Thursday, May 21, 2009

Shame on the media!

Why on earth is MSNBC and a host of other news/media networks covering FORMER vice president "DICK" Cheney's pathetic speech at this hour while our ACTUAL, REAL PRESIDENT, OBAMA is giving a speech as well!? I have to get a little up in arms over the media every so often. MSNBC had been covering Obama's speech meant to provide details on the numerous reforms, initiatives and bills he's putting into place primarily surrounding Guantanamo Bay and "enhanced interrogation" (torture!) techniques. Roughly twenty minutes into Obama's speech, they cut coverage and began broadcasting DICK's speech! HE'S THE FORMER VP!! Let this guy go play golf, hunt, fish or....even better....DIE!!! Either that, or lock his crotchety old ass up for the crimes he has committed against this country! FORMER----the PAST! The PREVIOUS! GET LOST!! GO AWAY! Why should our CURRENT president share the media or worry about debating and going "head to head" with a screw up from the previous administration!! At least dumb dumb (BUSH) is wise enough to keep himself out of the spotlight and disappear. He knows he was a moron, knows he's responsible for much of the current state of affairs. I think he's honestly just glad to be out of the way and alleviated of the responsibility.
DICK... is doing nothing more in his speech but bringing out the same old tired, Republican playbook that does nothing but talk about 911, terrorism and how much DANGER we're in......and how crucial it is for us to PROTECT ourselves and how OBAMA is somehow making us less safe! I guess I can't even blame DICK! I blame the media for letting him have any spotlight when he's nothing more than a has been. Retire his old ass to one of those celebrity reality shows and let him go toe to toe with one of the less successful Baldwin brothers or one of the Gary's---Gary Coleman or Gary Busey!!

(I was going to post a picture of DICK here...but decided against it! The fact that it's pissing me off enough to have to write about him and discuss him really bothers me and makes me almost as guilty as the media for showing him any attention!)


Saturday, May 16, 2009

All about "Uhura!"

This is simply a quick "review" of sorts on Paramount pictures latest film version of the cult television classic show STAR TREK! First and foremost let me preface my opinion by stating that I was never a Trekky! I grew up a HUGE Star Wars fan which sort of pre-disposed me to a natural opposition to the Star Trek culture. It was STAR WARS vs. STAR TREK! I rarely knew anyone who was gung ho about both in equal amounts.
Now because I wasn't a Trekky, that doesn't mean I didn't get into the show here and there. I was a natural science fiction fan so of course a show about a ship full of people exploring the galaxy would appeal to me. As did Battlestar Galactica, Buck Rogers, Space 1999 and a few other campy space shows. Out of those few, Star Trek would definitely be the top favorite. As for the first set of films released back in the eighties...I NEVER got into any of them. I saw the first two but really don't recall either of them. As for the numerous television shows that followed, I may have watched a few episodes of DEEP SPACE NINE but wasn't a huge fan of any.

2009's Star Trek is a precursor to the original story line accounting for the history and origins of most of the Enterprise crew including James T. Kirk, Leonard McCoy ("Bones") and of course the iconic pointy eared Vulcan genius, Spock. We get a glimpse into their years as adolescents, right up to their admission into the Star Fleet academy. For people who are definitely familiar with the characters, this is a fun and revealing look at their classic personalities and how they all became connected.
The film is visually entertaining and well paced. But more important and critical to the success of the film, the acting was truly great. Chris Pine as young Capt. Kirk nailed the role as a wise cracking, skirt chasing, sometimes arrogant more often rightfully confident young man with a lot on his shoulders. Karl Urban as the young Dr. Leonard McCoy was superb and probably the best actor in the cast. While Zachary Pinto as Spock held down the Vulcan seriousness and stoic look in a way that would make the original Spock, Leonard Nimoy proud. (Leonard Nimoy actually plays a part in the film). Rounding out the cast of characters of course is Scotty, Sulu, Chekov and of course...Uhura!!
Quick note on Uhura: As I mentioned earlier, I wasn't a die hard fanatic of the show. However, one of the MAIN reasons I did watch was to see Uhura, at the time played by actress Nichelle Nichols! Goodness! I'm pretty sure she was one of my very FIRST crushes! The role is filled this time by Zoe Sardona. While not as fantasy arousing gorgeous as Nichelle Nichols, she does do a rather mesmerizing job with the role and definitely sets off some fire as a young, beautiful and ridiculously intelligent linguist who must "Have a great tongue" as Kirk implies in the movie.
She wears the uniform VERY well and the quick scene where she undresses down to her underwear will surely create a whole new fan base for her!!
Oh, and let me not forget the excellent performance of Eric Bana as the evil Romulin Nero. The role in the hands of a less seasoned and talented performer would have just come off as boring and overplayed. Bana does a fine job portraying an angry, hell bent on revenge bad guy with a serious ax to grind!
So....Overall, great cast, great story line and a wonderful "new beginning" for the forty some odd year old story!


Friday, May 8, 2009

This blog has NOT been rated---by the motion picture association of Ameria!

The business of film and television is just that: BUSINESS!
As an aspiring film maker/producer, I've learned an awful lot about the business and have had to digest certain realities that often elude people who are not fully aware of ins and outs of the industry. Take for example MPAA ratings- MPAA stands for MOTION PICTURE ASSOCIATION of AMERICA. This is the organization that among other services provides the ratings for films, i.e.: G, PG, PG 13, NC 17, R, X, XXX.
Filmmakers are often held captive to the considerations of these ratings when they’re in various stages of production including pre-production and right through the cutting (editing) stage. Most of the concerns revolve around the amount of violence or depiction of violence and of course…sex and nudity! As far as violence, it comes down to numerous factors: how many people are being hurt, maimed or killed? In what manner are they being hurt, maimed or killed? How much blood? How is the bleeding depicted? Blood spurting out or just leaking? Decapitation? Dismemberment? Psychological violence? How many “disturbing” images and graphic shots are being displayed? And, how are these images and depictions being used in relation to the actual story line and context of the film? As for sex, things are broken down pretty much the same: How much nudity? How much of a breast or both breasts are being shown? How much nipple, if any at all? How much ass? Full frontal woman? Full frontal man? Both? Consensual, adult sex? Rape? Violence and sex? Oral sex? Felatio? Cunnilingus? Sex between married couples? Between singles? Group scenarios?
Small considerations like what angle a blow job is being shot from and how many times we can see the woman’s head bobbing up and down between a mans lap are all delicate considerations and ultimately the basis for determining whether a film garners an R rating or X rating. Obviously, for a filmmaker looking to have a film distributed though a major studio and shown to a large audience, these rating can make a difference. In addition, the creative process and artistic vision of a film can be hampered by having to pander to or limit footage in efforts to appease the MPAA and secure the desired rating.

Now that I’ve given this brief bit of information on the MPAA and it’s rating practices, I’d like to get into what truly bothers me about this whole system.

It is disturbing that VIOLENCE is much more tolerated than SEX!
I can name dozens of movies with ratings from PG to R which all show major amounts of violence and death: People being shot, stabbed, bludgeoned, beaten, sliced, hacked and more! It doesn’t seem to be a big deal to watch a movie and see people being killed in one manner or the other. In fact, you can put on the television and winess scenarios of death and violence in prime time and it’s no big deal! I gather we’re all pretty desensitized to it all.
Now sex on the other hand gets treated completely different.
We can watch people being hacked up, blown up, skinned alive and tortured, but watching a blow job (to completion or not) is waaaaaaaaaaay wicked and a bit too much! Not to mention seeing some cunnilingus action! Oh God forbid!! Now, I’m not talking about hard-core, camera between the legs, high definition close up shots of anatomy and all, I’m simply talking about seeing a couple, married or not, getting it on a bit maybe in a nice sixty nine! Or how about just a woman on her back, writhing in ecstasy while a man pleases her down below! And, I’m not talking about just random, gratuitous, casual sex either. Even sex between a loving, monogamous couple has to be scaled back or edited to be “appropriate!” Yes, there have been plenty of films that have had some graphic sex scenes: Fatal Attraction, 9 & 1/2 weeks, Basic Instinct and of course Monster’s Ball just to name a few. But still, for the most part, sex is treated as this terribly taboo subject to have to deal with in film and television and it’s often over scrutinized and subject to much more censorship than violence.
To me, this is just…odd. I mean, we can show the END OF LIFE! DESTRUCTION OF LIFE! Yet cringe and get all bent out of shape when it comes to the depiction of NATURAL DESIRE! HUMAN SEXUALITY! THE DISPLAYS OF LOVE AND PASSION! THE EXCHANGE OF PLEASURE AND BEAUTY OF LOVE IN IT’S PHYSICAL EXPRESSION!!

What’s wrong with this country!!??

A study out today by a Boston Children’s Hospital concluded that teens who watched adult themed movies and television shows as children become sexually active at a younger age than their peers. Dr. David Bickham, author of the study explained that “Children learn from media, and when they watch media with sexual references and innuendos, our research suggests that they are more likely to engage in sexual activity earlier in life.”

Well now…we wouldn’t want that! But hey, how about the studies that show children are more prone to violence when exposed to it through media at an early age?
Guess every kid playing GRAND THEFT AUTO is destined to be a gangster and every kid watching a bit of love making in a film or television show is destined to run out as soon as possible and get laid!

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Got to love a good book!

Okay...I'm back! Had a lot of fun hanging with my family down in ATL!
So this morning, I'm back into the swing of things and my normal morning routine. Listened to SIRIUS in the car. First some CNN and then switched over to SHADE 45 (a hip hop station). When I switched over, I caught the tail end of an interview with an author named NIKKI TURNER, who supposedly, is a best selling author! Okay...Congrats!
Listening to her talk about her latest book GHETTO SUPERSTAR, I couldn't help laughing...I mean...cringing at the thought of people actually entertaining this type of literary.....crap!
My bad I guess for being overly critical but I'm sorry........if the way she talks is any indication of how she writes then I can't imagine how she cracked the NY Times best seller list! What is literature coming to?
I have an EXTREME abhorrence for "ghetto/urban" trash books. So in all fairness, even if this Nikki Turner has a modicum of talent as a writer, I instantly classify her and her books as GARBAGE!!

Quick story:

Quite some time ago, I promised a young lady that I would buy her a copy of Ralph Ellison's Invisible Man and a copy of Alice Walker's Possessing The Secret of Joy. I naturally made my way to the more prominent AFRICAN AMERICAN bookstore located in the neighborhood. (Ft.Greene Brooklyn) Upon entering, I browsed around on my own figuring I'd be able to find these outstanding books without too much effort. I mean come on....Ellison, Walker...a black bookstore...hello?? After an unsuccessful search, I had to ask for assistance.
The person helping me, needed me to repeat what I was looking for a few times!! Turned out that NEITHER book was in stock! The clerk had to look on the computer, doing searches to find what I asked for as if I asked for some randomly obscure book on Mexican Midget Mud Wrestling!! ELLISON!!!!! WALKER!!!! You would think that it wouldn't be that difficult to find either of these amazing and highly revered authors works in a black bookstore.

You know what books were right up front....predominantly displayed...huge posters and all?

BOOTY LUVIN' (actually, I think this one is a porn! lol!)


I nearly fell out!

In additon to the plethora of urban fiction titles showcased, there was a whole wall full of the profound work of....KARRINE STEFFANS! A.K.A. "SUPERHEAD!!" Nothing against the chick for makin' a buck.....but damn, did she even bother to teach this super talent of hers to the ladies out there??! Do all of us men a favor!!? If so, I might actually be able to co-sign on having the sisters read that one!! Probably pass a few copies out to some sistas myself! From what I understand, she didn't even share her...."super" head game!! So what was the point??? (Speakin' of sex...Don't even let me get started on the hack writing of ZANE who has somehow made a huge name for herself penning god awful, trite black erotica books with no real imagination and the inability to describe a decent fuck without sounding like a billion other people!) (Even got a Showtime series out of it! Talk about HORRIBLE!!!)

Getting back to the "urban fiction".....Exactly what kind of crap are they putting out there for young black men and women to read?
Here's the argument that I encounter whenever I express my opinions on this:

"Well, at least it's getting them to read!" "It's more interesting to them because they can relate to the stories!"


Pushing ghetto trash novels on young people is not a gateway to get them reading more advanced and substantial work! It simply reinforces the ignorant, half witted, ghetto mentality they had to begin with! They relate to it? So what! Let them relate to a larger world....aspire to relate to higher standards! Take them OUT OF THE HOOD! Let their minds wander and explore the world outside of their local streets! Allow them to immerse themselves in quality story telling and revel in the beauty of language and fine writing.
As for the grown folks who insist on reading these books, to each his own. I belive it's quite sad that adults would even bother, but hey. And as for those who say "It's just entertainment and I enjoy the silliness of it all"....well....I have no issue with that providing you've actually read a great deal of quality literature first!