Monday 28 Jul

Escape from Tomorrow

With Escape from Tomorrow, one fears the story behind the movie would loom larger than the movie itself. Luckily, that is not the case. After all, it opens with a decapitation on Disney World’s Big Thunder Mountain Railroad roller coaster.
05/06/2014 | Comments 0


William Friedkin spends a lot of time in his 2013 memoir discussing why Sorcerer didn't click with critics and audiences even though he believes it to be better than his previous film, The Exorcist. Now that Warner Home Video has reissued Sorcerer on Blu-ray, we can see what Friedkin's fuss is all about.
04/23/2014 | Comments 0

Broadchurch: The Complete First Season

Welcome to the coastal resort of Broadchurch, population … oh, who can keep track, what will all the corpses? Yes, Broadchurch is yet another British television procedural involving the search for a murderer in a quaint little town, just like the limited series The Fall and Top of the Lake.
04/23/2014 | Comments 0

Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones

Essentially part five in the ridiculously profitable horror franchise, Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones continues the found-footage conceit of the other films. The difference is instead of the scares taking place in rich white suburbia, they do so in a junky apartment complex on a largely Latino side of Oxnard, Calif.
04/23/2014 | Comments 0

Holy Ghost People

Holy Ghost People examines two sisters whose bond is torn — but by what? After her sibling has been missing for more than a year, Charlotte (Emma Greenwell, TV's Shameless) intends to find out.
04/15/2014 | Comments 0
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Beats Rhymes & Life: The Travels of A Tribe Called Quest

Hip-hop giants A Tribe Called Quest are chronicled in the documentary ‘Beats Rhymes & Life.’ You got to get it, got got to get it.

Rod Lott August 29th, 2011

To paraphrase the tagline from “The Social Network,” you don’t get to millions of albums sold without making a few enemies. In the case of A Tribe Called Quest, the enemies number exactly two, which would be all good if they weren’t named Q-Tip and Phife Dawg — half of the pioneering hip-hop act’s lineup.

Five records, four guys and one dysfunctional relationship add up to the core of “Beats Rhymes & Life: The Travels of A Tribe Called Quest,” a note-perfect documentary on the group’s quarter-century history.

One need not even listen to the Tribe’s style of music to appreciate the film’s dramatic heft. Instantly likable, it’s better than any rock doc of recent memory, including “Anvil! The Story of Anvil,” “Dig!,” “Metallica: Some Kind of Monster” and “The Fearless Freaks.”

The film opens Friday exclusively at AMC Quail Springs Mall 24, 2501 W. Memorial.

Appropriately, it begins with harmony and discord: the former, onstage as the splintered Tribe reforms for a 2008 tour; the latter, immediately backstage, as the dueling talents call the performance their last as a group. “It’s about the unit” is spoken more than once, but the movie is more about the love-hate relationship between its two largest egos.

When one of them says, à la “Lethal Weapon”’s Sgt. Murtaugh, “I’m getting too old for this shit,” it’s not an exaggeration; Q-Tip and Phife Dawg, now in their early 40s, have been best friends since they were 2 years old. Old photographs of their early days, as well as the infancy of the group they would form in high school in 1985, are layered in three dimensions, like scenes culled from View-Master cartridges.

Although mishaps of dated fashion, the four men of A Tribe Called Quest were way ahead of their time with influential, genre-swirling tracks like “I Left My Wallet in El Segundo,” “Bonita Applebum” and “Buggin’ Out” — party records free of disses and full of samples pulled from the work of their elders, the way Quentin Tarantino does for his films. Singing the band’s praises in interviews are De La Soul, Mary J. Blige, Beastie Boys, The Roots, Mos Def and many others.

As interesting as that story is, the internal conflict lifts the documentary beyond a retrospective puff piece, as two men who love each other like brothers also fight like them. Phife, feeling like The Supremes to Q-Tip’s Diana Ross, sums it up best: “Stop trying to front like I’m Tito or some shit ... no offense to Tito.”

Michael Rapaport — an actor known for his work in the likes of “True Romance” and “Deep Blue Sea” — directs with surprising energy and ease, assembling a compact yet complete-feeling film as lively animated as its opening credits. —Rod Lott

  • Currently 3.5/5 Stars.
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