The Novice Cinephile

Exploring the world of cinema one film at a time.

Boyz n the Hood is a coming of age story and follows Tre Styles (Cuba Gooding Jr.) as he grows up in South Central Los Angeles. We meet his friends Ricky Baker (Morris Chestnut) and Darren ‘Doughboy’ Baker (Ice Cube) and learn the harsh truths of living in the hood.

This film hurts. It pulls no punches and is all too real. Writer and director John Singleton crafts a beautiful story showcasing what many black communities suffer from daily. Tre, Ricky, and Doughboy are three young men who have just as much potential as anyone else, but their lives of poverty, drugs, and gangs set them up for failure. Do we overcome these struggles, or do we succumb to them? Some people never get the chance, and it’s deplorable. Continue reading

Do the Right Thing is director Spike Lee’s fourth film, and it packs an emotional punch. Lee tackles everyday racism, police brutality, and white privilege in this amazing story.

The film follows Mookie (played by Spike Lee) as he works for a pizzeria owner named Sal (Danny Aiello) and his two sons, Vito (Richard Edson) and Pino (John Turturro). We see Mookie interact with his girlfriend, his friends, and his family throughout the film.

When watching this movie, I wasn’t sure what its message was going to be. What’s the ending going to be for Mookie? What are his struggles, his goals, and who does he want to be? As time went on, I noticed the real ambiguity of the story that was being told. We’re in the real world, and things don’t always play out like they do in the movies. Mookie doesn’t become a Jedi, and we’re certainly not searching for the ark of the covenant. No, Do the Right Thing is about people. They can be lazy, funny, stubborn, racist, broke, and downright silly at times, but that’s apart of human nature. Continue reading

In the Heat of the Night is a mystery drama based on John Ball’s 1965 novel of the same name. We follow a Philadelphia detective named Virgil Tibbs, played by Sidney Poitier. After passing through a small town in Mississippi, Tibbs is taken into custody for a murder simply based on his skin color. After the local police run out of options, they turn to Tibbs to solve the crime and find the real killer.

Continue reading

(Left)Tony Curtis, (Right) Sidney Poitier

The Defiant Ones star Sidney Poitier as Noah Cullen and Tony Curtis as John “Joker” Jackson. Cullen and Joker are two escaped prisoners who are chained together and must learn to depend on one another. The film tackles the subject of racial prejudice and crafts a thrilling and heart-warming tale around these two characters and their adventure.

Continue reading

Cabin in the Sky was released in 1943 and stars Ethel Waters (Petunia Jackson), Eddie “Rochester” Anderson (Joe Jackson), Lena Horne (Georgia Brown), Rex Ingram (Lucifer Jr.), and Kenneth Spencer  (The General). The film is a musical comedy that is based on the 1940 Broadway musical of the same name. Fun fact: Waters and Ingram actually reprise their roles from the stage play.

Continue reading

Welcome to the first review in my Black History Month series. Here, we will be reviewing films starring black actors from the 1930s all the way to the 2010s. This is my way of celebrating black excellence and showcasing just how far we’ve come in the last 90 years. In this review, we’ll be taking a look at Imitation of Life (1934)!

Continue reading

The streaming wars rage on, and things are very different from this time last year. As the world continues to battle COVID-19, movie studios have to balance two issues. How to make money and how to keep theaters from dying. This brings us to the biggest studios on the planet, The Walt Disney Company, and Warner Media.

Continue reading

Nickelodeon was a children’s network established in the late 1970s. It’s most popular content was in the 1990s where we saw the likes of Hey! Arnold!, Doug, Ren and Stimpy, and of course, Rugrats. What do all of these shows have in common? All are mostly comedies surrounding kids in real-life situations. All of these shows were fantastic in their own right, and deserve to be covered in another feature. As we moved into the early 2000s, we see more comedies with SpongeBob SquarePants, Jimmy Neutron, and Fairly Odd Parents. The year is 2002, and Nick wants to branch out and add an action-adventure series. Enter Michael Dante DiMartino and Bryan Konietzko. The two were tasked with creating something new and exciting for the network, and in just one month, they created the greatest series ever put on television. Continue reading


Yes, we’re back with another High School Musical review. If you haven’t already, check out my review of the first film here. Now, HSM was far from a perfect movie. The characters are evil, the music while catchy, suffers from too much autotune. The script could’ve been much tighter, etc. All that said, it was still an enjoyable little movie. HSM 2 has all the same problems as the first film, but with one key difference. It forgot to be fun. Continue reading