The mission of The Department of Afro-American Research Arts and Culture to identify the global significance of the creative contributions pioneered by an international diaspora of Blackness
The Department of Afro American Research, Arts, and Culture's Archive is a subdivision of DAARAC that digitally preserves Afro American films. On this website, you may browse our archive that consists of film posters, screenshots, and movie synopsis. All information provided here is for research and reference purposes. We do not host full-length films on this website.

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Saturday, June 22, 2013

Candyman: Farewell To The Flesh (1995)




















Starring:
  • Tony Todd
  • Kelly Rowan
  • William O'Leary
IMDB.com
The Candyman moves on to New Orleans and starts his horrific murders once more. This time, his intended victim is a school teacher. Her father was killed by the Candyman, and brother wrongly accused of the murders.

Candyman: Farewell to the Flesh is actually a good sequel to the successful original. This one goes more in-depth than the original as we find out how Candyman came about and we see how he was killed. The plot is somewhat similar to the original. Candyman has moved from the slums of Chicago to the streets of New Orleans, during Mardi Gras. A schoolteacher named Annie Tarrant, whose father was murdered "Candyman-style" a few years earlier, does not believe in Candyman and says his name 5 times into a mirror to prove to her students he doesn't exist. Wrong move Annie. Soon after she does this a series of brutal murders occur while Candyman seduces her to "Be with him". Lots of bees and blood in this good sequel!

Friday, June 21, 2013

Gang Related (1997)



















Starring:
  • Tupac Shakur
  • James Belushi
  • Lela Rochon
IMDB.com
Two corrupt cops murder an undercover DEA agent by mistake, and frantically try to cover their tracks by framing a homeless man for the crime. That involves juggling evidence, coaching witnesses, and improvising to keep their desperate scheme from unraveling.

Detectives Divinci and Rodriguez are crooked cops involved in dealing drugs and murdering the competition. When one of their victims turns out to be an undercover DEA agent, they are put on the case to find the murderer. With DEA agent Richard Simms desperate to get the killer, Divinci and Rodriguez realize that they have to frame someone else for the crime. Settling on homeless man 'Joe', they give him drink, get him to sign a statement and falsify the evidence to make a strong enough case to convict.

I had half wanted to see this film for a few years simply because I am keen to take the few chances I have to try see Tupac acting – for me he was the savior of Poetic Justice and he is much better than the vast majority of the hip hop 'actors' we have seen recently. The plot here is pretty much a standard thriller plot based around two dirty cops and, although it lacks real flair or imagination, it still manages to do its job and be an enjoyable and occasionally quite gritty little thriller. It could have done with a greater sense of tension though, for the majority of the time it merely unfolds as opposed to being fast paced or very exciting but it is still an enjoyable enough little film even if it pretty much goes where you expect it to.

The cast is a big factor in making this film more interesting and making it rise above the other genre films that it will be competing with on the bottom shelf. Belushi has been in more than his fair share of sh*t video thrillers but here he is actually quite good and seems comfortable with material that, although not great, is certainly nowhere near the low level that he is getting used to. In his last film, Tupac is great and he should be a role model for all hip hop stars who want to act – even just in the choice of role he gives a great example – can you imagine many other rappers playing a corrupt cop with as little glamor as Tupac had? Snoop is a fine example, his last few roles have been versions of the caricature he plays in his music and many other rappers do the same – trading on their image rather than acting. Tupac is far from his gangsta image and he delivers a very down to earth performance – as with several other of his films he made this better by his presence. The gorgeous Lela Rochon is given an eye candy role at the start but she is able enough to make a good performance out of it (as well as having a body and looks to die for!). The smaller roles add the feeling of cast depth even if some of them add little else. Quaid for example has so little to do you wonder why he bothered – he feels like he should be a bigger part of the film but he isn't. For the opposite reason Jones, Cole and Paymer are all quite good because they are minor roles and they just feel like quality padding.

Overall this is not a particularly earth shattering thriller but it does its job well enough and I found it pretty enjoyable. A well-known cast certainly helps to make the material rise slightly above the rest of its genre but it is a great performance by Tupac in a different role that made it for me; if only other rappers were less afraid of their image when making role choices then we may not be experiencing a wave of awful blaxploitation films all over again.

The Negotiator (1998)




















Starring:
  • Samuel L. Jackson
  • Kevin Spacey
  • David Morse
IMDB.com
In the midst of an elaborate conspiracy, an expert negotiator is driven to the edge when he's framed for the murder of his partner, as well as embezzling money from his department's pension fund. His only chance to prove his innocence is to take hostages himself, acquire the services of another expert negotiator, and find out who's running the conspiracy before it's too late.

In terms of plot and story development, The Negotiator offers little that is new. It's a very conventional film. However, it gets a much needed injection from its cast, especially the two leads Jackson and Spacey, whose verbal exchanges are exciting and dynamic.

The far-fetched yarn introduces us to Chicago hostage negotiator Danny Roman (Samuel L. Jackson). Roman's partner Nate (Paul Guilfoyle) is brutally murdered just as he is about to expose a bunch of cops who have been stealing from the Disability Fund. All the clues at the scene of Nate's murder point to Roman being the guilty one. Danny is arrested for the killing, but he remains determined to prove his innocence. He violently besieges the Internal Affairs division of the Chicago P.D, taking several hostages at gunpoint, and proceeds to demand that his name be cleared. Hostage negotiator Chris Sabian (Kevin Spacey) arrives on the scene to talk Roman into surrendering his hostages.

The ease with which Jackson's character is framed for a crime he didn't commit is hard to believe, and his subsequent decision to take hostages in order to clear himself stretches credibility to the limit. The solution to the mystery - with the revelation of the real killer coming right at the end - isn't especially believable either. However, improbabilities aside, The Negotiator is an entertaining work. As mentioned, Jackson and Spacey's confrontations are quite dynamic and help to make the film compulsively watchable. Siege thrillers by their very definition are exciting, and this one is no exception. Granted, The Negotiator is totally conventional fare, but within its limitations it remains a well-crafted, absorbing and agreeable offering.

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