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Messages - stanleyballard

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Latest Flicks / The Mule
« on: January 07, 2019, 08:20:52 am »
Excellent work from Clint Eastwood here both as Director and actor with gritty, realistic tones and subject matter revolving around crime, race, family dynamics and politics.  Again, Eastwood sets the bar for this genre as he has done throughout his career.

It doesn't get any better than Eastwood!

Latest Flicks / Re: Superman vs. The Klan
« on: December 16, 2018, 01:12:29 pm »
This is the most intense, grand XMen story and it is the hardest to bring to the big screen because it is infinitely more complex than any comic movie has ever been- especially all of the mostly average (being nice) X movies to date.  This story was told over several years within UXM #98 to #137.

This movie and its director are so wrong to copy the horrible X3 in any way or form or thought.  Horrible movie and film adaptation- and this movie is jumping ahead to put the horse before the baby carriage.  Why is it that we barely know this version of Jean Grey???????  How is it that they changed the story already and made the Phoenix force part of her powers in the last X movie??  How is it that they don’t go into space to tell the story of how the Phoenix came to Jean as she was dying and save her????  Or the multiple other times she’s in space with major plot points of the original story happening off planet earth including the original ending where she committed suicide?????

Seems like another embarrassingly horrible X movie with bad casting, bad writing and the wrong director.

Hard Choices / Re: Basketball or football?
« on: December 09, 2018, 11:06:04 am »
Basketball - specifically college basketball viewing is more exciting.  Hands down!

In The News / Re: Sunken slave ship found off Alabama coast
« on: October 14, 2018, 04:32:33 am »
Agreed.  Many of us as so called Blacks do not know that American laws were setup for us to be subjugated and placed into the prison industry complex.  Simply:  chattel slavery has not ended but became more insidious now entrapping over 2 million of us.

Curses upon so called Blacks- obvious even to the blind.

Latest Flicks / Re: SORRY TO BOTHER YOU
« on: October 11, 2018, 05:42:02 pm »
Saw this cool indie flick and it was like a breath of fresh air with a unique voice and style compared to 90% of its competition. Dialogue and pacing was top notch- with a twist at the end.

Acting and direction alone makes this the best film of the last year.

Latest Flicks / Whitney Houston Documentary
« on: August 18, 2018, 11:57:39 am »
Saw this one weeks ago and was so saddened by her life as told by Cissy Houston, her brothers, Bobby Brown and others.  Hardcore facts about her molestation by a family member were shocking and the open admission of her homosexuality and drug usage.

Most shocking was her reaction to Blacks booing her when she went straight pop- remember that time and could understand the audience because I felt the same in 87 to 88.  She knew she was trying to appeal to Whites with “I Want To Dance With Somebody”- no question.  Also Bobby defended her legacy and proved to be much better than what many were lead to believe.

An insightful film on a pop icon.

Latest Flicks / Denzel in “The Equalizer” II
« on: August 18, 2018, 11:41:42 am »
First sequel ever for one of the best actors in America brings more depth to the main character snd adds a few twists to a summer movie.  Mr Washington does his usual top notch delivery with a surprise tussle in the car convincingly played out to deadly results and a fantastic scene where the title character reconfigures the scene of the crime to full effect.

Arguably better than the first movie and definitely has more diversity, quiet political moments and nuance.

Latest Flicks / Re: Deadpool 2: Wha'd ya think?
« on: May 23, 2018, 01:39:18 pm »
Loved Colossus in this movie- finally he gets some action scenes!!  And Juggernaut was awesome too. Loved the cameo with Brad Pitt; and the fact Ryan Reynolds even shot himself for starring in Green Lantern and even shot the horrible version of Deadpool in XMen Origins.

Nokia is definitely a badass villain written by Priest in the comic Book....stalking BP, coming back from the dead and even tying BP up and dying and teaming up with Killmonger.  There's no need to ignore history as that would do a serious disservice to long term readers.

Monica Lynne was his love interest when he took on the identity of an African American teacher -the film altered established plot points from the book.....some good and some not so good,

Comic Reviews and Spoilers / Re: Falcon
« on: March 26, 2018, 09:24:04 am »
Read the Priest and Bart Sears Captain America and Falcon series....the art made them look like steroids crazy heroes....story was solid!

Like the new Falcon series and think he needs a popular artist or writer like Jason Aaron.

Latest Flicks / Re: The Black Panther
« on: February 16, 2018, 08:41:39 am »
Possibly the best Marvel film yet with superior acting, dynamic production, cinematography and directing.  An excellent stand alone film that doesn't feel like a comic book film.  Worth the hype and it was thought provoking and political.

Loved the pacing, acting,cinematography, dialogue and directing and the costumes.Loved Chadwick Bozeman as the new king and his more nuanced performances- Nopito was excellent too and almost every actor gave stellar performances.

Latest Flicks / The Black Panther
« on: February 03, 2018, 05:23:10 pm »
Priest saw the film and reviewed it without spoilers.

“Well, my date and I got stuck in LA traffic and almost missed it. But that story is for another time.

Despite toiling under the now very tired superhero movie formula (Act Three: The Hero Faces Off Against His Doppelganger!) director Ryan Coogler manages to pull off a few surprises– something I honestly did not think possible. This is not my Black Panther– it is a young king who is still learning and thus still growing and thus capable of being surprised in ways my T’Challa never could. Michael B. Jordan’s more linear and bombastic villain’s hip hop soundtrack tends to drown out Chadwick Boseman’s far more nuanced, surgical prince-who-would-be-king, so you’re likely to read lots of praises or complaints about Jordan “stealing” this movie. The actual thieves are the women– Letitia Wright, Danai Gurira, and Lupita Nyong’o, who are given the most dynamic of the action scenes and who, along with an absolutely glorious Angela Bassett, solve all of the plot’s problems (including rescuing T’Challa)–which is both good and bad. But Jordan’s Killmonger is kind of an idiot. He is an idiot who has a legitimate case– real complaints and concerns about Wakandan tradition along with a thirst for simple revenge (revenge always works in plots)– but make no mistake about it: movie Killmonger is an idiot–something he was not in my comics.

While taking absolutely nothing away from Stan Lee, who was one of the people who taught me this biz, or Jack “King” Kirby, I was disappointed and a little disturbed by one thing. I would guess at least 80% of the characters up on that screen were created by Don McGregor, who was in attendance at last night’s premiere. Forget me or Reginald Hudlin or even Ta-Nehisi Coates (who sat with us), the vast and rich infrastructure of this film was a product of years of hard investment by Don, who was paid some paltry page rate. Don built the world of Wakanda, literally, maps of the place and extensive biographies and character sketches. He deserved much more than to be buried in a “Special Thanks” paragraph in the closing credits. Stan wrote, to my knowledge, only one Black Panther story, and Jack jettisoned virtually everything Don did when he did his own run on the book. Black Panther the movie is Don McGregor’s world brought to glorious life. I’d have liked him to have a larger credit for it (and better seats than waaaaay in the back with the rest of us peons).

There are at least four audiences for this film: Black Panther comic book fans, general comic book fans, African American general audiences and general audiences. This film offers high octane entertainment to all of these groups, but it will be the African American general audiences–who neither know nor care who I am–who will struggle the hardest to make it through the first act of this film without tearing up. The film’s glorious fairy tale of a highly advanced African civilization is enough to drop even the most cynical among us to our knees. A love letter to African Americans, the first half hour of this film had me wiping away tears at the sheer beauty of a people–my people–brought to glorious and amazing life in ways I never could on a static comic book page. Here, Black Panther finally had a soundtrack, and it is the soundtrack of my ancestors, my homeland. It was emotionally overwhelming and something I’d not quite prepared myself for.

There are many laugh out loud moments in the film but almost none of them come from Martin Freeman’s Everett K. Ross. Freeman does the best he can, often eliciting big laughs with simple body language and facial expressions–the mark of a master thespian. But the film gives Ross little to do and almost no lines, which will disappoint fans of my run while the other audiences will simply wonder what he was doing there in the first place.

Unfortunately, by either decree or simple fate, and despite my pleadings with the decision makers, Black Panther nonetheless sticks to formula. Are we really not capable of creating a film that resolves its core conflicts without the predictable big fight at the end? The best parts of the film–and there are many–are the places where Coogler is allowed to vary from this formula or, even better, practice a kind of slight of hand where he doesn’t really fool me so much as he waves a hand puppet, “Hey! Look over here!” distracting me long enough that when the film snaps back to formula I am actually surprised where I, a grizzled old writer, really shouldn’t have been.

All of the performances–including Freeman’s–are near-flawless. These are brilliant actors chewing scenery through each and every frame of this film. They all seem to know they are working on a landmark film–likely the biggest-budget blockbuster film with a mostly black cast, and every single actor here rises to the occasion.

While I’d have wished for much more originality in the final act of the film, I do not hold Mr. Coogler responsible for not reinventing the wheel. But I _am_ tired of watching the same movie over and over and over and over and over– And Then They Fight! I like even less the lesson these films repeatedly teach our children: conflict resolution through violence.

Having said that, I am overwhelmed by a sense of relief that the movie far exceeds my fears about what this thing might have been. It is an amazing spectacle with a rich, thick, multi-layered, often conflicted and expertly nuanced pseudo-Hamlet at the center–a brilliant performance that is bound to be overrun by Jordan’s more flamboyant, focused and bombastic challenger. My self-interest in the success of this film notwithstanding, I am confident the film will be a huge hit with African American audiences and certainly with comic book (and comic book film) fans, leaving only Priest-specific Black Panther fans a bit disappointed, and, of course, the Donald Trump crowd who will hate it even as they buy their ticket."

Latest Flicks / Re: Star Wars: The Last Jedi (SPOILERS)
« on: January 24, 2018, 04:24:52 pm »
Saw it once and it was ok but not what I would go see again.  None of the characters were treated with much care or depth and it has lost its magic.

Latest Flicks / Three Billboards Outside of Ebbing MO
« on: January 23, 2018, 05:29:36 pm »
Gritty film in rural America with unapologetic characters dealing with a brutal murder.  Brilliant acting fills some spaces where this film veers into arthouse movie territory- especially with its ending. But this one is unique and has a defining scene of dark humor that brings to the fore the deeper message of the entire work- it will make you think and it's not perfect.  Possibly the best movie of last year,

Latest Flicks / Thor Ragnarok
« on: November 03, 2017, 12:54:16 pm »
Saw it last night and was blown away by its fresh take on Thor, Odin, Loki, Hela, The Hulk and Heimdal.  Very tight directing and phenomenal cinematography.  Loved the balance of humor with drama throughout the film and dare it be better than both its predecessors in scope and range?  Also just as good as any Iron Man or Captain America film.  All the actors gave dazzling performances.

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