Tue. Oct 20th, 2020

Media : Film Takes |1980-6-9

Jamaa Fanaka presents us with an alternately realistic, razor edge, but sometimes unpersuasive view of prison life, which unfortunately fizzles to a predictable ending.

Badja Djola as Half Dead and Donovan Womack excel as the grizzly, jaded, seasoned convicts who ravage their young prey the way hungry old dogs fall over a new bone, The film’s focus on the rancid sex games and social structure of the prison culture succeeds inasmuch as Scared Straight may have kept law-abiding juveniles law abiding.

Leon Issac Kennedy plays the inmate who’s incarcerated for a murder he didn’t commit. The plot is woven around his attempts to win a boxing tournament which will eventually help him gain his freedom. The boxing medium has been flushed dry by now. After The Champ, Rocky I, Rocky II, ad nauseam, how much more nose crunching can anyone sit through? Penitentiary — Jerry Gross Organization — Jamaa Fanaka, producer and director

This one’s bound to become a cult classic. Here is a Jamaican modern-day Robin Hood tale that will appeal to a certain group who can appreciate Rastafarian culture, reggae music and, of course, the herb.

The soundtrack, featuring original Wailers, Peter Tosh and Bunny Wailer, dominates this brightly colored film.

The film follows drummer Leroy Horsemouth Wallace as he tries to break into the record industry as a salesman. In an endeavor to recover his stolen motor bike, Horsemouth stumbles into an island ring of organized crime and the kingpin’s daughter.

It’s an old plot, reworked to show the talents of many fine Jamaican musicians. The story, however, is tedious, because it tries to show too much in too little time. The Rastafarian Patois seems almost like a parody of American English: daughter means girlfriend, bad means good, ring means gun, and herb isn’t a seasoning. Rockers is a natural successor to The Harder They Come and will be playing for quite some time at those midnight cult theaters that are so hard to get to. Rockers — New Yorker Films — Patrick Hulsey, producer, Theodore Bafaloukos, director

…Richard Pryor is also starring in the comedy Wholly Moses, another Columbia Pictures production with Dudley Moore, Lorraine Newman, James Coco, Madeline Kahn, John Ritter, and Dom DeLuise. Pryor has got to be busiest actor of the year…Sidney Poitier’s directing Stir Crazy for Columbia Pictures, which stars Richard Pryor, Gene Wilder, and George Stanford Brown…

…Neil Simon’s next movie, Seems Like Old Times, will feature television’s Benson, Robert Guillaume, along with Chevy Chase and Goldie Hawn…

…Production on The Devil and Max Devlin for Walt Disney began in midApril. Bill Cosby will appear in it with Elliott Gould and Julie Budd…

…Don’t forget to catch Billy Dee Williams in The Empire Strikes Back….

..-Pam Grier plays a prostitute in the controversial Fort Apache which has been filmed in the Bronx for Time-Life Films. Paul Newman and Ed Asner, the film’s starring actors, have had to confront angry residents who charge the film only presents negative stereotypes of Hispanics and Blacks. Similar demonstrations are plaguing production of Charlie Chan and the Curse of the Dragon Queen in San Francisco. Cruisin,’ was hit with sometimes violent demonstrations in Greenwich Village when it was filmed last year. The debate over artistic freedom versus social responsibility is likely to continue for a long time…

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