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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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A ‘Fresh Prince Of Bel-Air’ Reboot Is In Development

A Fresh Prince of Bel-Air reboot is officially in development and being shopped to streaming companies including Netflix, HBO Max and Peacocks, according to The Hollywood Reporter. The series will be a dramatic reimagining of the hit NBC sitcom, and is based off the viral trailer created by up-and-coming director, Morgan Cooper, last year.

Cooper’s Bel-Air, puts a dramatic spin on the story of Smith’s character’s move from West Philadelphia to the wealthy suburb of Bel-Air, Calif., where he lived with his Aunt Viv and Uncle Phil and cousins, Hilary, Ashley, Carlton and Nicky. The reboot has been in development for over a year and will be an hourlong drama, per THR.

Smith was so impressed with Cooper’s trailer that he flew to Miami to meet him last year. “I saw this trailer that Morgan Cooper hooked up. This is the first time that I’ve heard something and that I was like, ‘Yo, that’s an idea that is brilliant,” he said at the time.

Smith’s Westbrook Studios and Universal TV are behind the series revival. The original producers and creative team of Quincy Jones, Benny Medina, and Andy and Susan Horowitz, have reportedly signed on to executive produce the project.

The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air starred Smith, Karyn Parsons, James Avery, Alfonso Ribiero, Tatyana M. Ali, and Daphne Maxwell Reid, the latter of whom replaced Janet Hubert as “Aunt Viv.”

The sitcom ran from 1990 until 1996.

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Watch Daniel Kaluuya As Fred Hampton In ‘Judas And The Black Messiah’ Trailer

Daniel Kaluuya transforms into Fred Hampton in the powerful new trailer for Judas and the Black Messiah. The nearly two-minute long clip shows Kaluyaa as the Black Panther Party leader delivering a powerful speech to a group of party members. Lakeith Stanfield, who portrays FBI informant William O’Neal, is also featured in the short teaser.

Directed by Chaka King and produced by Ryan Coogler, Judas and the Black Messiah tells the story of Hampton, who was assassinated by the FBI and Chicago Police in 1969, at the age of 21. Born in Chicago in 1948, Hampton mobilized a generation and became the Chairman of the Illinois chapter of the BPP. Hampton was so influential, that the FBI conspired to silence his voice. O’Neal was hired by the FBI to infiltrate the BPP, and rose up the ranks to become a sergeant in arms within the Party.

O’Neal became so close to Hampton that he provided the FBI with the floor plan to his apartment to carry out the fatal raid in 1969. He befriended Hampton only to betray him in the end. The film explores that dynamic and O’Neal’s fear that his cover will be blown.

After Hampton’s death, O’Neal went into infamy. He passed away in 1990o of a reported suicide.

Judas and the Black Messiah is slated to open next year.

Watch the trailer below.

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Keke Palmer To Host 2020 MTV VMAs, Joins ‘Proud Family’ Reboot

Booked and busy! Keke Palmer will be hosting this year’s MTV VMAs, she announced on Thursday (Aug. 6). The 26-year-old actress made the big reveal with a creative throwback to her character True Jackson.

“I heard y’all was tired of 2020, let’s go back to 2008,” Palmer captioned a video conversation featuring a split screen of herself in character as Jackson.

I heard y’all was tired of 2020, let’s go back to 2008 😩🤪🤩. Join me as I host the 2020 @vmas on August 30th on @MTV! #VMAs pic.twitter.com/cl5TcUrxnm

— Keke Palmer (@KekePalmer) August 6, 2020

Also on Thursday, Disney announced that Palmer has joined the cast of the forthcoming reboot of The Proud Family. Palmer will voice a new character named Maya Leibowitz-Jenkins. “Dreams do come true,” she happily tweeted.

The Proud Family: Louder and Prouder is slated to debut on Disney+ sometime soon. Show creator/executive producer, Bruce W. Smith and executive producer, Ralph Farquhar, are back on board, as well as original cast members, Kyla Pratt, Tommy Davidson, Paula Jai Parker, and Jo Marie Payton.

❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️ DREAMS COME TRUE! https://t.co/vgwmibrurS

— Keke Palmer (@KekePalmer) August 6, 2020

As for the 2020 VMAs, Lady Gaga and Ariana Grande top the nominees' list with nine nominations, followed by The Weeknd and Billie Eilish with eight nods each.

The show airs from Brookyln's Barclay's Center on Sunday, Aug. 30 at 8 p.m. ET/PT.

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