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Movie Reviews

Reviewed by Paul Allaer 9 / 10

"Sometime I wish I had a spaceship"

"Kicks" (2016 release; 80 min.) brings the story of Brandon, a 14 or 15 yr. old kid in "East Bay", as we are reminded at the beginning of the movie. Brandon has a hard time fitting in, dreaming that "sometimes I wish I had a spaceship", so that he wouldn't have to worry about being chased or fitting in. He pines for Air Jordan sneakers (a/k/a "kicks"). After saving up and earning extra dough selling candy, Brandon is finally able to buy the much coveted black-and-red Air Jordans, but within a day, he is savagely ambushed and robbed by a gang in the hood. Brendan is determined to somehow get his sneakers back... To tell you more of the plot would ruin your viewing experience, you'll just have to see for yourself how it all plays out.Couple of comments: this is the feature length debut from writer-director Justin Tipping. He brings us an insight look at the African-American culture in the Oakland/Bay area, where image and perception apparently are paramount. To not have decent sneakers is to not belong. To not be a 'tough' guy is to be dismissed by girls and guys alike. BEWARE: the movie does not hold back on anything, not in the least the violence that apparently is rampant in those circles. The ambush of Brandon, where a gang robs him of his newly-purchased Air Jordans, is vicious and repugnant. It almost made me leave the theater. Then a strange thing happened: Brandon's quest to regain his sneakers becomes a journey towards self-discovery that becomes mesmerizing, aided along the way by his imaginary/alter ego spaceman who guides him when he desperately needs help. Whether the movie accurately reflects what life is like in that segment of the African-American community, or simply stereotypes it, I couldn't possibly tell you, but what I saw displayed on the big screen made me shake my head on more than one occasion. It's possible, if not likely, that these things are simply incomprehensible for a middle-class white guy like myself..."Kicks" debuted with critical acclaim at the Tribeca Film Festival earlier this year. It opened this weekend without any pre-release fanfare or advertising at my local art-house theater here in Cincinnati. The Friday evening screening where I saw this at was attended poorly (only 2 people besides myself), and I can't see this playing very long in the theater. If you are in the mood for a tough "boys in the hood" tale that exposes/clarifies the importance of sneakers and other bling, this might just be the movie for you, be it in the theater, on Amazon Instant Video, or eventually on DVD/Blu-ray.

Reviewed by subxerogravity 9 / 10

As good as the kicks as the kid was wearing.

A gorgeously done look at street life.Kid saves some money to buy the fresh new Jordans to put on his feet other than the holely skips he was wearing, his life already changes from the confidence boost with a new swagger that attracts the girls. It also attracts trouble when the local crazy dude steels his kicks. Now the kid becomes obsessed with taking the slippers he's now force to wear off his feet and getting back his kicks at all cost.I remember this life as a kid and how important Kicks were, and it sucks that Kids still have to worry about having their shoes taken. Then again, those 1st addiction Jordans could help pay someone's rent and put food on the table.At first glace, its a horrible look at the what happens when you introduced Jordans to this culture (it seems to me not coincidence that the movie is about the re editions of the 1st Jordans), but all of that is superficial to the message of what really is important in life.The young acting cast is very good, but I can't help but to give a shout out to Christopher Wallace Jr. not just because I'm a fan of his father Biggie Smalls, but I think it's cool that he's an actor and he's good at it.Overall, kicks gives me that colorful feeling I got when I saw Dope and Dear White People, although it has slightly more of a serious tone to it, and it needs that to get the message across. I like where all three of these films are going and how they are going there. Kicks is worth seeing.

Reviewed by samf2006 9 / 10

KICKS is Top Five Film of 2016

1. Jordan Bred 1's 2. Fresh perspective from director Justin Tipping.3. The first film to my knowledge to incorporate BART as a character.4. The first film to shine some light on the sneaker culture.5. The film has characters who feel real to their environment.6. My favorite character in the film was Flaco, I like flawed people who are more than what they seem on the surface, he had a certain presence that was haunting.7. I loved the astronaut, once he appeared the film took on a somewhat surreal feel for me, it added a unique flavor to the picture.8. I really admire the director Justin Tipping, he made the film he wanted to make and that's what I plan to do.

Reviewed by ipulito-45220 9 / 10


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