The mission of The Department of Afro-American Research Arts and Culture to identify the global significance of the creative contributions pioneered by an international diaspora of Blackness
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Tuesday, April 9, 2013

One In A Million: The Ron LeFlore Story (1977)

  • LeVar Burton
  • Madge Sinclair
  • Paul Benjamin
The film plays like a gritty documentary with nice character acting by LeVar Burton as Ron LeFlore. Without a doubt, the best Detroit Tiger film to date with great shots of old Tiger Stadium. Unlike the 1983 film Tiger Town, The Ron LeFlore Story doesn't get bogged down by Disney-esque sentimentality. A truly inspiring film. As has already been pointed out, this is an excellent made for TV classic. Sure, the film quality of this 70's movie is dated, but nothing beats a superb cameo appearance by the firey Billy Martin acting as himself.

Stranger Inside (2001)

  • Yolonda Ross
  • Davenia McFadden
  • Rain Phoenix
Cheryl Dunye's gritty jail drama STRANGER INSIDE tells the story of Treasure, a young girl who's gone on the wrong side of the tracks of life and who gets reunited with her birth mother, Brownie, in jail. Instead of finding love and reassurance, though, she learns Brownie is a very dangerous and violent person who may even be using her for her interests while in jail, but Treasure is so determined to win Brownie over that all logic flies out the window, and even when in one chilling scene Brownie threatens to slice her, she still continues to come back. Social displacement and broken families are at the center of this very honest indie film which I caught on HBO recently, and there are never any moments of exploitation so common in women's prison pictures. In fact, this is an unsentimental study of the nature of violent people who even in their violence are still trying to make some sense out of their lives, and it takes actors not yet tainted by vanity and glamour to accept these roles. Yolonda Ross, Davenia McFadden, and Rain Phoenix all play their parts with verve, and even if the ending is somewhat downbeat and ambivalent, you won't forget Treasure. Highly recommended.

Monday, April 8, 2013

Good Burger (1997)

"Good Burger" (1997) is a comedy film starring Kel Mitchell and Kenan Thompson. The movie is from the Nickelodeon teen comedy sketch show "All That," which jump-started Kenan and Kel's careers. The TV show and the duo were staple figures for teenagers in the mid-90s. The pair were so popular they earned a spin-off show called "Kenan & Kel," which they filmed "Good Burger" during the series' run. The movie made over $23 million on an $8.5 million budget, making it a box-office success. Today the film is a cult classic and a nostalgic reminder of the glorious mid-90s. The movie also featured several celebrity cameos and appearances from some of the "All That" cast. ALegendary comedian Sinbad stars in the movie, another prominent face in family films during the 90s.

Director: Brian Robbins
Writers: Dan Schneider, Kevin Kopelow, Heath Seifert

Starring Kel Mitchell, Kenan Thompson, Sinbad, Abe Vigoda, Shar Jackson, Dan Schneider, Jan Schweiterman, Ron Lester, Josh Server, Ginny Schreiber, Linda Cardellini, Carmen Electra, Shaquille O'Neal, George Clinton, Marques Houston, Robert Wuhl, Corrie Harris, Lori Beth Denberg, J. August Richards

When Mondo Burger sets up across the street, sneaky Dexter and burger-obsessed Ed realize they must fight to keep their fast food joint going. Their new secret sauce might be the answer, but not if Mondo can grab it.