True Lies is a 1994 action comedy film directed by James Cameron and starring Arnold Schwarzenegger, Jamie Lee Curtis, and Tom Arnold. The film was a huge hit, and is noteworthy in that it featured visual special effects considered impossible only a few years prior. It's been 20 years since it was released. Time for a revisit, then. [SPOILERS if you haven't seen this movie.] [more inside]
This film produced by the United States Federal Government in 1957 explores South Africa's apartheid policy, focusing on issues such as race relations, political practices, and segregated dwellings. The footage very radically contrasts the bleakness of black life with the privileges enjoyed by most whites as well as including several interviews with black leaders, while also giving the architects of Apartheid a platform to defend themselves and their policies. (34:11)
A fascinating snapshot of the time.[more inside]
"I'm here because my family went through slavery" - Steve McQueen on 12 Years A Slave, the story of Solomon Northup. ‘12 Years a Slave,’ ‘Mother of George,’ and the aesthetic politics of filming black skin. Before Solomon Northup: Fighting Slave Catchers in New York. The final fate of Solpmon Northup remains unknown. (Previously)
Beloved anime classic Akira (previously) is in the process of getting a live-action adaption courtesy of Warner Bros. and Legendary Pictures. In fact, they're currently trying to assemble a cast. Oddly enough, despite keeping the leading characters' names Kaneda and Tetsuo, all the actors approached are white. This hasn't gone unnoticed, and Racebending.com is preparing a campaign to protest. Just last year M. Night Shyamalan's adaption of The Last Airbender (previously) drew massive criticism for having an all-white cast in an Asian setting. [more inside]
Yellow Face (Part 1 Part 2 Part 3 Part 4 Part 5) is a short documentary (about 50 minutes) that broadly concerns the history of white actors portraying Asian characters in American cinema and, more specifically, reaction to the casting of M. Night Shyamalan's generally reviled recent film, The Last Airbender. (Previously.)
Lovecraft 101: Get To Know The Master of Scifi-Horror. For more detailed insights into each of Lovecraft's tales in publication order you might want to follow the H.P.Lovecraft Literary Podcast. For another story-by-story guide to Lovecraft you might want to check out Kenneth Hite's Tour De Lovecraft (also available in expanded form as a book). China Mieville on Lovecraft and racism and a lecture at Treadwells by Archaeologist James Holloway which delves deep into Lovecraft and identity. The making of the Call of Cthulhu RPG. The making of Cthulhu (Hipsters! Ego! Madness!). Happy Halloween with H.P. Lovecraft!
55 years ago, Brown v. Board of Education was decided, which lead to the controversial court-ordered school integrations in the South. Four years later, the prolific Charles Beaumont wrote his only solo novel, The Intruder, based on a true story but set in a fictitious small southern town of Caxton that is riled up by a mysterious man from out-of-town who wants to halt the school integration. The novel was turned into a movie by the same name in 1962, produced, directed and financed by Roger Corman, starring a charismatic William Shatner as the mysterious intruder, some 4 years before the start of his iconic role in Star Trek. Shot on location, using locals who were not fully aware of the plot of the movie, the whole film was made for $80-$90,000, and was Corman's only film to lose money at the box offices. The production was banned in some Missouri cities because the local people objected to the film's portrayal racism and segregation. The film finally saw a profit after its re-release on DVD in recent years. (Previously discussed as part of this 1970s Shatner post; video links inside) [more inside]
You can love him or hate him but Transformers made $250,000,000 last week. To some, Michael Bay is a genius. To others he's a racist hack. Or just a hack. He may even be both a hack and a genius. Is this evidence of an auteur? Or does dude just like really big explosions? Plus: a character driven Bay film?
Call her Madame. Among the old-timers, the story went like this: a woman known to everyone as Madame came to California from Kentucky with her children and her husband. But once they were in the Gold Rush State, her husband left her. Desperate to find work, she introduced herself to a movie director named D. W. Griffith. He not only cast her in his movie, but the two became friends for life. And with this woman, called Madame Sul-Te-Wan, what we now call Black Hollywood began -- as a new book by historian Donald Bogle explains. (more inside)
Two segregated film crews, one black and one white, used the perspective of race to create a documentary centered on the dragging death of a black man by three whites five years ago in Jasper, Texas. The New York filmmakers behind the "Two Towns of Jasper" found the differences in perspective before filming began and the divide only grew more distinct during the two-year project. Premieres January 22nd on PBS and has already won multiple film awards.
Marketing the KKK? Is Tim Burton a racist or has his directing skills gotten so bad that movie critics are having to repent for previous words of kindness?