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  • Rocky 3 Dvd Review By Marshall Gordon 3

     

     

    Rocky III is fantastic film on facing and overcoming the number one obstacle that holds back millions of people from achieving their goals…Fear. In the previous films, Rocky (Sylvester Stallone…also the writer & director of the film) was the “everyman”, the relatable “lug” with the issues that some and/or most of us have faced at some time or another at one point in our lives…In other words, in “Rocky’s  1 and 2”, Rocky was you, Rocky was me, Rocky was us. What made Rocky III stand out was that from the very beginning of the film starting with Rocky winning the ‘chip from Apollo Creed (Carl Weathers) at the end of Rocky II, the film goes immediately into a montage of Rocky’s rise of fame, celebrity and wealth (…with Survivor’s “Eye of the Tiger” playing throughout the montage).

    All while that is happening, there are glimpses of a large brotha’ rockin’ a ‘hawk attending Rocky’s fights…Then the film shows him training with a determination and a fire like he is ready to do battle. Rocky has had 10 successful title defenses after defeating Apollo and someone else has been winning and steadily rising in the ranks…the mysterious ‘hawk rockin’ brotha’ known as Clubber Lang (Mr.T…In his acting debut) but Rocky’s trainer, Mickey (Burgess Meredith) has noticed and has been watching Clubber’s fights and Clubber in turn notices Mickey and then proceeds to tell the crowd and Mickey after he just knock a guy out through the ropes of the boxing ring, “I WANT BALBOA!!!...I WANT BALBOA!!!”…YOU HEAR DAT OLD MAN!!!...YOU TELL BALBOA I’M COMIN’ FOR HIM!!!...NOBODY CAN BEAT ME!!!...YOU TELL HIM WHAT I SAID!!!...HE’S NEXT!!!...I’M GONNA KILL HIM!!!” Damn…It’s a lot going on in that montage but still great and quite unusually bold to start a film like that. This is definitely a different Rocky from the previous films. Rocky III would probably be considered the “comic book” film of the Rocky series but that doesn’t make it any less of a film with a deep message behind it. Rocky’s rise, fall and rise again are a character study on complacency, narcissism, fear, doubt, drive and determination…Brilliantly written. Clubber Lang is easily top ten best villains in cinematic history but is he really a villain??? Clubber wasn’t evil…Clubber is a warrior…He was frustrated…He was hungry…A Beast that wants to be recognized as such…and he was simply put tired of being pushed to the side and being “ducked”. Hear was a very talented boxer with superior skills and consistently being over looked…Sound familiar???...Clubber is Rocky (before the wealth and fame)…A very angry and disrespectful Rocky but he is Rocky…He wants his shot…He deserves his shot. Clubber said it himself perfectly in another scene from the beginning of the film speaking to reporters after his fight, “I want a shot at the title and if Balboa got the guts he’ll meet me in the ring or anywhere else…My whole life has been directed towards this here title and nothing else…I live alone and I train alone and I win the title alone...I want him…He can’t duck me forever…He can run but he can’t hide.” That sounds like a man driven by pure fearlessness, conviction and tenacity not some villainous nature. Mr. T’s performance was fantastic…He stole the film from everybody and had the best lines. The scene where Clubber confronts/provokes Rocky while Rocky is receiving a statue from the city of Philadelphia is one of the best scenes in the entire Rocky series. The scene shows the audience exactly who Clubber Lang is and what Rocky will be dealing with later on in the film. Clubber not only calls Rocky out and hits him with some hard factual truths but he also hits on Rocky’s wife, Adrian (Talia Shire) right in front of him while questioning Rocky’s manhood…Like I said earlier…Disrespectful but great. Apollo gets some of that disrespect as well…Mickey got that disrespect in a couple of scenes then died later and not because of the disrespect but because he had a heart attack. As morbid as this may sound, Mickey had to be sacrificed in order for Rocky to reach a level of confidence he never had before.

    Every great heroic “comic book” character has traveled this  road…Batman, Spider-Man, Superman, Daredevil…etc.…etc.…Losing Mickey and being pummeled by Clubber during the first fight destroyed Rocky on so many levels…His confidence, courage and persistence perished right along with Mickey and his Championship title reign. Apollo saw what Rocky was lacking and why he lost the way he did…Rocky didn’t have that hunger…As Apollo put it, “You lost that fight Rock for all the wrong reasons…You lost your edge.” Apollo then becomes the trainer that Rocky needs to defeat Clubber Lang but there is still several obstacles in his way…Rocky’s fear and self- doubt are the hurdles in the way of him truly receiving the knowledge and confidence to overcome his own uncertainty. This fight is more than just about regaining a title…This fight is about regaining what Rocky had…The eye of the tiger…The edge. They went back to square one with the training…back to the beginning…To Los Angeles…The hesitancy still lingers within Rocky even while training. Apollo notices and calls Rocky out on it…Apollo’s, “THERE IS NO TOMORROW!!!...THERE IS NO TOMORROW!!!” phrase toward Rocky is still a very chilling wake up call to anyone feeling down and out about themselves…”Never put off tomorrow, what you can do today.” Another fantastic scene right after that was the Rocky confronted by Adrian scene…Very powerful…Adrian gets “The Greatest Wife in Film” award from me for this scene.  We all know how the film concludes and in my version of the film Clubber Lang is STILL the Champ!!!... (I’m just sayin’)…but I could go on and on about this film and how fantastic it is. Rocky III is one the best part 3’s in cinema and definitely one of the most motivating films as well. Watch this film and get that edge. I guarantee Survivor’s “Eye of the Tiger” will be on the playlist afterward.  

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  • They Live Movie Review by Marshall Gordon 3

     

     

     

     

     

     

    “They use their tongues to deceive!!! The venom of snakes is under their lips!!! Their mouths are full of bitterness and curses, and in their paths, nothing but ruin and misery, and the fear of God is not before their eyes!!! They have taken the hearts and minds of our leaders. They have recruited the rich and the powerful, and they have blinded us to the truth!!! Our human spirit is corrupted. Why do we worship greed??? Because, outside the limit of our sight, feeding off us perched on top of us from birth to death are OUR OWNERS!!! They have us!!! They control us!!! They are our masters!!! Wake up!!! They're all about you, all around you!!!” – The Street Preacher

    This powerful and very poignant quote from the opening scene, bares the truth of a society that would rather succumb to an eternal slumber like state than know the truth around them.  Surprisingly this quote comes from a film released in 1988. “They Live”, John Carpenter’s classic Sci-Fi horror film is like a bucket of cold water poured on you when in a deep sleep. Written by Carpenter and Ray Nelson from his short story, “Eight O’clock in the Morning”. The film follows Wrestler Roddy Piper as the wandering drifter coming to Los Angeles looking for work. He approaches a construction site, gets a job there and befriends another construction worker named Frank Armitage played by Keith David. Frank then proceeds to take “Nameless” or “Nada” (During the end credits Roddy’s character is referred to as “Nada” but he never gives his name or referred by a name throughout the entire film) to a local shantytown for food and shelter. “Nada” is suspicious of the small church across the street from the shantytown because of some odd behavior going on. While investigating he realizes the church is a front and hides in the back where there are lots of card board boxes stacked. Still in hiding, “Nada” over hears a secret meeting amongst some of the inhabitants including the leader of the shantytown played by Peter Jason. Later that night, the police surround the church and bombard the shantytown and its inhabitants with violence, tear gas and bull dozers. Most flee while others pay a terrible cost. Frank escapes and “Nada” as well but the next day “Nada” returns to the small church and investigates again. The church has been emptied but “Nada’ notices a secret compartment with a card board box inside, he takes it then leaves. In an alley, “Nada” opens the box and discovers a bunch of cheap looking shades inside. He takes one pair to keep then hides the rest still inside the box underneath some trash on the ground near a garbage can. While walking down a street, “Nada” puts on the shades and discovers and sees the world in black and white with some very startling differences. A billboard that without the shades had advertisements now, displays the word “OBEY” boldly. He sees “MARRY AND REPRODUCE” on another billboard he then sees, “NO INDEPENDENT THOUGHT” on a Men’s apparel sign and “CONSUME” on another sign. “Nada” in shock begins to walk lost on what he is seeing. He then stumbles onto a magazine stand and sees more disturbing messages posted, “BUY”, “WATCH TV”, “NO THOUGHT”, “STAY ASLEEP” and “SUBMIT”. He then grabs a magazine and opens it and even more messages, “DO NOT QUESTION AUTHORITY” and “NO IMAGINATION”. “Nada” then see an older Caucasian businessman and begins to stare because through the shades this “man” looks like some alien creature. The “man” confronts “Nada” with a question, “What’s your problem???” still in shock; “Nada” can do nothing but stare at what he is seeing. The “man” then gets in his car and drives off; “Nada” still in disbelief then gets confronted by the magazine stand attendant. The attendant’s appearance is human but in his hand is some money and seen through the shades “Nada” gets the most disturbing message throughout the entire film, “THIS IS YOUR GOD”.  “Nada” later becomes an “alien creature” killer and a wanted man in doing so. He meets and kidnaps Holly Thompson played by Meg Foster and tries convincing her of what he has seen. He then forces her to take him to her apartment. When “Nada” removes the shades they seem to weaken him and in his weakened condition, he gets kicked out of a window by Holly that nearly kills him. He also realizes he left the shades at Holly’s apartment. Back in the alley where he left the other shades in the box “Nada” gets confronted by Frank. What proceeds next is probably one of the greatest and longest fight scenes ever filmed. This fight has a much deeper meaning in my opinion. “Nada” represents the truth and he is fighting for it tooth and nail while Frank represents the blindly comfortable. It is why he refuses to simply put on the shades to see the truth because he doesn’t want to see or know it. After the melee, “Nada” puts the shades on Frank and he finally sees what “Nada” was trying to tell him…The Truth. Later, “Nada” and Frank meet up with the survivors of the small church including the leader. They are given contact lenses that work just like the shades and also “Nada” sees Holly amongst the people meeting to rebel against the aliens. She is there because she put on the shades that “Nada” left behind after she kicked out of her window. She tells him she believes now. Suddenly the police raid the meeting and begin shooting and killing anybody than can. “Nada” and Frank escape in an alley via a wrist watch that opens a portal to an underground facility. While there they run into another drifter played by George “Buck” Flower they met at the shantytown. They also discover he is one of many human collaborators with the aliens (in other words…a sell out!!!) Later, “Nada” and Frank begin a gun battle with the police and guards of the facility (Which above is a Cable TV Station where they are) in the office floors. They again run into Holly once more because she is an employee of the station. “Nada” runs up some stairs toward the roof thinking Frank and Holly are behind him but right after “Nada” runs further away enough Holly suddenly pulls out a gun and shoots Frank point blank in the temple…killing him (The brotha’ almost made it to the end).  “Nada” on the roof, notices the broadcast antenna. Holly also makes it to the roof and takes aim at “Nada”. He then finally realizes she is a sell out as well. Using a gun hidden under his sleeve, “Nada” kills Holly then takes aim at the antenna. A hovering helicopter with alien police snipers aboard fatally wounding “Nada” but he does get off a shot destroying the antenna in the process.  In a true show of defiance, a dying “Nada” flips the alien snipers on the helicopter the middle finger and with the antenna destroyed the world is forced to wake up and see the truth. 

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  • Gangster Rap! a love and hate...... and my Movie Review for Straight Outta Compton! by Van Young

     

    Relocating to Los Angeles from phoenix Arizona and being a native from Chicago i've witness Hip Hop in it's embryonic stages. from Rapper delights to the Breaks to the masterpiece the Message by the Furious five.

    Being a lover of all kinds of music, and a lover of Hip Hop during the late 80's, the crack epidemic was in the last stages, and the prison industrial complex was emerging. albums like It takes a nation of millions to hold us back by Public Enemy and Ice-T album power!

    West coast rap group Nwa came out of nowhere, with very little airplay,  remembering  seeing them on the cover of a Rolling stone magazine or was it Spin magazine? there was allot of Hoopla over the name itself. i remember a female friend saying why they gotta called themselves niggas? i had never really listen to the group when they came out. i 've herd the song Boys in the Hood by Eazy E, that song was so popular i went to my sister's funeral in Iowa, the song had reach out there! i didn't hear the Straight Outta Compton album until early 90's. my friend's cousin, now turned Los Angeles best morning radio personalty, used to play the album in his cadillac.

    West coast gangster rap was taken it's toll. even when the Chronic and Doggiestlye album came out i've refused to listen to the music. i immediately went back to disco music, i didn't appreciate west coast music until 4 years later when me and my friend Eric we're hitting the club every weekend. now i jokingly say gangster rap grows on you like herpes.

    Now over 25 years later a biopic film comes out about the rap group Nwa. in fact after seeing the trailer, i had no desired to see the movie even posting the trailer on this site! but after seeing the movie i was wrong! this 

    movie grabs you in the first few minutes, introducing newcomer actor Jason Mitchell playing Eazy E to actor Corey hawkins playing Dr dre listening to Roy Ayers everybody loves the sunshine in his bedroom, to O' Shea Jackson Jr playing his father Ice Cube writing lyrics in his notebook riding a school bus. director F Gary Gray Images of the 80's 90's hits home, the scene of Dr Dre struggling to make ends meet, giving his mother $50 she telling him to take a job, instead of inspiring your dreams, a lot of black males dreams are crushed by the women in they're life. Dr dre persuade Eazy E to start a record label and Ruthless records was born. Eazy meeting Jerry Heller played by actor Paul Giamatti who gets eazy and NWA a record deal, the group records straight outta compton album with the running into the police, Ice Cube comes with the song F... the police! which they preforms and get threats from the police and the FBI. seeing them preform the song on stage, i could only imagined, if i was in the audience amped up, with the my middle finger in the air!

    Director F Gary Gray got good preformance out of all the cast! giving the world's most dangerous group a human side to them. i remembered ice cube when he left the group, leaving because manager jerry heller didn't pay him royalties. showing how blacks for so long got screwed over in the music industry. he left the group doing the Death Certificate which he cover's the song No Vaseline, probably the greatest dissed record in history! This movie has a lot of antagonists. but i can't say who. dont know if it was jerry heller, the police, suge knight or even eazy e. Dr Dre leaves ruthless, starting his own label with suge knight starting Death Row Records, where he's introduced to a young Snoop Dogg and Tupac Shakur, who looks haunting a like. after a second viewing, a friend said to me if they dubbed his voice to sound like Tupac. one scene Giamatti's Jerry Heller character looking at Suge Knight at a pool party no words exchanged. letting Heller know there's a new sheriff is coming!

     I wish they could have made the film 10 mins longer, the two who didn't get much screen time were Mc Ren and Dj Yella. Mc ren character was looking mad on the screen while Dj Yella was the comic relief in the film. but the actors who stood out were Mitchell eazy and giamatti's heller, alot of great dialogue between the two. director F Gary Gray has made a instant classic, right up there with his first film Friday, i hoping they release a longer version of Straight Outta Compton for the dvd. if not, i'll settle this version, making this film the best of 2015!

     



     

     

     

     

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  • My old love for Special Make-up Effects and John Carpenter's The Thing Movie Review!

     

     

    My love for Horror movies began as a child and in my teenage years I was learning sculpting, Art was my 1st love and in 1981 there was a big demand for Special Effects films.

    just a year after both Werewolves films, one was The Howling and An American Werewolf in London came out. Which the first time we seen and man on the screen change in front of our eyes. No disrespect to Lon Chaney Jr in change in the early Wolfman films nothing like this was ever seen before.

    A year later John Carpenter's The Thing came out, it went up against films like Cat People, Poltergiest, The Beast Within, also a cute little alien film E.T came out that summer. which is the real reason Carpenter's film was a commercial and critical failure. Movie critic Roger Ebert had called it a barf bag of a film!

    I didn't get a chance to see The Thing in the theaters, until It was released on beta video and I was in awed, this film blew every other effects film out the box that came after the Werewolves films, I remember hearing a protested for Carpenter's film because people really thought he mutilated real snow dogs for the film to get the effects. Being a fan of his Assault on Precinct 13, Halloween, The Fog.

    Screenplay by Bill Lancaster based on John W Campbell story Who Goes There. Adapted for the 1951 film Howard Hawks The Thing from Another World. Carpenter's film follows closely to Campbell's novella.

    12 researchers out in the Antarctica discover an alien ship that landed in ice for thousands of years, a parasite that imitates other lifeforms. Carpenter's version creates the mood of paranoia in the film it develops within the group.

    Starring Kurt Russell who was in Carpenter's Escape From New York a year prior to this film, Russell as MacReady the leader that no one wants nor trust. MacReady prefers to play computer chess and get drunk in his cabin.

    The films score is by Ennio Morricone, and special makeup effects by Rob Bottin. fresh from his The Howling effects. Bottin was only 21 years old creating some the most memorable effects scenes in effects history! The head changing into a spider was the best next to the blood test scene. Bottin had wound up in the hospital for exhaustion. He talks about it on the special Dvd edition.

    My opinion Carpenter's best film! Next to They Live which you can read the review by writer Marshall Gordon on this on this site check it out!

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  • Top 10 Anticipated Films of 2017 By Jordan Mitchell

     

    2016 was a “so-so” year for big budgeted films. While movies like Captain America: Civil War and Deadpool were considered the greatest of the genre, there was also some huge disappointments…. (I’m looking at you Batman v Superman).
    This year is looking to be a pretty interesting year in terms of tent pole franchise films. Here are my Top 10 Anticipated Movies….(WARNING: YES, most of them are indeed superhero films)

     

     

     

    10. Blade Runner 2049
    Admittedly, I am not fan of the original Blade Runner, quite slow for my taste. This long awaited sequel is directed by Dennis Villeneuve (Arrival) and stars Ryan Gosling (LaLa Land). My hope for this sequel is to be a bit faster paced than the original while still retaining the elements that made the original such a sci fi classic. Harrison Ford is also returning as the original character Rick Deckard, which is a good sign since he did an excellent job coming back as Han in Star Wars Force Awakens.

     

     

     

     

    9. Get Out
    A horror film about a black man feeling unwelcomed in an all -white rural town where the only black people act like zombies. This movie seems to be exactly what audiences are craving in a Post-Trump America. Directed by Jordan Peele from the Key and Peele comedic duo, this film looks creepy, thought provoking and eerily hilarious. Sign. Me. Up.

     

     

     

     

     

    8. Thor Ragnarok
    The third film in the Thor franchise, while I wasn’t a fan of the last one (Thor The Dark World), I have a lot of faith that Marvel Studios will knock this one out of the park. Chris Hemsworth, Idris Elba, Tom Hiddleston and Anthony Hopkins return, along with newcomer Tessa Thompson (Creed) as Valkrie (another black actor playing a Viking, take that racist trolls). The best part is that Mark Ruffalo returns as the Hulk, and the film will surely draw inspiration from the Planet Hulk storyline (pretty much Gladiator, with the freaking Hulk). Did I mention Jeff Goldblum, Karl Urban and Cate Blanchett play classic Marvel villains? Just about everything about this sounds wacky and awesome.

     

     

     

     

     

    7. Star Wars Episode 8: The Last Jedi
    The only reason this isn’t higher on the list is because we know so little of the story. Rian Johnson (Looper) is in the directors chair and I have no doubt he’s going to bring some extra grit into the follow up to my second favorite Star Wars film (that’s right, I love Force Awakens). What I’m looking forward to the most is the development of Rey and Finn as characters of their own and how they fit into this grand universe.

     

     

     

     

    6. Lego Batman
    My prediction is that Lego Batman will be considered the second best Batman film of all time! From the trailers alone, it’s clear the creatives behind Lego Batman has a great love for Batman and his mythology. It’s also a spin off to one of my favorite animated films, The Lego Movie. This looks to be a really good time and it’s been a LONG time since I had fun in a Batman movie… speaking of which…

     

     

     

    5. Justice League
    I am one of the biggest critics of not just Batman v Superman but of the DC Extended Universe as a whole. Justice League, directed by Zack Synder (sigh), might very well be more of the same; paper thin characters, overtly dark visual aesthetic, muddled action, I could go on. However, I am looking forward to seeing more of Ben Affleck’s Batman and some interplay between him and the other Justice League characters, (I mean come on, look at Aquaman!) Does it bug me that Green Lantern isn’t there? Yes! Does it bug me that SteppenWolf, a C lister, is the main villain? Yes! Does it bug me that Synder is directing? YES!!! But it doesn’t hurt to be optimistic and we’ve ALL waited to see a Justice League film, so let’s just be thankful we’re finally getting one.

     

     

     

    4. Kong Skull Island
    Remember how Peter Jackson’s King Kong was good, but all the stuff on the island was BY FAR the best part? Well, this film is JUST about that island. Kong has a stellar cast; Samuel L Jackson, John Goodman, Brie Larson, Tom Hiddleston, and Jason Mitchell (Straight Outta Compton). Judging from the trailers alone, this film looks like a wild ride.

     

     

     

    3. Fate of the Furious/War of the Planet of the Apes
    That’s right! It’s a tie! Both films are widely anticipated sequels in a franchise. Dominic Toretto and Ceasar are both roguish bad asses who care about only one thing…. FAMILY. Okay, I know that’s a stretch. Apes definitely is a character and story driven series with top notch CGI while the Fast and Furious franchise are more or less driven by action and bad Tyrese jokes. These both look to be great times at the theater but for completely different reasons.

     

     

     

     

    2. Logan
    Loosely based on Old Man Logan, one of the best Wolverine comic books, Logan is the last Wolverine film where Hugh Jackman stars as the iconic anti hero. This film looks like a gritty “Westernized” take on the X-Men mythology that has potential to be more character driven and personal. Plus, it’s the first rated R Wolverine film (thanks Ryan Reynolds). Not only is this looking to be one of the best X-Men related movies, but also perhaps one of the best in the genre

     

     

     

     

    Spiderman: Homecoming
    Look, I know it is the second Spiderman reboot. But this is the Spiderman film we have ALL been waiting for. Finally, everyone’s favorite superhero is being made by the studio that actually appreciates and understands the character. It was a miracle that Sony was able to join forces with Marvel/Disney to give us perhaps the best Spiderman portrayal yet in Tom Holland in Captain America Civil War. Michael Keaton is playing the Vulture and he looks to be the most frightening Spiderman villain we’ve seen on screen. Even though another Spiderman film might seem redundant to the casual movie viewer, Spiderman: Homecoming is a movie that looks to definitely capture the true essence of Spiderman and bring him to the greater cinematic universe where he belongs.

     

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