This week we continue with our Gangster films but this time bring you into today's innercity streets of Baltimore. This movie features Hip Hop Superstar Common who plays a wishfully rehabilitated ex convict who is looking to start a life on the straight and narrow but finds himself on the bad side of those he left the streets to. It's Lights, Camera, and "RE"-Action time at


When I saw the previews to the movie I put it on my radar to make sure I didn't miss its release. Turns out it was released on a very limited amount of screens so I had to drive near an hour to see it. Was it worth it? You be the judge.


The movie is star-studded with a veteran cast, including Danny Glover from Lethal Weapon fame, Meagan Good of "Think Like a Man", Charles S. Duttom of Fame and Roc, Michael Kenneth Williams of The Wire and Boardwalk Empire, and Dennis Haysbert from "24" and the Allstate Commercials.


The movie was written and directed by Sheldon Candis a native of Baltimore, the city where story is told from. Candis' story evolved from experiences from his childhood, where the idea for this movie "Luv" was born.

Growing up in inner city Baltimore, Sheldon Candis, director and co-writer, recognized the allure of street life with its quick money and adrenaline-laced exploits at a very early age, finding himself drawn to the outsize characters who slipped across the line of respectability, including a relative rumored to be on the wrong side of the law. 

Sheldon says... “There were whispers that an older family member was a drug dealer,” he says. “I sometimes rode shotgun with him, and even though I had heard the stories, I was a 9-year- old excited to be hanging out with my hero. During those rides, he would explain to me what it takes to be a man.”  


The story leads off introducing the young new comer, Michael Rainey, Jr. as he eases into his break-out performace as 11 year old, Woody Watson, that is sure to garner many more roles in the near future. 

Woody starts off the day as many others accept today he spends it with his Uncle Vincent, played by Hip Hop Superstar, Common, who he idolizes because he is the only male figure in his life. Vincent is an excon looking to make a fresh start and looks to be that excellent role model for his nephew. He has big plans for his new start and he wants his new found esteem to shine through for his nephew as well. Together pull out of the yard in a shiny black Benz to what seems to be a casual ride to school. A change of plans occurs due to a lie on Woody's part and Uncle Vincent sees the need to show is nephew a thing or two about being a man. Little did they know is was going to be a tought lesson than either of them thought.


Woody finds himself in the middle of a his Uncle and his past demons and is forced to grow much faster than he had hoped. With a dream of seeing his long lost mother he survives the struggle and emmerges as his Uncle intended, "A Man"


The performance given by Common and Rainey is very good. I was actually taken by surprised by the convincing street saavy street luitenant that Common's character proved to be. Rainey was able to portray an array of emotions that would be true to an 11 year old. They both performed excellently allong with Glover and Haysbert. It's an excellent film to catch with both your boys or your main squeeze, however we also beleive the movie will be just as entertaining on DVD.

Since there isn't a nationwide release of the film it may not be showing in your area. If not, I urge you catch it at the first chance you get.

Although we do recommend a big screen viewing we the reality of it is that you may not be able to see the film in your are so you won't have a choice but to wait for DVD. 




While watchin "LUV" I could not help but to think of the Movie Fresh.

Both feature young starts caught up in the violence of the streets but survive in much the same way.

Fresh is a movie about a bright young African-American boy attempts to survive life in the city by acting as an errand boy for a drug dealer in this thoughtful, sharply plotted drama.

Known as Fresh, the young man must use his delivery jobs to support himself and his troubled sister, receiving nothing from his distant, alcoholic father but the occasional chess lesson. His intelligence and quiet determination serve him well, as he wins the trust of his employer and settles into an unpleasant but survivable routine. 

Even this small comfort disappears, however, when Fresh accidentally witnesses the killing of a classmate and becomes a potential target himself. Forced into an impossible situation, he puts his experience and strategic ability to good use, developing a tricky plan to protect his own life and defeat the killers.

First-time director Boaz Yakin emphasizes restraint and realism, presenting potentially sensationalistic material with a minimum of violence and flash. Instead, attention is placed on the strong, layered performances, particularly Sean Nelson as Fresh and Samuel L. Jackson as his embittered father.

While some have questioned the film's treatment of inner city life, the film was generally acclaimed, thanks to its seriousness and complexity.   ~ Judd Blaise, Rovi

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