Tag Archives: movies

Homo Harlem Film Retrospective

By Guest Contributor Monica, originally published at TransGriot

Racialicious Note: This post from TransGriot is from mid-June, so this festival has passed. But we thought this great list of African American LGBTQ films was worth posting anyway.

TransGriot Note: Received this interesting e-mail from the Maysles Institute in NYC about a TBLG film retrospective slated to kick off on Juneteenth (June 19) at the Maysles Cinema.

homoharlem

With arguments often eerily reminiscent of old rationales for black oppression, gays and lesbians remain openly, legally and even, ‘righteously’, discriminated against.

For LGBT people of all races, knowing ourselves, making our extraordinary history known to others, much as with blacks, becomes a key component to liberation. If LGBT heritage remains often obscured and belittled, achievements of African American lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered people, are less well known still.

In celebration of the 40th anniversary of the Stonewall Rebellion, the film festival, Homo-Harlem: A Film Retrospective, Friday, June 19th-Saturday, June 27th, cosponsored by the Maysles Cinema at 343 Malcolm X Boulevard with Men of All Colors Together, seeks to help to remedy this lack of recognition.

Through a series of coordinated screenings, critical discussions and walking tours, Homo-Harlem for the first time officially brings Stonewall observations uptown to focus on and honor, figures as diverse as poets Audre Lorde and Langston Hughes, social justice activist Bayard Rustin, composer Billy Strayhorn, photographer Marvin Smith and living legend Storme DeLarverie, whose courageous stand at the Stonewall Bar, 40 years ago, literally helped set in motion the entire Gay Pride Movement.

We LGBT people have always been busy making Harlem better, as one resident reported in 1928, “Never no wells of loneliness in Harlem…” Space is limited for this exhilarating experience, so be sure to make a reservation in advance and get ready to be enlightened, to be amazed and to party hard!

Homo-Harlem Curator and Author Michael Henry Adams

Please direct all press and requests for reservations to cinema@mayslesinstitute.org

Homo Harlem: A Film Retrospective

$10 Suggested Donation For All Screenings

Friday, June 19th

Opening Night at the Museum of the City of New York
(1220 Fifth Avenue at 103rd St, Enter at 104th St)

6:00pm Cocktail Reception

7:00pm Discussion: Kirk Shannon-Butts, Michael Henry Adams

7:30pm Screening
Blueprint (Short Preview)
Kirk Shannon-Butts, 2008
Harlem shot and set, Blueprint is the story of Keith and Nathan – two New York City college freshmen trying to make a connection.

Continue reading

More White Men Behaving Badly: A ‘Brain-On’ Look At The Hangover

By Special Correspondent Arturo R. García

hangover1

For perspective’s sake, let me start with a confession: Tropic Thunder made me laugh aloud several times, even after the misgivings I had about Kirk Lazarus. The Alpa Chino twist in the village was brilliant, even if the villagers were written like something out of an Oliver Stone wet dream. And I regularly laugh as much as I grimace at South Park and Family Guy, neither of which is exactly friendly to … well, anybody. So I’m not opposed to “lowbrow” humor.

What I cannot abide is brainless humor. And so, when I tell you that The Hangover is celluloid excrement, I don’t say it lightly. I refuse to believe that it’s “just me.” But I’m telling you, R readers: this isn’t a comedy, or even a film. I’m now halfway convinced it’s proof those cheeky Hulu “alien plot” commercials are really taunting messages of truth from our secret alien overlords. Sure, you might say, “just turn your brain off, it’s a movie,” but don’t you need a working brain to enjoy any movie?

SPOILERS AHOY!

Ostensibly a Las Vegas travel ad masquerading as a bro-mantic comedy, the root of the problem is one common to a lot of modern comedies: we’re dealing not with characters, but anthropomorphic third-rate comedic tropes – Phil the Player (Bradley Cooper), Alan the Weirdo (Zack Galifanakis) and Stuart the Wuss (Ed Helms). Coding them as such is believable when you start a film, but there’s barely a hint of personal development, let alone the “growing up” moments that usually permeate these types of films. Continue reading

Based on a True Story…Again?

By Guest Contributor slb, originally published at PostBourgie

mlkWe’ve made no secret of our belief that Hollywood is producing just a few too many paint-by-numbers Black biopics, and this week’s announcement of a whopping four black-themed biopics was just a case in point. According to Rotten Tomatoes’ Weekly Ketchup, all systems are go for an “official” biographical drama on Martin Luther King Jr., with Steven Spielberg at the helm; Will and Jada’s Overbrook Entertainment (in concert with Sony Pictures) has acquired the rights to John Keller’s life story (an ex-Marine who oversaw the rescue of 244 fellow Katrina victims); and Denzel is mulling his third directorial project, a little pet project called Brother in Arms, about “the only tank unit in the European theater of World War II that was manned by all African Americans”–based on a book co-authored by Kareem Abdul Jabbar.

We should note that the latter project has no shooting date–and the Weekly Ketchup writers slyly suggest that, perhaps, this is because there’s already a black WWII flick in the works—a Tuskegee Airmen project, currently filming in Europe.

Here’s the thing: we love heralding Black accomplishments as much as the next guy–and far be it from us to stand in the way of Our Own Stories Being Told. But aren’t most of these films rather indistinguishable from one another? If you’ve seen Remember the Titans, you’ve seen Glory Road. If you’ve seen Ray, you seen Cadillac Records (or parts of it, anyway). If you’ve seen The Rosa Parks story, you’ve seen Boycott. If you’ve seen Ali, you’ve seen… Will Smith in one too many of these vanity projects.***

It isn’t that we don’t endorse Black films being greenlighted; we do. It isn’t that we don’t love our history; we do. It’s that biopics, as a genre, are largely rote oversimplifications of incredibly complex lives. And no matter how nuanced an actor’s performance (or, as in the case of Denzel as Melvin Tolson, how phoned in), the formulaic storytelling impedes any real understanding of the person’s struggles and, more importantly, the accomplishment(s) that warranted a film in the first place. They all sort of bleed together untill you’re like, “You remember that flick where Cuba Gooding’s in the submarine and he’s a cook who manned a gatling gun?”

The best way to know your history is to research it for yourself. All the swelling music and single-teared male stars in the world aren’t going to provide you comprehensive—or even accurate—knowledge of actual events. So these “First Black ___ to Do _____” biopics work best when you go into them with your facts about the film’s subject straight. That way, you’re just watching for entertainment value and voluntary emotional manipulation.

All that said, we have to admit, we’re more than a little bit amped about Josh Brolin’s genius plan to both produce and star in a John Brown biopic. You can never have enough films about bloody, if ill-fated slave revolts.

Kinatay

by Guest Contributor Tanglad, originally published at Tanglad

Let me get this out of the way first. This is not a movie review. It is a review of movie reviews about Brillante Mendoza’s Kinatay. Spoilers follow, though the title pretty much tells you what you’re gonna get.

Last weekend, Filipino director Brillante Mendoza won the best director award at the Cannes Festival for the movie Kinatay (”Slaughtered“). Mendoza’s win was a surprise, considering how Kinatay is probably, as Prometheus Brown puts it, the most hated film at Cannes.

Exerpts from Maggie Lee’s synopsis and review at The Hollywood Reporter:

Newly married Peping, who attends the police academy, receives an offer via text message to make a fast buck with a shady friend. By nightfall, he is in a van with a group of vicious gangsters who have kidnapped a bar hostess to demand a loan repayment under orders from an elusive general…

The real time pacing, feels like being stuck in a traffic jam, but the dramatic thrust is relentless as one hears through the muffled darkness, the woman being gagged and beaten mercilessly. The horror escalates to rape, murder and dismemberment. None of this is left to the imagination, with the men’s verbal sexism being equally distasteful.

That was a positive review. (See here to view Kinatay excerpts, and here for a round-up of reviews and more background on the film.)

Roger Ebert’s review, charmingly titled “What were they thinking of?”, is typical of how critics who hated Kinatay approached the movie. There is hardly any discussion of the merits of the movie itself, and instead a whole lot of indignation over the unpleasantness that viewers were subjected to:

It is Mendoza’s conceit that it his Idea will make a statement, or evoke a sensation, or demonstrate something–if only he makes the rest of the film as unpleasant to the eyes, the ears, the mind and the story itself as possible…

No drama is developed. No story purpose is revealed…

Continue reading

Blood: The Last Vampire U.S Trailer

by Guest Contributor Angry Asian Man, originally published at Angry Asian Man

I know I’ve previously mentioned the live-action Blood: The Last Vampire adaptation before, but I’ve neglected to mention the trailer, which has been making the rounds for a while. The movie, based on Hiroyuki Kitakubo 2000 cult hit anime of the same name, marks South Korean actress Jeon Ji-Hyun’s English-language debut.

Jeon, who has apparently changed her name to Gianna Jun for the leap over the Hollywood, stars as Saya, a half-human, half-vampire samurai who is part of a covert government agency that hunts and destroys demons. In post-WWII Japan, she is inserted in an American military school to discover which one of her classmates is a demon in disguise.

Yay, for demon-hunting half-vampires. While I was a fan of the original animated movie, and enjoy vampire asskicking as much as the next guy, I am skeptical about whether this can stand out amongst the Buffy/Blade/Underworld narratives out there. And can Ms. Jun prove her chops as an English-speaking star? I guess we’re going to find out. The movie is set to open in theaters sometime this summer.

Notes from AFF’s Diversity On Screen panel

by Guest Contributor jbrotherlove, originally published at jbrotherlove

I haven’t been a very good cinephile lately. And by “not very good” I mean I haven’t attended any films in this year’s Atlanta Film Festival. In addition to being very busy at work in the past few weeks, I attribute the oversight to a combination of procrastination, lack of Atlanta friends who are passionate about independent film (Boo!), and confusion over my AFF membership status (holla at a brother, Charles).

However, I did manage to get over to the newish Starbucks in Midtown Promenade (off Piedmont Park) to attend the festival’s Diversity On Screen panel, part of their Coffeehouse Conversations series. The panel was moderated by journalist and author Gil Robertson. Author Ronda Racha Penrice, Felicia Feaster (The Atlantan), Ryan Lee (Southern Voice), and Will Hong (TurnerAsia) rounded out the panel.

In general, the panel agreed that the state of diversity in film (race, sexual orientation, gender, age, etc.) is improving. But film lags far behind television and digital/internet in terms of portraying characters and stories with complexity (Hong). Continue reading

The Racialicious Roundtable For ‘Star Trek’

Hosted by Special Correspondent Arturo R. García

poster1
And back we are, with the new hotness! Our table meets up once again to discuss:

* Our least-favorite guest-star
* Where the revamped series should go from here
* Why Uhura Matters, regardless of timeline

And much more!

Arturo: so, everybody catch the review thread?
Andrea: yaaaay!@
Mahsino: yup
Diana: yep
Andrea: ya did good, arturo!
Arturo: What amused me were the comments that went like, “Great review! This movie still sucked!”
Andrea: I suspect those critiques came from the Star Wars contingent
Mahsino: “admiral madea” killed me
Arturo: I know it killed Andrea. Ha. Well, at least Perry did.
Diana: I was like, the Matrix movies had Cornel West. Star Wars had Sam Jackson. The new Star Trek? Tyler Perry? WTF
Mahsino: Me and my brother had a huge silent wtf in the theater. Who did he pay off for that one?
Andrea: for real.
Diana: yeah
Arturo: Like I told Andrea, if the guy’s a fanboy, I can’t blame him for wanting in on it.
Andrea: I can. He just doesn’t get that he’s not as cool as whoopi.
Arturo: Hell, N’Sync wanted to play Jedi.
Diana: Was no one else available?
Diana: He can’t act without a dress
Andrea: he can’t act with a dress
Mahsino: Was Keith David not available for the “cool black guy” role?
Mahsino: The suit was Steve Harvey bad

In light of the reaction to Perry’s appearance, we present:
Eight POC Men The Table Wants To See Instead Of TP In The Sequel:
1.Sendhil Ramamurthy,
2.Forrest Whitaker,
3.Billy Dee Williams (to piss off the Lucas fans)
4.James Earl Jones (to really piss off the Lucas fans)
5.Michael Eric Dyson
6.Colin Powell (’cause Starfleet is the military, after all)
7.Charles Ogletree
8.Michael Steele

During the editing process, I noticed a glaring disparity, so allow me to add:
Five POC Women Arturo Wants To See:
1.Gina F’ing Torres
2.Michelle Yeoh
3.Minissha Lamba
4.Freema Agyeman
5.Irene Bedard

spobamaOur discussion, though, did lead us to this suggestion:
Andrea: f-ck it. Barack Obama
Mahsino: why not? He can’t be worse than perry
Diana:Obama, I’m wit it. Michele too
Arturo: Y’know, the “Barack=Spock” media meme is making me leery. it’s anti-intellectual.
Mahsino: I hate the comparison. It’s as if Spock is the new “mulatto.”
Arturo: well, to the other Vulcans, apparently he *was*
Diana: half-breed, that was a big slur on Spock
Andrea: yep.
Mahsino: what, we aren’t post-species-ist in the future? I half expected Bones to bust out with “some of my best friend are Vulcan” they way his tone was going
Andrea: no, that wouldn’t have been Bones, though
Diana: And Star Trek is supposed to be positive about the future
Arturo: It’s *positive*, but it was never pollyannaish. There’s been eps centered around racial issues throughout canon
Andrea: The kicker is, people feel they’re being complimentary with the Spock comparison, i.e. the Greenwald piece from salon.
Mahsino: The Spock/Obama composite pics make me bust out the side-eye
Arturo: Like I said on the thread, though, Bones’ remarks weren’t presented as being as virulent as the sh-t Spock heard back home
Andrea: but to your comment about race not seeming illogical, arturo….it doesn’t surprise that the vulcans came out their mouths the way they did.
Diana: Bones’ beef with Spock was more understandable. The little vulcans were just mean
Arturo: Kids are f’d up, on any world.
Andrea: racism has its own logic.
Arturo: until Spocky opened up the can of whoop-ass
Continue reading

Back To The Future: The Racialicious Review of Star Trek

By Special Correspondent Arturo R. García, also Posted At Arturo Vs. The World

Cast1

WARNING: SPOILERS AHEAD!

Let’s get the questions out of the way now:

Is the command structure in the new Star Trek entirely ridiculous? Yes!
Is the “Red Matter” the epitome of flimsy sci-fi “science”? Yes!
Is a small, evil part of me disappointed that we didn’t see Tyler Perry as Admiral Madea? Kinda!
Is Classic Spock’s entire presence a series of plot-connecting contrivances? Definitely!
Does any of this make the film any less enjoyable? Absolutely not!

No, the new Star Trek (iTrek, for short) is not anything like the original series. That’s the whole damn point, one that’s acknowledged early on. This is a different timeline – doesn’t mean prior canon doesn’t count; just that the game is different from here on out.

And even then, this story and this ensemble nailed the most important aspect of any Trek movie – the relationships between the Enterprise’s core group – while at the same time redefining them. In short: Uhura hooking up with Spock? Good. Uhura hooking up with Spock over Kirk? Great! Continue reading