Tag: film

December 8, 2010 / / hollywood

by Guest Contributor Debbie Reese, originally published at American Indians in Children’s Literature

There’s been a lot of buzz amongst friends and colleagues about the film Reel Injun. The title itself says a lot. “Reel” —a reel of film—and “Injun”—a derogatory word for Indian—but the title also points to what is missing from film and from children’s and young adult literature: real Indians.

Saying the phrase, “real Indians”, makes me cringe. First, it is the year 2010, and we—people who are American Indian—encounter people who think we were all wiped out by enemy tribes, disease, or war.  Or, people who think that in order to be “real Indians” we have to live our lives the same ways our ancestors did. Course, they don’t expect their own identities and lives to look like those of their own ancestors… In principle, we are a lot like anyone else. We have ways of thinking about the world and ways of being in that world (spiritually and materially) that were–and are—handed down from one generation to the next. Though we wear jeans and athletic shoes (or business suits and dress shoes), we also maintain clothing we sometimes wear for spiritual and religious purposes. Just like any cultural group, anywhere. Read the Post REEL INJUN: Film about portrayals of American Indians in movies

February 17, 2010 / / culture

by Special Correspondent Arturo R. García
khan1

WARNING: SPOILERS AHEAD

The die is cast early in My Name Is Khan, when the titular lead, Rizwan Khan (Shah Rukh Khan), having already been identified as autistic, is snarkily asked by a TSA agent what he has to tell the President.

“My name is Khan,” he answers. “And I am not a terrorist.” Then the camera zooms in on the baffled agent and the score swells as if to kick him in the throat and yell PWNED!

The punchline is doubly appropriate, given the real-life Khan’s own run-ins with airport security, and a signal that, though it lacks the musical stylings of more familiar Bollywood fare, Rizwan’s story will not skimp on the melodrama on the way to making its point. But at least it does so effectively.

khan2As he learns after moving to America, Rizwan lives with Asperger’s syndrome. Still, during the first half of the movie, Rizwan’s condition makes him a wiz at repairs, and doesn’t deter him from working as a salesman for his brother (Jimmy Shergill) – or from pursuing a relationship with Mandira (Kajol), a hair stylist he meets during his rounds. The early scenes between Rizwan and Mandira are so bubble-gummy they threaten to make Slumdog Millionaire look cynical, but there’s enough of a contrast between theirs and other rom-com couples to keep the schmaltz from completely overwhelming the viewer.
Read the Post The Racialicious Review For My Name Is Khan

February 3, 2010 / / marketing

By Guest Contributor AJ Christian, originally published at Televisual

The New York Times has an interesting interactive feature out that maps the top 50 rentals for 2009 based on the Netflix queues from a dozen US cities: New York, Boston, Chicago, Washington, Milwaukee, Dallas, Miami, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Altanta, Seattle and Denver. The list is a bit skewed because these are all fairly cosmopolitan areas — Benjamin Button and Changeling are at the top of the list — though that probably reflects what I assume is Netflix’s popularity in urban and suburban communities to begin with.

The list reminds us films have long lives. The press focuses almost solely on opening weekend box office returns and forgets films go to the rental market, DVD sales, pay-cable and OnDemand. Often these venues are great for films that couldn’t get people in theaters but are nevertheless intriguing or enjoyable. Movies by and about minorities sometimes can find audiences unwilling to shell out $6-$12+ for ticket (the gay film market has operated for years on this assumption).

I was surprised to see Traitor on the list — in the middle, but still before many popular Hollywood films. Traitor, a Don Cheadle-starrer about an alleged terrorist who may or may not secretly be working for the United States, made a paltry $27 million in theaters, just $23M in the U.S. Don Cheadle doesn’t have the Box Office pull of a Will Smith or Denzel Washington, despite his role in the Ocean’s Eleven films. Yet in the rental market, it seems black communities have taken a small liking to the film. The New York Times‘ map has it markedly popular in Atlanta — with a strong presence in the middle class/Morehouse area inside the perimeter — in D.C. and in neighborhoods like Bed-Stuy in New York.

Read the Post The Life of Films: Black People Watched “Traitor”! Sophisticated Urbanites Heart “Milk”!

December 21, 2009 / / hollywood
September 15, 2009 / / african-american

by Latoya Peterson

Bringing up Tyler Perry tends to complicate conversations.  He is a polarizing figure, represented by his work, an entrepreneur who provides work for black actors often passed over by the Hollywood machine, yet who trades in what some would call limiting representations of blackness and/or stereotypes.  He is often touted as proof that blacks can achieve success outside of the mainstream, and yet speaking with those who have worked for him in below the line positions casts doubt that Perry is dedicated to anything outside of making (and keeping) money.

Still, as Tyler Perry keeps making headlines, we continue to wade through these conversations, which involve his work but are really conversations about race, class, and gender.

A couple of weeks ago, while guesting over at Jezebel, I was asked to write a piece on Tyler Perry being tapped to write, direct, and produce a film based on Ntozake Shange’s choreopoem “For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide When The Rainbow is Enuf.”

I was immediately skeptical.

Read the Post Scattered Thoughts on Tyler Perry