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Case Number 03145: Small Claims Court

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Colorz Of Rage

Artisan // 1999 // 92 Minutes // Rated R
Reviewed by Judge Bill Gibron (Retired) // August 1st, 2003

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All Rise...

The Charge

Nothing is ever just black and white…sometimes it's crap!

The Case

Tony and Debbie are just two crazy mixed up kids who see beyond their obvious racial differences to love each other, wholly and sexually. Tony, an Italian farm boy from Boston (?), wants to break out of his manure and mulch existence to get to where the real bullshit is—in acting! Debbie has one of those overly gospel voices that requires her to hit every other note in long scat successions before she finally lands on the one directly linked to the melody. She dreams of Mary J. Blige style success, even with her "less than Whitney" vocal whine. The star-crossed lovers hitch their dreams to a "record deal promise" from a "legitimate producer" in New York and blow off Beantown to peel back the Big Apple. Upon arriving, Tony is immediately targeted by members of a radical black extremist group, probably for being a dork. Debbie learns that her "guaranteed contract" was something a little less than ironclad, and it's not long before she's singing showcases at a local drag queen nightclub while Tony is stealing Discover cards to make ends meet. Never mind that these two are as talented as turnips, they are determined to overcome the prejudice of their taboo busting love and their lack of marketable skills to realize their fame fantasies. But society, stereotypes, and a last act terminal disease conspire to keep our interracial irritants down. Maybe it's the fact that they see beyond their ethnic diversity to love each other purely that makes those around them uncomfortable. Or maybe it's the Colorz of Rage, those hue based hatreds, that will forever mark our ebony and ivory idealists as idiots.

Colorz of Rage is easily categorized as a "whatkinda" movie. For those just discovering this relatively new phenomenon in cinematic shorthand, example is the best form of explanation. You see, after sitting through ninety minutes of this urban upchuck, with its outlandish political viewpoints, tired romantic storyline, borderline mongoloid motion picture production values, awkward directing, and overwhelmingly trite characterization, you are bound to ask yourself a question starting with "Whatkinda movie would…" And in the case of Colorz of Rage, several prime puzzling platitudes occur that demand settling. Like "whatkinda movie" ends with a terribly staged and rather pointless sex scene? Or "whatkinda movie" takes the entrepreneurial spirit of the rap and hip-hop scene and turns it into a domain dependant on the mafia and drag queens? Better yet, "whatkinda movie" allows an oddly inarticulate white boy with the attitude of a sociopath and an impenetrable speech impediment articulate for an entire cross culture hot button issue, mainly prejudice and interracial couples? Further, "whatkinda movie" would give us lip syncing supposed divas who make Kelly Osborne sound like Leontyne Price, complete with stale soul songs that are either poorly penned originals or badly massacred standards? And finally, "whatkinda movie" positions itself as a gritty, true to life urban drama but then fails to resolve its numerous hanging subplots, from the credit card identity theft to the psychotic Black Power powder keg named Killeal? For each and every query there is the deafening silence of the audience being bored silly. Colorz of Rage is the "kinda move" that thinks because it speaks of, to, and by "the street," it speaks for it. And it couldn't be more wrong.

Unfortunately, writer/director/editor/star/critical target Dale Resteghini doesn't know the first thing about cohesive storytelling or filmmaking. His point, shoot, and see what happens mentality, combined with an inability to control his cast members' incessant ad libbing, means that scenes that are supposed to forward the plot merely meander from useless tidbit to badly framed out of focus cityscape. Infamous for manning the sole thing Eminem is ashamed of (hard to believe it was possible, huh?), the gloriously gangrenous Da Hip Hop Witch, Resteghini must have thought this first feature of his would make a fine, fiery résumé building block to his eventual universal acclaim and acceptance. Hopefully, any talent scout looking to hire this New Jack jerk has been plenty forewarned. Resteghini is a bad filmmaker. He has viable pieces and doesn't have the first idea what to do with them. He casts the enigmatic Redman and then only uses him in two scenes of stream of consciousness rambling. His musical mouthpieces are unconvincing in their strange, semi-comatose stage presence. A character named "Carl," so important to the lives and livelihoods of many in the movie, is never shown. But Dale saves the most embarrassing moments for himself. During a crisis of conscience, and coochie, he wanders the streets of NYC looking disheveled and downtrodden. He climbs on top of a bus kiosk and then starts to scream in a high-pitched monkey wail, "YOU'LL NEVER BEAT ME NEW YORK! NEVER!" And he's right. His own intolerable incompetence will do that for him. Many may think Colorz of Rage represents a new voice for inner-city drama. All it really does is "diss" an entire community and population.

In round two of their Resteghini releases, Artisan matches Da Hip Hop Witch for abysmal visual presentation and a complete lack of extras. Oddly, as it starts, Colorz of Rage is in widescreen, using a standard 1.85:1 aspect ratio. But about two-thirds the way through the opening credits, the screen fills with a blurry, strangely soft image. It's as if someone hit the "zoom" button on the editing console to achieve the necessary full frame effect. Now while the obvious print flaws can be chalked up to this film's squat production budget video to film transfer issues, it defeats the purpose to emphasize this fact via up close digital mastering. At least the Dolby Digital Stereo is handled in a professional manner. You don't get great music to listen to, but it sounds nice coming out of the home theater system. Any attempt at learning more about Master D and his filmmaking ambitions is thwarted by the re-release ideals of insane Art. While this movie did have an initial DVD incarnation on A-Pix Entertainment, neither it nor this version offers any bonus or content context extras. In some ways it feels like the distribution companies have a deal with Dale to release his films in bare bones bastardizations so that his craft and talent, not the behind the scenes featurette, show through.

And this minimalist mindset does guarantee one thing. When all is said and done, those looking to figure out who tortured them for an hour and a half will easily find the name of their abuser on the DVD case. Then they will develop their own distinct tints of fury.

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Scales of Justice

Judgment: 7

Perp Profile

Studio: Artisan
Video Formats:
• Full Frame
Audio Formats:
• Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (English)
• None
Running Time: 92 Minutes
Release Year: 1999
MPAA Rating: Rated R
• Bad
• Drama

Distinguishing Marks

• None


• IMDb

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