Archive for the ‘Gangster Movie’ Category

Not as captivating as Season 1, this follow-up to Top Boy is more violent, more dark, (even) more depressing and less realistic. Sure, it’s probably based on some true stories, but it’s just too much. The acting is still okay, but the characters are not at all appealing. Ashley Walter’s Dushane, the top boy in London’s crime world, can’t charm as much as in the previous episodes. Sure, he’s thinking of getting out and investing in real estate. But to cover up a murder, he continues to intimidate and kil. Unethically. The fact that he starts something sexual/romantic with his lawyer makes it all a bit too far-fetched. Malcolm Kamulete’s Ra-Nell was a total revelation in series one and plays fourth fiddle in this season. Sad, there’s more to tell about this kid. In fact, there are so many characters this time and they are not explored well enough. So, hardly anyone to care about.

Netflix is going to produce season 3. Not sure what that will bring.





Uptown Saturday Night – *

Posted: February 26, 2018 in 1974, Comedy, Gangster Movie, USA, X

This is one boring and bad gangster comedy! Sydney Poitier may be heralded as one of the most talented black men in movie history, but in this piece of cinematic bullshit he clearly isn’t showing any of that talent. He even directed this blaxploitation movie. The acting (especially his own) is embarrassing. Comedy is NOT his cup of tea. The scenes are way too long. Every joke gets explained. And none of them are funny. They are sexist and outdated. And they just don’t make sense. It starts off really bad with Sidney Poitier depicting his character as a loving husband who fell for his wife because of her behind! Then they show the wife and she doesn’t have a behind at all. What the fuck? Here this guy is charming his wife of 20 years by raving she has the biggest butt he ever saw and then they show a woman who’s skinny as hell. That’s the start! And it hardly gets any better after that.

But it’s a camp movie. It’s so bad, that it becomes kinda good. It also has Bill Cosby in it and Richard Pryor and Harry Belafonte. They are quite remarkable in being goofy. But the main reason to watch this is for Calvin Lockhart, a motherfucking king of cool! He only has a small role and you only get to see him at the end. And his performance is not really worth the rent. (2.99 $ on iTunes). But the anticipation of his participation is exciting.

The story? Two common guys go out to a fancy club with prostitutes and gamblers, but get robbed. The next day, it turns out one of them has won the lottery, but his lottery ticket is still in the wallet that got stolen. SO the common guys (can’t stress it enough) go look for the gangsters who robbed the club…

Apparently Will Smith and Denzel Washington want to do a remake. Fingers crossed.


Top Boy – ***

Posted: February 22, 2018 in 2011, Drama, Gangster Movie, TV series, UK, XXX

Letitia Wright, impressive in Black Panther, made me watch this BBC crime series, in which she also plays a role. It’s been filmed 7 years ago, but she still looks the same! She just has a supporting role. It’s not that impressive, but you do see that she got talent!

The main stars of this series though are Ashley Walters and Malcolm Kamulete. Not sure why they haven’t turned into major league actors yet. They are phenomenal. Malcolm’s character reminds you of the kid from Cidade De Deus. He’s young, smart, wants a normal future, but is surrounded by gangs and drugs and reluctant to be a part of it. No Rio this time, but London. Ashley’s character is the up and coming drug captain of the block, also smart and with a conscience, but ready to kill when needed.

The series is well written, well acted, well-directed. It’s a lot of drama in only four episodes. A bit too much really. If HBO would have produced it, it would have been double as long with more diverse settings. It feels a bit like The Wire. It shows you a reality in a dramatic way. It’s heartbreaking at times. It’s great television. And the soundtrack is haunting at times.

Worth checking out.

The most hyped movie of the year is a disappointment. It’s a fun ride, but it’s not that all that spectacular. It’s like a rollercoaster that doesn’t really give you the thrills you want. Even though it has its highs and its lows. A rollercoaster ride needs to speed up all the time. When it slows down, it’s to gain power and energy to go up again. That’s not the case here.

The lows:

  • “Kind of Based On True Shit”. Okay, cool tag line. But it’s very basic shit. The story has been told a zillion times before. Small criminals decide to mingle with the big league and things go wrong.
  • The Typography. That movie poster title looks really bad. And it comes back in the movie.
  • The visual references to video games. We get it, they love playing video games, but to make certain scenes in the movie look like part of a video game doesn’t work.
  • The Narration by the main character. Annoying. The North African Antwerp accent is terrible, but it’s especially the monotonous tone in which the story is told.
  • Matteo Simoni. Great actor. Totally miscast.
  • The use of street slang that nobody has ever heard before. It’s going to be a challenge for those countries that dub movies and for those that need subtitles.


  • The Dutch actors. Werner Kolf and Ali B. Both remarkable as rivaling gang leaders.
  • The end credits. When you’ve seen the movie, you’ll understand.
  • The reverse ‘how drugs got to the drug user’ scene. Could have lasted longer, but good. In fact, the visual experience is entertaining.
  • Some of the one liners and dialogue. Again, especially by the Dutch.
  • The soundtrack. From the EBM to the Dutch pop rap to the Moroccan club track and the instrumental score… it works.
  • Antwerp! This city needs to be in more movies. Maybe in the next James Bond movie. Who knows.
  • The two lawyers. They just have a cameo, but they should get a tv series.

It’s the kind of movie you watch on a cheap long distance bus ride in India, South Africa or Brazil. This is really a BAD action comedy. But shot in a really cool way. Too much trying to be Tarantino and not quite getting to the next level shit.

Kicks – *

Posted: October 7, 2017 in 2016, Coming Of Age, Drama, Gangster Movie, USA, X

A 15 year old, underprivileged kid saves up for a fancy pair of sport shoes that will get him more respect. However, soon after he’s wearing them, he gets beaten up by a bunch of nozems who steal his newly acquired kicks. But he’s not ready to just give up and goes after the thief.

Sounds like a pretty normal children’s movie if you read the synopsis like that. But it’s not. This one bathes in a world full of gun carrying, cocaine sniffing, whoring and pimping young adolescents who record beating up people and then post it online. You do not want your child to see this behavior. It’s all represented as it’s every day life in the hood. There are some interesting elements though. The references to rap songs’ verses. The magical realist astronaut visit. But that’s about it. Not even Mahershala Ali can save it.

The beauty of cinema is that you get absorbed into a world that isn’t yours. That you get confronted, mesmerized and moved. This doesn’t happen here. Good luck next time, Justin Tipping, debuting director.

Movie #2 from the Volkskrant ‘best of 2016’ movie box.

This is everything Boi Neon is not. It’s well directed, well written, well scripted, well acted, entertaining, exciting, cool, intriguing, real and most of all: appealing to a large audience.

Based on true events, this crime story takes place in Argentina in the early eighties. An ex military official, used to kidnapping people during the Junta period, decides to kidnap rich folk and ask ransom to make a living for himself and his children. This works well several times, until – of course – he gets busted. The intriguing part is the fact that his family is aware of what their dad is doing and this is played out really well in the movie. The father himself isn’t the main character, it’s his son Alejandro, who’s very troubled trying to lead a normal life (being a known Rugby player, setting up his own surf shop business, starting a relationship, etc..) while being forced to help his father. This is the angle the producers decided to take and it works wonderfully. When you read in newspapers about the passive complicity of family members of criminals, you always wonder how they can just watch/participate and be quiet, and this movie shows you exactly why.

Great movie !

Time goes fast. Cidade De Deus is 13 years old! But since the story is set in the late sixties and early seventies, the movie itself doesn’t age at all. #21 on imdb’s list of best movies ever and #38 on the recent BBC list of best movies of the 21st century: that’s way too low. It’s not a perfect film, but it’s still very entertaining and all the elements that make cinema great join together in a great blend. The acting by – at the time – amateurs is remarkable, the visual flair is astonishing, the editing is excellent, the soundtrack helps where it has to and even though it’s a violent gangster drama, there’s also room for romance and humor and social critique, shown in a most natural way.

The storyteller is Buscapé (named ‘rocket’ in the English subtitles), a young kid from the ghetto who is asked by a newspaper agency to take pictures of the gang violence in the favelas. How he got that assignment and how the gang violence rose to its peak is told in flashbacks, a technique which normally takes away the speed of a movie, but is well done here. The different fragments flow into each other very naturally.

Too bad director Fernando Meirelles never established his talent as the new Tarantino or Scorcese in later work. He did get nominated though for an Oscar (losing to Peter Jackson) for this masterpiece.

This is the kind of movie you can watch every five or ten years and enjoy every single time. And that’s what classics are all about.