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Transcendence

"Transcendence" is a serious science fiction movie filled with big ideas and powerful images, but it never quite coheres, and the end is a copout.

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Ballad of Narayama

"The Ballad of Narayama" is a Japanese film of great beauty and elegant artifice, telling a story of startling cruelty. What a space it opens…

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Monsieur Hire

Patrice Leconte's "Monsieur Hire" is a tragedy about loneliness and erotomania, told about two solitary people who have nothing else in common. It involves a…

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Black History Mumf IV: The Year We Rewrite History

This introduction to Odienator's Fourth Annual Black History Mumf, a celebration of what we used to call African-American Popular Culture, needs no introduction. Especially to Scanners readers, who've been following it since he challenged Miss Ross's fashion designs in 2008. Of those early days, Odienator (think Odie N. Ator, as in Frank N. Furter, or possibly Meatloaf Aday) now writes:

When I started this series in 2008, I made fun of the Black History Month curriculum we were fed every February in grammar school. I wanted to make my own version of that curriculum, using movies and TV and events from my life to fill in all the holes where public school was lacking. All they told us, in a nutshell, was that we were slaves, we were freed by Abraham Lincoln, and then Martin Luther King showed up. This happened every year, usually sponsored by Budweiser. Boy was I snarky about the lack of depth and detail back then! But now I've been humbled, because as anemic as it may have been, at least they told us the truth and didn't try to change it.

As always, the astounding and incisive (and mostly really funny-because-it's-true) month-long series of essays is hosted by Steven Boone at Big Media Vandalism, and it begins with this:

"One of the hardest things in life is having words in your heart that you can't utter." -- James Earl Jones

"Nigga, please!" -- Mark Twain (well, maybe not...)

But back to that introduction:

Seeing David Duke dancing on the Soul Train Line would be less jarring than what Odienator has in store for you in 2011.

Without his license to kill, Odienator will have to rely on something more sinister: his Token Power. He can't escape being the only Negro at

a) most of his programming jobs b) a party c) a movie screening. He was once the only Black person at a Tyler Perry screening!!! [...]

Tastier than fried chicken, and just as bad for you, Black History Mumf 2011 continues the tradition of cinematic and television nostalgia mixed with history lessons and brutally honest confessions. And it's open to everybody. We don't care what color you are, so long as you dress presentably, aren't easily offended, and don't act trifflin'. If you don't know what trifflin' is, perhaps you should start at the beginning of the series and work your way through all 80+ pieces beforehand. We'll wait.

The Tea Party ain't the only ones rewriting Black History, except we actually have the truth as part of our recipe.

As the first white group with a Motown hit once sang: "Get Ready." You have been warned.

I'll be publishing reminders, alerts and updates occasionally throughout the mumf.

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