A week after its release in theaters across America, director Ryan Coogler’s new Marvel comic-adaptation, Black Panther, is still setting box office records. The film is the 5th highest domestic debut of all time, and the highest grossing February release in history, with a staggering $202,003,951. It earned more in just 3-days in theaters than any other film featuring a black director and predominantly black cast with an impressive worldwide opening weekend gross of $350 million. The success of the film has not only shattered age-old myths surrounding the “unpopularity” of all-black ensemble movies in Hollywood. It is also changing the way Hollywood, and America at large, view films that deal primarily with black and African American culture. But why is Black Panther such a big deal for America and not simply just another superhero movie with a hero who happens to be black? Continue reading →
James Baldwin‘s (1924-1987) life and legacy can now speak to modern audiences in a new documentary called I Am Not Your Negro. The film is finally getting a long overdue theatrical release from Magnolia Pictures this February 3rd after wowing audiences at last year’s Toronto International Film Festival. I Am Not Your Negro is a film from Haitian director Raoul Peck that envisions Baldwin’s final, albeit incomplete novel Remember This House as an uncompromising and complete narrative of race in America. The unfinished memoir focuses on the authors personal memories and relationships with three enduring Civil Rights leaders: Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Medgar Evers, and Malcolm X. Peck was allowed access to the entire Baldwin archives and composed the film over a period of 10 years, drawing from the incomplete manuscript and Baldwin’s own personal notes. It won the People’s Choice Documentary Award and, like Baldwin himself, is sure to stand as a vital testament to race in America today. Continue reading →
Writer, director, and lead actor Nate Parker (The Great Debaters, Red Tails)’s The Birth of a Nation is now playing in theaters across the country, but not in the light the young filmmaker was hoping for. The film struggled to reach $7 million in domestic box office sales in its opening weekend. Several factors could have contributed to the surprising low, but the most likely cause of the low turn out is Parker’s 1999 rape allegations during his time at Penn State. Although Parker was exonerated, news that his alleged victim committed suicide in 2012 and his handling of the case back in 1999 have caused a great controversy that has women’s rights and sexual assault advocate groups shouting boycott all across the country.
While Parker’s film may be controversial in its own right, the original Birth of a Nation, which was a silent movie released in 1915, was just as controversial, if not more so. The original Birth of a Nation is remembered for its blatantly racial undertones and simultaneous impressive contributions to filmmaking. Continue reading →
A new drama from writer/director Gary Ross (Seabiscuit, The Hunger Games) titled Free State of Jones is now playing in theaters. The film follows the true story of Newton Knight, a farmer in Civil-War era Mississippi who abandoned the Confederate Army and formed a militia consisting of both white farmers and African-Americans who took over and declared Jones County an independent state. Ross adapted the screenplay from author Victoria Bynum’s The Free State of Jones: Mississippi’s Longest Civil War, although there are numerous publications of Knight’s stance in Jones County. Appearing as Newton Knight is Oscar-winner Matthew McConaughey (Interstellar, Dallas Buyer’s Club), who is joined onscreen by Gugu Mbatha-Raw (Concussion, Jupiter Ascending), Mahershala Ali (House of Cards, The Place Beyond the Pines), Keri Russell (The Americans, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes), Christopher Berry (Django Unchained, 12 Years a Slave), and Jacob Lofland (Mud, The Scorch Trials). This is definitely a lesser-known portion of American history, but one that is definitely intriguing, although I will say that the trailer reads a bit like The Patriot. If you’re looking for an evening out this week, keep this one on your list. The trailer is available here on MADE.
A new Western-drama from Oscar-winning director Daniel Barber (The Tonto Woman, Harry Brown) titled The Keeping Room will be opening in theaters this September 25th. Written by actress-turned-screenwriter Julia Hart (Tuck Everlasting), the film centers around three Southern women (two sisters and an African American slave) in the final days of the American Civil War who must defend themselves and their land from rogue Union soldiers while the Union Army draws ever nearer to their location. Starring in the lead roles are actresses Brit Marling (Sound of My Voice, I Origins), Hailee Steinfeld (True Grit, Ender’s Game), and Muna Otaru (Syriana, Lions for Lambs), with Sam Worthington (Terminator Salvation, Avatar), Kyle Soller (Anna Karenina, Fury), and Ned Dennehy (King Arthur, Sherlock Holmes) making up the supporting cast. The film originally aired at the London and Stockholm Film Festival, receiving a nomination for Best Film and the Bronze Horse award, and was also an Official Selection at the Toronto International Film Festival. The trailer is available here on MADE. We’ll keep you posted as the release date draws closer. Enjoy!
South African artist Andrew Van Der Merwe has taken an interesting approach to the timeless art of calligraphy. Andrew decided to utilize the beaches of Cape Town as the medium for his latest project. The photos are pretty awesome and highlight the extreme detail that Van Der Merwe puts into each piece, where the hell are his foot prints?