Covering Cinema From All Across The African Diaspora

I've Got The Script For Tarantino's 'Inglorious Bastards!'


After much digging and emailing, I finally got my hands on the official 165-page screenplay of Inglorious Bastards, of course written and directed by fanboy and girl favorite Quentin Tarantino, starring Brad Pitt, and other yet to be named actors (although one rumor I'm hearing is that Samuel L Jackson could have a major role in it as well).

This will be Tarantino's next film, which he plans on debuting at the Cannes Film Festival next May. I wrote about the film previously on this blog. See RELATED below to read both posts.

I've read a few reviews of others who have read the script, and their excitement over it is palpable! Aside from the obvious grammatical errors, which many think were done intentionally, the consensus is that it's a hell of a script and should make a hell of a movie - a Tarantino movie of course, and all that being a Tarantino movie means.

However, as I've previously stated, I've never really been a big Tarantino fan. His brand of cinema isn't necessarily my cup of tea. But, I'll admit that the man knows how to entertain an audience, and has certainly won a lot of people over with his work behind the camera.

So, I'm going to read this baby - all 165 pages of it - hopefully before the end of the weekend, and I'll post my thoughts on it afterwards! And don't be fooled by the cover above left - it's not a handwritten script. Just the cover :o)

If you'd like to get a copy of the screenplay for yourself, follow the links below. Although they may not be available for very long for obvious reasons, so if you click on them and you aren't able to download the files, that means they've probably been removed. If that happens, post a comment here letting me know and I'll upload my copy somewhere online for download!

Here are the links. The script is split up into 2 parts:




Someone's Already Read Tarantino's 'Inglorious Bastards Script
- 'Inglorious Bastards' - Another WWII Movie

Chilean Subway Goddess

Forget the drummers, saxophone players, guitarists, preachers, dancers, etc who parade and entertain us on our subway train rides here in New York City. This lady puts all the others to shame. I won't mind being entertained by her on my 40 minute trip home from work everyday. Watch the video and see why :o)

Film Review - 'White Lies, Black Sheep'

- James Spooner's second feature and first step into the world of narrative storytelling is called White Lies, Black Sheep. Filled with jagged video imagery and rapid pace score and source music, the film is as much a document of the LES / Williamsburg party scene as it is a critique of the subtle racism that lies implicit white bohemia.

Fellow indie film blogger and Brooklynite, Brandon Harris of Cinema Echo Chamber, reviews White Lies, Black Sheep, James Spooner's foray into narrative fiction, and interviews the director as well.

See the trailer for White Lies, Black Sheep below.

Then check out Brandon's review of the film and Q&A with James Spooner here: SPOONER ON WHITE LIES.

Trailer - Tyler Perry's 'The Family That Preys'

Well, here it is folks - hot off the presses! The trailer for Tyler Perry's next film, his second this year and 4th in the last 2 years (just call him Mr Prolific) - The Family That Preys. As expected, it's full of the usual "soap operatic" dramatics we've come to expect from all of TP's films.

It's got an impressive cast, including one Oscar winner in Kathy Bates (yes, Misery Kathy Bates - where has she been since then), Oscar nominee Alfre Woodard, Taraji P Henson, Sanaa Lathan, Rockmond Dunbar, Robin Givens and of course, Tyler Perry (with a really bad hair piece, but thankfully, no fat suit nor dress).

CLICK HERE for the full synopsis of the film, as well as some of my previous thoughts. Otherwise, watch the trailer below. The film hits theatres September 12th.

'The Dark Knight' SPOILER IMAGES!

*****SPOILER ALERT *****

You've been warned!

Proceed at your own risk!

Still here??

You Sure??


Here ya go --

With all the anticipation building up for next week's theatrical release of The Dark Knight, it's no surprise when fanboys and girls who've been lucky enough to see early screenings of the film, release spoiler information to the rest of us, like the fellow below who snuck out of a press screening with screenshots he captured with his cellphone camera! 21st century technology is a wonderful thing isn't it?

The images reveal Heath Ledger in a nurse's uniform, apparently fleeing some kind of an explosion, and *GASP* Aaron Eckhart in full Two-Face glory (one of the big surprises that none of the trailers nor other marketing materials for the film reveal). Warner Bros ain't gonna like this, so don't be surprised if the pictures come down sooner than later. Get'em while they're hot, if you must.

Click each one for an enlarged view:


Net Neutrality - 1:Evil Greedy Corporations - 0

Small victories like this are encouraging... but the battle continues.

From HuffPo:

- Federal Communications Commission Chairman Kevin Martin is taking action against Comcast for illegally violating Net Neutrality, after a coalition of Net users and activists caught the cable giant blocking open access to the Internet.

Martin told the Associated Press last night that Comcast had "arbitrarily" blocked Internet access and failed to disclose to consumers what it was doing. "We found that Comcast's actions in this instance violated our principles."

The move is the agency's response to a complaint filed by Free Press and members of, which called for severe action against Comcast for jamming people using popular "file-sharing" applications. But the story goes back further than that.

Martin's action -- to be voted on by the full FCC in three weeks - would be a major milestone for the growing open Internet movement, marking another defeat of entrenched corporate interests in Washington and a stunning victory for ordinary people who want to control their Internet experience.

The rest here: SAVE THE INTERNET

What's Cuba Gooding Jr Been Up To?

See for yourself below... I see not much has changed since the last time... unfortunately (Harold opens today in limited release, by the way):

Obama Sponsoring Nascar Race Car

We knew he good play some b-ball, but now President Obama (yes, I said President Obama) wants to dabble in a little Nascar racing! I thought that was a redneck sport, although I did read an article recently about the infiltration of Negroes into the racing game, and the luke warm reception they've received from their aryan breathren.

Well, it's not like Obama will actually do any driving, after all, he's got a government to run. And it's really just a campaign strategy... as I see it anyway.


- has learned that for the first time in history, a major presidential candidate may sponsor a race car in NASCAR's premier series. According to sources, Barack Obama's campaign is in talks to become the primary sponsor of BAM Racing's No. 49 Sprint Cup car for the Pocono race on August 3. Details of the agreement are expected to be worked out over the coming days.

A BAM spokesperson has revealed the team will hold a press conference July 23 in Miami to reveal the partnership, currently a proposed one-race deal with an option to continue. Obama will be at the briefing, which will be tied to the "Get Out The Vote" campaign message he spread throughout the 2008 primary season.


'Katrina' Series Coming To HBO

I'm actually surprised that there haven't been a hell of a lot more Katrina-themed movies and tv shows. After all, Hollywood is known for unapologetically capitalizing on real-life tragedy for its own financial gain. I figured Jerry Bruckheimer and Michael Bay would have teamed up by now to bring us some laughable, over-bloated, mega-budgeted Katrina disaster movie with Shia Labeouf in the lead, and Megan Fox as his love interest! Guess they are actually smarter than I've ever given them credit for.

That The Wire creator, David Simon, is developing a series titled Treme, on post-Katrina New Orleans, for HBO, is exciting - if the critical and commercial acclaim of The Wire is indicative of what to expect.

From the
New York Times:

- HBO has given the green light to three television pilots: a comedy based on a book about the sexual exploits of a Capitol Hill staffer, a look at post-Katrina New Orleans by the creator of "The Wire," and a drama about Atlantic City in the 1920s...

... The New Orleans drama, titled "Treme," was written by David Simon, the creator of the inner city Baltimore series "The Wire." According to Dave Walker of the New Orleans Times-Picayune, the pilot picks up a few months after Katrina. "Though the show's main storylines will focus on musicians, other elements of the city's unique culture will be spotlighted," Mr. Walker writes. "One of the pilot script's principal characters, Simon said, runs a restaurant."

Tiger Woods - World's First Billionaire Athlete

Dear Tiger... Brotha can you spare a dime? A nickle? A penny? Sumthin'? There's a wonderful, hardworking family of 5 living on my block - 2 parents and 3 kids under 10 - who are barely surviving on a household income of around $30,000 a year. They could really use a hand. You'll be putting some of all that cash you've earned to wonderful use; it'll make you feel good; and you won't even miss the little bit that you send their way, because that's really all they need... just a little help to get over a financial hump. They're not greedy. In fact, you probably have enough in your wallet right now to feed the entire family for a month!

Whadaya say Tiger? Your generosity and altruism will be greatly appreciated!

Gracias buddy!

From Reuters:

- Tiger Woods is on course to become the first billionaire athlete, with the popular U.S. golfer proving a marketing dream, according to Forbes Magazine.

Woods, who won the U.S. Open last month despite a bad knee, is on track to exceed $1 billion in career earnings by 2010 after earning $115 million in 2007, said the American magazine which publishes an annual list of the world's richest people.


Wanna Be In A Spike Lee Joint? More Details On The 'Strange' Shooting

If you happen to be in the New York area on July 19th, do yourself a favor and pick up tickets to see the Tony Award winning Broadway musical, Passing Strange, written and directed by Mark Stewart (aka Stew), frontman for the indie rock group, The Negro Problem. Not only will you enjoy an interesting production, but you'll also be in the audience the day Spike Lee will be filming the entire show for both cable TV broadcasts and a theatrical release later this year or next.

Here are details from MTV's Movies Blog:

- "With 'Rent,' they didn't film the play, they made a movie," Lee said. "This is a hybrid."

Lee promised he wouldn't be "getting in the way" of the production, which he said he loves. But Lee did promise he'd spice up the show with "things I've never done before, things you've never seen before," he teased. What things? "I can't say," he laughed. "Then it wouldn't be a surprise!"

Lee plans to shoot the show four times — two with an audience, for the July 19 matinee and evening performances, and two without an audience, on July 20 and 21. The show's producers hope that longtime fans of the show return to attend the July 19 performances. "Tickets are on sale," Lee intoned in an announcer-type voice. "Operators are standing by now."

Because of the scale of the shoots, the show's producers said the budget was in the range of $2 million.

Whoa! $2 Million to shoot a staged play? Doesn't that seem a little high? After all, he's not directing the play. He's just like an observer with a camera (and a crew). Shit! I can rent a Sony HD camcorder for the weekend, with an onboard microphone, a tripod and shoot the show for a heck of a lot less ;o) I hope all that Spike says about "doing things he's never done before" with the production are worthwhile!


Vanessa Bell Calloway, Dawnn Lewis, Ananda Lewis, Tatyana Ali In 'The Divorce'

So what are Vanessa Bell Calloway, Dawn Lewis, Ananda Lewis and Tatyana Ali doing these days you ask?

I was wondering the same thing, and thankfully, an answer surfaced this morning!

From EURweb:

- Vanessa Bell Calloway stars alongside co-stars Dawnn Lewis, Ananda Lewis and Tatyana Ali this Saturday in Don B. Welch’s stage play “The Divorce,” playing at the Wilshire Ebell Theatre in Los Angeles, CA. Showtime for “The Divorce” is slated for 8 p.m.

Like anyone else, Calloway said she’s just trying to stay employed. For African American actresses, particularly those who are part of the 40-and-over-club, gainful employment has now become a roll of the dice with many of them crapping out. Quality roles for women such as the great Angela Bassett and the ageless Pam Grier, are simply too far and between.

“I’m looking for a job,” Calloway said emphatically. “The reality in our business is that when you get offered a job, you take it. You audition for what is available, which is different than our white counterparts. Then you have to conform to whatever that character is. I like to do whatever is character-driven and good.”

The character Calloway plays in “The Divorce,” is a role that usually typifies the former Alvin Ailey dancer: sassy and blunt. In the play, Calloway plays the role of Eva Owens, who like the other women, helps Dawnn Lewis’ character celebrate the breakup of her marriage with a divorce party.

At least they're working on something right? If I was in L.A., I might actually check this out.


Chris Brown, Idris Elba, T.I. In 'Bone Deep'

Big yawn!

The name pretty much says it all for me. PASS! Wasn't there a movie released not-so long ago with a similar title? Ah, yes, Waist Deep (2006), with Tyrese Gibson. And let's not forget L.L. Cool J's In Too Deep from 1999.

All these movies have the word "deep" prominently used in their titles, have male hip-hop artists in starring roles, are violent, and all suck - with the exception of the yet to be released Bone Deep, which we can assume probably will suck too, continuing the trend of previously produced violent "deep" films starring hip-hop artists who happen to be male!

Like I said, I'll pass on the deepness of Bone Deep. But I'm willing to be pleasantly surprised...!

From Hollywood Reporter:

Chris Brown could be getting bone deep with Screen Gems.

The "Stomp the Yard" star is in final negotiations to appear alongside Matt Dillon, Idris Elba and rapper T.I. in the thriller "Bone Deep."

The film, directed by John Lussenhop, revolves around a group of criminals who plan a major heist at a money depot, with two detectives hot on their trail. Brown will play one of the members of the heist crew.


Does Anyone Really Want To 'Meet Dave'?

What a surprise, Eddie Murphy's Meet Dave, which opens nationwide today, received a sad 21% rating at movie review aggregator site,, meaning only 21% of all the film critics who have reviewed the film give it a passing grade (a passing grade doesn't necessarily mean an "A," by the way. In some institutions, a "D" is a passing grade).

What's even worse is that the star of the film didn't bother to attend the film's Hollywood premiere on Monday night! If he can't sit through his own product, then why the hell should anybody else, especially at a 21% rating?

This $100 Million film will likely fizzle at the box office, and join Pluto Nash (another centi-million dollar Eddie Murphy bust) in the gallows, and garner several Razzies as well.

I really don't understand why studio execs continue funding his expensive disasters!Shame on you Eddie! Maybe you really should retire!

Dear Quentin Tarantino...

Nope, I didn't write this one... not this time.


An Open Letter to Quentin Tarantino on the Occasion of His Latest Gross Overexposure

Dear Quentin Tarantino,

Before you think we're getting too carried away here, let's make it known right away that we don't do this for just anybody; it takes a special kind of affront for us to sit down and hammer out correspondence amid so much more compelling news of the day. (Like have you seen Michael Jackson recently? Holy shit, right?) But like your contemporary Paul Thomas Anderson, who so annoyed us by signing off on a There Will Be Blood DVD skimpy enough to have been a costume in Death Proof, your transgressions seem to require a little more direct attention than those of say, Brett Ratner or Uwe Boll. You're Quentin Tarantino, after all — QT! You (stole) made Reservoir Dogs and Pulp Fiction! You are a living legend, an artist among artists, and you deserve everything that's coming to you.

Which is why we think it's time to ask you directly: When will you and Harvey Weinstein stop inflating the world's interest in Inglorious Bastards?

Read the rest here: DEAR QUENTIN TARANTINO

'Black Dynamite' Is Going To Fight The Man!

Wow! I don't know how this didn't register on my radar... until now! Some of you may already be aware of it, but I think this is the first I'm hearing/seeing anything about it.

This will either be incredibly brilliant, or a complete bust! Let's hope it's the former!

The film is called Black Dynamite. Here's it's synopsis, straight out of a 70s Blaxploitation film DVD liner: This is the story of 1970s African-American action legend Black Dynamite. The Man killed his brother, pumped heroin into local orphanages, and flooded the ghetto with adulterated malt liquor. Black Dynamite was the one hero willing to fight The Man all the way from the blood-soaked city streets to the hallowed halls of the Honky House.

However, it's a film made this century, scheduled for release later this year, starring Michael Jai White as "Black Dynamite," and an unlikely cast of co-stars, including, Arsenio Hall who plays a character called "Tasty Freeze," Tommy Davidson (from In Living Color) is known as "Cream Corn" and Sally Richardson as "Gloria." Intriguing to say the least!

No release date yet, but I'm definitely curious based on what I saw in the trailer below. It even has that washed out, cheap look that many films from that era are known for, along with the stilted acting, cheesy dialogue, and all-around sloppy production values. It really had me fooled, because it does look like it was made decades ago, with actors from that time period. But it's a 2007/2008 production with a 2008 release schedule planned.

The filmmaker, by the way, is Scott Sanders. Never heard of him? Neither have I! I don't even know whether he is black man, although his IMDB resume says he got his start writing for A Different World in the early 90s, as well as the Charles Dutton series, Roc. But none of that certifies anything.

As I said, this could be a genius tribute to Blaxploitation flicks, or just another waste of space and time. I found write-ups on several other sites that were really siked about it, but we won't know anything with certainty until it actually makes its way to theatres (assuming it does) or DVD.

See for yourself:

Obama's Nuts Respond To Jackson's Threat!

This could have been a lot funnier actually... but I'll give them a "A" for effort.

Get Your Shit Box Right Here, Right Now!

No - there's absolutely nothing wrong with your computer screen. No need to adjust it! What you see isn't a figment of your imagination. You're not on an episode of the Twilight Zone. Ashton Kutcher isn't "punking" you! What you see is very real ladies and gentlemen.

Oh those silly Brits and their ingenuity! Why didn't I think of this?

The story goes... UK-based company, The Brown Corporation has designed and built the useful little device you see above called, The Shit Box! And guess what it's for? If you're clueless, or you really must know more, follow the link below, where you can buy one of your own for around 15 quid or 30 American dollars, and get 10 non-reusable FREE poo bags (thank goodness for that!).

Here's the link: I WANT A SHIT BOX NOW!

Architecture Is Sexy! Part 2

I've already previously professed my love of architecture. You can read all about that here: Tambay Professes His Love Of Architecture.

There are a handful of websites I frequent in order to keep myself abreast of the latest and greatest building designs across the globe, and I'll occasionally post anything that I deem worth sharing, on this blog, as I've done previously.

Today we travel to Jakarta, Indonesia, where the stunning Regatta residential development project is well underway. As described on the project's website: Regatta’s development follows a nautical theme - the aerodynamically-shaped centerpiece hotel, overlooking the Java Sea, and the chic-lined series of 10 apartment towers, symbols of tall ships sailing around the ‘lighthouse’ represented by the hotel. All apartment towers are named after major port cities of the world.

The first phase of the 3-phase project will be completed this November. I gotta say, the Asian territories are doing some really interesting things in building design, with countries like Dubai, Abu Dhabi, China and several others leading the charge. They're taking a hell of a lot more creative risks than we westerners seem to want to.

Here's a glimpse of what we can expect (click for an enlarged view). I wonder how the very top of the arched building will look on the inside... interesting indeed:


Airline Does Away With In-Flight Movies

You know times are rough when airlines start doing away with in-flight movies! Oil prices are a killer, aren't they?

I haven't flown in awhile (I don't like flying), and it's actually rare that I'm on a flight during which a movie is made available. And even when that does happen, I hardly ever bother to watch. Often the selection is something of absolutely no interest to me - usually something family-friendly, for obvious reasons. So, I don't give a shit if I don't get my in-flight movie on my next coast to coast trip. I'm sure I can find other ways to fill my time, like, I don't know... read a book... or sleep... or have sex in one of the claustrophobic bathrooms - sex at an altitude of 30,000 feet in a space the size of a broom closet can be quite exhilirating. Y'all should try it sometime, if you haven't. Just don't get caught :o)

But I digress...

Hollywood does depend on this kind of ancillary distribution revenue stream, although it's probably neglible and so likely won't affect the studios' bottomline very much.

Here's the sad news from The Hollywood Reporter:

- The Hollywood studios will take a revenue hit when US Airways does away with in-flight movies, but execs don't expect other airlines to follow suit...

US Airways said Tuesday it would stop offering in-flight movies on domestic flights this fall to cut expenses, citing pressure from rising fuel costs. Although airlines are often prone to copycat moves on pricing and customer services, Hollywood execs in regular contact with airline officials said Wednesday they don't believe other carriers will follow US Airways' lead this time.

The rest can be found here: NO MORE IN-FLIGHT FLICKS.

Forest Whitaker Watch - Upcoming Projects

Who knew Forest Whitaker was such a busy man? Not me!

According to Variety Magazine:

HBO has greenlit the pilot for a program called Fat Sells which is set in the world of the $46 billion herbal weight loss industry. Forest Whitaker will produce AND potentially direct.

The project will center on the head of a weight loss behemoth (and his family) and how his life starts to unravel when the FDA begins investigating the company's claims.

No word on casting yet.

Whitaker will next be seen in the upcoming Hurricane Season, the post-Katrina, Tim Story-directed film, playing a high school basketball coach in Louisiana, "who assembles a team of players who had previously attended five different schools before the disaster, and leads them on the path to the state championships."

He's also developing a Showtime project about the rise of African-American organized crime in the 1970s, AND an FX show about arms dealers.

All sound very interesting to me. His name attached to each project certainly helps. More as each story develops.

Go Forest, go!


Did You Know?

Did you know that, when she was a teenager, Michelle Obama was chummy with Jesse Jackson's daughter and even babysat his son?

And how does Jesse pay her back? He wants to cut off her husbands nuts!

Shame on you Jesse... shame, shame, shame!

Now you know.


Jesse Jackson Wants Obama's Nuts!

Damn! First Bill Clinton wanted Obama to kiss his ass; now Jesse Jackson wants to cut Obama's nuts off! Anybody else want a piece of the man... literally? There won't be much of him left by the time Bill takes his lips (his whole mouth, really), and Jesse takes his manhood!

The story goes... Jesse Jackson was caught off-camera by Fox News saying that he wants to "cut [Barack Obama's] nuts off" for supposedly "talking down to black people." Of course Fox News couldn't resist, and released the video for all the world to see, prompting Jesse to immediately apologize for his carelessness, stating, "For any harm or hurt that this hot-mic conversation may have caused, I apologize. My support for Sen. Obama's campaign is wide, deep and unequivocal."

Does any of it really matter? Or rather do Jesse or any of his comments matter to anyone anymore?

A Good Day To Be Screening

I was just passed on this piece of news.

For those of you living in the Philadelphia area, Sundance 2008 selection, A Good Day To Be Black And Sexy, (directed by Dennis Dortch) will be screening at the the ReelBlack Presents showcase on Thursday July 31st, at The Bridge Cinemas on 40th and Walnut Street.

No info on specific times. Go to REELBLACK for more info as the day approaches, or call the theatre.

The film was picked up by Magnolia Pictures at Sundance and is scheduled for a fall 2008 theatrical release. More on that when I have the info.

Someone's Already Read Tarantino's 'Inglorious Bastards' Script...

And the crowd goes wild...!!!


The good folks over at New York Magazine's Vulture section got their hands on Quentin Tarantino's 165-page script for his WWII epic, Inglorious Bastards, and read, reviewed and posted their thoughts on the NY Mag website for all the world to see. To say that they like the screenplay would be an understatement.

The review starts with this: "We’ve got Quentin Tarantino’s ‘Inglorious Bastards’ script... and it is exactly as batshit over-the-top insane as we hoped..."

And it finishes with this: "If anyone is crazy enough to fund it, this movie is gonna be awesome."

Well then... I guess I might have to get over my Tarantino aversions and gear up to see this, which Brad Pitt is supposedly in talks to star in! But I need more... I hope I can somehow get my hands on the screenplay as well so that I can review it on this blog.

If you want to read all that comes between the above start and finish, follow the link below!


Due to Demand, Many Theaters Screening 'Dark Knight' at 3 AM & 6 AM

Damn! I'm usually just getting up at 6AM. WTF? Are fanboys and girls really that rabid about the film that they'd get up that early (even earlier to get to the theatre by 6) in the morning to go see The Dark Knight on a IMAX screen? I guess so!

I have heard that the IMAX renditions of the film are superior and definitely worthwhile, so I'm hoping I can watch it that way.

I haven't bought my ticket yet, but given how quickly these screenings are selling out, I may have to wait until the 3rd week of the film's release to see the damn thing!

From the
New York Times:

- In a frenzy, fans have bought so many late-night tickets for the July 18 opening of the next Batman movie that theaters in places like San Diego, Chicago, and even Eagan, Minn., are scheduling 6 a.m. screenings for those who can’t get in at midnight or 3 in the morning!

Madness... simply madness... the Joker would most certainly approve! I can hear him laughing hysterically already!

Hancock is already forgotten... after all that hype.

The rest here: NY TIMES - DARK KNIGHT

Funny Black People... Or Something Like That

Last night, I was able to feast my eyes and ears on 2 preview episodes of Martin Lawrence Presents 1st Amendment Stand-Up, which premieres tonight at 10PM ET/PT on the Starz cable TV network.

I've never watched the show during any of its previous seasons. I wasn't even aware that it was in its 3rd year, which shows just how connected I am to events like these.

It's a 30-minute program, with host Doug Williams, featuring at least 3 different comics hoping to thrill the live audience with their individual stand-up comedy routines.

Nothing new to see here. I've seen enough of these Def Comedy Jam replicas that every new upstart, regardless of who's name is on the marquee (P Diddy dabbled in this arena as well), feels rather dated.

The jokes haven't changed - we are subject to an onslaught of the usual graphic "dick/pussy/fuck" jokes, with a sprinkle of "let's make fun of the white people in the audience" triteness thrown in, and the occasional, usually crass "fat people" humor. Some comedians get their jollies by simply insulting other groups of people, as one did in the previews I watched last night, chosing Mexicans as the target of his insensitive cracks! I could only shake my head and sigh.

Are we running out of source material? I certainly hope not!

Not that the jokes aren't funny. Some are; but most are not!

I haven't been to a comedy club in years, even though my hometown, New York City, is bursting with them. So, maybe I'm just not in the proverbial loop of things, possibly made even more evident by the fact that the live audiences on both preview shows I watched erupted in laughter, applause and other physicalities after almost every joke. All I could muster was maybe a grin.

There might be something to a friend's suggestion that being physically present with each live audience could have made for a completely different experience, as there might be something contagious about that kind of mass exhilaration! Maybe... but I doubt it. I just didn't think most of the jokes were particularly fresh. One or two crude "dick/pussy/fuck" jokes could be funny, but that shit gets old quickly! And, while I'm certainly not averse to the use of foul language, the careless, repeated utterance of the "N" word did make me cringe a little.

So, we can probably gather from all I've said that I'm probably not the target audience for shows like this. Clearly there's an audience for them, as indicated by what looked like sold-out seats at each recording.

The man behind the curtain, Martin Lawrence, was present, although he didn't perform as some may have hoped he would, instead choosing to enjoy preferred box seating, with the occasional reference by the host, followed by a director's camera close-up of his spectacled, smiling grille, waving to the camera. He thankfully doesn't adopt Russell Simmons's usual, expected send-off at the end of each recording of Def Comedy Jam ("thank you all for coming out; God bless and good night"), nor are there any pre and post-show dancers, so I suppose I should give him some "freshness" points for that.

All kiding aside, I should give the man credit for giving a group of mostly unknown black comics a shot at potential stardom!

See it if you must! The show premieres tonight at 10PM ET/PT on the Starz cable TV network. Find out more here:
Martin Lawrence Presents 1st Amendment Stand-Up.

Filmmakers Speak

I'll post these from time to time, as I come across them.

Indie filmmakers everywhere today are on the hunt for workable production and distribution solutions to implement as they begin or continue on their individual journeys towards whatever each of them defines as success, especially as the environment changes rapidly. Over the years, I've heard and/read a variety of opinions on the current state of affairs in indie film world, as well as thoughts on what's possible, what makes sense, or what will come next. Everyone is looking for something - some path that hasn't already been taken, or some amalgamation of already existing ideas to combine and shape to suit one's specific purpose or end goal. Sometimes it actually feels quite overwhelming!

Dare I say that things were easier 25+ years ago, when production and distribution options were limited. No digital video tools, films were shot with celluloid and cut on flatbeds, no world wide web marketing and/or distribution possibilites, etc... Fewer options, yes, but sometimes that's not such a bad thing. Production and distribution options were certainly limited and prohibitive, relative to this century, but, at least you had a fairly certain idea of what path you would likely have to take to get where you wanted to go, right?

Here are two filmmaker opinions to add to the robust mix of thoughts and ideas...

- DIY filmmaker Sujewa Ekanayake outlines his concise path to potential DIY filmmaker success: Looks like I have everything I need in order to make, show & release/sell DVDs of my movies. I'll go over the stuff briefly in case anyone else wants to think about adapting this DIY path for their own filmmaking & distribution work. - DIY FILMMAKER.

- Meanwhile, filmmaker Jamie Stuart wonders whether a theatrical release still matters: Over the past couple of years, I've often wondered what the state of movies will look like by the time I've completed my first feature. Around 2005, it occurred to me that I might never shoot a feature on celluloid; most likely, I would start off on a small picture that utilized Mini-DV or 720p, and by the time that project played out, higher HD formats would be more readily accepted for future endeavors. Over the past year or so, however, I've started to consider that my first picture might not even receive a theatrical release, and go out through the internet or home video instead. I'm relatively content with the former scenario, but fairly ambivalent about the latter. - WONDERLAND STREAM.

The conversations and struggles continue...

Wednesday Funnies - Sacha Baron Cohen Strikes Again!

Sacha Baron Cohen is currently on the job for his follow up to 2006's Borat, another "mockumentary Americana," featuring one of Cohen's other creations, Bruno, a gay Austrian journalist who favors mesh t-shirts and interviews subjects about fashion and entertainment.

The Arkansans below became oblivious participants in Cohen's mischief - at their own expense!

From The Smoking Gun July 8:

- Lured by $1 beer and the prospect of "hot chicks" and "hardcore fights," thousands of Arkansans were duped last month into appearing as extras in comedian Sacha Baron Cohen's latest staged mayhem. Cohen and his confederates organized cage fighting programs on consecutive days in Texarkana and Fort Smith. Both cards ended with two male grapplers (one was identified as "Straight Dave" and wore camouflage) tearing each other's clothes off and, while in underwear, kissing down their opponent's chest. This man-on-man action triggered Fort Smith fans to throw chairs and beer at the ring, according to one cop present at the city's Convention Center. Cohen is currently filming a follow-up, of sorts, to his smash 2006 film featuring Borat, his fictional Kazakh journalist. The new film stars another of Cohen's creations, Bruno, a gay Austrian journalist who favors mesh t-shirts and interviews subjects about fashion and entertainment. The June 5 Texarkana promotion was advertised as "Red, White, and Blood."

Read more here: BRUNO IN THE SOUTH

'Inglorious Bastards' - Another WWII Movie


Nikki Finke over at Deadline Hollywood Daily broke this story a few days ago, but I didn't bother posting it, since a) I'm not a big Tarantino fan and b) as you've already noticed, if you've been reading this blog, black cinema is of most interest to me. However, I haven't been able to escape the news since it broke, so I'm posting it now, and I figured I could take advantage of other recent news and create some "spin" out of it. Besides, there just isn't much new shit within the realm of black cinema going on for me to report on. So I guess you could say that I'm scraping the bottom of the barrell here.

Quentin Tarantino's long awaited, highly anticipated WWII movie, Inglorious Bastards, about a group of soldiers on their way to be executed who get the chance of a reprieve, is now set to go into production, with Brad Pitt in talks to star in it. As expected, fanboys and girls are going gaga over the news! It must be nice to be Brad Pitt... he gets first dibs on many of the most desired screenplays, and is at the top of the actor's wish list for a lot of the best directors working within the studio system today.

I wonder if he'll have any black soldiers in Tarantino's squadron, and if not, whether Spike Lee will have something to say about it, and whether Tarantino will tell him to "shut his face," and Spike will take the "Obama highroad!" Spike did call Tarantino out previously, years ago, right after Pulp Fiction, for his rather self-gratifying use of the "N" word in that film.

Interesting though that WWII movies are suddenly all the rage, with Spike's Miracle at St Anna in theatres this fall, and, as I reported a few weeks ago, George Lucas is planning to produce a Tuskegee Airmen cinematic tribute of sorts, and of course we already saw Clint Eastwood's Flags of Our Fathers and Letters From Iwo Jima a couple of years ago, which fueled his war of words with Spike Lee not so long ago.

Anybody else wanna take a stab at WWII?


G8 Leaders Gotta Eat Too, Right?

This is morbidly humorous...

From DailyMail UK:

World leaders enjoy 18-course banquet as they discuss how to solve global food crisis!

Just two days ago, Gordon Brown was urging us all to stop wasting food and combat rising prices and a global shortage of provisions.

But yesterday the Prime Minister and other world leaders sat down to an 18-course gastronomic extravaganza at a G8 summit in Japan, which is focusing on the food crisis.

The dinner, and a six-course lunch, at the summit of leading industrialised nations on the island of Hokkaido, included delicacies such as caviar, milkfed lamb, sea urchin and tuna, with champagne and wines flown in from Europe and the U.S.!

But the extravagance of the menus drew disapproval from critics who thought it hypocritical to produce such a lavish meal when world food supplies are under threat.

Read the entire article here and see the menu below: DailyMail UK - G8 Food Summit.

The food menu (click for an enlarged view):

'I'm Through With White Girls' - A Review And Recap

As I said in THIS POST, I planned on seeing I'm Through With White Girls at the ongoing Afro-Punk Festival here in Brooklyn, NY last night, but my schedule didn't permit me to. So I didn't see the film after all. I'm hoping I can get a screener from the production team at some point, but no guarantees. Although, I'll admit that the more I avoid it, the less interested I am in seeing it, especially as I read and hear more about it from those who have seen it.

However, I did come across this review of the film, and an account of the Q&A that followed last night's screening, from someone who was actually present for both. The film's director (Jennifer Sharp), producer (Phyllis Johnson) and screenwriter (Courtney Lilly) were in the theatre for the screening, which was followed by what the reviewer called a "surprisingly feisty Q&A." In fact, her rehashing of the Q&A that followed was more interesting to read, than her lukewarm review of the film! Apparently shit got heated between the jam-packed audience and the film's production crew! Now I really wish was there! Oh well...

The extended review comes from Karina Longworth at SpoutBlog.

Here's a snip:

- Last night’s Q&A didn’t even get started until 11ish and it ran long, and yet most of the audience not only stayed, but seemed eager to participate in a real discussion. I’ve never seen such a thing on a Monday night in Brooklyn. But it wasn’t all a lovefest. At one point during the Q & A, a youngish black woman settled in a front row to ask her question––which was really more of a statement of offense. “I’m a blogger,” she said. “And I have a lot of white girl friends. I was going to blog about this movie tomorrow, but I felt like all I would be able to say is, ‘I saw this really funny movie and I can’t tell you the name.’ A mermer spread through the crowd, soft at first but escalating quickly. “Why couldn’t you say the title?” asked screenwriter Lilly, not quite indignant but clearly tired of audiences getting hung up on this very thing. As if certain that she had an unassailable point, the blogger responded: “Well, what if a movie was called I Am Through With Black Girls?” Lilly could barely get his answer out before the crowd erupted in claps and cheers!

Read the entire review and account of the Q&A that followed here: SPOUTBLOG - I'M THROUGH WITH WHITE GIRLS.

Chiwetel Ejiofor's 'Kinky Boots' Heading To Broadway

I never saw Kinky Boots actually. I knew about it when it was in release. I was curious, if only because Chiwetel Ejiofor starred in it, and as a drag queen - thankfully not in a fat suit as his fellow thespians, Martin Lawrence, Eddie Murphy and Tyler Perry have done repeatedly - but still in stilettos, makeup, wigs, dresses, etc... Wesley Snipes did the same thing as well in To Wong Foo Thanks for Everything, Julie Newmar, although I didn't see that film either. Wesley Snipes in drag looked scary, just from the trailers I saw of the film. I didn't want to subject myself to 2 hours of eyesores.

Although both films (Kinky Boots and To Wond Foo) were nominated for several awards, including Golden Globes, and Ejiofor's performance was widely praised.

And now, Broadway wants a piece of the 'kinky' action. No word on whether the character Ejiofor played in the film will be portrayed also by a black man (since, I don't believe the role was written specifically for a black man). It would be interesting if Ejiofor assumes the role on Broadway as well.

From IMDB:

- British comedy Kinky Boots is heading for Broadway - the 2005 film is to be made into a stage musical. The movie, which stars Talk To Me actor Chiwetel Ejiofor, is about a drag queen who is brought in to help revive a man's shoe company.

The rights for the project, which was not a musical, have been bought by veteran producers Daryl Roth and Hal Luftig and they plan to turn the film into a song and dance affair for their New York audience.

Jerry Mitchell, the director of Broadway's Legally Blonde, is reportedly in talks to take the helm of the Kinky Boots production.


Hostage Rescue Heads To Big Screen - 'Rashomon' Style!

Over the last week as details of Ingrid Betancourt's rescue from the claws of rebels from the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (or FARC) were released by the media, I actually remember thinking that it wouldn't be long before some film production company announced that they were developing a big screen adaptation of the story.

And sure enough, someone now has!

From The Hollywood Reporter:

- Vertigo Entertainment and Colombian television network and production outfit RCN are teaming up to bring to the big screen the story of last week's dramatic rescue of Ingrid Betancourt and 14 other hostages in Colombia.

Colombian filmmaker Simon Brand, whose credits include "Unknown" and Colombia's highest-grossing movie "Paradise Travel," is working with the producers to develop and direct the project, which has no writer on board yet. The producers are also looking to
The feature will tell the story from three points of view -- the American, the French and the Colombian -- and recreate the rescue.

Sounds very, shall I say, "Rashomon-esque!" Let's just hope that it's more Rashomon than Vantage Point.

Remember When?

I was just out of highschool, and on my way to college when this was released in 1991. It's still my favorite Dj Jazzy Jeff and The Fresh Prince track. I remember classmates of mine hearing it for the first time back then, and saying that Will Smith's voice on this specific track sounded eerily similar to Rakim's (of Erik B & Rakim). Not quite, but I can understand the comparison.

This was years before Will's first box office success - of course I'm talking about 1996's Independence Day. And since then, homeboy has been hitting box office homeruns!

A little info for those who don't know: Jazzy Jeff has a part in Will's upcoming Oscar-bait film, Seven Pounds. Not sure how involved the part is. This will be the first time they've appeared on screen together since Will's Fresh Prince of Bel Air days. I did used to wonder if they were still close friends today. Jazz is 43 to Will Smith's 39. How time flies...!

Anyway, in honor of another hot, sticky, hazy New York summer day, I give you this:

So Long 'Technigga!'

Well, this ended quickly, as I expected it would! Power to the people, right? If you're not familiar, SEE MY INITIAL POST on this to catch up before reading this post.

Thanks to Sergio for the heads-up!

From EURweb:

- As reported in yesterday’s EUR, Verizon was under fire for picking up a distribution deal with 1938 Media, which created a video blog called “TechNigga.”

The concern regarding the deal between Verizon Wireless and 1938 Media was led by Najee Ali of Project Islamic Hope and Paul Porter of Industry Ears in an effort to maintain respect from Verizon Wireless to its African American customers.

Verizon heard the complaints of the groups and fortunately for all involved sided with those who feel that 1938 Media -- along with its founder Loren Feldman who is the star of TechNigga -- “promotes racism.”

Verizon Wireless, as immediately as yesterday morning, said that “clips from 1938 media were moved off our service this morning." Organizers Najee Ali and Paul Porter, were satisfied with the immediate attention Verizon gave to the concerns of the community.

Read the rest here: EURWEB TECHNIGGA

Fanboy Added To Merriam-Webster Dictionary

Ha-ha! I guess it was inevitable...

From SlashFilm:

- The word “Fanboy” is one of the hundred or so new words that Merriam-Webster has decided to add to their Collegiate Dictionary this year.

Apparently the first occurance of the word was in the year 1919. Who knew? Merriam-Webster ’s definition is: “a boy who is an enthusiastic devotee (as of comics or movies).”

Of course! Although no word on whether "fangirl" will follow eventually! Do I hear any cries of sexism??



So, I Was Interviewed By Brian Geldin Of The Film Panel Notetaker...

Thanks to Brian Geldin and for the plug! Much appreciated as always!

Follow the link below to read the entire interview, where I reveal several intimate, raunchy specifics about my sex life!

This you definitely don't want to miss folks :o)



'TechNigga' - Verizon's New Advertising Partner!

I debated with myself on whether I should post this. I've come to find it best to quickly dismiss this kind of ignorance, and would rather not give any airtime to imbeciles like the fellow below, because I feel like I'll only be pandering to their immaturity, and helping promote their brand of "gotcha" capitalism! But I also want to make sure others are aware of the kind of bullshit that takes place in corporate advertising, especially when specific "minority" groups are insulted or marginalized, as the clip below does quite unapologetically.

Here's the deal, courtesy of Black Talent News: A coalition of civil rights organizations and media watchdog groups are calling for Verizon CEO/President, Lowell C. McAdam, to drop Verizon's contract and distribution deal with Loren Feldman, president of 1938 Media (a media company), because of a racist and sexist video clip on the company's website called "TechNigga."

"Feldman - who is white - has a history of using the internet to promote racism and demeaning and negative racial stereotypes against African Americans on his internet site. He hosts and stars in the 3 minute long "TechNigga" skit on the company web site.

The civil rights groups and media watchdogs are calling for a boycott of Verizon until they drop their contract with Feldman and his company.

I expect that Verizon will eventually comply, given the evidence below; but who knows? They might not. Feldman is obviously free to create whatever brand of content he wants - he's a sole proprietor; but Verizon, being the public behemoth that it is, won't be afforded a similar kind of dismissal. That they would go into business with a jack-ass like this is baffling.

Here's the video clip of "TechNigga":



Book Review - 'Incognero' (A Graphic Novel)

I just finished reading Mat Johnson's graphic novel, Incognegro, about African American life in the early 20th Century, when lynchings were commonplace throughout the American South, and a few courageous reporters from the North risked their lives to expose these atrocities - African-American men who, due to their light skin color, could "pass" among the white folks. They called this going "incognegro" hence the novels title.

In the graphic novel, Zane Pinchback, a reporter for a New York-based newspaper, is sent to investigate the arrest of his own brother, charged with the brutal murder of a white woman in Mississippi. In order to achieve that end goal, Zane has to stay "incognegro" long enough to uncover the truth behind the murder in order to save his brother - and himself.

I was mildly disappointed with this actually. It's a rather simplistic presentation of historical record, but maybe that was intentional... I don't know. It's a graphic novel, so it's not a novel in the traditional sense, therefore, maybe I'm not supposed to expect anything deeply profound, rich, nor complex form it. Although I'm sure other graphic novel enthusiasts would beg to differ! Not that Incognegro is entirely lacking those specific traits, but it felt rather empty, despite the substantial subject it set out to tackle.

Mat Johnson is an award-winning novelist, so maybe this was just a pleasant momentary distraction - something different to do, unlike a straightforward literary novel. At least, that's what it felt like to me. I haven't read any of his novels, like Hunting in Harlem, but trusted sources have had very good things to say about him, so I have no doubt that he is as advertised.

Maybe I picked up the wrong work to acquaint myself with the man's writing, and I should have started with what he's best known for. Recently, I've become hungry for graphic novels (as well as comicbooks) that tell stories about black people regardless of time and location, so learning about Incognegro, the graphic novel by an author of his percieved caliber, excited me. Maybe my expectations were a bit too high from the moment I opened up the book's from cover.

It's not a bad read - far from it. It's just that there's a kind of levity to it that I didn't expect, which made any moments of gravity (and there were less of them) seem obviously deliberate and out of place.

Like I said initially, it's a graphic novel, and maybe I'm not the target audience for it. Johnson's intent may have been to tell this particular story in a format and language that today's youth will be able to connect to relatively easily, especially inspired by the birth of his children. If my assumption is correct, that's fine, I suppose. However, there are some rather complicated themes and gruesome scenes within the text that would need to be explained to a generation Y-er, with much more depth than his graphic novel provides.

My thinking - if you're going to write about something as labyrinthine as this, give it the coverage and tone it deserves or don't write about it at all.

So, I'm not entirely sure how I feel about it. On one hand, I champion the writer for dancing outside of his comfort zone and attempting to teach a complicated history lesson in a medium not really known for dealing with such subjects. On the other hand, I think the piece is too thin, lacking in complexity, and sometimes unecessarily resorts to what feel like trite storytelling gimmicks that left me perplexed. There's a tonal inconsistency running throughout, which I found problematic given the issues it tackles.

I'll likely read it again for a second time. Maybe it'll register differently with me then. Maybe not.

For now, I'll stick to me intial observations... not bad, but not good enough to strongly recommend either. It's a short read at 136 pages, taking me about 2 hours to get through it - almost like an appetizer for something grander still to come.

If anyone else has read it, please do share your thoughts. Maybe I missed the boat entirely on this one, and need to be enlightened.

You can check it out yourself here: INCOGNEGRO THE GRAPHIC NOVEL.

Elvis Mitchell: Under The Influence

Former New York Times film critic (1998 - 2004), Elvis Mitchell will serve as host of a new show on TCM (Turner Classic Movies) called, Elvis Mitchell: Under The Influence, which debuts tonight, on TCM, at 8PM EST, with an encore presentation at 10:30PM EST. In each half-hour episode of this series, Mitchell invites celebrity guests to "sit down and talk about how classic film has influenced their lives." Interviewees set to appear on the program include the late Sydney Pollack, Bill Murray, Quentin Tarantino, Laurence Fishburne, Joan Allen, Edward Norton, Richard Gere, and John Leguizamo.

A little about Mitchell: Other than being the NY Times film critic for 4 years, he is currently a visiting lecturer in film and African American Studies at Harvard University. He also produced a documentary film called The Black List - "a film about race, culture and the seeds of success that includes interviews with the likes of Toni Morrison, Chris Rock and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar among others." It was picked up by HBO at this year's Sundance Film Festival, but has yet to air, as far as I know.

I don't know if I'll be able to catch tonight's premiere, but if you can, do so. And feel free to post your thoughts afterwards. recently interviewed him about the show and other film-related subjects: Striving Under the Influence: A Good Chat with Elvis Mitchell.

The official TCM site for the show can be found here: Elvis Mitchell: Under The Influence Official Site.

And Now, A Nollywood Moment...

A new feature of this blog... something I'm calling, Nollywood Moments.

Here's the first of many to come (haha):

New Age Feminism?

This has been getting a lot of blogosphere pub in the last 48 hours, and continues to generate heat, given its content; so I'm jumping on the bandwagon.

From Lizz Winstead at Shoot The Messenger:

- Tracie Egan and Moe Tkacik, two writers from were invited to appear on my show, Thinking and Drinking (the title of the show alone is telling). Their work on Jezebel has made them role models for young women everywhere (after watching this clip, that's a scary notion). After reading their posts to prepare for the interview, I wanted to have a conversation about Hillary and sexism, women’s magazines and if they feel any obligation to write about responsibility and safety when they write graphically about their sex lives.

Here they discuss rape:

Read and watch a lot more here: Jezebelism: My Interview With Moe and Tracie.

'Inconvenient Truth' Director Making Obama Documentary

I still haven't seen An Inconvenient Truth actually. But I suppose we're all supposed to get excited about this...


- The pool report on Friday from the Obama press corps revealed an interesting tidbit: Davis Guggenheim, the director of An Inconvenient Truth, is making a (seemingly secret) documentary about Barack Obama that will apparently air at the Democratic National Convention in Denver, Col. next month.

I'm guessing it'll be a "This Is Your Life" kind of presentation, meant to excite the party and the crowd in attendance. It doesn't seem like it's going to be something of significance that the rest of us will get to see - at least not until after the convention I guess. Although I won't mind being privy to the intimacies of Barack and his family's life over the last 8 months, "upclose and personal" style. But this sounds more like a fluff piece - an advert for his candidacy.

The rest here:
'Inconvenient Truth' Director Making Obama Documentary.