DVD Review Notorious
Directed by: George Tillman, Jr. Cast: Jamal Woolard, Derek Luke, Angela Bassett Running Time: Theatrical Version- 2 hrs, 3 mins, Director's Cut - 2 hrs 9 mins Rating: R Due out: April 21st
Plot: The life of rapper Christopher Wallace (Jamal Woolard), famously known as Biggie Smalls, a.k.a The Notorious B.I.G.
Who's It For? This movie was made for all, but it cares most about pleasing the fans. Outsiders might fall behind at the introduction of characters or events that are skirted through - that or become even more aware of the film's typicalness.
Movie: Notorious hip-hops from one event to the next, all with the overall feel of a movie that is birthed by the ground of which it dies (Vh1). Key moments of Biggie's life seem to be told with cheesy imagination - not authenticity. The performances are decent despite originating from cheap casting (Anthony Mackie's Tupac, especially). Fans will be pleased to hear the film hanging on every word spoken by its messiah, even more so when he raps. Nevertheless, this is the kind of internal hype that killed super-man biopics like 50 Cent's "Get Rich or Die Tryin'."
Movie Score: 5/10
The Making of Notorious: This obligatory feature turns into self-worshipping that is backseat driven by Biggie cult leader Voletta Wallace (his mother and owner of his estate). A few eerily obsessive stories about the production are told, including the one where Mrs. Wallace said "that's my son" when she first saw Woolard. Thus, the segment with the prop guy becomes more than refreshing. With the duty of making his work invisible, he's the unsung hero of this period film.
Biggie Boot Camp: Shows the many steps taken to help the actors capture the presence of their characters. Learn how to "dance" like Sean "Puffy" Combs, and watch as professionals try to make holding the microphone sound like an art.
The B.I.G Three-Sixty: Revolve around a picture of Wilshire Blvd. full circle in this detailed look at the street where Biggie was shot and killed. Mini-features within this one include co-writer Reggie "Rock" Bythewood discussing their motive behind shooting this scene, and others like a close friend of Biggie discussing the tragic moment. It's an awkward special feature that reaches the peak of the project's morbid fixation.
Other Extras: Two Audio Commentaries I've Got A Story To Tell: The Lyrics of Biggie Smalls Notorious Thugs: Casting the Film Anatomy of a B.I.G Performance Party and Bulls**t
Extras Score: 9/10
Notorious is about the life of one man, but its DVD seems to suffer from a type of schizophrenia. The DVD's features are convinced that Biggie is perfect, and that his two album legacy is the mark of a voice that really would "change the world" (this is surely debatable). But watching the actual film will say otherwise, as it portrays the human being Christopher Wallace as an egotistical moron challenged by every female relationship in his life. Overall, the heavy amount of extras outweighs the film's short comings, and make for a DVD that any B.I.G fan might want to consider picking up.
Final Score: 6/10