Movie Review: “American Skin”

Actor Nate Parker–whose done films such as “Beyond the Lights”, “Pride”, “Tuskegee” and other offerings—has graced us with a new film titled “American Skin.” Check out a non-spoiler review of Parker’s new movie “American Skin”, here at TheOriginalChatman.com.

Time and time again, we’ve lived through what seems like a non-stop cycle of police brutality through the eyes of marginalized communities, especially within the African-American demographic.

For most of us, we demand to see visible accountability in the aftermath of police brutality incidents, whether fatal or non-fatal. While accountability and justice are supposed to go hand-in-hand, I refer back to my previous statement regarding it being one drastic, inescapable cycle. Nate Parker‘s latest film, American Skin, switches gears on this age-old narrative in which justice becomes more than what is actually given.

Ex-Army veteran Lincoln “Linc” Jefferson (played by Parker) works hards to provide a better environment for his teenage son Kajani, also known as KJ. Everything seems to come through for the father-son dynamic duo: Linc finds janitorial work at a local private school. His employment with the school awards KJ access to the prestigious institution. Ahh yes! Parents striving to provide for their kids what they weren’t afforded growing up…it’s a play-by-play of access to the “American Dream.” Sooner than later, the “dream” is drastically cut short allowing reality to sink in for Lincoln.

Photo via @NateParker (Twitter)

On one fateful night, Linc and KJ are pulled over for a routine traffic stop. The routine traffic stop becomes deadly and KJ ends up not making it home safely with Linc. This particular scene in the film can reek of predictable outcomes for the movie’s plot; however, the plot that develops throughout the film is a refreshing take on the events following another tragic police brutality event.

Parker’s character Lincoln carries the film– and its supporting cast—into difficult conversations/topics that usually provide no answers. How do you seek justice when you know it’s never been properly awarded, ever? Would you take matters into your own hands? Without spoilers, I’ll provide some context here.

Imagine this: Peaceful protests after a police-civilian shooting. Maybe a riot here and there. Saddened family members begging for justice on our TVs and social media feeds. Remember that cycle from earlier? This is what I’m referring to here. I can’t speak for all within my community; however, it usually feels like one big okie-dokie. Lincoln echoes this exact sentiment in the film, and it feels like he’s speaking exactly to us and only us.

Watch American Skin on all premium video on-demand services, and then come back and comment on this post letting me know your opinions on the movie. Thanks for reading!

-TheOriginalChatman aka Jamal

Movie Review – “Project Power” (Spoiler-free!!!)

Netflix ‘s newest original movie “Project Power” stars Jamie Foxx, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, and Dominique Fishback. Check out my review of the movie on TheOriginalChatman.com.

“What’s your power?

Despite a global pandemic (among other things), it’s a nice distraction to wrap yourself up within a entertaining movie or TV series. Netflix has held us down with some heat for summer 2020. No, not literal heat! I’m referring to the variety of original content they’ve released —and will continue to release—throughout these next few months.

Project Power, Netflix’s latest original movie, claims an interesting take on the superhero genre. Set in New Orleans, a disgruntled city cop (Joseph Gordon-Levitt), a very determined ex-soldier (Jamie Foxx), and a troubled teenager (Dominique Fishback) join forces to track down the organization behind Power, a drug that allows its victims to experience a flash of random superpowers for five minutes. Check out TheOriginalChatman’s review below:

First and foremost, I need to say something. Jamie Foxx’s acting range is unmatched! His role as Art, a man-on-a-mission/ex-soldier, is highly believable from the moment you see Foxx on the screen. Through a series of unfortunate events, he purposely ends up meeting Robin, a teen Power dealer striving to make ends meet for her diabetic mother. Foxx’s role of Art is the classic “bad guy doing good things” type.

Just a way to add more images to the post.
Art (Jamie Foxx) and Robin (Dominique Fishback) from a scene in Netflix’s “Project Power.”

I could continue to praise Foxx’s performance; however, the real star of the movie is Fishback’s Robin character. Tough, street smart and book smart. Fearless. More than another strong (black) female lead, Robin shows the layered truth of wanting to do more with your life while feeling stuck under life’s circumstances. While Art and Robin navigate the seedy underworld of New Orleans, throughout the movie, Art asks Robin the same question: “What’s your power?”

Robin is a gifted lyricist, but doesn’t share her talent with the world until Art puts her on the spot. Not quite a father-daughter dynamic, Art and Robin are two people making the best out of bad decisions. Based on their dynamic in the movie, I’d take Art and Robin versus Batman and Robin any day!

Lastly, Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s cop character Frank seems out of place. His performance seemed very lackluster. The grizzled “it’s my city and I do what i must to protect others” cop role just didn’t seem very convincing to me.

Overall, if you’re looking for a story that flips the superhero genre around, lovable characters, and a great story behind them, Netflix’s Project Power is a must see.

“Need It”: Music Video Review

Kaytranada’s video for “Need It” is cinematic gold. Feel free to check out his latest album, “BUBBA”, which is a great pick-me-up for the times we’re living in right now.

I’m not gonna lie y’all…Kaytranada wasn’t on my musical radar until I saw him live at Something in the Water last summer. Now that I’m finally hip, his music gets heavy rotation in my Apple Music library. His most recent album, BUBBA, has so many hits that it’s unfair to anyone else in the electronic music lane! Since it’s December 2019 release, Kaytranada has dropped visuals for “10%” and “Need It”, featuring Kali Uchis and Masego, respectively. For this post, I’ll be diving deep into the “Need It” visual.

The video’s opening scene obviously grabs inspiration from the Hype Williams-directed late ’90s flick Belly. The blue LED lighting throughout the video creates a mood. Who doesn’t love a good movie reference? Boom! Club scene. People are dancing and getting lit to the music. While the aesthetic and plot alone seem predictable, and the visual continues its course, you will find out that it isn’t.

Two groups of guys that clearly have beef with one another start a club brawl that quickly escalates. It’s not apparent what started it all, but that’s besides the point. Fists are thrown and people scatter out the way to let them do what do best–kill each other. What appears as a drug deal gone wrong leading into a physical confrontation–further leads to punches exchanged between both crews transforms into a well-choreographed, and friendly dance battle via the style of You Got Served. Honestly, I’d give my last dollar to see a good dance battle up-close and personal, with respective social distancing guidelines! Masego‘s vocals are peppered throughout the video yet he and Kaytranada don’t appear until the last minute and a half. Fun fact: The main actor in this video is Tight Eyez–the man who created krump dancing. Take a look at the video below, comment, and let me know what you think!

“Boomerang” Ep. 5 Review: “The Let Out”

Check out a spoiler-free review of #BoomerangonBET here at TheOriginalChatman.com

“The Let Out” is by far the best episode of season one! Imagine getting lit on Saturday with your crew, then appearing in church the next morning in those same clothes. We’ve all done it before…well..at least once or twice anyways!

Bryson, David, Simone, Tia, and Rocky(Tia’s girlfriend) enjoy a night out on the town. They all get in free at the club— courtesy of Ari’s (Leland B. Martin) party promoter connection. Ari is kicking game to a young, fly, beautiful woman. The stranger asks him why he’s posted outside the club and he simply replies: “the let out.” The “let out” is the after party that usually takes place in the parking lot of particular establishments. Imagine this: Dudes shooting their shot. Ladies flexing in their rental cars. Car speakers blasting music in the parking lot after hours.

Always looking to uproot Tia’s brand, Simone used the opportunity of the crew’s night out to convince the local DJ to play Tia’s song. When he flexed on her, she used the opportunity to go around her roadblock. Never one to accept defeat, Simone hustles until she gets her way. You’ve got to admire her work ethic even when she’s in play mode!

Things heat up a little bit as Simone gives Bryson a little twerk action at the “let out”…I see you boi! Simone + Bryson = Bimone? Sryson? Are pet names still a thing or nah?
Tia debuting her new single at the “let out” as the crowd turns up with her. Spoiler alert…issa bop!

David lands more screen time this episode. This episode goes back and forth between Saturday night and Sunday morning at David’s church(he’s a preacher in case y’all forgot!). David preaches about self-defeat in the pursuit of being perfect. As much as I laughed thru episode..I had to stop and recognize that David’s sermon hit home. Millennials strive for perfection in all we do. When we fall short of it, we bow our heads in defeat often leaving us discouraged. He ended the sermon on a high note giving the congregation clarity and peace of mind.

Finally, what I enjoyed most about this episode are the pivotal church scenes. The Black church has always played a turning point for some of our favorite characters in our favorite shows and movies of decades past. Hopefully the show will dabble in that a little bit.

Catch Boomerang Tuesdays at 10 and I’ll be back here next week with a fresh review! -TheOriginalChatman

“Boomerang” Season 1, Episode 4 Review: “Call A Spade”

TheOriginalChatman gives a spoiler-free review of season 1, episode 4 of #BoomerangOnBet. Check it out here!

Boomerang continues the momentum it garnered in its first three episodes; however, the ladies of the show haven’t had their solo shine until now. “Call A Spade” puts the ladies in focus for an episode; meanwhile, the fellas take a break from the plot’s focus.

Simone and Tia are now roommates, courtesy of Simone’s generosity. To keep it a hunnit, Simone recruits Tia as her roommate since she’s behind on her rent. The episode opens with Simone slightly gawking over Tia’s Instagram page. (Remember, Tia is now an “artist” and Simone is her manager.) The show has previously established Tia’s sexuality, but the way she glances over Tia’s IG…does she have eyes for her friend?

Anyways…a blocked caller reaches out to Simone. She answers and on the other end is her god-sister Tay Tay (played by Chicago rapper Dreezy). Apparently Tay-Tay got into a drunken argument with her boyfriend which lead her to being detained by the police. Tay’s bail is $2,000…aka money that no one in the crew has. Ouch! Simone rallies up the troops to rescue Tay Tay: Tia, Crystal, and Rocky (Tia’s girlfriend that constantly beefs with Simone).

Day turns into night. Eventually, Simone, Tia, Crystal, and Rocky find themselves at a random house party. While all on the same mission, the only one concerned about Tay is Simone. Tia and Rocky team up for spades, leaving Crystal to flirt with some random guy she seems interested in. Never shying away from a guilt trip, Simone reminds Crystal that it’s fine to check in her feelings regarding the significance of the day(this day marks a year of divorce from David). Crystal insists she is fine, but the truth of the matter is Simone projected her fear of romance and intimacy on Crystal due to her complicated relationship with Bryson. “Call a spade a spade.”

I’ll be reviewing episode 5, catch y’all next time! – TheOriginalChatman

“Boomerang” Season 1, Episode 3 Review: “Stand in Your Power”

Check out the season 1, episode 3 review of #BoomerangOnBET here at TheOriginalChatman!

This week was about reclaiming one’s “power” which ironically happens to be the episode’s theme. How many of us feel or have felt powerless at work, in our love lives, or within other areas? * slowly raises my hand* For most people, power and control become synonymous ideals leading to our destiny.

Bryson still yearns for Simone’s heart, yet he’s still having trouble articulating his feelings for her—-in efforts to not destroy their friendship. Furthermore, his work superiors can’t properly understand the visions he has for the company. Bryson seeks guidance from his therapist. During this therapy session, he revealed that his power struggles began with his mother’s emotional neglect vs. her relentless work ethic.


Poor Bryson.

Although these two power struggles collide, Bryson stands in his power towards the episode’s end.

Elsewhere, Simone is struggling to make her marketing skills flourish without The Graham Agency’s support(she was fired from the company with her name on it back in episode 1!).

At the agency, Bryson creeps his way to being back in control. His boss Victoria gently dismantles his project idea, but allows the young protege to follow his plan with confidence. All is well until Simone appears before him. Their chance encounter leads them working together on a project: but can he do his job without catching feelings?

In the midst of the project, Tia, Simone’s friend who she reached out to for rebuilding her brand image, is used as a pawn for Simone to pull on Bryson’s heartstrings. She’s used to getting her way but Bryson sticks up for himself by making an opinionated choice with logic instead of feelings, yes..those some feelings which got him here in the first place.

Let this be a lesson that being in your feelings can and WILL get you caught up. Don’t be afraid to boss up and be your best self ladies and gents!

Catch next week’s episode of #BoomerangOnBET at 10. See y’all then!

-TheOriginalChatman

“Boomerang” Season 1, Episode 2 Review

Check out the second episode review of #BoomerangonBET here at TheOriginalChatman.com

Boomerang’s second episode,¬†Game¬†Night¬† is light-hearted and fun, yet two of the main characters are left in their feelings towards the end. Simone (Tetona¬†Jackson) and Bryson (Tequan¬†Richmond) take a break from conquering the world as their friends David (RJ¬†Walker), Crystal (Brittany¬†Inge), Ari (Leland¬†Martin), and Tia (Instagram¬†star¬†Lala¬†Milan) play board games hosted at Bryson’s place. This episode establishes more of their friends character development, motif, etc.

(Speaking of character development,I respect Lena Waithe and BET for representing the black LGBT community. Bryson and David’s friend Ari is gay and it doesn’t seem to throw off their chemistry as friends.)

While most twenty-somethings choose the club as an outlet for fun, Bryson made it a tradition to opt from club-hopping and stay at home with drinks, snacks, and the good energy of some great friends playing board games. Simone and her girls arrive at Bryson’s crib but not before swapping stories about their sex life. The door swoops open and the gentlemen’s faces beam with schoolboy joy. It’s a battle of the sexes. Let the games begin!

Excluding Ari and Tia, this episode establishes the crew’s history of friendship dating back to elementary school. Bryson has always had eyes for Crystal yet remained in the friend zone; meanwhile a shared beer and a couple laughs between David and Crystal reveal that David’s position as an aspiring preacher possibly lead to their falling out as a couple.

While David and Crystal’s relationship seems like a lost cause, he advises Bryson that maybe the timing isn’t right for him to be with Simone, or that they have things to work out before being together. As someone whose been in the friend zone a few times, I feel you bruh! Game¬†Night¬†chronicles a topic our generation spends a lot of time obsessing over: love and what we think love truly is.

Tune in next Tuesday to see what happens with Bryson, Simone, and the rest of the gang next Tuesday at 10.

-TheOriginalChatman

“Boomerang” Season 1, Episode 1 Review

"Being young, black, and gifted is cool but it's exhausting."

Although the millennial generation is often misunderstood thru the eyes of those before us, lately we’ve been made more relatable with hit TV shows such as Atlanta or Insecure. (Shout out to Donald Glover and Issa Rae!) The same thing can be said for¬† BET’s new series Boomerang—¬† a continuation of the titular-film-turned series with an updated story.

The series premiere follows the children of Marcus Graham and Jacqueline Boyer—-Simone and Bryson—vying to break from free their parents’ shadows. Their parents built The Graham Agency which is Atlanta’s top-notch ad agency. It’s already established Simone and Bryson are young, black, and successful. What more could they ask for?

There’s a strong connection between the movie and its series successor; however, the level of comedy in this rom-com doesn’t hit right away. Nevertheless, the series does seem promising based off one scene in particular. The business-savvy Marcus has the opportunity to create an ad for a energy drink client. This energy drink is geared towards millennials, and when Marcus sees the opportunity to pitch a different direction for the commercial he takes it–that’s until the pesky yet determined Simone swoops in.

Overall, the show may be geared towards the younger generation but for older fans of the movie, I believe everyone can find something enjoyable in the series. Be sure to check out Boomerang on BET Tuesday nights at 10.

-TheOriginalChatman

TheOriginalChatman’s review of “Superfly”

TheOriginalChatman brings forth a review of the 2018 reboot of the ’70s crime-drama “Superfly.” Read here.

Trevor Jackson breathes new life into a character from a previous era of blaxploitation films. Check out TheOriginalChatman‚ĄĘ’s¬†SPOILER-FREE¬†review below.

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Photo via Twitter (@SuperflyMovie)

In the film’s reboot of¬†Superfly,¬†Trevor Jackson¬†(Burning Sands, Grown-ish)¬†¬†plays Youngblood Priest, a long-time drug dealer desperately looking to get out the life and bring his loved ones with him. In the film’s opening scene, his demeanor is calm, smooth, and calculated. His attitude turns up a notch when he calmly threatens a colleague for money he owes Priest.

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The rest of the film follows Priest and his best friend/partner Eddie (Straight Outta Compton‘s¬†Jason Mitchell) as they attempt to make a clean get-away from their lavish life of hustling—if only it were that easy. They run into jealous rivals wanting to wipe them off the map, dirty cops, and more.

Without the original film’s gritty look and feel (side note: I’ve never experienced the first film, so I’m just making assumptions here!), the glitz and glamour immediately attracts audiences. Furthermore, not much different from superhero films,¬†Superfly¬†offers fantastic hand-to-hand fight sequences mixed with the typical gunfight here and there.

In my opinion, Priest is a good person wishing to turn his life around despite his life’s circumstances. The ultimate connection I’m trying to make here is that Priest illustrates the narrative of a urban legend/anti-hero climbing his way to the top and refusing to be a product of his environment—something much more realistic than heroes and villains battling it out. How much realer can it get than that?

Additionally, crime-dramas typically reach a point of vulnerability when characters express thoughts and feelings reflecting real life dilemmas. At one point in the movie, a scene highlights the societal effects of police brutality in its rawest form, which allows for a true depiction the other characters put on full display.

With the exception of a few predictable plot lines, Director X’s modern take on¬†Superfly¬†is the blockbuster event of the summer you don’t wanna miss! Hit up the comment section and give me your feedback on the film!

Marvel’s “Black Panther” (spoiler free) review! #WakandaForever

Check out TheOriginalChatman’s spoiler-free review of “Black Panther.”

¬†Check out TheOriginalChatman’s ‚ĄĘS P O I L E R. FREE. review below!¬†

As I left the theater earlier this evening, I heard the final words from some guy echo¬† behind me that¬†Black Panther was “not too much” and “not too less.” Furthermore, he shared with his friend that the movie itself was “just right.” I’d be hard pressed to disagree.

Black Panther¬†follows the events after the death of T’Chaka, leader to fictional African nation Wakanda. Wakanda disguises itself as a poor third-world country; however, within its secretive holographic barriers is a country more technologically advanced than the outside world. The country’s main resource, vibranium, is a metal that absorbs any kinetic energy vibrations into it. T’Challa, T’Chaka’s only son, follows lineage as the new Black Panther and new king to Wakanda, vowing to protect its land and people from outside sources.

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Photo Credit Marvel Studios

Within minutes of the film’s opening, you’ll notice that Wakanda is visually stunning to experience on the screen. It’s such a beautiful setting you’ll forget it doesn’t actually exist. Furthermore, Marvel and director Ryan Coogler (Fruitvale Station,¬†Creed) bring a whole new light surrounding Africa. Hollywood typically has a tradition of undermining the overall cultural aesthetic of Africa, hugely ignoring its customs and other cultural elements. From the wardrobe the actors wear to traditional dances and rituals resembling real African traditions, Coogler pays homage to a place often overlooked by others.¬†

Aside from the visuals I gotta be honest and say….every. single. actor. DELIVERS! Chadwick Boseman¬†and Michael B. Jordan‘s respective roles as T’Challa and Killmonger have ambitious motives. On one hand, T’Challa balances his duties as king as he deals with his own personal demons. On the other, Killmonger is quite possibly the first Marvel villain we feel sympathy for.

Let’s not forget the ladies also.¬†Danai¬†Gurira¬†and¬†Lupita Nyong’o characters Oloye and Nakia are so badass that they damn near steal the show as members of T’Challa’s all-women security force, the Dora Milaje. Meanwhile¬†Letitia Wright¬†represents as Shuri, the tech-saavy teenage sister of T’Challa. These characters tell an important narrative, especially in the superhero genre.¬†Black Panther¬†provides an opportunity for the female cast members to shine outside of basic supporting roles or love interests.

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Photo Credit: Marvel Studios

Finally, there’s two points that briefly need to addressed.

  1. Black children can feel powerful, positive reinforcement when they are properly represented on the big screen. Ryan Coogler and Marvel do an amazing job of accomplishing this feat with this movie.
  2. On the surface,¬†Black Panther¬†is a superhero film. Yet it also serves as a strategically-placed reminder—which isn’t too politicized, so no worries! —¬† of the sociopolitical problems underprivileged black people continue to face in the world today.

Thanks for reading TheOriginalChatman’s‚ĄĘ review of¬†Black Panther! Feel free to drop a comment or two below. Don’t forget that it’s #WakandaForever. Until next time!