Archive for March 2009

This N' That...

Hey all...I am free from a contract gig that was taking up an immense space of my time and energy...but hallelujah, I free! Which in turn, leaves me more time for my precious blog--aren't you lucky? lol

How about a little movie news, yes?

First up, I don't know what to make of Isaiah Washington. He was kicked out of his house for non-payment of rent. He was on Grey's Anatomy for a few years, wasn't he? What do these folks do with all of those juicy dollars? Damn. But things are looking up for him--he is doing a biopic on the life of Lou Rawls, which I think is wonderful, cause I never felt Lou received his proper due. I think Isaiah is a very interesting choice.

What isn't interesting to anyone, apparently, is the halted biopic of Lionel Ritchie, who was deemed too boring. Dang! He must have had a couple of interesting moments leading The Commodores and getting a karate chop beat-down on his ass by his wife. I'd like to see that.

Ntozake Shange’s play, “For Colored Girls Who Considered Suicide …” is being made into a film. I saw this play when I was a little girl, and don't really remember it, so I am looking forward to it. The film also has a Black female director, Nzingha Stewart. Kudos!

In YT cinema news, I saw "A Haunting In Connecticut", please don't ask why. Perfectly awful, of course. What is even more awful and disturbing is a big screen "3 Stooges" movie with...wait for it.....Sean Penn as Larry (?!), Jim Carrey as Curly (not a stretch), and Benecio Del Toro as Moe (??!!) I mean, really, WTF! This idea just makes me sad inside, especially the part about Sean Penn...just one more in the long line of making stupid choices after winning an Oscar.

Speaking of sad, King Latifah will be in yet another romantic comedy, "Just Wright". **sigh**

I received a note from the head of the Wichita NAACP, Kevin Myles. He said:

Hey Sis, You may want to check this out... The NAACP is asking people to rate the 100 most influential films of the last century. As I was looking through the nominees it was exciting just to go back and watch the trailers from all of my favorites from the last 40 years... Here's a link; check it out: http: / / www. wichitanaacpblog. com/ 2009/ 03/ naacp-top-100-films- of-century-1909_17. html

Check it out folkses, and vote as you see fit. I want to give some Oaktown love to filmmaker Mateen O. Kemet, whose work I will be following closely. He was on the series "On The Lot" and has this lovely trailer for a film he's working on, called "Oakland B Mine". Let me know what you think:

And finally, check me and my comrades out on last night's Obenson Report podcast. It was a bloggers roundtable on what else? Black Cinema. I joined Daryle Lockhart at "The Black Box Office", my beloved Sergio from Ebony/Jet, Solshine from "Reel Artsy", and of course Tambay Obenson. If you'd like to hear us chop it up, click HERE.

Thanks to the wonderful Issa Rae for some of these tidbits...

Mum & Dad

Well, really! Who wants to see knitting needles going into places where they definitely shouldn’t? Or chunks of human flesh used as masturbatory aids? And Christmas decorations made from mutilated corpses?! Not me! BAN THIS SICK FILTH, I say... I’ve had enough!

Hee! Gotcha. Although Mum & Dad quite obviously goes out of its way to disgust you with its depravities, it’s actually nice to see a torture-porn-type flick that’s clearly aimed at seasoned horror fans, as opposed to shock-me-once teenage moviegoers. It’s also pretty well acted, creepily convincing, and astonishingly good-looking considering its £100,000 budget.

Oh, and the BBC stumped up some of the money to make it, so it practically counts as Public Service Broadcasting... Just call yourself a responsible adult.

At the outset, Mum & Dad reminded me a bit of 2004’s London Underground chiller Creep, although it’s nothing like it, really. The reason I thought that was because it also has a foreign-girl-in-London lead – in this case, Lena (Olga Fedori), a young Polish woman working as a cleaner at Heathrow Airport. Where Creep pitted its heroine against a sort of over-the-top monster-human in a gothic setting, however, Mum & Dad takes Lena into what seems like a very ordinary suburban home. Of course, it’s anything but... The run-down house beside the airport, which Lena ends up in when she misses her last bus one night, actually has more in common with the home of Fred and Rosemary West.

In fact, it’s home to two “children”, Birdie and Elbie, who spend their days ransacking lost luggage for electrical items to sell at the car boot. Then there’s their “Dad” (Perry Benson), who wears a blood-soaked vest and does dubious things in a dark room with a dirty hammer, and finally “Mum” (Dido Miles) who prefers a scalpel. It’s the kind of place you’d run screaming from. And Lena would have probably done just that if she hadn’t already been injected with tranquilizer and tied to a filthy bed. It seems the family are looking for a new daughter...

Ohhh, Mum & Dad is so sick! I’ve often wondered if you could make a decent horror film set mainly in one location, with just a small number of characters and some nasty ideas. Well, you can, and here’s the proof. It’s sort of like The Royle Family gone hideously wrong: not much more than a few characters sitting around in a dingy house – but here the TV shows hardcore porn, you can’t see the wallpaper for blood, and the suspense as Lena tries to escape is stifling.

What really works is the disturbingly short journey Lena takes from dull routine to incomprehensible terror. Mum & Dad pulls the strange trick of not letting you see much of the exterior of its house of horror, but this only serves to strengthen the point that it could almost be next-door to yours. Now, are you sure you need that cup of sugar?

TV licence fee revenue well spent.

Rating: 3/5

Best Review... EVER

"Best Review, Ever"

Just a quick note today: The IMDB forums are always a wildly mixed-bag of citizen journalism; from insane off-topic conspiracy theories to the occasional serious-minded criticism. With that in mind, I have to say that this is my all-time favorite review from a registered viewer. I just don't think it gets any better than this - Regarding the brilliant "The Harlem Globetrotters on Gilligans Island", one reviewer wrote:

Even Better than the Novel!

"This movie is incredible! Amazing! It had everything! It is truly shocking that it was a made for TV production, it has epic blockbuster written all over it. Name it and this movie has it. The Harlem Globetrotters, greedy developers, Gilligan, Mary-Ann, The Professor, The Skipper, the millionaire and his wife, the rest, tourists, basketball in an exotic Caribbean location....... this movie has everything! EVERYTHING! ABSOLUTELY EVERYTHING! You should be grateful, very grateful, that we get entertainment such as this. The world is good."

Without question, I deem this review capsule "Best Review Ever." It's irrelevant to me whether the sarcasm is because this person truly loves this or is just having some fun. It's a bit of both to me and I love him/her for it!

I love my Gilligan's Island and with this in mind I give the following sidenote. I was watching Who Wants to be a Millionaire? just two nights ago and one of the easy, piece o' cake early questions was: "What character was the 'movie star' on Gilligan's Island? Of course, "Ginger Grant" was among the four choices and the contestant, a young woman in her, say, mid 20's was completely frickin' clueless. Meredith Viera kidded her that "c'mon this is easy" to which the young lady said, I'm prettty sure that this show was on before I was born - to which Meredith, feeling the victim of agism, gave the camera a "thanks a helluva lot ya little brat" look.

Ya know, the previous 4.5 billion years happened "before I was born" but that doesn't mean that I don't want to know a little something about them. Even if this was just a stupid bit of 'pop culture' icon trivia, I felt Meredith's pain... Ultimately, she had to poll the audience, 99% of whom told her who it was. You'd think on a television show that is all about pop culture trivia, a contestant wouldn't pull the "before my time" bit. Wow. Why do I constantly feel so out of touch with the generations that came after me?

Advice from Eno

"Slow preparation, fast execution."
-Brian Eno, Oblique Strategies

advice worth following for our film making adventure.

Things That Make Me Laugh....

--Willona Woods aka Mary J. Blige in Tyler Perry's "I Can Do Bad By Myself"

--This blog based wholly on loony-tune blogger Sandra Rose (thanks sergio) lovingly referred to as "Crusty":

--This unfortunate trailer for the low budget, not even DVD worthy movie "Peaches" (thanks sergio):

--"Others" who wander onto this blog by some happenstance and say: "You and everyone on this blog are a bunch of racists!" And then proceed to break down how "inferior" we are in so many ways, and how we are just a bunch of ignorant apes, monkeys, or some other variance of primate. Folks that are also obviously completely and blissfully unaware of the term and meaning of "irony".

Obama Fingers. With curry dip. In front of the Golden Gate Bridge. Just why?

Maria Lassnig

Kantate (1992)

"The Austrian artist Maria Lassnig tells us the story of her life in 14 verses, beginning with her birth and ending with her life as it is today. Simultaneusly - in the background - we see the story as animated drawings, full of irony, humor and wisdom." (Hubert Sielecki)

Click here if above does not play


Check out some of the new titles made available as downloads and “custom-made DVDs” from the recently opened Warner Archive...

So let’s see, that’s:

  • Kristy McNichol in a dream-vs-reality psycho-thriller directed by Alan J. Pakula (and the poster is fantastic!)
  • An extremely offbeat-looking doggy-dunnit, starring James Garner and Katharine Ross
  • Another of Hammer’s post-Psycho mind-warpers (you may remember I enjoyed Hysteria)
  • A nasty-looking noir featuring the brilliant Dana Andrews and some heavy psychological undertones
  • Troy Donahue + Reincarnation + A killer on the loose!

I’ve not seen any of this lot but, unfortunately, Warner won’t send their DVDs to the UK so it may be a while before I do. Something to do with region-coding or something. Grr. If you’ve seen any of them, be sure to let me know what I’m missing (if anything).

Let’s hope I don’t have similar problems catching up with the new “slasher TV series” Harper’s Island, as previewed by Slasher Speak, which promises “13 episodes, 13 murders!”.

And, if you are in a slashery mood today, you could head over to Retro Slashers and read my recent articles, Great Slasher Mysteries Volume 1 and Volume 2... Who knows? Maybe you can solve ’em!

Let some good ones in

If you think things have gone a little quiet here at Anchorwoman In Peril! of late, that’s because, well... they have!

Seems I’m afflicted with what Lucy Ricardo called “the mauves” – not quite the blues, but arguably less appealing to the eye, and certainly not good for the blog. I’ve been getting the feeling recently that life’s too short for shit films. I know... unthinkable! What’s come over me? Is it age-related? Should I be thinking about taking out some kind of life cover plan? And will I get a free gift just for applying? (I do need a new carriage clock, after all.)

This has all meant, anyway, that I’ve started watching three different films recently and, to put it bluntly, just given up on them. The first, Mirror Images II, wasn’t even that bad. Sure, it was nothing like as good as the first film, but anything about evil twins is worth watching as far as I’m concerned (I mean, you need to prepare yourself in case it happens to you!). Still, despite the movie’s good intentions, I only made it through to the main character’s fourth therapy session-turned-steamy lesbian romp...

Zombie Strippers! fared less well. In fact, I think it holds the record for the shortest amount of grace-time I’ve given a film before switching it off. Tacky photography, lame-o zombie make-up, annoying “characters” and the threat of Robert Englund... I think I gave it all of 50 seconds. Classic case of “great poster, shame about the movie”:

I then made the mistake of trying Nature of the Beast, which is a made-for-TV (yay!) horror spoof (hmm...) starring American Pie’s Eddie Kaye Thomas (oh dear) as a soon-to-be-married werewolf. This one got a full 30 minutes of my attention, but only because I was feeling guilty about giving up on Zombie Strippers! so quickly.

So there you have it. Is this the end of Anchorwoman In Peril?! No, of course not, silly! I think I just need to spend some quality time with some quality films – ones that aim high and think hard – in order to appreciate the gutter trash again. It’s not all doom and gloom: I’ve actually seem some pretty good films recently too. I watched 1939’s glorious The Women back-to-back with its Meg Ryan remake and enjoyed them both on different levels. (While the original’s like being taken for a spin by a clever friend, the remake’s like that same friend coming round with a load of free booze but refusing to leave when you get tired.)
Controversially, I really thrilled to the good-looking, hard-work Watchmen, with its dallying storyline and weirdly terrific cast. And, unlike Final Girl, I had a pulse-pounding time with Eden Lake, despite its unsympathetically stupid main characters (yes, she napped; I know). I even watched a Hungarian film called Kalandorok (or Adventurers to you) which didn’t have a special effect in sight. That last one was screening at the Bradford Film Festival, where I’m also seeing Let the Right One In later this week. So... yeah, I’m getting there. Just give me some quality time with the freaky foreign vampire kids.

A Beginning

finally started the scene-by-scene breakdown of the haunted house project today. didn't get far, but that's okay. the intent was to start as soon as i got home from work. however, the weather was amazing, so i took advantage of it and went for a nice cleansing walk. i'm glad i did, because i figured out what to do in the opening credits scene. it's not earth-shattering, but it's a great way into the story (personal note to jamie: i'll explain the specifics when next we meet). by the time i got back from my walk, fixed a light supper and got down to writing, it was about quarter to eight.

getting tired, so i've decided to knock off until tomorrow.

in other news, i met with chris last week and he's fully on board with what we're doing. he made some helpful suggestions that tweak a few scenes.

jamie, chris and i figure that, barring unforeseen events (acts of God, etc), we'll be ready to start principle photography during summer of 2010. the reason that we're waiting a year (just over, actually) is that we really want to make sure that we know our stuff. in addition to getting the script right, we need to learn the camera. (aside: it turns out that the camera i spoke of in the last post is the EXACT camera that chris has, which is what we used to shoot "word virus (fever freaks)".) we'll be shooting a LOT of short films over the course of the year.

miles to go, but it's worth the trip.

7 Questions With Black & Sexy Director Dennis Dortch...

There is one thing that really burns me, and that is folks that put down or discourage the dreams and aspirations of others. There is nothing more disheartening than sharing your thoughts and ideas with someone, only to be told that they are ridiculous and unattainable. To which I say this: Completely consider the source: A) Is this a person you would gladly trade lives with? OR B) Does this person lead a life that you admire and/or respect? If the answer is no, grains of salt, my friends, grains of salt.

One of my favorite things to do on this blog is to interview those I find interesting. The people interviewed here wholly deserve the attention and accolades they receive, as they are independent thinkers, free from the constraints of the conventional world. They learn from mistakes and experiences, and, most importantly, they are willing to share what they've learned with others. They are hustlers and sages, and I learn amazing life lessons and get inspired by each one of them; I hope you do too. Here is the latest--"A Good Day To Be Black and Sexy" director Dennis Dortch, a definite welcome addition to the halls of the new Black Renaissance in film...check it.

Question #1

The landscape is so barren on Black love/sexual situations in movies. I know you have been asked this many times over, but what gave you the idea to make this film? Who or what has been your inspiration in filmmaking? (That is really two questions--I'm cheating a bit)

Life. Real life. Our daily pursuit for happiness in love and sex drives and affects most of our decisions in life. We are living it everyday. These are basic human needs that find our white counterparts with oogles of quirky movies on the subject. When it comes to us, suddenly it's different even though we are all human beings with the same desires and needs. When you do see us in any sexual situation in a movie (especially a mixed cast movie) - we are either raping, overly sexually charged, or getting no ass whatsoever. Nothing but the extremes and nothing in between. Keep in mind that anytime you put a black person on the screen (esp. a black man), whatever they are doing or portraying holds much more weight. Put a gun in their hand, show them dead, show them running from the law, in court, or playing the President of the US or God, or Jesus, or simply having sex, it's suddenly a little bit heavier. Where our white male counterpart is just doing something as an action, the black counterpart becomes that *something* they are doing.

I think the second part of that is black folks are kinda prudish. I mean the West is sort of prudish overall compared to our European counterparts, but we all love sex but we just don't want people to know we love it. That's why the porn industry is booming. It's all about secrecy, so it carries over to the big screen and the lack of content on the subject. I've been asked plenty of times, why would I want to make a film just about this stuff? Like a porno or something. This usually comes from a woman. Deep inside, I'm thinking this person is probably a freak in bed, but a lady in the streets. Simply, I wanted to just get at the things we are doing and feeling today and tomorrow, and the next day in a realistic presentation.

To answer the second part of your question, it's almost the same answer... Life. Real life. Women are an inspiration especially. Sometimes I just want to talk to you. And film is an extravagant way to communicate. You ever had an argument with your significant other and you wish a third party was present so that they could validate your point of view or judge who is right or wrong in this situation? Cause you feel the other person is clearly not listening to reason. You just want someone fair and non-biased to call it. Making a film is like creating that opportunity for a third party assessment. I'm simply telling on someone, including myself.

Question #2

The visuals were wonderful in the film, and the performances from the actors are truly on point--very natural and affecting. What is your primary focus when you direct a film? What emotions and thoughts are you trying to elicit from the audience?

My primary focus is sensuality and naturalness. To capture those fleeting real moments in life that we all have experienced but never have captured on film. The actors are bringing a piece of themselves to the set. We discuss their own experiences related to the subject and pull from there. My cinematographer Brian Ali-Harding is by heart a documentary filmmaker. His style is pure cinéma vérité. We have been making films together since college focusing on real human emotion and moments not artificial movie moments and over-dramatic fake movie emotions. You put these two factors together and like peanut butter and chocolate, you got black and sexy.

My goal for the audience was to create some connectivity. If you watch the film and identified with something that's happening on the screen either by knowing this person in real life or applying a past experience you, yourself had, it feels real. You then feel connected.

Question #3

The title of your film "A Good Day To Be Black And Sexy" was sure to stir up attention. Was the intention to make people take strong notice? Were you pressured to change the name by anyone?

Yes, I wanted the marketing of the film built in to the title and live on beyond it. It was always a brand to me. More than one film with many spin-offs and connected lifestyle products (clothing, music, etc.).

Yes and no to your second question. Someone very close to the film tried to convince me to change the stories to match what they perceived the title to mean.

Question #4

You made some unknown casting choices and filmed on a limited budget, and your film turned out to be one of the most interesting pieces I've seen for some time. As advice to some of the filmmakers who read this blog, how does one get a feel that they are moving in the right direction on a project? How does one garner support from those inside the film and outside of it?

The first question is what is the definition of the right direction? For me it is when something affects you or intrigues you. You have to be your own guinea pig and be affected before it can transfer to someone else. Trust yourself and your instincts and the people who are supposed to be attracted to your project will find it and support it. It's just energy and there is not trick in it. Just truth and honesty.

To go further, don't pay attention to the haters. There will be a lot of them. It's not that they mean you direct harm, but they have so much self doubt in themselves, and misery loves company. I was told that I was crazy to take the money out of my house to finance this feature. I was told that my script was a porno and no one would want to see this. I was told that no company would want to distribute a "black art film." Those types of films are reserved for white people. If you have a strong vision and it truly makes you excited just thinking about it, then there is a good chance that excitement will transfer to someone else watching the film that you made from that inspiration. Everybody may not like your film, but your job is not to please everyone. That is an elusive goal.(from iw--amen!)

As far as gaining support, just do your thing. Most people just talk, very few actually do. It's not easy. It's takes a tremendous amount of focus, perseverance, and unwavering faith. Making a film and expecting a company to buy it and in turn people pay to watch it is not a solid business plan. It's crazy actually. So, when someone does it and breaks through, the law of attraction takes over and the support trickles in. It's still a struggle after you initially get that attention. Support is a fickle thing, trust me. It's really up to you to build on it in a timely manner.

Question #5

A subject that comes up here quite often is the dissatisfaction with what "The Hollywood Machine" is producing in the way of Black Cinema. What, in your opinion, can the public at large do to change things? (Everyone gets asked this question, btw)

If we collectively stop supporting the bullshit, the bullshit will disappear. It's about natural selection. Hollywood is not against making money any way they can. But really, you have to ask yourself, why would white people collectively give a damn about what we want as black folks? They are too busy trying to get what they want. Our wants and needs are our problem. And we dictate what gets put out there every time we spend money on it.

Question #6

Tell us what projects you are working on now. Anything we can look forward to in the future?

The big project launching next month is what we are calling Black & Sexy TV. An online portal for black content from my team. The first out the gate is a spin-off web series from the film called BLACK & SEXY B-SIDES. We are basically expanding on the world and characters created in the film in 2-6 minute episodes online. Plus we are creating the sequel to the film tentatively called A GOOD DAY TO BE BLACK & SEXY: NEW YORK CITY.

Outside of Black & Sexy, I have a feature I'm currently writing that I'm real quiet on, but I'm real excited about. That's why I'm not saying anything really. You gotta stuff all that excitement and desired to blurt out the story into the script.

Question #7

Any thoughts or advice you would like to leave for the readers?

I guess this would go to the filmmakers...Distribution. Most filmmakers (including myself) look at obtaining distribution as the end-all and be-all goal. But that's really just the beginning. And we spend a lot of time stressing on the things that don't even matter in the end, when the real important things have slipped past us a long time ago. The great thing about making your own film from your own money is you have all the control. Suddenly when you get distribution, you see most of that control taken away. The biggest beef a filmmaker will have is how his/her film is marketed. And really it's just a divide between your goals and your distributor's goals. If you can identify what their true goal is, then you can better manage your expectations if you decide to sign with them. And you need to figure out what it is you want and how that fits in the current climate of the film industry. I stumbled upon a quote in a magazine on an airplane trip one day that said it all: "You don't get what you deserve, you get what you negotiate."

From IW: "You don't get what you deserve, you get what you negotiate." Truer words were never spoken, for reals! A phrase to live by folkses, and completely consider the source. Below is the new trailer for "A Good Day To Be Black and Sexy"--please add to your Netflix cue or get out to your nearest video store and support our new Renaissance....

Favorite Endings...

Probably my favorite ending of any movie in the last twenty years is Noah Baumbach's Kicking and Screaming. I LOVED this movie. It was exactly about "me" when it came out (1995) - I was in the exact same place as the central characters, a quarter of a century old, a bachelor's in hand, the ability to think deeply about seemingly important matters but completely impotent at attending to them, not a farthing of wisdom, and a personal and professional compass that was impervious to magnetism - in other words... stuck.

The film centers around, among other things, a relationship between protagonist Grover (Josh Hamilton) and Jane (one of my favorite actresses, the lovely- Olivia D'abo, at left). The story is intentionally fragmented and disjointed - told in flashbacks and in the present. It is a beautifully realized relationship and it is expertly revealed to us, aided by remarkable dialogue and sparkling performances by the two leads. We are given bits and pieces of the many stages of their relationship (all the while knowing that Jane is currently in Prague) just as we are given bits and pieces of a telephone message that Jane has left from Prague. A message Grover can't really muster up the courage to listen to in its entirety. This propels us to the film's daring, original, and sentimental conclusion. I can watch it over and over and over and over...

Clearly, it is not my intent to discuss the ending - just to say that it is one of my favorite endings of all time and certainly claims the top spot for the last two decades at least. Can't recommend this film enough - especially should you find yourself at "Bachelor's End."

Cinematic Perfection: The ending of Kicking and Screaming

Dardos 2!

While I’m currently taking a little time off to recover from my second dose of psycho-clownified terror in less than a week (thanks to Amusement, which is really rather good), I couldn’t miss saying a big thank-you to Friend Mouse of the aptly named blog Friend Mouse Speaks (or “squeaks”, surely?!) for sending another Premio Dardos award my way. Now, if only someone would turn these things into actual golden statuettes, I’d really have something to dazzle the neighbours with.

In this case, it’s a particular honour, as Friend Mouse is a fellow LAMB and, from the looks of things, all-round good egg, whose utterly charming and knowledgeable blog mixes witty TV recaps, reviews of all sorts of movies, and a genuine love of chocolate bacon. And how could anyone not love a blog whose label list manages to incorporate Eighties music, Gorillas, Martinis and Nathan Fillion?

Anyway, be good, stay out of trouble, and I might post a review of Amusement for your, er, amusement... Isn’t life just thrilling?!

Tino Sehgal

"This is so contemporary" (2000)

The uniformed museum guards of the Fondazione Nicola Trussardi perform Sehgal's piece, also shown in the German pavillion of the 2005 Venice Biennale.

This N' That

I have just come out of a "Throwback Heaven" stupor. TV One is just all about the Black Cinema, and today I watched the Blaxploitation flix "Three The Hard Way" and "Friday Foster". I have been meaning to write about the evolution of Pam Grier for some time, as she was a singularly awful actress back in the day and has come to something a lot more substantial. But what did that matter in the 70's when you looked like Pocahontas with perfect clear skin, white teeth, a small waist and perfect big tits (all before the boon of plastic surgery)? Not a lot, I tell ya, and not too much has changed in 3 decades. I will do a proper post eventually, as she is the gatekeeper of this blog. Here is the trailer:

The same with "Three The Hard Way". I'm sure at the time this was an explosive movie of Black Power and puttin' foot to ass on "the man", but now one is just bemused. And though it was directed by one of my faves, Gordon Parks Jr., the plot and actions scenes are wholly ridiculous at best. It is the story of some Aryan/Nazi power group that has invented some type of poison that kills only Negroes. It looks like Kool-Aid, so I guess that was smart. The target cities? D.C., Detroit, and Los Angeles and their water supply. All they needed was NY and Oakland and 99% of the Black population would have been goners.

Jim Brown stomping around saying he has to find "his woman" (who the bad guys kidnapped) seems positively caveman and archaic now, as well as Jim Kelly mowing down a whole police force that have guns by just shouting "OU-EEE!" and karate chopping and kicking. I really didn't pay attention to how they were taking everyone out with simple handguns, while the bad guys outnumbered them 10 to one and had machine guns, cause I was hypnotized by Fred Williamson's ass. I could eat breakfast, lunch, and dinner on that thing...haha!

Check out TV One tomorrow. Though they showed the hot (but watchable) garbage that is "Trois 2, Pandora's Box" today, tomorrow they have Maya Angelou's "Sister, Sister", starring Diahann Carroll ("Claudine)", Rosalind Cash ("Uptown Saturday Night"), and Irene Cara ("Fame") as sisters dealing with interfighting, jealousies, and baggage. Also offered tomorrow is "Funny Valentines" starring what seem to be favorites of this blog's readers, Alfre Woodard and Loretta Divine. It is directed by Julie Dash, who also directed the wonderful "Daughters of the Dust", and is described as this : "A woman returns to her home town to sort out her troubled marriage and finds new happiness in the rekindling of a broken friendship with her cousin."

Now on to a few things. Have any of you picked up on the podcasts over at Tambay's "Obenson Report"? Interesting discussions going on over there on Black Cinema--the last one featured up and coming director Pete Chatmon. Did you know that Jackie Robinson was in the 761st battalion, which is the subject of one of Chatmon's film? Jackie is an icon of inspiration for reals, for reals. Go on over to his blog and click on the links to listen.

Speaking of new-jack directors, Dennis Dortch (whose interview with me will be up in a few days) has a site up that consists of his Black & Sexy merchandise...tees, boy shorts, etc. are to be had, along with the amazing soundtrack from the film. Get you a piece my Black and sexy readers (you YT's too!, haha). Click HERE to see his stuff.

Are we ready for a new generation of Wayons? Hmmm...I dunno, as this generation is still grating the nerves a bit---i.e. "Dance Flick". Saw this on Black Film Academy:

'The prolific Wayans clan has begun to turn out a second generation of multihyphenate comic performers. UTA has just signed Damien Dante Wayans — nephew of filmmaker Keenen Ivory (”White Chicks”) — for representation in all areas, and Craig and Damon Jr. are set to co-star in Damien’s directing debut, “Dance Flick,” a Paramount comedy to be released May 22.

Damien is a co-writer (along with Craig, Keenen, Shawn and Marlon) and executive producer of the movie as well. Older-generation siblings Shawn, Marlon, Kim and Keenen all appear in the film.'

From IW: Alrighty then. At least the genes aren't bad in the looks department in that family....can't speak on the comedic one tho.

Have seen this trailer floating around the blogs---it is a documentary of the life of Mike Tyson. His life really needs to be a straight up soap opera, for real. I wonder if Jamie Foxx is still going to play him in a biopic as was rumored last year? Here is the trailer:

There seems to be an interest in things Henry Lennix these days. I never paid that much attention, one way or the other. I remember him as being very low key in the "The Five Heartbeats" and not much else. But based on the posts and comments on "Must Love Movies" ruminations "Roger Guenveur Smith vs. Harry Lennix" and "The Black Snob" who writes "I Suffer for Harry Lennix's Art" (and also turns it into an absolutely perfect commentary on the state of Black Hollywood and it's actors--to read click HERE), he definitely has a fanbase. Maybe the light skin-ded dudes are making a comeback. Hollywood, are you listening? Of course you aren't.

And a very, very heart felt thanks the beautiful Naturally Sophia (ATLians stand up!) , and the only person that I know that watches more movies than me, Reel Whore (I love his blog). They awarded me with the Kreativ Blog Award and The Dardos Award, respectively . The Dardos Award is given for "cultural, literary, and personal values in the form of creative and original writing. These stamps were created with the intention of promoting fraternization between bloggers, a way of showing appreciation and gratitude for work that adds value to the Web". Of course you are supposed to give these awards to others, but....yes...I'm slacking again. What I can say is that when I get these, they positively make my day; there is nothing quite as great as being recognized by your blogging peers---Thank You So Much!!!

PS: Thanks to all of those who have started following my blog in the past few days...don't think I haven't noticed and read your blogs as well :-)

Who Watches the Watchmen? Mostly Idiotic Movie Reviewers...

My good friend Erik and I went to see The Watchmen yesterday. Erik has written his initial, sort of knee-jerk, reactions (which are beautifully realized for only having an hour or two to digest the film). I have my own of course - but rather than discuss the film, I'd like to talk about something on which a portion of film studies is based - and that's reception.

I concur with my friend on all of his points. But, something bothers me greatly about The Watchmen. It has nothing to do with the film per se - it has to do with the general reception of the film. I'm confounded by the wishy washy, iffy, tentative, "you should pass on this one" reviews that I have encountered. Now, I have said over and over that I could give a rat's ass for movie reviewers and to this I emphatically hold. But, as we walked out into the bright sun yesterday, I remember saying to Erik that there seemed to be, to me at least, an odd similarity between one of the film's storylines (namely that the people of the world weren't ready for a particular truth regarding the outcome of the plot) and the reception of the film to date (only a week I know). I thought that perhaps The Dark Knight would have - to a degree - primed mainstream audiences for a certain amount of intellectual craft in their superhero films. The genius of The Watchmen lay in its adult (i.e., sophisticated) treatments of sometimes complicated plot and story elements - I felt that this SHOULD have been a major selling point. Here is a thinking man's superhero film. Here's The Thin Red Line vs. Saving Private Ryan. But therein lies the rub - for just as The Thin Red Line was unjustly maligned as "boring", "stupid", and "it sucked" by the popcorn gobbling masses - so too is The Watchmen receiving such witless/idiotic criticisms. What it comes down to is this: I think that The Watchmen is too smart for the average viewer and too slippery for your average critic. Just like the citizens aren't ready for a truth, the viewers of the film can't handle an intellectual superhero movie (Ang Lee's The Hulk befell the same fate). Well, what can one expect from a brilliant, ground-breaking 12 issue mini-series that is a treatise on the cruelty of human existence. SO, for the record, I thought The Watchmen was magnificent. But, I'm not done quite yet.

Alan Moore's guest spot on the Simpsons a few years ago predicted somewhat accurately the mainstream reception of The Watchmen. Too complicated - Watchmen Babies would have required less thought...

Do these whiny reviews of The Watchmen (one, in particular, claimed that the reviewer looked at his watch three and half times during the film, a valid criterion apparently of "good" and "bad", but at least it was his wristwatch [an icon of the film] and not his damned cell phone) in some way confirm or at least lean towards an affirmation that intellectualism is indeed very dead today? Erik pointed out that one "critic" claimed the film to be "dated" or "embalmed" in the 80s. What the fuck does that mean? Uhm, It takes place in the 80s. Is that really a valid criticism anyways? Gee, Glory feels dated, a little too "Civil War" for my tastes. I am certain that he was probably referring to the idea that thermo-nuclear war is just so "yesterday." Now what this film needs is a terrorist threat - yeah, the film would have resonated far more if there was a terrorist threat! PLEASE. Terrorism is NOTHING, and I mean NOTHING compared to nuclear war (one of the valid reasons the world polices nuclear proliferation - terrorists really shouldn't have those... but then again - who should?). There is nothing to terrorize in the aftermath of nuclear strikes...

The Watchmen dramatizes an age old dialectic of man vs. nature (a common theme in Moore's work and a common theme to many of the finest literature, cinema and philosophy of the last two centuries). The idea that human beings can harness the very energy of the sun is the greatest philosophical mind-fuck in history. As Eisenhower said - "from the musket to the small cannon to the hydrogen bomb in a single life-time" - well, that's moving pretty quick folks. This dialogue of man overpowering nature, taming nature is central to Moore's work - "If nature were to shrug or to merely raise her eyebrow then we should all be gone..." Have a look below at the 4:19 mark below to about the 9:00 minute if you please (thanks).

Richard Corliss of Time magazine said "...this Watchmen is more like a swatch-man." and I prefer not to hazard for sure what exactly that means, but I have an idea and I don't think it's too flattering. He also offered "It certainly contains its share of popcorn breaks: hit the concession stand whenever Dan and Laurie start their mooning." Wow, that's just harsh. To be fair, Corliss found some things to admire, but like most reviews I read - The Watchmen got DOGGED. I guess, according to the majority of reviews I peeked at, the world needs more shallow entertainment. So, Catwoman II anyone?

Apparently, nuclear destruction has "dated badly" (according to an NPR review)

The film receives the coveted highest ranking: The Klinger Statue of Liberty. Reserved for films that are of considerable significance in advancing the art of cinema - or at least that's the case in this man's humble opinion.