Covering Cinema From All Across The African Diaspora

Script Review, 'Tonight, He Comes' AKA 'Hancock'

OK! Following up with what I said in THIS POST, I just finished reading the original 226-page script for Tonight, He Comes, the screenplay that the film Hancock is based on, written by Vincent Ngo. You can get a copy of the script here: TONIGHT, HE COMES.

I should first point out that this draft was written in 1996, 12 years ago! So, it's a project that's been floating around for quite awhile. During that time period, 5 different directors have been attached to it (some big names actually, like Michael Mann and Tony Scott), and almost as many writers; although Will Smith attached himself to star in the film in 2005. So, it went through several rewrites by different writers, which, history I think will show, is often to the script's detriment.

This case does nothing to end that trend.

It’s far from a perfect script; but I must say that what I read appealed to me much moreso than the film that opened last week.

I say the script is far from perfect because it has its share of flaws – flaws that are ironically similar to those that many of us found in the finished film.

Yes, there are a few similarities between script and film, but I was surprised at how really different the combined effect of the words on the page were to what I saw on screen.

The tone and mood of the script contradict what we experience in the film, but I think it works. Hancock is a dark, brooding, tormented soul – nothing humorous about this fella. Despite his vices – he smokes and drinks heavily, spending nights in shitty dives, drowning his ills in alcohol and cigarettes, while picking up prostitutes - he has taken it upon himself to be humanity’s savior. There are moments when he flies into action, and performs superheroic acts like foiling a bank robbery attempt. But, surprisingly, those moments are very few. There’s very little of the usual “Superhero” mechanics you’d expect in a superhero story, which, I’m sure, irked the studio execs who likely preferred a little (or much) more opportunities for spectacle. After all, it is a superhero movie, right?

Not quite.

The script is as much about superheroes, as E.T. was about alien invasions. Each grandiose idea attracts you to the story, but as you read/watch, you realize that there’s a lot more going on than originally advertised.

As I already stated, Hancock is a dark, brooding, tormented soul. I’d even add mercurial to the mix. Unlike the film, he’s the ONLY one of his kind (if you’ve seen the film, or read the spoilers, you know what I’m referring to). And he’s taken it upon himself to maintain peace and order on earth (or specifically, New York, since that’s where the entire story takes place). However, his choice has become his burden. He realizes he has a “gift” (although we never really learn where he came from, or how he got his powers), and, as the saying goes, to whom much is given, much is expected, a credo that he seems to live by.

He’s certainly no Superman - the pure, practically perfect superhero - Jesus Christ in leotards and a red cape, if you will – far from it. But he believes in something – truth, justice, altruism – despite his many vices, which are exploited repeatedly within the 226-page script.

Perfect he is not.

The only coda he seems to live by, which is voiced many times over by several different characters in the script, is, “I gotta do what I gotta do.” In essence, do what you must with what you’ve got, to get what you want. Or even possibly - make the most out of the cards that life has dealt you. No complaining! No regrets!

What Hancock ultimately wants is to be free of his burden. There are a handful of dream sequences in which he’s drowning in the cries and tears of the "simple" men and women, wanting to be saved from whatever troubles ail them, but he can’t silence the noises – something akin to Deanna Troi in the Star Trek: The Next Generation television show, the telepath who’s able to sense and feel the emotions buried within others. So, when others feel pain, their sadness becomes her sadness, and there isn’t much she can do to stop it, even though sometimes she’d like to. But it’s her burden to bear… it’s her “gift”… she's "gotta do what she’s gotta do.”

Hancock wants to be saved, a request he places on Mary Longfellow, the wife of Horus Longfellow (a security guard at a local mall and all-around wimp), and mother of Aaron Longfellow (an 8-year old replica of his father, and frequent target of school bullies) – in the filmed version, these 3 characters are instead represented by the Embreys: Charlize Theron (house wife Mary), Jason Bateman (Ray, Public relations pro) and the kid who plays their son (also a target for bullies).

The Longfellows are clearly a couple of notches lower on the socio-economic ladder, relative to the middle to upper middle class Embreys. Horus almost became a “real” cop, but failed out of police academy. So he becomes the next best thing, a security guard – one lacking big enough testicles to stand up to his bully next door neighbor, who regularly steals his daily morning paper, to the dismay of Horus and Mary.

Horus is rather pathetic, and his son, Aaron, hates that his father is without a spine. Aaron himself is no tough guy either, taking after his father, allowing 3 school bullies to make his life quite miserable as they find new ways of tormenting him, usually ending in a group beating.

Mary is simply wife and mother, providing man and boy with as much emotional support as they need to survive one day after another. She is the rock that keeps the household stable – as stable as it can be in its current state, anyway.

As expected, their rather mundane lives change when their paths cross with that of Hancock’s. Whether it’s for the better or worse isn’t entirely certain to me, even after reading the script through to the end.

A common question that script readers ask screenwriters is, “what is your script REALLY about,” hinting at the fact that at the heart of every story, no matter the packaging, is some basic idea or message that guides the plot from “FADE IN” to the “FADE OUT.”

At its core, Tonight, He Comes wants to deconstruct traditional definitions of masculinity – asking age old questions like, “what does it mean to be a man?” But it doesn't quite succeed, as this theme isn't necessarily carried throughout the script, making it feel inconsistent, much like the film.

Is Hancock the ideal man? We see him, all-powerful, indestructible and confident, which breeds a certain kind of persona that women swoon over, as they throw themselves at him, even if it’s just for a night of physical pleasure, which we see happen at least twice. Yet, despite all of those “perks” as some would call them, inside, he longs to be a simple man, living a simple life, free of his “burden.”

Clearly Horus isn’t the ideal man – certainly the script doesn’t think so. Hence, while Hancock essentially longs for Horus’s kind of life, Horus wishes he had Hancock’s abilities. So, who’s really better off here? Who's the real man? Trading places wouldn’t solve their individual problems entirely, but it’s clear that both wouldn’t mind walking in the other’s shoes, even for a day. The conundrum created by this dynamic is actually quite fascinating I think, but unfortunately isn’t fully explored in the script. That alone – a besieged superhero and his desire to be human, intersecting with a wimpy human and his desire to be a superhero – could have been developed into something substantial, but the writer ignored that premise mostly, unfortunately.

What we instead get are 4 different stories that aren’t fully realized, much like the film. At the end of my reading, I wasn’t sure whose story was being told in the script. Each character got just about equal face time, but none of their individual stories develops into anything particularly interesting.

Like the movie, I was intrigued during the first half – the overall Dark Knight tone of it kept me interested. I remember imagining the city and sites as the writer described them in the script, and my mind’s eye frequently reverting to Gotham, right out of the last Batman movie - seedy, unwelcoming, Hades on earth. I loved that. It worked for me, especially given Hancock’s M.O. as I described above. For those first 60 pages, Hancock (the character) was interesting to me. I wanted to get to know him a little longer. His mercurial nature kept me wondering what was going to happen with him next.

The Longfellows in their individual roles were familiar; but their normality provided a useful contrast to Hancock’s troubled superheroics.

Also like the movie, the script loses its way in the second half. It becomes “regular,” relying on old favorites to push the story forward, which annoyed me a bit actually. It’s perplexing when a writer/filmmaker starts off with refreshing promise, building up expectations of a strong, rewarding finish, but then throws it all away in the end. The writer introduces some really interesting ideas early on that could have been explored further, but at the finish, he favors convention over invention.

Both Horus and Aaron (thanks in part to Hancock’s intrusion in their lives), finally decide to fight back against their “oppressors,” and I guess we’re supposed to cheer for them, in proverbial happy ending fashion, as each apparently becomes a man, displaying some testicular fortitude. However, Hancock is left still carrying his burden, unable to see his wish realized at the hands of Mary. So, Hancock essentially becomes the catalyst that Horus and Aaron needed to change, with Mary acting as not much more than a decoy; Horus, in a primordial way, fulfills his wish. He becomes a superhero of sorts - at least to his son.

As I said earlier, I wasn’t quite sure whose story was central. There doesn’t have to be some singular story, but having several that are half-cocked isn’t the way to go either.

As I read, I could see why this version of the script didn’t go into production. At 226 pages, it meanders too often, and carries with it other problems that I think could have been fixed in a second or third draft, while still maintaining the mood and ideas intact, creating what may have been a really strong finished product! I can see why a filmmaker like Michael Mann was intially drawn to it - just consider quietly intense films like Heat, The Insider, and Collateral, films he directed, and in 2 cases, wrote the screenplays for. Tonight, He Comes, even in its 1996 form, is right up his alley. Although, that version wouldn’t have seen the light of day. For a summer superhero movie, it’ll have been considered too profound – too philosophical/not enough action – essentially a superhero movie that’s missing one key ingredient: the superhero being superheroic. The comedic tone of Will Smith’s Hancock is likely closer to what the studio execs preferred, which is ultimately what we got, unfortunately. Although I'd like to think that a happy medium exists somewhere between both extremes.

However, in closing, if I had to choose between Hancock in 2008 and Tonight, He Comes in 1996, without hesitation, I'd choose Vincent Ngo's original script! Despite being 12 years old, it's a much more superior and ambitious package than what Sony has given us.

I hear that there might be a sequel to Hancock, if it performs well financially - especially after this opening weekend. Tomorrow's numbers will tell...

RZA Developing Martial Arts Flick

Found this over at

RZA has developed a martial arts film with Hollywood pal Eli Roth called "The Man with the Iron Fist," which he says has "the blessing" of his "teacher," Quentin Tarantino..."

I'm not a fan of Roth's "torture porn" movies (Hostel and others of its ilk); in fact I actually despise them immensely. And I'm not that big of a Tarantino fan either, so this doesn't really excite me much, despite RZA's involvement. Besides, there isn't much else to go on - he didn't reveal anything about plot/story.

No ETA on when this project will come to fruition, but I'll certainly be on the alert.


Did You Know...? The First African American Bond Girl

Gloria now / Gloria Then

Long before Halle literally made a splash as Jinx in Die Another Day, there was Gloria Hendry who I'm sure made a few splashes of her own in Roger Moore's pants, when she assumed Bond girl duties, as Rosie Carver, in 1973's Live and Let Die.

In that film, she became the first African American woman to be romantically involved with 007. She is NOT, however, the first African American woman to have a role in a Bond film; that honor goes to Trina Parks who had an uncredited role as a bodyguard in Diamonds Are Forever.

When Live And Let Die was first released in South Africa, Gloria Hendry's love scenes with Roger Moore were cut out because it was prohibited by the Apartheid government.

Right before shacking up with Moore, Gloria was a Playboy Bunny.

She later starred in several 1970's Blaxploitation films.

She lives in Los Angeles today.

Now you know...!

Did You Know...? Laptop Follies

Did you know... that travelers leave 12,000 laptops in American airports every single week and only 30% of them are ever recovered?

Wow! 12,000 laptops adds up to 624,000 machines a year! That's a lot of freaking laptops being left behind! I'm having a really hard time trying to understand how that many people would be so careless. But then again, it's really just another piece of luggage, and luggage is lost from time to time, although I've never be so unlucky.

And how is it that only 30% are ever recovered? If I get to my destination and eventually realize that I don't have my laptop, especially if I know I had it when I was at the airport in the city I left, I would immediately call that airport's lost and found department with the hopes of getting the damn thing back.

The article states that "most of the airports said they generally keep the laptops for some period of times, then destroy them if they are unclaimed." Really? Do they really destroy them? All of them? 12,000 laptops every week, with 30% going unclaimed, or about 3600 laptops? That's 187,200 unclaimed laptops every single year. And they really expect us to believe that all 187,200 of them are being destroyed! Come on! I'd bet a few of those babies are finding their way into the homes of some of the airport staff!

Actually, instead of destroying them, maybe they should be donated to those who could really use them, and who likely won't forget them at airports! Yes, I know, there's the privacy issue. As the article states, "Sixty-five percent of the business travelers admit that they do not take steps to protect the confidential information contained on their laptops when traveling on business." So, donating would first require a complete formatting of each machine, wiping each hard drive clean, in order to protect the privacy of the previous owners.

But even the erasure process requires that someone, likely an employee of the airport, or the FAA, would have to gain access to the hard drive within the laptop, which could mean a violation of the original owners privacy anyway.

If all 187,200 laptops are indeed being destroyed, that just seems like a waste to me. I'm sure the parts are being recycled, which is a good thing, but I'd like to see them (at least some) donated to those people who can't afford computers, especially since they have become so much a part of our everyday lives.


A Cloudy, Somber Saturday Morning In New York City...

This put a little smile on my face..

Black Box Office: Mid-Year Review

As we begin the second half of the year, I thought I'd take a quick look at how we've done at the box office so far. When I say "how we've done," of course I'm referring to how black films (those that enjoyed theatrical releases anyway) have performed from January to June of this year. How am I defining "black film?" For this purpose, I'm including only those films that primarily tell the stories of people of the African Diaspora.

Looking down the list of films that have enjoyed theatrical releases this year, with Box Office Mojo as my source, there have been just 6 films that fit my above criteria - 6 out of roughly 300, or about 2% of all films that were released theatrically in America for the first 6 months of 2008.

And those lucky films are: First Sunday, College Road Trip, Welcome Home Roscoe Jenkins, Meet The Browns, Redbelt, and How She Move.

College Road Trip (Martin Lawrence) scored the highest in ticket sales, pulling in $45,218,566, followed closely by another Martin Lawrence starrer in Welcome Home Roscoe Jenkins, which made $42,193,500 during its entire run.

And right behind Roscoe is Tyler Perry's Meet The Browns, with $41,975,388 in ticket sales.

Rounding out the list are the remaining 3: First Sunday (Ice Cube) banked $37,931,869; How She Move managed $7,070,641, which isn't bad considering that it was a small-time affair, starring a group of unknowns. And finally Redbelt (Chiwetel Ejiofor) raked in $2,342,445 (I actually reviewed the film on this blog: REDBELT REVIEW).

So, there you have it! A ridiculous 6 films out of 300 (2%), released during the first 6 months of 2008, and every single one of them exists somewhere between "garbage" and "average," although I'd say most fall closer towards the former.

The marginalization continues, although we are certainly not helping ourselves either. And so I'm not surprised by the results. For the remaining 6 months of the year, the forecast doesn't change very much, which means be prepared for more harsh times ahead!

Should you care? I certainly hope you do. When you're invisible, you don't matter, and when you don't matter, your life has little to no value - a statement with widespread significance.

I suppose the expected segue here would be for me to rant about "what's wrong with black cinema," who's doing or not doing what and why, etc... But I won't, because it's all rather pointless and useless now, in my humble opinion. I've already done all of that, and, as far as I'm concerned, it's time to stop bitching and start acting! I think we can all agree that more will be accomplished by doing the latter.

So, what can you do, you ask? Well, go see some independent black cinema this summer, instead of filling your head up entirely with the usual Hollywood spectacle. I've been slacking on updating my Screening Sightings blog because I spend so much time on this one! Throw in the time I allocate to other writing projects on my agenda, and I'm left without even seconds to devote to I will get to it shortly however, so hang in there. But that's no excuse. There are likely a few microcinema screenings happening in your city; you may just have to do a little research to find out where they are, especially since most are without hefty marketing budgets. And as always, do notify me of any screenings in your town so that I can add them to the site's listings.

Happy weekend to all!

"Little Jesse" Has Left Us... Finally!

So... As I'm sure you've heard - Jesse Helms died today at age 86.

Are those champagne bottles I hear popping!?

Indeed... indeed...

Happy Day Off! Or As Some Like To Call It - Independence Day.

Not much to report on today for obvious reasons...

Trailer - 'The Day The Earth Stood Still' (Co-Starring Will Smith's Son)

Just spotted the trailer for yet another end-of-world/alien attack/disaster movie - we sure love those don't we. You know what they say about willing something to happen...

This time it's a remake (we sure love those too, don't we) of the 1951 sci-fi movie of the same name - The Day The Earth Stood Still - starring the automaton known as Keanu Reeves that tells the story of a humanoid alien (the appropriately cast Reeves) who comes to Earth to warn its leaders not to take their conflicts into space, or face likely devastating consequences. Altogether now... Ooooohhhh... spoooooky!

The film also stars Jennifer Connelly, and (drum roll) Jaden Smith, the 9-year old son of Will and Jada Pinkett-Smith, playing the role of stepson to Jennifer Connelly's character. Interesting!

You'll spot the little tiger in 2 or 3 different moments in the trailer, displaying more emotional range than pops ever has! Jokes... just jokes... that's all.

Here's the trailer for the film which hits theatres December 12, which by the way is the same day that Big Willie's second film this year, Seven Pounds, also will reach a theatre near you... the competition begins:

'Hancock' And Its "Iffy Racial Subtexts"

Ok... I know... I'm overloading you with all my Hancock posts. What can I say, it's the topic du jour, and stars the biggest box office draw of this century, who, by the way, happens to be black!

Don't worry, the noise will eventually fade out. But based on the outrageously high number of hits that this blog has received in the last 2 weeks, since I posted the spoiler review - 90% of them from Google searches for the film or various amalgamations of terms and phrases including the film's title - it's clear that Hancock mania has taking over the world, and probably won't start to die out until The Dark Knight's release date arrives!

I found this conversation between two WIRED Magazine writers, discussing the film and its merits. What caught my eye instantly was this sentence: "... this movie could be read as a white power fantasy about the successful containment of black masculinity."

Of course I had to read on, so I did. And you can too, by simply clicking here -> WIRED On Hancock.

Judge Orders YouTube: Turn Over All User Data To Viacom

Incase you haven't heard... if you've ever watched a YouTube video (who hasn't) you may want to read this...

WIRED Magazine:

- Google will have to turn over every record of every video watched by YouTube users, including users' names and IP addresses, to Viacom, which is suing Google for allowing clips of its copyright videos to appear on YouTube, a judge ruled Wednesday.
Viacom wants the data to prove that infringing material is more popular than user-created videos, which could be used to increase Google's liability if it is found guilty of contributory infringement. Viacom filed suit against Google in March 2007, seeking more than $1 billion in damages for allowing users to upload clips of Viacom's copyright material. Google argues that the law provides a safe harbor for online services so long as they comply with copyright takedown requests. Although Google argued that turning over the data would invade its users' privacy, the judge's ruling (.pdf) described that argument as "speculative" and ordered Google to turn over the logs on a set of four tera-byte hard drives.

The rest at

Spike Lee To Film Broadway's 'Passing Strange'

Not quite what I was expecting, but I suppose this will have to do for now. When I read the headline on Entertainment Weekly's website, I was hoping that the article following the link would state that Spike was adapting the Broadway stage musical for the theatrical film screen. Alas, that's not exactly the case. It's more like a recording of the stage production, as it's being performed - like a filmed concert essentially. I guess it's for those people who'd like to see Passing Strange but don't live in New York, or just can't afford to pay the pricey theatre tickets.

If you've never heard of Passing Strange, CLICK HERE to catch up, and then read the article below.

From Entertainment Weekly:

- Spike Lee is going to Broadway. The Oscar-nominated writer/director will be spending part of his July filming the Tony-winning production Passing Strange. Lee will film the musical by singer/songwriter Stew over the course of a weekend, shooting two shows with audiences and then a third one without. (He did a similar thing with his 2000 concert film The Original Kings of Comedy.) Passing Strange's producers are financing the production, and while no distribution deal has been set, sources believe it will air on cable television upon completion. The musical centers on a young black musician who sets off on a journey to find "the real" after being raised in a church-going middle-class Los Angeles neighborhood. It was originally developed at the Sundance Institute Theatre Lab.

Trailer - 'Meet Dave' (Eddie Murphy, Gabrielle Union)

I didn't realize this had been circulating around the blogosphere for some time already. I hadn't seen it until today, so I'm posting it for those who haven't seen it either.

The film is called Meet Dave (formerly known as Starship Dave). The plot: In busy New York's Central Park a massive fireball crash lands, with a man emerging unscathed. He's Dave (Eddie Murphy), a human-shaped spaceship controlled by 100 little aliens. Its captain (also played by Murphy) pilots the Dave Spaceship along with his crew from inside its head. The aliens are seeking a way to save their planet, however complications arise when Dave falls in love... with a white woman (cue dramatic crescendo here).

The film opens July 11th. Will I see it? Umm... No!! I think this one's for the little kiddies.

Here's the trailer for the $100 Million film, starring the no-longer-retiring Eddie Murphy and Gabrielle Union. Given the budget, might this be another Pluto Nash?:

Thursday Funnies - P Diddy Is Happier Than A Mutha***** About Hancock!

I should start calling these Diddy posts, The Diddy Chronicles... or borrowing from Invisible Woman and her Terrence Watch, I could call it P Diddy Watch. I think I like The Diddy Chronicles better ;o)

Anyway, so P Diddy is waxing philosophic again, and you know what that means, right? Thunderous laughter!! Not because the things he says are always funny, or meant to be, but rather because Diddy is just funny without even trying to be. So, I guess I'm not laughing with him as much as I am laughing AT him!

This time, the subject of his affections is Hancock, the Will Smith movie (what else, right), as he laments on the plight of the black superhero.

The video clip follows below, but here are a few tasty quotes from the horses mouth:

- "It's 2000 and muthafuckin' 8, and shit is changing, y'know. Black man is on the rise; it's a beautiful thing. I went to a premiere last night of Hancock, and we got a BLACK MUTHAFUCKIN' SUPERHERO and I'm HAPPIER THAN A MUTHAFUCKA!"
- "Hancock bitches! HANCOCK!"
- "I feel proud that my kids can go see a superhero who looks like them... because we got a black superhero and his muthafuckin' name is Hancock... BITCH!"

I wonder if maybe Diddy missed the part about Hancock being a drunken, foul-mouthed, self-destructive loser who's in love with a white woman! And yes, the capitalized words mean that he was yelling when he uttered them.

"HANCOCK BITCHES!" Ok Diddy. Alright now kid.

Here's the video:

Say It Ain't So Hollywood - A Tim Russert Movie?

If I believed that there is indeed a God, I'd pray that he/she/it strikes down those insensitive pricks who thought this would be a good idea. Even worse is that the man died JUST less than a month ago! I'm sure they'll butter it up, and package it as some kind of tribute to his life and work, but I won't buy it. This is simply yet another attempt to capitalize on one man and one family's tragedy. The fact that they actually have the balls to announce it so soon after the fact, in the midst of the public and media frenzy that followed Russert's death, and that still lingers on, tells me how devious and calculating the producers of the idea are. Any publicity is good publicity, I suppose... Bleh!


- What took Hollywood so long? Tim Russert died on June 13th and they're only just now announcing plans to make a movie about his life? On July 2nd? Come on, people, that's 19 days. Used to be a movie like that would get announced under a week after the tragedy. Summer must be making everyone lazy.

In any case, we managed to stumble upon a curious casting call on Craigslist which tipped us off to the Russert biopic. The headline reads: "Casting Older Caucasian Woman for Major TV Network Movie." The ad goes on to explain that a "small independent New York based film company is searching for the role of Maureen Orth, the wife of the late Tim Russert. The film will explore the last 24 hours of Russert's life and Golden Globe winner Randy Quaid is set to play the role of Tim Russert."

The rest at DEFAMER.

Original 'Hancock' Screenplay!

You can read my thorough analysis of the script here: TONIGHT, HE COMES SCRIPT REVIEW. I actually liked the script more than I did the movie.

Thanks to Sergio for the heads up on this!

What we've got here is the original 126-page script for Hancock, initially titled, Tonight, He Comes.

The film in its release form is roughly 90 minutes long. The original Vincent Ngo-written script is 126 pages. For those of you who went to film school, or know a few things about the relationship between the written word and the visual image, you'd immediately notice the discrepancy here! In short, one industry standard page of a screenplay is equivalent to 1 minute of screen time. Obviously that formular isn't entirely exact, but if you compared most completed films with their screenplays, you'd notice that, for example, a 90-page screenplay will almost always produce a 90-minute film, or thereabouts.

In Hancock's case, we've got a 126-page screenplay, but ended up with a 90-minute film, which immediately indicates that a solid 30+ minutes was gutted somewhere in the production process, and I am certainly interested in knowing what that 30-minutes contained!

Skimming the pages of the script, I immediately noticed several differences from the film I saw - notably the use of profanity. As we already know, Sony wanted to deliver a PG13-rated movie, not an R-rated rump, hence all the reshooting we heard about (You can read my post on that HERE, in which director Peter Berg was quoted as saying about a previous incarnation of the film, "Hancock has remained surprisingly sexual, violent and true in spirit to an original script that was viewed as brilliant but unmakable.").

This should be an interesting read. I plan on going through the entire script this weekend, and I'll post my thoughts on it afterwards, making comparisons between what was written and what was filmed.

Courtesy of Hollywood Elsewhere, here's a link to the PDF script (get it while it's hot): TONIGHT, HE COMES.

'The Wackness' Is Wack!

Living in New York City, it's nearly impossible to avoid ads for the 2008 Sundance Audience Award winner, The Wackness, an upcoming 2008 comedy by Jonathan Levine, reaching theatres in the U.S. today.

The plot: It’s the summer of 1994, and the streets of New York are pulsing with hip hop and wafting with the aroma of marijuana. The newly-inaugurated mayor, Rudolph Giuliani, is only beginning to implement his initiatives against crimes such as noisy portable radio, graffiti and public drunkenness. The film centers upon a troubled high school student named Luke Shapiro - a teenage marijuana dealer who forms a friendship with Dr. Jeffrey Squires (played by Sir Ben Kingsley), a psychiatrist and kindred lost soul. When the doctor proposes Luke trade him marijuana for therapy sessions, the two begin to explore both New York City and their own depression.

It co-stars Method Man as "an armed body guard totting Jamaican pot distributor from Queens" (bad accent and all) and features a soundtrack with music that helped define a generation - including cuts from the likes of Nas (his seminal Illmatic CD), to "Can I Kick It" by Tribe Called Quest, to "Flava In Ya Ear" (Craig Mack), Just A Friend (Biz Markie), Bump N' Grind (R Kelly), and even Summertime (Dj Jazzy Jeff and The Fresh Prince).

Everytime I see the film's trailer or a poster for it, I feel myself getting annoyed. I usually just shake my head, sigh, and either quickly change whatever channel I was watching, or walk briskly past the city wall on which the poster hangs.

I can go into the myriad of reasons why I react the way I do (the title alone when closely considered is a good place to start), but Brandon Harris over at CinemaEchoChamber sums it all up quite nicely. He was brave enough to see the film, and wrote a review about it.

Here's a snippet:

- "The carefully molded world of the movie is one of its major selling points for a large portion of the target youth audience that geriatric seeming Sony Pictures Classics is hoping it can lure with this sweet and sugary, yet oddly colorless summer of 94’ hip-hop fantasia. From the desaturated hues of its early and middle passages to the alabaster pallor of almost its entire cast, this movie is lily white, regardless of how many Nas, Biggie and Wu-Tang Clan songs can get stuffed into the final mix. Its no surprise the only black participant in this black culturally infused movie is Meth (Method Man), making a mockery of himself, the gentle irony of his actual voice on a Wu-Tang song playing in the background of his silly scenes here just another reminder of the spirit and verisimilitude that the film, despite best efforts, isn’t able to extract from its antecedents."

Read Brandon's entire review HERE.

Here's the annoying trailer:

Vondie Curtis Hall, Denzel Whitaker, Xzibit In "Bad Lieutenant" Remake

I actually haven't seen the original 1992 version of Bad Lieutenant, directed by Abel Ferrara, and staring Harvey Keitel. It's one of those films I usually overlook when looking for movies to rent/buy. Something about Harvey Keitel's performances bug me... not quite sure what it is, but I've never really cared for most films I've seen him in, and the obvious common denominator is that he's in all of them. I'm sure he's a fine actor and gentleman, but ehhh...

Anyway... German filmmaker Werner Herzog seems to think he can improve on the original Bad Lieutenant, since he's "re-imagining" it for 21st century screens, with Nicolas Cage as the self-loathing police officer with various addictions. Included in the lengthy list of actors assuming roles in the film are: Vondie Curtis Hall, Denzel Whitaker (the chubby kid from The Great Debaters), and rapper-turned-actor Xzibit, who's quite busy these days in front of the camera with roles in 3 features over the next 12 months, notable the upcoming X-Files movie sequel. Does he still host MTV's Pimp My Ride series? Probably not, I'd expect. I'm not sure what roles all three gentlemen will play in Herzog's film, but one article does say that Xzibit will be a criminal.

For those not familiar with the story, in Bad Lieutenant, the titular character (Cage in this case/Keitel in the original) investigates the rape of a nun and uses this as a chance to confront his personal demons on the road to eventual redemption. Obviously, it's more complicated than that, but you can always rent the original and watch it. I'll be doing that, likely this weekend. I've certainly avoided it long enough...

Here's the trailer for the Abel Ferrara/Harvey Keitel version:


More On Hammer's Self-Distribution Of 'Ballast'

The plight of the indie filmmaker is one that has been discussed in various forms on this blog since inception. And the distribution issue is often at the center of such discussions.

That Lance Hammer, writer/director of Ballast, a film I've mentioned a few times on this blog, withdrew from the deal offered to him by IFC Films in order to maintain control of his film in the marketplace, was a really bold move - something that I doubt most first-time indie filmmakers would have the guts to even consider. Distribution is enough of a challenge with the backing of an established entity like IFC (owned by Cablevision), and it's exponentially more difficult when the filmmaker opts to drive the ship virtually solo.

I just read this article on indieWIRE posted this morning that talks about Hammer's prospects now that he's sans IFC's support. It's a worthwhile read, and certainly encouraging for other indie filmmakers, I think, especially those planning to follow Hammer's path. Not that he's doing anything new, because he isn't. Many before him have traversed down this very same path - some were successful; others weren't so much. And so it goes...

Here are some poignant snippets from the article, which I recommend everyone read:

- "IFC is a really good company," Hammer told indieWIRE last week. "The problem is the larger issue that's plaguing every filmmaker right now: The distributors don't really offer any money. That's not that big of a deal if they would allow you to have control of your project, but they don't."
- If the current art-house climate isn't challenging enough, Hammer's decision highlights the harsh reality for indie filmmakers: distribution advances, or "minimum guarantees," barely ever recoup a film's budget. Hammer says conventional distribution advances for a small film like "Ballast" range between $25,000-$50,000. "If you made a $50,000 project, that makes sense," Hammer said. "If you happen to spend more money than that, it becomes difficult to justify giving up creative control."
- "It may be a total financial failure," Hammer admitted. "But if I were to go with one of the established distributors, it'd be certain that I'd lose all my money. But if try it myself, aligning myself with very experienced, creative people, there's a chance that it won't be a failure. And then I can prove that I've done it once and I can do it again. And more importantly, other filmmakers like me can do it, too."


Read the entire article at INDIREWIRE.COM.

'Miracle At St Anna' Premiere

Well, it looks like you folks up in Toronto will get to see Spike Lee's Miracle At St Anna before anybody else on this planet, since the Toronto International Film Festival just announced that the film will make its premiere at the festival in early September.

The festival runs from September 4th to the 13th. The film is scheduled to begin its American theatrical run soon after, on the 26th of the same month. So, I'll be looking out for early reviews of the film from the Toronto crowd around the time of its premiere, ahead of its full release.


Watch The First 5 Minutes Of 'The Dark Knight'!

This footage was apparently shown in December before certain Imax screenings of I Am Legend and hasn't been seen since. It just resurfaced. It features a set of sinister men in clown masks who attempt to pull off an outrageous bank heist while snarling to themselves about a new criminal who's terrorising Gotham City: a make-up wearing weirdo who goes by the name of The Joker.

The quality and sound are poor here, but it's still well worth a look. And do it now, because the last time this footage hit the web, it was gone almost as soon as it was made available!

'Friends' - The Movie

After the success of the Sex and the City movie, I guess this was inevitable. I actually questioned whether or not I should bother posting this, but given that it was such an incredibly popular show, reaching across all racial boundaries, I felt compelled to at least mention it. In fact, I know with certainty that some of you reading this were indeed big fans of the program.

I wonder if they'll follow Sex and the City's lead and have that one token Negro in it, in what will likely be an unabashedly stereotypical role - yup, I'm looking right at you Jennifer Hudson.

I never was a fan of Friends. I know several folks who were, and who watched it religiously... frighteningly. I watched a couple of episodes and just didn't understand why it was so highly regarded. It wasn't funny - at least to me. Its few attempts at diversifying the racial make-up of its cast were actually more embarassing than useful. And I simply didn't care for any of the cast of characters at all! So, I never jumped on the bandwagon and certainly don't plan on doing so now, even with a big screen adaptation!

From Daily Mail UK:

Friends reunited: Jennifer Aniston and the gang set to return for big-screen blockbuster

The highly anticipated film production of TV series Friends has finally been given the go-ahead, MailOnline has learned.

Cast members Jennifer Aniston, Courteney Cox, Matthew Perry, Matt LeBlanc, Lisa Kudrow and David Schwimmer will reprise their roles for a big-screen adaptation 'within the next 18 months', according to insiders.

The actors have been inspired by the recent success of Sex And The City, which recently hit cinemas worldwide.

Read the rest of it HERE.

15 Of The Greatest Black Superheroes Of All Time

A significantly improved list of top black superheroes, compared to yesterday's humorous attempt by the good folks at AOL Black Voices. This one comes from the appropriately named website. I'm sure you can guess what their specialty is based on their name alone.

Looking over the list, realizing that I wasn't aware of many of these black superheroes, I wondered whether anyone in Hollywood would ever consider flushing out one of these characters and creating a franchise similar to the likes of Batman, Spiderman and now, very likely, Iron Man. I'd like to see one of them given the same kind of serious, respectable treatment that the new Batman series is enjoying under Christopher Nolan's direction. There was the Blade trilogy with Wesley Snipes, but, the second installment, directed by Guillermo Del Toro was by far the most inventive and thus the best of all 3. The third one STUNK! There was Spawn with Michael Jai White, but that wasn't very well produced, in my humble opinion, and was rather forgettable. So, c'mon Hollywood, give a black superhero a break here will ya! Make that Black Panther movie that's been circulating for awhile now! But PLEASE keep it out of John Singleton's hands... PLEASE!

And with that, from, here's the #1 black superhero on their top 15 list, Black Panther:

- Arguably the best of the Black superheroes, the Black Panther is the king and protector of the African nation of Wakanda, a technological and economical jewel of a nation nestled in the heart of Africa. The Black Panther, empowered by the Panther God, is endowed with speed, strength, and skill above that of normal mortals. T'Challa, the current Black Panther, is not only a skilled warrior, but also a masterful tactician, fair and just ruler, inventor, and all around master of all he endeavors. He joined the Avengers not for any political gain, but instead to "keep an eye on" the super powered beings that were in the world. Recently T'Challa chose Storm for his bride, and it was revealed that the two had had a history that spanned their entire lives. Their marriage is destined to change the entire course of human history and propel the land of Wakanda to the fore of the world.

There were rumors that Chiwetel Ejiofor was to assume the role; althought Djimon Hounsou was mentioned as well. Nothing has developed yet.

See the entire list of 15 HERE.

Dennis Haysbert: I Helped Pave Obama's Way

Haha! I was wondering when someone would speak up...

Although you certainly weren't the first fictional black president Mr Haysbert. Chris Rock wrote, directed, and starred as presidential candidate Mays Gilliam in the 2003 comedy Head of State. He was preceded by Morgan Freeman as President Tom Beck in the 1998 disaster movie, Deep Impact. And before that, the first African-American movie president was played by James Earl Jones in the 1972 political drama The Man.

So, maybe we should give all those other men credit as well.

From Huffpo:

Dennis Haysbert likes to believe his portrayal as the first African-American U.S. president on Fox's "24" may have helped pave the way for Barack Obama."If anything, my portrayal of David Palmer, I think, may have helped open the eyes of the American people," said the actor, who has contributed $2,300 to the Illinois Democrat's presidential campaign.

The rest HERE.

9 Ways Hancock Could Have Been A Better Movie

Found this over at I couldn't have said it all any better myself.

Read on...

9 Ways Hancock Could Have Been A Pretty Good Movie (or ways Hancock could have sucked considerably less)

Here's number 9 on the list:

#9 - Decide what kind of movie you're making: And here's really the crux of what went wrong with Hancock. Is it a crazy outrageous comedy about a shitty superhero? Then fucking go for it, and show us how crazy you can get. Is it an understated Jason Bateman comedy about a P.R. exec who tries to work with a superhero to improve his image? That actually could have been a great film, if the whole movie was about that. Is it an exploration of why Hancock is such a dick? Or is it a tragic love story of two immortal and nice-looking people who can never be together? (If so, then no thanks.) If Hancock had picked one movie to be, it might have managed to be pretty okay. Instead, it's a mash-up of five really bad movies.

See the remaining 8 on the list HERE.

Eddie Murphy Says Retirement Rumors Are False And Talks 'Beverly Hills Cop IV'

Ohhhh Eddie, you had us going there you bastard! Although we were already planning your going away party. Shucks! Guess the plans will have to change, huh? Ah well... you're still alright with me though.

MTV Movies caught up with our man to discuss retirement rumors and the 4th installment of the Beverly Hills Cop series.

Here are some soundbites from the horse's mouth:

- "The third 'Beverly Hills Cop' was so horrible... I didn't want to leave it like that. The first two were cool and the third one was shitty. Let's get the franchise fixed again, clean up this old mess and do a good movie... Don't just leave Axel with his thumb up his ass from the last movie like "Whatever happened to Axel Foley?" "He's sitting in Detroit with his thumb up his ass since 'Beverly Hills Cop III.'" Let's take those thumbs out and make a great movie!"

- "All I know is that it’s gonna be something that’s special. I’m not doing just, hey give me some big check and I go off [does the Foley laugh] and shoot the gun and jump over cars... Like, that’s some bullshit. If I do it, it’s gonna be some shit that’s right!"

Ok Eddie! We're all waiting with bated breath... or something.

Watch the clip below, and go to MTV Movies Blog for the rest of the story.


Denzel And Batman In '28th Amendment'

In May I posted an entry on the very first pairing of Denzel Washington and Tom Cruise in a film called, 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. Cruise was to play the president and Denzel would play the head of the super secret organization who attempts to assasinate the president.

However, Tom Cruise has now jumped ship, and will no longer be starring in the film, due to some contract negotiation difficulties (probably monetary). And taking his place, as reported by, will be none other than the Dark Knight himself, Christian Bale!

MovieHole says that Warner Bros has made Bale an offer he can't refuse - to take Cruise’s place in the film. So, we'd see a Washington/Bale pairing - also a first!

As an aside, I suddenly feel like playing Six Degrees of Tyler Perry. I feel like I should have some kind of game show music here. I think I might play the game for every actor I name on this blog from here on... or until someone tells me to stop :o) If you don't know what Six Degrees Of Tyler Perry is, CLICK HERE. Except this time, I'm breaking the game wide open, and instead of only connecting Perry to black performers, I'm going to try to connect him to all performers regardless of race in 6 or less steps.

So, Christian Bale: Bale was in Shaft with Vanessa Willams (1), who was in Soul Food with Michael Beach (2), who was in First Sunday with Kat Williams (3), who was in The Perfect Holiday with Gabrielle Union (4), who was in Daddy's Little Girls directed by Tyler Perry (5). Who would have thought Batman could be connected to Madea in 5 steps!!


So... I Saw 'Hancock' Last Night...


No, that wasn't necessarily a sign of loathing, but rather one of disappointment.

I'll keep this as short and sweet as I can.

The filmmakers had the opportunity here to do something relatively refreshing. They started the race off on the right footing, with surprising bursts of energy, but then tripped all over themselves with about 40 minutes left until the finish line. Sigh...

I'd much rather have been underwhelmed from the start than to have my intrigue build for half of it, only to see it quickly tumble during the other half.

So, yes, this was rather disappointing and I think it will go down as one of Will Smith's glorious failures, much like Wild Wild West, which actually did make money, but left a lot of fans and critics wanting. Even Will Smith himself was quoted as saying that Wild Wild West was one film of his that he felt was a failure.

Make Hancock number 2. However, I'd say that this is one failure that a lot of other actors would probably like to have.

I suppose there's a compliment or two in there somewhere.

Will Smith was Will Smith. I certainly wouldn't call the role a complex one - although the character really could have been much more challenging and thus interesting with a few script changes. But we get Big Willie as Big Willie in a summer spectacle. Nothing more nor less. It doesn't always work, but I've come to expect only so much out of Will Smith's performances, so I wasn't entirely disappointed.

The rest of the cast (Charlize Theron and Jason Bateman) are watchable, although Charlize sometimes looked a little lost in her role - at times it felt like she was in a different movie altogether.

The direction was often uneven and questionable. I wasn't sure what director Peter Berg was hoping to evoke with all those shaky-cam movements, extreme close-ups, zooming in and out, and other camera gimmicks he utilized that just seemed really innapropriate for the material. I felt like I was watching Traffic, or NYPD Blue. I think every film he's directed has been shot in this similar handheld camera style. None of it worked here.

The film just isn't quite sure what it wants to be, especially in the second half, where it shifts sharply between several genres, moods and tones, often leaving me baffled, or throwing my hands up in the air in frustration at some of the illogical choices that were made. It just simply self-destructs during the last 30 to 40 minutes, after the big reveal that actually isn't that surprising since you could probably figure it out long before it happens, even if you hadn't read it previously on this blog. Berg needs a lesson in subtlety.

It's clear to me that the production team just wasn't sure what to do with that last act, which felt like a mosh pit of nonsensical sequences scrapped together in a hurry. And at just around 90 minutes in length, I couldn't help but think that there was probably a lot more to the initial script than the version they decided to give us, which is rather unfortunate, because, what we're fed is more of the same kind of triteness that insults the audience. I remember thinking just how gullible and foolish they must think the audience is - let's just throw in a bunch of loud, chaotic sequences, forget logic, forget reason, forget every interesting idea we developed in the first half and instead just go with lots of booms and bams, intercut with some overly sentimental scenes, and of course, Big Willie-isms, and then tie it all up with a ridiculous ending. No thanks! I didn't buy it!

However, apparently, others certainly did, making the assumptions of the producers unfortunately correct, because at the end of the film, the packed theatre my friend and I saw it in errupted in applause!!!!! We looked at each other and could only shrug and simply agreed that they must have seen a different movie than we did.

But, of course! It's Will Smith. He's in the fluke zone as Variety's Anne Thompson wrote recently - meaning, he can do no wrong... audiences will love him no matter what. He can video-tape himself sitting on a toilet for 2 hours, and crowds will still show up to pay to watch him. Despite all the negative reviews that it's received and will likely continue to receive, the audience applause that followed last night's screening is a clear indication of how well the film will do financially. He's in the fluke zone. How long can he stay there? Who knows. But he'd better not get too comfortable.


So, yes... disappointing. Lots of potential for something that could have been great, but they blew it! Starts of fairly well... falls apart in the end.

I'd give it 2 out of 5 stars.

Top 25 Black Superheroes Of All Time

Damn! Obviously someone had to dig REALLY deep to come up with this list. I don't know how many known black superheroes there are in the comic book universe, and wherever else they might exist; but, based on this rather pathetic list, it's obvious that genuine black superheroes are severely lacking!

Obvious names on the list include Blade, Luke Cage, Black Panther and Spawn; but when homeboy starts throwing out names like Blank Man, The Black Power Ranger and Frozone from The Incredibles movie, you know something's up!

The list is certainly meant to be humorous, but the truth as I mentioned above is evident.

So, here ya go. Follow the links - courtesy of AOL Black Voices: The "TOP 25 BLACK SUPERHEROES OF ALL TIME."

Don't laugh too hard!

How About A Can Of Booty Sweat?

Upon initially reading this, I thought it was a joke... alas, it's very real, and I'm troubled by it.

In what some are calling a "brilliant move" since it's likely to drum up a bit of controversy and thus plenty of free advertising, Paramount Pictures is releasing an actual energy drink based on a fictional drink from the movie Tropic Thunder, called "Booty Sweat."

Paramount Pictures (the studio behind the film) is licensing the fictional brand as a real beverage available nationwide to help promote Tropic Thunder in advance of its Aug. 15 wide release. Of course Tropic Thunder is the Ben Stiller summer comedy rump that co-stars Robert Downey Jr in "black face." Recall I wrote about the film HERE.

Here's the kicker: 2 versions of Booty Sweat will be made available. One for "urban" markets, and another for the "rural" folks. Per AdAge's website, the urbanite store version will carry the description of the drink as a "delicious and bump up struttin' energy drink that will pump up a brotha's ass right-pronto. This swill will crank yo' metabolism up skippin' right over jiggy to straight G-pimp level, word to your mutha. Brothas will be layin' down the 2-3 on the wiggy jig focusing the energy flow into cold-face benjamins that will fill yo' pimp pockets to burstin'. Damn straight! Booty Sweat will keep a brotha pitchin' straight game all night to the baby-dolls."

Meanwhile, rural stores will get a can that simply has the Booty Sweat moniker, but no street slang!

Wow! Ok! I was already a tad unsure about Robert Downey's role as a black man in the film within a film, and what the potential ramifications of that will be. Now the announcement of this Booty Sweat drink for use as a marketing ploy only increases my discomfort.
Is anyone else bothered by any of this or am I being overly sensitive?

See the entire article on

Film Recommendation - 'I'm Through With White Girls'

DISCLAIMER: I haven't seen it yet, so this is a recommendation based on the praise of trusted sources.

A few little birds told me that the film is much more worthwhile than its title or trailer might indicate. It's had a nice festival run, won some awards, and to my knowledge is without a distributor.

The film is called I'm Through With White Girls. As I started off saying, a few little birds told me that the film's title isn't entirely indicative of how strong the film itself really is. I've known about the film since last fall, and its title has always made me cringe a little, and actually, single-handedly turned me away from it - something that could be to the film's detriment. I realize it's a kind of catchy title, one that will probably register with some audiences. But its sub-title would have been much more appealing than the title the filmmakers went with. Its sub-title is, The Inevitable Undoing Of Jay Brooks.

So, take your pick - 2 tickets for I'm Through With White Girls or 2 tickets for The Inevitable Undoing of Jay Brooks?

I'll be seeing it next week Monday night at the Afro Punk Festival here in Brooklyn, New York. I'll post a review of it afterwards.

Here's the trailer:

Vanity Fair's Hollywood Next Wave - Zzzz

So... Vanity Fair magazine just unleashed its August 2008 issue with the cover story being Hollywood's next wave - essentially a list of bright young generation Y talents the editors think will rule the kingdom in coming years, as their baby boomer parents gradually fade into obscurity... well, ok, not quite obscurity; but Hollywood's M.O. seems to include the tenet that once you're of a certain age, let's say post-60 years old, your value to them starts to diminish... thus we see less and less of you... sometimes none of you at all.

And as expected the magazine's list of Hollywood's next wave phenoms is a complete "white-wash"... that is to say, it's not very, shall I say, colorful?! Certainly no rainbow coalition here! But, as I started off saying, I'm not surprised, and I don't think anyone really should be.

Interestingly, as I looked over the chosen names and faces, I realized that I actually have no idea who most of them are. Then again, I suppose that's the idea, right? "Unknowns" who will soon become "knowns." So it's like a "we discovered these kids" kind of thing. Aha... ok... I see now. Bleh...!

I should point out that there IS one black face in the mix - a 24-year old brotha by the name of Rob Brown who's break-out role was in Finding Forrester, although we haven't seen much of him since then. He's done a few films, but nothing particularly memorable. He'll be starring in the upcoming bio-pic titled The Express, a drama based on the life of college football hero Ernie Davis, the first African-American to win the Heisman Trophy. It co-stars Dennis Quaid, Charles Dutton and Aunjanue Ellis. I've seen the trailer. I rolled my eyes and shook my head a few times.

If you're so inclined, you can check out the entire list of kids HERE.

Tonight's The Night!

My ticket is already paid for, and I'm ready to consume and digest!
After so much noise within the blogosphere about the film - the mostly negative reviews (some spoiler-filled), the revelation of the big plot twist half-way through the film, etc - I'm finally going to get my chance to witness Hancock with my own two eyes!

There are a handful of night-time screenings of the film in New York City today, and a friend of mine bought tickets for a 7PM showing, which, of course is where I'll be around that time.

Once I get home after the screening, provided I don't get distracted, I'll post my thoughts here.

After so much coverage of Hancock, I already know what to expect from the screening, so there probably won't be many surprises. However, hearing/reading about a film isn't quite the same experience as watching it firsthand! I'm still excited to take it all in myself!

New 'The Dark Knight' Trailer

Warner Bros just released a new trailer for The Dark Knight that shows all-new footage from the film, with more emphasis on Heath Ledger's Joker character. What will surprise many people when they see the film is that the Joker is actually more of a peripheral character, and not central to the story in this installment of the series. As I've heard and read elsewhere, it's actually Harvey Dent's, aka Two-Face's story. The Joker is actually more of a sideshow... although a thrilling sideshow! Regardless, I can't wait to see this one!

Here's the new trailer:

The Hughes Brothers Revisit 'Pimp'

Bleh... this doesn't excite me at all. Given that they haven't made a film in 8 years, I would expect that their return to center-stage would be something other than a rehashing/revisiting of themes and ideas they've already explored. Come on fellas!

From Hollywood Reporter:

Albert and Allen Hughes are revisiting the settings and themes of their 1999 documentary "American Pimp" with "Gentlemen of Leisure," a drama series project for HBO.

Set in Oakland, Calif., "Leisure," which will be written by "Rescue Me" co-executive producer Evan Reilly, explores the world of prostitution through the eyes of a legendary pimp contemplating retirement.

"It's about a guy who wants to get out but keeps getting sucked back in by the allure of the game and by extraneous circumstances that have to do with his family," Reilly said.

"Leisure" will explore the generational conflict of old-school pimps living by honor codes and creeds who are being pushed aside by violent upstarts who are coming "with their guns blazing," mixing prostitution with drugs and thievery, Allen Hughes said.

The rest HERE.

Can We All Just Get Along!?

I wonder if Obama did kiss his ass after all, as THIS POST suggested ;o)

From AP News:

Barack Obama and Bill Clinton ended their mutual silent treatment Monday, with the Democratic presidential candidate reaching out and asking his former Democratic nemesis to help him win the White House.

In their first conversation since the end of the heated primary, former President Clinton agreed to campaign for the candidate he portrayed as inexperienced for a presidential run. Obama had said Bill Clinton's harsh criticisms led him to wonder which Clinton he was running against sometimes.

The 20-minute conversation was the latest step in bringing together the two warring camps. While Hillary Rodham Clinton has been publicly behind Obama, hard feelings remained between the former Democratic president and the candidate hoping to become the next one.

The rest HERE.

National Black Republican Association Launches Obama Attack Ads

Oh brother... *shaking my head*

As I said once before, If there ever was an oxymoron, it would "Black Republican."

The National Black Republican Association (NBRA) has launched the most personalized attacks of the presidential campaign to date aimed at none other than Barack Obama.

So, tell me, does this qualify as "black on black crime?" Maybe it should actually!

Who are they targeting with the ads? African Americans, who else - their fellow brothers and sisters? Have they won YOU over with their rhetoric?

Eddie Murphy Retiring?

Somebody pop open a bottle of champagne!

From Extra TV (not quite Frontline, I know):

Eddie Murphy Retiring?

"Meet Dave" star Eddie Murphy is dishing to "Extra's" Tanika Ray about leaving the movie business for good after the release of his latest film.

"I have close to fifty movies and it's like, why am I in the movies?" he said, adding, "I've done that part now. I'll go back to the stage and do standup."

Murphy, 47, said that while a "Beverly Hills Cop 4" flick was in the works, he didn't want to do it, because "the movie wasn't ready to be done." Murphy said he agreed to do "Cop 3" because of the large fee he was offered. "They said this is how much we're going to pay you. I said, 'let's go shoot it! I don't care if the script ain't right."

Ok Eddie. We'll see. Although that last sentence was quite telling. So what you're saying is that there's a chance you might still come back and do Norbit Part 2 or a sequel to Pluto Nash if the money is attractive, even if "the script ain't right?" Get outta here Eddie! You're not going anywhere. I'll believe it when I see it! It's been so long since he did stand-up, so I wonder just how much interest there would be from audiences if he decided to return to it. What will his new material sound like because Delirious and Raw feel rather dated.

His next film, Meet Dave, co-starring Gabrielle Union hits theatres next month.

Remember this? Now this shit was funny Eddie! I'm still lauging:

Poster For Tyler Perry's Easy Rider

Courtesy of, here's the just released poster for Tyler Perry's next mawkish concoction, The Family That Preys which hits theaters on September 12. Notice the spelling of "Preys."

The film stars, Kathy Bates! Yes, Kathy Bates, Mrs Misery herself and an Oscar winner, in a Tyler Perry movie. It also stars Oscar nominee Alfre Woodard, Sanaa Lathan, and Taraji P Henson amongst an all-star cast. With acting talent like this, how bad could this really be? I guess we'll find out in about 2 months.

The synopsis: Wealthy socialite Charlotte Cartwright (Kathy Bates) and her dear friend Alice Pratt (Alfre Woodard), a working class woman of high ideals, have enjoyed a lasting friendship throughout many years. Suddenly, their lives become mired in turmoil as their adult children's extramarital affairs, unethical business practices and a dark paternity secret threaten to derail family fortunes and unravel the lives of all involved. Alice's self-centered newlywed daughter Andrea (Sanaa Lathan) is betraying her trusting husband Chris (Rockmond Dunbar) by engaging in a torrid affair with her boss and mothers best friends son William (Cole Hauser). While cheating on his wife Jillian (Kadee Strickland) with a string of ongoing dalliances with his mistress Andrea, William's true focus is to replace the COO of his mothers lucrative construction corporation. Meanwhile, Alice's other daughter Pam (Taraji Henson), a kind but no nonsense woman married to a hard working construction worker (Tyler Perry), tries to steer the family in a more positive direction. While paternity secrets, marital infidelity, greed and unsavory business dealings threaten to derail both families, Charlotte and Alice decide to take a breather from it all by making a cross-country road trip in which they rediscover themselves and possibly find a way to save their families from ruin.

Whoa, slow down there easy rider... a Tyler Perry road movie? This I've got to see... actually not really, but I'm sure it'll do well with or without my $12.

Here's the poster for The Family That Preys (click for an enlarged view):