All posts by Arturo

The Racialicious Roundtable For Flash Forward 1.8

Hosted by Special Correspondent Arturo R. García

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Maybe we’re just bad luck.

I mean, you saw what happened to Heroes on the Roundtable’s watch. Now comes word that Flash Forward is slipping, ratings-wise. If I’d known about this effect sooner I would’ve started convening Glee roundtables.

Just kidding, Mahsino!

But, anyway, dear readers, what do you make of this show getting beat out in the ratings by … by the Vampire Diaries? In the meantime, let’s cover “Playing Cards With Coyote”:

al1Best thing about this week’s episode: consistent (or at least, constant) follow-up on Al’s “gift” to Demetri. I also thought Celia getting 15 minutes of fame out of it was an interesting touch. Your thoughts?
Diana: I don’t know if I missed something, but the logic seemed kind of flawed to me. I did not know Al knew Celia’s full name/identity. With that said, I still mourn Al’s loss and wonder if there could have been a less drastic measure to achieve the same outcome. But then I guess it would not be as dramatic and worth putting on the front page of a newspaper that the future could be changed.
jen*: I’m with you Diana – how would Demetri know to deliver the letter to her if Al stated in the letter that he didn’t even know her last name? Maybe he used Mosaic?
Arturo: I think Al mentioned cross-referenced her with his vision in Mosaic during last week’s ep. It stands to reason – though, in retrospect, it should’ve been spelled out – that Dem or somebody did the same.

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‘Couples Retreat’ Advertising: Now You See POC, Now You Don’t

By Special Correspondent Arturo R. García

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Let’s play a little game of Photoshop sleight-of-hand. See the poster up there for Couples’ Retreat? Now look below:

RetreatUK

Presto! Somewhere over the Pond, Faizon Love and Kali Hawk disappeared from the poster, as the 2nd version was the one used to promote the film in the U.K. As reported on Yahoo, a spokesman for the film’s distributor, Universal, said the move was made “to simplify the poster to actors who are most [recognizable] in international markets.”

But two years ago, in a New York Times article, BET head Reginald Hudlin had a different theory:

“I always call international the new South … In the old days, they told you black films don’t travel down South. Now they say it’s not going to travel overseas.”

Both the Times and Entertainment Weekly cited, among other films, Dreamgirls as an example of the “doesn’t travel well” theory, noting the discrepancy between its’ showings in the international and U.S. box-offices; only 38 percent of its’ total business came from markets abroad. But that was a marked success compared to, say, Hustle & Flow, which only got 6 percent of its’ business outside of the States.

While reading the EW article, here’s one theory a reader posted regarding this trend:

I believe that as Black Actors make more movies that don’t SEEM to be made for African-American Audiences. they’ll do better abroad. As much as I like Eddie Murphy, his movies from Norbit to The Nutty Professor are more, how can I say it, aimed at what he thinks Black audiences will enjoy. And they don’t have international appeal.

So here’s some questions, readers: Is more critically-acclaimed fare like Hustle & Flow and Dreamgirls getting dragged down by the Norbits of the world? Is this a response/push-back against the American film industry relegating more diverse stories to the art houses and film festival circuit? What are your thoughts?

NOOOOOOOOOO!: The Racialicious Roundtable For Flash Forward 1.7

Hosted by Special Correspondent Arturo R. García

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“The Gift” marked, I hope, a real transition point for our team of protagonists. Because we got to see Al as not only sympathetic, but close to well-rounded; his sacrifice, I feel resonated for the viewers. More on this later. Meanwhile, this episode provided another glimpse into why the death of our alleged lead protagonist, Mark, would *not*.

The big problem with Mark is this: until he wore that Police shirt under his jacket, I had no idea the guy *liked* anything. We’re told he loves his wife, but the chemistry between them hasn’t ever been there, even in the “good times.” Until this week, he didn’t crack one joke (compared to Demetri, who’s been at least able to pull off the facade of joviality at times). Like I said last week, he’s a melodramatic character in an action-oriented series. (Another symptom of forcing melodrama where it doesn’t belong: The “pensive” little music videos that seem to close every episode. This week it might have stirred genuine emotion, had we not had to deal with one for most of the season.) I also don’t think Mark is as engaging to the “casual” fan as the showrunners may want to believe. If Brannon Braga and Co. aren’t careful, they might have another Claire Bennet on their hands. Continue reading

Race & Comic-Books: Rima The Jungle Girl

By Special Correspondent Arturo R. García

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DC Comics has begun drumming up buzz for the “First Wave” world – an alternate universe populated by pulp characters like Doc Savage and The Spirit, and pulp incarnations of modern characters like Batman and the first Black Canary.

Monday, though, we got a first look at a potential wrong turn in the new line: creators Brian Azzarello and Rags Morales’ new take on Rima The Jungle Girl. From the notes posted above:

Rima has no trace of any European ancestry in her features – she is clearly native and supernaturally beautiful … and always mysterious.

Red flags much?

As it turns out, the character does indeed have its roots in pulp literature, specifically the novel Green Mansions: A Romance Of The Tropical Forest, where Rima – here a white, dark-haired teenage girl – is depicted as a sort-of Noble Lolita Savage: though only 17, the book’s narrator, Abel, falls in love with her because of her “pure” connection with nature – e.g., she can talk to birds. In the book, Rima is the sole survivor of her peaceful (of course!) tribe, which was allegedly based on the legend of a group of white-skinned people who lived in the South American wilderness. Her story ends when – spoiler alert! – she’s burned to death by another (presumably darker-skinned) tribe. Continue reading

The Racialicious Roundtable For Flash Forward 1.6

Hosted by Special Correspondent Arturo R. García

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What’s the bigger piece of sci-fi: that everybody on the planet can be knocked the you-know-what out at once, or that an imprecise recitation of Schroedinger’s Cat can work as a pick-up line?…

… No, really, let me know. If the latter is even close to plausible, I’ve still got the monologue on my DVR so I can transcribe it. Meantime, let’s see what the Table thought of “Scary Monsters and Super Creeps.”

SUPER CHO + JETT JACKSON TEAM-UP HOUR! Demetri is like Midas on this show. But it already looks like he’s starting to burn out, no?

Mahsino: Like I said in our first roundtable for this: Demetri’s back must be tired from all this show carrying he’s doing. Yeah Stan and Al are lightening the load, but still… I’m just hoping his “murder file” was just a cover up for witness protection and he’s in a short coma during April 29. Yeah, it would be really convenient, but I’ll take it.
Diana: I like the Demetri/Jett Jackson pairing much better than Demetri/Shakespeare. Mahsino, I’m with you. I’m hoping his lack of a flashforward and his murder can be explained by something else.
jen*: Great to see them together, and any pairing with Fiennes is gonna suck in comparison to one with Jett Jackson – from jump. I liked the ~Blue Hand~ exposition without our British buddy, but I’d love for Cho to get a revelation of his own – maybe some way to change his “destiny”? Continue reading

Festival Picks: ‘You Don’t Know Jack: The Jack Soo Story,’ ‘Arusi: Persian Wedding’ & ‘Shades Of Ray’

By Special Correspondent Arturo R. García

These notes are taken from complimentary screenings courtesy of the San Diego Asian Film Festival, which concluded Thursday night.

For those of us who only remember Jack Soo from watching Barney Miller with our parents, the documentary You Don’t Know Jack is aptly named, as it reveals a pleasant set of surprises.

Directed by Jeff Adachi, Jack is concise (it clocks in at just under an hour) but not rushed, covering its subject with a relaxed cool that, as we soon learn, fed not only the onstage persona he developed as a singer, nightclub host and comedian, but made him an asset to Japanese-American families interned in California during World War II, as he organized talent revues and shows to lift spirits at the Topaz War Relocation Center in Utah. He even managed to arrange permission and transportation for off-site shows. Soo’s singing ability is shown off about halfway through the movie, when you hear his rendition of “For Once In My Life,” made popular by Stevie Wonder.
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The Racialicious Roundtable For Flash Forward 1.5

Hosted by Special Correspondent Arturo R. García

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Two weeks without Heroes and yours truly still feels great. But as the Roundtable will explain, watching “Gimme Some Truth,” it’s becoming more apparent that Flash Forward is beating Heroes at some of its’ own strengths – even if Mark Bedford there looks like a bit of a weenie in the pic above. Still, in a show made of WIN, as the kidz say, one moment shone above the rest:

John Cho doing Karaoke: Awesome or REALLY Awesome?

Diana: REALLY AWESOME. I forget what ’80s song he was singing, but it was tugging at my nostalgia heartstrings. I’m even more in love. [sigh]

Andrea: Neither. John Cho sings harmonizes better than the angels; he shoots like a gunslinger; he shut down some kyriarchal shenanigans with a single snap; he helped counter the balderdash regarding Black women’s hair; he gives good glow. Naw, Cho’s not Awesome or REALLY Awesome—he’s Ultimate. So Ultimate there’s a mini-movement to make Cho the patron hottie of Racialicious, right?
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The Fallout From Latino In America

By Special Correspondent Arturo R. García


Note: Video contains one instance of NSFW language

This was noted in last week’s thread over Part 2 of CNN’s Latino In America, but it’s worth a bigger mention: it looks like the network is getting the wrong kind of attention for it, as Latino groups seized on the broadcast to protest CNN’s continued involvement with Lou Dobbs, as reported by the New York Times:

Roberto Lovato, a founding member of Presente.org, a Latino advocacy group, said in a statement, “We won’t allow the network to court us as viewers while, at the same time, they allow Dobbs to spread lies and misinformation about us each night.”

Neither CNN nor Soledad O’Brien, who presented the four-hour series, has offered a public comment on the protests; in fact, according to several stories, the network didn’t even cover them. But even worse for CNN, pro-immigrant attorney Lorena García, one of the few people who were profiled positively in the series told the Times the network clipped her own comments:

She had expected a 15-minute conversation about immigration opposite Joe Arpaio, the sheriff of Maricopa County, Ariz., and a staunch supporter in immigration enforcement, on the prime-time program “Anderson Cooper 360.” During the taped interview Wednesday, she said she made several unprompted comments about Mr. Dobbs.

She said she called Mr. Arpaio and Mr. Dobbs “the two most dangerous men to our communities,” and said that “because of them, our communities are being terrorized in a real way.” She also asserted that CNN was “promoting lies and hate about our community” by broadcasting Mr. Dobbs’s program. The comments were not included when the interview was shown Wednesday night.

“They heavily deleted what I did get to say,” she said.

CNN said the segment in question was tied to “Latino in America.”

“As with all pre-taped interviews, they are edited for time and relevance to the topic of discussion,” a spokeswoman said. “The debate between Isabel Garcia and Joe Arpaio was no exception.”

Of course, CNN’s and Anderson Cooper’s willingness to broadcast a debate between García and Arpaio is also questionable, given the ads featuring Cooper hyping the talk as “extreme.” As I wrote in my reviews, the series’ and/or O’Brien’s inability or unwillingness to place their stories in a larger context on the air, or to acknowledge the disparity between figures like O’Brien and Dobbs and what role they or the network have in the pictures America at large receives of its’ Latino immigrant populations, only weakened whatever good CNN thinks would come out of the series.

Video courtesy of Basta Dobbs

UPDATE: Courtesy of Muslimah Media Watch & The Daily Show, another example of CNN undermining its’ cause:

The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon – Thurs 11p / 10c
Moment of Zen – Latino Stereotypes
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