Tag: Lavish Movies (Page 1 of 3)

Lavish Movies: The Inevitable Defeat of Mister & Pete

I have to be really compelled to spend money to see a movie nowadays. Everything seems so overblown, overdone and just plain unrealistic. But when I saw the trailer for this one, I was truly moved. Mister and Pete tells the story of two children brought together by a common mission to find out what happened to their mothers, who seem to have unfortunately gotten wrapped up with the same criminal group as a means to make money. The interesting twist is that the boys, one Black and one East Asian, share this commonality in the environment of the city projects.

The movie stars Jennifer Hudson and Jeffrey Wright, with newcomers Skylan Brooks (playing Mister) and Ethan Dizon (as Pete). Alicia Keys co-produced.

The Inevitable Defeat of Mister & Pete debuts in theaters October 11, 2013.

Lavish Movies: Like Someone in Love

Like Someone in Love by Abbas Kiarostami
That song, by Ella Fitzgerald, is the song that opens my Sunday morning playlist. And though this film has nothing to do with the iconic singer, the underlying theme of a john becoming smitten with an escort is old hat and often comical.  I’ve heard so many good things about this indie film, that I’ve added it to my to do list.
The basis of this film a young woman in Tokyo trying to balance life as a prostitute with a john whom she befriends, and her real boyfriend, who has no idea she solicits men for sex. All three parties seem to be in a highly dysfunctional romantic relationship. It sounds too amusing and implausible to miss. Catch this one while you can.

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Three Movies/Docs I Want To See Right Now…

War Witch –  The story of Komona, a 12 year old girl forced to take part in a rebel army in a fictitious African country.

A Place at the Table – A documentary chronicling the very real effects of food insecurity: families who are barely able to make it with the available food they have, and the lack of affordable, nutritional food choices where they live. These people go by unnoticed because they lack the cliche’d appearance of being underfed.

Better Mus’ Come – A love story taking place in 1970’s Jamaica where rival political gangs, used as bloody pawns, wrecked havoc in the streets, ending in the Green Bay Massacre of 1978.

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5 Sundance-Buzzed films I want to see

1. 2 Days in New York, where Chris Rock plays an unlikely romantic lead who meets the family of his French girlfriend.

2. Simon Killer, where rugged hottie Brady Corbet plays a sociopath who befriends a French prostitute ( I promise there isn’t a theme here, just coincidence!)

3. Arbitrage, where perpetual screen romantic Richard Gere plays a Wall Street banker who tries to cover up the accidental death of his mistress

4. For a Good Time, Call, where under-the-radar actress Ari Graynor plays a phone-sex entrepreneur and must devise ever-evolving sexual fetishes for her clients

5. Beast of Southern Wild because 8 year old Quvenzhané Wallis holds the weight of this heavy drama set in storm-torn Louisiana.

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You Should See: Florent: Queen of the Meat Market

If you have ever spent a late night clubbing in the Meatpacking District, there was only one place to go at 4am to help cure the effects of an indulgent drink-a-thon: Florent. Florent was the one restaurant you could go to without having to wait on a line,
or worse, fear being rejected at the door. It was an all-inclusive spot, hence the laid-back vibe. I remember spending many an early morning chowing down on Blueberry pancakes and sausage, while laughing at a drag queen dancing at back room booth. Sadly, the low-key eatery, owned by Florent Morellet, shuttered in 2008.

Florent: Queen of the Meat Market, is a David Sigal directed documentary highlighting the diner’s most famed guests through interviews, photos, sound bites, and videos. It is an homage to the nightlife of the past.

New Movie: Jumping The Broom

I honestly haven’t been excited to see any big budget films as of late, but the trailer for this upcoming RomCom got me laughing and feeling wistful. The premise is two Black families coming together for a wedding on Martha’s Vineyard. What makes me want to see this is possibility that it wont be your typical run-of-the mill slapstick geared towards Black audiences.

Angela Basset and Loretta Divine give the movie weight, while Mike Epps provides some toned-down comedy relief. I’m looking forward to seeing the movie, which comes up May 6, 2010.

Watch the trailer:

You Should See: Karmen Gei

Come to the Dweck Center in Brooklyn’s Central Library’s  to see Karmen Ge, the first African Carmen, on February 23 at 6:30 PM. A classic story about the desire for freedom and the laws that constrain it, this film’s original score and staging is replaced with indigenous Senegalese music and choreography.

What: Karmen Gei
When: february 23
Where: Brooklyn Public Library Central Library
Time: 6:30pm
Cost: FREE!

Vintage Lavish Movies: Black Orpheus

Lately, I’ve been getting more into the classic cinema of yesteryear via the Turner Classic Movies channel. So, it was an absolute treat to see that they were airing a movie that I’d wanted to see for years:


After being mesmerized by the beauty of Antonio Carlos Jobim’s bossa nova and the magic of Rio de Janeiro, I was swept away by the modern retelling of the Greek legend of Orpheus and Eurydice. A tale of love discovered and lost, the Marcel Camus-directed movie captured one of
film’s greatest pairings, Breno Mello and Marpessa Dawn:

What struck me most about this movie were the simple ways that love was expressed. Whether it was a tune that was played on a guitar or playful banter amongst lovers, beauty was revealed – thus creating a timelessly stunning flick. I highly recommend that you add this to your movie collection or Netflx queue. Until then, do enjoy the trailer:

Precious: The Dreams That You Dare to Dream

Precious: The self is lost

Last week I avoided the crowds and went to see a matinee performance of the heavily-hyped movie Precious: Based on the novel PUSH by Sapphire. This is not a movie review but more of a reflection into the films themes and their impressions on the viewer. The movie held true to a lot of the atrocities in the book and added some characters–like the male nurse played by Lenny Kravitz- for some flavor. I didn’t agree with Paula Patton as the teacher, since I actually read the book and had a completely different vision of Ms. Rain (more fitting of a seasoned actress like Alfre Woodard), but nonetheless the movie was visually striking, uncompromising, and shocking to even those that have been initiated into the school of hard knocks. The reactions to the movie that I’ve heard ranged from bone chilling to uplifting, and while both descriptions could equally describe this film, I walked away with something even darker.

For a few months I had been studying the causes and effects of paranoid schizophrenia suffered by mind control subjects and sexual abuse victims. My curiosity stemmed from wanting to further understand why a displaced family member began suffering from the mental disease in her teenage years. The information that I came upon was startling, and I saw several allusions to the effects of  mental and physical abuse in both the Precious movie posters and the movie itself. Without going into an all-out thesis on the subject, I’ll just touch on a few bold depictions that I have discovered in my studies, and allow you, the reader, to further investigate if you so wish.

Monarch Programming
I was struck by the initial movie poster for Precious because the image of the monarch butterfly is reflective of government mind-control system I had been studying called Project Monarch or MK Ultra. While I do not consider myself a scholar in this subject, I understand that this was a real program developed around World War II by Nazi doctors and the CIA. This once covert operation has since come to light with a public acknowledgement from former President Clinton and, according to some, may still be in use today. Children as young as two years old were sexually abused as a way of fragmenting themseves, forgetting their sense of self, and separating parts of their mind from traumatic experiences, often forgetting that they even occured. Precious’ mother acknowledged that she watched as her boyfriend molested three-year-old Precious repeatedly instead of making love to the elder, and so we know that the Precious’ torture began early as well.

Another form of torture is constant trance inducement, where the victim will flash to another happier place in their minds as the physical trauma is being administered. In the movie, Precious constantly flashes to dreams as a movie star with bright, flashing lights, and adoring fans. While moviegoers saw these episodes as a light-hearted departure from the movie’s heavy emotional theme, it offers insight into the mind of an abused victim. A permanent and damaging effect of repeated torture is that the victim can no longer tell fantasy from reality. In the movie, Precious not only dreams that she is a skinny White girl, but everytime she sits down in front of a mirror she actually sees herself as one.

Ritual Abuse Resulting in Fragmentation
The second striking poster is a stark black and orange image of a fragmented Precious. The theme couldn’t be more obvious as the image is a metaphor for a young girl whose soul is literally shattered by sexual abuse. But the sad effect of a victim who is repeatedly traumatized is that they begin to break off mentally into different states, or alters. Think of all those alter egos that have been the big trend of celebrities lately. In a real victim, this is where the schizophrenia kicks in where a person develops several personalities that serve different purposes. For instance, there may be a good alter and a bad alter. The bad alter is the personality that is punished because it has misbehaved, whereas the good alter would never associate with the bad alter. Another alter may be afraid of being chased by some unknown force because of something they may have done. I have seen someone suffer through this disease and it can be frightening.

Precious’ alter is a White girl and a movie star. But how many times do you yourself daydream and imagine yourself as someone else? The average persona my not be as far gone as a character like Precious, but a dream and a bad experience can be bad enough to take you there.

Black Hair Is Having The Best Month Ever!


(Image Courtesy of Afro Glitz Magazine)
Over the past few weeks, the topic of Black hair has been inescapable. From the feverish debates over the sincerity of Chris Rock’s Good Hair to the detangling of Zahara Jolie-Pitt’s ‘uncombed’ hair, it seems that Black hair is having the Best Month Ever. Which, I suppose, should be seen as some type of breakthrough. After all, we as Black women have had the whole Good and Bad Hair Shuffle play out in real life more times than we care to count. So, it was only natural that there’d be anticipation towards how ‘our’ issues would be confronted on a national stage.
Except that, interestingly enough, amidst the documentaries, bloggings, and message board musings, there was a lack of honesty on about the image of Black Hair. Sure, the same arguments between ‘Weave-O-Holics’ and ‘Natural Nazis’ were aired out, but the lack of examination on how Black Hair has remained an indelible part of our psyche for over 400 years struck a chord within me. Would we be able to truthfully discuss the joy and pain that Black Hair represents as a part of Western culture? Or will we spend the rest of time finger-pointing and not actually offering solutions on how to change the perception of beauty?
I’d like to think that the former will be possible – an attitude that I will carry with me when I finally plunk down my $12.50 to check out Good Hair.

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