All Articles Tagged "black films"
When it comes to Tyler Perry films, The Family That Preys is one of, if not my all time favorite. It stars some A-list actors, the story is complex without leaving any loose ends and it was one of the few Tyler Perry movies that wasn’t based off of his stage plays. If you’ve seen the movie, I doubt you’ve forgotten the plot or that pivotal moment with Sanaa Lathan and Rockmond Dunbar over that counter top. You remember, but check out these behind the scenes secrets.
Movies, reinvented with an all star black cast, make for huge talent and entertainment. Actors must ‘bring’ it, providing their own twist to the original version of the story in order to make viewers fall in love with the film all over again. At times, the remake may prove to be better than the original, while in other cases, they may as well have ceased production rather than infiltrate TV screens with a version worse than the original. We know some folk question why there’s even a need for black remakes in the first place so when it comes to the following movies, should they have left well enough alone? You be the judge.
Steel Magnolias (2012)
Queen Latifah heads this all-star, black cast, replacing Sally Field’s heart-wrenching role, in the recent LifeTime movie. Alfre Woodard, Phylicia Rashad and Jill Scott take over roles played by Shirley MacLaine, Olympia Dukakis and Dolly Parton. Did you all pay attention to the reception music? Wedding patrons were grooving to Wobble With It; one of the many cultural differences in the movie.
Ever read a review of a black film in a general interest publication and think “Wow, the reviewer just didn’t get it”? Sometimes there is a cultural disconnect when it comes to the appreciation or criticism of African-American films. So Film Life, Inc., a multifaceted entertainment company best known for creating the American Black Film Festival (ABFF), has decided to launch ABFF Movie Review. It debuted last week and is a weekly online podcast offering critical reviews of current Hollywood films, highlighting black characters, issues, stereotypes, and performances.
The podcast is hosted by film critic Reggie Ponder, who is the resident critic for WBEW 89.5 FM Chicago/Vocalo.com.
“People of color rarely have the benefit of a film critique from a person who fully understands the nuances of their culture,” said Jeff Friday, CEO of Film Life, Inc., and founder of ABFF, in a press statement. “It is my hope that the ABFF Movie Review will not only entertain, but generate dialogue, encouraging people to respond on our social media. Reggie is the perfect critic for this because of his passion and understanding of black culture.”
Since its inception 17 years ago, the ABFF has showcased more than 600 films.
According to a number of West African publications including Ghana Vibe, Academy Award-winning actor and top on the list of everybody’s favorite black actor Denzel Washington, is in Nigeria for the filming of his first Nollywood film.
There is not much more information about the alleged film, particularly what it is about. However the reports all say that the film is called Spider Basket and that is is supposedly co-funded by Nigerian businessman Dennis Osadebe, who is quoted in saying, “Denzel is just one of many Hollywood stars that I want to witness the talents in this country and to impact significantly on Nollywood. Others are coming.”
Don’t know if this is genuine or just some wishful thinking, which has spun out of control on the internet; however the idea of a major black, Hollywood star, particularly one of Washington’s caliber, signing up for a film produced out of Nollywood, makes me extremely excited. Something like that could progressively pave the way for more trans-Atlantic collaborations between blacks on different continents. It would be like a Marcus Garvey dream realized – at least on film.
Okay, I might be exaggerating a bit, however there does appear to be a number of American, black actors seeking work in Africa. And I’m not just talking about mainstream, or even independent, Hollywood Out-of-Africa films, which might feature a American black actor and is largely conceived out of the fantasies of white directors. I’m talking about films, conceived and written from the minds of black folks.
Like Isiah Washington, who has virtually disappeared from Hollywood after being fired from his hit television “Grey’s Anatomy” for calling his former cast mate a gay slur. Last year Washington starred in the Nigerian film Dr. Bello, a story about a American black doctor, who goes to Nigeria on the hunt of a special African potion that will cure cancer, and could help save his medical career and an African doctor from prison. The film, which also stars Haitian-born actor Jimmy Jean Louis and A-list Nigerian actresses Genevieve Nnaji and Stephanie Okereke, was written and directed by Tony Abulu, a Nigerian-raised founder of Black Ivory Communication, who has a history of taking Pan-Africanism approach into his film making. According to his bio, his previous film Back to Africa, also joined together an American cast and crew with their Nigerian counterparts. According to a recent article in the New York Times, Washington said, “…he signed on in part because he was drawn to the opportunity to “cross-pollinate” Hollywood and Nollywood.”
Vivica Fox, who is staring opposite of Washington in Dr. Bello, has also appeared in other black African-produced cinema, most recently Jeta Amata’s Black Gold and Niyi Towolawi’s Turning Point, a film, which also giving new life to mostly forgotten about American black actors Ernie Hudson (Ghost Busters) and Todd Bridges (“Different Strokes”). Nollywood has also provide opportunities for current working actors, whose success in Hollywood has yet to reach household name status. Such is the case for Gbenga Akinnagbe, a American actor born to Nigerian parents and most known for playing Chris Partlow on the television show “The Wire.” He was able to not only star but produce his very own crime drama in Nigeria called “Render to Caesar.” According to publish reports, Akinnagbe was able to secure funding for his project from former Nigerian banker.
Depending on whom you ask, Nigeria’s Nollywood is either the second or third largest film industry in the world. What is certain though, is that Nollywood is definitely holding its own with Hollywood and the Indian counterpart Bollywood, producing over 2,000 films annually and generating profits into the hundred of millions. According to an article last year in Black Enterprise:
“Similar to model used by African-American filmmaker Tyler Perry in the states, the films are typically produced at a very modest budget and yield a high return. With an average production rate of $15,000, Nollywood films often yield up to 10 times that amount in return. Nollywood filmmakers—eager to use Black American talent in order to broaden their international appeal—say that while the actors might not be able to demand the same paycheck as actors like Denzel Washington would for “Safe House” or Viola Davis would for “The Help,” the sky’s the limit on the types of stories they can tell.”
The pie in the sky is not also limited to story telling as Nollywood’s ever-expanding distribution network. Last year’s launch of a streaming-video library called iROKOtv, helped bring African cinema to new audiences across the African Diaspora, particularly in the UK, Caribbean and America markets. Likewise, a recent report suggests that the global popularity of the Nigerian film industry will be a major growth driver, with an expected compound annual growth of 3 percent in the country’s leisure sector. With that said, Nollywood is still a work in progress and more often then not, Nollywood films are plagued by poor story development, shoddy audio and technical error. However it’s continued growth over the years – not just in dollars but in actual film production – also proves that the industry has longevity and is able to stand on its own, outside of Hollywood’s power and authority.
The latter is extremely important, especially when considering solutions to the difficulty that black writers, directors and actors in the West face in terms of finding work or getting a project financed and backed through Hollywood. Not to mention the continued debates which spawn from the representation of black folks in films like Django Unchained and the soon to be released Nina Simone biopic. Nollywood might not be perfect but it should also be thought of as another viable avenue for blacks in the film industry to validate our own.
We always hear it’s hard for black actors and actresses in Hollywood, and we all know, not too many movies come out each year with a majority black cast, or even a black actor/actress as the lead. Despite the scarcity of roles for Black Hollywood, there are definitely films that will be representing for the brothers and sisters in 2013. The following are nine movies coming out this year that we know of so far, that feature Black actors.
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Say What Now? ‘Good Times’ Actor Jimmie Walker Says Quit Complaining About The Negative Portrayal Of Black People In Film
Have you ever expressed your disapproval for the portrayal of Black characters in certain Hollywood films? Have you ever signed a petition that protests against the exploited stereotypes of Black people in the media? Well, if you have, Good Times actor Jimmie Walker says you’re doing more harm than good. In a recent interview with NPR, Walker expressed that he believed that the Black community’s constant “complaining” and “rejection” of what is considered to be negative depictions of Black people in film is discouraging to Hollywood studios and financial risk-takers, which makes them more reluctant to take on projects that illustrate “complex stories” about minority characters.
“What happens is, it also is reflective in black TV shows and movies, that you’re not gonna get anymore of those because of the constant complaining, moaning and groaning… The point is to make money. And therefore, the network themselves have actually stopped doing any ethnic shows, because they don’t want the aggravation…”
“What has happened is that any minority character you see on a show now is always the police commissioner, the head of the hospital, the school superintendent. Those kinds of people don’t invoke followers. The people who are going to get attention are the wacky guys… who eventually become stars… You’ll never see a black Will Ferrell, You’ll never see a black Adam Sandler, because black people aren’t allowed to play those kind of roles.”
While Jimmie’s intentions in making this statement may not have been bad, the message that many are receiving is that Black people should stop complaining and accept whatever Hollywood dishes out for the advancement of the Black actor.
Check out the full interview here. Do you agree or disagree with Jimmie and why?
Hollywood has made a comeback—at least at the box office. News out of Tinseltown is that Hollywood expects to end the year with its best-ever U.S. box office. If moviegoers continue going to the theaters at the current clip, Hollywood will celebrate a record breaking $10.8 billion take, domestically. Hollywood is counting on The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, a Warner Bros. release, to lure millions to the theaters. That film opened high this weekend, as expected. It earned $84.7 million domestically. Ultimately, The Hobbit could rake in, according to industry experts, up to $450 million Stateside. But, some black films added their share to Hollywood’s bottom line for 2012.
Other Christmastime films are expected to do big business as well, including Weinstein Co.’s Django Unchained, with Jamie Foxx and Kerry Washington. The movie is expected to pull in $100 million-plus.
Some African-American films pulled in high box office numbers this year, such as Think Like A Man, which debuted at number one when it opened. According to BET, “Despite conventional wisdom to the contrary, Black films have a long history of coming in No. 1 at the box office. Think Like a Man is just the latest, scoring a $33 million opening weekend and knocking Hunger Games out of the top spot.”
Last year box office totals reached $9.49 billion by this time, while in 2009 — a benchmark year at the domestic box office with $10.6 billion total, reports Variety. Year-to-date ticket sales are six percent better than 2011, according to the National Association of Theater Owners. “If that pace holds, 2012 admissions would end at 1.36 billion, making it only the third (and largest) uptick since 2002, which tallied 1.57 billion,” according to Variety.
Do you have plans to see Django Unchained? Here are a few others that you might be excited about.
Do The Right Thing changed the game. Before this movie, there were no filmmakers who were speaking about the racial dynamics in New York neighborhoods the way Spike Lee was. The movie took movie goers by storm, educating a lot of people along the way. Though Do The Right Thing cost $6.5 million dollars to make, it eventually grossed $27.5 million at the box office and the American Film Institute eventually dubbed it one of the greatest movies of all time. You’ve memorized the plot. You remember how you mourned for Radio Raheem. And you know how the movie touched you. But, we bet you don’t know these behind the scenes secrets.
Love and Basketball was the bridging of two seemingly unrelated worlds, athletics and love. But the story came together seamlessly, with the help of the talented Sanaa Lathan and Omar Epps. The film, the first for director Gina Prince-Bythewood, would go on to become the highest grossing film produced by a black woman at that time, (2001). Let’s dive in and see how this movie was made, and the secrets behind this romantic classic.
When Terry McMillan’s novel Waiting to Exhale sat on the New York Times’ bestseller list for 38 straight weeks in 1992, it was only natural that the studios would want to capitalize on some of those potential earnings. So, just three years later, in 1995, Fox Studios brought us Waiting to Exhale a star-studded, female-led film. As expected, the film was a huge box office success, eventually raking in $67.5 million. Though some critics claimed these women’s problems weren’t that drastic, it was an instant hit and an eventual classic among the black community.