It looks like we have a set of new agents donning the black suits this time around.
Seems Thor and Valkyrie are doing a side gig for the Men In Black. There’s no Agent K or Agent J to save the world from otherworldly dangers. We now have Agent H and Agent M to take up the mantle of protecting the world. The trailer also shows us that the MIB is a global organization and no more New York as the stomping ground, but we also have London and it’s branch of the MIB.
Men In Black International was a sequel that didn’t garner too much excitement when first announced, but as the cast was finalized and announced the excitement began to rise. And it is quite a cast when one really looks at it: Chris Hemsworth, Tessa Thompson, Liam Neeson, Emma Thompson, Kumail Nanjiani, Rafe Spall and Rebecca Ferguson.
Men In Black International will be out June 14, 2019. A release date with enough time between it and the juggernaut that will be Avengers: Endgame.
With the Oscar nominations due to be announced tomorrow, now is the time that the Shattered Lens indulges in a little something called, “What if Lisa had all the power.” Listed below are my personal Oscar nominations. Please note that these are not the films that I necessarily think will be nominated. The fact of the matter is that the many of them will not. Instead, these are the films that would be nominated if I was solely responsible for deciding the nominees this year. Winners are starred and listed in bold.
(You’ll also note that I’ve added four categories, all of which I believe the Academy should adopt — Best Voice-Over Performance, Best Casting, Best Stunt Work, and Best Overall Use Of Music In A Film.)
I am probably the last person who would be expected to appreciate Straight Outta Compton. In the months leading up to the film’s release last year, I doubt anyone expected me to be a part of the audience. After all, I’m a Caucasian girl from Texas. I may have been born in Oak Cliff but, for the most part, I’ve lived in suburbs, small towns, and a few farming communities. When it comes to music, my taste runs that gamut from EDM to more EDM. I was less than a year old when NWA formed and I hadn’t even heard Straight Outta Compton or Fuck tha Police until I first heard about this movie. Going into the movie, I knew who both Ice Cube and Dr. Dre were but, otherwise, I knew nothing about NWA.
And yet, with all that in mind, I was in tears by the end of Straight Outta Compton. That’s proof of how strong a film Straight Outta Compton truly is. I went into the film with next to zero knowledge of what I was about to see but from the very first minute, it captured my attention and my emotions. From the minute I saw Eazy-E (Jason Mitchell) fleeing from a police raid at a crack house, Dr. Dre (Corey Hawkins) dreaming of becoming a success, and Ice Cube (O’Shea Jackson, Jr.) being threatened by both gang members and police, I was totally invested in their stories.
Straight Outta Compton is a big film and director F. Gary Gray is obviously interested in a lot more than just telling a conventional musical biopic. Instead, he uses Straight Outta Compton to explore what it’s like to grow up and live in the shadows of America. That pre-credits raid on that crack house sets the tone for much of Straight Outta Compton, revealing a world where the only escape comes from money and where the police are essentially an invading army.
The film also deserves a lot of credit for capturing the excitement of creation. The scene where NWA records their first album is pure exhilaration and even better are the concert scenes, all of which capture chaos in the best possible way. Perhaps the best sequence comes when a defiant NWA performs Fuck tha Police while a similarly defiant swarm of policeman make their way through the crowd, all holding their badges in the air. In that scene, Straight Outta Compton captures the feel of a society at war with itself.
Straight Outta Compton is an ensemble film in the best sense of the word, with Hawkins, Jackson, and Mitchell all giving excellent and charismatic performances. Somewhat inevitably, Paul Giamatti shows up as their manipulative manager, Jerry Heller. It’s a role that feels as if it was tailor-made for Giamatti and, needless to say, he performs the Hell out of it.
I’ve read that Straight Outta Compton takes some liberties with the historical facts and it’s true that the other two members of NWA — MC Ren and DJ Yella — are both largely portrayed as being bystanders. (That said, Neil Brown did have some funny lines as DJ Yella.) Towards the end of the film, whenever Eazy-E said, “I should have listened to Dre and Cube!,” I was reminded of the fact that Straight Outta Compton was produced by Dr. Dre and Ice Cube and not Jerry Heller.
But, historical liberties or not, Straight Outta Compton is an exhilarating and important film and one of the best of the year.
The Producers Guild of America announced their nominees today and guess what? Ex Machina, Sicario and Straight Outta Compton made the cut! In general, the PGA is a good precursor for the actual Oscar nominations so that’s good news for both of those films. (Among the films snubbed: Star Wars: The Force Awakens and Carol!)
Here are the nominees:
The Darryl F. Zanuck Award for Outstanding Producer of Theatrical Motion Pictures:
Ø The Big Short
Producers: Brad Pitt & Dede Gardner, Jeremy Kleiner
* Abraham Attah – “Beasts of No Nation” (Netflix)
* Chiwetel Ejiofor – “Secret in Their Eyes” (STX Entertainment)
* Michael B. Jordan – “Creed” (Warner Bros. Pictures/Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures)
* Michael Ealy – “The Perfect Guy” (Screen Gems)
* Will Smith – “Concussion” (Sony Pictures Entertainment)
Outstanding Actress in a Motion Picture
• Lauren ‘Keke’ Palmer – “Brotherly Love” (Flavor Unit)
• Sanaa Lathan – “The Perfect Guy” (Screen Gems)
• Teyonah Parris – “Chi-Raq” (Amazon Studios and Roadside Attractions)
• Viola Davis – “Lila and Eve” (Samuel Goldwyn Films)
• Zoe Saldana – “Infinitely Polar Bear” (Sony Pictures Classics)
• “Beasts of No Nation” (Netflix)
• “Brotherly Love” (Flavor Unit)
• “Chi-Raq” (Amazon Studios and Roadside Attractions)
• “Infinitely Polar Bear” (Sony Pictures Classics)
• “Secret in Their Eyes” (STX Entertainment)
Outstanding Documentary – (Film)
* “Amy” (A24)
* “Dreamcatcher” (Rise Films, Green Acres Films & Vixen Films in association with Impact Partners and Artemis Rising Foundation)
* “In My Fathers House” (Break Thru Films)
* “The Black Panthers: Vanguard of the Revolution” (PBS Distribution/Firelight Films)
* “What Happened, Miss Simone?” (A Radical Media Production in Association with Moxie Firecracker for Netflix)
Outstanding Writing in a Motion Picture (Film)
* Andrea Berloff, Jonathan Herman – “Straight Outta Compton” (Universal Pictures)
* Christopher Cleveland & Bettina Gilois, Grant Thompson – “McFarland USA” (Walt Disney Pictures)
* Pete Docter, Meg LeFauve, Josh Cooley – “Inside Out” (Disney/Pixar)
* Rick Famuyiwa – “Dope” (Open Road Films)
* Ryan Coogler, Aaron Covington – “Creed” (Warner Bros. Pictures/Metro-Goldwyn- Mayer Pictures)
Outstanding Directing in a Motion Picture – (Film)
• Alfonso Gomez-Rejon – “Me and Earl and the Dying Girl” (Fox Searchlight Pictures / Rhode Island Ave)
• Charles Stone, III – “Lila and Eve” (Samuel Goldwyn Films)
• F. Gary Gray – “Straight Outta Compton” (Universal Pictures)
• Rick Famuyiwa – “Dope” (Open Road Films)
• Ryan Coogler – “Creed” (Warner Bros. Pictures/Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures)
Growing up during the 1980’s meant popular music was divided between rock and pop. Yes, there were the non-friendly music genres that hundreds of millions also listened to but were seen as music of the outsider (heavy metal, punk). Yet, something happened in the latter half of the 80’s.
Rap has always been part of the music landscape since it’s early days during the 1970’s. The genre was either about partying or pushing a social awareness agenda that kept it out of mainstream audiences (with the exception of Run DMC and the Beastie Boys). Then a rap group out of South Central L.A. released an album titled Straight Outta Compton which took the world by storm.
Gangsta rap has broken through that wall which has kept most of rap from mainstream popularity.
The latest film from F. Gary Gray will tell the story of the beginnings of the group N.W.A. right up to the tumultuous events of the Rodney King riots. As most biopic go this one may just be a major hit just for the fact that N.W.A. has had such a huge impact on pop culture and the music industry that their music and influence still remain relevant today.
Straight Outta Compton is set for an August 14, 2015 release date.