Release Date: March 31st, 2006 by Warner Brothers Pictures.
The Cast: Tip “T.I.” Harris, Keith David, Mykelti Williamson, Antwan Andre "Big Boi" Patton, Evan Ross, Lauren London, Albert Daniels, Jackie Long.
Directed by Chris Robinson.
BASIC PREMISE: A group of teenagers who love skating and hip-hop come-of-age in Atlanta, Georgia.
ENTERTAINMENT VALUE: ATL doesn’t have much to offer in terms of an interesting or original plot. 17-year-old Rashad (Harris) takes care of his 14-year-old brother Ant (Ross) while chilling with his three friends: Teddy (Weaver), Esquire (Long), and Brooklyn (Daniels). At a local skating rink, Rashad meets New-New (London), a beautiful girl who doesn’t tell him that she actually lives an upper-class lifestyle—or that her real name is Erin. Esquire does meet the real Erin, eventually, when he tries to get a recommendation later from her wealthy, powerful, tennis-loving father (David). Meanwhile, Ant gets involved in the world of drugs which, predictably, comes with violence. However, screenwriter Tina Gordon Chism downplays the violence—saving it for the predictable third act—while focusing on developing the characters instead. The only highlights of the film include the ultra-hot soundtrack and flashy editing that makes it feel like you’re watching a music video—especially during the energetic roller-skating sequences. It would have been nice if the clichéd, meandering plot would have been as entertaining and refreshing as its music.
SPIRITUAL VALUE: None is required or desired.
INSULT TO YOUR INTELLIGENCE: A predictable, unfocused plot. NUMBER OF TIMES I CHECKED MY WATCH: 1
IN A NUTSHELL: Terrific music and stylish editing with well-developed characters, but they’re all stuck in a predictable, unfocused plot. The soundtrack is better than the movie itself.
RECOMMENDED WAY TO WATCH: VHS/DVD
The "A" Menu