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The Force Awakens is full of pomp and circumstance and it is not a particularly good movie but it is a good Star Wars movie. The Force is out of balance in this one. The CGI gets a B-, the diversity angle gets and A, the feminist angle gets an A+ and those angles weren’t thrown in the audience’s face. Everything else was rather sketchy the plot, the pacing, the dialogue, even the damn secrets.

Where to begin…Kylo Ren. This badass can freeze a laser blast with his back turned. He can sense his father’s presence when he lands on a planet, but he walks blindly down a scaffold searching for his father who is hiding 20 feet away from him. Ren spends half the film literally throwing tantrums while wearing a vocorder mask that he doesn’t need. Darth Vader had a mask on because he had asthma; Ren wears it try to be something he’s not. Even Han Solo says “Take off that mask, you don’t need it.”

The fact that Kylo Ren abilities allows him to kill Luke Skywalker’s Jedi pupils, but he battles the kindhearted storm trooper in a 5 minute lightsaber battle, should be enough to make any righteous Star Wars fan vomit in their mouth…just a little bit. Then Ren is bested by Rey, who may be strong with the Force but has never used the force, never been trained and who moments earlier said that the force was all a myth.

I know those are but minor quibbles…right, we finally got a good Star Wars film…just be happy. You could just be happy with your mediocre job, your mediocre car and your mediocre love life or you could want more, you could want better or you could just settle. That’s not all of the flaws you could take every major character and write a paragraph or two of WTF’s on them…really.

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The Star Killer base took forever to fire, and I mean forever. It was probably the longest 15 minutes in science fiction film history. A legend dies and their love ones just move on, you don’t even feel the loss.The dedicated Captain Phasma the platinum boss storm trooper just lowers the planet’s shields because, ex-storm trooper, Finn points a blaster at her while he asks her to.

After Han and Leia find each other Leia shows more warmth to Rey and Chewie than to her husband. Every scene Han with Leia seemed forced even that one tepid hug. Their chemistry is colder than the Hoth planet.

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Midnight: Rise of the Black Vampires is Part Novel, Part Graphic Novel, All Vampire

If the Republic was reorganized after Episode VI, then The First Order would be a ‘terrorist’ organization, and referred to as resistance. In The Force Awakens there are two separate resistance groups, one affiliated with the dark side of the force which can build starships, huge planet destroying machines and amasses great armies, the other affiliated with the light side of the force, which in 30 years haven’t changed the X-Wing fighter much, nor have they developed a missile, bomb or any other large scale weapon, also they seem to like to hide in jungles and dirty caves… So why are make a film about them again?

The Force Awakens foes produce an even greater respect for the first Star Wars films. All of the characters in The Force Awakens just seem conflicted; you don’t feel the evil just oozing out of Ren, just like you don’t feel the love coming from Leia. I don’t know why they needed Andy Serkis to play the Supreme Leader Snoke, he really doesn’t do much. I do know why…name recognition.

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Harrison Ford as Han Solo, Carrie Fisher as Leia and Mark Hamill as Skywalker all perform admirably when they aren’t on screen together…especially Ford. Daisy Ridley’s performance as Rey is strong and vulnerable. The Force Awaken is a remix and homage, perhaps too much, of the original films.

The Force Awakens is one big trailer for the new few films in the Disney franchise anyway. The film is nonsensical, predictable, it’s fun and it moves along quickly, but it’s not enjoyable the way the original “Star Wars” was. The dialogue, comaradery and witticisms are nowhere on par with The Empire Strikes Back. If the producers didn’t want The Force Awakens to be compared with those legendary films, they wouldn’t have borrowed everything this film is from them. After you see The Force Awakens go back and watch Episodes IV and V if nothing else.

The first half of the film is pretty much littered with bullshit and nostalgia. The second half is really the meat of the film. The film gets a solid C because it’s fun and all of the characters have their moments, especially Finn, played by John Boyega and Rey. There is a bit of hope that those two get together but political correctness already has Finn in a coma and Rey rolling around the galaxy with Chewbacca.

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No matter how dire the situation is Rey never really needs any help, think Richard B. Riddick in 2004’s The Chronicles of Riddick. Rey who has never flown can pilot a starship like an expert, Finn can shoot blasters and laser turrets like a pro. Rey can mind probe, mind trick and lightsaber duel better than Yoda…talk about being overpowered.

It will take a few more films for people to realize Luke Skywalker was really just some asshole living on an island planet, playing with people’s minds so he can use them as conduits for the force.

Through the prequels we have come to know the Jedi and the Sith as arrogant, ill-prepared bumblers, cowards and dark cloak wearing idiots… The best thing about The Force Awakens is that none of that exist here. There are moments in the second half of the film that manage to capture the magic of the original film, but even those moments are fleeting.

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Half way through the film Han Solo implores his new companions “Don’t stare!”, when all the director wants the audience to do is stare. This is how easy a mark the movie going public has become. Director J.J. Abrams wants to piss people off, he’s like Quentin Tarantino in a way. They both do things in a movies just because they can, not because those things are necessary. Abrams gives us views of  hollowed out AT AT’s, imperial cruisers wrecked in the desert and a mangled, burned and ripped up Vader mask as message to Star Wars fans; that message… you are boldly going where you haven’t gone before.

After seeing this film, you should realize that those singular Star Wars moments were never meant to be captured again.

 

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Think Like a Man would appear to be a movie for women, but it’s for men. It is not one of those movies made for women and if the men come alone that’s fine. This movie is about different stages in relationships and gender development, how we look at each other and ourselves. Directed by Tim Story and narrated by Kevin Hart. The movie gives ample screen time to the cast of Jerry Ferrara, Megan Good, Kevin Hart, Michael Ealy, Regina Hall, Kevin Hart, Taraji P Henson, Gabrielle Union, Romany Malco, and intermixes commentary from Steve Harvey.

Trailers for movies often say that they have something in them for everybody; this is the one movie that actually delivers. This movie is about dating and relationships, pure and simple, the audience is treated or not to varied archetypes the Player, The Mamma Boy, The Girl Who Wants the Ring,  The Woman Who Is Her Own Man, etc. Apart from some familiar scenarios (to many men), the movie manages to not only peg the psyche of men, but women as well. Yet somehow in between the gags, comedy, double narration, product placement and drama you manage to see bits and pieces of yourself, your partner or a friend that you can laugh at from a safe distance, that’s when the movie has you invested.

Steve Harvey’s book Act Like a Lady, Think Like a Man, provides the ladies with a rule book of how men think and the game is afoot, once the men find out that their relationships are now being driven by Steve’s book, they plan to turn the tables on the women…basically they plan to pretend to be what the women want only to get what they want. There are plenty of lines for women to be upset about, and a lot of dumb situations men won’t appreciate and some of the premises are manipulative, insincere, in fact they are all pretty shallow, the problem– this is how people really behave and think.

Director Tim Story is to be commended for managing multiple the story-lines and showing each African-American characters as desirable. Not only are the actresses beautiful, sexy and amazingly bright, watching the film you can tell they actually like their roles and that translates on screen. The characters engage us with their hopes, dreams, failing and triumphs, in parts the film is almost magical as the characters often light up the screen. Kevin Hart’s comedic genius is on full display, but so is the subtle humor of Bennett “The Happily Married Man”, I have no idea why commercials for this movie didn’t really plug the substantial presence of the white characters. The film is a tad long, over-narrated and the mamma’s boy story gets drawn out, yet it is arguably the best romantic comedies ever made. The way the male characters played off of one another, how they played basketball (one horribly), how they hilariously talked about their problems, the way they bonded over their women troubles even the various male archetypes reminded me of another book “It Ain’t Just the Size”, but let’s not go there.

The soundtrack is excellent. The casting choices are perfect, except LaLa Vasquez. Each of these four relationship is uniquely different, well because people are, I just don’t understand how Kristen could have gotten rid of Jeremy’s Voltron Lion figure masterpiece… but I digress. The movie is not about how to find true love or even being in a healthy relationship; ultimately, Think Like a Man is about being real, not just with your partner, but more importantly with yourself. Think Like a Man manages to accomplish what Tyler Perry’s movies have never been able to …bring men and women together.

8.5/10

The number one topic in the black community has always been discrimination. With the release of the movie “Red Tails” the debate was sparked once again, but this time by George Lucas. Does Hollywood discriminate against black actors and actresses, short answer yes, but is it more complicated than a simple yes.

If you believe George Lucas, one can agree that there maybe a huge economic reason why black actors aren’t hired and black films aren’t being made. However, if you look at Tyler Perry, you could also agree that producing a movie for $5 million, and earning $50 million is a huge profit margin for a black film. So is Lucas’ reason valid, or just a cover for our social colorism.

We aren’t talking about humorous time wasting, escapism movies like the Soul Plane’s, BAPS and Metor Man movies of the black universe, because there are many great black movies and many successful black actors and actresses in Hollywood and many of them have starring roles.

There is a noticeable absence of starring roles for blacks in big budget cinema. There are underlying reasons one you are trying to get and awards but you keep having parts in films with ensemble casts (that’s not going to work), and some of these black actors can’t act. Yes I said it and it’s not hate or shade. Some of these actors have had sitcoms on the air for years, and they still can’t act. This is where the rest of the problem lies.

If an actor has been in many films and T.V shows over the years and still can’t act, something is wrong. It’s not like these “actors” don’t have the time, or the money. Many less talented actors have rabid fans, lets be honest, most of them got their shot because of their body, dancing, singing/rapping or their cuteness, which is fine when your ten years old, but not when you’re in your 20’s in Hollywood trying to win an award.

No one calls out these actors for bad performances, because many believe there are too few blacks working in Hollywood to begin with, so the criticism is held back because of a lack of on-screen representation. Well that may well be the case, but a horrible performance is horrible no matter how you color it.

If you’ve had years of practice and you aren’t studying your craft you can’t complain about the lack of black roles. I am talking about the LisaRaye Mccoy’s and Stacey Dash’s of the black acting world and the other high profile types, LL Cool J, Ice Tea, Brandy, Bokeem Woodbine, Allen Payne, Keshia Knight Pulliam, Halle Berry, Marcus T. Paulk, T.I., Elijah Kelley, etc.

They expect black people to go to see a movie, just because there are black people in it. You would think that there are only a handful of black actors and actresses, there are many. The good ones have a greater discerning about the quality of roles they will accept. Then there are “the other actors” most of these actors aren’t being asked to pull off a “Glory”, “Ray”, “Men in Black”, “Hotel Rwanda” or “Malcolm X” role, not that every role needs to be, and they have trouble with that. A good actor can take the smallest of role, and make it stand out, otherwise you are a glorified extra.

And then the cry goes out “We aren’t getting the kind of roles we want,” “Why aren’t we getting Oscar nominations.” Here is where Tyler Perry is smart, he surrounds himself with better talent, the same thing Will Smith discovered early on. If you are waiting for someone to write a role and hopefully cast you in it, keep hoping.

You can’t go see Tyler Perry films in droves, making him the number one Black actor draw, and them complain about how Blacks aren’t getting nominated for the Oscars. The Oscars are white, and everyone else has a limited opportunity to make an impression so make the most of it. You want thinks to change be the change.

Discrimination/racism plays a part in why blacks don’t get some roles, but not studying the craft is why we get shut out of the other role, and the Oscars. To acknowledge that white privilege exist is also to acknowledge that America is not a meritocracy. Your protest and “boycott” will add a few minorities to the movie mix but once again the stigma of interracial relationships rises, after all, it isn’t just white people that cannot handle depictions of blackness.

If the casting is not done based on ability, does it really count? Do we really want movie roles based on affirmative action? If the only thing a moviegoer can say about a film is “She looked hot”, “the effects were awesome”,”Support this film because it’s black”, or “Such in such has really grown up”, the coding is that the movie wasn’t very good.

This is not to say that horrible white actors such as, Orlando Bloom, Natalie Portman, Megan Fox, Jennifer Aniston, Brad Pitt, Scarlett Johansson,  Keanu Reeves, Kim Kardashian, etc… aren’t given starring opportunities in Hollywood because they are. they get roles their talent clearly shows they don’t deserve, but most of them are smart enough to surround themselves, in films, with better acting talent.

This lack of talent can not be solved by more financing and better distribution of black films, or by the hiring of black directors, black writers or black grifters. The future Washington’s, Woodard’s, Earl Jone’s, Bassett’s,  Freeman’s, Fishburne’s, Davis’, Pounders’, Glover’s, Williams, and Pointer’s are already here in Tarji P. Henson, Larenz Tate, Mekhi Phifer, Don Cheadle, Idris Elba, Jurnee Smolett, Michael B Jordan, Anthony Mackie, Gabriel Union, Sanaa Latham, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Ryan CooglerKeke Palmer, Columbus Short and others.

These are the actors and directors we should be following and posting about. These are the black people who have shown their pedigree on film, they have not settled for mediocrity and are working on the craft. Hollywood has always took a stand against the fickle whims of an ill-informed society, in most cases Hollywood goes along with social prejudices, so if Hollywood is showing a racial regressive side, then America is as well.

Hollywood and America must realize that Blacks don’t have to be covered up or standing with a white person for validation on film of off it. Blacks don’t have to always be shown as an alien or comic relief. Blacks already struggle against invisibility and I implore producers to give more lead roles based on ability and not skin color. I call on casting agents to view talent more than popularity. I call on audiences to support good films and good directors. I call on Hollywood to write colorless scripts and stop marketing movies based on race. I call on these things because we will all be better off for it.

MG Hardie

 

It’s a new year which means it is also time once again for Hollywood to deny America’s racial diversity. This years’ white-washing of Hollywood films is nothing new. If you even mention the fact that minority actors, are being replaced, or that Anglo-Saxons are chosen instead of minorities for the sake of sales, you will be perceived as a dinosaur, or even a racist. And I could see you ripping people as being jaded or having some major type of issue, if  the white-washing were not occurring. However, the only thing happening is that Americans are now more willing to overlook racial intolerance and slights, especially on the internet, perhaps that is what is meant by Post-Racial. In America Post-Racial means being about to voice your racism without having to check it first and looking beyond racism, even when it is right in front of you. I routinely get the N-word dropped on me via Youtube, I can only assume that electronic anonymity somehow breeds courage.

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Even though 2013 will go down as a historic year for black film, in terms of movies made, gone are the golden age of black of the ’90s Movies such as “House Party” “Boyz in the Hood”, “New Jack City” , “Juice”, “Poetic Justice”, “Boomerang”, “What’s Love Got to Do With It”, “Menace to Society” , “Set It Off”, ”Jason’s Lyric”, “Tales From the Hood”, “Friday”, “Above the Rim” , “Malcolm X”, “Waiting to Exhale” , “Love Jones”, “How Stella Got Her Groove Back”, “Brown Sugar”, “Bad Boys” “Life” and “The Best Man”. Today some black actors have felt the need to marry white to be accepted in Hollywood the case of The Best Man Holiday is a prime example of this. These actors are employed so this does work to a degree. For some actors even this co-opting method isn’t enough and it is usually met with notions of selling out. It’s not just black actors that are doing this.

Actors are well aware  of just how prevalent the media’s white-washing is in our culture, I don’t need to mention the very egregious Harry Potter,  Twilight and Hunger Games series do I. The dominate culture overlooks this white washing because it’s inconsequential to their lives, but if a black Santa was placed in every shopping center around the country most white folks wouldn’t allow their children to take photos with him, white privilege is something minorities do not have and have been conditioned to accept. It is either accept the coded racial acting as with Toyota’s Swagger Wagon rap commercial, a T-Mobile spokesperson rapping, it’s hyping Disney’s The Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time or marry white or breed into the dominate white culture.

in 2010 The Book of Eli was released and it was for all intents and purposes was a “Black” film, but it was not marketed as such. In fact, one would have to say that Mila Kunis (Solara) was added to the film for the sole purpose of “whitening up” the cast for public consumption.

Avatar: The Last Airbender, was a popular cartoon long before it was made into a movie. However, the Native American and Asian cast of the cartoon somehow never made it into the movie. This movie has already been boycotted by several Asian groups. Even with boycotts they still casted Justin Chatwin to play Goku in the Dragon Ball: Evolution.

Kung Fu Panda 1 and 2 is one of the few movies to employ more than one Asian co-star Lucy Lu and Jackie Chan. It is a movie set in China that deal with Chinese themes, which doesn’t quite explain how Jack Black and Angelina Jolie get top billing in the Kung Fu Panda movies, a cartoon that only required their voice, could it be that they sound White… nope this decision was also based on being white because Lucy Lu’s voice has no ethnic distinction. After all the children must be brainwashed early.

Apparently relegating minorities to sports or making them mutants just isn’t enough. In the movie Wanted (2008)  Angelina Jolie was cast as the female lead, although the comic book character “Fox” is clearly black, she has also played the roles of Cleopatra and Mariane Pearl.

Disney’s Frog Princess (2009) relegated the “Black” princess to a frog for 70 percent of the movie, thereby completely ignoring race. Disney is smart. Avatar “the #1 movie of all time”, is another movie completely about race and ethic revolts that is resolved by whites. They once again save the ignorant native people…faster than you can you say Dances with Wolves.

The Prince of Persia:  The Sands of Time has taken white washing to a whole new level. Prince of Persia had its roots as a popular video game that stars a Middle Eastern hero. Since this was a well established games series the studios didn’t  have to do much, they just took everything from the game… everything except the Middle Eastern hero.Instead Disney decided to cast the Swedish-Jewish Jake Gyllenhall as the hero Dastan, complete with a British accent.

By using video games and comic books as a base, studios have room to move when it comes to story line and plot, but if you are a director why play to the fickle whims of a psychotic nation? Are they afraid of color, or perhaps Hollywood saying that only Caucasians have sex in the city either.

Hollywood is vindicated for their white-washing method when the public whole heartedly accepts an all white cast has to struggle for civil-rights as they have done with the X-Men series. This Hollywood racial ideal does not just apply to cartoons or movies based on comics, think about it and while you’re thinking about that remember the X-Men comic books aree based entirely off of Blacks, their plight, specialness and struggle for acceptance as Stan Lee put it.

X-Men: First Class doesn’t have one African-American starring in it, this  is particularly egregious because the Professor X and Magneto are specifically based on civil rights leaders Malcolm X and Dr. Martin Luther King. If I didn’t tell you, you would you have known… now you can look at X-Men First Class differently.

Hollywood finds people of color in abundance when the role is that of a thug, drug deal or a terrorist, but it enters a people of color desert when the role is that of the main character. This acceptability is everywhere often it’s subtle such as, when Zoe Zaldana says something like “I’m Dominican, Lebanese, Indian, Irish, Jamaican.” Then she turns around and plays the role of African-American freedom fighter Nina Simone (Eunice Kathleen Waymon).

Of course Captain America has to be the All-American White Boy… And Green Lantern too? On second thought why isn’t Captain America Asian?

In Tropic Thunder Robert Downey Jr. received acclaim from portraying a black man.

This Couple’s Retreat poster’s racism is so blatant, there is no need for me to comment.

The reality is that any actor can go from the bed to the screen, it just so happens that the majority that do are White actors. Maybe there are fewer minorities in film because minorities refuse the “casting couch” audition. In Hollywood white actors are elevated to icon status when they convincingly play a minority. This practice in Hollywood is as common as recycling story lines and casting couches.

There is a lot of history behind this Racebending practice, John Wayne played Genghis Khan. Yul Bynnner played a Thailand King and an Egyptian Pharaoh Rameses II. Charlton Heston played the Hebrew Moses. Al Pacino played Puerto Ricans. Mickey Rooney played Asian characters, so why can’t Johnny Depp is play Tonto, a Native American, in the The Lone Ranger movie. As a nation you would think that we have made strides to get past this, but sadly we haven’t. An Asian guy can’t be an Avenger or else the film might lose viewership…

The next time you go grocery shopping look at the covers of America’s most popular magazine and you will see the constant reminders that Americans just won’t pay to see minorities on stage or in print. In fact those magazine almost pornographic in have they usually have almost nude women on the covers. The should be displayed in the back of the store and not in the front so all of the children and be brainwashed.

I would like to say that this is a time in America where blacks don’t have to be represented as aliens, mutants, comedic relief or sports personalities. I would like to say that putting minorities, that represent America, on the cover of a magazine that everyone buys won’t decrease your sales. I would like to say that these entertainment leaders are not pushing an ideal, but I can’t say it and neither can you, see how Donald Trump has been able to stroke the latent racial fires within people. This racial agenda is not unexpected from an industry that has Mel Gibson as one of its top stars, but at least Mel Gibson was being honest. If Mel Gibson were a Black Man his arse would have already been facing charges, ask Chris Brown.

When America has a Lebanese-American Miss America, in the age of President Obama and Will Smith is Hollywood’s biggest actor, it is surprising that white-washing is still prevalent, yet it seems that looking the other way is even more prevalent. In many ways Hollywood’s practice of white-washing is actually an acknowledgment of America’s deep racial disturbance. Black actresses who passed used to get movies roles, but now even they wont get a staring movie role unless they are White-Acceptable. Strong Black male roles in Hollywood have been defacto outlawed. Black Men can’t seem to star in Hollywood unless they have been willing to cross-dressing, ask Tyler Perry, Martin Lawrence, Eddie Murphy, Wesley Snipes, Tracy Morgan, Vinh Rhames, Jamie Foxx, Kevin Hart and others.

When black males don dresses it isn’t for an artistic award winning role like Mrs. Doubtfire, apparently it is hysterical when black men dress up like women, it shows the dominate culture you are willing to do anything they ask of you… Thanks Dave Chappelle for not having a price. It may come as a shock but Black Men want to be portrayed as men. If you want to work in Hollywood, of course you have to help with the brain washing agenda, so if  the script says that you wear a dress, then you wear a dress and who wrote the script?

Hollywood must have commissioned some studies or reports that said, if they want the masses to spend their money on a product, most of the characters must be white, why else would they do it? Going to Middle Earth, you must be white. Visiting far off planets, oh we need a white representative for that. A story about Mongols, just drop a white guy in the middle of it.

Perhaps because people of color can’t see themselves being bested by a brainless zombie that can’t run, jump or hide, maybe they don’t see themselves being hacked to death by a slow walking madman in the woods, or swimming a river full of piranhas, or doing any number of stupid things that white actors get paid to do to build movie tension. Maybe they figure that the whites wont accept white actors being told what to do by Black ones. Perhaps, there is an unwritten industry rule that has cap on the amount of minorities you can have on stage, screen, on a magazine cover.

In 2016, Dawn of Justice, which is really Man of Steel II, Laurence Fishburne stars and was given six minutes of screen time only so their wouldn’t be any flack. Just one in Black person and they are usually comic relief or backing up a White star.

Face it, White America will never get over their racial fixation, they just won’t let it go. Right down to Jim Sturgess portraying Hae-Joo Chang in “Cloud Atlas” in prosthetics and yellow face no less. These things are not mere slights they are conscious acts, scripts have been stolen from Blacks (see The Matrix, Terminator) and Blacks have been written of out of roles to be replaced by whites. When you interview the directors they always say “I don’t know if it is a stereotype”, “It was done in fun” or “I have a good relationship with the Blacks”.

This is precisely the kind of attitude that makes people celebrate racially coded actions, and place human racial issues on non-humans, it’s just easier to deal with that way. In Hollywood, minorities can’t be Vampires, Wizards or fight Dragons. It is Hollywood that tells us that Black people can not hip-hop dance and act at the same time, as if there is any kind of acting in those high school musical, prom, bridesmaid or dance films.

Hollywood is a White Industry, it has always had an agenda or two and white-washing is something that the upcoming movie The Expendables seeks to capitalize on in a big way. The Expendables is a movie filled with once premiere names in the ass-kicking, action hero genre (1 Asian, 1 Black, 1 Woman, 2 Hispanics and 57 Whites), which is odd because the movies mostly takes place in South America.

The director of the Expendable films, Sylvester Stallone, throws us a racial bones as he picked Terry Crews for the black action hero role. I like Terry Crews, but he has never been an action hero, unless he is saving you from sweat and odor as he does in his Old Spice commercials. I am sure that he was selected  because of his new sit-com, Are We There Yet? Of course, the logical choice would be Michael Jai White or even Wesley Snipes, since the theme is once popular action heroes. This decision was obviously based on money and popularity, which is somewhat understandable. However, Hollywood’s sexism and racism is baseless.

According to George Lucas it took 23 years of writing and rewriting to get the movie “Red Tails” made. He said that Hollywood wouldn’t make it because it wasn’t green. “It didn’t have a major white protagonist role. I made this movie so that teenage boys would have heroes.” The latter part of the Lucas’ statement was telling in that it appears that black producers no longer have the guts to bring real black hero movies to Hollywood, or to make real relevant honest movies, due the they years of being told those movies aren’t green enough. The studios consider a 20 million dollar investment, in a movie about the legendary Tuskegee  Airmen, real American heroes to be a risky investment. The first all black action movie, you’d never figure that Star War’s George Lucas would bring it to the forefront. Was is also funny is that if the movie doesn’t financially overwhelm, movie studios will be even less likely to green light movies by Black filmmakers for Black audiences.

Straight Outta Compton

Even a good film like Straight outta Compton, The NWA rap group’s bio-picture which did well at the domestic box office was not pushed overseas. Hollywood let this film languish overseas as if only North Americans are influence by hip-hop and hip-hop culture. This limited the total for the film, why was this done? As the leaked Sony emails say Hollywood feels that “Black issues and stars don’t translate well overseas”. Is that so, or maybe you don’t want them to translate well…

Who is covered up?

(Just shut up and be glad they are doing a black superhero film…geez)

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“Meow”…is this what a super powerful leader of a nation would say?

On a side note Michael Jai White has been getting the shaft for years. Hollywood has opted to half train, spend millions on CGI, and hire new white male action heroes, when Michael White holds seven black belts, yet he somehow he never gets that big action flick, and it’s a damn shame too ’cause Michael Jai White kicks much butt.

There are plenty of Latino and Black actors, not to mention women that can play any of these roles a white actor is given. Is Hollywood right on, or is just giving the American public the races they crave? If you put too many non-whites on the cover of anything the masses will walk by it thinking “That’s not for me”.  That’s why there is no black Jesus, Moses, Noah, superman, spider man, batman or any other heroic man with a following. I am frankly surprised that they haven’t had Cliff Curtis playing  an Asian, Middle Eastern and a Latino all in the same film. Michael Peña is finally getting some long overdo shine.

For some reason those in entertainment believe that the public must be coddled and greased up into accepting dark heroes and heroines. If you look at 1998’s “Blade” grossed 131 million on a 40 million dollar budget. The film starred Wesley Snipes as a kick ass superhero vampire hunter. Blade proved to Marvel and Hollywood that big budget comic book superhero films were indeed viable productions. Of course Wesley couldn’t be the front man for X-Men and Avenger blockbusters, he was timely jailed and forgotten for killing whites on film with a smile.

Wesley made Marvel's the Avengers possible

Shortly after Blade, enter 2002’s blockbuster Spider and the billion dollar grossing Marvels’ The Avengers in 2012. Of course people will say they are unrelated, because they don’t want to address it, but it is there.  Some would even argue that point, but those are the same people who went shopping this week and saw dozens of magazines filled with half naked whites on the cover in front of dozen of minority eyes. These are the same people who wouldn’t take their child to see The Frog Princess, but affectionately and proudly speak of seeing Cinderella,  Sleeping Beauty and Snow White. You know who those people are. They are the ones who talk about bank ability or marketability or an actor knowing full well that it is just another code word because the explanation is not politically correct. They are the same people that would argue that “Minority” movies don’t make as much as non-minority movies, well actually that is correct, because they actually more profitable.

She's non-white alright

People love Jennifer Lawrence’s portrayal of Katniss Everdeen in the Hunger Games, who according to the book is described as ‘non-white, with dark, olive skin’…go figure.

Hunger Games was a big hit; people who read the books and fell in love with and cared about the characters were disappointed in the movie. Why? Even though the book described Rue as a black character, readers created an image of that character in their minds, they created an image they could connect with an image they could love. So when fans of the book saw a black face on screen…they threw up in their collective mouths. There are people who will argue about the authenticity of a movie’s story-line or character. But if you have seen these movies you know that it has nothing to do with acting. Hollywood has and can make the least talented person a house hold name.

If we are all equal why does Batman, Superman, Spiderman, Green Lantern, Thor and similar heroes have to look or be white? I guess not many black actors want to play impotent superheroes these days. Look at how many reiterations of Batman there have, and he’s not a super hero and he’s impotent, but he embodies white fantasies, you he will stay on the big screen.

For now only whites be pirate captains?…hmmm don’t tell the Somali’s that. Look at the half-Ethiopian character of Nora in “Warm Bodies”, played by the very white Analeigh Tipton or Tony Mendez, played by Ben Affleck, in the Academy Award Winning “Argo”.  Very soon a white director or white producer will soften their racial heart and put a minority in a traditional white role like James Bond or something remotely popular, it will be applauded and hailed as ground breaking. Whenever that day comes will it undo the hundred or so years of generational racial conditioning?

You will are bombarded with a mix of sexism, archetypes, internalized stereotypes, negative racial feelings and misplaced empathy whenever you enter a movie theater. Any American, except for Ron Paul, will say that they are against discrimination. However, most people are unaware that subconsciously everything they watch and spend money on has everything to do with race and in many cases enables racial bias. Racial biases can transferred through screens both small and large, from hearts and mind, words and actions and right into our children. You believe in equality, but somehow you prefer one race over another… where did you get that from? Post-Racial…not a chance, “White-Acceptance” more likely. Hollywood, The Media and magazines have been feeding the masses a steady and constant diet of “White-Acceptable” people from Vin Diesel, Rosario DawsonMaya RudolphDwayne Johnson, Jessica AlbaDrake, Nicki Minaj, Thandie Newton, Soledad O’Brein, Rihanna, Rashida Jones, Zoe Saldana, Amy Holmes and others, with the Los Angeles Clippers’ Blake Griffin poised to be the new face of the NBA.

Unapologetically Black

Part Novel, Part Graphic Novel, All Vampire

They take time period pieces like say the huge Pirates of the Caribbean movie series, where there are no blacks, so they can’t be captains. The closest that series has come to even using the term black is when they say “Black Light’ and “Black Beard”, this series does uses Soldana in a small out of place role. Middle Earth, Hogwarts and all of the forest towns  that crawl with vampires are devoid of minorities; even in the imaginary and alternative universes.

I am not advocating the boycott of any film like the God of Egypt, because even if the studio losses money… it’s still a write off, why do you think hey aren’t concerned with making a better product. It’s not enough to make a Facebook page on the subject because the brain-washing is so constantly ubiquitous.

America needs to talk about how the media and entertainment has warped and distorted what beauty is, but instead of talking about it we have swept this shift to White-Acceptability under the rug .

The conversation is deep and long, so I am pretty sure that Americans wont have the stomach to discuss it.  Instead of Hollywood focusing on internal frames, story lines and jump cuts it chooses to engage in these racebending practices to profit off of internalized racial biases, and perhaps that is the real Hollywood Shuffle.

If you really want your money’s worth from a book click here

Side Note: The Karate Kid (starring Jaden Smith and Jackie Chan) debuts at #1 with 58 Million. This 58 Million dollar number is of note for several reasons. For a non 3 day weekend the 58 Million for The Karate Kid sets the record for the highest grossing opening box office total for a minority movie  in history. However, half of the usual sites that report box office totals by 2pm on Sunday didn’t report it. Maybe it has something to do with the stars of the film, if it doesn’t I hope someone can tell me why this this “unusual” occurrence in box office reporting happened? Yahoo put up the box office report 5 hours later than normal and it was right after the Lakers/Celtics game…
Movies with a mixed cast like “Fast Five”,’ Fast Six” are beginning to change the game for movie goers. It this trend picks up and continues, a slightly color stuck society may be on the horizon.

Iron Man 2 is Jon Favreau’s much anticipated follow-up to his 2008 blockbuster. Iron Man 2 recast Robert Downey Jr as the billionaire inventor/superhero. Also reprising her role is Gwyneth Paltrow as Pepper Potts. Mickey Rourke stars as villain Ivan Vanko complete with  uber Russian accent and electrified whips. James Rhodes played by Don Cheadle is the military liaison to Mr. Stark, but Cheadle is not very convincing and he comes awkward in the role. Director Favreau should have let Terrence Howard reprise this role, he  was much more believable as Stark’s uncomfortable best friend.  Surprisingly this movie is not about Ivan, or even explosions. This film is less about Iron Man and more about the appeal of Robert Downey Jr.

Robert Downey is a great actor, so the guess had to be that if Downey was in it the movie the story came second, you could just piece together a story, throw in pieces of conflict, flirt with an obvious love story that never really develops and voila you have a blockbuster. The box office tally will no doubt tell if the guess was right. No one will cringe at the needless use of comedy, no one will bat an eye that the so-called super villain had about 5 minutes of super villain screen time. I don’t think that anyone will mind that Ivan built his own arc reactor and power suit in his basement, but yet the government is still trying to have Tony Stark hand over his Iron Man suit.

Note to self:  Build Arc reactor in basement, then mow lawn.

In this sequel Anthony “Tony”  Stark just doesn’t give a shit, really. He is a big-time playboy, a trillionaire and a superhero what is there to be worried about, oh yeah his pesky heart. Tony Stark is an over-the-top arrogant, smug, unapologetic ass all the way up until we find out that wearing the Iron Man suit is killing him. Yeap he’s dying and rather quickly to add to the drama.

This movie is based on a comic book and all of the comic book geeks will be glad that their adolescent fantasies are now on the big screen, a feeling which I too experienced when I first saw the Silver Centurion armor. Although the Black Widow story line is spot on, Iron Man 2 as a movie is barely in the Marvel Universe, it is almost pure soap opera, which is probably why they kept referencing other Marvel’s other characters and films.

It’s not that the movie needed more action, it just needed a better story. The middle sags as Hamlet broads, but there just isn’t enough story to go around, well at least not enough to get the ensemble cast enough time to shine, especially Scarlett Johannson. I was sufficiently wondering where the movie was headed by the time Ivan Vanko a.k.a “Whiplash” shows up walking around slicing and dicing cars on the Monaco raceway. But even while he was doing that I was wondering where was the officer who tasered that 17-year old kid at the Philadelphia Phillies game.

Everything about Iron Man 2 from the music to the fight scenes to the actors are solid and unimpressive, except for Robert Downey Jr who saves or should I say makes this film, much in the same way Johnny Depp does the films he stars in. Director Jon Favreau plays footloose and fancy free with the dialogue as he goes with a more heart less suit theme. I am not kidding when I say that Iron Man gets maybe 20 minutes of screen time. These actors don’t compliment each other well. The moralizing from the first movie sadly has been removed in exchange for a larger cast and little direction. Iron Man, as marvel superhero’s go, is already on the lower rungs and this movie, while not terrible, does nothing to bolster that position.

Iron Man 2 gets a7.5 out of 10 and that’s my FilmWord.

‘Why Did I Get Married Too?’, is the sequel to Tyler Perry’s 2007 movie “Why Did I Get Married”. As many of my readers my know I try not to review Tyler Perry’s films because I have previously been compared to him, in some regard, and most of my reviews, while honest  have not been flattering.  The formula here is the same, couples bickering, exploiting emotions, and all of the marriage challenged have moral, ethical and relationship issues that usually get resolved by the time the movie is over and always with one character who is so horribly flawed that they are beyond redemption.

Honestly, Why Did I Get Married (2007) is when I thought that Tyler Perry had finally shown growth as a director, so I wanted to see this movie. The sequel’s story, though predictable, moves better than most of his films and the subject matter is still shallow. His films have marginally gotten better, but here we are almost 10 movies in and still Tyler Perry refuses to enlist real help with his film making.

This film picks up three years after the first movie, the four couples have moved on with their lives and are now taking their annual vacation. The location this time? The beautiful Bahamas. The couples all seen to be doing fine. Therapist Patricia (Janet Jackson) and her husband Gavin (Malik Yoba) have the perfect marriage and are moving on after the tragic death of their baby boy Noah. The workaholic Dianne (Sharon Leal) and her husband Terry (Tyler Perry) now have a little boy after Dianne had surgery to reverse the tubal ligation. Troy (Lamman Rucker) and Sheila (Jill Scott) are newlyweds and have moved from Colorado to Atlanta and have a little boy. Troy’s inability to land a job has put stress on the couple a matter which is complicated when Sheila’s ex-husband Mike (Richard T Jones) crashes their vacation. The ever mouthy Angela (Tasha Smith) and Marcus (Michael Jai White) are dealing with infidelity issues.

‘Why Did I Get Married Too?’ shows each of these couples attempting to portray that they have happy marriages, but before the vacation is over as we find out that real trouble is brewing. When the couples return home is where the couples face their problems head on.  Janet Jackson gives a nod to Tiger Woods in some very dramatic scenes. This film is where Janet turns in what I think is her best performance as an actress, sadly their isn’t much to see here. Now before you start thinking “he’s hating”, let me finish.

To say that this movie is cliché  and over the top are understatements, but what did you expect?  Sometimes the dialogue falls flat and the characters feel like they are on a stage instead of a beautiful island. There are several moments in this movie that will tug at your heart strings and tickle your funny bone. This is a film about relationships, love lost and found. Mr. Perry has continually assaulted my film experience since his arrival, and this movie is not totally good news for those waiting for the recently announced film “For Colored Girls”.  I said all of that to say that there is something about seeing the screen full of black actors and actresses that is refreshing… liberating even. There is something special about black people not being afraid of being black. This fact is something my fellow film critics will never get. Yes the Tyler Perry brand is formulaic and there are many things that can be said about his directing, writing  and acting. However, there is one word I have never heard someone say in regard to Tyler Perry, and that word is “Fearless”. And fearless is exactly what Tyler Perry is.  That is what ‘Why Did I Get Married Too?’ fully shows.  Fearless is what Mo’Nique showed by acting in Precious. Fearless is what Lee Daniels showed for directing that movie. They are all unafraid. So in that regard Tyler Perry thank you.

This movie gets a 7 out of 10 and that’s my Film Word.

This film is in theaters.

The original Clash of the Titans (1981) was as cheesy as cheesy gets, but it was still somehow endearing. I still recall the specific charm of the movie, which enchanted my imagination as a youth.

Directed by Louis Leterrier, Clash of the Titans (2010)… wait. Before I start I have to say that the mobs of people who mindlessly saw Avatar and bolstered the 3-D market, which will no doubt adversely affect ticket prices, have causes at least two movies this year to get the 3-D treatment post production and frankly it is Not Good. I know that I may get take a lot of flak for saying this but it is the ‘early-adopters’ that drive the prices up for everyone else. 3-D technology has been around for 20-years and even now it is imperfect, distracting and clumsy so much so the public has really got to be brain dead to fork over $4 or more extra to see any movie this way. 3-D is as unnecessary as Lady Gaga’s outfits. (subliminal message to Ipad buyers).  The extra cost alone should be enough to make anyone balk at these types of movies, on top of that “Clash” is not a good movie, sorry. I left disappointed and wondering why didn’t they just leave it alone?

The movie is set in ancient Greece this adventure follows the tale of the half-god, half mortal Perseus (Sam Worthington). Apparently humans are tired of being the chess pieces of the gods and Perseus must lead the humans in the battle versus the gods Zeus, Hades, and Poseidon. The clock is ticking as  tries to save the princess from being sacrificed to the Kraken a gigantic sea monster. Zeus played by (Liam Neeson) is the only part of this movie that isn’t dull. (Note to self remember to change the movie term “special effects” to just “effects”, they haven’t been special in quite awhile a fact that this movie really hits home)  You know how your mind wanders when you see a bad movie, well I sat watching this movie wondering if demigods are still gods and I also wondered why Hollywood continues to stick political commentaries in movies like this… explosion, fight, look at that, he’s hot, politics, did you see that, she hot, fire, death, fight… we’ll only get the politics on DVD. Boring and tired this is one movie that should have stayed on Mount Olympus, another classic thoroughly butchered.

This film gets a 4.5 out of 10 and that’s my Film Word.

This movie is in theaters now

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