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Pheewwwwwwww!!!!, 2 September 2013

Id never heard of the movie but I recognized some of the names in the cast (Corey Holcomb, Lavelle Crawford, Joe Torry and they're known as very funny comedians so I figured how bad could it be? Phewwwwww!!! What a mistake. This is one of the worst movies I've had the displeasure of having to sit through.

I can't even really tell that much about the story because the screenplay was such a disorienting mess that it was hard to follow. It's supposed to be about two spoiled kids whose divorced single parents marry each other, creating a new family. Most of the story is from the kids' perspective so you see a lot of diva action from both children who are having trouble adjusting to their new environment and family. So while supposedly being watched by an uncle, they run away. Sounds like a good plot and a very common situation among black families. But the director and writer totally mishandle the screen play with a series of useless scenes and poorly-placed flashbacks that totally throw the movie off course. Not that flashbacks are bad. It's just that a good director has to know how to use it to propel the story.

The actors who signed on must have really wanted to help a brotha out here. Elise Neal is in a tiny cameo as an evil and ignorant foster mother. Her one-dimensional character is right of of a Tyler Perry movie. Comedian Lavelle Crawford has a cameo in the intro and the ending. Totally useless. He's neither funny nor necessary. The character, "Huell", who Crawford plays on Breaking Bad is more interesting and Huell has almost no lines on that show. Corey Holcomb is one of the few glimmers of hope here as the uncle who is supposed to be "watching the kids". At least he's funny but basically just doing his comedy routine without the laugh track or foul language. Could have used more of him to help save the movie. Why Joe Torry is listed I don't know. I don't recall even seeing him in the movie at all.

The kids aren't bad. Of the main young characters, Nay Nay Kirby steals whatever show there is to steal. She is vibrant and creative in her role. Im expecting to see more from her in the future. Too bad she has to have this turkey on her resume.

1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
YES: In So Many Words, 19 March 2012

I had just watched an excellent documentary on the British classic rock band Cream earlier this week when I discovered the same producers had given a similar treatment to the progressive rock band YES.

Any fan of prog rock knows that YES is the foundation of British progressive rock which is a fusion of various musical styles, including rock, folk, classical music, blues and jazz with exceptional musical talent. Other bands in the genre are Genesis (pre-80s), King Crimson, Gentle Giant, Soft Machine, UK, Caravan, as well as Canadian group, RUSH and U.S. group, Kansas. YES truly embodied the term "super group" with five individually-talented members and music that relied on each performer's part rather than just a supporting rhythm section holding up an ego-maniacal lead singer and flashy lead guitarist. Each member of YES has gone on to become leaders in their own right even after the fact, either as solo artists, songwriters or producers.

I followed the band right up to their 90125 album. Like in the Cream doc, writer Chris Welch and director Jon Brewer sit down with each current and former member of Yes individually and talk about the history of the band. Very thorough and introspective. And what a documentary it is. Three and a half hours of "talking head" interviews with a lot of back and forth edits between questions and band members. A lot of history of each member but mainly where it pertains to YES rather than go into their solo endeavors and side projects. Very fitting for a band that's been together over 40 years and all of them still alive and contributing to this movie. Some good archival footage too. The doc spans from the humble beginnings as a 60s folky band with their unique spin on covers right through their classic early 70s period, early 80s period with their union with The Buggles, their high profile Top 40 period with Trevor Rabin and into their current period as primarily a performing show band.

Bassist Chris Squire and singer Jon Anderson are the two founding members and the main figureheads for the documentary. Squire is the only member to play on every YES album and every YES song that has bass guitar, (except one song from Drama where he played piano while singer Trevor Horn played bass). Anderson has quit and returned several times. Almost equal input in the documentary comes from other original and classic members of YES including guitarist Peter Banks, keyboardist Rick Wakeman, guitarist Steve Howe and drummers Alan White and Bill Bruford. There are also interviews with vocalist and producer Trevor Horn and keyboardist Geoff Downes who were formerly known as The Buggles whose hit "Video Killed the Radio Star" was the first video to be played on MTV. Horn and Downes joined YES for one album in 1980 (DRAMA). Horn also produced YES' next album, 90125 which became their most successful and biggest seller.

The only members missing (but well-mentioned) were original keyboardist Tony Kaye and one-album member keyboardist Patrick Moraz (Relayer '75) as well as some of the other short term members from the 90s and later (whose input for this doc surely weren't necessary however it would be nice to hear how they viewed their short tenures). There's a lot of "he said/he said" stuff. It is a band after all and bands that have been together this long tend to be like most strenuous marriages and relationships. Lots of egos, break-ups and make ups.

Also missing is guitarist/songwriter Trevor Rabin who helped salvage Yes in the 80s with his talent, tech savvy and songwriting who gets lots of blame and abuse for turning them into a commercial hit machine and splitting the band into two camps and gets accused of being a control freak and fighting for domination of the band. (In actuality, it's Squire who owns the name YES and is the deciding factor on who plays and what direction they will YES will go in musically). Unfortunately, Rabin's contribution to the documentary is almost non-existent except for a brief 45 sec interview clip obviously not done for this movie. If they even asked him about his time in YES, they edited it out and he only speaks of his current career as a film composer. It's a shame because though he's not considered a classic member (and rejected as a true YES member by die hard fans), he did provide them with their biggest top 40 hit and best selling album ("Owner of A Lonely Heart" and 90125, respectively) and revived the band's career after their heyday. YES might not still be playing together today if not for Rabin. It would have been nice to hear his side of the story. Would be interesting to know why he was censored or maybe he just refused to discus YES.

If you're a fan of YES or progressive rock, this is a MUST SEE documentary. Be warned: It is very long but never boring.

1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
Wasted Potential, 31 May 2011

As another reviewer mentioned, Kings of the Evening doesn't really live up to it's hype. We're given a host of characters with rich potential but their stories never seem to move in any forward direction. Subplots are introduced then suddenly muted like a big tease.

The title refers to a weekly contest during The Great Depression that allows the menfolk of the town an opportunity to show that, despite the hard times they're living in, they can still dress sharp and still walk tall with dignity. However, this exhibition is the least substantive of the movie and it only serves as a teasing vehicle for fans of Tyson Beckford whose real claim to fame is as a fashion model and not an actor (ironically, he only features in the actual contest for a mere 7 seconds at the end of the movie). His lukewarm performance here only reinforces that reputation. He's mostly dead wood here. (He looks very out of place on the chain gang in the introduction).

The other performances try to shine to make the story stronger than it is. Lynne Whitfield as always is beautiful and passionate as ever in her role as the house landlady. Linara Washington, as Lucy, is pretty face I'm not familiar with since I don't watch a lot of TV where she's better known, but she gives a fine performance as one of the borders of the house. Reginald Dorsey outshines most of the cast as the fast-talking and dapper hustler and border Benny. I wish he had at least gotten more of a backstory or his own subplot. James Russo and Bruce McGill are their typical evil and venomous selves. But it's veteran actor Glynn Turman who eats up the movie. He shows almost everything here. His down-trodden and drunken Clarence is the greatest example of how many men of all persuasions felt during the era, unable to find work, hiding behind the bottle and ready to end it all to escape the weight of shame of not being able to pay your own way as a man.

Despite the negatives, the movie still manages to put elicit a few smiles between some decent performances and friendly gestures of kindness. There's also surprisingly little racism or racial animosity during a time when poverty had thrown all races and nationalities into the same financial binds. Accurate or not, it was good black movie that wasn't totally marred by the conflict of racial differences and allowed the viewer to be entertained.

2 out of 2 people found the following review useful:
Look Whose All Grown Up!! *SPOILERS*, 25 January 2011

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Sean and Lou are two average teenage boys spending the summer getting in to a little mischief by spying on their sexy teacher from a fourth floor walk-up with a pair of binoculars Lou stole from his older brother, Ralph. Ralph, a crazed Vietnam vet, surprises the boys and accidentally knocks his younger brother to his death. Shocked and upset, he ultimately blames the death on Sean. With nothing more than hearsay evidence, Sean is found "not guilty" making Ralph even more insane and psychotic. To make matters worse, the sexy teacher, who Ralph had also been stalking, now takes a liking to Sean whose now becoming a man. Ralph hatches an evil plan to teach Sean a lesson.

This is typical drive-in fare but you can't knock those 70s movies. A little T&A went a lot further back then. There are some recognizable faces like Jay North (aka "Dennis the Menace", who at this time was probably pushing 30) stars as the 18 yo Sean. Anthony James (slimy, lanky baddie character actor from "In the Heat of the Night", "High Plains Drifter" and "Unforgiven") plays the unstable vet, Ralph. Also a brief cameo appearance by Barry Atwater and the mothers of John Cassavettes and Gena Rowlands. There are a few nice-looking women, especially the gorgeous California girl, ex-model Angel Tompkins as the teacher. If you appreciate good drive-in flicks give this one a whirl. It's nothing special but worth it just to see Dennis the Menace get his groove on.

2 out of 3 people found the following review useful:
Not Bad For A Drive-In Movie *SPOILERS*, 25 January 2011

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Jesse and his best friend, the fun-loving and reckless, Pat have just gotten out of the army and are headed to Stocton, CA in an RV/mobile home with their girlfriends. Jesse is ready to marry his sweetheart and settle down. Pat reckons they're both too young to settle down and should go out and relive their teen years of drinking and bedding down girls. Pat ignores his own gorgeous girlfriend to try and convince his pal to return to their days of good times and debauchery. The mood turns ugly then deadly as it becomes obvious Pat isn't taking "no" for an answer and Jesse has to defend himself and the girls against his old war buddy/childhood friend.

I bought this at a flea market as part of a double feature of drive-in flicks. It was actually very good. Better than most B- movies of the time. The story was the typical "two best friends, one's growing up while the other is stuck in a time warp and still wants to relive the fun times of their youth" story. Though it looks cheesy and is a run of the mill drive-in movie with lots of bare flesh, the story is timeless. Lots of decent acting from all the leads, especially Richard Hatch, who would go on to star in "Battlestar Galacitca" does a great job as the level-headed, future- minded Jesse. Ann Noland also does a good job as Pat's fun-loving but fragile and heart- broken girlfriend. She turns out to be the soul of the movie. And she's got a hot body and a great set of legs.

Internet Dating (2008) (V)
12 out of 15 people found the following review useful:
Barely Worth Fast-forwarding Through Except for the Actresses, 1 February 2009

I just rented this tonight. Seeing Katt Williams on the cover made me want to see it since he's the hot commodity in comedy these days. But I kind of blanched after seeing Master P's name as director. After seeing it all I can say is directing is one more thing Master P should avoid next to acting and dancing. Here he has Katt as a sandwich boy who wants to find his soul mate and looks to online dating to find the woman of his dreams. Instead of setting up different scenarios or vignettes for Katt's potential dates, the movie mostly has girls coming by the sandwich shop looking for Katt. The few scenes where he actually goes on dates are boorish and nonsensical. A whole lot of comics appear in parts that could have greatly benefited from the participation of real actors. It's kind of a shame because this should be something that Williams should be proud to put on his resume as a star comic but it looks like something he did while he was in high school. Not even funnier than some of those really bad SNL sketches that don't seem to go anywhere.

Master P's whole directorial career has involved trying to make comedies starring stand up comedians. Most of the cast are comics. Williams, Leslie Jones, Renaldo Rey, Michael Blackson among others. The problem is most stand up comedians make bad actors, especially with an inexperienced director. They don't have the instinct to work as an ensemble the way comic actors do. As a result a movie about a hot topic that had a lot of potential and well-known urban comics was very unfunny.

The one silver lining in the movie are the girls. Especially Sammy B. Willis, Liana Mendoza, and Sula Symonds, as well as Jessica Meza. All are incredibly hot and a goofy and geeky performance by Angela Maria. Though their acting was whack too at least they helped ease the pain of watching this steaming pile. If not for them, I would have given the movie a 1/10 instead of a 2.