Google+

Ex-Con Opens Chess Club for At-Risk Kids in Ghetto-Based Biopic

 

Life of a King

Film Review by Kam Williams

 

Eugene Brown (Cuba Gooding, Jr.) was so worried about returning to his neighborhood in inner-city Washington, DC after serving 17 years for bank robbery that he shared his concern with his cellmate Searcy (Dennis Haysbert). The wise, old elder responded by making an analogy between life and the game of chess amounting to the simple suggestion “Take care of the king.”life-king-2013-movie-poster_0

He also handed Eugene a chess piece, hoping it might serve as a constant reminder to avoid trouble by employing fundamental game strategy. And that practical piece of advice would come in handy, especially since landing employment would turn out to be quite a challenge, given his criminal record.

But rather than break the law again for a quick buck, Eugene displayed the patience to wait until he found a legit job as a janitor. Working at the same high school his children had attended, he was afforded an opportunity to redeem himself when asked by the principal (LisaGay Hamilton) to monitor detention, too.

Instead of just having the students stand at the blackboard and write, “I will not be late for class” or “I will not forget my homework” 50 times, Eugene came up with the inspired idea of teaching them how to play chess each afternoon. Soon, he founded a chess club as a regular afterschool activity and viable alternative to the gangsta ways so many of the troubled youth found attractive.

Meanwhile, Eugene needed to mend fences with his estranged offspring, college coed Katrina (Rachae Thomas), and black sheep Marcus (Jordan Calloway), a juvenile jailbird following in his father’s footsteps. That proves easier said than done since the absentee-dad wasn’t around for either’s formative years.

Written and directed by Jake Goldberger (Don McKay), Life of a King is a warts-and-all biopic based on the downfall and resurrection of the real Eugene Brown. As raw and realistic as it is predictable and cliché-ridden, this modern morality play does at least drive home a pertinent message for adolescents in the targeted demographic.

A Sunday school-style parable which makes very effective use of chess mastery as a metaphor for negotiating the perilous gauntlet of possible ghetto pitfalls.

 

Very Good (2.5 stars)

Rated PG-13 for drug use, violent images and mature themes

Running time: 100 minutes

Distributor: Millennium Entertainment

 

To see a trailer for Life of a King, visit: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=24bM9kZp9NQ

 

,

Entertainment

Raunchy Adaptation of Classic TV Series Arrives on Home Video

  Chips DVD Review by Kam Williams Raunchy Adaptation of Classic TV Series Arrives on Home Video Whenever a classic television series is made into a movie, the buzz always seems to be about whether the screen version will be a creative variation on the theme or merely a campy, cornball, take-the-money-and-run ripoff trading in familiar … [Read More its Good For You...]

Books

Author Expounds on Labor of Love

  Peter Brav The “331 Innings” Interview with Kam Williams Author Expounds on Labor of Love Peter Brav is not much of a baseball player but he's written three novels where the diamond provides a setting for triumph over adversity in one way or another. Sneaking In (set during the 1999 Yankees championship season), The Other Side Of … [Read More its Good for You...]

Art

The Day After the Day Of

  The Day After the Day Of by Paul Ilechko   The sky sheds its tears. This morning is the morning of the day after. The day of mourning, the day after the day of. I beseech the sky to shed tears in order to wash away the tears on my face.   This is […]

Real Estate

How to Hire a Winner in Real Estate

  How to Hire a Winner in Real Estate by Amy Lignor   You want to buy that new house because the twins are on their way. Little Betty and Little John are already there, but who knew you would have even more so soon? What’s that? Oh…well, of course, in order to buy that new home with four bedrooms instead of two, you will also need to … [Read More its Good for You...]

Lifestyle

Ejogo’s Largo!

  Carmen Ejogo The “It Comes at Night” Interview with Kam Williams Ejogo's Largo! Carmen Ejogo has established a distinguished career in both feature films and television. She is best known thus far for her leading role of civil rights activist ‘Coretta Scott King’ opposite David Oyelowo in Ava DuVernay's universally acclaimed SELMA … [Read More its Good for You...]

Outdoors

Jerkbaits Often Overlooked as Summer Bass Lures

  Jerkbaits Often Overlooked as Summer Bass Lures   Yamaha Pro Brandon Palaniuk Fishes Jerkbaits Year-Round for Quality Bass Bass tournament fishermen are famous for having “secret” lures they don’t tell anyone about, but Brandon … [Read More its Good for You...]

Sports

You Don’t Have to be Greek to be a “Zorba” Fanatic

You Don’t Have to be Greek to be a “Zorba” Fanatic by Amy Lignor   No, the sport is not called ‘Zorba’, but it most definitely fits for this article’s title. This most unusual sport is actually called ‘Zorbing’, and has caught on like … [Read More its Good for You...]

Business

Add Value with Summer Home Renovation Projects

  Add Value with Summer Home Renovation Projects by Amy Lignor   There are a whole list of summer activities for you and the kids planned. Most of them, of course, you want to be nothing but fun, such as grilling outside on the … [Read More its Good for You...]

Travel

Finding Relaxation in the Most Remote Locations of All

    Finding Relaxation in the Most Remote Locations of All by Amy Lignor   It is a fact that the largest travel locations are also beyond popular. Among the downsides of this fact is that when you’re looking for peace, quiet, and … [Read More its Good for You...]