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Entries in Carmen Ejogo (2)

Thursday
Nov132014

AFI: Selma Premiere or, We Ate Cookies With Lorraine Toussaint!

Safely happily physically ensconced back in New York City, my head is still ping-ponging around that exciting week in Los Angeles. My thoughts take scary stumbles back in time to 1960s Alabama when white politicians and racists were trying to stop black citizens from voting. Sound familiar? The first part, I mean. Sadly in 2014 we're still fighting efforts to surpress the vote, making Ava DuVernay's upcoming Christmas release Selma a historical drama that is also uncomfortably contemporary.

The AFI FESTIVAL PRESENTED BY CORPORATION (don't make me say it, publicists!) closes tonight with Foxcatcher but we'll have a few more days of coverage to catch up. My closing night film was the world premiere of Selma. It was so fresh from the editing bay that the great cinematographer Bradford Young was brought up on stage five days earlier for that A Most Violent Year premiere (he's busy) only to instantly return to the film for color corrections. It was so new that a couple of visual effects and a few sound issues had not been fully resolved. The event was pitched as a preview of 30 minutes of the film but Oprah Winfrey, who produced, convinced Ava to seize the opportunity to present the (nearly) completed work. We were actually asked not to review it though I see that the rest of the internet has thoroughly disobeyed this studio request. Virtually the whole cast was there with the exception of the white guys (Allesandro Nivola, Giovanni Ribisi, Tom Wilkinson) and Carmen Ejogo who plays Coretta Scott King.

More on Ejogo, Oscar play, and a party photos after the jump...

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Monday
Aug202012

Review: "Sparkle"

This review was originally published in my column at Towleroad.

Leaving for the theater to see Sparkle, the boyfriend wrinkled up his nose. "Is that that Dreamgirls remake?" he asked rhetorically. He doesn't care about movies (...I know!) so I just said "yes" rather than getting into it. Sparkle, like Dreamgirls before it, does pair an "American Idol" alum in her big screen debut (Jordin Sparks / Jennifer Hudson) with a genuine legend (Whitney / Beyoncé) to tell the story of a troubled female pop trio in 1960s Detroit attempting to make it big as Motown explodes. But the similarities are cosmetic. (Which is not, unfortunately, to Sparkle's benefit. If you're going to load up your screenplay with familiar clichés, rob from superior work!)

The immediate jarring difference between the two films is first noticeable in the Jennifer/Jordin continuum. In both films the biggest talent of the trio has to play second fiddle to "the hot one" but only in the earlier property does the Major Talent bristle mesmerizingly against her runner-up status; Jordin's "Sparkle" is a willing wallflower, happy to let her sister (the crazy gorgeous Carmen Ejogo) sing all of her songs whilst shimmering in the warmth of the spotlight. Sparkle's sister's name is "Sister" and their group is called "Sister and Her Sisters" and the men competing dramatically for their hands (that's a euphemism for vaginas) are named "Stix" (Derek Luke) and "Satin" (Mike Epps). So any moviegoer with a sybilant "S" should avoid all discussions of the movie

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