The film follows the same tired action genre step by step. Ex-con and single dad O2 (Tyrese Gibson) is trying to go straight for the sake of his young son Junior. But when the kid is kidnapped in what seems to be a typical carjacking O2 has to pull out all the stops to get him back. Turns out O2 had some nefarious dealings with a gang overlord named Big Meat (The Game) who likes to hack off people’s body parts with a machete. And now Meat wants some payback taking for ransom the only thing O2 cares about in the entire world [sniffle]. So what’s a guy to do? Pit rival gang leaders against each other hook up with a beautiful street hustler (Meagan Good) rob safety deposit boxes and get caught in an extended car chase that’s what. "It's either all or nothing " realizes O2. Very prophetic. Waist Deep has got some great character names--Meat O2 Coco Lucky Junior. Too bad most of the performances can’t live up to them. Tyrese (Four Brothers) does try his best though as the hunky O2 making a convincing albeit a tad stiff attempt at playing a father who’s whole life is his son. Good (Roll Bounce) gets to wear tight sexy clothes and strut around as Coco O2’s accomplice and eventual love interest as they rob banks Bonnie and Clyde style. Larenz Tate (Crash) plays Lucky O2’s unreliable cousin who actually isn’t lucky at all caught between a rock and hard place. And then there’s Meat played by big-time rapper The Game in his feature debut. With a battered face and covered in tattoos The Game certainly looks like one mean badass wielding a mad machete. Thankfully he doesn’t have to do much more than that. Here’s a few words of advice to would-be actors who want to play effective bad guys: Less is more. It’s movies like these that really give South Central L.A. a bad rep—shoot-outs in the middle of the street in broad daylight the carjacks the depravity the sad stories of little kids getting shot. It’s not exactly a warm and fuzzy place. Of course actor-turned-director/co-writer Vondie Curtis-Hall (best known for his numerous TV guest spots) doesn’t want it to be showing the grit in all its glory and collecting a cast from the area who could lend some credibility to the surroundings. But Hall needs a few more lessons in how to craft a well-thought action movie. The script is hackneyed beyond the usual taking bits not only from Bonnie and Clyde but also Thelma and Louise Boyz N the Hood--and even a little Shawshank Redemption. Hall’s camerawork is also too frenetic at times almost dizzyingly so with unnecessary close ups and choppy sequences. That isn’t to say some of the gun play and car chases aren’t exciting enough. There just seems to be a lack of experience overall.
An unlikely love story set against the oppressive anonymity of the San Fernando Valley Down in the Valley brings the Western into the present day. At first glance rebellious high schooler Tobe (Evan Rachel Wood) and aw-shucks cowboy Harlan (Edward Norton) don't exactly seem like a match made in heaven. Their random encounter at a gas station leads to an impromptu beach invitation and a whirlwind of physical and emotional intimacy. Soon Harlan has entranced not only Tobe but also her insecure younger brother Lonnie (Rory Culkin). Her father Wade (David Morse) is significantly less enchanted especially after it becomes clear that Harlan may not be quite as straightforward and sincere as he seems. As events escalate a final stand-off becomes inevitable. The film's greatest strength is its gifted able cast. Norton and Wood are very talented actors and both give convincing heartfelt performances. Wood who was so devastating as a troubled teen in Thirteen successfully conveys Tobe's growing unease around Harlan her desire for his devotion undercut by his dogged intensity. Tobe wants to be free and independent but a big part of her is still just a scared kid. For his part Norton makes Harlan both endearing and unsettling. He plays the two qualities off of each other very subtly at first so that viewers can't quite decide how they feel about this anachronistic excessively polite cowhand. Culkin meanwhile is all fragile vulnerability as timid love-starved Lonnie and Morse effectively portrays the rage of a father who can't control the kids he loves but has no time for. Despite the strong acting much of Down in the Valley doesn't quite connect. What begins as a quiet poignant romance between two lonely souls (shades of All the Real Girls) shifts rather awkwardly into a more menacing tale of delusion and tragedy (one scene in particular smacks of Taxi Driver). Writer/director David Jacobson pointedly juxtaposes traditional Western conventions against the movie's modern setting. Harlan's old-fashioned thoughtfulness is a stark contrast to Tobe's contemporary teenage insolence and cars stand in for horses--unless of course a real horse is involved in which case it's as likely to amble through a housing development as it is a grassy meadow. But these references--even accompanied by dusty golden vistas and a plaintive soundtrack--aren't enough to set Down in the Valley apart from the increasingly crowded indie throng.
Janet Jackson's breast-baring NFL halftime show is creating more fallout than anyone might have imagined.
It's been a busy week for Janet Jackson--and the entertainment industry in general. Here's a recap* of the global uproar her supposedly accidental breast-baring incident during her Super Bowl halftime duet with Justin Timberlake has caused, starting with the events of last Sunday--and the week's not over yet!
Sunday: In flagrante delicto
Right after ex 'N Sync-er Timberlake sang the last line of his hit, Rock Your Body ("I'm gonna have you naked by the end of this song"), he reaches over and rips off the right cup of co-performer Jackson's gladiator-ish leather bustier, after which her breast, covered only with a medieval looking nipple medallion, was revealed to some 89 million-plus people watching the game. Pity the poor suckers who paid to watch the relatively chaste Playmates-and-models-in-their-underwear Lingerie Bowl halftime game on pay-per-view.
Monday: Apologies ensue
MTV claims the bodice rip and breast reveal was a mistake, pure and simple. "The tearing of Janet Jackson's costume was unrehearsed, unplanned, completely unintentional and was inconsistent with assurances we had about the content of the performance," according to a statement released by the cable network.
"CBS deeply regrets the incident," spokeswoman LeslieAnne Wade said after the network received calls about the Sunday night (peep?) show.
We were extremely disappointed by elements of the MTV-produced halftime show," Joe Browne, NFL executive vice president, said. "They were totally inconsistent with assurances our office was given about the content of the show. It's unlikely that MTV will produce another Super Bowl halftime."
Timberlake blames the big reveal on a "wardrobe malfunction." "I am sorry that anyone was offended by the wardrobe malfunction during the halftime performance of the Super Bowl," Timberlake said in a statement. "It was not intentional and is regrettable." Quickly distances himself from any and all responsibility.
Jackson publicly apologizes for the incident and takes the rap for CBS and MTV. "The decision to have a costume reveal at the end of my half-time show performance was made after final rehearsals. MTV was completely unaware of it. It was not my intention that it go as far as it did. I apologize to anyone offended - including the audience, MTV, CBS and the NFL."
Jackson's spokesman, Stephen Huvane, was quoted by CNN as saying the incident "was a malfunction of the wardrobe. It was not intentional. ... He was supposed to pull away the bustier and leave the red-lace bra."
FCC chief Michael Powell calls it "a classless, crass and deplorable stunt," announces plans to investigate.
Tuesday: The repercussions begin
"There's now going to be an FCC investigation into the nipple," MTV Chief Executive Tom Freston confirms after it was revealed the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) would look into whether the incident broke FCC rules regarding indecency or obscenity. If CBS is found to have aired material that falls outside of FCC guidelines, the network could end up paying up to $27,500 or into the millions if each CBS station is fined for the infraction.
Federal Communications FCC head Michael Powell said in a statement, "Like millions of Americans, my family and I gathered around the television for a celebration. Instead, that celebration was tainted by a classless, crass and deplorable stunt."
TiVo, on the other hand, finds that ever-present silver lining as the incident becomes the single most replayed moment in the company's six-year history.
Wednesday: More Nipplegate
Jackson's breast exposure receives the somewhat dubious honor of being the most-searched term in Internet history, according to search engines Lycos and Yahoo. Jackson bested searches for the ever-so-popular Paris Hilton sex tape some 60 times over on Lycos. More impressively, searches for Jackson's breast on Yahoo accounted for a full 20 percent of all searches on the site, beating out even the Super Bowl with its paltry 2.7 percent.
Despite the building public ire, Jackson and Timberlake are both still scheduled to appear at the upcoming Sunday night Grammy Awards.
Despite their still being scheduled, CBS and the Grammy organization are taking no chances, announcing plans to enhance the capabilities of the "5-second delay button" to make the delay time longer and include video, if needed.
A worker on the set claims rehearsals for the show were much tamer than what aired. David Spear, a consultant for the company hired by MTV to produce pyrotechnics during halftime, said Jackson rehearsed in jeans and a sweater, and Timberlake pantomimed
*Sources: Associated Press, Reuters, CNN, Yahoo
removing the jacket she was to wear.
A "shocked" and "appalled" Timberlake continues to distance himself from Nipplegate. "It was, 'Oh my God, oh my God'. I was completely embarrassed. I don't feel like I need publicity like that and I wouldn't want to be involved in a stunt, especially not a stunt of this magnitude," he said to Los Angeles' CBS 2 News.
Parents forced Laguna Beach, Calif., school officials to kill a deal that would have allowed MTV to film Laguna Beach High School students on campus for a "reality" television show.
Thursday: The You-Know-What Hits the Fan
The Grammy Awards retracts the invitation to Jackson to attend this year's ceremony--or she bows out, depending on who you talk to. Jackson was slated to introduce recipient Luther Vandross, who wished to attend the ceremony but had to pull out due to heath concerns stemming from the stroke he suffered late last year. Justin Timberlake will, however, still attend. Jackson's camp had no comment.
Former Timberlake bandmate J.C. Chasez gets booted from the NFL's Pro Bowl halftime show this Sunday in Hawaii, is replaced with hula dancers, drummers, conch shell blowers and local singers. Said Brian McCarthy, a spokesman for the Pro Bowl: "We saw what happened on Sunday, and Monday we took a look at what the performance would have been in terms of the music and dancing. We just felt it was inappropriate as we're being extremely cautious in light of what happened at the Super Bowl."
For his part, Chasez had this to say in a statement: "While I agree the mishap at the Super Bowl was a huge mistake, the NFL's shallow effort to portray my music as sexually indecent brings to mind another era when innocent artists were smeared with a broad brush by insecure but powerful people." (We think JT owes JC dinner for being replaced by a conch, at the very least.)
NBC decides to err on the side of caution (hey, why not?) and will edit out a two-second shot of an 80-year-old woman's breast that was to be seen in an emergency scene on Thursday night's ER. The show's executive producer John Wells says the decision sends a bad message.
Friday: The inevitable lawsuit
And lastly, a Knoxville, Tennessee, bank worker named Terri Carlin is suing MTV, CBS, and parent company Viacom for damages claiming to have suffered "injury" due to the Super Bowl halftime broadcast. The proposed class-action lawsuit reads, "As a direct and proximate result of the broadcast of the acts, (Carlin) and millions of others saw the acts and were caused to suffer outrage, anger, embarrassment and serious injury." Carlin is suing for billions in compensatory and punitive damages.
Will Janet beat brother Michael at the bad-publicity game? More, no doubt, to come!
Best friends David (Omarion) and Elgin (Marques Houston) earn a living dancing in competitions against rival dance crews in a local warehouse owned by Mr. Rad (Steve Harvey) who keeps the challenges clean and organized. Basking in their recurring success David and Elgin are approached by an Orange County crew for a dance-off with a bigger payday than they are accustomed to: $10 000. The only catch is that they would have to put up half that money in advance which they scrape up at the last minute thanks to Elgin's grandmother. But the OC crew plays dirty steals their moves and wins the competition leaving David and Elgin with a huge debt to repay. To come up with the dough they become runners for a local drug dealer--a job that doesn't pay off when Elgin gets robbed and beaten while transporting a large sum of money. He blames David for the attack since his buddy was too busy cozying up to his Princeton-bound sister Liyah (Jennifer Freeman) to have his back. Now the only way Elgin can repay his grandmother and the dealer is to win "The Big Bounce " an MTV-sponsored dance competition with a $50 000 purse. But Elgin and David's falling-out threatens their shot at the big time.
The majority of the cast in You Got Served are onetime members of the boy band B2K (an acronym for Boys For 2000) an R&B quartet that includes Lil' Fizz J-Boog Raz-B and Omarion. Houston a solo artist whose single "Smile" is included on the film's soundtrack is Omarion's older brother and with recurring role on UPN's Sister Sister is probably their only castmate with any real acting experience. That seems to have helped Houston however whose character Elgin has the most emotional range of the bunch: Sweet funny bitter angry and at times apologetic. His co-star Omarion goes over the top with the puppy-dog-face thing but let's face it teenage girls across America will swoon over just that. But despite some amateurish performances it is apparent that these heartthrobs did not take themselves or their roles too seriously and their lighthearted performances make their characters so darn likeable. More to the point the performances in this film depend more heavily on the dancing than the acting and in that department both Houston and Omarion thrive. The film also features Harvey in a demure role that doesn't do anything for the comic actor and cameo appearances from Lil' Kim and hottie Wade Robson. But the prize for the most irritating performance of all goes to MTV VJ LaLa who plays herself as "The Big Bounce" host and whose shrieky voice will have you scrounging in your pockets for aspirin.
Chris Stokes makes his directing and screenwriting debut with You Got Served and giving members of the B2K hip-hop ensemble starring roles makes sense; after all he was the band's manager. While this casting choice was weak in terms of acting it was a solid pick in terms of the film's dance theme not to mention fan fare. Although B2K split up last month the group still has a stranglehold over the young ladies. Besides it's a given that moviegoers aren't expecting great performances or a gripping tale from You Got Served just some awesome dancing which is where this film really delivers. Sure some scenes belong on the editing room floor especially one in which David and Elgin practice their latest moves shirtless in an alley at night during a rainstorm. But with dance sequences making up more than three-quarters of the film it still moves along at a fast pace and is surprisingly entertaining. The film's amateurism however rears its bopping head when scenes stray from these awe-inspiring dancing sequences. In these instances the dire acting skills of its young cast and the sappy dialogue become more obvious not to mention the director's overuse of fade-outs from scene to scene; you'll half be expecting a commercial break.