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Exit Wounds (2001)

Exit Wounds (2001)

A movie with DMX and Steven Seagal as main characters! And Anthony Anderson and Tom Arnold as side-kicks! And Michael Jai White and Isaiah Washington and Jill Hennessy and Bill Duke and Eva Mendez in the mix! What could go wrong? I don't know half those names btw but I recognize their faces - and fortunately there is IMDB for reference. Nothing, apparently (as for what could go wrong).

It's an action movie with all the necessary elements that action requires, along with a quite elaborate plot and plenty of intrigue and personality. Steven Seagal still speaks with that trademark whisper and half-smile-half-frown and I can think of a hundred potential better character replacements for him... but in the end he fits the mold, he is a main character type of guy and the movie twists hither and dither and you're left with a maybe forgettable but not noticeably flawed piece of cinematic action. Good movie!

 rated 3/5: not bad

Cocaine Cowboys 2 – Hustlin With The Godmother (2008)

Cocaine Cowboys 2 - Hustlin With The Godmother (2008)

This (probably unplanned) sequel to Cocaine Cowboys focuses mainly on Griselda Blanco, one of the most intriguing people to be mentioned only a little in the prequel, and the 'real nigger' (I'm quoting the movie here) Charles Cosby who decided to get in touch with this mythical lady and was in contact with her, for good or bad, through most of her time in prison. She lived there like a queen, and kept steering her organization from the inside, and eventually she made it out in one piece and stayed that way for quite a few years. She was killed in 2012, but that's after the scope of this movie. Considering her crimes, it's amazing how well a life she made for herself, though at least two of her sons were killed when she was in prison, metaphorically atoning for her sins.

Though this movie had a lot more to say, in extension to the previous one, the first one had a much broader variety of topics. This focuses mainly on Cosby and his gang, and his connections. A couple of people from the previous movie make an additional appearance, but this one feels like it had a much bigger commercial intent than the previous, with the frequent intermissions (it seems it was made for TV), the emphasis on certain key elements in the 'plot', and the focus on one main character rather than on documenting the facts or crimes. It's a much more angled approach.

It does however also delve into the history of Griselda, on how she was raised (how she grew up in the slum, worked as a prostitute for many years, had three husbands killed and eventually embarked to the US and fought off even the Mafia in taking control over the cocaine drug trade), a both sad and intriguing story that almost gives you some compassion for her as a character. Growing up in a place where you are faced with dead people every day; bury parents and friends alike with your bare hands... that's got to leave a mark. That's just a little segment though. Twas not as good as the first, this one, but a good movie nevertheless.

 rated 3/5: not bad

Cocaine Cowboys (2006)

Cocaine Cowboys (2006)

Miami in the eighties was one crazy place. Weed was so cheap they smuggled in tons with each shipment, and plenty of it was getting seized. All of a sudden it wasn't such a lucrative business anymore, but then cocaine came, and suddenly a select few were swimming in money. The Cubans started as middle-men, until the Colombians realized they didn't really need them, they sent over their own crews and what started as business eventually ruptured into gang wars and an era of violence and fear. In Colombia the drug barons lived like kings and were seen as benefactors in the mountain villages, and everybody benefited from the wealth the business brought them. In the US a select few locals became involved in moving the drugs, and dealing, and insane amounts of cash were thrown into circulation. When enforcement finally cracked down, a large part of local economy also collapsed. The movie interviews a co-coordinator, a pilot, a Colombian assassin and a few other people from law enforcement and government agencies, all the while bringing up old video footage and facts in the mix.

It's a raw documentary, and it's great. I'm usually tempted to skim when I'm watching these types of movies (IOW documentaries) but with this I had to resist the urge to re-watch some parts instead. Twas truly intriguing, with a fascinating set of characters on the other side of the mic. Many of the people involved in this era were terrifying; murderous, but the ones they interviewed had a pretty impressive organization; some were pretty (if you disregard the fact that this is all about cocaine, which you know, has the potential to destroy lives and stuff) inspiring people. It reveals a lot, it brings a new perspective to my favorite decade in cinema history. Good shit.

 rated 4/5: fo shizzle

Conspiracy Theory (1997)

Conspiracy Theory (1997)

I never can tell when Mel Gibson's a good actor or when he's just himself, but either he is himself or someone else in this movie - he's doing a good job at it. He plays paranoid, and Julia Roberts plays at first unconvinced and eventually pretty emotionally involved and affected.

The movie features one particularly catchy orchestral crafted melody, great acting, a conspiracy story that makes its own way - it's different, it's hopeless and despairing, it's masterfully filmed - a creative intro featuring various fares and a lot of conspiracy narrative featuring the main character; a New York milieu that feels warm and nostalgic even though I've never been there, but eventually turns to feeling cold and uncomfortable. It has a few chases, a few stealthy gunfights, one sinister interrogation and plenty of tension, but also a lot of calm. I'm watching this and thinking they don't really make movies like this nowadays, or maybe it's just that things looked different back then. Or could it be the complete lack of shaky cam? I've grown to hate that cam. Whatever it is, it looks great; it's a great movie.

 rated 4/5: fo shizzle

Scooby-Doo! – WrestleMania Mystery (2014)

Scooby-Doo! - WrestleMania Mystery (2014)

A collaboration between Hanna Barbera and WWE! I never thought I'd see the day.

After watching the 12 Rounds and Marine movies, seeing John Cena in animated form was a strange kind of experience. All the stars do their own voices too. The story is that of a monster bear tormenting the WWE arena in WW City (wouldn't that be an awesome place to have in the real world!), Scooby getting accused for stealing the belt, everybody getting together and brawling and solving the mystery and you know how it goes when Scoob's involved.

I wondered if I'd ever outgrow this series, but it looks like... nah, I'll never grow too old for Scooby. It may not be as captivating as it was a decade ago, but it's still entertaining; the personalities are all the same! But it's been a long time since I tried emulating Shaggy's style of walking.

Wish they'd cut out the digital 3D visuals for some of the scenes though, it just doesn't fit in with the rest of the animation. It's fine with the creative intro, but with the rocks, the vehicles etc... it stands out too much. Apart from that: it's a groovy movie. It's got that traditional new-wave Scooby Doo style to it, though come to think of it... barely any Scooby Snacks at all! :O

 rated 3/5: not bad

Rock Star (2001)

Rock Star (2001)

Mark Wahlberg tells the tale of a rock star, a young kid with an awesome voice, with an awesome girlfriend, running a 'tribute band', who one day gets recruited to one of his favorite bands - Steel Dragon - as their lead singer's unexpectedly quiting. This young kid embarks on a crazy ride through a sex, drugs rock n' role lifestyle, at first with his girlfriend, eventually alone, and one day he comes to a realization - that all he's been is a singer for hire: the band writes the songs, he sings them, it's not what he really wants to do, and he decides to leave. That sounds a bit like the story behind KISS doesn't it? Apparently it's based on Judas Priest, so, it seems plenty of bands have similar issues. Kinda takes away the images of awesomeness I used to have for some of these legendary artists, but anyway...

Mark Wahlberg does the lead role well, and Jennifer Aston is a perfect female counterpart. The music's great (too bad Mark Wahlberg isn't actually the one singing!), the story's great, and so: the movie is great. It's inspiring. It's entertaining. It's rock and roll with a message; a good cast. Great movie.

 rated 4/5: fo shizzle
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