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Friday, April 17, 2009

Where My Blacktors At?

As of lately this movie reviewer has been watching her fair share of black romantic comedies. When I was talking to my best friend about this situation she put it simply because "Girl you're black , and looking for love." Maybe. Or maybe I was watching them because I cant find my quality black romantic comedies and black love stories in the theaters any more!!

Remember there was a time from about 1999 to 2004 when we had this nice steady stream of black romantic movies. Films such as Brown Sugar, The Wood, The Brothers, Two Can Play That Game, Breaking all The Rules, Deliver Us From Eva, Love Jones, Love and Basketball and to me the top of the heap The Best Man. It also would include what I've branded the "Black Pack". The most common players in these movies would include Taye Diggs, Morris Chestnut, Sanaa Lathan and Gabriel Union with a few supporting characters like Omar Epps, Vivica Fox, Nia Long, Tamala Jones, maybe a rapper turned actor like L.L. Cool J and Queen Latifah to round out the cast.

These films would be like any other romantic comedy. You know the whole boy meets girl, boy falls for girl, some issue happens where they are mad at each other, then they make up and get together and all that jazz. The only major difference would just be the color of the cast and usually some comedian would be in it to be the comic relief. Not since the blaxploitation movies of the 70's and the break dancing/rap movies of the 80's had we seen such a large swell of movies that showcased new upcoming black actors. These movies were enthusiatically recieved by audiences of all colors. So why arent' they in the movie theatres now!?!

However, if I were to walk down the aisle in Blockbuster video or go on Netflix I would see a long list of straight to video black films that I've never even heard of. Does Hollywood think they are non-profitable so they put them straight to DVD? Were we not supporting these movies like we should have? Is it because Black Folks watch too many damn bootleg movies so these films werent seeing the profit that they should have? Maybe. But also we have to look into finding good material to film, because if I have to sit through another film like the Seat Filler I will hurt somebody.

Fortunately Tyler Perry has been picking up some of the slack in recent years with the black romantic comedy through his blockbusters Diary of Mad Black Woman, Madea's Family Reunion, and Why Did I Get Married ?just to name a few. Bottom line is we have to support these films, because in the end no matter what race you are you're just watching a good movie. And that is what it's all about.

So excuse me, it's time for me to watch my guilty pleasure B*A*P*S

NY indieseen readers!! I want to hear your opinions on black films. I wanna hear what your favorite black romantic comedies and black love stories are. Email me at

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Movie Review:The Seat Filler

Well I came across this film on my Netflix queue, because it was a recommended movie and it was a watch instantly film, so I said “Hey, why not.” In this movie Duane Martin (remember him? Mr. Tisha Campbell) is Derrick a man trying to find his way in life and LA. He has a law degree and MBA, but alas no job. That means crashing at his friend’s apartment and taking the bus.

In order to get some extra cash to pay for his classes that prepare him to take the California State Bar Exam he becomes a seat filler. You know one of those people that sits in empty seats at award shows whenever someone goes to the bathroom, doesn’t show up, etc. While sitting in a seat at a music award show he meets R & B singer Jhnelle (played by Kelly Rowland in a major acting stretch), who literally falls into Derricks arms when she breaks a heel. They strike up a conversation and she sees what a nice and good looking guy Derrick is. However, Jhnelle doesn’t realize Derrick is merely a seat filler and thinks he is actually in “the business”.

Jhenelle sees Derrick at another awards show and thinks he is in fact Alonzo Grant the man whose seat he is filling. Derrick keeps up the charade of being Alonzo Grant, who is a powerful entertainment lawyer, because he is afraid that Jhnelle will find out that he isn’t rich, powerful, or drives a sports car. Derrick also goes to such great lengths as “borrowing” a Bentley, posing at Alonzo Grants office, and pretending to be a VIP at the club. Also while he is dating Jhnelle he starts missing his bar exam classes and he has to deal with her jack ass of a playboy ex-boyfriend (Shemar Moore playing a soap star. Once again an acting stretch).

Ok. So let me say I really watched this movie because Shemar Moore is in it, and I still have my high school-girl crush on him. I looked at the imdb page and saw it was released in 2004 and I wondered “Why didn’t I hear about this movie before?” I’ll tell you why. It went straight to DVD because this movie isn’t all that great. It had not one, not two, but three writers which include Duane Martin, Tisha Campbell-Martin, and Mark Brown to write this? Plus as a Romantic Comedy its “Comedy” really missed. DeRay Davis is the so called comic relief as Derricks friend EJ, who I didn’t find funny so much as annoying. Every time he cracked a joke I thought “Could you please SHUT UP!!!!”

The movie had potential with an interesting premise with the whole seat filler aspect (and honestly I wish I could be one to earn a little extra cash), but its just totally a by the numbers romantic comedy and entirely predictable. Don’t even get me started on Kelly Roland. As pretty as she is, I kept thinking as I watched her perform her songs in the movie “She ain’t no Beyonce!” She just doesn’t have that OOOMPH, IT, RAZMATAZZ that some popular perfomers’ have.

Even as much as I want to support my Black Romantic Comedies, I just cant stand behind this one. It seemed to drag on even at a mere 1 ½ hours. Now everyone has a different opinion and if you want to check it out and see for yourself then I say go ahead, but don’t come back whining to me that you want that 90 minutes of your life back.

I give it 1 ½ out of 5 tickets.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Worlds Apart- A Good Film with a Great Story

Last Friday I was able to be a part of a very special event in Philadelphia: The Philadelphia Film
Festival. This festival debuts new documentaries and Independent cinema. I was got so excited about this event because, being a movie fanatic, I enjoy seeing new stories getting told through film and also viewing films which are totally brand new to the public. So, I went down to the Ritz 2 theater here in Philly, ( feelingg cozy and at home in the warm theather enivonment) in anticipation of seeing Worlds Apart. Worlds Apart is a Danish film directed by Niels Arden Oplev, co-written by Oplev and Steen Bille. This movie is relatable, emotional, and triumphant.

In the movie Worlds Apart, the main character, Sara is a devout Jehovah's Witness who never strays away from her beliefs. Sara, (played wonderfully by actress Rosalinde Mynster) always goes with her father and church on neigborhood missions work and stays grounded in Biblical principles. While she does these things greatly, Sara is also still seventeen years old. Like most seventeen year olds, she hangs out with her best friend duringd down time and likes to dance and have fun. I enjoyed in the movie how director Olev portrayed this through various scenes. These scenes create a relatable aspect: a woman today can see herself in Sara's life. A good example, a scene where Sara's best friend Thea helps her with her makeup during a party. This aspect, of being seventeen and hanging out is one of the most memorable things in the movie: who can ever forget great times like these with your bestie? Another , I can relate to that moment in this movie, comes in the main scene in which Sara meets a young man at a disco tech. At first, Sara is apprehensive about talking to this new guy, (played excellent by actor Johan Philip Asbaek). The prospective man, Teis, tries to get closer to Sara( great scene that shows this, when Sara and Thea are dancing, and Teis tries to come over, but can't!) Teis takes his time though, slowly becoming Sara's friend, through chatting online and meeting to talk at the mall.

Now, you may read into this story in Worlds Apart and think, ok this sounds so sweet, where's
the drama? the drama comes in the movie with the developing romance between Sara and Teis. Sara begins hanging with Teis, tells Thea to cover for her when one day she misses the train from a date with Teis, and can't get home. This is the turning point in the movie. Actress Rosalinde Mynster really shows the emotion well, of a young woman who wants to stay true to her faith by refusing an offer to stay at Teis's house since she missed the last train home. Through Roalinde's acting, you feel sympathy for her: you wished she had made that train so she wouldn't be faced with a difficult decision. Actor Johan Philip does a great job too in this scene, refusing to let Sara stay at the platform till moring, urging her to be safe and stay at his place( he even says he would pick her up and carry her away if she keeps fighting him! lol) Sara finally says ok, and spends the night at Teis's house. At Teis's, Sara has another dilemma on her hands:sleeping arrangements. Teis,being the gentleman he is, goes on the floor and Sara gets
the bed. After some small talk, Teis somehow gets beside Sara. Sara resists Teis's advances, and Teis respects her wishes to not be intimate. Eventhough nothing happpned between Teis and Sara, she does tell him that night that she wants to be a couple with him.

Emotions in Worlds Apart come with the exciting love and relationship between Teis and Sara. Sara has not told her father , played well by actor Jens Jan Spottag, about her new boyfriend. Sara's dad, the character Andreas, is a loving father to his children who is very devoted to the Jehovah's Witness religion. He leads his children in Bible studies, works with them on missions, and is a present factor in their lives. Andreas begins to sense something strange in Sara's behavior: she seems too happy at one point ( actress Rosalinde Mynster hams it up showing Sara's happiness, singing hymns loud in church, smiling broadly at her best friend during service, just gleeful at home). Soon, like most parents who have an invisible radar their children can't see ( point of fact, some parents can just tell when something is going on with their child)
Andreas decides its time to have a talk with Sara. It turns out, Andreas knows that Sara has a boyfriend, and he dissaproves: unless the potential mate is a member of the Jehovah's Witness
family, she cannot date him. Sara begs to at least be able to be Teis's friend, but her dad just thinks it won't work. The emotional struggle begins, and it only gets worse when Sara has to confront the Elders of her church and tell them EVERYTHING that happned the night she spent at Teis's house! Sara becomes torn, but still she stays with Teis. Eventually, it all becomes too much for her too handle... I won't give away the ending of this story, but go check out the movie to see!

Overall, the performances in Worlds Apart were brillant. You could see the overprotective father played well by actor Jens Jan Spottag, the caring and loving boyfriend( who in the movie
even decides to become a Jehovah's Witnesss since he's having so many problems being able to be with Sara.. he doesnt' stick through with it) played well by actor Johan Philip Asbaek, and finally the great performance by Rosalinde Mynster, who showed a young woman, dedicated to her faith, but falling in love deeply with a guy who she cares about. This movie, Worlds Apart, really shows how hard it can be for young women in religion, who want to date but face challenges when their mate is met with opposition. Also, Worlds Apart also shows just how tight the family bond is. In the movie, Sara's brother Jonas, was disowned by the family and expelled from the Jehovah's Witness religion, due to him sinning against the church. When Sara goes to her brother for help with her love situation, he grabs her and hugs her: the love between a brother and sister is a bond that even a church cannot break. I liked how this relationship between Sara and her brother was displayed. This was a triumph in the movie, the coming together of Sara and her brother, plus her mom too, ( who didn't agree with the Jehovah's Witness church rules and supported Sara in her decision to stay with Teis). The family love
shined, and Sara was not completly by herself in her hard situation.

Worlds Apart, go see it. You will not be dissapointed and its a wonderful experience.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Movie Review: I'm Through With White Girls!

In this comedy we meet Jay Brooks. He is not what you would call your typical Black Man living in America. He has a job as a graphic novel artist, listens to Indie rock, and dates nothing but white women. Ok well maybe he is like the typical Black man living in America. Jay just can’t seem to commit to relationships and ends each one by writing his spurned lovers a note on yellow legal paper. You know the whole “It’s not you, it’s me” type of BS. According to Jay it takes a special white girl to be in the black/white relationship

But a discovery is at hand, when Jay is at a lunch with his childhood best friend Drake and his fiancee J.C. He sees the dynamic of the black family that comes together and bonds. Jay’s conclusion is that maybe his problem with being in relationships is the simple fact that he had never really dated a black woman. So he decides to give white girls up “cold turkey”, and makes it his mission to only date black women. His white friends at work coin his search “Operation Brown Sugar” and even his friends tell him that they don’t envision him dating a black woman.

It seems that Jay doesn’t date black women for a reason, because he seems to have utterly nothing in common with them. Also throw in the fact that he is extremely immature, emotionally stunted, and has no car in Los Angeles no black woman will really put up with him.

However one day while visiting J.C. his friend’s fiancĂ©e at work, he comes to meet Catherine a writer with a newly released book. He finds her to be cute and quirky, being a light skinned mixed race woman with funky dreads. She is a very modern day black boho type. They both fall for each others quirks and see if they can make the relationship work.

In this relationship both have insecurities that they must face. Catherine being a writer cannot fathom having to read aloud her own work without worrying about being criticized of her speaking voice claiming that the more excited and nervous she gets the more she sounds like a valley girl. She believes this flaw makes it hard for people to take it seriously. Jay has to face his issues with commitment and find that it is his immature self that keeps running from relationships. And maybe it just wasn’t white women that was his trouble, just maybe it was him.

Now I want to say bluntly I didn’t expect much from this low budget indie black romantic- comedy. On the title alone I was like “Oh Lord, what kind of movie is this anyway?” But I found myself laughing out loud quite a few times at the well executed humor. Plus added bonus you get to see Alaina Reed Hall aka Rose from 227 and Johnny Brown who played Bookman on Good times. And Hunky dancer/model/actor Marcus Patrick makes an appearance as a tasty football player. Yummy!!!

I give it 3 ½ tickets out of 5. See it!