order of espresso, I'm good.

Hope you liked my list! Any places YOU enjoy in the Bronx? Or in your local neighborhood? Hit me up on here or on the Twitters.