the-land-movie-still
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.

 

From the Web

More on Vibe

Getty

Viola Davis, Jharrel Jerome, Tiffany Haddish Among All-Star Cast For ‘Good Times’ Live

Following the success of live reboots of The Jefferson's and All in the Family, earlier this year, ABC is bringing back another classic sitcom for a special holiday addition of Live in Front of a Studio Audience.

Good Times is the latest Norman Lear sitcom to be rebooted with an all-star cast that includes Viola Davis, Jharrel Jerome, Tiffany Haddish, Brooklyn Nine-Nine‘s Andre Braugher, Saturday Night Live alum Jay Pharaoh.  Additional cast members include Jerome’s When They See Us co-star, Asante Blackk, and Jamie Foxx’s eldest daughter, Corinne.

Davis and Braugher will portray James and Florida Evans, while Haddish will play neighbor, Willona Woods. Pharaoh is set to take on the role of the couple’s eldest son, JJ. Blakk will play JJ's younger brother, Michael Evans, and Corrinne will portray their sister, Thelma.

Patti Labelle and Anthony Anderson are billed to sing the Good Times theme song. Jerome’s role in the production has not yet been revealed.

Oscar winner Marisa Tomei and Oscar nominee Woody Harrelson will reprise their roles as Edith and Archie bunker for the latest live rendition of All in the Family. The weekly sitcom, created by Lear, premiered in 1971 and birthed the spinoffs, Maude and Good Times.

It’s unclear which episodes of the '70s sitcoms will be brought back to life for ABC's holiday special.

Live in Front of a Studio Audience airs on Dec. 18 at 8 P.M. EST.

Continue Reading
Photos By: Gareth Cattermole/Lars Niki/Gregg DeGuire/Steven Ferdman

Beyonce, Billy Porter, Cynthia Erivo And Eddie Murphy Snag Golden Globes 2020 Nominations

The nominees for the 77th Annual Golden Globes have been announced. Harriet actress Cynthia Erivo has been nominated for "Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture - Drama." Comedy legend Eddie Murphy snagged a "Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture - Musical or Comedy" nomination for his role in Dolemite is My Name. Hustlers star Jennifer Lopez has also been nominated for "Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role in any Motion Picture."

Entertainer and entrepreneur Beyoncé joins Erivo in the "Best Original Song - Motion Picture" category as their "Spirit" (The Lion King) and "Stand Up" (Harriet) singles go head to head. Speaking of The Lion King, the live-action film has also been nominated for the "Best Motion Picture - Animated" category. Billy Porter has been added to the "Best Performance by an Actor in a Television Series - Drama" ballot for his award-winning role in FX's Pose.

As for the networks and platforms with the most nominations, Netflix came out on top with a total of 17 nominations, HBO snagged 15 nods and Sony Pictures Releasing has taken home 8 nominations. You can see the full list of nominees here. Among the major snubs are Ava Duvernay's award-winning film When The See Us and HBO's hit series Watchmen starring Regina King.

Hosted by Ricky Gervais, the 2020 Golden Globes ceremony is set to take place at the Beverly Hilton on Sunday, January 5 and air at 8 pm EST on NBC.

Continue Reading
(L-R) Cast of Upn's 'Moesha'—William Allen Young, Yvette Wilson, Shar Jackson, Ray J, Brandy, Marcus T. Paulk, Lamont Bentley, And Sheryl Lee Ralph—celebrate the 100th episode of the comedy series.
Getty Images

A 'Moesha' Reboot Is On The Way

Moesha is returning to television as a reboot.

Former castmates Brandy Norwood and William Adam Young joined Sheryl Lee Ralph at her 29th Annual DIVA Foundation event over the weekend (Dec. 1) to confirm the rumor of the '90s sitcom's return to the small screen.

“We would like to know, would you like to do a ‘Moesha’ reboot?” asked Lee alongside Young. Brandy responded with a smile, “Yeah, absolutely. I’m here for it. I'm here to solidify that we’re gonna bring Moesha back.”

Moesha aired on UPN—once known as the home network for other popular black sitcoms like Girlfriends, Everybody Hates Chris, All of Us and One on One—from 1996 until 2001. During its 6-season run, the series followed a middle-class black family through the lens of an ambitious and ever-learning Moesha Mitchell, a teenager going through what many teenagers go through while living in South Central Los Angeles. The comedy-drama series was also known for its musical guests which included Big Pun, Dru Hill, Mary J. Blige, Silk, Soul 4 Real, and Xscape.

No word on what the reboot will be called, whether production has begun or if other former castmates Countess Vaughn, Marcus T. Paulk, Shar Jackson or Fredro Starr will be involved.

Unforgettable Fact: Moesha worked at VIBE Magazine as a gofer at the beginning of Season 5.

Continue Reading

Top Stories