Friday, 22 January 2010

Will Banksy Reveal Himself In His New Film?

[caption id="attachment_873" align="alignleft" width="374" caption="West Bank barrier Banksy artwork: Little girl frisking a soldier"][/caption]

He's known for his creative stencil work in the most unassuming of places, but now Bristol-born graffiti artist Banksy has embarked on a project of a different sort. And what's that? I hear you ask. Well, he'll be internationally premiering his debut film at the Sundance Film Festival this coming Sunday.

The movie, titled Exit Through The Gift Shop, shows him speaking on camera for the very first time and is narrated by Welsh actor Rhys Ifans (you might remember him as Spike in the film Notting Hill).

The man himself has described the film as how he "set out to film the unfilmable - and failed". Erm, OK.

Little is known about the plot of the 89 minute feature film- that too is on the hush hush. But the festival website vaguely reveals that the film is about French filmmaker, Terry Guetta, setting out to record the "secretive world" of street art, when he subsequently meets Banksy, and so the adventure ensues.

Banky's appeal is in his anonymity and elusiveness, so unveiling himself seems, to me, a very unlikely prospect. If anything, there's a greater possibility that he'll leave audiences asking more questions rather than having any pending ones answered.

Have a look at the trailer below.






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Tuesday, 19 January 2010

The film's catchline is: "Life is hard. Life is short. Life is painful. Life is rich. Life is....Precious." I thought this was quite fitting considering that the film encompasses all such adjectives and emotions. It's a movie about the power of education, the beauty we all possess within, loving who you are, motherhood and friendship.

Based on Push- a novel written by New York poet Claireece 'Sapphire' Jones- it's set in 1980s Harlem (USA), and is about an overweight, illiterate teenager who becomes pregnant for the second time by her abusive father. She is referred on by her high school to enroll in an alternative school- for troubled teens- in the hope that her life will head in a better direction. We follow her journey of her learning to read and finding the acceptance and friendship that she deserves from her classmates and teacher. Her courage to stand up to her abusive mother (played by Mo'Nique) and move away from 'home' to build a new, happy life for herself and her children.

The news that Precious receives in the end is extremely sad and unfortunate. Really pulled at my hear strings, but I won't ruin it for those of you who are yet to see it.

Directed by Lee Daniels (who also produced Monster's Ball), it's gritty style projects an air of delicacy yet strength and Precious' narration, though simple gives an amazing insight into her very isolated world. 

It felt as if I was watching a documentary. That's how real the acting translated through the screen to me. I felt totally immersed.

Gabourey Sidibe (aged 24), who plays Precious, canceled the third year of her psychology major to play the role and I thought she did a pretty damn good job of it, really embodying her observant and aware character.

I didn't think Mariah's performance (as Mrs Weiss, Precious' case worker) in this was particularly wonderful but having said that, she wasn't awful either.

Mr Lenny Kravitz plays the role of attractive, suave Nurse John (yes a male nurse).

Precious is definitely a tale of triumph! A masterful dramatisation, some may say and no doubt a socially conscious movie.

I rate this film 8.5 pearls out of 10. A must see.



 

Precious will be released in the UK on Friday January 29th 2010. Watch the trailer below.






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Sunday, 17 January 2010

"I don't mean to sound racist but..."

This weekend at work, a colleague said to me "I don't mean to sound racist..." So I stopped him and said: "Well, that means that whatever is about to come out of your mouth is going to be blatantly racist." He went straight on the defensive. "No, no!" He responded. Anyway, I stopped what I was doing, looked him directly in the eyes and heard him out. "This should be good", I thought.

He started again in his Essex/cockney accent: "I don't mean to saand racist but I 'ate it when foreigners who can speak English speak their language to other people that can speak English an'all. It does my head in." Pause. Now, I don't I need to tell you what race he is.... And so it continues....

Now if his point was that it's rude when someone speaks their mother tongue (that you don't understand or can't speak) in front of you, totally disregard your presence, then I would have understood what he was saying, because I myself find that annoying at times.  But that wasn't even the point he was making.

"Well", I began challenging him, "Supposing English isn't their first language and both people feel more comfortable speaking their mother tongue to each other?"

"I don't care!" He replied in anger "If they're in this country they should speak English."

"Wow!" I said, taken aback "So, for example, when White English people go and settle in Spain, do you think that all they speak is Spanish? Do they totally abandon speaking English?"

He tried to explain himself but I wasn't having it. I dismissed him, at which point he took the liberty of informing me that he wasn't speaking to me any more. Ha! "Is it cos I is Black?" I asked humourously, just infuriating him further. As if I actually cared. He's not even deep enough to hold an intellectual conversation with.

"Listen" ,I added while he began throwing his toys out of his pram, "Just because you can only speak one language, don't knock those that have the ability to speak two or more.If you want to bring up an issue with me, make sure you actually have a valid point because right now you sound dumb."

I don't like to pull out the racism card any time someone offends or discriminates against me because I would forever be paranoid, but the prejudice undertone to what he said really opened my eyes to his true character. What he said wasn't actually racist but the intention behind his words was fueled by racial prejudice.He was totally showing his ignorance.

I find it rather amusing whenever an ignorant white person assumes that because I'm Black, I eat jerk chicken, rice and peas every day of the damn week. Don't get me wrong. I love to tuck into a good Caribbean dish, but erm I'm African and also enjoy the delights of my own traditional cuisine. But they wouldn't know that simply because of some of their lack of willingness to learn about different cultures (and why should they when staying in a little bubble is much more fun?)

For goodness sake. I speak and write far better English that the guy telling me about the language itself and I wasn't even born in this country.

Maybe he's blind, but last time I checked I was blacker than black. If that's how he feels about "foreigners" then he was speaking to the totally wrong person. He should have made that point to his white friends, who, I'm sure would have appreciated it far more than I did. They would probably agree with him and have a good ole hyena laugh about it while drinking a pint of beer and scratching their balls.

There's not one person on this planet that can honestly say that they have never said,thought and/or done anything racist at all in their lives. Racism exists. Fact. In some people is dormant and others, very active.
Racism: the maximum of hatred for a minimum of reason.

I once saw on twitter: "Question: When does a black person become a nigger? Answer: When they leave the room." Very clever, I thought to myself sarcastically but the irony is that they were actually showing themselves up in that "joke".

Maybe it's an inferiority complex that they have, but the sooner racists start seeing individuals for their human worth rather than as a colour, the sooner they'll actually start valuing their own selves. Rant over.  :)


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Friday, 15 January 2010

Haiti Earthquake

Like millions around the world, I woke up on Tuesday (12th January) morning this week to the news that a devastating earthquake had hit Haiti. The disaster is the worst of it's kind to strike the country in 200 years.

The Red Cross estimates that 50,000 people have died and 300,000 have been left homeless, with up to three million people injured – a third of the country's population.

Former Fugees rapper Wyclef Jean’s (above) charity text appeal for victims reached $1m in just a matter of days, with over 200,000 Twitter followers donating to the cause.

Desperate survivors, increasingly frustrated with the delay of international help have turned their anger into to scenes of violence and looting on the streets.

Watching the news has almost become unbearable: seeing so much human suffering and heartbreak. The highly emotive images of dust covered survivors and covered bodies on the side of the roads will be etched in my memory for a while yet to come. I cannot even begin to comprehend what the people of Haiti are enduring, simply because their experiences are not my reality. I only wish that I could physically be there to do my bit for humanity and help.

An acquaintance of mine on Twitter made a very valid point. Haiti gained independence on 1st January 1804, making it the first Black nation-state of it's kind in the world and 153 years ahead of the next independent Black country 1957- Ghana (it's even older than some European states). Yet Haiti is one of the most under developed countries of the world and now that it's infrastructure is virtually destroyed, rebuilding lives will prove to be a painstaking task.

I was totally disgusted by the comments made by famous American televangelist Pat Robertson's insensitive comments. According to him the people of Haiti "swore a pact to the devil" and have been "cursed" by his god, and that the Island of Haiti has been cursed by "one thing after the other", that is why they deserved the quake.

As evangelical pastor Rick Warren quite rightly responded via Twitter:
Labeling any natural disaster as God's judgment is nonsense. True “judgment begins with God's family” 1Peter4:17, not others


My thoughts and well wishes go out to the sufferers of the disaster as well as those involved in the rescue operation.

USEFUL LINKS:

www.dec.org.uk or call 0370 60 60 900

www.yele.org

www.redcross.org.uk
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Monday, 11 January 2010

Mystrogen 2009 UK Rap Up

Check out the video to Mystrogen's 2009 UK Rap up produced by Colin Emmanuel a.k.a Black Einstein. A very witty and humourous sum up of all the shenanigans that took place in 2009.  I need not say more:







Follow me on Twitter: http://twitter.com/RebeccaMonique

Follow Mystrogen on Twitter: http://twitter.com/Mystrogen

Follow Collin Emmanuel on Twitter: http://twitter.com/BlackEinstein
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Black Pearl Review: Cat On A Hot Tin Roof


'Twas my friend's birthday earlier last week so I treated her (and myself) to see Tennessee Williams' Cliggiddy-Cat on a Higiddy-Hot Tin Roof at the Novello Theatre in London. And what can I say? It was a such a hoot!

I've never been to the place and was quite impressed at how fancy and posh-looking it was inside. Immaculately painted walls, huge fairytale-like mirrors, chandeliers galore! Nice, I thought.

The birthday girl and I (who are regular theatre buddies) commented on how that was the first time we've ever seen so many black people in a theatre audience. "Black people attract black people", she surmised before getting a strange look from a white lady sitting to our right.

No adventures to report, apart from a woman who asked one of the ushers "Are those seats behind us taken? I ask because that man *she points rudely to her right* keeps coughing and spreading his germs I was wondering if we could move!"

“Mother!” Her son whispered fiercely, “Will YOU be quiet! You’re embarrassing me”. Of course, this only propelled her to make more of a fuss. But she wasn’t the only one who noticed the middle-aged man on her row that took it upon himself to spread his nasty bacteria- the whole audience did! In fact, it was as if he was the star of the show!

Towards the end of the interval, the coughing mongrel greeted his friend back to her seat with a very loud: "Here she is!" She had only popped to the loo! He then grabbed her by the shoulders and laid a smooch on what would have been her lips if she didn't offer her cheek instead! I actually wanted to throw up! It was painful to watch…so I watched! But nothing would have prepared me for what my eyes were about to behold. As she sat down, he stayed standing and started thrusting his hips towards her before lunging forward as if trying to stretch out his calf muscles. Eeeewww! I didn’t pay my money to see this tomfoolery!....

Anyway, once again, I digress!.... As described on the official website, the all black cast is “dynamic” indeed. It’s led by Academy Award® nominee and two-time Tony winner James Earl Jones (he played the king of Zamunda in Coming To America), Tony Award® winner Phylicia Rashad (you might remember her as the mum in The Cosby Show), Olivier Award winner Adrian Lester (Mickey stone in the drama Hustle) and Tony Award® nominee Sanaa Lathan (a.k.a the eye candy).

Directed by Debbie Allen, this 1955 masterpiece (though shifted into the 1980s for this production) is about a wealthy American family from the dirty South who get up to the normal dysfunctional everyday shenanigans. The play is set on Big Daddy’s (the patriarch, played by James Earl Jones) 65th birthday. He and his wife, Big Mamma (played by Phylicia Rashad) are the only ones who are unaware that he is actually dying from cancer rather than just suffering from a spastic colon (that’s not a joke. That’s the actual medical term).

Their alcoholic son Brick (Adrian Lester), a former professional footballer, makes many attempts throughout the play to fend off the sexual advances made by his nymphomaniac of a wife, Maggie (Sanaa Lathan) because she had an affair with his best friend who drank himself to death (literally) and doesn’t feel like he can measure up. And considering Brick’s left leg is plastered and he has to rely on crutches he does a pretty good job at avoiding Maggie, the sex fiend.

Brick fears intimacy with his father but all is revealed when the two finally sit down and talk. And thank goodness he eventually gets that ‘click’ in his head that he’s been waiting for all day (you’ll know what I mean when you go and watch it).

The funniest part for me was when Big Daddy and Brick were having their male bonding chat and Big Daddy says: “You know what I want to do?” He demonstrates a fingering motion with his index and middle fingers and then gyrates his hips while saying “Bang, bang bang!” Or something along those lines. Cringe-worthy or what! But hilarious nevertheless!

I don’t want to give too much away about the plot but the play is filled with just the right balance of laughs and seriousness. The acting is second to none.

Sanaa Lathan effortlessly delivers a very sultry and sassy Maggie; Adrian Lester has a very impressive American accent and projects his character’s discontent most convincingly; Phylicia Rashad made me chortle on many occasions but I didn’t feel enough of her character’s pain. And of course James Earl Jones’ presence as the aggressive, foul-mouthed, wealthy Mississippi plantation-owner was tremendous.

I did however, wonder what Richard Blackwood was doing in it. I think he said a grand total of... wait for it.....drum roll please....four words. My friend only noticed him at the end when all the characters came out to bow. She was like "Oh, there he is!". Pahaha! (Sorry, that was mean of me to laugh).

My only disappointment with the play lies with its ending, which I thought came to an abrupt halt.

But in all honesty, it’s one of THE best plays I've seen. I give Cat on a Hot Tin Roof 8.5 pearls out of 10.



Cat On A Hot Tin Roof will be playing until Saturday 10th April 2010. To book your ticket visit: http://www.catwestend.com

(Photographs: Alastair Muir- The Telegraph)


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Friday, 1 January 2010

Happy New Year!



Well, by popular demand, 2010 (to be said as twenty ten- NOT two thousand and ten-  as a friend vehemently warned me) has arrived! Ooohh! How exciting!

My night consisted of a near collapse walking up Hamstead Heath, street mongrels and a marvelously greasy chicken and chips binge!

After much deliberation whether or not I was going to stay in, go out, stay in, go out, I decided on the latter. But not by free will. I was dragged out to be precise.

Now, if you've ever been to Mile End (East London) during the day, you'll know it's an area filled with scum. Now imagine it on not just any night, but on New Year's flipping Eve. That's right amigos, cue Who Let The Dogs Out. As I was walking to the bust stop, some crackhead, foaming at the mouth -who probably had rabies- jumps out at me (randomly) and shouts "What! What! What!" While his friends pull him back and apologise to me for his less than gentleman-like behaviour, I, unstartled, give the disgraced fool a blank stare. "Hmmm. Someone doesn't want to see 2010", I thought to myself before continuing my journey as if the incident was nothing but a daydream. I hadn't even got to my destination yet!.....

The fiend in me loved seeing people running for the bus and missing it (that's only because I was all snug and warm on the bus, of course). Hehehehe!
New Year's Eve bus services are just like night bus services. The drivers show no mercy. If you're not at the stop by the time the bus gets there or don't request for the driver to stop , best believe your ass is being left behind.

I go jogging at least three times a week but for some reason, it felt like my heart was failing me just trying to get up the dam hill. When I finally got to the top of the Heath I felt like Rocky in that famous training scene. Da da daaaaa! Da da daaaaa!...

It was actually a very beautiful sight when I reached the top. The whole of London lit up to welcome the new year in! People were setting off lanterns into the night sky (on my way back home,some woman thought they were UFOs and took the liberty of filming them on her phone *shakes head*). "Who has the actual time in seconds?" A man shouted, "Freddy does" a random female voice replied. I looked at the Freddy she spoke of. He was conked out already. Great! Well, the key was in the wheel- the London Eye, that is. While some people had reached three in the countdown, others were still on 30. Sigh. The fireworks were nice, nothing particularly special or different. Glad I wore my wellies, though! I was not a fan of that mushy grass!

En route back home, I observed that Camden was full of people in a right state! My sober self loved it!....There was a plethora of scantily clad women walking about the streets of London. "Warm are we?" I shouted at one girl shivering as I put on my ever so warm gloves.

On the bus some drunk Asian guy shouted to a poor lady, who was minding her business "Hey, white girl! Would you like to see my dick tonight?" How romantic. I actually wanted to throw up! That's nasty!

Belly grumbling and ten quid in pocket, I risked getting food poisoning by going into my local chicken and chips shop. Packed, I pushed my way forward and made my order of 2 pieces of chicken, 3 hot wings chips and a can of coke. New Year's healthy diet= fail. Some guy took out his student card, hoping to get a discount. "No discounts tonight, mate." the server said. "But I got one here this afternoon!", he protested. What? You're telling me that in the space of 24 hours, you've eaten this rubbish twice? Tut!

Anywho....This festive cheer will last for what? A good two, three more days? Then people will be back to normal: screw-facing, bitching et cetera et cetera!  One thing that will definitely be carried on into the new year is this cold weather! Brrrr!

All that's left to say is, Happy New Year to the three of you that read my blog (my, myself and I). Hope it's a year that's filled with amazing experiences, accomplishments of new heights, few- if any- regrets, and most importantly growth. Whoop!

What did you get up to last night? Do tell!

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