Friday, June 29, 2012

Think Like A Man Gets A Sequel

Screen Gems Moves Forward on 'Think Like a Man' Sequel

June 28, 2012
by Borys Kit, The Hollywood Reporter

Screen Gems is moving ahead with a sequel to Think Like a Man, its hit movie based on the Steve Harvey book Act Like a Lady, Think Like a Man, closing deals with Keith Merryman and David A. Newman to write the script.

Merryman and Newman wrote the first movie, which made Hollywood notice star Kevin Hart and grossed more than $91 million domestically after its April 20 release.

The movie followed four couples where the women use Harvey’s advice to rein in their men.

Will Packer will return to produce via his Rainforest Films banner. Harvey is executive producing on the project alongside Rushion McDonald and Rob Hardy.

It is unclear which castmembers will return at this stage, though Hart is a likely candidate, having just joined Screen Gem’s About Last Night remake. Screen Gems has greenlighted the sequel but has not dated it.

Merryman and Newman, repped by APA, Circle of Confusion and Stone Meyer, also wrote last year's Friends With Benefits, starring Justin Timberlake and Mila Kunis.

Lauryn Hill pleads guilty to tax evasion

By Rolling Stone

Lauryn Hill (pictured above) pleaded guilty in a New Jersey courtroom on Friday to evading federal taxes on $1.8 million earned between 2005 and 2007, the Associated Press reports. The singer faces a maximum one-year sentence for each of the three counts.

Hill declined to speak after the hearing, but her attorney, Nathan Hochman, indicated that she plans on paying back the taxes owed. U.S. Magistrate Michael Shipp agreed to delay the sentencing from early October to late November in order to give Hill time to make payment.

When Shipp asked Hill if anyone had directly or indirectly influenced her decision to plead guilty, Hill gave an enigmatic response that seemed to promise a future statement: "Indirectly, I've been advised my ability to speak out directly is for another time, at sentencing."

The income on which Hill did not pay taxes – $818,000 collected in 2005, $222,000 in 2006 and $761,000 in 2007 – was earned by four corporations that she owns.

Charges were brought against Hill earlier this month, after which the singer took to Tumblr to address her side of the situation but focused on her time outside of the spotlight: "During this period of crisis, much was said about me both slanted and inaccurate, by those who had become dependent on my creative force, yet unwilling to fully acknowledge the importance of my contribution, nor compensate me equitably for it."

Hill added in the post that she felt her "potential to work" was in danger and thus said, "I did whatever needed to be done in order to insulate my family from the climate of hostility, false entitlement, manipulation, racial prejudice, sexism and ageism that I was surrounded by.

"There were no exotic trips," she continued, "no fleet of cars, just an all out war for safety, integrity, wholeness and health, without mistreatment, denial, and/or exploitation."

Thursday, June 28, 2012

The R. Kelly Autobiography

R. Kelly autobiography vivid despite guarded tone

JESSE WASHINGTON | The Associated Press
 June 28, 2012

Let's get this out of the way up front: R. Kelly's autobiography does not discuss what really happened with the sex tape that almost sent him to prison. It does not include a single word about Aaliyah, the late singer Kelly allegedly married when she was 15. Other tantalizing incidents and individuals are glossed over. A tell-all, this is not.

Instead, "Soulacoaster: The Diary of Me" recounts the creative and family life of a once-in-a-generation performer and musician. Despite its guarded tone, the book is a vivid and entertaining journey that reveals much about the musical engine of a true artist.

Kelly, whose ability to write and produce hits for himself and others is unparalleled in modern R&B, does confront the defining theme of his career: the juxtaposition of the sacred and the profane, the sexual and the spiritual.

In the first paragraph of his life story, Kelly's beloved mother promises that he "could achieve all things through Christ Jesus." Turn the page, and Mama Joann is sneaking 5-year-old Robert into a lounge where she is singing with her band. Next she's in church, speaking in tongues. A few pages later, 8-year-old Robert is inside his mother's house on the South Side of Chicago, taking pornographic pictures of adults and being molested by a teenage girl.

And people question how "Sex Weed" and "U Saved Me" can come from the same man?

Music was a constant presence inside young Robert. He literally had sounds cascading through his mind, "like I had a radio playing nonstop in my head . I would hear melodies, although I never knew what they meant. In fact, I thought everybody heard the music."

Kelly also never knew his father and could not read due to an undiagnosed disability. (Kelly says he is still illiterate; his book was written with David Ritz, biographer of Marvin Gaye, Ray Charles, and other giants.) The only reason Kelly graduated from elementary school was because he could play basketball. All this created a shy, shameful boy who often felt "like an alien," a phrase that reappears throughout the book.

Kelly credits his middle-school music teacher, Lena McLin, with recognizing his talent. As Kelly tells it, the first time McLin laid eyes on him in class, she singled him out and said: "You are going to be famous. You are going to write songs for Michael Jackson. You are going to travel the world."

Did she really say that without hearing him sing or play a note? It's difficult to decide, especially since Kelly shades the facts elsewhere in the book. It's obvious, however, that Kelly loves McLin, and that she played an enormous role in Kelly's development. Strangely, she vanishes from the book after Kelly drops out of high school, and one can't help but wonder what this God-fearing pastor thought of her star pupil's raunchy material.

"Soulacoaster" goes on to describe the rise of Kelly's career and engrossing details of the creation of his many classic songs and albums. Fans of Kelly and black music in general will enjoy his description of working with artists from Jackson (Kelly wrote "You Are Not Alone" for him, unasked) to Celine Dion ("I'm Your Angel") to Notorious BIG (the title of their best collaboration can't be printed here).

His description of how he created "I Believe I Can Fly" must be read to be believed (it involves childhood dreams and melodies realized decades later). And Kelly does go into some detail about the conflicts with Jay Z during their tour, which led to Kelly being pepper-sprayed backstage and fleeing Madison Square Garden arena in the middle of a show.

He can get defensive at times. "I never considered my music sinful," he says. "For the most part, what people see onstage , R. Kelly bumping and grinding, dropping my pants, seducing women , that's all show business. What I do onstage doesn't mean I jump off the stage and continue my act in real life."

But Kelly's sex life looms large over the book. He is frank about his inability to remain faithful to his girlfriends or wife. And a shadow is cast by Kelly's trial on child pornography charges, which stemmed from a videotape that prosecutors said showed Kelly having sex with a minor.

Kelly was acquitted of all charges. The brief paragraphs where he discusses the "supposed sex tape" feel legally sanitized, and well-known stories about who leaked the tape and why are never addressed. "Certain episodes could not be included for complicated reasons," Kelly writes in the author's note at the beginning of the book.

In this all-access, reality-show era, it feels odd for a musician as bold as Kelly not to bare all. But when it comes to Kelly's music, "Soulacoaster" leaves a clear picture of an artist, unbowed, who still has "thousands of songs to write and sing."

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Is It Too Early To Talk Oscar For Fassbender?

Blog Post #10
Originally published June 12, 2012

I never even heard of Michael Fassbender before he was in X-Men: First Class (2011)
Michael Fassbender in X-Men First Class
Fassbender was really great and his performance as Erik Lensherr / Magneto was the best in the picture and made the picture for me. Every film needs a great antagonist and he was it for me. Technically Kevin Bacon was the film’s chief antagonist, but we all know the real story was between Xavier and Magneto.

Michael Fassbender in Shame
When I read that Fassbender’s next role was going to be in a disputed piece about sex addiction called Shame (2011), that was NC-17, I was very intrigued. I thought this really great actor is going to have a chance to shine in a dramatic piece that would take a no holds barred approach into a risqué subject matter.  I even wrote about the film on the ‘Nother Brother Entertainment blog before I even saw it.

Well maybe my anticipation was too great because I didn’t like his performance in Shame. I liked the film as a whole and thought he did a good job, but it was not the performance I thought he would give.
Fassbender and Mulligan in Shame
Concurrently Carey Mulligan who I thought was good in Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps (2010) was outstanding in Shame. When there were talks among my online friends @NotherBrother that Fassbender was snubbed across the awards circuit I thought nah b. He wasn’t that great. Also for the record I re-watched Shame last week and my feelings haven't changed.

I said all the above to say that the actor I knew he was is BACK!

Michael Fassbender in Prometheus 
His performance in Prometheus was truly outstanding! It’s the best performance I've seen in film in 2012 thus far. Period. His performance as David was so nuanced and meticulous it made David THE standout character in an otherwise excellent film.

Now how is this great performance in a summer sci-fi/action/horror flick like Prometheus gonna get recognized?
     1. The director Ridley Scott is well respected among the industry.
     2. It has a major budget and studio behind it—20th Century Fox
     3. The technical achievement is undeniable. Whatever you think about Prometheus, one cannot deny its brilliant technical achievements.

A film that was truly forgettable won a slew of awards earlier this year. At the 84th Academy Awards, Hugo received five Oscars—for Best Cinematography, Best Art Direction, Best Visual Effects, Best Sound Mixing, and Best Sound Editing—and its 11 total nominations (including Best Picture) was the most for the evening.

I thought a great Oscar nomination performance was given by Adepero Oduye in Pariah (2011), but that film had none of the details I numerated above. Oscars ARE a personality/status contest as much as it is about the achievement in film. You must be firing on all cylinders in order to get major awards recognition. Most times it’s not enough to be great, unfortunate, but true.

I think in the evitable Oscar push 20th Century Fox will do for its films at the end of the year I don’t see them NOT including Prometheus in the bunch. If you recognize Prometheus you must recognize Michael Fassbender. I said. I wrote. I stand by it.

Additional Links:
Read my review of Prometheus here
Read my review of Pariah here
Read my picks for the 84th Academy Awards here

LOL. I just found this 6/12/2012 12:59 PM *dankshrug* 12 of Oscar 2012's Biggest Snubs

6/12/2012 3:11 PM Just found this in a Hollywood Reporter interview with co-writer of Prometheus Damon Lindelof
THR: Was there a part of the script that you’re particularly proud of? 
Lindelof: I was really interested in and catalyzed by the robot, David [played by Michael Fassbender] -- I felt like he was going to become the central figure of the movie. Because in the genealogical chain of things, there are these beings that may or may mot have created us, then there's us, and then there's the being that we created in our own image. So we're on a mission to ask our creators why they made us, and he's there amongst hiscreators, and he's not impressed. Oddly enough, the one nonhuman human on this ship -- that's sort of a prison -- exists to question why it is we're doing this in the first place. And then Michael made me look like I really know what I'm doing, so I'm particularly proud of all the David stuff.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Ranking the Solo Avengers Movies

Blog Post #9

Before this year’s release of The Avengers on May 4, 2012 there were FIVE solo Avengers pictures and I must say first and foremost that I liked ALL of the solo pics. I definitely have my favorites and because I KNOW you want to know, I will rank them from least to best.

5. Iron Man 2 (2010) I'm not one of those people who didn't like IM2. I thought it was good and fun. I also personally didn't miss Terence Howard at all. I thought Don Cheadle slid right into the role, vacated by Howard, with great chemistry with Robert Downey Jr. Mickey Rourke was a cool villain, but Sam Rockwell was a riot! The ending climax felt a little short, but it was cool. Again a lot of people didn’t like IM2, but I did.

4. I liked Thor (2011) a lot too. The Asgard scenes were fantastic and Tom Hiddleston as Loki was the perfect villain. The stuff on Earth was fun and a nice intro of Thor to Earth. The end was kind of anti climatic as what we got what was essentially a robot blowing up a one horse town. It was all a nice origin story and prequel to Avengers as was intended. 

3. I wasn't expecting much from The Incredible Hulk (2008). Like pretty much…everyone I didn’t like the last time the Hulk was on the big screen (2003’s Hulk) and I went to see it because nothing else new was out at the time and I thought why not. This picture far exceeded my expectations and was really good. Instead of the bloated drama of 2003’s Hulk we got a Hulk who had a worthy adversary and the end? It could have been called ‘Hell Up In Harlem 2’ because it was badass! We finally got what were looking for in a Hulk picture, “Hulk Smash!”. The fight at the end was truly awesome and ended the picture on a high note. Almost made it my number two solo Avengers pic and still may upon further viewing.

2. When I heard that Captain America: The First Avenger (2011) would be set in the past I thought *YAWN* I'll wait until he catches up to the future, but I was pleasantly surprised. They took what was essentially an origin story and infused it with good ole fashioned nostalgia and action. The movie was a little long, but they had a lot of story to tell and in the end I thought they told it well. This movie had the most heart of all the solo Avengers pics and you could really feel for Steve Rogers before and after he turned into Captain America through this underdog piece. Another nice prequel to Avengers and a great introduction to the leader of the Avengers.

1. Iron Man (2008) I’ll join the consensus and say that THIS is the best Avengers solo pic. I just finished re-watching it and it is everything that you expect an origin story to be. Jeff Bridges was a really great villain and of course Robert Downey Jr. did a wonderful job at creating an intriguing character that would start off the whole Avengers franchise. 

The Avengers panorama poster released by Marvel at Comic-Con 2011
I want to give props to Marvel Studios who announced plans to develop The Avengers in April 2005 with this plan on developing all of the solo Avengers in their own pictures to eventually “assemble” them in one film.

In order of release:
1. Iron Man (May 2, 2008)
2. The Incredible Hulk (June 13, 2008)
3. Iron Man 2 (May 7, 2010)
4. Thor (May 6, 2011)
5. Captain America: The First Avenger (July 22, 2011)

So far the Avengers is a great franchise with SIX pictures (including this year’s The Avengers) that are all enjoyable and great. Marvel Studio’s plan was an ambitious idea to say the least, but a plan I think has succeeded! In the words of Marvel Comic's founder Stan Lee, “Excelsior!”

November 7, 2016, The Hollywood Reporter

Doctor Strange opened to a far better-than-expected $85 million in North America over the weekend, despite featuring a lesser-known superhero in Stephen Strange, played by Benedict Cumberbatch. And overseas, where the pic began rolling out less than two weeks ago, the Marvel Studios and Disney movie has earned $240.4 million for a rowdy 13-day global haul of $325 million.

The Greatest Avengers Story I Ever Read

Additional Links
CLICK the movie posters above to check out the Wikipedia page for that film.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

New Q & A from Spike Lee

Nobody's Martyr: A GQ&A with Spike Lee

Over the past few years, Spike Lee joints have been a rarity—a documentary here, an HBO special there. But the remaining half of 2012 promises to make this year one of Spike's best. Between work on this August's upcoming drama, Red Hook Summer, a documentary of Michael Jackson's Bad album, and directing Mike Tyson's one-man Broadway play (yes, you read that correctly), the Brooklyn native has been pretty damn busy. We interrupted his intense schedule to get the double-truth from one of the most intrepid filmmakers of all time.


GQ: So, we have to start with Red Hook Summer.
Spike Lee: Well Red Hook Summer is a writing collaboration between myself and a great novelist, James McBride. Over breakfast we were bemoaning the state of African American cinema and I told him I just bought a camera, this new Sony F3 camera, and said we should write something. One thing led into another and the product was Red Hook Summer.
GQ: And the film deals mostly with religion, right?
Spike Lee: James McBride's parents actually founded the church we shot in. Unlike him, I did not grow up in the church. The only time I went to church was when my parents shipped me and my siblings' black asses down South to spend the summer with our grandparents to get rid of us. James and I have a different perspective growing up as far as going to church, and we wanted to incorporate young people in this film. You have this thing where a young, black, middle-class teenager growing up in the suburbs of Atlanta has a father die while serving in Afghanistan. His mom, who really raised him, then sends him to the Hook.
GQ: Are you ready for people to see it after your epic Sundance rant?
Spike Lee: Well here's the thing, though: If I had to do that over, I would have just taken out a couple motherfuckers. But I wasn't lying though!
GQ: A lot of people have been saying that you're stepping into Tyler Perry's realm by making a religious film. 
Spike Lee: There's a lot of religion in Jungle Fever, Ozzie Davis is the good reverend doctor. There is a lot of religion in Malcolm X. So my man don't have the domain on religion and those films were made before he started making films. He's kind of bogarted it now, but it's not his private domain. Religion isn't just for one filmmaker, or one novelist, or one playwright.
GQ: Of all the films in the world that could be made, why did you choose this film to put your own money up for?
I'm not trying to get a medal or pat on the back when I say that I financed this myself. It's just what needed to be done. Studios were not going to make this film.
GQ: Is Spike Lee a martyr?
Spike Lee: A martyr?
GQ: A martyr.
Spike Lee: For whom?
GQ: For the people you make films for. There seems to be a lot of self-sacrifice behind your films. 
Spike Lee: Here's the thing, though: I got my money back already from Red Hook Summer, and then some. All before the film has even opened. Now, there have been a lot of films I was going to do that never happened for whatever reason. The interim between Miracle at St. Anna and Red Hook Summer is like four or five years. I was going to do the biography of James Brown, and Brooklyn loves Michael Jackson...
GQ: You're working on a MJ doc now though, right?
Spike Lee: What I'm doing now is a documentary on the 25th anniversary of Michael Jackson's Bad album. I'm also doing another documentary on Brazil called Go Brazil Go. I'm going to be directing Mike Tyson on Broadway later, it's a one man show. And then we got, God willing, Oldboy [an American remake of the popular 2003 South Korean manga film of the same name] coming up in the fall...
GQ: What's up with that?
Spike Lee: Waiting for the green light. Josh Brolin...My man from District 9, Sharlto Copley.
GQ: What's stopping it though? People want to see this.
Spike Lee: You know they're still trying to get the numbers straight, but I think it's going to happen.
GQ: It's good to see you're optimistic about it.
Spike Lee: Yeah. If you add all the things up we're rolling now.
GQ: What's the one film that you haven't made yet and are dying to make?
Spike Lee: Well I wouldn't say one film, but I'll just list the films I tried to make over the years and have yet to get them done. Like I was on the Jackie Robinson movie for a long time and then someone else is doing that. I worked a year on a great script written by John Ridley on the LA riots, but couldn't get that financed. Worked a long time on a James Brown script, could not get that financed. Wesley Snipes was going to play the Godfather of Soul. So it's been a question of finance.
GQ: The election is coming up. You've been a big supporter of Barack. Why do you think so many people are so critical of him?
Spike Lee: I can't say to all the people that are unhappy with him that they're racist people. People ain't got jobs, people are hurting. So I don't care what color you are, if people are out of work, it's tough. And then when you're the first African American president, that's not helping either. I just had a meeting with somebody high up in the Obama campaign this morning and the people have to get out and vote. This thing is not a lock. It is not a lock that president Obama is getting a second term and people have to really rekindle the enthusiasm that we had the first time.
GQ: When do you see Barack pulling away if he wins?
Spike Lee: Once we get to the debates my man is going to tear him up! It's going to be obvious who should lead this country for the next four years once they go head to head, toe to toe, elbow to elbow, butt to butt. And I don't think Mr. Romney can hang with him. He just can't!
GQ: What do you think Romney's appeal is to people?
Spike Lee: He's not Obama [laughs].
GQ: Details magazine just labeled Adam Levine from Maroon 5 the "new king of pop" on their cover.
Spike Lee: The king of pop?
GQ: The new king of pop.
Spike Lee: Look, I have nothing personal against my man [Adam Levine] and I don't think that he called Details up to tell him to do that, but a lot of the time magazines will get you in trouble with titles like that. I remember M. Night Shyamalan was on the cover of Newsweek and it said he was the next Spielberg. Now I'm not trying to be disrespectful to M. Night, he didn't tell Newsweek to do that. When people see that cover they're going to be like, alright, this movie better be good. Just look at Spielberg's filmography...Signs was no Close Encounter.
GQ: Who would you say is the closest to what Mike [Jackson] was?
Spike Lee: That's a very interesting question. I don't think it's anybody, I mean there are some people who could dance, look at Chris Brown—the way he dances. Usher...
GQ: Maybe a younger sensation, like Justin Bieber?
Spike Lee: Justin Bieber is the new Michael Jackson? Interesting thing is that we interviewed Justin Bieber for this documentary, and you know he idolizes Michael. And I love Kanye and Jay and everybody else, but there's only one Michael Jackson. So if there's only one Michael Jackson, how can anybody be the new king of pop?
GQ: Let's move to basketball. Rest in peace to your Orange and Blue. The Heat are in the finals. What do you think of all the criticisms against LeBron?
Spike Lee: Look LeBron is my man and the guy's played great. He's easily been MVP and he's played like an MVP throughout the playoffs. But as Magic has said—as Michael has said, as Barkley has said—he has no rings to show for it. That first coming out party they had in Miami—when he said we were going to win not one, two, three, four, five, six, or seven rings... When he got to seven rings Dwyane Wade was like, "Motherfucker you need to be quiet, you need to be chill." It's hard when everybody in the world is against you.
GQ: And there's no way you'll be a Nets fan?
Spike Lee: Look I'm happy for them, but I'm orange and blue, baby. And if you walk outside, I mean you can see the Barkley Center from my office.
GQ: What do you think the Knicks have to do to be great?
Spike Lee: We have to be healthy, first. And it's going be that coach Mike Woodson's going to have a full camp to implement all his plays, etc.
GQ: What do you think about Jeremy Lin?
Spike Lee: That's my man. He's going to come back stronger.
GQ: Should he start?
Spike Lee: Well I know there's talk about trying to get Steve Nash in here so he can learn under Steve Nash and come off the bench. But, that all depends on money. I would not be mad if Jeremy Lin was the starting point guard for the New York Knickerbockers.
GQ: Random question: If you put together a team, a starting five per se, but not to play basketball but to work with to make this world better, who would they be? 
Spike Lee: Can I bring people back from the dead?
GQ: Nope.
Spike Lee: That's a hard question. President Obama would be one. My man Eric Holder to keep the law down, you know? That's two. Now I have to get some diversity in this mother, President Clinton would be there, too. You need a woman. I say Hillary Clinton.
GQ: What's the best thing you've ever done?
Spike Lee: The best thing? I was in Washington D.C. for the Black Caucus. I was there because we were going to show like a 10-minute promo for an upcoming release of Malcolm X. So I'm going to the restroom and I see this woman coming towards me, the most beautiful woman I'd ever seen in my life. So I said hello, she said hello. I went to the restroom, came back, and the rest of the night I was looking for her. Finally the event is over, I'm going down the escalator, with my date, and I see this vision beauty going up the escalator, so I ran back up the escalator.
GQ: You just left your date?
Spike Lee: I told her I left something, "I forgot something at the table."
GQ: That's cold, Spike!
Spike Lee: [Laughs] I left the program. I needed it because I'm a collector. I wanted to go back and get the program because I "collect" things. And so I walked up to her and asked her name. Then I asked if she had a boyfriend. She said no and then I did my little jig dance, the little dance. I got her number and made sure there were flowers waiting for her when she walked in her office the next day. Nine months later, we were engaged.
GQ: We talked about LeBron earlier and how he's never won a championship, how he needs that to validate his spot in basketball. You've been nominated, but never won an Academy Award. Do you look at them the same way?
Spike Lee: No, no, no. That's the great thing about sports. Championships are not voted on. You have to go out there, bust your ass, and win. Academy awards, Grammys, Tonys, etc. are based on taste. Athletes, when they compete, if they're great athletes, they want to win a championship. When you're an artist and you're getting ready to embark on an artistic endeavor and your number one goal is to win an Oscar or a Grammy or a Tony, for me, that's a recipe for disaster. You just have to do the best work. Big difference between sports and the arts.

Article from GQ magazine

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Monday, June 11, 2012

Prometheus - The Cool Black Review AND Explanations


Directed by Ridley Scott

Produced by Ridley Scott, David Giler & Walter Hill

Cinematography by Dariusz Wolski

Editing by Pietro Scalia

Released: June 8, 2012 (USA)

Noomi Rapace as Elizabeth Shaw
Michael Fassbender as David
Logan Marshall-Green as Charlie Holloway
Charlize Theron as Meredith Vickers
Idris Elba as Janek
Guy Pearce as Peter Weyland

Synopsis: Set in the late 21st century, the story centers on the crew of the spaceship Prometheus as they follow a star map discovered among the remnants of several ancient Earth cultures. Led to a distant world and an advanced civilization, the crew seeks the origins of humanity, but instead discovers a threat that could cause the extinction of the human race.

Review By Cool Black: I thought the below tweet would suffice as my review and save me the time of composing a full review,

#nfotd #Prometheus #review 
Ridley Scott is the master of the slow build. Jus like '#Alien' you're wondering where all this is going, but by the end it's FREEKIN INTENSE! Excellent picture! 
but alas that was not enough as the film has been the widest discussed movie since Inception and that’s a good thing.

Yes the movie has about an hour of set up about “the Engineers” the people behind the whole plot.

As stated in the synopsis “the crew of the spaceship Prometheus as they follow a star map discovered among the remnants of several ancient Earth cultures” and the film in its first hour does just that. The whole time you are wondering where it’s all going and I feel by the end you knew exactly where. The story is about exploration NOT an action/adventure piece even though it has tons.

Bolstered by another outstanding performance by Michael Fassbender as “David” the film deftly makes you wonder what exactly David is up to as he doesn’t seem to have the same motives as everyone else. The rest of the characters don’t really matter as David is the most intriguing character in the whole film, even outweighing Noomi Rapace as the film’s protagonist.

The overall plot about the Engineer’s true motives is also the main story. You wonder what is exactly on the planet they’re going to and what exactly it is that they discover. The film explains that as well. I really can’t say more without getting into spoiler territory WHICH I WILL…in the commentary.

The first hour about the exploration, while having its visually stunning facets is slow and tedious and I too was bored, but when it got into what the threat was and how to stop it is where the film really took off to me.

The last hour is as pulse pounding as you can get. After it was over the guy next to me said “that was intense” and I agreed because IT WAS! When a film can make you feel that kind of anxiety it has done its job. Again the film wasn’t just pulse pounding moments, it had a purpose as I will explain later.

In the end, the film as a whole starts off about space exploration and ends with a desperate race against time to stop the extinction of mankind as we know it. It set you up as one thing and ends as another. It did it well so I’m fine with that.

UPDATE: June 12, 2012: 8:11 AM: I was remiss not to mention the EXCELLENT direction of Ridley Scott & cinematography by Dariusz Wolski! I was so rushed to explain what a lot of people were missing in the story I forgot to recognize the stupendous job they did in crafting the film.

Cool Black’s Mad Commentary: This Mad Commentary will be unlike any other because I tend not to talk about any spoilers in my reviews because if I take the time to write the review you probably should see it because I don’t write reviews for films I didn’t like. I also don’t like to spoil the viewing experience for anyone. The best moments are the ones you don’t see coming.


FIRST you must start with the man behind the whole thing Ridley Scott. I don’t like reading much about any movie I want to see, but the blurbs I did read had him REPEATEDLY saying that this was NOT a direct prequel to Alien…and it wasn’t.

Damon Lindelof is credited as a “co-writer” of Prometheus because the script was originally written by Jon Spaihts and Lindelof was brought in later to rewrite the script.
Lindelof clarified, "If the ending to [Prometheus] is just going to be the room that John Hurt walks into that's full of [alien] eggs [in Alien], there's nothing interesting in that, because we know where it's going to end. Good stories, you don't know where they're going to end." "A true prequel should essentially proceed [sic] the events of the original film, but be about something entirely different, feature different characters, have an entirely different theme, although it takes place in that same world." Damon Lindelof Explains How Ridley Scott’s ‘Prometheus’ is Connected to the ‘Alien’ Films". /Film. June 28, 2011
Under Lindelof, the script began to divert from Spaihts' Alien prequel into a more original creation that you see in the final film.

It is definitely in the “Alien wheelhouse” as they say. The Engineers are THE SAME race as the “Space Jockey”, but not the space jockey seen in Alien.

So in the film the crew discovers the same race of creatures from the one seen in Alien.
Space Jockey in Alien
Pictures of an Engineer in the Space Jokey suit from Prometheus 
Also, if you paid attention they clearly stated that they were going to the distant moon LV-223 NOT the planet in the first two movies (Alien & Aliens) LV-426.

So if you accept that you’re off to a good start.

To understand “The Engineers” it is also good to know what the Prometheus of mythology is. “Prometheus is a Titan, culture hero, and trickster figure who in Greek mythology is credited with the creation of man from clay and the theft of fire for human use, an act that enabled progress and civilization.”

At the beginning of the film it shows that an Engineer helped start “the creation of man” on Earth.

When he "dissolved" his genetic material was in the same genetic material that created humankind and it seems "jump started" evolution.

Idris Elba as "Janek"
In the film the Prometheus' captain, Janek, (Idris Elba) speculates that the structure was part of an Engineer military base that lost control of its biological weapon, the dark liquid. To me that CLEARLY explains the plot.

It also kind of explains the set up for Alien. While NOT the same planet and NOT the same ship, the ship and Space Jockey in Alien also seemed to be carrying biological weapons (the Face Hugger eggs).

My speculation is that the alien that bursts out of the Engineer’s chest at the end of Prometheus is the FIRST actual queen alien and several generations later became the alien queen we love to hate.

I also think the creature that Shaw “aborts” is a first version of a Face Hugger and maybe The Engineers somehow captured and experimented on that as well.

I think the Engineers capture the alien creature in Prometheus and that leads them to reproduce it and then several generations later the Face Hugger eggs and put them in that ship we see in Alien and of course the Space Jockey was infected thus the hole in its chest.

My speculation is that this “dark liquid” was a separate form of weapons or a precursor to the Face Hugger eggs in Alien. It seems like the accident on the planet in Prometheus (that killed all those Engineers) led them to discover that the “dark liquid” can mutate other organisms like the worms and maybe THAT led them to develop the Face Huggers.

Again it is all in the “what came first the chicken or the egg”.

Michael Fassbender as David in Prometheus
The whole David storyline was all about finding a fountain of youth for Weyland (the really old dude) with David doing some experimentation along the way. Again somehow David’s experimentation seemed to lead to the “first Alien” creature at the end.

So in a nutshell “the story centers on the crew of the spaceship Prometheus as they follow a star map discovered among the remnants of several ancient Earth cultures. Led to a distant world and an advanced civilization (The Engineers), the crew seeks the origins of humanity”<~pretty much the first hour of the movie.

“but instead discovers a threat (the canisters & the ship) that could cause the extinction of the human race.” <~They discover all the dead Engineers, the holograms that showed them some of what happened. The hibernating Engineer and then everything leading up to the end.

What IS NOT really explained is why the Engineers wanted to destroy Earth, but I guess they weren’t happy with what they created so it was a “reset button”.

What also helped me figure out the plot was that the whole “Engineers creating mankind all around the galaxy” reminded me of the Star Trek: The Next Generation episode "The Chase" (pictured below)
Synopsis: Four competing expeditions — Federation (Enterprise), Klingon, Cardassian, and Romulan — attempt to solve a genetic puzzle that proves to be the key to why Star Trek's version of the galaxy contains so many humanoid life forms.

Alien "engineer" in Star Trek: The Next Generation
At the end one race of unnamed “engineers” (pictured above) claims to have seeded several planets with their genetic material, just like the Engineers in Prometheus, to start civilizations across the galaxy in their image. (You can read more about that Star Trek episode here)

As far as all the unanswered questions in Prometheus Damon Lindelof said this to Film School Rejects:
FSR: You mentioned the danger of searching out answers, and I was wondering, how does that apply to you as a storyteller? When you’re raising questions, like with this film, what do you see as making for satisfying answers? 
DAMON LINDELOF: The short answer is: I’ll let you know when I figure it out. This is going to be, sort of, the bane of my existence. I’m very quickly finding myself branded as the guy who asks questions he’s not particularly interested in answering. I don’t look at myself as that guy, but when I take a step out of my body and look at my work, I go, “Oh, yeah, of course, that’s completely fair to categorize me that way.” At the same time, that’s just the storytelling I’m drawn to. Some people might think that it’s ambiguous storytelling or not clearly defined, but, for me, it’s… I get very excited and categorized by stories where I have to fill in the blanks. It’s sort of like Mad Libs, in a way; it’s custom made, for the viewer. 
When you go and look at a piece of art you’re going to take something away from it that’s entirely different from the person who was just standing in front of that canvas five minutes ago, and I think that’s the kind of story I want to tell. I do have an intention, and I’m not just throwing stuff out there in an arbitrary way and don’t have the answers for those questions. I have answers for all those questions, but I don’t want to force my answers on the viewers, as if they’re the only possible answers. At times, that’s going to blow up in my face, and that’s the price I have to pay. I won’t say I’m glad to pay it, but I will say, I am willing to pay it. (You can read the full interview here)
So those unanswered questions were meant to be that way. And as a long time fan of his work (on Lost) I know that is his writing style.

I’m fine without knowing ALL the answers as long as the general ones are answered and I think in Prometheus they were.

I also think it left it open for more interpretation and explanation in a sequel. I mean Shaw said she was going to find the Engineers to find answers at the end. You can't get a more sequel hint than that. But THIS movie Prometheus is a separate story not really about the Alien franchise, but definitely related.

You can leave any comments or additional questions below or email me @

—written by Dankwa Brooks with additional information from Wikipedia unless otherwise cited

Cool Black Mad Meditation: Is It Too Early To Talk Oscar For Fassbender?

Read all about Prometheus @ Wikipedia here

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Cast & Creator of 'The Wire' talk about the musical

Andre Royo (Bubbles) in a scene from The Wire: The Musical

'The Wire: The Musical' is getting almost as much attention as 'The Wire: The TV Show.' A musical spoof of the HBO drama series has made its debut on the site Funny Or Die.

The show's cast appears in the clip, which features a mock song-and-dance adaptation of the gritty series about urban life and the drug war.

Among those taking part are Michael Kenneth Williams, Sonja "Kima" Sohn, Andre "Bubbles" Royo, Felicia "Snoop" Pearson and Larry "D'Angelo" Gillard Junior.

From David Simon, creator of The Wire
I woke up this morning to an email from Michael K. Williams, with this video linked  Hilarious.  Just great. 
Felicia’s turn alone is worth the time.  Ya hair look good, Snoop. 
Someone hand me a burner and Sondheim’s number.
David Simon's blog June 5, 2012


Funny or Die Presents The Wire: The Musical 
Cast of the gritty series return for comedic video 
 June 5, 2012
Four years after ending its run, can you imagine the classic series The Wire being rethought and revisited as — of all things — a musical?

The comedy website Funny or Die has teamed with Michael K. Williams’s Freedome Productions to produce a hilarious Broadway-esque version of the gritty cable show about Baltimore’s drug scene.

“I flew down, had a production meeting [with Funny or Die],” explained Williams, “and the first thing they pitched was The Wire: The Musical. I was like, 'Okay, we gotta do that.'”

Beloved for its honest, nuanced, and thorough portrayal of the drug game — and how it affects all corners of a community — The Wire, with its deadly serious subject matter, was, Williams felt, ripe for a comedic look back.
“You gotta laugh at it sometimes,” says Williams. “I mean, to get through life and the hardships we all live through you have to find humor in all the darkness.”

Along with characters like the feared (and gay) stick-up artist Omar (Williams), other Wire figures like lesbian detective “Kima” Greggs (Sonja Sohn), the lovable crack addict Bubbles (Andre Royo) and the murderous hit woman Snoop (Felicia Pearson) enjoy melodic cameos in this production which was inspired by stage classics like Guys & DollsBig River,Chicago and Les Miserables.

With angelic needles, dancing cops and a beautiful Snoop dolled-up in a flowing wig, makeup and a beautiful dress, the hilarity of The Wire: The Musical also lay in the ill-tuned voices of the cast.

“I did my own singing,” Arroyo admitted, laughing. “I took a page out of today’s R&B and hip hop… and told them to throw a little Auto-Tune in there. Try to make some money and be radio-friendly.”

Check out the video below


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