Tag Archives: Lakeith Stanfield

Sorry To Bother You (2018) Blu-ray Movie Review By D.M. Anderson

Sorry to Bother You

Director: Boots Riley
Writer: Boots Riley
Stars: Lakeith Stanfield, Tessa Thompson, Jermaine Flower, Omari Hardwick, Terry Crews, Danny Glover, Steven Yeun, Armie Hammer and the voices of David Cross, Lily James, Patton Oswalt, Forest Whitaker & Rosario Dawson.

Sorry to Bother You is full of surprises, never once unfolding like we expect it to. That alone make it at-least interesting, whether you end up liking the film or not (I suspect many viewers definitely won’t). That it’s also wickedly funny, completely original and features a charming, relatable protagonist makes it one of the best films of the year.

I know from personal experience that telemarketing is a shitty way to make a living, so I empathised with Cassius Green (Lakeith Stanfield) almost immediately. Living in his uncle’s garage and desperate for cash, he lands a job at RegalView, a telemarketing company that pretty-much hires anybody who walks in the door. And why not? Telemarketers aren’t paid unless they make make sales. Despite rallying staff pep-talks by overly enthusiastic managers – “Stick to the script!” – telemarketing appears to be yet-another job he sucks at.

All that changes when co-worker Langston (Danny Glover) shows him how to use his “white voice.” In almost no time, he’s the star of the office and promoted to be one of the company’s Power Callers, who make huge deals with mega-corporations. I knew guys like this during my brief tenure as a telemarketer. They were usually the most overbearing assholes in the room. Cassius’ sudden success soon alienates those close to him, including co-workers Salvador (Jermaine Fowler) and Squeeze (Steven Yeun), who lead a strike against RegalView over unliveable wages.

Meanwhile, people everywhere are protesting WorryFree, a corporation that provides slave labor – working for basic necessities, but no wages – to other companies. When Cassius crosses the RegalView picket line, he becomes a national punchline when struck by a soda can. Still, he’s aggressively courted by obnoxious WorryFree founder Steve Lift to come work for him. It’s when Cassius learns how Lift wants to use him that Sorry to Bother You takes one of the most unexpected narrative turns I’ve ever seen, resulting in a final act that’s completely bonkers…in the best way possible.

Not that the film wasn’t already a little strange up to that point. Taking place in what can be described as an alternate universe, Sorry to Bother You presents a slightly dystopian society where labourers are commodities who are easily placated by mundane rewards and idiotic entertainment. The film itself is quirky and occasionally surreal, with a sense of humour that sometimes reminded me of  Idiocracy filtered through Wes Anderson. Along the way, writer/director Boots Riley aims satiric daggers at a variety of targets. And most of the time, he hits bullseyes. 

But all the self-assured cleverness in the world would mean nothing without engaging characters. As Cassius, Lakeith Stanfield is note-perfect, displaying a vulnerable likability, perplexed by his circumstances while simultaneously going with the flow…for awhile, anyway. Tessa Thompson is also effective as Detroit, his activist girlfriend who serves as his moral compass. Most of the secondary characters and antagonists are painted in broader strokes, but amusing nevertheless (Armie Hammer is an absolute riot). Certain characters’ “white voices” are hilariously rendered by a variety of well-known actors and comedians.

Despite RegalView’s company mantra, Sorry to Bother You definitely does not “stick to the script.” The result is a unique, offbeat satire that’s destined to polarise audiences for years to come. Those not on-board with its concept and ideas will want to get off this train before the first Equisapien even shows up. Everyone else will want to revisit the film again and again. This is an outstanding great directorial debut and I look forward to Boots Riley’s next.

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Death Note (2017) Movie Review by Darrin Gauthier

DEATH NOTE

Director: Adam Wingard
Writers: Charley Parlapanides (screenplay), Vlas Parlapanides (screenplay)
Stars: Nat Wolff, Lakeith Stanfield, Margaret Qualley

Plot:  Light Turner, a bright student, stumbles across a mystical notebook that has the power to kill any person whose name he writes in it. Light decides to launch a secret crusade to rid the streets of criminals. Soon, the student-turned-vigilante finds himself pursued by a famous detective known only by the alias L.

Running Time: 1 hour 41 minutes
Rotten Tomatoes Score: Critics 43%   Audience  26%

Why I Watched it: I know of the anime series and the manga, the trailer looked interesting and I wanted to see what Adam Wingard could do with the source material.

Random Thoughts: This is a Netflix Original Movie and it dropped on August 25th and I had already heard bad buzz about the film, now I will say this Death Note is  hugely popular, you have the anime series, live action the manga so there were fans waiting to see this and of course they were waiting with their knives out cause Death Note has a passionate fan base.  Of course the bad buzz comes from all the changes that were made, so my review will be about the movie I saw and not the earlier material.  I will say this from what I read and what I know, yeah major changes.

What I liked: The set up and what this note book The Death Note can do is a really cool premise, the death God voiced by Willem Dafoe is odd and a little scary and of course with Dafoe’s voice he’s creepy as hell.  The idea that you could write someone’s name in a book and kill them is a very good idea, it sets up right versus wrong, sets up playing God, fun stuff to play with in a horror/fantasy film. I want to single out the acting, Lakeith Stanfield is very good as L, he’s the best thing in this.  He plays a very weird, different, smart character but he does it in a very unique way, the way he moves, the way he thinks and acts is very impressive, it’s a full performance.  Shea Whigham is pretty much a plot device as Nat Wolfe’s dad but he’s very good here, he’s not a cliche at all, he seems a loving father and he has some really nice moments.  My favorite part is the tension with Stanfield and Whigham near the end there’s a scene at the dinner table that is so good between them, the tension is very high and the emotion is good, better than the actually finale.

What I didn’t like: The first part is decent to good but man the wheels fall off badly by the end.  The main problem with this is they take such a big and expansive world of the source material  and they try to jam it into 1 hour and 41 minutes, too much is loss here, it feels rushed and they take way too many shortcuts and it hurts not only the story but the characters as well.  One wonders why they didn’t make it a limited series at Netflix even if it was four episodes try and make it fuller and have more impact.  Right at the beginning the Death Note falls from the sky and Nat Wolfe just picks it up, I mean no build up, we know nothing yet, we don’t know him at all so we’re not invested at all.  The whole movie is like that, even the character of L should be so much more, if they took the time they could have developed a relationship between the two main characters, L is very smart and of course Light as the Death Note, could be fun cat and mouse and also we could explore each character, what they believe in.

I really didn’t like what they did with Margaret Qualley’s character she’s a cheerleader, nice character description, of course she goes with Light and of course they become drunk with power and of course she becomes darker and tries to manipulate the situation.  The big problem is we don’t know who she is, she ends up as almost the main villain.  I had some problems with some of the acting but it wasn’t the main problem, I blame the script and I blame the director Wingard for not taking more care with this material.  The effects are cheap looking, the gore doesn’t do anything for the story. The worst part is near the end and a couple of songs they play, it’s jarring cause they’re cheesy as hell and they don’t fit what came before it. Bad choices, as I said the wheels come off big time by the end, characters make choices that don’t make sense, they even resort to the old “talking killer” we have a character have to tell us what he did and why, and yes two characters end up hanging off a ferris wheel.

Final Thoughts: It’s too bad cause as we know there’s a good story here, and I will say there’s some things to like here but the longer this film went the more I didn’t like it.

Rating: 4/10