*** (three stars)
A kid gets a quick education on the mean streets of Baltimore, in director Sheldon Candis' atmospheric drama. Eleven-year-old Woody (Michael Rainey Jr.) worships his super-cool uncle Vincent (played by the rapper Common), so he is thrilled when Uncle Vincent takes him out of school for a day to teach him how to be a man. What Woody sees is Vincent hustling to get money to start a new business, and crossing paths with drug dealers and two mobster brothers (Dennis Haysbert and Danny Glover) who doubt Vincent's loyalty. Candis and his co-writer, Justin Wilson, create strong characters, particularly in the emotional push-and-pull between the increasingly desperate Vincent and the fast-learning Woody. The plot stalls in a few places, but the depiction of rough-and-tumble Baltimore is satisfyingly gritty.
Sean P. Means
"LUV" screens again:
Tuesday, Jan. 24, 5:30 p.m., Prospector Square Theatre, Park City
Thursday, Jan. 26, 8:30 p.m., Library Square Theatre, Park City
Friday, Jan. 27, 9:45 p.m., Broadway Centre Cinema 3, Salt Lake City
Saturday, Jan. 28, 9 a.m., Egyptian Theatre, Park City