Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
Actors: Stephanie Berry, Reg E. Cathey, Hope Clarke, Michael C. Maronna, Adrian Martinez
Director: Mad Matthewz
No Description Available. Genre: Feature Film-Comedy Rating: R Release Date: 27-FEB-2007 Media Type: DVD
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Thought I'd share the Variety review...
Tenfresh | Brooklyn, NY | 03/13/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)
Surprisingly assured, breezy character comedy posits two black "Men Without
Jobs" who, as conceived by scripter/helmer Mad Matthewz, constantly short-
circuit stereotypes. They are as apt to play a game of chess after enjoying a
home-cooked gourmet meal as they are to watch cartoons sprawled on a couch
while wolfing down cereal. Affable, dedicated slackers who are sliding into their
30s on indefinitely deferred dreams, these complementary roomies trade quips,
concerns and catchy names for their as yet-unmaterialized band. Well-crafted
script, easy-flowing dialogue and winning cast (not to mention sharp image
quality) should spell indie distrib interest for Matthewz's felicitous bow.
Matthewz effortlessly develops his protagonists' backstories throughout the
course of the film. Ish (Ishmael Butler) comes from a middle-class, educated
family (he regularly "shops" at their brownstone when his parents are not home,
borrowing his father's vinyl oldies along with his mother's food). He dropped out
of Columbia U. to escape his father's deadingly high expectations.
The demons that beset Oz (Bonz Malone) are less upscale. He is struggling with
an addiction to gambling and obsessed with seeing his young daughter again,
regularly dropping by his mother-in-law's house for news of her, carrying
offerings of warm strudel (preparing haute cuisine relaxes him).
The duo nest in the spacious Brooklyn apartment that Oz has inherited from his
grandmother (along with her pet parakeet), and one has the feeling that nothing
much has altered in their leisurely lifestyles for a very long time. They hang with
friends and generally manage to stay just one step ahead of eviction notices.
Then one day Ish meets Veronica (Anita Kopacz), a spray-paint muralist, and
things change. Not, as one might expect, because Veronica comes between the
two buddies. On the contrary, she gets along like a house afire with Oz. Veronica
turns the quasi-comatose duo into a semi-lively threesome as they camp out on
abandoned airstrips to evade Oz's gambling creditors or else get together to
dance to '60s rock 'n' roll. But once her presence forces them to take a hard look
at their lives, the spell that has kept them suspended in time is broken.
Matthewz maintains a tone of easy acceptance that avoids dramatics and
neutralizes expectations. Even when script goes down paths that one sees
coming a mile away, the laid-back flow of the direction transforms the cliche into
a shared joke. Thus when Oz and Ish's dorky friend Junie (Andre Royo), who is
constantly asking to be in their band, gives Ish a tape of his drum work which is
then carelessly tossed aside, it is doubtful that anyone in the audience does not
suspect that eventually the tape will be played and the music will turn out to be
Thesping is smooth. Butler and Bonze effortlessly inhabit their roles, helped
doubtlessly by their familiarity with the turf: Butler is a hip-hop musician and jazz-
rap artist, and Bonze is an influential music critic who co-starred in and co-wrote
"Slam." Newcomer Kopacz imbues Veronica with warmth and intelligence,
fleshing out a somewhat underwritten part.
Cliff Charles' crisp Super 16mm lensing gives depth and definition to the
characters' surroundings, illuminating the Brooklyn locales and complementing
the clean lines of Hannah Morrow's uncluttered set design. Zulema Griffin's
costumes look casually flattering.
By Ronnie Scheib"
Men Without Jobs
Kaleem Witcher | Los Angeles, Irvington, AFRICA | 08/01/2009
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Peace to Mad Matts who I had a chance to meet out in Los Angeles during his debut of this film.
I'd originally seen it at the Los Angeles film festival and I thought it was cool.
I have to say the new title and packaging are a tad 'wack' but I'm glad I have this rare one in the stash now."