Focusing on its three core members, Eazy-E (Jason Mitchell), Ice Cube (O’Shea Jackson – Ice Cube’s son) and Dr Dre (Corey Hands) Straight Outta Compton tells the story of the birth of the LA gangsta rap scene at the hands of the legendary group N.W.A. in the last 80’s and early 90’s. Initially the sheer excitement of getting to express themselves and experience some of the trappings of success (essentially “pussy”, 40 ounces and parties) is enough to keep the collective going and bonded together but as Cube starts to suspect that Eazy and their manager, Jerry Heller (Paul Giamatti) are taking the rest of the group for a ride he embarks on a solo career that sets off a bitter feud. With a backdrop of police brutality, racial profiling, Dre’s uneasy relationship with Suge Knight (R. Marcos Taylor) and the consequences of not only Eazy’s partnership with Jerry but also his excessive lifestyle there’s a lot going on, all of it very interesting. I have to admit that I don’t know how close to the actual happenings the film sticks despite the fact that I grew up listening to a fair bit of N.W.A., Ice Cube and Bone Thugs ‘n Harmony because my mum is really into gansta rap (not a joke). I can only imagine that with Ice Cube, Dr Dre and Eazy-E’s widow, Tomika Jones as producers a fair bit of glossing over the more unseemly details was done. The fact is it doesn’t really matter though. The entire cast gives compelling performances with Jackson and Mitchell as standouts and there’s enough edge to add some legitimacy to the more gritty elements that are portrayed. What ends up being most relevant is the fact that when it comes to the behaviour of the police, it feels like the film could have been set yesterday rather than 30 years ago and the fact that nothing has changed shows that the kind of conscious music that N.W.A. made is still very necessary in current society. If you are any kind of music fan I would make sure to get down and see this ASAP. 4/5
After Litvenko (Ciarán Hinds) the creator of an elite group of assassins goes underground a faceless corporation called the Syndicate attempts to find him in order to create more Agents. They believe the key to finding Litvenko is finding his daughter, Katia (Hannah Ware), a young woman who has spent her life on the run unaware of why. Katia has special abilities that have enabled her to survive while she too searches for her father. When she finds herself chased down by a seemingly unstoppable opponent called John Smith (Zachary Quinto) her only hope is to turn to Agent 47 (Rupert Friend), who might be able to unlock her full potential. So basically Hitman: Agent 47 looks amazing and is packed with epic action sequences that are very exciting to watch. On the other hand it has very little in the way of plot, has a terrible habit of doing loads of exposition in voice overs rather than letting the visuals do the talking, has zero character development and is riddled with plot holes – like who raised Katia in between her father abandoning her and her racing around the world hiding from people in her twenties? Maybe that got explained in the bit that I dozed off near the beginning. I wouldn’t suggest to anyone that seeing this in the theatre is necessary. It’s more of a maybe on Netflix when there’s nothing else on kind of thing, probably because it was based on a video game and looks like a very long Audi advert. 2/5
Amelia (Essie Davis) hasn’t been the same since her husband was killed in a car accident on the way to the hospital on the night of their son, Samuel’s birth. It doesn’t help that Samuel (Noah Wiseman) has behavioural difficulties – throwing tantrums, violent outbursts towards other children and building weapons to fight off the monsters he claims to see. In the lead up to his sixth birthday and the anniversary of his father’s death a strange book called The Babadook appears in Noah’s cupboard. At Noah’s insistence Amelia reads the story which suggests that The Babadook is coming and when he arrives she’ll wish she was dead. Over the coming day progressively stranger things start to happen and Amelia starts to lose her grip on herself and reality. Has the Babadook really found his way inside Amelia and her house or has her failure to move on from her husband’s death finally taken its toll? I don’t watch a lot of horror movies mostly because I am a big old wuss and I scare easily – that and the fact that most of the time they’re really dumb – but I heard such good things about The Babadook that I felt like I had to give it a go. And holy fuck did it creep me out. Everything in this movie is creepy, from Noah’s weird ass behaviour to Amelia sleepwalking through her life and then starting to see things and the bloody Babadook illustrations and it ringing up and chanting its name over the phone made me feel completely unsettled. I think most of the unease comes not from anything particularly gruesome happening onscreen but more the idea that everything that is happening might very well be in Amelia’s head and that she is more of a danger to herself and Noah than the Babadook could ever be. I wasn’t completely on board with the end but both Davis and Wiseman give outstanding performances in what was probably the best horror movie I have seen since The Ring. I am never watching it again. 4/5
Catherine McCormack plays Veronica Franco a supposedly real Venetian woman who becomes a courtesan (fancy hooker) after the love of her life, Marco Venier (Rufus Sewell) refuses to marry her because she doesn’t have a dowry. It turns out Veronica quite likes a shag and she’s a very popular courtesan because she’s good at poems and sword fighting so all is well. Unfortunately Marco doesn’t want her selling her wares to everyone and convinces her to be his mistress (private hooker) while he marries prudish, Giulia De Lezze (Naomi Watts) who does not live up to her name one bit. Meanwhile Veronica’s broke ass cousin, Maffio’s (Oliver Platt) affection for Veronica turns to disdain because he can’t afford to buy a ride on her lady bits and she’s better at poems and sword fighting than he is, which is cutting into his revenue. So he joins the church and their anti-hooker witch hunt, which can surely only end badly for Veronica. As period dramas go this one isn’t very good and I sat through it all the way to the end so you don’t have to. 1/5
just saw SOOC yesterday and really enjoyed it despite not being a big fan of rap. have no real interest in seeing any of the others. Nice recaps as always Abs!
Thanks! I haven’t listened to much rap in recent years but it’s a great story.
I will come back properly when I’ve seen Straight Outta Compton. Hoping to see it Sunday.
Hope you enjoy it as much as I did!
The Babadook was GREAT! The others – not really for me…. boobs, shagging or not.
Hahahahaha! There were a LOT of boobs in Straight Outta Compton.
Straight Outta Compton sounds great and totally agree about it’s relevancy, hope to see it sooner than later. Great post!
Thanks! Hope you get to see it soon too.
I need to watch Babadook again. Such a good film.
I am glad you are brave enough for that 😱
Your mom likes gangsta rap??? Lol. Cool. I know I should really watch that – I have one chance to finally see one movie on Tuesday – not sure if I’ll go with that or not. I missed loads over the summer! And I’m so glad you watched The Babadook even if it scared the shit out of you. Such a fantastic horror film! Wish they could all be like that instead of the usual horror shit that gets made now…
My mom is a very unusual lady. I grew up with a combo of gangsta rap and very heavy rock and metal. I am sure that whatever you choose you will choose wisely 😊
Ohh – I do like some heavy heavy metal 😉
The Babadook sounds like my kind of film, I still can’t believe I haven’t viewed it yet.
You should definitely check it out. It’s really disturbing… in a good way.
Sounds like my kind of movie then.
Man I still need to see Straight Outta Compton! As for Dangerous Beauty, well I don’t remember much about it other than how gorgeous Rufus Sewell was 😛
He’s so not my type. He always comes across as a bit slimy to me. Lol! Hope you get to see Straight Outta Compton though. It’s great!
I’ve been on the fence about The Babadook–I’ll check it out, thanks!
It’s really good and super unsettling. I think you’ll enjoy it.
We just finished it about half an hour ago–I loved it and he hated it. I call that a win.
Good work, Abbi. Glad you liked The Babadook, I thought it was great. Not sure about any of the others though.
I was surprised by how much I enjoyed it because I’m not normally a great one for horror.
It was a lot more intelligent than a lot of standard horror nonsense.
Good stuff as ever! 🙂
I thought the ending of “The Babdook” let it down a little otherwise it was a decent horror flick.
Yeah the ending just didn’t really chime. It could have been much stronger.
Glad you liked The Babadook. It really came out of nowhere for me last year. Would really like to see it again.
I really liked it but I don’t think I could face it again!
[…] And a selection of reviews including Straight Outta Compton in Abbiosbiston’s Film Friday. […]
Great reviews Abbi. Loved Straight Outta Compton and your mom is seriously a gangsta momma who gets down. She sounds cool! lol That Hitman movie, the main actor seems to be playing the same role he plays in Homeland, which he is great in, but I guess this movie just over does it. I have been wanting to see the Babadook too because everyone on here loved it, but I am a total wuss too, should I just see it?
Nice Friday. Curious about Compton and Babadook, skipping Hitman (of course), and had a good laugh with your review of Dangerous Beauty and your mom’s affinity for gangsta rap. That’s awesome.
Definitely skip Hitman. What a waste of energy. I think you’d enjoy The Babadook and Compton is just a great story with really interesting characters. Think I am going to get it for my mom for Christmas!
Shit, I really want to watch The Babadook but I get nightmares if horror is actually good. I had them for about couple of weeks after The Ring. But that was the last readlly good horror film I’ve seen. I’m so afraid to watch The Babadook after reading this. 😀
This is not as scary as The Ring but it is very, very creepy… which is why I watched it during the day!