Archive for the Movies & Television Category

Was Logan Just A Microcosm?

Posted in Movies & Television with tags , , , , , on March 16, 2017 by geniusscribbleink

loganmovie-205309

“Wolverine is a world-weary old warrior. His rage issue notwithstanding, I see him as someone with the tortured soul of a poet, but one who has seen too many friends and lovers die. Even with that, he has grown into a leader and a true hero”-Jonathan Maberry

 

“Back in my days” or “When I was growing up” are repetitive loop reels that we often hear cascading down from the mountainous range fondly known as elderly wisdom. I try to blend in with the modern-day climate that is our social realm, but I too must admit that I even grow weary at times trying to find the proper balance that can afford me to have both my knowledge base, as well as, the ability to absorb the nuances of today’s generation. My old school heart ticks with a greater sense of consciousness, as it recalls that unbridled and stubborn youth who thought that the world was in his hands for the taking, only to realize that it often sifts between your fingers like fine granules of sand. Yes time waits for no one, but this ingenious philosophy comes at the expense of vital knowledge learned by those who have wasted time precariously throughout life. So what happens in turn is that we feel a certain obligation to relay this so-called wisdom upon those who are inexperienced before they have to endure certain hardships, tribulations and trials. Depending on the delivery of these said messages, we have been considered preachy, grouchy, inflexible, and of course the universal terms being utilized more and more today is that we are “hating”. The idea of criticism or critiquing has been branded as a form of malice and character assassination. Of course the “old heads” as we are often distinguished as, find this to be an “oversensitive” or “soft” take on what we deem as basic criticism that we had to endure throughout most of our lives. We were taught at an earlier age that we just can’t get our way and that the term “no” would be as constant as the air we would breathe. This makes for a perfect storm; a generation hell bent on not being denied as opposed to a generation that was often denied. A polarity brilliantly captured in the movie Logan; and here is how.

 

This will not contain any spoilers but more of a plot scenario to link to my blog subject. In the movie we find an old warrior (Wolverine) hardened by life. He has seen a lot (death, loss of comfort, no friends to trust) working on a job he hates and making the best out of what life has handed to him. The moral of the story is he had tough breaks and his current priorities (taking care of ailing elder) won’t allow him to be reckless as he was in the past. Add to the fact that the scars of ages are now prevalent in his physical appearance. So when a younger person enters into the picture all spry with energy and tapered in reckless abandonment; it becomes utterly annoying and impossible for Wolverine to relate. In fact it reminds him of the younger him. The younger him that he now wishes could have done things perhaps differently. The younger him who he wished had listened and appreciated what he had before the casting shadow of finality began to hover over his life. Ultimately when the intolerant youth is matched with a savvy veteran, eventually by nature it will turn into a teacher-student dynamic by default. But the most important tool in this dynamic is to find commonality. Often times when speaking from experience it is difficult to relay that information to an inexperienced mind. We saw Logan struggle with giving a damn as well as we saw the resistance of a youth seeking guidance but not understanding how to ask for it. As we tunnel into the future we find a seasoned generation often in adverse conversations with what has defined as millennials. I don’t know if this presents a newfangled scenario, as we have always had a Will Smith theory of parents not understanding or our music versus your music banter.  But what is a solution for finding commonality? As an elder is it our responsibility to relate to their generation or is it their job to respect the process of longevity and attrition?  In Logan we saw commonality emerge in the form of one person caring and the other person realizing the importance of having someone take an interest in their well-being. In my experience I have come to realize that there is a learning process on both ends as it pertains to the teacher and the student. You have to learn to become adaptable; yet steady. Truthful and forthcoming; yet measured. But ultimately you have to become a great listener to know when your music should be played and when it is time to give a listen to their music without judgment. This is the balance we all should try to seek in not only communicating from elder to youth, but perhaps even peer to peer. Logan after a long shouting tantrum with a youth discovered that screaming in a car at one another was getting them nowhere; it wasn’t until giving in that he learned that sometimes the young know where their headed even when we doubt the chances of them being correct. I learned this with my nephew and it’s a lesson I value more and more as he grows older. We can all stand to learn from one another. Logan indeed taught us that. Maybe, just maybe we can all become greater leaders and turn into heroes for someone instead of just being old weary warriors with poetically tortured souls. Charles Xavier stated: “This is what life looks like: people love each other. You should take a moment”. Wise words from Professor X. #logan

Advertisements

And Then There Was Moses (Harriet Tubman)

Posted in Movies & Television with tags , , , on May 12, 2015 by geniusscribbleink

image

Araminta Ross, better known to American historians as Harriet Tubman, will finally (Thank You Steven Spielberg) be brought to screen as an HBO biopic, by way of one of the most accomplished actresses to date, Viola Davis. Anyone who knows me, knows that I have for years wondered why this fascinating woman has not been at the forefront of discussion as it relates to her emphatic impact on American history. The woman who went by the alias “Moses” has been pigeonholed as being just the leader of the Underground Railroad movement, however her accomplishments far exceeded that of just a conductor on a freedom train filled with individuals who were seeking liberation. Harriet was a humanitarian, spy and nurse; whose life achievements garnered her a military like burial upon her death. Abolitionist John Brown referred to Harriet as General Tubman, due to her skills as a tactician while aiding him in his militant rebellious raids against slave owners circa 1858. I am personally ecstatic when learning of the news that a powerful woman, will be played by a powerful actress, giving me strong conviction to believe that something beautifully organic will transpire for the world to witness during its inception. I am unapologetic in my campaign for women solidifying their place in history and who better to start with than Harriet Tubman. A true heroine and leader of both men and women. Moses has finally arrived. #warrior woman

Comics and Video Games-My Second Childhood

Posted in Movies & Television, Technology, Gaming, Etc., Trending with tags , , , , , on May 8, 2015 by geniusscribbleink

image

The mortgage payment is due, baby needs new shoes and everyone’s money is acting funny. This is pretty much the etched out screenplay depicting the everyday manifest of a common disease called “adulthood”. Whoever said that youth is wasted on the young was correct, as disposable income has becomes a foreign dialect during the maturing and aging process that is life. It is often a challenge to obtain and ascertain the “extras” or the proverbial “entertainment” purchases once Rodeo Bill circles the wagons around your direct deposit and leaves town before sunset. I guess perhaps this is why I have subscribed to the art of couponing and bargain hunting in order to feed the fiendish crave for my video gaming addiction that may require therapy by the time it is all said and done. Yes, nostalgia always trumps inertia, as I will admit that I have the attention span of a five year old at times when boredom arrives in the form of down trodden people whose conversation surround death, taxes and voyeurism into the lives of fake celebrities that are famous for doing absolutely nothing. Spare time, is a rare time, but it is how you use every minute of your day that is vital to your existence. Adulthood is dealt in spades and served with a shot of whoop ass with no chaser. So for me it is important to live out my days with maturity, while corralling the spirit that is the forgotten child that I often assign to the corner when adults are talking. But is this not where misery truly forms? Is it not here where we forget cognizant reasoning and simplicity? I often say that if you want the truth you ask a child, they only lie about homework and they ultimately live by the one creed of selfishness that tends to evade us as we age. Simply put, they want only what satisfies their “now”, while saluting the future with the longest finger on their hands. To be young, ruthless and unapologetic; the glory days. To be full of life and vigor, while sulking in the sweet nectar of a Slurpee while flipping baseball cards and using an unbridled imagination that dreams are made from. How many miss those years? I most certainly do. The wonder years of yesteryears that seem such a long time ago in a faraway galaxy. Hmmm, wait a minute, I thought I just saw a trailer for a movie this weekend saying that. A time when the Bill Bixby/Lou Ferrigno dazzled as the Incredible Hulk. Wait a minute, didn’t I just see that character in the movie that I saw the trailer about the galaxy faraway? Am I confused or engaging in hyperbole? Ok you got me, hyperbole it is and damn excitement as well. In case you missed the title, I am in my second childhood and I am loving every single minute of it without question. I am on Fantasy Island without Mr. Rourke and the little man calling for an aerial vehicle while pointing towards the mystical clouds. To believe that comic books are alive and dare I say motioning on live film and video games are so realistic that they are like watching a movie, is the dream of anyone born circa 1973 and prior. This is the fountain of youth for us “old heads”, knowing that our heroes, Skywalker, Superman, Batman, Hulk, Wonder Woman, Iron Man et al be all, are going to be a living and breathing part of our current entity, puts goosebumps in places we have probably forgotten existed over the past several years. I won’t even get into my video games like Shadows of Mordor that bring to life a mystic world once dreamt about on a Dungeons and Dragons board game. My second childhood is upon me, as well as upon anyone daring to be a child at the ripe age of whatever your current ripeness is. I don’t know about you, but I will stay submerged in this youthful playground as long as I possibly can before the street lights come on and it is time to return home and get prepared for the working life of a new day. Why should the youth have all the fun? Maybe this is our time to revel in happiness while indulging in Pop Rocks and Now and Later candy. #the young & the restless

Movie In Review: Dallas Buyers Club

Posted in Movies & Television with tags , , , on April 6, 2014 by geniusscribbleink

image

Anytime the subject of H.I.V (Human Immunodeficiency Virus) or A.I.D.S (Auto Immune Deficiency Syndrome) is brought to the forefront as a topic of conversation, I would immediately think of the time when Earving “Magic” Johnson revealed to the world that he himself had contracted the virus. The impact of this announcement was both riveting and heartbreaking for me on a personal note, as he was hands down my favorite basketball player of all time. Much like many uninformed Americans at the time, we all were awaiting with bated breath, the anticipated physical demise of what many considered to be an extremely virile man with a million dollar smile. Of course that day never came, as the man simply known as “Magic”, beat the odds and has survived some twenty plus years since being diagnosed. This victory by Magic was both astonishing and admirable, as it served as a beacon of hope to those who were dealing with this dreadful disease during a time where information and technology were somewhat behind in the race towards discovering a countermeasure or serum. It bodes the question of: “What happened to the others who were not so lucky?”. How did those who were face to face with death, with very little hope of survival, cope with their eventual mortality knocking at their door? Well these questions and many other inquiries were answered in what I now consider to be another memorable moment the era of H.I.V./A.I.D.S, that was just as impactful as Magic’s announcement. That impact came by way of watching Dallas Buyer’s Club for the first time. Before I regurgitate any recycled knowledge regarding the storyline, let me get this out the way first. Matthew McConaughey; brilliant. Jared Leto; exceptionally brilliant. What ever statuesque awards that both of these men received along the way was probably not enough, as it is hard to find a flaw in either one of their epic performances. The way they transformed their bodies alone was worthy of an award in itself. This movie not only became a platform that highlighted the quintessential epitome of the performing arts, but it also gave a new voice to a dreadful disease, all while illuminating the flaws of the United States regulatory standards as it relates to both drugs and healthcare. To spend more verbiage trying to lament the intricacies of this masterful work of art would be doing it a complete disservice; so in my most simplistic plea I will say: “Rent it immediately”. There are no disappointments, only residual empathy and admiration for the triumphant plight of one Ron Woodroof. A man who should be acknowledged as one of the new faces of victory in the war on A.I.D.S. Enjoy. #awareness

Movie In Review: The Wolf of Wall Street

Posted in Movies & Television with tags , , , on April 5, 2014 by geniusscribbleink

image

“Wow!” would be the most elicit and appropriate phrase to start with when trying to describe the unstable lightening bolt in a bottle that is The Wolf of Wall Street. This is by no means a review excoriating the film’s brilliance nor to ridicule the actor’s/actress’s performances. In fact the “unstable lightening bolt” terminology is the most befitting descriptive I could come up with as it pertains to what you will come away feeling after watching what should be considered one of the most exuberant biopic portrayals to date. At the seemingly savant like directive guidance of Martin Scorsese, The Wolf of Wall Street burrows us deep inside the dark realms of greed, lust, power, sex, drugs and unapologetic profanity. And who better to take on the lead role amidst such brash controversy other than Leonardo DiCaprio. There is no viable reason why Leonardo DiCaprio should not be considered one of the best actors in Hollywood. His depiction of convicted former stockbroker (now entrepreneur/motivational speaker) Jordan Belfort, all but solidifies his status amongst the top echelon in the industry. I have yet to recall an actor who utilized physicality as an acting device (see: country club scene) the way that Leonardo DiCaprio did in this film. I am not sure of the accuracy of Leonardo’s performance as it relates to that of Jordan Belfort’s actual life, but Leonardo turned a wolf into a rock star. Not to be overshadowed is the incredible performance given by Jonah Hill as the character Donnie Azoff. Jonah Hill, who is mostly noted as being a comedic actor, is slowly cutting his teeth as a brilliant character actor (see Moneyball 2011) as well. The onscreen cohesion between both he and Leonardo, all but seal the deal on this wondrously provocative film. The Wolf of Wall Street is available at your local Redbox kiosk. I highly recommend that you go rent it today.

A Race Towards The Oscars

Posted in Movies & Television with tags , on March 8, 2014 by geniusscribbleink

image

“We didn’t land on Plymouth Rock” but “King Kong ain’t got sh** on me”. Those two lines when integrated, makes for great hyperbole when defining the dichotomy of two extremely different characters played by one phenomenal actor; Denzel Washington. Many proclaim that both roles were defining moments in his brilliant and illustrious career, as he would go on to receive Oscar nominations for his memorable performances in both Malcolm X and Training Day. Denzel would of course go on to win the Best Lead Actor Award for playing the part of the menacing narcotics detective, Alonzo Harris, in the film Training Day, leaving behind a trail of movie quotes that will forever dangle inside the hallowed halls of infamy. Denzel’s crowning achievement would not come without its share of blemishes, as many in the African-American community questioned the mindset of the Academy in choosing to award him for playing a menacing villain, yet seemingly snubbed him for his epic portrayal of a martyr in the film Malcolm X. I did have the pleasure of watching both movies and by far Malcolm X was a film for the ages and Denzel did clearly out-perform Al Pacino’s Oscar-winning performance in the movie The Scent Of A Woman, although I did enjoy that movie as well. So the question we must ask ourselves is whether or not African-Americans are receiving awards based on stereotypical depiction or is it based on the merit of an incredible performance? As we begin to revisit the list of Academy Award Winners that are non African-American, we will find that a recent strand of those winners have played less than favorable roles from an image perspective. Kevin Spacey won Best Actor for his role in American Beauty by playing a perverse father who was sexually obsessed with his teenage daughter’s best friend. Sean Penn won an Oscar playing an ex-con in the movie Mystic River. Nicholas Cage won his Oscar portraying a down and out alcoholic, who was hell-bent on drinking himself to death in the movie Leaving Las Vegas. With regards to female Oscar winners, we saw Hillary Swank win for her role as a lesbian masquerading as a trans-man in the movie Boys Don’t Cry. Both Charlize Theron (Monster) and Kathy Bates (Misery), won their respective Oscars for playing menacing, psychopathic women. Now are these roles conducive to the racial perception as it relates to the Caucasian community? Are all Caucasian men perverts, cons and alcoholics? Are all Caucasian women psychopathic, lesbians who break their favorite author’s ankles with a provocative sledge-hammer? The answer is of course not, but that is the basis of my point. Are African-American actors/actresses subject to a character typecast template that Caucasian actors/actresses are not subjected to or is this premise of type-casting more of a product derived from the lack of available movie roles for African-American actors/actresses to pool from? The longstanding belief is that we as African-Americans, only find ourselves being nominated for playing roles of degradation as opposed to playing roles of professional prominence. If we were to recount the Oscar winners for Best a Lead Actor as it stands from an African-American characterization point and occupation, it would reads as follows: Sidney Portier (Lilies Of The Field-handyman, Denzel Washington (Training Day)-narcotics detective, Jamie Foxx (Ray)-Musician Ray Charles and Forrest Whitaker (The Last King of Scotland)-dictator Idi Amin. In addition to that list of winners and roles that garnered them their prestigious awards, it would only be apropos that we revisit those who won for Best Supporting Actor as well. It reads as follows: Louis Gosset Jr. (A Soldier’s Story)-military Sargent, Denzel Washington (Glory)-soldier, Cuba Gooding Jr. (Jerry McGuire)-football player and Morgan Freeman (Million Dollar Baby)-boxing trainer . As it pertains to female African-Americans in lead roles, the Academy Award list is extremely shallow with only Halle Berry winning for her portrayal of a struggling, single mother in Monsters Ball. The winners for Best Supporting Actress reads as follows: Hattie McDaniels (Gone With The Wind)-servant, Whoopi Goldberg (Ghost)-psychic median, Jennifer Hudson (Dreamgirls)-singer, Mo’Nique (Precious)-abusive mother, Octavia Spencer (The Help)-maid and Lupita Nyong’o (12 Years A Slave)-slave. Outside of the African-American actresses having a gripe as it relates to obtaining more prominent roles, the supposed character assassination via typecast is less malicious and less pronounced as one would initially think. But what is great acting if it doesn’t conjure up certain emotions that make us pause and reflect on certain aspects of life, especially when the movie is insulated inside a certain time in history regarding its plot? We cannot rewrite a time of societal unrest and deplorable acts of degradation with the mindset of believing that because it’s translated into some form of entertainment or art that it’s pigeonholes us into a certain cookie cutter mould. If anything, it broadens the awareness for those who wish to become more knowledgeable about a group of people or a subject matter, thus opening up dialogue such as this so that we can delve deeper into the matter at hand. Those who have hatred or ignorance in their DNA are somewhat un-reachable to begin with, therefore there will always be those who will feel a certain way no matter what light is placed upon a dark situation. If anything should arise from this debate of typecast is the fact that the African-American community should encourage the Spike Lees and Tyler Perrys of the world to develop better scripts and movies showing us in other facets of life such as love, vulnerability, education, professionalism and mystery. We saw this great quality of work in the movie The Best Man’s Holiday, so why can we not get more movies like that versus Madea Goes To Band Camp? Great stories can lead to great movies, so as much as the Academy Awards committee has had a few questionable moments, the fact still remains that those who are empowered like the fore mentioned directors, could help by putting a better product out as well. I salute the accomplished actors and actresses for reaching the pinnacle of being nominated no matter what the role is. If there is anything that truly needs revamping it is our presence on reality television. We have un-accomplished and untrained buffoons receiving notoriety for being unimportant, while those who are trained in the arts are vilified for accepting a role that supposedly “typecast” us. This is where the true problem lies, people being famous for doing nothing while the accomplished receive ridicule. “The sh**s chess not checkers”. “You’ve been took, you’ve been hoodwinked, bamboozled, led astray, ran amuck”. #and the award goes to

Movie In Review: Fruitvale Station

Posted in Movies & Television with tags , on February 9, 2014 by geniusscribbleink

image

It is hard to separate the empathetic emotions that a person of African-American decent will have for this film, therefore I will not attempt to thwart the transparent heart-strings that I will attach to this film review. Albeit we have had a recent slew of African-American films such as The Butler and 12 Years A Slave; somehow Fruitvale Station resonates with me more than those other films. Now I love the value of histrionics as it relates to heritage, cultural preservation and ancestral lineage; however it is often the less glamorous story in its most simplistic form that generates an even greater impact more, so than that of an epic tale. Empathy has always been a great presenter, even when faced with an audience filled with apathy. It generates a certain reverence that is hard to ignore, especially when one can conclude that: “This could have happened to me”. Fruitvale Station has won several awards at both The Sundance Film Festival (Grand Jury Prize and Audience Award for U.S. Dramatic Film) and The Cannes Film Festival (Best First Film). Upon first glance, I truly did not get enthralled in what appeared to be a plot headed to places unknown. I knew very little about this film, other than hearing that it was highly acclaimed and that there was an Oscar buzz surrounding the film. Little did I know that the true “Oscar” as it pertains to this film, is the true story of Oscar Grant III, portrayed brilliantly by actor Michael B. Jordan. The film recounts the last day in the life of Oscar Grant III. A day that will forever change the landscape of the Fruitvale Train Station and the community of Oakland California. This movie will capture your heart, as well as, your conscious mind. I absolutely recommend that rent this film immediately.