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04/15/2014 | Comments 0

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RLJ Entertainment's new Blu-ray for No Holds Barred begins with what seems like dozens of trailers for movies starring pro wrestlers from the WWE talent pool. Each flick went direct to home video, but once upon a time — aka 1989 — one had to go to the multiplex to catch such a spectacle.
04/15/2014 | Comments 0

Knights of Badassdom

In 2008, the third act of the guy comedy Role Models used LARPing — live-action role-playing, that is — as a backdrop for our protagonists' lessons learned. Today, Knights of Badassdom extends that half-hour into a full feature, to the point where viewers are left not smiling, but exhausted. 
04/02/2014 | Comments 0

Switched on

Not everything on television has to appeal to mass audiences. In fact, with the further fractioning of viewership thanks to alternatives like Netflix and VOD, more series can afford to become more niche. Here are five examples of shows both past and present — and new to DVD and/or Blu-ray — that encompass some of the more outrageous ideas ever to go beyond boardroom discussion.
04/02/2014 | Comments 0

Confession of Murder

Seventeen years after slaying 10 women and getting away with it, the charismatic serial killer Du-sok (Park Si-hoo) comes clean with a Confession of Murder, in this 2012 South Korean crime thriller. He does so by publishing a book that dishes all the grisly details.
04/02/2014 | 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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