The Book of Negroes is a mini-series adapting the novel by Laurence Hill – a story that follows the remarkable Aminata Diallo from prior to her kidnapping by slavers in Africa, through her time as a slave in South Carolina – owned by two very different types of slave owners, to seeking her freedom in New York, moving with black loyalists to Nova Scotia and thence to Sierra Leone before heading to London to help the abolitionist put a halt to the slave trade.
Summed up in a few words like that, it doesn’t seem like much, but the CBC/BET co-production covers a lot of history through the eyes of a single human being. The device of using a fictional protagonist – through whose eyes we see that history – makes the journey, which could have been perhaps too epic, more personal and thus more relatable.
Continue reading The Book of Negroes – A Roots For This Century!
Despite having great ratings, Longmire was canceled by A&E after its third season, leaving fans with (if nothing else) an emotional cliffhanger and a lot of questions. With a fourth season being picked up by Netflix, millions of fans breathed a sigh of relief.
Now Warner Home video has released the show’s third season DVD and fans can binge their way through the ten episodes again (which is likely how they’ll watch season four if they’re anything like me…). Despite being light on bonus features (a single featurette), the DVD is worth having because the show is one of the great mystery series.
Continue reading DVD Review: Longmire: Season 3 – Still The Best Mystery Series On TV!
Whiplash, my favorite movie of 2014, is now available on DVD.
It’s a tale of the lengths someone will got to to be great, and the lengths someone will go to to push someone to be great. Whiplash won three Oscars® this year – including Best Supporting Actor for J.K. Simmons for the role of Mr. Fletcher, the abusive instructor/conductor of the top-rated music school’s jazz band.
Continue reading DVD Review: Whiplash!
The best movie of 2014 (according to Oscar voters) is now available on Blu-ray. There’s a good chance you missed it in the theaters, now’s your chance to see what all the fuss was about.
Continue reading Blu-ray Review: Birdman Lands Home
A guy walks into a bar. The bartender asks what he’ll have. ‘Old Underwear. Leave the bottle,’
It’s a quiet night and the two begin to chat. When he’s about halfway through the bottle, the guy says, ‘I’ll bet you the rest of this bottle that I’ve got the best story you’ve ever heard.’ The bartender is skeptical, but suggests that, if the guy’s story is so good, the bet should be a full bottle. If the guy loses, he adds twenty to the tip and they’re square. The guy agrees.
The bartender finally says, ‘Okay, what have you got?’ The guy looks him in the eye and begins…
‘When I was a little girl…’
Continue reading Predestination – A Classic Time Travel Story!
The Color of Time was made by the members of a class James Franco taught at NYU – a peculiar mix of poetry and biography based on the poems by Pulitzer Prize winner C.K. Williams. The film’s content is a collection of vignettes composed of memories, poetry and Williams’ struggle to write new material as he prepares for an appearance to read his work.
The reason I say that The Color of Time feels like a student film is not because of any lack of polish, but because it looks and feels free of the need to be commercial; to fit into a specific niche. Franco’s students have clearly been taught well when it comes to both technique and thinking for themselves.
Continue reading The Color of Time – A Student Film That Feels Like It!
One of the two masterstrokes in the creation of Doctor Who is a machine that can take its pilot anytime in the universe (and to some points outside it), thus opening up the possibility of telling any/every kind of story imaginable. The other is the idea that when The Doctor gets too old/damaged, he can regenerate – making it possible for the show to carry on even if an actor is unable/chooses not to go on.
The eighth season of the current run of Doctor Who introduced the Twelfth Doctor (Peter Capaldi) (the fourteenth if you want to be sticky about it, but for all intents and purposes the twelfth) and did something that hadn’t been done before in the show’s fifty-one year history – it gave us a hero who didn’t believe in heroes… and wasn’t even sure if he was a good man. The result was an almost intoxicatingly odd season.
Continue reading Doctor Who: The Complete Eighth Series – He’s Scottish – He Can Complain!
LFO – a high-quality, low-fi science fiction black comedy (Eclipse gave it an A following its appearance at the Calgary International Film Festival) – works just as well on a small screen as it did in the theater because for all that it successfully achieves its ambitions, it is an intimate study on one man’s descent into madness.
Continue reading Dark Apocalyptic Comedy LFO Comes To DVD!
For the fortieth anniversary of Doctor Who – with no hope of a TV reboot (or any other celebration) of the show on tap – a couple of BBC employees decided to create an animated web series. Doctor Who: Scream of the Shalka was that web series – a Flash animation adventure of a slightly vampiric-looking Ninth Doctor voiced by Richard E. Grant.
Continue reading Doctor Who: Scream of the Shalka – Meet the First Ninth Doctor!
Doctor Who has always been known for spinning interesting, even classic yarns; for somehow managing, despite serious budgetary constraints, to create visual effects that could be creepy, scary and effective – some of the time. What Doctor Who had never done – before The Green Death – was consciously produce a message story. In the final adventure to feature Jo Grant, Doctor Who took on the challenge of environmental issues – and the possibilities of artificial intelligence – in one of the show’s most rewarding serials.
Continue reading Doctor Who: The Green Death Special Edition – The Doctor Goes Eco-Warrior!
If you’ve ever been ticked off by a jerk who not only zips into that parking space you were heading for, but parked diagonally across its neighboring space as well; if you’ve ever wanted to wring the necks of a group of kids chattering through a movie, or put a definitive end to reality shows built around screaming, spoiled brats or self-indulgent bimbos, then God Bless America might just be the movie for you.
Continue reading DVD Review: God Bless America: Bobcat Goldthwaite Takes Out The Trash!