Covering Cinema From All Across The African Diaspora

'Hancock' - The Abridged Version! HAHA!

Those guys at and The Editing Room have deconstructed another Hollywood script for us; this time it's Hancock! It's a little too late I think, since it would have been much more timely if they posted it around the film's release date; but, whatever... it's still pretty damn funny!

I already posted my thoughts on Hancock, which you can read HERE; or my popular review of the original 1996 Vincent Ngo penned screenplay, when it was called, Tonight He Comes, which you can read HERE.

So, without wasting any more precious time, I give you's (courtesy of The-Editing-Room) - If Hancock Was 10 Times Shorter and 100 Times More Honest

Two-Face's Twin?

Maybe it was immediately evident to others, but I only just realized the link that connects the character Two-Face from The Dark Knight movie and Anton Chigurh, the psychopathic killer on a mission, in last year's multiple Oscar-winning (although slightly over-rated IMHO) Coen brothers' film, No Country For Old Men.

The link? The infamous coin toss of course! "Heads" or "tails" determines whether you live or die, except Chigurh doesn't find it necessary to give a 30-second speech before flipping, as Two-Face does, explaining the reasons for the coin toss, and what each possible result is. Chigurh essentially blindsides you into making a choice for which you are entirely oblivious of the consequence.

So, I suppose I'd much rather go up against Two-Face than cross paths with Chigurh. At least with the former, I know what's at stake.

I wonder if Cormac McCarthy (author of No Country For Old Men) was influenced by "he of the dual facade," as he created Chigurh. After all, Two-Face has been around since the 1940s, long before Chigurh was born... on paper anyway!

"Call it... friendo..."

I Want My Hurl TV

Wow! I knew the end was near, after all, the signs are increasing in number, but I certainly didn't expect it to happen so soon!

Cable TV network, G4TV (Games, Gear, Gadgets and Gigabytes, hence the G4) premiered a reality TV-based game show this week titled simply, Hurl!

I'm sure you can probably guess what the program's M.O. is based on its title alone. However, allow me the pleasure of illumination, if you don't mind.

Hurl! is an "extreme eating" contest in which contestants eat as much as they can in one brief sitting, then exert themselves in a strenuous physical activity immediately afterwards, which, as we all know, isn't wise, since it might cause one to, um, hurl! So, as expected, he who eats the most and vomits the least wins $1,000!

Brilliant, right? Now why didn't I think of that?!

It's inevitable folks - we are indeed regressing! The day is fast-approaching when we'll get pleasure out of watching 2 people fight to the death, and The New Yorker will call it satire. Oh wait... we already have a "sport" like that - it's called Ultimate Fighting.

See the carnage here: G4 HURL

Obama Sells Out!

So... despite all noise it created, the controversial July 21 cover of The New Yorker portraying President Barack Obama as a Muslim, and his wife as a black nationalist revolutionary, has sold more copies at newsstands than the magazine's average sales rate.

According to the New York Post, "the demand has completely overwhelmed Condé Nast's ability to fill requests for additional copies;" Condé Nast of course is the publisher of New Yorker magazine.

Estimates show that sales of that specific issue were almost double the average, or around 75,000 copies, compared with average newsstand sales of around 43,000!

So can we say mission accomplised for Condé Nast? Of course, the publisher denies that this was all an attempt to sell more magazines. Even so... I seriously doubt that they are walking around with sunken heads. Expect more controversial covers in the future...


The Menthol Exemption

Sounds like a movie doesn't it? The Menthol Exemption (cue overly dramatic staccato score here)!

The story, as I understand it, goes... Congress wants to pass new legislation that bans so-called "flavored" cigarettes, since they supposedly mask the true harshness of inhaled nicotine smoke, making the habit easier to pick up by young'uns. However, big tobacco wants an exemption to this yet-to-be passed law that excludes menthol cigarettes from said list of flavored cigarettes, even though they clearly fall under that umbrella.

Why? Well, apparently, menthols make up some 28 percent of the annual $70 billion American cigarette market - or roughly $20 billion, which is a lot of money for these cigarette companies, and we all know how crucial maximizing profit is in this capitalist economy.

I'm still trying to make sense of the fact that Americans spend $70 billion on cigarettes every year! My goodness!

Anyway... continuing on... and I'm sure you can already see where I'm going with all this... the Congressional Black Caucus, a major recipient of funding from tobacco companies, exceeding $250,000 in some years, according to one report, split over the decision of whether to push for the inclusion of menthol cigarettes in the legislation, or support big tobacco in its efforts to exclude menthol cigarettes.

Why the internal conflict amongst black members of congress?

Well, as we all probably know, black folks love their menthols! In fact, according to several reports I read, an estimated 75 percent of black smokers choose mentholated brands - a fact that several public health officials have stated could possibly be responsible for the increase in nicotine addiction and cancer rates among black smokers, since there is evidence that some menthol brands, including Newport, contain the highest levels of nicotine of leading cigarettes! And despite all those rather unsettling facts, there are some members of the CBC who would rather not alienate cigarette companies by banning menthols, since this alienation might mean the reduction, or eventual end of financial funding from those same companies.

So, this seemingly no-brainer of an issue (as far as I'm concerned) has apparently polarized members of the CBC. I say "no-brainer," because it's quite obvious to me, and any ethically reasonable person, that mentholated cigarettes SHOULD BE included in the introduced legislation that will ban all flavored cigarettes. The fact that they are fighting over this is baffling!

Their two choices as I see them, are as follows:

1. Yes, menthols fall under the "flavored cigarettes" umbrella and should be abolished as the legislation intends, which would obviously piss off tobacco companies who certainly don't want to lose that 28% (or $20 billion) market, possibly meaning that the Caucus members bite the hands that feed them, even though doing so might actually save the lives of more than a few current and future black men, women, boy and girl smokers;

2. No, menthols should be excluded from the legislation, keeping tobacco companies happy, and ensuring that the $250,000+ annual contributions to the Caucus's bank account continues unabated, while nicotine addictions and cancer rates remain steady, and maybe even increase amongst black men, women, boys and girls.

Ok, so maybe my breakdown is simplifying matters a bit, but not by much!

This is the kind of shit that our democratically appointed reps are being paid to sort out? Come on!


Afro Samurai Redux

I own the original series on DVD, and have watched all the previous episodes.

Ho-hum... I wasn't THAT impressed with it - certainly not enough to shout its name from New York City rooftops; but I'd still recommend checking it out at least once, if only to say you've seen it, especially if you have any interest in Japanese Manga anime. Rarely do we see black faces in this format and genre.

The first episode was shown online in January 2007 and later premiered on Spike TV in the same month. It was also broadcast in the UK, Japan, and Australia.

Spike TV recently announced a 2-hour sequel, scheduled to air in January, 2009, with Samuel L Jackson in the title role, joined this time by Lucy Liu who will lend her voice to a character called Sio, described as, "a seductive and sadistic mastermind out to destroy Jackson's samurai."

A live action, theatrical version was said to be in development, also with Sam Jackson to star (although I can't see him physically embodying the character, his swashbuckling Star Wars prequel attempts aside), but nothing is officially in production yet.

Here are the first 5 minutes of the original series:

What Bush and Batman Have in Common

I know, I know... your immediate reaction was probably similar to mine - sonorous laughter!

This has to be good, right?

Rupert Murdoch's conservative influence is becoming evident in the Wall Street Journal editorials.

Here are some snippets from the op-ed piece by Andrew Klavan, who, by the way, I hear sometimes moonlights as the Joker (nyuck, nyuck, nyuck...):

- There seems to me no question that the Batman film "The Dark Knight," currently breaking every box office record in history, is at some level a paean of praise to the fortitude and moral courage that has been shown by George W. Bush in this time of terror and war. Like W, Batman is vilified and despised for confronting terrorists in the only terms they understand. Like W, Batman sometimes has to push the boundaries of civil rights to deal with an emergency, certain that he will re-establish those boundaries when the emergency is past.

- "The Dark Knight," then, is a conservative movie about the war on terror. And like another such film, last year's "300," "The Dark Knight" is making a fortune depicting the values and necessities that the Bush administration cannot seem to articulate for beans.

- And when our artistic community is ready to show that sometimes men must kill in order to preserve life; that sometimes they must violate their values in order to maintain those values; and that while movie stars may strut in the bright light of our adulation for pretending to be heroes, true heroes often must slink in the shadows, slump-shouldered and despised -- then and only then will we be able to pay President Bush his due and make good and true films about the war on terror.

Oh, OK. I guess he sure told us!

The writer seems to be forgetting the part about The Dark Knight's unwavering moral code, including his willingness to risk his own life for the service of societal good, done without any expectations of a reward, as well as his refusal to kill even his worst enemies - all character traits that seem to be absent in Bush. And let's not forget TDK's sense of responsibility and strong belief in justice for all (not just for his cronies) as well as in humanitarian service.

Read the entire piece here: W IS THE REAL BATMAN

Remember When?

Right on sweet sister!

I wonder who'd win in a fight - Cleopatra Jones or Foxy Brown? Also, I'm surprised neither film has been remade... although there were rumors of a Foxy Brown remake a few years ago, with Halle Berry as the choice to star... let's hope the rumors aren't realized. Knock on wood, right?

Bloody Hell!

So... not only are all their movies starting to look the same, so is their advertising!

Apparently, each of the 3 Hollywood studios responsible for these upcoming film productions (one this year and two in '09) must have hired the exact same firm to handle their marketing materials!

I suppose the "woman's lips dripping with blood" motif is meant to be somewhat riveting, if not arousing?

How (un)original...!


Robo Recharge!

Hey - remember this guy?

Well, guess what? He's making a comeback! That's right - 2 years from now, he'll be showing up at a theatre near you, with a new suit and everything!

Aren't you thrilled?


Harvey Weinstein Is Blogging Now?

Over at, Harvey makes excuses and bitches... I mean, Harvey answers his critics and encourages us to get excited about independent cinema again!!

Here are some snippets:

... During a summer of hyped-comic-book heroes turned screen stars, independent film as a whole hasn't received the attention it's due. ... Let's face it--I know everyone has their job pressures, especially in media, where gossip reigns supreme. So why would the media want to deal with a tough-minded movie when they could write about the youngest young starlet?

... Independent films still are the underdog, and I've been fighting for years to get them seen by audiences. People have been entertained, they've escaped the heat and reality in movie theaters, but have they been impassioned by a movie this summer?

... Have they talked about it long after it ended because it left them seeing something in a different way or questioning reality? And I don't mean trying to recall who designed Carrie's wedding dress--but the bigger questions.

... We have always known that we need to fight to allow creativity and innovation to flourish. The industry again stands at a transformational moment, requiring all of us to push the boundaries and show our passion for the industry that means so much to us and to society. Independent studios have been shut down, some staffs have been cut, and some have lost their independence.

Read Harvey's entire lament here: Indies v. Superheroes and Starlets

More Proof Of Hollywood's Gradual Demise

Boy... they're really reaching now aren't they? It's all just becoming rather laughable. All I can do is smirk at the white towel being waved over their heads - "We give up!"

Evidence number 154: a remake of the cult classic The Rocky Horror Picture Show is in the works. No word on who will assume Tim Curry's infamous Dr. Frank-N-Furter role.

Evidence number 229: a sequel to Top Gun, the 1986 action/romance that helped shoot Tom Cruise to stardom, is rumored to be evolving. Cruise is wanted to star in it, but no word on whether he will.

I'm sure we'll have a remake of a Korean film or two, somewhere in there.


Rosario Dawson Starring In Web Series

It's called Gemini Division, a first-person confessional in which Dawson plays Anna Diaz, a New York City detective, investigating the murder of her fiance. During the investigation she uncovers a global conspiracy involving the creation of simulated life forms that have assimilated with the unsuspecting public.

The series will feature fifty 5 to 7 minute internet episodes displayed in Flash Video format, beginning August 18th, on the program's website - - as well as on, who apparently is acting as distributor.

Wired Magazine published a worthwhile article on the series 3 days ago, further discussing the race by practically everyone to unlock the mysteries of web video success. You can read the article here: Hollywood Has Finally Figured Out How to Make Web Video Pay.

Here's the rather unconvincing, unflattering trailer in all its green screen glory:

Blogging While Brown

It begins tomorrow, the 25th, and ends on Sunday, the 27th. I would have loved to attend, if only to meet others from the black blogosphere, whose blogs I read frequently - but I won't be able to do so, unfortunately.

Cheers to all those who will be present, and I look forward to reading about your experience while at the 3-day event.

Blog away...!

For more info, see: BLOGGING WHILE BROWN

Reality TV Bites

Oh brother... this is what watching too much TV can do to you...

From the New York Post:

- Two Montreal shrinks have diagnosed a new mental illness where sufferers are convinced their life is one, big reality TV show.
They're calling the disorder the "Truman Show Delusion," after the 1998 movie starring Jim Carrey.

Psychologist brothers Joel and Ian Gold, who are writing a paper about the illness, have treated five men, all between the ages of 25-34, for the disorder.

"I realized that I was and am the center, the focus of attention by millions and millions of people," one patient told the doctors.

"My family and everyone I knew were and are actors in a script, a charade whose entire purpose is to make me the focus of the world's attention."

"The delusions we treat are narrow," Dr. Joel Gold told Canada's National Post newspaper. "There is Capgras Delusion, where someone will think his family has been replaced by doubles.

"Or the Fregoli Delusion, where someone believes that one person is persecuting him," he says.

"The Truman Show Delusion, though, involves the entire world.

I have my own diagnosis for this so-called disease... it's called "Narcissism." You'd think the psychologist brothers would have read Freud at some point in their careers.


Thursday Funnies! Obama/Osama... What's The Difference?

From the The Daily News crew...

We're Rich Bitch!

Well, no... not really...The federal minimum wage rises 70 cents today, from $5.85 to $6.55 per hour. It's the second of three annual increases required by a 2007 law. Next year's third boost will bring the federal minimum to $7.25 an hour.


And, by the way, in other news... gas, food and transportation costs continue to remain at all-time highs, and climbing even higher in some regions.

So what are you going to do with your extra 70 cents... if you're one of the "lucky" few who will receive it?


Nas Delivers Fox News Petition

Is this publicity for his just released new album, or a genuine attempt to challenge Fox? Does he really expect Fox to suddenly succumb to his demands? This is nothing new... It's Fox News!!!

The story from
HuffPo goes... about four hours after the announcement that his controversial ninth album was number one in the country, Nas was... in front of Fox News headquarters in New York... protesting... racist attacks against Black Americans and Barack Obama... pointing out examples of what he and ColorOfChange see as a long racist smear campaign against the Obama family: The onscreen graphic that referred to Michelle Obama as Obama's "baby mama"; Bill O'Reilly casually using the phrase "lynching party" to refer to attacks on Obama's wife; referencing to the couple's infamous fist thump as a "terrorist fist jab." Said Nas, "Fox poisons this country every time they air racist propaganda and try to call it news..."

The rapper stood next to 19 boxes with the number 620,127 taped to the side of each one... representing the number of signatures gathered by ColorOfChange demanding that the network "find a solution to address racial stereotyping and hate-mongering before it hits the airwaves." Fox rejected the petitions.

Here's the video:


Comic-Con! It's That Time Of The Year Again...

*SIGH* Talk about movie geek heaven! I wish I were there this year... oh well, I'll shoot for next year!

However, if any readers of this blog will be in attendance, share some of the thrill with the rest of us will ya :o)


Poster - 'Lakeview Terrace'

The just released poster for the Samuel L Jackson/Kerry Washington thriller, Lakeview Terrace, produced by Will Smith's Overbrook Entertainment company. I wrote about the film previously including its trailer, which you can see HERE.

The film opens September 19th.

Click to enlarge.

Trailer - 'Touble The Water'

This screened earlier this year at the Sundance Film Festival to critical acclaim, where it won the grand prize for documentaries. It was later picked up for a full theatrical release by Zeitgeist Films, known well for their unabashedly "artsy," challenging, wonderful library of films. The fact that they are giving it an "Oscar-qualifying run" says a lot about their expectations for the film.

In the documentary, directors, Tia Lessin and Carl Deal use camcorder footage that aspiring rapper Kimberly Roberts and Scott Roberts shot before and during the New Orleans Katrina disaster. The film tracks the couple through the aftermath, taking a critical look at the government's response and media coverage.

Zeitgeist's plans are to open the film in Los Angeles and New York first, on August 22, followed by a gradual national release.


In the spirit of the times - The Dark Knight mania and Monday's news that the balcony has indeed closed for Siskel and Ebert and Roeper - I found this video clip appropriate :o)

When Did Talking Become Taboo?

So... Obama has said in the past, and hasn't wavered on his stance that he would like to utilize some diplomacy with the Iranians - in essence, incorporate that age-old form of communication that the current regime has proven to never quite comprehend. Of course I'm talking about a seemingly forgotten past-time known very simply as "talking."

Yes, Obama would like to actually sit and talk with Ahmadinejad in an effort to reach some peaceful resolution to the threatening war brewing between the US, Israel and Iran, which would certainly persuade the supporters of each combatant to act accordingly, blossoming into what some have labelled a possible 3rd world war!

And what do the GOP and its constituents think of the notion? They fervently oppose the idea, dismissing it and the man behind it, Obama, making a mockery out of him, as an attempt to expose his supposed inexperience with international political affairs.

How "Republican" of them! Their shoot first, lie about it later approach - or preemptive strike - has, understandably, produced disastrous results, and some could argue, have done nothing but create even more enemies for America to have to consider, feeding the war machine, and padding the wallets of those private entities whose weapons of mass destruction are being bought and sold, whether legally or on the black market.

When did "talking" become taboo in America? Isn't it a part of the curriculum in society's classroom? From childhood, we are taught to talk our problems through and that resorting to fisticuffs with your "enemy" isn't the answer, because it resolves nothing, except maybe generating a bloody nose, broken jaw, or bruised rib for one or both parties. Fighting, as a means to an end, is not tolerated in our schools, in most of our homes, and throughout much of the rainbow known as American culture. In fact, to call it taboo won't be an overstatement. We are instead encouraged to solve our disagreements with others using our minds, by way of our mouths, not with our fists nor our might!

So, why is Obama's seemingly all-American strategy with regards to Iran and others alike, so quickly dismissed and described by many as naive, foolish and irresponsible? Is it for fear that it might actually *GASP* work, essentially painting a rather unnattractive portrait of those in opposition?

Netflix Shuts Down Indie Division

Hmmm... too bad. Although I'm not certain this'll have that much of an impact of the state of things. I do know filmmakers who benefited directly from REE's existence. I'll share my thoughts later.

From Hollywood Reporter:

- In a move that could have a big impact on indie film sales and distribution, online film rental service Netflix is shuttering its film financing and acquisition arm Red Envelope Entertainment.

Since it was founded two years ago, REE invested in more than 100 films and partnered on key acquisitions for small distributors. Until this January, the division typically put up half of a film's total acquisition and theatrical release costs in return for Netflix disc and digital streaming rights and half the total profits. These partnerships allowed indie studios to take risks on smaller projects and fueled many buys during and after film festivals.

In January, REE changed its general approach to pay a flat fee for DVD rights and nonexclusive Netflix online rental streaming, done day-and-date with the retail DVD release, typically taking less risk for less money. REE's closure means smaller distributors have lost a key partner which allowed them to purchase and give a theatrical release to riskier low-budget films.


Will Smith #1 On Forbes Hollywood Earners

As ABBA once sang, Money, money, money... it's a rich man's world!

Not many surprises here...

From NY Daily News:

- Will Smith... took home a whopping $80 million last year, highest on the list of Hollywood earners, according to new figures compiled by Forbes.

"Pirates of the Caribbean" actor Johnny Depp ranked second with a $72 million paycheck, followed by Eddie Murphy and Mike Myers, who made a tidy $55 million each.

Hollywood's leading lady last year was Cameron Diaz, who was paid $50 million for her roles in the latest "Shrek" movie and "What Happens in Vegas."

"Atonement" beauty Keira Knightley pulled in $32 million, and ex-"Friends" star Jennifer Aniston tallied $27 million.

It is still a man's world in Tinseltown, however, as the 10 best-paid actors outearned the 10 best-paid actresses by 2 to 1 over the course of the year, the figures show.

Something tells me Eddie's paychecks are going to get a little leaner in coming years... $55 million for what? Meet Dave? Norbit? I think Eddie might have the studios right where he wants them - bent over with their pants at their ankles!


Black In America

Has anyone been watching CNN's Black In America series? I haven't. Apparently, the second or third segment airs tonight. I might tune in, if nothing else demands my attention.

To say that I'm unenthusiastic about the program would be an understatement. I don't expect it to be anything more than a paper-thin "exposé," if we can even label it as such. I wonder who CNN intends its audience for the series to be. Is it a program meant to educate non-blacks about the plight of blacks in America, or is it an attempt to appease blacks in America by supposedly openly discussing the so-called "black experience" in America, or is it an amalgamation of both and other possibilities I didn't mention?

Will it be followed by a Latinos In America special, or an Asian In America series?
What's the end goal? Will it see its intended impact realized, or will it soon be forgotten, rendering it ultimately useless? Is it only adding to the divisiveness that's already prevalent in American society?

I've received a few messages in the last 24 hours from others planning on making an event out of the viewing experience for this evening's segment - essentially, let's all get together at this or that venue and watch CNN tell us about ourselves. Huh? Why?

Am I just missing something altogther here...?

Leave Michael Savage Alone!

As I see it, acknowledging the tasteless, manipulative, bigoted rhetoric of pugilists like Michael Savage only ensnares one into playing his crass card game - a method he's succesfully utilized for as long as I've been aware of his radio show's existence, ensuring that his wallet remains plump.

His recent comments on autism are absolutely no surprise to me, because they're simply following a "Savage" trend, and all I can simply do is shrug. He is Michael Savage. We know his M.O. Nothing he says surprises me and really shouldn't anyone else.

I suppose the fact that he reaches 10 million+ homes via his conservative, unabashedly right-wing radio talkshow might be of some concern for liberals, especially; and so they feel the need to challenge each slanted point of view he expresses, no matter how outrageous or obviously manipulative they might be.

In my personal experience, I find it most beneficial to simply ignore pugilists like Savage, O'Reilly and others, recognizing the fact that there is a bottomline to men like these. They are "entertainers" who collect large sums of money for the "sleight-of-hand" shows they put on for their loyal followers. And they can be bought and sold rather easily, in my opinion, making it even easier for me to not take either seriously.

It would be tempting to compare them to a man like Jesse Helms, but that would actually be an insult to Helms. The man was a racist, a bigot, and the many other perjorative adjectives that were thrown at him in life, and even in death; but, at least he was steadfast in his convictions, preferring to stand his ground in defeat, rather than compromise.

As far as I'm concerned, Michael Savage is not much more than a shockjock - Howard Stern minus the salacity. It's to his benefit when we acknowledge his words, giving them life and power. Instead, leave him alone to wallow in his playpen. Eventually he'll get bored from the lack of attention, and I think his voice will suffer for it.

A Celebrity's Worth - According To Forbes Magazine

Forbes Magazine today published what it calls "The 2008 Forbes Ultimate Star Payback list," - a list that shows which actors give the best return on the money studios spend on them - how much they earned for the studio for each dollar they were paid.

The 35 actors that make up the list are ranked according to average gross income (revenue minus production costs) divided by the actor's compensation, in their last three widely released films.

Here are the top 5:

#1 - Vince Vaughn (??? Yup, you read correctly), his last 2 movies considered - The Breakup, Wedding Crashers, Dodgeball: $14.73 Million; meaning for every dollar he was paid by studios for the above 3 films he starred in, studios earned $14.73 million on average.

#2 - Tobey Maguire, Spider-Man 3, Spider-Man 2, Seabiscuit: $13.44M

#3 - Julia Roberts, Charlie Wilson's War, Ocean's Twelve, Closer: $13.19M

#4 - Brad Pitt, Ocean's Thirteen, Babel, Mr. & Mrs. Smith: $12.73M

#5 - Naomi Watts, Eastern Promises, King Kong, Stay: $12.16M

Of note, Denzel Washington is at number 16 with, $7.95M, with American Gangster, Deja Vu, and Inside Man as his last three movies considered. And somewhat surprisingly, Will Smith was in the bottom half at number 21, with $5.64M - his last 3 movies (Hancock aside) being, I Am Legend, Pursuit of Happyness, and Hitch.

What does this all imply? The studios might want to reconsider those fat Hollywood paychecks that some big name stars have enjoyed in recent times, because, as indicated on the Forbes list, the highest-paid performers aren't always worth the investment, since they're yielding the lowest returns.

See the entire list here:

The Psychology Of The Dark Knight

In the spirit of the times, the History Channel aired an interesting 1-hour program last night titled Batman Unmasked: The Psychology of the Dark Knight, which I caught the second half of, unfortunately. The show gets underneath not just the armor of Batman, the caped crusader, but also that of his alter ego, Bruce Wayne, examining why Batman is who he is, closely exploring his motivations - how a boy scarred by tragedy becomes a symbol of hope to others. The few segments I saw, while not as thorough as I'd have preferred, intrigued me, and I'd recommend watching the program if you're a fan of the superhero.

If you missed it, or just don't have cable TV, and would like to see it, the entire thing is available on YouTube, in 5 parts.

Here are the first 10 minutes:

Find the rest at YouTube.

What Happened To...?

Speaking of 25 new faces of independent film (see post below to catch up), what happened to Peter Sollett, the fellow who made the 2000 gem of a film below? He was on the list that year, but hasn't produced anything since then...

25 New Faces Of Independent Film

As it's been doing for the last decade, Filmmaker Magazine just unveiled its annual list of the "25 New Faces of Independent Film" - essentially a group of filmmakers to watch for currently, and in coming years, based on recent work they've completed. As stated by Scott Macauley, editor-in-chief of Filmmaker Mag, "The people on Filmmaker's '25 New Faces' list are not only innovators we believe will be impacting tomorrow's film scene, but they're also artists engaged in a vital re-think of what it means to be independent today."

Of special note is none other than Monsieur Barry Jenkins, whose first feature, the well-received, positively reviewed Medicine For Melancholy, was recently picked up for distribution by IFC Films. Here's some of what the magazine had to say about him:

Director Barry Jenkins may have been raised in Miami‘s rough-hewn Liberty City neighborhood, earned his film degree at the Florida State Film School and paid his dues in Hollywood as a development associate at Oprah Winfrey‘s Harpo Films, but his marvelous feature debut Medicine for Melancholy decisively captures San Francisco‘s particular blend of hope, beauty and unease through a strikingly universal, timeless aesthetic.

“I wrote the film with the intent of making it ‘makeable‘ by myself and a few friends, with very little time, money and equipment,” writes Jenkins. “The aesthetic is a direct result of the film‘s modest means; the action and recourse arise from the interplay of the characters because that was essentially the breadth of our control at these two characters and what they say to one another against the backdrop of a specific place, San Francisco.”

Combing the romantic, the ethereal and the political (all under a fabulous soundtrack that combines indie rock, classical music and even Claire Denis‘s Vendredi soir), M4M recently picked up a distribution deal with IFC after an impressive festival circuit run nabbing the Audience Award at the San Francisco International Film Festival and screening at SXSW, Sarasota, Philadelphia, Boston and L.A. Expect more to come. “There are scripts in my goody bag that are more suited for the studio system, and because of the success of this film there may actually be an opportunity to pursue that avenue,” concludes Jenkins. “It‘s a great feeling.”

Read the rest and see the entire list here, which also includes Dee Rees, (also an African American filmmaker) whose critically-acclaimed short film titled, Pariah, about a closeted gay teen's stuggles with her identity as a lesbian and her denying parents, will be expanded into a full-length feature this fall: FILMMAKER MAG 25 FACES TO WATCH

Tuesday Funnies - Fox News Follies

Any opportunity to make fun of Fox News will be taken advantage of on this blog :o)

Looks like someone over there needs to make better use of their spell-check!

Batman Arrested In London

Whaaaa? This seems rather unlike him, from all I know of the guy (at least, his public persona), so I'll give him the benefit of the doubt, and assume that this is either all a misunderstanding, or there's a lot more to the story than has already been reported!

From The UK Guardian:

- Batman star Christian Bale was today arrested over claims he attacked his mother and sister before appearing at the launch of his new blockbuster film.

The 34-year-old actor is alleged to have lashed out at mother Jenny, 61, and sister Sharon, 40, in his suite at Park Lane's Dorchester Hotel on Sunday.

The two women, who live in Dorset, went to a Hampshire police station yesterday to make their allegations formally.

Officers at Scotland Yard were then passed the complaint and Bale voluntarily attended a police station this morning.

Speaking from an upstairs window of her home in Bournemouth, Sharon would only say it was a "family matter".

Bale spent several hours in custody at Belgravia police station in central London before being released on police bail this afternoon. He was driven away from the police station, and a pack of photographers, in a silver people carrier, and returned to the Dorchester.


Architecture Is Sexy - Part 3

Continuing on with the series, I found this green gem earlier today...

Designed by Austrian firm GRID Architects, Amalia House is really a small cottage that can sleep 6 in the hills of Styria, Austria. The greenish exterior is actually comprised of fake grass.


The Bitch Switch

I thought her 15 minutes were long over? *Shaking my head and sighing*

Incase you missed the drama yesterday...

The End Of An Institution

The show was never quite the same when Gene Siskel passed away in 1999. And Roger Ebert has certainly been no stranger to illness either.

It was going to happen eventually, and it looks like that day has come. I wonder whether their "thumbs up/thumbs down" system of film ratings, and infamous "Wagging Finger of Shame" will live on...

From AP:

Chicago Sun-Times film critic Roger Ebert says he's cutting ties with the television show that he and the late Gene Siskel made famous.

In an e-mail to The Associated Press on Monday, Ebert said Disney-ABC Domestic Television had decided to take the show "in a new direction" and he won't be associated with it.

His announcement came a day after Chicago Sun-Times columnist Richard Roeper said he was leaving the nationally syndicated "At the Movies With Ebert & Roeper."

Roeper said in a statement Sunday that he had failed to agree on a contract extension with Disney-ABC Domestic Television so his last appearance on the show will air the weekend of Aug. 16-17.

I wonder what this "new direction" is that ABC wants to take the show in... we may never know now!


What New Yorker Magazine's Cover Should Have Shown

I think we can all agree that this is so much closer to the truth the the real New Yorker cover :o)

Click to enlarge.

SOURCE: Patrick O'Connor, the Los Angeles Daily News

'Law & Order: London'

After running its course here in the states (let's face it, the show is nowhere near as fresh nor popular as it was in its 90s prime, and I wonder why it's still on the air), the police procedural and legal drama television series, Law & Order, is headed across the pond to the U.K.

Not packaged American episodes, but rather reproduced in the U.K. for a U.K. audience - a rarity in American broadcast television, since we in the states are known very well across the world for "borrowing" TV shows (and films) from other countries and remaking them for American audiences. It's not often that the opposite happens.

The new show will be tentatively called, Law & Order: London, and is already in production, although it wouldn't broadcast until early next year, in a 9pm slot on ITV1, three nights a week before the 10pm news.

Some interesting facts about the show... did you know: This would be the first English-language version of L&O outside the US; NBC has spun-off Russian and French versions of the Special Victims Unit and Criminal Intent segments of the series; and that Law & Order is the longest running crime series on American television, entering its 18th season this week as well as the second-longest running American television series, behind the cowboy classic Gunsmoke.

I used to be a L&O junkie in the 90s, and into the early 2000s, even eating up reruns on the TNT and Bravo networks. But of the 4 variations, Criminal Intent is my favorite.


Introducing - Dickipedia!

You've surely heard of Wikipedia - I don't think a day goes by when I don't find myself on the site for one reason or another. Well, now there's Dikipedia! Yes, Dickipedia! And given the name, you can probably guess what kind of content Dickipedia contains! No, no, no, no... get all those salacious thoughts out of your head. Not that kind of "dick"... but close enough.

Mimicking Wiki's visual layout and structure, Dickipedia acts as a repository of sorts for public men and women all over the world who have acted like dicks at one time or another - essentially a-holes! The site is updated regularly with new dicks, or current dicks who have done something that, once again, reminds us why they are dicks in the first place, cementing their dick-dom status!

The fledgling list contains notable names like Kobe Bryant, Naomi Campbell (yes, even women can be dicks too), Kanye West, Eddie Murphy, Robert Mugabe, and even Barack Obama - yup, the Democratic party nominee has apparently been a dick on a few occasions. I too was shocked :o)

Each name is accompanied by a brief bio, along with specifics on their shining moments of "dicky" activity.

Think this is a hoax? See for your self here: DICKIPEDIA

Spiderman Tackles 'Brown VS Board Of Education'

I hope the completed film won't be a case of revisionist history and that proper credit will be given to all those brave men and women responsible for the eventual victory, and not just the efforts of some ambitious, idealistic white knight! Rumor is that Terrence Howard is onboard to play Thurgood Marshall. The NAACP really did matter at one time in our history!

From Variety:

- Tobey Maguire is attached to Universal's "The Crusaders," a drama about the landmark 1954 Brown v. Board of Education case. Maguire would play Jack Greenberg, who, as an idealistic lawyer fresh out of law school, joined with NAACP Legal Defense Fund head and future Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall to win a Supreme Court case that ruled segregation in American schools illegal.

The project is based on Greenberg's memoirs "Crusaders in the Courts."

No production/release dates available yet.


Poster - Tyler Perry's 'Family That Preys'

Click for enlarged view

Alfonso Ribeiro On TV Again!

For those of you who've been wondering what Carlton Banks, aka Alfonso Ribeiro is up to these days (all 3 of you), here ya go... wonder no more :o)

From EURweb:

Actor Alfonso Ribeiro... is taking on the role of host for the Game Show Network’s new series “Catch 21,” which premieres tonight, the 21st of July!

“Catch 21” pits three players in a game of cards. Each contestant is given one card and in order to up their number of cards, and thus their total, they have to answer a multiple choice question.
“Whoever gets that question correctly, they get $100 and control of the game (and) they get the next card in the deck,” Ribeiro explained. “They can keep that card or they can force it on one of the other players making their hand worse. The goal is to catch ‘21’ exactly, and if not, be the last player standing with a good hand..."

The blackjack component game has a possible jackpot of $25,000.

Well, there you have it! Tune in tonight and watch him do the game show host thing. If you can't wait until then, watch the corny promo for the show below. He actually does have that game show personality, so I suppose it's a smart move on his part. I wonder if he and Will Smith are pals?


Djimon Hounsou The Sorcerer

I know nothing about this character, but I plan on researching him. A quick web-scan didn't reveal very much, other than the bits and pieces you'll read below. But based on the graphic image I found to the left, he certainly looks like a son-of-a-bitch! James Earl Jones portrayed a version of him in 1982's Conan the Barbarian. And now, Djimon Hounsou will be giving him 21st century celluloid life.

From Variety:

- Djimon Hounsou has partnered with Dynamite Entertainment to star in and produce a bigscreen feature about immortal sorcerer Thulsa Doom, a central figure in the Conan the Barbarian and Kull comicbooks.

The character will be featured in his own comicbook series, published by Dynamite, an imprint of Dynamic Forces, next year.

He originally appeared in the Robert E. Howard pulp story "Delcardes' Cat," published in the 1930s.

The film will be an origin story of the flawed hero and show how his road to hell was paved with good intentions.

Hmmmmmmm... you can guarantee that I'm going to get my hands on at least one of the graphic novels the character is featured prominently. I'll return with my thoughts eventually.


Kill The Noise - Rant!

I've grown weary of reading, watching and hearing about the campaign activities of both Obama and McCain! Election day can't come soon enough, when all the noise will hopefully fade down to not much more than a whisper.

It's puzzling to me why both candidates are still being quite aggressive on the proverbial campaign trail, this far into the election season. It's certainly always been like this since the electoral process was created - at least as far back as I can remember - so neither candidate is setting any kind of precedent here.

What I really wonder is whether there really are people out there at this juncture who are still unsure of who they are going to vote for. I suppose there are, otherwise neither candidate would bother with the numerous trips to various cities, shouting from elevated platforms, shaking hands, kissing cheeks, smiling (even when they don't want to), making TV appearances, boxing with journalists, touting their individual plans for this and that, engaging each other hoping to make the other a less attractive option to American voters, etc, etc, etc...

Are there really American voters out there who STILL don't know which of the two candidates they are going to vote for? I'd think at this point, most, if not all of us should know. What else can each man say that will swing more votes their way than they are already likely to receive when the all-important day comes? Are there people out there still treading the fence, and if so, what the hell are you doing over there? Everything that can be said has already been said - all the political bullshit, false promises, ass-kissing, pretentiousness, and mudslinging. It's all out there, and has been for awhile. If you don't already know who you're going to vote for, on this day, July 20th, 2008, then you haven't been paying attention and you're a moron who doesn't deserve the right!

I don't think I'm going out on a limb when I say that most of us will vote based on our party affiliation - most eligible Democrats will vote for Obama, and most eligible Republicans will vote for McCain. Even if you're a self-identified "Independent," I'm certain that you're smart enough to know that your party's candidate has absolutely ZERO chance of winning the election. Yes, it's an unfair 2-party system, and I empathize. But get real!

OK... everybody - Democrats, Republicans and Independents - here's the deal: you've got 2 choices - the puppet on the right or the puppet on the left. It doesn't get much simpler than that. One's campaign slogan is, "Reform – Prosperity – Peace;" the other's is, "Change we can believe in." The fact that it's necessary to have a campaign slogan is indicative of just how commercial the election process in this country has become, making it a rather laughable operation. It's only a matter of time before the presidential seat becomes an item you can buy and sell on eBay, or trade on the NASDAQ.

So, pick one and spare the rest of us the agony!

Don Cheadle As A British Drug Trafficker

He did it in all three Ocean's 11 flicks, although his role in each was relatively minor, thus his screen time, minimal, so we didn't get to see much of him doing the Brit thing - the accent, and unfamiliar (to me anyway) slang usage; like when he uttered the sentence, "We're in Barney" to the rest of the Ocean's crew, George Clooney, Brad Pitt, et al, in I believe the first film in the series; the all looked at him as if he'd spoken Swahili, prompting him to further explain for the sake of their understanding, "Barney Rubble...," which was unfortunately followed by still more perplexed faces. "Trouble!" he finally yelled, as if talking to a group of simpletons, and of course they finally understood: Barney = Barney Rubble = Trouble... thus, "We're in Barney" means "We're in trouble!"

Class dismissed :o)

Well, he'll be perplexing us west-siders even further when he plays a character who goes by the name, Thomas McFadden, a British drug trafficker who was arrested in Bolivia and jailed in La Paz's San Pedro prison. During his six-year stretch, McFadden served as a tour guide in a prison that thrived under a capitalist system made possible by bribery of officials.

Brazilian director, Jose Padilha will write to direct the film, titled Marching Powder, billed as a drama which Cheadle will star in and produce.

The film is based on a book called "Marching Powder: A True Story of Friendship, Cocaine and South America's Strangest Jail," a memoir written by the real Thomas McFadden.

Brad Pitt's production shingle, Plan B, will also produce.

Jose Padilha won the Golden Bear at the Berlin Festival this year for a film called Elite Squad and enjoyed critical acclaim for his 2002 documentary Bus 174, which I recommend!

No word on when Marching Powder will reach theatres.


Images From 'Soul Men' (Sam Jackson, Bernie Mac)

Click to enlarge

I wrote about this film very briefly several months back. I didn't bother to look for my initial post to link to it, so you'll just have to trust that I did :o)

The film is called Soul Men and is directed Spike's cousin, Malcom Lee (The Best Man, Welcome Home Roscoe Jenkins).

Synopsis recap: Jackson and Mac will play two former backup soul singers who are part of a famed group that fell apart once the lead singer went solo. Bernie's character went on to open up Car Wash stores and retire while Sam's character started robbing banks and ended up in prison. He eventually gets out. They haven't spoken to each other in 20 years but reluctantly agree to travel cross country together to the Apollo Theater in New York City for a tribute performance in honor of their recently deceased band leader.

Jackson and Mac will reportedly be doing their own singing in the film - but keep in mind that they are back-up singers, so we probably won't be forced to listen to many solo performances. Although Samuel showed some vocal talent in Black Snake Moan, in which he played a blues guitarist. I've never heard Bernie even whistle a tune!

The film also stars Isaac Hayes whom you see in the photo below, playing himself, and Sharon Leal (who did some singing of her own in Dreamgirls), and is scheduled for a November 14th release.

Click to enlarge

Box Office Results 7/18/08-7/20/08 And Some Observations

Well, no surprise - The Dark Knight, which I saw twice this weekend by the way, opened BIG, beating out Spiderman 3 as the new all-time opening-weekend box office record holder, pulling in an estimated $155,340,000! The previous record was just over $151,000,000. Good show... good show :o)

I already posted my brief thoughts on the film which you can read HERE.

One thing I did find somewhat humorous is that the character Batman, a man some would call a quintessential American super hero, is portrayed in a film that's full of non-American talent both infront and behind the camera, as was the case even more so with director Christopher Nolan's initial attempt, Batman Begins, 3 years ago. The fellow who doubles as Bruce Wayne by the day and the masked crusader at night, is played by an English actor, specifically Welsh, in Christian Bale; the star villain, the Joker, is portrayed by the late Heath Ledger, an Australian; Batman's man on the inside of Gotham's police force, Commissioner Gordon, is characterized by none other than Gary Oldman, also an English actor; Cillian Murphy plays the Scarecrow, and he's Irish. Alfred, Bruce Wayne's butler and sole confidant, is played by another English man in Michael Caine, and of course, the man behind the camera, director Christopher Nolan, is also a Brit!

There are a handful of others from the Batman Begins, like Tom Wilkinson (English man), Liam Neeson (Irish), and Rutger Hauer (Dutch). What's humorous is that, except for Alfred the Butler, they all play Americans in both films, and do an excellent job doing so! It's rare that I find an American actor portraying a non-American character as convincingly.

The Dark Knight could easily maintain its box office dominance over the next 2 to 3 weeks, because I don't see any upcoming films threatening its number one spot for some time. Sure, The X-Files sequel, in theatres this Friday, has its built in audience, but I don't know if they are large enough to trump the mass appeal of The Dark Knight. And the 3rd installment of the Mummy series, which will be released widely the following weekend will attract those fans who made the last 2 extremely successful (obviously, otherwise there wouldn't be a third); but, I'd take a guess and say that the novelty of the series has worn off, and The Mummy 3 won't be as attractive to movie-goers, even previous fans of the series. But, if The Dark Knight is indeed knocked off its throne in the next 2 weeks, The Mummy has the best shot of the 2.

Here are the numbers:

1 The Dark Knight - $155,340,000
2 Mamma Mia! - $27,605,000
3 Hancock - $14,000,000
4 Journey to the Center of the Earth - $11,910,000
5 Hellboy II: The Golden Army - $10,038,000
6 Wall-E - $9,813,000
7 Space Chimps - $7,350,000
8 Wanted - $5,097,000
9 Get Smart - $4,085,000
10 Kung Fu Panda - $1,750,000

One thing I'd like to know is who actually saw Space Chimps :o)

Also, word on the street is that a sequel to Wanted is in the works (boooooooh)