Inside Pulse » Kevin Hart A pop culture mega-site with Movies, TV, Music, Sports, Comics, Video Games coverage for diehards, including news, reviews, live event coverage, audio podcasts, exclusive interviews and commentary. Sat, 20 Dec 2014 15:22:35 +0000 en-US hourly 1 A pop culture mega-site with Movies, TV, Music, Sports, Comics, Video Games coverage for diehards, including news, reviews, live event coverage, audio podcasts, exclusive interviews and commentary. Inside Pulse no A pop culture mega-site with Movies, TV, Music, Sports, Comics, Video Games coverage for diehards, including news, reviews, live event coverage, audio podcasts, exclusive interviews and commentary. Inside Pulse » Kevin Hart Blu-ray Review: Ride Along Mon, 12 May 2014 20:00:37 +0000 Ride Along gave no indication of that at all.]]> So apparently Kevin Hart is supposed to be the next big comic, and he probably is, but for me Ride Along gave no indication of that at all.

Hart plays Ben Barber, a guy who is totally in love with his girlfriend Angela (Tika Sumpter) and likes playing video games. Angela’s brother James (Ice Cube) is a cop who thinks his sister can do way better. (And I think I agree with him.) In fact, the first major flaw of this movie is why would a woman like Angela be head over heels in love with a guy like Ben. It. Would. Never. Happen.

To win James over, Ben decides to prove himself as a man and become a cop. He succeeds in the first step by being accepted into the academy. But James still isn’t convinced. So James decides to invoke the title and invite Ben on a ride along to see if he really has what it takes to be a cop. Ben sees this as the perfect opportunity to win James over. James sees this as the perfect opportunity to mess with Ben and prove what a loser he is.

James proceeds to take Ben on a series of fake calls that he and his cop buddies (including John Leguizamo) set up to make Ben fail. However, things take a turn when they get caught up in a very real situation with some gun runners and well, I’m sure you can figure out the rest from here.

Kevin Hart makes this film very hard to watch. His character is super annoying and on a certain level he’s supposed to be so we can see him become the man that does deserve a woman like Angela, but frankly, I didn’t want to see Ben succeed.

Ice Cube basically plays Ice Cube. He’s got his tough guy act down pat and does it here perfectly. He’s not phoning it in, you can tell he’s having a lot of fun with the role, and maybe that’s why I was siding with him over Hart. I really wanted James to win this one.

The film was directed by Tim Story, who gave us such flops as Taxi and both Fantastic Four movies. Be it comedy or comic book action, he makes bad movies. There aren’t that many laughs to be had. I found myself chuckling a couple times, but a comedy like this should be wall to wall laughs and it was about as far from that as possible.

I’m sure there are hard core Kevin Hart fans out there that thought this film was hilarious, and good on them. Maybe I just don’t get his style of humor, because I found this to be the least funny film I’ve seen in a long time. I laughed harder watching Pompeii.

The film is presented in 2.40:1 and DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1. The film looks and sounds fine.

You get Alternate Ending (2 min.), Deleted Scenes (8 min.), Alternate Take (2 min.), Kev & Cuve’s Wild Ride (5 min.), You Gotta Learn Today (4 min.), Anatomy of the Big Blast (5 min.), An Explosive Ride (5 min.), Gag Reel (3 min.), It Was A Good Day – On The Set Of Ride Along (12 min.), Atlanta: The Character (3 min.) and Commentary with Tim Story. The deleted and alternate stuff and the gag reel aren’t that good, but all the behind the scenes stuff is pretty interesting. It definitely looks as if this was a very fun film to make.

I ended up enjoying the special features more than I enjoyed the film itself. While it looks like Ride Along was a joy to make, it wasn’t much of a joy to watch. Too bad that joy couldn’t translate to the screen. But hey, what do I know? Ride Along 2 has already been green lit.

Universal presents Ride Along. Written by: Greg Coolidge, Jason Mantzoukas, Phil Hay and Matt Manfredi. Directed by: Tim Story. Starring: Kevin Hart, Ice Cube, Tika Sumpter, John Leguizamo and Laurence Fishburne. Running time: 99 minutes. Rating: PG-13. Released: April 15, 2014.×120.jpg

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About Last Night (2014) – Review Sun, 16 Feb 2014 02:00:48 +0000
Remake equals the original in nearly every way

If there ever was a quintessential ‘80s film it’s About Last Night, which also doubles as one of the great film about the city of Chicago. Rob Lowe and Demi Moore had one of the great screen romances as David Mamet’s play “Sexual Perversity in Chicago” translated into one of the great romantic comedies of the era that still holds up nearly 30 years after its initial release into theatres. When Steve Pink was tabbed to remake it as a film about modern romance in Los Angeles, and translate the humor in a more modern sense, it was a bit odd to say the least.

How do you remake what stands as an American genre classic by changing nearly everything about it aesthetically while retaining the heart of the film?

Steve Pink has opted to throw out most of what worked in the original in terms of storyline and development and keep the bare bones, adapting it for a cast that is more than just aesthetically pleasing. Pink has crafted what might end up being one of the best films of 2014 by taking the heart of the original and taking it in a modern direction. About Last Night is a genuinely touching and affecting film that takes the classic staple of American genre work, the romantic comedy, and shows the power it can have when done correctly.

The film duplicates the premise of the first. Danny (Michael Early) and Debbie (Joy Bryant) “meet cute” and proceed to have a one-night stand. It turns into love and is followed up by cohabitation, of course, and then eventually romantic boredom sets in. Their best friends, Bernie (Kevin Hart) and Joan (Regina Hall) respectively, have a more physical based love affair that is juxtaposed against Danny and Debbie’s more traditional relationship.

The film is punctuated by the more comic setup of Bernie and Joan, of course, as Kevin Hart is too big of a personality to confine to a supporting role in the manner than Jim Belushi. Belushi was also a Chicago guy, so it made sense that a more stereotypical resident of the city would be Rob Lowe’s best friend. A character like Bernie in the 1986 film wouldn’t work in 2014 Los Angeles because L.A and Chicago are so profoundly different that it makes sense to change the spirit of the character to work for L.A. A big burly actor in Hart’s role like Terry Crews would have the same aesthetic as the original but it wouldn’t make as much sense for the nature of L.A to have someone like Crews in that role.

Hart makes sense and it makes for an interesting dynamic next to Michael Early. Hart is a relatively short actor and his lack of height makes his motor mouth style of interactions with Early work all that much more effectively. This interesting dunamic, of having a bigger part for someone who’s smaller, but with a bigger personality, suits the film more effectively because Early doesn’t need as much to work with as Hart does on screen. It’s an interesting dynamic on an aesthetic basis because Hart has to work that much harder to be believable as this lothario type.

Hart’s large personality works for the film in the same way Belushi’s gruff style did for the first film. Early has a thankless role in the lead, like Rob Lowe, because it’s believable that someone as good looking as him wouldn’t have a problem attracting someone like Joy Bryant. Danny in both films was a guy who had a broken heart, on the mend, but was not the ladykiller type his friend was.

Hart’s one man performance in the film nearly carries it to profound levels of brilliance we haven’t seen from a comic actor in some time. Everything in his career has led him to this point and this is a huge film for him. Early and Bryant have to do the heavy lifting on a dramatic basis and their chemistry is what makes the film hum throughout. They’re what makes us keep watching and stay interested; if they weren’t believable or had didn’t work nearly as well together the film would sink.

Hart is there to take care of most of the comedy, as Hall makes for a wonderful foil, and the Let Me Explain and Ride Along star pulls out a brilliant comic performance. Hart owns the screen whenever he’s on it and there’s a reason why the remake features more of the Bernie/Danny relationship than the original did. Early and Hart work well together, as the film has terrific chemistry from its cast as a whole, and Hart shines as the glue that keeps it all together.

About Last Night may have been primed for Valentine’s Day as an obvious hit based on its subject matter alone but don’t skip it just because of the time of year it came out. It’s genuinely funny and will probably wind up as one of the best films of 2014.

Director: Steve Pink
Writer: Leslye Headland, based on the screenplay by Tim Kazurinsky and Denise DeClue, based on the play “Sexual Perversity in Chicago” by David Mamet
Notable Cast: Michael Early, Joy Bryant, Kevin Hart, Regina Hall×120.jpg

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Ride Along – Review Sat, 18 Jan 2014 13:00:14 +0000
Mismatched buddy comedy is as generic as they come

Once upon a time, long before he was cold, Ice Cube was O’Shea Jackson. A popular hip hop artist in the late eighties and nineties, Jackson still makes music under his stage name but to many he’s more recognizable because of comedies like Friday and Barbershop.  

His latest, Ride Along, is another comedy, only this time it is an action-based buddy flick. So it’s like the second cousin twice removed to that xXx sequel he did when Vin Diesel didn’t reprise his role as Xander Cage and Cube had to be partnered with some Scott guy from TV’s Felicity. Only this time his buddy-in-training is Kevin Hart.

Kevin Hart plays Kevin Hart as usual. This is to say that he plays himself. Ice Cube is also Ice Cube. There are no machinations of either doing anything that is outside of their normal routine. Cube is the straight man to Hart’s spastic high energy. If you’ve seen any of the advertisements – a 30-second TV commercial or full-length trailer – then you’ve pretty much seen the highlights of Tim Story’s latest effort.

Ride Along is bearable in a I’ll wait until it hits Redbox, or better yet premieres on TBS in between marathon airings of Tyler Perry’s latest sitcom, kind of way, but it’s an insulting comic vehicle to anyone familiar with the tropes of better buddy cop films.

There was a time where Ice Cube proudly declared “F— tha Police” when he was a member of N.W.A. I almost want to say the same thing only have it directed to this comedy. But I can’t; this isn’t painful viewing. It’s just uninteresting for most of its duration. Even now I’m struggling to remember character names (thanks IMDb!).    

The gist goes something like this: Ice Cube is James Payton, a tough, insubordinate cop – guess he turned the other cheek from his N.W.A. days. Kevin Hart is Ben Barber, a school security guard with aspirations of being a cop. When Ben isn’t laying down some logic to kids who would rather ditch than go to class, he’s playing first-person shooters communicating with friends online with names like Ass-Face.  

The central conflict involves Ben trying to prove that he’s man enough to marry James’ sister, Angela (Tika Sumpter). Cube gives Hart his Sheryl Crow moment (that he’s strong enough to be his sister’s man) by offering to take him on a ride along to show him what real cops do. Though, I’m skeptical about the “real” part since James works for the fictional Atlanta City Police Department. That’s right – Atlanta City, not Atlanta.

Everything else in the narrative is secondary to the pairing of Cube and Hart. The biggest subplot involves James’ continued three-year investigation of a mysterious crime kingpin named “Omar.” Those hoping for a big reveal just need to pay attention to the film’s opening credits. His name is in there.

It may come across that I’m dogging Ride Along at every angle, but that’s mostly on account that it is a poorly written comedy. A total of four writers tinkered with a script and that’s always suspicious. Almost as if it started in one direction before the plot was filled in as if completing Mad Libs. (Before Cube and Hart’s involvement the film was to have starred the likes of Dwayne Johnson and Ryan Reynolds.) At the very least, Ice Cube and Kevin Hart do have some nice chemistry and exchanges. However, Tim Story’s direction is toned down for PG-13 consumption, which basically neuters the action and restrains comedy that clearly wants to be more “adult” than what’s offered.

Ride Along is, sadly, aiming to be relaxation entertainment for the masses. The type of comedy that goes for easy laughs, where the audience doesn’t have to think too hard. The action is generic, the storyline is boring, and the comedy is uneven. It wants to be Bad Boys but such aspirations are a Cop Out.

Sorry, Cube. Today wasn’t a good day.

Director: Tim Story
Writer(s): Greg Coolidge, Jason Mantzoukas, Phil Hay, Matt Manfredi
Notable cast: Ice Cube, Kevin Hart, John Leguizamo, Tika Sumpter, Bryan Callen, Bruce McGill×120.png

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Monday Morning Critic – Pulling The Eddie Murphy: Kevin Hart, Ride Along And The Road From Stand Up Comic To Full Time Comic Actor Mon, 13 Jan 2014 13:00:31 +0000
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One of the more interesting things about this week’s slate of films, other than being the first weekend of 2014 that looks like it’s worth a damn when it comes to film, is that of the emerging presence of Kevin Hart. Hart, one of the best standups currently working, has been working to move into film for some time. 2014 looks to be a year in which he could vault a lot of current comic actors into a much higher level, with two other films he’s in headlining roles in. He’s this year’s Jude Law 2004, an actor with a number of high profile roles in one calendar year that could make (or break) his career if they go a certain way.

But that’s not the most interesting thing about Hart’s 2014, potentially at least. Hart is trying to make the leap that few stand up comics have been able to do for some time: from full time, headlining standup to full time, headlining comedic actor.

Hart’s standup career has been something remarkable as he’s been able to become something special when it comes to that particular aspect of his career. He’s been able to release his own stand up specials in theaters, something few comics are able to do anymore. Most times they go to cable television or HBO, which has been a staple of stand up since cable television’s rise to prominence. Comedy Central has made a fortune, and comics have made careers, from the various stand up specials that grace the company’s airwaves. DVD has been a boon, as well, but the cinema has been largely bereft of films of stand up comedians doing a live show.

Even Dane Cook, perhaps the biggest draw on the stand up tour, hasn’t tried to make that attempt and Hart has made two profitable stabs at making a stand up film. It’s something that rarely happened even when stand up comedy was at its highest apex, the ’80s, and it stands to reason that most comics would rather take their chances with a guaranteed payday and the solid audience size of the small screen than risk the pratfalls of potentially failing on the big screen. But Hart is doing something special with his career; he’s looking to try and pull the Eddie Murphy.


Murphy famously started out as a stand up and transitioned from being terrific at that to being the biggest movie star in the world, with a legendary stop at Saturday Night Live in between. Hart isn’t getting anywhere near those heights, as Murphy was a once in a generation phenom that hit the right roles at the right time, but he did provide a pathway for stand up comics to leave the club world behind and become better known for being actors.

It’s interesting because few comics try to do this anymore. And I’m talking comics, not comedians, as there’s a difference. Plenty of actors who are good with comedy never go through the stand up circuit, which is a whole other beast than the circuit for funny people who want to act. It’s rare for comics to want to transition fully into acting, as the money isn’t nearly as good going from being a headliner at a club to being the 4th lead on up in a film. It’s easier (and probably more rewarding) for someone like Bill Burr to take a small role in Breaking Bad, or to show up randomly in a couple of films in blink and you miss it roles, and to spend the rest of the year on the road.

Hart is slowly working his way into starring roles and Ride Along is a big one because it’s poised to potentially be his breakout role. This is a film that’s bounced around from a number of directors and actors, at one point being positioned as a reuniting between Pete Berg, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson and Seann William Scott after their successful partnership on The Rundown. Ride Along has been a film that’s had so many people attached to it that it’s not all that shocking it wound up with Ice Cube, Hart and a January release date.


This is a film that doesn’t have huge expectations coming in, and one imagines that it has the budget to match, but it has all the look of a film that finds an audience in the winter. If Kevin James can find a career out of Paul Blart at the same time of year, and Liam Neeson as an action hero with Taken as well, maybe Kevin Hart could vault from one of the best stand up comics out there to a high profile comedy actor?

It’s insanely difficult and if he does Hart will have pulled something few have: the Eddie Murphy.

Stuff for General George S. Pimpage, Esq

From elsewhere in the Inside Pulse Network:

I looked at the Percy Jackson sequel on DVD.

Travis looked at the new Hercules film here.

Mike Noyes hates spiders. Here’s why.

And now on MMC … we DANCE!

If you want to pimp anything email it to me with a good reason why. It helps to bribe me with stuff, just saying ….

A Movie A Week – The Challenge


This week’s DVD – Kevin Hart: Let Me Explain

Since we’re talking about Kevin Hart this week, why not explore his last stand up film?

Hart is filmed both on tour internationally as well as for a performance at Madison Square Garden. I reviewed it right here and it holds up fairly well. It’s a good, not great, film but it’s a tremendous stand up performance. Read the review for a more thorough analysis.


What Looks Good This Weekend, and I Don’t Mean the $2 tall boys of Red Fox and community college co-eds with low standards at the Fox and Hound

Devil’s DueRosemary’s Baby but found footage style.

Skip it – It’s a horror film in January, odds are it’s going to be awful.

Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit – A relaunch of the Jack Ryan franchise, this time with Ryan as a young CIA analyst.

See it - Great cast and Chris Pine is slowly turning into something special with a franchise.

The Nut Job – An animated heist film about nuts? I haven’t seen much beyond a pair of 30 second spots.

Skip it – Haven’t seen enough previews, et al, to merit any recommendation. With animated fare that usually means it’s awful.

Ride Along – Kevin Hart wants to marry Ice Cube’s sister. To win his blessing he’ll need to prove himself on the ride along from hell.

See it – This is make or break for Hart and I can see this becoming a hit for him.

Scott “Kubryk” Sawitz brings his trademarked irreverence and offensive hilarity to Twitter in 140 characters or less. Follow him @ScottSawitz .×120.jpg

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Kevin Hart: Let Me Explain – Review Sat, 06 Jul 2013 19:00:49 +0000
Exceptionally funny

When it comes to figuring out who is the most popular stand up comic in the world it’s really difficult. Among their peers it’s always Louis C.K being recognized as the “comic’s comic.’ Dane Cook is a box office draw on tour, of course, and Jeff Foxworthy & Larry the Cable Guy own the Southern audience better than anyone else. Kevin Hart has slowly risen among their ranks if only for one reason: he’s managed to turn the stand up comedy film back into something that can draw successfully at the box office.

After Laugh At My Pain grossed $8 million domestically on a miniscule budget (with the album going multi-platinum), Let Me Explain picks up where that film left off as Hart is filmed in front of a capacity audience at New York City’s Madison Square Garden for an hour long stand up comedy set. Setting the film up by having him needing to get “some things off his chest” and going to MSG, Hart has an hour to talk about what he finds funny about life, et al.

The one thing that come through early is that Hart has a rock star presence on stage … and he fully embraces it. Hart has had a number of roles in film, et al, and his stand up career has grown substantially since Pain defied box office expectations and made a substantial amount (for a stand up comedy film). Acknowledging this early on, especially considering the venue he’s playing, gives the film an authenticity that many stand up comedy films don’t have.

Hart’s routine is genuinely funny, as well, as Hart tackles a lot of things that are deeply personal. Discussing the break up of his marriage, for starters, has to be tough but he does in such a remarkable manner that it’s enlightening. Fame hasn’t done anything to take the comedy out of Hart so far as it seems to have elevated his game.

And that’s what this film is: Hart elevating his material to that next level. Hart is in the moment as MSG is one of those places that few stand up comedians have been able to play, and sell out, and this is a comic at the height of his powers unleashing something beautiful. When an artist in any field is in the process of being in the moment, of raising their game to high levels, it can be beautiful to see and this is Hart crafting something special on stage.

The only downside is that it’s only an hour, and includes a fairly unimaginative opening to set up the film. Hart is on such a role on stage that you wish he’d have more material instead of having the start of the film being a genuflection on where he’s come from.

Director: Leslie Small
Notable Cast:
Kevin Hart×120.jpg

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Red Band Trailer For About Last Night Remake Released [Video] Mon, 18 Feb 2013 11:00:54 +0000 The first trailer for About Last Night has a red band trailer, which you can view below.

Here’s the original, directed by Ed Zwick.×120.jpg

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Just Seen It Movie Review: Think Like a Man [Video] Sun, 29 Apr 2012 20:56:13 +0000 In this ensemble romantic comedy, Steve Harvey gives women insights on how men think and act. But when the men discover they are being played, they decide to fight back. In the battle of the sexes, both sides find love. Starring Gabrielle Union, Kevin Hart, Michael Ealy, Jerry Ferrara, Meagan Good, Regina Hall, Taraji P. Henson, Terrence Jenkins and Romany Malco. Directed by Tim Story. Written by Steve Harvey (book) and Keith Merryman (screenplay). Produced by William Packer. Genre: Romantic Comedy.

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Just Seen It TV Review: Avatar: The Legend of Korra [Video] Sun, 29 Apr 2012 13:00:10 +0000 In this Nickelodeon animated series, seventy years has passed in this world since the end of the first series – Avatar: The Last Airbender. Korra, a young woman from the water tribe, has been designated the new Avatar after the passing of Aang. Korra travels to Republic City to learn airbenging from Aan'g son Tenzin, while facing an anti-Bender revolt. Created and Produced by Michael Dante DiMartino, Bryan Konietzko. Starring the voices of Janet Varney, J.K. Simmons and Maria Bamford. Genre: Animated Fantasy Adventure.

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Just Seen It Movie Review: Safe [Video] Sun, 29 Apr 2012 01:03:27 +0000 Luke, a former cage fighter, wanders the streets of NY – a broken man. But he meets Mei, a math prodigy being chased by the same mafia that murdered his family. Luke takes a deadly vengeance against the killers while protecting Mei. Starring Jason Statham, Catherine Chan and Chris Sarandon. Directed by Boaz Yakin. Written by Boaz Yakin. Produced by Lawrence Bender and Dana Brunetti. Genre: Action Thriller.

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Think Like A Man, Make A Horrible Trailer That Follows Apparently Sun, 11 Dec 2011 03:00:43 +0000 In a weekend of bad trailers it seems that one with a fairly unremarkable cast featuring Taraji P. Henson, Michael Ealy, Kevin Hart, Jerry Ferrara and Romany Malco might be the worst. Thus comes Think Like A Man, based off of Steve Harvey’s “Act Like a Lady, Think Like a Man: What Men Really Think About Love, Relationships, Intimacy, and Commitment.”×120.jpg

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