Saturday, July 02, 2005

Movie Review: Hustle & Flow

Hustle & Flow is destined to be the hip-hop movie of the summer! With a street release date of July 22nd, the box office is about to get a visit from hip-hop fans nationwide, eager to see the latest John Singleton produced flick. Written and directed by Craig Brewer, “Hustle & Flow” comes to the screens as the Sundance Film Festival Best Picture winner. By the time the movie is over, it may win your vote as well!

The movie comes off like a Dirty South version of "8 Mile" without a famous rapper playing the lead. Amazingly, Terrence Howard (of recent BET Award, Beyonce lap dance recieving fame) grabs the mic and puts the rhyming work in himself. He plays Djay, a two toned hooptie driving pimp, struggling in Memphis, Tennessee. We watch as he tries to regulate his stable of ho's, played by Taraji P. Henson, Paula Jai Parker, and "8 Mile" bad girl & Boomkat lead, Taryn Manning. At times it's hard to see who's regulating who, as he has problems with all of them.

One day at the local pool hall, he learns that Skinny Black (Ludacris), the hometown legend done good, is scheduled to roll through his old stomping ground. Arnell (played by the voice of South Park’s Chef aka Black Moses aka King Isaac Hayes! excellent casting btw) tells Djay that he should fall through, bring some of the sticky icky, and make a little cash when Skinny Black arrives. Djay has bigger plans though. He remembers Skinny Black from way back in the old school days and plans of giving him a demo. Once Skinny Black hears the tape, it should just be a matter of time before he makes it big, right?

Anthony Anderson plays Key, a friend of his from school, whom he bumps into one day at the corner store. Key has since then become an audio engineer at his church. He too once had dreams of making it big in the music business and remembers Djay’s from school and his talent. It’s only a matter of time before the two start working on songs, in preparation of Skinny Black’s visit. We watch as the crew chases their dreams, while fighting to escape their lives in the streets. They add Shelby (D.J. Quills) to the crew, turn Djay’s house into a mini recording studio and make a demo. Unlike “8 Mile”, where the concentration was on the battles and the storyline of the conflicting crews, “Hustle & Flow” shows us a rag-tag group desperately trying to improve their life with the only card they have left.

The scenes that show the actually working process of making music with limited tools is a reality for many artist. When Djay pulled out that Casio SK-5, I almost fell out of my chair! I don’t know how many song I heard back in the day, made on that same keyboard, that were amazing! Some people might find these scenes too long, but those of you out there on the musical grind should feel it. I thought they added a sense of reality to the overall plot. (“Turn off them fans Nola!”) Soon the demo is done and the day of the party is at hand. When Djay and Skinny Black met, the day he has dreamed of suddenly becomes a nightmare!

“Hustle & Flow” is a hell of a movie. To watch a character like Djay try to change his life with the only thing he has left, hip-hop, you can’t help but feel sympathy for his cause, if not his character. In the few scenes where he is allowed to let his pimp hand rest easy, you forget how trill he really is. There are some trifiln' scenes in the movie as well, but most of them help move the plot. Add to that, the strong performances from all the actors involved and you got yourself a big movie for the summer. Ludacris brings yet another great performance and the bathroom scene makes you wonder where the inspiration for it and his “Get Back” video actually came from. The southern hip-hop vibe seals the deal. With cameos from Three 6 Mafia’s DJ Paul, 1-20, and someone who looked like Haystack, it’s official.

Final Verdict- “Hustle & Flow” – 5 Star Oscar worthy flick! Don’t miss it!

Hustle & Flow - Theatrical Trailers

Additional Links~

tons of movie clips here!

(all photos by Alan Spearman except top still)

Three 6

Eightball & MJG

Hustle & Flow soundtrack info from Atlantic Records &

...oh yeah...IF YOU AINT FROM MEMPHIS>>>>YOU BULSH!T~~WHAT YOU SAY?>>>>a lil' something from the old school...don't sweat it...

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