Posts Tagged ‘Movies’

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Skin Deep

August 23, 2011

Skin (2008) is the true life story of Sandra Laing, a black girl who was born to white Afrikaner parents in Apartheid era South Africa.  The film tells the story of Sandra’s struggle with identity largely during her adolescent and young adult years.  Raised with her older brother (whose skin is white) Sandra believes that she is white but is subject to the cruel punishment and belittlement of her school peers and teachers who see her as a kaffir.  Sandra’s confusion and her parents’ tireless attempts to prove that she is indeed white lands their unique case at the highest levels of the South African courts.  After testimony from genetics experts and observations of her ethnic features by “doctors” Sandra is legally classified as white and bounces off into the sunset with her blonde haired, blue eyed doll that she values so much.

Of course life is not happily ever after for the family as Sandra’s skin continues to divide her community.  Sandra is an oddity in her dating years.  A novelty for the Afrikaner whites and intriguing to the Swaziland natives Sandra must decide what side of the love fence feels most genuine to her peaking sexual identity.  Sandra’s decision also divides her family wherein her father, a staunch supporter of the Apartheid government, disowns her when Sandra becomes pregnant by a black man. Sandra’s mother, also a supporter of the government (albeit torn by the love for her daughter) too distances herself.  It is when Sandra rears her children that she legally reclassifies herself as black for fear of losing them.

This film is an ironic take on the story of the tragic mulatto.  Sandra is not of mixed race blood but as far as everyone else is concerned it is perception that matters.  There are some hard to watch scenes in the film where she uses bleaches and creams to lighten her features because of her confusion.  Sandra hates her black skin and yet she is not black.  But she is black.  But she isn’t black.  Get the picture?  This film will appeal to brown people who have ever developed a mental condition about being  “light-skinned” or white people who’ve developed a mental condition about their “olive” features.  Skin is not just skin here.  3 Siggies.

 

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The Social (ly Inept) Network

August 23, 2011

********Original blog dated October 19 2010*********

The Social Network earned 22 million dollars in it’s opening weekend and it comes to no surprise considering Facebook to date has 750 million “followers”, err..users and is unquestionably the behemoth of the major social networking sites.  With David Fincher (The Curious Case of Benjamin Button) at the helm as the director and Aaron Sorkin (A Few Good Men) as writer, movie goers are sure to see a  powerful drama about about corruption, connivery (yes, I made that a word) and the allure of sex and fame.  Who doesn’t want to see that?  The cool factor however comes from placing these ills onto the shoulders of your average socially awkward Harvard techie who can’t seem to land the girl and thus whines his way to becoming the world’s youngest billionaire.  Great film- well written and directed.  Facebook is the bees knees of youth-driven movements in my generation and you will find no qualms about this in my book…

…But here’s my beef.  Everyone knows that Facebook (and even MySpace in its heyday) is like crack.  You log on and like a flasher in his skivvies and a trench coat, you’re voyeuring your way into the lives of coworkers, friends, acquaintances, and people that you knew once upon a time.  They like the same songs you do.  Awesome.  They have the same political ideals.  Who knew?!?  Maybe they even ate the same brand of peanut butter that you did whilst watching a rerun of “Good Times” on Saturday morning.  DAMN, DAMN, DAMN!!!!!  But so what?   As one of the hundred millions of cracked-out users I left the theater that brisk night in October feeling a tad uneasy.  It was hard to swallow being an avid user of a company built on lies and backstabbing as the film suggests but alas, I got over it and chalked it up to dramatic interpretation of Hollywood.  Much of my cognitive dissonance however was raised as a reaction to how social networking sites continue to make people cold, impersonal, and dumbed down.

Case in point.  2 months ago at a concert I ran into a girl I went to high school with.  We were pretty tight back in those days.  I hadn’t seen her in approximately 11 months since our high school reunion and 10 years prior to that.  Over time we kept in touch through Myspace and Facebook, commenting regularly on each others’ posts.  During the concert we instantly recognized one another and greeted with the obligatory hug and “heeeey girl”-  you know, that statement that asks “what’s been going on with you over the years”.  After less than 20 seconds (no, seriously.  you read that right)  of chit chat, my “friend” made a beeline to go off in another direction with her friends and stated “I’ll see you on Facebook”.  What the hell?  Point number two.  Last week I ran into a Facebook “friend” at Jamba Juice and instantly recognized her.  This friend and I knew each other in high school and were counselors at the same summer camp for 5 years.  In high school I was invited over to her house and broke bread with her family.  I approached her and she didn’t recognize who I was.  Ok sure, I’m 50 pounds lighter since high school and  and maybe she didn’t recongnize me but just a few weeks prior to our run-in I made a comment on and “liked” one of her posts on Facebook.  Awkward much?

The problem with social networking sites is that they create pseudo friendships and emotional bonds to people that you might not otherwise keep in touch with in person.  Seriously.  Who can keep up with the lives of the average 130 friends that each user reportedly has?  What’s even scarier is that according to recent Facebook statistics  “people  spend 700 billion minutes a month” on the site.  Much like texting, social networking has crossed cultural divides and woven its way into the global fabric of this new technological wave- you know, the one that has Betty White making a reference to “The Twitter” in You Again.  It’s why people text at the dinner table.  It’s why people speak in shorthand.  Speak!!!!  Thanks, Steve Jobs and Mark Zuckerberg!  Because of you and your nerdy ilk, not only have “sexting”, “lol”, and “OMG” officially become words in the Oxford Dictionary but my supervisor is trying to friend me on Facebook.  Tres uncouth!

Now, I ain’t saying that I’m not one of those flashers in her skivvies when it comes to Facebook.  Now off to the site to shamelessly promote this post….

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My Guilty Pleasure

September 20, 2009
I heart you!

A New Reason for Must See TV

As they say, laughter is the best medicine.  Joel McHale and Chevy Chase bantering in a classroom is cool but Donald Glover who plays Letterman-wearing jacket Troy, is why I’m tuning in to NBC on Thursday nights.  Check out this funny video from his comedy troupe Derrick Comedy and look for their new film “Mystery Team” opening in select cities this Fall.

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Why I Dig Cinematherapy

March 5, 2009

Leave it to the Wayans brothers to explain my passion for analyzing movie messages.  Hillarious!!!  Caution.  The language is explicit.

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Paging Dr. Freud…

December 30, 2008
You know you love me

Swagger like me...

Regarded as  the father of psychoanalysis- a systematic structure of theories concerning the relation between the conscious and unconscious mind- the name Sigmund Freud is synonymous with psychology.  When I took my first psychology course in middle school, I was convinced that I wanted to be a psychotherapist.  Fascinated by his  theories on dreams, the three-part personality, psychoses, and neuroses, Freud pretty much shaped my desire to dabble in the fields of psychology and therapy. 

Filmmakers too, have been largely influenced by Freud’s ideas on the conscious and unconscious mind.  Whether they be films about dissociative identities (i.e. The Three Faces of Eve, The Bad Seed), psychopaths, (Natural Born Killers, Monster, Silence of the Lambs) , dreams (Requiem for a Dream, The Cell, A Nightmare on Elm Street), or neurotics (insert any Diane Keaton film here) almost all movies explore the psychological undertones of man being shaped by nature, nurture, or both. 

Then again, some movies just flat out pay homage to Freud in a satirical sense.  In  What About Bob, Richard Dreyfuss’ character Dr. Leo Marvin, a psychiatrist who himself becomes unwound, names his son Sigmund.  And then there’s that  line from Analyze This, in which mob boss Paul Vitti (Robert De Niro), reluctant to talk about his mother, tells his psychiatrist Dr. Ben Sobel (Billy Crystal), “Freud’s a sick fuck and so are you”.  Classic.

Whether you give credit to Freud’s theories or deduce his insights to those of a rambling cocaine addict, you can’t deny his appeal.  Principles rooted in psychoanalytic theory (i.e. repression, denial, etc.) continue to hold weight and are still discussed on doctors’ couches 123 years since their inception.  For this reason I want to pay homage to Freud by introducing my new rating system which shall describe the level of therapeutic merit in films.   All movies reviewed from here on will be rated as such.  Behold, the Siggy’s!

 freud   1 Siggy: Mild therapeutic value.  Don’t waste your time soul-searching.

freudfreud 2 Siggy’s: Moderate therapeutic value.  Scratch your head in awe at the things that make you go hmmm…. 

freudfreudfreud 3 Siggy’s: Strong therapeutic value. You might want to consider taking mental and/or written notes.

freudfreudfreudfreud 4 Siggy’s: Exceptional therapeutic value.  Talk it over with a professional if you’re so inclined.

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2009 Golden Globe Noms Lack Diversity

December 13, 2008
Token?

Token?

Nominations for the 66th Annual Golden Globes were announced yesterday and surprisingly (or not) performance nods by African Americans were underrepresented.  What?  No love for Meet Dave

With the exception of Blair Underwood’s nomination  as Supporting Actor in a Miniseries for his role in HBO’s In Treatment and Beyonce’s contribution to Best Original Song in Cadillac Records there is not a Black face to be found on the nomination list.  And, like Santa, I checked it twice. 

Latino actors  America Ferrera, Javier Bardem, and Penelope Cruz were nominated respectively for their roles in Ugly Betty and Vicky Christina Barcelona and Indian music director, A.R. Rahman was nominated for Best Original Score for Slumdog Millionaire.  Great.  That brings the Brown Face count up to five.  FIVE!!!

But seriously, WTF?  I expected Hancock and Traitor  to be overlooked by the Hollywood Foreign Press but not The Secret Life of Bees.  No best screenplay?  I know it’s not a category but no best ensemble cast?  Nothing? 

I’m not saying that the powers that be should nominate Brown folks just for the sake of doing so but really, this is getting to be a bit ridiculous.  Tom Cruise as Best Supporting Actor in Tropic Thunder? And scene.