Thursday, December 31, 2015
In terms of pure post output, this was my least productive year on the blog since its inception four years ago. I could use the same excuses of work, side projects, and other commitments, but the truth is, I have to be more disciplined in my time management and more consistent in my posts. With that said, though my posts were down considerably this year, I did manage to make it out to see some quality films.
Last year I didn't have a movie of the year, but there were nevertheless quality films I saw like "Beyond The Lights" for example. For 2015 my movies of the year are "Dope" and "Chef." I picked these films for very different reasons above the other titles I saw over the last 12 months.
I saw "Dope" while attending the American Black Film Festival last June and the film actually headlined the event. "Dope" centers around a high school senior named Malcolm played by Shameik Moore, and his two friends who are nerds at their local high school in Inglewood, California. Malcolm and his friends get invited to a party where a shootout occurs and Malcolm runs out only to find the drug Molly has been slipped into his bag. To make matters worse, he realizes he must sell the drug without being caught/killed all the while applying to get into Harvard. While the story takes place in the hood and involves drug dealing, I wouldn't consider this a 'hood movie.' The actors and director Rick Famuyiwa do a good job of making this film feel lively and even somewhat innocent despite its serious subject matter. Zoe Kravitz is very good in this film as well.
Monday, November 30, 2015
The holidays are upon us and that means some dudes are having second thoughts about spending money and committing to their mates.
That is the basic premise of the movie "November Rule" which stars Mo McRae and Fresh Prince of Bel Air alum Tatyana Ali. They start out as partners, but McRae's character 'Steve' develops cold feet as the calendar flips to November and decides to dump Ali's character 'Leah' -- just as he has every previous girlfriend. Except this time Steve has a change of heart and realizes Leah is a true catch who he didn't truly appreciate until she was gone.
Along the way Steve's two friends represent both sides of the commitment fence: one is happily married and the other is happily single until he meets his new flame played by Lala Vasquez. All-in-all this is an enjoyable rom-com and worth a few good laughs.
Sunday, September 27, 2015
In the Fall of 2011 I sat down in front of my computer armed with an idea and plenty of time on my hands (I just finished a film and was, shall we say, unemployed at the time). From that, was the start of FilmSwag. The blog celebrated it's 4th birthday this past weekend. My baby is slowly growing up.
Since the blog has begun, I've been amazed at the ever evolving deep pool of roles that people of color have been getting in television (more so than film) these last few years. One of my early articles covered the fact that Taraji P. Henson openly complained that she was not featured in any of the ads or promos for the CBS series "Person of Interest." Four years later, it's safe to say Taraji has had the last laugh thanks to some show on Fox.
It hasn't just been more roles either, but whole families coming into the fray. Two of the more well known shows "Blackish" and "Fresh off the Boat," aren't just shows with families that happen to be black and Asian, but make a point to tell the narrative through the perspective of those characters. In order to tell these stories, you need to have writers who are familiar with everyday colloquiums and norms of a particular culture. These shows reflect that.
As for the future of this blog, I'm working on some upgrades and new content. I do admit, I haven't posted much this year, but I haven't forgotten about you guys, the readers, and I will continue to try and put good material out there. Here's to another 4 more years at least. Peace.
Wednesday, September 9, 2015
The name Rudy is synonymous with underdog stories. Here you have a barely 5 foot guy weighing 100 pounds soaking wet, who aspired to play college football at one of the most prestigious institutions in the land -- Notre Dame. After not playing for two years, Rudy is on the verge of giving up his dream all together. That is until he hears a speech from Roc, played by brilliantly Charles S. Dutton.
Sunday, August 16, 2015
In 1991 a young up and coming director had a major splash with the release of his film Boyz in the Hood that told the story of a group of friends trying to make it out of their South Central L.A. neighborhood. They guy who directed that flick was a man by the name of John Singleton. It was Singleton who also gave Ice Cube his first acting gig and it's something that Cube is grateful for even to this day. Check out the clip below to hear John Singleton talk about Boyz in the Hood and the impact N.W.A. had on him in this 2013 interview on Canadian television.
Sunday, July 26, 2015
Josina Anderson is a well respected journalist who has covered a multitude of sports over the years, but is probably best known for her NFL coverage. She's be stationed at training camps, given live reports from the field, and as black woman, has stood out in an industry that has long been dominated by men.
So that's why it was good to see her not in the field this time, or outside some training facility, but with a prominent seat (literally) during a recent discussion on Raiders QB Derek Carr. We don't often see women -- especially black women -- with seats at the table when discussing sports, so it was certainly refreshing to see this. Much props, Josina. See you on Sundays this fall.
Sunday, June 7, 2015
In an informative and revealing interview with New York hip-hop radio station Power 105.1, Packer discusses how he got started in the industry, the current projects he's working on, and gives some advice for aspiring filmmakers and producers.
Sunday, May 31, 2015
Monday, May 11, 2015
This is probably the longest I've gone without blogging since I started FilmSwag some 4 years ago. It wasn't for lack of ideas -- there have been plenty -- but more of a self evaluation on where I plan to take this blog. I've been researching, attending conferences, meeting folks, and generally gaining a broader perspective on blogging and my purpose in it.
While I always enjoyed writing about film and media, I've lately been asking myself what do I bring to the table that's different than what you'll find on other sites, and how can I better showcase not only my work but others as well? So I'm thinking for now: less articles, more photography, increased video, and testimonials. Might also be abandoning Blogspot altogether -- stay tuned.
As for the foreseeable future however, I do plan on blogging more consistently and giving you guys, the readers, better and more unique content. Thanks for visiting.
Tuesday, March 31, 2015
Tuesday, February 24, 2015
I had a brief Twitter discussion the other day in regards to Will Smith's later feature film titled "Focus." Based off the trailer, Smith plays some sort of con man and brings in a young woman (Margot Robbie) under his wing, who together they try to swindle the wrong guy and all hell breaks loose. Being that this is Hollywood, it seems fitting that Smith's character and Robbie's have some romantic dealings with each other over the course of the film.
What's striking about this to me is that once again Will Smith, one of the most bankable stars in Hollywood, (save for a few duds) has a white woman as his romantic interest. Some of you may be reading this wondering what exactly is the problem with this in 2015? The problem is that we still see far too few examples of black men and women loving each other in major Hollywood motion pictures.
Saturday, February 21, 2015
Tuesday, February 10, 2015
Tuesday, January 27, 2015
The Establishing Shot:
Sunday, January 25, 2015
Sunday, January 18, 2015
A few weeks ago director Gina Prince-Bythewood, penned an open letter urging audiences to see her latest film, "Beyond The Lights." Having had the chance to view the film twice myself, I wholeheartedly agree more people should see this film.
"Beyond The Lights" stars Gugu Mbatha-Raw as pop star Noni, and Nate Parker as Kaz, the police officer who saves her life after an apparent suicide attempt. After saving her life, Noni and Kaz become close and their relationship evolves, much to the chagrin of their doting parents.
Saturday, January 10, 2015
It was during that calendar year I really upped my camera equipment game: camera mount, overhead light, microphone, and a new tripod. On top of all that I got some editing software as well. Even picked up some books on producing in the process.
In terms of covering films and Hollywood, I was happy for Lupita Nyong'o winning an Oscar at last year's Academy Awards. I made proud to see another woman, and former movie of the year winner on this blog -- Ava DuVernay -- receive critical acclaim across the board for her film "Selma." Not to mention Gina Prince-Bythewood and her moving film, "Beyond The Lights."
In 2014 there was the continued rise of the web series and we can began to see web success spill over into the more traditional medium of television. Issa Rae is working on a show for HBO and the creators of BlackandSexyTV are doing a show for HBO as well. TV shows like "Blackish" and "How to Get Away With Murder" showed network TV executives (again) that shows featuring characters of color can not only succeed, but thrive, especially in the realm of social media.
Despite this progress, most films released from the major studios are still overly white and male focused. That old door however is being pushed against harder and harder every year. People want to see themselves on screen, and in 2014 people of color are making that happen through many different forums. Let's keep this going in 2015. Let us continue to get educated.