Category Archives: Movies

post relating to movies

FOX Searchlight has released the trailer for “Birth of a Nation”

Fox Searchlight, as you will recall, paid a record $17.5 million for Nate Parker’s Birth of a Nation at Sundance, and now we are getting our first glimpse of the film. I should warn you that this trailer has some disturbing images of implied violence and a little white girl leading a little black girl around on a leash. However, you can easily see why this film won the Grand Jury prize. And yes, that is Nina Simone’s Strange Fruit you hear.

Birth of a Nation will be out October 7th, but it’s already being dangled as Oscar bait. Maybe this year we can forget the #OscarsSoWhite hashtag.

Brace yourselves, Thor gets a new love interest and she’s a WOC

Applications are now being taken for the Tessa Thompson Defense Squad and she’s going to need all the support she can get.  According to Deadline.com, she been cast as Thor’s new love interest in the 3rd Thor film. Details are still sketchy, but reportedly she will be “some sort of superhero” and will appear in other Marvel Universe films as well.

Can you hear the howls of outrage yet? If the reports of her being Thor’s new love are true she will be replacing Natalie Portman, who played Jane, the canon love interest from the comics. You just know how much the fans love it when they mess with canon, especially when they swap out the white woman for a WOC. Remember when The Flash announced that Candice Patton was playing Iris West? Candice is still taking shit for being black two years later. Hope Tessa has some thick skin.

Thor: Ragnarok will begin production at the end of July and is slated for a November 2017 release.

Something wonderful happens when a film has two black leads, and we can prove it

I’ve written before about studies that show that diversity has a positive impact on the bottom line, and now I have new one to add to the growing pile.

Researchers at University of North Carolina and McGill University decided to study how films featuring diverse casts performed at the box office compare to cast that feature all white people.

Remember how much money these guys made? Only $206 million

You can see this one coming a mile away can’t you?

The researchers found that after controlling for factors like genre, seasonality and the size of its opening release, having one black cast member did not significantly affect revenues, and having two black cast members correlated with earning roughly 60 percent more at the box office than the average film with no black actors. It was when films employed two or more black leads, however, that the real gains were seen: those films outperformed films with no black actors by 149 percent at the box office.

Yes honey, you read those number right. That’s a 149% increase in revenues bitches.

Cost to make: 13.5 million, box office: 54.3 million.

The Huff Post has a write up and more complete breakdown of the data if you want to see more. The fact of the matter is that this study aligns with previous studies, Diversity Sells and Hollywood executives are out of excuses.

Amandla Stenberg to star in movie based on Black Lives Matter

Outspoken actress and activist Amandla Stenberg has been tapped to play the lead in The Hate U Give, based on the Young Adult novel of the same name by Angela Thomas. Thomas first got the idea for book  after the shooting of unarmed Oscar Grant in 2009 by a Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) cop. As the Black Lives Matter Movement gained steam, she began working on it while a Senior at Belhaven University.

Apparently there was a huge bidding war on this book and it’s very timely subject matter.

Amandla will play Starr, according to the The Hollywood Reporter, which first broke the story:

a 16-year-old girl … who grew up in a poverty-stricken slum, but now attends a suburban prep school. After she witnesses a police officer shoot her unarmed best friend, she’s torn between her two very different worlds as she tries to speak her truth

George Tillman Jr (Soul Food) will direct.

My one hesitation over this film is the fact that Audrey Wells (Under Tuscan Sun, George of the Jungle) will write the screen play. I’ve read both the book and seen the film of Under the Tuscan Sun and I have to say that it was the crappiest book adaption I have ever seen. The movie had NOTHING to do with book aside from the location. Seriously, calling it crappy is an insult to crap. She set fire to the book and wrote her own story almost completely from scratch. Can this woman pull off the screenplay for what is sure to be a controversial movie? Nothing in her resume indicates she is up to the challenge. I can only hope the Tillman and Amandla can keep her honest and keep the focus on #BlackLivesMatter where it belongs.

Gugu Mbatha-Raw to star in Bad Robot’s “God Particle”

Several sites are reporting that David Oyelowo and Gugu Mbatha-Raw will be starring in JJ Abrams’s latest project God Particle. To sweeten the pot even further, Nigerian-American filmmaker Julius Onah is directing.

credit: thesource.com

As you may have guessed from the sciencey title, the movie is described a SciFi thriller. Yes folks, we are getting a diverse SciFi flick! Lord knows we need more visions of the future that include POC.

The synopsis for the film reads:

After a physics experiment with a large hadron accelerator causes the Earth to seemingly vanish completely, the terrified crew of an orbiting American space station is left floating in the middle of now-even-more-empty space. When a European spacecraft appears on their radar, the Americans must determine whether it’s their salvation, or a harbinger of doom.

It is unknown what parts Gugu and David will be playing at this time.

You may recall that Gugu has worked with Bad Robot before, starring in the short lived series Undercovers. God Particle is currently slated to release on Feb. 24, 2017.

Abrams has been very out spoken recently about the need to diversify Hollywood, and this casting indicates he is willing to walk the talk. Whatever you think of JJ and his projects, he is a major player in Tinsel Town and this is a positive step forward.

Watch Lupita Nyong’o act out Maz Kanata

Remember when Star Wars: The Force Awakens was first released and there some foolishness going around the internet that Lupita “struggled” with her role and JJ Abrams was forced to cut several of her scenes from the movie? JJ himself slammed the rumors.

“In truth, her performance wasn’t satisfactory. It was spectacular. She has brought the character of Maz Kanata to life in the most wonderful, wise, touching, deep and funny way. Lupita never ceased to amaze me. Yes, we tried many approaches, and we finally landed on just what the film needed. She elevated all the scenes she is in, I’m forever grateful, and can’t wait for people to see her stunning performance.”

A video has surfaced showing Lupita acting in a motion capture similar to the ones Andy Serkis and Benedict Cumberbatch used to film the Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit respectively. If anyone out there still think that Lupita struggled, this video should put the rumors to rest once and for all. Enjoy.

UCLA Proves Movies with Diverse Casts Do Better Globally

Conventional wisdom in Hollywood say that films with POC leads don’t do well overseas, so white washing is important to the bottom line.

Not so fast there.

According to no less of an authority than UCLA, the latest data shows the truth is actually 180 degrees from conventional wisdom. Diverse casts do BETTER in the global marketplace than all-white casts.

You can read Variety’s write-up here, which also includes a link to the study itself. I’m going to bookmark this sucker and throw it out every time someone tries to tell me that POC can’t open a movie overseas.

Ava DuVernay scores yet another new job

Ava needs to clone herself, that woman is busy! She has yet another project in the works.

On top of Sugar and A Wrinkle in Time, Ava will direct The Battle of Versailles about the 1973 fashion show at the historic palace that pitted the upstart American designers against the established French elite. By the end of the night the Americans scored a major victory and American fashion was raised to the world stage. This show was also notable for the fact that out of the 30 models used by the Americans, 10 of them were WOC. It was ground breaking.

Can’t you just see the visuals now? Ohmygod peeps, Ava is going to slay this!

Ava is also exec producing co-writing the flick for HBO. The film will be  based on the 2015 book The Battle Of Versailles: The Night American Fashion Stumbled Into The Spotlight And Made History by fashion journalist Robin Givhan.

This project is apparently still in the early development stages, so no word when we will actually get to see it yet. Stay tuned!

The Movie That Should Have Never Been Made

When I first heard about this movie a couple of years ago, I said the same thing everyone else said at the time: What the hell?  And now that the movie finally has a trailer and a release date, that sentiment hasn’t changed. Listen, I don’t begrudge any actress of color taking work where she can find it in the hellscape known as Hollywood, but this should have been a no-go from the start.

I was perplexed when I found out that Zoe Saldana was playing the role of the iconic Nina Simone because I just didn’t think she was right for the part. But my puzzlement over her casting turned into disgust and anger when I learned she had to have her skin darkened and a prosthetic nose applied in order to achieve Nina’s appearance. That was a deal breaker for me. And judging by the horrendous trailer that has recently been released, it should have also been a deal breaker for the filmmakers.

It’s so bad I suffer secondhand embarrassment every time I watch it.

Anyway, I’m not going to rehash a lot of what has been said about this movie. Most people aren’t happy that Zoe is playing the part, nor are they happy with Zoe for taking the part.  All I know for certain is that I’ll be skipping this one.  My money and time is better spent doing something else.  Anything else.

You can take a peek at the trailer here.

Ava DuVernay to direct “A Wrinkle in Time” for Disney

Well we now know what Ava will be doing after shooting on her TV show Queen Sugar wraps. She’s gotten the nod to direct the classic YA novel A Wrinkle in Time for Disney studios!

Ava apparently had been the front runner for the position from day 1, and today it looks like Disney finally sealed the deal. Ava remains in talks to direct Intelligent Life, starring Lupita Nyong’o.

You may remember A Wrinkle in Time from your school days, it’s been a staple of school reading list for decades. The book by Madeline L’Engle tells the story of young girl whose father disappears while doing research on a tesseract (note to Marvel fans, it’s not same thing as the one in the Marvel-verse). The girl is forced to travel to the fifth dimension in order to find her father and she has interesting adventures along the way. It’s very beloved book and the comments I am reading on the internet are very positive on Ava helming the project.

Congratulations to Ava, I’m sure she will slay!