All the Fine Young Cannibals (1960) - News Poster

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Biopics vs. Their Fictional Counterparts

Some people’s lives are best told truthfully, others more loosely.

In one corner, we have Rocky, the iconic Best Picture-winning boxing movie starring Sylvester Stallone as the made-up Rocky Balboa. In the other corner, we have Chuck, an upcoming biopic starring Liev Schreiber as real-life boxer Chuck Wepner. The latter primarily depicts the 1975 bout between Wepner and Muhammad Ali, which inspired Stallone to write the script for Rocky. He’s since tried to downplay the connection, especially after being sued by Wepner, but it’s close enough to being a film a clef as any.

Chuck received mostly positive reviews when it played the big film festivals last fall, but it’s unlikely to become the phenomenon, let alone Oscar darling, that Rocky was. Its legacy surely won’t be as lasting, in part because true biopics don’t tend to get sequels. There are a lot of benefits to fictionalized accounts of real events and
See full article at FilmSchoolRejects »

Let’s Get Lost | DVD Review

Originally released in 1989 – at which time the dirt on the West Coast “cool” jazz trumpeter, Chet Baker’s (born Chesney Henry Baker Jr.) grave was still relatively fresh (Baker died in Amsterdam in May 1988) – Bruce Weber’s documentary goes to exasperating lengths to legitimize the legend of Baker’s natural musical talent and iconically hip ba-da-be-bop coolness. Let’s Get Lost also chooses to focus on Baker's soft and subtle singing voice that is awkwardly affected by a slurring lisp and tendency to slide ever-so-slightly off-key. In comparison to the maestria of his pitch-perfect trumpeting, it is compelling to me that so many people (including Weber) consider Baker’s vocal performances as equally important as his trumpeting. By no means a traditional biography, Weber creates a visual poem set to a soundtrack of Baker’s tunes. Weber’s highly artistic and severely contrasted black and white footage (skillfully lensed by
See full article at SmellsLikeScreenSpirit »

Investigators Reopen Natalie Wood Case

Investigators Reopen Natalie Wood Case
Everett Collection Natalie Wood, 1960, “All the Fine Young Cannibals.”

The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Office has announced that it is taking a new look into the 1981 death of actress Natalie Wood. At the time of her death, Wood’s body was found floating in the Pacific Ocean off Catalina Island near the California coast and the county coroner’s office said then that her death was an accident. Her sibling Lana Wood told CNN “My sister was not a
See full article at Speakeasy/Wall Street Journal »

Today’s Birthdays 3/29/11

Stage and film actress Pearl Bailey would have been 93. She made her Broadway debut in St. Louis Woman but is probably best known for Hello Dolly which she received a Tony Award for.

Her film credits include Carmen Jones, St. Louis Blues, Porgy And Bess and All The Fine Young Cannibals. She also appeared on the soap opera As The World Turns and did voice work for Disney‘s The Fox And The Hound.

In 1986, she won a Daytime Emmy award for her performance as a fairy godmother in the ABC Afterschool Special, Cindy Eller: A Modern Fairy Tale.

Later in life, she enrolled at Georgetown University and, at age 67, graduated with a bachelor’s degree in theology.
See full article at ShadowAndAct »

Holiday season gifts for the Black film lover

In my quest to figure out good Xmas and Kwanzaa gifts for my people this year, I realized we always recommend movies, DVD’s and VODs, but I’ve seldom read about good books here on S&A. So, I’ve compile a great list for of Black cinephile-based books for the filmgoing audience. Some you’re definitely familiar with, others maybe not, but nonetheless here it is:

Donald Bogle’s books

I’ve been reading Bogle’s books for 20 years now, so considering I’m just on the precipice of my (eek!) mid-30’s, that’s saying a lot of the amount of Black film knowledge that he’s imparted to the masses for decades.

Toms, Coons, Mulattoes, Mammies & Bucks

Arguably Bogle’s greatest, if not simply his best known book, “Toms…” is the definitive study of American Black film images going back to the beginning with Birth of
See full article at ShadowAndAct »

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