Category: Film Projects

Rolling in the deep: HBO film looks at roller skate culture

NEW YORK >> First-time documentary filmmakers Tina Brown and Dyana Winkler lugged their cameras to Central Park in New York one day to capture the last few people still passionate about roller skating. Rinks across the country were gone. The activity seemed dead.

“We were shooting a piece about what we thought was the end of the era of skating with what we thought were the last men standing,” said Winkler. “We thought, ‘Who roller skates anymore?’”

They may have come for a funeral but they found something else entirely. Two young African-American skaters approached them and asked them what they were doing. “They said, ‘Skating’s not dead. It just went underground,’” Winkler recalled.

Winkler and Brown decided to go find it. Five years and 500 hours of footage later, they’ve emerged with the HBO film “United Skates,” a fascinating look at the rich African-American subculture of roller skating, which is under threat.

“We hope that our viewers will learn something they didn’t know about, fall in love with something they didn’t know about, and maybe be compelled to care enough to protect it,” Winkler said.

The documentary explores how roller rinks were the sites of some of the earliest fights of the civil-rights era and how they later became the launching pads for hip-hop artists.

It shows how unofficial segregation lives on, with so-called “adult nights” that feature metal detectors and masses of police, something not used when whites come to skate. It also shows how rinks are being closed as communities chase more revenue by rezoning for retail use.

“There’s a bigger story to tell and we can use the joyous beauty of roller skating as the sugar to spoon-feed some of these bigger issues. That’s when we started to peel back the layers,” Winkler said.

That day in Central Park changed the trajectory — and the lives — of the filmmakers. The young skaters they met invited the women to come and see what had happened to skating. And so they got on a night bus to Richmond, Virginia.

The duo — one Australian, one American — approached a roller rink at midnight. It was far from funereal: There was a line down the block, music was pumping, skaters were dressed to kill and everyone seemed to know each other.

“We stepped into this world,” said Winkler.

They soon learned that each city had different skate dance styles — Baltimore has “Snapping,” Atlanta has the “Jacknife” and in Texas you do the “Slow Walk” — and how such a tight fellowship among skaters is forged that they will fly across the country to get together.

Embraced by the community, Winkler and Brown never paid for a hotel room or car rental or a meal while crisscrossing the country interviewing some 100 skaters. The skaters themselves opened their homes and drove them around.

The documentary features interviews with hip-hop legends like Salt-N-Pepa, Coolio and Vin Rock of Naughty by Nature. John Legend is an executive producer and the film received the Documentary Audience Award at the Tribeca Film Festival.

The cameras also follow Reggie Brown, a roller-skating ambassador and community advocate. In a phone interview, he explained that roller skating teaches patience, athleticism, purpose, positive reinforcement, determination — and getting up after a fall.

“Roller skating is a little bit more than going in circles on a couple of wheels,” he said. “It’s fun. It’s an enjoyable exercise. It’s healthy and there are a lot of great benefits. But the socioeconomics benefits to roller skating are higher than anybody can think of.”

“Name me another activity that’s family-affordable, that you can go to on a Saturday and take five members of your family and you can skate for four hours and everybody can have a good time and exercise.”

“United Skates” is a documentary made partially by the subjects themselves. Winkler and Brown, who began the project as beginner skaters, enlisted skaters to shoot scenes and used their rink skills to help capture footage.

“They would push us from behind at these high speeds and we would just focus on the camera and just pray,” said Winkler. “It really was collaboration. They like to say we taught them how to shoot and they taught us how to skate.”

The cameras capture one suburban Chicago family-owned rink’s gut-wrenching decision to shut its doors — among thousands that have done so in the past decade — and the filmmakers are not shy about hoping their film can stem the tide of closures.

“Obviously if we could save one rink, if we could have one rink reopen because of this film, that’s a huge step forward for this community and we hope that will have a ripple effect,” said Brown.

Oscars: ‘Roma,’ ‘Favourite’ Top Nominations With 10 Apiece

The 91st Annual Academy Awards will air Feb. 24 on ABC.

The Academy unveiled its 2019 Oscar nominations early Tuesday morning, with The Favourite and Roma leading all films with 10 nods apiece. Both movies are nominated for best picture for the 91st Oscars alongside BlacKkKlansman, Black Panther, Bohemian Rhapsody, Green Book, A Star Is Born and Vice.

A Star Is Born and Vice also were dominant in the 2019 Oscar nominations, earning eight apiece, followed by Black Panther with seven, BlacKkKlansman with six and Bohemian Rhapsody and Green Book with five each. Meanwhile, in the directing category, Spike Lee earned his first-ever best directing Oscar nom for BlacKkKlansman, while A Star Is Born director Bradley Cooper was among the snubs, though he did earn a best acting nomination. Lee will vie with Alfonso Cuaron (Roma), Yorgos Lanthimos (The Favourite), Adam McKay (Vice) and Pawel Pawlikowski (Cold War) for the honor of best director at the 2019 Oscars.

The Oscar nominations announcement took place at the Academy’s Samuel Goldwyn Theater, with Kumail Nanjiani and Tracee Ellis Ross hosting. The 91st annual Academy Awards will be presented once again at the Dolby Theatre at Hollywood & Highland Center in Hollywood. The show will air live Sunday, Feb. 24, on ABC.

A full list of nominees follows. Keep up with all the latest news and analysis leading up to the 91st annual Academy Awards here.

Black Panther (Kevin Feige, Producer)
BlacKkKlansman (Sean McKittrick, Jason Blum, Raymond Mansfield, Jordan Peele and Spike Lee, Producers)
Bohemian Rhapsody (Graham King, Producer)
The Favourite (Ceci Dempsey, Ed Guiney, Lee Magiday and Yorgos Lanthimos, Producers)
Green Book (Jim Burke, Charles B. Wessler, Brian Currie, Peter Farrelly and Nick Vallelonga, Producers)
Roma (Gabriela Rodriguez and Alfonso Cuaron, Producers)
A Star Is Born (Bill Gerber, Bradley Cooper and Lynette Howell Taylor, Producers)
Vice (Dede Gardner, Jeremy Kleiner, Adam McKay and Kevin Messick, Producers)

Alfonso Cuaron (Roma)
Yorgos Lanthimos (The Favourite)
Spike Lee (BlacKkKlansman)
Adam McKay (Vice)
Pawel Pawlikowski (Cold War
Yalitza Aparicio (Roma)
Glenn Close (The Wife)
Olivia Colman (The Favourite)
Lady Gaga (A Star Is Born)
Melissa McCarthy (Can You Ever Forgive Me?
Christian Bale (Vice)
Bradley Cooper (A Star Is Born)
Willem Dafoe (At Eternity’s Gate)
Rami Malek (Bohemian Rhapsody)
Viggo Mortensen (Green Book
Amy Adams (Vice)
Marina de Tavira (Roma)
Regina King (If Beale Street Could Talk)
Emma Stone (The Favourite)
Rachel Weisz (The Favourite
Mahershala Ali (Green Book)
Adam Driver (BlacKkKlansman)
Sam Elliott (A Star Is Born)
Richard E. Grant (Can You Ever Forgive Me?)
Sam Rockwell (Vice)
A Star Is Born (Eric Roth, Will Fetters & Bradley Cooper)
The Ballad of Buster Scruggs (Joel Coen & Ethan Coen)
BlacKkKlansman (Charlie Wachtel & David Rabinowitz and Kevin Willmott & Spike Lee)
If Beale Street Could Talk (Barry Jenkins)
Can You Ever Forgive Me? (Nicole Holofcener and Jeff Whitty
Border (Goran Lundstrom and Pamela Goldammer)
Mary Queen of Scots (Jenny Shircore, Marc Pilcher and Jessica Brooks)
Vice (Greg Cannom, Kate Biscoe and Patricia DeHaney
The Ballad of Buster Scruggs (Mary Zophres)
Black Panther (Ruth E. Carter)
The Favourite (Sandy Powell)
Mary Poppins Returns (Sandy Powell)
Mary Queen of Scots (Alexandra Byrne)
The Favourite (Robbie Ryan)
Never Look Away (Caleb Deschanel)
Roma (Alfonso Cuaron)
A Star Is Born (Matty Libatique)
Cold War (Lukasz Zal)
“All the Stars” (Black Panther)
Music by Mark Spears, Kendrick Lamar Duckworth and Anthony Tiffith)
Lyric by Kendrick Lamar Duckworth, Anthony Tiffith and Solana Rowe
“I’ll Fight” (RBG)
Music and Lyric by Diane Warren
“The Place Where Lost Things Go” (Mary Poppins Returns)
Music by Marc Shaiman; Lyric by Scott Wittman and Marc Shaiman
“Shallow” (A Star Is Born)
Music and Lyric by Lady Gaga, Mark Ronson, Anthony Rossomando and Andrew Wyatt
“When a Cowboy Trades His Spurs for Wings” (The Ballad of Buster Scruggs)
Music and Lyric by David Rawlings and Gillian Welch
Black Panther (Ludwig Goransson)
BlacKkKlansman (Terence Blanchard)
If Beale Street Could Talk (Nicholas Britell)
Isle of Dogs (Alexandre Desplat)
Mary Poppins Returns (Marc Shaiman)
Free Solo (Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi, Jimmy Chin, Evan Hayes and Shannon Dill)
Hale County This Morning, This Evening (RaMell Ross, Joslyn Barnes and Su Kim)
Minding the Gap (Bing Liu and Diane Quon)
Of Fathers and Sons (Talal Derki, Ansgar Frerich, Eva Kemme and Tobias N. Siebert)
RBG (Betsy West and Julie Cohen)
Incredibles 2 (Brad Bird, John Walker and Nicole Paradis Grindle)
Isle of Dogs (Wes Anderson, Scott Rudin, Steven Rales and Jeremy Dawson)
Mirai (Mamoru Hosoda and Yuichiro Saito)
Ralph Breaks the Internet (Rich Moore, Phil Johnston and Clark Spencer)
Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse (Bob Persichetti, Peter Ramsey, Rodney Rothman, Phil Lord and Christopher Miller)
Capernaum (Lebanon)
Cold War (Poland)
Never Look Away (Germany)
Roma (Mexico)
Shoplifters (Japan)
Black Panther (Steve Boeddeker, Brandon Proctor and Peter Devlin)
Bohemian Rhapsody (Paul Massey, Tim Cavagin and John Casali)
First Man (Jon Taylor, Frank A. Montaño, Ai-Ling Lee and Mary H. Ellis)
Roma (Skip Lievsay, Craig Henighan and Jose Antonio Garcia)
A Star Is Born (Tom Ozanich, Dean Zupancic, Jason Ruder and Steve Morrow)
Black Panther (Hannah Beachler and Jay Hart)
The Favourite (Fiona Crombie and Alice Felton)
First Man (Nathan Crowley and Kathy Lucas)
Mary Poppins Returns (John Myhre and Gordon Sim)
Roma (Eugenio Caballero and Barbara Enriquez)
Avengers: Infinity War (Dan DeLeeuw, Kelly Port, Russell Earl and Dan Sudick)
Christopher Robin (Christopher Lawrence, Michael Eames, Theo Jones and Chris Corbould)
First Man (Paul Lambert, Ian Hunter, Tristan Myles and J.D. Schwalm)
Ready Player One (Roger Guyett, Grady Cofer, Matthew E. Butler and David Shirk)
Solo: A Star Wars Story (Rob Bredow, Patrick Tubach, Neal Scanlan and Dominic Tuohy)
BlacKkKlansman (Barry Alexander Brown)
Bohemian Rhapsody (John Ottman)
The Favourite (Yorgos Mavropsaridis)
Green Book (Patrick J. Don Vito)
Vice (Hank Corwin)
Animal Behaviour (Alison Snowden and David Fine)
Bao (Domee Shi and Becky Neiman-Cobb)
Late Afternoon (Louise Bagnall and Nuria González Blanco)
One Small Step (Andrew Chesworth and Bobby Pontillas)
Weekends (Trevor Jimenez)
BlacKkKlansman (Barry Alexander Brown)
Bohemian Rhapsody (John Ottman)
The Favourite (Yorgos Mavropsaridis)
Green Book (Patrick J. Don Vito)
Vice (Hank Corwin)
Animal Behaviour (Alison Snowden and David Fine)
Bao (Domee Shi and Becky Neiman-Cobb)
Late Afternoon (Louise Bagnall and Nuria González Blanco)
One Small Step (Andrew Chesworth and Bobby Pontillas)
Weekends (Trevor Jimenez)
Detainment  (Vincent Lambe and Darren Maho)
Fauve (Jeremy Comte and Maria Gracia Turgeon)
Marguerite (Marianne Farley and Marie-Helene Panisset)
Mother (Rodrigo Sorogoyen and María del Puy Alvarado)
Skin (Guy Nattiv and Jaime Ray Newman)
Black Sheep (Ed Perkins and Jonathan Chinn)
End Game (Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman)
Lifeboat (Skye Fitzgerald and Bryn Mooser)
A Night at the Garden (Marshall Curry)
Period. End of Sentence. (Rayka Zehtabchi and Melissa Berton)

MORE:https://www.hollywoodreporter.com/lists/oscar-nominations-2019-complete-list-nominees-1172407/item/best-picture-1172473

Thanks to Netflix, ‘YOU,’ a Show From 2018, Is 2019’s First Hit

In 2018, YOU was one of the most slept on—and most fun—shows of the year. It premiered in September, on a regular degular cable channel, Lifetime, and the season one finale aired a staggering nine weeks later in mid-November, a release and rollout straight out of 2011. One short week into 2019, though, anyone who wasn’t privy before would be forgiven to think YOU is a brand-new Netflix original that dropped over the holidays somewhere in between Bird Box and Bandersnatch. If a series airs anywhere outside of the Big Five (HBO, AMC, FX, Showtime and, um, NBC?) does it even truly exist until Netflix? Apparently not.

A series taking on a new and ultimately more fulfilling life after hitting home video is hardly a new concept. Newer shows drifting unnoticed at large until they hit a common denominator streaming service is how most of them gain legs in this post-apocalyptic TV dystopia we’re living in, and as for classic shows that a new generation is warming to, well, did you hear Netflix almost lost Friends?!

Still, it’s curious to watch a majority of my timeline react to YOU not as if they’re just discovering it, but like it didn’t exist until now, with the common descriptor being “that new Netflix show” (not unlike Black Mirror’s Channel 4 to Netflix path before it.) Granted, some of the confusion probably stems from the fact that You is a Netflix show now. A second season was initially renewed by Lifetime before being dropped and then picked up by Netflix, where it was already an original internationally to begin with. This is a good thing, mostly. For one, the show’s pulpy and propulsive narrative is built for binging, (this coming from a guy who sticks to a two-three episode per sitting restraint—anything more just becomes narrative soup and impossible to distinguish episodically in my opinion but that’s my idiosyncrasy to bear). Amidst the trappings of an airport potboiler, YOU cleverly weaponizes expectations, casting proto-internet boyfriend Dan Humphrey as Joe, a toxic lecherous creep who preys on a cast of narcissists so loathsome no one is really “good.” The show’s whole aesthetic is being self-awarely over-the-top and soapy, but it’s that self-awareness that also makes room for sharp dialog and moments so in on the joke that they’re hilarious to laugh both with and at (Joe’s tweets as a rich bro he’s kidnapped, for one). The commentary on contemporary social media and the way it has informed our personas is actually incisive; Peach Salinger is the MVP of course but everything about, say, Beck’s influencer friend Anikka, is remarkably dead-on. We all know a few Becks who curate a more fulfilled life on IG, as well as entitled, monied douches who harp about bullshit like artisanal soda. What’s more, in some fleeting moments, it’s actually deceptively sweet. On the surface, the turns Beck and Joe’s relationship take in episodes seven through nine would actually provide the spine for a very solid rom-com if those turns weren’t, you know, borne out of deception, manipulation and murder. Part of the genius of the show is the way it doesn’t shortchange building these two into an actual relationship (or at least, explaining how and why Beck could be so blinded) in service of all the murder, frame-jobs and ridiculous book cages.

Next Gen Talent 2018: Hollywood’s Rising Young Stars Revealed

Screen Shot 2018-11-10 at 10.53.52 PM

Meet the 20 up-and-comers — from ‘Black Panther’ star Letitia Wright and ‘Sharp Objects’ standout Eliza Scanlen — whom everyone in the industry is clamoring to work with.

From Killing Eve star Jodie Comer to Sharp Objects breakout Eliza Scalen, this year’s crop of Next Gen talent offers a snapshot of Hollywood’s most promising young actors. With seemingly more paths than ever to become the next Jennifer Lawrence (think Noah Centineo and Lana Condor’s rapid rise to fame in Netflix sensation To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before and former child actor Nicholas Braun’s windy journey to critical acclaim in HBO’s Succession), these 20 rising stars are among the blockbuster breakouts and small-screen discoveries who are shaking up the industry.

READ MORE: https://apple.news/A_JmZRuCaTqSUcRr5W0Fz5w

Film Review: If Beale Street Could Talk

Barry Jenkins’ follow-up to Moonlight is an adaptation of James Baldwin’s novel. It confirms the director as one of the most talented working today, writes Caryn James.

Screen Shot 2018-11-10 at 10.48.26 PM

After Moonlight won best picture at the 2017 Academy Awards, director Barry Jenkins used his leverage to bring a long-standing dream of his to life: to adapt James Baldwin’s emotionally potent 1974 novel, If Beale Street Could Talk.

It’s easy to see why Jenkins was so drawn to the story, of a young black couple whose romantic dreams come crashing up again the powerful reality of white society. Jenkins’ approach, here as in Moonlight, mirrors Baldwin’s own, using a poetic style to reveal harsh social truths. His film is lush and ambitious, its theme of racial bias as relevant now as it was when Baldwin’s novel first appeared. The film is also too pretty for its own good at times, and more compelling in parts than as a whole. But at its best it confirms Jenkins as one of the most talented film-makers working today.\He sets up the contrasts in his story at the start. Set in the 1970s in New York’s Harlem and Greenwich Village neighbourhoods, Beale Street introduces its main characters in a lyrical scene, as an overhead shot views them walking in a park on a beautiful autumn day. Tish (KiKi Layne) is 19 and Fonny (Stephan James) is 22. Both are fresh-faced innocents who gaze into each other’s eyes and say they are ready to face the world together. From this swoony, idyllic flashback we cut to a scene of Tish looking at Fonny through the glass of a prison visiting room, telling him she is pregnant.

Tish is the narrator, her brief voiceover recurring now and then. Flashbacks reveal the earlier days of their romance, and the story moves fluidly ahead, as Tish talks to a lawyer and tries to get Fonny out of prison. James Laxton, the cinematographer who created the cool, deep blue palette for Moonlight, presents a warmer look in Beale Street, infusing the film with glowing colours against a darker background. Like those rich colours, Fonny and Tish’s relationship remains strong even as they lose their innocence.

We eventually learn why Fonny is in prison. A belligerent white policeman, whom we have seen threaten him, later arrests him for raping a white woman, although Fonny was nowhere near the attack. Historically, the accusation resonates with more than a century of such wrongful charges against black men, particularly in the US South.

At the start and again at the end of the film, Jenkins includes photos of black men being arrested, beaten and forced to their knees by white police officers. “The system has been rigged and the courts see it through,” Tish says near the end. Jenkins lets these moments land without overplaying their social purpose. The contemporary resonance and allusion to the Black Lives Matter movement are so apparent, he doesn’t need to make them explicit.

Jenkins has not created a message film, but one about love and family that also conveys a message. Tish’s mother, Sharon (Regina King), her father (Colman Domingo) and her older sister (Teyonah Parris) are unfailing in their support. King is especially poignant, her face capturing quiet strength and compassion. When Tish confides that she is pregnant – the last thing any of them needs under the circumstances – Sharon gathers the family for a toast. “We are drinking to new life,” she says, an embrace of the future that in no way denies her awareness of the difficulties her daughter will face.

All the actors are convincing, even in the close-ups that Jenkins often turns to and that require such honesty for the camera. King is the most heartbreaking, because her performance reveals complexities even beyond the layered character Jenkins’ script has given her.

Adding to the story’s contrasts, Fonny’s mother (Aunjanue Ellis) is a shrew who tells Tish, “I always knew you’d be the destruction of my son.” His father (Michael Beach) and Tish’s are old neighbourhood friends who commiserate, at times too bluntly, as if for the film’s viewers and not themselves, about how difficult it is to be a black man trying to get ahead. And with just a couple of scenes, Brian Tyree Henry adds to his list of terrific supporting roles (including one in Steve McQueen’s latest, Widows) as a friend of Fonny’s just released from prison.

Despite the close-ups and the sympathetic characters, a distant, cerebral beauty underlies the film. The camerawork and production design are so lovely they can be distracting. In the scene that introduces Tish and Fonny, the mustard yellow in Fonny’s shirt is echoed in Tish’s coat and in the turning leaves on the trees, all captured in the overhead shot. The romantic look feels a bit too calculated, just as the strings that sometimes soar on the soundtrack are a few levels over the top. Impassioned moments stand out – Fonny yelling at Tish from behind the prison glass that he is going to die there – yet overall there is an almost austere tone, unlike the emotional pull of Baldwin’s novel.

Whatever its weaknesses, If Beale Street Could Talk, only Jenkins’ third film, is a strong addition to a distinctive body of work. Anyone who became aware of him with Moonlight might want to catch up with his first film, 2008’s Medicine for Melancholy, a lyrical little gem about a night-long date in gentrifying San Francisco. It was evident from the start that Jenkins’ commanding voice and graceful style are like no other director’s.

★★★★

 

Exclusive: Watch Sparks Fly Between Omari Hardwick and Tika Sumpter In New Clip From ‘Nobody’s Fool’

Shadow and Act has an exclusive clip from the upcoming film from Tyler Perry, Nobody’s Fool.

The clip features an interaction between Frank (Omari Hardwick) and Danica (Tika Sumpter).

Here’s the film’s official description: Trying to get back on her feet, wild child Tanya (Tiffany Haddish) looks to her buttoned-up, by the book sister Danica (Sumpter) to help her get back on track. As these polar opposites collide — with hilarious and sometimes disastrous results — Tanya discovers that Danica’s picture-perfect life — including her mysterious boyfriend — may not be what it seems. 

Mehcad Brooks and Amber Riley also star.

The film is in theaters November 2.

Watch the clip below: