video review : Avatar : The Way Of Water

video review : Avatar : The Way Of Water

James Cameron’s Avatar is comparable to his Terminator movies in that a so-so science fiction flick is followed by a sequel that totally blows it out of the ocean. The Way Of Water at the start seems underwhelming, too much like a visual and narrative rehash of its predecessor, until you’re spirited away to a new world and the brilliant title concept comes into play.

The gist is simple. Several years have passed. “The sky people”, led by a resurrected and vengeful Colonel Quaritch, have returned to Pandora. The Sully family; Jack and Neytiri now have three kids of their own and two they’ve adopted; are therefore forced to leave the Omatikaya in order to keep them safe from harm, which eventually endangers their new Metkayina friends.

Everything about this Avatar is better than the original. It’s an aquatic, ultimately Titanic, adventure. The characterization is especially improved. Jack and Neytiri are actually likable here and their daughters, along with their son’s potential girlfriend Tsireya, provide plenty moments of cuteness. It’s a tulkun (whale) named Payakan though who’ll steal your heart.

my rating : 5 of 5


audio review : I Admit ( song ) … R Kelly

Why R Kelly would put out a song entitled I Admit while being publicly accused of, and potentially investigated for, real-life sex crimes; a song at least partially about said allegations; is beyond me. He stops short of confessing to an actual crime; in fact he strongly implies his innocence; and a song, even a long-ass rambling one, is just a song, but it’s not a good look.

“I admit it,” the ill-advised hook goes, “I did it.” His detractors (“haters”) will isolate those words and use them as weapons, but his sentiments aren’t lost on me. This is, from the prolific R&B artist whose album titles include Love Letter and Write Me Back, an open diary entry in which the singer; a famous one on the verge of becoming infamous; laments his life struggles.

You can say he’s playing the victim, but, in some ways, he is one. A lot of celebrities are. They’re often taken advantage of for the sake of fame and fortune and Kells is no exception. I think that’s him in “the tape”. I saw it before deepfakes. I also think he’s being falsely accused by lying-ass groupies. Don’t get me started on Jim DeRogatis and the biased news media.

my rating : 3 of 5


audio review : I Got Next ( album ) … KRS-One

audio review : I Got Next ( album ) ... KRS-One

The title suggests a game of basketball, but it’s the rap game KRS-One plays best. He’s The MC of MCs; a hip-hopper in perhaps its purest form. He’s also The Teacha, so, if we’re using the sport of basketball for comparison’s sake, he’s a former star player turned coach. The big difference is that, while arguably past his prime, he just can’t stay off the court.

There’s even a song entitled Can’t Stop Won’t Stop, but it’s not about his love for rap music. It’s a tale, told from the first-person perspective, about a drug dealer who, in order to avoid going to prison, makes a deal with the police. The story, enhanced with dramatic sound effects where applicable, fits snug into the BDP canon, alongside Love’s Gonna Get You.

It’s the ridiculous abundance of skits and bits, tracked in place of full-length songs, that serves as KRS-One’s foulest offense. There are two back-to-back intros at the start, for example, and three Halftime interludes in a row, which collectively come across as album filler, especially when you find yourself skipping them for the umpteenth time.

Only about half of the tracks are actual songs. Even if you ignore the rest of the album, only about half of those songs are of any notable quality. Step Into A World works in an off-beat kind of way and Real Hip-Hop is just that, but Blowe sounds silly and the Heartbeat beat; the song features Redman and Angie Martinez; is wack. So much for the Playoffs.

my rating : 3 of 5


video review : No Sudden Move

video review : No Sudden Move

What a confusing mess this movie is. It seems the whole thing is shot on a wide-angle, almost fisheye, lens; the cinematographer also has a preference for vignetting and dutch tilts; which, along with a vintage 1954 Detroit setting, is somewhat visually appealing. It’s the convoluted plot that betrays it.

It starts interestingly enough with a man named Curtis; Don Cheadle plays the role way too cool to the point of being unrealistic; making a sketchy “babysitting” deal with a stranger in an alley, but the suspense doesn’t hold up from there. Awkward dialogue and misplaced comedy only make matters worse.

my rating : 2 of 5


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