Saturday, May 26, 2012

"The 2012 Inaugural Black Vintage Movie Series"

Calling all my Atlanta folks!!

The Black Vintage Movie Series, Inc. invites you and your family to join them on June 16th, 2012 as they celebrate those  who helped pave the path for today's African Americans actors/actresses in the Motion Picture Industry. The inaugural movie series is also presented by Atlanta City Councilman Kwanza Hall.

'The Black Vintage Movie Series' showcases select films from 1920-1950. Founded by Jeff Bellamy, the 'Black Vintage Movie Series' was inspired by Bellamy's father's enthusiasm for black films from the Great Depression. This era represents a time when families were more tightly structured, when going to the movies meant that women and men dressed impeccably. It was a night out on the town and people carried themselves with respect. During this time actors worked with very limited technical resources and musicians played without the benefit of sound enhancement. 

Check out the schedule here:
2:30 pm Imitation of Life
5:00 pm Lecture- Bright Boulevard, Bold Dreams
7:00 pm Carmen Jones
9:30 pm Q&A with acclaimed author Donald Bogle

The movie series will take place at The Balzer Theater at Herren's (84 Luckie St. NW, Atlanta, GA 30303). Tickets are as follows:
          Individual Screenings: $19 in advance, $21 day of the show, $15 for groups of 10+
          Full Day Pass: $28 in advance, $34 day of the show, $25 for groups of 10+

Tickets can be purchased via phone (1-877-725-8849) or online .

Friday, May 25, 2012

Bring the Kiddies...Men in Black III is BACK!!

It was fifteen years (1997) ago when the first Men in Black movie hit the big screen, presenting a winning pairing of Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones as the “odd couple” partners who protect the Earth against the scum of the universe. It would be jammed packed with action, special effects and some heavy doses of comedy all rolled into one. Director Barry Sonnenfield returns five years later for a sequel, and then takes a chance with a third film. Finally a decade later, Men in Black III is materialized and takes advantage of a pointless 3D format to deliver the latest installment of the famous series.

The sci-fi comedy Men in Black III strikes again with the return of Agents J (Will Smith) and K (Tommy Lee Jones) in a new adventure centered on the escape of the villainous alien “Boris the Animal” (Jemaine Clement). “Boris the Animal” flees from a lunar maximum prison and seeks to take revenge on Kay for his imprisonment, the dismembering his arm, and furthermore extinguishing his fellow aliens and their planet. All the while, J and K continue to protect the Earth from destruction and chaos.

In the film, we get to see J and K’s relationship get pushed to the forefront as we witness a deeper exploration into each of their characters, backgrounds and their friendship. The above factors alone help the film immensely, and save it from being a mediocre effort that relies solely on the charisma of the actors and further washing everything down in CG. Although the CG was slightly overwhelming, there are still some surprises that come from the effects, which thankfully are not exposed in the trailers, and that's a good thing. More than likely much of the visual graphic work went into recreating the USA 60s scenes, as well as sprucing up the alien designs (in this third installment the aliens look far more imperiling and repulsive especially with Boris the Animal).

All the characters seemed to mesh very well and have a great chemistry together, expectedly with J and the older version of K (Jones who is mainly in a supporting role in this film). And with the introduction of the younger K (Josh Brolin) they just seem to fall right into place as partners in the past, the Smith-Brolin pairing was definitely a winner for this film. Lest, I not forget Josh Brolin is a dead-ringer visually and in personality for Tommy Lee's K during his youth. Also Clement (Boris the Animal) embodies the main villain quite convincingly by possessing this dark and trembling personality along with his characters deadly force, which I’m rather shocked at for a PG rated film. And joining the cast in extrusive, though limited roles, include Emma Thompson as Agent O (taking over as the new MIB Chief with the passing of Zed), Alice Eve playing the younger O, and both Michael Stuhlbarg (Griffin) and Mike Colter (Colonel) adding intensity to the “MIB mythos”.

Even after 4 years of being absent from the big screen (Seven Pounds & Hancock were his last films in 2008), Will Smith shows that he has not lost his touch and still has what it takes to be in a potential blockbuster hit. As an MIB veteran, he’s able to still naturally portray the likable Agent Jay with a lot more polish as compared to when he was first recruited.

The films primary achievement is its characterization, the narrative, and the mood and tone of the film. Men in Black III is an easy-going, light-hearted, fun film that stays within the “outer limits” and does not try overload you with an exaggerated comedic script. Although this sci-fi comedy is great for the family please note that there may be some indirect material that is inappropriate for children under 15, it might just go over their heads, nonetheless it is still worth seeing for the whole family. 

Rating: 7.5 out of 10

Monday, May 21, 2012

Another film that NEEDS YOUR SUPPORT!! “Black Men, Afraid of Dark”

As you all know, Black Savant Cinema is always in support of new and upcoming film projects. Some time ago I had the opportunity to feature this inspiring filmmaker Mya B . And now she has a documentary that she has been working on that will add a different light to the way black men are viewed and treated in this country through the film, Black Men, Afraid of Dark, formally known as Silence 2: Black Male Sexuality

According to the filmmaker, the purpose of the film is to analyze some of the damaging stereotypes about black men being violent, angry and oversexed and offer a balance to that by talking to black men of various ages and backgrounds about their family upbringing, how they define manhood, losing their virginity, black relationships, stereotypes and the in between.  

"This journey has been an amazing one for me in the beautiful men, some of you I know and the evolution I have gone through in discovering the black man in a different light for myself."

Some of the men interviewed include Vondie Curtis Hall, Steele of Smif-N-Wesson, Malik Yoba, Kevin Powell, NY Senator Eric Adams, Dr. Llaila Afrika, Rev. Jeremiah Wright, and Phillips Bradford (grandson of man that had Ota Benga in the Bronx zoo), Tom Burrell, Sam Greenlee, Lou Myers, Independent hip hop artists (mikeflo, Chen Lo, Hasan Salaam, etc) and black men from all walks of life and backgrounds. 

Black Men, Afraid of Dark, is a film that is necessary in order to heal the world at large who have judged the black man based on these detrimental stereotypes.  

So please take a few moments to donate to the "Black Men, Afraid of Dark” Kickstarter campaign . No donation is too small. Every dollar amount of your donation will go to the paying my celebrity appearances, animation and post-production.  For being so generous you will receive a limited, Shoot Films, Not People “Hoodie” in honor of Trayvon Martin and other black men killed by the hand of other because of these stereotypes, a special edition DVD with behind the scene footage, a film credit, a signed poster, and an invite to one of the hottest pre-screening parties hosted by a celebrity host and guest DJ.

Now if after all of this you are still not convinced check out the trailer below:

"It is time for the black man to stop being feared but revered.  
He is more than a stereotype.  
Let’s help change the way the world views and responds to him."  ~Mya B

Friday, May 18, 2012

Low Expectations of 'What to Expect When You're Expecting'

What To Expect When You’re Expecting is a film adaptation based on the New York Times bestseller pregnancy guide of the same name.  The film takes a look at the joys of parenting and parenting-to-be through the lives of five interconnected couples.  In almost two hours, the film attempts to illustrate the ups and downs of adoption, the undesirable side effects of pregnancy, and the unfortunate mishaps.
The film centers around five Atlanta couples:  the high profile celebrity couple Evan (Matthew Morrison) and Jules (Cameron Diaz), Alex (Rodrigo Santoro) and his photographer wife Holly (Jennifer Lopez), former NASCAR driver Ramsey (Dennis Quaid) and his much younger trophy wife Skyler (Brooklyn Decker),  Ramsey’s adult son Gary (Ben Falcone) and his “baby-crazy” businesswomen/author wife Wendy (Hunger Games‘ Elizabeth Banks), and rival food truck chefs Marco (Chace Crawford) and Rosie (Anna Kendrick) who put the “cart before the horse” before even going on a first date.  All the couples are at different stages of their lives, but all await the arrival of their bundles of joy.
However, the cast falls short in the category of balanced chemistry.  Director Kirk Jones (Nanny McPhee) misses the mark and doesn’t do the novel justice.  Screenwriters Shauna Cross (Whip It) and Heather Hach (Freaky Friday) have done better and sadly this film does not highlight their writing talents.  Between attempts to make you laugh, there are a few tender moments, but unfortunately not enough to carry the film.
Although What To Expect When You’re Expecting focuses on expectant motherhood, the film tries to show the role that the father plays in the journey.  Outside of a few of Chris Rock’s typical comedic rants about fatherhood (which lacks in comparison to the stand-up routine he is known for) and a major meltdown by Banks’ character, there’s very little that this movie offers that actually lives up to the title.  To make matters worse, the films worst offenses were the over dramatized acting, forced laughter, and a lack of fluidity between the actors.  The film’s storyline delivers an unbalanced mishmash of vignettes.  In essence, it tries too hard to make you laugh and fails to bring cohesion between plot and characters.
If you don’t mind witnessing a dysfunctional man’s club, jumping from story to story with no clear direction, or finding humor in watching a screaming woman go into labor, then maybe this is the movie for you. What To Expect When You’re Expecting has a notable cast, but disappointingly it’s a flat and lackluster comedy.
Rating: 5.5 out of 10 stars

Saturday, May 5, 2012

"The Avengers"...Now that's a Superhero Team!!!

Two words for ya…Epic Proportions!! That is how I would describe the new summer Marvel hit The Avengers. I have been waiting on this movie since the first Iron Man came out in 2008. You just knew it was going to happen… just because!!

The Avengers was a flick that I was excited and nervous about all at the same time. Excited for the obvious reason (comic book nerd) and nervous because not every comic book movie has been successful, especially when there are multiple big name character involved. This is one of THE best adventure movies I've seen in a good while!! I mean the movie is pure AWESOME. To have such comic book giants (in some cases literally) as Iron Man, Captain America, Thor, and The Hulk in one film and it work speaks volumes. 

Director Joss Whedon, who is most known for the television series Buffy The Vampire Slayer, studies the foundation that was built in the prior films and transports to the big screen “the greatest team of superheroes in film history”…The Avengers: Iron Man/Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.), Captain America/Steve Rogers (Chris Evans), Thor (Chris Hemsworth), Hulk/Bruce Banner (Mark Ruffalo), Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson), and Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner) as "amassed" by Nick Fury. Whedon's whose scripts typically include clever banter, spellbinding action sequences and an “air of mystery” and this is no different with The Avengers. It is quite clear that Whedon has an utter love for comic books, and it is evidently displayed with this movie.

Perfect Chemistry…That’s what each one of these characters brought to the film. One could not ask for a better cast.  Not only did they blend together, but they were essentially working together sweet harmony!! Everyone was able to get his or her fair share without it feeling like it was all about one person. Now I must admit I was not initially on the wagon with Mark Ruffalo playing Bruce Banner/The Hulk, but he convinced me with his performance! The Hulk showed up and showed out in a big way. And to know surprise, Downey plays Stark almost effortlessly, delivering lines with ease allowing his charisma, charm and smugness to gleam through; there is not a doubt in my mind Robert Downey Jr. is Tony Stark! Chris Evans' congeals himself in the role of Captain America, and further assures us that he is America’s hero. He truly holds his own standing alongside Iron Man and Thor. Then you have Chris Hemsworth's Asgardian god Thor who has some extraordinary battle scenes and indirectly provides one of the film's most hilarious moments. Clearly after being seriously underutilized in Iron Man 2, we get to see full development of Scarlett Johansson's Black Widow, this helps in developing the character and provides an opportunity to prove she is much more than just a pretty face; she's physically dangerous along with being psychologically deadly. Even Hawkeye brings an element to the team as a force to be reckoned with at all times. Don’t let the bow an arrow fool you now. And finally, Nick Fury is more than just a surprise appearance. Fury is finally able to maximize his potential and stretch his legs some, Jackson actually fits the role quite easily.

And I can’t forget Agent Caulson (Clark Gregg) [love this guy…dry wit, humor and all] along with Cobie Smulders who makes her Marvel films debut as Agent Maria Hill, and she is definitely a welcomed addition. Also what’s a comic book hero without a villain…Thor's adopted-brother Loki (Tom Hiddleston) brings an excellent dynamic as he is able to hold his own in the midst of some huge heavyweights. Each character may have their egos and big guns, but when it came to saving the world they some how seem to create a diamond mine out of a junkyard. That was what I feared most but they did not disappoint. They held it together with “style and grace”.

If I had any issues with the film it was just the fact that Hawkeye being the character that he is got a little too much “face-time” for my liking, but at least the performance was good though. And my other minor gripe was with the development of Bruce Banner and The Hulk.  Now this may seem like I am nit-picking but it would have been nice to see how Banner was able to control over The Hulk (that seems like a vital piece to the puzzle. And let me make note it was not all serious, but plenty of humor as well. This is what made it a well-balanced film.

I will admit the movie is over 2 hours but its worth every minute. This movie on so many levels brings out the best in everything from the characters, to the plot, the cinematography, the action, it just all works. In a weird and unique kind of way it draws on all of your emotions in one single sitting. To be honest films like Star Trek and Transformers could learn a lesson from a film like The Avengers. How you ask? Pull from every angle and go deeper, you can’t just scratch the surface and it be ok!

***As usual with most if not all Marvel films, make sure to stay around for the post credit sequence, which will provides a surprising reveal.

This was the perfect movie to start out the summer!! Quite impressive!! Now I am hyped and on a super high!! Bring on the next one!!

Rating: 9 out 10

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

2012 Summer Movie Line-Up

Well it's one of my favorite times of the year...Summer Movies!! Each week this summer is going to be filled with blockbuster hits!! So let me not waste anymore of your time let's get right to it folks....

First on the list....the obvious....
The Avengers (May 4th): It's already been receiving rave reviews and I'm sure it will not disappoint!! At least I hope not :-) 

Dark Shadows (May 11th): It just would not be a summer without a movie from Johnny Depp!

Battleship (May 18th)

MIB3 (May 25th): Not sure how excited I am about this but we shall see...

Snow White and The Huntsman (June 1st)

 Prometheus (June 8th): This is one that I know a lot of folks have been sleeping on, but I gotta funny feeling its going to surprise some folks in a good way!

Rock of Ages (June 15th)

GI Joe: Retaliation (June 29th): ACTION.COM

The Amazing Spider-Man (July 3rd): I'm still tripping that the 3rd installment Spider-Man 3 only came out just five years ago! Hmmmm...This is sure to get the 4th of July popping!! 

The Dark Knight Rises (July 20th): I have been waiting for this movie for a lifetime (exaggeration lol) this and The Avengers are top on my list!

The Bourne Legacy (August 3rd): And no Matt Damon does not make a guest appearance....

Total Recall (August 3rd): Can we say REMAKE...

**And we gotta make sure the kiddies go to the movies too especially since school will be out soon!!
Madagascar 3: Europe's Most Wanted (June 8th)

Ice Age: Continental Drift (July 13th)

And I have a few on the list that may not be blockbusters, but you definitely do not want to miss out on these gems!!
-Restless City
-Sparkle (August 17th)

I am sure there are MANY more, but these are just some that have made it to my list!! So get your popcorn and candy and head to the theater folks!! And don't forget to stay past the credits :-)

G-Breezy's Favorite Movies

  • Bourne Identity/Supremacy/Ultimatum
  • Die Hard series
  • Do the Right Thing
  • Fracture
  • Idlewild
  • Imitation of Life
  • Inside Man
  • James Bond series
  • Love Jones
  • Malcolm X