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Khary Kimani Turner

  • The Gospel

      The Gospel is the story of gifted young gospel singer David, who leaves his family’s church after his father, Pastor Fred Taylor (Clifton Powell), gets so caught up in church business that he can’t make it to his wife’s bedside in time to see her die. Over the next 15 years, David becomes a superstar in the world of secular music. He’s then called home when dad grows ill, and upon return he finds the church in turmoil. The Gospel represents a big stride in the cinematic portrayal of gospel music and the black church. But said stride is a misstep, thanks to a half-baked effort. Adding a few big gospel names to an incomplete product isn’t enough.
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  • Hustle & Flow

      Expectations for Hustle & Flow, — which John Singleton produced — were not high. However, Singleton and writer/director Craig Brewer pull through, offering a compelling and controversial tale, despite some cliché trappings. It sounds like a southern-fried 8 Mile: DJay [cq] (Terrence Dashon Howard), is a slightly underqualified Memphis pimp in a mid-life crisis who seeks success in the rap game. But even though Eminem has already run this storyline into the ground, a great cast and entertaining writing save the day.
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  • Rize

      An alternative to gangs, Clowning and Krumping are forms of dance born in south central Los Angeles. In his new film, Dave LaChappelle captures the rise of this art form and the complicated web of Los Angeles gang life. The cultural value of these dances is akin to breakdancing, bootdancing and other forms of African rhythm. Its inherent anger and freedom could easily be dismissed as youthful, black, ghetto angst gone wild. But LaChappelle’s fluid storytelling highlights the resilience of youth who are fighting their way out of the destruction of the 1992 L.A. riots.
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  • Diary of a Mad Black Woman

      A message to folks who are fed up with black stereotypes in the movies: give Diary of a Mad Black Woman a chance. Although the film adaptation of playwright-actor Tyler Perry’s hit stage play caters to a few overused caricatures, it also has its share of insightful moments. Despite a bumpy beginning littered with cultural clichés, the film manages (barely) to separate itself from yet another pedestrian black flick written to play on stereotypes.
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  • Hitch

      Will Smith’s action flicks aren’t the must-see films they used to be, and his tough-guy persona has worn thin. Fortunately, Smith takes a departure with this romantic comedy, and dusts off his charmingly boyish old persona of the Fresh Prince. Although the film is expectedly predictable, the niche works well for Smith, who’s best advised to stick with this new trajectory, lest he produce another I, Robot.
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  • Fade to Black

      Fortunately for Jay-Z, the twists on his roller coaster of a year can’t derail the energy that crackles throughout Fade to Black. The documentary tracks the recording of his latest album and captures his groundbreaking Madison Square Garden concert last year, which sold out in two hours. The rapper’s narration peppers the film with reflections on his life and career, but the rare studio footage is where the movie’s real meat can be found.
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