Fall TV Review (Cinema in Noir)

Fall TV is upon us and it’s really, REALLY good. On the latest edition of Cinema in Noir, my co-hosts and I reviewed the best this Fall TV season has given us so far. From returning shows like Sleepy Hollow and Scandal, to new shows like Gotham, Black-ish, and How to Get Away With Murder, the Fall TV line-up has given us some solid premieres.

In addition to giving us comedy, great drama and fast paced action, the Fall TV line-up is full of diversity.  Jada Pinkett Smith, Lorraine Toussaint, Tracee Ellis Ross, and Viola Davis are all making their mark this Fall TV season.  Each woman, in her own way is expanding the image of black women on television with their remarkable performances and unforgettable characters.

Also find out which former teen actor will be making his return to television on the highly anticipated season on The Walking Dead.

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#CinNoir Chat 8.24.2014 (ICYMI)

This past Sunday, my co-hosts and I hosted our second #CinNoir chat.  We discussed the latest television and film news and gave our hopes and predictions for Monday night’s Emmy Awards.

Emmy

In case you missed it, here it is:

ICYMI: Social Justice Films and Television (Cinema in Noir)

Social justice is a topic that is constantly at the forefront of the media.  On the latest edition of Cinema in Noir, my co-hosts and I dedicated the majority of the show to the exploring the theme of social justice.  We started by chatting with Shanelle Little. Like the majority of the country, Shanelle has spent the last week watching the volatile situation in Ferguson, MI.  She noticed that many celebrities who usually have so much to say about everything were suddenly silent.  So Shanelle decided to keep a running list of celebrities who decided to use their social media platform to tackle the issues of social justice (including Jesse Williams, John Legend, and Kerry Wasington).  We also discussed whether a celebrity has a responsibility to comment on matters of social justice.

Social Justice TV

In keeping with the theme of social justice, the ladies and I listed some of our favorite social justice films and television series.  At the top of the list, is the WeTV series The Divide.  We all agree that it is one of the best shows on television right now.  The Divide handles the theme of social justice in a fresh and exciting way (Best explained here).

Social Justice Movie

Some of my other favorites include American Violet, Fruitvale Station , and the documentaries Let the Fire Burn and The Spies of Mississippi.

In addition to covering the latest news in film and television, my co-host Rebecca reviewed the film Expendables 3.

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Cinema in Noir – #CinNoir Chat

It’s #CinNoir Sunday. Today my Cinema in Noir co-hosts and I hosted our very first #CinNoir chat. We discussed the casting controversy surrounding Ridley Scott’s latest film, Exodus. We also reviewed the Annenberg report on diversity in film.

#CinNoir Chat
Lifetime Missy and the real Missy

In case you missed today’s #CinNoir chat, here it is:

Stunt Casting & Young Hollywood (Cinema in Noir)

We are sick and tired of stunt casting.  On the latest edition of Cinema in Noir, my co-host Candice and I were joined by guest co-host, Afiya Augustine.  We discussed the Hollywood habit of stunt casting. By stunt casting, we mean using the same three or four young actor/actresses for roles based on their popularity and not whether or not they fit the role. For instance, Jennifer Lawrence and Shailene Woodley are the current Hollywood ‘it girls.” But we think there are other actresses out their who despite the spotlight.  and we listed some of the actors who we think have suffered as a result of stunt casting.  We think these talented actors deserve more screen time. Gina Rodriguez, Saoirse Ronan, and Jurnee Smollett stunt casting We also chatted about the recent Hollywood Reporter article that declared the summer of 2014 as the worst summer box office in eight years. o-A-MILLION-WAYS-TO-DIE-IN-THE-WEST-TRAILER-facebook And as always, we discussed the latest in film and casting news. LISTEN:

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Eljon Wardally: A Q&A (Cinema in Noir)

Eljon Wardally is an inspiration. And on the latest edition of Cinema In Noir, we had a great chat with the talented playwright and screenwriter.

Eljon WardallyEljon Wardally discussed her short film turned webseries Docket 32357 . She also discussed getting back to writing after having a stroke at age 29. Eljon Wardally has a story that you need to hear.

We were also joined by actress Pia Glenn when we discussed the racially charged casting notice for women in the upcoming NWA biopic, Straight Outta Compton.

Pia GLennPia shared her experience as a black actress in Hollywood and how she deals with the drama.

In addition to the latest in film and television news, we also reviewed The Purge: Anarchy and the premiere episode of WeTV’s The Divide.

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Ernest Dickerson: A Q& A (Cinema in Noir)

Ernest Dickerson is a legend. And on the latest edition of Cinema in Noir, my co-hosts and I had the amazing opportunity to chat with the legendary cinematographer and director, Ernest Dickerson.

Ernest DIckerson

Ernest Dickerson discussed his illustrious career. He also discussed his collaborations with Spike Lee.  Ernest Dickerson also talked about the process of getting the classic film Juice made, the current state of television, and what it’s like to direct for The Walking Dead.

We also gave our thoughts about the 2014 Emmy nominations that were announced this week. While we all agree that the list is better in terms of diversity, we still have a few issues with the list. We break it all down…the good, the bad, and the snubbed.

In addition to the latest in film and television news, we also reviewed three new releases (Boyhood, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, and Life Itself) and the trailer to the new Jimi Hendrix film, All is By My Side. 

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NFOTD – My Faves from the First Half of 2014

Happy July! It’s hard to believe that we are already halfway through 2014. If you follow me on Twitter, you know that I have been going pretty hard core on my #NFOTD (New Film of the Day) goals for 2014.  I have been trying REALLY hard to stay on track and watch at least seven films a week).  My goal is to watch 365 new films by December 31, 2014.

For those who don’t know, NFOTD was started by my Twitter homie and director of photography extraordinaire, Cybel Martin. Every day #NFOTD participants watch a film that they’ve never seen before and tweet (and sometimes instagram) about it.

As of July 1,  2014 I have watched 180 films. The break down is as follows:

Narrative Features – 134 (74.4%)
Documentaries – 46 (25.5%)
Short Films – 7 (3.8%)
Foreign Language Films – 5 (2.7 %)
Female Screenwriters – 46 (21.6%)
Female Directors – 42 (21.3%)
Female DPs -14 (7.7 %)

To celebrate half a year of #NFOTD, I decided to highlight some of my favorite films, so far.

Favorite Performance: Regina Hall in About Last Night

kevin-hart-regina-hall-smilingAbout

Directed By: Steve Pink

Starring:  Michael Ealy, Joy Bryant, Kevin Hart, Regina Hall

The 411: It takes guts and true talent to go head to head with the biggest comedian in Hollywood.  But Regina Hall holds her own against the comedic firecracker that is Kevin Hart. In About Last Night she excels as a comedic actress and steals the spotlight on more than one occasion.

 

Favorite Theatrical Release: Belle

Belle_poster

Directed By:  Amma Asante

Starring:  GuGu Mbatha-Raw, Matthew Goode, Emily Watson, Tom Wilkinson

The 411: Belle tells the true story of Dido Elizabeth Belle, a mixed race aristocrat in 18th century Britain.  The film effectively deals with issues of gender, marriage, social status, and race.  Belle benefits from a solid screenplay, great direction, and powerful performances.

 

Favorite Documentary: Vanishing Pearls

vanishing-pearls

Directed By:  Nailah Jefferson

Starring: The fishermen of Pointe La Hache, LA.

The 411: Vanishing Pearls tells the story of a group of black fishermen in Louisiana who suffer devastating consequences after the BP oil spill.  The film chronicles the trials and tribulations of these men as they face the aftermath of the long clean-up and as they seek compensation for their losses.

 

Favorite Foreign Film: Wadjda

Wadjda_(film)

Directed By:  Haifaa Al Mansour  

Starring:   Waad Mohammed, Reem Abdullah, Abdullrahnab Al Gohani  

The 411:  Wadjda is a delightful film, the first shot entirely in Saudi Arabia, that follows a 10-year old girl in her quest to raise the money to buy a bike.  It’s also a brilliant coming of age film and a great mother/daughter film.

 

Favorite Short Film: Next Door’s Next

Next Doors Next

Directed By: Crystle Roberson

Starring:  Marius Mitchell, Sheryland Neal  

The 411: Next Door’s Next focuses on a young couple who spend the afternoon baking a cake for their new neighbor. The film plays with time in a creative way that allows it’s protagonists to come face to fact with their future. It’s a great, thought provoking film.

 

Favorite TV Movie: A Day Late And A Dollar Short

Day Late

Directed By: Stephen Tolkin

Starring:  Whoopi Goldberg, Ving Rhames, Kimberly Elise, Tichina Arnold, Anika Noni Rose

The 411: The cast is the biggest asset in A Day Late and A Dollar Short.  Whoopi gives an amazing performance as a woman trying to reconcile her family as they deal with many complicated issues.  The supporting cast is equally impressive.  The film is a great testament to the power of redemption and forgiveness.

 

Favorite Throwback: Paris Is Burning

Paris

Directed By:  Jennie Livingston

Starring: Dorian Corey, Pepper LaBeija, Octavia St. Laurent

The 411: I have heard about Paris Is Burning for YEARS but only recently watched it for myself. And I must say it lived up to the hype. The film takes a look at the drag culture in 1980s NYC.  It highlights aspects such as balls and voguing and explains the origins of today’s popular phrases (i.e. reading, shade, realness).

 

Favorite Historical Film: Cesar Chavez

CesarChavezPoster

Directed By:  Deigo Luna

Starring:  Michael Pena, America Ferrera, Rosario Dawson

The 411:  Cesar Chavez focuses on the several years that the title character worked as an activist for the migrant grape farmers.  Chavez took a nonviolent approach to the system that sought to destroy the Latino and Filipino farm workers.  The strength of this film is it’s focus and the extraordinary performance of Michael Pena.

 

Favorite Netflix Find: GBF

GBF

Directed By: Darren Stein

Starring:  Michael J. Willett, Paul Iancono, Sasha Pieterse  

The 411:  In GBF three popular girls vie for supreme popularity by acquiring the school’s first openly gay student as their gay best friend.  The film is absurd, but fun and underneath the shallow personas of the main characters, the film has heart and there is an important underlying message of acceptance.

 

 

 

 

 

 

LGBT Women in Film (Cinema in Noir)

LGBT women in film and tv are more visible today than ever before. On the latest edition of Cinema in Noir, my co-hosts and I celebrated LGBT Pride month by discussing  the LGBT women in Hollywood who deserve more screen time. We also  listed some the LGBT women whose stories deserve to be told on the big or small screen.

Jasika Nicole, Dee Rees, Laverne Cox, Janet Mock, Nisha Ganatra, and Robin Roberts, LGBT Women
isl Jasika Nicole, Dee Rees, Laverne Cox, Janet Mock, Nisha Ganatra, and Robin Roberts

Lastly, we were joined by writer Alj Augustine as we reviewed the season premiere of True Blood and discussed our expectations for the season finale of Penny Dreadful.

Penny-Dreadful-s01e03

In addition to the latest film and casting news, my co-host Rebecca reviewed three films, Transformers: Age of Extinction, They Came Together, and Snowpiercer.

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Colorism and the Aaliyah Biopic (Cinema in Noir)

Colorism or not? On the latest edition of Cinema in Noir, my co-hosts and I tackled the hot button issue of colorism in Hollywood.
colorism?The discussion was sparked by the online outrage over biracial actress Zendaya Coleman being cast as singer Aaliyah in the upcoming Lifetime biopic.  Many people on Twitter believe that the casting was a result of Hollywood’s colorism problem. We were joined by radio personality Albert Butler who had a lot to say on the subject.

Also, in honor of Black Music Month, we listed some of our favorite music documentaries.
True BloodWe also talked about our wishes for the upcoming season of True Blood.

In addition to the latest film and casting news, my co-host Rebecca and I reviewed the number one movie in the country, Think Like A  Man Too.

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