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Notorious
- Jamal Woolard

Overview - The dramatic retelling of the life, improbable rise, and violent fall of rapper Christopher Wallace (aka the Notorious B.I.G.), NOTORIOUS plays like A STAR IS BORN set to a rattling gangsta snare. With crisp direction by George Tillman Jr., producer of the BARBERSHOP series, the film is briskly paced and strikes a worthy balance between sensationalized celebrity biopic and behind-the-scenes drama.  Read more...

 
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Overview

The dramatic retelling of the life, improbable rise, and violent fall of rapper Christopher Wallace (aka the Notorious B.I.G.), NOTORIOUS plays like A STAR IS BORN set to a rattling gangsta snare. With crisp direction by George Tillman Jr., producer of the BARBERSHOP series, the film is briskly paced and strikes a worthy balance between sensationalized celebrity biopic and behind-the-scenes drama. Angela Bassett anchors the latter with a nuanced performance as Voletta, Wallace’s long-suffering single mother who attempts to shelter him from the mean streets of Bed-Stuy. With deep involvement by those who knew him best--the real Voletta Wallace and Sean "Puff Daddy" Combs (played dynamically by Derek Luke) co-produced--the film nonetheless unflinchingly portrays Biggie’s troubled history as a teenage crack dealer, his chronic infidelity and poor fathering skills, and his own role in stoking the ludicrous coastal rivalry that claimed both his and Tupac Shakur’s lives. As it presents Biggie's side of the murders in boldface, one wonders if a more independent eye would cast Shakur and his cohorts in the villain role so starkly. Documentary quibbles aside, NOTORIOUS delivers an impactful tribute to its subject's genius--revealing to fans and neophytes alike the microphone skills, narrative chops, and fresh vision that made Wallace one of hip-hop’s greatest all-time MCs. Largely, this is due to the ace performance by Jamal Woolard, an amateur rapper who packed on 50 pounds to play the hulking gangsta, and nails his mordant charisma and conflicted inner life with a star turn every bit as on point as Jamie Foxx’s Ray Charles or Val Kilmer’s Jim Morrison.

Cast List

Reggie Rock Bythewood - Director/Screenwriter, DANCING IN SEPTEMBER (2000)
Reginald Blythewood - Director/Screenwriter, DANCING IN SEPTEMBER (2000)
Reginald Bythewood - Director/Screenwriter, DANCING IN SEPTEMBER (2000)
Derek Luke - Actor, ANTWONE FISHER (2002)
Anthony Mackie - Actor, SHE HATE ME (2004)
Antonique Smith - Actress
Angela Bassett - American actress, WHAT'S LOVE GOT TO DO WITH IT
Mark Pitts - Producer
George Tillman Jr.
Voletta Wallace - Actor, BIGGIE AND TUPAC (2002)
Cheo Hodari Coker - Premiere Critic
Dennis White - Actor
Diddy - Rapper/Celebrity
Sean "Puffy" Combs - Rapper/Celebrity
P-Diddy - Rapper/Celebrity
Puffy - Rapper/Celebrity
P. Diddy - Rapper/Celebrity
Sean "P. Diddy" Combs - Rapper/Celebrity
Puff Daddy - Rapper/Celebrity
Sean "Diddy" Combs - Rapper/Celebrity
Sean Combs - Rapper/Celebrity
Robert Teitel - Producer
Bob Teitel - Producer
Danny Elfman - Score composer
Michael Grady - Director of Photography
Julia Pace Mitchell - Actress
Naturi Naughton - Actor
Jamal Woolard - Rapper/actor
Wayne Barrow - Producer
Trish Hofmann - Executive producer, THE RUINS

 
Details
    DVD Format
  • Format: DVD
  • Run Time: 122
  • Color Format: Color
  • UPC: 024543580645
  • Genre: Drama
  • Rating: R (MPAA) (for pervasive language, some strong sexuality including dialogue, nudity, and for drug content)
  • Release Date: December 2013

Related Categories:
Movies > Dramas
Movies > Biography

Related Keywords:
Rivalry
Rap Music
True Story
Murder
Music (General)
Theatrical Release
Rap/Hip Hop
New York City
Rap Artists
Murder Investigations
1990s

 
Movie Reviews

More Details

Reviews:
4 stars out of 5 -- "As a biography interested in an honest swath of Wallace's life, NOTORIOUS' broad appeal will welcome and satiate both the devout and the curious..." - 01/14/2009 Box Office


"[R]easonably faithful to the facts of Biggie's life and wholeheartedly devoted to burnishing his myth." - 01/16/2009 New York Times


"Most noteworthy is the movie's stunning cinematography and powerful soundtrack....The ensemble is solid, and Jamal Woolard is strong as Biggie." - 01/16/2009 USA Today


"[L]ike Biggie, NOTORIOUS has fine time along the way, with Woolard channeling the rapper's sweetness and wit as comfortably as his pathos....Through it all are the rhymes and the music, hugely enjoyable in their own right..." - 01/16/2008 Los Angeles Times


"NOTORIOUS is a rock-solid biopic with a foolproof rise-and-fall storyline and a warmly nuanced performance by Jamal Woolard as iconic rapper Christopher Wallace -- aka Biggie Smalls..." - 01/11/2009 Variety


"NOTORIOUS is a luridly unapologetic trip through the violence, hunger, verbal bravado, and money fever of the hip-hop world, which it views as both liberating and destructive....NOTORIOUS has a fascinating trajectory..." -- Grade: B+ - 01/16/2009 Entertainment Weekly


"NOTORIOUS is a good film in many ways, but its best achievement is the casting of Jamal Woolard..." - 01/14/2009 Chicago Sun-Times


"Woolard, a Brooklyn rapper known as Gravy, has not previous acting experience. Yet his portrayal amounts to a Biggie resurrection....He's a knockout." - 02/05/2009 Rolling Stone

 
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