Open Thread: Wide-Screen Drama

Ava Duvernay is responsible for Selma, so she’s clearly up to the topic, and she’s gonna get a lot of attention as she works on her new film. And every snippet of news about it is going to drive Lord Smallgloves even further out of his tiny mind.
Speaking of wilding, Robert Schooley has some quotes from The Madness of King George III

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Sunday Night Popcorn Open Thread


Gotta admit — as a 21-year-old hardcore Trekkie, I loathed the first Star Wars movie, because it seemed designed to evoke every cheap, witless, strutting, shopworn emotion that I most despised in my fellow nerds. Still not a Star Wars fan, but forty-plus years later, I’m old enough to have learned that even the most evolved humans sometimes want the comfort and joy of expensively produced, predictable variations on familiar themes the entire family can appreciate. Once upon a time…

So That Black Panther Movie The Kids Are Talking About Was Pretty Good [SPOILER FREE]

Actually, it was pretty fucking awesome. Before the movie I took the boys to Five Guys- they had never been, and I thought it would be a nice treat. I’m not really big on these boutique burger joints that have become all the rage where they put all sorts of weird shit on a hamburger and then charge you 70 bucks, but Five Guys keeps it pretty simple and greasy, and I like that. I just want a cheeseburger, some lettuce, tomato, and pickle, and none of the rest of the nonsense. I don’t even really care for bacon on a burger. Plus, I love fries with malt vinegar, so it was good. I did look at the food before we started to eat and think “I could do this for a 1/4 the price at home,” but the boys liked it and it was a treat, so whatever.

The movie was great. I’m a Marvel stan, but I was still worried about how I would react because of all the hype and buildup. It surpassed my expectations. I’ve been thinking about it all day. I’m not going to give away anything, but I really enjoyed the casting, and it was nice seeing such a young cast with only Angela Bassett and Forest Whitaker being my age or higher.

Visually, the movie was stunning and just beautiful. The colors were just dynamic and vivid, and I haven’t felt that way watching something since Season 1 of Sense8. The set design was impeccable, and the costumes and well everything was just super fun.

The biggest thing for me was the sound- I’ve listened to the soundtrack over a 100 times already, so it was super cool seeing how those songs were used and when, and I think Kendrick Lamar is a national treasure. But beyond the songs, the score was also impeccable. Throughout the movie every scene was framed with a contextualized sound, with sabar drummers throughout and they have talking drums for T’Challa, etc. But most of all, the sound just made it all feel so real. The only way I can describe it is it reminded me of Peter Gabriel’s work with Passion and Passion Sources for the Last Temptation of Christ.

Side note- if you haven’t check out the offerings from the Real World label, you should if you can still get your hands on them. Sheila Chandra- ABoneCroneDrone, the Drummers of Burundi, the AfroCelt Sound System, the Blind Boys of Alabama, Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, the aforementioned Passion and Passion Sources, and so many more are still in my rotation. Probably one of my favorite labels out there, although the deceased Water Lily acoustics is close. Mickey Hart an Bob Weir have some really good stuff out there, too.

At any rate, it was all tied together into one fabulous experience. I highly recommend it.

At Long Last- Black Panther

I’ve made plans several times to go see Black Panther and they all fell through, but I am going to the 12:15 showing today and I am super stoked. My friend and neighbor Gerald (the guy who helped build my house and if a general fixit guy) had shoulder surgery on Thursday, so I am taking his kids Dom and Taylor out to lunch and then to the movies (Taylor is the one who had the bad infection earlier this spring and was in the hospital for a month and almost died). I think I am more excited than they are.

I Don’t Care If It Rains or Freezes

Who is your favorite Jesus? No, I don’t mean who is your favorite Bible Jesus. That’s obvious. It’s Jesus busting heads at the temple, doing what any good action hero does when he discovers a den of thieves in his father’s house. Then later he says, “Ah’ll be back.”

I mean, who is your favorite film Jesus? Mine is Willem Dafoe. You gotta like a Jesus with a flat Midwestern accent, the kind of Jesus who, if you got turned around in Beloit, can get you back on 90/94 and on your way to see the Tommy Bartlett Water Show.

Gahd loves me. I know he does. I wahnt him to stahp.

I really liked The Last Temptation of Christ (follow me now). It’s right up there with Jim Crace’s book Quarantine and Monty Python’s Life of Brian in its depiction of the powerful alienness of Roman-occupied Judea. If their literature and customs are anything to go by, that world and those people were very different from us. The idea that whole continents would become so preoccupied with the mutterings and incantations of this little tribe of desert people that it would form the bedrock of societies sounds like science fiction. Trying to get into their heads of the ancients, even if you’re not related to them, is a fun exercise.

Despite the fact that it is a very eighties-sounding album, full of whooshy synthesizers, I liked the soundtrack to the film by Peter Gabriel, Passion (getting closer). And even more still than the soundtrack (almost there), I loved the music that was the inspiration for the soundtrack, which is collected in an album called Passion – Sources (arrival!). It was a daily listen for me when it came out in 1989 and it still holds up. World music was, I recall, at its zenith in popularity at the time and seemed to come in two flavors: soporific wind-chime music to calm jangled hippie nerves or traditional songs that actually rocked. The Passion – Sources collection is all rockers. The music sounds untamed and a little dangerous. The YouTube collection below omits a Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan song. Be sure to listen to that one too if you are inclined. It’s a jam.

Now that the sermon is over, it’s time to pass the plate. Here fund that’s split between all eventual Democratic nominees in House districts currently held by Republicans.

Goal Thermometer

Sunday Evening Open Thread: Movie Shorts


Speaking of movies, anybody gonna watch the Oscars tonight?

Open Thread: “Black Panther” (With Hidden Spoiler Discussion Zone)

I was going to wait until I’d had a chance to see “Black Panther” myself before doing a post on it, but it’s looking like that’s not going to happen this week, and as valued commenter Mnemosyne pointed it, the movie is a hot topic now. How hot is the movie? Esteemed commenter lamh36 points us to a Variety piece with some facts and figures:

“Black Panther,” directed by Ryan Coogler, has caught on with moviegoers this month in a way that few other titles have in Hollywood’s recent history — blowing past last month’s tracking that showed it would open in the $100 million-to-$120 million range.

It’s notched an A+ Cinemascore, only the second Marvel film to do so (after “The Avengers”), and has dazzled critics with a 97% “fresh” score on Rotten Tomatoes. The film also stars Michael B. Jordan, Lupita Nyong’o, Danai Gurira, Martin Freeman, Daniel Kaluuya, and Letitia Wright. “Black Panther” has also grossed $304 million internationally.

lamh36 also recommends this review of “Black Panther” by Awesomely Luvvie. I was going to do an excerpt of it, but I quickly realized that’s not possible without encountering spoilers before I’ve seen the movie, so I’ll just drop a link here.

So, you remember the drill: Non-spoiler discussion about the movie (or any other topic — it’s an open thread) can take place in the regular comments section below. To reach a hidden spoiler discussion zone, click the photo at the top of the page (in desktop mode if you’re on a mobile device). That will take you to a secret thread (title: Black Panther Spoilers Thread) where you can freely discuss the movie without worrying about spoiling it for those who haven’t seen it yet.

Have fun!

Image courtesy of @KFoleyFL on Twitter, by way of Dr. Silverman here.