Bolstered by strong reviews, and positive word-of-mouth, F. Gary Gray’s “Straight Outta Compton” continues to be the surprise hit of the late summer. A drama about the rise and fall of Compton, California’s hip hop group N.W.A., the film has now grossed over 140 million dollars worldwide–or about 5 times its production budget. And despite some controversy associated with its production and release, I have to remark that it’s refreshing to have a team of black actors, producers, and a director, find such success, during the usually blockbuster dominated summer months. 24-year-old O’Shea Jackson, Jr. portrays Ice Cube, 26-year-old Corey Hawkins is Dr. Dre, young Jason Mitchell takes the part of Eazy-E, and Keith Stanfield embodies Snoop Dogg. Of course, Ice Cube and Dr. Dre themselves are two of the film’s many producers. And F. Gary Gray is no stranger to hit-making, having helmed 2003’s “The Italian Job”, as well as well-reviewed cult hits like 1995’s “Friday” and 1996’s “Set It Off”. So, three cheers to the underdog “Straight Outta Compton”, now a thrice consecutive weekend champion at the North American box office. Oh, and now that I’ve ended my 10-day vacation hiatus, new reviews will arrive later this week!