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Tuesday, May 31, 2016

And Here are Two More Glorious Character Posters from STAR TREK BEYOND



No, this is not another #StarringJohnCho reenactment. The actor is looking pretty boss in a new Sulu character poster for the upcoming movie, STAR TREK BEYOND, which is really shaping up to be a spectacular blockbuster come July 22 (or so one can hope). Zoe Saldana's Uhura looks badass in her character poster as well.



Here's a recap of the film's synopsis: "Star Trek Beyond," the highly anticipated next installment in the globally popular Star Trek franchise, created by Gene Roddenberry and reintroduced by J.J. Abrams in 2009, returns with director Justin Lin (“The Fast and the Furious” franchise) at the helm of this epic voyage of the U.S.S. Enterprise and her intrepid crew. In “Beyond," the Enterprise crew explores the furthest reaches of uncharted space, where they encounter a mysterious new enemy who puts them and everything the Federation stands for to the test.

How are y'all feeling about this so far?

Monday, May 30, 2016

America Ferrera Co-Executive Produced a New Web Series With An All-Latino Cast, and It Looks Awesome

No cartels. No guns. No drugs. That's what is promised in a new web series co-executive produced by America Ferrera, GENTE-FIED. And what a refreshing thing that is to hear. How many times have I lamented the overwhelming number of Latino stereotypes Hollywood has profited from in their most beloved drug war movies alone? A lot. And it continues.

Which makes GENTE-FIED that much more intriguing. The 7-episode series, which has no release date just yet, follows a relatively unknown all-Latino cast of characters as they deal with gentrification in their predominantly Mexican working-class Los Angeles neighborhood of Boyle Heights. Ferrera also appears throughout the show, which will help fill a void of narratives that highlight the lives of minority characters who vary in personality, motivation, gender, sexual orientation, and age.

I am really looking forward to this. Watch the trailer:

Friday, May 27, 2016

There's a Movie Coming about a Black Sorority Girl Who Has to Teach White Sorority Girls How to Step



...And get get this: she has has to do this in order to get into law school.

Sometimes I feel like I am being punked when news like this comes into my inbox. I mean, can you imagine being in the boardroom where this premise is pitched, unironically? With cultural appropriation and Hollywood diversity centered deep within pop culture rhetoric these days, this kind of movie continues to prove just how distant Hollywood bigwigs are to understanding/caring about their audiences.

But I digress. Megalyn Echikunwoke is a solid actress of color who's known for her TV work on genre shows including The Following, Damien, and The 4400. And for that, she'll always get cool points in my book. But STEP SISTERS just seems like a major step down for her, despite the fact that one of my imaginary besties, Lena Waithe (Master of None), co-produced it.

I'd like to say that I will remain cautiously optimistic about this, but...it sounds like the black girl (Echikunwoke) has to teach the flailing white sorority how to be black, by showing them how to step like the black sorority girls, so that they can seem cool and she can get into law school. So, you know, optimism is going to difficult.



Full synopsis: Step Sisters centers on an ambitious black sorority girl (Echikunwoke) who, in order to get admitted to the law school of her dreams, agrees to cross cultural lines and teach the exclusive art of black Greek stepping to a band of wild, party-obsessed white sorority girls whose charter is about to be revoked.

Principal photography begins June 1 in Atlanta, and STEP SISTERS is expected to come to be in theaters sometime next year.

I'm just gonna leave this one with you guys....

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Hollywood Just Loves Telling Pablo Escobar Stories



I swear, no one knows how to kill a story harder than Hollywood. I don't know whether it's their fetish for Latino drug dramas or if they are truly are fascinated by Pablo Escobar. Either way, here we are with yet another story about the Colombian cocaine kingpin in THE INFILTRATOR, the year after Narcos became the new bingewatch craze on Netflix.

But anyway. Bryan Cranston, because you know how Hollywood loves to tell a Latino narrative through the eyes of a white man, plays a federal agent who goes undercover to try to take down Escobar. But not without the help of fellow agent (John Leguizamo) and a liutenant (played by Benjamin Bratt), because if cinematic history has taught us anything it's that every time a white man presents himself as a threat to the Latino drug war he has to align himself with actual Latinos to get the job done. Just saying.

Synopsis:

Based on a true story, Federal agent ROBERT "BOB" MAZUR (Bryan Cranston) goes deep undercover to infiltrate Pablo Escobar's drug trafficking scene plaguing the nation in 1986 by posing as slick, money-laundering businessman Bob Musella. Teamed with impulsive and streetwise fellow agent EMIR ABREU (John Leguizamo) and rookie agent posing as his fiancé KATHY ERTZ (Diane Kruger), Mazur befriends Escobar's top lieutenant ROBERTO ALCAINO (Benjamin Bratt). Navigating a vicious criminal network in which the slightest slip-up could cost him his life, Mazur risks it all building a case that leads to indictments of 85 drug lords and the corrupt bankers who cleaned their dirty money, along with the collapse of the Bank of Credit and Commerce International, one of the largest money-laundering banks in the world.

Watch the trailer:



Looks decent with a great cast (which also includes Diane Kruger, Olympia Dukakis, and Amy). And director Brad Furman (The Lincoln Lawyer) definitely needs to redeem himself after the forgettable Runner Runner. I'm going to have to be cautiously optimistic about this one. 

THE INFILTRATOR comes to theaters July 13. 

Jaylah from STAR TREK BEYOND is My New Favorite Thing



So, I'm not much of a fan of these new Star Trek movies. They are just hella corny to me. But the trailers I've been seeing for STAR TREK BEYOND have actually got me a little hyped. And that's mostly because of Jaylah. I have no idea who she is or what she's about, but her badassery is on fleek (as the kids say) in this most recent trailer:


Seriously, it's like all the other characters disappeared as Jaylah (portrayed by Algerian actress Sofia Boutella) just annihilated each of their scenes. After further investigation, I've learned she's apparently a new alien to the series that's come to raise hell on the crew.  And I am here for every second of it. 

Please, please, PLEASE let this be good. 

STAR TREK BEYOND is in theaters July 22.

Teaser for a New Ridley Scott-Produced Sci-Fi Thriller Has Us Asking #WhatIsMorgan?



If the looks on the characters' faces in MORGAN are any indication, the titular mutant (?) must be terrifying as all hell. Typical to many Ridley Scott-produced films, MORGAN follows a group of scientists investigating a life form unfamiliar to them that has deadly tendencies. Also true to Scott's work, there's a woman scientist at the helm (in this instance, she's played by Kate Mara).

Synopsis:

A corporate troubleshooter (Kate Mara) is sent to a remote, top-secret location, where she is to investigate and evaluate a terrifying accident. She learns the event was triggered by a seemingly innocent "human," who presents a mystery of both infinite promise and incalculable danger.


Michelle Yeoh, Jennifer Jason Leigh, and Paul Giamatti also star in the film. Watch the teaser trailer:



I'm intrigued. Anyone else?

Monday, May 23, 2016

On Cultural Reclamation, Spirituality, and KEEPERS OF THE GAME



There's been a lot of talk about diversity and representation on the big screen, and veiled in that conversation has been how much white cinema has borrowed from other cultures, whitewashed characters, and yet refuse to include minorities in the cast. And it's not just Hollywood. As highlighted in the new documentary, KEEPERS OF THE GAME, certain sports rooted within a particular culture have also been appropriated as a cherished, white pastime.

For many of us, this doesn't come as a surprise. Cultural appropriation is embedded in much of popular culture today. But, as usual, that conversation has centered on black and white. Director Judd Ehrlich goes outside of that to tell the story of an all-Native high school girls lacrosse team as they attempt to become the first to bring home a Section Championship near the Akwesasne Mohawk Territory, coincidentally where lacrosse was born as a sacred game traditionally reserved for men. Yes, one of the whitest, male-dominated activities is actually a Native (male) sport.

Yet that's neither the focus nor the most engaging thing about KEEPERS OF THE GAME. Ehrlich instead builds the narrative around the actual women, who share stories of cultural responsibility, defying tradition, and dehumanization.

"Colonization has done a number on our souls. You walk around and feel empty every day." This is just one of the more poignant lines in the film, said by a woman in the community working to restore the spirituality of the young women who are struggling between their commitment to a game they no longer belong to and a culture that has been ridiculed, disregarded, and nearly dismantled. Spirituality is one of the few things they have been able to maintain as a culture, as we see them calling on it several times in the film, and yet it's the very thing that alludes the young women in their quest for sports victory and cultural reclamation.

While Ehrlich highlights an underrepresented narrative that deserves to be told, KEEPERS OF THE GAME is monotonous and doesn't have a point of view, which results in a weak narrative that takes you out of the film at times. It's slow-moving and just minimally engaging, even its most emotional scenes. Watch it to hear the important perspectives from the young women, but lower your expectations on the cinematic narrative.

KEEPERS OF THE GAME airs on ESPN2 this Tuesday, May 24 at 9:00pm EST and next Monday, May 30 at 11:00pm EST.

Rating: C-

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