Not the strongest week in home entertainment. Not the weakest one, either. Three entertaining if flawed flicks that you, if box office is a good estimate, probably didn’t see in theaters. Here’s the lowdown.
On this week’s podcast, Hope and George disagree about Pixar’s latest, Incredibles 2. They also talk through Tag, SuperFly, A Kid Like Jake, Feral, The Seagull and what’s new in home entertainment.
Listen in HERE.
by Hope Madden
The 70s blaxploitation classic Super Fly was no masterpiece, but it was a provocative time capsule of flash, style and soulful soundtrack. Any attempt to recapture the spirit seems doomed to failure.
But Director X, with a decades-long career in flashy music videos showcasing the same kind of decadent lifestyle first glamorized by films like Super Fly, has the cred to take a good swing.
Plus, he throws in some Curtis Mayfield just when you missed him the most.
It’s clear X and screenwriter Alex Tse (Watchmen) are fans of Gordon Parks Jr.’s first and most important film. Tse is mostly, surprisingly faithful to the original. Youngblood Priest (Trevor Jackson) is a successful drug dealer who wants out while he still looks good, but The Man and an assortment of less-controlled colleagues complicate an already difficult process.
Less provocative than the original by a wide margin, X’s vision still takes some hard-earned enjoyment in scenes of comeuppance that are, unfortunately, as timely today as they were when Ron O’Neal outwitted corrupt New York detectives 46 years ago.
The update is marginally more respectful of women and boasts an impressive supporting cast including the always welcome Jason Mitchell, the always intimidating Michael Kenneth Williams, and a great turn by Esai Morales.
Oddly enough, that splashy support, which enlivens the film immeasurably, also helps to showcase its weakness—Jackson. There’s no conflicted soul inside that leather duster and skinny jeans, no tormented mind beneath that pompadour. Sure, O’Neal’s karate and cape now seem embarrassingly of-the-moment, but his performance evoked a restlessness and internal conflict that Jackson cannot manage.
A clever new image built on the skeleton of the groundbreaking ’72 film, SuperFly does not manage to provoke, intrigue or satisfy in the same way as the original. It does have style, though, and something relevant to say.
It’s Mother’s Day weekend, which calls for a mutha of a weekend countdown.
Mutha. As in bad mutha – shut your mouth!
So, while we certainly hope all the moms have a great day, these bad movie muthas don’t need no jive-ass card that plays “I’m Too Sexy” when you open it! Let’s count down the top 5:
It’s hard out here for pimp/cocaine dealer Youngblood Priest. He just wants to make a quick million so he can retire, but The Man is always dragging him down. “Nothing better happen to one hair on my gorgeous head. Can you dig it?”
Django’s personality changes with his wardrobe, and he shoots a lot of people as he hones his fashion sense. “Kill white people and get paid for it? What’s not to like?”
Harry Callahan is a bad man, and he knows what you’re thinking, punk. “You’re thinking, ‘Did he fire six shots or only five?’ Now to tell you the truth, I forgot myself in all this excitement. But being this is a .44 Magnum, the most powerful handgun in the world and will blow you head clean off, you’ve gotta ask yourself a question. ‘Do I feel lucky?’ Well, do ya, punk?”
Who’s the cat who won’t cop out when there’s danger all about? He’s a complicated man. No one understands him but his woman. We can dig it. “Cut the crap, man. This is Shaft.”
Double cross an ex-Federale so you can promote racism, run drugs and kill priests? You just fucked with the wrong Mexican. “Why do I want to be a real person when I’m already a myth?”
Okay, suckas, who’d we miss?