Open Thread: Black Panther Update

From the Mother Jones article:

Unlike many of his peers at Marvel, Black Panther screenwriter Joe Robert Cole didn’t grow up a comic-book superfan, but he did have a soft spot for superheroes and a passion for storytelling. Fresh out of college at the University of California-Berkeley, Cole got his first gig writing for ATL, a 2006 film starring rapper TI and based loosely on the romance between producer Dallas Austin and singer T’Boz of the R&B group TLC. He went on to write and direct 2011’s Amber Lake, an eerie indie film about three half-sisters who turn on one another when questioned by the police about their father’s mysterious death. Most recently, he wrote an episode of FX’s acclaimed series American Crime Story: The People v. OJ Simpson.

Now, Cole, a product of Marvel’s two-year in-house writing program, is hard at work on the studio’s latest megaflick-to-be. The movie’s comic-book counterpart ran several volumes from the late ’70s to 2010, replacing the unfortunately titled 1960s comic Jungle Action, which featured the Black Panther, the genre’s first black superhero. The story revolves around warrior king T’Challa (Black Panther), who hails from the technologically advanced, fictional African kingdom of Wakanda—which has never been colonized, unlike the other countries on the continent…

MJ: What does it mean to you to be writing a black superhero?

JC: Black Panther is a historic opportunity to be a part of something important and special, particularly at a time when African Americans are affirming their identities while dealing with vilification and dehumanization. The image of a black hero on this scale is just really exciting. When I was a kid, I would change superheroes’ names: Instead of James Bond, I was James Black. Instead of Batman, I was Blackman. And I have a three-year-old son. My son will be five when Black Panther comes out. That puts it all into perspective for me…

MJ: In the comic books, Black Panther fought off a colonizer in Wakanda. He fought the Klan. He fought against apartheid in South Africa. Bringing the Panther into the present day, I’m curious how the recent activism around the treatment of black people by police might inform your story or your development of T’Challa as a character.

JC: Personally—and Ryan [Coogler] and Nate Moore, the executive producer—we all are cognizant of what’s going on in the world, in black communities, and in our country. We are aware of the importance of that, and the platform this movie provides us with. But I can’t give you the specifics.

MJ: Is Ta-Nehisi involved in the thought process for the movie?

JC: No. I’m a huge fan. It’s great that he’s writing the comic. But they’re separate entities…

Apart from planning our summer entertainment, what’s on the agenda for the evening?

Saturday Morning Pop Culture Open Thread

(via Slate)

Seven Samurai is the version I know, so I don’t have an allegiance to the “original” American remake. I adore Denzel Washington, I like Chris Pratt & Jennifer Lawrence, and Anton Fuqua’s Training Day was very good IMO. So we may not get around to seeing this in a theatre (the Spousal Unit does not have a strong stomach for on-screen violence), but I’ll watch it at home eventually.

On a rather different topic, while I am not qualified to have an opinion on Beyonce’s Lemonade, I know some commentors like Melissa Harris Perry’s work and you might have missed this, because Elle. And before you explain how separate you are from this topic, you might at least enjoy the way it sent Alex Jones a little further over the edge
Apart from entertainment & arguing, or arguing about entertainment, what’s on the agenda for the day?


I watched the much anticipated movie about the Clarence Thomas hearings last night in no small part because I would watch pretty much anything that stars Wendell Pierce and Kerry Washington. At any rate, it was very good, even though it left me yelling at the tv screen.

When the actual hearings happened, I was pretty much apolitical. I was on active duty in the military and just wasn’t very political. None of us were, really. I don’t remember any serious political discussions from the military other than a reference to Dana Carvey as George Bush on SNL, but that was about it. Times were different then in the army, I guess, plus it was in the pre cable news era and we didn’t have any American channels in Germany, anyway.

I do vaguely remember spending about 15 minutes watching the hearings, because I was home for leave post Kuwait/Iraq for a month. Actually flew into Houston with my buddy Geoff, spent a couple days there, drove to New Orleans for a week, then visited a couple of his buddies at Sewanee College, then came home. But that was about it for me- didn’t follow the hearings, didn’t care. I also sort of feel like the Supreme Court wasn’t quite as politicized as it is now.

So watching this last night, even though it was a movie adaptation of reality, was kind of shocking. It was a straight up smear campaign against Anita Hill. The thing that got me the most, though, was the way that Clarence Thomas wrapped himself up in his African-American identity, with the high-tech lynching language, and then, after his confirmation, has repeatedly voted against the interests that effect African Americans. It really explains why so many black people really, really, detest Thomas. That he was replacing Thurgood Marshall is the cherry on top.

At one point in the movie, there was a line to the effect of “no one on the hill can believe the Democrats have done such a bad job with this” and I thought to myself that some things never change.

Done rambling. Watch it if you can.

Open Thread: Tilda Swinton Defends Her Title…

… as the A-list actor who will go wherever the story takes her.

Not 100% sure about Scruffy Cumberbatch — the quick glimpses here seem a little too Christian-Bale-Dark-Knight adjacent — but then, I’m not the target audience.

This EW slideshow is a pretty good summary, from my childhood memories of Steve Ditko’s Man of Mystery comic. Enthusiasts, feel free to tell me how wrong I am!

Friday Morning Open Thread: Happy News

Speaking of film-makers, let’s have a round of applause for our own Tom Levenson, Guggenheim Fellow:

Tom Levenson writes and makes documentary films about science, its history, and the interplay between scientific inquiry and the broader culture and society in which the work takes place. This extremely gratefully received Guggenheim Fellowship will support work on a new book that uses the history of the South Sea Bubble – a watershed event in early-modern capitalism – to explore the connection between the scientific revolution and the emergence of new ideas about money and exchange. A revisionist history, this project aims at both new insights into the scientific revolution as lived, and in the evolution of finance over the last three centuries, with all the wealth and woe thus produced. ..

He began work as a documentarian in 1987, and he has since produced, directed, written, and or executive-produced more than a dozen films on science, mostly for the NOVA series on PBS, among them the Origins mini-series and the two-hour biography Einstein Revealed, both for the NOVA series on PBS. He won the National Academies Science Communication Award, shared a George Foster Peabody Award, and won the AAAS science communication prize, among other honors. His short-form writing has appeared in a wide range of newspapers, magazines and digital publications, and he is currently an Ideas columnist for The Boston Globe

Congratulations, Tom!

Apart from that, what’s on the agenda as we wrap up another long week?

The Walking Dogs (Open Thread)

I’ve had complaints that all photos of my dogs look alike because so many of them depict the hounds in repose on the sofa. In my defense, that’s where they are 90% of the time. But just to prove that we do see daylight occasionally, here’s a picture from our morning walk:

p&d april 2016

What a pair of assholes, huh? Open thread!

PS: Regarding the title, I’m still fuming about “The Walking Dead” cliffhanger. Am I alone in that?

Also too, what is the worst movie you’ve paid to see recently? For me, it’s “The Hateful Eight,” hands down. Luckily I only rented it at home instead of paying full cinema freight, or I’d be even more pissed about having no way to recoup the two hours and 47 minutes I wasted watching that piece of shit film.

Monday Evening Open Thread: Respite

Many thanks to commentor Schrodinger’s Cat! I don’t have any expertise to judge Indian cinema, but per Wikipedia, Haider is a retelling of Hamlet and this clip is ‘the play within the play.’ (And a demonstration that you can do impressive political protest with giant puppets, as long as they’re being handled by military reservists.) It impressed my dance-knowledgeable Spousal Unit he’s now scouring the net for a version of the film with English subtitles.

Apart from enjoying the finer arts, what’s on the agenda for the evening?