Posts Tagged ‘2013 movie’

Yes, you read that title correctly. I recently stumbled upon a documentary about the appropriation of black culture or more specifically black hip-hop culture by white males. Wigger, a term I am not unfamiliar with, is essentially the combination of the word white and the word “n*gger”. And while that may seem a bit jarring to some of you, this is a real term used by real people to describe white men who “act black”. I put the phrase act black in parentheses because that entire phrase insinuates that all black people act one way and that black culture or the black experience can be deduced to a simple two-word phrase. While I do not like the term Wigger any more than I like the N-word, I feel this documentary sheds light on an existing and interesting issue in America: White males who emulate black hip-hop artists and hip-hop culture.

P.S.: I know some of you reading this and seeing the image of the boy with the swastika on his wall are probably cringing, just as I did before the next scene in the film, but before you watch the trailer just know that this image gets flipped in a more positive way in the trailer for the documentary. I have not yet seen this film, but would love to watch it if I am able to procure a copy or if I encounter it online. With that said, check out the trailer below and feel free to comment below and express your opinion on the trailer as long as you establish and maintain a respective tone.

A documentary film on the American cultural stereotype of Wiggers–White rap fans who ‘act Black’. Featuring those whose lives were forever changed by hip hop. [Film Festivals and Indie Films]

As some of you may know, I graduated from Baltimore City College High School. (City Forever!) While at City, I met a lot of people. Some of whom are making or have made some pretty big waves in their fields. One of these individuals, Trae Harris, recently starred in the film Newlyweeds, which has gotten a lot of indie and mainstream buzz in the past few months. Less Half-Baked and more Eternal Sunshine in its approach to relationships and the like, the film, in its honesty, has gotten rave reviews from international critics. I had a chance to catch up with Trae recently and got to ask her about her role, her thoughts on some of the films out there, and a bevy of other topics.

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Image courtesy of traeharris.com

Speed on the Beat: Trae, I’ll be honest. Growing up with you at City, this was a side of you that I thought existed but never knew for certain. Where did the desire to go into acting come from?

Trae Harris: Well, I began acting in junior high school. I started writing plays and performing them as one woman shows. The first play I wrote was about Ruby Bridges and the Desegregation of New Orleans schools. I won a young playwright completion, and from that moment, I knew I wanted to perform in that capacity more often! I joined the Arena Players youth theater and was able to incorporate my dance background, vocal training and a musical theater element. In high school, I took IB Theater and had the opportunity to direct, act, write and really grow as a theatrical performer. (Interviewer’s Note: If I’m not mistaken, Trae also makes a brief appearance in season four of The Wire, alongside fellow Arena Players—and City College alumni—Rashad Orange, his sister Rakiya and others.) I knew that I wanted to go to college and continue pursuing that path, and I did. I went to New School in Manhattan and studied theater there. So, to be honest this is not a new part of myself, it’s just that I am now getting recognition from others who don’t know me or my path personally and it’s awesome!

SOTB: I notice you also do photography. Did the photography lead to your film work or are they mutually exclusive?

TH: Actually, I’m not a photographer and never have been. You’re not the first person to think that, but I have no idea why. (Laughs) I have been shot by numerous photographers from all over the world, but I myself am not a photographer. I do not even own a camera! (Interviewer’s Note: While Trae does not do photography, she has made music, some of which is available for your listening pleasure on her homepage.)

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Image courtesy of traeharris.com

SOTB: Well, at least I’m not the only one. I feel a bit less silly for asking. (Laughs) Now, for those that don’t know, Newlyweeds was shown at Sundance in early 2013. How’d it feel for your first film entry to be mentioned in the same breath as, for instance, Fruitvale Station?

TH: Well, it wasn’t really being mentioned in the same breath as Fruitvale. That was the honor for me. But, rather just that, my first feature film that I had a starring role in was being received so well and that people really loved our story!

SOTB: Did you get to meet Michael B. Jordan? Sorry, I have to ask. I’ve been following that kid since his “Wallace” days on The Wire (Laughs).

TH: (Laughs) No.

SOTB: Darn it.

TH: But, I met the screenwriter and producers from Fruitvale and they were amazing!

SOTB: But, back to Newlyweeds. I’ve read some of Shaka King’s interviews, specifically the one he did with Gawker. What was it about this film that made you pretty much jump up and say “hey, this is a project I want to be attached to?”

TH: I was excited to see a New York story being told in an honest, truthful way. I want to associate myself with work that is meaningful and honest. Newlyweeds is that on so many levels!!

SOTB: Would you say that there is a political element to the movie? I’m rehashing the Gawker question to Shaka to get your own take on it.

TH: Political? Hmmm, not really in my opinion. But, I’m sure that some folks can pull out certain social commentary about class and coming of age in an urban environment.

SOTB: What’s your take about the “uproar” concerning Miley Cyrus and “white” people “stealing” what’s perceived as black culture?

TH: Well, “blackness” as a cultural identity and “black art” as a legitimate art form historically, have always been appropriated and that obvious. Miley is only following her roots; her southern roots are deep and her family is very big in the country music world. Country music historically—just as jazz, classical, and various other musical genres—have very blatantly done the work to suppress and outright “steal” songs, musical styling and nuances that were created by black people whom were never credited. Now, with that said, Miley is not reinventing the wheel, nor is she doing anything that her family and friends in the industry have not done! This whole appropriation of blackness is not new, it’s always fashionable. I’m just not sure why now it’s a national discussion. No one is saying the same things about Justin Timberlake and Robin Thicke. Why have those white males been given the “appropriation card?” (Interviewer’s Note: This will be discussed in a future post to a degree)

SOTB: What’s your opinion on the upcoming 12 Years a Slave versus last year’s Django Unchained? While both movies are completely different in tone, they have similar topics—to a degree. (Interviewer’s Note: Trae’s Newlyweeds costar, Amari Cheatom, appears in Django)

TH: I have not seen 12 Years a Slave yet, so I do not have much to offer, but Django was an action film and a bit of a comedy. 12 Years is a drama so slavery is being addressed in very different ways!! I do believe or hope that 12 Years will finally bring a sense of humanity to enslaved people and their experience, as opposed to simply sensationalizing it.

SOTB: What’s next on the horizon for you?

TH: More work, writing, and performing. I just want to release more poetry and share my work on a global scale. I have new projects coming up and I am very excited!!

SOTB: Should we expect a sequel? (Laughs) Silly question I know, considering how the film ends and what it deals with. But, I mean, we know how Hollywood gets when they find a good property, independent or not.

TH: (Laughs) Not to my knowledge!

SOTB: Would you be open to working more “mainstream” films or is independent where your heart’s at?

TH: I just want to do progressive work. I don’t really care what the medium is. Do I long to be an indie artist without mainstream success? NO! But I am not willing to comprise my integrity for the industry.

For those even more interested, here’s the trailer for Newlyweeds. Be sure to check it out when it comes to your city.

Trae can be reached through the following social media sites:

www.traeharris.com

www.gypsybruja.tumblr.com

@gypsybruja

Facebook: Search “Trae Harris” or gypsybruja

Instagram: gypsybruja

For all lovers of Zombie films, there’s a new zombedy (Zombie + Comedy) that was released last month called Dead Before Dawn that puts a rather original spin on the zombie film phenomena.

A group of college students unleash a plague of zombie demons in a small town, and fight for their lives while racing to stop the infernal curse over the course of 24 blood-soaked hours.  Fandango.com

For a movie filled with “C” rated actors and actresses, I’d say this actually looks worth watching. It even looks better than  Detention of the Dead (The Breakfast Club meets Dawn of the Dead). Considering the limited theatrical release date was September 6th and I know it didn’t do big numbers, my hope is that it will be in the redbox or on netflix soon. But, we’ll see. Take a look at the trailer below and let me know what you think.

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No, Justin Timberlake is not the latest villain in the Superman/Batman film if that is what you were questioning. Runner, Runner is his latest film that stars him opposite of Ben Affleck, who is apparently the antagonist in the movie. As an added bonus John Heard (Home Alone, Sharknado) and Anthony Mackie (Gangster Squad, Pain & Gain) are also in the film. As far as just how good this movie will be, I can’t tell by the trailer. But, I can tell enough to know I won’t be going to the theater to see this one. But hey, if you think it looks worth the $12.50 ticket price (not including beverages, popcorn, or other snacks), let me know by commenting in the comment section below.

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That’s right folks, the tale of Detroit’s half man, half machine law enforcer has been revamped for a 2014 audience. This time around he’s been given a new, upgraded exterior and is equipped to put baddies in their place in the year 2028. Robocop jumps back onto the big screen on February 7th of next year boasting a full roster of talented actors. Check out the trailer below and let me know if you’ll be taking your Valentine out to see this one.

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Who would’ve known that a film called TRANCE could change my life? TRANCE is a psychological thriller that stars James Mcavoy (Wanted, X-Men First Class) , Vincent Cassel (Ocean’s Thirteen, Black Swan) and Rosario Dawson (Death Proof, Sin City). In the film, Rosario Dawson plays a hypnotherapist and let me be the first to say, she can hypnotize me any day…or night of the week. lol Anyway, in the film she is kind of this strategic and powerful woman. Attribute the power to her beauty and her brains in the film. Now, the reason why this film changed my life is mostly due to her performance…clothed and unclothed. But, we’ll get to the unclothed part later. For those who don’t know, I have practically followed Rosario Dawson’s career since He Got Game. The first time I watched it I remember thinking, “WoW! She is gorgeous!”

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 Regarding her role in Alexander, I was like, “Whoa! She took it there. Okay, she’s got gusto AND a beautiful body.” Seven Pounds made me wish I could trade places with Will Smith and give her MY heart. She’s just that talented of an actress. So when I saw that this film TRANCE starred Rosario Dawson, I had to get it from the Redbox yesterday. That was a huge mistake on my part! Rosario Dawson’s character in this film is so dynamic that one word can’t really describe her. She’s mysterious, intelligent, secretive, and sexy, but not in an over-the-top kind of way. Although she does sleep with two men in the film. But, there’s sensible reasoning behind it, which you discover by the end of the film. Anyway, the name of the film is truly fitting because Rosario Dawson’s character and performance definitely put me in a trance for the two hours it took to watch it in its entirety.

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But, it wasn’t solely her acting that resounds in my memory. It was the sexuality of her character and the makeup of her being. Simply put, Rosario Dawson got naked numerous times and that body is utterly hypnotizing. But, on and off-screen she has Brains, Beauty and Body. Talk about a trifecta of femininity. With that said, my big mistake doesn’t come from merely watching the film. But, from seeing something in her I am yet to see in ninety-nine percent of the women I interact with. Now, don’t be too hasty in your judgment of my last statement by thinking that what I see in her performance and physique is perfection. Contrarily, I see the errors, the vulnerability, the miscalculations, and the strategically uncoordinated pieces of art that she layers on and off the screen. And it is within those nuances that I see this perfect imperfection of an actress and most importantly, a woman. So, I can clearly see why she was made to be the main character’s muse in this film and so many previous films.

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This multifaceted goddess who can be whomever you want her to be, plus more. This polished thespian who can outshine even the brightest of cohorts. So, standing in the mirror on a late Wednesday night, hours after watching the film, I quietly think to myself, “I’m In Love With Rosario Dawson.” I then pause for a brief moment, retract my previous statement and realize what it truly is that has me sleepless and baffled at the notion I have just contrived. I am not in love with Rosario Dawson. I am in love with the IDEA of a Rosario Dawson. (A stunning woman who portrays the many qualities I seek in a mate.) My mind then replays that sex scene – her unclothed performance – in the film where Mcavoy’s character tells her to pause for a second as he takes in all that she has to offer. Thinking to myself, the woman who makes me want to freeze frame our greatest moments and revel in those intricate seconds of pleasure is the woman I’d like to wed someday. Betwixt all the initial confusion from the seemingly jarring flow of events and the intricate characters in the film, I found my subtle sense of clarity. The woman who can completely entrance me with her Brains, Beauty and Body is the Rosario Dawson of my life.

I am here today asking the question, “Why are so many people afraid of the film The Conjuring? I ask this because after viewing the trailers and promo for this film I don’t want to see this movie more now than when I first heard of it. And that is not because I am afraid of it. (I never understood how something on a screen could scare anyone.) But, because the movie looks repetitive. I ask a second question, “Haven’t we seen this movie before?” Hello! Just about every ghost/haunting horror film has the same plot or basic principles. A white family moves into a house where people were killed a long time ago and now the ghosts of the deceased are either out to get the houses new residents or they want to shed light on their deaths. Yeah, I just about gave you the entire plot to all of the major ghost films of our time, i.e.: Paranormal Activity, Insidious, and the biggest leader of them all The Amityville Horror. tumblr_mp3wt5VAtC1qbrav1o1_500It’s funny how Hollywood uses the taglines “Based on a true story” and “Fact Based depiction” to help boost ticket sales. If I learned anything from The Blair Witch Project it’s that a white lie can go a long way when we’re talking about raking in the big bucks. After all, the reportedly real account which we later discovered was a huge hoax of an indie movie took a $60,000 budget and turned it into a $100+ million dollar grossing film. So when I watch the trailer below all I see is dollar signs for Warner Bros. Pictures and millions of teenage girls just dying to see a film that probably won’t even be as good as The Ring (sucked!), The Grudge (sucked!) or Paranormal Activity 1 – 3 (Huge Disappointments!). But hey, this is just my opinion. Check out the latest trailer featuring members of the so-called real life family depicted in The Conjuring and let me know if you’ll be in the theater on July 19th to see it. Oh yeah, nice touch with the warning poster by the way. Great way to hype up the film Warner Bros.!

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“The story of Steve Jobs’ ascension from college dropout into one of the most revered creative entrepreneurs of the 20th century.” [IMDB]

Ashton Kutcher returns to the big screen playing none other than the late Steve Jobs. I haven’t been this excited for a biopic since The Social Network. As an avid Apple product user and a lover of success stories, I am definitely going to see this film. As one of the most influential people in the 20th and 21st century, Steve Jobs – with the help of Steve Wozniak – changed the world with the creation of Macintosh computers and Apple Incorporated. His inventive and creative nature has helped spawn a dream and nurture a technological empire. I’ve always felt like the Apple Inc. co-creator needed his story told on film and the silver screen will be providing just that on August 16, 2013. Take a look at the trailer below and let me know what you think?

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The 1999 hit, The Best Man is a film that captures the trials and tribulations that occur within the romantic and friendly relationships of a group of highly successful black friends. Starring such talented actors and actresses as Taye Diggs, Morris Chestnut, Nia Long, Sanaa Lathan, Terrance Howard, and many more, The Best Man is more than just a movie to me. When I recall my experience at the theater for the screening of the film, I remember a feeling of accomplishment overcome me. There I was, watching an ensemble of black actors portray talented and successful people on the big screen. This was not a farce or outlandish comedy. This was not a demeaning or ignorant film portraying black people in a negative light (90% of Tyler Perry movies). This was not a horror movie where the only black actor in the entire film dies. These weren’t black actors portraying criminals, maids, janitors or  any other negative stereotypical characters that Hollywood likes to cast black actors for. The main characters were writers, musicians, athletes, and media executives prospering in society. They were the epitome of what many black people dream to be…or at least what I dreamt to be. And I loved that someone was able to get a film like this scripted, produced and presented on the big screen for someone like me to see. It’s a great film and it is really entertaining. So, as a huge fan of the original I am ecstatic about the sequel, The Best Man Holiday. At this stage in the promo process of the film I am unaware of the exact plot of the sequel. But, I already know I am going to the theater with my family Thanksgiving weekend to see it. Check out two of the trailers below and let me know if you’ll be checking out The Best Man Holiday on November 15th.

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Just when we thought Sylvester Stallone had officially retired to The Expendables island, a trailer for the new film Escape Plan emerges from the webiverse. Starring in this futuristic prison break film is his Expendables buddy Arnold Schwarzenegger. This leads me to ask the question, “Will these old guys ever slow down?” Based on the rumor of Arnold’s appearance in the next Terminator film, I think not. But, with that said, their old age doesn’t seem to be showing as they are kicking ass through a series of challenging events and people in this bromantic beefed up version of Lockout. One must also note the silver screen appearance of rapper turned mogul Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson (The last and to my recollection only silver screen film he has been in was his loosely fact-based biopic Get Rich or Die Trying). I wonder how large a role he’ll have in this film. My guess is very small and for good reason. Every film he’s been in since GRODT has gone straight to DVD. I call this the 50 Cent curse. So, will the curse effect Escape Plan? I guess we’ll have to wait until October 18th to find out.

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