Whenever I hear that a book I enjoyed is being made into a movie, I cringe. Rarely does this turn out well. Rarely does the boldness of the characters on those pages that came to life in my imagination, come across accurately on the big screen. So often the film falls short of just how grand the story was and has reduced the brightness of the plot to fit into two hours perfectly.
Last year my book club read ‘Me Before You’ by Jojo Moyes which was about a young lady named Louisa who ends up taking a job to take care of a young man named Will after he becomes paralyzed. The book was heart wrenching, lovely, unforgettable and unfolded in a way that my heart wasn’t ready to deal with. Basically it was a great book that if I had just read the back cover synopsis, I might not have picked it up. A true example of not judging a book by the cover.
Reading that one of the main characters was a paraplegic left me thinking this story would be too tragic for me. That’s what is so great about book club – it forces me to step outside of my comfort zone when it comes to literature.
Just seeing the trailer, I have a sense they have conscientiously attempted to convey the essence of the book. Not the tragedy of the character’s situation, but adding nuance to what life holds for us all and how we navigate within it. I can’t give the story away but I want to convey that this story is not as simple as you’d think. And I hope the film shows just how beautiful and complicated both life and this book is.
When an actor reaches a certain echelon, they don’t need to do interviews or the regular press junkets anymore. Their name alone holds weight when their latest film comes out.
This is true of Leonardo DiCaprio. As the buzz of his Golden Globe winning film The Revenant increases daily, Leo recently appeared in Esquire magazine in photos only. Not that I’m complaining. Leo is gorgeous and won my heart even more during his acceptance speech at last night’s 73rd annual Golden Globe awards. He did the usual thank yous but then spoke about the importance of having real indigenous actors in the film, the importance to honour native culture and that it is time we all work together with their community to save the earth from corporate greed.
Reminiscent of when Marlon Brando boycotted the Academy Awards when he won for The Godfather and in his place stood Sacheen Littlefeather, an actress and Native American activist, who gave his declinatory speech. That was 1973 and she was booed. When Leo spoke last night there was applause but let’s not feel that we have made that much progress. There is still a lot more work to do when it comes to alleviating the struggle of indigenous communities all over the world.
Back in April 2015, I told you guys about an upcoming TV show for Netflix coming from the extraordinary Baz Luhrmann (Moulin Rouge, Romeo + Juliet) called The Get Down.
The trailer has come out and as if I needed another reason to be attached to Netflix, I’m looking forward to seeing how Baz entwines his knack for the fabulous and the story of hip hop’s birth in the south Bronx in 1979.
Right now there are 10 episodes slatted to come out this year but no date has been set yet. Keep an eye out for it and enjoy the trailer below.
Before watching the Netflix documentary ‘What Happened, Miss Simone?’ I’ll admit I didn’t know too much about the singer song-writer Nina Simone. For example I didn’t know that she was a classically trained pianist who started playing at the age of four. I also didn’t know how her career unfolded in the later years of her life.
One of the first lines in the film that Nina said which stood out to me and was a foreshadowing of what the documentary would slowly reveal as the ethos of Nina’s life was ‘Freedom to me is no fear.” She was conducting an interview and the reporter asked her about freedom. The way her eyes lit up and how animated she became when she spoke about it is something that clung with me as I watched her story unravel on screen.
Other enthralling moments for me were her performances. She could perform a song with such stillness then switch into a livelier and jovial performance for a next song with such an ease. All the while with a voice like molasses. The baritone in her voice, to me spelled a dense story behind each note. It had me wishing that I had seen her live when she was around, because that level of artistry is rare now.
I don’t want to give too much away because I highly recommend checking out this documentary but the greatest take away for me from this documentary is that I wish we celebrated such genius artists while they were still here and not only after they’ve left us.
Last night I watched the movie Dope, which is executive produced by Grammy award winning singer/song-writer Pharrell Williams and debuted at the Sundance Film Festival as a critic’s favourite.
The film’s main character is a high school student named Malcolm from Inglewood, California. He’s a straight A student with aspirations to go to Harvard. However one night he gets invited to a party by the neighbourhood dope boy played by rapper A$AP Rocky, who actually does a decent job for his first acting gig, where then trouble ensues for Malcolm and his group of friends.
The film was written and directed by Rick Famuyiwa who also brought us films such as The Wood and Brown Sugar. Some of the familiar faces in the movie were Zoe Kravitz, model Chanel Iman, singer Quincy (Al B. Sure’s son) and Rick Fox. Forest Whitaker is also the producer and narrator.
Overall what I enjoyed about the movie was the range and dimension of the main character. So often black characters are written to fit a stereotype, disprove those stereotypes or given lack luster story lines to avoid rocking the boat. Malcolm is shown to continuously juggle his geeky side, the demands of being a black teenage boy and trying to navigate through his environments in a genuine way.
There were so many times I understood Malcolm and his friends’ determination to take care of their family, while still trying to be cool and survive in their rough hood. All the while, the soundtrack is amazing which is as expected with Pharrell at the helm. Me and my friends were bumping in our seats at many points.
Please support this film and show that black hip hop based films can be nuanced and creative.