In Preparation For The Movie Adaptation Of “Twelve Years A Slave”, Read The Autobiography of Solomon Northup

I am recommending everyone go see the film Twelve Years A Slave, particularly those who so casually went to see a film released last year that used Ni**er 150 times for entertainment and turned the horrors of chattel slavery of Africans into a Looney Tunes-style caper. I am recommending everyone go see the film who wants a thoughtful, yet unabashed story of triumph that doesn’t dumb the story down for an audience. All in all it was a bargain to complete at $21M. I am recommending everyone go see the film to get a taste of what it was like for people to survive the Black Holocaust. If we don’t correctly remember what our ancestors overcame, how can we maximize the opportunities that came from their sacrifice?

In the hands of another director, I’d be extremely wary of any nuance or respect for the ways people lived and died centuries ago. It could have easily been too heavy-handed revisionist or too heavy-handed in reinforcing hopelessness. As a fan of Steve McQueen‘s previous films, Hunger and Shame as well as his mixed media art, I believe he put his best foot forward with this project. It’s unfortunate this film is on the tail end of so much drivel from coonfests with much bigger budgets like The Butler or Mammy Revisited with the likes of The Help, but it is what it is.

We can deconstruct and critique the finished product for what it is after the fact. We can of course question why this film got funded and promoted and whether there are any negative messages disseminated. And yes, I’m aware it is very much a male story, but there were key portions of the book described in detail that were included in the film that impact the women in the story. I am also aware the co-screenwriter also had a hand at co-writing Red Tails, but the problem with that film didn’t end with the script but the director’s choice in erasing African American women from history by cutting them out of the movie.

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What’s Your Most Romantic Movie?

In celebration of Valentine’s Day I thought we’d compile a list of the most tear-jerkiest, sexy, gut-wrenching, star-crossed lost love, fight the power, romantic and obstacle overcoming protagonist films. If you do a quick search a lot of the older films are listed online where you can watch them in their entirety for free.

Here’s a few faves:

Pride & Prejudice

The Notebook

Nicolas Sparks has cornered the market on this genre with The Vow, Dear John, etc.

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Here’s Why You Should Ignore The Critics And Give “Colombiana” A Chance

It takes a lot to convince me to pay money at a cinema for a film when I know the DVD will be released in a few months. Some movies must be seen on the large screen to get the maximum enjoyment. While I do highly regard classic cinema, foreign-language films and the works of the masters, sometimes a simpler storyline satisfies my need to be entertained. The modern action film [or popcorn flick] fits the bill nicely.

I am not expecting a life-altering, transformative experience when I see a flashy, loud, often violent fight-to-survive movie. Combating corrupt rogue government agencies, paranormal adventures,  dodging aliens, avoiding a serial killer or besting kidnappers are not everyday occurrences. It’s the heightened display of emotions and distorted reality that draws us in to begin with.

I was perhaps mildly interested in seeing “Colombiana”, starring Zoe Saldana since the revenge aspect was being heavily promoted. The last thing I wanted to see was some convoluted story about a damaged woman. Yet, I couldn’t help but notice the disproportionate negative backlash against the movie. My skepticism meter went into overdrive considering all the other crappy releases that had barely registered a blip.  It convinced me to take a chance. You do realize you can ask for refunds at movie theaters?

Most importantly, how many movies do you see with a black woman — kicking butt?!!! I had to judge for myself. So should you! **I’m not going to discuss plot specifics so as to not spoil it.  

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