April Blind Spot Review: Straight Outta Compton (2015)

“I got something to say.”
– Ice Cube

SYNOPSIS: The group NWA emerges from the mean streets of Compton in Los Angeles, California, in the mid-1980s and revolutionizes Hip Hop culture with their music and tales about life in the hood. – via IMDB

You know, even after all the rave reviews and the love this movie got when it came out, I didn’t know for sure exactly what it was about (other than a hip hop/rap history biopic type deal), but thought it would be worth watching as it seems it was done really well. Well, let me assure you, this really is that good and a bag of chips. Damn, I was way more impressed than I thought I would be.

I only know bits and pieces of the history surrounding these guys (pretty much all of it passed down to me from an old colleague who knows plenty about this), so I didn’t really know how accurate everything was, and I wasn’t too bothered. I was there to watch a movie and it happened to feature people we have at least all heard about, and it seems that it was pretty accurate (checking after the fact) too, for the most part.

There was a lot to like about this movie. The music (obviously) suited the content, the history used is interesting. Something that really blew me away? The casting. I mean O’Shea Jackson Jr looks just like his dad, which is insane. Then you see after the fact that each and every one of these cast members looked almost exactly like the real-life counterparts they were playing. Wow! That doesn’t usually happen, and yet it was nailed down completely here.

There were also some flaws with this movie. The pacing is a little off at times. The movie does not feel as long as it is, but there are times when the narrative jumps around a bit or feels hurried (especially the beginning – these were guys struggling at home and then in the recording studio within a space of like… ten minutes). Like, the groundwork is there but rushed. The dramatic element is good though, and there is humour in here from time to time that is quite entertaining.

I am glad to finally say I got around to watching Straight Outta Compton. While rap/hip hop is not generally my cup of tea, I think that this movie is handled well and is engaging. You might/might not love the genre, but you cannot deny how these guys had their say and influenced/drove the genre the way they did. One has to respect that.

January Blind Spot Review: The Ides of March (2011)

the ides of march movie poster

“I’ll do or say anything if I believe in it, but I have to believe in the cause.”
– Stephen Meyers

SYNOPSIS: Stephen Meyers is a young idealist who’s brilliant at communications, is second in command of Governor Mike Morris’s presidential campaign, and is a true believer. In the middle of the Ohio primary, the campaign manager of Morris’s opponent asks Meyers to meet; he offers him a job. At the same time, Morris’s negotiations for the endorsement of the man in third place, a North Carolina Senator, hit a snag. A young campaign intern, Molly Stearns, gets Stephen’s romantic attention. Republicans have a trick up their sleeve; Stephen may be too trusting, and Molly has a secret. What’s most important, career, victory, or virtue? – via IMDB

the ides of march

GRADE 8There we go, first movie on my blind spot list checked off. I have been putting this off for years, and not so much intentionally as that I keep forgetting that it needs to be watched, and when I remember, my other half rejects the idea of a political film. So not his thing. So now I had to watch it, and I had to make the time. It was on a list, right? Right. The Ides of March was a smart and engrossing film. That is the first thing that I would like to say. From the opening scene and from thereon out, it demands your attention, and I’ll bet you it will receive it. Ryan Gosling gives another hell of a performance here, though it is something I have come to love about him. He is very talented. It was really great to see how Stephen preps all of Morris’s stuff, and practices and tests it, and how phenomenally different it sounds when you see Clooney step up as Morris and pull it off. Evan Rachel Wood was good again, as was to be expected. I liked the story for this quite a bit, and thought that it was pulled off really well. Philip Seymour Hoffman was at his finest here, and captured the essence of his jaded character perfectly. He exuded the power and control he was supposed to, and owned every second he was on screen. The whole cast was solid, and all contributed really good efforts that are seen throughout the film. I thoroughly enjoyed the pacing, how everything starts gradually and then just snowballs into this huge and out of control situation, with everyone stabbing someone else in the back, and Stephen learning all about how being an idealist is a really difficult thing to be in his line of work. I actually enjoyed the romance between Stephen and Molly, and really wished that the movie had focused on that a little bit more, giving it some more meat. Overall, I think that The Ides of March was a successful political drama all around that I would recommend if this is your scene. It was definitely my cup of tea.