Tuesday, November 22, 2011

NEW interview with Mary J. Blige

Actually since her album My Life II: The Journey Continues (pictured above) drops today, she has been doing a lot of interviews, but her interview with the Los Angeles Times is a nice one. Click their logo below to read it.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

J. Edgar - The Cool Black Review

J. Edgar

Directed by Clint Eastwood

Produced by Clint Eastwood, Brian Grazer, Robert Lorenz

Cinematography by Tom Stern

Released: November 11, 2011 (USA)

Leonardo DiCaprio as J. Edgar Hoover
Armie Hammer as Clyde Tolson
Naomi Watts as Helen Gandy
Judi Dench as Anna Marie, Hoover's mother.
Ed Westwick as Agent Smith, Hoover's biographer.

Summary: A biographical drama that focuses on the career of FBI director J. Edgar Hoover from the Palmer Raids onwards, including an examination of his private life as an alleged closeted (and chaste) homosexual.

Review: Far from a perfect picture given the personnel involved (Eastwood, DiCaprio), but still a good picture on many levels. Not told in straight chronological order, the film jumped back and forth in time showing Hoover as a young man and then as an old man telling his story to biographer Agent Smith.

The story jumped back and forth through time too much for my tastes, but I could see where Eastwood didn’t want it to seem like a lot of the many bio pics that have been told. Yet even the old telling the story to a biographer, confidant or reporter has been used time and time again.

While the film shows how Hoover was appointed to start the FBI and everything he did instituting a number of modern innovations to police technology, such as a centralized fingerprint file and forensic laboratories, it also of course details Hoover’s determination to collect information on everyone and I mean EVERYONE from the presidents to their wives. The film also doesn’t shy away from his personal life focusing a lot on his “private life as an alleged closeted (and chaste) homosexual.” and his Oedipus-like relationship with his mother Anna Marie. Given all that it was trying to show in a somewhat short time frame (2 hrs 17minutes) I guess that’s why the film kind of glossed over a particular interest of mine, his starting of COINTELPRO (more on that in the commentary following the review).

Leonardo DiCaprio was good as always, but of particular excellence was Armie Hammer as Clyde Tolson and Judi Dench as Anna Marie, Hoover's mother. Both gave stellar performances in their roles.

In the end, while I recommend J. Edgar is does have its flaws and could have been given more clarity without all the jumps back and forth in time. I felt about this like I felt about the Ray Charles biopic Ray (2004). When you cover someone’s life and work for a span of some 50 plus years a film can be too long...and too short.

Cool Black’s Mad Commentary…& info: As I said above I wanted to see more about COINTELPRO.

COINTELPRO (an acronym for Counter Intelligence Program) was a series of covert, and often illegal, projects conducted by the United States Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) aimed at surveilling, infiltrating, discrediting, and disrupting domestic political organizations started by Hoover in 1956.-Wikipedia
I found that the TV show American Gangster did a good job at describing and depicting COINTELPRO.

American Gangster is a documentary television series, which aired on BET. The show featured some of black America's most infamous and powerful gangsters, narrated by Ving Rhames.

In April 2009, A&E Networks purchased the rights to air seasons 1–3 on their networks. They can be seen primarily on the Bio Channel and the flagship A&E Channel. They can also be seen on A&E's Crime and Investigation Network. - Wikipedia
While "the show featured some of black America's most infamous and powerful gangsters." It took a somewhat slight departure and had the Season Three, Episode 5 titled "J. Edgar Hoover & COINTELPRO" (airdate November 20, 2008) where it detailed J. Edgar Hoover's staunch and illegal determination to thwart ANYONE he thought as subversive.

Season Three is NOT available on DVD, but it is available on various VOD (Video On Demand) platforms like Amazon and iTunes.

You can read a review of the "J. Edgar Hoover & COINTELPRO" episode here

Cool Black's Final Say: Well YOU might say, what is this review doing on a blog devoted to "African Americans in the Media" well because I wanted to and I also wanted to point out what the film DID NOT cover especically the inexorable pursuit and disruption of the many black groups during that era. Yes he pursued other factions, but the black factions are the ones I was interested in.

I could have just written a blog featuring the Cool Black’s Mad Commentary…& info portion, but I'm a filmmaker so I wanted to review the film as well and that is my Final Say© LOL


Read ALL of the reviews here at the blog by CLICKING the logo below

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Jay-Z: Beyonce Wanted To Beat Tabloids To The Punch On Pregnancy Story

First Posted: 11/14/11 03:19 PM ET Updated: 11/14/11 05:09 PM ET - HuffPost Black Voices

Jay-Z said Beyonce decided to announce that she was pregnant on the MTV Video Music Awards to pre-empt a tabloid news show that wanted to break the news.

The rap superstar mused about the decision in an interview in GQ's Man Of The Year issue. (linked below) "It was actually Bey who wanted to [announce] it," Jay-Z said in the interview. "You want to be in control of your life."

Jay-Z, who is usually coy about his personal life, said that he wanted to be an active parent — he plans to change diapers — in part because his own father left the family when Jay-Z, born Shawn Carter, was 11 years old. Kelly Rowland, Beyonce's Destinys Child bandmate, accidentally confirmed two weeks ago that the duo is having a daughter.

"Providing—that's not love," he told GQ. "Being there—that's more important. I mean, we see that. We see that with all these rich socialites. They're crying out for attention; they're hurting for love. I'm not being judgmental—I'm just making an observation. They're crying out for the love that maybe they didn't get at home, and they got everything. All the material things that they need and want. So we know that's not the key."

Jay-Z grew up in the Marcy Projects in the Bed-Stuy section of Brooklyn, at a time when the neighborhood was one of New York's most dangerous areas. His father, Adnis Reeves, withdrew from the family after his brother was killed, and began abusing alcohol. The two would not speak again until 2003. Not long after, his father died from what Jay-Z said were alcohol-related causes.

“My dad swore revenge and became obsessed with hunting down Uncle Ray’s killer,” Jay-Z wrote in Decoded, his 2010 memoir. “The tragedy – compounded by the injustice – drove him crazy, sent him to the bottle, and ultimately became a factor in the unraveling of my parents’ marriage."

External link
CLICK the picture below to read in the Jay-Z profile in GQ's Man Of The Year issue

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Monday, November 14, 2011

Oprah wins her Oscar

Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award recipient Oprah Winfrey raises her Oscar statuette next to Stedman Graham at the conclusion of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences 2011 Governors Awards in Hollywood, November 12, 2011.
Oprah Winfrey receives "unimaginable" Oscar

By Bob Tourtellotte

Mon Nov 14, 2011 2:55pm EST

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Oprah Winfrey received an honorary Oscar for her charitable work on Saturday in what she called an unimaginable moment for a black woman who grew up poor in Mississippi and rose to the top of Hollywood stardom.

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences annually bestows its Governors Awards on people who have made an impact in the industry. This year, the honorary Oscars went to Winfrey, actor James Earl Jones and makeup artist Dick Simon at a black-tie affair that brought out stars such as John Travolta, Glenn Close and Alec Baldwin.

Talk show host and film actress Winfrey, who was nominated for a supporting-actress Academy Award in 1985's "The Color Purple," was given a Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award by a young woman who was sent through high school on a financial grant she earned from Winfrey's foundation.

Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award recipient Oprah Winfrey speaks after accepting her Oscar statuette at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences 2011 Governors Awards in Hollywood, November 12, 2011.
Winfrey teared up when accepting her honorary Oscar and described the moment as "unimaginable" given her humble roots growing up in Mississippi.

"All of us can make a difference through the life we lead," Winfrey said. "We're all here to help each other."

She talked of her career as a TV chat show host and her movie work, and said it was "The Color Purple" that paved the way to stardom which, ultimately, led to philanthropy.

That movie "door opened to me through the magic and majesty of film," she said.

James Earl Jones was given his honorary Oscar for a body of acting work that ranges from his Academy Award-nominated performance as a boxer in "The Great White Hope" to voicing the role of the villainous Darth Vader in the "Star Wars" movies.

Jones was not on hand because he is in working in London, but he spoke to the Los Angeles audience in a speech that was taped earlier on Saturday.

He said he was "deeply honored, mighty grateful and just plain gobsmacked," using British slang for being astounded.

Finally, the "Godfather of makeup" Dick Simon was given an honorary Oscar for his behind-the-scenes work using makeup and prosthetics to make actors look old, young, sick, dying and dead in films ranging from "The Exorcist" to "The Godfather."

Simon gave a tearful and heartfelt acceptance speech in which he said he has loved every minute of his work in the movie business. "This kind of puts the crowning cap on all that," Simon said.

The Oscars, or Academy Awards, for the films of 2011 will be given out in a ceremony in Los Angeles on February 26.

Related Posts-

Lack of Diversity at the Oscars 2011

African Americans at the Academy Awards

Cool Black's Oscar Recap Past & Present

Cool Black's Entertainment Review 2010-Best Movie

Best Picture Race 2011

Short Film featuring Jay-Z & Kanye West music

At our parent blog

Check out and read about the thought provoking short film (pictured below)

featuring the song No Church in the Wild from their joint album Watch the Throne here

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

The Rise and Fall and Rise Again of Black TV

The blog Diversity Ink has reposted the article

Scan courtesy of Diversity Ink
"The Rise and Fall and Rise Again of Black TV" from the May 20, 2011 issue of Entertainment Weekly Read it here
CLICK the graphic below to see all of our blog posts about diversity at our parent blog the
'Nother Brother Entertainment blog