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Three reviews of Boyz N the Hood

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The writer firstly compares “Boyz N the Hood” to an article in a “major metropolitan newspaper” this comparison immediately discredits the film’s claim to historical importance that the writer must no doubt be aware of. To complement the film’s poignancy Desson Howe describes the film as “often” tearing “at the heart” before equating the film to the “rap equivalent of a classroom lecture”. This criticises the film’s alleged preachiness and the film’s similarity (in the vernacular it uses and issues it raises) to rap music (a music form that, at the time the article was written, was largely un-respected and frowned upon).

In the writer’s plot synopsis he describes “cold statistics” as being “slapped” on screen; he is using onomatopoeia to portray the directorial clumsiness of John Singleton however the writer also praises the film at the end of his plot synopsis by describing the film’s finale as “undeniably powerful”, using undeniably as an emotive adverb. When evaluating the acting of the writer manages to outline the films contradictions even though he appears to be complementing the acting of Lawrence Fishburne- “In terms of the movie’s uplift-the-race purposes, Fishburne is the finest element (although… e owns an enormous magnum)”.

The usage of hyphens in the words “uplift the race” implies that it is a cliched phrase and therefore the subject matter of the film is also cliched and to an extent is only supported by great acting. The writer describes “Boyz N the Hood” as being “one in a groundswell” of similar movies and that by choosing to base his film on “rap culture” the Director, John Singleton, is betraying his “artistic youthfulness”.

This insinuates rather heavily that the director is better than the film itself and the film doesn’t showcase the best of the director’s ability. While the editing in the film is described as “decidedly corny”- again using emotive adverb, this time to criticise the film. To elaborate on this claim the writer likens the way the director highlights issues in the movie as “finger wagging”-extending the earlier metaphor of the film being “A classroom lecture” and being “clumsily intrusive” meaning it meddles with other sub-plots in the movie.

The film’s agenda is presented in the article as a long list and the writer ends the list with the words “and so on” to emphasise the monotonousness of the way the agenda is presented in the film. Despite the Writer’s criticism of the film moralizing at the end of the article he still concedes that emotions are washed over the film “adroitly”. The review is ends with the writer explaining that the film is a true reflection of life in South central “his (the Director’s) feet placed on direct experience… just turn on the news at 11 to see” Review 2, written in 2003

The second review opens with usage of devil’s advocate; an un-named quote, describing fellow, yet more acclaimed, director and depicter of Black America, Spike Lee as an artist and the Director of Boyz N the Hood, John Singleton as a craftsman. The “assessment” is immediately dismissed as “dubious” because, the writer says, John Singleton had only produced one film at the time the comment “was written”. The usage of past tense by the writer implies that similar comments are no longer made and, the writer repeatedly suggests, Boyz N the Hood in many ways has not stood the test of time.

The film is described as suffering from an “excess of Marrow” meaning the film contains too many important issues on which the director is described as getting “Lumpy” on. The word lumpy is used metaphorically; the reference to the sense of touch is employed to imply imperfection. John Singleton is described by the writer as often “declining… to let an image speak for itself” the personification of “an image” is used to portray the awkwardness of the film’s over-elaboration of details.

When the writer returns to the comparison of Spike Lee and John Singleton he uses their different inspirations as a point of comparison and describes them both as “cribbing”, an American term for plagiarism, from other sources rather than borrowing to demonstrate the unoriginality of both Director’s films. John singleton is described as having a “far less esoteric” range of influences, extended vocabulary is exercised to euphemise the non-eruditeness, or “movie-bratism” of the director of Boyz N the Hood.

This is then described as making the film “entertaining” to contemplate in high school (the simplicity of the word entertain being used to express the simplicity of the film) but making the film appear “hackneyed” to the writer’s “adult eyes” implying that due to the writer’s film-viewing experience he can spot alleged cliches in the film that a younger viewer wouldn’t notice. “Ink” is described as “spilled”- a word synonymous with wastage – “once upon a time” linking John Singleton and Orson Welles, another usage of past tense this time in an ironically cliche phrase to reinforce idea that the film’s critical acclaim was down to euphoria that has long faded away. The comparison is then crudely deconstructed as Boyz N the Hood is described as being the work of a “fanboy” as opposed to a “savant”. The writer uses emotive religious imagery to describe how the director’s age “betrayed” him during the movie when the film is described as being “plagued” with “cheap ironies”. Though the writer acknowledges that Singleton’s youth help give Boyz N the Hood its energy- “Boyz N the Hood is also a youth incited political firebrand”.

This is a turning point in the article that allows the writer to begin to complement the film, which is then told to have “lost none of its power to affect us”. The cast are likewise complemented as bringing Singleton’s “many… civics lessons to… life” though this, like the previous article implies the film is carried by great acting or “graceful performances”. The writer lastly describes the film “endures” -a word with connotations of struggle- to be “lovely”; the writer again uses simple vocabulary to illustrate the simplicity of Boyz N the Hood. rd Review Out of all three reviews the third one is most structured, with clear stages of argument and six paragraphs each with a core sentence. The first paragraph gives the reader a brief background of the film (again using Spike Lee as a point of comparison) while complementing the timeliness and socio-historical importance of the film by saying Boyz N the Hood “anticipates” the Rodney King riots and “divisive debates” (an example of alliteration) of the OJ Simpson Verdict that “ensued” after the film’s release.

After a second paragraph, which summarises the plot the writer examines the film’s outlook, describing the film’s plot as a “deft”- an emotive adjective meaning skilful- “combination of the familiar and unfamiliar”; this praises both the way in which the film is relatable and the originality of the film. The fourth Paragraph is where the writer starts to criticise negative aspects of the film to do this he begins the paragraph with a conjunctive “But the film is not without flaw”.

The editing of film is criticised when scenes are described as having “butt up” against each other, butt-up is an emotive verb, which describes the way in which animals fight, the animal comparison is used to describe the lack of intelligence of the editing. The writer then excuses John Singleton in an ironic way by saying “his heart is in the right place”; a cliche expression used more commonly to excuse the behaviour of misbehaving children rather than Oscar-nominated film directors, this is deliberately used, to portray the child-like way John singleton is “unable to resist the urge” to “get preachy” but may be due to John singleton’s relative youth as a film director, when Boyz N the Hood was made. This child-likeness is described as reducing the “astute” film to “a sociology essay”, similar to comparison to a “high school sermon” in the previous article and a “class-room lecture” in the first article

The fifth article continues the criticism by describing “tonal shifts” as “jarring”- a violent emotive verb usually used to describe vibrations or sound. The film’s score is described as “sappy” much like the previous film described the film as having “an excess of marrow”. The writer complements most of the characters as being “right at home” in south central Los Angeles but Cuba Gooding Jr (the lead role, Tre Styles) and Morris Chestnut (Supporting Role, Tre’s best friend Ricky) as “pretty boys… slumming it up for the pay cheque”- Crude, colloquial language is used to portray the cynicism the writer feels of the two actors.

The final paragraph is a well-structured conclusion, noticeable because it begins with the words “Still, in the end. The writer complements the “distinctive world” set by the director and again the fact that “we can all relate to” the character’s struggles despite the fact that they are “more challenging than our own. He concludes by saying that the “effective statement” the film makes is a “testament” to John Singleton, extended vocabulary is used to describe the way in which the film proves the director’s “skills as a filmmaker”.

You should also read:

Evaluation Commentary: Film Promotional Campaign

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