Covering Cinema From All Across The African Diaspora

The Price Of The Ticket - Another Rant!

I just purchased my tickets for the Sunday 7:30PM screening of Melvin Van Peebles's latest opus, Confessionsofa Ex-Doofus-ItchyFooted Mutha, at the ongoing Tribeca Film Festival. I'm going with a couple of friends, but offered to purchase tickets online, ahead of time, for all us, since I heard that one of the screenings had already sold out!

So, I went through the motions on the website for the Tribeca Film Festival, clicking on my selection, the time slot and the number of tickets. By the time I got to the page on which you're asked to enter your credit card info, I noticed how the price of each ticket had suddenly jumped from the initial $15 (a number I think is already a little high for any festival screening) to a final price of $18.50 for each ticket.

"WTF?" I said to myself immediately! I know there are no taxes on these tickets, so what makes up the additional $3.50?

After a little investigating, I discovered that there's some cryptic $2 "festival charge" that I still can't find a proper explanation for, as well as an additional $1.50 convenience fee for being able to buy my ticket online. So, what really should have been a total of $45 for 3 tickets (again, I think a little high for the experience) ended up totaling up to almost $60!

"This is bullshit!" was my next thought! Mofos are trying to get as much money out of the user as possible to fatten their profits! Nothing new about that concept, of course... we do live in a capitalist society, and they are very much part of industry, like every other business. However, it's still bullshit!!!!! And I have a right to vent about it ;o)

In short, I think this actually hurts festivals, because they're making it unaffordable and thus unappealing to the average film lover - their target audience. It's not an elitist affair, and shouldn't be. I know $18.50 for a movie ticket doesn't necessarily cry out elitism, but it certainly keeps groups of people away who may have otherwise patronized the event, but instead choose to opt out due in large part to "The Price of the Ticket" (summoning James Baldwin's words).

I live in New York City, one of the most expensive cities in America, so, I certainly expect to pay a little more than what most others would. However, I'm not wealthy... I'm doing ok... things could be worse... can't complain about my socioeconomic status. BUT, that doesn't mean I want to be taken advantage of and bled for every penny in my piggybank!

In comparison, "regular" movie ticket prices are quickly surpassing the $12 price at some NYC theatres. I remember not so long ago, when I could enjoy stadium seating, mammoth screens and THX sound effects for around $8. I miss those days. But I know I'll likely never see them again. It's only a matter of time until when Tribeca's $18.50 charge per ticket will become the standard for all theatrical events. And after that, how much higher we go is anyone's guess. What did Buzz Lightyear say in Toy Story again? Oh yeah, "To Infinity... And Beyond!"

I found this bite of info from an article on, an indie film site I frequent. It says it all...

"The price of seeing a movie at the annual Tribeca Film Festival is increasing dramatically in an area of New York City where the cost of daily life seems to be on a continual incline. At a time when the cost of living in Manhattan continues to push many people to outer boroughs... the price of a ticket at the emerging Tribeca Film Festival is increasing by 50% this year. While most tickets for last year's festival were sold for $12, this year tickets for the majority of screenings are priced at $18. The cost is higher than all other festivals in major American urban cities but perhaps not totally surprising to those who face some costly cultural event prices in New York City where a ticket to MoMA infamously hit $20 and the price of a ticket to a Broadway show often exceeds $100.

Tribeca festival organizers defended their move to $18 movie tickets saying that they offer a major cultural event unlike the typical trip to the multiplex in Manhattan where ticket prices linger around $11 - $12. (TAO says: "Oh really")

"Seeing a film at the festival is not just seeing a movie at the local theater," explained Tammie Rosen, director of communications for the Festival, calling the event a "unique experience that cannot be re-created." She emphasized that TFF tickets are on par with the cost of going to a festival in other international cities with a similar cost of living, like London. In that city, tickets to the London Film Festival range from as high as about $17 U.S. dollars to about $14 USD in other London festival venues (and local London movie tickets currently cost about $13 - $14 USD in Leicester Square). Elsewhere in Europe, tickets for the annual Berlin International Film Festival in Germany are priced at about 7 -8 Euros and 11 Euros for gala screenings.

Numerous organizers from other American film festivals privately expressed surprise at Tribeca's dramatic move and a few spoke with indieWIRE about general ticket pricing, noting that festival ticket costs are typically set at or near the cost of a regular movie ticket at local multiplexes and arthouse venues (TAO says: "exactly - thank you very much" ).

The event's general ticket prices top the Sundance Film Festival, which charges $15 for tickets and the costs are essentially rivaling the New York Film Festival, the famously selective uptown Manhattan event that charged $16 and $20 for tickets to Lincoln Center screenings back in October (and $10 for Walter Reade Theater screenings, before discounts). The Film Society of Lincoln Center and MoMA's New Directors/New Films series, currently running at the Walter Reade Theater and the Museum of Modern Art, charges $12 for tickets to showings."

Boo-hoo! I should reconsider my purchase and instead spend the money on improving my love life and lasting longer, with the product on display below :o)

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At A Theater Near You - 4/25/07

Yup, it's yet another rather weak weekend at the movies... just check out the list below of films opening today, starting with the classic that will surely be Baby Mama.

Man, Iron Man is starting to look mighty appealing all of a sudden. When does that come out again? Oh yeah, next weekend... till then... so it goes. You could also simply bypass the entire list and instead spend the weekend improving your love life with Sure Romance below! Ha-ha!

Opening in Wide Release

Baby Mama - A successful single career woman finds she is unable to become pregnant and hires an unlikely surrogate to carry her child.

Deception - Hugh Jackman is a charismatic lawyer who introduces a mild- mannered accountant to an erotic world of underground sex clubs.

Harold and Kumar Escape From Guantanamo Bay - The stoner buddy duo returns, only to find themselves on the run from the government when they are mistaken as terrorists.

Opening in Selected Theaters

Deal - A retired poker legend takes on a hotshot card player as his protege, until a gorgeous Vegas call girl sours their relationship.

Rogue - An enormous man-eating crocodile terrorizes an American travel writer on-assignment in remote waters of the Australian Outback.

Roman de Gare - A popular writer seeks characters for her next best-seller, and as luck would have it, a serial killer has just escaped from prison.

Standard Operating Procedure - Documentary examining the unintended consequences of the Iraqi war with a focus on the shocking events at Abu Ghraib prison.

Then She Found Me - A woman's life is turned upside-down when her husband leaves, her adoptive mother dies and her birth mother re-enters her life.

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New York's Finest - Deja Vu All Over Again

No surprise here... the trend continues...

3 Detectives in Bell Shooting Found Not Guilty

Three detectives charged in the November, 2006, shooting death of Sean Bell were cleared of all charges on Friday.

Read More:
NY Times

And then watch this:

Tom Cruise’s Son To Play Young Will Smith

Keeping it all in the family, I guess...

From Reuters:

Tom Cruise’s 13-year-old son Connor is set to follow in his father’s footsteps, making his film debut in the upcoming Will Smith drama Seven Pounds, People magazine reported on Tuesday.

Connor, adopted by Cruise and his former wife, Australian actress Nicole Kidman, will play a young version of Smith. Despite his pedigree, he had to audition for the Columbia Pictures project, People said. “Tom is so proud of Connor,” the magazine quoted a source as saying. “He’s proud of him for really doing this on his own.” (yeah, right)

The movie, which is still in production, co-stars Rosario Dawson and is directed by The Pursuit of Happyness filmmaker Gabriele Muccino. The drama follows the story of a man who affects the lives of seven strangers.

TV-Silencer (Limat Graphics Inc)

Is That A Dead Rat In Your Rectum, OR An Ode To Flatulence


Listen up!... I know flatulence is a normal human reaction to the presence of a mixture of gases in the digestive tract. We are all guilty of farting, or passing gas, or whatever you want to call it, so there should be no shame in it, right? It's just as natural as coughing, or sneezing, or scratching. It's an innate bodily reaction to stimuli, whatever that stimuli might be. After all, we aren't robots made up of microchips and circuits. There isn't a "flatulence" microchip that we can insert or remove at will. It just is!

That said... it is my understanding that most of the time our "releases" are voluntary, since we do have enough control over our anal sphincters to ensure that involuntary "outbursts" are few and far between. Thus, it leaves me truly baffled when a human subject voluntarily "sulfurizes" the air, ESPECIALLY in close quarters.

To put it quite simply - DON'T DO IT!

Feel free to "discharge" when you're in open spaces, like walking down 5th Avenue, or strolling through Central Park, or soaking in the summer sun on Jones Beach. Or even better, reserve your "free nitrogen" for when you're home, alone, or with a tolerant loved one.


If you need clarification on what's inappropriate, here are 3 quick examples of flatulence no-nos:

  1. I'm on a crowded subway train on my way to work... bodies packed in like Africans on the Middle Passage... if I moved my head 2 inches forward, I'd be kissing the potty-mouthed dude standing in front of me who smells like he woke up that morning, didn't brush his teeth, had a couple of Vodka shots, smoked a pack of cigarettes, and ate a breath mint thinking it would cover up the stench... already a bio-hazardous predicament! But wait a minute, what's that OTHER rancid smell starting to circulate... suddenly, morning breath mixed with Vodka, Pall Malls and mint don't smell so bad. Of course, no one can move, can't get off the train, no open windows... trapped like rats, until the oxygen molecules eventually stabilize. Everyone looking at everybody else wondering who the culprit is... mofo is probably laughing hard on the inside. NO-NO!
  2. At the office building, waiting for an elevator to take me to the 30th floor... others around me, waiting as well. I'm looking around thinking, if any of y'all muthafuckas gotta fart, you better do so now, 'cause, I don't wanna smell nothin' dirty when I'm ridin' that sealed, near-air tight elevator 30 floors up! Ya dig... sho nuff! So, I'm looking at every single one of them... like I can tell who's likely to "let one go." I figure, I'm a black man, sizable at over 6ft tall, 200 pounds, of somewhat intimidating stature, and I can give a pretty mean stare when I need to. And they're all Caucasian men and women, none quite as statuesque, so I can maybe intimidate them with my grave "black man stare." Because, you know, once we're in that elevator and someone does voluntarily "contribute to global methane emissions," all eyes will lay upon the black man in the back! And of course, on the elevator, everyone in silence, looking at anything else but at each other, obeying some unwritten elevator code, when some asshole's asshole "sings a tune" for the rest of us to appreciate! WTF?? The 30th floor can't come fast enough, but, naturally, the elevator stops on every prime-numbered floor before mine, so I'm suffocating in the stench left by one of those wiley Caucasians! NO-NO!
  3. I'm at the gym, sweating it out on the stair-climber, with 30 minutes left of my 1-hour session, trying to burn off the multiple slices of red velvet cake I ate the night before, while simultaneously dreaming of the one slice I still have left in my refrigerator at home. There are only 2 stair-climber machines at this facility, placed right next to each other. I get my workouts in quite early (I'm in the gym by 5:30AM on most weekday mornings), so whenever I'm on the machine, there's rarely ever anyone using the "simulacrum" next door, since the gym is usually quite empty around that time of day. So, I tend to grow weary whenever someone does opt to use the other stair-climber machine... hopefully they put on some deodorant before leaving their homes... hopefully they aren't wearing the same unwashed pair of shorts and tee-shirt that they've been sweating on all week... hopefully they aren't going to start singing along loudly to whatever they are listening to on their iPods... hopefully they aren't going to FART!! Of course, someone eventually had to challenge my theory that no one would be rude enough to "flavorize" the air in a gym of all places... especially in such close proximity to another. I'm already struggling for oxygen, with my heart pumping at a much higher rate than normal, as it should, since I'm working it out. I need as much clean air going through my respiratory system as my pipes can handle in that instance. What I DEFINITELY don't need is to feel like I'm inhaling the onion and garlic-filled lentil dairy dish you ate the night before! My heart rate is up, I'm sweating like mad, my mouth and nostrils are wide open, to maximize my oxygen intake. I need to breathe man, not taste whatever feces is sitting in your lower intestine, waiting to come out! NO-NO!

What some don't realize is just how potent flatus can be. It can contain nitrogen, carbon dioxide, methane and hydrogen - flammable gases, which undoubtedly means that flatus can be ignited! That's right... gives new meaning to the phrase, "lighting fire under someones ass!" But I don't want to have to resort to that folks! Can you imagine me carrying a book of matches around, and when someone farts, I "light up their asses!" Literally! I wonder if the fire would burn inward instead of outward, essentially following the trail back up through the main source, and into the body of the "releaser," essentially blowing them up from the inside. That would be kind of cool, wouldn't it? HAHA! We do carry oxygen in our blood, right? And we know that oxygen is a fire conduit. Talk about internal combustion! (That was my Eli Roth, torture-porn moment)

Alright, I'm done! In closing, just do me a favor, be kind, be considerate and control your anal sphincter when you can. I know for some, it's actually an ailment, and thus, involuntary, but I think most of us don't have that problem. However, if you absolutely, positively must "drop it like it's hot" whenever and wherever, I strongly urge you to invest in one of these: Anti-Flatulence Underwear. Yes, you read that right. A patent was filed in 1997 for something called the Protective Underwear With Malodorous Flatus Filter. Don't believe me? Check it out HERE. Or you can buy one from a company called Under-Tec, amongst several others, for just $24.95; and they come in all sizes too! Click on the images below to read about how they work and get yours NOW, helping to reduce global methane emissions and stabilizing greenhouse gases, doing your part to save our planet! You'll be glad you did!

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Melvin Talks About His "Confessions"

MVP talks about his new film (Confessionsofa Ex-Doofus-ItchyFooted Mutha) with New York City's NBC affiliate's morning hostess... doesn't reveal a lot more than I've already mentioned in a previous post... he does describe the film as "Obama-ish"... not sure if that's an Obama endorsement, or a diss...

Compusa (Systemax, Inc.)

Grandma's Thoughts On The Iraq Invasion...

I'm with you all the way ma'am... all the motherf***ing way!!!

Apple iTunes

Dear Woody Allen...

Dear Woody Allen,

I know you love cinema just as much as I love cinema. You expressed it so wonderfully in several of your earlier works, like Annie Hall, Stardust Memoriesand Manhattan- all classics that even the flightiest of film lovers will agree on. So, it is with much affection and genuine concern for you when I say the following:


Of course, I don't mean stop entirely... but rather, take a break. Enjoy your successes. You'll be 73 later this year, and as callous as it may sound, you know what that means... your time is almost up! I know you must be anxious, especially as several of your idols and contemporaries have left us, especially in the last few years (Bergman and Antonioni, notably). Trust me, I felt their losses too and I'm probably just as anxious, so believe me when I say that I understand your need to make full use of your talents and your time while you still have them.

But, Woody, do you realize that you've made 1 film every year, since 1992? That's 17 films over 17 years. I don't know how the hell do you do it, but it certainly partly explains why your recent films are starting to blend into one another, looking and sounding alike, as the quality of each effort gradually declines.

It's not fun anymore Woody! In fact, it's actually becoming somewhat embarrassing. I knew it was over when, in 2003, I saw a theatrical promo for your then upcoming film, Anything Else, co-starring Christina Ricci and Jason Biggs. The studio that released the film obviously thought it best to not include you in the trailer, since you weren't anywhere to be found in it, even though you were the star of the film. Instead, we got shots of both Ricci and Biggs in various scenes, leading anyone watching the trailer to believe that you weren’t in the film. And they also didn't even put your name on the title marquee! That was rather sad Woody! How could you let them do that to you? You're Woody Allen - well-respected filmmaker of several award-winning and/or critically acclaimed films. They can't do that to you - make you disappear from your own film! But they did! And I felt so bad for you then Woody. You used to be able to get your way, but it looks like your value isn't quite what it used to be.

Listen... dude... you've made 44 films in 42 years! That means there were a couple of years there when you made 2 in a year! Let me repeat that - 44 films in 42 years! And a lot of them are unbelievably similar in terms of style and theme - you (or a replica of your usually neurotic self) waxing philosophic on male/female relationships, God, death, and Freud. And now I hear you're tackling lesbian relationships in your next film! I'd like to say that I'm intrigued by this, but I'd be lying if I said I wasn't doubtful of the outcome... but I'm hopeful.

In comparison, the late, great Stanley Kubrick made just 14 feature films in 46 years, about a third of your output! But the man and his films, even the least appreciated of them, left an indelible mark on the face of cinema. We can all learn something from him, I think.

In closing... you know I love you Woody! Several of your films sit comfortably in my fledgling DVD library. I've seen Annie Hall and Stardust Memories countless times. Husbands and Wivesis a masterpiece that will likely never age. And coincidentally, that 1992 film is the last of your works that I can say I truly, genuinely enjoyed and appreciated. Since then, it's been a rather questionable run! And according to your IMDB page, you're continuing your prolific trend with releases each year, for the next 2 years... tut-tut-tut. You're apparently not listening! Do yourself a favor Woody... take a few years off... you might surprise yourself and return with some new perspectives on the process. I think you and your films will be better for it. Trust me! Maybe consider directing someone else's script, even if it's just for sheer variety... after all, it is the spice of life.

Your friend,


Flashing Lights - Cannes Unveils 2008 Lineup!

The "prestigious" Cannes Film Festival unveiled its lineup of films both in and out of competition for the 2008 festival taking place in its usual luxurious French Riviera location next month! I put the word "prestigious" in quotation marks because l'm starting to question the true relevance and value of the 69 year old film festival! It's very much an elitist affair, and I think it's always been that way, but it's starting to wear its elitism like a badge of honor, which is a turnoff. It negates its legitimacy and global acceptance as THE preeminent film festival in the world. Just like new technology companies are changing how we think of and use technology, challenging the reach of the stalwarts (for example, Google VS Microsoft), I feel like America, and even the world, need upstart festivals to replace the dinosaurs of the industry, in which the quality of the work is the only thing that matters, and who you are or who you know mean absolutely nothing!

Of course, no surprise, there aren't any films from Africa. Apparently Sembene's death meant the end of African cinema as well - at least, according to the good people at Cannes.

However, it is what it is, and regardles of what I say, filmmakers and the media will ensure that it remains the top festival in the world... at least for now!

Of note for those of us in the USA, Clint Eastwood's next film, The Changeling (starring Angelina Jolie) will make its debut. Notable screenwriter Charlie Kaufman's directorial debut, Synecdoche, New York, also is scheduled. Steven Soderbergh's highly anticipated Che Guevara bio-pic starring Benicio Del Toro will screen as well. And Woody Allen strikes again with a film that supposedly has a lesbian storyline, titled Vicky Cristina Barcelona. Woody Allen and lesbian themes just don't seem like a fit to me. And David Lynch's daughter, Jennifer, makes her Cannes debut with a thriller called Surveillance. Let's hope there's actually a coherent, plausible story, unlike her father's last film, Inland Empire... talk about a cure for insomnia! Lastly, Steven Spielberg's next (and hopefully, final) installment of the Indiana Jones series, Indiana Jones And The Kingdom Of The Crystal Skull, will premiere.

You can see the complete list HERE, including the selected panel of judges.

Film Movement, LLC

And How Will You Wear Your Afro Today?

This was forwarded to me, so I have no idea what its origin is, and can't give due credit. It links to, but I've seen it on several other sites. Regardless... I didn't realize there were so many different versions of the good ol afro! Funny though... I used to sport the "Prince" back in the day...

Michael Moore (And Tambay Obenson) Ask PA To Vote Obama

It's really puzzling to me how free-thinking, supposedly intelligent human beings can be so blind and so easily coerced by other human beings with mere words. I suppose fear can be quite the motivator! Of course I'm referring to the scare strategies the Clintons have used to smear Obama's reputation in order to swing the pendulum of votes in Hillary's direction - at least temporarily enough to win! Are Americans really that dense that they can't see through all their bullshit tactics? If anything, we should all be insulted, because the Clintons are essentially counting on the stupidity of the American public to win the nomination. What they are saying to us is, we (the Clintons) think very little of your intellectual competence and basic common sense that we will continue pulling the wool over your eyes until you act in our favor. Why? Because we can... because you allow us to do so... because you're all so fucking stupid and gullible! That's what they are telling us, and have done so repeatedly! The mindblowingly unfortunate thing is that it's actually working! There are mofos out there who are buying the bullshit! If Hillary wins the nomination, it'll be really unfortunate for America, because it will say plenty about how far we still have to go. The joke will be on us, and everyone else will be laughing, but us. We really are a nation of sheep...

Here's Michael Moore's letter to PA voters regarding tomorrow's primary.

Monday, April 21st, 2008

My Vote's for Obama (if I could vote)... by Michael Moore


I don't get to vote for President this primary season. I live in Michigan. The party leaders (both here and in D.C.) couldn't get their act together, and thus our votes will not be counted.

So, if you live in Pennsylvania, can you do me a favor? Will you please cast my vote -- and yours -- on Tuesday for Senator Barack Obama?

I haven't spoken publicly 'til now as to who I would vote for, primarily for two reasons: 1) Who cares?; and 2) I (and most people I know) don't give a rat's ass whose name is on the ballot in November, as long as there's a picture of JFK and FDR riding a donkey at the top of the ballot, and the word "Democratic" next to the candidate's name.

Seriously, I know so many people who don't care if the name under the Big "D" is Dancer, Prancer, Clinton or Blitzen. It can be Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck, Barry Obama or the Dalai Lama.

Well, that sounded good last year, but over the past two months, the actions and words of Hillary Clinton have gone from being merely disappointing to downright disgusting. I guess the debate last week was the final straw. I've watched Senator Clinton and her husband play this game of appealing to the worst side of white people, but last Wednesday, when she hurled the name "Farrakhan" out of nowhere, well that's when the silly season came to an early end for me. She said the "F" word to scare white people, pure and simple. Of course, Obama has no connection to Farrakhan. But, according to Senator Clinton, Obama's pastor does -- AND the "church bulletin" once included a Los Angeles Times op-ed from some guy with Hamas! No, not the church bulletin!

This sleazy attempt to smear Obama was brilliantly explained the following night by Stephen Colbert. He pointed out that if Obama is supported by Ted Kennedy, who is Catholic, and the Catholic Church is led by a Pope who was in the Hitler Youth, that can mean only one thing: OBAMA LOVES HITLER!

Read the rest Here at

Darwinism At Work

I'm simultaneously attracted to and repelled by this clip. There's a kind of beauty in it; yet it's also rather sad. The fact that I can't understand the commentator's words aside... the music and sound effects certainly add to the dramatics of it all... I should mention that I'm a Capricorn, by the way :o)