Notorious Cover Living the life of a free-style rapper takes guts, determination, and time to sit down and take notice of the world around you. Now a good example of this can be seen in the following 123 minute movie was made in 2009. It was Directed by: George Tillman Junior; and Starred: Jamal Woolard, Angela Bassett, with Derek Luke.

Notorious (Three-Disc Edition) - Unbelievable: The Life, Death, and Afterlife of the Notorious B.I.G.

So now you're some sort of big shot rapper, son, you think you're invincible, don't you? But my God, when will you ever get it through to your think skull, Christopher Wallace (Jamal Woolard), that no one is invincible. Not you. Not me. And not anyone you work with in the recording studio. Or are you forgetting about how I brought you up all those many years ago?

Well, let's face it, things weren't always this good, were they son? Granted, your were bright and you were big, but then again you also got your girlfriend pregnant and spent some time in prison for dealing drugs.

Remember that, Christopher. Remember you're roots. Remember your pitfalls and turn them into your triumphs. So go ahead. Help Lil' Kim (Naturi Naughton) start her music career. Marry Faith Evans (Antonique Smith) if you want. But please don't loose focus on who you are and what you're all about. That's important. Very important. Because in the up and coming days your going to need all your strength and gumption when I tell you that... that... that... I've got cancer, son. Me. Your mother. Voletta Wallace (Angela Bassett).

Sorry I didn't tell you this earlier but I didn't want to upset your business with your manager, Sean Combs (Derek Luke). Especially since I heard your old pal Tupac Shakur (Anthony Mackie) bad mouthing you in the press! Still. That's most probably why what next transpires all busts a move when music and egos clash. As a coming of age is made - resolutions are recorded and played - a lone gunman manages to destroy - and at the end of the day, a Mother is very proud of her big baby boy.

Now before I commence my review on 'Notorious', I best mention that as a kid I was never the type of youngster who really connected with rap music. Well, at the time this form of entertainment never really floated my boat, so to speak. Mainly because some of the artists who performed this style of composition, occasionally appeared to come across as if they were rushing for a bus.

Notorious Starring Jamal Woolard
However, one day I watched a marvelous documentary by Nick Broomfield surrounding the controversial deaths of Biggie and Tuppac. And this in turn got me to thinking about why they were murdered for the sake of profit and loss.

I mean, it's not right, is it? No matter what you might think about a chosen profession, this still doesn't give anyone the prerogative to end their lives in the way it did. 

Furthermore, something else this documentary inadvertently taught me, was how to appreciate listening to rap. Going so far as to integrate it into my work, my life, and me as a person. A person who finally got off his backside and decided to sit down and watch this movie.

(I bet you was wondering when I was going to come round to that, eh?)

You see, for me, this film acts as a rather strained three-act play, with each segment focusing on a particular aspect of Biggies bi-polar lifestyle. Act one acts as guide to Biggies origins and rise to success. Act two conveys what Biggies big love life was all about. And act three shows the eventful and arduous circumstances behind his fateful demise.

Now I'm sure you will agree with me when I say this sound's like a pretty decent structure for any bio-pic to follow. Yet I'm afraid to say I wasn't too keen on its middle section -- Biggies love life -- as it was a really jumbled and confusing part of the overall story-line, even though I did enjoy watching all of the actors involved, as well as the scenes in which Biggie banged some beaver.

For instance, for about thirty minutes of the film Biggie and Kim seem to be a cozy little item together. Then suddenly, within one scene, Faith shows up, and he ends up marrying her instead. Now does that make any sense to you?

No. I thought not. 

Notorious Starring Jamal Woolard

But apart form that slight gripe, as well as some of the overt dramatizations on offer by the actor who played Biggie -- sorry Jamal -- by in large I quite liked watching ‘Notorious’. Cause it told a somewhat fragmented story that lent itself to pathos and character development, whilst also delivering some notable performances by Jamal, the supporting cast, plus the amazing and effervescent, Angela Bassett (who takes on Biggies mother just perfectly).

Notorious Starring Angela BassettSeriously, folks! This film is well worth a watch. Especially if you take into consideration the following filmic-facts! (1) 'Fox Searchlight' first screened this $20 million dollar production on the 16th of January, 2009, and eventually clawed back $44.3 million dollars at the box office. (2) The majority of this movie was shot at '20th Century Fox Studios', Pico Boulevard, Century City, as well as throughout numerous locations situated within the two American states of New York and California. (3) In preparation for his pivotal role in this bio-pic, Jamal Woolard gained weight, had vocal lessons, and remembered the lyrics of many of Biggies songs. (4) Some of this film was based on a book written by Cheo Hodari Coker, entitled, 'Unbelievable: The Life, Death and Afterlife of the Notorious B.I.G'. (5) The young actor who played the young Biggie in this film, Christopher Jordan Wallace, is in fact the son of Biggie and Faith Evans. (6) Antwone Fisher, who co-wrote and directed this movie, sat across from Biggie the night he died. Where as his wife, LaNette Fisher, grew up three blocks away from Biggie's supposed killer. (7) The rappers, Beanie Sigel, Sean Kingston, and Guerilla Black, all auditioned for the part of Biggie in this picture. And for some strange reason, Sean publicly claimed he won the role, even though he didn't. (8) I'm afraid to say Lil' Kim wasn't very happy about how she was portrayed in the film, once saying to the press, "Regardless of the many lies in the movie and false portrayal of me to help carry a story line through, I will still continue to carry his legacy through my hard work and music".

The Real BIG Christopher Wallace

Overall I'd say 'Notorious' was very much like Biggie himself. Enjoyable to watch. Easy on the eye. But regretfully has a fairly lagging middle section.

Big it up to Biggie. Nuff said.


NOTORIOUS NOTORIOUS Reviewed by David Andrews on August 04, 2014 Rating: 5
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