Posts from the ‘Film’ Category

Welcome Wakanda!

Screen shot 2018-02-22 at 12.24.26 PM

Chadwick Boseman as T’Challa. All Black Panther photos: ©Marvel Comics

 

 

‘Bout time!

As Whoopi Goldberg said on The View, I have been waiting 25 years for this movie. And then along comes Black Panther, satisfying yearnings I didn’t know I had until seeing them realized in 3-D splendor. If you skip the trailer, there are no spoilers in my homage to director Ryan Coogler (Fruitvale Station and Creed) and his phenomenal story, cast and crew.

Like the documentary I featured a few weeks ago, Rumble: The Indians Who Rocked the World, in Coogler’s hands, Black Panther takes the moral and artistic high ground, using filmic elements of humor and innuendo to land succinct attacks on the oppressive slave narrative—a story we know all too well—and move on. For that I am most grateful.

“What’s so special about this film is that we see an idyllic society that has figured out its gender dynamics where women are allowed to assume their power, realize their full potential and the men are not threatened by it so that they can be of support to each other—which is the world we want to see.”— Lupita Nyong’o, on The View

How could we know that when our black superhero savior finally arrived he would be armed with not only vibranium, but a cast of powerful women, who like him, possess coolness, swagger and such beyond-Bond gizmos that, had I not been reclined in the new Loungers at Rowland Cinema in Novato, I would have fallen out of my seat.

“You create excellence it’ll be responded to. I’m thankful that Mr. Coogler and Marvel got together and created excellence. [the response] makes sense to me, I think we’ve been yearning for it.”— Danai Gurira, on The View

L-R: Danai Gurira (Okoye); Lupita Nyong’o, (Nakia)

Screen shot 2018-02-22 at 1.29.13 PM

The illustrious Angela Bassett as matriarch, Ramonda.

Screen shot 2018-02-22 at 1.12.59 PM

Latitia Wright as technogoddess, Shuri.

Of course, there’s no escaping violence in a super hero movie—sadly true these days for nearly any film you see—but Black Panther has one scene that crosses even that line for me. Since I have close to zero tolerance for violence in films, I’ll close my eyes next time. In his review, David Edelstein sites a “few sub-par computer effects” and I could surf and see what that’s about but—who cares!!? Black Panther does not disappoint and I can’t wait to see this already iconic film again. Altogether, right now: let’s cross our fisted arms over my chest and repeat after me: Wakanda forever!…

WashingtonPostGettyImages

Director, co-writer, Ryan Coogler. Photo: Washington Post/Getty Images

RUMBLE: The Indians Who Rocked the World (mind-blowing film)

REDBONE: 1970s American Indian rock group featured in the 2017 documentary: RUMBLE: The Indians Who Rocked the World

In Memory of John Trudell

Thank you, RUMBLE, for taking the high road. 

Read more…

Must-see Film ~ Screening in Albany, Georgia: Tuesday, 9/12/17

 

Albany Civil Rights Institute Presents Award-Winning Civil Rights Documentary & Discussion Featuring Several Black Albanians, Filmmaker

The Albany Civil Rights Institute will present an award-winning civil rights film, featuring multiple black Albanians, who fought on the front lines of the bloodiest campaign of the entire Civil Rights Movement.

                  The Institute will present the hour-long documentary, Passage at St. Augustine: The 1964 That Transformed America™, Tuesday, September 12, 2017 from 6:30 p.m. – 8:30 p.m. at 326 Whitney Avenue, Albany, GA 31701. The program will feature filmmaker Clennon L. King, and is free and open to the public. Read more…

Get Out ~ A Quantum Leap for Film Genre

Writer/Director Jordan Peele

Anita: Get Out is one small step for The Stepford Wives and a quantum leap for the film genre.

A group of five of us went to see the new film Get Out yesterday —all of us people of color and none of us fans of horror films. I purposefully did not watch the trailer—they give away way too much (what’s up with that anyway?)—nor did I read any reviews so I could freshly appreciate the story. Bottom line: wow.

Peele crafted the film’s social/artistic/psychological layers brilliantly, and took his time with pacing, allowing faces to fill the frame and build tension. The hero, Chris Washington was portrayed flawlessly by British actor, Daniel Kaluuya who can show so much with a glance and a smirk. My biggest wish was for more black characters to put more black actors on the payroll—nevertheless the entire cast did a fine job.

We saw the film at Rowland Theater in Novato, CA: went to a 2:20 showing, there were only a handful of people most over sixty and white (parr for Marin County, northern California). Afterwards we went to Moylan’s Brewery for drinks and a bite to discuss. Well, we had not stopped discussing from the time we rose from our seats and walked across the street, through the doors and into the booth. When our blond-haired waitress greets us the first thing she says is “Did you just see Get Out?…..my favorite movie right now! One of the other waitresses and I went to see it yesterday and when we came out we didn’t speak for twenty minutes. All we could say was, ‘What just happened?'”

As we were leaving the theater (to the horror of the others in my party) I asked the three white folk—a man and two women—sitting in the row in front of us what their verdict was. The man said, “That was two hours of my life I can never get back.” One of the women said, “I thought it was wonderful!” I think it would’ve been fun to invite them to join us across the street—but—maybe not.

I get that we need to label stuff so we can talk about it, but Peele has us struggling with what to call this innovative film. Without strictly succumbing to the conventions of horror or thriller or comedy or drama, and without overwhelming viewers in reenactments of the real life terrors of the film’s major themes, Get Out melds—via its image system, symbolism, and nuance—the seen and the unseen; the spoken and unspoken to yield a story with outstanding visceral impact.

I was a huge fan of Key & Peele on Comedy Central and can now see that all those clever, finely produced skits (and perhaps especially Season 3 which was too gory for my taste)  prepared Peele for this triumphant debut as feature-length writer/director.

This was definitely two hours of my life I can’t wait to repeat.

Here are two of my favorite skits from Key & Peele on Comedy Central:

Substitute Teacher: https://youtu.be/Dd7FixvoKBw

Obama’s Anger Translator: https://youtu.be/F3gIYgSa4qw

Don’t Be a Sucker

Don’t Be a Sucker is a short propaganda film produced by the U.S. War Department, released on July 4, 1943 and re-released in 1947. It has anti-racist and anti-fascist themes. The film was supposedly created to make the case for the desegregation of the United States armed forces [paradoxically I dare say] but ultimately upholds America as a nation of minorities that must unite in order to thrive. It’s terrifying that seventy years later the film’s messages are all too relevant. [17:26 minutes] Please share this with your people everywhere:

Read more…

Amen, Dame Meryl

screen-shot-2017-01-09-at-12-31-25-pm

Meryl Streep at the 74th Golden Globes in Beverly Hills, CA, Sun, Jan 8th. Credit Paul Drinkwater/NBC

Last night, excepting her Lifetime Achievement Award, Mary Louise “Meryl” Streep delivered a dynamic speech at the 2017 Golden Globes, eloquently expressing her heart break over Trump politics and her hope in spite of it. We’ll be hurting for a while—grief doesn’t disappear over night, you have to work through it—and it helps to connect with others, listen and read good wise words, make art.

Feeling the paradox of life, after three score and two years on the planet, I look around for the first few days of 2017 and feel I’ve lived too long. My cataracted eyes has already seen too much and I cannot abide that which my ears are sometime forced to hear.

Read more…

Oscars Aren’t the [Only] Problem ~ Let’s look at Hollywood, and Ourselves

Hattie McDaniels 1st black to win an Oscar ~ Role: Mammy in Gone With the Wind, 1939

Hattie McDaniel, 1895-1952
1st black to win an Oscar ~
Role: Mammy, Gone With the Wind, 1939

 

Dorothy Dandridge 1922-1965

Dorothy Dandridge, 1922-1965 1st black woman nominated for Best Actress in Leading Role as Carmen Jones in Carmen Jones, 1954

I’m guilty. I like Oscar parties. Dress up, eat fancy hors d’oeuvres, drink champagne and maybe even walk down an imitation of THE red carpet. Fun night. While we’re at it let’s also take a serious look at what role we movie consumers play in feeding the gross injustices reflected on the silver screen when it comes to whites—from the casting room to the cutting room—vs people of (any) color.

Read more…

%d bloggers like this: