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 →
Author Harper Lee pictured on-set with actress Mary Badham, who portrayed Scout in the film adaptation of To Kill A Mockingbird with Gregory Peck.
Celebrated Pulitzer Prize-winning author, Harper Lee, has remained quite dormant over the last 50 years of her life, ever since she gave her last interview in 1964 regarding her American literary classic To Kill A Mockingbird. The novel became one of the most powerful and important literary reflections of racism in our modern society, taking place in Depression-era Alabama amidst hard economic times and astronomical segregation laws and practices that would remain in place until the Civil Rights Movement nearly 30 years later. And now, during a time when racial tensions are once again dominating news headlines in this country, Lee will be publishing a long, lost manuscript that she wrote prior to the publication of Mockingbird, titled Go Set A Watchmen. The novel, whose pages ended up being the earliest draft for Mockingbird, follows Jean-Louise Finch (Scout) as a 26-year-old woman living in New York City who returns to her home in the South to confront her father, Atticus, about the issues and lifestyles that people deemed as appropriate and necessary during her childhood. Lee’s writings of the character’s childhood in the form of flashbacks in Watchman became her inspiration to tell the story of Mockingbird from the perspective of Scout as a child instead of an adult, and thus To Kill A Mockingbird was written and published. Much controversy has already been stirred at the news of Go Set A Watchman‘s publication, including concerns about how readers will react to Lee’s writing about the issues, questions as to whether or not Lee is coherent enough to give her permission for the novel’s publication (which reporters and friends and Lee, herself, says she is) and what the reaction will be to Lee’s further development/portrayal of such beloved characters, especially Atticus Finch. Nevertheless the novel will be available on bookshelves this July 14th, and pre-sales have already made the book a Bestseller. So if you are a fan of Harper Lee or of To Kill A Mockingbird, I would definitely put this on your ‘To-Read’ list.
Like Interstellar, we’ve been following the upcoming Civil Rights drama Selma for some time now, and this week we’ll finally see it open in theaters. Starring David Oyelowo (Rise of the Planet of the Apes, Interstellar) as Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., the film comes from producer Oprah Winfrey and director Ava DuVernay (Middle of Nowhere, Scandal) about King’s epic march between Selma and Montgomery, Alabama at the height of the Civil Rights movement in 1965. Making up the supporting cast are actors Cuba Gooding Jr. (Pearl Harbor, American Gangster), Tim Roth (Reservoir Dogs, Pulp Fiction), Carmen Ejogo (Away We Go, The Purge: Anarchy), Martin Sheen (Apocalypse Now, Bobby), and Tom Wilkinson (The Patriot, Rush Hour) as President Lyndon B. Johnson. While the film chronicles the events of the march historically, writer Paul Webb also delves into the character of King as a person, showing him not only as the leader of a powerful movement but also as a man with his own trials and tribulations. Selma has already been nominated for four Golden Globes, including Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor (David Oyelowo) and also Best Original Song for Common and John Legend‘s Glory (Common will also be seen in the movie!). You can see the trailer above, then definitely add this to your Must-See list. Also opening this week is Paul Thomas Anderson’s Inherent Vice and Luc Besson and Robert Mark Kamen‘s Taken 3, so you have plenty of options for this weekend…choose wisely!
We’ve been following the production on director Ava DuVernay‘s upcoming Civil Rights drama Selma for some time now, and the release date is finally right around the corner. The movie follows the freedom marches lead by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. between Selma and Montgomery, Alabama in 1965 that ended with President Johnson signing the Voting Rights Act of 1965 into law. Leading the cast is David Oyelowo (Rise of the Planet of the Apes, Interstellar) as Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., plus Tim Roth (Reservoir Dogs, The Incredible Hulk), Cuba Gooding Jr. (Pearl Harbor, American Gangster), Martin Sheen (Apocalypse Now, The Departed), Oprah Winfrey (The Color Purple, The Butler), and Tom Wilkinson (The Patriot, Batman Begins). Writer Paul Webb wrote the script for DuVernay, who has directed such projects as I Will Follow (2010) and Middle of Nowhere (2012). Selma will open in theaters on January 9th, so mark your calendars now. The trailer is available here on MADE, Enjoy!
About a week ago, Alabama rapper Impish Kameron linked up with Devon Reason on “Sunset Tunes” for that South meets North. Produced by the man Travis Gorman, the instrumental sets the tone immediately with a smooth ass opening before the drop. Once the record hits, you’ll be lost in the groove. Impish flashes his abilities throughout the track with a cool hook and a pair of nice verses. Devon jumps in with his near trademarked flow, the kid spits tenaciously on each track. Definitely a cool track to blaze one to on a long ride home, check out “Sunset Tunes” below and keep an eye out for more.
We first reported that last month that a biopic about iconic rap group NWA titled Straight Outta Compton (in reference to their first album) was in the works at Universal and that O’Shea Jackson Jr. would potentially be cast to portray Ice Cube in the movie. As far as we can tell that still appears to be accurate, but now we also have news that Lakeith Lee Stanfield (Memoria, The Purge: Anarchy) has been chosen to play the role of Calvin Broadus Jr., otherwise known as Snoop Dog (or Snoop Lion as of last year), who first appeared on the rap-scene around the same time as NWA. That means he and Jackson Jr. will be joining a cast of relatively unknown actors, including Corey Hawkins as Dr. Dre, Jason Mitchell as Easy-E, Aldis Hodge as MC Ren, and Neil Brown Jr. as DJ Yella. Other cast members include Paul Giamatti as Jerry Heller, NWA’s manager, and Carra Patterson as Tomica Woods. The film will be directed by F. Gary Gray (Friday, The Italian Job), but this is just another project on Stanfield’s list of upcoming movies. The actor is also scheduled to appear in the upcoming Miles Davis biopic with Don Cheadle, Miles Ahead, and Oprah Winfrey’s upcoming Civil Rights drama Selma, which centers on the marches between Selma and Montgomery, Alabama in 1965. Now that the cast is pretty much all in place, filming on this new biopic should begin soon, but we’ll keep an eye out for an official start and potential release date.
Paramount Pictures has found a replacement director for their Civil Rights drama Selma after Lee Daniels (The Butler, Precious) backed away from the project. Ava DuVernay, who has served as publicity specialist on projects like The Help, Rush Hour 3, and Spider-Man 2, has taken the job after just directing her own episode of Scandal. The film revolves around the “Bloody Sunday” civil rights marches that happened in Selma and Montgomery, Alabama in 1965 and has Tim Roth (Reservoir Dogs, The Incredible Hulk) set to star as Senator George Wallace, Tom Wilkinson (The Patriot, Michael Clayton) as President Lyndon Johnson, and David Oyelowo (The Last King of Scotland, Rise of the Planet of the Apes) as Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Senator George Wallace is famous for his extreme opposition to banishing segregation in the United States; he famously stood in front of the doors at the University of Alabama in an effort to block newly admitted black students from entering, and when the Selma marches began the politician ordered state troopers to stop the first waves of marchers by beating them, stirring national attention and building great support for desegregation. No word yet on when this one is expected to hit theaters, but we’ll keep you informed.
Captain Phillips, the highly anticipated drama surrounding the 2009 hijacking of the MV Maersk Alabama by Somali pirates, hit theaters last week with high expectations. Directed by Paul Greengrass (The Bourne Ultimatum) and starring Tom Hanks as Captain Richard Phillips, the event was a huge mark in US history, becoming the first American cargo ship to be hijacked in two hundred years. The movie has received great reviews and opened the London Film Festival last Wednesday. With the film now in theaters, there has actually been a lot of controversy coming out about the plot details, originating from annonymous crew members who have been claiming that the real Captain Phillips was not as heroic as the film made out. Phillips has come out to news outlets to talk about the film and the claims of his cowardice and lack of concern, but there have been no complaints regarding Hanks’ performance or Greengrass’ style of directing. Alfonso Cuaron’s Gravity hit theaters the same week to equally impressive reviews, but this one seems to be slightly ahead of Captain Phillips, but I can’t be the judge all the time: go out and see for yourself!!