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IFC Films

Review: Cleveland Kids Face The Choice To "Skate Or Hustle" In 'The Land'

This is what happens when drug deals become a gateway for bright but seemigly false dreams, catch an exclusive clip of how on  here.  

The dichotomy of how young people in America too often want to do positive, yet still drown in the trappings of their bad choices influenced by a meager socio-economical status, is perfectly illustrated in Steven Caple Jr.’s debut feature film, The Land. Legendary rapper Nas assisted Caple in executive producing the film and its soundtrack.

The new movie -- written and directed by Caple -- tells the story of four teens caught up in the rough streets of inner-city Cleveland, whom are desperate to trade their grim hood realities into professional skateboarding dreams in sunny California. Cleveland rapper Machine Gun Kelly also has a small role in the film.

In efforts to make these ambitions come to fruition, the group’s leader Cisco (Jorge Lendeborg Jr.) encourages them all to enter the drug trade. At first, the team composed of Junior (Moises Arias), Patty Cake (Rafi Gavnor), Bobbie (Ezri Walker) and Cisco engage in carjackings for quick paper. Then suddenly, one night, they manage to rip off a drug dealer for his stash of  molly.

Cisco then pursues to persistently coax his more cautious friends to start selling the substance. In exchange, he says they can all get promising skateboarding sponsorships, and help dig out their families from the precarious poverty stricken hole that buries them alive.

Little does Cisco know, however, the trouble and loss that lies ahead with the owner of the illegal merchandise, Momma (Linda Emond). Momma looks like your typical middle-aged white woman, but beneath the facade lies a heartless drug king pin, who hides behind the counter of her owned food market as a disguise. With that stark contrast of Momma’s character -- it’s blatant -- Caple gave extra push in the film’s character development.

Throughout the movie, you’ll see intricate details of each of the boys’ personal narratives. There’s Bobbie, the most careful of them all, who comes from a home where his father is a hard working mechanic -- and loves him unconditionally. That sense of security seems to make Bobbie a lot more aware of the trouble that the drug deals can bring, and he'sfar more reluctant to hustle. Then we have Patty Cake, a hood white boy who is in an interracial relationship with the mother of his little girl

Next comes Junior, the hilarious Puerto Rican kid who lives with his single-mother and little sister. His crazy antics and foolish ways will definitely make you crack a smile. And lastly, there’s Cisco, who sometimes has to stay with his crazy uncle and drug addicted prostitute, Turquoise (awesomely played by Erykah Badu)

As you can tell by now, their lives aren’t exactly ideal. Sandwiched in between the darkness, there is some light. You’ll see scenes of the boys enjoying the benefits that come with the lucrative hustling business. They go shopping for new threads and crash a rich dude’s penthouse party when they distribute some drugs to his celebration. Superficial much? Yes, but they are still just kids.

But like everything in life, things aren’t always what they seem through rose-colored lens. Amid small glimpses of light, there is far more tragedy. In retaliation for Momma’s stolen goods, Junior loses his life in the midst of a tsunami of fire works flooding the fourth of July night sky. Here, things get a little too cliché. Yes, there is the infamous hood slogan about not knowing if they are “gunshots or fireworks on July 4” but the storyline could have gotten a lot more creative. Nonetheless, the suspense that led to that tragic scene was palpable—and the aftermath, unbearable.

All in all, Caple does a good job at conveying that these are all goods at heart who made some wrong turns as young men. At the beginning of the film, one scene sticks out: Cisco goes into Slick’s convenient store to purchase some goods to make pancakes. Since Cisco doesn’t have enough, Slick lets him get everything for just a dollar. The remaining cash is his. When Cisco exits the store, a homeless man is outside begging for money to ride the bus, so he gives the man the only money he has for his fare. In hindsight, good people sometimes make bad choices, right?

The Land premieres in theaters in New York City and Los Angeles on Friday July 29th. Here is a never before seen exclussive clip of the film below.

 

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'Black Panther' Sequel Gets A 2022 Release Date

Chadwick Boseman and company are set to return to Wakanda for a second installment of the blockbuster action film Black Panther.

Director Ryan Coogler made the announcement Saturday (Aug. 24)  at D23 in Anaheim, California. Kevin Feige, Marvel's president, said Coogler provided a treatment with a new villain and title but nothing is set in stone.

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The May 2022 sequel of Black Panther is the farthest release date for any of the Marvel franchises. Thor: Love and Thunder is set for a Nov. 5, 2021 release date, while an as-yet-untitled Marvel film will make its way to theaters July 29, 2022.

Black Panther premiered in the U.S. in February 2018 and instantly became a massive success earning $700 million in the box office, and $1.3 billion globally. The earnings made the film Marvel's second-highest-grossing film of all time domestically. Avengers: Endgame, however, holds the title.

The film was not only an economic cultural success with its leading black cast, which included Boseman in the principle role starring alongside Michael B. Jordan, Lupita Nyong'o, Angela Bassett, Danai Gurira, Forrest Whitaker and Letitia Wright who played loveable and brilliant Princess Shuri.

May 2022 can't get here fast enough, but until then we'll just rewatch Black Panther every day until then.

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Exclusive: Omari Hardwick Believes Jay-Z's NFL Deal Can Take Kaepernick's Mission To New Heights

The conversation around Jay-Z's NFL deal has been heard from newsrooms to barbershops. While there are many perspectives to take into consideration, Omari Hardwick believes we should consider what Mr. Shawn Carter's move can do to bring Colin Kaepernick's mission to the next level.

Speaking Swaggy Sie's SiriusXM show The Heat Wave on SiriusXM's The Heat this week, the Power star opened up about the parallels of activism and where Jay stands with his decision to partner with the organization.

"Jay-Z's point which I really understand is that of 'How how long do we simply pledge in a hazing way of taking a knee and there not being necessary productivity from it or not a conclusion from it (when is there ever conclusion from it) or steps to be closer to a conclusion?'" Hardwick said. The actor, who is a friend of the rap icon, says Jay's deal can help broker new opportunities for people of color.

As previously reported, Jay's deal with the NFL provides him with the title of "live music entertainment strategist" which includes a partnership with Roc Nation and the businessman consulting on entertainment, specifically the Super Bowl halftime show, and contributing to the league’s activism campaign, Inspire Change. Other social-justice efforts were left unspecified but as mixed reviews rolled in, it was later rumored that Jay was also looking to take ownership of an NFL team.

Supporters of Kaepernick have slammed Jay for his decision but Hardwick believes there's more to be discovered.

"With Jay-Z, with all of his power, all of that with it (50 would be the same way) to not act on it and go, 'Listen Goddell, listen, Commissioner and team, being from the hood and now going to the heights of life that I made it to, these are some steps I think could activate that which Kaepernick and others like him want to activate as opposed to simply going, 'I'm protesting.'"

"My father says this, 'When the gun sounded, we of brown color knew what direction to run. If the gun sounds now, we'd be running into each other,'" he added.

"If [Jay's] view is of that, it is arrogant to assume people without that view would understand what Jay-Z is always doing. Jay-Z's view and his description of being past that don't necessarily mean that it's understandable by the people who are not at the same of view of that, but he's not forgetting them. His objective is to get the lowest common denominator of those who are brown to a better place. Half the league if not more than half the league is brown."

When it comes to Kaepernick, the actor says it's time for the athlete to play football again. "I feel like Kaepernick has to be given some sunshine in terms of playing ball," he said. "He's still young. You're telling me someone who is second or third-string player out there that shouldn't be second or third-string? Definitely not over Kaepernick."

Watch the interview below.

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