Covering Cinema From All Across The African Diaspora

"Hancock" In Ratings Trouble?

Apparently, Will Smith's expected Summer blockbuster, Hancock, is facing somewhat of a battle with the MPAA ratings board. In order to make the film accessible to as wide an audience as possible, the filmmakers have struggled to get the film a PG13 rating from the MPAA. As is, it's an R-Rated film, which automatically reduces its reach.

According to an interview with the director of the film, Peter Berg, at the New York Times, Hancock "has remained surprisingly sexual, violent and true in spirit to an original script that was viewed as brilliant but unmakable." Obviously, not tame enough for the MPAA to award it a PG13 rating.

And now, there are reports that some of the cast, including Will Smith, were called back for reshoots of certain scenes in New York City, as recently as last weekend, which is incredible, when one considers that the film is scheduled to open about a month and a half from now. My guess is that the reshoots are to appease the MPAA and get that coveted PG13 rating!

Hancock hits theatres on July 2nd.


Denzel, Bad... Tom Cruise, Good... In 28th Amendment

A week ago, I posted an entry on the first onscreen collaboration between Tom Cruise and Denzel Washington, titled The 28th Amendment, 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. The president realizes his newfound information puts him at the top of the Assassination List.

At the time, there was no word on who would be the protagonist (the president) and who would play the antagonist (likely the head of the super secret organization). The good folks at are reporting that Tom Cruise will play the President and Denzel will play the head of the super secret organization!

Interesting! I initially thought it would be the other way around. Tom Cruise is too short to be president ;o) I was also hoping for a possible foreshadowing of things to come in reality... Denzel as fictional black president... Obama in '08.

Interestingly, McCain is also rather short, at about 5ft 7inches, which is about how tall Tom Cruise is... hmmm... I smell a conspiracy :o)

However, it's worth noting that America's presidents, going all the way back to George Washington, have been overwhelming tall - at least 6ft.

But I digress...

Cruise will be the good guy president, and Denzel will be the baddie. I wonder if they'll have a fight scene. I'd like to see Tom take on Denzel. My money will be on Denzel though!

Ok, I'm done!


See Robert Downey Jr Swearing Like A Black Man

For those who don't know, a "red band trailer" of a film is a trailer that does not adhere to MPAA guidelines for motion picture advertising for all audiences, meaning it will likely include foul language, violence, sexual, or otherwise "objectionable imagery" (Gotta protect the kids, right?). It's usually preceded by a red band, which reads "The following PREVIEW has been approved for RESTRICTED AUDIENCES ONLY by the Motion Picture Association of America."

Obviously, Tropic of Thunder is an R-rated film. Below is the red band trailer released just yesterday. We get to see Robert Downey Jr in black face and an afro, spitting out curse words like "muthafucka" in his best imitation of how us black men supposedly speak. The early buzz on this one is overwhelmingly positive, as fan-boys are drooling in anticipation of its release, which won't be until August.

Friday Funnies - Hillary's WV Constituency Speak

If I were Hillary, I wouldn't be so proud to know that these are the kinds of people who supported me to a win in the West Virginia democratic primary a few days ago. Sad, sad, sad... but rather humorous as well, hence the "Friday Funnies" tag! Thanks to Harry Allen for the link.


Saw I, II, III, IV, V, VI... When Will It End?

I guess Lions Gate intends to give birth to as many of these freaking Saw movies as it can, and enjoy whatever little profits each sequel produces for them.

What I don't understand is why audiences continue to insist on seeing each preposterous sequel, encouraging Lions Gate to continue producing them.

These are the kinds of films that one would expect to see go straight to home video, but, because of how successful each has apparently been for the mini studio, they continue to enjoy theatrical releases as well.

The 5th installment of the series will be in theaters later this year, in time for Halloween. And I just heard that a 6th film will go into production this year, for a 2009 release. Should we expect a 7th and an 8th? Possibly! They've taken it this far, so, why not go even further.


Free Shipping on Most Living Room Furniture only at

The Cleveland Show

We rarely get to see black people animated, and certainly not carrying an entire television series. Fat Albert is the first title that comes to mind when I think of prominent black cartoon characters, but the program existed more than 20 years ago. And of course there's Aaron McGruder's The Boondocks series. If anyone can think of others, specifically from the last 20 years, please share.

For the 2009 TV season, Fox TV will air The Cleveland Show, an animated TV series, and spin-off from the mildly popular Family Guy. The Cleveland Show will focus on the character of Cleveland Brown and his family. The story goes... Cleveland moves to Stoolbend, VA with his son, his high school sweetheart Donna and her daughter. Their wacky neighbors include a loudmouth redneck couple, a British family seemingly stuck in the Victorian era and a family of bears. I don't watch Family Guy, although I've seen pieces of episodes, so I really can't say what to expect from The Cleveland Show. The fact that the it's a comedy and the creators are white could be of some concern (I immediately think of the scene in Bamboozled, in which Delacroix creates the "Mantan Show," with a room full of white writers), but I'll wait until I actually see an episode before passing judgement. See the trailer below for more...

Thursday Linkage...

- Following Oprah's lead, pop culture icon Madonna plans to start building a multimillion-dollar girls' school in Malawi, the southeastern African republic. MORE HERE.
- Check out's humorous list of the "6 Worst Movies Hollywood Almost Made." Number 6 on the list was the planned 2001 remake of Dolemite, starring L.L. Cool J. READ ON HERE.
- A couple of lukewarm reviews of the Cannes opener, Blindness, starring Julianne Moore, Danny Glover and a laundry list of international stars, directed by Fernando Meirelles (City of God). The Weinsteins apparently might have some trouble selling this one to American audiences. Read the first one
HERE, and the second review HERE.
- I'm giddy! Werner Herzog and David Lynch are teaming up to produce a film called "My Son, My Son," a horror-tinged murder drama based on a true story. I'm a fan of both auteurs, although a bigger fan of Herzog than Lynch (Inland Empire was tedious), and I'll probably always take notice when either of them creates something individually. How could I not be excited at the possibility of a collaboration. MORE HERE.
- CBS buys CNET in $1.8 billion deal. I use CNET occassionally, but I didn't realize it was worth that much loot! READ ON.

- Lastly, the world is indeed full of kooks. Here's one of them...

Curious George Obama

Oh brother... shaking my head... Just watch the clip...

From The "Screw Your Poverty" File...

How much is too much? Apparently, there is no such thing as too much to 48-year old Indian billionaire, Mukesh Ambani, the 6th richest person in the world (according to Forbes Magazine), with an estimated worth of $43 Billion!

I submit into evidence, Antilla, the Ambani family's future domicile, the worlds most expensive home, currently in construction in Mumbai, with a price tag of $2 Billion! Yes, a $2 Billion home. I didn't think such a thing was actually possible. I've seen sprawling centi-million dollar estates owned by Hollywood elite like the Spellings, and tech tycoons like Bill Gates, but Antilla trumps all of those by at least $1 Billion.

So, what does a $2 Billion home include? It's a 27-story skyscraper standing at 550 feet high with 400,000 square feet of interior space, no two floors are alike in either plans or materials used, a lobby with nine elevators, a large ballroom with 80% of its ceiling covered in crystal chandeliers, an ice room where residents and guests can escape the Mumbai heat to a cooled chamber dusted by man-made snow flurries, and the first 6 stories are just garages for their cars.

What does a $2 Billion home look like? Below is a draft by the premiere architects who designed the structure with the Ambani family.

Here's a video clip India's CNN:

Wednesday Link City

The Cannes Film Festival got underway today. Lots of American films will be making their debut, including the opening night film, Blindness, by Brazilian director Fernando Meirelles (responsible for 2002's hit although over-rated City of God) starring Julianne Moore, Mark Ruffalo, and Danny Glover. Also premiering at the festival is Steven Sodebergh's 4 1/2 hour Che Guevara bio-pic, titled simply Che, starring Benico Del Toro. Yes, 4 1/2 hours! Although it's a favorite to win the Palmes d'Or. More on the festival HERE.

- Now Catholics everywhere can breathe easier because, after much discussion and analysis, the Vatican has reached the conclusion that it's perfectly OK to believe in aliens, and doing so "does not contradict a faith in God." Well, thank GOD for that! More HERE.

- Did you hear the one about the white valedictorian at a historically black men's college? Well, it's true. Read about "a different kind of 'Morehouse Man'" HERE.

- An interesting piece comparing the size of restaurant food portions, 20 years ago and today. Take the "Portion Distortion" test provided by the Department of Health HERE.

- I'm sure everyone has already seen Bill O'Reilly's rampage on Inside Edition. If you haven't, here it is, preceded by Keith Olbermann's color commentary. HI-LA-RI-OUS!!!! How can anyone work with this dude?? Sheesh!

That's all for now folks!

Apple iTunes

I Am Become Death, The Destroyer Of Worlds

As if the 100,000+ killed by a cyclone in Myanmar wasn't heart-wrenching enough, 2 weeks later, another Asian territory is coping with tragedy and loss also caused by a naturally occuring disaster - this time an earthquake in China, with over 12,000 killed, and more than 18,000 still buried underneath the rubble, which means that the death toll could reach 30,000+ if those buried bodies aren't recovered alive. 26,000 are reported to be severely injured.

To have disasters as destructive as these two happen within close proximity in terms of physical space and time, is truly sublime!

What does it all mean, if anything at all? Surely those of us still standing are meant to learn something from this.

There really are no words sufficient... except maybe, always remember... It all ends eventually.


Weekend Recap - An FYI And 2 Film Reviews...


Blog postings will be erratic for the next 3 weeks! I've got a writing deadline to meet at the end of this month, and need to focus intently.

So, hang in there with me. I'll post as I can, when I can.

In the meantime...


I saw Mister Lonely on Saturday night, and Redbelt on Sunday afternoon.

In brief...

Mister Lonely - Genuinely interesting idea for a film, visually rich, mostly well-acted, BUT weak story-telling,
unnecessarily pretentious, and longer than it really should have been. Harmony Korine hasn't made a film in 9 years or so, after being labeled (or possibly mislabeled) by many as some kind of wunderkind filmmaker, with then arthouse acclaimed works, Gummo and Julien Donkey-Boy, and screenwriting work for controversial filmmaker/photographer Larry Clark - but this is a rather disappointing return to center-stage. While I found a few select moments to enjoy, mostly those with co-star Samantha Morton, the person I saw the film with almost walked out about half-way through. Worthy of a big screen viewing, if only to take in some of the more appealing visual compositions, and Samantha Morton's performance as an unstable Marilyn Monroe impersonator. Otherwise I'd wait for the DVD. However, if you're not a fan of Korine's, I'd avoid it altogether, unless you're interested in something a little out of the ordinary. Unfortunately, the trailer looks much more promising than the film turned out to be. See it below...

Redbelt - Chiwetel Ejiofor meets David Mamet and mixed martial arts with unflattering results for all 3. This should have gone straight to DVD! It's not bad, but worse than you'd expect given the talent involved. It's missing Mamet's trademark stylized dialogue, and doesn't quite earn the weight of the message that its ending wants us to walk away with.
A little too methodical and predictable for me. Not what I'd call a "leading-man" creating role for Ejiofor; it's the kind of project I would expect to see Wesley Snipes in, not Ejiofor. But I'd say he did his best with what he was given to work with; however, certain peripheral performances were rather wooden, and in some cases laughable. Unless you're an Ejiofor disciple, or just want to support the man and his efforts, I'd say wait for the DVD, or even possibly, cable TV. You're not missing much here. If you must see a Mamet film, rent Glengarry Glen Ross or Wag the Dog instead. See trailer below as well.