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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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Photos by Brad Barket/Getty Images for STARZ and Jon Kopaloff/Getty Images

50 Cent And Kenya Barris Developing TV Series Based On 'The 50th Law'

Curtis "50 Cent" Jackson is teaming up with actor and director Kenya Barris to create a television series based on Jackson's New York Times bestseller, The 50th Law, co-written by author Robert Greene. The Power executive producer and black-ish creator will join forces to create an original show that will stream on Netflix. No word on its premiere date or who has been cast for the series.

In true, 50 Cent fashion, Jackson took to his official Instagram to celebrate and share the news. "Netflix now you know this is a problem, Kenya Barris is no joke," reads his post's caption. "And if me and you ain’t cool, you ain’t gonna make it. 😆Let’s work! 💣Boom🔥 🚦GreenLight Gang #bransoncognac #lecheminduroi #bottlerover"

Jackson will serve as co-producer by way of his G-Unit Film & Television company which has a hand in Starz's Power Book II: Ghost and ABC's For Life. Barris will work alongside his #blackAF co-executive producer Hale Rothstein for the pilot and show's script under his production company, Khalabo Ink Society.

Speaking of Khalabo Ink Society, Barris' and his company will have a hand in a couple of upcoming projects: Kid Cudi's upcoming adult animated music series, Entergalactic and MGM's upcoming biopic on the career and life of comedy legend, Richard Pryor.

Fif's G-Unit Film & Television imprint, more original programming is on the way: Power Book III: Raising Kanan premieres this summer and Black Mafia Family has begun shooting its series debut. His current shows —Power Book II; and For Life—have been renewed for another season on Starz and ABC, respectively.

Jackson and Greene's The 50th Law is a semi-autobiographical book that tackles lessons around fearlessness and strategy while including inspiring stories from 50 Cent's life and tales from notable historical figures. It went on to be a New York Times Bestseller in 2009.

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Photos by Kevin Mazur/Getty Images and Gilles Petard/Redferns

Questlove Is Directing A Sly Stone Documentary

The Roots' own Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson will be directing a documentary about the life of Sly Stone, founding member of legendary funk band, Sly and the Family Stone.

The untitled feature film "follows the story of the influential artist, king of funk, and fashion icon Sly Stone, a musician who was breaking all the rules at a time when doing so was extremely challenging, even dangerous. The pressure of explosive mainstream pop success and the responsibility of representing Black America forced him to walk the fine line of impossible expectations."

“It goes beyond saying that Sly’s creative legacy is in my DNA," said Questlove in a press release. "....it’s a black musician’s blueprint....to be given the honor to explore his history and legacy is beyond a dream for me.”

“Sly’s influence on popular music and culture as a whole is immeasurable, and what his career represents is a parable that transcends time and place,” expressed Amit Dey, Head of MRC Non-Fiction. “Questlove’s vision, sensitivity and reverence brings the urgency that Sly’s story and music deserve, and we’re excited to be working with him to bring Sly’s story to life.”

The project will mark the four-time Grammy Award-winning artist's second directorial project (see his Sundance award-winning Summer of Soul) by way of his Two One Five Entertainment production company. Award-winning actor and rapper Common will serve as an executive producer via his Star Child Productions along with Derek Dudley and Shelby Stone via ID8 Multimedia. Derik Murray and Brian Gersh of Network Entertainment will serve as producers with Zarah Zohlman and Shawn Gee as producing partners.

The film's official title and release date has not been announced.

Earlier today in partnership with BET Digital and Sony Music's “This Is Black” Black History Month campaign, an animated music video for the group's 1968 hit single, "Everyday People." Revisit the classic song down below.

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FX's 'Hip-Hop Uncovered' Shows How Big U, Deb Antney, Haitian Jack, Bimmy & Trick Trick Hustled The Game With Street Savvy

Rarely do the strong survive long enough to tell their story in their own words, so bear witness to some of the most notorious deal makers and street shakers in FX's new docu-series Hip-Hop Uncovered. Hailing from hardcore locations all over the map, California's Eugene "Big U" Henley, Queens, New York siblings James "Bimmy" Antney and Deb Antney, Detroit's Trick Trick and Brooklyn's infamous Haitian Jack, represent the mind and the muscle of the rap world's background boss section, where the real money and moves are made.

After last week's two-episode debut (Feb. 12th) of a six-episode season, we have the cast member's thoughts on what it was like taping the show and why they participated in the series. Remember, these storied behind the scenes executives are normally in the background, but are now telling their important stories that weave their importance in the industry that shapes the world...hip-hop.“A true dime is steel-heavier than a dollar.” Watch Hip-Hop Uncovered Fridays at 10 pm ET on FX.

Deb Antney: "By doing the show, it was very therapeutic. I’ve opened up and let you get a glance of what is in my Pandora’s box. I’ve shed pounds, even inches. I’m truly grateful I’m here to tell any part of my story. Now get ready for my book Unmanageable Me.

The show allowed me to showcase my truth the way it needed to be told. The Debra Antney way!

Being Debra Antney was not always glitter or gold. Like most, I went through some things. I was defiantly a product of my environment, it made me who I am today! I always knew how to get myself to the top and that’s exactly what I did. Thank you for being a part of my journey."

 

 

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Big U: "I loved filming this show. It brought up so many memories going back to the house I grew up in, remembering those special moments with family. It was fun to sort of relive my past, but the best part was really seeing my evolution. I’m such a different man today than I was back then. I feel good that the world will get to see the person I’ve become. I did it because for the first time, I knew I could be in full control of my own story, especially since I’m an Executive Producer on the series."

 

 

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Trick Trick: "[Taping the series was] weird as f---!! Because, I’m not used to that type of attention. I’m very private, but oddly enough, it was somewhat... refreshing!

[I did the show] because Big U called.”

Bimmy:

"Well, I choose to do the series because I was told who was involved from the cast to an all-Black production. Taping was like me living my past all over again and we show[ed] the world how we really lived and the things we went through."

Haitian Jack: "Taping the series, to me, was definitely a great experience.  Everybody that was on there, [producers] Oby, Rashidi and everyone else were very polite to everyone and we got everything we asked for.  When you have a crew like that, it makes it really easy for you to work with it.

[I did the show because] I like when they started to say, 'Let’s dig back into the past,' because that’s what my life is all about, the past.  The fact that Big U came up with it and hit me up with it is another reason because I respect what he is doing out there with the kids and his foundation. So I didn’t mind teaming up with him and everybody else, Deb and Trick Trick, Bimmy. I think we have a great cast and I’m proud to be a part of it.  I think we did it because we all knew where hip-hop came from because we lived it.  We wasn’t just some people who just popped up out of nowhere and started blogging about it. We were there.  We watched the deaths, we watched the lifetime prison sentences.  We lost a lot of friends to death and prison. We all lived it.  They are going to get a good account of what went on in the 70s and 80s."

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