Covering Cinema From All Across The African Diaspora

Should We All Run For "Cover?"

Whoa! Look what I found folks :o)

The film is called Cover, and it stars a rather notable cast of performers - Aunjanue Ellis, Louis Gossett Jr., Paula Jai Parker, Roger Guenveur Smith, and Obba Babatunde; it's directed by Bill Duke. Those may not be traditional "A-list," names, but they've all done some pretty good work in the past, based on their resumes.

In Cover, when someone is murdered on New Year's Eve, the prime suspect is a church-going home-maker whose life unravels when she discovers that her husband of many years has been leading a double life. Her strength of character and faith keep her going as the revelation of her husband's betrayal threatens to destroy all that they have known.

Hmmm... let's see... hmmm... I can only wonder what secret double life her husband has been living... hmmm... what could it be? What could it really be? I'll let you figure it out on your own, but I have my ideas... or rather idea.

Even though the trailer says to expect the film in theatres soon, I doubt that will happen; instead it'll be another straight to DVD release, just like so many others of its ilk.

The film played at this year's Pan African Film Festival in Los Angeles, but I haven't read much else about it.

So, ladies and gents, I present to you, the recently released trailer for Cover (cue dramatic score here):

My Date With The Invisible Woman

Check out my Q&A session with the Invisible Woman of the Invisible Cinema blogspot - her 7 questions along with my revealing answers... CLICK HERE to go there! You'll be glad you did! I appreciate all the awareness she has raised for all my efforts; so while there, be sure to scroll through her site to see all that she has to offer. After all, we're all in this together!


WTF? #2 - Flashing Lights?

I've seen this clip in about 5 different places in the last 48 hours, each one accompanied by oodles of comments dissecting it. I'm not so sure it's worthy, but I thought I'd jump on the bandwagon and post it as well for those who haven't had the pleasure of deconstructing it.

What is it? It's supposedly a music video for Kanye West's hit "Flashing Lights," (a track I like, by the way), directed by both Kanye and Spike Jones (director of Being John Malkovich, Adaptation, and countless music videos for a wide variety of artists). At just over 2 minutes long, I doubt it's the full-length video, but rather a trailer for what will likely be a series of videos. Or it could just be a publicity stunt! Either way, it's working, as it seems to be generating quite a bit of pub for Mr West, who probably doesn't need it.

Anyway, check it out, and leave your thoughts... the woman in the video is apparently a known model who goes by Rita G (never heard of her), and the guy tied up in the trunk towards the end of the video is Kanye himself.

Poll Results #1

Poll Results

I've been running a poll for the last month which ended last night. Here are the results...

The questions was: Are Hollywood's black elite obligated to foster overall change within the realm of black cinema, or should their only allegiance be to themselves and those close to them?

The choices were:

1. Yes, they definitely are obligated, and should act accordingly.
2. No, that's ridiculous - they are not at all obligated.
3. Well, it would be nice if they innately felt some obligation/responsibility, but I will not hold it against them for not doing so.

Of all the responses, 78% voted for #3, while the remaining 22% voted for #1. Absolutely no one chose #2, which I find quite revealing.

Be sure to vote on my next poll listed to the right, on this page. The question this time around is: Is there a necessity for a black funded, owned and operated film production and distribution studio - one whose core focus is to finance, produce and distribute films that tell the varied stories of people from all across the African Diaspora - completely independent of any already established entity, akin to the likes of the big 6 studios (Disney, Sony, Fox, Viacom, Universal, and Time Warner)? Go vote NOW!

Goodbye To Our "Girlfriends!"

Ouch! I'm not even a regular viewer of the show, but I can't help but feel for the cast. I know it was in its final season, but, damn, at least give them some kind of a send-off, instead of an abrupt ending and notifications via phone!! After all, they've given you 8 pretty good years.

From Black Talent News:

The CW's "Girlfriends" Quietly Gets The Ax; Series Ends without Finale
Feb 13, 2008

The CW network quietly cancelled the long-running series "Girlfriends." Monday night's two episodes were the last episodes ever - no goodbye, no farewell, no finale. Cast members were notified by telephone by creator Mara Brock Akil that the network had decided to end the show. "The prolonged strike has changed business conditions and our programming strategy for the balance of the 2007/08 season. To better focus its creative and financial resources, The CW will only resume production on shows that are in consideration for renewal next year. As a result, we will not order additional episodes of the long-running comedy, `Girlfriends,' which planned to conclude its 8-year run at the end of this season. This was a very difficult decision for us, and was based solely on the considerable cost to license each episode in an extremely unusual business environment," read a statement issued by The CW. The series, produced by Kelsey Grammer, was in its eighth season and was one year way from being the longest-running African American sitcom in television history. It starred Tracee Ellis Ross, Golden Brooks, Persia White, Jill Marie Jones, Reggie Hayes, Khalil Kain and Keesha Sharp. Prior to the strike the series had nine remaining episodes to shoot. Series star Tracee Ellis Ross directed the last episode. The network is reportedly in discussions with Akil and the cast to bring closure to the show with a retrospective special to air this season.

Presenting... The "Hybrid" - Hollywood's New "Everyman" (And Woman)

Presenting, the so-called "hybrids." This is something that I believe most of us are fairly cognizant of; after all, many of the names mentioned in the article below have been working in the industry for years; although this might be the first time that a major non-race specific periodical like Variety Magazine is addressing it.

Thanks to Wigger Lover for sending me the link.

From Variety Magazine...New stars blur racial divide
By Peter Debruge

Look out, Hollywood, there's a new kind of hero in town. Call him the hybrid, as represented by stars such as Vin Diesel, Wentworth Miller and the Rock.

Neither black nor white, these actors thrive on the ambiguity of their multiethnic heritage -- and so do audiences. It's no longer just little white boys and girls who see themselves reflected onscreen, but black, Latino and other audiences as well, all in the same faces. The new "everyman," once defined exclusively by actors like Jimmy Stewart and Harrison Ford, now packs cross-cultural potential.

It's a relatively novel concept for an industry that relies so heavily on typecasting, and one that seems to throw an event like the NAACP's Image Awards for a loop. Nominees like "Ugly Betty," "Grey's Anatomy" and "Heroes" all reflect the standard politically correct definition of diversity, featuring casts peppered with actors of all colors. Increasingly over the years, the NAACP awards have honored Latino actors and creatives. But how does the org deal with diversity reflected in a single star?

Take an actor like Daniel Sunjata, nominated for his portrayal of Reggie Jackson in ESPN mini "The Bronx Is Burning." A year earlier, the light-skinned thesp (of African-European descent) was honored by the Latin Pride Awards for his work as Puerto Rican firefighter Franco Rivera on "Rescue Me." But wouldn't his color-blind Broadway turn opposite Jennifer Garner and Kevin Kline in "Cyrano" be the true coup?

Hollywood has a long tradition of casting cultural chameleons in "ethnic" parts. Actors such as Joe Mantegna, Andy Garcia and John Turturro made their careers alternating between Italian, Jewish and Latino characters. The Image Awards even nominated all-white Angelina Jolie for her sensitive portrayal of Mariane Pearl in "A Mighty Heart," proving that such roles needn't always be defined by the character's skin color.

In 1994, before he was a star, Diesel made a semiautobiographical short film entitled "Multi-Facial" in which he played a young actor stuck in a series of dead-end auditions. He nails each one, but misses out on the roles because he doesn't look Italian, black or Latino "enough" for the casting directors.

The happy ending came later. Steven Spielberg saw the short and cast Diesel in "Saving Private Ryan" (the part called for an Italian-American, just one of the ingredients in the actor's cultural heritage). And so, what had been a liability at entry level became an asset once he reached leading-man status. In addition to the distinctive voice and physique of another Schwarzenegger or Stallone, he boasted a look that resonated with nonwhite audiences, too.


The same goes for Dwayne "the Rock" Johnson (half black, half Samoan), who breaks the mold of the Jackie Chans and Eddie Murphys before him by trading on his kilowatt appeal rather than some caricature of his cultural identity. Just as Tiger Woods did for golf, the Rock's approach broadens his appeal and unites audiences.

For "Prison Break" star Miller, his big career break came with "The Human Stain." As Anthony Hopkins' younger self, Miller played a black man so pale he decides to pass for white. Offscreen, the actor embraces his diverse roots. As he explained to TV Guide, "My mother is Russian, French, Syrian, Lebanese and Dutch; my father is African-American, Jamaican, English, German and part Cherokee." While many white audiences probably don't even notice the complexity of Miller's heritage, such nuances certainly aren't lost on viewers of color.

Multicultural appeal isn't just a boys' game, either. Consider breakouts like Rosario Dawson ("I'm Puerto Rican, Afro-Cuban, Irish and Native Indian," she told Britain's the Independent) and Jessica Alba (who informed, "My father is Mexican-American-Spanish and my mom is French and Danish"). Such actresses serve as role models for a wide-ranging audience, provided they are allowed to break free from narrowly defined ethnic stereotypes -- and therein lies the key.

White actors regularly enjoy diversity of a different type: namely, picking their projects from a broad selection of well-rounded roles. Plug one of these progressive new "everymen" into those movies, and things stand to get really interesting.

Can We All Just Get Along #2 - Aretha Slams Beyonce and Tina?

Again, not black cinema related, but shit like this certainly amuses me...

First Natalie Cole slams Amy Winehouse, calling her crazy and suggesting that she doesn't deserve the 5 Grammys she won. Now, Aretha is going after Beyonce and Tina Turner! Who would have thought that there would be this much drama at the Grammys this year. I'm now wishing that I actually bothered to watch the ceremony... well, not quite :o)

From the Associated Press...

Franklin slams Beyonce Grammy intro

When Aretha Franklin is unhappy, she does not mince words. On Tuesday, the longtime Queen of Soul slammed Beyonce Knowles' intro to Tina Turner at Sunday's Grammy Awards, in which Knowles called Turner, not Franklin, "the queen."

"I am not sure of whose toes I may have stepped on or whose ego I may have bruised between the Grammy writers and Beyonce," Franklin said in a statement issued by her publicist. "However, I dismissed it as a cheap shot for controversy."

E-mails to Knowles' publicist Yvette Noel-Schure and calls and e-mails to Recording Academy spokeswomen Jaime Sarachit and Barb Deghan were not immediately returned.

In the first few seconds of Knowles' intro to Turner's performance, she name-dropped Franklin and a long list of famed female singers. Then the "Crazy in Love" chanteuse focused on Turner.

"There is one legend who has the essence of all of those things: the glamour, the soul, the passion, the strength, the talent," said Knowles, strutting in hot pants. "Ladies and gentlemen. Stand on your feet and give it up for the queen."

At a party later that night, Knowles called Turner her "ultimate icon."

Still, Franklin ended her brief criticism on a gracious note, thanking the Grammys and the voting academy and saying, "love to Beyonce anyway."

Known for such hits as "Respect" and "Chain of Fools," Franklin tied with the Clark Sisters for best gospel performance trophy for her duet "Never Gonna Break My Faith" with Mary J. Blige.

The PERFECT Valentine's Day Gift!

The PERFECT Valentine's Day gift for her or him! Click the image above to order it from, and get it in time for V-Day tomorrow :o)

Here are a few reviews from those who have seen it, lifted from where you can read each full review:

A beautiful movie... I loved this movie. At times I was shouting at the characters. I love that it was simple and really forgot that it was a movie cause it seemed so real. Read more
Published 20 days ago by Paulette Wiley

Excellent! I was asked to view this movie and I'm glad I did! I purchased the movie here on Amazon and it became the talk among my friends. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Cush the First

I found the film "Beautiful Things" very interesting and very realistic. I didn't know until I watched the director's commentary afterwards that these were actors! Read more
Published 1 month ago by A Christian's Review

A play about relationships... Most films are variations of the "Boy meets girl, boy struggles with girl and boy eventually wins back girl" theme, but, few exist as imaginative and stylish as Beautiful Things... Read more
Published 11 months ago by Claire N

Here's a trailer. You can see more on YouTube.

SO, what are you waiting for? Click the image above to order it from, and get it in time for V-Day tomorrow! You won't be disappointed :o)

Out On DVD Today...

New films out on DVD today of note:

Tyler Perry's Why Did I Get Married? - The big screen adaptation of Perry's stage play about the trials of marriage. I reviewed it on my podcast, and will post that review on this blog shortly!

Dirty Laundry - A modern-day prodigal son story with a twist. It follows Patrick, a magazine writer, who seems to have the "perfect life," until one day, there is a knock at the door. On the other side stands a secret that brings him face to face with the traditional southern family he hasn't seen in over 10 years. Haven't seen it, but I've heard mostly positive things about it.

Guess Who's Coming to Dinner (40th Anniversary Edition) - Spencer Tracy and Katharine Hepburn play a couple whose attitudes are challenged when their daughter brings home a fiancé who is black. Details: Color, Widescreen, 1.85:1

Blade The Series - The Complete Series - The adventures of the half human/vampire vampire hunter. A TV adaptation of the big screen trilogy made popular by its star, monsieur tax dodger himself, Wesley Snipes.

Episode 35 - The Obenson Report on Black Film / Cinema

Episode 35 - The Obenson Report on Black Film / Cinema
Sponsored in part by ActNow Foundation

Recorded Monday, February 11 2008, 9PM
TRT 60 Minutes


- Filmmaker Dennis Dortch talks about his feature film, A GOOD DAY TO BE BLACK AND SEXY, a Sundance Film Festival selection, and an upcoming release from Magnolia Pictures.
- John Henrik Clark - A Great And Mighty Walk.
- St Claire Bourne tribute at the Museum of The Moving Image.
- Podcast going to once per month and other announcements.
- Tambay laments on the state of things.

Got something to say? Call the show's voicemail hotline at 1-800-765-7249 and leave a message there; and if it's worthwhile, I'll play your message on the show. OR, email me you comments at

Can We All Just Get Along #1 - Natalie Cole To Amy Winehouse: You're Crazy! Give Back Those Grammys!

Not black film related, but I just wondered...

I've never been an Amy Winehouse fan. Nothing personal... just haven't heard anything she's done that I like. I could care less about her personal struggles, and they have no influence on my lack of interest in her music.

This will probably be the only time I'll ever mention her on this blog :o)

She won 5 Grammy Awards last night, and apparently, there are some people out there who don't think she deserved any of them, because of her personal struggles. One of those people is Natalie Cole.

From FOX News (Yeah, I visit Rupert's domain from time to time):

--- Not everyone was happy about Amy Winehouse’s big win at the Grammys Sunday night.

“I don’t think she deserved it,” previous Grammy-winning singer Natalie Cole said. “I think she needs to get her life together first, and then get the awards later."

Winehouse took a break from rehab to perform via satellite from London at the Grammys and collect five awards.

Cole also called Winehouse “crazy,” and complained that we are teaching youngsters that they can get rewarded for bad behavior.

Winehouse won in the categories of best female artist, best female pop vocal performance, best song, record of the year and best pop vocal album ---

So, dost Natalie Cole protest too much, or is her criticism warranted? Do you give a damn?

Weekend Box Office - 2/9 to 2/11

Ho-hum weekend at the box office. Absolutely nothing new of interest to me. Truly dismal days for the studios it seems... in my opinion anyway... BUT, apparently, there are a few people who thought that Fool's Gold and Welcome Home Roscoe Jenkins were worth the rapidly increasing price of the ticket, as both films opened at the #1 and #2 slots with respectable numbers. These were likely both rather "lower-budget" films (relative to Hollywood standards anyway), in the $20 to $30 million range. So, at those numbers, both films will likely earn back their individual investments, and maybe even a little profit as well. Juno continues to surprise, raking in a total of $117+ million. My favorite film so far this year, There Will Be Blood, continues to build interest, thanks in large part to recent award nominations and wins for its star, Daniel Day Lewis. If you haven't seen the film yet, you should!

1Fool's Gold$22,010,000$22,010,000
2Welcome Home Roscoe Jenkins$17,127,000$17,127,000
3Hannah Montana/Miley Cyrus: Tour$10,508,000$53,390,000
4The Eye$6,630,000$21,521,000
627 Dresses$5,700,000$65,369,000
7The Bucket List$5,340,000$75,058,000
9Meet the Spartans$4,075,000$33,915,000
10There Will Be Blood$4,073,000$26,782,000