What Art/World/HW Films Have You Been Watching?

Joined: Oct 24 2004, 05:57 PM

Mar 9 2018, 02:40 PM #3201

Well, LOVELESS was nominated for a Best Foreign Film Oscar and is currently getting a decent push from Sony Pictures Classics. 

I know that my WRINKLE IN TIME review criticized the film's use of Sade's "Flower of the Universe," but the song itself is really appealing, especially since it's the first music she's released in 8 years. You can now download it as a single from iTunes, in a package that combines the soundtrack's acoustic version with a busier remix by No ID. 
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Kim Greene
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Joined: Nov 10 2004, 10:28 PM

Mar 10 2018, 07:59 AM #3202

Didn't know Sade had a new song out---I love and practically grew up on her music, and I've got at least 3 of her first five releases. I just figured she'd finally retired after nearly 35 years in the music biz. I don't have I-Tunes or Spotify or anything like that, but I'm sure it's online somewhere to listen to. I read something about LOVELESS---just saw a trailer about it. Haven't seen it listed among the lists currently playing at most theatres, but maybe it's coming soon to the DFT (that's the kind of foreign drama film they usually snap up for their schedule.)

Here's a couple of brief interviews from Vanity Fair's video section with Michael Diamond, aka Mike D.,former rapper/current music producer/co-founder of the Beastie Boys discussing his take on the Tupac-Biggie feud (which was recently made into a limited USA true crime TV series titled UNSOLVED:THE MURDERS OF TUPAC AND THE NOTORIOUS B.I.G.---it debuted last week) and how it basically made hip-hop more unsafe for its practitioners, performance-wise, and why their second release, PAUL'S BOUTIQUE, completely flopped, but has found more of an appreciation over the years (my brother raved about it a couple of years after it came out, and didn't understand why it never blew up. I listened to it online some months ago, and it sounded like an ordinary hip-hop album to me--maybe I should listen to it again) and seeing hip-hop gradually take its place in the mainstream over the years:

Vanity Fair: In Conversation With Mike D

Haven't seen A WRINKLE IN TIME yet, but from the trailers I've seen, it looks to be too full of CGI to the point of leaving out anything distinctive about it. I did read your review, though, and I'm still gonna go see both it and ANNIHILATION,regardless.
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Kim Greene
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Joined: Nov 10 2004, 10:28 PM

Mar 10 2018, 10:42 AM #3203

I couldn't pass up posting this----this article about a cat named Dog who helps his Vietnamese fish vendor owner make sales by being dressed up in extremely fashionable costumes and being a regular little fashion plate. Dog the cat even has his own Instagram account, which is understandable with cute,adorable little pictures like these:

Nextshark-----A Cat Named Dog Is a Popular Fish Vendor in Vietnam

Really enjoyed this article about BLACK PANTHER from an Asian-Australian journalist explaining why the film also made him feel double pride in his own heritage:

Why Black Panther Is My First Asian-American Superhero Movie
Last edited by Kim Greene on Mar 11 2018, 03:28 AM, edited 1 time in total.
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Joined: Oct 24 2004, 05:57 PM

Mar 10 2018, 03:10 PM #3204

I love PAUL'S BOUTIQUE and think it's the Beastie Boys' best album, but a lot of that has to do with the production, which makes intricate use of dozens of samples. Back in 1989, they could throw out pop culture references left and right by sampling other artists' actual words instead of quoting them. But at the time of its release, people expected LICENSED TO ILL II, and while there are a handful of songs that deliver on that ("Car Thief," "Looking Down the Barrel of A Gun"), closing with an 11-minute song defied hip-hop's norms then and now.  I believe its producers, the Dust Brothers, founded the Delicious Vinyl label and produced Beck's early albums as well. 

I watched the interview with Mike D. about the rise in violence in hip-hop due to the 2Pac/Biggie feud. I've often wondered if 2Pac would still be alive if he hadn't signed to Death Row, even if he had to spend a few more years in jail (where rumor holds that he was raped.) There are a bunch of videos on YouTube attacking "fake thug" rappers, including one showing cell phone video footage of  an underground rapper who threatened to kill a rival with machine guns on a song running into him by surprise at a mall parking lot and immediately running very fast in the opposite direction. Should this behavior really be criticized? Would be better to act like a "real thug" and get into a fistfight, much less shoot someone? 

There's a video of people in Seoul talking about their reactions to BLACK PANTHER. Have you seen it? For the most part, t's extremely positive, although one or two show a lot of misunderstanding about racism in America. 

Here's the lyric video for Sade's new single, "Flower of the Universe": 

Also, here's a nice computer-animated video for "Frontline," the latest single by R&B-meets-dance music singer Kelela:  Dawn Richard, who used to be a member of the Diddy-created group Dirty Money, released an EP and album with a similar sound a few years earlier. I lost track of her music, but she is now calling herself DAWN and has posted numerous tracks to Soundcloud in a form one doesn't seem to be able to download only stream. 
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Kim Greene
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Joined: Nov 10 2004, 10:28 PM

Mar 11 2018, 07:35 AM #3205

Just had to report this----BLACK PANTHER just made it to the $1 billion box office mark worldwide:

Forbes----Box Office Marvel movie passes 1 billion mark

You know ideals for BLACK PANTHER 2 are probably already swirling around inside the heads of a producer and a writer somewhere in H-wood at this point---it's just a matter of when and where they're going to do it, and who with.😄 Probably the same folks who did this one,lol.
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Joined: Oct 24 2004, 05:57 PM

Mar 11 2018, 04:12 PM #3206

Kendrick Lamar has said he wants to play the villain in the sequel. And if that doesn't work out, he wants to act in another film. 

As a number of people on Twitter have pointed out, this is the first weekend 2 films by African-American directors have occupied the #! and 2 slots at the U.S. box office, even if A WRINKLE IN TIME's estimated $33 million gross is considered disappointing. 

Here's my review of LOVE, SIMON: 
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Joined: Oct 24 2004, 05:57 PM

Mar 13 2018, 05:08 AM #3207

I don't know if you're interested in British writer Zadie Smith (who is half-Jamaican) but I learned today that one of her brothers is a rapper who uses the stage name Luc Skyz. He has a number of videos on the Tube. 
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Kim Greene
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Joined: Nov 10 2004, 10:28 PM

Mar 13 2018, 09:36 AM #3208

Yeah, I've got her first novel and the one that established her as a major author,called WHITE TEETH---still haven't finished it, even though I thought it was funny, offbeat, and very entertaining. I have to catch up with that second half. I caught the British TV mini-series (which was also offbeat,crazy, and entertaining just like the book, plus it was great to see a British mini-series that actually focused on black and Indian folks as the main characters for a change) it was made into years ago on CBC Channel 9 (when I had CBC Channel 9 back in the day, that is)  and would love to get it---it's on Region 2 DVD only, however. Didn't know she had a brother who could rap, though.

Here's an article discussing the reasons why BLACK PANTHER and A WRINKLE IN TIME shouldn't be compared to one another, simply because they both have black directors, and are blowing up big at the box office (the latter film made $33 million for its opening weekend last week, so it's still got some time to prove itself, since it just came out.)

Buzzfeed----Why Black Panther and A Wrinkle In Time Shouldn't Be Compared

Here's another new sci-fi film featuring a black woman in the lead (it stars Gugu Mbatha-Raw, who's also in A WRINKLE IN TIME) and it's also directed and co-written by a female director (yay!) with a review of it:

Variety----SXSW review of FAST COLOR


Here's a trailer for the new satire by Boots Riley,SORRY TO BOTHER YOU---it looks whacked out and crazy as hell, so I'm looking forward to seeing it, and its star, Lakeith Stanfield (GET OUT) looks even cuter with dreads:

SORRY TO BOTHER YOU trailer
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Kim Greene
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Joined: Nov 10 2004, 10:28 PM

Mar 13 2018, 02:58 PM #3209

Saw a trailer for LOVE, SIMON on TV recently, so the studio that made it is definitely going all out to push it to mainstream audiences. Of course there's no mention of the gay angle in it, but it's still kinda cool to see it being pushed after the success of CALL ME BY YOUR NAME, so there's that.


Some sad news---former '90s rapper Craig Mack, who's best known for his first major hit back in 1994, "Flava In Ya Ear", which was also the first major single that put Puff Daddy's (now P Diddy) then-brand new label Bad Boy Records on the map---just passed away. He'd only put out two releases, then left the music biz for good some years after that. He put out a mixtape or two in the past decade, and was actually working on a new release at the time of his passing:

BBC Entertainment & Arts---Rapper Craig Mack Passes

"Flava In Ya Ear" was just recently used in a car commercial, and it was cool to see a classic rap tune being re-introduced to the mainstream again. I remember it coming out and hearing it at night on the radio/liking it, while not knowing who the rapper of the tune actually was---I thought maybe it was Method Man and Red, or some other rapper who was big at the time.

Craig Mack----Flava In Ya Ear

Here's a remix of the same song with LL Cool J, Busta Rhymes, The Notorious B.I.G. & somebody called Rampage:

Craig Mack---Flava In Your Ear remix

The Fader---Craig Mack tributes
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Joined: Oct 24 2004, 05:57 PM

Mar 13 2018, 03:24 PM #3210

SORRY TO BOTHER YOU opens on July 3rd. I'm on its publicist's mailing list, so I plan to review it for Gay City News. The score is by Tune-Yards; I am hoping for some new music by the Coup on the soundtrack as well. 

I was startled to learn about Mack's death when I turned on my computer today. However, I've never heard anything by him besides "Flava In Your Ear." (The remix got as much airplay as the original, from what I remember.) 

The bus and subway ads for LOVE, SIMON here are definitely not hiding the gay angle. They say things like "If You Can Come Out Here, You Can Come Out Anywhere." I've read that there are L.A.-centric ads in a similar vein. 

There were a bunch of Twitter posts saying that Variety/Hollywood Reporter posts saying that BLACK PANTHER & A WRINKLE IN TIME were the #1 and 2 films last weekend really needed the headline "Colonialism Destroyed" or something similar. But the discourse around WRINKLE on social media is totally maddening. Obviously, the same people aren't saying these two things, but if critics like it, we're accused of insincere posturing to show how anti-racist they are and if we dislike it, we must resent Ava DuVernay's success out of misogyny and racism. 

I'm reviewing the "noise rap" group Moodie Black's forthcoming album LUCAS ACID for Gay City News. Their production is more influenced by Nine Inch Nails and My Bloody Valentine than more typical hip-hop beats. Rapper Kdeath transitioned into living as a woman last year, hence the LGBTQ angle. Their first album was released 10 years ago, but they're working in the vein of groups like Dalek and Death Grips, with disorienting and dystopian production featuring live guitar, bass and keyboards. There's actually more guitar here than on most "rock" records I've heard released in 2018. I will also definitely be reviewing Janelle Monae's album. 
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Joined: Oct 24 2004, 05:57 PM

Mar 13 2018, 04:21 PM #3211

Smith's other brother is also a comedian and rapper, using the name Doc Brown. The two guys did a song together in 2016 called "Empires," which has a remix featuring GET OUT star Daniel Kaluyya. Here's a fierce 6-minute freestyle by Doc Brown, which discusses both street life and the fact that he's now a 40-year-old dad: 
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Kim Greene
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Joined: Nov 10 2004, 10:28 PM

Mar 13 2018, 05:09 PM #3212

Thanks---I haven't listened to anyone on the Fire In The Booth showcase in a long time. This dude can spit some rhymes--I liked that first song. I guess he figured if Run The Jewels could be over 40 and still spitting mad game on the mic, he could too,lol (he dosen't look his age at all,though, and it was funny to hear him rap about it,anyway.)  I used to watch a lot of those FITB live performances,and some of them kind of reminded me of the early days of rap, when more emphasis was put on actually learning the actual skills of rapping and b-boying and developing your own style, and all that. I'll have to catch up and check out some other new Brit rap artists like him.

The original Wonder Woman, Lynda Carter, opens up for the first time about dealing with sexual harassment back in her day during working on the show, what it was like becoming something of a feminist symbol, liking the new WONDER WOMEN film, and other stuff---I didn't know she had a career as a singer before going into acting:

The Daily Beast----Lynda Carter: This Is My #MeToo Story
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Joined: Oct 24 2004, 05:57 PM

Mar 13 2018, 07:05 PM #3213

I just discovered this YouTube channel where a boy who looks like he's about 9 plays hip-hop artists to his middle-aged dad, who's a fan of '70s punk. I watched the videos where he plays Run the Jewels and Denzel Curry to his dad, who likes them but comments on how their lyrics are "17+." (If he had chosen RTJ's more political lyrics, he might've gotten a better reaction.) Then there's a video where his dad plays the Stooges, NY Dolls, Sex Pistols and Clash to him and another one where his dad plays him the Gang of Four. There are a bunch of videos along these lines on YouTube, and it's good to see someone having an intelligent conversation instead of the infamous viral videos of Christian parents freaking out upon discovery that their kids listen to hardcore hip-hop. I'm kinda scared to click on the video where the kid plays Danny Brown to his dad, given that 2/3rds of Brown's lyrics are about addiction. If I played Run the Jewels to my parents right now, they would run out of the room in 30 seconds. https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCAKUN7 ... vMskX4rb9A
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Kim Greene
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Joined: Nov 10 2004, 10:28 PM

Mar 14 2018, 05:16 AM #3214

Here's an interesting article on how some artists are paying to have their music promoted and heard on Spotify, with payola making an appearance in the background:

Inside The Black Market For Spotify Playlists

Just found this nice little surprise----former Talking Heads founder/lead singer David Byrne decided to use an acapella performance by a group of singing students from the the Detroit School of the Arts (in the midtown area, where you can hear the students practicing their impressive big band numbers as you walk or drive by in the summertime) as the video for a song off his latest release, AMERICAN UTOPIA, which came out just last week. I have to listen to it now,since he gave some of my fellow Detroiters their props and a chance to shine---they sound great, of course:

David Byrne enlists Detroit students for music video performance


While looking at an article on the feminist sci-fi/gamer blog The Mary Sue about how women's bodies are presented/exploited for the male gaze on movie posters, there was a link to this 5-year old blog by a sci-fi author (who just happens to be a Michigander,as it turns out) who wanted to make a comment on the sexism of the depiction of women's bodies used on book covers to sell sci-fi and fantasy thrillers, so he decided to do an imitation of the poses on actual covers of these books,and found out how difficult and impossible those same poses actually are to make in real life. His whole point was to show how unrealistic (and anatomically impossible for both men and women) these poses were,and using a whacked-out sense of humor to make it. Here's a pic of him and another author doing what they called a "pose-off" for a fund-raiser---his comments on how he made the pose,and comments from commenters are as funny as heck:

Jim Hines----SF Cover Posing
Last edited by Kim Greene on Mar 15 2018, 01:12 AM, edited 2 times in total.
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Kim Greene
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Joined: Nov 10 2004, 10:28 PM

Mar 14 2018, 10:38 AM #3215

Also, here's an article about how the two surviving members of Detroit's own MC5, guitarist Wayne Kramer and drummer Dennis "Machine Gun" Thompson are going to perform shows/concerts to celebrate the 50th anniversary of their influential 1968 release, KICK OUT THE JAMS, which was recorded live in the D at the now-long gone Grande Ballroom:

The Freep----MC5's Kramer to lead the MC50 in anniversary tour

Also, National Geographic Magazine just came clean about the racism in its past reporting on non-white folks, and how that contributed to the spread of racism that was used to justify colonialism in the first place. I got hooked on their issues as a little girl,and I loved the pictures.  Plus their new editor-in-chief is the first woman in that position, and she's also Jewish:

National Geographic owns up to its racist past, and about moving on from it

Stephen Hawking, the brilliant disabled scientist who didn't let his disability stop him from doing his life's work ---educating folks about science, hosting his own PBS specials about the subject, and writing a bestselling book about it called A BRIEF HISTORY OF TIME---passed away at the age of 76. His life story was told in the 2014 drama THE THEORY OF EVERYTHING. Here's a summing up of his fascinating career, his groundbreaking theories on black holes, and how his life in general defied the odds:

The Guardian----Stephen Hawking's life and theories
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Joined: Oct 24 2004, 05:57 PM

Mar 14 2018, 03:02 PM #3216

The Spotify payola article is rather depressing. If you look at their US streaming top 50, it seems like 16-year-old hip-hop fans make up the majority of their users: the last time I looked at it, every song on Logic's new mixtape was on the top 50, while "XO Tour Lif3" and several Post Malone songs dating back to 2015 are still hanging in there. I have no idea how they compute their "viral top 50," but it's always more interesting. I have noticed the way they try to direct people towards playlists, and I know that getting added to "Rap Caviar" pretty much insures a hit single. But the last time I logged into it, they directed me towards both a "Golden 90s" hip-hop playlist and one featuring ambient music to fall asleep to. I'm interested in individual albums and artists there and have rarely listened to playlists. It's too bad that something which offers the possibility of opening music up to a wider variety of artists has just hastened the destruction of the CD (and even cut down heavily on the number of paid downloads)  and promoted the likes of XXXTentacion and Post Malone. 

I heard about the MC50 lineup. King's X bassist Doug Pinnick and Fugazi drummer Brendan Canty in the same band seems like a weird but inspired combo!
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Kim Greene
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Joined: Nov 10 2004, 10:28 PM

Mar 14 2018, 11:11 PM #3217

Oh,okay---I don't use Spotify (my brother has it, and showed me how you put together a playlist and all that) but it's interesting hearing and seeing how that works, and how it's been changing how music is accessed, received, heard by and sold to music customers and consumers in today's digital age.

Here's a new interview from the talented but troubled actor Shia LeBeouf (who used to be a fave of mine) and who is known for such films as the TRANSFORMER series,the thrillers EAGLE EYE and DISTURBIA, then the dramas LAWLESS, and most recently, the little-seen war drama MAN DOWN) finally opening up for the first time about his own very public struggles with mental illness, the issues behind that,his racist outburst at being arrested (he did apologize about it, right after it happened,and was made public,that is) how said illness very nearly derailed his career, and his current comeback in his latest film BORG VS. MC ENROE, among other things:

Esquire----Shia LeBeouf Is Ready to Talk About It
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Joined: Oct 24 2004, 05:57 PM

Mar 15 2018, 02:00 AM #3218

I remember that MOMI installation and how it went wrong. I also recall an art piece where LeBouef hung out for 24 hours in another New York theater and broadcast it to Facebook, if I'm remembering this correctly. I didn't know how messed up his outbringing was. Maybe acting isn't the best profession to enter with that background, although I'm not sure if a 9 to 5 office job would be less likely to lead to one's own addictions. I've seen the short film he made in 2011 starring Kid Cudi and fellow rapper Cage as serial killers. It's pretty disturbing. 
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Kim Greene
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Joined: Nov 10 2004, 10:28 PM

Mar 15 2018, 03:00 PM #3219

There's been people with troubled backgrounds in Hollywood since the film business started. And, there are also people in regular everyday professions who struggle with mental illness. It dosen't matter what kind of job you have, if you get mentally ill, it is what it is,regardless of the nature of your work. I think the nature of the film business (putting people on pedestals when they become movie stars, and the nature of acting itself) pretty much drives people to have mental problems if they don't already have a strong identity of their own before they enter the business. Getting one's identity too wrapped up in the business itself is also what seems to tilt people toward going insane,and use of drugs to deal with the stress and pressures of is what make things even worse. An actress named Amanda Bynes, who was a popular child/teen star all during the '00s, wound up having a mental breakdown at the height of her fame (her last film was the 2010 hcomedy EASY A, which made a then-unknown Emma Stone a star) left the business to get herself some help, and has recently decided to attempt a comeback. Hopefully it'll go well for her,too.
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Kim Greene
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Joined: Nov 10 2004, 10:28 PM

Mar 16 2018, 07:52 AM #3220

Here's an excellent article on LOVE,SIMON, and its director, Greg Berlanti, who's responsible for at 11 shows running on TV all concurrently (at least 7 of them are popular hits, and I like at least 3 of them.) He discusses the significance of SIMON as a mainstream film with a gay teenage protagonist as its main character, his own long career in both films and TV (this is his third turn at directing) getting the film made, marketing it, and how audiences have been reacting to it. He also talks about being gay himself,among other things:

Buzzfeed----4 Things You Need To Know About LOVE,SIMON


Here's another article about Hollywood's first mainstream attempt at making a gay love story---the 1982 drama MAKING LOVE. Even though it's mostly forgotten now, it's still considered somewhat of a milestone in showing two gay men as normal and trying to have a relationship (the film was also written by two gay screenwriters, who discuss how they came up with the idea for the film.) It actually killed off any chance of the leading actors having a movie career---I remember co-star Harry Hamlin saying some years ago in an interview that he almost couldn't get any acting work until the popular TV show about lawyers---L.A. LAW--in 1986.  I remember the film coming out when I was a pre-teen, and being too young to get the concept of two guys being together, or understand what the heck it was about. I didn't actually see it until a couple of years ago when I saw it on either the THIS channel or the MOVIES TV channel:

Buzzfeed----Hollywood's Forgotten Gay Romance
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