LUV (2012) Poster

(2012)

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8/10
Love Luv
cattjones20 April 2012
I want start out by saying that one of the things that I love about going to film festivals is that there are no trailers and you are really not sure what to expect when viewing a film. When it came to Luv, I was looking forward to seeing it because there was a lot of "star" power contributions involved. It made me realize that there are actors that are out there doing it for the money and then there are actors who are truly craftsmen, who do it for the art of performing. I am in awe of director Sheldon Candis for assembling such a powerhouse cast including Danny Glover, Dennis Haysbert, Charles S. Dutton and Lonette McKee. The film illustrated the relationship between Woody (Michael Rainey Jr.) and his uncle Vincent (Common) and takes the audience through one day in their lives. The film does a formidable job in demonstrating that no matter what you do or how much you may want to change, the past always has a way of catching up with you. The last time that I saw Common acting in a film was when he played Scott McKnight opposite Queen Latifah in Just Wright. I have to say that over the course of time and in the many films that Common has been in, his acting skills are improving as he diversifies his roles. Also, I have to give him props because he got involved in this independent film, so he obviously loves acting (maybe more than singing). The director stated that these actors basically did the job for a buck and a turkey sandwich (smile). Michael Rainey Jr. was brilliant as the thirteen year old nephew enlisted in tagging along with his uncle through the realities of a hard life in an urban environment. The youngster quickly learns that sometimes you have to do unconventional things in order to make it through life and that relationships have a way of changing over time. Woody eventually changes from a shy, studious and reluctant kid into a self-assured, confident young adult. All the lessons that Woody learns are not pleasant ones, but are necessary for life in the streets of Baltimore (or anywhere else for that matter). I think that this film is definitely worth seeing and may even give some young adults a much needed reality check. I am giving this film a green light.
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8/10
Chix Chat on Film Review: A training day in Baltimore
EmmaDinkins20 April 2012
The star power in this film immediately captured my attention. Scene upon scene brought a new recognizable well established actor on screen, which is so atypical when viewing Indie films. The film LUV is a fictionalized account of actual events that occurred in the writer director Sheldon Candis' life as he spent time with his uncle. I was fortunate in that the viewing of this film was a film festival DIFF 2012 at which Mr. Candis was in attendance and could provide some insight into how the story evolved, and his adventures in casting. I was very impressed with the screen presence of Woody (Michael Rainey Jr.), who coincidentally was similar enough in appearance that he could have been a child Sheldon. Ninety-five percent of the story takes place in the span of one 'training day', where Woody accompanies his Uncle Vincent (Common) as he conducts a day of business. The first thing that struck me as odd was the upscale automobile that Vincent was driving, and I immediately took some leaps and bounds to conclusions, oh and I jumped too. My assumptions turned out to be correct as the day progresses it evident that the lessons that are imparted onto young Woody will inevitably lead to a loss of innocence. The story was relatable because although the setting is Baltimore which I have never visited, the harsh reality of a relative passing down their knowledge is not always a legitimate vocation or trade. I was not surprised at how quickly Woody caught on to what was happening with Vincent's encounters, in some cases his realization was slightly out of sync with mine. My hoping that no harm would come to young Woody kept the level of intensity in this film high, because I knew how easily situation after situation could have gone wrong. I was completely emotionally invested in this film from the moment that Woody and Vincent began their day together. As more and more of Vincent's past became apparent so did the fact that Woody should be nowhere in the vicinity of this guy. There could have been a bit more character development for the roles played by Charles Dutton (Cofield), Danny Glover(Arthur), and Dennis Haysbert(Fish) and the ladies in the film Lonette McGee (Grandma Beanie)and Meagan Goode were little more than just fleeting images, but this was a good film none the less. I am in love with LUV and give it a green light.
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7/10
Take an emotional journey to find yourself in LUV
rgblakey2 January 2013
There are some movies that come along and offer way more than they let on. At the same time it becomes a bit of a concern when a film with a great cast gets a smaller release because there are varying reasons on why. The latest film to be something more than it lets on is Luv that features a great cast including Common, Michael Rainey Jr, Dennis Haysbert, Danny Glover, Charles S. Dutton, Michael Kenneth Williams and Meagan Good. Could this be a package to deliver a film fans will in fact love or will it be obvious why it got a limited release?

Luv follows a young boy who spends the day with his recently paroled uncle who is trying to right his life, but along the way hits some violent unexpected snags. Now the young boy must follow in his uncle's footsteps of learn to be his own man. On the surface this film seemed like it was going to be just another forgettable drama with little to offer, but as it progressed it became so much more. While it could be viewed as just another drama about the seedy underworld, it is really about two people and their struggle to change their lives while finding their way alone, all while having each other. This film takes place over one day and delivers a really powerful message for both sides of the spectrum. One you have this young boy trying to grow to become a man, but are torn between the problems in his life and wanting to learn the things his uncle has to teach him. Then you have the uncle who is legitimately trying to clean up his act and teach his nephew how to be a man, but is pulled back into his old life as his past catches up to him. This cast is great and it is amazing to see this many great actors in an independent film. They all really poured themselves into their roles to bring these characters to life. Common has really grown as an actor and carries this movie like a pro. The rest of the cast mesh together nicely to deliver this powerful story.

There are some moments here that make you wonder why this kid is being dragged into all these situations, but as everything unfolds you realize it is part of what makes him grow as a man, whether they are good or bad. This was one of those movies that really delivered a surprising finished product to something that didn't offer a huge appeal other than the cast. It's these kinds of movies that remind you how to love film. It's not one of the best around, but there is passion and depth to this film filled with a cast that clearly did this for the love of the project and it shows in the finished product.
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10/10
LUV is one of the greatest movies i've seen all year.
conman_064 April 2013
This movie blew me away. LUV was a really heavy movie that showed us how hard it is to be a kid without parents, growing up in a place like that. Throughout the whole movie i just couldn't help but feel so sorry for the kid, and i actually think that the actor really did the character well. I've seen a lot of bad reviews about the movie, and i personally think that's just critics looking at a from a very stupid perspective. I find it really hard to hate a movie like this, one that really makes you feel sorry for a kid in a situation like this. Both the main actors in this performed there parts perfectly i must add, i loved them both! Proof of how much i was amazed by this film, is that this is the first review of anything I've ever wrote. If this doesn't get any insane awards, it needs to be classified as one of the most underrated movies of 2013! 10/10 - amazing.
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7/10
uneven film with a star-making performance by Michael Rainey, Jr.
Buddy-5127 June 2013
Artfully directed by Sheldon Candis," LUV" is a compelling, low-budget tale of Vincent, a recently released convict who takes his young nephew, Woody, on a day-long excursion through Baltimore to give him lessons on how to survive in the urban jungle that is his home (Woody's mother lives in North Carolina while his grandmother is currently raising him in Maryland). This includes, among other things, teaching him how to drive and how to shoot a gun. But the main focus is on Vincent's attempts to go straight and to secure a loan for a restaurant he wants to open. But the young man soon discovers that it isn't all that easy to cut the ties with one's criminal past, and Woody bears witness to some pretty horrendous events throughout the course of the day.

Taken as a whole, "LUV" is considerably less than the sum of its parts. The screenplay by Candis feels strangely doughy and underdeveloped, often leaving us bewildered as to what exactly Vincent is up to and who it is he's interacting with at any given moment. That being said, "LUV" manages to hold our interest due to the immediacy of its style and the naturalism of its performances. Common makes us care about Vincent; we see him as an ambitious young man who, despite his natural inclination towards crime - an inclination obviously resulting from the difficult circumstances in which he was raised - appears to be genuinely trying to turn his life around. That the world and his past seem to be conspiring against him is what makes the tale so poignant. Vincent may not be the perfect role model for his young nephew, but he is probably the best the boy is going to have for the foreseeable future.

But it is young Michael Rainey, Jr., in a star-making performance as Woody, who walks off with the film. Even at the tender young age of eleven, Rainey is already a natural in front of the camera and it is his wholly believable reactions to what is taking place around him that strike a responsive chord in the viewer. Indeed, we are willing to go on this structurally awkward and artistically uneven journey simply for the privilege of reveling in his performance. Rainey, in essence, becomes the thread holding all these seemingly random and arbitrary events together. One looks forward to great things from him in the future.
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10/10
Brilliant, Complex and Socially-Relevant Movie That Will Not Disappoint
GodIsReal5 May 2013
If you take off your in-denial, self-righteous moral lens about a black movie actually shedding light on some of the problems that exist in black America and the extent of diffusion of the drug trade into black communities (even amongst the apparently upper-income, well-respected entrepreneurial and educated class), you will realize that this was simply a brilliant movie.

The story-line was engaging and paced just right. The casting was sublime and the actors were excellent, completely immersed in their various roles, and the moral of the story--that in the complexities of the social ills our society has imposed upon us, and particularly on black males, there are still jewels of goodness, and valid learning opportunities that help us grow, that can still grow young boys into good men. That good black men can emerge who choose right paths, despite the fact that segregation in the North and South path-dependently constrained opportunities for their male predecessors, and that family is our bond.

What a brilliant movie. Much better than those complex Woody Allen movies about much less substantive issues that get lauded with awards and good reviews.

Don't believe the biased, negative reviews. This is one of the best movies you will ever see. I promise.
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8/10
Innocence and Experience
Willy-3218 October 2013
Not that it would be useful information generally, but this kept me interested from beginning to end. I doubt that a big financial return was a factor in signing up the cast, it was probably a joy to have the chance to be in something like this. It made me think about how the kind of life on view perpetuates. I can see something like this going into the mix that shapes how I act and react. If there's a gun control group that screens or recommends films, this one would be on their list; a gun rights group, probably not. There are special features available here which highlight the respect the main players have for one another. Common and Michael Rainey Jr. are singled out in small separate pieces. I did not take the film as pure realism, still all hands brought the story vividly to life. Many including myself will be looking forward to future work from director Sheldon Candis, Michael and Common.
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7/10
really good
coolcleangreen8 January 2015
this is one of the better coming of age indies I have seen lately. it made me laugh and cry and afraid.

Common is a powerhouse in the film, he's so commanding - not easy to do when acting opposite Dennis Haysbert (Mr. President/Snake Doctor himself).

and the boy, oh this little boy, Mr. Michael Rainey Jr. I doubt we will see the last of this amazing young thespian.

i highly recommend this film for a bitter taste of growing up in B-more. and of course we get to see cameo appearances by the great Charles S. Dutton - a strong advocate for Baltimore filming - as well as Danny Glover.

popcornmoviemaiden.blogspot.com
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9/10
A sad movie that doesn't have a happy ending, movie is incomplete in a good way
darkchaoschao19 June 2013
I really enjoyed this movie. I mean it doesn't give the typical vibe as most movies do, some people might describe it as "incomplete" which is fair, but it really fits this movie. A few things in the movie don't "finish" as one could say, but in reality, this movie does not have a happy ending. This movie is probably one of the saddest movie towards the end.

It's basically about a former big time drug dealer, Vincent (played by Common), who gets out of prison after 8 years in a 20 year term - people have there suspicions, and it's been 8 years since he's been out there. During his time in prison, he planned the rest of his life out, he wanted to open up a restaurant and everything... live a life "not of crime". Only problem is he has another loan (or something) not paid off and he has to come up with 22 grand within a few days to get a new loan worth 150 grand to buy the land for his restaurant... But a lot of people on the streets wants him dead.

One day Vincent is driving Woody to school, they at the school and this girl who Woody likes is staring at him, but Woody is too shy to even get out the car and talk - he's embarrassed. So after a bit of sitting, Vince decides to take Woody out of school for the day, Woody is going to work with Vince... And throughout the next two days a lot happens.

I'm not to good at giving summaries that don't spoil the movie, but bare with me. The movie is great if you like sad movies. This movie does not have a happy ending and a lot of things mentioned in the movie are up for your "imagination" you could say... it's a cliff hanger ending.

Good film.
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6/10
Good enough to watch once.
deloudelouvain25 July 2018
For a crime drama Luv isn't a bad movie, it's not a masterpiece but it's worth watching once. The relationship between the young Woody (played by Michael Rainey Jr.) and his ex-con uncle Vincent (played by Common) is interesting to watch, as the uncle shows the kid how you supposed to act as a man in the real world. The real world in his eyes, because his world is just gangster hustling even though he tries to get out of it. I thought the young Michael Rainey Jr. did a good job with his performance. For such a young kid he clearly has a good future in the acting business. The story itself is easy to watch. I would have used another soundtrack though to make it more appealing. To me that was the weak point of the movie. All in all it's worth a watch but don't expect to be blown away.
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2/10
I thought I had a winner and it turned out to be a loser
jsrnorris7 April 2013
Warning: Spoilers
Shopping at Target and I notice this movie. I thought my husband and I would be able to enjoy a good movie one Saturday night. Boy was I so wrong. The movie had a lot of components but never made all the connection. The movie look like it started in the middle, really no beginning. I think a little more time writing and putting the pieces together would have made it a good movie. It never really gave a good foundation into Vincent. They had a lot of good actors which was very surprising they signed up for something like this. I wish I could get my money back for the movie. I would not recommend this movie and would hope they writer much success in the future.
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8/10
A surprise!
Arenas481229 January 2016
I expected this film to be entirely different based off of the title cover and the description. It was really good. Common plays a father figure to Mikael Phiper(?). This movie does a good job at tackling complex issues in a tough economy. Especially if one only knows a jail lifestyle. The scenery was very interesting to look at, if you're not familiar with Baltimore. Fish and Danny Glover play old foes to Common's character. He wears an executive suit while driving a brand new Mercedes Benz. But they live in a slum house.. I kind of get the visual symbolism through it.Although it was a bit cheesy. The lengths he goes through to bond with his nephew while while battling Baltimore's banks and gangs are pretty interesting. It's worth a look.
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4/10
Training School Day
thesar-227 April 2015
Warning: Spoilers
What an odd coincidence having Luv recommended to me and finally getting around to seeing this urban, gang-related and crime-filled Baltimore drama with zero redeemable characters on the same day as the real-life Baltimore riots. Beyond that, I appreciated what the indie filmmakers were trying to create here, but it was difficult to watch due to the extreme number of horrible individuals we were, I guess, supposed to root for. Even our "hero," or the low budget, distant cousin of Denzel Washington's Det. Alonzo Harris from Training Day, was so despicable with every action he took, it was a tough sell. Basically, we follow this Uncle around as he complete unravels and shatters his nephew's life to the point of almost no return. In fact, if they made a sequel, the nephew, then grown up, would be the new hero/bad guy we'd hate. That all said, again, I appreciate the efforts here as, while wildly independent, it was competently made and had strong, secondary actors to at least elevate the film during their scenes. But, all-in-all, it's a downer and a sad fictional tale of hate, greed, revenge, bad influences and soulless characters unfortunately mimicking the harsh reality of today's riots.
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1/10
Shameful
tiffnee4288 June 2013
I was so disturbed by this film. Why was it even made? As an African American woman, we often hear "support our own". Well I find it a hard slap cross the face when I do and this is what's delivered. An uncle takes his young nephew out into the world, and this poor child is exposed to the street life. The acting was good so this film was believable. The biggest problem was that not one adult in the film had a problem exposing this young kid. I'm still trying to figure out, who was that target audience. My son who is 9 yrs old, was so afraid of the violence that he asked me to turn it off. That's what's wrong with our youth today, exposed to too much violence. I kept hoping that I could find some sort of message but sadly it ended. I pray that the producers of this film go back to the table and put out some positive material because with the wonderful cast they had in this movie, they certainly have the resources.
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