Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Black Snake Moan (2006)

Director: Craig Brewer

Starring: Samuel L. Jackson, Christina Ricci, Justin Timberlake, S. Epatha Merkerson, John Cothran Jr., David Banner

More info: IMDb

Tagline: Everything is hotter down south.

Plot: A God-fearing blues man takes to a wild young woman who, as a victim of childhood sexual abuse, looks everywhere for love, never quite finding it.

My rating: 8/10

Will I watch it again? Yes.

#6 on the Black History Month Project 2012

This is the first time I've seen this since it's theatrical run and I'm glad it holds up. I loved it then and I love it still. The performances are fantastic!

See what I mean? But seriously, Jackson and Ricci are great. Timberlake, not so much but he doesn't ruin the picture.

I love the poster art. It's got that 70s grindhouse / blaxploitation look. That's what really sold it for me and put my butt in the theater seat. It's more than just a modern exploitation picture. It's a good drama but there's no escaping its gritty roots of sex and blues music.

The only real issue I have with the picture is the tacked on ending. I'm talking about the very last scene. It just doesn't sit right with me. I've seen this twice now and I just can't help but feel they could have done something different to get the same point across. It doesn't matter I guess, 'cause I really dig this film. The tagline is dead on, everything really is hotter down here in The South.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Abar, the First Black Superman (1977)

Director: Frank Packard

Starring: J. Walter Smith, Tobar Mayo, Roxie Young, Gladys Lum, Tony Rumford, Rupert Williams, Tina James

More info: IMDb

Tagline: What It Was ... What It Is ... What It Ought To Be!

Plot: Upon moving into a bigoted neighborhood, the scientist father of a persecuted black family gives a superpower elixir to a tough bodyguard, who thus becomes a super-powered crime fighter.

My rating: 7/10

Will I watch it again? YES!

#5 on the Black History Month Project 2012

I'd swear I saw a trailer for this flick on a compilation DVD somewhere in my collection but I can't place it for the life of me. Nevertheless, any fan of Blaxploitation just has to see this. Don't let the low budget fool you. This is really a lot of fun. It's one of those rare shot-on-a-shoestring-budget flicks that delivers two things that most don't - lots of moving camera shots and brisk pacing. The dialogue is outrageous and priceless (like in the opening scene where the white broads think their black neighbors are just the maid and chauffeur). I about pissed myself with laughter.

It's got an often used catchy theme that sounds like it was written and recorded by the same cat as whoever did the music for FOR YOUR HEIGHT ONLY (1980). There's a WTF scene about halfway through the picture that, well, see for yourself...

You could dismiss it as a non-sequitur or as filler but it's not. More importantly, it works! I love shit like this. The movie's only 84 minutes long but director Packard and screenwriter James Smalley make every use of all of them. This movie's loaded with action and crazy funny business. And then there's the ending that tops everything that came before it. WOW!

AWESOME!!! If all of this crazy fun wasn't enough, this whole picture is one big social commentary that doesn't get in the way of enjoying it and it works in that only-in-the-70s kind of way. I can dig it.