Category: Movies

The MPAA can no longer be trusted.

So, Despite my VIP invite from the good folk at the Lone Star Film Society to see an advance screening of Pineapple Express, I ended up missing out.  I ended up dragging Mrs. Ink to see the Dark Knight, which I had initially vowed to not see until after I returned the chirren to their mother (henceforth known as the Former Mrs. Ink(FMI)) because they wanted to see it (how would they not?)

I considered it, because they are reasonably well raised (shout out to the FMI) but any hope the kids had was dashed when the Good Rev. Keystroke dubbed The Dark Knight The Dark Knight of the Soul.

They had to settle with a trip to see Iron Man, a much kinder and gentler PG-13 superhero flick earlier today.

So, with that, me and Mrs. Ink settled in and Boy lemme tell ya.

That was the most violent and intense PG-13 movie I have EVER seen.

Trix may be for kids, The Dark Knight most definitely was not.

Now the pragmatist in me understands the whole Scarlet letter that the R Rating has turned into for movies that harbor dreams of attracting teenagers, but I KNOW R rated movies when I see them.

The Dark Knight is a legitimate R rated movie.

The MPAA should be ashamed.

Christopher Nolan et. al. did a heckuva job, but that was a movie for grown-ups.


Master of the U-Verse 1.0 – Premium

IN this series, I will be highlighting something I watched that was worth commenting on.

Mrs. Ink and I watched Premium, which was a surprisingly decent (how sad is that to have to say) offering by Writer/Director/Producer Peter Chatmon. It starred Hill Harper, Zoe Saldana, and Dorian Missick.

Seeing it on the heels of my Netflix adventure with Roscoe Jenkins got me to thinking:

How is it that as much as we talk about the dearth of quality Black Movies…how is it that a random movie I found on cable is better than ANY major release Black movie I have seen in the past year or two with the exception of The Great Debaters.

If you wander across it on Starz Black or netflix…you should peep it. It’s actually Pretty good.

Hulk up in Harlem

Upon leaving the theater this morning for the first showing of The Incredible Hulk I immediately understood why Ed Norton (who is one of my favorite actors) might have been a little peeved about the script and the consequent editing.

He was a bit player.

They could have gotten Art Carney (Norton from the Honeymooners, keep up) to play the Bruce Banner we all came to see Hulk Smash.

But I didn’t come to see Hulk Smash Harlem. What the hell was THAT about? and not some random Uptown Street….but Hulk and dude with the Spikey back were right in front of the Apollo Theater. I didn’t know whether to be honored or disrespected.

Anyway, the movie was what it was. Ed Norton shoulda known all his good writing (and acting) was going to end up on the cutting room floor. As much as I like Eddie 25th Hour Fight Club, I made the drive this morning to see Hulk Smash…and smash he did.

Killing Time #1: Madea’s Family Reunion

Killing Time is a series devoted to savaging  deconstructing Richard Corliss’ list of the 25 Most Important Movies on Race.

To celebrate Black History Month, we’ve chosen 25 movies to honor the artistry, appeal and determination of African Americans on and behind the screen. The films span nine decades, and reveal a legacy that was tragic before it was triumphant. At first, blacks were invisible; when they were allowed to be seen, it was mostly as derisive comic relief. The 1950s ushered in the age of the noble Negro, in the imposing person of Sidney Poitier — the Jackie Robinson of movies. Only when Hollywood realized that a sizable black audience would pay to see films more reflective of their lives, whether funny, poignant or violent, were they given control of the means of production. Sometimes. The fact remains that of the 25 films here, chosen to cover the widest range of black films, fewer than half were directed by blacks.

Everyone has their opinion on Tyler Perry, including me.

Today, I put that aside and attempted to watch the movie as though I had never seen anything he had ever done.

Let me first say that I will never forgive Richard Corliss for this.  When I committed myself to deconstructing this list, I did so without knowing what was on the list.  It never occured to me that I would be watching this movie.

I don’t have a lot to say about this movie.  I mean, I COULD go chapter and verse on the gory details on just how painful this was to watch, but that isn’t what this is supposed to be about.

The purpose of this exercise is to explore what possessed Mr. Corliss to place this movie on the list.

To quote Mr. Corliss:

Perry’s stuff is loud, sentimental, badgering — a gigantic gallimaufry of broad comedy, primal scream and (in the stage versions) musical numbers. The dramaturgy is part Neil Simon, part Oscar Micheaux that starts as wildly churning comedy, then stops in its tracks for a confession of spousal or child abuse. The music mixes elements of Dreamgirls and the Ebenezer Baptist Church choir; the tone is a violent blend of the earthy and the evangelical. Usually, the supporting players carry the melodrama, and Perry’s Madea — christened Mabel Simmons — shoulders the comedy.

 The movie version of Madea’s Family Reunion has an impressive cast, including Blair Underwood, Lynn Whitfield, Jenifer Lewis, Cicely Tyson and Maya Angelou. But you should get the DVD of the original play, both for the hoots and hollers of its live audience and because the shows, unlike the films, are essential musical drama-comedies. It’s when the characters launch into song, which they do seven or eight times a show, that these works sound most authentically black. The songs (by Perry and his musical director, Elvin Ross) are more than serviceable, ranging from R&B to Broadway to flat-out gospel. And some of the singers are extraordinary. For Family Reunion, Terry Phillips and D’Atra Hicks have a powerful reconciliation duet, toward the end of which Hicks pours out one note for 30 secs., escalating the passion and the ache with astonishing precision and intensity. It’s a seriously thrilling stopover in the pop-cultural express train that is Tyler Perry.

As  for me:

I guess If I dig deep into my anecdotal reservoir  of white privilege, I can see the purpose of including a work by Tyler Perry on this list.  Clearly, Mr. Corliss wanted to avoid the wrath of the TP masses that struck Roger Ebert on that fateful day 3 years ago.  

Mr. Corliss dishes out a smattering of backhanded praise in an attempt to justify the presence of this movie on the list.  If anything, I find the inclusion of this movie as opposed to other choices (even Tyler Perry’s Why Did I Get Married?) symbolic of Mr. Corliss’ indifference to the actual quality of Black Cinema.

Regardless of the artistic merits, Tyler Perry has built up a track record on a commercial level that few can match.  More importantly, he makes the movies he makes on HIS terms and no one else’s.  We can disagree on the relative merits of what he makes, but there is no questioning that the vision is his own and it flows from his pen to the screen/stage completely unfiltered.

The movie is still a mess, the attempts of the actors and actresses notwithstanding.   Say what you want about any Tyler Perry Movie, he will unleash a torrent of Black talent.  Lynn Whitfield, Lisa Arrindell Anderson, Blair Underwood, were all exceptional, given the quality of script they had to work with.

But I survived it.  And Mrs. Ink did too, although she has submitted an invoice for the 2 hours of her life she will not get back.

Seventh Day of Black History Month: Burn Hollywood Burn

If I have learned NOTHING else in the past 6 1/2 years of Blogging/Writing, it is this: Expertise ain’t what it used to be.

Or maybe it was never all that much in the first place and I am the one with the late pass.

Whatever the case, I stumbled upon the 25 most important movies on Race by way of Time Magazine.

Sounded like a challenge. As an intermittent Movie snob/buff/afficianado, I was curious how this would play out. Of course they decided to rank them chronologically rather than by sheer importance. I didn’t question who the author was until AFTER I saw the whole list. I will encourage you to reserve judgement until AFTER YOU see the whole list.

25. Body and Soul

24. Hallelujah

23. Judge Priest

22. Imitation of Life (1934)

21. God’s Stepchildren

20. The Duke is Tops

19. Gone with the Wind

18. The Blood Of Jesus

17. The Jackie Robinson Story

16. Native Son (1951)

15. Carmen Jones

14. The Defiant Ones

13. In the Heat of the Night

12. Sweet Sweetback’s Baad Aasssss Song

11. Lady Sings the Blues

10. Cooley High

9. Killer of Sheep

8. Richard Pryor Live in Concert

7. A. Soldier’s Story

6. Do the Right Thing

5. Boyz N the Hood

4. Eve’s Bayou

3. Bamboozled

2. Madea’s Family Reunion

1. I am Legend

The article/list is here:

About the Author:

Richard Corliss – Master’s in Film Studies from Columbia, Time Magazine Movie Critic since 1980, self-proclaimed liberal despite working for National Review in the 70s.

Now, good readers…tell ya what IMA do.  I’ve been nice enough to add all these goodies to my Netflix.  You can be mah friend if you click here.

When I am about to get one, I will announce that it is on the way so IF you feel so inclined to watch along, you can join me.

I’ll post the review and cultural commentary comparing what Mr. Corliss said with what I say on here along with on Netflix. (VIVA CUT AND PASTE!!!)

I will say this though.

While I don’t question Mr. Corliss’ knowledge on music, I DO question what he knows about Black People, cause THIS list, without Hollywood Shuffle, Drop Squad, Shaft, and Claudine- at LEAST….is mad light in the ass.

PS, I am  reaching out to anyone else who wants to get in on this,  hit me on the inkognegro07izzatgeemaildotkizzom  or in the comments and maybe we can get a little back and forth about this, or suggestions of other movies that may have been left out.

Shout out finally to all the other 32 Day folk

Christina Springer




Mr. Shadow

History is a tale told by the Victors

I ditched the widget shop yesterday and took the wife to see American Gangster.  As I expected, it was everything I thought it would be.

However, one comment I have heard from amateur movie critics is that there was too much Russell Crowe and not enough Denzel Washington.

Yeah, I can see that.  But that is an effort to broaden the scope of the movie.

If the movie focuses on the Rise of Frank Lucas, it becomes Hoodlum.

The balance was very similar to that of The Departed, which was a movie that strived to strike a balance between adding depth to the villain without glorifying his existence.

To truly tell the story of Frank Lucas, there has to be some plea  copping and rationalizing, because those things must exist in order to explain how it is that a man who wreaked so much destruction can also be beloved.

When the story of a Frank Lucas falls into the hands of a Steven Zaillian, Ridley Scott, and Brian Grazer with an eye towards a 100+ Million Dollar box office, then you have to understand that the perspective is everything.

This, is why WHO is telling the story is often more important than WHAT story is being told.

An Anti-Hero is More Than a Sandwich

No amount of bootlegging will keep me from this movie.

One of the really difficult things about being Black is how conflicted we can be when it comes to our “heroes” and our role models.

It is plain that Frank Lucas is portrayed as a hero on some levels. As difficult as that is to digest, it is a fact and cannot be ignored.

What will probably ensue will be the inevitable backlash from those who will insist that Frank Lucas represents the “wrong” kind of hero for Black people. And they will be right.

There will be those who herald Lucas for being a gentleman gangster. And they will be right as well.

I don’t have a problem with stories like that. The problem is the lack of more virtuous stories. THAT is what I am looking forward to. Not fewer Frank Lucases, but more Dorie Millers and Benjamin Carsons.

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