Kitchen Sink Comedy Chronicles Cutthroat Rivalry Between Neighboring New Orleans Barbershops
Will (Martin Bradford) is the proprietor of Kupcakes, a hair salon located in Algiers, the only New Orleans parish on the west side of the Mississippi River. What makes him unique is that he’s also a grassroots activist who periodically stands on the proverbial soap box, preaching to anybody who’ll listen about Rosa Parks and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
He only has one employee, Nola (Jessica Morali), a gorgeous shampoo girl. They are secretly lovers, too, only because she has a very overprotective brother, Denzel (Reginal Varice), who is driven berserk just by the thought of her sleeping with anybody.
For example, he went crazy and beat up the entire staff at Napoli’s Pizzeria, when he suspected the owner of sleeping with her. Gesuippe Napoli (Ricky Wayne) was so incensed by the pummeling that he’s summoned a hit man from Sicily (Gianni Boromei) to knock off the perpetrator.
Meanwhile, right across the street from Kupcakes we find Marvin’s, an old-fashioned barbershop frequented by a colorful cast of characters. The place is run by Marvin (Vas Blackwood) and his two brothers, Hathi (Corey Mendell Parker) and Anaconda (Nicoye Banks).
Each of the siblings has a distinctive physical trait. Marvin has a huge Afro, Hathi has big ears, and Anaconda was blessed with gargantuan genitalia, hence the nickname. And he’s a sex addict dating Nola’s BFF, Karen (Kamille McCuin). Karen is the neighborhood drug dealer, not to be confused with another hustler who lurks around, pressuring passersby to purchase everything from watches to underwear.
Additional players in this theater of the absurd include Woody (Lucius Baston), an aspiring opera singer who only stutters when he speaks, and a trio of hooded Ku Klux Klansmen threatening to kill Will unless he stops the pontificating in favor of civil rights.
All of the above are afforded their moments to shine in N.O.L.A. Circus, a kitchen sink comedy written and directed by Luc Annest. The foul-mouthed Frenchman is apparently unaware of contemporary social trends, since his irreverent film debut arrives laced with profanity, ethnic slurs, misogyny and assorted other salacious material ostensibly intended to easily offend.
The picture relies on a preposterous plot somewhat redeemed by the fact that the outrageous antics onscreen are often hilarious. So, don’t be surprised if you end up laughing in spite of yourself.
Politically-incorrect, crassploitation fare strictly for the unshockable!
Very Good (2.5 stars)
Running time: 89 minutes
AMBI Media Group
Abductee Seeks To Escape Kidnappers In Mind-Bending Sci-fi Thriller
Renee (Noomi Rapace) was passing an unremarkable existence in suburban Kansas City the day she was abducted by five strangers after her car broke down. Until then, she was just an average divorcee doing her best to shield a young son (Percy Hynes White) from an embittered ex-husband’s (Paul Popowich) vicious barbs.
Otherwise, her routine was so drab, between work and helping Evan with his homework, that she decided to add a little spice to her life via skydiving. Then, hours before she got a chance to jump out of a plane as planned, she’s kidnapped by the aforementioned quintet with an unspoken agenda.
After being tasered, handcuffed and taped over the mouth, Renee was transported in the back of a panel truck to an unknown location. As she was rolled into the facility while lying on a gurney, she passes another captive who ominously warns, “They need us!”
Soon, Renee’s chained down in a cell where she finds herself being interrogated by jailers who obviously already know a lot about her, like the fact that she has a son and a terrible fear of spiders. However, they refuse to reveal why she’s be taken hostage.
Luckily, the fellow in the very next cell (Jonathan Potts) is willing to share what little he knows, once their torturers are out of earshot. He whispers that there are about 20 other inmates and he also cryptically makes reference to “G-10-12-X,” whatever that means.
That is the intriguing point of departure of Rupture, a mind-bending, sci-fi thriller directed and co-written by Steven Shainberg (Secretary). While the setup is kinda cool, unfortunately, the picture unfolds like your typical M. Night Shyamalan production whose mystery is ultimately resolved by a rabbit out of the hat resolution.
Getting there is all the fun in this paint-by-numbers affair which has the ingenious heroine resorting to one of the oldest cinematic clichés by escaping via the ventilation system. Just don’t let anyone spoil the conclusion, or you’ll have no reason to check out this hackneyed horror yarn co-starring Peter Stormare, Kerry Bishe’ and Michael Chiklis.
They’re coming to take me away, ha-ha!
Fair (1.5 stars)
Running time: 101 minutes
OPENING THIS WEEK
For movies opening April 28, 2017
The Circle (PG-13 for mature themes, drug use, a sexual situation and brief profanity) Suspense thriller about an ambitious executive (Emma Watson) at an unethical, social media company who finds herself increasingly pressured by its power-hungry CEO (Tom Hanks) to violate subscribers’ privacy. With John Boyega, Patton Oswalt and the late Bill Paxton.
How To Be A Latin Lover (PG-13 for coarse humor, sexual references, crude gestures and brief nudity) Sibling rivalry comedy about a jilted gigolo (Eugenio Derbez) who moves in with his long-estranged sister (Salma Hayek) after getting kicked out of the mansion by his elderly, heiress wife (Renee Taylor) of 25 years to make room for an even younger man. Ensemble includes Rob Lowe, Linda Lavin, Raquel Welch, Mckenna Grace, Kristen Bell, Michael Cera and Rob Corddry. (In English and Spanish with subtitles)
Sleight (R for violence, substance abuse and pervasive profanity) Action thriller about a street magician (Jacob Latimore) who starts dealing drugs for a mobster (Dule’ Hill) to raise his sister (Storm Reid) after the death of their mom. With Seyvhelle Gabriel, Cameron Esposito and SNL‘s Sasheer Zamata.
Bang! The Bert Berns Story (Unrated) Reverential retrospective chronicling the aborted career of songwriter/producer Bert Berns (1929-1967) who wrote such hits in the ’60s as “Twist & Shout,” “Hang on Sloopy” and “Piece of My Heart,” and helped launch the careers of The Drifters, The Isley Brothers, Janis Joplin, Neil Diamond and Van Morrison before passing away prematurely at the age of 38.
Danger Close (Unrated) War correspondent documentary chronicling the career of Alex Quade, a female reporter who, since 2001, has frequently embedded herself with U.S. Special Operations Forces on classified combat missions in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Grey Lady (R for violence and brief profanity) Crime thriller about a homicide detective (Eric Dane) who gets more than he bargained for when he ventures from Boston to Nantucket to track down his partner’s (Rebecca Gayheart) killer. Featuring Natalie Zea, Amy Madigan and Adrian Lester.
LA 92 (R for profanity, bloody images and disturbing violence) “No justice, no peace!” documentary revisiting the events surrounding the riots which broke out around Los Angeles in the wake of the Rodney King verdict.
The Mayor (Unrated) Political potboiler, set in South Korea, about the woes which ensue for the Mayor of Seoul (Min-sik Choi) after he announces plans to run for a record-breaking third term. With Do-won Kwak, Eun-kyung Shim and So-ri Moon. (In Korean with subtitles)
Obit (Unrated) Life after death documentary chronicling the work of the New York Times‘ obituary writers.
One Week And A Day (Unrated) Midlife crisis drama about a grieving shopkeeper (Shai Avivi) who, much to his wife’s (Evgina Dodina) chagrin, starts getting high and shirking his responsibilities after sitting Shiva for his recently-deceased 25-year-old son. Supporting cast includes Sharon Alexander, Uri Gavriel and Tomer Kapon. (In Hebrew with subtitles)