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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Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Blade (1998)

"Blade" (1998) is a superhero horror film directed by Stephen Norrington and written by David S. Goyer, starring Wesley Snipes in a career-defining role. Created by Marv Wolfman and Gene Colan, Blade is part of Marvel Comics, first appearing in 1973. This movie was a symbolic release, as few black superhero films existed before 1998. Stephen Dorff, Kris Kristofferson, N'Bushe Wright, Sanaa Lathan, Donal Logue, Udo Kier, and Arly Jover are additional cast members.

Director: Stephen Norrington
Writer: David S. Goyer

Starring Wesley Snipes, Stephen Dorff, Kris Kristofferson, N'Bushe Wright, Sanaa Lathan, Donal Logue, Udo Kier, Arly Jover, Traci Lords, Kevin Patrick Walls, Tim Guinee, Eric Edwards

A half-mortal, half-immortal is out to avenge his mother's death and rid the world of vampires. The modern-day technologically advanced vampires he is going after are searching for his particular blood type needed to summon an evil god who plays a crucial role in their plan to execute the human race.

Demolition Man (1993)

  • Wesley Snipes
  • Sylvester Stallone
  • Sandra Bullock
Frozen in 1996, Phoenix, a convicted killer is "thawed" out for parole well into the 21st century. Revived into a crime free society, Phoenix resumes his murderous rampage, and no one can stop him. Spartan, the cop who captured Phoenix in 1996 has also been cryogenically frozen, this time for a crime he didn't commit. In desperation they turn to Spartan to help recapture Phoenix.

I simply love the way the future is portrayed in this film, it is a wonderfully satirical crime free environment where the humans have become ultra-placid geeks under the new regime. Sandra Bullock and Nigel Hawthorne are the two main police-persons that we see and they are brilliantly funny in their performances.

Demolition man is as funny as it is action packed and although it's pretty shallow, it is still great fun to watch.

Friday, June 28, 2013

Critical Condition (1987)

  • Richard Pryor
  • Rachel Ticotin
  • Rubén Blades
Kevin Lennihan is a con artist. But this time he's framed and comes before a judge. By claiming insanity, he hopes to get off the hook. He manages to end up in a hospital on Governor's Island, off the coast of New York for a mental examination. That night, a storm breaks out over the area, and the electricity to the hospital is broken. In the ensuing chaos that follows, Kevin is taken for a doctor, Eddie Slattery. Suddenly, he is in charge of a whole hospital!

This rather mediocre comedy from 1987 was produced at the height of Richard Pryor's (somewhat unfortunate) lapse into brain dead motion picture comedies. However, like most of his films, Pryor made standard, silly concepts -- in this case, a man mistaken for a doctor forced into pretending to be on -- amusing.

Pryor plays a framed jewel thief who pleads insanity and is sent to a hospital for mental check-ups. However, once there is is mistaken for an actual doctor, and continues the charade to avoid being charged with a crime he didn't commit, etc.

It's got a lot of obvious jokes that get old in five minutes - this would be an effective "SNL" skit, NOT a full-length movie. The problem with standard concepts such as these is mainly that once you've accomplished your goal -- ha ha a man pretending to be a doctor who doesn't know anything about medical practice, that's hilarious! -- there's nowhere left to go. So they add boring and uninteresting subplots, typically romances which end with the mistaken man confessing he isn't who the woman who loves him thought he was, they break up, and then they get back together again for a happy ending in which she realizes that she really loves him for who he is, not for what he is.

That said, Pryor makes this entertaining - more so than it should be.