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Movie Blog Post: CRAZY RICH ASIANS

Thursday, August 16, 2018

Crazy Rich Asians best review
Tinsel & Tine's look at

CRAZY RICH ASIANS

By Le Anne Lindsay, Editor

Remember the first time you saw Pretty Woman and Vivienne (Julia Roberts) strolls back into the posh shop which had snubbed her on Rodeo drive, loaded with shopping bags, asking the sales person if she works on commission - "Big Mistake, Huge!"  Well, there's a similarly satisfying scene of judgement and retribution which opens the movie Crazy Rich Asians, directed by Jon M. Chu, based on a bestselling 2013 novel by Kevin Kwan.

Constance Wu plays Rachel Chou, a NYU Econ professor. For the last year she's been dating Nick Young, a guy she assumes is just your average New Yorker on her same level; although, we never find out what he's been doing for a living while in the States. Nick is played by newcomer Henry Golding, and he's gorgeous! like, he can give Henry Cavill (Superman) a run for his money in the looks, and surprisingly, acting department, despite this being Golding's first movie role.  Speaking of money, when Nick has to go home to Singapore for a family wedding and wants to bring Rachel with him, he’s gotta come clean to her that he’s the sole heir to one of the riches fortunes in Asia. Rachel takes the deception pretty well - I mean it's hard to get mad at someone for lying about their wealth when you're flying super deluxe first class. But the ride gets bumpy when she's introduced to Nick's disapproving mother, grand dame of a Grandmother and a society that sees Rachel as a gold-digger or at the very least an American commoner not good enough for their golden boy.

Meet Henry Golding The Asian Golden Boy

The movie was shot on location in Singapore and Malaysia, creating a love letter to the food, culture and beauty of this area. It makes you want to immediately put Singapore on your bucket list of places to visit. I had no idea it was so glamorous and contemporary. Total food in film moment comes when Rachel & Nick first meet up with the wedding couple and order tons of dishes from street vendors. They say it's one of the only cities where street vendors can earn Michelin Stars!



You can't do a rom/com without the comic relief, found in spades with rapper turned actress Awkwafina. She plays Peik Lin, Rachel's college roommate, she's an outlandish treat, full of crazy high fashion, deadpan enthusiasm and sage advice. I love when she breaks down the Young family history on an Atlas handbag, calling them so posh and snobby, they're snoschy.

Crazy Rich Asians Awkwafina fashions

The "B" plot, aside from the wedding of the century, involves Nick's exceedingly beautiful and stylishly refined cousin Astrid (Gemma Chan) who was the first in the family to marry beneath their station, a complication that hasn't gotten easier with time.

Yes, no one is denying this movie is a rom/com, but it's a GOOD one, the kind I used to love in the 90's that went by the wayside somewhere along the way, with a few pale imitations here and there starring Jennifer Aniston.

Director Jon M. Chu, cast members Gemma Chan and Jimmy O. Yang 
came to Philly to introduce the movie. Check out the video below:


The cast represent a range of nationalities and countries, including Singapore, Malaysia, China, Taiwan, Japan, Hong Kong, South Korea and The Philippines, as well as the U.S., UK, and Australia. I've already seen the movie twice, just because I think it's delightful. But I’m also hoping Crazy Rich Asians does for Asian actors and movie-goers what Black Panther did for black and brown audiences.

T&T the Large Association of Movie Blogs (aka the LAMb)​ rating 5 outta 5 ​
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Filmmaker Menelek Lumumba Interview: 1 ANGRY BLACK MAN

Sunday, August 12, 2018

Tinsel & Tine's

5 QUESTION INTERVIEW

with

FILMMAKER

MENELEK PATRICE LUMUMBA

1 ANGRY BLACK MAN


By Le Anne Lindsay, Editor

In preparation for the 7th Annual BlackStar Film Festival (August 2-5, 2018), I sent interview questions to many of the filmmakers screening short films; because it seemed to me since their work is shown in blocks, it would be nice to highlight each individual director and/or writer.
Click HERE for Short Interviews with Shorts Filmmakers.

But that doesn't mean I can't give some love and attention to a filmmaker debuting his first feature length film - Menelek Lumumba's film "1 Angry Black Man" had its World Premiere in Philadelphia during #BlackStar18. Here's the Synopsis:
Mike Anderson is a senior undergrad and eight weeks away from graduation at Frost College, a quintessential New-England liberal arts school. And on this particular day he has his African-American Literature class with his favorite professor. But today, Mike is feeling sad. He’s feeling isolated. He’s feeling Angry. Taking place in real time, “1 Angry Black Man,” provides a voyeuristic view of the difficult conversations young people engage in as they try to navigate the society and current climate in which they live. Drawing from the intellect of master writers such as James Baldwin, Zora Neale Hurston, and Ta-Nehisi Coates, they search for modern solutions to bridge the divide, uncover new questions, and push political boundaries, forcing each other to reckon with the truths they keep hidden in the dark. TRAILER

5 QUESTION INTERVIEW

1. T&T: In a nutshell what was the main inspiration for your film?

Menelek Lumumba: I have played with the idea of doing a film taking place ONLY in a classroom for many years. I wrote a treatment about a high school class of seniors on their last day of school. 1 Angry Black Man evolved into this experiment about the current state of campus climate. How do young people communicate? That was the main inspiration.

2.T&T: Where do you really shine as a filmmaker? Please expand upon directing to include the aspect of the directing process where you know you are most on point?

Menelek Lumumba: For me, directing starts on the page. I working on screen writing every day. I have had this daily routine of writing for almost 15 years now. The main strategy for directing this film was to shoot what's on the page. Period. If that script works the film will work. I'm very confident about that. And letting the actors do their jobs. I never want to "direct" a performance. If a performance requires TONS of hand-holding and micromanaging, you just cast the wrong person.

3. T&T: Give a quick shout out to your creative team and anyone who helped get your film from an idea to screening at BlackStar.

Menelek Lumumba: Hans Charles (DP, Producer of 1ABM) is why this film happened. He placed all of his good will and his reputation on me. One day he called me and said "We are are shooting our feature this year." And he was right. He and I really are a team. We see cinema the same way.
Hans Charles and Menelek Lumumba met in film school. They have talked to each other about film for ten years. During BlackStar Film Fest Menelek and Han's Podcast "Back of the Theater" did a live taping of the show, interviewing filmmaker Nefertite Nguvu, director of In the Morning, a feature film noted as a ‘love letter to Black women. Click HERE to listen



4. T&T: Does food play a part in your film? It can be something you like to eat on set, while editing, some great Craft Services, a scene involving food or a restaurant/bar/coffee shop.

Menelek Lumumba: My biggest "First Time Director" moment happened during our one day of rehearsal. I stayed on the set to work with Hans on the lighting plan, so I was late to dinner. When I went back to eat with the cast and crew I whispered to our First A.D., "Am I allowed to eat this food?". From across the room, Hans starts to laugh. I was so afraid to do the wrong thing, that I was even afraid to eat the food.

5. T&T: What does it mean to you to screen your film at the 7th Annual BlackStar Film Festival?

Menelek Lumumba: This is the culmination of my wildest dreams. Five years ago, it would be crazy to even dream about screening a short at BlackStar. This is the heartbeat of Black Independent Cinema. To screen 1 Angry Black Man here is the perfect festival, the perfect audience, the perfect city. We had a packed house and the audience reaction to the film was amazing. It means the world to me.

Here's a video of Menelek & Hans from their Indigogo Campaign way back before shooting.  It seems there's nothing like making a film to show you where you started and how far you came, and nothing like that sense of accomplishment when it's shared with an audience:


The crowdfunding campaign brought in 55 backs totaling $10,821.

Unfortunately, I didn't get a chance to see Menelek's film at the fest, so no Tinsel & Tine #MiniMovieReview for this one, yet, hopefully the film will garner distribution and I'll catch it at the Ritz!

Menelek Lumumba is a writer and director who was born and raised in Denver, Colorado. He graduated from Colorado College with degrees in English and Film Studies. Menelek then went on to study Cinema at Howard University in their Master of Arts program. His screenplay In My Skin was named a finalist for the 2010 Colorado International Film Festival and the 3rd Annual Rap-It-Up/Black AIDS Short Subject Film Competition. Menelek currently resides in New Mexico with his wife and son.


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Movie Blog Post: BLACKkKLANSMAN

Thursday, August 9, 2018

A Spike Lee Joint  Review of Blackkklansman
Tinsel & Tine's look at

A Spike Lee Joint 

BLACKkKLANSMAN


By Le Anne Lindsay, Editor

Fans of the Dave Chappelle show, can't help but think about his hilarious skit involving Clayton Bigsby, the blind KKK leader who didn't know he was black, when hearing about the premise of Spike Lee's BlackkKlansman, which tells the true story of a black cop infiltrating the KKK in the 70's in Colorado, and lives to tell the tale.

Dave Chappelle Brother Clayton Bigsby


John David Washington (yes, he’s Denzel’s son) plays Ron Stallworth, a black rookie cop who seeks advancement in an all-white department serving at a time when cops were routinely referred to as ‘pigs’, particularly by black revolutionaries - he finds his first undercover assignment is to infiltrate a rally where Kwame Ture, formerly The Black Panther leader Stokley Carmichael, is speaking to a group of student radicals. The rousing speech is a sobering call for black liberation and Stallworth is divided in his loyalties. Particularly after meeting the young lady who organized the rally, Patrice (Laura Harrier) an attractive leader of the Black Student Union.

Nevertheless, Stallworth does a good enough job undercover that his Chief moves him out of the detested file room and into Intelligence full-time. In the movie, Stallworth is flipping through a newspaper on his desk and sees an ad to join the KKK and decides to call the number; in truth, Ron sent a letter full of white supremacist rhetoric to a P.O. Box. Either way, it was his entry into launching an investigation of the long standing hate group.

The Birth of a Nation original rebirth of the Klu Klux Klan


Ultimately, it seems that Spike Lee's intentions with BlackkKlansman is to deliver a fiery polemic on America’s long history of bigotry and racism, establishing a through-line of intolerance that leads to the current president. There is a chilling scene of the Colorado Klansmen hooting hollering and eating popcorn while watching D.W. Griffith’s "The Birth of a Nation", the film which incited the rebirth of the Klu Klux Klan. This scene is juxtaposed by a group of black students and activists gathered in another part of town to hear the testimony of an old man (Harry Belafonte) who witnessed the lynching of his best friend in Texas around the time “The Birth of a Nation” was playing in theaters.

And there are other moments where BlacKkKlansman delivers, but on the whole, it didn't really work for me. I really want Spike to be back on top - and with the film winning top honors at Cannes, I was expecting to be impressed. Unfortunately, the shadings and storytelling felt messy. Typically, I like a movie with many moods, tones and genre's but not this time. It's not satirical or a drama or a black comedy or a good biopic on the life of the real Ron Stallworth, after all, we never see how the investigation affects him emotionally, for Ron it's about the job. But we do see how it affects Adam Driver's character, Flip Zimmerman, who plays the white version of Ron Stallworth. Flip is Jewish but has never embraced this part of himself religiously or culturally; passing for Caucasian his whole life. However, having to out and out deny his heritage during a Klan interview, gives him a deep moment of reflection. It's also Driver's character who takes all the risks and drives the story, but it's supposed to be Stallworth's tale. Topher Grace does surprisingly resemble a young David Duke, but he plays him like an SNL skit. In fact, all the Klansman are boobs and caricatures, I think it would be more effective to portray men and women you might trust and like, only to find out underneath they hold intense hate and bigotry inside, which they only express in the insularity of a Klan meeting. The film also wraps up too neatly, like an episode of Charlie's Angels when a case ends and they all gather back at the office to make a corny joke at Bosley's expense.


T&T the Large Association of Movie Blogs (aka the LAMb)​ rating 3 outta 5 ​
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26th Annual PHILADELPHIA FILM FESTIVAL Coverage (Oct 19-29, 2017)

Tinsel & Tine's Look at : The 26th Annual PHILADELPHIA Film Festival By Le Anne Lindsay, Editor POST UPDATE #PFF26 DAY 1...

Food n Film: BURNT

Food n Film: BURNT
Bradley Cooper has more than charisma, he has an over abundance of Chi, which radiates out from him; so for me, this role as temperamental and damaged chef Adam Jones, who also inspires great love and admiration from those around him, works on the level of characterization. In fact, I think he's among a very short list of actors who would be able to pull off being so self-involved and yet likable. Doesn't hurt that he really speaks French too! READ POST

Eater Philly - All

Food n Film: CHEF

Food n Film: CHEF
Much of the movie centers around the father/son relationship, and how much they learn from each other. But the real star of the film is all the food preparation, every other scene made me groan with want of everything up on that screen! Particularly the perfectly roasted and rubbed brisket, the crispy fat of the pork belly, sizzling bacon and the much ballyhooed Chocolate Lava Cake. READ POST

CITY OF GOLD

CITY OF GOLD
The key to deciphering both the city it beautifully depicts and the man who eats it best - City of Gold


By Tinsel & Tine Contributor Denine Gorniak (The Bicycle-Chef)

What Jonathan Gold, Los Angeles Times food critic/writer, has done for food writing journalism and for the restaurants that he loves, the movie, City of Gold has done for Jonathan Gold and Los Angeles and its surrounding environs – it has planted taco covered kisses on them... READ POST

Food n Film: CHOCOLAT

Food n Film: CHOCOLAT
If you’re a foodie movie lover who saw Lasse Hallström’s The Hundred Foot Journey (see T&T post), this summer you may be wondering what delicious visual journey might be awaiting you in the theater next. Well, how about a look back at his film Chocolat (2000), which stars French actress Juliette Binoche, Judi Dench and Johnny Depp. Hallström’s has a special talent for turning cooking into a dramatic movie journey...READ MORE

Food n Film: THE HUNDRED FOOT JOURNEY

...young Hassan, a soulful-eyed boy with lush, thick eye lashes, places his face into the sea urchin basket, and breathes in the exotic briny scent. He sticks his fingers into the aquatic ooze, takes it to his mouth and is transfixed by the taste. The vendor, oblivious to the thrusting arms of frenzied women, notices the boy and realizes he is the only one worthy of this oceanic prize; he is the one who can “truly taste.” ... READ MORE

Food n Film: JULIE & JULIA

Food n Film: JULIE & JULIA
Personally, I like the unevenness of it, because I fell in love with the post World War II, Parisian sights, sounds, food and romance between Julia and Paul. I always felt a bit jarred back into reality when the scenes returned to Julie's meltdowns and cramped kitchen.READ POST

Food n Film: EAT PRAY LOVE

Food n Film: EAT PRAY LOVE
Six months into my 38th year of this life, I had my first panic attack. I didn't know that's what it was until months later. Symptom after symptom starting piling up on me until there were days I could no longer move my arms or neck. The doctors told me I was suffering from an auto-immune condition that they felt was most likely Lupus. And so began my much deeper journey and exploration into the world of spirit, alternative medicine, yoga, meditation and Eat, Pray, Love. READ POST

Philadelphia Magazine » Blog » Foobooz

Food n Film: TODAY'S SPECIAL

Food n Film: TODAY'S SPECIAL
With a film like this, food plays a main character in the story and I was lucky enough to get an interview with the film's Food Stylist, Janine Kalesis.READ POST

Food n Film: WAITRESS

Food n Film: WAITRESS
In this 2007 film, Keri Russell stars as Jenna - a desolate diner waitress seeking solace in the art of pie-making. Trapped in an unhappy marriage, she’s eager to escape her husband and her small-town hell and sets about to make a run for it by entering an out of town pie baking contest. READ POST

Food n Film: BABETTE'S FEAST

Food n Film: BABETTE'S FEAST
Those of us in attendance were not only given the opportunity to see Babette's Feast, the Oscar winning, Danish film, considered one of the all-time great "food films"; we also got to taste Babette's menu! READ POST

WALKMS

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15 Top Food in Film Flicks

15 Top Food in Film Flicks
Cozy Quilt of Food Movies, we'll add more patches as T &T discovers more films where food plays the biggest "roll"

Tinsel & Tine on Paper.li

Tinsel & Tine on Paper.li
Really love this platform, you feature your stuff and other people's stuff you follow, and it all configures like the front page of a newspaper. Click to see what I mean

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Videographer Oliver Gallini 5 min short featuring organic-chemist-turned-chef, Townsend Wentz, who got his start at The Four Seasons Philadelphia.

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About This Blog

is about discovering what I find pleasing in screening & eating - in case you missed it, the name is a play on Tinseltown using the Tines of a Fork.

Feel free to send me info on a film or new restaurant you'd like me to highlight.
-tinseltine@gmail.com


Will there ever be a cap on movie prices?

Will we one day pay $20 a pop?

Why don't we pay on a scale?

A crap movie like everything Adam Sandler has ever done should cost about $4.50.
Big action movies like"Lord of the Rings", "Iron Man," "Transformers" are worth $10.
Woody Allen movie or something like "Silver Linings Playbook" $6-$7.
A chick flick or light comedy $5.75 and most Indie Films $5.25.

You could even do it by seasons - all summer block busters from May to August - $10
Sept - November 15th $3.50 - $4
Back to $10 for Thanksgiving and Christmas etc...

Or you can do it by A Actors ($9 - $10), B Actors ($6 - $7) TV actors on the big screen ($3.50 - $4)

Surely I'm not the first person to realize this makes sense. Has it been voted on in the Motion Picture Industry and then vetoed? If so, why?

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