Forgotten Gems #1: MF Grimm: The Downfall Of Ibliys: A Ghetto Opera

Here I want to talk about records that are too underappreciated, unknown in my opinion and maybe some are really forgotten, since there is so much music out there and due to the internet it is getting more daily.

As I often said, Iam not good at describing music or movies, not that I can’t see brilliance when it is there in whatever way but for me it is mostly about the feeling.

So yeah, sometimes I won’t say much at all or just a few things. It is more important for me to let people know about a particular album.

So for the first entry I chose MF Grimm’s debut album „The Downfall Of Ibliys: A Ghetto Opera“.

I guess he is most famous because of his collaborations with the late MF DOOM. Overall MF Grimm is really an overlooked MC and at least some of this projects deserve more attention in my eyes and his debut is one of these projects.

Speaking of the late MF DOOM, he produced about most of this album (plus he also has a few guest spots here) and it probably would be a lie to say the album doesn’t profit from that a lot. Not to say that MF Grimm is a weak rapper. Let me put it like this: Flow wise and technically he isn’t the most amazing rapper, although tracks like „Together“ show that he can kick some nice flows. He is a solid rapper on the technical side of things. On the other side I often or mostly like listenening to him and what he has to say. I have more sympathy for what he says than for his delivery, although it is really solid as I already said. That being said, he also isn’t the most cryptical rapper, but some tracks surly make u dig a little deeper or checking the lyrics, if you are not a native speaker and don’t get everything on a first listen.

So yeah, on the musical side we mostly have MF DOOM and he really does is thing here, no throwaway beats. He really gave MF Grimm some great beats here and fans of his production style will surly love them. His guest verses are great too. I especially love the two tracks „Voices Part 0″(MF Grimm’s part) and „Voices Part 1“ (MF DOOMs part), they share the same beat but somehow I really like the small transition.

So Iam gonna stop here. For me this is a really good album from start to finish and it is hard to even pick a lot of favorite tracks since it is a very consistent listen from start to finish. Probably only the track „Teach The Babies“ isn’t all that appealing, especially delivery-wise. Also, with a running time of about 47 minutes it also doesn’t take too much of your time.

So yeah, if you have the chance I would definitely recommend to dig this album.

Tracklist:

01. Alpha (feat. Count Bass D)

02. Time And Space

03. Life And Death

04. Freedom

05. Foolish (feat. Megalon & MF DOOM)

06. Together

07. Break Em Off

08. Rain Blood (feat. Megalon)

09. Voices Pt. 0

10. Voices Pt. 1 (feat. MF DOOM)

11. Yes You Are (It’s Only A Movie)

12. I.B.’s

13. To All My Comrades14. Howl

15. Words

16. Teach The Babies

17. Omega / Chicken Little

Mid-Year Favorite Albums

I didn’t really have time to make a lot of updates. This whole Corona situation here is really getting on everyones nerves in different ways.

Anyway, in the last 6 months I didn’t listen to as much new music as I wanted to and there are still some albums that could have made this list, but I didn’t really have time for them yet. Plus, Iam also always updating my knowledge of older records, that also takes times. So some others surly will make it to my Top 10 or 20 (don’t know about that yet) in the end of the year.

To say it with the words of the late Gift Of Gab:“If life is prison then the music is the yard time“.

No special order, only covers and titles:

Berwyn – Tape 2/Fomalhaut
Slowthai – Tyron
Bobby Sessions – Manifest
Madlib – Sound Ancestors
Slaine – The Things We Can’t Forget
Lloyd Banks – The Curse Of The Inevitable
Conway The Machine – La Maquina
RJ Payne – Leatherface 3
Tek – Priceless
Chris Crack – Might Delete It Later
Genesis Owuso – Smiling With No Teeth
Krum – Black Lung
Evidence – Unlearning Vol. 1
Marlon Craft – How We Intended
Eric Bobo & Stu Bangas – Empires
Benny The Butcher & Harry Fraud – The Plugs I Met 2
Mach-Hommy – Pray For Haiti

Firestorm (Alan Yuen/Hong Kong/2013)

Story:

When a wave of bloody daylight heists terrifies citizens and shames the police, a straightlaced cop plays dirty to stop a ruthless criminal gang.(Netflix)

My Opinion:

Sometimes it is really hard to say a lot about movies that are entertaining to some point but mostly nothing special at all.

Movies with similar storys and constellations are kinda typical for Hong Kong cinema. The good cop gone „bad“ story line that gets presented here is not that new and Hong Kong has a long history of similar cop vs. gangster movies. Especially Andy Lau and Gorden Lam played in a lot of these movies.

Overall Iam a big fan of movies like this, if they are good. But there is sometimes just not that much to say about the 50th similar movie. You can see that, cause so far I spent most of the time telling you about that there is not much to say.😂

Still, some things here are special. The most standout things are the action scenes and the ruthlessness of the gangsters, they don’t seem to care about other people’s life at all. The movie isn’t even dull, for a big part of the time it really works ok. Sure, it isn’t the most innovative thing ever, but it works. Like I said, the action is really good and hard hitting, although totally over the top at times (probably a bit more than is good for the movie).

At some point, although I often pointed out the movie is not that innovative, it turns a bit too much into a no-brainer. Some things, even if they are understandable to some point, feel kinda too irrational and seem to only be there to justify the biggest possible final. Before that the movie felt a bit more thoughtful on the dramatic side of things.

The big final could easily be some part of Roland Emmerichs „2012“ in some way. Although it is fun tao watch, it sometimes feels almost ridiculous in terms of being over the top.

Whatever, for most of the time the movie is good to watch. There are a lot of well known plot lines going on but it is ok for a watch and especially the action makes it a fun ride. I still feel it had more potential. At least it has some impact here and there after all.

Trailer

A Family (Michihito Fujii/Japan/2021)

Story:

Taken in by the yakuza at a young age, Kenji swears allegiance to his old-school boss, pledging to adhere to the family code amid ever-changing times. (Google)

My Opinion:

I was really looking forward to see this movie ever since I heard about it. Not because of anyone who is involved here, but simply because I really love mafia movies. No matter from what perspective, movies about the mafia are always something I show a lot of interest in. Also I didn’t really watch that many Japanese movies these days.

So yeah, „A Family“ for me is a very good entry into the genre. Not that it brings much new things to the table but it is really involving and it works. It is very well played and keeps you interested in the characters and the story.

I would say the first half is slightly better in some sense. I felt like the second half felt a bit overly dramatic at some points. That being said, the movie is not an actioner (although there are some quite bloody scenes) but clearly a drama. So the director has a more quiet and serious approach to the content. The characters and the themes are surly the focus here.

Although the movie is dramatic and surly makes it possible to feel for the characters, even if they are shady, it doesn’t really force you to take a side or asks you to forgive all of their sins. For me a strong theme here is showing the everlasting cycle such a life causes and that, once you are connected with it, it is hard to escape at least some kind of consequences somehow or in some way. That made me, personally, feel pity for some of the characters.

An interesting point here, that I will definitely give a deeper research, are the rather harsh laws concerning being a Yakuza or quitting the yakuza. It is something I don’t have deeper insight in, so I can’t judge how accurate the movie shows the laws and the whole situation. For me some of the the things go to far, while some are understandable in terms of setting an example. In the end it is probably also due to cultural things, bringing shame is a very serious thing in some (not only asian) cultures.

Anyway, I don’t wanna take away too much so I will stop here. In the end „A Family“ is not the best genre-movie I’ve ever seen, but it is really well done ,shines a light on some interesting things and is really involving from start to finish. I would recommend it if you are interested in the topic. I’ll say it is a very good movie.

Trailer

Rurouni Kenshin: The Final (Keishi Ohtomo/Japan/2021)

Story:

In 1879, Kenshin and his allies face their strongest enemy yet: his former brother-in-law Enishi Yukishiro and his minions, who’ve vowed their revenge.(Google)

My Opinion:

A few years ago we had „The End Of The Legend“ and now „The Final“. Well, I guess with a story like this you can always add another part to the franchise and to be honest, so far I have nothing against it.

While I never thought that the franchise was super great, I always found it to be really entertainig, with fun characters and a naive charme to it. I also have to point out that I never read or saw the manga/anime and I probably will never read or watch it (completely due to lack of time). So I can’t compare why or if fans are disappointed with this real life franchise.

So when it comes to „The Final“, I would say it probably is the weakest part of the 4. The story is rather simple and maybe a bit blown up, given that nothing here is overly exciting compared to the previous or other, similar movies. That being said, the story still does it for me. I mean Kenshin was never the deepest or most complicated story. The fun lies in its charm, the characters and the action.

The action scenes are still highly entertaining and a highlight for me. To warn friends of nowadays ultra violent action scenes, the action here is not overly bloody but the choreography is very good, even awesome at times. Good action scenes don’t always need a lot of blood, choreography and some good cutting/editing are already 90% of the secret.

Whatever, actually there is no need to say a lot more. To make it simple, if you didn’t enjoy Kenshin so far, don’t bother to watch this one. If you liked the previous parts, I can’t imagine you will be overly disappointed. Again, I can’t speak for people who can compare it with the manga or anime.

Even if it is the weakest part so far, it was still a good amount of fun and even if it says „The Final“, you know how it is…😉

Trailer

Special 26 (Neeraj Pandey/India/2013)

Story:

A team of tricksters pose as CBI officers and conduct raids to rob politicians and businessmen of their black money. With the real CBI on their trail, they decide to pull off their biggest heist.(google)

My Opinion:

Inspired by true events. While I certainly believe that parts of this could be true, it is really the word INSPIRED we should keep in mind here. I didn’t make any research yet, but some parts of the movie just seemed too good, or in the worst cases too illogical, to be true.

That doesn’t take the fun out of the movie though. It is really entertaining from beginning to the end. Always nice to see Anupam Kher and Akshay Kumar also gives us a good performance.

I don’t know what more I could say about this one. It’s a highly entertaining heist-movie and probably well worth your time

Trailer

Run (Aneesh Chaganty/USA/2020)

Story:

Chloe, a teenager, is forbidden from seeing the mail and is kept in isolation. She soon starts suspecting her mother of keeping dark secrets and decides to investigate.(google)

My Opinion:

The newest movie of Aneesh Chaganty, the director of the highly recommended „Searching“, is a really solid thriller.

Overall there probably isn’t much that we haven’t seen ,somwhere or somehow, before (except a few unique details) and the conclusion is rather simple. BUT same as in daily life, sometimes the journey is the goal and that really fits here. Iam sure a lot of people will foresee what happened but the strengths of the movie is really the tension that is on a pretty high level most the the time. On top of that we get some really good performances.

So yeah, if you find the story interesting enough and if you like thrillers, maybe give this one a try.

Trailer

When Fortune Smiles (Anthony Chan/Hong Kong/1990)

Story:

When a rich man dies and wills his fortune to his daughter, other members of the family launch dubious schemes to get some of the money.(Netflix)

My Opinion:

I really don’t know what to tell you anymore, since the movie is not totally different from other movies with Stephen Chow. I have a passion for these movies and I enjoyed this one.

So if you are already a fan, givr it a try. If you want to discover Stephen Chow movies, this one is probably not the best but ok. If you never liked these movies, don’t watch it.

It’s really as simple as that.😂

Trailer

Hosts (Richard Oakes,Adam Leader/UK/2020)

Story:

A family falls victim to unimaginable terror when they invite their sweet young neighbours over to celebrate Christmas Eve. ( Google)

My Opinion:

Well, Iam really open minded and actually the beginning was quite promising. Yeah really, if you are in for some hard hitting violence and terror the beginning is really promising.

Then after that the movie pretty much disappointed me. Look, Iam not someone who needs splatter or who expects too much from a movie. Whatever direction a movie wants to go – it’s fine with me as long as it is good and keeps my attention. On the positive side, the tension is pretty ok until the end. The problem is, you soon start to feel that this will not make any sense at all or won’t offer a satisfying solution or explanation.

Sure, I admit that Iam sometimes really not fast enough or really even too stupid to get things. Some things in the movie were familiar. There are probably some genius explanations all over the internet. The movie just didn’t give me enough to really care about it. I mean if we see it on a straight forward story level, there isn’t much to say. You could use the plot-summary and probably one additional sentence to explain the movie. Then, sure, the movie tries to make you feel like there is a higher meaning behind all of this. I didn’t find it, maybe you are more lucky.

Probably for fans of „Mandy“ or „Colour Out Of Space“, both with Nicolas Cage. Only to make it clear, „Mandy“ bored me to death and „Colour Out Of Space“ was pretty awesome. Still, in the end they probably have both more to offer than „Hosts“, which is a lot simpler in my eyes and like I said, anything else I wasn’t able to find.

Trailer