For movies opening May 12, 2017

 

OPENING THIS WEEK

Kam’s Kapsules

Weekly Previews That Make Choosing a Film Fun

by Kam Williams

For movies opening May 12, 2017

MOVIES OPENING THIS WEEK,   Kam's Kapsules,  Weekly Previews That Make Choosing a Film Fun,  by Kam Williams

BIG BUDGET FILMS

Dead Awake (Unrated) Suspense thriller about a social worker (Jocelin Donahue) who lands in a world of supernatural terror while investigating a series of mysterious deaths where each victim contracted a condition called sleep paralysis. Ensemble cast includes Jesse Bradford, Brea Grant, James Eckhouse and Lori Petty.

King Arthur: Legend of the Sword (PG-13 for violence, action, suggestive content and brief profanity) Charlie Hunnam plays the title character in this reimagining of the medieval tale which finds the the mythical monarch in a quest to reclaim the crown after being robbed of his birthright by a power-hungry uncle (Jude Law). With Djimon Hounsou, Eric Bana, Astrid Berges-Frisbey and Aidan Gillen.   

Lowriders (PG-13 for sensuality, profanity, violence, mature themes and brief drug use) Dysfunctional family drama, set in East L.A., revolving around a teenage street artist (Gabriel Chavarria) torn between his need for self-expression and his father (Demian Bichir) and ex-con brother’s (Theo Rossi) obsession with cruising around in a custom car that bounces. Featuring Eva Longoria, Melissa Benoist and Cress Williams.

Snatched (R for sexuality, brief nudity, pervasive profanity and crude humor) Action comedy about an uptight, helicopter mom (Goldie Hawn) who joins her recently-dumped daughter (Amy Schumer) for a getaway to a supposed paradise, only to have their exotic vacation turn into a neverending nightmare. Cast includes Wanda Sykes, Joan Cusack and Christopher Meloni.

   

INDEPENDENT & FOREIGN FILMS

Absolutely Anything (Unrated) Sci-fi comedy about some advanced aliens from another planet who test the human species’ morality by temporarily blessing a Special Ed teacher (Simon Pegg) with superpowers. With Kate Beckinsale, Sanjeev Bhaskar, Rob Riggle and Eddie Izzard. (In English and French with subtitles)

Generation Iron 2 (Unrated) Bodybuilding sequel featuring the perfect physiques of five of the top figures in the field: Kai Greene, Rich Piana, Calujm Von Moger, Iris Kyle and Mamdouh Elssbiay.   

Meri Pyaari Bindu (Unrated) Romantic comedy about a best-selling author with writer’s block (Ayushmann Khurrana) who returns to his roots to work on a love story about the free-spirited woman (Parineeti Chopra) he just can’t get out of his head. Supporting cast includes Aparajita Adhya, Abish Mathew and Malvika Sitlani. (In Hindi with subtitles)

Paris Can Wait (PG for smoking, mature themes and mild epithets) Eleanor Coppola (wife of Francis Ford) makes her directorial debut with this romantic comedy about a miserably-married housewife (Diane Lane) who gets a new lease on life when she embarks on a carefree jaunt from Cannes to Paris with her preoccupied husband’s (Alec Baldwin) business partner (Arnaud Viand). With Cedric Monnet, Elise Tielrooy, Elodie Navarre and Pierre Cuq.

Stefan Zweig: Farewell to Europe (Unrated) Reverential biopic about Stefan Zweig (Josef Hader), chronicling the celebrated Jewish author’s years in exile following his fleeing his native Austria for South America in 1936. Featuring Tomas Lemarquis, Barbara Sukowa and Charly Hubner. (In English, French, Portuguese, Spanish and German with subtitles) 

The Wall (R for violence and pervasive profanity) Iraq War sniper saga revolving around a couple of American soldiers (John Cena and Aaron Taylor-Johnson) who find themselves pinned down in the desert with only an unstable wall standing between them and a sharpshooter (Laith Nakli). 

The Wedding Plan (PG for mature themes) Romantic comedy about a jilted, Jewish bride-to-be (Noa Koler) who instead of cancelling the wedding, enlists the assistance of matchmakers in her desperate attempt to find another mate in a month. With Dafi Alferon, Oded Leopold, Udi Persi and Ronny Merhavi. (In Hebrew with subtitles)

Whisky Galore (Unrated) Remake of the 1949 farce of the same name about some Scottish pals’ plunder of booze from a ship that ran agound in the Outer Hebrides. Ensemble cast includes Eddie Izzard, Naomi Battrick, Ellie Kendrick, James Cosmo and Sean Biggerstaff. 

Schumer and Hawn Share Vacation from Hell in Hilarious Farce

 

Snatched

Film Review by Kam Williams

Schumer and Hawn Share Vacation from Hell in Hilarious Farce 

Emily Middleton (Amy Schumer) is just having one of those days. First, she’s fired from her sales job in a boutique for irresponsibly ignoring customers in order to try on outfits for herself. Second, her boyfriend (Randall Park) callously dumps her on the eve of their planned romantic getaway to Ecuador, stating, “You don’t have any direction in life.”

Snatched,  Film Review by Kam Williams, Amy Schumer, Randall Park, Goldie Hawn, Wanda Sykes, Joan Cusack

Then, she cries on the shoulder of her mother (Goldie Hawn) who only proceeds to rub salt in her wounds with, “Michael was the best you’ll ever do.” Nevertheless, against her better judgment, Emily invites her on the trip because the pre-paid  vacation package is non-refundable.

Trouble is, Linda is also highly-neurotic, a worrier who rarely leaves the house, let alone the country. Plus, she’s a helicopter mom, which means she’ll be hovering around Emily the whole time, and thus probably preventing her from meeting a new guy. In the end, Linda grudgingly agrees to step out of her comfort zone, and hastily packs for what ought to be an uneventful stay an exclusive resort in paradise, judging from the brochure.

That is the stock setup of Snatched, a screwball comedy far more entertaining than it might read on paper. For, while the script does unfold like a generic “Vacation from Hell” yarn, it’s actually way above average, since it’s executed by a stellar cast topped by a quartet of consummate comediennes.

The picture co-stars Amy Schumer and Goldie Hawn as the aforementioned mother-daughter at the center of the story. It also features a couple of veterans in scene stealers Wanda Sykes and Joan Cusack who make the most of their supporting roles.

The plot thickens soon after the protagonists land in Ecuador. First, Emily’s swept off her feet by a tall, dark and handsome stranger (Tom Bateman) she meets in a bar. The next morning, he lures them off the safe confines of the compound for what’s supposed to be an innocuous adventure of the countryside.

Snatched,  Film Review by Kam Williams, Amy Schumer, Randall Park, Goldie Hawn, Wanda Sykes, Joan Cusack

Next thing you know, the Middletons find themselves kidnapped by a ruthless gang led by the bloodthirsty Morgado (Oscar Jaenada) demanding $100, 000 ransom. Trouble is, the U.S. State Department could care less, and Emily’s brother Jeffrey (Ike Barinholtz) is an agoraphobic who couldn’t be counted on to come to the rescue.

Not to worry. The squabbling mother-daughter put aside their differences and rely on their wits to survive. Schumer, Hawn, Sykes and Cusack, all at the top of their game.

Pound-for-pound, the funniest film to be released in theaters this year!

Excellent (4 stars)

Rated R for sexuality, brief nudity, pervasive profanity and crude humor

Running time: 91 minutes

Production Studio: Chernin Entertainment

Distributor: 20th Century Fox

Ready for Her Close-Up!

 

Amirah Vann,  The “Underground” Interview with Kam Williams, actress, singer/songwriter, NAACP Image Award nomination, Amirah Vann 

The “Underground” Interview

with Kam Williams

Ready for Her Close-Up!

An actress and singer/songwriter from Far Rockaway, Queens, Amirah Vann began performing at a young age. Pursuing her passion for performing, she completed her undergraduate study in acting at Fordham University at Lincoln Center before entering a graduate acting program at NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts.

Soon thereafter, Amirah began working with The Continuum Company under the direction of Jim Calder. She traveled with the company to Florence, Italy, performing in “A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” while collaborating as a vocalist with Jonathan Batiste (“The Late Show”) to develop original music for the production. She also performed in the company’s popular production of “Pericles.” 

Upon graduation, Amirah  to participate in a variety of developmental musical workshops, including “Kingdom,” “Holler If You Hear Me,” “Sweethearts of Swing,” “The Lady Killers Love Story” and “Cubamor.” She made her Off-Broadway debut in “Laughing Pictures” at the Flea Theatre, and continued her stage career in “Trouble In Mind,” “The Mountaintop,” “Vanya and Sonya and Masha and Spike,” “Wax Wings” and “Blueprint.”

Amirah Vann,  The “Underground” Interview with Kam Williams, actress, singer/songwriter, NAACP Image Award nomination,

She began her television career in roles on “Girls” (HBO), “Believe” (NBC) and “Mozart in the Jungle” (Amazon). Her film credits include Tracers, And So It Goes, Don’t Worry Baby, Once More with Feeling and Three and a Half Thoughts.

Amirah was recently nominated for a NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series for her work in “Underground,” WGN America’s critically acclaimed hit series. Here, she talks about her role on the show as “Ernestine.”

Kam Williams: Hi Amirah, thanks for the interview.

Amirah Vann: It’s my pleasure, Kam. Thank you.

KW: What interested you in Underground?

AV: Misha Green and Joe Pokaski’s writing. It’s smart, dynamic, and bold!

KW: Congratulations on your character’s expanded role during the second season.

AV: Thank you. Ms. Ernestine is such an amazing, complex woman that I was thrilled to get the opportunity to go deeper into her story.

Amirah Vann,  The “Underground” Interview with Kam Williams, actress, singer/songwriter, NAACP Image Award nomination,

KW: How would you describe her in 25 words or less?

AV: She’s like so many women I know: strong, resilient, wise and beautifully flawed.

KW: Has her plight ever struck an emotional chord in you?

AV: Most definitely! These are our ancestors, and what they had to endure is almost unimaginable. But the fact remains that Ms. Ernestine found the courage to get up and face another day. So, it is my duty to share her courage and her humanity.

KW: What message do you want people to take away from the series?

AV: Let’s all be soldiers! Join me on the front lines. I am arming myself with a voice that speaks for equality and justice, a spirit of love, and a walk with God.

KW: AALBC.com founder Troy Johnson asks: What was the last book you read?

AV: God, Dr. Buzzard, and the Bolito Man” by Cornelia Bailey. It beautifully reflects both the Gullah Geechee Nation, my African-American father’s history, and my mother’s stories of Puerto Rico.

https://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0385493770/ref=nosim/thslfofire-20

KW: What is your favorite dish to cook?

AV: My favorite meal is pollo guisado with arroz con habichuelas and a side salad with avocado, and stewed chicken with rice and beans.

KW: Sherry Gillam would like to know what is the most important life lesson you’ve learned so far? 

AV: Live honoring your truth, not in response to others.

KW: What’s the craziest thing you’ve ever done?

AV: Daring to pursue my dreams. It’s not such a crazy idea y’all!

KW: If you could have one wish instantly granted, what would that be for?

AV: Leadership that reflects the diverse citizens they represent.

KW: The Uduak Oduok question: Who is your favorite clothes designer?

AV: Hmmm… That’s tough. I can say I love baggy jeans and a hoodie as much as I do an elegant dress.

KW: The Anthony Mackie question: Is there anything that you promised yourself you’d do if you became famous, that you still haven’t done yet?

AV: Give back! Love doing that and will continue.

KW: Harriet Pakula-Teweles asks: With so many classic films being redone, is there a remake you’d like to star in?

AV: I would love to be in a remake of Set it Off.

KW: Judyth Piazza asks: What key quality do you believe all successful people share? 

AV: They pressed on through the storm.

KW: Finally, what’s in your wallet?

AV: A Metro card. Always ready to jump on the train.

KW: Thanks again for the time, Amirah, and good luck with Underground.

AV: Thank you, Kam.

Anything Goes in Guy Ritchie’s Fanciful Reimagining of Classic Medieval Fable

 

King Arthur: Legend of the Sword

Film Review by Kam Williams

Anything Goes in Guy Ritchie’s Fanciful Reimagining of Classic Medieval Fable 

Do you remember what happened to the Sherlock Holmes franchise in Guy Ritchie’s hands? The low-key, cerbral sleuth who solved mysteries with his intellect suddenly morphed into a flamboyant, two-fisted superhero as likely to rely on brains as brawn to solve a case.

Well brace yourself for a similar transformation with King Arthur: Legend of the Sword. Again, Ritchie makes a concession to the attention-deficit demographic in crafting a fanciful reimagining of the beloved epic that plays out more like a frenetic, action-packed video game than a classic medieval tale.

King Arthur: Legend of the Sword,  Film Review by Kam Williams, Sherlock Holmes, Charlie Hunnam, Astrid Berges-Frisbey, Kamil Lemieszewski

Nonetheless, the good news is that the movie works, if all you’re looking for is to be entertained by an overblown summer blockbuster with an A-rating when it comes to state-of-the-art special f/x. And the characters even sport familiar names, from King Arthur (Charlie Hunnam) to Lady Guinevere (Astrid Berges-Frisbey) to Merlin the Magician (Kamil Lemieszewski). But I still defy anyone to make sense of this hyperactive adventure which abandons the British folklore upon which it’s ostensibly based in deference to a cinematic mandate for incessant stimulation. 

The picture’s rudimentary plot unfolds as follows.  At the point of departure, King Uther (Eric Bana) is assassinated at the behest of his power-hungry brother, Vortigern (Jude Law). Instead of ascending to the thrown, Arthur grows up a lowly street urchin, utterly oblivious of his royal bloodline until the moment, years later, he manages to pull the magical sword Excalibur out of a stone.

King Arthur: Legend of the Sword,  Film Review by Kam Williams, Sherlock Holmes, Charlie Hunnam, Astrid Berges-Frisbey, Kamil Lemieszewski

Cognizant of his rendezvous with destiny, with the help of a big bird, an archer (Aidan Gillen), a black knight (Djimon Hounsou) and psychic Guinevere, Arthur embarks on an epic  quest to reclaim his birthright. And what an eye-popping spectacle it proves to be!

Guy, I like what you’ve done with the legend!

Very Good (3 stars)

Rated PG-13 for violence, action, suggestive content and brief profanity

Running time: 126 minutes

Distributor: Warner Brothers Pictures

Top Ten DVD List for May 9, 2017

 

This Week’s DVD Releases

by Kam Williams

Top Ten DVD List for May 9, 2017

This Week’s DVD Releases, Kam Williams, Top Ten DVD List, 05/09/2017

Heat

https://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B06XS9TPYR/ref%3dnosim/thslfofire-20

Orange Is the New Black: Season Four

https://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN//B06XCN8TMD/ref%3dnosim/thslfofire-20

Chicago Cubs 2016 World Series: The Complete Game 7

https://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B06W2GDF8X/ref%3dnosim/thslfofire-20

Rake: Series 1

https://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B01N14SG4A/ref%3dnosim/thslfofire-20

Serial Mom

https://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B06W2GF1P3/ref%3dnosim/thslfofire-20

Divorce: The Complete First Season

https://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN//B01NAZN17P/ref%3dnosim/thslfofire-20

Nova: The Origami Revolution

https://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B01MQVDVUD/ref%3dnosim/thslfofire-20

Plants Behaving Badly

https://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B01MS5Q1I9/ref%3dnosim/thslfofire-20

Secrets of the Dead: Nero’s Sunken City

https://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B06X91ZRW4/ref%3dnosim/thslfofire-20

Fifty Shades Darker

https://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B01MTD0LE5/ref%3dnosim/thslfofire-20

Honorable Mention

PBS Kids: All about Allergies

https://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B01N9PYOL6/ref%3dnosim/thslfofire-20

Bloodrunners

https://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B06XC9Q595/ref%3dnosim/thslfofire-20

Cynthia Nixon Delivers Exquisite Depiction of Poet Emily Dickinson

 

A Quiet Passion

Film Review by Kam Williams

Cynthia Nixon Delivers Exquisite Depiction of Poet Emily Dickinson   

Emily Dickinson (1830-1886) had less than a dozen of her 1,800 poems published, while she was still alive. Since she was only appreciated posthumously, it makes sense that a movie about her life might revolve around something other than the literary prowess that went unrecognized by her contemporaries.

A Quiet Passion,  Film Review by Kam Williams, Emily Dickinson, Terrence Davies, feminist abolitionist, melancholy mood piece,

In bring her story to the big screen, writer/director Terrence Davies (The Deep Blue Sea) wisely resisted the temptation to pore over the prolific scribe’s evocative verses in favor of plumbing the depths of her terribly tortured soul. The upshot of that endeavor is A Quiet Passion, an exquisite costume drama  alternately presenting the protagonist as an iconoclastic visionary and as a retiring recluse.

On the macro level, the socially-conscious production subtly suggests that the agnostic, feminist abolitionist was ahead of her time and withdrew from the world in response to being raised in an era when evangelism, slavery and male chauvinism were the order of the day. Meanwhile, on the micro level, the character-driven drama telescopes intensely on a fragile psyche ostensibly further crippled by a cloistered existence. 

As the film unfolds, we find Emily (played in her teens by Emma Bell, later as an adult by Cynthia Nixon) just finishing a frustrating freshman year at Mount Holyoke. She soon decides to drop out due to the pressure being unfairly exerted by the school’s president, Mary Lyon (Sara Vertongen), to conform to the outwardly pious practices dictated by the Christian revival movement. Introspective Emily rebels because she sees her relationship with God as a direct and personal matter as opposed to one demanding public displays of devotion at church services.

So, she returns to Amherst, Massachusetts, where she again takes up residence on the grounds of the Dickinson family estate inhabited by her parents (Keith Carradine and Joanna Bacon), brother (Duncan Duff) and sister (Jennifer Ehle). Unfortunately, headstrong Emily proves unable to bite her tongue when visitors like the local pastor (Miles Richardson) or even a potential suitor (Stefan Menaul) come a callin’.

Although she does eventually make trusted confidantes of her sister-in-law Susan (Jodhi May) and the equally-irreverent Mabel Loomis Todd (Noemie Schellens), her preference remains the solitude of the remote, upstairs bedroom which affords her the opportunity to craft her immortal poems in secret. Cynthia Nixon has never been more convincing than conveying the emotional fires simmering just beneath the surface of such a stoic countenance.

A melancholy mood piece for the ages!

Excellent (4 stars)

Rated PG-13 for mature themes, disturbing images and suggestive material

Production Studio: Hurricane Films

Running time: 126 minutes

Distributor: Music Box Films

Military Misfits Take Shot at Redemption in High Body-Count Splatterfest

 

Black Site Delta,  Film Review by Kam Williams, The Dirty Dozen, gratuitous snuff flick, Cam Gigandet, Benjamin Charles WatsonBlack Site Delta

Film Review by Kam Williams

Military Misfits Take Shot at Redemption in High Body-Count Splatterfest   

Black Site Delta is a micro-budget production most reminiscent of The Dirty Dozen (1967). Like that classic action flick, the action-oriented tale of redemption revolves around the patriotic exploits of a rag-tag team of convicts.

However, given the film’s financial constraints, it features a team of 6 instead of 12 protagonists. They are led by Jake (Cam Gigandet), a vet suffering from PTSD who, at the point of departure, lands in a military prison following a bar fight. He soon discovers that the place doubles as a black site kept off the radar of the general public.

His fellow inmates are other disgraced soldiers, such as Simms (Benjamin Charles Watson), a former drone pilot incarcerated for refusing to drop a bomb on a terrorist at  a child’s birthday party full of kids. Truth be told, the facility has been hijacked to secretly serve as the command center for a treasonous operation employing a weapon of mass destruction.

Black Site Delta,  Film Review by Kam Williams, The Dirty Dozen, gratuitous snuff flick, Cam Gigandet, Benjamin Charles Watson

Apparently, one Colonel Irving (Michael Dale) has gone rogue and is now doing the bidding of an Afghan warlord named Khan (Arash Mokhtar). Once that fact comes to light, Jake recruits Simms, his love interest Vasquez (Teri Reeves), and a few other cellmates with the hope that their heroics might lead to full pardons. What ensues is a  spectacular splatterfest worthy of John Woo or Sam Peckinpah.

Thus unfolds Black Site Delta, a gratuitous snuff flick laced with lots of gory kill shots. The movie marks the directorial debut of Jesse Gustafson who does a decent enough job to satiate the bloodlust of fans of the high body-count genre.

A “Dirty Half-Dozen,” tailor-made for folks who appreciate scene after scene of incessant slaughter. 

Good (2 stars)

Unrated

Running time: 86 minutes

Distributor:.XLrator Media

Source:  GIG News

For movies opening May 5, 2017

 

OPENING THIS WEEK

Kam’s Kapsules

Weekly Previews That Make Choosing a Film Fun

by Kam Williams

For movies opening May 5, 2017

MOVIES OPENING THIS WEEK,   Kam's Kapsules,  Weekly Previews That Make Choosing a Film Fun,  by Kam Williams

BIG BUDGET FILMS

3 Generations (Unrated) Coming-of-age dramedy about a transgender teen (Elle Fanning) who seeks the support of her single-mom (Naomi Watts) and her gay grandmother (Susan Sarandon) while making the transition from female to male. With Linda Emond, Andrew Polk and Antonio Ortiz.

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 (PG-13 for action, violence, profanity and suggestive content) Special f/x-driven sequel finds the Marvel Comics superheroes embarking on another intergalactic adventure to the outer reaches of the cosmos. Ensemble cast includes Chris Pratt, Bradley Cooper, Zoe Saldana, Vin Diesel, Sly Stallone and Kurt Russell.

INDEPENDENT & FOREIGN FILMS

Burden (Unrated) Reverential retrospective revisiting the career of Chris Burden (1946-2015), the unorthodox performance artist who often put his life at risk while practicing his craft.

Chuck (R for sexuality, nudity, drug use, bloody images and pervasive profanity) “Great White Hope” biopic recounting the ring exploits of Chuck Wepner (Liev Schreiber), aka “The Bayonne Bleeder,” the heavyweight contender best remembered for lasting almost 15 rounds with Muhammad Ali (Pooch Hall). Cast includes Naomi Watts, Ron Perlman and Jim Gaffigan.

The Dinner (R for pervasive profanity and disturbing violence) Adaptation of the Herman Koch novel of the same name about a candidate for governor (Richard Gere) who rconspires with his brother (Steve Coogan) and both of their wives (Laura Linney and Rebecca Hall) to coverup a vicious crime committed by their sons (Charlie Plummer, Seamus Davey-Fitzpatrick and Miles J. Harvey). With Chloe Sevigny, Anika Day and Adepero Oduye.

Julian Schnabel: A Private Portrait (Unrated) Prestige biopic taking a revealing look at the life and times of the multi-talented artist/Oscar-nominated film director. Featuring commentary by Willem Dafoe and Al Pacino. 

Last Men in Aleppo (Unrated) Syrian Good Samaritan documentary chronicling the heroic rescue efforts on the part of of the White Helmets, the volunteer organization founded and maintained by three private citizens from Aleppo named Khalid, Subhi and Mahmoud. (In Arabic with subtitles)

Like Crazy (Unrated) Strange bedfellows dramedy, set in Tuscany, about a delusional billionaire (Valeria Bruni Tedeschi) and a fragile introvert (Micaela Ramazzotti) who forge an unlikely friendship while patients at a psychiatric clinic. Support cast includes Valentina Carnelutti, Sergio Albelli and Tomasso Ragno. (In Italian with subtitles)

The Lovers (R for sexuality and profanity) Marital crisis comedy about an emotionally-estranged couple (Debra Winger and Tracy Letts) on the brink of divorce that decides to take one last shot at reconciliation before officially calling it quits. With Jessica Sula, Aidan Gillen, Lesley Fera and Melora Walters.

Mr. Chibbs (Unrated) Midlife crisis biopic chronicling the host of woes visited upon former NBA All-Star Kenny Anderson since his retirement a decade ago. Featuring commentary by Atiib “Tiki” Barber, Kenny “The Jet” Smith, Deidre “Spinderella” Roper and Nate “Tiny” Archibald.   

Risk (Unrated) Oscar-winner Laura Poitras (for Citizenfour) profiles Julian Assange, the iconoclastic editor-in-chief of WikiLeaks. (In English, Spanish and Arabic with subtitles)

This Is Not What I Expected (Unrated) Romantic comedy revolving around the love which blossoms between a wealthy food connoisseur (Takeshi Kaneshiro) and the flamboyant sous chef (Dongyu Zhou) who prepares a perfect meal for him. With Ming Xi, Tony Yang and Chiling Lin. (In Mandarin with subtitles)

Source:  GIG News

Oscar-Nominated Documentary about James Baldwin\’s Arrives on Home Video

 

When novelist/social critic James Baldwin passed away in 1987, he left behind an unfinished opus entitled "Remember This House." The 30-page manuscript assessed the plight of African-Americans in the United States while specifically reflecting upon the assassinations of three civil rights icons: Malcolm X, Medgar Evers and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.I Am Not Your Negro

DVD Review by Kam Williams

Oscar-Nominated Documentary about James Baldwin’s Arrives on Home Video

When novelist/social critic James Baldwin passed away in 1987, he left behind an unfinished opus entitled “Remember This House.” The 30-page manuscript assessed the plight of African-Americans in the United States while specifically reflecting upon the assassinations of three civil rights icons: Malcolm X, Medgar Evers and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

With I Am Not Your Negro, director Raoul Peck (Lumumba) fleshes out Baldwin’s  musings, cinematically, into a searing indictment of the United States as an unapologetically-racist nation. Narrated by Samuel L. Jackson, the movie has been nominated for an Academy Award in the Best Documentary category.

The focus of the film never strays far from Baldwin, nimbly alternating between archival footage of the fiery figure challenging the status quo and Jackson’s readings from “Remember This House” and his other writings. Again and again, we hear him question the depth of the country’s commitment to reverse the damage inflicted upon the black community by generations of slavery, lynchings and Jim Crow segregation.

For example, he asserts that most Caucasians are perfectly comfortable relegating African-Americans to a second-class status. He even goes so far as to refer to them as morally-blind monsters for seeing blacks as sub-human. Until that attitude is eradicated,  whites will never recognize that “I am flesh of their flesh.”

Baldwin concludes that “The story of the Negro in America is the story of America.” Therefore, with black and white fates inextricably linked, “It’s not a question of what happens to the Negro. The real question is what is going to happen to this country.”

Given the precarious state of race relations, the late visionary’s prescient insights perhaps prove more timely, posthumously, than in their own day. 

Excellent (4 stars)

Rated PG-13 for profanity, mature themes, violent images and brief nudity`

Running time: 94 minutes

Distributor: Magnolia Home Entertainment

DVD Extras: Interview and Q&A session with director Raoul Peck; Q&A session with Samuel L. Jackson; and a video photo gallery of stills featured in the film.

                 

To order a copy of I Am Not Your Negro on DVD, visit:

https://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B06W9FR1G3/ref%3dnosim/thslfofire-20

Source:  GIG News

An A+ Class Makes Their Entrance into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame

 

An A+ Class Makes Their Entrance into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame

by Amy Lignor

 

This Saturday night, the airing of the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony brought the roof down! Amazing moments that will be remembered by music fans for a long time to come were mixed with humor, pure emotion in regards to careers that will never be matched by anyone in the industry – past or present, and some truly poignant goodbyes.

Tupac, Nile Rodgers, ELO, Joan Baez, Journey, Pearl Jam, Tupac Shakur, Yes, Lenny Kravitz, Prince

The list of inductees were: ELO, Joan Baez, Journey, Pearl Jam, Tupac Shakur and the band Yes. In addition, the Award for Musical Excellence went to Nile Rodgers. But these were not the only tributes or celebrations. In fact, there were extremely surprising guests that no one thought would appear. Leave it to the Hall of Fame to bring about surprises.

 

One of the biggest questions before this evening arrived was who would take the time to pay homage to Tupac – the man who went into the R&R Hall of Fame who was absent because of tragedy and violence. It was almost endearing (and certainly beautiful) that Alicia Keys was chosen to honor the man with a medley of Tupac’s songs that struck a chord with millions across the globe. Alicia spoke about her love and belief in the man and the performer, and her sincere passion for his words and his music. But once the beauty of Alicia departed the stage, in came rappers Snoop Dogg and YG. In addition, Treach (Naughty by Nature) performed “Hail Mary,” while dressed up in Tupac’s bowtie bandanna. From sweet and lovely to loud and proud, these performers paid tribute to a man whose life was cut far too short.

 

Being that this was the first ceremony held since the most important person in rock and roll history passed away, ELO took to the stage and gave Chuck Berry fans a delight when they delivered “Roll Over Beethoven.” It was so loud, chances were Mr. Berry, himself, was rocking along up in heaven and having a grand old time.

 

Another inductee, Joan Baez, kept to her roots during the ceremony. Yes, Baez has been a protester of peace during her lifetime. She has stood up for great causes and great people, so she simply wouldn’t have been her if she hadn’t brought our new President (if you can say that word without getting sick), into the limelight. She sang about everything from deportees to social activism. And when Joan did a solo of “Swing Low, Sweet Chariot,” she tried to make Trump feel better by saying that: “I saw a band of angels, and they were coming to carry you, me, us, even Donald, home.”

 

Now, Pearl Jam and Yes were two of the biggest bands of the night. Both Class ‘A’ rock bands, the audience basically freaked out for both of them when they made their appearances. It was Geddy Lee who helped induct Yes into the Hall of Fame. This bassist from Rush joined Yes onstage and burst out “Roundabout” for all to scream and yell to. As far as Geddy is concerned, Yes is his all-time favorite band and wanted nothing more than to not mess his moment up. And he most certainly did not.

 

Unfortunately, for many, it did not happen that singer Steve Perry reunited with Journey during the ceremony when the band was inducted. He did not sing, yet did give a very nice speech in regards to the fact that the band he once played with most certainly deserved the honor they were given by the Hall of Fame. And, yes, when “Don’t Stop Believin’” began, the entire hall erupted with applause. Just shows that no matter how old you get, there are some songs and some performers that just stick with you for the rest of your life.

 

Inductee Nile Rodgers got highly emotional during his acceptance speech, but perhaps one of the most emotional moments of all came when a man not inducted this year (but certainly will be soon) was given a tribute. It was Lenny Kravitz who appeared onstage to bid goodbye to the late artisan, Prince. This is one man who is truly missed!

 

David Letterman added some humor, Eddie Vedder shouted out for Climate Change, and even a very humble Michael J. Fox was revered. But when it came to say goodbye for the night, the all-star finale was truly a conglomeration of musical genius.

 

The entire Class of 2017 brought down the house with an unforgettable jam session. Eddie Vedder did his victory lap around the stage and an iconic song – “Rockin’ in the Free World” was literally brought to life by Pearl Jam, Journey, and every other “Class A” act that the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame made a permanent place for inside their walls!

 

Music fans everywhere are already excited about what next year will bring.

 

Source:  GIG News