Monday, November 13, 2017

Charles Burnett Honorary Oscar [VIDEOS]

The Board of Governors of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences voted Tuesday night (September 5) to present Honorary Awards to writer-director Charles Burnett, cinematographer Owen Roizman, actor Donald Sutherland and director Agnès Varda.  The four Oscar® statuettes will be presented at the Academy’s 9th Annual Governors Awards on Saturday, November 11, at the Ray Dolby Ballroom at Hollywood & Highland Center®.

Born in Mississippi and raised in the Watts neighborhood of Los Angeles, Charles Burnett is an independent filmmaker whose work has been praised for its portrayal of the African-American experience.  He wrote, directed, produced, photographed and edited his first feature film, “Killer of Sheep,” in 1977.  His other features include “My Brother’s Wedding,” “To Sleep with Anger,” “The Glass Shield” and “Namibia: The Struggle for Liberation.”  Burnett also has made several documentaries including “America Becoming” and “Nat Turner: A Troublesome Property,” and such short films as “The Horse” and “When It Rains.”

Below is a playlist of the tributes to Charles Burnett

Friday, September 8, 2017

JAY-Z’s Tell-All 4:44 Interview [VIDEOS]


Last month, JAY-Z sat down with Elliot Wilson and Brian 'B.Dot' Miller of Rap Radar to share exclusive details about his newly released 4:44 album. The TIDAL podcast was broken into two parts that aired on August 18 and August 25.

In the interview, he spoke about his relationship with Kanye West, how Blue got behind the mic for that legendary freestyle, and much, much more. JAY-Z recently uploaded the entire interview on YouTube so non-TIDAL subscribers finally have access to the rare, in-depth discussion.-Sydney Gore, Fader

WATCH both parts below.





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Tuesday, August 29, 2017

'Everything Everything' Review

#EverythingEverything is #WonderfulWonderful! Yes it's one of those "teen love story" movies based on a YA (Young Adult) novel but it's not heavy on the saccharine–even though of course it's there. I learned about this movie from the great #CinemaInNoir #podcast. Teen love stories based on a YA novel ain't exactly on my radar.🤷🏽‍♂️ But the African American ladies that host the podcast STRONGLY recommended the film and I trust their opinions. [More on that in the comments below] THE STORY: A teenager (Maddy) who's spent her whole life confined to her home because of a rare disease falls for the boy next door (Olly). As you can tell, this love story is the definition of "It's complicated". Maddy's mother is a doctor (played to great effect by ANIKA NONI ROSE) so she is best able to take every precaution to make sure her daughter is totally safe from the outside and of course that means boys. Director STELLA MEGHIE does a #TerrificTerrific job @ showing how these two interact without you know—touching, in clever and inventive ways—and I'll leave it at that. NICK ROBINSON was cool as the boy next door. He was charming enough without seeming overbearing. The film though belongs to AMANDLA STENBERG. After so many supporting roles she is the LEAD here and as she is in almost every scene she LEADS the picture. With a film that spends so much time on the main character, who's a medically imposed shut-in, you need an actor to hold the audiences attention—and she does! She exudes just the right amount of intellect, strength and vulnerability. A #MarvelousMarvelous performance. Straight up and down, I wanted to see this film based on the podcast review, the actor Stenberg and director Meghie—but I didn't know I would enjoy it as much as I did—and I did.😊 I rented @everythingeverythingfilm from #RedBox and it's available #EverywhereEverywhere 😉
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Monday, June 26, 2017

'Can't Stop won't Stop: A Bad Boy Story' Review

'#CantStopWontStop: A Bad Boy Story' Review: This #documentary was really good. Any #HipHopHead who grew up with this music already know the history of Bad Boy Entertainment and even though it's recounted here it's not overwhelming. It's there for the people who had zero knowledge of how it started. This doc is not a total "fluff piece" and it's not all Puffy pontificating, even though there's a healthy dose of the latter. They do show some intimate scenes of Puff—but not a lot. It's all about Bad Boy. The film is framed around the 2016 "Bad Boy 20th Anniversary" concerts in New York and captures a lot of the rehearsal and #BehindTheScenes effort it took to pull that off. This is NOT a "Behind the scenes featurette" you might see on a DVD, it's just a framing device to tell the history of Bad Boy. It was great to see all the Bad Boy artists from back in the day reunite for the first time, as one person put it, in "16 years". These scenes BEAUTIFULLY photographed in Black & White were the highlight of the picture. The film also doesn't heavily rely on Biggie—even though as you can imagine he's a large part of the history, especially his death. I really liked the direction and #cinematography of DANIEL KAUFMAN on this film. Aside from the beautiful Black & White, he used some techniques later in the film that I enjoyed. Nice touch.👌🏾 I think any fan of Bad Boy's music throughout the years will enjoy this documentary as you not only witness a music history reunion but a work ethic by Puffy and staff especially "The General" LAURIEANNE GIBSON that seems unparalleled and always striving for what Puffy says throughout and often—#BlackExcellence ✨ For now this film is streaming exclusively @AppleMusic.
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Sunday, June 18, 2017

'All Eyez on Me' Opening Weekend Box Office


Tre'vell Anderson
June 18, 2017 

Fellow new release, Lionsgate-Codeblack’s “All Eyez on Me,” is the weekend standout however, pulling $27.1 million in its debut weekend. Though only a third-place finish, it far surpassed analyst expectations of $17 million to $20 million, an unsurprising feat considering the industry's historical inability to properly track films targeting black audiences.

“All Eyez on Me” is the long-awaited biopic about Tupac Shakur, the Harlem-born hip-hop hit maker who, in just 25 years of life, came to define a generation through his music, acting and poetry before that fateful 1996 drive-by shooting. Starring first-time actor Demetrius Shipp Jr., a doppelganger for the “California Love” rapper, the film is titled after Tupac’s final album released before his death. It also stars Danai Gurira as his mother and former Black Panther Afeni Shakur, Kat Graham as Jada Pinkett (Smith) and Annie Ilonzeh as Kidada Jones.
A film that according to producer L.T. Hutton finally got made because of the massive success of 2015’s “Straight Outta Compton” — despite countless biopics about black musicians doing well at the box office before the film charting N.W.A’s rise — “All Eyez” is an audience favorite. Moviegoers (53% male; 62% 25 and older) gave the picture an A-minus CinemaScore. Just about every critic review however is negative, leaving the film, directed by Benny Boom and shepherded through a 20-year gestation period by former Death Row Record producer and Pac confidant Hutton, at a 24% Rotten Tomatoes rating.

Friday, June 16, 2017

'All Eyez On Me' Review

#AllEyeszOnMe Review: I'll be straight up, I enjoyed this film way more than I thought I would. Same for the actor playing #Tupac, DEMETRIUS SHIPP JR. I thought his performance was solid. His remarkable resemblance to Pac aided that a lot. But he also did well with Tupac's cadence and the way he talked—patna. LOL The film dealt a lot with Pac's revolutionary upbringing from his mom and step-dad, more than I thought they would. In those scenes and every one she had DANAI GURIRA gave her all and was really good. The rest of the story was pretty much what any #2Pac fan knows about his life. I liked BENNY BOOM'S direction even though the picture was a little long and it seemed like it was contractually obligated to squeeze in every track from '2pac's Greatest Hits'—and I mean every track, into the film. I'll probably tweet more thoughts about the film (www.Twitter.com/DankwaBrooks) as they occur to me, but I liked 'All Eyez On Me' and I think Tupac fans will too. #danksreview
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ADDITIONAL
Read a TON MORE about the development of this film on this blog HERE

John Wick 1 & 2 Reviews


The original John Wick (2014) was NOT on my radar, but good buzz led me to see it and WOW! Of course I was right there opening weekend for its sequel John Wick: Chapter 2 (2017) and bother reviews, via Instagram, are below.

First up, my review of the original from November 2014

Next, this is what I said about the sequel
#JohnWick2 Review: Can a sequel to a #KickAssCrazy flick, 2014's #JohnWick, be any good? Hell yeah it can! Of course the film wastes no time getting to the action. From the start Wick is kicking ass and taking names.📝 This sequel though does A LOT of "world building". We get to know a lot more about the secret world of assassins ⚒🌍⚔️ and how it works. We get to know a lot more without it being redundant. It takes everything to the next level without suffering from sequelitis trying to make everything bigger and grander. Wick is still every bit the same badass, he just takes his skills on tour.🌏✈️ LOL Without saying much, Wick's bloodletting this time isn't entirely personal, more of that world building I spoke of earlier, and you get to see that he's very much about his business and if you know JOHN WICK, that business isn't sitting behind a desk.☠️😱 Great sequel and DOES NOT disappoint. If you loved the first one, you gonna love this one too!
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All of my recent reviews are on Instagram at hashtag #DanksReview

Friday, May 19, 2017

Before The Defenders: The Worst Parts Of Netflix’s Marvel Series

From the article "Before The Defenders: 15 Worst Parts Of Netflix’s Four Marvel Series" by Michael Natale
April 13, 2017

Below are the LUKE CAGE related excerpts. You can read the entire piece at the link above.

Suffice it to say the info below contain SPOILERS from the Marvel shows so...




7. KILLING THE WISE OLDER BLACK MAN 

When Ben Urich, the wise older black man who served the community through his journalism while proving a mentor to “Daredevil’s” main cast was killed, it was absolutely heartbreaking. When Detective Oscar Clemons, the wise older black man who served the community on the force while proving a mentor to Jessica Jones was killed, it was sad but oddly repetitive. When Pops, the wise older black man who served the community through his barbershop while proving a mentor to Luke Cage was killed, a handful of folks likely took a step back and said “Wait, now hold up a minute…”

Look, if Obi-Wan taught us anything, killing the wise old mentor can be a powerful narrative tool, but repeat the trope too many times and you’ve not only got yourself diminishing returns, but also a real weird trend in your programs. Killing these characters, particularly Ben Urich who is an integral part of Marvel’s comic book microcosm, shuts down a lot of narrative opportunities going forward.


5. CHANGING LUKE CAGE

We love the jaded, broken, noir-ish Luke Cage from “Jessica Jones,” who’d rather polish a bar or pick up a broad than punish a bad guy, who spends every waking hour trying hard to suppress the memory of his dead wife; for whom the equally damaged Jessica Jones provides a lifeline and an answer. We also love the upbeat, friendly force for good hiding out in a barbershop, helping his community, looking after the youth, quick with a joke and a smile and always ready to kick a little ass if it means cleaning up the mean streets of Harlem. The Luke Cage whose heart is captured not only by the badass Misty Knight, but also by the nurturing Claire Temple.

The problem is it’s near-impossible to wrap your head around both being the same man. The disparity is so vast that one can’t help but see Luke Cage as a prequel, easier to see this as Luke’s life before the breaking point than believe he somehow magically healed from the broken, brooding man he was throughout “Jessica Jones.”



13. KILLING COTTONMOUTH (LUKE CAGE)

Our previous installment declared Mahershala Ali’s Cottonmouth to be the #6 best part of the entire MCU/Netflix undertaking, so you can imagine how heartbreaking it was to see such a charismatic character killed off. Yet often, ending such an engaging antagonist can often propel the plot forward, provide much needed catharsis or fundamentally affect our main hero, as we’ve seen with characters like Kilgrave.
However, looking back, Cottonmouth’s untimely end seems superfluous and downright silly, and it’s hard to see why the team thought taking him out would benefit the show as a whole.

Sure, the initial shock of Cottonmouth’s sudden death created an “anything can happen” sentiment towards the show, akin to Ned Stark’s dramatic end in “Game of Thrones'” game changing first season. Yet, looking back, the building territorial conflict between the cool, kingly Cottonmouth, the overly ambitious Shades and the flamboyantly fierce Diamondback would have made for far more intriguing TV than Diamondback’s unencumbered and abrupt takeover, playing out like “The Wire” or “A Fistful of Dollars,” with Luke Cage caught in the middle of two undesirable outcomes. Ultimately, what we lost out on in favor of a “shock” moment hardly feels worth it.


10. THE BACK HALF OF LUKE CAGE 

“Daredevil” Season 1 established a tone and structure, and the subsequent shows barely departed from that. That is, until “Luke Cage” took a big leap with bold choices regarding the series’ big bad, Diamondback. Those very attached to the established aesthetic derided Diamondback for being garish and over-the-top. However, fans of blaxploitation cinema teased by the obvious homages to the genre by the soundtrack were satiated by the grandness of Erik LaRay Harvey’s villain, who could spit Bible quotes alongside “The Warriors” references, who would fit perfectly in cult treasures like “Dolemite” and “Truck Turner.”

Ultimately, the division over Diamondback amongst fans represents a larger identity issue “Luke Cage” suffered from. It wasn’t that “Luke Cage” was doomed if it embraced the blaxploitation genre it owed its origins to, but rather that it did so too late. The show seemed unsure what it wanted to be, prestige drama or B-Movie, and decided to do both. The problem, it seems, is that in order to embrace the latter, it shed the weight of its previous socially conscious grounded melodrama, and trying to give the same narrative heft to such heightened proceedings proved too much, and the wheels came off towards the end.

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Thursday, May 18, 2017

Why 'Star Trek: Discovery' is Important [VIDEO]

Blog Post #25
Star Trek: Discovery is an upcoming American television series created by Bryan Fuller and Alex Kurtzman for CBS All Access.(A video subscription service). It is the first series developed specifically for that service, and the first Star Trek series since Star Trek: Enterprise concluded in 2005. Set roughly a decade before the events of the original Star Trek series, separate from the timeline of the concurrent feature films, Discovery explores a previously mentioned event from the history of Star Trek while following the crew of the USS Discovery.
Sonequa Martin-Green stars as Michael Burnham, the first officer of the USS Discovery.
Star Trek: Discovery is set to debut on CBS with a two-part premiere in "fall" 2017, before moving to All Access. The first season will consist of 15 episodes. -Wikipedia
You can watch the trailer below and my thoughts, via Instagram, after.



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Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Ranking the Solo Defenders Series

Blog Post #24

Now that I've seen all four of the solo Defenders series and can say how each one ranked.

In October 2013, it was reported that Marvel was preparing four drama series and a miniseries, totaling 60 episodes. Weeks later it was announced that Netflix would provide live action series centered around Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Luke Cage, and Iron Fist, leading up to a miniseries based on the Defenders, a group of the heroes. Each character was to get one season and then join forces in the Defenders Mini-Series. Because of the popularity of the first series to premiere, Daredevil got a second season before the Defenders.

The Defenders Mini-Series is supposed to premiere on Netflix sometime this year, 2017.

Each series was unique and brought their own flavor, which made some standout more than others.I reviewed each season as I watched them so below is mostly how I think they ranked with some brief comments. 

5. IRON FIST, Season One (Premiered March 17, 2017). I didn’t hate this intro to the character, but it left a lot to be desired. Danny Rand (the Iron Fist) was fine, his supporting cast good to great, the martial arts–a lot to be desired. The show had a lot of other good things going for it, but as a solo Defenders series it comes in last.






4. DAREDEVIL, Season Two (Premiered March 18, 2016) I thought this season was cool. As I stated “Because of the popularity of the first series to premiere, Daredevil got a second season before the Defenders.” And maybe they shouldn’t have. Besides the introduction of The Punisher and another surprise, a lot in the season didn’t really work for me.





3. LUKE CAGE, Season One (Premiered September 30, 2016) This series promised to be unlike its predecessors and it WAS! Luke Cage, the series, from the start became the blackest show on television! Because it was Netflix it went places other black TV shows never went and grounded it in a crime drama in one of the most historical black places in the United States–Harlem.  Even though the show was called “Luke Cage” it could have been “Harlem”, that’s how integral the area was to the show. Despite a plot twist that turned a lot of people off, I thought the season ended on a good note.


2. DAREDEVIL, Season One (Premiered April 10, 2015) This inaugural Defenders series was all types of kickasscrazy. It was raw, it was gritty and it had a great villain whose story paralleled Daredevil’s which made him even more tragic and twisted. The origin of a hero was perfectly plotted and I contest a lot better served in a series than a movie.






1. JESSICA JONES, Season One (Premiered November 20, 2015) I didn’t know what to think about this show and didn’t even like it the first couple of episodes, but I finally got it and what I got I loved. Jessica Jones starts out the most damaged of heroes and we soon find out why …one of the most twisted of villains, with a twisted motive and a twisted power to boot. Way more psychological and methodical, I thought this show presented the fullest depiction of a complex hero and made it more than a “superhero show”.





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WATCH the trailer for The Defenders below







My Review of 'The Defenders'
#Defenders Review: Ok I really liked it👍🏾—but it had problems man. 😒The first half (four episodes) while seemed to drag at first really picked up when the Defenders were finally together. The latter four episodes would often take HUGE leaps in logic and story to bring certain storylines together. For the film/screenwritng folks, a lot of damn #DeusExMachina.😒 The reason I liked it was that the series excelled when all four Defenders were together, fighting and or bickering together. The side characters (friends of the Defenders) to me were mostly a distraction. They seemed to have too much of a presence throughout and I'll leave it at that. I guess my main problem still is—THE HAND. They aren't compelling villains to me.🤷🏽‍♂️ I know they are a huge factor in the comics, but in the #MCU—shrug. After three seasons (Daredevil: Season 2, Iron Fist: Season 1 and of course Defenders: Season 1) they can't make them pertinent to me. I know it doesn't sound like I liked it, but I really did and one of those reasons began and ended with SIGOURNEY WEAVER! She brought instant gravitas and heft to any scene she was in. Not to mention a badass wardrobe! I joked on Twitter that THAT was her "superpower". LOL. She was the main villain #TheDefenders needed to make the show intriguing. In the end it was great to finally see all four Defenders together, yes all four, even Iron Fist. I think as a group they gelled in a "we don't even want to work together, but we will to save the city🗽" sort of way. LOL. Their group action scenes were kickass and pretty much what we were hoping for. I had more specific thoughts in my •LIVE•TWEETS• and I'll probably tweet more now than I'm finished. All tweets will be in a Twitter thread @ the Link in my BIO😎🙅🏻💪🏾👊 #DanksReview
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Tuesday, May 16, 2017

'Shots Fired' Aftershow with Producers and Stars [VIDEOS]


Shots Fired is an American ten-part drama television series broadcast on Fox premiering on March 22, 2017.

About the show: 
When an African-American police officer kills an unarmed white college student, a small town in North Carolina is turned upside-down. Before the town has a chance to grapple with this tragedy, the neglected murder of an African-American teen is brought to light, re-opening wounds that threaten to tear the town apart. Leading the Department of Justice’s inquiry into these shootings is seasoned investigator ASHE AKINO (Sanaa Lathan, “The Perfect Guy”) and a young Special Prosecutor, PRESTON TERRY (Stephan James, “Race,” “Selma”), both of whom are African-American. As they start to pull back the layers of both cases, they suspect a cover-up that may involve some of the state’s most powerful people, including fiercely political North Carolina Governor PATRICIA EAMONS (Academy-, Emmy- and Golden Globe-winning actress Helen Hunt, “As Good As It Gets,” “The Sessions”). She’s in a tough re-election fight, and the recent shootings in her state are making it even tougher. Meanwhile, real estate mogul and owner of a privatized prison ARLEN COX (Academy- and Golden Globe Award-winning actor Richard Dreyfuss, “The Goodbye Girl,” “Jaws,” “Madoff”), is pulled into the case, as LT. ERIC BREELAND (Stephen Moyer, “The Bastard Executioner,” “True Blood”), a seasoned veteran in the town’s Sheriff’s Department, gets caught in the middle of the investigation. SHOTS FIRED tackles the racial divide from all perspectives. As Ashe and Preston navigate the media attention, public debate and social unrest that come with such volatile cases, they learn that everybody has a story, and that the truth is rarely black and white.

Below is a playlist of all the aftershows in reverse order starting with the latest to the first episodes.

 

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

"The Get Down', Parts 1 & 2 Review

The Get Down is an American musical drama television series created by Baz Luhrmann and Stephen Adly Guirgis. It premiered its six-episode first part (PART I) globally on August 12, 2016 on Netflix and the five-episode second part (PART II) concluding the first season of the series was released on April 7, 2017.

I finally finished Part II of The Get Down and my reviews of both parts are below

#TheGetDown Part 1 Review: YO I f*cking LOVED The Get Down! That shit was HYPE! Finally, finally, finally #HipHop gets its just due! I can't believe that they made a show out of hip hop. REAL hip hop! Not some sugarcoated, watered down explanation of what hip hop is or supposed to be and NOT another portrait of a rapper. Well not exactly. Yes there is that, but they explain the ESSENCE of hip hop, composing a rhyme, the deejaying, the cutting, the gotdamn breakbeat! Who ever did that? The show is also visually dope! The set design and costume design REALLY transports you to the time period. The show has vintage records from the time period, but the new original songs fit into that time period as well. The story really captures the fun and wonderment of early HipHop as well. They incorporate storylines around the DJ, the rapper (or wordsmith), the disco singer and the graffiti artist. All CORE elements of HipHop. This show SOARS mostly because of the young cast though. #ShameikMoore who I already knew was a STAR from the movie 'Dope' is still great, his boys in "The Get Down Brothers" #SkylanBrooks, #TJBrownJr and #JadenSmith are also good. The standout brother and the one that gets the most play because he's the "wordsmith" is #JusticeSmith is absolutely terrific! Also terrific is his female co-star #HerizenGuardiola! Those two apart and together just STEAL the show! 🎤💖🎤 As I stated in my review of the first episode (@ #GDP1E1) where I also explained my personal point of view being from #NewYork, "This was a romanticized retelling of the origin of #HipHop, but from everything I know and lived through also pretty authentic." This is only "Part 1" of the season. The "Part 2" remaining six episodes are coming in 2017 and I can't wait! As a headline I saw from 'The Ringer' stated it perfectly👌🏾 "‘The Get Down’ Is the Origin Myth That Hip-hop Deserves" #DanksGDRP1
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#TheGetDown Part 2 Review: I thought this continuation was terrific and still “the Origin Myth That Hip-hop Deserves”. The story continues pretty much where it left off with our characters. Zeke (Books) is still in his internship and Mylene is still straddling the fence of superstar and devoutly religious daughter. The other characters are still in the mix too and by the end of the day everyone is still in it for the love of the music. This second half delves a lot more into the characters and gets really dramatic, but it still never loses its core love of the music. My favorite sequence in this part was “disco versus hiphop”. Because of the drama, the blueprint of hip-hop gets shunted to the side for a minute, but by the end it’s right back like it should be, in the forefront. Again the acting is terrific. I must give props to the older actors on the show ZABRYNA GUEVARA (Mylene's mom), #GiancarloEsposito and of course #JimmySmits. Not to forget LILLIAS WHITE (Fat Annie) and YAHYA ABDUL-MATEEN II (Cadillac) who really have a lot to do in this part, and that’s all I’m going to say. Once again it’s the younger actors who steal the show, #ShameikMoore, whose character “ShaolinFantastic, REALLY gets into a lot of drama and shows you what a great actor he is. The rest of "The Get Down Brothers" #SkylanBrooks, #TJBrownJr and #JadenSmith also do well with the continuation of their characters. The standout brother again of course is #JusticeSmith (Books). JUSTICE SMITH is still absolutely terrific as again is his female co-star #HerizenGuardiola (Mylene)! Those two apart and together continue to STEAL the show! While things get a little animated, and I MEAN animated, this part of The Get Down delves more into the characters than the origin of #HipHop and I think it was wise to separate the episodes. It is still the continuation of the stories from Part One, but totally different. (Part 2 is only five episodes, as opposed to the six in Part 1, but there is an extended episode in there). The music is still there, the performances are still there, but Part Two chose to focus on what is the true heart of the show–the characters. In the end it’s the characters
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 All of my recent reviews are on Instagram at hashtag #DanksReview

UPDATE: May 25, 2017
'The Get Down' Canceled at Netflix After One Season

My reaction

Ok let me explain #TheGetDown being cancelled. As a #filmmaker that shit was INCREDIBLY EXPENSIVE to produce. A #PeriodPiece alone is expensive to produce, costumes, sets, cars, locations. THIS SHOW also recreated digitally a lot of stuff in the Bronx because they just don't exist anymore. Especially the graffiti subway trains. A lot of what they said on the show about getting rid of graffiti was true. Those trains, a core part of that time period, were eliminated. Add the music budget, original and existing, and you have more money to spend. The other #VFX (visual effects) like the animation and transitions are also expensive and take a long time to produce. Frankly while watching it I couldn't believe they spent this amount of money on #HipHop—old hip hop. As a #HipHopHead and someone from New York AT THAT TIME I love it for everything it accomplished.👊🏾 You can read my reviews of both parts right here on IG. 🎤PART I @ #DanksGDRP1_1 and 🎤🎤PART II @ #DanksGDRP2_2
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Tuesday, April 25, 2017

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks - Review

I reviewed the film on Instagram and you can read it below. All of my recent reviews are on Instagram at hashtag #DanksReview

#TheImmortalLifeOfHenriettaLacks Review: Believe me when I tell you, this is NO "TV movie". This film is as theatrical as you can get as far as filmmaking and DAMN SURE as far as performance. SYNOPSIS: In 1951, cancerous cells from Henrietta Lacks lead to breakthroughs that change the face of medicine forever. Aided by writer Rebecca Skloot (Rose Byrne), Deborah Lacks (Oprah Winfrey) embark on a quest to learn about the mother she never knew. As I tweeted "It is GLORIOUS to see this many actors or color over 50! Such legends🎭🎭🎭" Actors like LESLIE UGGAMS, REG E. CATHEY, JOHN BEASLEY and ADRIANE LENOX turn in marvelous performances. You never and I mean NEVER get to see that many actors of color of that age range in scenes together. Not to be left out, the performance by ROSE BYRNE was great too! The performance of this film though begins and ends with #OprahWinfrey. Truthfully I had not expected SUCH a nuanced and emotional performance from Oprah. Oprah really dug deep for this performance and SHINES. She exhibits the complexity of this woman who's not all the way healthy, not all the way together, but still wants to know about her mother at the urging of an outsider (Byrne) who she's not entirely comfortable with. This journey the two women go on is emotional, involved and incorporates #HenriettaLacks herself (played beautifully by RENÉE ELISE GOLDSBERRY). The story is all tied together superbly by #WriterDirector GEORGE C. WOLFE which should come as no surprise because he also directed the excellent #LackawannaBlues (2005). 'The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks' is more than the journey of a daughter to find her mother, it’s also a celebration of legacy, of life and what it means to be family. A wonderful film.
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Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Is John Boyega the Next Hollywood A-Lister?

Blog Post #23

John Boyega in Attack the Block
In the Screenrant piece by Kate Gardner Why Star Wars’ John Boyega is the Next Big Hollywood A-Lister she writes:
As Boyega continues to gain more and more fame for roles outside of Finn, we could be watching the birth of Hollywood’s next big star, in the vein of leading men such as Will Smith, Tom Cruise, and George Clooney
Boyega’s got the talent to stand alongside any of these stars, and he should be recognized for that. Attack the Block showed off his capability as a leading man back in 2011. His turn as Moses, a teenager who must stop an alien invasion, was subtle and powerful. His work in the film is a master class in subtlety, especially for the then nineteen-year old’s first major role. It would have been easy to turn the role into something showy or flashy, but Boyega reigned it in and delivered a performance that was genuine and powerful in how quiet it was. It was Boyega’s work in that film that caught the eye of JJ Abrams, who was rumored to be Boyega’s biggest champion during the audition process for The Force Awakens

Attack the Block is of course where I first saw Boyega and I was blown away by his screen presence–at such a young age. Young actors can be very good, but it takes a rare talent to have presence AND be the Lead of the story. Boyega had both. I've been following his career ever since as indciated by the posts on this blog. I wrote a full review of Attack the Block for the 'Nother Brother Entertainment blog here and Gardner goes on to write a compelling argument about why Boyega is the next big thing at Screenrant here


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Tuesday, April 18, 2017

'Black Panther' Early Footage is "Stunning"


By Kyle Buchanan, Vulture
April 18, 2017

Louis D’Esposito, the co-president of Marvel Studios, grinned as a group of journalists sat down in a Disney screening room Monday night. “The first thing you’ll be seeing,” he told us, “is Lupita taking out some bad guys.”
The executives at Marvel Studios are known for playing their cards close to the vest, but every so often, when you know you’re sitting on a winning hand, you can’t help but show off. That’s why the studio summoned reporters to the Disney lot in Burbank to tease several of the movies coming from Marvel’s wildly successful cinematic universe, including Thor: Ragnarok, Spider-Man: Homecoming, Ant-Man and the Wasp, and Captain Marvel. Aside from a full screening of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, by far the biggest sneak peek the studio offered was an extensive look at Black Panther, which wraps filming in Atlanta tomorrow and is due out February 16, 2018.
As we watched dailies of Oscar winner Lupita Nyong’o ably somersaulting through a Black Panther action sequence, D’Esposito beamed. While the fight choreography was straight out of the Marvel playbook — you could imagine Scarlett Johansson’s Black Widow going through many of the same motions — as Nyong’o flung herself into the scene with steely commitment on her face and a vivid green shroud wrapped around her body, the footage carried with it an undeniable X factor. That’s exactly the sweet spot the studio hopes to hit with Black Panther: The film has to be familiar enough to fit into Marvel’s ever-expanding cinematic universe while also offering enough spark to jump-start its own singular franchise. A tricky task, but to judge from some of the stunning things that D’Esposito and his colleagues showed off last night, it looks like Marvel is on the right track.
Directed by Ryan Coogler (CreedFruitvale Station), Black Panther picks up the story of T’Challa (Chadwick Boseman) after his well-received introduction in Captain America: Civil War. As he comes to grips with the death of his father, the former king of their African nation Wakanda, T’Challa must return home and succeed him. Despite the presence of several strong allies in T’Challa’s corner — including Angela Bassett as his mother, Queen Ramonda, and an all-female group of elite bodyguards known as the Dora Milaje — he soon finds that it’s not easy to be a head of state and a superhero at the same time, especially when the nation is threatened by several villains including the dangerous Erik Killmonger (Michael B. Jordan).
Coogler was wooed for months by Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige before he accepted the Black Panther directing gig; in part, I’ve heard, because Coogler wanted to be sure he could put his own personal stamp on the film. Many of the Marvel movies are shot, composed, and edited by the same in-house people, but Coogler wanted to bring over several of his own trusted collaborators, including co-writer Joe Robert Cole, composer Ludwig Göransson, and cinematographer Rachel Morrison. (Indeed, with Black Panther, Morrison becomes the first woman to shoot a film in the Marvel cinematic universe.)
That unique sensibility appears to have paid off. Black Panther doesn’t look like any of the other Marvel movies, and it shouldn’t if it wants to pay proper tribute to the impact of the first black superhero in mainstream American comics. Let’s start with the costumes by Oscar nominee Ruth E. Carter, making her Marvel Studios debut. Whether T’Challa is spending his downtime in a dashiki or the Dora Milaje are marching in warrior suits of rich brown and gold, Carter has found a remarkable way to merge centuries of African culture with the particulars of superhero pop. I died and came back to life when I saw the first footage of Angela Bassett as Ramonda, the actress resplendent in a shimmering honey robe with an enormous headpiece that would send every Sunday church lady home to start over. Let’s be honest: If Angela Bassett is your mother, you’re beginning the superhero sweepstakes on third base, but T’Challa will still have his work cut out for him to earn any attention next to Bassett’s queen at her most fierce.
Then there’s the fictional setting of Wakanda, which trades the prosaic metropolitan cities of most Marvel movies for something exciting and new. T’Challa’s wealthy nation strikes a balance between high-tech futurism and verdant nature, suggesting an African grassland where technology can enhance what the earth gives us instead of plundering it. We saw dailies and concept art of an African tech castle with a driveway filled by sleek airships, a glowing Vibranium waterfall, a futuristic Wakanda Design Center where T’Challa goes to visit his sister Shuri, and a shot so striking — T’Challa, deep in the forest, regarding an old tree draped with a dozen panthers — that it’s been painted as a mural in one of the studio’s most highly trafficked hallways.
Still, the most exciting thing about the way Black Panther looks is who it presents as powerful. At a time where too many superhero movies are led by blandly handsome white men named Chris, Black Panther celebrates a cast made up almost exclusively of dark-skinned black actors, most of whom rarely get to headline a live-action movie of this size despite their more-than-evident talent. If the movie succeeds on the worldwide scale of most Marvel entries, it will refute the notion espoused by many Hollywood executives that black films “don’t travel”; more importantly, if it’s a creative breakthrough that launches a new mythology and coaxes underrepresented audiences to dream bigger, it could become a black Star Wars.
Also, the characters fight giant rhino-mechs, Lupita wears cannon blasters on her hands, and I’m pretty sure I caught Danai Gurira’s character flirting with another member of the Dora Milaje. If this is what the future of superhero movies looks like, deal me in.

ADDITIONAL INFO
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Thursday, April 13, 2017

Charlie Murphy Uncensored 2007-2009 [AUDIO]


Below I posted audio of several of those appearances UNCENSORED so suffice it to say, Explicit Language, NSFW

RUNNING TIME: 37:22


RUNNING TIME: 31:25



RUNNING TIME: 40:30

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

About Sasha on 'The Walking Dead' Season 7 Finale

SPOILER ALERT: This story contains details of Sunday night’s The Walking Dead Season 7 finale.
Deadline had a Q&A with TWD Executive Producer Gale Anne Hurd. Below is what she said about the Sasha, as portrayed by Sonequa Martin-Greenstory line.  
DEADLINE: Last night’s sacrifice and walker end for the Sasha character was a very different season conclusion for you guys and the retirement or sorts for one of the Survivors. It seemed clear that Sonequa was going to exit the show, but why in this manner?
HURD: We just wanted to make sure that she went out in a heroic way. I think the story is very much about three strong women in the finale episode – Sasha, Maggie and the Scavengers leader Jadis.
DEADLINE: How did you tell Sonequa that her time onTWD was up?
HURD: Well, our series airs in two different pods with a season premiere, midseason finale, midseason premiere and season finale. So generally we talk to the actors about the particular sequences in which their death or exits occurs, as we are about to film it, as opposed to the overall season. I’ve rarely had to break the news — in Sonequa’s case, it was Scott Gimple who told her. We never like saying goodbye and it’s partially why when we do say goodbye it’s after the character has really had what we consider to be a very fulfilling arc – and, as I said, you certainly couldn’t go out more heroically than she did.
DEADLINE: And now Sonequa is moving on to play the lead in CBS All Access’ Star Trek: Discovery
HURD: Which is fantastic. Every one of our actors has moved on to have magnificent careers post-The Walking Dead, and I think its fantastic that she is going to be the first African-American woman to lead a Star Trek cast. She’s also a fine actress regardless, and even if hadn’t been Star Trek, I know she would have been the lead in another series.
DEADLINE: Speaking of series, the Sasha character, like Norman Reedus’ Daryl Dixon, is not found in the Robert Kirkman comics the TV series is based on. Even with that, a lot of her story was clearly drawn from the comic book’s Holly. So how do you still not reveal too much to fans who are tracking the comics to see where the TV show will go?
HURD: The key thing is the comic is already on a separate trajectory given that there are characters on The Walking Dead like Sasha and Daryl, who don’t exist in the comic book. Also, there are characters in the comic book, like Andrea, who are still alive who aren’t alive on the show. There’s a natural change, but of course we do want to make sure there’s a nod to the comics.

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

‘Black Panther’ is Like ‘Game of Thrones,’ Says 'Get Out' Star


by Hoai-Tran Bui, /Film
March 20th, 2017

As if we couldn’t be more excited for Black Panther, we’ve been reminded that Daniel Kaluuya is part of its star-studded cast. And the Get Out star already has high praise for the newest Marvel Studios film, comparing it to a certain beloved HBO series.

In an interview with GQ, Kaluuya excitedly gushed about the epic scope of the Ryan Coogler-helmed film, comparing it to the current pinnacle of mythic storytelling, Game of Thrones.
“This is an African blockbuster, bruv. This is like Game of Thrones. This is crazy. And Ryan Coogler is just, man dem. He’s like us! He’s a normal dude, in a Golden State hat and a Tupac T-shirt directing the whole set. It’s the most beautiful thing to see.”
Kaluuya doesn’t elaborate further on how Black Panther is like the HBO fantasy series, but considering the sprawling, lush concept art we’ve seen, and the unquestionably talented cast – including Chadwick Boseman, Michael B. Jordan, Lupita Nyong’o, Danai Gurira, Angela Bassett, Forrest Whitaker, Martin Freeman and Andy Serkis – we wouldn’t doubt his words.

Coogler, in addition to directing, is behind the screenplay as well, so Black Panther is sure to be firmly his vision. It’s assuring to know that he has such sway behind it, as his last films, Creed and Fruitvale Station, were critically acclaimed movies that gave unique perspectives on the black experience – something that Black Panther, Marvel’s first solo black superhero movie, has a lot of investment in. Neither Creed nor Fruitvale Station were made on quite the scale that Black Panther promises to be, but they were both electric movies that cemented Coogler’s rising star.

Black Panther will be set after the events of Captain America: Civil War, nearly exclusively in the advanced African nation of Wakanda, where T’Challa (Boseman) is meant to take his place as king. We got a glimpse of Wakanda at the tail end of Civil War, but didn’t see much beyond the sleek medical building in which Bucky Barnes gets housed, and the towering panther statues that mark the isolated nation. But many forget that Wakanda was first teased in Avengers: Age of Ultron, when Ultron, Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver accosted Serkis’ villainous Ulysses Klaw for vibranium (the metal that makes up T’Challa’s suit and Captain America’s shield) to create Ultron’s new body.

How Will Black Panther Be Like Game of Thrones?
So back to Kaluuya’s remarks: Game of Thrones implies swords and sandals right? Political intrigue and backstabbing? Or at least some mythological creatures? Kaluuya may be referring to the grand scale of the movie – an “African blockbuster” he calls it – and that’s probably more along the lines of what Black Panther will be. As far as I know, Wakandans don’t use swords – they’re supposedly more technologically advanced than many Western nations – though they may use some form of advanced weaponry. As for the political intrigue and backstabbing, that’s something we’re likely to see considering our main character T’Challa is a king at the beginning of his rule – though let’s hope the intrigue doesn’t amount to some of Game of Thrones’ more problematic, sexually-charged incidences.

Either way, it’s exciting for a blockbuster superhero movie to be helmed by an African-American director and a majority-black cast, which is the aspect that Kaluuya seems to be exalting in the GQ interview. As Kaluuya says, “It’s the most beautiful thing to see.”

Black Panther is set to hit theaters February 16, 2018.

APRIL 2017

ADDITIONAL INFO
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