Reggie Ponder, The Reel Critic, talks box office and reviews Guardians of The Galaxy Vol, 2
The issue of Hollywood so White has been a constant issue across decades. Now and again there are these moments when Black films and actors rise to the surface and shine but these moments are not long-lasting. I got a chance to discuss the latest crop of Black movies and their recent success at the SAG Awards on The Maggie Linton Show on SiriusXM Urban View.
La La Land is the darling of Hollywood with 14 Oscar nominations. Will La La Land walk away a big winner? I discuss the potential winners and losers and well as the new release Get Out with Matt Fagerholm (@IndieOutlook), Jean de St. Aubin (Executive Director of the Gene Siskel Film Center) and hosts Jesse Menendez and Jill Hopkins on The Morning AMp on 91.1 FM Chicago/Vocalo.org
La La Land has been nominated for 14 Academy Awards. Many people feel that this film marks the renaissance of the musical. If so, it is a new type of musical. One that pay homage to the films of yesterday with Gene Kelly, Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers but one which attempts to ground itself in reality according to writer/director Damien Chazelle:
I liked this film and I did feel the humanity, however, I also wanted to FEEL the dancing. Unfortunately, I felt the level of dance difficulty was so common, so human that I could do those moves myself. And while that is what it appears that Chazelle and team were going for, I wanted more. I wanted to see something greater than myself – dancing that excites and inspires. May this desire to see phenomenal dancing is why I LOVE movies like Singin’ In The Rain, West Side Story, The Wiz and All That Jazz – The dance numbers were aspirational if not unattainable for the mere fan. They set a standard and I felt a bit let-down with La La Land. The high dance quality in the films mentioned above made performers like Kelly, Rogers and Astaire special – the real triple threat! For me, the story, the music and the acting in Chazalle’s film might have one floating in La La Land but the dancing left his cast outside the studio with the rest of us trying out our moves on a cardboard box on Hollywood and Vine.
Over eight years, President Obama delivered more than 3,500 speeches and statements – officially ending his era with a farewell address on Tuesday in Chicago. His speeches ranged from redefining patriotism, candidly addressing race relations, inspiring hope and healing, and turning divisive moments into an opportunity for national unification. But which are the moments that history will remember? A new hour-long Smithsonian Channel special tells the story of Barack Obama, “writer in chief,” and takes viewers inside the defining moments of his political career through the prism of his most memorable speeches. THE OBAMA YEARS:THE POWER OF WORDS, narrated by actor and producer Jesse Williams, premieres on Monday, February 27, 2017 at 8 p.m. ET/PT.
I got a chance to interview executive producer Charles Poe, SVP, Production, Smithsonian Channel about the making of the film, which is a must see!
I know that the political climate is such that people who Hate Obama or Love Trump may say “I don’t want to see anything about Obama” but this film doesn’t get into policy. This film is about Obama’s ability to use words and connect with the nation during trying times. Some may say that these events are political because they are about race, mass shootings and religion and they would be right in that all these issues impact the political landscape. But if you can suspend, for a minute, the political angle and just observe how Barack Obama was able to use words to inform, educate, inspire and console, you will see a man who love him or hate him was able to connect with the nation in a personal and unique manner.