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|Index||204 reviews in total|
Very cool movie! First off i don't like very much rap music.I'm more of a pop,heavy-metal,industrial/electronica music listener,but the next day after seeing the phenomenal film,Hustle & Flow, I had the songs stuck in my head, & in a good way. Great performances from Terence Howard ( who was also great in last years's Crash) & from Taryn Manning & Taraj P Henson (who was also great in 2001's Baby Boy). Everyone else was really good as well but these 3 made the film.And,when the Academy Award Nominations are announced,it'll be a damn shame if Terence Howard is left out for his wonderful role, as the first time ever in a movie a pimp,is portrayed as a decent human-being,when really he's not! And,it will be a so sorry day if MS. Henson is denied a Best Supporting Actress Nom at least, if not a win, as the character of Shug is a very powerful role. Great movie about people who are on the lower tiers of society today. Great rapping & great screenplay.Terence Howard will be the next Denzel Washington! **** out of *****
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Being a filmmaker from Memphis living in NY, I picked up a lot of small things that neither the audience or my film-making circle understood. The hand held rough, blues-y, new south is new to a lot of people. They have been exposed to the commercialized view of the new south and not what it has and will always be to many people from that region. I enjoyed Howard's performance in the fact that there are a lot of people "coming- of-age" in Memphis and there is a lot of stories to tell of the new struggles and glass ceilings that remain. my work reflects my hometown and is something that the south does to an artist: it creeps into your work with conviction. The best scene of this is the scene where Terrence and Nola are in the church. Even though he is a pimp he still goes to church!!! Now many may think this is contradictory, but in the south, everyone's profession is rooted in the church. The scene where he describes his midlife crisis and tries to restrain his fear is something that is programed in the south for us...to be hard on women, and maintain a sense of control of everything around you....Craig Brewer does this very well with his characters. If you notice, ALL the female characters in the film are submissive to some male character or another...another staple of the south. But also, the idea goes the same universally-men are even harder on each other as we saw in the skinny black and DJ 3rd act climax....
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
The performances were all (except that of Ludicrous, which was just OK)
outstanding. I thought the first third of the movie was so spectacular
that I said aloud to myself, "Forget Oscar, this should win a
Pulitzer!" But right after I thought that, the movie changed. The movie
went from layered and rich poetry to pat Hollywood formula. At the
moment when the pimp made his #1 girl kiss the microphone, it all came
crashing back to Earth for me.
The microphone as penis metaphor was so obvious and on the nose it made me mad. Making her kiss the microphone is no different from making her suck a d$#k. I'm sure that analogy is what the writer/director intended; but nonetheless, in either case the hooker has little power. Isn't she supposed to be on an upward trajectory of self-empowerment? Didn't she just participate in that "I'm in charge" scene? Rather than oblige and actually kiss the mic, she should have sung into it or spoken into it or somehow changed what he asked her to do so that she preserved even an inkling of personal power.
After that scene, the movie continued to be typical and, I dare say, more and more sexist. The male protagonist becomes increasingly nice and "gives" his women more and more power. The women don't claim it for themselves, they have to wait for it to be delivered. OK, fine so he's an ogre with a heart, but then what? Then the "hero" gets ridiculous. He becomes cartoon-angry over the tape in the toilet. Hasn't his character grown to be smarter and more proud than that? Surely his character would know that if Skinny didn't like it someone else would. Cut your losses and move on.
The whole ending sequence made the hero small and ignorant. He wasn't small and ignorant in the beginning, he was just a victim of circumstance embarking on a journey to self-empowerment. His actions at the end were regressive, not progressive. They were the actions of an idiot, not a hero. Sure, we can empathize and understand that he is angry and feels betrayed and that he had all his hopes on that one tape and with that one guy; but any reasonable person, let alone a hero on an upward spiral, would know to not overreact so hugely.
Anyhoo, despite those aspects that I found irritating, it was still a rich and interesting cinematic experience with unbelievable performances, especially from the pimp and his blond "primary investor."
This is another movie which includes "the hooker with the heart of gold character". Could someone please keep track of how many times this character is reprised. I believe she appears in almost every movie ever made. Of course in H&F, there is a twist, which is that she is counterbalanced by the "pimp with a heart of gold". I like this twist. I give the movie 10 stars for being the first, I know of, to use this character. The other thing that made this movie good was the acting. Also the costuming and set design. The music also was very good. I'm only adding this blather because the algo says I have to. I guess there's no prize for brevity in criticism any more.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Small time pimp and drug dealer decides to screw on his courage and make a big push to become a rap star. Basically a very traditional, even corny story, tricked out in urban gear: but scrape away the pimps and hos and you're not all that far removed from something Mickey Rooney and Judy Garland might do. The performances help push the material past the clunky spots: I agree with all of the plaudits for Mr. Howard, in particular. He's a charismatic actor and he makes you feel the pain and frustration of his character's life. He helps bring life to the cliché. Movie staggers a bit in making Howard's character unusually kind and charming for a pimp and drug dealer, and structurally it's adherence to formula means it'll never go beyond a certain level. But for what it is, it's quite good, with some real nice stretches of dialog and some fine acting up and down the line. Recommended to those who like this kind of story.
Dislikes: 1. We never see the Pimp sell any weed, yet he gives this wad
of money to his supplier. His women don't pull down that much that's
why he's poor, so there is a gap in the logic since he's such an
unsuccessful Pimp. I think this could have been treated better by the
writer or director. 2. In real life, Pimps beat there woman and not
hard core rap stars. So this was fairytale like. This character could
well have been a working stiff with more than one woman and then the
love/hate relationship with his women would have worked. I suppose the
character had to be Pimp for Hollywood to bite. 3. Inconsistency of
camera work and cinematography. I think the grainy poor quality could
have worked in this film IF it had been consistent. I think it would
have given it almost a "period piece" mood. As it was it comes across
Likes: 1. Excellent performances by the ENTIRE cast! 2. Overall directing 3. Excellent casting 4. Exposing the poverty and living conditions to such an extent 5. Except for the weed issue, the level of detail to the people and environment. Even the powder on Suggs chest on that hot day. Very country but accurate!
Decent film that accurately captures how the less than wealthy Memphians scramble, and plot to survive. Of course, most hustlers here think they can rap and most of them can't. I thought Djay was a pretty "nice guy" pimp and his women looked pretty good compared to most of the street hookers around here. Nice knock against folks in this town who make it and then forget where they are from. The store, the neighborhood, and the bar are all for real have a familiar look. The people who populate the film are also pretty realistic. My only beef was that you pretty much knew how it was going to play but at least Craig Brewer is trying to do the 70's tribute without the Tarentino vibe. I loved the beat up car with the nice rims you see that here all the time and yeah that white trash low rent look is all in here.
I guess the old saying "Every dog has its day" is true but also perhaps
no more in a way than it can be applied to Southern hustlers and pimps.
"Hustle & Flow," written and directed by Craig Brewer, is a movie about
that one shot. It's about how everybody's got a dream, and they only
get one chance to grasp it and hold on to it.
From the outset, this could have been a laughable, if not completely stereotypical "gangsta hustla" flick about aimless Memphis layabouts who attempt to brighten their dim outlook on life through hip-hop. In all respects, from the advertisements on television, that's what it appears to be but when you actually see the movie in action, a whole new dimension is revealed.
"Hustle & Flow" flows through its story the same way most "dream" movies do but somewhere in there, we get a genuine feel for the characters and their motivations, and an especially profound performance from lead actor Terrence Dashon Howard as DJay, a Southern hustler who suddenly finds himself writing rhymes almost every minute of the day.
As I write this, I'm still humming the words in my head ("Whoop that trick! Whoop that trick!"). Of course with those words, come sounds and with the sounds come images, powerful ones. The makings of a truly good rap song, in my view, originate in deep meaningful words that are written from the heart, and that's how DJay's lyrics flow. (I'm aware his lyrics are hardly inspiring, but you get the idea.)
As the Southern hustler/pimp in a mid-life crisis, the mode is turned on for DJay when a junkie sells him one of those old Casio electronic keyboards. He toys around with it for a little bit, as he remembers that he had one himself when he was little boy but soon a light switches on, and DJay is tossing around lyrics like a football.
He presents his ideas to an old high school buddy, Clyde a.k.a. "Key" (Anthony Anderson, in a nice turn-around role from his usual comedic antics), who currently records demos for his church. When DJay first pitches his plan to him, Key is discreet, "A lot of people talk the talk, but don't walk the walk," as he at first believes he's not serious. Key's wife Yevette (Elise Neal) isn't especially happy by this sudden turn of events for her husband but he's profoundly touched, as is DJay, by the sound, and the two are quickly chanting "Whoop that trick!" like it's the Gospels, but Yevette is at least supportive enough to remind them that even they have to eat dinner.
Meanwhile, DJay must also contend with the worrisome troubles of his current reality, from live-in stripper Lexus (Paula Jai Parker) and her baby son, both of whom he eventually throws out of the house, to his pregnant ('ho, or main girlfriend? I'm not sure) Shug (Taraji P. Henson), who eventually sings the chorus of his demo, and Nola (Taryn Manning), who also aspires to do something else with her life. Together, with Clyde and white boy disc jockey Shelby (DJ Qualls), everybody, in a fashion much like a family, begin recording demos left and right with a makeshift studio in DJay's house.
"Hustle & Flow" is pleasantly surprising in a way that a lot of black-themed movies aren't anymore. It has a genuine spirit that's carried on the shoulders of its lead performer, Terrence Dashon Howard, who speaks with that unique Southern hustler drawl and slang that makes his character all the more realistic and believable. He's simply brilliant in this role, as I've heard he's no stranger to music himself and his lyrics in this film seem so inspired you'd think he has a shot at a career as a rap star.
What all of their hard work eventually culminates in, of course, is a chance meeting with a rapper from Memphis who managed to blow up and is featured prominently on television and such; his name is Skinny Black (real-life rapper Ludicrous), who DJay insists he attended school with. DJay sees the opportunity on July 4th to slide Skinny Black his demo tape and have him put the thing on the radio.
"Hustle & Flow" ends on a note of deep profundity. Does DJay blow up and become the huge star he wants to be? I won't tell, but the movie ends in such a way you'd think it was true about people with dreams. Key says that life doesn't always pan out the way it should for some people, but that also, sometimes, it does. The thing about it is, he's right.
Note: As a fan of rap, it is true what Shelby says about how much of popular music arose from or originated in the South (in addition to a lot of good rappers), from Arrested Development, to Outkast, to the Geto Boys, to Ludicrous himself (whom I'm no big fan of).
Note #2: Yes, I'm aware that "Ludicrous" is typed correctly; it gets auto-corrected by IMDb for some reason so please just ignore the spelling.
This is a real shame! This film has a LOT OF QUALITIES : the acting is good, as well as the photography and even the story is not so bad...so, what's wrong? First, there are too many problems with the montage : so many time, you feel that a scene could be shorter, because what is shown is not so interesting, or because what is meant at a time is so obvious that it could be just suggested and shorten but not shown entirely. And that is to me, the worst waste in this film. Especially for a musical movie, rhythm is the key, and here, it lacks rhythm, which, pardon me, for a rap movie is a kind of paradox, isn't it? The second weak point, is about the acting : I agree that THE ACTORS ARE EXCELLENT, but you feel sorry for them, as the direction missed to bring some changes, some variations in their acting, so without those variations you get more and more tired, even with the best actors. So, because I am not a modest person, I will say as an advice for everybody here that want to make a film for me:0) be more suggestive, and never forget VARIATIONS, and Rhythm!!!!
story sort of boring. I didn't think this was that great of a film.
Yes, Terrence Howard gives a good acting performance, but I didn't find
the movie that entertaining since it doesn't have much of a plot. It's
about a pimp who just has a couple of girls he pimps out of his car. He
wants to become a rapper like one of the guys he grew up with. He runs
into an old friend who is in the recording business and gets him to
record some songs. He gets into some trouble at the end, but still gets
his music played on the radio. I don't really find a pimp to be someone
to root for.
Since I'm not much of a fan of rap, I didn't care for all the music in this. Plus, it has a lot of unnecessary cursing I didn't care for.
FINAL VERDICT: Over hyped. But, if you like rap, I recommend it.
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