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Sunday, October 30, 2011

Sugar Hill (1993)


Starring:

  • Wesley Snipes
  • Khandi Alexander
  • DeVaughn Nixon
  • Marquise Wilson
  • O.L. Duke
  • Clarence Williams III
  • Abe Vigoda
  • Anthony Thomas
  • Michael Wright
  • John Pittman
  • Steve Harris
  • Michael Guess
  • Kimberly Russell
  • Theresa Randle

IMDB.com
Hardened, uncomprimising drug dealer Roemello Skuggs decides to quit his scumbag profession so he may start a new life with his girlfriend. However, he soon learns getting out is nowhere near as easy as getting in, as everything gradually builds up to end in tragedy.

What's Love Got To Do With It (1993)


Starring:

  • Angela Bassett
  • Rae'Ven Larrymore Kelly
  • Virginia Capers
  • Laurence Fishburne
  • Khandi Alexander
  • Dororthy Thorton
  • Demetrice Cheathon

IMDB.com
Anna Mae always had a special voice. Soon after arriving in St. Louis to live with the mother who had walked out when she was small, the now teenage Anna soon attracts the attention of pop group leader Ike Turner. She becomes the band's singer, his wife, and mother to his children - not all hers. In love with Ike and determined not to leave in the way her mother had, she finds herself the target of increasing violence from her unstable husband who can't see who is making the band such a success.

Shaft (2000)


Starring:

  • Samuel L. Jackson
  • Vanessa Williams
  • Jeffrey Wright
  • Christian Bale
  • Busta Rhymes
  • Dan Hedaya
  • Toni Collette
  • Richard Roundtree

IMDB.com
Cool and deadly NYPD detective John Shaft arrests Walter Wade, Jr. in a racially-motivated slaying. The eye witness disappears, Wade jumps bail for Switzerland, and Shaft is livid. Two years later, Wade returns to face trial, confident his father's money and influence (and racial politics) guarantee an innocent verdict. Shaft looks hard for the witness, so Wade wants someone to kill her. He turns to a ghetto drug king, Peoples Hernandez, who's willing to kill for money, use Wade as a route to rich drug customers, and shaft Shaft. Can Shaft find the witness, convince her to testify, and shepherd her through the hail of bullets that Peoples is sure to let fly?

Higher Learning (1995)

Starring:

  • Omar Epps
  • Kristy Swanson
  • Michael RapaportJennifer Connelly
  • Ice Cube
  • Jason Wiles
  • Tyra BanksCole Hauser
  • Laurence Fishburne

IMDB.com
Youngsters from different countries, races, and social background are forced to integrate when they all enroll in Columbus University. They all have their own problems, such as finance, harrassment, personal safety, and self doubt. Additionally, campus life seems to be causing a problem for everyone: racism. Students, already under pressure to perform in the classroom, on the track, or in front of their friends, are strained to the breaking point by prejudice, inexperience, and misunderstanding.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

A Warm December (1973)


Starring:

  • Sidney Poitier
  • Ester Anderson
  • Yvette Curtis
  • George Baker

IMDB.com
Dr. Matt Younger and his daughter arrive for a month-long visit to London for dirt-bike racing and unexpectedly, a new romance for the widowed Dr. Younger. His new love interest is the beautiful and playful Catherine who seems to enjoy eluding Dr. Younger as much as she enjoys eluding the mysterious men who are following her. Their romance develops gradually as does the viewers' understanding of what is going on with this charming woman and the complications she brings with her.

Girl 6 (1996)


Starring:

  • Theresa Randle
  • Isaiah Washington
  • Spike Lee
  • Jenifer Lewis
  • Debi Mazar

IMDB.com
This Spike Lee film examines the life of an aspiring actress in New York. She is upset by the treatment of women in the movie industry during one of her screen tests with 'QT'. Out of work and desperate for money, she decides to take a job as a phone-sex operator. Here, unlike her previous dealings with potential employers, her (female) boss is kind, caring, and sensitive. Later, she begins to get too engrossed in her work and starts to lose touch with reality, represented by her friend and neighbor, Jimmy.

Meteor Man (1993)


Starring:

  • Robert Townsend
  • Marla Gibbs
  • Eddie Griffin
  • Robert Guillaume
  • James Earl Jones
  • Roy Fegan
  • Cynthia Belgrave
  • Marilyn Coleman
  • Don Cheadle

IMDB.com
One night Jefferson Reed gets hit in the chest by a souped-up chunk of meteor. So he can fly, but he's scared of heights. He can master the information in any book ... for about fifteen minutes. Now his friends and family want him to protect their community from the dreaded Golden Lords.

Rosewood (1997)



Starring:

  • Jon Voight
  • Ving Rhames
  • Don Cheadle
  • Bruce McGill
  • Loren Dean
  • Esther Rolle

IMDB.com
Ving Rhames stars as Mann, a drifter caught in Rosewood, a town filled with racial prejudice. He ends up aiding the surviving African-Americans escape the town, with the help of a humble store owner played by Jon Voight.

Krush Groove (1985)



Starring:

  • Sheila E.
  • Joseph Simmons
  • Darryl McDaniels
  • Jason Mizell
  • Mark Morales
  • Damon Wimbley
  • Darren Robinson
  • Kurtis Blow
  • Blair Underwood
  • Ricky Bell
  • Michael Lamone Bivins
  • Bobby Brown
  • Ronald De Voe
  • Ralph E. Tresvant
  • Lisa Gay Hamilton

IMDB.com
In this movie based on the early days of Def Jam Recordings, up-and-coming manager Russell Walker has all the hottest acts on the record label Krush Groove records, including Run-D.M.C., Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde, and Kurtis Blow, while Rick (Rubin) produces their records. When Run-D.M.C. has a hit record and Russell doesn't have the money to press records, he borrows money from a street hustler. At the same time, Russell and and his brother Run are both competing for the heart of R&B singer Sheila E.

Under The Cherry Moon (1986)


Starring:

  • Prince
  • Jerome Benton
  • Kristin Scott Thomas
  • Steven Berkoff
  • Emmanuelle Sallet
  • Alexandra Stewart

IMDB.com
Two friends from Miami are in the Mediterranian are enjoying life by scamming money off of rich women. One day, they read about a young woman set to inherit $50 million from her father. At first, Tricky has Christopher Tracy talked into romancing her for her money, but as he gets to know her, Christopher falls in love with her. This love comes between the brothers, and Tricky tells all about the plan...

Class Act (1992)


Starring:

  • Christopher Reid
  • Christopher Martin
  • Andre Rosey Brown
  • Meshach Taylor
  • Mariann Aalda
  • Loretta Devine

IMDB.com
Duncan is a genius straight A student, Blade is juvenile delinquent. But because of a mix up with their school records, everyone thinks each is the other one. Now, Duncan kind of likes the attention from being thought of as a real bad dude, if only the school bully would stop trying to rough him up. And Blade definitely likes being thought of as important instead of as trouble, if only the teacher would stop hitting on him for a date.

Beat Street (1984)


Starring:

  • Rae Dawn Chong
  • Guy Davis
  • Jon Chardiet
  • Leon W. Grant
  • Saundra Santiago

IMDB.com
Upbeat, lets-put-on-a-show, musical about the wonders of rap music tells the story of Kenny, a young hip-hop artist living in the rough slums of the Bronx with his younger brother Lee and their mother Cora. Kenny dreams of making it big as a disk jockey and playing in the most swank of Manhattan nightclubs, The Roxy. Into their lives comes Tracy, a composer and assistant choreographer from New York College who inspires him to try to continue his dream while romance begins to grow between them despite coming from different neighborhoods and worlds. Meanwhile, Lee is part of a break-dancing gang set on dominating the scene of their street. The rest of their friends include Ramon, a graffiti artist determined to spread his painting to every subway car in the city while dealing with his girlfriend Carmen. Chollie is a fellow rapper who becomes Kenny's manager after he lands him a gig at a Bronx club as the DJ.

Action Jackson (1988)


Starring:

  • Carl Weathers
  • Craig T. Nelson
  • Vanity
  • Sharon Stone
  • Thomas F. Wilson
  • Bill Duke

IMDB.com
Jericho "Action" Jackson is a Detroit police sergeant who was demoted from lieutenant for almost tearing the arm off of sexually violent sociopath Sean Dellaplane, whose father is Peter Dellaplane, a major car manufacturer. But Dellaplane himself is violent as well. Dellaplane kills his wife Patrice by shooting her. And then he plants her body in Jackson's apartment, framing Jackson. Dellaplane won't miss Patrice very much, because he has a drug-addicted mistress named Sydney Ash. He keeps Sydney hooked with a free supply of heroin. Jackson suspects Dellaplane of masterminding a murder spree against local officials from the auto workers' union. Dellaplane's mission is to gain a political power base and choose the next president of the United States. Because of what happened to Dellaplane's son Sean, Dellaplane has taken a particular dislike to Jackson. Jackson gets Sydney's help in going after Dellaplane.

Jo Jo Dancer, You Life Is Calling (1986)


Starring:

  • Richard Pryor
  • Debbie Allen
  • Art Evans
  • Fay Hauser
  • Barbara Williams
  • Carmen McRae

IMDB.com
In this film that closely parallels his own life story, Richard Pryor plays Jo Jo Dancer, a popular stand-up comedian who has severely burned himself in a drug incident. As he lies unconscious in a hospital, his spiritual alter ego gets up and begins a journey of his own. He revisits his life, from growing up in a brothel as a child and struggling to beat the long odds to become a top rated comedian. However, his success brings new problems as he develops a tragic pattern of substance abuse that begins to screw up his life. All the while, Jo Jo's spirit watches these events and attempts to convince his past self to turn off from his path of self destruction.

Pootie Tang (2001)


Starring:

  • Lance Crouther
  • J.B. Smoove
  • Jennifer Coolidge
  • Reg E. Cathey
  • Robert Vaughn
  • Wanda Sykes
  • Chris Rock

IMDB.com
Pootie Tang, the musician/actor/folk hero of the ghetto, is chronicled from his early childhood to his battles against the evil Corporate America, who try to steal his magic belt and make him sell out by endorsing addictive products to his people. Pootie must learn to find himself and defeat the evil corporation for all the young black children of America, supatime.

Hoodlum (1997)


Starring:

  • Laurence Fishburne
  • Tim Roth
  • Vanessa Williams
  • Andy Garcia
  • Cicely Tyson
  • Chi McBride
  • Clarence Williams III
  • Richard Bradford
  • William Atherton
  • Loretta Devine
  • Queen Latifah

IMDB.com
The film focuses on the war of two gangs in 1930s Harlem for the control of illegal gaming - one headed by black strategic godfather Bumpy Johnson and another by white ruthless hothead Dutch Schultz. Negotiations proposed by white syndicate boss Lucky Luciano never get under way, blood flows and Johnson gets jailed. When Johnson is paroled, he gets the work of enforcer for mighty Stephanie "The Queen" St. Clair. She is also jailed for racketeering and when she leaves she makes him promise "no violence".

Tales From The Hood (1995)


Starring:
  • Clarence Williams III
  • Joe Torry    
  • De'aundre Bonds
  • Samuel Monroe Jr.
  • Wings Hauser
  • Tom Wright    
  • Anthony Griffith
  • Michael Massee
  • Duane Whitaker
  • David Alan Grier
IMDB.com
Four short, moralistic horror vignettes (a la EC Comics) that deal with mostly black characters. The framing story introduces three youths out to pick up a drug shipment at a funeral parlor from the strange director, Mr. Simms. As the three punks wind their way through the parlor, Mr. Simms tells them the last stories of some of his more interesting clients.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

South Central (1992)


Starring:
  • Glenn Plummer
  • Byron Minns
  • Lexie Bigham
  • Vincent Craig Dupree
  • LaRita Shelby
IMDB.com
This movie was filmed around the time of the Rodney King riots that ripped South Central Los Angeles. Let's face it, the heart and soul of Los Angeles isn't Hollywood. It's the people like in this movie who try to make living, earnestly, honestly, and respectively. Sadly, this film is still realistic to the plight of urban problems. I spent a lot of time in one of the great urban cities of the East Coast and the problems of poverty, the lure of leading drug dealing lives is real and tempting, domestic violence, child abuse, gangs, etc. still exist and will exist much to the attempts of prevention or society ignoring their presence. Anyway, this film is truly about the heart and soul of a city of ten million Angelenos and the father's attempt to save his son from a life of crime, violence, death, and drugs in the city. It's not an easy battle.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Juice (1992)



Starring:
  • Omar Epps
  • Tupac Shakur
  • Jermaine 'Huggy' Hopkins
  • Khalil Kain
  • Cindy Herron
  • Vincent Laresca    
  • Samuel L. Jackson
  • George Gore II    
  • Grace Garland
  • Queen Latifah    
IMDB.com
4 Harlem teens, Q, Bishop, Raheem and Steel, are out skipping school one day when they find out an old friend was killed in a shootout at a bar. After this, Bishop tells his friends that they have no respect, or juice. To get some, they rob a corner grocery store, but the lunatic Bishop intentionally shoots the clerk for no apparent reason. They run into an alley where Raheem tells Bishop to give him the gun, they fight, and Raheem gets shot. Only the other 3 know what happened, and Bishop wants to get rid of them too.

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