REVIEW: A Raisin in the Sun [1961]

Damn all the eggs in the world. Debuting in 1959, Lorraine Hansberry‘s A Raisin in the Sun became the first play written by a Black woman to get produced on Broadway. With four Tony nominations, it’s no wonder Hollywood jumped onboard to bring it from the stage to the screen two years later. Hansberry adapted herself with Daniel Petrie hired to take directing duties from Lloyd Richards as almost the entire cast of principal actors stayed put. Besides a sequence of Walter Lee Younger (Sidney Poitier) frustratingly jumping to attention…

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REVIEW: Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner [1967]

You may be in for the greatest shock of your young life. Just because Stanley Kramer‘s Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner is a product of its time doesn’t mean it’s any less relevant fifty years later. It was only four or so years ago that a friend and his wife were looking to sell their home when their real estate agent took a phone call and said how she was touring a “nice interracial couple” as if the descriptor was somehow crucial to an act that she completes multiple times…

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REVIEW: The Defiant Ones [1958]

They’ll probably kill each other before they go five miles. Whether to satisfy his own desire to not sit in silence or earn the ire of the guards transporting him to jail, Noah Cullen (Sidney Poitier) is introduced at the back of a prison wagon singing W.C. Handy’s “Long Gone” to effectively achieve both. The cops aren’t alone in wishing he’d shut his mouth, though. The inmate chained to his wrist (Tony Curtis‘ John ‘Joker’ Jackson) wants to silence him too—if his size disadvantage would allow such an act of…

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REVIEW: In the Heat of the Night [1967]

What kind of a place is this? All you need to know about Sparta, Mississippi is Mayor Schubert (William Schallert) reminding his police chief Bill Gillespie (Rod Steiger) that he wasn’t hired for his “homicide expertise.” No, in a town like this, overseen with an iron grip by the owner of a cotton plantation (Larry Gates‘ Eric Endicott), loyalty means a lot more than the ability to do your job well. So, why not let the Black detective from Philadelphia who’s just passing through stay awhile and help solve a…

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REVIEW: Footprints [2011]

“The strangest things happen in Hollywood in the middle of the night” Shot on location in 2007—dated by the film billboards and posters littering the scenery—and screened at a couple film festivals in the years since, Steven Peros’ Footprints finally makes its way into select theatres. Known for writing the screenplay to Peter Bogdanovich’s The Cat’s Meow, his latest cements the obvious notion that the writer/director loves Hollywood lore. Rather than tell a real life story again, Peros has instead crafted an introspective yarn touching upon the whole of cinematic…

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REVIEW: Our Family Wedding [2010]

“You know you just said that out loud” And then the bottom drops out. All paint-by-number comedies of this ilk eventually hit the point where everything appears to be destroyed. Relationships are ended, love gone in a flash, and those who were thick-as-thieves are now unable to look at each other let alone speak. A film like Our Family Wedding can’t come to a resolution unless the story hits so far down on the depression scale that the inevitable across-the-board reconciliations can culminate into nothing but a climatic moment of…

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Picking Winners at the 82nd Annual Academy Awards

Some Oscar nomination thoughts, the morning after: William Altreuter: Best Picture: The Hurt Locker. James Cameron backlash, plus Hollywood self-seriousness = victory! Best Actor: Jeff Bridges. Everybody loved Clooney, but he’s in something good every year. Supporting Actor: Stanley Tucci. Just a hunch. Best Actress: Sandra Bullock. Did you realize she’s forty-five years old? Not exactly the best argument against the proposition that there are no roles for women over twenty-four, since she plays at least ten years younger, but still. Plus the Streep movie wasn’t that good (even though she…

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