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August 13, 2005

Poor Brothers

John Singleton has earned my permanent wrath as a storyteller in black and white. It started as the kind of hate only poets can sustain, way back in the early 90s when he broke onto the scene with Boyz N The Hood. Of course it was his trumpeted brilliance as a USC Film student that got me interested in the first place. But the fact of the matter is I hate how he eviscerated all of my bourgie friends in the Dons from his filmic vision of the emerging myth of Southcentral LA. I can't remember which one of the two gave me greater heartburn, Terry McMillan or John Singleton. But that was then.

Today, it cannot be argued that Singleton is anything but an accomplished and mature filmmaker. So there are really no excuses to be had for his latest film 'Four Brothers'.

FB lies in the space between action and drama, a good story and clever entertainment. In the end, the thing it's not is a smart and funny film. It's almost smart and almost funny. In the end, the whole thing just breaks apart when you realize that somehow you are suppsed to feel empathy for a gang of brothers who shot up half of Detroit in a vendetta against the killers of their mother.

The timing and the editing of this film is just miserable. Too many shots of actors looking off in the distance behind the camera. Turn the camera around, dammit. Too many drawn out scenes.. ah. It could have been better but it wasn't.

Since I'm feeling rather combattive and restive this evening, I'll just cruise around looking for people to defend Singleton's singularly gritty hard-knock life. This one could have been fun like 'Biker Boyz' but I think he scotched the potential of this one.

I give it 72%

Posted by mbowen at August 13, 2005 08:16 PM

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oh, let's not forget singleton's real contribution--he's the forerunner in the movement of the late '90s and early millennium that mandated that only spectacularly attractive women are allowed in movies and videos. no idea of FB ties into that, but tht's been his steez.

i'd love to call him mature, but "baby boy" remains one of the silliest movies ever.

Posted by: Bomani [TypeKey Profile Page] at August 14, 2005 06:27 AM

Now that you mention it, there are no women in this film at all, not as living breathing beings, but as ghosts and desires. It's not about any woman at all, but what thinking about a woman makes knuckleheads do. 'Escape from Precinct 13' did a much better job with real women in the genre of urban snowy shootemups.

Posted by: Cobb [TypeKey Profile Page] at August 14, 2005 08:11 AM

I'm so done with movies that I actually found March of the Penguins entertaining. Didn't want to see Four Brothers. And from what I've heard, I'm glad I saved the $40 and spent it taking the little one to Seaside Lagoon.

Posted by: james manning at August 15, 2005 11:54 AM