Covering Cinema From All Across The African Diaspora

Weekend Link City...

"It's over my dear. Just let it go. It's over."

- Is tipping racist? Should tipping be outlawed? That's one suggestion made in a new study, which finds there's extreme racial discrimination in taxicab tipping. The practice of tipping emerged in the early 20th century to provide a "consideration" from then primarily white customers to those serving them in menial jobs, who tended to be Black workers. "For some, the practice of tipping was intimately connected to the perceived inferiority of African Americans." MUCH MORE HERE.

- Obama Wouldn't Be First Black President. Were there other "black" presidents? Some historians have reason to believe people don't really understand the genealogy of past U.S. Presidents. Research shows at least five U.S. presidents had black ancestors and Thomas Jefferson, the nation's third president, was considered the first black president, according to historian Leroy Vaughn, author of Black People and Their Place in World History. CONTINUE HERE.

- Nobel laureate and Princeton University professor Toni Morrison clarifies her calling former President Bill Clinton "the first black president" and offers insight on why she endorsed Sen. Barack Obama.

- Hillary will drop out of race by June 15th.

- 5 rap lyrics that don’t quite make the math/science grade. A NERD DROPS SOME SCIENCE (or something like that).

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Tom And Denzel Together For The First Time?

According to Entertainment Weekly...

Warner Bros. production president Jeff Robinov is intent on luring Tom Cruise and Denzel Washington together for a film called The 28th Amendment, a political thriller being developed with director Phillip Noyce - responsible for previous similar successes like Patriot Games and Clear and Present Danger.

The story is about a president who comes to find out that the United States is actually controlled by a super secret organization who will assassinate anyone who gets in its way. Mr. President realizes his newfound information puts him at the top of the Assassination List.

No word on who will play what roles in the film. I'm guessing one will be the president (the good guy), and the other will be the head of the illuminati (the bad guy).

If this happens, it will be the first collaboration between Tom and Denzel. I'm sure the budget will be astronomical, as will the class of egos on the set :o)


Sigh... Sigh... Sigh...

Like most of us, I've been following the devastion caused by the deadly cyclone that ravaged Yangon, Myanmar, the southeast Asian country, last weekend.

What a tragedy! Words simply cannot adequately describe how affecting it all is. According to UN estimates, some 62,000 people are dead, although it's believed that the number will climb as high as 100,000 once all the missing are found! 100,000 human beings - gone... just like that! Chilling!

And now there's news that the UN has halted aid to Myanmar after the military junta started seizing supplies, preventing those still alive, who really need the help from getting it.

As I sit here, in my apartment, opting to work from home today, casually eating my breakfast, catching up on my morning world news, I'm thankful to be able to live the life that I'm currently living, enjoying what seem like simplicities to me, but could be luxuries to others. Moments like these make me realize just how very little I have to be unhappy about, as my life could be far worse than it is now. Suddenly whatever personal "problems" that consumed my mind previously, all seem rather insignificant.

I'm sure eventually it'll all wash away, and I'll be back to my usual worrying self; so I guess the challenge is to find a way to maintain a certain level of constant awareness - one that keeps you focused on what's really important, instead of wasting precious time "sweating the small stuff" - and maybe it mostly is just "small stuff."

We are born; we live; we die. The only part that we have some control over is the part in the middle - the "living" part; so LIVE!

It's News To Me...

I guess I'm one of the few people who just discovered that now sells grocery items!

I saw an ad on TV late last night, announcing that they've started delivery to the New York area. I visited the link provided in the advert, and noticed the word "beta" right next to the grocery logo towards the top of the page, meaning it's still a relatively new addition to their ever-growing offering of products.

From the little reading up I did, it appears the grocery section of the site was created in 2006, but has been slowly expanding its delivery presence since then. So, it still may not be available in all cities.

This is a site that started out selling just books... now you can get just about anything on Amazon. I won't be surprised if we soon hear of an Amazon dating service!

I suppose my excitment at this little piece of news is due to the fact that I shop at Amazon quite frequently for other items - mostly DVDs, and some smaller electronics. So, I'm really curious to see what they have to offer and how competitive their prices are. I just might utilize the service if I like what I see :o)

Click on the image link below to pick up some peanut butter and jelly to make your samiches, as well as some scrimps for grilling and frying. They've even got organic and gluten-free products for you "cleaner" consumers.

Let The White Man Speak!

Preach Father... preach! He isn't saying anything that others haven't said before - specifically other black men and women. But it's still wonderful to listen to... and even more thrilling that it's on Fox News...

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It's Hard Out There For An Indie Filmmaker...

Reading articles like this can be really disheartening for artists working in the film industry. This is an aspect of the process that I loathe - the creation and distribution of profit.

Yes, it's a business like any other, so money has to be made, and shareholders have to be kept happy. It's still rather unfortunate that the art of film has long been overshadowed by the business of film. Every project is essentially commercial product, and seemingly not much more.

Can we sell it? If the answer is yes, regardless of the content and its influence on its target audience, and thus on society as a whole, it will be produced and mass-distributed!

With the unexpected news by Time Warner Inc earlier on today that
it's shutting down its foreign and independent subsidiaries (Picturehouse and Warner Independent Pictures) for economic reasons, coupled with the article below, the prognosis for indie filmmakers looks rather bleak, unfortunately.

It's always been difficult for indies. But whatever surges in interest we've enjoyed over the past 20 years, are officially dimming.

Industry consolidation continues, as the studios gobble up every smaller promising media company (and soon, each other), creating massive conglomerates with arms in every facet of media - TV, print, film, music, Internet, etc - forcing an unhealthy kind of dependence on them by all, making it increasingly difficult for any independent thinker to enjoy even the thinnest trimmings of success! And as we all know, when things gets tough for whitey, you can guarantee that they'll be even tougher for the rest of us!

But yet, somehow, for some reason(s), many of us continue on, despite the challenges we face, and will continue to face... sigh...

The Hollywood Reporter - a roundtable discussion on indie deal-making:

How vibrant is the independent film scene? How much does it depend on the major film festivals? How useful are the markets that accompany them? On the eve of the Festival de Cannes and its attendant market, The Hollywood Reporter's Stephen Galloway discussed those matters with five experts: (clockwise from top left) Newsweek film critic David Ansen; Kirk D'Amico, president and CEO of Myriad Pictures, a production and sales company; Cassian Elwes, co-head of William Morris Independent; Mark Gill, CEO of finance and production company the Film Department; and Avi Lerner, co-chairman and CEO of Nu Image/Millennium Films.

Read it all HERE.


Introducing W. And The Mrs - By Oliver Stone

I posted a blog entry about this previously over HERE. Now we get a glimpse of what the stars of the film, Josh Brolin (No Country for Old Men) and Elizabeth Banks (The 40-Year-Old Virgin), look like after director Oliver Stone's makeup crew had their way with them. I present to you George W and Laura Bush, the president and first lady of these United States (on film anyway). No ETA on when the film (appropriately titled W.) will reach theatres, but you can guarantee it will happen before this fall's election.

Courtesy of
Entertainment Weekly, where you can read a revealing article about the production of the film, like the fact that no studio would touch the production, and thus Stone had to finance the film independently from foreign investors. Although it's rumored that Lions Gate Entertainment might be the film's eventual distributor. They certainly haven't shied away from controversial material, having distributed Michael Moore's last two documentaries, notably the incendiary Fahrenheit 9/11.

I can see a resemblance... the make-up crew did a decent job given what they had to work with.


Morgan Freeman Reaches An Epiphany... Finally!!

From Yahoo Movies:

Morgan Freeman has returned to Broadway with one goal in mind: to try to kill the Morgan Freeman you know and love.

He's sick of playing the all-knowing cop, the principal with a heart of gold, the voice-of-reason sidekick and the ultra-cool president. He's tired of playing God; he's done that twice.

Freeman has a nickname for that kind of role: Mr. Gravitas. And he wants him gone.

"There's a finite number of characters who are like that before you start repeating yourself ad nauseam. I think that's the bigger danger than being Mr. Gravitas," he says.

I am so glad that Mr Freeman finally recognized something about his career path that some of us have long been aware of and hoping that he'll decisively alter! Congratulations Mr Freeman on your seemingly newfound courage :o)

Read the rest HERE.

Now The World Knows My Name. Well, Sort Of... Not Really... Something Like That...

I've been in South Hadley, Massachusetts since yesterday (Tuesday) morning, visiting Mount Holyoke College, where I was invited by Dr Zetta Elliott, an Assistant Professor at the school, to come and talk to her class about my feature-film, Beautiful Things.

I got a rather surprising, yet encouraging email from Dr Elliott about 3 weeks ago, telling me that my film was on her class curriculum this semester - a class titled, "Sex, Love, & Gender in Contemporary African American Cinema" - and within the email, she had a few questions for me about some of the choices I made in the film, in terms of style, content and meaning.

Her students would later watch and discuss my film as it relates to the class's core subject matter, and after a few more email exchanges with Dr Elliott, me making a trip up to Massachusetts, from New York, seemed like quite a good idea to both of us - a good opportunity to meet and talk to these students of hers who apparently had a lot to say about the film, as well as questions to ask.

I met with the class yesterday afternoon for about 2 1/2 hours, and was rather quite impressed with the investment each of them seemed to have made in the class itself, as well as the depth of their questions with regards to my film, and my thoughts on black cinema in general.

It was a genuinely rich, complex exchange between myself, the class, and Dr Elliott, and I'm elated to have had the opportunity to have been a part in it. The dialogue actually left me a bit flustered, but in a good way, because of the depth and breadth of the questions from the students and Dr Elliott, some of which I had never been asked before, and so had never really given much thought to... and some that were rather personal, that demanded a lot more out of me than I thought I'd have to give in their presence. Any opportunity that challenges you to think even deeper about the person that you are, and the work that you create and present for public consumption, is certainly worthwhile and should be relished!

Overall, it was quite an honor to learn that my film had become "required viewing" in a college classroom, especially one as learned as Mount Holyoke College. Dr Elliott plans on teaching this class again in upcoming semesters, and my film will be a part of the curriculum, and I think that's pretty fucking cool!!!! :o)

I'll likely write a more detailed recap of the time I've spent up here at a later date. I'll be returning to New York this afternoon. I'll return to my usual posting habits tomorrow, as well as repond to those who left comments.


Monday Funnies - What's Wrong With This Picture?

Courtesy of SFGATE.COM - In Houston, a Texan protesting amnesty for illegal immigrants argues that anyone who can't master English doesn't deserve to live in America. Excellent point lady!! I couldn't agree with her more ;o)

Get Out Your Swiss Army Knife and Duct Tape

Remember this below? Guess what - it's getting the big screen treatment. How exciting, right? Well, no, not really... but I guess it was only a matter of time. Look out for movie adaptations of other 80s TV classics like Miami Vice - oh wait, they already did that... or how about The A-Team - oops, one is already in the works... well, there's always CHIPs - nope, one is scheduled for release next year... Oh well... why not Benson? Yeah, I'd like to see a Benson movie, wouldn't you? Anyway, here's what's coming next:


Super Hero Deluge

With the success of Iron Man this weekend at the box office, it's safe to say that Super Hero flicks are here to stay... at least for the next 3 years, when we can expect to see even more franchises adapted for film theatre screens. I did see Iron Man this past weekend, and it was entertaining. It's a summer extravaganza, so I didn't go in with particularly high expectations, so I was neither disappointed, nor completely fulfilled. Will I see it again? Probably not! Do I recommend it? Sure - why not! Just leave the analytical part of your brain at the entrance doors to the theatre.

So, anyway... I found the following list of upcoming Super Hero films in the pipeline for Marvel Studios (partly or fully responsible for much of the Super Hero fanfare we've seen over the years). I'm sure Super Hero comic book fans are foaming at the mouth in anticipation. Keep in mind that this is just a partial list, meaning there's a lot more that's not listed here!

Marvel Studios Entertainment Pipeline
(Development and release dates for licensed properties are controlled by studio partners)
The Incredible Hulk - Scheduled for June 13, 2008 release

The Punisher: War Zone - Scheduled for December 5, 2008 release
X-Men Origins: Wolverine - Scheduled for May 1, 2009 release
Iron Man 2 - Scheduled for April 30, 2010 release
Thor - Scheduled for June 4, 2010 release
The First Avenger: Captain America (working title) - Scheduled for May 6, 2011 release
The Avengers - Scheduled for July 2011 release
Ant-Man - Writer/Director working on project... no release date yet (
Ant-Man?? Are you serious? There really is a Super Hero known as Ant-Man? Geez! How the hell does he fight crime?)

Compusa (Systemax, Inc.)

Diddy Gets His Star, And Hopes For Another...!

Guess they're just giving these things away now aren't they... maybe I can get one too :o) I could be wrong, but I don't recall this much fanfare accompanying any other celebrity's honoring on the Walk of Fame (check the video below). Word is he also threw a $4 million party to celebrate. Ok...!

Diddy makes rap history on Hollywood Walk of Fame

Sean 'Diddy' Combs became the first rapper to be honoured on the Hollywood Walk of Fame on Friday when he unveiled the 2,362nd star outside Hollywood landmark Mann's Chinese Theater.

Fellow rap mogul Russell Simmons and Jamie Foxx were among the celebrities who paid tribute to Diddy at the event.

The ambitious rap star and fashion king now has his sights set on a second star on the Walk of Fame.

He says: "They gave me my thing for music and now I'm trying to find out if, once I become an actor, you'll put another one on there (sic).

"I'm going to get another one, I'm coming back, baby."

Indie and international films. Watch now on Jaman!