Go Ask Alice When She Is On DemandAugust 10, 2011
On Demand Weekly provides new movie reviews of hot movies on demand from the POV of watching from the comfort of your home. Today’s review: DEAR ALICE (Eurocinema).
A universal story reminds us that life is just about six degrees of separation….
By Cynthia Kane
What might attract most U.S. audiences to DEAR ALICE is that Danny Glover plays one of the principal roles in this ensemble cast. What I love about his performance is that he once again proves himself a formidable actor and that the egoistic hand of Hollywood stardom has never blemished him as an artist.
Why is he acting in a Swedish film, one might ask? Why not? Swedish director Othman Karim does come with some clout. His 2005 OH, SARA won top awards at the Moscow International Film Festival and introduced Alexander Skarsgård (HBO’s TRUE BLOOD) to the world.
The story takes place one ordinary day in Stockholm where four persons’ lives - four persons struggling with major, but to others seemingly trivial, issues - invariably mesh, collide circumstantially and change each other’s life paths forever.
A Gambian immigrant, Franzis Namazi (Danny Glover) trying to bring his family to live with him in Sweden struggles with the right to stay and with economic breakdown, unable to keep his little shop selling African tchotchkes and art afloat; a former television star, Bosse (Ulf Brunnberg) is suddenly replaced by a younger, ethnically diverse star at Swedish Television, only to find his beloved wife is deceiving him with a younger version of himself; a husband and father, Moses Said (Peter Gardiner) who himself is a first generation African-Swede attempts to deal with his wife’s ascendency in the corporate legal world, while attempting to send money to his hospitalized father in a village in Uganda – the transaction held up by the international forces considering that anyone with the name of Moses Said must be sending money to fund terrorist activities; his blonde Swedish wife, Karin Carlsson-Said (Tuva Novotny) faces her first day as a corporate law partner, only to discover her new partners insist she drop her Muslim husband’s surname; the final connecting element that bonds them forever is a narcissistic and troubled actor, Hakan (Stefan Sauk, THE GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO) ignores the warnings of his lawyer, Karin, and sets off on an alcoholic rampage.
On Demand Weekly provides new movie reviews of hot movies on demand and from the POV of watching from the comfort of your home. Today’s review: THE BLACK POWER MIXTAPE 1967-1975 (IFC Films).
THE BLACK POWER MIXTAPE 1967-1975 With Music Composed By Questlove Now On Demand
By Chris Claro
As the 21st century plows on – it’s been a decade, folks – it becomes more and more evident that context is everything. If the Web has taught us anything, it’s that nothing is definitive anymore; the breadth of perspectives, opinions, biases, and slants is innumerable. The lens through which events are viewed is permeable, malleable, and constantly rotating. As a result, the source of perspectives has become as important as the perspectives themselves.
With THE BLACK POWER MIXTAPE 1967-1975, director Goran Hugo Olsson mines the work of Swedish journalists who covered the US during the era referred to in the film’s title. Olsson juxtaposes the vintage – and well preserved – footage of such icons as Stokely Carmichael and Eldridge Cleaver with contemporary commentary from a combination of people who were there, such as Angela Davis and Harry Belafonte, and others, who only have a distant connection to the era, like Erykah Badu. A conventional doc in the show-and-tell mode, THE BLACK POWER MIXTAPE 1968-1975 is nonetheless ingenious in the way Olsson shows the international ripples that America’s unrest caused through the mid-70s.
Charting the tumult of the era, including the rise of Black consciousness, the assassinations of RFK and MLK, and the blunting impact of drugs on militancy and activism, MIXTAPE takes a linear approach, like a print annual, to show how these very American issues were viewed through the progressive, and decidedly liberal eyes of the Swedish press. One of the most effective sequences in the film highlights the umbrage of Nixon loyalist and TV Guide publisher Walter Annenberg at what he felt was the consistently negative portrayal of America by foreign journalists, particularly those from Scandinavia.
What Does a Swedish Filmmaker Know About the US Black Power Movement Of The 60’s & 70’s?September 28, 2011
On Demand Weekly's VOD Spotlight highlights stories from the On Demand industry. Chris Claro interviews Swedish director Goran Hugo Olsson about THE BLACK POWER MIXTAPE 1968-1975 (IFC Film). Read our review of the film too here.
What Does a Swedish Filmmaker Know About the US Black Power Movement Of The 60's & 70's?
On Demand Weekly’s Chris Claro talks to Swedish director Goran Hugo Olsson about a new film produced by Danny Glover and music by Questlove
I was looking in the archives of the Swedish National Broadcasting company for some images from the 60s and 70s and I came across this treasure and I immediately identified that this can be a great film. Then I realized it’s my duty to put this out to an audience, it can’t be lying around here in this basement.
I wanted to have some of the people from the time, like Angela Davis, commenting on her own images. And however great archive material can be, it also could be claustrophobic in a cinematic sense, if you kept it in this time and space. I wanted to add some fresh oxygen into that, so I wanted some contemporary voices to comment on the film and I also wanted to put the events in context. I was inspired by commentary tracks on DVD, when someone is talking about a film while watching it. I didn’t want to have any talking heads, looking back. I wanted to have a different flow to the film.
THE PRODUCTION PROCESS
Once I found the material, I think I got the idea pretty early on that the key events in the film, the speech with Stokely Carmichael and the interview with Angela Davis in jail. And I wanted to lay out the idea that we have this sparking black and white and everybody in sharp suits and it’s ’67. Then we have the 70s, and it’s color and the hairdos and everything. So there was a story between those two things. And once I got that, I did receive quite a bit of support from Sweden and then I realized I needed someone who knows this as a co-producer and I basically got to New York and knocked on the door of Danny Glover and Joslyn Barnes, my co-producer, and I showed them some footage. When they saw the material and we talked about it, they were in.
I have memories of Angela Davis. She was on television in Sweden and I have images of the end of the Vietnam War. The turning point in my life, I was 11 or 12 and I got back from school and there was the Soweto uprising in Johannesburg. And we spent time every year collecting money for the ANC, which is closely connected to the Black Power movement.
REACTION OF THE SWEDISH PRESS
What Black History Month Programming Is On Demand?February 02, 2012
Media savant T Tara Turk goes deep inside cable TV to reveal Video On Demand's Hidden Gems so even the busiest of our readers can get the most out of On Demand TV. Tell Tara what VOD shows you think deserves her attention.
Black History Month - On Demand
I generally celebrate being black 365 days a year since, well, I’m black and that’s who I am. But having a designated (albeit short) month to celebrate usually calls for the customary cards, parades, and customized television program on some channels. The TV part is my favorite because then we get to peruse some classics that usually go unnoticed in mainstream “Best Of” lists since some tend not to think outside of the regular classics box.
If you’re in the mood to add some culture to your February or you just want to take a dance down memory lane, I found a few titles available on Black Cinema on Xfinity On Demand this month that may help.
For the Beginner:
ROOTS: THE MINI SERIES - One of the most popular mini series of all time. Pre-dvr/vhs/on demand days, folks would actually plan their TV week with TV Guide and this was one series that scored high ratings across the board in the 1970s. And, since we’re spanning the first few hundred years of slavery, every black actor in Hollywood was able to get a job. -
RAY - Jamie Foxx appears to have an out of body experience playing famed musician Ray Charles. This performance was so good, Jamie continued to channel Ray in a Kanye West song. But seriously, not many people know the story of Ray Charles but most seem to benefit from it.
THE COLOR PURPLE - I don’t have a group of friends in my life that doesn’t, in some way, quote from this movie. While Alice Walker’s book about a black girl in the south who grows up beyond expectations touched so many lives, the movie, directed by Steven Spielberg, mad a lasting impression with its stellar cast which includes Danny Glover, Oprah Winfrey, Whoopi Goldberg, Margaret Avery and the late great Adolph Caeser.
MALCOLM X - For a long time, Malcolm was and has been misunderstood as a minister of hate but thanks to Spike Lee’s epic production and the genius of Denzel Washington, this should shed some light on the life of Malcolm while being hugely entertaining to watch.
DREAMGIRLS - Who doesn’t love a little retro glamour, a little heartbreak and some amazing singing from the likes of Beyonce, Jennifer Hudson, Jamie Foxx,Anoki Rose and - GASP - Eddie Murphy! The long running Broadway story rumored to based on Diana Ross and the Supremes, finally made a huge dent at the box office and came away with a few Grammy nods.
For the Experienced:
Tags:on demand, beyonce, jamie foxx, spike lee, jennifer hudson, danny glover, steven spielberg, questlove, facebook, denzel washington, eddie murphy, biggie & tupac, the loving story, be inspired: the life of heavy d, ray, black cinema on xfinity on demand, dreamgirls, get on the bus, malcolm x, the roots,
Eugene Jarecki’s Documentary THE HOUSE I LIVE IN - On DemandFebruary 03, 2013
On Demand Weekly provides new movie reviews of hot movies on demand and from the POV of watching from the comfort of your home. Today’s review: THE HOUSE I LIVE IN.
See the latest Independent Movie On Demand (IMOD) Trailers here...
THE HOUSE I LIVE IN
Rarely do I watch a documentary that has me fearful if no one else ever watches it. Eugene Jarecki’s documentary THE HOUSE I LIVE IN, about the war on drugs, has me afraid that all of its facts, wisdom, heartbreaking true stories and amazing ability to tie in such a large epidemic, has me fearful that it is all for nothing if everyone doesn’t watch it.
Eugene Jarecki, THE HOUSE I LIVE IN (FilmBuff)
Jarecki starts off on a small scale by talking to his family’s longtime housekeeper, Nanny (that’s her name), about what happened to her children and other close knit family members during the 1970s and 80s drug epidemic as the young Jareckis were close to them but time had drifted them apart. Thus begins the incredible tale of the nation’s real war on drugs, the perceived war on drugs and the dive into Jareckii discovering that the penitentiary system is slowly becoming the the stimulus package for small and average size towns in a destabilized economy.
Nanny’s kids and relatives are mostly all either dead from drugs or in jail. Jarecki also finds several young black males who are in the similar situations, victims of an intense drug sentencing system that appears solve no problems but manages to create larger prisons. Jarecki interviews victims of the drug epidemic - from ex-con fathers who had no fathers, activists who’s families have been given near life sentences, academics who can’t prevent the epidemic from reaching their own families, correctional officers who see no way out of the vicious cycle, cynical and exhausted narcotic officers and judges who are tired of heaping all the blame on a small part of the disenfranchised population.
In a careful and effective balance, Jarecki is able to personalize the effects of the war drugs with real life stories (one ex-con father says of his son, “I knew I was supposed to be a father and have that responsibility but I didn’t know how to do it. I just didn’t know how to do it...”) with mind boggling facticians and academics who present such a remarkable case for a review of drug sentencing laws and the culture of rehabilitation that it’s hard to imagine walking away from this documentary without needing to do some action.
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