Watch Before Viewing Notorious February 11, 2009 With the life of the Notorious B.I.G hitting Irish cinemas Friday, we take a look at some of our RnB inspired pics… Starting near the end of his short 24-year life and then told in flashback, “ Notorious” charts the rapid rise to fame of Christopher “Notorious B.I.G” Wallace’s (Jamal Woolard). We see this Catholic honours student (played by his real life son, Christopher Jordan Wallace) become a teenage drug dealer and accidental father before a chance recording finds its way to Sean “Puffy” Combs (Derek Luke), who engineers an almost immediate rise to fame, fortune — and trouble. “Biggie” now must juggle his newfound recording career, a marriage to fellow artist Faith Evans (Antonique Smith), his romantic encounters with female rap comer, L’il Kim (Naturi Naughton) and a major East Coast/West Coast rivalry with Tupac Shakur (Anthony Mackie) that leads to tragedy for both. To celebrate the release of Notorious, Movies.ie recommends the following RnB inspired pics: Idlewild In this musical drama – OutKast duo André “Andre 3000” Benjamin and Antwan “Big Boi” Patton star as two Prohibition-era performers determined to fend off the vicious gangsters currently attempting to gain a stake in the pair’s lucrative club .In the 1930s, Idlewild was the hottest speakeasy in the South thanks to the impressive showmanship of their flamboyant manager and lead performer Rooster (Patton) and the notable talents of introverted pianist Percival (Benjamin). Everything changes when a powerful gangster and his ruthless henchmen move in on the scene with every intention of landing a healthy portion of the club’s considerable profits. Say what you want about the ad hoc nature of this one, but those boys got style! Hustle and Flow Craig Brewer has produced a blisteringly hip breakthrough pic with Hustle and Flow. Playing that central figure is Terrence Howard as Djay, a revelation of simmering menace, whose desire to escape his daily pimp-and-ho grind is a physical force. As coldly efficient as his methods are, this is clearly a man with a conscience, a stern yet secretly caring father figure to the stable of prostitutes who live in his Memphis bungalow. The poetics of his street philosophies — unobtrusive soliloquies in Brewer’s dialogue — naturally dovetail into the necessary rhythms and life experiences for rap. As he gathers a motley group of collaborators, the music takes shape with a booming and vibrating gristle that is absolutely invigorating. Inspired by the overnight fame of another local street figure, Djay channels his gifts of persuasion into everything from acquiring sound equipment to quieting the neighbours during. 8 Mile Rap star Eminem made his acting debut in this hard-edged urban drama, inspired in part by incidents from the musician’s own life. Jimmy Smith (Eminem), known to his friends as Rabbit, is a young man trying to make his way out of the burned-out shell of inner-city Detroit. Rabbit’s entire life has been a hard climb, and it certainly hasn’t gotten any easier lately; Rabbit has just been dumped by his girlfriend, forcing him to move back in with his emotionally unstable mother, Stephanie (Kim Basinger), and he’s getting along especially poorly with Stephanie’s new boyfriend. Rabbit has a factory job that’s tough, demeaning, and doesn’t pay especially well, and he’s convinced his skills as a rapper are his only real hope at a better life. Rabbit makes music with a crew of DJ’s and MC’s who call themselves Three One Third, among them his close friend Future (Mekhi Phifer), but his status as a white kid making music in a predominantly African-American community and culture is extremely intimidating, and after Rabbit freezes up in the midst of an MC battle, he’s convinced he’s missed his chance and that he’s doomed to lead a marginal life as a factory rat for the rest of his days. With the help of his friends, and his new girlfriend Alex (Brittany Murphy), Rabbit struggles to work up the courage and the confidence to take one more shot at making his dream a reality. 8 Mile was shot on location in Detroit; the name refers to 8 Mile Road, a thoroughfare along the city’s perimeter which effectively separates the middle-class suburban neighborhoods from the lower-class inner-city Biggie and Tupac Nick Broomfield, director of Heidi Fleiss: Hollywood Madam and Kurt and Courtney, unleashes another provocation with Biggie and Tupac. Considering Broomfield’s track record, that the film is dangerous, sensational, and occasionally very funny is no surprise. What is somewhat shocking, in a very rewarding and commendable way, is how moving Biggie and Tupac is. Using archival footage of the two rap stars and interviews with many of those involved, Broomfield uncovers significant evidence that corrupt LAPD cops were involved in the two deaths, and that the FBI was doing surveillance on Biggie (Christopher Wallace) on the night he was murdered. Broomfield’s film also strongly suggests that Death Row Records head Suge Knight orchestrated both murders. Few satisfactory conclusions are drawn, but the film should at least encourage further investigation of these claims. Notorious is in Irish cinemas from Friday, Feb 13th.