Khalil Joseph‘s video popped up in my newsfeed the other day and to say I’m impressed is a grand understatement. I am blown away by this talent! His new short WILDCAT was featured on the site Nowness-I love what they curate and highlight in terms of artistic work online. I can’t wait to see his future feature work. Check out his short UNTIL THE QUIET COMES below featuring music from Flying Lotus. He’s definitely someone to keep on your radar.
I’m really excited about this project. I went to school with Talibah and I LOVED her short Busted on Brigham Lane (which may still be playing on HBO, I believe…)
Take a look at the video below and keep your eyes open for this project!
Posted by BKcinematic on April 6, 2013
Yesterday kicked off a new season of the Full Frame Documentary Film Festival. Although I’m not in Durham for this year’s fest, I am there in spirit. It is so great to have such an awesome and prestigious film festival in my home town (I remember when it was called Double Take!) If you are in the Triangle area this weekend, here are a couple of films to check out. To see a full schedule and get tickets, click here.
12 O’Clock Boys, Lotfy Nathan
In Baltimore, Maryland, a ring of extreme dirt bike and ATV riders roam the urban streets. Many residents feel they terrorize the community, performing unsafe tricks and compromising traffic. The police have even come up with tactics to trap them, as attempting to chase the riders down could result in perilous high-speed antics. But meanwhile, Pug, a thirteen-year-old boy living on a dangerous Westside block with his single mother and brother, practices on his own small ATV and enthusiastically follows the riders. All he dreams of is a place with the group.
Why you s should see it: This is one of the best documentaries I’ve seen this year, hands down. Stylistically, it’s beautiful. It doesn’t offer the top down, vertical look at the “boys in the hood” but the director really doesn’t offer an outsider point of view-Lotfy is full integrated in the biker community. You will regret missing this one!
After Tiller, Director(s): Martha Shane, Lana Wilson
In 2009, Dr. George Tiller was murdered while attending his church in Kansas. Now there are only four doctors in the United States who continue to perform third trimester abortions. Martha Shane and Lana Wilson take us inside the perspectives of these four remarkable individuals who risk their lives everyday to ensure a woman’s right to choose.
Why you should see it: It’s a film that has gotten a lot of press and has been on the festival circuit. A doc with this kind of hot-button issue deserves a closer look.
Gideon’s Army, Director: Dawn Porter
In 1963, the Supreme Court ruled that all defendants have a right to counsel, effectively establishing court-appointed public defenders. Fifty years later, a single public defender can expect to manage hundreds of cases simultaneously, each with life-altering consequences for the accused and, as the film reveals, the lawyers. Three young public defenders—Brandy Alexander, Travis Williams, and June Hardwick—are straining to cope with the administrative challenges heaped upon them by the criminal justice system, and the cumulative toll their jobs are taking on their personal lives.
Why you should see it: Let’s face it, our court system fails many of the people who cannot afford good lawyers. This documentary, directed by a lawyer, examines the trials of public defenders who struggle to help poor defendants.
MaidenTrip, Jillian Schlesinger
Laura Dekker was born on a boat, could sail alone at the age of six, and for as long as she could remember, dreamed of sailing around the world. After a prolonged court battle with Dutch authorities, and exposure in the global media, fourteen-year-old Dekker finally gets her chance to be the youngest person to complete a solo circumnavigation of the globe.
Why you should see it: This was one of my favorite films at SXSW. It’s such a woman-driven film (with the filmmaker, producers, editor, and Director of Photography all women) and it’s such an encouraging and uplifting film that you can bring everyone in the family to.
Posted by BKcinematic on April 5, 2013
I was really hoping I wouldn’t have to write this so soon. But rest in peace, Roger Ebert. He inspired so many writers and film lovers to become critics. He will be immensely missed in the film community and the world.
For any aspiring film critic growing up in the 90s that was not in NYC or LA, Roger Ebert is the THE film critic. His work influenced me to write about film. I really hope he gets better soon. Read his letter here.
Posted by BKcinematic on April 3, 2013
New book, on loan from a friend from Columbia (sigh, I miss school!) The word “gaze” kinda scares me (blame JG*!) but otherwise I think this makes for a nice leisurely read-especially if I’m not responsible for writing a dissertation.
Posted by BKcinematic on April 2, 2013
First of all, I really loved this film. If you’re in NY this weekend and next week, I highly suggest checking out Welcome to Pine Hill at IFC Center.
Here’s a reprint of what I wrote about the film for work. I would write a separate review but this really sums up how I feel about the film perfectly:
A big hit at last year’s Slamdance winning the Grand Jury Award, Welcome to Pine Hill follows the meditative journey of a young man as he comes to terms with a life-changing diagnosis. In his new life, the man (played with nuance and power by Shannon Harper) reconciles with friends, family, and associates, all while never revealing his fate. He addresses his predicament by escaping the hard streets of the city for the quiet refuge of upstate New York. Made in collaboration with the Brooklyn Filmmakers Collective and IFP’s Independent Filmmaker Lab, this “atmospheric rendering of a New Yorker’s journey of self-discovery” (The Hollywood Reporter) is Keith Miller’s debut feature.
This heartbreaking and honest tale subtly explores the themes of race and class in a provocative way, humanizing a character all too often caricaturized by media. Harper, a 6’4 African-American, tries to fade into his surroundings, but his powerful yet gentle and subdued presence is just too hard to ignore. Relying on a cast of mostly non-professional actors and utilizing arresting visual imagery, Welcome to Pine Hill invites us on the multi-layered and richly intimate journey of a man coming to terms with his fate.
Posted by BKcinematic on March 1, 2013
So I’ve had this blog for over a year now. I know I’ve been neglectful-don’t know why I’m apologizing but I am. This could be something if I let it be but I didn’t. So I am vowing to not be so neglectful. Festival season is upon us and there are always interesting things going on in the film world, from a Brooklyn perspective. Tribeca and SXSW are around the corner and yes I will be attending both this year.
So far 2013 is set to be a good year for independent cinema. With Inocente being the first Oscar-winning film to every be crowd-sourced, Beasts of the Southern Wild getting four Oscar nominations (though it should have won in all four categories but that’s neither here nor there right now) there is a change happening in how the world views independent film.
With this changing landscape, there are films I am personally looking forward to this year. Will there be another Beasts? Not sure. But there are some really great films out there so far. This is not a comprehensive list by any means. There will be new films that I am just hearing about that I will add in. Also, these films are in no particular order.
- Blue Caprice, Dir. -which is opening New Directors / New Films!
- Ain’t Them Bodies Saints, Dir. David Lowery
- American Promise, Dir. Joe Brewster, Michèle Stephenson
- Anita, Dir. Freida Mock
- Fruitvale, Dir. Ryan Coogler
- Newlyweeds, Dir. Shaka King
- The New Black, Dir. Yoruba Richen
- Strong Island, Dir. Yance Ford
- The Forgotten Kingdom, Dir. Andrew Mudge
Posted by BKcinematic on February 26, 2013
As the year comes to a close, I realized the films released in 2012 have not been that impressive to me to be honest. As much as I am anti-list, I felt compelled to state the few films I actually liked. So without much further ado, here they are-a few of my favorite
things films from 2012! In no order, of course. Just whatever pops in my mind!
- Beasts of the Southern Wild is the best film of 2012, bar none. It was the only film I saw this year that really evoked an emotional response. Everything was great about it. Everything.
- Middle of Nowhere Ava Duvernay’s smart filmmaking style is a welcome change in the industry. This was a great sophomore effort from the director. Kudos to her and her team!
- An Oversimplification of Her Beauty I love Terence Nance as a filmmaker. His work is so refreshing and what we so desperately needed in black cinema: approachable avant-garde.
- Flight You can read my review here.
- Wolf This film is a harrowing tale of molestation-a topic that rarely gets discussed on camera-and they do it justice. It hasn’t made its way to NYC for a theatrical run but if you have the chance to see it, see it.
- The Imposter One of the few documentaries that had me on the edge of my seat the entire time. You become engulfed in the story of this man who pretends to be someone he’s completely not and the people who believe him.
- Brooklyn Castle This is a documentary that doesn’t make you feel sorry for this kids from the “inner city” in cat, you’re damn proud of them! Hands down one of the best sports documentaries since Hoop Dreams.
There are probably more and I will add as I think of them. Happy New Year and expect a post about upcoming films I am looking forward to for 2013.
Posted by BKcinematic on December 28, 2012
I know it’s been a while since I have posted and with the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, I have had the time to reflect on how we deal and cope with disaster. And since Flight is currently out in theaters, I thought it appropriate to review this film and how we come back after major disasters not only of the natural kind, but also the personal disasters we put ourselves in.
Flight is a clever movie and no doubt heavily driven by Denzel Washington’s performance. You know an actor is talented when other Academy Award-winning actors and actresses to brave his shadow. It was the closing night film at the 50th New York Film Festival and I was lucky enough to nab tickets.
In the beginning scenes, director Robert Zemeckis (the Back to the Future trilogy, Forrest Gump, Castaway, Romancing the Stone, Death Becomes Her) keeps the audience on the edge of their seats. You could feel the tension in the air. This is definitely a movie you want to see in theaters or with surround sound. The harrowing noise of the plane’s inevitable deadly descent makes you feel like you are on the plane and crashing. Flight tells the story of Whip Whitaker, a commercial airline pilot who miraculously lands a plane after a midair malfunction, saving almost every soul. The subsequent events lead to a tale of self-destruction and self-sabotage. When accused of being high and drunk, (an alarmingly high blood alcohol content that would easily put at least two men on the floor) Whip goes on a downward spiral. Pilots have mostly been romanticized onscreen and (as seen with the squeaky clean, uber-religious co-pilot Ken Evans, played by Brian Geraghty) who offers a perfect foil to Whip’s laissez-faire approach to flying and life.
Christian undertones fly throughout the film with the crash site being near a church and during a baptism where the congregation were wearing white robes-an eerily angelic scene with amazing composition. There are some other scenes that really struck out to me. Whip is in the hospital and steps into a hallway to smoke where he meets Nicole (Kelly Reilly) and cancer patient (James Badge Dale in a stunning and short performance). In one of the very few scenes where Denzel is upstaged, the cancer patient operates as some sort of Greek chorus, providing insight on Whip and Nicole’s character. He absolutely steals the show. Although his time on the screen was short, he left the most lasting impression.
The female characters fell flat, mainly due to their lack of screen time. They all played important roles: Tamara Tunie as Margaret the moral compass, Reilly as Nicole-the love interest who is troubled but has a heart of gold, Nadine Velazquez as Katerina, the sexy vixen who’s the real catalyst for a change in Whip’s life; and of course Melissa Leo as Ellen Block-the stern agent investigating the case. But their limited screen time doesn’t leave a lasting impression like the cancer patient. I feel like their talents were underutilized here.
This isn’t a real departure from Zemeckis’ past work-which is fine because he’s a talented filmmaker. The only major downfall of the film is that it relies on all too familiar archetypes and I wished it would have diverted a little bit. But overall it’s a solid movie with Oscar written all over it for Denzel Washington. I strongly recommend checking it out in theaters as opposed to VOD or Netflix.
Posted by BKcinematic on November 18, 2012