Covering Cinema From All Across The African Diaspora

GOOD MORNING - Rihanna & Chris Brown A Happy Couple Again?


According to People magazine, Rihanna and Chris Brown are back together again, less than three weeks after Brown, 19, allegedly pummeled the "Umbrella" singer on Feb. 8.

At the moment, the couple are apparently spending time together at one of P-Diddy Combs's homes, on Miami Beach.

People reports that Brown called Rihanna on her 21st birthday one week ago, and the reconnection has been mutual.

Brown was booked by the LAPD, but the case has not yet been presented to the District Attorney, who will ultimately determine which charges, if any, will be prosecuted.

Lemme guess... none! He'll attend some anger management courses, and after a few weeks will be given a clean bill of mental health!

And what kind of mixed message, if any, is Rihanna sending to her myriad of youthful female fans, and, quite frankly, young girls everywhere, who have undoubtedly been watching this entire story unfold? Especially those who have blamed her for the beating she received, who will now likely feel reassured in their original "analysis" of the occurrence.

Or maybe they're both abusive to one another, and this is simply one of those drama-filled, co-dependent relationships that simply can't survive without this kind of negative fuel. After all, love is subjective, right?

But, as I certainly don't have every single fact of the story, maybe I shouldn't so quickly flog them.

However, for her sake, I certainly hope Rihanna has a solid support base who are behind her on all this. Facts have shown that abusive boyfriends/husbands/lovers tend to be repeat offenders, especially those who don't seek proper counseling.

Chris Brown is only 19 years old, and from all I've read, is the son of a man who was abusive to his mother. Now is the time for him to sever those ties before he too gets to an age when it'll be even more challenging to break free, and be reborn as a new man.

Certainly, we'll all be watching, I'm sure.



“The unexamined life is not worth living.”

Socrates spoke those words during his trial for heresy. He was charged with encouraging his students to question and challenge the accepted beliefs of the time, and to think for themselves.

As punishment, he was sentenced to death; however Socrates was given the choice of life in prison/exile, and could have avoided death, but he believed that these alternatives would rob him of the only thing that gave his life meaning: examining his life and the world around him, and developing ways he could improve on both. In his view, without his “examined life” there was no point in living. So of course, his Athenian persecutors were left with no choice but to sentence him to death.

I don't know if my convictions are that strong - I'd certainly like to think so, but facing death has a way of rapidly encouraging flexibility. But thankfully, I live in a time and place that doesn't require that I must choose between an examined life or death... or do I? Death doesn't have to be literal.

No matter... I can undoubtedly say that mine is a life constantly under a microscope!

Here's a documentary I just came across while looking for something worthwhile to occupy some of my free time with this weekend. It's called, naturally, Examined Life. The 88-minute film is by Astra Taylor, a writer, filmmaker and director who produces short-form documentaries for The Nation ezine.

Per the IFC Center website, where the film is currently screening, Examined Life, "takes philosophy out of the classroom and into the street, as filmmaker Astra Taylor accompanies a veritable who's who of contemporary thought on a series of brief, invigorating journeys."

Joining her for the ride are Cornel West, Kwame Anthony Appiah (Ghanaian philosopher and novelist), Slavoj Zizek (self-proclaimed Marxist, sociologist, philosopher), and several others.

IFC calls it "a celebration of intellectual discourse and its power to transform our understanding of the world and our place in it."

The subject matter is compelling enough to me; and with contributions from the likes of Cornel West, Kwame Anthony Appiah and Slavoj Zizek, count me in! I'll see it this weekend, undoubtedly.

Reading the above synopsis and watching the below trailer, I'm instantly reminded of Richard Linklater's
Waking Life - minus the rotoscoping :o):


Hey New Yorkers! Isn't it just great to be one! Numerous perks abound, especially for fans of Le Cinema... including the one below.

I posted an entry about this film in January as one of a few "Black Face Alerts" at this year's Sundance Film Festival, which you can read HERE.

Despite the overwhelmingly rave reviews it received from the audiences who saw it at the festival, the film failed to attract a distributor, and, as far as I know, still remains unsold.

And, likely as a way to maintain some of the public interest the film garnered at Sundance in January, the producers have scheduled 2 FREE screenings of the film at the Cinema Village theatres on Manhattan's lower east half. That's right - FREE! Although tickets are available on a first-come/first-serve basis, so if you want to be guaranteed a seat, be sure to get in line early!

See the image above for all the specs (days and times), and then reacquaint yourself with the film that SlashFilm calls “One of the Most Marketable Films of Sundance 2009“ by reading my original post on it, and watching the trailer below:

via /FILM

GOOD MORNING - Tyler Perry Wants To Kill Madea And You Can Assist!

I'm sure some of you will absolutely LOVE this...

From EURweb:

While Perry's non-Madea movies have been well received at the box office, the films in which he stars as the character fare substantially better in ticket sales, which puts the filmmaker in a quandary.


Still, Perry confesses: "I would love to see Madea die a slow death in the next film." The reason? It takes a lot of effort to turn the 6-foot-5-inch Perry into big momma Madea.

He knows she's "a whole lot of fun to watch. But to do it is a nightmare," Perry tells the Associated Press. "It's all one suit that I'm zipped into, so it's all heavy. The hips are heavy. And the more I sweat, the heavier it gets. I see why women have back problems who have large breasts. Holding those things upright can be tough."


Perry said that it's clear that fans want more of her. "As long as they want to see her, she'll stay around. But, I'm telling you, if they ever stop coming, she's going to die a quick death. 'Madea's Funeral.' That's what you look forward to."

Well... there you go folks... why don't you give Tyler all the incentive he needs to kill Madea: Stop paying to see "her" perform! From all of the above, it's obvious that Tyler would love that as well, so help a brotha out!


SHOPPING AROUND - Eddie Murphy Attached To Richard Pryor Biopic

Eddie Murphy as Richard Pryor...? Why not! Although,
when it comes to biopics, I prefer that the actors/actresses playing the role of the person whose life story is being retold, be unknowns. It's just less distracting.

I'm no Richard Pryor aficionado, so I can't really say anything genuinely profound about this, one way or the other, so I'll leave it to you "Pryor pros."

According to Entertainment Weekly:

Bill Condon shopping Richard Pryor biopic, with Eddie Murphy attached

Writer/director Bill Condon, who just completed his debut run as producer of the 2009 Academy Awards, is shopping his script Richard Pryor: Is It Something I Said? to the studio subsidiaries and independent distributors around town. Eddie Murphy is attached to star.

Sources tell that Fox Searchlight, the studio behind this year's big Oscar winner Slumdog Millionaire, is interested in the film. The studio, which declined comment, has a relationship with Condon, having partnered with the director on his 2004 feature Kinsey.

Condon, who most recently wrote and directed Dreamgirls, had the Pryor biopic set up at The Weinstein Company but was able to pull it out when the indie outfit put it into turnaround. He initially was hoping to secure $30 million to produce the film, but that number, sources say, has dropped down to $25 million.

Murphy, who has featured Pryor impersonations in his act as far back as the 1987 concert movie Raw, seems a likely choice for this role.

Recall …Is It Something I Said? was the title of Pryor's 1976 Grammy Award winning release. It won for Best Comedy Recording.

via EW

GOOD MORNING - First Look At Denzel In Hughes Brothers, "Book Of Eli"

For being such a mediocre magazine, Entertainment Weekly certainly gets a lot of "first looks" at future movie releases!

That aside, I'm so tickled to be talking about an upcoming film by the twin Hughes brothers that doesn't involve pimps!

Per EW, in The Book of Eli (out Jan. 15, 2010), Denzel Washington stars as a warrior (Eli) traveling alone through a post-apocalyptic America in order to protect a sacred book that holds the secrets to saving humankind.

All together now... Oooooh! Sounds like another "last man" rendition doesn't it? The Hughes brothers haven't really impressed me with any of their films. I'd describe their talents as "serviceable," but the rep carried by their name alone wouldn't necessarily rush me into a theatre seat!

In this early scene in the above image, "Eli finally gets some company when he steps into a bar. 'They peddle some nasty, prison-type alcohol — whatever you can make in the future when there's nothing left,' says Allen Hughes — who is codirecting with his brother, Albert — during a break from shooting in New Mexico."

via EW

DOWN THE PIKE - Sam-Jack Is Marvel-Ous!

To quote
Senator Clay Davis from The Wire, "Sheeeeeit!"

A 9-picture deal, playing the same character in each one? Why not? It's money in the bank, right? Besides, it doesn't necessarily mean that the character will be prominently featured in each installment; for example, his tail-end cameo surprise in last year's Iron Man... something as brief as that could account for 1 of the 9.

Interesting though... I wonder how much the deal is worth.

From The Hollywood Reporter:

Samuel L. Jackson is Marvel's man.

The actor, who just weeks ago was seemingly on the outs with the studio over reprising his role as Nick Fury, agent of spy outfit S.H.I.E.L.D., has signed an unprecedented nine-picture deal to play the character in a series of Marvel movies.

The movies include "Iron Man 2," "Thor," "Captain America," "The Avengers" and its sequels.

Also on the table is the possibility of toplining a "S.H.I.E.L.D." movie, which is in development.

The actor, repped by ICM and Anonymous Content, made a surprise appearance as Fury at the end of the first "Iron Man," throwing geeks into a tizzy and showing the first glimpse of Marvel's plan to link all their slate of movies into one filmic universe.

Jackson and Fury were expected to be part of the sequel, but as Marvel negotiated with its cast, deals proved hard to come by. Terrence Howard was replaced by Don Cheadle. Mickey Rourke still doesn't have a deal for the part of a villain despite almost two months of negotiations.

via THR

RANDOM - Aged Without Age


You have to love Francis Ford Coppola's seemingly newfound indie spirit! He was absent from cinema's stage for about 10 years, after 1997's The Rainmaker. He returned in 2007 with the critically mixed Youth Without Youth, a film he financed entirely on his own, which certainly didn't set American box office receipts on fire, playing on 18 total screens across the country, but made a much bigger splash overseas - no surprise there, given the stylized nature of the film.

In an interview with Telegraph, accompanying the worldwide release of Youth Without Youth, Coppola stated, "I always wanted to be a personal filmmaker, to be inspired by the European movies we saw when we were 18 or 19 [...] But in a funny way I became an important studio director when I was very young, and I always wondered what happened to the director I wanted to be. Maybe I can go back and be him now."

Indeed... indeed... Of course it's easier to rediscover that indie spirit when one is independently wealthy, thanks to the winery and wine labels he owns, as well as stakes in a business that produces pasta and pasta sauces, plus the 2 cafes he owns in San Francisco, as well as the 4 resorts in Belize and Guatemala... amongst other interests.

He's a business man who made smart business decisions with the money he earned during his earlier profitable Hollywood days, when he gave us the 3 Godfather movies, Apocalypse Now, and several others; and those investments are paying off!

The wealth he created for himself now gives him the freedom to make the kinds of films he wants to make, since he doesn't have to go begging studio execs for funding for each project. He writes his own checks... Must be nice!

We could all learn a thing or two from Mr Coppola. I hope you're listening Tyler Perry! In 30 years when you're Coppola's age, I certainly hope we're not still being exposed to you in a fat suit, dress and wig. Perish the thought...

After briefly dancing with the studio system while living on the west coast, I had a somewhat similar plan, right before moving to New York: work hard at some well-paid corporate job for 10 - 15 years, and invest every single penny not allocated for basic bills. Why not, I thought - I was still in my mid-20s, and understood that I would be around 40 years old when I "retired" from corporate life. The plan was to accumulate as much financial capital as I could, which would then enable me to produce the kinds of films I wanted to, and even distribute them myself, without having to rely on others for any stage of the process.

Obviously that would mean low-budget productions with very limited release schedules; but, enough to create valuable awareness of each film, which I hoped would pay off eventually, and not necessarily immediately. I cherish being self-sufficient, and just can't think of living and working any other way! And while I certainly didn't entirely abandon the plan, 10 years later, I can say that I did not diligently follow through with it either. But as an ex-girlfriend once said to me, it's not too late to start again!

Anyway... Coppola has returned 2 years later, with another self-financed "personal film" titled Tetro, which stars the always enigmatic Vincent Gallo, and is being shot entirely in Argentina.

A site for the film is already online, where you can find brief write-ups about the film and cast, but most importantly and interestingly, a video blog featuring Coppola himself, talking about the film and his process, shot hand-held by Coppola, roaming through his Napa Valley estate. It's unpretentious, unassuming, and dare I say energizing. As a filmmaker myself, I'm inspired by his independent spirit and can-do attitude, and I'm looking forward to seeing what develops. In the video, he promises future video blogs about the project.

It's great to see a filmmaker of his generation (he'll be 70 this year) embrace new technology, and exploit it to his advantage!

Tetro is Francis Ford Coppola's first original screenplay since 1974's The Conversation. I was less than a year old then! The film's site states, "it is his most personal film yet, arising from memories and emotions from his early life, though totally fictional. It is the bittersweet story of two brothers, of family lost and found, and the conflicts and secrets within a highly creative Argentine-Italian family." Creative they most certainly are - recall his daughter Sophia is certainly taking after her father, blazing her own trail; his son Roman is also a filmmaker with one feature currently on his resume.

Check out the site and watch his first of many v-blogs HERE.

VIDEO - Obama Is The Antichrist... Or Is He Hitler?

What's scary about the below clip is that, despite it being a comedic sketch, both so-called "pastors" actually do believe the accusations they are making, AND both have a following of parishioners who look to them for leadership and accept their words as gospel.

GOOD MORNING - Un-Be-Weave-Able!!

Hahaha...! Oh lawdy, lawdy, lawd!

Whomever the manufacturer of her weave is should put her in their commercials... "Our weaves are so tough that they can stop bullets and save your life!"

*Shaking my head*

via EUR

DOWN THE PIKE - Chiwetel Ejiofor Vs Angelina Jolie

I really dug his subtle portrayal of the
menacing, ruthless, and intelligent character known simply as "The Operative," in 2005's mildly successful film, Serenity, based on the cult sci-fi TV show, Firefly.

He makes a good "bad guy," and it sounds like he's playing one yet again, but this time in what is building up to be a mega-budgeted, high-profile affair, starring opposite Angelina Jolie (who's always a draw) and Liev Schrieber, in a film called
Salt, about a CIA officer (Jolie) who's accused by a defector of being a Russian sleeper spy and must elude capture long enough to establish her innocence.

The film was originally supposed to star Tom Cruise as the titular character, Edwin A Salt. However Cruise dropped out of the project, making way for Angelina to assume the role.

It was initially only a rumor, but now, reports that Chiwetel is indeed confirmed to play CIA counter intelligence officer Peabody - a man who is obsessed with proving that Angelina Jolie's character, Everlyn A Salt, is a Russian sleeper spy.

The report also states that this is a film that could generate sequels, for which Chiwetel has also signed up for.

This could be one of those projects that boosts public awareness of Mr Ejiofor even more, which is a good thing for the 34-year old!

Before he locks and loads for Salt, Ejiofor will be seen in Roland Emmerich's big-budget, likely bloated blockbuster 2012, which hits theaters in November.


GOOD MORNING - Mel Gibson Surfaces...

For those who were wondering what Aussie-American renaissance man Mel Gibson's been up to since 2006's Apocalypto, his second directorial effort, wonder no more... Jimmy Kimmel tracked him down and gave us the answers we seek.

I've gotta give Mel some coolness points for doing this. In recent years, since the drama over his take on the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, in 2004's The Passion of The Christ, the man seemed to have rapidly grown quite austere, ramping up his intensity and reclusivity.

He hasn't been in front of the camera in anything prominent in awhile, and I'm sure his eventual return will be accompanied by much curiosity from critics, fans and non-fans alike.

His IMDB resume states that he's starring in a film called Edge of Darkness, scheduled for release later this year. The film is based on a 1980s British TV series of the same name, about a detective (Gibson) investigating the murder of his activist daughter, uncovering political conspiracies and cover-ups in the process.

By the way, "Chris Partlow" aka Gbenga Akinnagbe, co-stars as a fellow detective on Gibson's character's squad.

via FSR

DOWN THE PIKE - Tyler Perry Strikes Again... So Soon!

I'm laughing my ass off as I type this, given how much I know many of you despise the ever-prolific Mr Perry and his works!

Consider my site to be the Fox News of cinema blogging - I report; you decide :o)

Moving right along...

According to Production Weekly, after the record-shattering weekend box office opening for his latest film, Madea Goes To Jail, Tyler Perry and Lionsgate are wasting no time in going into production on his next kitschy celluloid morality tale.

According to PW, Perry will next bring his play I Can Do Bad All By Myself, to the big-screen for Lionsgate, with filming set to begin next month in Atlanta!

Wow, right?

No info was provided on who will star in it. Speculation... speculation... Might this be the script Perry claims he wrote specifically for Jennifer Hudson? I don't know, nor do I particularly care.

But given how quickly homeboy continues to shoot these things out, and a March production start date, we should expect to see another Tyler Perry film in theatres before the end of this year - guaranteed!

Place your bets, while I laugh myself to sleep...!

WTF - Torture Porn


Who in the world watches movies like Hostel I and Hostel II, and actually derives pleasure from doing so?

I happened to stumble across Hostel II this evening, while flipping through my cable TV movie channels, in search of something to kill some time with, before hitting the sack. I've seen parts of the first entry in the series, Hostel I - just enough to become sufficiently turned off (although it didn't take very long), instantly changing the channel to something less unappealing.

Part 2 is even more vile and disgusting!

I don't understand how the near equivalent of snuff films actually navigated their way through the ranks of the studio system, ending up on thousands of theatre screens nationwide, for audiences, young and old to "enjoy."

These are 2 of the most depraved, cruel and barbaric excuses for films that I've ever seen, and, as far as I'm concerned, have absolutely no reason to exist!

They're unconscionably misogynistic, and downright sadistic, and I'm genuinely concerned for what impact each has/will have on the impressionable minds of those who have/will see these films, who lack the psychological faculties necessary to process this garbage.

Of course, we've heard films from previous years described in very similar ways; meaning, my present rant certainly isn't breaking any new ground. However, it does appear to me that these so-called "torture porn" flicks have grown progressively more violent, sexist, and very "real," making it increasingly difficult to dismiss them all as pure fantastical entertainment! And I can only wonder just how further we're willing to allow them to go with the violence, sex and misogyny. I'm certainly no prude, but what's a Hostel movie going to look like in another 15 years, compared to what a similar brand of movie looked like 15 years ago?

Quentin Tarantino, by the way, is listed as producer on both Hostel films. But each is far more disturbing and disgusting to me than anything Tarantino has done, and I can't imagine what's running through the mind of Eli Roth, the man behind both flicks.

Enlighten me on this folks, if you can. Am I simply overreacting? Is this just business as usual, and I'm late to work? What am I missing? Are there others connections to be made?

PODCAST - Episode 44: Oscars/Indie Spirit Awards Recap; What Is Indie Film?; Filmmaker Khary Jones (Hug)

Podcast #44

TRT: 60 Minutes

Episode Notes: recapping the Oscars and Indie Spirit Awards ceremonies; The overlap that occurs between both festivals, leading to the question, "what is indie?"
Also, Khary Jones, writer/director of Sundance 2009 selection, Hug, joined me in discussing his film, his Sundance experience, and other cinema-related matters - both race and non-race specific.

Listen below, or subscribe and download for FREE via iTunes. Just open up iTunes on your computer and search for "Obenson Report" in the iTunes store, where you will also find archives of previous shows.


MONDAY FUNNIES - President Please?

Obamamania apparently influenced a blossoming movement intent on replacing the "N" word with "President."

Funny... but also not-so funny. Yes, it's fake news, and meant to be humorous... yet, I'm not sure how funny our president will think it is, given that implies an equation between his title and the "N" word.


CHA-CHING - Shopping For Deals At Michael Jackson's Auction

Michael Jackson is holding a five-day public auction at the Beverly Hilton hotel in Los Angeles this April to sell off over 2,000 items ranging from personal effects and costumes, to his expansive art collection, as well as fixtures and fittings from his Neverland ranch.

Here are a few items for those of you who might be interesting in bidding... good luck :o)

These rhinestone-studded 1981 Triumph tour socks should fetch $800 - $1200, while the custom-designed white spandex, right-hand glove covered in clear Swarovski crystal loch rosen crystals is expected to fetch $14,000 to $20,000. I wonder how those socks are cleaned.

This gilded throne with red velvet seat, est $2,000 - $3,000, and this oil on canvas portrait of Michael Jackson dressed as a king, signed and dated 1995 by Norman Oak, $6,000 to $8,000. Did he actually sit in the gilded throne? Did he wear a crown when he sat on his throne? Did he order his minions around perched up on said throne?

Some of my preceding questions answered! This velvet costume cape could be yours for as little as $400, while you could own this Katherine Baumann crown for $1200 to $1800. I'm imagining Mijac sitting on his gilded throne, donning his velvet cape and crown, ordering his minions around.

This 1911 Grosset and Dunlap edition of Peter Pan: The Story of Peter and Wendy, by J.M.Barrie, previously owned by Jackson, could be yours for as little as $60, while the gates to his Neverland ranch could set you back over $40,000. I'm wondering where the person who buys the gates, will put them.

A 1999 Rolls-Royce Silver Seraph Limousine, seen parked in the driveway of Michael Jackson's Neverland Ranch is expected to fetch at least $200,000.

And then there are the outfits, covered in rhinestones and crystals: 1984 Victory tour jacket. Est $3,000 - $6,000. 1984 Victory tour jacket. Est $3,000 - $6,000. Yuck!

Apparently, Mijac needs the money.

As stated above, it's a public auction, so, it's open to any and everyone with a checkbook! I'm not sure if absentee or online bids are allowed. I'm no auction aficionado. I might bid on the 1911 J.M. Barrie Peter Pan novel. It's about the only thing here that's in my budget range :o)

See the rest of the items

RANDOM - Discover True African Romance!

I was just reading an article on another site and came across this ad at the bottom-right of the page:

I couldn't ignore the potentially damming inference that this singular combo of words and images suggests... or maybe it's just me and my sensitivity :o)

The site is called Afro Introductions, and its raison d'etre, in short, is to introduce single African women to the rest of the world of men.

Go fish...

TV - The Africa Channel?


I'm just hearing about this for the first time. Although, it may have shown up on my radar previously, but I failed to follow up.

It's called The Africa Channel, a cable TV station just like any other, with programming created by and about Africans - mostly Africans in Africa - made for Africans outside of Africa.

Apparently, this is a station that's been available for American, UK and Caribbean subscribers for about a year or two, which is news to me, because, despite living in a cosmopolitan city like New York, and being a cable TV subscriber, I haven't seen, or heard anything about The Africa Channel. Obviously, that doesn't mean it does not exist in these parts... I'm just not aware. My cable TV provider, Cablevision, does not carry the station.

It's still relatively new, although they claim to have 12 million subscribers in the USA, UK and Caribbean, which is a tidy number.

According to the network's website, their programming covers the gamut - news and info, lifestyle & travel, sports, talk, music, soap operas, dramatic series, films, and even some so-called reality TV.

In an interview with, we learn the following interesting facts from the founders of the channel:

- It was created in 2003.
- Their target audiences: the type of people who watch the Discovery and National Geographic channels, African-Americans and Africans resident in the USA.
- "We're not here to compete with BET. We're the African in African-American."
- "Our strategy which we've already started is to develop African production capacity. 95% of what we show is African-produced and directed."
- Congolese NBA player Dikembe Mutumbo is a shareholder.

I'd love to set my eyes on all that The Africa Channel apparently has to offer. Anyone heard of this? Anyone actually receiving the channel via their cable TV subscriber? And if you have had the opportunity to actually watch a few programs, please share your thoughts. I'm definitely curious.

Check out their website HERE, where you can find out if the channel is available in your city and with what cable provider. I entered several NYC zip codes, as instructed, and they all came up empty, even though I read a report from 2007 stating that they had entered an agreement with Time Warner Cable in NYC. Maybe it faltered? Maybe their website needs to be updated? I don't know...

And you can read the full interview with HERE.

GOOD MORNING - Oscars, Madea, Salman Rushdie On Slumdog, And A "Nation of Cowards"


Well... the Superbowl of movies is over! YAY! Now we can all get back to sizing up this year's crop of films in anticipation of next year's awards celebration.

I wonder if Tyler Perry will ever win, or even be nominated for an Oscar. I doubt he cares much, given just how financially successful his films have been, particularly his most recent offering, Madea Goes To Jail, which blew the lid off this weekend's box office, with a chunky $41 Million cumulative. I suppose it all depends on what his expectations for himself are. He might be content being commercially successful without the critical acclaim.

The critically over-praised (IMHO) Slumdog Millionaire walked away with the most trophies (8 or so), including many of the most coveted, including Best Director and Best Picture. No surprise right? I was still quite disappointed, because I just didn't think it's the most deserving. But the train carrying it to victory was well-oiled, with the right group of conductors navigating it. If it didn't win, I would have been shocked, an experience I would have welcomed gladly. I like surprises - especially when it comes to awards season.

I've never been to any part of India; and what I do know is restricted to books I've read, friends and acquaintances I've had who were from India, movies (fiction and non) that I've watched, etc. So, my issues with the film have nothing to do with any supposedly factual portrayals or representations within.

However, for Bombay-born, British Indian novelist and essayist, Salman Rushdie, “The movie piles impossibility on impossibility,” as the famous novelist said in a lecture on Sunday evening at Emory University in Atlanta, GA.

According to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, in a report printed just this morning, Rushdie lambasted the “feel-good movie,” and, interestingly, the book Slumdog Millionaire was based on, stating, “Again, the problem with this adaptation begins with the work being adapted."

His complaints ran the gamut from how characters in the film acquire a gun in India, to how they mysteriously wind up at the Taj Mahal, 1,000 miles from the previous scene.

He compares the film to other adaptations of books, leaning heavily on movies that were up for Oscars, including The Reader, calling it “[a] leaden, lifeless movie killed by respectability,” and The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, stating, “It doesn’t finally have anything to say.” Funny, I've heard others say the same thing about Benjamin Button... makes you wonder why it was nominated at all.

Rushdie attacked what he called “bad social adaptations, when people cave in to fear and censor themselves or others." He urged people and society to "honor essential truths."

That's maybe a little too much to ask of a "nation of cowards," as Attorney General Eric Holder recently described the good ol' US of A and the people who inhabit the land. An "essential truth" won't you agree? Clearly, many don't (most of them Fox News anchors and contributors), and Mr Holder finds himself on the receiving end of their wrath! But how else can one expect a "nation of cowards" to indeed react to being called a "nation of cowards?"

Nyuck... nyuck... nyuck...

Happy Monday!

via AJC

BOX OFFICE - Madea Rules The World!

Wow... just WOW!

$41 Million opening weekend for Tyler Perry's Madea Goes To Jail.

I'm genuinely stunned! Just when I start to think that audiences are becoming a little weary of his shtick, they surprise me by shattering records, making this the largest opening for a Tyler Perry film!

Also, according to the numbers at Box Office Mojo, its the 5th highest opening of a film in winter, in motion picture box office history ever! That's incredible - considering that this is a film that opened on just over 2,000 screens... still a relatively high number, but, compared to other movies that have opened on a comparative number of screens, $41 Million is mighty hefty!

Clearly, his fan base continues to grow - it's no longer just those mostly African American Christian women who followed his plays on the theatre circuit. With numbers like this, surely one can assume that there's some cross-over appeal... or at least, a curiousity.

Whether it'll hold up in coming weeks, or quickly falter (assuming that those who wanted to see it, did so over the weekend), will be determined... in coming weeks.

I'm no fan of Tyler Perry's, but, I have to tip my hat at what he's been able to accomplish since his celluloid debut - Diary of A Mad Black Woman. He's got the attention of studio execs, and one could say, the American film going public in general - those who love him, and those who don't; not even a speed bump can do anything to stop this ramming bus!

He's given jobs to countless African American performers, both in front and behind the camera, who wouldn't be working otherwise. Surely, love him/hate him, that deserves some kind of recognition.

Given how prolific he's been in recent years, I'm sure we can expect yet another Tyler Perry film before 2009 expires!

Here are the rest of the numbers - specifically the top 10 (cume in parentheses):

1 - Tyler Perry's Madea Goes to Jail $41,120,000
2 - Taken $11,400,000 ($95,153,000)
3 - Coraline $11,031,000 ($53,393,000)
4 - He's Just Not That Into You $8,540,000 ($70,083,000)
5 - Slumdog Millionaire $8,050,000 ($98,020,000)
6 - Friday the 13th $7,825,000 ($55,002,000)
7 - Confessions of a Shopaholic $7,019,000 ($27,654,000)
8 - Paul Blart: Mall Cop $7,000,000 ($121,380,000)
9 - Fired Up! $6,000,000 ($6,000,000)
10 - The International $4,450,000 ($17,017,000)

How many of these have you seen? I've seen exactly 1 of them - Slumdog Millionaire - and it wasn't as great as all the praise it's been getting led me to believe before I saw it.

So it goes...