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American Gangster (2007)

 The man I worked for had one of the biggest companies in New York City. He didn’t own his own company. White man owned it, so they owned him. Nobody owns me, though.

— Frank Lucas

I have previously watched American Gangster when an aunt loaned me the DVD of the movie. I watched a third of the movie when I stopped, because it was too long for me to pay any attention to it. I knew that the movie was nominated for two Oscars including a Best Supporting Actress nom for Ruby Dee for her five-minute role and for Best Art Direction. Watching the movie against almost made root for the bad guy… almost.

Harlem 1968. Frank Lucas (Denzel Washington) mourns the death of Bumpy Johnson (Clarence Williams III) who was a surrogate father to him. Bumpy was Frank’s teacher for dealing with the gangster life, especially for a black man in those times. Frank wants to take over in Bumpy’s place, but do things a little better. He wants to get the best product, which was cocaine to give to the people of Harlem. He wants to show his dominance with the other gangsters of the neighborhood like Tango (Idris Elba) who treats Frank like a servant and Nicky Barnes (Cuba Gooding, Jr.) who is all talk and no bit.

At the same time, an undercover cop, Richie Roberts (Russell Crowe) tries to be on the straight and narrow in a sea of corruption in the police department. Richie’s partner, Javier Rivera (John Ortiz) discovered a car that had almost a million dollars in it. John wants to keep some of the money, but Richie wants to do the right thing and turn them all in. he Richie is not the most popular cop in the precinct. He is going to night school to get his law degree and having to pay child support to his ex-wife, Laurie (Carla Cugino).

There is a crooked cop, Detective Trupo (Josh Brolin) who confiscated drugs from busts, water them down and sell them back to the bad guys for a profit. He wants to get some hush-hush money from Frank, but Frank doesn’t want to be another police lackey.

Opium and heroin are on the rise during this time and about goes to Bangkok to get the purest heroin that he could find. He finds it and sells it on the street as “Blue Magic” for dirt cheap. With the money from selling the 100 kilos of heroin, he buys a home for his Mama (Ruby Dee) and the rest of his family. Frank decides to expand his business and include his brothers in the process.

Meanwhile, Richie is hand selected to lead a special group of DEA agents to help bring down the drug trafficking ring. their first target is Frank Lucas.

The movie came with the theatrical version and the unrated version. I wanted to see the theatrical version, because it was short. The movie is 2:45 at least. That is a lot of movie about a bad guy selling drugs to his own people. The unrated version would make it three hours. No thanks. I was able to take the movie. there were some good moments in the movie that was bogged down by filler scene that I could do without.

Judgment: It’s interesting to see a movie about a black gangster, but I wish that it was a tighter story.

Rating: 7/10

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Funny People (2009)

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Does your act just design to make sure no girl will ever sleep with you?

— George Simmons

Funny People is a movie that I was eagerly anticipating for writer/director Judd Apatow. Thoroughly enjoying his previous movies, I want utterly disappointed with this movie.

In the first trailer of this movie, the whole plot was spoiled. I thought, “What the fuck?” That knocked my rating down considerably.

Adam Sandler is playing a twisted version of himself by the name of George Simmons. A comedian that is unfulfilled by his life with the kiddie movies that he makes, the spacious mansion and he does not have anybody in his life.

He discovers that he has a form of leukemia. Coming to terms with his “death sentence”, he hires a struggling stand-up comic, Ira (Seth Rogen) as an assistant to help him write jokes.

George wants to get back together with the one that got away, Laura (Leslie Mann), but he is set in his ways that he won’t realize that his brand of humor drives people away.

The movie has some funny bits especially with Jonah Hill with his one-liners and Aziz Ansari. Most of the time, crickets were heard in the audience during most of the movie.

I was very bored with the film. I was looking at my shoes, scratching two week old mosquito bites, yawning and dozing a little bit. That’s not good.

Trying to mix comedy with drama doesn’t work. It was a real downer and not hopeful. Some of the characters were horrible human beings. You cannot root for them. I didn’t care about any of them.

George Simmons was fixated on the size of Ira’s cock and balls. The sexual puns and jokes were jarring. Overkill. Enough the cock, balls, sex and asshole jokes. Enough!

Judgment: This movie does not live up to its name. How ironic.

Rating: **1/2

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