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Reviews » DVD Video Reviews » Motives
Motives
Columbia/Tri-Star // R // February 24, 2004
List Price: $24.96 [Buy now and save at Amazon]
Review by Don Houston | posted March 7, 2004 | E-mail the Author
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Movie: In my latest review of a so-called Black movie, I look at the latest release by director Craig Ross Jr, Motives. Having just watched Hustle And Heat, and finding it lacking in a great many ways, I figured that I'd be much happier with this one based on the laws of averages if nothing else. I know this is a dangerous hope but I'm an eternal optimist, especially for smaller companies set outside of Hollywood (Rainforest Films is located in Atlanta Georgia). That said, here's a bit about the film.

The movie is centered on a upscale Black man, Emery Simms (Shemar Moore), who owns a fancy new restaurant and wants to emerge onto the local scene as a benefactor type of gentleman. His wife, Constance Simms (the lovely Vivica A. Fox), is a strong woman with a career and intellect to match. The two seem to live an ideal life, with a few bumps in the road, until one night when he cheats on her with a woman, Allanah. Her curvy body and seductive attitude appeal to Emery since his wife is not just a toy for him to use as he pleases. As the movie progresses, Emery's life gets really complicated, really quickly, when the complication of the affair come back to haunt him. Allanah's past is revealing itself to be far more than he bargained for and when the resulting murders get tied to him, will he find a way to prove his innocence (or is he the guilty party after all?)?

The movie had some multi-layered characters, which an air of credibility to the show. They weren't all black or white, just the shades of gray that we all seem to be in real life. Everyone's motivations seem to evolve as more of the story is uncovered and that made it far more enjoyable then the boilerplate Hustle And Heat. The characters could have easily been any race too, not just the stereotypical Black characters we've all come to know from those cheapo exploitation movies of yesteryear. I won't kill the plot for you but the movie combined elements of several mainstream movies, including Fatal Attraction as a template, and the adult activity (cable ready sex with some nudity) helped make it more real to watch.

There are those who would claim the movie was somewhat derivative of similar efforts over the years and the low budget look of the film didn't help make it look worthy of your hard earned dollars but it was a lot better than previous releases from the little Atlanta production company and I can feel comfortable giving it a rating of Recommended for what it was trying to show.

Picture: The picture was presented in anamorphic widescreen color with the original aspect ratio of 1.85:1. For a low budget movie on a tight schedule, it looked good but there was a slight problem with grain to contend with. The flesh tones were generally solid but the detail lacked the crispness so many of us expect from enhanced features these days. There was also some pattern noise in a few scenes but no compression artifacts.

Sound: The audio was presented in 5.1 Dolby Digital surround English and sounded better than the budget would lead you to believe. There was some separation between the channels and most of the time, it was clear and crisp. The music was generally subtle and fitting for the show. The movie also had subtitles in English, French, Spanish, Portuguese, Chinese, Korean and Thai for those who care.

Extras: The extras this time were undocumented on the DVD case and came as a pleasant surprise. They included an audio commentary by the writer, Kelsey Scott, and one of the producers, Rob Hardy. The two played well off one another, providing not only some details about the filming of the movie but the anecdotes behind the making of the show. There were six short deleted scenes offered up, some in pre-post production state, that helped flesh out a few moments in the movie. For the most part, they were left out for a reason but any extra is better than nothing at all. There was a 7.5 minute long Behind the Scenes feature that allowed the various creative talents involved to tell what they were shooting for. There was also four trailers to movies like Hustle And Heat.

Final Thoughts: I liked this one enough to recommend it but the bottom line is that if you're looking for a drama based on relationships, it's a good choice. Motives combines some fine acting, a solid story, and deep characters, making it worth your time and money. I wish Vivica was used more in the movie, and the same holds true for former child star, Keshia Knight Pullam, but I understand that their characters were not the main focus here.

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