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Poetic Justice (1993)

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#30 September 29, 2010

"Beware of artists - they mix with all classes of societyand are therefore most dangerous." ~ Queen Victoriastencil by Banksy, British graffiti artistAnd who inspired a recent film about art...

Far Flungers

"Don't mess Malcolm up"

From its incendiary opening to its somber but exultant conclusion, Spike Lee's grand and important film "Malcolm X" captures the life of a complex, charismatic and gravely misunderstood man who fought for human rights and justice for Africans and African-Americans. The film, based on The Autobiography of Malcolm X as told to Alex Haley, is arguably Mr. Lee's best and most universal film, and one of the great American film biographies.

For context, "Malcolm X" had extraordinary publicity leading up to its 1991 production. Numerous black activists in New York City and elsewhere had forecasted that Mr. Lee's film would not accurately depict the essence of Malcolm. "Don't mess Malcolm up," was a refrain the director heard over and over again.

May contain spoilers

Roger Ebert

"Twilight: New Moon" is processed lunch meat

From Lisa Walden, New Rochelle, NY: The "Twilight: New Moon" DVD was just released last week and I rented it. I am a 52 year old African-American woman who truly enjoys film. I attempt to see as many films in theaters as I can but time may not allow my catching some so I have to make do with rental.

Roger Ebert

Zhang Yimou's gold medal

I was one of the allegedly three billion people watching the opening ceremony of the Beijing Olympics on TV, and I think I received the intended message: China is here, big time. The scope, precision and beauty of the production was, you will agree, astonishing. The distinguished director Zhang Yimou was given $300 million and full rein of his imagination, and perhaps some of his background in opera was also useful. The sheer size of the production was awesome. It said a lot for China, both positively and perhaps negatively. With the exception of the star pianist Lang Lang, a duet between Sarah Brightman and Liu Huan, and some featured dancers, the emphasis was not on individuals, but on masses of performers, meticulously trained and coordinated. What was your reaction to the opening spectacle of 2,008 drummers, creating waves and shapes of lights with their drums? Mine was amazement and pleasure. Also a reflection of the discipline and dedication of these unpaid drummers. You could see the little earpieces with which they apparently received cues; you could imagine the performance otherwise breaking down into chaos.

Movie Answer Man

Movie Answer Man (12/03/2000)

Q. I just read your review of "Unbreakable." I'm afraid you didn't get the whole point of the movie. This film is not a "serious drama" as you state in your review. The entire movie is tongue in cheek. It's sly and witty, with lots of laughs for those who get the joke. The joke is that the entire movie is a comic book about a new super hero, in which the hero discovers his powers. The very name of the Bruce Willis character, David Dunn, is in the classic comic book tradition of Peter Parker, Clark Kent and Lois Lane." Similarly, Mr. Glass is in the tradition of The Joker, The Riddler, Pruneface, etc. The Bruce Willis character goes out in the rain wearing a hooded poncho reminiscent of Batman's hood and cape. I think the movie is a victim of bad marketing. The previews should have shown some of the lighter scenes to give the audience more appropriate expectations. (Jared Laskin, Los Angeles)


John Singleton Recites The Poetry of Cinema

John Singleton is one of those rare directors who would just as soon talk about other people's movies as about his own. He was in Chicago to promote his new film, "Poetic Justice," which is a good film and in some ways, a brave one, and he talked about it, all right - and why there are so few films about black women, and why Janet Jackson surprised him in the leading role.